Sutherland overcome Southern for Grand Final berth


The Preliminary Final turned out to be a true test to determine who was worthy to face Marconi next week in the grand final.
Sutherland were outstanding and well worth their 2-1 victory in what proved to be a superb game of football between two sides desperate to climb the summit of the division and to be called champions come the end of the season.

Preliminary Final:
Southern Branch FC v Sutherland Shire FA, 3.45pm Sunday 30th of August at Valentine Sports Park Field 1
Sutherland started the match holding possession well. They were keeping Southern Branch pinned back in their half and making it very difficult for them to get a hold of the ball.
Sutherland opening the scoring in the 5th minute thanks to Toni Vukasin. The corner is swung in from the left hand side, and the ball makes it all the way through to Raegan Deeley at the back post. Her volley is mishit, but it rolls across the 6 yard box to the waiting Vukasin and she scrambles the ball home.
Another corner for Sutherland in the 11th minute and this one falls to Vukasin again, and as she chests the ball to control it the goal opens up in front of her but in trying to beat the ‘keeper she scoops her shot just over the crossbar.
Vuklasin was again right amongst the action as she forced a sharp save from Jessica Beahan. The ball broke to her 25 yards from goal, and she hit the ball first time across her body. The ball was destined for the top corner, but Beahan was able to track back and tip the ball over the crossbar for yet another Sutherland corner.
Southern Branch began to work their way back into the match at this point, aided by striker Sarah Hickling dropping deeper than usual to pick the ball up and begin attacks. She looked to play in Wrylka Colburn on several occasions, but Colburn was finding it very difficult o escape her marker in Genevieve Nisbet, who was having an outstanding game in defence.
Sutherland though were still moving the ball around exceptionally well, and were again rewarded for their good play when they made it 2-0 at the half hour mark. Some controlled pass and move football from Morgan Maxwell and Verity Quartermain cut right through the heart of the Southern Branch defence, and it left Quartermain with all the time in the world to stroke the ball across Beahan and into the corner of the net. An excellent goal and a perfect encapsulation of the way that Sutherland tries to play.
After 40 minutes, Kate Dale received a somewhat controversial yellow card for time wasting after she took too long over a free kick. She appeared to have not heard the whistle from the referee, which was understandable considering the music that was being played from the other side of the main stand. It was a matter of time before it affected the match in some way, and luckily this was the only occasion that it came into play.
Half time, and Sutherland took a 2-0 lead into the break.
The second half started where the first left off, with Sutherland controlling the ball for long spells, and Southern Branch finding it difficult to break out of their own half.
Sutherland’s movement was stifling the Southern Branch counter attack, as both Nisbet and Annelotte Birdsall would push forward from the full back positons, dragging Wehmeyer and Colburn with them. This left no easy ball forward for Southern Branch when they were under the pump, and robbed them of the main weapon they used so well against Marconi last weekend.
However with Nisbet forward for a free kick, Colburn was finally able to get in behind in the 61st minute. Up against the central defenders she was able to blitz by on the outside, going the length of the field on her own but her finish was inches wide of the far post.
A few minutes later though, Southern Branch would gain a foothold in the match. A free kick from distance was drilled straight at Brianna Griffin in the Sutherland goal, but she could only parry the ball in front of her. The ball fell straight into the path of Dannielle Williams and she put her body on the line to smash the ball into the roof of the net. Back to 2-1, and Southern Branch were growing in confidence.
Sutherland nearly restored their two goal lead right from the kick off. Rochelle Borromeo was played through the defence and was clipped, but she remained on her feet and poked the ball past Beahan for what seemed a certain goal. It clipped the post, then a defender’s legs, then the goalkeeper, and a follow up shot was blocked before the ball rolled along the line and was finally collected by Beahan. Somehow Southern Branch had survived.
The game really became frantic with 15 to go. Southern Branch began to pour numbers forward in search of the equaliser as Sutherland tried desperately to hang on. Roles were reversed as now Sutherland struggled to get the ball clear of their defence and Southern Branch piled on the pressure.
Colburn was yellow carded in the 80th minute for a shoulder barge on Birdsall as she strained every sinew to win the ball first.
Despite their pressure though it wasn’t until the last kick of the game that Southern Branch were able to create a genuine chance. Again it was Colburn who used her pace to burst in behind to chase a loose ball, and all she had to do was poke it past the advancing Griffin and we’d be heading to extra time. The ball was just too far ahead of her though, and she couldn’t wrap her boot around the finish and it squirted off her toe and missed the far post by inches.
As the ball went wide the referee blew full-time and it was Sutherland who were celebrating. They were ecstatic with their hard fought 2-1 victory and they now go on to face Marconi in next weekend’s Grand Final.

Reserve Grade:
Marconi Stallions FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 1.30pm Sunday 30th of August at Valentine Sports Park NO.1
A first half goal from Jessica Beale was enough to see Marconi advance past Sydney Olympic in a tight affair. Olympic pushed hard for the equaliser in the second half as Marconi picked up a couple of injuries, but they couldn’t level the scores.
Marconi now face the Inter Lions next week, and they’ll be looking for vengeance after their mauling at the hands of the Lions last weekend.
By Eamonn Warner, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s 2 Reporter