Bankstown City FC are the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s champions after producing a resolute display to defeat premiers Sydney Olympic FC and lift the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s Championship.
Grand Final: Sydney Olympic FC 0 defeated by Bankstown City FC 1
Bankstown City FC have produced a titanic upset to take out the Grand Final with a tense 1-nil victory against premiers Sydney Olympic FC tonight at Valentine Sports Park.
A 69th minute penalty from Joanna Martino was all that seperated the two sides, as Bankstown City Lions brought Sydney Olympic FC’s winning streak to a crashing end in the final game of the season.
It was a bittersweet ending for Olympic FC co-captain Kalista Tsoupis, who finishes a 17-year career on a somber note but her side is consoled by taking home the PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens Premiership.
For Bankstown City FC, it was a culmination of a massive wave of momentum which rode them through their two semi-final wins and despite, coming under heavy fire tonight, a tense single goal victory to lift the Championship.
In the opening salvos of the contest, Sydney Olympic started like they had all season, on the front foot. Courtney Holmwood, a dangerous strike partner to Madelaine Costanzo all season, cut inside onto her left foot before she fired over.
Three minutes later, Costanzo was denied by a magnificent save from Bankstown City FC keeper, Renee Krstanovska. The shot-stopper had to be alert as Costanzo latched onto a diagonal ball but deflected it well.
Holmwood and Costanzo combined again in the 18th minute for the latter to move into the box but the PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s top-scorer couldn’t trouble Krstanovska.
For a majority of the first half, it seemed the Lions were on the back foot. Their best chances fell to striker Tania Baban, who was a nuisance for the back four all night.
It was Joanna Martino that set up the Lions chance in the 35th minute, as she bundled down the left before a cut-back to Vida Opoku-Aygemang that the forward couldn’t arrow into the net.
Moments later, the defense of the Lions was stretched and if not for the desperate intervention of Caitlin Murphy they could’ve been behind. The defender tracked back well to snuff out a decent passing football move from Olympic FC.
Next Rochelle Borromeo almost opened the scoring, the ball found it’s way to her in the box, and with space but she crashed the effort against the crossbar as the anxiousness grew in the Olympic FC team headed to the break.
Their worst fears were almost realised in the 42nd minute, as Lions striker Tania Baban pounced on an errant pass then was left one-on-one with the Olympic FC keeper but she slid her effort wide of the right post as it was nil-all at the break.
As the game started to open up with a half hour remaining, Bankstown City FC grew into the contest. A swift counter in the 67th minute put substitute, Alicia Lee, free into the area but she fired right at Olympic FC keeper Chloe Avgoustou.
Bankstown City FC were rewarded for their adventure two minutes later with the opening goal. Baban drove well into the box before she was chopped down by a defender. Martino stepped up and sent Avgoustou the wrong way for a 1-nil lead.
Now Olympic FC needed a goal and fast. They looked to Costanzo, who strode into the box before she slipped getting the shot away so it fell harmlessly wide. Krstanovska was on high alert again minute later as a wicked cross almost allowed Olympic FC to equalise, the subsequent header was nodded wide.
Costanzo tried everything in her bag of tricks as she attempted to scoop one over Krstanovska but the custodian was up to the task. Down the other end it was Avgoustou that needed to come up trumps as she denied Baban a second.
Late into injury time, from a central free-kick, Olympic FC had their final chance with everyone up. Holmwood stung the palms of Krstanovska for a corner. The resulting corner pinged around the area as all 22 players were in the box but no blue shirt of Olympic could find a touch as Bankstown cleared into and heard the sweet relief of the final whistle.
Afterwards an estatic Bankstown City coach Troy Spink hailed his side’s spirit and attitute which led them to this Championship.
“We had to fight for it tonight. I gave them all their jobs and they stuck to every single task. We had our chances which we missed but, we caught them with the penalty. Took our chance and won the game,” said Spink.
This is unheard of really, these girls have come from State League in two seasons, making it to the Grand Final and now winning it. I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.” He finished.
Man of the Match Tania Baban knew if her side hung in they could get the result.
“Our defense killed it today, they saved our lives not to mention a few good saves from our keeper. Now we can celebrate the victory.” Said Baban.
An emotional Kalista Tsoupis reflected on Sydney Olympic FC’s loss and the finish of her footballing career.
“It was an unlucky loss. We’ve been the better team all season, the preparation wasn’t the best but that is football for you. We won thirteen games in a row and had a great season overall,” said the retiring captain.
“It is a bit hollow [to lift the trophy] after a loss.” Added her co-captain Kate Halaska.
Their coach George Beltsos remained upbeat despite the defeat.
“I’ve had these two [Tsoupis and Halaksa] girls for seven years now. I couldn’t ask for two better players, they have always given their best.” Said Beltsos.
“On the game though. We had our chances, dominated but sometimes anything can happen in football. Congratulations to Bankstown City FC, they have ridden a wave of momentum to win this but one game doesn’t define our season.” Finished the Olympic FC boss.
Saturday 10th September 2017
Valentine Sports Park #2
Referee: Sarah Ho
Assistant Referees: Yosemite Guilmeer & Emma Higgins
Fourth Official: Emma Kocbek
Sydney Olympic FC 0
Bankstown City FC 1 (Martino ’69)
Sydney Olympic FC: 2. TAYLOR Eloise, 4. BARHAM Deirdre(AMBERG ’72), 5 TSOUPIS Kalista, 6. HALASKA Kate, 7. CHEN Lily(CALVI ’51), 8. NGUYEN Naomi(BROWING ’64), 9. COSTANZO Madelaine(PATRULOVSKI ’85), 10. BORROMEO Rochelle, 12. HOLMWOOD Courtney, 23. MCPHERSON Kate and 88. AVGOUSTOU Chloe
Yellow cards: McPherson
Red cards: nil
Bankstown City FC: 2. BABAN Tania, 4. BABIC Liana, 9. LUCIEN Sunny(LEE ’60), 11. MARTINO Joanna, 13. OPOKU-AYGEMANG Vida(MUSCAT ’87), 14. PETKOVIC Jelena, 17. MURPHY Caitlin, 18. OSMAN Doris, 19. KRSTANVOSKA Renee, 30. IBBOTSON Charlotte and 34. RUSSO Genevieve
Subs not used: 31. HENDRA Chelsea, 36. WOJTOWICZ Kasia and 38. CASSAR Rachel
Yellow cards: Ibbotson
Red cards: nil
-By Justin Davies, PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s reporter