The Grand Final curse has been broken!
In another epic National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s Grand Final, the Macarthur Rams were crowned Champions after a 4-3 extra time victory over Sydney University.
It was the perfect start for the Rams, going into half time two goals to the good thanks to Kylie Ledbrook and Leena Khamis.
But two goals in two minutes midway through the second half had the sides level.
Then, when Cortnee Vine made it 3-2 for Uni with only five minutes remaining it seemed the hoodoo would remain with the Rams.
Kate Hensman ensured we would see extra time though, scoring with one minute of normal time remaining.
Into extra time we went and with penalties beckoning, the league’s top scorer Georgia Yeoman-Dale stepped up and sealed the title for Macarthur.
Cortnee Vine had the first chance of the game on five minutes when she found space in the box, unable to find the target with a powerful effort.
Rose Galea did well to on 12 minutes to play in Leena Khamis but the veteran couldn’t beat Sophie Magus.
Uni was dealt a blow before the 20th minute as Clare Wheeler had to be replaced after suffering an injury.
Nikki Flannery almost had Uni in front on 21 minutes but her effort went just wide of the top corner.
But on 25 minutes Macarthur had the lead.
A through ball by Khamis found Ledbrook who beat two defenders on the edge of the area before blasting her effort passed Magus.
Vine threatened again on the half hour mark but didn’t get the right connection with her header as Khamis held the ball easy.
Ledbrook turned provider at the other end almost immediately as Macarthur doubled their advantage on 32 minutes.
A fine corner by the Rams’ number 10 found Khamis at the far post as she powered her header into the back of the net.
Vine came close again just before the half time whistle but his her shot wide of the Rams goal.
Uni came out strong and two minutes into the second half, Katherine Ebbs had an effort well saved by Khamis.
It should’ve been game over in the 51st minute but the Rams couldn’t capitalise.
Hensman was played through and her shot beat Magus but not the post.
The rebound fell to the feet of Georgia Yeoman-Dale who had the whole goal to aim at but missed the target.
In the 65th minute Uni halved the deficit.
Great work by Annabel Martin saw her find Nikki Flannery in the box who made no mistake with the finish.
Only a minute later and they had a dramatic equaliser.
A fine ball by goal scorer Flannery found Vine at the far post who volleyed first time into the back of the net.
Five minutes from the end Soutar was brought down in the box by Rose Galea and Kelly Jones had no option but to point to the spot.
Vine stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistak, senfding Khamis the wrong way.
Only two minutes later and the Rams had an equaliser.
The experienced Renee Rollason moved forward, took things into her own hands and slipped in Kate Hensman who found the back of the net with the finish.
The game moved into extra time and Khamis should’ve had her second only second in but couldn’t direct her effort goal wards.
A mistake at the back by Elizabeth Ralston allowed Vine to steal in but the striker sent her effort wide of the target with five minutes of extra time played.
Vine was in again in with a golden chance but her effort smacked straight against Khamis.
Three minutes after the mini-break, Flannery found Vine in the box who thought she had her hat trick, only for the flag to be raised for offside.
On 111 minutes Flannery thought she had the winner, beating Khamis before Kirrilee Cameron cleared off the line.
A minute from full time and the Rams finally had the game wrapped up.
Ledbrook sent a fine ball over the top of the Uni defence as Yeoman-Dale ran onto the ball and placing it beyond Magus for the championship.
Rams coach Norm Boardman was delighted with his team’s victory.
“The girls did a great job and all credit to them.
“They were up two-nil and when Uni equalised everyone thought momentum was with them but we’ve finished a lot of games strongly this year.
“It was a great game, end to end and I’m sure the people got their money’s worth.
A devastated Alex Epakis was proud of his team despite the result.
“Words can’t describe that.
“They say 90 minutes, 90 emotions, that was 120.
“Full credit to Macarthur but I’m so proud of my team, not just today but over the course of the season for everything they’ve done they have my full respect.”
Macarthur Rams 4 (Ledbrook 25’, Khamis 32’, Hensman 88’, Yeoman-Dale 119’))
Sydney University 3 (Flannery 65’, Vine 66’, 86’)
Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood
Sunday, September 2, 2018
Macarthur Rams: 1. S. Khamis, 2. Polias, 5. E. Ralston, 6. Campbell, 9. L. Khamis, 10. Ledbrook, 11. Hensman (14. Paterson 106’) 15. Galea, 16. Yeoman-Dale, 19. L. Ralston (7. Cameron 73’), 37. Rollason.
Substitutes: 13. Muilwyk,, 20. Duggan, 71. Clarke.
Yellow Cards: Polias, Campbell
Sydney University: 21. Magus, 2. Martin, 3. King, 6. Wheeler (38. Ebbs 18’), 7. Soutar, 9. Vine, 11. Russel (12. Olivero 86’), 17. Flannery, 26. Galic (14. Guzman 113’), 28. Mclean, 33. Tumeth.
Substitutes: 5. Ambrose, 16. Woods
-By Nikola Pozder