Our Grand Final picture is set in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens! We’ll have APIA Leichhardt Tigers taking on Gladesville Ravens after a fantastic seven-goal Preliminary Final between the Ravens and Sutherland Shire FA. Let’s get onto the review!
Sutherland Shire FA 3 defeated by Gladesvile Ravens 4
Gladesville Ravens broke their hoodoo and won their way through to the big dance after a wild 4-3 success against Sutherland Shire FA tonight at Valentine Sports Park.
Much like their season, Gladesville Ravens did it the hard way. They were pegged back thrice by Sutherland Shire FA but a brace to Emily Diaz alongside goals to captain Ashleigh Smith and Zoe Zaczek saw them break their hoodoo against Sutherland Shire FA and make it to the Grand Final.
The season ends here for Sutherland Shire FA but the Shire girls are far from disgraced. Morgan Maxwell equalised in the first half then a penalty from Nicole Besz and Jordan Baker header kept them going until the final whistle. 2019 was a successful year for Sutherland Shire FA finishing second in a tough top four.
This was the fourth meeting between Sutherland Shire FA and Gladesville Ravens so there was no bedding in period for the contest. Sutherland Shire FA’s Morgan Maxwell turned well and played in Jordan Baker, who was denied by a finger-tip save from Ravens stopper Eri Arikawa.
A familiar sight opened the scoring when the ball fell to sharpshooter Emily Diaz. She lashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-nil Gladesville and the second straight game they have hit the lead against Sutherland Shire FA.
The game was a battle between the midfields as they looked to gain an advantage. Sutherland Shire FA’s Janan Codmani thrashed an effort wide then Ravens Annalise Schiraldi flayed wide as the game enter the half hour mark.
Sutherland Shire FA started to warm to their task and found a first half equaliser. Maxwell was in wide open space on the edge of the box and her effort flew into the net to make it 1-1 as the game entered half-time.
Coming out in the second half, both teams remained cautious with Ravens Zoe Zaczek had a chance on the counter which arrowed wide then Sutherland Shire FA’s Maddison Farmer weaved through the defense but drove it wide.
Substitute Eleanor Lidbetter gave a rare errant pass in a rock-solid performance in the second half straight to Baker, who usually gobbles up those chances but she sent it wide of the right-hand post.
From here, the game turned into a fireworks show of four goals in ten minutes. Both sides fought tooth and nail to book their spot in the Grand Final.
First Sutherland Shire FA created a sense of déjà vu taking the lead in the second half on field #3. Striding into the box, Baker was nudged in the back by Ravens substitute Jade Pond. Nicole Besz stepped up and slotted the penalty for 2-1.
Moments later, the ball broke for a Ravens set piece. Carlie Ikonomou swung in a dangerous corner that rattled around the box like a used pepsi can then captain Ashleigh Smith swept home to make it 2-2.
Swept up their new-found momentum, Ravens hit the lead again. A charging run down the right channel from Kasia Wojtowicz ended with the striker stinging Sutherland Shire FA’s custodian Hannah Ryan’s palms then Diaz was on-hand to mop up for 3-2.
The final bang came in the 70th minute, again from a set piece. It was played onto the head of Baker perfectly who craned her neck to make it 3-3, and set us up for a wonderful final stanza.
There was going to be a single moment that would decide the contest. It fell to the feet of Zoe Zaczek. She cut inside well with defenders around her on the edge of the box then fired into the top corner and it was 4-3.
Looking once again to force the game into a deadlock, Sutherland Shire FA had a pair of dangerous chances in the dying embers of the game. The first fell to Baker who went near post but it was deflected away. Next in stoppage time, Codmani latched onto a corner but lent back and skied it.
The sound of the full-time whistle after a false start which almost had the Ravens bench on the pitch was the sweetest sound for Gladesville. They had booked their spot in the 2019 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens Grand Final!
A delighted Gladesville Ravens coach Albert Disciascio knew his hard did it the hard way but they have achieved what they wanted – the spot in the big dance against a side they are confident against, APIA Leichhardt Tigers:
“We worked out tonight. It didn’t go our way this season but we’ve got our chance in the Grand Final now which is wonderful. We got the lead but they counter attacked well and got three goals which made us work for the result.” he said.
On next week’s opponents APIA: “We’re going to go all out definitely. Look they haven’t beat us this season and I know that we can beat them in the Grand Final next weekend.” finished Disciascio.
Whilst Sutherland Shire FA technical director Jon Long was disappointed with the loss which has ended their season, he remained positive in his comments post-match:
“Both sides are very even in their play and it was wonderful to watch from the sidelines. All the best to them for next weekend but I thought we had a good season overall – coming second in a tough competition. We beat Gladesville three times so on the balance of averages it was due. We move on now and get ready for next year.” said Long.
Sunday 25 August 2019
Valentine Sports Park
Referee: Sarah Ho
Assistant Referees: Bec Mackie & Stephanie Hilton
Sutherland Shire FA 3 (Maxwell ‘36, Besz ‘60, Baker ‘70)
Gladesville Ravens 4 (Diaz ‘11, ‘68, Smith ‘61, Zaczek ‘79)
Sutherland Shire FA: 1. RYAN Hannah, 2. NISBET Genevieve, 3. MANOS Georgia, 4. HUTTON Rebekah, 5. MAXWELL Morgan, 8. BESZ Nicole, 9. BAKER Jordan, 11. FARMER Maddison (6. CHRISTIE ‘83), 12. KENDALL Lauren (27. GEORGIEVSKI ‘53), 19. YEATS Zoe (13. MEADS ‘83), 38. CODMANI Janan
Unused subs: CODMANI Iman
Yellow cards: Farmer ‘45
Red cards: nil
Gladesville Ravens: 1. ARIKAWA Eri, 2. TAYLOR Eloise (4. LIDBETTER ‘45), 3. SMITH Ashleigh, 5. FISHER Alanna (26. POND ‘45), 6. IKONOMOU Carlie, 7. DIAZ Emily, 8. ZACZEK Zoe, 9. SCHIRALDI Annalise, 10. KASHIMA Yume (14. KINCHINGTON ‘82), 11. WOJTOWICZ Kasia, 23. GESTIER Hannah
Unused subs: 19. GOLDSMITH Chloe, 24. SEETO Anja
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)