Women’s football in the Illawarra came to life on a brisk and cool Sunday night at Ian McLennan Park, as Albion Park claimed yet another premiership in a 3-0 win over University FC. University dominated the majority of the possession, but couldn’t find a way past the Albion Park defence. Goals to Nicole McCracken, Rylee McGartland and golden-boot winner Brittany Ring capped off yet another tremendous season of success for Albion Park.
University had the better start of the two sides, and looked to threaten early. In the 12th minute, University’s Lisa Prior was able to make a marauding run with the ball down the left-wing and cross the ball into the box, but nobody was able to meet the cross in the middle of the penalty area.
Prior was at it again in the 14th minute after she pounced on a defensive error from Albion Park and struck a volley towards goal, but the volley sailed over the bar.
University had the early territorial dominance, but couldn’t capitalise on their chances. To their credit, Albion Park were scrambling well in defence.
Albion Park had a golden chance in the 33rd minute, after a cross from Casey-Leigh Suttle on the right wing found Ring inside the box, but Ring’s connection somehow missed the target as University breathed a sigh of relief.
Ring unleashed a venomous volley towards goal in the 43rd minute which was saved by Hannah Farrugia. Renee Crowe followed the shot, but the bounce of the ball caused issues for the Albion Park player as she missed the target.
Despite University’s dominance in possession, Albion Park were dangerous when counter-attacking, particularly through their top goal scorer in Ring.
Half time came around, as both sides couldn’t break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes.
The deadlock was broken in the 48th minute, as McCracken was able to finish the ball into the back of the net for Albion Park after a furious goal-mouth scramble in front of University’s goal.
University continued to produce some nice passages of play, but continued to struggle in front of goal. Elise Battin was able to execute some nice passes for her attacking counterparts, in hope of finding an equaliser.
In the 61st minute, Isabella Walker was able to produce a quality attack with the ball and strike a quality shot on goal. The shot which was destined for the bottom-left corner was brilliantly saved by Aleisha Chessell.
Albion Park made University pay for their missed chances, as Ring scored their second goal in the 82nd minute. Ring was able to strike a fantastic volley towards the University goal, and the ball nestled itself into the back of the net.
Albion Park were finishing strongly, and showcasing why they have been so successful over the last few seasons.
McGartland sealed the premiership for Albion Park in the 90th minute, as she unleashed a wonderful volley from the edge of University’s box. The goalkeeper stood no chance, as the ball finished in the back of the net.
Albion Park’s clinical finishing in front of goal proved to be the difference, as they claimed yet another title in The Grange Women’s Division 1 competition.
Sunday 8th September, 2019 @ 7:30pm
The Grange Women’s Division 1
Albion Park – 3 (McCracken 48’, Ring 82’, McGartland 90’)
University FC – 0
Albion Park: Christie AKID, Sarah ALWERT, Aleisha CHESSELL, Eliza COWAN, Renee CROWE, Tenaya DAVIS, Claire DUFFY, Michelle FOSCARINI, Kristina GLISIC, Jessica HANLY, Linda HILLARD, Orcadia MCCANN, Nicole MCCRACKEN, Rylee MCGARTLAND, Brittany RING, Casey-Leigh SUTTLE
University FC: Jaimie BAILEY, Elise BATTIN, Rhianna BROWN, Lexi CARTER, Cayla CONSTABLE, Jineecka KLENKA, Georgina MCDONNELL, Chantal PAGE, Pimwdee POLHILL, Lisa PRIOR, Jordan REAN, Kate SEBBEN, Tallara SHAW, Lisa TOLSON, Isabella WALKER, Hannah FARRUGIA
Referee: Bobby Mazevski
Assistants: Martin Rowney and Annaliese Phipps
Report by Jarrod Pollard
Photo courtesy of Richie Wagner