Woonona downed University 2-1 at Ocean Park on Sunday afternoon to secure their fourth straight win in the Women’s Division 1.

The Sharks set up the result with two first-half goals before the Unicorns, who were without a few key faces, managed to score a penalty with virtually the last kick of the match.

The home side had the better of the opening stages and they made that apparent on the scoreboard by netting after 10 minutes through a composed far-post finish from Ainsley Hawes. 

Woonona were doing well to shut down a majority of University’s attacking raids, however, Samantha Clark was called into action to save Chantal Page’s falling effort in the 25th minute. 

The Sharks doubled their advantage in the 34th minute through an exceptional individual effort from Kyah Humphrey, with the youngster controlling the ball in midfield before beating Hannah Farrugia from 25 metres out.

The three points could have been all but sealed a minute into the second half after Sinead Bailey pounced on a heavy touch from Farrugia, however, the Sharks attacker’s own touch let her down with the chance going begging. 

Another opportunity fell in Woonona’s favour in the 53rd minute when a corner was cleared to Jordan Wheatley on the edge of the area with her shot requiring a smart save from the Unicorns goalkeeper.

Clark was forced into another good save 10 minutes later when Lisa Prior hit a half-volley on the turn from inside the area with Farrugia matching her effort at the other end soon after by making a one-on-one save against Bailey. 

Sinead Bailey bearing down on goal.

University kept on plugging away, though, Woonona’s rushing defence was proving frustrating with centreback Kye Stewert aiming up from distance three times in the final half-hour.

The Unicorns salvaged a consolation goal in the dying embers of the match when they were awarded a penalty which midfielder Zoe Kalos dispatched to the goalkeeper’s left.

The win sees Woonona move within two points of the top three, however, the Sharks would jump to first if they were to win their catch-up match against Fernhill on Wednesday night.

Sharks coach Mick Sutton said the victory was built on the back of a sturdy defensive showing and he urged his side to maintain their league-title tilt

“Our defence has been absolutely awesome over the last few weeks,” Sutton said.

“It’s something we emphasised before the game, we wanted to concentrate on our defence and squeeze on them and defend from the front all the way through to the back and the girls did a perfect job with it.

“We have still got a game in hand against Fernhill so depending on how that game goes on Wednesday night we could actually jump all those in front of us at the moment and go to the lead but then we have got to hold it from there.

“There is still a long way to go and it’s too early to call it but we are definitely pushing in there.”

There were a number of standouts for the home side including Elyse McNally at the back and Clark in goal, but Sutton also highlighted the work of the Humphrey who proved to be the match-winner.

“She’s got a really good strike on her and she’s only 15, she turns 16 soon,” Sutton explained.

“We’ve been working with her at training, building her up and building her up and today the ball came into her and she had the composure to turn and strike it beautifully – it was an awesome goal.”

Lucy Crighton looking to beat La-Tisha Kable.

As for University, they remain at the top of the table, level with Albion Park and Thirroul on 17 points.

The Unicorns will be looking to get back to winning ways at home Kooloobong Oval next Sunday when they face unexpected title rivals Thirroul.

Woonona 2 (Ainsley Hawes 11’, Kyah Humphrey 34’)

University 1 (Zoe Kalos 90’)

Woonona: 5. BAILEY Sinead, 1. CLARK Samantha, 15. GIRALDI Shenae, 6. GUSS Tasha, 8. HAWES Ainsley, 10. HUMPHREY Kyah, 13. KABLE Le-Tisha, 4. MCNALLY Elyse, 9. SALE Melissa, 14. VAN DE VOORDE Jordan, 12. WALKINSHAW Hayley, 7. WHEATLEY Jordan, 3. MOORE Kate, 16. MCLEOD Lindsay

University: 2. BROWN Rhianna, 17. CLARK Lilliana, 16. CONSTABLE Cayla, 12. HEDDITCH Annalise, 7. KALOS Zoe, 8. KLENKA Jinneecka, 10. PAGE Chantal, 21. POLHILL Pimwadee, 9. PRIOR Lisa, 18. CRIGHTON Lucy, 19. SHAW Tallara, 14. SEITARIDIS Zoe, 11. STEWART Kya, 4. MORRELL Amy, 1. FARRUGIA Hannah, 15. STEWART Kate

Date: 30 August 2020

Venue: Ocean Park

Referee: Rob Sindevski

Report and photos by Dylan Arvela, on Twitter @dylanarvela

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