A clutch final minute from University saw them pinch the game’s maiden goal with just seconds to spare, defeating the Kiama Quarriers 1-0 in The Grange Women’s Division 1 on Sunday.
University entered the encounter atop the competition ladder, having won their last two fixtures. The fifth placed Kiama were forced to enter the match with an under strength side, as premier goal-scorers Natalie Henderson and Ashleigh Matthews were both late scratchings.
As the ladies stepped out onto a warm Kooloobong pitch, a chance to draw first blood came within five minutes for University. A through ball set up a race between Uni front-woman, Elise Battin, and Kiama keeper, Kylie Layland, with Battin winning the race and Layland making the crucial deflection.
University had a strong grip on the opening portion of the match, dominating field position and possession, however, weren’t able to best Kiama’s impenetrable back line as in-box opportunities were limited.
In the 25th minute Kiama finally got a sniff, with Jade Lambert winning a contest to gain entry into the box and powering a shot on goal from the side of the six-yard. The reliable gloves of Hannah Farrugia sent the shot away.
It was déjà vu just four minutes later, as a low cross found Kiama’s Helen Miletich in the exact same spot, harbouring the same result, with the shot again denied by Farrugia.
This capped off what was potentially Kiama’s strongest period of the match, utilising their speed up front with aggressive counter-attacking football that looked likely to breed results.
The stalemate continued into halftime, with a blank score-line still in effect.
In the 49th minute the Lisa’s showed off their connection, as a pinpoint ball from Tolson to Prior almost saw Uni net their first goal, however Layland was again triumphant.
All the momentum seemed to favour University, as star striker, Zoe Kalos, and classy midfielder, Kya Stewart, took the reins of the game. The two collaborated in the 64th minute, as Stewart beat her defender all ends up and progressed the ball to Kalos whose shot from the edge of the box went just awry.
Ten minutes later, Stewart was at it again, beating her defender with a Ronaldo-like ‘chop’ and serving up a short ball to Chantal Page whose sliding shot was off target.
With the game’s first goal seemingly imminent, the 76th minute looked sure to produce it. Chaos unfolded in the box, as multiple shot attempts and headers from University were saved by Quarrier defenders in a sequence that looked certain to produce a goal.
With University pressing hard for the lead, another chance went begging. A ball from Stewart found an open Page 16 yards out, whose decision to pass on the shot to an offside teammate unfortunately bungled the opportunity.
It seemed like an eternity since the ball had crossed the half, as University, despite making no impression on the scoresheet, had tightened their grip on the match.
With the referee glancing at his watch, both players and spectators were anticipating the full-time whistle as University launched one last crusade at goal. Stewart tracked down a through ball, taking possession in the corner. She continued to terrorise the Quarrier defence off the dribble, beating a defender and serving up a short ball to her partner in crime, Kalos. Scrambling defenders almost foiled the play, forcing Kalos into a weak shot, barely reaching the goal mouth. Enter Battin… The midfielder came charging into the box and a sliding shot was enough to finally send it past the seemingly unassailable Layland.
Kiama were given no right of reply, as the full-time whistle sounded immediately after kick-off, with the final scorecard reading 1-0 in favour of the home side.
The win extends University’s winning streak to a third straight game, preserving their position as the competition’s front runners. On Wednesday, the ladies will be tasked with what may be their toughest game yet, facing up against the second placed Albion Park, sitting with equal points.
Kiama find themselves in a similar situation, with a Sunday fixture against Warilla, who sit just below them in the standings.
Sunday 20th of September at Kooloobong
The Grange Women’s Division 1
University: 1 (BATTIN 91’)
Kiama Quarriers: 0
University: Elise BATTIN, Rhianna BROWN, Lexi CARTER, Lilliana CLARKE, Cayla CONSTABLE, Lucy CRIGHTON, Annalise HEDDITCH, Zoe KALOS, Chantal PAGE, Pimwadee POLHILL, Lisa PRIOR, Lisa TOLSON, Kya STEWART, Hannah FARRUGIA
Kiama Quarriers: Jessie ABBOTT, Tahlia BURKE, Lousia GLYDE, Jade LAMBERT, Alyssa LAYLAND, Kylie LAYLAND, Jessica MAXWELL, Helen MILETICH, Breanna PAYNE, Brooke PERKISS, Emma WAINE
Report by Fletcher Winning