The Julie Porter Cup Final commenced for the first time ever, with the Albion Park White Eagles taking home a 2-1 victory over University on Wednesday evening at Terry Reserve.
The Unicorns hit the lead late in the first half after a precise free-kick from Lexi Carter.
However, University could not hold onto their lead in the second half with Cowan and McGartland striking two late goals for APWE, becoming the first ever champions for the Julie Porter Cup.
A fast-paced start to the final was expected and it definitely showed with both sides bringing nothing but intensity right from the kick-off.
The White Eagles kicked off the show with a well executed run through the midfield by Eliza Cowan before slipping the ball into captain Brittany Ring who would soon turn out, sending her shot over the crossbar.
In the 15th minute of the match, the Unicorns defender Ashleigh Long took space forward before also sending her shot wide.
Just minutes later, another well set out play from APWE saw Cowan find Ring in the middle of the park before squaring it back into midfielder Rylee Mcgartland who would later take a shot at goal but denied by the gloves of Elle Coleman.
Albion Park continued their momentum in the 25th minute of the match with an outstanding long ball from Michell Foscarini, sending Ring towards the corner flag before hitting her shot too far wide off the post.
Just five minutes later, Kya Godbier brought spark into the Unicorns attack with a precise lay off into the feet of Tahlia Petrovski before firing her shot towards goal but could not send it past goalkeeper Megan Blanch.
In the 30th minute, University’s captain Elise Battin led her way through the centre of the pitch before being denied close range at goal by the White Eagles defence line.
The match stood goalless until the 38th minute of the match when the Unicorns Lexi Carter fired her shot over the top of Blanch from the free kick spot to take a 1-0 lead before half-time.
After such a fiery start to the fixture, Albion Park headed into the break having fallen 1-0 down to a well carried out University side.
The second half kicked off with the Unicorns forward Petrovski picking up the ball in the middle of the park before sending Long down the line from an overlap run where Long’s shot would later be denied.
The White Eagles would soon fight back at a close chance to equalise from Ring who travelled with pace towards the corner flag before cutting in and striking a powerful shot that would soon skim the top of the crossbar.
In the 60th minute, APWE would finally find their equaliser with a combination between Cowan and Ring, a dynamic duo that had been exceptional all night.
Ring took the line once more and beat her defenders before sending a low cross into the feet of Cowan who stood inside the six-yard box before neatly tapping the ball into the back of the net, setting the score at 1-1.
A chance to take the lead for the White Eagles came from Kristina Glisic after receiving a rebound ball in the centre of the 18-yard box but would soon send her attempt wide.
Godbier came close to equalising for the Unicorns in the 72nd minute with a well structured shot outside the 18-yard box but came blasting off the near post.
In the 78th minute, APWE ensured their victory with an accurate corner ball from Foscarini into the head of Mcgartland who gracefully headed the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
In what was a well-fought match by the University side, it was the Albion Park White Eagles that claimed the first ever victory for the Julie Porter Cup 2022 with an outstanding 2-1 win over their opponents.
Date: 14 September 2022
Venue: Terry Reserve
Referee: Casey Flemming
Assistant Referees: Lochlan Cohen and Brooklyn Faucett
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter at @alisondinh_