University Unicorns scored a later winner to break the hearts of a determined Woonona 2-1 overnight to book themselves a spot in the Women’s Division 1 Grand Final on 12 October.
With the match having been deferred 24 hours following an electrical thunderstorm, there was immediate action, with Uni hitting the front after just 29 seconds. A mix up in the Woonona defence as the ball travelled into the penalty area gave Amy Morrell the opportunity to dart in and slot the ball home, delighting University and causing shock to the Woonona players and bench.
After their slow start, Woonona soon found themselves right in the game, consistently moving forward with Rachel Daws and Nikita Woods causing a lot of trouble for Uni from midfield. Despite having some opportunities, several excellent saves from Uni Goalkeeper Elle Coleman kept the score at 1-0 to Uni at the halftime break.
The second half saw the continuation of the pattern of the first, with Woonona regularly pressing forward seeking an equaliser. Uni had their own opportunities which were not converted, mainly through counter attacking plays.
Woonona thought they had their equaliser mid-way through the half, but the last play to the off-side Woonona striker caused the goal to be disallowed. The attacking continued, with Woonona coming close in several goal mouth scrambles from corners, being continually denied by the Uni goalkeeper’s reflex saves. In the 86th minute the Uni goal was finally breached, with Jordan Wheatley’s shot caught just crossing the line, despite a desperate Uni effort to keep the ball out.
Just as it looked like the game could be moving towards extra time, Uni struck again. An advantage allowed following a foul on Elise Battin near halfway led to the ball being quickly being taken down the wing by Uni’s Lucy Crighton. After a 40-metre marauding run down the line, Crighton’s cut back found Amy Morrell at the back post, who coolly slotted the ball home to give Uni the lead again in the 88th minute, breaking Woonona hearts.
Woonona pressed forward for the balance of the game but were unable to peg the deficit back again in the remaining time, Uni reaching another Division 1 Grand Final. They will meet either Albion Park or Shellharbour, who play their semi final on Thursday 6 October 2022, 7:30pm at Ian McLennan Park.