The Albion Park White Eagles flew past the Shellharbour Scorpions 6-1 on Thursday evening in what was certainly an eventful semi-final at Ian McLennan Park.
With 60 minutes worth of delay time and two unfortunate injuries, there was nothing stopping Park from earning a spot into the grand final next Wednesday night.
A well determined White Eagles side opened up the scoring in the first four minutes of the match with Michelle Foscarini sending her free kick into the centre of the 18-yard box directly to the head of captain Brittany Ring who would soon send the ball into the back of the net.
A quick execution from the Scorpions saw the side react with Nikola Wilson taking space out wide before sending a switch ball over the top of her defenders and into the feet of Eliza Schweitzer whose shot would soon be saved by goalkeeper Megan Blanch.
In the 13th minute, Shellharbour came close to evening the scores once more with a superb one-two between Mikayla De Jong and Schweitzer, before De Jong would hit her shot straight to the hands of Blanch.
Combinations between Eliza Cowan and Sarah Alwert looked to be dangerous in the front third, alongside Ring who would later be denied from a second header for Albion Park.
28 minutes in, Fleming for Shellharbour took a powerful strike at goal but was denied by the crossbar.
With just 16 minutes left of the first half, the referees pushed pause on the match due to an unfortunate injury that sent goalkeeper Megan Blanch off the pitch.
The match would later commence after more than 60 minutes of delay with both sides eager than ever to take home the victory.
In the 145th minute, Shellharbour broke through the defence, sending Wilson in behind, striking her shot past Park’s replacement goalkeeper to even out the scores.
Just five minutes later however, Eliza Cowan pressured the defence line, forcing an error onto the Scorpions before racing towards the box and striking her shot into the net to take back a 2-1 lead.
The whistle blew and it was Albion Park who were able to keep a 2-1 lead going into the halftime break.
The second half began and the Scorpions looked to cause havoc with a ball from Wilson out wide and over the top into De Jong who would send her shot over the crossbar.
But it was Park who would soon score their third with Cowan dominating upfront once more, beating her defenders and placing her long range shot into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead in the 48th minute.
In the 65th minute, Shellharbours centre back Taya Kelly took a long range free kick that looked to be going in but was just wide off the far post.
Three minutes later, the White Eagles would continue their momentum with a corner ball from Foscarini into Kristina Glisic with a neat finish off the volley, scoring Parks fourth goal for the match.
In the 74th minute, Cowan showed nothing but absolute class just outside the 18-yard box where she would soon turn out and place her outstanding shot in the top left corner, scoring a hatrick for the evening.
With three minutes left of the match, Park’s midfielder Foscarini proved just how experienced she is with a precise free kick from long range over the top of the defence line and into Jessica Rossi, scoring the final goal for the match.
A well fought Scorpions side brought intensity up until the final whistle, but it was reigning champions APWE who comfortably grabbed their spot into the grand final next week after taking home a 6-1 victory over Shellharbour.
The Women’s Grand Final will kick off next Wednesday evening against rivals University FC and Albion Park White Eagles in what will be a thrilling fixture, to say the least – Venue to be advised.
Date: Thursday, 6 October 2022
Venue: Ian McLennan Park
Referee: Martin Rowney
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_