WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE FIRST GRADE | SEMI-FINAL ROUNDS 2023
On Sunday afternoon at Myimbarr Park, four of our Women’s Premier League team’s took to the stage, in the semi-final deciders!
The day was action packed, with Shellharbour becoming the first team to secure their spot in the Grand Final next Sunday, with a 3-1 victory over reigning champions Albion Park White Eagles.
On field two, a battle between League Champions Woonona Sharks and University of Wollongong saw the scoreline sit at 1-1 after normal time and extra time, which led the two teams into a penalty shoot-out.
League Champions Woonona Sharks became the second team to secure their spot in the Grand Final next week, beating UOW 5-4 in penalties.
Albion Park White Eagles vs. Shellharbour:
In what was bound to be an exciting match, definitely lived up to expectations as the two teams left everything out on the field.
Shellharbour were dominant from the first whistle, snatching up their first goal in the 8th minute of the match.
Harbour’s right-back Tiana Reardon sent a ball down the line and into Katelyn Leadbeatter who headed towards the byline with pace, before crossing a neat ball into the centre of the box where Park’s defender Sarah Toscan’s attempt to clear the ball ended up flying backwards for an own-goal.
In the 38th minute, a centered slip ball into captain Brittany Ring sprinted past her defenders and an effortless shot saw Albion Park come back with an equalizer before half-time!
It wasn’t until the 60th minute of the match when Leadbeatter was involved once again, threatening the oppositions defence line with a low ball into the feet of Ariana Fleming who took a touch into space before firing her shot into the bottom right corner for a 2-1 lead over APWE.
The White Eagles continued to knock on the door of Harbour’s defence line with their continuous attacking chances, that looked to be consistently dangerous, but the 80th minute mark would soon hit and Shellharbour would strike one more time.
One of Harbour’s key players Leadbeatter, would make her mark once more when she received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, before her powerful shot flew into the hands of goal-keeper Megan Blanch, rebounding out of her gloves and into the goal.
Shellharbour secured a 3-1 victory over reigning champions APWE, and claimed the first spot into next weekend’s Grand Final showdown!
Woonona Sharks vs. University of Wollongong:
The second Semi Final for the afternoon saw League Champions secure the second spot in the Grand Final next weekend, as they claimed a 5-4 victory in a penalty shoot-out over University of Wollongong.
It was a slow opening to the game with neither side grabbing their name’s on the score sheet in the first half of the fixture.
The second half looked much more promising with several attacking opportunities from both teams, however, it wasn’t until the 81st minute when a defensive error from the Sharks rewarded UOW a penalty.
Centre-back Rhianna Brown stepped up to the penalty spot and easily secured a 1-0 lead for the Unicorns.
Normal time had kicked over and what looked to be a Unicorns victory, soon came to a pause when the Sharks would score the equaliser in the 92nd minute!
Nikita Woods fired a shot from way out, looking for a chip over the head of Elle Coleman but instead made a great save. The ball rebounded back into play where Kyah Humphrey would take a first time hit, sending the ball into the back of the net for a 1-1 draw at the full-time whistle.
Extra time kicked off but with their being no goals in the extra 30 minutes, the score remained at 1-1, seeing the two sides forced to head into a penalty shoot out for the decider.
In a tight penalty shoot-out, it was League Champions, Woonona Sharks who walked away with a 5-4 victory over UOW and are now heading into the Grand Final next Sunday!
Shellharbour will now meet Woonona Sharks for the last time this season, in a Grand Final clash next Sunday afternoon that you will not want to miss out on!