Shellharbour Juniors defeated Woonona Sharks 3-1 in the opening Grand Final of the Women’s Premier League at Ian McLennan Park on Sunday.
The game could have panned out very differently if Woonona had taken a couple of their early chances.
In just the sixth minute of the game, a beautiful cross found Laura Green lurking just metres out however she hit the cross from close range.
Just seconds later, Shellharbour lost possession in midfield and Finlay Smart found herself through on goal however she just couldn’t keep the ball under control to get a shot away.
Woonona started the stronger of the two sides and on 15 minutes, Lola Thompson took a snap shot from the edge of the box that went straight at the goalkeeper.
Shellharbour started to get themselves back into the match and on 19 minutes, Jessica Bell put in a neat pass through to Matilda Pearson however Lillian Curley come off her line quickly to defuse the opportunity.
The tide was starting to turn midway through the first half as Bell’s long range shot was well saved by Curley.
Just moments later, Pearson’s header looked goal bound however Curley grabbed it out of the air.
On 32 minutes, Lucy Seten chased down a long ball. She had a shot that was smothered by Curley but the ball trickled goalwards. Seten narrowly got to the ball ahead of a defender to bundle it over the line and give Shellharbour the lead.
On 39 minutes, Mia Bolte shot from the edge of the box but Curley denied her with a neat one handed save.
Woonona took a big hit just before the break when Sofia Mieli scored direct from a corner kick to put Shellharbour two in front just minutes from half time.
Woonona had it all to do in the second half and they almost pulled a goal back on 54 minutes with Smart’s curling shot well saved.
Just a minute later, Charlize Fedele made a crucial tackle on Smart as she looked through on goal.
On the hour, Shellharbour all but sealed the result with Mia Flemming popping up on the far post to smash home a third.
Kasey Bennett had her shot on 70 minutes saved as Woonona looked for some sort of miracle comeback.
Just ten minutes from the end, Woonona won a penalty kick after Bennett was fouled. She stepped up and finished it after a retake to give the Sharks a faint glimmer of hope.
It wasn’t to be though as Shellharbour held firm and saw out the result to earn themselves the victory.
Report by Bobby Mazevski
Photos courtesy of gragrapix.