WPL bow out after a stellar season

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2 September 2015 – It was a cruel penalty shoot out that knocked us out of the Women’s Premier League finals on Saturday, going down 4-3 in the shoot out to Canberra FC after finishing the match level 2-2.  A steady improvement in the WPL performances saw this as our most successful season in many years, with plenty of promise for 2016.  Capital Football have this review of our semi final below.

ACT Women’s Premier League
Elimination Semi-Final
Tuggeranong United 2 Canberra FC 2 – after extra-time, Canberra FC win 4-3 on penalties

By Nick Amies

A penalty shootout was needed to separate Tuggeranong United and Canberra FC in the WPL elimination semi-final, with the latter securing a 4-3 victory from spot-kicks after extra time finished at 2-all. The Deakin-based club looked set to win in normal time after Ella-Jane Reilly’s goal put them 2-1 up with 15 minutes remaining, but Stephanie Coates’ 87th minute equaliser forced extra time and the subsequent shootout. Tuggeranong could not keep their composure from twelve yards though, as misses from Coates and Natalie Demarco allowed Rachael Goldstein to score the winning penalty for Canberra FC.

Jennifer Bissett looked most likely to break the deadlock for Canberra FC in the opening minutes. The number ten shot just wide after a layoff from Erin Holder, then hit the post moments later with a powerful, swerving shot from just outside the box.

The match settled after these early chances though, and both sides looked to use pace out wide in order to create chances. Tuggeranong’s left flank was their main source of attacking thrust, with the overlapping runs of fullback Sonja Sheedy supporting forwards Meg McLaughlin and Alex Lawrence. Canberra FC showed good use of both wings, with Rhiannon Goldstein and Kate Thornton often finding space to run into and taking on their respective fullbacks. However, despite a series of crosses and corners for either side, goalkeepers Georgia Stewart and Georgina Worth were rarely tested.

The match seemed to be heading towards a goalless first half until Tuggeranong’s Ann Mayo produced something special from defence in the 37th minute. The number 13 noticed opposition goalkeeper Georgia Stewart was well off her line and took her chance, launching a shot from 55 metres into the back of the net.

The second half saw another even start, but Canberra FC’s need for an equaliser saw them slowly move into the role of aggressor. The pressure on Tuggeranong’s defence slowly built up, and CFC would find an equaliser in the 61st minute. After an attacking move down the right flank broke down, Jennifer Bissett pounced on the loose ball inside the box, setting herself with a touch before slotting her shot into the bottom left corner.

CFC then hit the front in the 75th minute, following a wide free-kick sent in by Grace Gill. Hope Wilkins controlled the ball on her chest and set up Ella-Jane Reilly, who sent the ball crashing into the underside of the crossbar and over the goal-line.

With time running out, Tuggeranong looked to spring forward at every opportunity and would eventually find an equaliser in the 87th minute. Meg McLaughlin’s low shot was stopped by the outstretched leg of Georgia Stewart, but Stephanie Coates was on hand at the back post to score a tap-in and force extra time. Despite good chances for Jennifer Bissett and Kate Thornton for Canberra FC, and a one-on-one for Tuggeranong’s Alex Lawrence, neither side could break the deadlock in the extra half hour of play.

Tuggeranong made the worst possible start to the shootout, with Stephanie Coates putting the ball over the bar with the first kick. The teams then scored two each, before Georgina Worth saved Jennifer Bisset’s penalty to give her team a chance of a comeback. However, the Tuggeranong keeper had moved off her line early, forcing a re-take that Bissett duly dispatched into the bottom left corner. Natalie Demarco then missed Tuggeranong’s fourth kick, allowing Bronte Studman the chance to win it for CFC. However, the defender was not composed enough, hitting the ball well over the crossbar, much to the despair of coach Peter Kavouras on the sideline. Kristy Helmers then scored for Tuggeranong to keep their faint hopes alive, but Rachael Goldstein would not miss her side’s second chance at victory, smashing her penalty into the bottom left corner and giving Worth no chance of a save.

Canberra FC now meet Gungahlin United in the preliminary semifinal on Sunday at McKellar Park. The winner will face league champions Belconnen United in the grand final.

CANBERRA FC: 1. Georgia STEWART; 7. Kirsty BABINGTON, 6. Amy MCLACHLAN, 4. Bronte STUDMAN, 12. Alice CHURCHILL; 11. Ella-Jane REILLY, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Jennifer BISSETT; 3. Rhiannon GOLDSTEIN, 14. Erin HOLDER, 33. Kate THORNTON.
Substitutes used: 5. Hope WILKINS, 19. Rachael GOLDSTEIN
TUGGERANONG UNITED: 1. Georgina WORTH; 4. Stephanie COATES, 6. Rachael CORBETT, 13. Ann MAYO, 2. Sonja SHEEDY; 8. Samantha WOOD, 23. Natalie DEMARCO, 25. ; 11. Anna DOYLE, 24. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Alex LAWRENCE.
Substitutes used: 12. Kristy HELMERS, 7. Sarah DAISLEY
Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 10. Jennifer BISSETT (Canberra FC), 1. Georgina WORTH (Tuggeranong United)
Match Officials: Jordan FAKES (referee), Duc MAC, William SCHEKENBACH (assistant referees)