Eurobodalla Shoalhaven Highlands Southern Tablelands Far South Coast
Southern Branch 1st Grade Women through to the Grand Final
< Southen Branch Weekend Results for Week Ending 5th August 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012 12:37 Age: 6 yrs
Category: Front Page News

Southern Branch 1st Grade Women through to the Grand Final

Southern Branch 1st Grade Women win Sundays Preliminary Final 1-0 (see story attached) and go to the Grand Final to be played on Sunday 19 August at Jensen Park, Sefton. They will join the U14 and U16 Girls who are already into the Grand Final

It is the taking of chances which will win you games. This statement sums up Sunday’s preliminary final between Southern Branch and the Club Champions of 2012, Northern Tigers perfectly. 

Heading into this fixture, Southern Branch were always going to be the hungrier of the two sides but the question was how much the team would miss their target player and leading goal scorer Ange Graham who was out injured leaving striking duties to the youngster, Maddie Jo Costanzo. 

It was Northern Tigers’ ‘nothing to lose’ mentality and high team spirit which could have given the travelling side the edge heading into this game however it just wasn’t their day. 

Southern Branch 1 – 0 Northern Tigers 

Battling the cold temperatures of Nowra and the even colder winds that swept across the field, Southern Branch welcomed Northern Tigers to Ison Park for a chance to battle it out for a place in the NSW Women’s Super League Grand Final alongside Eastern UNSW Lions. 

At one minute past four, Northern Tigers got the ball moving and were instantly on the attack looking for an early goal to pile the pressure onto Southern Branch. In just the third minute of play it was the captain herself, Gab Dal Pozza who found some space down the right flank, taking on her defender and firing a shot just wide of the goal. Things were looking good for the girls in green and white in the opening minutes and then disaster. 

On the counter attack, Southern Branch were pushing forward with numbers pulling apart the Tigers defence. The ball fell to Maddie Jo Costanzo who fired a shot towards goal only to be denied by the crossbar. Her striking partner, Kylie Meehan however was on hand to knock the ball into the net to claim the opening goal of the fixture. 

The cheers from the Southern Branch supporters could be heard from a mile away as the home side knew that they have ripped apart the Tigers game plan and only had to hold onto their lead for the remaining 86 minutes of the game. A not so simply task if you think about it. 

Ten minutes after Southern Branch had taken the lead, Northern Tigers were on the attack and it was Ellana ‘Bana’ Balicki who was fighting the hardest to get an equaliser. As Balicki fired in her shot, it bounced off a defender losing almost all of its momentum. As the ball rolled towards goal it was the always dependable Branch defender Chantelle Nohokau who took the ball off the line and cleared it away into space. 

The Tigers again when on the attack in the 23rd minute through a stunning free kick from Ellana Balicki. Her long range shot was fired in towards the top corner of the goal forcing an outstanding save from the Branch goalkeeper. The Tigers supporters left scratching their heads trying to work out how that ball hadn’t ended up in the back of the net whilst the Branch girls all cheered on their valiant keeper. 

Apart from the goal, the first half also welcomed a 12th player to the field of play for a few moments however neither team were sure who she was playing for. A kangaroo found its way onto the pitch and looked as though it would join Branch’s defensive unit however as the ball was kicked in her general direction, the kangaroo hopped away in fright – a sign of her lack of mental strength to cope with the demands of women’s football. 

Southern Branch took the kick off for the second half to commence and were on the attack early on. Despite knowing that a one goal lead could win them this fixture, the home side were in search of the security of a second and winning goal. 

It wasn’t until the 69th minute that there was a clear chance on goal for either side with the majority of play being played through the centre or wings of the field. Who else but Ellana Balicki for the Tigers found herself in a good position going one on one with the keeper but again it was the Southern Branch keeper who kept her side in the game. For the usually prolific striker, it just wasn’t her day. 

Despite their best efforts, Southern Branch failed to further their lead across the 90 minutes and a lot of credit must go towards the large supporter group who had come out to cheer for the home side. It was their vocal support and constant positive mood which kept a smile on the faces of Branch’s squad as well as provided worthy competition to the Tigers cheer squad which consisted of reserve grade players, Grace Balicki, Irini Kacopieros and Thea Margalit. 

A 1-0 win enough for Southern Branch to go through to the Grand Final and face off against Eastern UNSW Lions. For Northern Tigers, it was going to be a long drive home. 

Full results for Preliminary Finals at Ison Park, South Nowra. 

Grade 12: Eastern UNSW Lions 1 – 0 St. George FC 

Grade 14: Northern Tigers 2 – 2 Parramatta Lady Hawks (Parramatta wins 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out) 

Grade 16: Western NSW Mariners 1 – 2 Northern Tigers 

Reserve Grade: Eastern UNSW Lions 4 – 0 Northern Tigers 

First Grade: Southern Branch 1 – 0 Northern Tigers