NSW WOMENS SUPER LEAGUE – RESERVE GRADE – news
Football NSW Womens State Super League Major Semi-Finals:
Reserve Grade: APIA Leichhardt Tgers 2 (Mitchell '5, Calvi '76) def. Gladesville Ravens 1
First Grade: APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Adalis '90+4) def. Gladesville Ravens 0
Major First Grade Semi Final: APIA Leichardt Tigers vs Gladesville Ravens
A dramatic Aysha Adalis goal deep into injury time booked APIA Leichardt Tigers a place in the Super League Grand Final.
As the shivering fans began to brace themselves for extra time, Adalis sped onto a desperate through ball to make it 1-0 with barely seconds remaining, breaking Gladesville hearts.
The Tigers get a week off and go straight through to the Grand Final, while Gladesville regroup to face Parramatta Lady Hawks in the Preliminary Final.
The match started rather belatedly, having been relocated to Valentine Sports Park at the last minute due to a lack of light at Wilson Park. Under lights on a questionable surface, Gladesville took control of the opening stages.
Aside from the scoreline, the match played out very similarly to the previous two encounters between these fierce rivals - Gladesville starting the game strongly and controlling possession, while APIA gradually wrestled back the ascendancy and created more chances.
Gladesville settled into their usual rhythm, favoring slower, patient buildups with the ball on the ground. APIA seemed intent on testing Ravens keeper Rebecca Colechin at every opportunity, while their forwards dropped into midfield in attempt to nullify Gladesville’s dominance there.
Liz Talarico was at her energetic best for the Ravens while APIA under 16 striker Paige Haywood caught the eye with a series of nice touches. APIA had the better of the chances in the first period, the best a scorching shot from Adalis that was palmed away excellently by Colechin.
The second half was more open than the first, with both sides spurning chances to win the game. Gladesville’s buildup play deteriorated at the players tired and APIA pressed enthusiastically.
Colechin put in a best-on-ground performance in the Gladesville goal, denying Adalis on more than one occasion. After diving full length to tip a low drive past the post, she smothered an unmissable point blank opportunity that left the Tigers striker punching the ground in exasperation.
Despite her heroics, APIA were not to be denied, and they were given just reward for a strong second half performance when Adalis popped up right at the end to snatch a spot in the Grand Final.
Victorious APIA coach Tarek Madani was understandably elated to have finally beaten this strong Ravens side.
“We were probably the better side. We dominated the game and controlled possession,” he said.
“Their goalkeeper was absolutely amazing today, she was an absolute freak.”
“After all the dramas we’ve had today, it was a great game of football.”
Gladesville coach Paul Wade heaped equal praise onto both the opposition and his own outstanding goalkeeper.
“I admit it - we were beaten by a better side on the night. I thought they could have had a couple,” he said.
“I thought that Bec [Colechin] was really good tonight. She made some unbelievable saves and it was because of her that we were still in the game.”
“I give all the credit to APIA. They chased us all over the park - they are a very, very good side.”