Ettalong women not yet soccer champions
Southern and Ettalong United soccer club has been denied the women's league championship for at least another week, after they were beaten by finals rivals Gosford City 3-2 in round 17.
Southern and Ettalong United hosted third placed Gosford City, going into the match with an unprecedented 14-game winning streak.
A 15th win was all they needed to seal this year's championship.
Ettalong players knew they would face a tough task against a Gosford City side which had won four of their last five games leading into the finals series, according to League digital content co-ordinator Mr Lachlan Herd.
"Ettalong started the match brightly, creating a number of opportunities throughout the early stages of the first half.
"However, ultimately they couldn't convert in front of goal," he said.
"They were made to pay for not turning these early chances into goals when Gosford City opened the scoring in the 25th minute after Julia Hogan picked out Jessica Dominello with a quality through ball.
"Dominello tucked this away brilliantly to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
"To their credit, Ettalong showed that you can never count out a champion side, responding in the 40th minute after a shot from Elaine Delaney nestled inside the far post to ensure the sides remained level at the halftime break.
"The start of the second half saw Gosford City come flying out of the blocks as they placed the competition leaders under significant early pressure.
"This pressure was telling, with the visitors nabbing their second goal of the match through Michelle Brett with her eighth of the season.
"In a match that was played at a remarkably quick tempo, Southern responded strongly as they tried to find the goals required to secure the League Championship with one week to spare.
"This period in the second half saw them fire off several shots that were either saved or narrowly off target, while also rattling the woodwork on numerous occasions.
"Despite all this second-half pressure, Gosford City were to strike the decisive blow as Julia Hogan capitalised on a defensive mix-up to put her side 3-1 up in the 80th minute.
"Ettalong did manage to find a second goal in the 88th minute to ensure a tense final few minutes to the clash.
"However, it was ultimately too little too late as Gosford City held on for a memorable victory, one that keeps their chances of a top two finish well and truly alive heading into the final weekend of the season."
Despite the loss, Ettalong coach Mr Craig Thackray remained positive.
"The girls played well and with this game only our second loss for the season.
"We're left feeling a little deflated.
"We look forward to our final game," he said.
Meanwhile, Umina United found themselves tied 2-all against Toukley.
Following two disappointing results, fourth-placed Umina travelled north to Harry Moore Oval to face seventh placed Toukley knowing that a win could give them a chance at a finals position, Mr Herd said.
"A brace from Toukley's Aimee Cogger was cancelled out by goals to both Tarni Black and Kate Styles, with Styles netting her 14th of the season.
"Knowing a draw would be enough to hang onto fourth position heading into the final week of the season, Umina were understandably reluctant to commit too many numbers forward towards the end of the match.
"This ensured they didn't finish the match empty-handed and relinquish the all-important fourth position to fifth-placed East Gosford in the process.
"The result sets up a mouth-watering clash between the two sides on Sunday afternoon at Umina Oval.
"Sitting fourth and fifth on the competition table heading into the final match of the season, both find themselves locked on 29 competition points with Umina only sitting in fourth due to their superior goal difference (+15 compared to East Gosford's +5).
"Umina will head into the clash knowing a win or draw will be enough to seal a finals position.
"However, a loss will see them eliminated on the final day after continuously occupying a finals position for the previous 14 weeks," Mr Herd said.
Website, 14 Aug 2019
Lachlan Herd, Central Coast Football