Welcome to this very special Cup Final edition of the Weekly Wrap where our Lady Wolves created a piece of OISC history.
OISC arrived at Elite Systems Football Centre full of confidence in the knowledge that they had defeated their opponents Pembroke twice during the league season. After a pre game address from Coach Kapnistis, a warm-up and change of socks later the girls made the walk down the tunnel and out onto the artificial turf. As the first whistle approached the nerves inevitably began to set in and the realisation that this was not going to be like a standard Collegiate League meeting. As the first whistle blew the start for OISC could only be described as disastrous, the nerves taking hold and a Pembroke side coming out with nothing to lose put the OISC defence under siege and had the girls 2-0 behind within the opening six minutes. It looked like it was not going to be with errors, missed passes, every deflection falling to a Pembroke player characterising the opening stages of the match. This was only compounded when the girls best shot for the half found the woodwork and deflected clear. The OISC bench needed to look for answers quickly; then the call came “Con, I’m ready” and with that Captain Sarah Tronnolone made her return to the field and had an almost immediate impact scoring within three minutes of half time. The goal settling all the nerves and allowing the girls to begin to return to play their own game and wrestle back some control of the match; Sophie Hlipala dominating the wing continuing to tirelessly make run after run to give the girls opportunity to level it up before the break. As the half time whistle blew OISC went into the rooms with a 2-1 deficit but used took the opportunity to have a rest and refresh their mindset ahead of a big second half.
As the second half began OISC went hunting for the second goal that would bring the match back on level pegging. The big OISC crowd around the ground willing the girls on, and with little more than ten minutes of the second half on the clock it payed dividends; Sophie carrying the ball down the wing and landing a perfect cross to an unmarked Eliza Sims little more than 15 yards from goal to take on the bounce and finish into the bottom corner. This set up an intense final 30 minutes both sides putting their respective defences under pressure, OISC had a chance to take the lead when an Eliza in-swinging corner fell to the feet of Christine only for the ball to deflect wide. At the other end Pembroke were piling on the attacking pressure and forcing the defence into continual clearances, the Queens nearly through for a 1 on 1 with the keeper but a spirited run from Lucia caught the attacking player and cleared the ball from danger to keep the match on level terms as extra time beckoned. As the whistle blew to signify the end of normal time the score remained locked at 2-2.
The girls then reloaded for two periods of 10 minutes extra time, in which both sides had opportunities to score, Pembroke’s best chance coming early with a corner that was punched to safety by Olivia Lynch. Meanwhile OISC were showing off some silky skills; Sarah flicking the ball over a defender to Ellie who crossed the ball back in only for the keeper to get to it moments before Sarah. In the second period of extra time Pembroke again had OISC on the ropes, a long kick out by the keeper to one attacker who had three defenders beaten to find herself one on one with the keeper only for Olivia to again deflect the ball away. The Queens had a number of late corners to try to steal it but no further goals meant only one thing the champion was going to be decided by a penalty shootout.
Winning the toss and going first the shootout started in less than ideal circumstances for OISC with the first spot kick going wide. Pembroke looked to seize on this but were denied by the right foot of Olivia who kept the ball out. Ellie Lynch put OISC ahead with the second kick, the keeper going the right way but unable to stop the tracer bullet of a shot. Needing to remain in touch Pembroke were again denied as Olivia once again kept their second shot out. Captain Sarah then stepped up to send the ball into the bottom corner to give OISC a 2-0 lead, now making it imperative for Pembroke that they score; which they did. The woodwork denied OISC on the fourth kick, and in reply Olivia again picked the right way getting hands to it but this time was unable to stop the ball trickling across the line. OISC now needed to score to keep the shootout alive but were unable to giving Pembroke the chance, but they too were not able to seize the opportunity, the shot flying well over the bar. Moving into sudden death Natalia Rossi stepped up and picked the perfect moment to score her first goal for the year to put OISC ahead. Pembroke had to score to keep themselves alive but the kick went wide to the right sending the girls and the crowd into raptures as they were now 2016 Cup Champions. The victory the girls first ever piece of silverware in their 5 year history.
After the match, Coach Con Kapnistis commented “A great way to finish the season for the girls. It wasn’t the best start to the game conceding two early goals but credit to the girls they displayed character and determination to level the game. Very proud of their efforts.”