Slice of Cheese

Pirates Down Lions To Claim Cup

Solstice Photography

Taroona FC have claimed the Women’s Statewide Cup for 2018 as they defeated the Kingborough Lions 3-1 in the decider. Zoe Horgan converted an early penalty before a goal from the winner of the best on ground award, Lily Hulton, doubled their lead heading into half time. Having been outplayed for much of the second half, the Lions then produced a late rally as Laura Davis pulled one back, ensuring a tense finish. Then in the 91st minute, Adelyn Ayton stepped up and scored an absolute stunner from 35 yards, crashing in off the post to seal the victory in style.

The signs were promising from the outset for the Pirates, as they quickly seized the initiative in the game and took it up to the less experienced Kingborough side, putting them on the back foot early.

It culminated in an early penalty for a handball in the box which Zoe Horgan stepped up and confidently converted. It was the perfect start for Taroona and the confidence was noticeably flowing through them as they did all of the early attacking.

Zoe Horgan opened the scoring and had a fine game in midfield- Solstice Photography

Ashlee Tolman was making her presence felt, and having scored four times the last occasion these sides met, the Lions were clearly more prepared this time and paid her close attention. It wasn’t always enough though, her speed and power saw her getting in behind the lines and looking a likely game breaker.

It was Emille Tatton who finally sparked the Lions into life, the talented young midfielder taking on defenders and looking her sides most likely threat, drawing some free kicks in good positions and putting some balls into the box after promising runs. It didn’t lead to a goal, but having been bossed around the pitch in the early going it really helped settle the side and allowed them to grow into the contest.

The Lions got better as the game wore on- Solstice Photography

A premature whistle probably cost them a goal from their best attack of the half too, as Laura Davis was denied the opportunity to smash one home at the back post, with no advantage paid, much to the Lions chagrin.

Just as they appeared to be getting into the game however, they found themselves further behind as Taroona made the most of a corner opportunity. Swung in near post by Horgan, Gardier came off her line but didn’t get to the ball, deceived by the glancing header of her front post defender that took it out of her path. The ball fell to Lily Hulton who made no mistake, steering it into the gaping net with her knee to double the Pirates advantage.

As the game ticked close to half time the game really opened up and it was an end to end affair to end the first 45, albeit with no further addition to the scoring.

Hulton converted the chance to double the lead- Solstice Photography

Taroona came out on the other side of the break looking to kill the game off with a third goal and it seemed only a matter of time till they were going to get it. Ishka Mckay cleared one off the line, Eli Cropp was denied by some good keeping from Gardner and then Zoe Horgan had a fine effort smash into the post as they came closer and closer to finding the goal that would surely have ended the Lions hopes.

Yet the door stayed ajar and Laura Davis, who had been reasonably subdued till this point, well marshalled by the likes of Minstrell, Dick and Dunbabin finally left her mark on the final. Winning a 1 v 1 battle with Blackwood-Coyle she stormed into the box and unleashed a powerful drive that left Lucas no chance in the Pirates net.

Davis pulled one back for the Lions- Solstice Photography

The goal inspired the Lions who sensed a chance, whilst Ben Horgan, sensing danger opted to play the ace up his sleeve. Having kept her availability under wraps, Horgan deployed Adelyn Ayton at the hour mark to come on and steady the ship. She made an immediate impact, getting on the ball and making things happen in the final third.

Still the goal to kill the game off eluded them, Lily Hulton, who had lead the line immensely, showing a blend of power and skill that took her past defenders consistently, was denied by the woodwork before the Lions dialled up the pressure in the dying embers of the game.

Hulton put in a huge shift- Solstice Photography

For the final 15 minutes the Pirates were put under all sorts of pressure at the back and it took a huge 1 v 1 save from Perri Lucas on Laura Davis to preserve the lead.

Then it was Tatton, who drew the entire defence in, skipped clear of them all but just as she was about to score, a furiously backtracking Tolman, came from the clouds and whisked it away from her.

Time was becoming an enemy a, but it woudn’t be the clock that would end the Lions charge, it was Adelyn Ayton. Taking the ball from a throw to her feet, 35 yards out on the left, Ayton tucked inside and looked up.

Sensing the shot was on she unleashed an absolute stunner, lobbing it in off the far post, past a stranded Gardner and into the back of the net. She was rightly mobbed by her teammates, the moment of magic sealing the Pirates victory and finally killing off the brave Lions side.

Ayton’s stunner sealed the deal- Solstice Photography

On the balance of play Taroona were certainly the worthy winner, they created more chances over the course of the game and could have wrapped it up sooner had they not been thrice denied by the woodwork. The fight the Lions showed was commendable though and they had their opponents sweating out those final 15 minutes as thy pushed forward and looked like they were set to push the game into extra time. They came so close to hauling in the 2 goal lead and the late rally had Taroona under immense pressure.

It was the Pirates who carried the day though and celebrated their success, the best on ground medal going to Lily Hulton for her dominant display in attack, perhaps unfortunate to only have scored once but quite clearly the most influential player on the ground.

Champions- Solstice Photography