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Warriors Clinch Winner in Tight Tussle

It was a wild day at Warrior Park for round 18 of the MyState Women’s Super League. Olympia, going into this clash at the beginning of round 18 would need to win this one to skip over Devonport Strikers and take second place. South Hobart in 6th place, would need to come back strong after a heavy defeat last week at home to WSL winners, Clarence Zebras. 

Dominating the field for most of the first half was Inocent Michael. Her captaincy, experience and direction are needed for this squad, who have seen some enormous changes in their line-up since round one. It was South Hobart, however, who did most of the early attacking and significantly pressurised the Olympia defence. At times Ollerhead seemed alone at deflecting those challenges until, in the 19th minute, Pishon Choi found a way through. A superb strike from Choi found the back of the net, taking South Hobart into the lead.

Inocent Michael îs a dominating strength for the Warriors. Picture: Solstice Digital

It was Inocent Michael who returned the game to even scoring in the 36th minute when after a foiled attempt on goal, the South Hobart keeper _ placed a mistimed kick straight at the feet of Michael. Inocent had no problem in reducing the deficit with this gifted ball and made it 1-1.

HALF TIME SCORE: Olympia Warriors 1 (Michael 36′) – South Hobart 1 (Choi 19′)

Ten minutes into the second half of the game, South Hobart continued to shock Olympia. An exceptionally placed ball by Ruby Batchelor, met the unsuspecting feet of Sophie Westwood, who tapped into the goal. Her reaction and subsequent celebration reflected her surprise at the fortunate goal. Nevertheless, South were winning. They had never defeated Olympia in the history of the Women’s Super League. Could this be their time?

Sophie Westwood’s rapturous celebration for South Hobart. Picture: Solstice Digital

Aya Gibson made her Women’s Super League debut in this game. A convincing run by Gibson made it past the South Hobart defence and despite the efforts of Moutsatsos, it was Olympia’s Ella McConnen, who again sent it home for Olympia to level the score.

No celebrations from McConnen, as she swiftly collected the ball to play on and push for a win.

It would seem that in the 89th minute that both teams would have to settle for a draw. An elbow to the face of Hannah Johnson caused the referee to blow his whistle and give a free kick in favour of Olympia. Enter Leah Gubb whose free-kick prowess this year has been key. Gubb had no problem in directing the ball forcefully into the back of the net in the 90th minute of the game to save Olympia’s blushes and take the three points.

Leah Gubb challenges Pishon Choi. Picture: Solstice Digital

FULL TIME: Olympia FC Warriors 3 (Michael 36′, McConnen 75′, Gubb 90′) – South Hobart 2 (Choi 19′, Westwood 56′)

Much has been said about the Warriors form after their emphatic Summer Cup win, but given that a number of players from that squad have now left for interstate and international competitions, it is not surprising that Matt Kilsby has had some rebuilding and rethinking to do.

Olympia Women’s Super League coach, Matt Kilsby said after the game, ” I was very happy with the team spirit to come from behind twice and then in the final stages to win the game. This is a group of players who have proved they won’t give up.”

South Hobart, despite their injury woes this season, have plenty of talent at their disposal and will be interesting to watch in 2022.

In other WSL Round 18 games:

Devonport Strikers 1 – Clarence Zebras 2

Launceston United 1 – Kingborough 3

Taroona – Bye