The 2019 Central Coast Unity Bank Women’s League Grand-Final was played out at the picturesque Central Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon as two of the competitions most impressive sides, Southern and Ettalong United and Gosford City faced off with both hoping to be crowned premiers of the competition for the 2019 season. A victory for third placed Umina over League Champions Kanwal in the reserve grade decider earlier in the day proved just how unpredictable grand-final day can be as the third placed Gosford side looked to produce a similar performance against their League Championship opposition in the main game.
A 3-2 victory to the Gosford City girls a mere three weeks ago helped set the scene for Saturday nights clash as a boisterous crowd packed into Central Coast Stadium to watch the competitions two most in-form sides face-off, with the opening half proving as tight as most expected. In a half that saw both sides create chances, neither were able to find the back of the net with Southern and Ettalong United probably enjoying the better of the first half opportunities.
The sides returned from the half-time break full of energy with many in the crowd anticipating goals in the second period given the attacking quality on show in both line-ups, and after just 10 second half minutes Gosford City looked to have taken the lead after top-scorer Brittni Nicol was played through on goal before taking a touch and finishing confidently past Bec Arnfield in the Southern goal only for the effort to be ruled out for a close offside call.
Nicol, however, wasn’t made to wait long for her 18th goal of the season as she opened the scoring in similar circumstances to her earlier strike, giving the third placed Dragons a 1-0 lead around the hour mark.
With the side struggling with injuries in the lead up to Saturdays decider, Southern and Ettalong were dealt another blow as golden boot winner Tahlor Thackray appeared to be struck down with cramp in the second half as her side looked to chase an equaliser.
Southern’s task was made all the more difficult mid-way through the second period as Gosford City doubled their lead, with 2018 golden boot winner Jessica Dominello firing past Arnfield to send the Dragons portion of the crowd into raptures as their side edged closer to back-to-back titles.
Despite their best efforts to salvage a result, it became clear that luck just wasn’t on the Lionesses side as they hit the woodwork on a number of occasions throughout Saturday’s clash emphasising the fine margins that often decide these big matches.
Ultimately, Gosford City prevailed 2-0 winners on the night with celebrations sure to have continued into the early hours of Sunday morning after securing back-to-back titles, a remarkable effort given the player turnover from the 2018 decider.