Women’s League Cup Final Review: Olympic crowned Cup champions after wet weather thriller

Maitland FC 0(4) - 0(5) Newcastle Olympic 

It took 90 minutes, extra time and a penalty shootout to crown the winners of the Women’s League Cup, Newcastle Olympic on Sunday evening.  

Newcastle Olympic were able to stop Maitland from securing their second piece of silverware, winning 0 (5) - 0 (4) on penalties.  

The cold and wet night of the final did not disappoint with 110 minutes of non-stop end-to-end action from both sides.  

The action started as soon as the first whistle blew and did not let up until the final penalty kick was struck.  

Olympic came out of the blocks the stronger of the two sides in the first half, creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities throughout the first half through striker Jemma House and Elodie Dagg.   

But the Magpies were still lurking and Sophie Stapleford thought she had put Maitland in front after louring out wise Olympic goalkeeper Clare Coelho but the ball skimmed wide across the open goal.  

Soon after Maitland’s Madeline Howard was forced from the field after injuring her ankle in a tackle that saw Olympic’s Tori Johnson receive a yellow card. 

The battle heated up in the second half, with both side’s attack having multiple chances to put their team ahead.  

Stapleford and House both had near misses at either end of the pitch.  

Olympic’s Laura Hall had a shot to win the game in the dying seconds of regulation time, but the ball went narrowly wide of the post.  

The score remained 0-0 after 90 minutes, forcing the game into extra time. The match continued to go end-to-end with neither team able to reap the rewards.  

House continued to fire for Olympic, smashing two shots on goal with one going just wide and the other hitting the post.  

Up the other end Coelho was forced to make two big saves as Magpies substitution Chelsea Greguric caused havoc for Olympic’s defence.  

But still after 110 minutes, neither team could find the back of the net, taking the game to penalties.  

It was goal for goal when the penalties began before Olympic’s Zoe Horgan’s shot was spectacularly saved by Annabella Thornton. Lucy Kell then sent the ball soaring over the goal for Maitland.  

In the first shot of sudden death, Maitland’s Lisa Cochrane also sent the ball high, meaning that Olympic just needed to convert their next attempt. Danielle Nicol was able to do just that, winning the match for Olympic.  

Olympic’s coach Neil Owens was thrilled with his team’s performance and for the club to win the inaugural Women’s League Cup.  

“I am very happy, very dominant performance. We created so many chances,” Owens said.  

“I would have been very disappointed if we lost.  

“We played really good football. 

“It’s good to win silverware that’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the start of the season, mid-way through or at the end of the season.”  

In the lead up to the match it was important for Owen’s that his players were able to follow the gameplan and focus on themselves.  

“In the past two weeks we spoke about knowing your role and doing good things in your role and the rest will fall into place. I told them to execute their roles and worry about themselves,” Owens said.  

Owens praised both team’s defensive efforts, in keeping the game at 0-0 until the end of extra time.  

“Our defence was strong but Maitland’s defence was outstanding as well and kept them in the game,” Owens said.  

The Magpies coach Keelan Hamilton was pleased with the grit that his team showed but was a little disappointed with their overall performance, especially in the second half.  

“I thought the effort was unbelievable, the resilience was never in question,” Hamilton said. 

“The game particularly in the first half was high on effort but probably low on quality. I thought we didn’t pass the ball effectively at all. I think we got a lot better in the second half, we created a few more things. 

“I think we didn’t play great in the first half but I think we were the better team in the second half but they still had their moments.  

“In the penalty shootout I think we get to a really good position and unfortunately we didn’t take that opportunity. 

“It wasn’t our night tonight.” 

Hamilton congratulated Olympic for their victory but also the efforts of his defence in shutting down the threats of Dagg and House in attack 

“Congratulations to Olympic they are probably the hardest team to play against in terms of the style of football, we’re very similar so it’s very tight battles,” Hamilton said.  

“I think Madi (Gallegos) and Amy (Parkinson) were outstanding. I thought those two did a good job, I thought our fullbacks were good.  

The Magpies were missing two crucial players from their starting lineup, defender Tahlia Gossner and goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone but Hamilton was pleased with how the members of his squad stepped up. 

“We have had a tough few weeks, Tahlia hurt herself in the warmup last week and then our goalkeeper hurt herself at work this week, so we have had a couple of things to deal with. But I think we showed the depth of the squad and the quality of the squad and the fact that we can still come and compete against a team like that,” Hamilton said.  

In Reserve Grade the tables were turned with Maitland defeating Newcastle Olympic 1-0. The Under-13s, Under-15s and Under-17s matches were postponed due to wet weather.