Golden goal secures title for City Highlanders

The victorious City Highlanders women’s team after winning the final on Saturday.  Photos: Gregor...
The victorious City Highlanders women’s team after winning the final on Saturday. Photos: Gregor Richardson.
It was a case of history repeating in the premier women’s final at the McMillan Centre on Saturday, when defending champion City Highlanders scored a golden goal in extra time to dispose of Momona.

It ended up winning 4-3 in an all-action final.

Neither side appeared cautious and City had the best of the first five minutes but it was Momona which nearly broke through first, but a lack of execution let it down.

The game started to settle into an end-to-end pattern, although City did appear to be on top, and after 15 minutes a low cross found striker Sarah Thomas, who expertly deflected it past the Momona keeper for the lead. It only took four minutes for Momona to strike back, as Matisse Uluilelata put a drag flick through the City keeper to tie it up at 1-1.

The nerves then set in and while no more goals were scored in the first half, there were plenty of chances going begging as neither group was able to regain composure.

The second half was a different story. Momona came out firing and Neve McLean dribbled past three players before finding an unmarked Amy O’Neill in the circle, who smashed it home and the lead went to Momona. The pace continued to rise and it took another deflection from Thomas to bring it back to 2-2 with 20 minutes on the clock. Sarah Allan then put Highlanders in front eight minutes later ,as the game continued to open up.

Almost immediately, Nicole Strawbridge pounced on a mistake from the City fullbacks and tied the match up again. It remained 3-3 until the end of regulation time, when golden goal extra time began. The first five minutes of 9-a-side did not break the deadlock so the teams restarted, this time with only seven each on the park.

Momona had a penalty corner but could not score and then a turnover deep in its own end led to a penalty stroke for City.

Deborah Yung came forward and calmly fired the ball into the bottom corner to end the match and the championship went to City.

- Matthew West

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