Capital Football U13 Girls went down 1-3 to NSW Thunder in their National Futsal Championship Grand Final despite putting in a brave display in a match that could easily have swung in either direction such was the parity of these two exceptional teams.
There was a frantic opening to the match as both teams tried to settle into the occasion, NSW Thunder achieving that feat sooner and scoring an early goal, showing excellent movement in transition to strike inside four minutes. Capital Football’s response was composed with goalkeeper Evelyn Knight being relatively untroubled for the remainder of the first-half and seeking to go long with her distribution.
This tactic almost paid dividends three minutes before the break when Mackenna Dorsett got on the end of a Knight throw, glancing her header just wide of the Thunder goal. Thunder did enjoy most of the possession in the opening stanza, but the Capital Football defence was in good form with Samantha Shea solid and offering balance in attack with a lethal left-foot shot.
Capital Football earned themselves an equaliser three minutes into the second-half, and it came once more, courtesy of a long throw from Knight. The CF goalkeeper’s opposite number misjudged the flight, and when the defensive clearance was only partially completed, leading scorer Danijela Eskinja was on hand to stab home from close range. It was her twelfth goal of the competition and meant she had scored in all seven matches.
Thunder regained the initiative when they scored from long-range, a shot rammed in from distance after the original effort had come back off the base of the post, but that did not deter Capital Football as they searched for a leveller. Emily Fogg saw a header scrambled wide and Shea, playing as a fly goalkeeper, poked a shot millimetres wide after a late run into the area.
However, whilst pushing hard for a second equaliser, the team were caught with a sucker-punch with ninety seconds remaining as Thunder intercepted a pass and had an open goal in which to stroke their third to seal the title of National Champions.
GRAND FINAL RESULT
NSW Thunder 3 Capital Football 1 (Eskinja)
1, Evelyn KNIGHT, 2. Frida ESCOBAR, 3. Mackenna DORSETT, 4. Emily FOGG, 5. Isla MURPHY, 6. Kayla SISOURATH, 7. Samantha SHEA, 8. Danijela ESKINJA, 10. Mikela RUBERTO, 13. Olivia MEDINA