Canberra FC 4 (Rachael Goldstein 7’, 28’, Grace Gill 38’, Brittany Palombi 64’) def. Canberra United Academy 1 (Hayley Taylor-Young 77’)
Canberra FC set up a Grand Final date with Belconnen United after they brushed aside the Canberra United Academy 4-1 at Deakin Stadium on Sunday.
Canberra’s three big guns all fired, as Rachael Goldstein, Grace Gill and Brittany Palombi found the back of the net in a dominant preliminary final performance.
Goldstein opened the scoring inside 10 minutes when she intercepted an errant back-pass and rounded a stranded Isobel Davy, before slotting the ball into an open net.
Davy came to the Academy’s rescue one minute later, as she parried a strong, low shot from Palombi that looked destined for the bottom corner.
But Deakin extended their lead just prior to the half-hour mark, after a lovely touch from Jamie Berkeley sat up nicely for Goldstein, who struck the ball into the far corner from outside the penalty area.
Last year’s preliminary final between these two sides will long be remembered for Gill’s match winning free-kick in extra time, and the star midfielder delivered another memorable strike in this match.
After winning a free-kick on an acute angle, Gill curled a right-footed shot over the wall and inside the near post to give Canberra FC an unassailable 3-0 lead going into the break.
The Academy’s task became even harder just before half-time, when young midfielder Meg Roden went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Heather Garriock’s side appeared far more settled at the start of the second 45, and held up well against a Canberra FC side hungry for goals.
That was until the 64th minute, when Palombi received the ball 25 yards from goal, before bursting into the penalty area and firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
The Academy scored a late consolation goal thirteen minutes from time, as Hayley Taylor-Young raced down the left-flank and sent a powerful strike past Nat Vasta, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it from flying into the back of the net.
The goal capped off a brilliant season from Taylor-Young, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a strong Canberra FC outfit.
Nik Brozinic and his side will now set their sights on spoiling Belconnen coach Antoni Jagarinec’s farewell match, when they meet the Blue Devils in next week’s NPLW decider.
2019 NPLW Capital Football Grand Final | Saturday, 14th September
Grand Final: Belconnen United v Canberra FC | 3pm @ Deakin Stadium