Adelaide University division one women are cup champions after beating White City 2-1 on Sunday.
It’s the second cup victory in three years for The Blacks. Like the 2016 final, The Blacks left it late to secure the win.
Cup final opponents White City boasted half a squad of ex-university players; the division three team in its inaugural season, making the final against all expectations.
The Blacks started the better of the two teams, but City occasionally threatened once the match settled.
The work ethic of Blacks’ captain Fi Mcdonald caused hassles for the opposition; and Sophie Burke dazzled with her speed down the left wing.
City goalkeeper Jasmine Dallimore was forced to work overtime as almost every shot on goal in the first half was on target. Kiara ‘Frag’omeli even impressed herself when she swapped her arsenal and launched 40-metre ‘mortar’ that Dallimore tipped over the bar.
However, the balance of play seemed to shift without notice. Jiji Mitchell forced Blacks goalkeeper Natalie Hayman into a smart save at her near post on the half-hour mark. Two minutes later, White City couldn’t get a foot onto a cross from four yards out: a massive missed opportunity.
Persistent attacking football by The Blacks paid off five minutes before the break. The ball broke to Dalal who finished low into the centre of the goal from near the penalty spot.
The fresh legs of Bec Lannan and Paris Drakopoulos were injected into the fray at half time, as coach Alex Macdonald made use of the quality available on her substitutes bench.
White City started spritelier in the second half and ironically, it was former Blacks best-and-fairest Tamika Jones who levelled the scores on 54 minutes.
The speed of Lori-Anne Pearce proved a handful for The Blacks, as defenders Brie Hamersley and Margaux Hurley kept turning over the cogs as White City swept forward with their newly found momentum.
Amber Pacheco had the perfect chance to put the Blacks ahead on 67 minutes. It was near perfect lead up play from Mcdonald and Burke, but Pacheco miss-kicked from six yards out.
Lannan pulled her shot wide of the goal a minute later, and you just wondered if The Blacks would come to rue lost chances.
And the almost did when White City’s Mitchell hit the crossbar at the other end, only seconds later. She ran onto a ball down the right, just keeping it in play. She pulled a shot out of no-where, 20 yards from goal, about from a yard inside the goal line.
Coach Macdonald deployed Dalal into the midfield and The Blacks regained their creativity. The late surge paid dividends.
The fans were getting their monies worth just watching Burke’s workload down the flanks. And guess who? It was Burke who scored the goal she deserved on 85 minutes, as she cut inside the box and swept a dipping 16-yard shot over the stretching Dallimore.
White City pushed forward and Pearce threatened in the closing stages. She had a goal disallowed for offside and then Hayman had to sweep the ball from her feet deep into injury time.
The Blacks held on to bring the cup trophy back to the Graduates Clubhouse.