On the outside, North Companions Black coach Pat Warren had an air of confidence leading into the Northern Inland Football women’s division one grand final but in reality he was “really nervous”.
Warren, along with manager Emily Press and his counterpart Ian Slater, had to sit through over two hours of play before a winner was declared between Northies and undefeated minor premiers Tamworth FC Sky.
At the end of regular time, FC and Northies were deadlocked at nil-all.
Two 15 minute periods of extra time were needed and neither side could break through.
So, a penalty shoot-out was needed.
After a shot each, FC had a 1-0 buffer. But then Northies rumbled back into contention to make it 1-all.
Northies managed to score their next two penalties while FC’s weren’t successful to see North Companions claim the premiership.
“Relieved, very relieved,” Warren said of his feelings after the match.
Press added: “I’m feeling so pumped for women’s soccer.
“It’s such a success story. We played our hardest today. We fought all season for this chance to win the grand final and we were the underdogs and we did it.
“It’s very special and it’s so positive for women’s football in Tamworth.”
As the scoreline would indicate, both goalkeepers – FC’s Alicia Guest and Northies’ Erika Maslen – had big games.
In extra time, it was FC who went to another level and peppered Northies’ goal but Maslen was on top of her game.
“She [Maslen] would have been my player of the match, for sure, she saved some phenomenal shots,” Press said.
“A lot of the girls that were going up against her have been the top goalscorers in the league this year and usually they'd sink it but Erika stopped them.”
Warren also said there was another player that deserved praise.
“Next best would be young Sammie [Wilkie]. She played in the back and she’s under 16. She’s great for our club going forward,” Warren said.
Tamworth FC’s Wayne May congratulated both teams after the game on a wonderful match and commended FC for their sensational year.
“You [Tamworth FC] had a brilliant year. Undefeated all year but these things happen, that’s football,” he said.
Kootingal Pink won the second division game 7-5 over Tamworth FC Rangers.
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