The Oxfords have secured their spot in the Newcastle Women’s Premier League grand final, after defeating Gosford 1-0 in a nail-biting match on Saturday afternoon.
The Oxfords came out firing, dominating the attack in the first quarter, however, Gosford’s defence stood strong to keep the score nil-all.
Both teams failed to open the scoring until the second quarter, where star player Phoebe Bloink-Hollier claimed possession from a Gosford defender and slammed the ball in the back of the net.
Gosford fought back in the third quarter, regaining possession as the Oxfords ‘began to panic’. Oxford player Amy Waller received a ball to the right side of her head, forcing the player off the field to be medically treated.
“We started out well but sought of scrambled around in the third and fourth quarters of the game as we dropped to ten players for a chunk of the match,” said Oxford coach Thea O’Sullivan. “We strapped her head up and put her back on [the field] …she will be ok for next Saturday.”
Gosford’s forward Shelley Barrie was taken out in the circle resulting in a penalty stroke. but Oxford’s keeper Jasmine Etheridge denied the goal to keep her side’s lead.
Gosford maintained possession in the third quarter resulting in multiple corners being awarded, however, the side just could not convert the play.
By the fourth quarter, Gosford continued their fight for a goal to remain in the game. Their opportunity came when a shot from a penalty corner was stopped on the line with an Oxford players foot, resulting in another penalty stroke.
Again, an outstanding block from Etheridge kept her side ahead to win 1-nil.
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“We had the run of the play and put them under relentless pressure, resulting in a couple of their players receiving cards for desperate tackles,” said Gosford coach Kylie Kinsley. “We gave it everything we had but it just wasn’t our day.”
Thea O’Sullivan was thrilled with the final result.
“We are really happy, it feels good after the game last weekend,” said O’Sullivan.
“Souths are an amazing team, so we are going to have to play smart and maintain composure. We are actually really relaxed and looking forward to it.
“I don’t think there is too much we need to do differently beforehand, but we will be getting a key player back, so having our full team back together again will be good for next Saturday.”
Oxfords will take on the Souths next Saturday at the Newcastle International Hockey Centre for the Grand Final, which will be telecast on Bar TV.