Northbridge secured their third successive Women’s All-Age Division 1 title in the final game of the season, defeating second-placed North Sydney United 2-0 at Northbridge Oval on Friday night.
With the teams separated by two points before kick-off it was winner take all, but a draw would see the home side retain the title. Both teams had defeated each other during the season, with Northbridge holding the most recent success – a 4-0 win at Cammeray in July.
However, it was North Sydney that fired off the first shot of the game through Elizabeth Farsi, with the midfielder sending the ball just wide after a promising passage of play on the edge of the box.
It did not take long for Northbridge to respond though, Linda Carroll breaking open the visitors’ defence with a pinpoint through ball to Brittany Austin. Although there was support in the middle, the winger struck a shot low and hard across goal, just missing the bottom corner.
Caroll then found herself in prime crossing position moments later, but North Sydney goalkeeper Holly Walker showed good reflexes to intercept the final pass.
The visitors renewed their attacking pressure with shots from Farsi and Kellie Brown, but Northbridge goalkeeper Isobel Sanby was largely untested thanks to crucial blocks from her defensive line.
It was the home side that broke the deadlock in the 25th minute. Caitlan Skillicorn swung in a corner in the heavy wind, evading the jump of Walker putting the ball in the net.
With North Sydney needing three points in order to overtake Northbridge on the table they pushed forward in search of an equaliser. Sonia Faragher was creating problems up front, forcing a save from Sanby before setting up Toni Evitts for a shot that was blocked at the last second.
Dorothy Poon looked to reinvigorate the home side’s attack with a strong counter-attack, but her final shot did not match the quality of the run that preceded it.
Hearts were in mouths just minutes into the second half as Faragher closed down a clearance from Sanby, but fortunately for the home side the ricochet went out for a goal kick rather than finding the net.
It was end-to-end football as both teams threw numbers forward. With the match to chase, North Sydney were firing shots from range through Farsi and Leonore Carr.
This commitment to attacking created gaps to expose at the back, with Rochelle Sharpe and Austin finding plenty of space on the flanks, only to be denied by a series of well-timed challenges from North Sydney defenders Kelsey Worth and Kirsty Tradell.
Jamie Ware dribbled her way past two Northbridge defenders in the 70th minute before releasing Bridget Walker in on goal. The young striker took on her marker before blazing a shot towards goal, narrowly missing the bottom corner.
A clinical counter-attack saw the home side double their lead in the final minutes. Austin escaped the attentions of Tradell to make another trademark run down the right before the ball was spread across to find Carroll’s supporting run at the back post. The midfielder held her nerve in front of goal, pausing to dodge a last-ditch challenge before finessing the ball into the bottom corner.
With a proverbial mountain to climb, North Sydney continued to push for a goal of their own but found themselves consistently rebuffed by the home side, with Farsi going closest with an effort from distance.
Northbridge held on for a clean sheet and the win to secure their third straight league title, finishing the season with six straight wins in the process.
Northbridge – 2 (Skillicorn 25′, Carroll 82′)
North Sydney United – 0