Cundletown wins Southern League women's football grand final after penalty shootout

We are the champions: Cundletown Jets players celebrate their penalty shootout win over Tuncurry-Forster in the Southern League women's football grand final. Photo Mim Haigh.
We are the champions: Cundletown Jets players celebrate their penalty shootout win over Tuncurry-Forster in the Southern League women's football grand final. Photo Mim Haigh.

THE Southern League women’s football season came to a nail biting conclusion at Taree’s Zone Field with a grand final between Cundletown Jets and Tuncurry Foster Tigerettes that lasted 100 minutes and ended in a penalty shootout.

The Jets emerged premiers after being beaten grand finalists for the past two seasons.

In the first 40 minutes the Tigerettes marked tight and Cundletown couldn’t capitalise on the speed of striker Jenna Ryan who played despite having an injured ankle.

All game the Tigrettes looked threatening with solid play out wide by Meaghan Lambert, backed up by Jodie Eacott. Only the Jets’ patient and persistent defence led by Arwen Williams kept Tuncurry Foster at bay.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Tigerettes’ Jessica Henwood emerged from bunched play in the box with a goal in the top left corner. Ten minutes later, the Jets' Carissa Black retaliated with an equaliser, tying the score at 1-1.

The second half came to a close with tough, tight play as both teams battled for possession.

Spectators lining the hills of the zone field prepared for the fiercely contested match to continue into extra time with 10 minutes each way with no golden goal.

At fulltime there was no score and both teams assembled for the penalty shootout. Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons said that over four matches during the season, the teams had played 360 minutes of football and still they could only be separated by a penalty shootout.

Keepers, Emillie Cullen for the Jets and Kayla Simpson, for the Tigerettes, limbered up for the ruthless decider for the 2017 season.

The goal shooters for each side were, for the Tigerettes, Sammara Schmitzer, Megan Couper, Sarah Pederson, Jodie Eacott and Jessica Henwood. For the Jets, Cass Wilks, Carissa Black, Emillie Cullen and Sarah O’Connor.

Jets coach, Sally Geary explained that Cundletown’s Emillie Cullen only plays keeper for the Jets in big games. She was breathtaking game, saving four of the five dot shots during the penalty shootout ending the game 2-1 with a win for the Cundletown Jets.