U12 Girls Deliver First Junior Title for the Titans

Post date: Sep 1, 2016 1:39:18 PM

A picturesque morning at Campbell Park set the scene for the Cooks River Titans Under 12 girls to deliver what was a historic first junior premiership for the newly established club, defeating a gallant Leichhardt Saints in an enthralling Grand Final.

Minor Premiers at the end of the regular season, the young Titans had to do it the hard way losing their Major Semi Final to Leichhardt in week one and then facing a resilient Enfield outfit only winning on penalties. The stage was set, emotions were flying high and the game was underway. The intentions of both sides were shown early as they created several chances in the opening exchanges of the first game of the day. However, it was Leichhardt who started the stronger of the two testing the Titans keeper with a shot from distance. Minutes later the Titans custodian was forced into an outstanding one on one save. A swift counter attack from an ambitious Leichhardt saw their striker put one on one with the Titans keeper who bravely came off her line superbly thwarting a shot that had put the heart in the mouth of Titans players, coaches and supporters. The game was being played at a frenetic pace and it was the Titans who came close on fifteen minutes. A cynical foul by the Leichhardt defender saw the Titans receive a free kick in a dangerous position. The striker stepped up and saw her shot fly agonisingly close. With the game still deadlocked, the mighty Titans gained the ascendancy, anchoring the ball in the Leichhardt half, failing to convert the multiple chances they were given by their opposition. Yet, it was the Saints who delivered the sucker punch a minute before halftime. A swift counter-attacking move caught Cooks River out of position and saw Leichhardt move from their penalty box to the other end of the field in just three passes. The ball fell to the feet of the striker who calmly dispatched her shot into the bottom right hand corner. Moments after the restart the halftime whistle blew and the classy Titans were down but definitely not out.

An inspired half time team talk seemed to do the trick as the spirited Titans outfit started the second half at a quick pace, and it only took two minutes for them to draw level. With the ball anchored in the Leichhardt half, a series of failed clearances following a superb cross from the Titans midfielder saw the ball fall gracefully to the attacker who powered her shot past a hapless Saints goalkeeper. Cooks River continued their dominance in the second half, with a resilient Leichhardt struggling to get out of their own half. A plethora of chances without any reward for the young Titans as a rock solid Leichhardt defence seemed almost impossible to break down, their keeper being called into action on several occasions. Counter attacking football was the only reprieve for a gallant Leichhardt side that never gave up, with several half chances resulting in agony. With the game opening up, chances were coming thick and fast for both sides, but the pressure of a grand final seemed to get the better of the players coming close on many occasions. The end-to-end football was pleasing to the eye, with the vocal crowed egging both sides on to push for a winner and break the deadlock. It was the Titans who came closest in the final seconds of the match. A splitting through ball put the attacker one on one with the Leichhardt keeper, from the sideline it looked like her shot was squeezing in at the far post, however to the Titans despair her shot went agonisingly wide. Following the resulting goal kick the fulltime whistle blew and the game ended in a stalemate. This could only mean one thing, five minutes each way of golden goal, with the possibility of the lottery of a penalty shootout.

With minimal break between full time and golden goal it was evident both teams were tiring despite Leichhardt having the week off. This was a mammoth effort by both sides especially Cooks River who went the distance the week before. The time had come, who would take the game by the scruff of the neck and deliver glory to their club. Golden goal kicked off with both teams defending deep trying not to concede. A midfield battle occurred as both sides, without any reward, created several half chances. In the final moments of the half Cooks River tested the Leichhardt keeper however, their shot was comfortably saved by the Saints shot stopper. A stalemate at half time and the dreaded penalty shootout was only five minutes away. A quick drink and change of sides and the second half was underway. The second half of golden goal started in similar fashion to the first with both teams hesitant to attack. As the half wore on the game opened up, as end-to-end football was back on the agenda. Both sides creating chances at will it was only a matter of time before a breakthrough would occur. It did, in the most dramatic of circumstances. A swift passing maneuver in the final two minutes by Cooks River saw a pass fall to the Titans attacker and just as she was about to take a shot, the Leichhardt defender appeared to foul the attacker inside the box. PENALTY! The moment had come. A season of blood, sweat and tears came down to a kick of the ball from 12 yards out. The responsibility fell to the young Titans striker who put in an admirable performance. The time was now. With a blow of the whistle and a kick of the ball she powered her shot into the bottom right hand corner and sent all in attendance into delirium as the young Titans delivered a historic title to this young club. It was a perfect way to end the season and do the double.