Supplied by AWSA and transcribed by Thomas Esamie
After the regular season the Table looked like this
|Northern NSW Pride||10||3||2||5||18||19||11|
|ACTAS Canberra Eclipse||10||2||1||7||15||30||7|
|Top Two sides (Sapphires & Pirates) play the championship final.|
|Australian Women's National Soccer League Results|
|Home Team||v||Away Team|
|Grand Final (played November 20)|
Kell, Rockall, K Collins, Tann-Darby, Garriock, Starr, Peters, Cavanagh, Klessattel, Burgess (Golebiowski 50), Carney
Goal: Dianne Alagich 18og
Trimboli, Vozzo, Winn, Morris, Gawlik (May 88), Black, Stocco (Baker 74), Spagnoletti, Alagich, Thomas (Moore 63), Halfpenny (Matto 81)
|Favourites NSW Sapphires were crowned Ansett Australia Summer Series champions with
today's deserved 1-0 win over SASI Pirates, NSW the first team to win the national league
NSW Sapphires went ahead before the 20 minute mark through an own goal but then were unable to crack the Pirates defence for a 'home-made' goal despite creating the opportunities. With just the slender lead, NSW were forced to survive some close shaves from a determined SASI, appearing in their fourth grandfinal.
The Sapphires dominated the first half and took the lead in the 18th minute, set up with a threatening move by midfielder Alicia Cavanagh who cut inside her marker on the right of the 18-yard box and provided a dangerous cross. Missed by her own teammates, the ball was mistakenly headed in on the burst from 12 metres by SASI defender Dianne Alagich, giving her own keeper no chance.
The home side continued to attack, midfielders Bridgette Starr and Joanne Peters coming closest. SASI then almost snatched the equaliser on the half-hour mark when captain Sharon Black hit the crossbar with a fantastic long range missile.
Defending champions SASI Pirates fought back in the second half, evening up play with both sides creating good chances. NSW's Kelly Golebiowski came off the bench after several days' illness and created havoc for the opposition backline and was unlucky not to break through. Fellow attacker Michelle Carney came inches close on a couple of occasions.
Black continued to direct play for the visitors, again hitting the woodwork midway through the half and almost scoring from a 35 metre freekick which bounced over everyone including the keeper.
After a tense second period, just the single goal separated the teams, minor premiers NSW Sapphires maintaining their undefeated record against the South Australians and celebrating the championship win to add to their 1997/98 title.
"We won this game with our determination," said NSW Coach Cyrille Ndongo-Keller. "I don't think it was our best game, but we showed a lot of character to keep our one-goal lead."