Albion Park 3-2 Dunbar #AAW1 #SchillersSpiel Sponsored by Cambridge Hotel Sydney
It has taken me two sleeps to steel myself to write this match report, which details the AAW1’s first loss of the season, to Albion Park in the State Cup. The two-day space may have left me more rested but my leg muscles are still cramping and my heart still aching from a loss that should have been anything but…
The scene for an epic 90 minutes was set first with a journey down through the wily depths of Wollongong and into the Shoalhaven wilderness, where teeth are fewer but stubby holders plentiful. And it was raining. Oh, how it was raining. Noah was building his arc behind us as we warmed up, the animals pairing off and preparing to board as the heavens opened and we – and the field – were drenched.
A slow start cost us as Albion took the lead thanks to an unstoppable shot from 20m out. We were dominating possession, playing football as it should be played, but there’s not much you can do when a perfect shot comes off. So we breathed in deeply, straightened our stooped shoulders, then attacked the deficit with gusto. Zoe especially was dominating the wing, Mindy was breaking the defensive line and Malin, Sarah and Alesha at the back were solid and stellarin their passing play.
But again, against the flow of play, Albion made the most of their next opportunity and headed in for goal. We were down 2-0. This was unknown territory for us. We were losing. Losing? What was that? The only thing we had lost this season was Malin’s boots and a little bit of late-night dignity.
But we fought. And we fought back. A stellar cross from Zoe and a nifty finish from Sophie pulled us back into the fight. 2-1. And then – again – we dominated possession, we started to back ourselves in the attacking third, and we were winning everywhere but the score sheet. But then disaster struck: the opponents’ swift striker swung a leg onto a ball that we all thought had gone out behind the base line. No such agreement from the referee – Albion latched onto the sliding cross and finished in the net to go 3-1 up.
If we were in unknown territory before then at two goals down and with 20mins to go we felt as if we had landed on Saturn’s third moon.
But there was no fat lady singing so it wasn’t over (there was, however, a larger woman blowing a Vuvuzela…). Another great ball in from Zoe and a sweet finish from Fran and we were back in the game: 3-2 with 10mins to go.
It was nail-biting. Excruciating. Frustrating. Niz was pushing, Poppy was making space, Sarah was yelling. We had possession, we had intent, we had soaking shirts, but we could not get a goal.
And so the scoreline remained unchanged: 3-2, with Dunbar on the losing side of the scoreline and out of the State Cup.
It’s a heavy blow but there is our regular season to return to and Champion of Champions to aim for. There’s also a State Cup-sized hole in our trophy cabinet. We’ll get around to filling that next year…