Box Hill United’s senior women suffered heartache at the final hurdle, as Calder United consigned them to an unfortunate 2-0 defeat in the 2019 Nike FC Cup final.
Catherine Zimmerman and Aleksandra Sinclair netted either side of the recess to lead Calder to their third knockout Cup title on Sunday evening.
In front of live Football Victoria cameras, Calder’s opener arrived in the first minute itself, as Zimmerman controlled a diagonal from the left and scored past Box Hill shot-stopper Bethany Mason-Jones.
But Box Hill, the home side in this summit clash at the CB Smith Reserve, responded with a corner of their own, although Hayley Geurts’ delivery was cleared on three minutes.
Despite the day’s rainfall, a sizeable and boisterous crowd added to the excitement at the neutral venue, where Calder broke free on seven minutes down the right, only for Mason-Jones to thwart the danger. While Angela Beard clipped the crossbar from 18 yards soon after.
At the other end, Box Hill continued to mount pressure, and Geurts’ corner created flutter inside the opposition box, which Calder somehow defended in numbers.
After the initial face-off, Box Hill recovered their poise admirably and hunted down the opposition backline in search of an equaliser before the break.
Geurts’ hopeful 20-yard attempt was gathered by Ayana Aoyagi in the Calder goal, and bustling centre-back Rhiannon Fensom saw her drilled effort drift just wide of the far post following Oliva Ellis’ 25th-minute corner.
On 35 minutes, Box Hill went close twice, but failed to score. Speedster Elaina Vatcky collected a measured through ball from Emma Hubbard down the right and whipped in a cross, which lacked an attacker at the far post. While midfielder Caitlin Story found Vatcky with a deflected effort, only for the latter to sky the ball from inside the six-yard box.
After the restart, both sides emerged with greater urgency, but Calder once again managed to show their clinical attacking prowess when Sinclair scored on 52 minutes through a sea of legs on the back of a corner. Prior to that, Mason-Jones and Fensom had combined to intervene three consecutive shots from Calder forwards.
The game turned on its head again, as Box Hill played catch-up. While Hubbard saw her 20-yard attempt gathered by Aoyagi, the Calder keeper dived to her left to stop Storay’s well-connected half-volley around the hour-mark.
Aoyagi was once more on top, denying Vatcky’s angled shot on the back of Asuka Kakazu’s daisycutter in the final quarter of the game.
Mason-Jones also needed to be alert in the closing seconds of stoppage time, as she rushed out of her line to smother the ball off Polly Doran’s feet in a one-on-one situation.
While it was a second successive Cup final defeat for Box Hill against the same opposition, the youthful side had been good value for their efforts throughout the competition. It was also on display in patches on Sunday evening’s festival of football, where young full-back Tara Borovic made her Box Hill senior debut as a second-half substitute.
Box Hill United starting-XI: N Dakic, H Geurts ©, B Mason-Jones (GK), O Ellis, R Fensom, E Hubbard, A Kakazu, M Lantieri-Bartley, M Markovski, C Storay, E Vatcky
Substitutes: T Borovic, N Griffen, M Heysen, G Eggleton (GK), M Martinez
Images courtesy: Passion Creations