Eastern Suburbs Women enhanced their title hopes by edging out fellow finals aspirants Olympic FC Women 2-0 at Goodwin Park on Saturday night.
Both goals came in the final 25 minutes to secure the visitors a valuable three points and season double over their near neighbours.
The opening was a cagey affair as the two top-four teams were initially unable to trouble their respective defences.
Jazmyn Perin had the first sight of goal for Olympic but after touching Natalie Tathem’s through-ball past onrushing ‘keeper Tash Mavrick, Easts’ defence quickly recovered to clear.
It was the away side who came closest to an opener in the first 45 minutes though with only the near post denying Tiffany Roberts’ first-time effort from Ashlee Watkins’ pass.
Chances arrived more frequently after the restart and Jenna McCormick almost headed Easts into the lead via a teasing Roberts cross.
McCormick was next called on to snuff out an opening for Ai Matsuzaki with an immaculately-timed challenge, while Perin shot into the sidenetting.
The best chance of the match fell for Rosie Sutton in the 64th minute but the substitute headed wide from point-blank range.
That miss ultimately wouldn’t cost Easts though as they took the lead just three minutes later when Tegan Riding found the feet of Chantelle Ryder, who squeezed her finish through Olympic ‘keeper Kirsten Veeren.
Veeren was called on to keep out further efforts from Riding and Ryder, but she could do little to keep Easts from sealing victory in the 88th minute when Mueller coolly slotted Renee Cowan’s squared pass.
Speaking after the match, Olympic coach Phil Canham rued opportunities lost after the restart.
“I think we did have some chances, we had a few chances to create chances, we just weren’t quite clinical enough,” he said.
Easts assistant coach Angela Beard praised her team’s ability to adapt following half-time adjustments.
“We implemented the improvements we wanted from the first half into the second half and we got results so that’s good,” Beard said.
Olympic FC Women 0
Eastern Suburbs FC Women 2 (Chantelle RYDER 67’ Natalie MUELLER 88’)