UQFC Women scored in the 89th minute to snatch a dramatic 2-1 win from Sunshine Coast FC Women at University of Queensland Field 5 on Sunday.
Having earlier had their 1-0 advantage erased, the hosts scrambled home a last-gasp winner to shore up fourth spot in moving three points clear of fifth-placed Fire.
Though the visitors began brightly, they received a warning sign when Chloe Williams tested Fire goalkeeper Katie Offer with a shot on target in the 15th minute.
Williams went one better to open the scoring for the hosts in the 27th minute, getting on the end of a series of short, quick passes.
Dani Harbot was required to deny Jess Davy an equaliser a few minutes later but she couldn’t keep Fire from pulling level on the stroke of half-time.
The goal owed largely to the run of Sofie Persson, whose eventual shot against the crossbar fell for Australia U17 representative Afrikah McGladrigan to pounce on the rebound.
Kirsty Clifford fired a warning shot shortly after the restart as Fire looked to continue their momentum and Persson might have had a spectacular solo goal following another long dribble but for a crucial Harbot save.
The visitors next had to scramble clear an initial attempt from Greta Bodey to keep it level at 1-1 heading into the final 15 minutes.
Both teams continued to attack in search of three points and in the 89th minute fortune favoured UQFC.
Alice Foster was credited with the winner after pressure in the penalty area saw the ball forced over the line with help from Fire’s desperate defenders.
Speaking after the match, UQFC coach Wayne Gibbon pointed to defensive smarts as essential to victory.
“The strength of Sunshine Coast is their pace up front, they’ve got some very talented forwards, and I felt we won the game because our defenders were able to cope with them sufficiently,” Gibbon said.
Fire coach Dave Bensted felt his side would have been worthy of a draw had they held on.
“On the balance of the game UQFC probably deserved to win but after all that defensive work a point would have been a good reward,” Bensted said.
UQFC Women 2 (Chloe WILLIAMS 27’ Alice FOSTER 89’)
Sunshine Coast FC Women 1 (Afrikah McGLADRIGAN 44’)