Sunshine Coast Fire has progressed to the next stage of the NPL Queensland Womens Finals series after a 4-1 defeat of UQFC at St Lucia on Sunday night.
A hat-trick to Sofie Persson complimented by Brooke Matheson’s injury time effort ultimately proved too much for UQFC whose goal Greta Bodey.
UQFC started the better of the two sides, Rebekah Horsley delivered a stunning free kick into the box in the third minute that Greta Bodey was almost able to capitalise on at the back post.
Possession was hard to come by for the Fire in the early stages but Samara Christmas launched a damaging run down the right wing but she was unable to combine with Sofie Persson to cause any threat on the students’ goal.
The home side continued to have the ascendency with several dangerous attacking opportunities, Linley Archard’s threatening run into the box was thwarted as she lost her footing in what was shaping up as a blistering shot on goal.
The match began to swing the Fire’s way shortly after the quarter-hour mark, Christmas should have done better with an effort into a near-empty net that was swung wide. However, a minute later, Persson found a one-on-one opportunity with UQFC keeper Dani Harbot and despite the keeper’s best efforts to stop the Swede’s attack, Persson provided her side with the opening goal against the run of play.
UQFC looked for an immediate reply from the restart as Georgia Chapman was denied by Fire gloveswoman, Katie Offer.
Indicative of the end-to-end nature of the encounter during the middle part of the first stanza, Fire’s Jessica Davy found herself in a similar situation to Christmas’s earlier chance but scuffed her shot wide of the post.
Persson was looking to claim a first-half brace as she squeezed the defence only to see Harbot greet her near the edge of the box to repel any further advances.
UQFC’s dead-ball specialist Rebekah Horsey sent two booming free kicks into the area in the ten minutes before the halftime whistle but ultimately with no fruitful return as the Fire went to the break holding a 1-0 lead.
It was a familiar refrain in the second period. Ten minutes after the break, Persson again found herself with only Harbot to beat with a run in the box. She momentarily lost her footing but managed to keep composure to double the Fire’s advantage out to 2-0.
Greta Bodey tried her best to inspire her team in the remaining minutes and her persistence paid off as she latched onto a well delivered Kaitlyn Winter pass and with a well-timed run, broke through what had been a stout Fire defence to beat Offer with just under ten minutes remaining.
The comeback looked on as UQFC continued to fight hard but any late hopes would be ultimately dashed as first Brooke Matheson and then Persson with her hat-trick sealed the Fire’s passage to next week’s semi-final against Peninsula Power. The Fire and Power securing finals victories away from home against higher-ranked opponents.
UQFC 1 (Greta Bodey 81’) v Sunshine Coast Fire 4 (Sofie Persson 17’, 55’, 90+3’, Brooke Matheson 90+1’)