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Balcatta celebrate their Top Four Cup win over Queens Park. Photos by Football West/FotoEnzo
Keeper Dal Busco is Balcatta’s spot-kick hero
Report by Edward Nixon
Keeper Gabby Dal Busco was the spot-kick hero as Balcatta upset Queens Park to win the Women’s Top Four Cup.
Having saved Katrina Jukic’s regulation time spot-kick to salvage a 0-0 draw and take the game to penalties, Dal Busco delivered again with four more saves to guide Balcatta to a 2-0 shoot-out win.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates – we’ve worked so hard during the year,” Dal Busco said.
“It’s still a bit surreal because Queens Park are a quality side, but we really brought it to them today and I can’t fault the girls’ work ethic during the game. It was fantastic.”
With the win at their own Grindleford Reserve home Balcatta inflicted Queens Park’s first loss of the season and denied them the Treble, much to the disappointment of coach Ben Anderton.
“All credit to Balcatta – they defended really hard today,” he said.
“It’s definitely one that got away. I feel for the girls, it’s going to be difficult to handle that loss, but it gives us more motivation to come back next season stronger.”
In a first half of few opportunities, it was underdogs Balcatta who looked the more likely early on against a nervy-looking Queens Park.
Having reached the final by defeating Northern Redbacks last weekend, Balcatta almost took a surprise lead just 18 minutes in as Queens Park survived a frantic goalline scramble.
Unbeaten throughout the entire season, Queens Park struggled to settle into the contest, with a strong defensive display from captain Angelique Stannett needed to keep Balcatta at bay.
It took until the half-hour mark for the champions to register their first real attempt on goal, with leading scorer Jukic calling Dal Busco into action.
The close call clicked Queens Park into gear as they almost hit the front just minutes later when Stacey Learmont set up Tia Stonehill, who forced a strong save from Dal Busco.
Balcatta forward Gemma Craine went close to giving the home side the lead just before the break, but her shot was parried by Dannielle Cornish.
Early in the second half Queens Park winger Jamie-Lee Gale had a great chance to put her side ahead but her shot was well saved by Dal Busco.
With their tails up, Queens Park were awarded a penalty after Jukic was brought down. The competition’s top scorer stepped up but saw her spot-kick saved by an outstretched Dal Busco to keep the game level.
Jukic was almost made to pay for her miss immediately as Balcatta’s Ashleigh Panaia went close just two minutes later.
With time running out, Craine and Panaia both had chances for Balcatta before Queens Park full back Bec Bennett headed over with the final opportunity of the game.
With no extra time, the game went straight to penalties where Dal Busco took over.
The Balcatta shot-stopper saved all four penalties she faced, including one from Stonehill to secure the cup.
Caitlin Doeglas and Christiane Astrop were the only players to convert their penalties during a tense shoot-out.
Queens Park 0
(Balcatta won 2-0 on penalties)
Sunday, September 30
Referee: Jess Byrd
Assistant referees: John Westmerland, Paul Mills
Queens Park: 1. Danielle CORNISH, 2. Angelique STANNETT, 6. Jamie-Lee GALE, 8. Sadie LAWRENCE, 9. Tia STONEHILL, 10. Nicole CAMPBELL, 12. Kathryn SCHUBERT (21. Bec DiCarlo 87’), 13. Bec BENNETT, 22. Jaymee GIBBONS (20. Jamie DUNCANSON 87’), 23. Katrina JUKIC, 31. Stacey LEARMONT
Substitues not used: 3. Grace SMITH, 18. Samatha GEDDES, 19. Molly BOLTON
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Balcatta: 1. Gabby DAL BUSCO, 4. Cassandra HARVEY, 5. Kim McCARTNEY, 6. Monique GODDING, 7. Epril NOSSENT, 8. Christiane ASTORP, 10. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 11. Gemma CRAINE, 13. Tessa DE LEO, 14. Ashleigh PANAIA, 17. Nadia HARVEY (15. Kizanne MULDER 87’)
Substitues not used: 2. Monique D’OPERA, 3. Tahlia D’OPERA, 9. Alanah VERONI, 12. Baxter THEW
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil