Boomers upset Albury City to claim the AWFA senior women’s cup final

Boomers stunned AWFA senior women's league champions Albury City 1-0 in a hard-fought cup final at Jelbart Park on Sunday.

In what was the ninth cup final meeting in 10 years between the two powerhouses of the competition, Boomers held their nerve to claim their 11th cup title.

Maddy Harris put the underdogs in front in the ninth minute after a brilliant piece of build-up play to leave Albury City on the back foot.

City had their fair share of chances for the rest of the contest, but the Boomers’ defence, led by the experienced Gemma Noordewier, stood tall to deny them.

Bridget McDiarmid had a narrow miss and Sam McIntosh hit the crossbar with a header in the second half, which summed up City’s day.

Boomers’ coach Stephen Hayes said his side had plenty of belief heading into the final considering how close the last meeting was.

“That being said, these cup finals are completely different ball games,” Hayes said.

“It’s the luck of the chances on the day and being able to take the limited chances you might have.

“We managed to get one in early which took the pressure off a little bit, but to Albury City’s credit, they kept working away to try close the gap and equalise.

“Early on we were up their end considerably, we just needed a person to take an extra step to get close enough and put it across the line.

“All of a sudden, three girls combined to get a bit of football going down that end and put Maddy through which made a huge difference.

“They threw four forward to go after it and we had to absorb that pressure.”

Hayes was delighted with the performance of goalkeeper Sam Bushnell on the big stage.

“She was very calm despite the apparent nerves she had,” Hayes said.

“She did really well in her first year and that’s her first final, so to make a cup final is even better.”

Harris was named the player of the final for her match-winning efforts.

“It was a real team goal with all the pressure in the first 10 minutes, lucky enough I was in the right place at the right time really,” Harris said.

“It really gave us strength for the rest of the game.”

“We had nothing to lose because we’d lost both games to them throughout the season.”

Albury City co-coach Logan Rickard couldn’t fault the effort of his players.

“The early goal hurt us, but like I’ve said all year, they’re the most gifted bunch of girls I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“It was one of the few times we’d started off behind this year, but there was extra nerves today.

“Players that normally play out of their skin were a bit reserved, but at the end of the day, I’m still really proud of their efforts.”