Lions FC 7 (Gunston 2′; Connors 12′, 48′, 70′; Riding 40′, 64′; Hecher 45′)
Western Pride 1 (OG (Thompson) 65′)
Lions FC made history on the 100th anniversary of the first ever women’s game of football in Australia, by claiming the inaugural Kappa Women’s Super Cup Final with a dominant victory over Western Pride at CTM Stadium.
A hat trick for American striker Shea Connors helped the Lionesses to a second title in 2021 following the best possible start when Amy Gunston fired her side ahead in the second minute.
Mercurial midfielder Mariel Hecher was played in on goal but saw her effort parried away by Pride keeper Bianca Warrener but only into the path of Gunston who smashed in the follow-up.
Lions doubled their lead ten minutes later when Connors beat the offside trap to latch onto a neat ball from Hecher. The NPLW Golden Boot rounding Warrener before sliding the ball in from a narrow angle for her first of the night.
Pride went close to reducing the deficit midway through the half when Abbey Lloyd unleashed from long range and almost caught Coco Majstorovic off her line but the Lions stopper managed to get a hand to the ball and tip it away.
At the other end Warrener was called into action to deny efforts from Tegan Riding and a Mariel Hecher free kick whilst Majstorovic produced another great save to deny April Gleeson from heading in from a corner just before the half hour.
The contest was all but put to bed though in the final five minutes of the half as Lions struck twice.
Holly McQueen picking out Connors in space inside the Pride half who then delivered a sublime ball over the top into the box which landed at the feet of Riding who made no mistake from ten yards out.
Hecher then grabbed Lions fourth on the stroke of half time when picking up a firmly hit pass from Meisha Westland and striking a half volley past Warrener at her near post.
Westland quickly set up Lions fifth soon after the break, feeding in Connors who again rounded Warrener before passing the ball into an empty net on 48 minutes.
Further opportunities fell the way of the Lionesses who should have further increased the scoreline including a minute after Connors second when Riding was played through one on one with Warrener but fired harmlessly over.
Gunston earned her side a penalty shortly after as the Lionesses were now showing their ruthlessness with relentless forays forward. Leigh Alexander felling the Lions striker as she strode into the box. However, Megan Price let Pride off by dragging her spot kick wide of the upright.
Eventually though pressure would tell as the Lionesses made it six shortly after the hour mark with a text book move starting from the back. A deft touch from Teagan Thompson releasing Hecher down the left. The Brazilian’s cross drifting over Warrener and striking the bar before falling kindly for Riding to smash in from just a couple of yards out.
Pride did respond immediately after though and earned a consolation goal when a mix up in the Lions six yard box saw Thompson have the last touch into her own net but the advantage was restored five minutes later when a neat run from Gunston, who was a standout on the night, saw her lob the ball over an onrushing Warrener from wide right with Connors racing on to the ball at the far post to guide it home and complete her ninth hat trick of the 2021 campaign.
Warrener pulled off a good save to deny Thompson shorty before the end but the night belonged to Rob Askew and his side as they became the first team to have their name on the brand new Kappa Women’s Super Cup silverware.
The only sour note of the night coming through a potential ACL injury to Holly McQueen which will rule her out for the remainder of the season and potentially the upcoming W-League season too.
Majstorovic (gk), McQueen, Ward, Hecher, Thompson, Riding, O’Keeffe, Connors, Gunston, Price, Westland.
Subs: Shuttleworth (rgk), Merrick, Kruger, Arendse, Rink, Arendse.
Warrener (gk), Alexander, Brimelow, Hodgkinson, Gregson, Lloyd, Krautz, Gleeson, Esquivel, Perrin, McElligott.
Subs: Rollino, Van Laarfhoven, White, Tuson, Curran, McLean (rgk).
Referee: Nick McKay