Steely Sheffield FC strike late to win FA WPL play-off final

Sunday 24 May 2015
Sheffield FC Ladies

Lisa Giampalma was the hero for Sheffield, as her last-gasp winner fired her side into the Women’s Super League at the expense of Portsmouth.

The FA Women’s Premier League play-off clash looked as though it would end goalless, with neither side able to break the deadlock heading into stoppage time.

Sheffield FC 1-0 Portsmouth

FA Women's Premier League
Play-off final
Home of Football Ground, Dronfield
Sunday 24 May 2015

But up popped midfielder Giampalma in the 92nd minute to take the ball around Courtney Trodd and coolly slot her side to glory.

Within the first 10 minutes Portsmouth captain Charley Wilson went close to giving her side the lead, charging down a short back pass from Lynn Goodman.

The ball ricocheted off the striker and towards goal but was cleared comfortably off the line by Danielle Cox.

Sheffield threatened when Emma Johnson put Giampalma through one-on-one with a perfectly weighted pass, but despite clearing Trodd in the Portsmouth goal, her lob landed on top of the netting.

Sheffield looked dangerous once again in first-half stoppage time when Jodie Michalska’s curling effort from 30 yards arced towards the top corner, but Trodd pulled off an amazing diving save to push it around the post.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half Michalska had another golden opportunity to give Sheffield the lead, but her shot from skipper Carla Ward’s flick-on was held well by Trodd.

Sheffield manager Helen Mitchell celebrates with Lisa Giampalma and Jodie Michalska

Sheffield manager Helen Mitchell, centre, celebrates with Lisa Giampalma and Jodie Michalska

After 68 minutes Johnson wasted the best chance of the game when she took the ball around Trodd, but put the ball wide from a yard out.

Sheffield keeper Claire Wallhead then kept her side in the game with a fantastic save in the 75th minute, when Lucy Quinn tried to lob her from inside the area.                                                                                                                          

Wallhead then made a game-changing save five minutes later, pushing the ball away from Wilson’s ferocious shot from point-blank range.

Substitute Abbie McIver was clean through on goal with five minutes left to play, and had a chance to give Sheffield a well-deserved lead, but her effort from just outside the area floated over the crossbar.

But Sheffield delivered the telling blow when Michalska played in Giampalma, who took the ball around Trodd effortlessly and rolled the ball into the back of an empty Portsmouth goal. 

Sheffield FC (4-5-1): Claire Wallhead Danielle Cox, Billie Murphy, Ellie Gilliat, Lisa Giampalma, Carla Ward, Kerry Parkin, Lynn Goodman, Amy Beanland, Jodie Michalska; Emma Johnson.

Subs: Abbie McIver for Beanland 67.

Subs not used: Nikki Hogg, Aimee Johnson, Suzanne Davies,

Bookings: Billie Murphy. 

Portsmouth (4-4-2): Courtney Trodd, Jess Frampton, Nadine Bazan, Molly Clark, Eilidh Currie, Ellie Bloomfield, Sarah Kempson, Shannon Sievwright, Lucy Quinn, Charley Wilson, Gemma Hillier.

Subs: Tiff Taylor for Bazan 60; Liz O'Callahan for Bloomfield 89).

Subs not used: Jodie Goodall,

Bookings: Jess Frampton

Attendance: 308

Referee: L Rashid

At Home of Football Ground, Dronfield