Roar wins in shootout

Queensland Roar has been forced to fight hard for its spot in the inaugural Westfield W-League final, defeating Sydney FC 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the two sides were locked at 1-1 following extra time in front of a bumper crowd of 1,891 at Ballymore Stadium.

Queensland Roar has been forced to fight hard for its spot in the inaugural Westfield W-League final, defeating Sydney FC 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the two sides were locked at 1-1 following extra time in front of a bumper crowd of 1,891 at Ballymore Stadium.

Nicola Bolger took Sydney's second penalty shot and failed to find the back of the net, while the Roar were always on target until Ellen Beaumont sprayed her attempt, the fifth and what would have been match-winning for the home side, high over the crossbar.

There threatened to be another twist in the tale, but Roar keeper Casey Dumont, who herself slotted the Roar's first penalty in the shootout, made a scrambling save to keep out Sarah Walsh.

Karla Reuter then poked her shot past Nikola Deiter, who had played an excellent match in goals for the visitors, triggering jubilant celebrations from the Roar as they embraced the international.

Reuter was still in disbelief after the game.

"I think I'll struggle to get to sleep tonight, it was a tough game and the girls stuck through it and that is what tour team is about," she said.

"I guess once you're up there you just got to think it's like a training drill, you don't tend to think about it and luckily for me it went in."

The Roar now take on Canberra United in the final next weekend, the only W-League side to have taken any points away from the table-topping Roar in the regular season.

"Canberra is going to be a tough game … we're a bit exhausted at the moment but come Saturday we'll all be excited, pumped and ready to go."

It was a tough result for a gallant Sydney outfit, which had been reduced to 10 players at the 74th minute mark.

The Roar grabbed the lead in the 29th minute thanks to Tameka Butt before super-sub Linda O'Neill squared the game up for Sydney midway through the second half, just one minute after she entered the fray.

O'Neill's entrance and ensuing goal triggered an eventful five minutes of football where the home side had a golden chance to take the lead after earning a penalty shot from a Danielle Brogan handball in the box.

Lauren Colthorpe stepped up to take the shot, but Deiter was able to collect her low strike.

There was to be further drama, with the visitors reduced to 10 women straight after the penalty shot when Danielle Small was handed a straight red card from referee Jacqui Melksham.

Both sides searched desperately for a winner, culminating in a nerve-racking five minutes of extra time where Sydney and Queensland both came close.

It was Sydney who had the better opportunity, with Reuter having to make a brave sliding tackle in the penalty box to prevent Sarah Walsh from finding the back of the net.

Both sides continued to look dangerous up front in extra time, with Brooke Spence nailing the crossbar for the Roar in the seventh minute before Walsh thoroughly tested Dumont on the rebound.

The hosts had the better of the first period of extra time as they regularly put Sydney under siege, with Lana Harch, Ellen Beaumont and Kate McShea all unable to put away good chances.

It was a similar story in the second stanza of extra time, with a good ball from Courtney Beutel setting Butt up perfectly in the 113th minute, but she failed to pull the trigger after screaming into the box at pace.

A minute later the visitors had a rare opportunity to take the lead, with Kylie Ledbrook's shot just clearing the crossbar.

The Roar continued to fight desperately, but Deiter was always up to the task, with a diving save in the 120th minute that kept out a curling Harch strike particularly notable, but in the end it was no to no avail.

Earlier the game started tensely, with neither side able to hit top gear before Butt, looking to ignite the home side in a daring run down the middle, was felled by Kelly Golebiowski.

Butt then collected Elise Kellond-Knight's free kick on the cusp of the penalty box, dribbled into the danger zone and calmly fired under Deiter.

Spurred on by the goal, the home side continued to press and Deiter was forced to make a number of tricky saves, with Colthorpe and Alicia Ferguson both going close for the hosts.

Just as it appeared the Roar were taking control of the match, Sydney started to wrestle back possession and they finished the first half the stronger side, with Kylie Ledbrook and Joanne Burgess testing Dumont before half time.

The Roar suffered a blow four minutes into the second half when Ferguson was taken from the ground on a stretcher, she played no further part in the contest.

The second stanza started relatively slowly before soon coming to life with the equaliser, missed penalty and the send-off.

Match Details

Queensland Roar 1 (Tameka Butt 29-) Sydney FC 1 (Linda O-Neill 71-) (1-1 aet. Queensland Roar win 5-4 on penalties)

Sunday 11 January 2008 Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane Crowd: 1,891

Referee: Jacqui Melksham Assistant Referees: Rebecca Durcau & Renae Coghill Fourth Official: Prue Donohoe

Queensland Roar line-up: 1.Casey DUMONT (gk), 2.Kate McSHEA (c), 3.Karla REUTER, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5.Brooke SPENCE (15.Stephanie LATHAM 106-), 8.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9.Alicia FERGUSON (19.Ellen BEAUMONT 47-), 10.Lana HARCH, 13.Tameka BUTT, 16.Lauren COLTHORPE, 18.Courtney BEUTEL.

Substitutes not used: 11.Ruth BLACKBURN, 14.Vedrana POPOVIC, 20.Lara BOON (gk)

Yellow cards: Tameka Butt 107-. Red Cards: Nil

Sydney FC line-up: 20.Nikola DIETER (gk), 3.Danielle BROGAN, 4.Alesha CLIFFORD, 5.Lisa GILBER (c), 6.Servet UZUNLAR (16.Linda O-NEILL 70-), 8.Jo BURGESS (18.Nicola BOLGER 65-), 10.Kylie LEDBROOK, 15.Jessica SEAMAN, 17.Danielle SMALL, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 22.Kelly GOLEBIOWSKI (9.Sarah WALSH 55-).

Substitutes not used: 1.Rachel COOPER (gk), 2.Samantha SPACKMAN.

Yellow cards: Kelly Golebiowski 29-, Danielle Brogan 75-, Leena Khamis 117-. Red Cards: Danielle Small 78-