It’s early November but final match of the 2020 season will finally arrive this weekend. What better way to wrap up the year but with a Statewide Cup final. So sit back and relax, here’s all you need to know about the encounter.
There’s a touch of inevitability Olympia Warriors and Clarence Zebras would finish the 2020 season battling each other for the Women’s Statewide trophy. These are two clubs who have consistently flown high this season. The Warriors only stumbled against the Zebras in their first encounter. While Clarence have proved more faliable, picking up a couple draws in addition to back to back losses to the Warriors, but there’s little doubt they’ve been on the State’s second best team this year.
A look back on what this clash has provided this season provides an indicator of what to expect. Out of the three matches in the regular WSL season there’s been two very different approaches.
The early rounds at Wentworth Park was full of conservative and patient football. Clarence Zebras decided to pitch a tent in their own 18 yard box and stubbornly battened the hatches. An early goal in the first of the matches reaped reward for the home side. However on the second time of trying Olympia had clocked onto the situation, with their attacking prowess finding enough opportunities to both win and comfortably look like the dominant side.
In the latest duel between the pair both ends of the field were in use throughout the match. Olympia shifted the higher press from the Zebras with long balls to their waiting attackers, who have shown all season their prowess in 1v1 situations both against defenders and goalkeepers. While Clarence Zebras matched Olymipa’s previously dominant midfield, but couldn’t find the clear cut chances to score.
A couple factors will influence the final 2020 match up between Olympia and Clarence Zebras. Firstly this is a one off Cup final. The match can, and likely will be, won in 90 minutes. Add on no unpredictable shifty Wentworth Park wind and the football to expect looks a lot more like the round 12 encounter at Warrior Park. Attacking, goal hungry football where defences will need to be at their tidy best to not concede dead ball situations, of which both teams have the ballers to capitalise.
Another factor is what KGV brings. The artificial surface was the home to many ex-Hobart Zebras, who are now at Clarence. While the sheer size of the pitch lends itself to assist the fittest side, which could go to the Warriors favour being the younger team. One thing the pitch doesn’t lend itself to well is parking the bus. It’s achievable, but takes considerable effort when either side can easily pick out sweeping, switching balls to shift the defence out of place and find the gaps.
Olympia arrives with the mental edge of the Women’s Super League title, as well as the ability to simply turn the tap on and find a goal at will. Clarence Zebras have been the only side this season to come close to derailing the Warriors winning ways, in contrast the ability to find goals has been a grind at times.
Ultimately the Women’s Statewide Cup is the final silverware of the season up for grabs. Both teams can win it. Recent history suggests a tight encounter with Olympia Warriors the favourites and Clarence Zebras the underdogs.