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Calder United moves into NPLW Victoria Grand Final

Calder United Western United Academy

Calder United will compete for a second consecutive NPLW Victoria Championship after winning through to the Grand Final.

A 1-0 win over FV Emerging in Saturday’s semi-final booked Calder’s place in the decider, where it will meet Bulleen Lions after they stunned second-placed Heidelberg United in their semi-final.

Playing in the NPLW finals for the first time, FV Emerging came out of the blocks firing and nearly took the lead in the opening minutes, with Montanna Mathews clearing a shot from a corner off the goal line.

Emerging continued to hold possession and look to get on the front foot, but Calder’s outstanding defence remained resolute to keep them at bay.

The only goal of the game came in the 14th minute – a blistering counter-attack which saw all of Calder’s front three combine to create the goal.

Stacey Papadopoulos did brilliantly to intercept a ball in midfield, beat a couple of players via a deflected ball from Melissa Taranto and find Aleksandra Sinclair out on the left-hand side.

Finding a nice pocket of space on the wing, Sinclair had time to measure a delightful right-footed cross in between the two centre-backs and Raquel Deralas did the rest.

The No.10’s first touch got the ball under control, the second with her head evaded an oncoming defender and the third lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

The remainder of the first half played out in a similarly tense fashion to the opening 15 minutes as Calder repelled Emerging’s advances and fashioned a couple of half chances at the other end.

A golden opportunity fell Calder’s way to add to the lead early in the second half when Emma Robers played Taranto through on goal, but nobody was in the box to meet her cut-back when she might have chosen to shoot instead.

FV Emerging pushed forward in search of an equaliser and the game opened up as a result, with Calder seeing a couple of chances on the counter fail to bear fruit while Alyssa Dall’Oste played her part in goal.

Ultimately, despite Emerging’s best efforts, Calder’s extra experience and quality told as Mark Torcaso’s side held on for a 1-0 win.

A third Championship in the club’s history will be on the line on Sunday September 11, with further details to be confirmed during the week.

Photos via Jack Dilks