2016 finalists Capital Football The JourneyFan

2 teams with similar records
2 teams that have exceeded expectations
a winner takes all game
2 game changing players (1 per side)
a pinch of inter-squad rivalry

Add in

a good sized crowd
an early goal or 2
A potential game changing incident
a solid defensive display
A super sub
the lottery of a penalty shootout

2 teams with similar records 
 Capital & WaiBOP had both won 4 drawn 1 and lost 1 of their 6 games.The meeting between them ended in a 2-2 draw

2 teams that have exceeded expectations 
last season WaiBOP finished 5th and Capital 6th and neither were really expected to make it to the finals this season.

A winner takes all game
 the semi final of the National Women's League

2 game changing players
 Capital have Briar Palmer, WaiBOP ex Football Fern, Helen Arjomandi

WaiBOP's Helen Arjomandi greets Capital's Briar Palmer The JourneyFan

A pinch of inter squad rivalry
 WaiBOP's Serena Murrihy was playing for Capital last season

Add in 

a good size crowd
 despite NZF scheduling the game at the same time as the Men's Stirling Sport Premiership game between Team Wellington and Southern United a pretty decent crowd of 200 turned up, even the mainstream media (DomPost) turned up!

an early goal or 2 
 11 minutes in, slightly against the run of play WaiBOP's Helen Arjomandi spotted Capital keeper Anna Whitman-Wenzel off her line and chipped her from 20 yards out. Not to be outdone 6 minutes later, Capital's Briar Palmer collected a ball from Micheala Robertson and fired a shot across the goal which found the far corner of the net.

A potential game changing incident
 10 minutes into the second half WaiBOP's Leanna Ryan broke through on goal, just outside the penalty area she pushed the ball wide around advancing keeper Whitman-Wenzel, who in turn bought Ryan down, leaving the ref, Debbie Stevens, with no option but to send her off. WaiBOP's Chelsea Elliott scored from the resulting free kick to make it 2-1

A solid defensive display
 Capital reverted to one up front and put in a great shift, it was hard to tell that they only had 10 players on the pitch. At the back Tessa McPherson and Katie Barrot were immense and sub Kennedy Bryant did a brilliant job of subduing the threat of Helen Arjomandi. Emma Main and Jayme-Lee Hunter were brilliant in midfield, in fact the whole Capital team were fantastic, they didn't stop running, when they lost the ball they were chasing it back down, they were backing each other up, they really wanted this win

Super Sub Emily Morison makes it 2-2 The JourneyFan

A super sub 
In Capital's last game against Northern, Emily Morison came on and scored with her first touch, she almost did the same again but the ball sailed over the bar. She did however in the 96th minute, latch on to a brilliant through ball from Michaela Robertson, round the keeper and slot the ball into an empty net. She then had a penalty claim (correctly) turned down as she chased the ball down with WaiBOP keeper Amanda Wilshier in pursuit.

The lottery of a penalty shootout
 lots of people don't like penalty shootouts, but I love them (and I used to be a goalkeeper) the tension, pressure and drama all makes it for me and no one has ever come up with a better idea. Today it was reserve keeper Natasha Ingram that became the hero with 2 great saves that gave Capital a 4-2 win and sends them to Christchurch on Sunday for the final against Canterbury United Pride.

Capital's Natasha Ingram saves Helen Arjomandi's penalty TheJourneyFan

So there is how to make a football cracker. 
While this is all about Capital, credit also goes to WaiBOP who made a game of it, but maybe having made their own version of a football cracker against Northern, winning 3-2 with a last minute goal after being 2-0 down, last week had taken it out of them and today they came up against a team that simply wanted it more

It was a fantastic advert for the women's game, should send a message to NZF that this competition needs to be 2 rounds, and if you are in Christchurch on Sunday get along to English Park to see Capital take on Canterbury United Pride in the final 4pm kick off

Capital celebrate the winner The JourneyFan