Fury outlast Gaels 3-2 in Central Semifinal

Ottawa Fury News Release - www.ottawafury.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

LAFAYETTE, IN -- The Ottawa Fury defeated the Chicago Gaels 3-2 this evening at Purdue University in Lafayette, IL in the first semifinal of the W-League Central Conference Championship.

Both Jodie Taylor and Shay Powell took their season tally to 12 goals this evening as a Taylor brace and a single from Powell saw the Fury past the Gaels 3-2.

The Fury will play the hosts FC Indiana, who defeated the Lavel Cometes 5-1 in the second semifinal, in the Conference Final on Sunday at Purdue, Kick off 6:00 PM. The winner moves onto the W-League Championships in Virginia Beach.

The Fury settled quickly into their possession game but it was the Gaels who almost took the early lead in the 10th minute. A brilliant save from Fury keeper Erin Reinke kept the scoreline blank as she pushed a great shot from Emily Maynard over the bar in the ninth minute.

At the other end Courtney Wetzel broke through the Fury defence and only a desperate tackle from Danielle Mutters prevented the Fury midfielder from opening the score. Mutters received a yellow card for bringing down Wetzel. No quarter was asked or given in a first half where Rachael Axon stood out for the Fury and Emily Maynard made some fine jinking runs at the Fury defence.

Two goals within three minutes of each other broke the game open for the Ottawa Fury. The Fury were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box in the 12th minute and Jodie Taylor shot directly past Erin Kane in the Gaels net to give the Fury a deserved lead.

Three minutes later it was Shay Powell who latched onto a fine pass from Lisa-Marie Woods, rounded keeper Kane and scored from an acute angle.

With Taylor and Powell giving the Gaels defence all sorts of trouble with their pace, Ottawa looked to be moving along comfortably.

Now for the only time in the game, the Gaels would fight their way back into the contest. In the 25th minute, a Gaels free kick into the danger area was not cleared definitively by the Fury and the ball fell to Lauren Sprecht, who volleyed the ball past Reinke to narrow the Fury lead to 2-1.

The Fury fought back and after rounding two defenders with ease in the 37th minute, a desperate tackle was required to keep Taylor off the team sheet.

The Gaels would have another scare just before the half when Erin Kane was caught well out of her penalty area by Lisa-Marie Woods, whose goal bound lob was headed off the line by an alert Gaels defender.

The Fury started the second half brightly. Powell had two shots in quick succession, one narrowly wide of the target and the other saved well by Kane.

In the 62nd minute, Jodie Taylor restored the Fury to two-goal cushion. Taylor burst through the center of the Gaels defence and was hauled down in the penalty area. Taylor took the kick herself and scored easily to make the score 3-1.

Rachael Axon and Courtney Wetzel continued to run the midfield for the Fury, but for the second time, the resilient Gaels would bounce back and force a penalty kick when Zoe Avner brought a halt to a run down the right. Emily Maynard took the spot kick and converted easily.

The Fury played out five anxious minutes as the Gaels pushed players forward to try and secure the equalizer. However, the Fury regained its composure and saw out the remaining minutes to earn, on the balance of play, a much deserved 3-2 victory for the Fury and a spot in the Central Conference Final. The Fury season record now stands at 14-1-0.

The winner of the Central Conference final will play for the W-League Championship in the Championship tournament being held in Virginia Beach, VA. The Pali Blues have already qualified for the Finals as 2008 W-League regular season champions and they will be joined in Virginia by the Central, Eastern and Western Conference playoff winners.

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