VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Warners Bay 0 defeated by South Wallsend 1 (Alesha Clifford) at John Street Oval on Sunday.
Half-time: South Wallsend led 1-0.
South Wallsend became the first team this season to keep Warners Bay scoreless but a 1-nil victory wasn’t enough, with Warners Bay booking a spot in the Grand Final after winning on the ‘away goals’ rule in tough conditions at John Street Oval.
The hosts dominated early on and created plenty of scoring opportunities but had clear-cut chances on goal go begging.
The Wolves surprised spectators in the 19th minute when Alesha Clifford chipped Panthers keeper Maddi Latter for an early lead.
From there, South Wallsend continued to dominate and looked likely to book their spot in the Grand Final, but Warners Bay dug deep and scrambled defensively to deny them.
On the park, Kalista Hunter and Erin Wilson were exceptional for the Wolves while Corinne Krupa and Toria Campbell played a key role in helping their side fight off a remarkable comeback.
South Wallsend coach Brad Parkes was disappointed not to get a result after a terrific effort from his side over the two legs.
“We are pretty shattered and disappointed because I thought we probably deserved to be in the Grand Final but if we can’t put goals away, we can’t go through,” Parkes said.
“It was a great effort from the girls and I can’t fault anyone because I thought we did more than enough over the two games to get a result, but I guess that’s football.
“Warners Bay have been the best team all year and over the two games, I thought we proved we are just as good if not better, so to not get a reward is pretty tough.
“Consistency hurt us throughout the season with not getting players on the park, but we knew if we got to the finals and had our best team available we would give any team a run for their money.
“I’m just really proud of the effort they have put in all year, but it just wasn’t meant to be this year. I know we will be just as competitive next season so we are looking forward to it.” Parkes said.
Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis was relieved to make it through to the Grand Final after a high-pressure game.
“I think the fact that we had the upper-hand going into the game, and them having nothing to lose, meant they were going to throw everything at us and they did,” Davis said.
“I thought our defence was great and our backline did really well.
“It’s obviously a big relief because we were under the pump and they kept pushing players forward which put a lot of pressure on us defensively, but I thought we handled it really well.
“We spoke about going forward and attacking but it was the same as last weekend, where the pressure kept coming and we fell into a more defensive role. But we held on and I’m really proud of the girls and their effort.”
Merewether United 1 (Tamara Nash) drew New Lambton Eagles 1 (Georgia Amess) at Myamblah Oval on Saturday.
Merewether kept their hopes of becoming back-to-back champions alive, with a draw and 1-nil away victory over New Lambton sending them through to their third Grand Final.
New Lambton had the best of the chances in the opening half and looked certain to score when Carson McGovern cut back and slotted it into the box, finding United keeper Alison Logue instead. Hannah Batten and Tara Andrews both had cracking shots on goal, but Logue denied them both times.
Merewether scored ten minutes into the second half when Tamara Nash slotted one in the back of the net against the run of play. New Lambton equalised shortly after through Georgia Amess and pressed for the match-winner but came up short.
Merewether coach Cassandra Koppen was pleased with her sides performance and thought they improved a lot on last weekend’s lacklustre performance.
“I think we were a lot more composed and created more opportunities than we did last week which was pleasing,” said Koppen.
“Obviously it was always going to be hard to keep the lead in the game because New Lambton were pushing players forward, but I think we did really well to keep them out for most of the game.
“I think we stuck to our game plan and when we scored one goal, we could of got two or three in quick succession. Once we scored that goal, it was always going to be tough holding them out but I was really happy with us keeping our cool and playing it smart.”
New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton said his side deserved a result but was happy with his side’s performance in the finals considering it’s their maiden season in the competition.
“It was a tight match and quite tense towards the finish but I do think we were the better side,” Hamilton said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t take those chances and even though we put Merewether under a lot of pressure particularly in the second half, we just couldn’t find that second goal to send us through which was disappointing.
“We definitely created more chances than them and we were completely on top of them in the second half but then they scored off the run of play. We were still in it and we pushed them right to the end but couldn’t find the equaliser.
“We had a fantastic season in terms of being able to nurture young players and it was great to get them on the park.
“We are a really young squad with most of our players having had little or no first-grade experience so our future is already looking bright for next season.
“We only had four losses in the regular season and when you think about us making the semi-finals and pushing Merewether to the finish, I think that’s a big positive for us and something we can take into next season.”
U20’s, 17’s, 14’s Results:
20s: Warners Bay beat Adamstown 3-0, Merewether drew Mid North Coast 0-0.
17s: Thornton 5 beat Adamstown 2, Wallsend 4 beat Mid North Coast 1.
14s: Merewether 2 drew Adamstown 1, Mid North Coast 3 beat Wallsend 1.