PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Wallsend 3 (Jenna Kingsley 2, Briony Halcombe) defeated Adamstown 2 (Jasmin Courtenay, Clare Cummings) at Johnston Park, West Wallsend yesterday. Half-time: 1-1.
Wallsend holds an advantage heading into the second leg of the Herald Women’s Premier League semi-finals after a 3-2 win over Rosebud at Johnston Park yesterday.
The score was locked at two-all with 30 minutes still to play before Briony Halcombe provided an injury-time match-winner.
It was the first time this season that the Red Devils had beaten the minor premiers but the hosts never looked in doubt.
They led 1-0 after Jenna Kingsley charged into the box to score from close range in the 25th minute. Jasmin Courtenay evened the ledger up the other end of the field 10 minutes later after some good build-up work by Rhali Dobson.
The scored was locked at one-all at the break but Kingsley put Wallsend in front again early in the second half when she scored off a free kick from outside the 18-yard box.
The kick took a deflection off an Adamstown player before going in.
Adamstown captain Clare Cummings pushed forward and looked dangerous on several occasions before she levelled the score with a close-range header in the 60th minute.
Both teams had chances to break the deadlock before Halcombe found the back of the net. Her first shot was parried back into play by a diving Bec Miller then the Wallsend striker finished the rebound into an open goal.
Miller and her opposite Bek Saunders both made several crucial saves late in the match.
Adamstown coach Ben Herron was “not too fazed” by the result and felt confident they would lift at home in the return leg.
“Today we probably played five out of 10 and they played 10 out of 10,” Herron said post-match.
“They definitely can’t get any better but we’ve got a lot of improvement. We made a lot of fundamental mistakes and the girls made some ordinary decisions today.
“But I’m not concerned. That was their grand final – they’ve already sung the team song halfway through the semi-final. There’s still 90 minutes to go.”
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston was thrilled with the effort of his team and the result.
“I think overall the game was a good advertisement for women’s football,” Hingston said.
“We wanted immediate pressure and constant pressure today and I felt we did that. We kept Rhali [Dobson] quiet, which was important because you give them a chance and they score.
“I thought the way we moved the ball today and the way we played was first class.”
Hingston praised the efforts of leader Keely Gawthrop and Shannon Day, saying it was “their best performance of the year”.
But Hingston was not getting ahead of himself.
“It’s only half-time but we’re pretty excited after the way we played and we won’t change too much going into the second game,” he said.
“We are just happy to compete with them; I think the biggest thing for us was to beat Merewether in the last round. That gave us a lot of confidence.”
The two sides meet again on Saturday at Adamstown Oval with the winner on aggregate across the two legs progressing to the grand final at Weston on August 21.
Merewether v Warners Bay at Adamstown was postponed and rescheduled for tomorrow night. First grade kick-off at 7.45pm.