Merewether 3 (Jamee Ellis, Sophie Jones, Leticia Quinlan) defeated Valentine 2 (Cassidy Davis, Hannah Brewer). Half-time: Merewether led 2-1. Played yesterday at Magic Park.
By the clock
12th minute: Merewether score to lead 1-0. Jamee Ellis scored left-footed free kick from 30 metres out.
15th minute: Valentine score to level 1-1. Hannah Brewer chipped Merewether’s defence to find Cassidy Davis ghosting into the box for a close-range header into goal.
17th minute: Merewether score to lead 2-1. Sophie Jones won the ball in the middle of the park before beating the Valentine defence, driving to the edge of the 18-yard box and firing a shot across the face of goal and into far corner.
51st minute: Valentine score to level 2-2. An unmarked Hannah Brewer blasted a long-range shot past a diving United goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone and into bottom left corner of the net.
83rd minute: Merewether score to lead 3-2. Jane McDonald beats a Valentine defender in the corner and sends a cross from the sideline to meet Leticia Quinlan in full flight at the far post for a close-range tap-in.
Merewether United beat Valentine 3-2 in the Herald Women’s Premier League Grand Final at Magic Park yesterday to complete a history-making season.
United lost just one match on the way to clinching the Premiership for the first time this year.
They then became the first club to capture the Premiership-Championship double since the elite competition began in 2009 by winning their maiden Herald WPL Grand Final appearance yesterday.
The game was played in wet, slippery conditions making it particularly difficult for the goalkeepers.
Valentine had the better of the opening stages but Merewether opened the scoring in the 12th minute when defender Jamee Ellis scored from a well-taken free kick 30 metres out.
Phoenix wasted little time before retaliating and levelled the score in the 15th minute when Hannah Brewer chipped United’s defence and Cassidy Davis ghosted into the box to head home from close range.
Merewether regained the lead in the 17th minute when Sophie Jones won the ball in enemy territory, beat Valentine’s defence then drove to the edge of the 18-yard box and blasted a shot across the face of goal and into the net.
Both sides had chances on goal saved by the opposing keepers as the rest of the first half to and froed and United held a one-goal buffer at the break.
The second half was just seven minutes old when an unmarked Brewer shot from range and beat a diving Merewether shot-stopper Imogene Tomasone in wet and slippery conditions.
Phoenix then had the better of the opportunities but were unable to show the ruthlessness of the previous week in their 8-0 annihilation of Adamstown in the semi-final.
Davis had a one-on-one with Tomasone tipped over the bar and Brewer and MJ Mason both shot wide of the goal with only Tomasone to beat.
Then it was Merewether’s longest-serving player and midfield maestro Jane McDonald who sent a perfect cross from the sideline into Valentine’s box to find Leticia Quinlan in full flight for a far post tap in.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen was ecstatic with the hard-fought historic win.
“It was what we have come to expect every time we play Valo, which is an incredibly tight game,” Koppen said.
“We spoke at half-time about their ability to turn a goal we score into a goal of their own, which they did just after half-time.
“But credit to our girls. We had to adjust our shape in the end to give ourselves more width and to stabilise the midfield, and we got the winning goal within a few minutes of that.
“Jane McDonald did an amazing job against some really experienced midfielders today, Sophie Jones scored a brilliant individual goal and Sarah Halvorsen did a great job on Cassidy Davis – she gave her no time or space.”
Valentine coach Cas Wright said she felt “we were the better side but did not take our opportunities”.
Phoenix captain Nadja Squires used her post-match speech to honour ill teammate Sophie Stapleford.
“Congratulations to Merewether on the Premiership this year, they deserved it, and they pushed us for the whole 90 minutes today,” Squires said.
“This year was not about us, it was about our teammate Sophie who has a brain tumour. We played every game for her and were honoured to be here playing for her today.”
Football Mid North Coast def. by Valentine FC 1 (Carson McGovern)
South Wallsend JSC 0 (2) def. by Adamstown Rosebud JFC 0 (4)
Thornton FC 0 (5) def. Football Mid North Coast 0 (4)