PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Wallsend 5 (Jenna Kingsley 2, Lisa Cochrane, Libby Copus-Brown, own goal) beat Merewether 2 (Sarah Halvorsen, Ellie Withers) at Wallsend Oval. Half-time: Wallsend led 2-0.
Wallsend produced a confidence-boosting performance heading into the semi-finals as they outclassed third-placed Merewether 5-2 yesterday and in the process beat a top-three side for the first time this season.
The Red Devils had drawn with all of the sides above them this season but until yesterday had not managed to take three points off any.
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston was impressed with his side’s first-half performance, in particular, describing it as “some of the best football I have seen this season”.
He was particularly pleased with the effort and result considering it was their third game in a week and they had played second-placed Warners Bay on Thursday night.
“It was a good reward for us,” Hingston said. “Probably what made it better was that we had played Thursday night and we only had eight fresh players for this game.”
The hosts led 2-0 at the break after Lisa Cochrane scored a header off a corner and Jenna Kingsley found the back of the net after some good build-up work by Libby Copus-Brown.
Merewether, who were missing steely central defender Jamee Ellis through injury yesterday, conceded an own goal early in the second half before Kingsley scored her second of the match to take the score to 4-0.
Sarah Halvorsen and Ellie Withers both scored for Merewether to bridge the gap to two goals before Wallsend were awarded a late penalty and Copus-Brown scored from the spot.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen said she “won’t be reading much from that result” as they turned their focus to a semi-finals showdown with second-placed Warners Bay.
“Not having Jamee was a big loss for us and very noticeable,” Koppen said. “And I wanted to give everyone a good run going into the finals as well.
“It was probably a good wake-up call for us and from now on in we know there are no second chance,” Koppen concluded.
Warners Bay 4 (Adriana Jones 3, own goal) defeated Mid North Coast 2 (Michaela Elford, Brooke Summers) at Fairmont Gardens. Half-time: Warners Bay led 3-1.
Adriana Jones scored another hat-trick to secure the league’s leading goalscorer honour as Warners Bay came from behind to win 4-2 in Wauchope yesterday.
Warners Bay coach Leon Davis said Mid North Coast “played with extreme enthusiasm” in their final hit-out of the season and took a 1-0 lead through Michaela Elford with the game barely started.
“They out-enthused us the whole game,” Davis said. “They were just having fun out there.
“We were missing a couple and I had to use a completely new backline but we got the result.”
Jones levelled the score around the 15-minute mark then Mid North Coast conceded an own goal before Jones got on the score sheet again and the visitors led 3-1 at the break.
Jones completed her hat-trick in the second half, taking her season tally to 23 goals before Brooke Summers added a second goal for Mid North Coast late in the clash.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker said it had been a long season for his young side but could not fault their effort yesterday.
“Warners Bay were in a bit of cruise mode but we really took it to them,” Baker said.
“The girls stuck it to them today and it was a strong, tough game. It was probably the most physical game I have seen our girls play and they brought a level of football I haven’t seen from them this year.”
Warners Bay finished second on the points table and now meet Merewether, third, in the two-legged home-and-away semi-finals, starting this weekend.
South Wallsend 5 (Naomi Abbott 2, Kirralee Gardiner, Maddy Searl, Kiara Lewis) defeated Thornton 1 (Maddy Dean) at Walker Fields. Half-time: South Wallsend led 3-1.
South Wallsend player-coach Elyce Bates described a 5-1 win over Thornton as “an awesome effort to finish the season”.
Southy struggled with depth and consistency in the first half of the season but have finished the competition with a wet sail and showed they will be a force to be reckoned with next year if they can keep the squad together.
Kiara Lewis opened the scoring with the game barely started when she finished from close range after good build-up work by Erin Wilson down the right wing.
Kirralee Gardiner continued her consistent scoring season by extending the lead to 2-0 just minutes later with another long-range effort which lobbed over the head of Thornton goalkeeper Danielle Redding.
Maddy Searl then scored from a free kick taken just outside the 18-yard box before Thornton closed the gap to 3-1 going into the breakthrough Maddy Dean.
Dean scored from close range but in the process collided with South Wallsend goalkeeper Darcie Bell, who had to go off the field briefly for treatment.
Naomi Abbott scored a second-half brace against her former club to more than seal the win.
“It was a bit scrappy here and there,” Bates said. “But to score nine goals in our last two games, especially when we were struggling to score any goals at the start of the season, was a nice way to finish.”
“We wanted to finish strong and we did that.”
“It’s been a tough season for us but at the end of the day we have done all of the right things for next year.”
Thornton coach Alan Primmer said he would be searching for some experienced players to bolster the squad for next year after a lack of experience told this season.
“We’ll sit down now and go through a few things for next year,” he said. “The biggest thing is that we’ve just got to get numbers.”
“We need to find four or five experienced first-grade players because we competed with most teams; we really just need to add some depth,” Primmer concluded.
Final points: Adamstown 46, Warners Bay 38, Merewether 35, Wallsend 30, South Wallsend 20, Thornton 12, Mid North Coast 2.
Semi-finals: This year the semi-finals take on a two-legged home-and-away format, starting with the first legs this weekend. The winners progress to the grand final. Adamstown play Wallsend (1 v 4) and Warners Bay take on Merewether (2 v 3).
Semi Final Schedule for First Leg:
|Sunday 7th August||First||Wallsend FC (4)||v||Adamstown Rosebud JFC (1)||2:15pm||The Gardens|
|Sunday 7th August||18 years||Warners Bay FC (4)||v||Wallsend FC (1)||12:30pm||The Gardens|
|Sunday 7th August||16 years||Thornton Redbacks FC (4)||v||Adamstown Rosebud JFC (1)||11:00am||The Gardens|
|Sunday 7th August||14 years||Warners Bay FC (4)||v||Football Mid North Coast (1)||9:30am||The Gardens|
|Sunday 7th August||First||Merewether United FC (3)||v||Warners Bay FC (2)||3:15pm||Adamstown Oval No.1|
|Sunday 7th August||18 years||Thornton Redbacks FC (3)||v||South Wallsend (2)||1:30pm||Adamstown Oval No.1|
|Sunday 7th August||16 years||Warners Bay FC (3)||v||Football Mid North Coast (2)||12:00pm||Adamstown Oval No.1|
|Sunday 7th August||14 years||Adamstown Rosebud JFC (3)||v||South Wallsend JSC (2)||10:30pm||Adamstown Oval No.1|