Sunday, August 9, 2pm
Match of the Round
Thornton 3 (Naomi Abbott 2, Sophie Milton) drew Valentine 3 (Maddy Searl 3). Half-time: Thornton led 2-1; played at Thornton Park
Thornton coach Alan Primmer was looking at the positive aspects of a season he said was summed up by their final result yesterday.
The Redbacks twice forfeited the lead before Naomi Abbott produced a last-minute equaliser to give the hosts a 3-3 draw with finals-bound Valentine.
It was the eighth draw for Thornton, who took points off all of the top sides in their second season. They held minor premiers Merewether to 1-1 and second-placed Adamstown to a scoreless draw.
And on many occasions this season they led teams before sharing the points.
“If we are looking at the positives from this season then it is that last year we would have lost those games … at 3-2 down like today we might not have got the equaliser to get the draw,” Primmer said.
“I’m happy with the performance today, I’m just disappointed with the draw.”
Primmer believed his side would be better again for the experience of another season in the women’s top-flight competition.
Sophie Milton gave the hosts a 1-0 lead before Valentine’s Maddy Searl levelled the scored with the first goal of a hat-trick yesterday.
Naomi Abbott found the back of the net to give Thornton a 2-1 ascendancy at half-time but Searl added two more unanswered goals after the break and Phoenix held a 3-2 lead until the final kick of the game.
The final goal took Abbott’s season tally to 21. Primmer said the Redbacks only scored a collective total of 16 goals in their maiden season.
Valentine meet Adamstown in the second-v-third semi-final at Thornton Park on Saturday with the winner advancing to the grand final.
Adamstown 2 (Bella Mackay, Annika D’amico) defeated South Wallsend 1 (Gabbie Deacon). Half-time: Adamstown led 1-0; played at Adamstown No.1 Oval
South Wallsend and Adamstown both played well under-strength yesterday but the quality of the game was not affected.
Rosebud coach John Jiggins has lost a litany of players to season-ending injuries this season plus two valuable imports returned to the United States and key players Lauren Allen and Marley Harrison have gone to the US in recent weeks to play college football.
Adamstown were also without fearless leader Clare Cummings yesterday while South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston again rued the fact he had just seven fresh players to start the game.
Both coaches praised the efforts of younger players brought up to fill in.
“We played really well, I was surprised by how well we played,” Jiggins said.
“We had five 16s players playing for us and two of them scored.”
Adamstown led 1-0 at half-time after Bella Mackay scored then Annika D’amico extended the lead after the break before Gabbie Deacon gave South Wallsend hope with about 15 minutes remaining.
South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston said they had chances to finish with a draw but could not put away another goal.
He rued the fact he struggled to get a team of fresh first-graders on the park this year and made special mention of sixteen-year-old Kylie Hepplewaite, who he said has played a total of 42 games this season.
Adamstown will play Valentine in the second-v-third semi-final at Thornton Park on Saturday.
Mid North Coast 2 (Mel Norup, Niki Bestwick) defeated Warners Bay 1 (Sass Seaborn). Half-time: Warners Bay led 1-0; played at John Street Oval
Mid North Coast clinched fourth place and their first semi-finals appearance since 2012 when they came from behind to beat Warners Bay 2-1 yesterday.
The match was the second of a weekend double-header for Mid North Coast, who held minor premiers Merewether to a 2-2 draw on Saturday and had just a two-point buffer over fifth-placed Thornton going into yesterday’s clash.
They were behind at the break after Sass Seaborn scored on the counter-attack for Warners Bay but Mel Norup equalised for the visitors with a well-taken free kick around the 52nd minute.
Niki Bestwick got a toe to a cross from the left to finish from close range four minutes later to put Mid North Coast in front and they were never headed from there.
Warners Bay kept coming at the visitors but Mid North Coast Jessica Sanderson made some great saves to deny the hosts.
Mid North Coast have all four grades – 14s, 16s, 18s and first grade – playing in semi-finals this weekend and coach Matt Baker said he “could not be prouder of the club effort this season”.
They meet Merewether in the first-v-fourth semi-final at Adamstown Oval on Sunday.
Warners Bay may have finished last in their first WPL season but they showed plenty of promising signs, especially in the last round of the three-round competition under the guidance of Leon Davis and if they stick together will be ones to watch next year.
Merewether 2 (Ellie Withers, Shannon Day) defeated Wallsend 1 (Ashlee Jones). Half-time: 1-1; played at Myamblah Oval
Merewether emerged unscathed from a weekend double-header in which they drew 2-2 with Mid North Coast on Saturday then defeated Wallsend 2-1 yesterday.
United coach Cassie Koppen indicated before the weekend that she would rest any player who was not 100 per cent fit ahead of the semi-finals and took the opportunity to give several of their under-18s players a taste of premier league.
“Against Mid North Coast I put six 18s players on for their starting debuts,” Koppen said.
“That game was more about rewarding the 18s for their hard work and dedication this season.
“Against Wallsend, we spoke about getting back on track so we could go into the semi-finals confident.”
United captain Lori Depczynski and Sarah Halvorsen sat out both matches due to injury, Sophie Jones did not play Saturday and had a limited performance yesterday and midfield lynchpin Jane Mcdonald was unavailable for the Mid North Coast clash but was back against Wallsend.
Shannon Day opened the scoring yesterday, putting Merewether 1-0 up with only about 15 minutes into the game.
The scores were level at half-time after Wallsend equalised through Ashlee Jones but Ellie Withers scored early in the second half to put Merewether back in control.
United play Mid North Coast in the first-v-fourth semi-final at Adamstown No.1 Oval on Sunday and Koppen was expecting a “quality game of football”.
Final standings: Merewether 52, Adamstown 44, Valentine 41, Mid North Coast 27, Thornton 23, South Wallsend 20, Wallsend 16, Warners Bay 13.
Semi-Finals – winners advance to the Grand Final
Saturday, August 15, 3pm at Thornton Park
Adamstown v Valentine (2 v 3)
Sunday, August 16, 3pm at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Merewether v Mid North Coast (1 v 4)