(Winners progress to grand final)
Valentine 8 (MJ Mason 2, Cassidy Davis 2, Hannah Brewer, Sarah Maslen, Tyler Radovanovic, Maddy Searl) defeated Adamstown 0. Half-time: Valentine led 4-0. How it happened: MJ Mason 27th minute (1-0), Cassidy Davis 28th minute (2-0), Hannah Brewer 30th minute (3-0), Cassidy Davis 43rd minute (4-0), Sarah Maslen 52nd minute (5-0), Tyler Radovanovic 58th minute (6-0), Maddy Searl 67th minute (7-0), MJ Mason 78th minute (8-0). Played at Thornton Park on Saturday, August 15.
Valentine put paid to any talk they had failed to live up to their reputation as the strongest team on paper this year by clinically disposing off Adamstown 8-0 in the first Herald Women’s Premier League semi-final on Saturday.
Both sides had chances in the opening stages of the match but Phoenix looked the more likely from the outset and once they broke the deadlock the floodgates were open.
They led 4-0 at the break and scored another four goals in the second half.
The onslaught began in the 27th minute when MJ Mason headed home from close range after Gemma Pearce fired a long-range speculator into the box.
It was not even a minute later when Cassidy Davis, the league’s most prolific scorer, unleashed a rocket-like shot which thundered into the net, then Hannah Brewer scored from an acute angle across the face of goal in the 30th minute to complete a devastating four-minute period for Rosebud.
It was clear it was not going to be Adamstown’s day moments later when Ryley Field sent a shot hurtling just over Valentine’s goal.
Davis completed a match brace two minutes before the break when Gemma Pearce skillfully set her up for a close-range tap-in goal.
Valentine grew in confidence as the game progressed. They dominated possession and played a superior passing game and on numerous occasions carved their way straight through a shell-shocked Rosebud line-up with textbook one-two passes.
The second half was just as brutal and was only seven minutes old when Sarah Maslen buried a rebound after Adamstown had twice cleared the ball off their goal line.
Tyler Radovanovic made it 6-0 in the 58th minute when she caught Adamstown goalkeeper Danielle Redding stranded off her line and scored from directly in front of goal.
Maddy Searl (67th minute) and Mason (78th minute) added the final two goals from similar positions and great build-up play.
Before the match Rosebud had conceded just 19 goals all season for the equal-best defensive record in the league with Merewether and they had not lost by more than two goals.
But they went into the game without eight players from their original first-grade squad this year.
Valentine coach Cas Wright said the difference for her side to previous performances this year was “their attitude to win today”.
“We talked about it at training during the week – we didn’t train fully, we more talked about the mental side of the game because we’ve got the players and we’ve got the skill, it is just a matter of putting it together,” Wright said.
“It was more about player tasks today than team tasks. Everyone had a job to do and they did it.”
Adamstown coach John Jiggins was disappointed with the result after such a successful season but conceded “they played well and they deserved the win”.
“We only had six first-grade players today from our original squad but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due and Valentine played out of their skins today,” Jiggins said.
“But we never gave up today and we’ve done very well this year, we’ve exceeded expectations.”
Valentine now meet Merewether in the Herald WPL Grand Final at Magic Park this Sunday at 3pm.
Phoenix have not beaten United in three meetings this season.
Merewether 3 (Leticia Quinlan, Lori Depczynski, Jamee Ellis) defeated Mid North Coast 0. Half-time: Merewether led 2-0. How it happened: Leticia Quinlan 25th minute (1-0), Lori Depczynski 27th minute (2-0), Jamee Ellis 70th minute (3-0). Played yesterday at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Merewether booked their first Herald WPL grand final appearance with a dominant 3-0 win over Mid North Coast in the second semi-final yesterday.
United have already made history this season by clinching a club-first Premiership in the Herald WPL. Now they are in a position to be the first side since the league’s inception in 2009 to capture the Premiership-Championship double if they beat Valentine in the decider at Magic Park this Sunday.
Both sides had chances on goal yesterday as they exchanged blows in the early stages. United looked a little nervous and Mid North Coast were more urgent to win possession.
But Merewether remained composed under the pressure and took a stranglehold on the match with two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half.
They took a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute when Leticia Quinlan beat three players up the middle of the park before shooting from wide on the right across the face of goal and into the far corner of the net.
United extended the lead two minutes later when Jamee Ellis’ free kick from 35 metres out rattled the crossbar before bouncing back into play for Merewether captain Lori Depczynski to tap in from close range.
Before the break Mid North Coast had their chances to score – one shot hit the crossbar then Lauren Avery’s long-range attempt from just inside enemy territory had Merewether goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone beat before sailing just over the bar.
The Premiers extended the lead to 3-0 when Ellis’s corner kick in the 70th minute deflected off a Mid North Coast player standing at the near post and into the net.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen was thrilled with the result and the club’s first grand final appearance.
“We knew they would come out hard and fast today and they did and I was happy with how composed our backline was and how we absorbed the pressure early,” Koppen said.
“We scored three good goals today and I was very happy with that, and that we didn’t concede any.
“Valentine’s performance yesterday was a big warning sign for us ahead of the grand final. They were ruthless in front of goal and that is something we are going to have to work on this week.”
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker conceded they were outclassed yesterday but could not have been happier with the effort of his young side, not only yesterday but throughout the whole season.
“I thought we played a good passing game and I was stoked with the game,” Baker said.
“To come down here and play finals for the first time in three years, and with such a young squad – our starting midfielders today were 16, 17 and 16 – to come down and do what we did today and this season, I am really happy.”