Wallsend claimed the NSW Women’s State Cup trophy, going one step further than their 2018 campaign by edging Warners Bay 1-0 in an epic decider under lights at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Sunday evening.
The Red Devils clinched the club’s first major silverware after a dominant three-day tournament that culminated in a nail-biting final ten minutes in the State Cup grand final.
Neither side could crack the other in the opening half-hour of the clash, though the Red Devils had a number of close chances that Panthers goalkeeper Maddison Latter was able to wave away in the first half.
Alesha Clifford found the winner in the 41st minute, with her lofted header that was nearly cleared on the goal-line giving Wallsend a tenuous lead.
Warners Bay came alive after falling behind, with a series of chances in the dying minutes of the match – including a one-on-one opportunity for Jenna Kingsley that Danielle Redding pushed wide on the edge of the 18-yard box.
Wallsend were able to close out the lead, with Redding’s contributions helped on by player of the tournament Clifford. The Red Devils’ centreback denied a clear chance on goal in the 48th minute, blocking the shot with her body to keep Warners Bay scoreless, and seal the victory.
Earlier in the afternoon, North Coast Football made history as the first TAFE NSW Community Plate champions after an 8-0 win over Cooks Hill United. Jacquelline Kambere led the way with a hat-trick in the second half, while the club’s regular scorer Sarah Skinner netted a double.
It was a day of interesting results at the LMRFF to round out the three-day state tournament.
North Coast kicked off proceedings with a 14-0 win over Lochinvar which saw Kambere score five, while Maitland edged Western Phoenix 1-nil to qualify for the Plate semi-finals.
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Libby Copus-Brown guided Wallsend to an 8-0 victory with a hat-trick against Alstonville which spurred the eventual champions into the final four, and Football Mid North Coast pulled off an upset against South Wallsend. A 3rd minute goal from Jessica James put the Women’s Premier League side ahead against their league opponents, and scored them a 1-0 result.
Maitland qualified for the Community Plate semi-finals with a similar result, edging Western Phoenix to punch their playoff tickets with a 7th minute strike from Chloe Irwin.
Cooks Hill ousted Maitland in the Plate semi-finals with a 3-0 win, while North Coast had a rampant 12-0 victory over the University of Newcastle Women’s squad in the other final-four match.
Group D saw the closest finish on Sunday afternoon, with Merewether earning their qualification to the semi-finals with a 0-0 draw against fellow WPL side Thornton. After both Premier League sides had collected six points in their opening two fixtures, the clubs were level on 7 points. In the end, the Llamas were sent through on goals scored (11 vs 10) since their goal difference was the same.
Merewether were then defeated by Warners Bay 4-0. Jenna Kinglsey notched a double in the elimination clash, while Katelyn Lyddiard and Cassidy Davis added to the haul. In the other semi-final, Wallsend accounted for Mid North Coast 3-0.
Red Devils defender Alesha Clifford was named Women’s State Cup player of the final for her contributions in attack and defence for the 2019 champions.
Maitland goalkeeper Cheyenne Russell was awarded the Player of the Series award for her efforts across the three-day tournament with the top four community club. Sophie Stapleford (Warners Bay) and Maddie Newman (Mid North Coast) were named players of the match in the State Cup semi-finals.