Tara Andrews slotted home a hat-trick to guide New Lambton to a 3-1 advantage in the first leg of the Women's Premier League semi-finals. Image via Hunter Sports Photography.

New Lambton have put one foot in the Women’s Premier League final with a 3-1 win over South Wallsend on Sunday evening at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, with three away goals giving them a dominant semi-final platform.

Tara Andrews, who secured the joint golden boot for her goal-scoring efforts in the regular season, was the hero of the hour for the Eagles as she slotted three in the win.

The W-League striker dribbled her way through the Wolves’ defence early to grab a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes, before adding a second late-on in the first half to give the premiers a two-goal head-start in the game’s second period.

Maryjane Mason struck back for South Wallsend to halve the margin, but Andrews slotted home one last chance in the 74th to claim the win.

“We got a good early start, first goal was some great individual brilliance from Tara, and the second was a great combination play to give us a thoroughly deserved lead,” Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton said of the first-half advantage.

“To South Wallsend’s credit they improved a little in the second half like I thought they might do, but we showed some resilience and got that third goal. We were unlucky not to get a fourth as well, we had some good chances.”

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In the other dugout, Cas Wright knows the Wolves have a bit of a mountain to climb with a two-goal deficit compounded by the away goal rule. It’s not an impossible task though, South Wallsend’s coach said, if they take out a few small elements of the first game.

“If we tighten up our first five minutes, and keep that competitive 40 in the first, then we can fight in the second. We may need to win 3-0 at least to go through now, but that isn’t impossible,” she said.

“If we work on a few things that we didn’t do, we can potentially do it. Add to that, there was some confusion just before half time that I think rattled the girls a little bit. That makes it doable, there’s nothing in our performances that says we can’t do it.

“We’ll do a bit of work this week to ruffle out a few problems, and go at them. Ash [Brodigan] was in hospital mid-week, considering our luck with injuries it’ll be nice if we get into the second leg without something like that. We have a goal next week, so we’ll see how we go!”

New Lambton and South Wallsend will play the second leg of the semi-final at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday, August 25. First-grade kick-off is planned for 2pm.