Our Women's Premier side have a chance to lift the Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup for the second time after securing their place in the final this afternoon.
Our team, who have been to the final of the competition formerly known as the NZ Women’s Knockout Cup twice, defeated crosstown rivals Glenfield Rovers 3-1 in cold conditions at McFetridge Park in Auckland.
Striker Jane Barnett, a member of the Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP), was the heroine for the Swans when she scored an impressive hat-trick to book our place in the final against Dunedin Technical on 9 September at QBE Stadium in Auckland.
We started the brighter of the two teams and had a number of goal scoring opportunities within the first 15 minutes. Samantha Tawharu, a member of the NZ U-20 women’s squad who recently returned from the FIFA U-20 World Cup in France, went one-on-one with Rovers’ keeper Alice Noyer but her effort was well smothered.
Barnett, originally from Palmerston North, opened the scoring in the 18th minute when she was played in nicely by Arabella Maynard and made no mistake with the finish.
We kept attacking and minutes later could have been 2-0 up after Hannah McKay-Wright hit a good header only to be denied by the woodwork.
At the other end of the field, Rovers began to find their rhythm and their best chance of the game fell to Kate Loye who glanced her header just wide of the far post.
Minutes later, some intricate passing from Glenfield Rovers created space in the 18-yard box and Maggie Jenkins hit a good effort which again ricocheted off the post. We held onto our slender 1-0 lead at half-time.
There was more to come in the second half with our team beginning the way they opened the game. Barnett, a 24-year-old who has been selected for Ferns tours but is yet to make her debut for the senior team, showed good composure in front of goal to double the lead. In the 50th minute she hit a spectacular shot that looped over Noyer’s head in goal and into the back of Glenfield’s net.
We looked to have one foot in the final and Barnett put it almost beyond doubt when she finished for her third only three minutes later. Barnett brought up her hat-trick in fitting style when she dinked the ball over Noyer who rushed off her line to try and stop the move.
We were 3-0 and flying and moments later Rovers captain Liz Milne kept their faint hopes alive when she finished from a corner.
Milne tried to single-handedly keep her team in the contest and in the 80th minute she hit a shot from a long way out only to watch it hits the post with the Swans’ keeper Emily Couchman well beaten.
But the damage had been done. We were confirmed in the final where we will meet Dunedin Technical. The Football South club booked their place in their first final when they defeated Wellington United 4-2 in the capital yesterday.
Dunedin Technical have never won the Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup while we will look claim the title for a second time after we won it in 2016.
Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup – Semi Final Results
Glenfield Rovers 1 (Liz Milne 56’)
Forrest Hill Milford United 3 (Jane Barnett 18’, 50’, 53’)
Wellington United 2 (Danielle Ohlsson 16’, Suzanne Giesen 46’)
Dunedin Technical 4 (Emily Morison 18’, 85’, Lara Wall 38’, 75’)
Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup Final
When: Sunday 9 September, 2018
Where: QBE Stadium, Albany
Who: Dunedin Technical v Forrest Hill Milford United
Tickets: $10 (adults), U-16 free (tickets at the game)