It was women’s semi final time this last weekend in the BHSA competition as St Joes and Alma took each other on to earn a place in this weekend’s grand final versus West.
It was a war of attrition in the first 20 minutes. The Goats were more threatening, but neither side could fashion any type of real chance as both sides settled into the game.
It was against the run of play when St Joes took the lead around the half hour mark. Joey’s striker Al-Lee Wood put her side ahead with a nice finish. It was a lead St Joes would take into the half time break.
Alma would have been disappointed to trail at half time, they had created a lot more, but just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.
It was more of the same in the second half, with Alma knocking on the door, but unable to find their way past a resilient St Joes’ defence, spurred on by a tremendous Kira-Lee Guthrie in goal.
Yet, despite Joey’s defensive resilience, an Alma goal felt inevitable. And in the 75th minute it came, via striker Addie Isedale who finally breached Joey’s defence, and their skilled ‘keeper.
The final 15 minutes was an Alma onslaught. But to St. Joes’ credit, they kept them out and fashioned a couple of chances for themselves as both sides tried desperately to get a winner inside normal time. It wasn’t to be, and extra time was required.
The extra 30 minutes was a microcosm of the previous 90.
Alma laid siege to the St Joes goal. They created chance after chance, but just couldn’t find a way past St. Joes’ goalie. The final whistle blew after 120 minutes, and the two sides could not be separated and would need a penalty shoot out to decide the game.
The shootout was high drama. Joey’s baulked first as their second shot hit the crossbar, handing Alma the advantage. It wasn’t an advantage they would hold for long, as they failed to convert their next two penalties. Joeys would see their fourth pen saved and after the five spot kicks the sides were tied at 3-3.
The shootout went to sudden death, and finally the sides were separated as Alma’s goalie thwarted St. Joes’ seventh kick to send the Goats into the Grand Final.
Elle Joy Yamono was the player of the match. Despite missing a penalty, the centre back was everywhere for her team and was a constant thorn in St. Joes side throughout the entire two hours.
Post-match St. Joes coach couldn’t fault his side, “The girls did everything they could, but just couldn’t win the lottery of the shootout.”
Victorious coach Will Hebbard wasn’t happy with how his side adapted to the bottom pitch in the first half but was delighted with the second half efforts of the girls as they “strung it all together”.
He praised the members of his team who played through extra time calling their efforts “Herculean.”
Mr. Hebbard went on to praise Mahana Hebbard in goal, along with Emily Guerin, saying she was, “a work horse from the start”.
He also praised Emma Reeves for changing the game with her physicality in the second half.
Alma will now take on West in the Grand Final this weekend, as they chase a third straight women’s title.