Hamilton Wanderers are heading to their first Kate Sheppard Cup final after beating Coastal Spirits SASFC in Christchurch.
Early goals from Maddi Ollington and Anna Fullerton created the foundation for the semi-final victory at English Park, giving the visitors from the Waikato a 2-0 lead at half-time.
With 20 minutes to go, an inswinging corner was not dealt with by the Spirit defence and the ball was bundled home by Michaela Foster to stretch the Blues’ lead to 3-0.
Spirit’s Kiara Bercelli scored a consolation goal with three minutes to go but Wanderers kept their nerve to prevent a late rally, ensuring they flew home with a history-making 3-1 win.
Longo: Wanderers were deserving winners
Football Fern Annalie Longo, a co-commentator for the live stream of the match, said Wanderers deserved their win, having performed well for the full 90 minutes.
She named defenders Michaela Foster and Chelsea Elliott and forward Helen Arjomandi as her players of the match.
Other finalists still to be found
Wanderers will play the winners of the semi-final still to be played between Wellington United and Auckland’s Eastern Suburbs. That game was postponed on Saturday February 19 when a case of COVID-19 was reported in the Suburbs camp.
The final had been scheduled for Sunday March 6 but New Zealand football has to confirm dates and venues for the postponed semi-final and the grand final.
The Football Foundation-sponsored Kate Sheppard Cup final is traditionally played as part of a double header with the men’s Chatham Cup.
This year’s Chatham Cup final will be between Wellington’s Miramar Rangers and Christchurch’s Cashmere Technical.
Main photo: The Hamilton Wanderers squad at training in the lead up to the semi-final.
Watch the video stream of the semi-final here:
How they got to the semi-finals
Coastal Spirit SASFC
Preliminary round: Beat Waimakariri United 1-0 (home)
Round 1: Beat Canterbury Universities 8-1 (away)
Rond 2: Beat Cashmere Technical 4-1 (away)
Round 3: Beat Richmond Athletic 9-0 (away)
Quarter-final: Beat Dunedin Technical 8-0 (away)
Round 2: Beat Bucklands Beach 9-1 (away)
Round 3: Beat Auckland United 4-1 (home)
Quarter-final: Beat Ellerslie 3-1 (home)
All the Kate Sheppard Cup results
1994 Nomads United (Christchurch)
1995 Waikato Unicol (Hamilton)
1996 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
1997 Three Kings United (Auckland)
1998 Three Kings United (Auckland)
1999 Three Kings United (Auckland)
2000 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2001 Ellerslie (Auckland)
2002 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2003 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2004 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2005 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2006 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2007 Western Springs (Auckland)
2008 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2009 Lynn-Avon United (Auckland)
2010 Claudelands Rovers (Hamilton)
2011 Glenfield Rovers (Auckland)
2012 Three Kings United (Auckland)
2013 Coastal Spirit (Christchurch)
2014 Glenfield Rovers (Auckland)
2015 Glenfield Rovers (Auckland)
2016 Forrest Hill Milford United (Auckland)
2017 Glenfield Rovers (Auckland)
2018 Dunedin Technical (Dunedin)
2019 Eastern Suburbs (Auckland)
The Kate Sheppard Cup is supported by the NZ Football Foundation.
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The Football Ferns are competing at the four-nation SheBelieves Cup in the United States.