Blues into grand finals
Tuesday, 14th September, 2010
St Josephs have advanced to the grand finals in both the women's and men's A grade after dominant performances on Sunday.
In the women's semi-final West were dealt a huge blow when key defender Stacey Carter-Ray was forced out through illness. Her loss cannot be underestimated as she plays the pivotal role at sweeper, with her skill and leg speed able to save the day on many occasions.
St Josephs were able to exploit this with Isabella Morris and Cassie Robinson able to mount many dangerous attacks from out wide which resulted in goals to both ladies.
Add goals to "player of the match" Sarah Magill and the excited Stacey Thompson and the Blues were clear winners, leading 4-0 until two late handball penalties saw Stephanie Balman score twice.
West would be disappointed with their effort as they had finished the second half of the year strongly and were favoured to win.
Xanthe Zanon played a strong game when moved into defence, whilst Jasmine Mitchell and Logan Cooper always provide a genuine contest for the full 90 minutes.
The Blues advance to the final against Celtic and will be encouraged by the performance of their back four defenders in Stevie Robinson, Ellie Nilsen, captain Georgia Picton and Serena Prout, who all played excellent games to prevent any goals from being scored.
In the men's A grade semi-final St Josephs and Alma played a tense first half with both sides very compact in defence.
For St Josephs Patrick Nash at centre back and Dylan Trebilcock at sweeper were key players with Lukas Muscat and Justin Ellice also very tight out wide.
For Alma the Hebbard boys, Will and Laurence, were just as dominant, keeping the Blues out.
The highlight of the first half was the continual breaks down the left by Bryce Bessell, who supplied several excellent crosses towards Jimmy Wilkins and Jyh Stubing.
Alma came very close to scoring when Daniel McInerney let rip with a long range rocket that was swerving into the top left corner, but for the brilliance of Nathan Gageler who just managed to tip it over the crossbar.
St Josephs scored within five minutes of the resumption when 15-year-old pocket rocket Rylie McInnes danced through the Alma defence to score a brilliant goal.
McInnes has all the tricks and is super competitive for a lad so young and slight in stature.
Within 15 minutes St Josephs had doubled their lead when key midfielder Alex Pearce supplied a brilliant ball for Aaron Kubiak to slam home from close range.
Alma continued to search for a way back into the game but St Josephs had saved probably their best team performance for the year and will enter next week's final with some degree of confidence, albeit West seem clear favourites.
In the B grade final an epic contest was played out with Alma ultimately advancing to the grand final against West, winning on penalties over St Josephs after the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at full time and after extra time.
Jorge Oviedo for Alma scored a sensational long range goal on 60 minutes after intercepting an errant pass, whilst Adrian McDonald converted an 89th minute penalty to throw St Josephs a lifeline.
In the end the Alma goalie pulled off two great saves and a further St Josephs shot hit the wood work to hand Alma deserved victory and a place in the final.
In the junior age divisions St Josephs and Celtic will contest the Under 12's, West and Celtic the Under 14's, and West and St Josephs the Under 17's this Friday night after all teams won their qualifying finals.