Eastern Suburbs have won the NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup for the first time after defeating Coastal Spirit 4-0 in the final at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland this afternoon.
The Mauro Donoso-coached side, who had made the final twice before in 2005 and 2017, claimed their first cup win and also completed a first double after earlier winning the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League.
It was a fitting reward for the members of the Lily Whites squad who were on the wrong side of a heart-breaking 5-4 loss to Glenfield Rovers in the Kate Sheppard Cup final two years ago.
Hannah Pilley and Tayla O’Brien scored two goals apiece in the first half as Suburbs dominated to lead 4-0 and effectively put the Kate Sheppard Cup beyond reach.
O’Brien was jointly awarded the Maia Jackman Trophy along with impressive Suburbs fullback Erinna Wong for being players of the final while O’Brien finished as Suburbs’ leading goal scorer in the Kate Sheppard Cup with six goals.
The Lily Whites controlled the game from the outset. In the fourth minute, O’Brien threaded a ball through for forward Pilley to finish from close range and Suburbs were off to the perfect start.
There was more to come for the Auckland team as they controlled the middle of the park. They won a corner and after intricate passing around the 18-yard box O’Brien was in space to slot home in the ninth minute.
Coastal Spirit, looking to relive their 2013 success, held the ball well but couldn’t penetrate the Lily Whites’ defence. The Christchurch side had their best chance of the first half when Laura Dabner pulled a left-foot shot just wide of the right post.
With every turnover the yellow and black wave kept pouring forward. Pilley showed her great pace to score a fine goal on the counter-attack before O’Brien hit a powerful shot which hit the crossbar and found the back of the net. It was a 10-minute period when Suburbs put one hand on the Kate Sheppard Cup.
They ran to the changing rooms with a 4-0 lead and were in control of the cup final. Coastal came out in the second half intent to add some credibility to the scoreline. They proved harder to break down but couldn’t find a way through a well-organised Suburbs’ defence who were comfortable in protecting their lead.
The victory completed a special year for the club. In April, Danny Hay coached Eastern Suburbs to their first ever win in the ISPS Handa Premiership and the women have backed up that achievement in fine style. They claimed the NRFL title, losing only two games, before winning the Kate Sheppard Cup for the first time.
“Winning this trophy means a huge amount to this team and to our club,” Eastern Suburbs coach Mauro Donoso said.
“I don’t know if many teams have completed the double before but it is a great result for this team. They have worked hard all season and today is the reward for that. We knew that Coastal would be a very competitive team so I am very proud of the way the girls performed and what they have achieved.”
NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup Final
Coastal Spirit 0
Eastern Suburbs 4 (Hannah Pilley 4’, 25’, Tayla O’Brien 9’, 35’)