Forrest Hill were made to wait until the third minute of stoppage time at Becroft Park before Junior Football Ferns striker Emma Rolston struck a dramatic winner, earning her side a 2-1 win over defending competition champions Coastal Spirit from Christchurch.
The home team began the match strongly, asserting dominance in possession with a raft of Junior Football Ferns bound for the U-20 World Cup in Canada next month flexing their muscle.
But despite regularly threatening, Forrest Hill couldn’t turn that possession into goals until Daisy Cleverley tapped in a cross from CJ Bott four minutes into the second half.
However, Coastal Spirit – living up to their name - stood up to the challenge and, using their press effectively, began to establish a foothold in the contest. And they were duly rewarded on the 60 minute mark.
Seconds after whipping a delightful freekick against the crossbar, fullback Laura Merrin delivered a corner which former club mate Lily Alfeld could only turn into her own net.
Despite wobbling slightly, Alfeld’s Forrest Hill continued to hold the edge in possession and a number of chances came and went; headlined by Hannah Carlsen’s driven strike which hit cannoned off the post as time wound down.
With extra time only seconds away, Megan Lee robbed Merrin and, after an initial shot from Lee was saved, CJ Bott put the ball on a plate for Rolston who applied the telling touch at the back post to a raucous cheer from the home supporters.
Forrest Hill Milford United AFC coach Mauro Donoso was a happy man at the final whistle, his side getting across the line with a victory he felt they deserved.
“It’s good for the girls and we’ve been working very hard for this moment,” Donoso said.
“We dominated the ball and created so many opportunities and we’re all very happy that we scored the goal late in stoppage time.”
Meanwhile earlier in the day, Glenfield Rovers secured their third final berth in four years with an emphatic 5-0 win over Massey University (Palmerston North) at McFetridge Park as Katie Rood banged in four of the home side’s five goals.
Bridgette Armstrong provided the opening goal of the game, turning in a corner just after half an hour and the 2011 ASB Women’s Knockout Cup champions ruthlessly went on with the job from there as Rood proved too hot to handle for the visitors.
The former Junior Football Fern doubled the Glenfield lead just before the break – racing clear of the Massey back four - and when the striker secured her hat-trick three minutes after the restart from a weak Massey back pass, the result was sealed.
Rood rubbed further salt into Massey wounds with a near post header from a corner an hour in before finishing the scoring with an 88th minute capper after being put clear.
The focus now returns to league action for both sides in the Northern Regional Premier League until the ASB Women’s Knockout Cup Final on September 7.
ASB Women’s Knockout Cup 2014 – Semi-finals
Glenfield Rovers 5-0 Massey University (half: 2-0)
GLE: Bridgette Armstrong 33’, Katie Rood 45’, 48’, 60’, 88’
Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC 2-1 Coastal Spirit FC (half: 0-0)
FHM: Daisy Cleverley 49’, Emma Rolston 90+3’
CSP: OG 60’