Adelaide Control The Space And Take The Glory

Perth Glory 0-1 Adelaide United

Report by Ben Gilby with Photos from Tom McCarthy at Macedonia Park (27/11/22).

Above: Aerial action as Adelaide United mount an attack. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Adelaide United maintained their perfect start to the new A-League Women season with an impressive tactical first-half performance that ruined Perth Glory’s homecoming at Macedonia Park after almost a year away.

The visitors, without last season’s top striker Fiona Worts, set out their attacking stall from the off targeting the right-hand side with runs and rapid passing exchanges between Chelsie Dawber, Isabel Hodgson and Dylan Holmes. The trio would dominate from this area throughout the opening half.

Above: Chelsie Dawber (right) looks to get away from Bella Wallhead during an impressive first-half performance. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Adelaide, mindful of Perth’s pacey attacking threat were imposing the high press every time the hosts gained possession in their half, attempting to force the Glory into playing across them rather than through. This was another part of the game that Adrian Stenta’s side were on top in.

It was the threat of the right-hand side, combined with some on-point ball play that delivered the lead to the South Australians. Dawber got free along the flank again and squared a low pass from the by-line which was slammed home by Holmes who was unmarked and able to run through the box to apply the finish.

Above: Dylan Holmes slams Adelaide United ahead. Photo: Tom McCarthy,

Mindful of the joy Adelaide were persistently getting along the right, Alex Epakis switched Rigby to that flank. The Reds continued to press and Xiao had chance to double their lead when she cut inside Bella Wallhead before Sarah Langman in the Glory goal could smother.

Above: Xiao had several opportunities for Adelaide United. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Langman saved her side once more ten minutes before the break when Anton failed to get a solid clearance which allowed Xiao to direct an effort goalwards which the furiously backpedalling Perth keeper was able to palm away.

For all Perth’s attacking potential within the squad, the Western Australians were rarely seen in the final third. Cyera Hintzen was forced to drop deep, and Sofia Sakalis was being well marshalled. It was a half-time conundrum for Alex Epakis to try and solve.

Above: Sofia Sakalis was well marshalled in the first half, but has so much exciting potential. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

The home side finally had some creative joy when Hana Lowry delivered a pin-point pass to release Hintzen with the American able to show her pace and explosive shooting, but her effort was well held by Annalee Grove.

Above: Cyera Hintzen (left) created after the break. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Lowry’s influence was growing with the hometown hero’s vision a continuing threat. The Young Matilda’s shot on goal was repelled by Grove before the follow-up eventually went wide of the right-hand post.

However, Adelaide were not done. Dawber produced another superb cross which bisected both Kim Carroll and Rigby from the right and fell perfectly for Murray, but her effort rolled agonisingly wide of the near post. Shortly afterwards, the visitors had the ball in the net for the second time as Emily Condon fed substitute Katie Bowler who strayed offside before applying the finishing touch.

Above: Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby got through a lot of work today. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

With Alana Jancevski introduced with just under 20 minutes to go, the 19-year-old young gun was involved immediately feeding Hintzen who got a shot away. Shortly afterwards, Rylee Baisden was found centrally but she was denied by the outstretched foot of Grove.

Jancevski was giving Paige Hayward an uncomfortable time with her creativity and outrageous natural talent coming to the fore. Fellow sub Susan Phonsongkham was felled near the by-line into stoppage time by Hayward which delivered the home side’s final chance. Up-stepped Jancevski to whip a viciously curling effort towards the net only for Grove to push it over.

Above: Annalee Grove makes a superb second-half save. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Adelaide United’s control of the first half, allied with some clever tactical moves from Adrian Stenta nullified Perth’s threats for so long was what earned them a second successive win.

Perth have many options to explore from an offensive perspective. Once they can get the best combinations firing, they remain a real threat in the A-League Women, and Newcastle Jets could well feel a backlash next week. Yet, they will need to get used to opponents denying them space and pressing high. Adelaide showed today the impact it can have.

Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-4-2): Langman, Rigby, Anton, Carroll, Wallhead, Baisden, Mastrantonio, Lowry, Coleman, Hintzen, Sakalis. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Cain, Green, Jancevski, Phonsongkham.

ADELAIDE UNITED (4-2-3-1): Grove, Hodgson, Tonkin, Waldus, Hayward, Sasaki, Holmes, Dawber, Condon, Murray, Xiao. Substitutes: Barbieri, Bowler, McCormick, Westland, Wilson (GK).

Scorer: Holmes 19′.

Referee: Rebecca Durcau.

Attendance: 1,264.

More of Tom McCarthy’s photos from Macedonia Park:

For more of Tom McCarthy’s photos from this and other matches, see his website: http://www.nplphotos.com

Roar And Canberra Play Out Entertaining Draw

Brisbane Roar 1-1 Canberra United

By Jonathan Tay (27/11/22)

Above: Brisbane Roar’s Larissa Crummer celebrates her second-half equaliser. Photo: Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane Roar and Canberra United played out a seesawing 1-1 draw in the searing Perry Park heat on Saturday.

Having last week battled the windy conditions, this weekend the Roar had to overcome the scorching sun and an early deficit to earn a point. Temperatures reached 35 degrees celsius during the game, with regular fifteen-minute drinks breaks interspersed throughout play.

Grace Jale opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with her second goal in as many weeks for Canberra, before Larissa Crummer did likewise for Brisbane, equalising for the home side soon after the half-time break.

The Lesser of Two Defences

Brisbane and Canberra came off disappointing 2021/22 seasons, with both quite comfortably missing out on a spot in the top four.

Central to each’s downfall was an inability to prevent goals; Brisbane conceded 30, second-worst in the league, with Canberra not far behind, shipping 29 in total themselves.

In the offseason, both looked overseas for reinforcements in a bid to rectify defensive woes this time round. United brought in Canadian Kennedy Faulknor, most recently plying her trade in the US College system, whilst the Roar recruited Kajsa Lind, a teammate of Matildas Claire Polkinghorne, Charlotte Grant, and Brisbane-native Katrina Gorry at Vittsjö, in the Swedish Damallsvenskan.

Early on in this game, however, it was much of the same worrying form for Roar head coach Garrath McPherson and Canberra counterpart Njegosh Popovich; both sought to employ a possession-based style of football that their charges did not necessarily seem suited for. Each side was mistake-prone in playing out from the back, leading to plenty of chances in transition for their opponents.

In the 10th minute, United’s Grace Maher went just wide from a freekick, after Michelle Heyman was tripped on the edge of the 18-yard box by Brisbane centre-back Jamilla Rankin. Not long after down the other end, winger Sharn Freier was released far too easily beyond the Canberra defence, but had her shot cleared off the line by a last-ditch block from Faulknor.

After 23 minutes, Vesna Milivojevic found herself with oceans of time and space in midfield and floated a ball to the back post. The Roar were second to both Wu’s header back across goal and Jale’s tap-in, to concede the opener.

The goal settled Canberra, with Popovich able to calm his side over the course of two stoppages for drinks, playing out the rest of the half with better control. Just eight minutes after the restart though, they let themselves down, succumbing to their own errors at the back. A routine goal kick bypassed both Faulknor and right-back Sasha Grove, with Freier pouncing on the loose ball and playing Shea Connors through. Whilst her 1-on-1 effort was well-saved, Crummer beat the defence to the rebound to tuck home the equaliser.

The heat took its toll on the players and the quality of chances for the remainder of the game, precipitating the outcome of a draw. Both coaches though will have left feeling there is much to work on, not least continuing to attempt to shore up the back end.

Without improvement it is difficult to see either team challenging perennial favourites Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, top four challengers Melbourne City and Adelaide, or Western United, who have made an impressive start to their maiden campaign.

On the Comeback Trail

Both sides did however show their offence is humming along nicely to begin the season, though the two clubs have taken slightly different approaches to building their attacks for this campaign.

The Roar doubled down on consistency, with most of their strikeforce back on board. Shae Connors was lively throughout, with fellow returnee Mariel Hecher having developed some chemistry with the homegrown Crummer. Katrina Gorry is still to be added into the mix in a few weeks’ time as well.

Canberra meanwhile sought to rejuvenate their forward areas externally. New signings Jale, Milivojevic, and Wu Chengshu bring drive and creativity to support the core of Heyman and Maher, aided by the return of Nicki Flannery from injury, who has already racked up 10 shots. Canberra have been able to muster a league-leading 4.5 expected goals across the first pair of games.

This match wasn’t at the same level as the chaotic 3-3 draw between the same two teams to end last season, but both Canberra and Brisbane look like they will again be relying on their fire power. If either side is to have any hope of bettering their standing this campaign, it will most likely come from their attackers out-scoring some of their defensive deficiencies.

On the World Cup Trail

Billed as the battle of Matildas hopefuls, Crummer-vs-Heyman, it was probably New Zealander Jale, also preparing for a home World Cup, who was most persistently impactful throughout the match.

For the two Australians though, they were solid enough, leading the lines for their respective teams. Heyman often dropped deeper to link with her three supporting attacking midfielders, and was a part of the play leading to Canberra’s goal. Crummer was more tangibly involved, rattling a shot off the woodwork in the first half, before her tally in the second.

However, perhaps the most telling display of the afternoon came from national team head coach, Tony Gustavsson. Rather than travel north to Queensland, he chose instead to make an appearance at Cromer Park where Sydney FC hosted Melbourne Victory. There, a number of Matildas candidates participated, including rival forwards Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine, midfielders Elise Kellond-Knight and Alex Chidiac.

Above: Canberra United’s Ellen Gett puts in a challenge. Photo: Canberra United.

Gustavsson though was quick to assure he’s still keeping an open mind, particularly for those who rise above the competition. “First of all, we’ve designed a scouting template through the A-League so we try to have live eyes on every single game,” the Swede said.

“Obviously, we look at clips afterwards because I can only be at one site at a time but we’ve said we’re going to keep an eye on every player.

“A-League is a very, very important pathway for players. But we also said it’s important players play at the highest level possible. So in that sense, I think it’s a bit early now to say what the standard is in A-League.”

Crummer and Heyman, most likely competing for the same backup striker position in the Australian squad, will need to set that standard across the length of the season, if they are wanting to have that chance to suit up in green-and-gold for the 2023 World Cup.

Teams: BRISBANE ROAR 4-2-3-1: Hancuff, Haffenden, Lind, Rankin, Levin, Hecher, Norrie, Connors, Palmer, Freier, Crummer. Substitutes: Shuttleworth, Rasschaert, Beaumont, Davern, Robinne.

Scorers: Crummer 53′.

CANBERRA UNITED 4-1-4-1: Lincoln, Grove, Faulknor, McComasky, Ilijoski, Milivojevic, Flannery, Jale, Maher, Wu, Heyman.

Scorers: Jale 23’.

Referee: Rachel Mitcheson.

Attendance: 1,115.

Sydney FC Win Grand Final Rematch

Sydney FC 2-0 Melbourne Victory

Report By Kieran Yap with EXCLUSIVE pitchside photos from Kris Goman at Cromer Park (26/11/22).

Above: High-flying action as Cortnee Vine leaps over Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Sydney FC have beaten Melbourne Victory 2-0 in the Grand Final replay. The reigning premiers got their first win of the season with a high-pressure display. The damage was done in the first half, with Victory unable to score in the second, and unable to match the intensity of Sydney’s midfield. 

The hosts played with a similar game plan to their Round One loss to Adelaide United, except with a significant difference. For the visit of their championship rivals, they welcomed striker Madison Haley into the starting lineup.  

Above: Sydney FC’s Madison Haley proves to be a handful for Kayla Morrison. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

The former Stanford player had an immediate impact. She provided her side with a focal point up front and looked dangerous from the opening whistle. 

Cortnee Vine exploited the space on the right flank. She was opposed to Victory’s Emily Kos. The young fullback was in the starting 11 for the first time, after impressing coach Jeff Hopkins in Round One.  

Kos performed well, but up against the Matildas’ winger, it was always unlikely that Vine would be entirely stopped.  

Above: Cortnee Vine kept Emily Kos busy all afternoon at Cromer Park. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Only the composure and experience of Casey Dumont in the Melbourne goal prevented Vine from having a brace by halftime. She broke free twice to create one-on-one chances, but could not beat the Victory keeper.  

The visiting champions struggled to maintain possession or build play through the middle of the field. Alex Chidiac and Beattie Goad’s individual skill was not enough to beat a Sydney dude hungry to win the ball back.  

Mackenzie Hawkesby, Shay Hollman, and Sarah Hunter all looked faster and fitter than Melbourne’s midfield. When Sydney eventually scored in the 41st minute, it looked like a steep up hill climb for Victory to get back into the game, even at 1-0. 

Above: Sydney FC celebrate. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

It was a classy individual effort from Haley. She latched onto a poor Melbourne pass and tore through the defence. Dumont came off her line and looked like she’d done enough to force her wide. But a skilful finish into the roof of the jet from a tight angle set the stage for a Sky Blue win.  

Deep into stoppage time, Sydney FC had a second. Princess Ibini outpaced Jessika Nash on the left. Her low cross was turned in through a miscommunication between Kayla Morrison and Dumont.  

It was a moment that was symbolic of the unlucky first half that Victory endured. They ended the first 45 without Catherine Zimmerman. Their most lively striker was subbed out with what looked like a serious ankle injury.  

Above: In what was, at times, a physical encounter, Alex Chidiac feels the presence of Mackenzie Hawkesby. Photo: Kris Gomas for Impetus.

Victory had more energy in the second half, with Ava Briedis particularly impressive on the wing. But they were unable to trouble the Sydney defence or test Jada Whyman.  

Sydney FC maintained their intensity until the final whistle. Vine was removed, but it was of little relief to Victory’s defence that her replacement was fan favourite Remy Siemsen. 

This was an impressive win by Sydney FC, their game plan looks slightly tweaked from 2021/22, but they look to be able to reproduce it weekly. 

Above: Remy Siemsen’s return from AIK in Sweden, taking place at the ground she calls home was a welcome one for Sydney FC fans. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Speaking after the game, Sydney’s Madison Haley said: “It was really nice for me to actually finally have a game … it’s one thing to do it in training and it’s another thing to do it against opposition so again it looked really good today and hopefully we can keep going from here.

“When I was on the field I was very focused but it was really nice coming off the field and getting serenaded … I’m super glad we were able to get the win and everyone’s having a great time, getting their signatures and all the kids are out and that’s what it’s about, getting people excited and young girls excited to play.”

As for Victory, they still looked rusty and a little slow at times. They still have a number of possible starters out injured and are adjusting to new players in every line.  

Above: The ever-improving Sarah Hunter (right) holds off Elise Kellond-Knight. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Melbourne Victory’s tests continue. They travel back home to play Wellington Phoenix who are also without a win.  

Sydney FC have a local derby to look forward to. They face the Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend and have a real chance to build some momentum with only one trip outside New South Wales until late January.  

Their midfield looks strong. Sarah Hunter continues to improve and Hawkesby has adapted well to more defensive responsibilities. The additions of Siemsen and Haley to a squad that also has Abbey Lemon, Shay Evans, and Marie Stanic-Floody in reserve means their attack suddenly looks terrifying.

Above: Melbourne Victory have some adjustments to make after the defending champions have lost their first two games of the season. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Teams: SYDNEY FC 4-3-3: Whyman, Rule, Mclean, Tobin, Fenton, Hollman, Hunter, Hawkesby (Stanic-Floody), Ibini, Haley (Lemon), Vine (Siemsen)

Scorers: Haley 41′ Dumont (OG) 45′

MELBOURNE VICTORY 4-3-3: Dumont, Nash, Bunge, Morrison, Kos (Murphy), Kellond-Knight, Chidiac, Eliadis, Goad, Ayres, Zimmerman (Briedis)

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Attendance: TBC

More of Kris Goman’s EXCLUSIVE photos from Cromer Park:

Déjà vu For Phoenix As Western United Continue To Impress

Wellington Phoenix 1-4 Western United

by Ryan Miller-Woods (26/11/22)

Above: Western United come away with possession at Wellington Phoenix today. Photo: Liberty A-League.

Wellington Phoenix have been handed a 4-1 home defeat for the second week in a row as the new kids on the block in the A-League Women Western United, scored three goals within the span of eleven minutes to seal the outcome.

Just like last week, and for 20 minutes into the second half of this match, it could have been anyone’s game as both sides had chances, but once more it came down to who converted theirs.

Early on it was an even battle, with United having the first opportunity when Wellington goalkeeper Brianna Edwards only just kept out a corner as it curled in.

For the Phoenix, their first major chance at goal came in the 12th minute with a great ball being put just ahead of Paige Satchell that was just held by Western United goalkeeper Hillary Beal. If the ball had come to Satchell slightly earlier to her feet, the ball could have been very much been in the back of the net.

The visitors took the lead just after the quarter of an hour mark when an attempted clearance from Nix’s Kate Taylor bounced off United’s Jess McDonald and incidentally back into the path of Keane, who controlled it and slotted across to McDonald, who hit a first time shot past Edwards.

Crucially for the hosts, they levelled within six minutes. Marisa Van der Meer seized the chance at the first time of asking with her header.

Above: Marissa van der Meer celebrates levelling the scores for Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

After a quite close third quarter of the match, Western United debutant Tyla-Jay Vlajnić’s corner was placed perfectly onto the head of Sydney Cummings, who steered the ball past Edwards and into the back of the net.

Vlajnić’s corners continued to cause chaos, and within seven minutes it contributed to another goal. Edwards could only punch it into the air and when the ball finally came down it came off of Lancaster’s shoulder gifting Keane a very simple goal as she stuck her leg to direct the ball home.

The final goal of the match came in the 82nd minute. Emma Robers crossed the ball beautifully to Keane in the box who then headed the ball perfectly past Edwards for 4-1.

Western United’s perfect start to the season will be tested next weekend when they travel to South Australia to face Adelaide United in what looks a fascinating challenge. As for Wellington, they travel to Melbourne Victory for a battle of two winless teams.

Teams: WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-3-1-2): Edwards, Foster, Barry, Taylor, Van der Meer, Robertson, Hassett, Knott, Whinham, Pritchard, Satchell. Substitutes: Candy, Vosper, Cicco, Lancaster, Clegg.

Scorer: Van der Meer 23’.

WESTERN UNITED (3-3-4): Beall, Papadopoulos, Cummings, Cerne, Vlajnić, M.Taranto, Robers, A.Taranto, McDonald, Keane, Johnson. Substitutes: Dall’Oste, Sardo, Logarzo, Sawicki, Iermano.

Scorers: McDonald 16’, Cummings 70’, Keane 77’, 82’.

Referee: Bec Mackie.

Attendance: 1,541.

Jets And Griffith On Fire In Shootout with Wanderers

Newcastle Jets 4-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

By Kieran Yap (26/11/22)

Above: Sarah Griffith of Newcastle Jets, who scored the perfect hat-trick using both feet and her head. Photo: Newcastle Herald.

The Newcastle Jets have a new hero and she has arrived in style. Sarah Griffith scored a perfect hat trick in a 4-2 shootout with the Western Sydney Wanderers in Tamworth.

Tara Andrews added a fourth for the Jets, while Amy Harrison and Melissa Caceres both scored for a new-look Wanderers side.

Newcastle came into this game after a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar in Round One. That contest showed that they can attack and play an exciting style of football. This was Wanderers’ first match of 2022/23, after having a bye last week.

It is a squad assembled late, but not hastily by new manager Kat Smith, Sophie Harding started in red and black against her old side, while Clare Hunt returned to centre back and wearing the captain’s armband.

Ash Wilson started with Jets mainstay Tara Andrews as the lone striker, but with Griffith and Lauren Allan on either flank, providing an additional threat.

Griffith’s first goal came in the 12th minute. She raced onto a ball behind the Wanderers defence by Murphy Agnew. The American attacker took a touch toward goal and opened up the angle before calmly slotting it into the net.

It was the sort of chance Ash Wilson’s side had missed last week. It was a wonderfully taken goal after a slick end-to-end move that involved two passes and five touches.

Above: Melissa Caceres, who scored Western Sydney Wanderers’ equalising goal. Photo: Damien Briggs/Speed Media Images.

The lead would not last long. seven minutes later, Caceres equalised for The Wanderers. Sophie Harding whipped in a cross from the right that was not cleared properly. The ball dropped at the edge of the six-yard box and Caceres volleyed home across the keeper to make it 1-1.

Griffith’s first goal was one of composure, her second was spectacular, and it put Newcastle back in the lead before halftime.

The Wanderers could only clear a corner kick to the edge of the 18-yard box. Griffith ran onto it and volleyed home across her body with a low right-footed shot that stunned her teammates as much as the opposition. It is a contender for goal of the week. Griffith now had one off each boot and had one more to come.

The Jets fans would have to wait until the second half for the hat trick. A long ball in from a deep free-kick bounced around the penalty box before it fell to Griffith who nodded home from close range to complete the perfect hat trick and announce a new A-League Women’s star.

The Jets continued to attack and sealed the win in the 67th minute. Agnew’s corner swung perfectly to the back post where Tara Andrews met it and scored from close range with an easily directed header.

The Wanderers did not consider themselves out of the contest and continued to attack. Amy Harrison was introduced to the match and her midfield experience and mobility caused problems for Newcastle.

After starting a move in midfield, she was eventually slipped in behind the defenders by Caceres and finished coolly to give the Wanders some respect on the scoreboard and the faint hope of a comeback.

The match ended 4-2, and Newcastle celebrated their first win of the season. It was hard to know exactly what to expect from Ash Wilson’s team before Round One. Two games later we now they will attack with pace, be a danger from set pieces and try to get in behind the defence.

Western Sydney are still finding their feet. They looked vulnerable without the ball, but capable with it. It is a different team to last season in personnel and style. They were without Young Matildas striker Sheridan Gallagher but created enough chances to suggest hope for their fans after a forgettable last season.

Above: Western Sydney Wanderers will need to focus ahead of next weekend’s big derby with Sydney FC. Photo: Western Sydney Wanderers.

Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS (4-2-3-1): Worth, Tamplin, Garnier, King, Clough, Johnson (Walandouw), Davis, Allan, Agnew (Allan), Griffith (Puxty), Andrews (Stapleford)

Scorers: Griffith 12’, 36’, 58’. Andrews 67’.

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS (4-3-3): Bloomer, Hristodoulou, Hunt, Keir, Matos, Gordon (Price), Steinmetz, Caceres, Harding, Caspers, (Harrison)  Chlastakova (Boade)

Scorers: Caceres 19’ Harrison 76’

Referee: Kelly Jones

Attendance: 2,078.

Champions League Group C Review

Impetus’ Johnathan Stack was in Arsenal’s post-match media conference for us following their draw with Juventus in Lyon, and Jean-Pierre Thiesset reflects on Olympique Lyonnais’ 3-0 win at FC Zürich (26/11/22).

Above: Vivianne Miedema and Lotte Wubben-Moy celebrate after the Dutch star levelled the scores. Photo: Arsenal Women.

Miedema To The Rescue As Gunners Stay Top

by Johnathan Stack

Vivianne Miedema came to Arsenal’s rescue on Thursday night as the Gunners drew 1-1 with Juventus in Turin.

Arsenal had several players missing including injured England forward Beth Mead, and they fell behind early following a swift counterattack was finished by Lineth Beerensteyn who slotted Juventus ahead in the second half.

Miedema then headed in from a corner to equalise just after the hour, but the Gunners could not conjure up a late winner.

After the match Head coach Jonas Eidevall gave his thoughts: “I think we could have won given the chances that we created but sometimes football is like that. I’m happy with the performance, I think we came from a really tough game against Manchester United and I think we have a tough situation in the squad with injuries.

“I’m extremely proud of the players in the team and the way that we came here and got back to our way of playing against a very tough team like Juventus. I think we created enough to win the game but that shows our performance was good and that is something that we can build on for the Everton game (this weekend).”

Eidevall was full of praise for his side’s determination to fight back from a goal down and take a share of the spoils which sees Arsenal stay top of Group C in the UEFA Women’s Champions League saying: “It should give all of our supporters a lot of pride (battling back). One of the fundamentals – and we only have three fundamentals – one of them is 100% and that’s no matter the result, no matter the situation. We have an obligation to always play 100% and always compete in every second of the game. We’re doing that and I’m proud of that.”

Next up for Arsenal is Everton as they return to action on Saturday 3 December in the Barclays Women’s Super League fixture at Meadow Park.

Lyon Get Off The Mark At Last

Above: Signe Bruun (24) celebrates her two goal haul with Olympique Lyonnais teammates. Photo: Damien LG.

After a shocking 5-1 loss at home, and a 1-1 in Turin against Juventus, Lyon finally obtained their first win in the Champions League this season with a 3-0 success away at FC Zürich.

Lyon dominated the game apart from the very end when Zürich had a few opportunities. Melvine Malard opened the scoring after just four minutes with a header at the back post from Eugénie Le Sommer’s corner from the left-hand side. 

With the first goal scored so early, Lyon’s players were buoyed. Delphine Cascarino delivered a great performance with nine crosses and two shots in only 56 minutes (statistics recorded by Jean-Pierre Thiesset during the game) before she was replaced by the young Vicky Becho.

However, none of Cascarino’s crosses found teammates to score and we had to wait until the 35th minute to see Signe Bruun open her account after Malard found Le Sommer who returned the favour with Malard finding Bruun with her heel.

Bruun made it 3-0 after 66 minutes thanks to another great pass from Malard who headed across a ball in from Janice Cayman. Cayman put in a great performance too with the following statistics (recorded during the game by Jean-Pierre Thiesset) in only 75 minutes in the game: 52 balls played, 34 passes with 91% successful, seven crosses, two shots, eight balls won, and was involved in Lyon’s third goal.

Super SWPL Weekend Set To Go Off With A Bang

25/11/22

From SWPL

Above: Action from the game between Glasgow City and Rangers (white) last weekend which ended in a 1-1 draw. Photo: Malcolm McKenzie/SWPL.

A super weekend of SWPL and SWPL 2 football is in store for players, officials, and fans alike on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November. With no Scottish Premiership action, fans of all teams are being encouraged to show their support across the various elite women’s matches taking place.

On Saturday 26th it’s an Old Firm derby in the SWPL as Rangers welcome Celtic to the Broadwood Stadium. It’s a 17:15 kick-off and the game will be broadcast live on BBC ALBA. The reigning champions, Rangers, have a 100% domestic record this season and are yet to concede a goal. Celtic are three points behind in the league, having suffered only one loss against Glasgow City.

Above: Celtic are preparing for an Old Firm clash with Rangers this weekend. Photo: Colin Poultney/SWPL.

The remaining nine SWPL and SWPL 2 matches are on Sunday 27th, with a potential record domestic crowd at Easter Road for Hibernian against Heart of Midlothian. Over 6,500 people have secured their free tickets for the 16:10 kick-off and are on course to beat the previous record, set by Hibs back in September 2021, of 5,512. The match is also live on BBC ALBA.

There are three other SWPL derbies taking place on Sunday, including the Lanarkshire derby between Hamilton Academical and Motherwell at New Douglas Park. Alongside the local rivalry, both teams are separated by just one point. Motherwell prevailed in two out of three meetings last season but it was Accies that came away 1-0 winners when the two sides met back in April at Fir Park.

In the North East it’s Dundee United against Aberdeen. The two sides are separated by just three points with United currently sitting above Aberdeen in 10th. This is the first meeting of the two sides in the SWPL after Dundee United clinched the SWPL 2 title last season.

Above: Hearts’ Erin Rennie gets to the ball ahead of Motherwell’s Amy Anderson. Both sides have derby matches this weekend. Photo: Robert Wilson/SWPL.

The final derby in the SWPL is Partick Thistle against Glasgow City, both a Glasgow and ‘Petershill Park’ derby. Thistle are the home side on this occasion, at the ground both teams share. Glasgow City will be strong favourites, currently second in the league with a 100% record but these games have traditionally been close affairs. Thistle are currently fifth in the table with 12 points after nine games.

The final SWPL game on Sunday is East against West as Spartans welcome Glasgow Women to Ainslie Park. The Glasgow side are without a point this season and will be looking to take something away as we approach the completion of the first round of fixtures.

In SWPL 2, there is plenty of excitement as one of Scotland’s most competitive leagues continues to heat up.

Above: Aberdeen, seen here after scoring against Glasgow Women last month, face a North-East derby against Dundee United. Photo: Robert Wilson/SWPL.

As part of this exciting weekend of SWPL action, St Johnstone will be playing Stirling University. The two sides are separated by just six points, with the Saints coming away 3-1 winners at Stirling University when the sides last met in August.

Top of the table Gartcairn are at home to Kilmarnock at MTC Park, East Fife welcome Montrose to the Locality Hub Bayview Stadium, and Queen’s Park host Boroughmuir Thistle at New Tinto Park.

SWPL Managing Director, Fiona McIntyre, said: “This is a hugely exciting weekend for the SWPL. When planning for this season, we knew that the men’s FIFA World Cup would present opportunities for us. This weekend, with little SPFL football, is a great opportunity for us to drive attendances and visibility for our game.

Above: Gartcairn, seen here in action last season, will be looking to continue their great start to life in the SWPL 2 against Kilmarnock this weekend. Photo: Chloe Kelly.

“We’ve worked closely with clubs to spread the games out across the weekend and it is fantastic that a number of these matches have been moved to the club’s main stadium. Based on current arrangements, it’s possible for fans to get to three games in one weekend, including the Old Firm and Edinburgh derbies.”

“For fans unable to attend matches, we’ve also worked with our broadcast partners to make matches as accessible as possible. BBC ALBA will be broadcasting Rangers v Celtic on Saturday and Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian on Sunday. This is on top of the live stream offering from clubs including Partick Thistle and Spartans.”

“I encourage everyone to get along to a game. It’s hard to beat the atmosphere of a live match. If you’re a football fan or are looking for a family day out, SWPL games are high-quality, entertaining, and very much family-friendly in terms of atmosphere and ticket price.”

Jeff Hopkins: Kos Is A Ready Made Replacement

Impetus’ Kieran Yap attended Melbourne Victory’s media conference ahead of the A-League Women’s match against Sydney FC (26/11/22).

Above: Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins. Photo: Melbourne Victory.

It is a sad and familiar feeling for Melbourne Victory fans. Natalie Tathem was injured in Round One once again.

The Victory fullback tore her ACL in her last Victory appearance in 2020. In the 1-0 loss to Western United, she sustained an elbow fracture. Thankfully, she will not be out for too long according to head coach Jeff Hopkins.

“We all feel for Nat,” he told the media. “It’s the first game again this season. she’s got a slight fracture across the side of her elbow.”

Hopkins estimated that Tathem would most likely return in three to four weeks, and the club would proceed cautiously towards her return.

Above: Nat Tathem – her injury is a blow for Melbourne Victory. Photo: Melbourne Victory.

“She’s been on the bike, she’s been at training every day. She’ll be able to start running next week. In terms of her fitness, we’ll be able to keep her levels right up there. As soon as she’s able to get the ok from the doc and have it re-x-rayed she’ll be back. She’s a pretty tough character as well.”

It is an especially difficult week for Victory to be missing Tathem. The team travel to face Sydney FC and the star Matilda she would have been up against, Cortnee Vine.

Hopkins has options at left-back. Both Lia Privitelli and Gema Simon have been declared fit and included in the squad. However, he is reluctant to rush either of them and has faith in the player who entered the field for Tathem against Western United.

“We’ve got the ideal player to go in there, and that’s Emily Kos. She came on and did well last week, she’s done really well in pre-season and played most of our games. She understands how we do things and that’s why we signed her, to play and for these types of occasions. If that’s the way we decide to go, I’ve got plenty of confidence in her that she’ll come in and do a good job for us.”

On the other side of the defence, Jessika Nash will face her old team. The Young Matilda had big boots to fill after Polly Doran’s departure to England. Hopkins was impressed with her game and excited for her future at the club.

“I thought she played with a real intensity. It’s whet my appetite for what we’re going to see out of her for the rest of the season. I think she did a lot of things very well. She defended well, she got forward and supported. Once we get her playing exactly the way we want her to play in our system I think she’s going to be a fantastic addition to the squad.

Above: Emily Kos, who Jeff Hopkins believes is a more than capable replacement for Nat Tathem. Photo: Melbourne Victory.

“In terms of her ability to defend one-vs-one, to cover but also her ability to get forward. Her data from her GPS is phenomenal at the moment, she’s doing so much work, a huge amount of high-speed running. We’re really pleased with everything we’re getting from her.”

Victory are eager to bounce back from their loss to Western United. Hopkins described complex training during the week that has been individualised for each player, combined with team and tactical sessions.

He said that he was pleased with most of last week’s performance, but that the team was lacking sharpness in the defensive and attacking thirds. Victory has a number of new faces this season, but he said that they had adapted quickly to each other.

“It’s been a difficult pre-season for us. We’re expanding the league by six weeks and had our pre-season cut by a week. We want to play games, and we want to be match-fit, but we want to be conscious in pre-season that we don’t overdo it with players and end up with half the team injured. I think over the next week and two weeks we’ll get a lot sharper at those things

“K-K (Elise Kellond-Knight) has slotted in really well. More to the point is the fact that five or six of the players that were on the pitch last week were away on international duty the week before.

Above: Tiffany Eliadis (right) in action for Bulleen Lions in the NPLW Victoria this year. The attacker has caught Jeff Hopkins’ eye in the build-up to this season. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.

“We’ve done a bit of 11 vs 11 in training and the quality has been excellent. The combinations between Chids (Alex Chidiac), K-K, and A-J (Amy Jackson) as well…when she’s been on the field, they complimented each other really well.”

Hopkins was eager to highlight another midfielder, Tiffany Eliadis. The skilful attacker enjoyed a terrific individual season with Bulleen in the NPLW, and earned the admiration of Victory fans with her ability to play anywhere in the injury-hit 2021/22 season.

“She’s had a fantastic pre-season,” said Hopkins. “She’s forced her way into the starting 11 through hard work and her ability to add something different to our midfield. She makes those forward runs and has been able to get into our box really well.”

It shapes up to be an engaging contest between two of the best sides of the previous seasons. Victory will take an almost full squad and aim to get three points against a Sydney FC side welcoming striker Remy Siemsen back into the line-up.

It might be too early to call this a Grand Final preview, but everyone is eager for the Grand Final replay.

Perth Are Primed For Return To WA Soil

Impetus’ Ben Gilby reports on Perth Glory’s media event to mark their first match in Western Australia in almost 12 months (25/11/22).

Above: Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby and head coach Alex Epakis speak to the media today at Macedonia Park. Image: Perth Glory.

It’s a big weekend in Western Australia as Perth Glory’s A-League Women side will play their first home game since 4th December 2021 when Adelaide United visit Macedonia Park in the city of Stirling on Sunday.

The match will be only the sixth W/A-League Women to be staged on Western Australian soil since the commencement of the 2020/21 season after strict border controls during the pandemic, and with the Glory squad looking to be stronger than it’s been since they last made the Grand Final in 2019, excitement is building.

Perth captain Tash Rigby reflected on last week’s opening game in Canberra when the team came from behind twice to earn a point, identifying the major challenge that they needed to overcome in the match.

“We struggled with maintaining possession in the first half, but I thought the second half was a lot better. Look, Canberra is a really tough fixture for us, we don’t have the best record against them, so for us to not drop (three) points over there was awesome and we’re really proud of that.”

The impact of Perth Glory finally being able to play a home game after so long on the road cannot be understated, and Rigby explained what that boost can bring her team.

Above: Perth Glory fans at last season’s only home game, which was also played at Macedonia Park, Balcatta, in the City of Stirling. Photo: Perth Glory.

“It means so much to be able to play at home. I was just persuading the lady at the petrol station to come down to the game. We haven’t been able to play in front of our fans and our friends and family for a long time, so it’s really special for us. Home fans really lift the team up.”

Head coach Alex Epakis described his team’s performance last weekend in Canberra as “…a foundation performance. Very Round One. There were elements in the game that we were strong in and elements that we need to do better.

“We spent this week addressing those. We need to tighten up our control in the match. We had a large amount of possession, we just need to be more effective with it. We’re really positive about how we’ll do in the match (on Sunday).”

Focusing specifically on this weekend’s opponents, the Glory head coach recognised that his team face one of the competition’s leading lights based on their campaign last year and their superb opening round win over a Sydney FC side who have made five consecutive Grand Finals.

“Ultimately, they are a team that are coming off of making Finals for the first time in their history. That’s a credit to them and how they have developed as a squad. We’ve identified areas that we can capitalise on, so it will be an even contest.

“Adelaide have players who have progressed at overseas clubs during the winter and they’ve come back to build that side more. They are a well-structured team. They have players in the transitions, in their front three who can really hurt us, but if we keep the ball better we won’t have to worry about the transitions.”

Alex Epakis, Perth Glory head coach on the threat posed by Adelaide United.

Going into Sunday’s match, Epakis addressed several injury concerns hanging over his squad, with both Claudia Mihocic and Milan Hammond missing last weekend saying: “We’re hoping that they will be more medium concerns than longer term, but we have some locally based players training with us who can step up if needed to and I’d be confident.

“We have a good group from the NTC and young Ischia Brooking was with us today. As time progresses, we want to blood those players, and when they are ready, they will play for Perth Glory.”

Above: The hugely talented Ischia Brooking in possession against Fremantle City in the NPLW WA Finals. She is now training with Perth Glory as a potential injury-replacement signing. Photo: Denyse McCulloch.

A big crowd well into four figures is expected in the City of Stirling tomorrow, and Epakis knows that the potential that his team has this season can make Macedonia Park a cauldron as the season progresses.

“The match we had here last year was incredible, one of my most vivid footballing memories and credit to the playing group who have generated the amount of interest they have with a big crowd expected. We need to keep playing well to make the crowd come back.”

Wellington’s Lawrence & Robertson On Western United Challenge

Impetus’ Ryan Miller-Woods reports on Wellington Phoenix’s media conference ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Western United (25/11/22).

Above: Wellington Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence. Photo: Wellington Phoenix.

In Wellington Phoenix’s opening match of the season against Melbourne City last week, arguably the most dangerous and effective player throughout was Chile international Cote Rojas who picked up one goal and two very crucial assists.

This week, Wellington will be up against a World Cup winner, the vastly experienced Jessica McDonald. Speaking to the media today, Nix head coach Natalie Lawrence outlined what she is expecting from the USWNT player.

“We know she’s going to provide a lot of class; she’s going to provide speed; she provides the experience. We’ve obviously watched the game back and she scored their goal – but she’s always going to be somebody that we have to watch out for. We’ve looked through videos of her, like recently, and whilst we know what her strengths are and we’re going to try and nullify them as much as we can, so then we can play our game.”

Reflecting more widely on the threat posed by tomorrow’s opponents, Lawrence said: “They’re good, you can tell that a lot of them (United’s players) have come from the same club, with the same coaches and then they’ve added quality in like Jess (Jessica) McDonald, like (Chloe) Logarzo and their goalkeeper (Hillary Beall, on loan from Racing Louisville for the entire A-League Women season).

“They’re going to be like a well-oiled machine and you can see that from (the way) they beat the reigning champions (Melbourne Victory) last week, so we can’t take them lightly. We’ve looked at what strengths they have and their weaknesses and that’s what we’ll try and exploit this weekend so we’re hoping for a pretty good game.”

In terms of player availability this week, Lawrence provided an update. “Still a few similar ones (from last week). So Izzy’s (Isabel Gomez) still out but progressing really well. She actually got through her first training yesterday, was looking good, so hopefully, she’ll be back soon. Wis (Grace Wisnewski) and Lily (Alfeld) are still out and so’s Rollo (Emma Rolston). So we have Mickey (Michaela) Robertson back in and in contention (to appear in the match) which is great.”

In regards to having Michaela Robertson back and available to play, the Phoenix head coach emphasised what the player will add to her side this week.

“She is just like a little whipper-snapper and adds energy because of her pace and because of how she is but just her personality too. So having her back in training and having her back into selection, having her available to play in Wellington, her home town is pretty awesome for her to hopefully make her debut this weekend.”

Above: Wellington Phoenix’s Michaela Robertson – back for tomorrow’s home game with Western United. Photo: Western United.

After being unavailable for selection last weekend due to concussion, Michaela Robertson outlined how frustrating it was to miss her side’s first-ever game at home.

“Yeah, look I had to go into that with a realistic mindset. You know, I hadn’t been training, I hadn’t been cleared but I was obviously a little bit disappointed with the timing, coming in a week late but now that I’m able to take the field, I’m stoked to be named in the squad so soon.”

Unlike anyone else that is in the squad, Robertson is the only player at the club to come from Wellington, which makes tomorrow’s opportunity to play a home game for her hometown team. It’s a culmination of a dream.

“Yeah, I think this is a moment that I’ve dreamed of my whole life, just even for a women’s (Wellington) Phoenix team, to be in the team and now having an opportunity to take to the field, I’m absolutely fizzing for it.”

Having spent last weekend’s game in the stands watching on, Lawrence outlined what she noticed in particular about her team’s efforts against Melbourne City. “Yeah, it was really positive. I think the first half we had a really good performance.

“I thought we could have been wider at times, just held our space and just been a little more patient on the attack, so that’s what we’ve been working on in training this week and just hope to create some moments up top.

“Last week there was a lot to learn from. I think we’ve worked on it a little bit this week in training. There was also a lot of positives, so we’re going to be trying to build on that this game, and yeah, I think we’re going to do really well.”