Impetus editor Ben Gilby reports on the ninth weekend of action in the Westfield W League which saw five of the nine teams in action and a shock change at the top of the table.
Previously unbeaten championship challengers Western Sydney Wanderers suffered a shock 4-0 thumping at home to Brisbane Roar in front of 1,186 at Marconi Park.
The Wanderers, returning after a bye last week were without their star striker Lynn Williams who was away with the United States side, but regardless the plaudits need to be given to the Queenslanders who started on the front foot and never stepped off the gas throughout.
Chloe Raso and Clare Polkinghorne had great chances in the opening period with Western Sydney relieved that their keeper Abby Smith was in top form. Rylee Baisden was also denied by home defender Sam Staab’s block tackle as Roar racked up fourteen efforts at goal in the first half alone. Kristen Hamilton had a rare chance for Wanderers but Mackenzie Arnold in the Brisbane goal denied her.
The second half saw the Queenslanders keep up the momentum and an incredible period saw them score four times in just eighteen minutes. First, Elise Kellond-Knight played a delightful ball through to fellow Matilda Hayley Raso whose shot came back off the post and into the path of Allira Toby who couldn’t miss. Ten minutes later, Brisbane doubled their lead when Raso pounced on Alex Huynh’s mistake and arrowed a shot straight in from twenty yards.
It was 3-0 when eighteen year-old Leah Davidson hit her first ever W League goal after being played in by a perfect pass from Hollie Arnold. Allira Toby completed the rout on seventy minutes. It could have got even worse for Western Sydney Wanderers as Hayley Raso had two further opportunities. How the Wanderers respond to this setback will be the key to their title hopes, and they have now stumbled to third in the table.
Melbourne City took advantage of Wanderers’ stumble to go six points clear at the top of the table – albeit having played a game more – with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Canberra United at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows.
A larger than average crowd of 747 were treated to a Sky Blue command performance which extended their incredible run to seven straight wins.
It took just seven minutes for City to get on the board and it was Kyah Simon, recalled to the Australian national side for their Olympic qualifying squad a few days previously, on the target. She cleared the attentions of Olivia Price and rocketed the ball in from 20 yards.
Steph Catley and the prolific Milica Mijatovic missed opportunities before City doubled their lead when Canberra keeper Sham Khamis felled Sky Blues striker Claire Emslie in the box. The Scot dispatched the spot kick herself.
It was 3-0 just before the break in a virtual carbon copy of the events that brought about the second goal as Khamis again brought down Emslie. This time, Kyah Simon’s penalty was successful.
Emily van Egmond completed the rout after seventy-six minutes when she was played in by Rhali Dobson and then hit a spectacular thirty yard effort. It was a comfortable win for City who have taken a major step towards clinching the minor premiership.
Four days later, Canberra United were back in action, this time at home to Sydney FC, and sadly for the capital city side, they suffered a second consecutive four goal defeat.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on 5th January, but was cancelled due to the poor air quality over Canberra due to the catastrophic bush fires. The knock on effect of this was that whilst the home side were playing for the second time in four days, this was Sydney’s first game of 2020, and extra freshness showed.
Frustratingly for the home crowd of 1,473, Sydney dominated from the start. Sofia Huerta and Chloe Logarzo went close before W League top scorer Remy Siemsen met Teresa Polias’ free kick with a stunning header after eighteen minutes.
Elise Thorsnes had a chance to level shortly afterwards, but Sydney keeper Aubrey Bledsoe kept her effort out. The home side paid the price for the miss just after the half hour mark when Logarzo and Siemsen combined to play in Veronica Latkso to fire in her first strike of the season – and her first goal in a sky blue shirt since moving from Adelaide United.
The outcome of the game was decided on forty-nine minutes and it was a glorious move. Caitlin Foord weaved her way down the right and her ball was knocked home by the back heel of fellow Matilda Chloe Logarzo.
The fourth arrived with twenty minutes to go when another ball from the right from Foord was smashed home by Sofia Huerta.
Latest Westfield W League Table:
|Melbourne City||8||7||1||0||14||3||22||+ 11|
|Sydney FC||8||6||0||2||16||8||18||+ 8|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||7||5||1||1||16||7||16||+ 9|
|Brisbane Roar||8||4||1||3||14||12||13||+ 2|
|Melbourne Victory||7||3||2||2||8||9||11||– 1|
|Canberra United||9||3||1||5||10||20||10||– 10|
|Newcastle Jets||7||1||1||5||7||12||4||– 5|
|Perth Glory||7||0||2||5||6||13||2||– 7|
|Adelaide United||7||0||1||6||6||13||1||– 7|
Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.