It is week ten of the Westfield W League in Australia, and Impetus editor Ben Gilby updates us on the title race as the two Sydney based sides continue to cling to Melbourne City’s coat tails.
Melbourne City went six points clear at the top of the W League after continuing their unbeaten run this season with a routine 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Despite their sparkling football and incredible run of results this season, City have not been rewarded by large numbers of spectators coming through the gates. Therefore a crowd of 1,989 for the match played directly before the men’s A League clash between the same two sides is a step in the right direction.
That City would record an eighth successive win was not really in doubt as they started strongly ahead of Milica Mijatovic’s seventh minute bullet header from Kyah Simon’s cross.
Despite this strong start and domination, Melbourne City could not add to their tally in the remainder of the half. Newcastle had escaped and they now needed to make the most of the let off in the second half.
Typically though, the side from Victoria’s state capital upped the ante to erase any hopes the Jets may have had when Emily van Egmond crashed in a twenty yard effort.
Both sides had a further chance – Clare Emslie had a free kick pushed away by Claire Coelho in the Jets goal, and the visitors’ Jenna Kingsley was denied after an impressive counter attack move.
Western Sydney Wanderers, who have a game in hand on the league leaders, are up to second after a 3-1 win over winless Perth Glory side that was far tougher than the score line suggests.
An impressive crowd of 3,024 gathered at Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium were wowed after just three minutes when Courtney Nevin’s cross was headed in by Caitlin Cooper at the back post. It could have been 2-0 shortly afterwards, but Perth keeper Eliza Campbell did well to deny Courtnee Vine, although she paid the price for her effort by having to leave the field due to concussion fears after colliding with Vine in mid-save.
After the break, the Western Australians began to produce some of their best football of the season and they found an equaliser eight minutes in the second half when Caitlin Doeglas forced the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.
The Black and Reds showed their title credentials in spades by stepping up to the plate at the first sign of danger. Within three minutes they restored their lead. Tash Rigby’s attempted clearance was jumped on by Courtnee Vine who didn’t need to be asked twice to steer the ball in.
With four minutes left, Perth’s brave resistance was finally ended when the home side chalked up their third, but it was cruel on the Glory as Courtney Nevin’s cross deflected off the visitors’ Isabella Warhead and wrong footed sub keeper Morgan Aquino. To rub salt into their wounds, Perth had a goal ruled out in the dying moments when Ari Romero was called offside.
Third placed Sydney FC saw their minor premier hopes take a setback as they failed to gain more than a single point at home to top four challengers Brisbane Roar.
On a wet Thursday night, 1,397 spectators turned out at Leichardt Oval to watch what would later be revealed as Sydney and Matildas legend Caitlin Foord’s last game in a Sky Blue shirt before her move to an as yet unnamed club overseas.
Either side controlled the opposite ends of the first half with Brisbane starting strongly. It was the Roar who created the first opportunity of the night when Rylee Baisden’s shot was hit straight at Sky Blues keeper Aubrey Bledsoe. As the match travelled towards the break, Sydney had two half chances, but the efforts of Caitlin Foord and W League top scorer Remy Siemsen went wide and over the bar respectively.
The second half was pretty scrappy and only a small number of opportunities presented themselves but Brisbane’s Allira Toby and Tameka Yallop failed to take advantage as did Baisden who conjured up two further chances for the home side.
Melbourne Victory renewed their top four chance with a third straight win to closing the gap on fourth placed Brisbane Roar after a comprehensive 3-0 win at winless Adelaide United in front of 692 spectators at the Marden Sports Complex.
Victory were on the front foot from the start with Laura Brock, Natasha Dowie and Amy Jackson all missing chances in the opening fifteen minutes.
However, the pressure finally told on seventeen minutes as Jackson laid the ball back for former Lionesses star Natasha Dowie to turn it in.
Melbourne had two further opportunities before the break but Dowie hit a free-kick over the bar and Angela Beard sent a header over.
Adelaide finally conjured an opportunity after 56 minutes when Isabel Hodgson lashed an effort that was far too high. Any hope that the South Australians had of gaining anything from the game evaporated on 76 minutes when Rosie Sutton turned Jenna McCormick’s pass into the net.
Five minutes later, Victory confirmed the three points when Darian Jenkins nodded back to Natasha Dowie to volley home.
Latest Westfield W League Table:
|Melbourne City||9||8||1||0||16||3||25||+ 13|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||8||6||1||1||19||8||19||+ 11|
|Sydney FC||9||6||1||2||16||8||19||+ 8|
|Brisbane Roar||9||4||2||3||14||12||14||+ 2|
|Melbourne Victory||8||4||2||2||11||9||14||+ 2|
|Canberra United||9||3||1||5||10||20||10||– 10|
|Newcastle Jets||8||1||1||6||7||14||4||– 7|
|Perth Glory||8||0||2||6||7||16||2||– 9|
|Adelaide United||8||0||1||7||6||16||1||– 10|
Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.
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Ben Gilby is the editor of Impetus and has over fifteen years experience in voluntary media officer roles within the sports of Football and Rugby Union, has appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Norfolk sports shows several times and published the book ‘The Game: Tales From A Season Travelling Around The Rugby Union Grounds of South-East England’.