Sydney FC 0-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Words and Photos By Kris Goman (27/12/21).
Above: Sydney FC’s Cortnee Vine gets above the Wanderers’ defence to get a header in on goal. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
Anyone might have thought they were in Melbourne the way the weather changed at Leichhardt Oval today. One minute I was putting on sunscreen and the next a raincoat and then a hoodie. Previously decorative scarves became highly functional. Thankfully it was just showers but it sent most of the crowd enjoying the sunshine into the shelter of the stands.
From there, a scoreless draw played out to disappointed fans from both sides. There was plenty of drama, as expected for a derby match. Quite a few chances but no conversions. Sydney recorded 14 shots but only one on target while Wanderers had 11 shots with two on target. Possession was pretty even but the big differences were in the number of offsides with 6-0 in favour of Sydney and corners 13-2 also in favour of Sydney.
Two minutes after kick-off, Sheridan Gallagher beat Jada Whyman who’s come right out of the box and took a left-footed shot from outside the box which narrowly went wide to the left, despite the open goal.
Shortly after Cortnee Vine is off alone down the right and finds herself one on one with Langman but uncharacteristically puts the shot into the side netting. Langman applied enough pressure to cause the error. Mackenzie Hawkesby then ran onto a pass from Maria Rojas and sent a shot over the crossbar from the centre of the box.
In one of the most sensational moments of the match, Gallagher tackled Taylor Ray who twisted to evade her. Gallagher reached out and grabbed her hair as she passed and Taylor was yanked backwards and hit the ground face first. Gallagher was awarded a yellow card for the foul but there’s plenty of argument as to whether it should have been a red. It certainly looked bad and Ray got a bit of whiplash as well as a face plant. Not too hard to justify a red card.
Later in the match, a cross by Rojas skimmed right past the goal with no one there to tap it in. Ibini arrived a little late to the party to watch Alexia Apostolakis, in her starting debut, put it out. The resulting corner, once again goes right in front of goal with everyone jumping at it but the ball passed harmlessly through.
Just before halftime, it’s another close miss for Sydney when Vine passed to Rojas who one-two’ed it back to Vine who passes out to Charlize Rule on the right. Her cross comes to Ibini. She centred to Hawkesby who lined up the power shot but it deflected off Gallagher who’s thrown herself in its path. This allowed Sarah Langman to smother the ball and get it out of harm’s way.
The Wanderers came out fighting from the halftime break and immediately applied pressure resulting in an early corner. The Sydney defence stands strong and there’s a breakaway down the other end but the Wanderers backline is equally adept.
The first genuine chance of the half comes when Steinmetz passes through for Brylee Henry to run onto in the box. Jada Whyman came out and successfully blocked the play.
Straight away Vine retaliated and brought the ball towards the byline and passed back to Hawkesby at the top of the box. Hawkesby’s shot had no power and is deflected by Caitlin Cooper, losing even more speed making it an easy pickup for Langman.
Wanderers have the marginal upper hand and a bit more possession for the rest of the half until injury time when Sydney step up and face the prospect of breaking their winning streak. Paige Satchell had recently come on to replace a battered Ally Green and has injected fresh legs and a bit of pace and enthusiasm. Almost the full five minutes of injury time are played in Sydney’s final third but despite repeated attempts, they can’t break through the Wanderers’ defence.
Finishing wasn’t the forte of either team today however they both looked very solid in defence. Clare Hunt was outstanding for the Wanderers at the back and wasn’t having any of Rojas’ tricky maneuvers and had her measure.
Both keepers didn’t have too much to do with only three on target attempts the entire game but they both were there when needed.
In the midfield, both Ray and Steinmetz looked in control. Upfront, Rojas, Hawkesby, Ibini, and Vine all had plenty of chances but couldn’t put anything away today. Henry, Gallagher, and Teigan Collister had fewer chances but also couldn’t make them work.
In the end, a point each seems fair and still sends Sydney to the top of the ladder to finally stand alone. Wanderers get their third draw of the season and move up to sixth place.
After the match, Ante Juric, Sydney FC’s coach was frustrated by the outcome: “It was disappointing because I thought we didn’t play well and when you don’t play well and to your standards, it’s always disappointing.
“In saying that the conditions weren’t the best and to lose Remy (Siemsen) two hours before the game obviously makes an impact on the team. They think it was food poisoning and she was vomiting on the way to the game, but I think she’ll be ready for Wellington on Thursday.”
“The first half I thought we had four really good chances. Outside of those maybe it was a bit 50/50 but we needed to score those early on, and then the conditions got even worse. But, I’m not happy we had one shot on target out of 14. One of our targets was to be top of the table and clear and we are that. We didn’t concede again and that’s credit to the girls.”
Teams: SYDNEY FC: Whyman, Green, McLean, Tobin, Rule, Ray, Hunter, Hawkesby, Ibini, Rojas, Vine Substitutes: Offer, Nash, Lowe, Satchell, Johnson
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: Langman, Hunt, Apostolakis, Cooper, Matos, Copus-Brown, Price, Steinmetz, Collister, Gallagher, Henry. Substitutes: Khamis (GK), Chauvet, Galea, Crofts, Allen.
Referee: Isabella Blaess
Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.