England-based women’s football writers Lucy Fuller, Allie Coker, and Darrell Allen watched an A-League Women’s match over the festive period for either the first time or the first time in a few years. Here’s what they made of the action (3/1/22).
Above: Perth Glory’s Cyera Hintzen (left) and Adelaide United’s Matilda McNamara battle it out at Coopers Stadium on New Year’s Day. The physicality on display impressed our English contingent. Photo: Adelaide United.
Allie Coker on Adelaide United v Perth Glory:
Having managed to tempt a couple of Aussies to my UK team, West Ham United, it was time to return the favour and see where our new heroes came from.
As this was a doubleheader with the Adelaide United men’s team, it didn’t really showcase the crowds both teams normally get. The stadium reminded me of the American’s set up with open plan stadiums unlike the closed and encased English set up. Which unfortunately emphasized the sparse crowds who had turned up early. The ground looked immaculate and honestly, one of the best-looking pitches I have seen for the women’s game. However, we are only three games into the season. There is still time to turn it into a mud bath which the English viewer is more accustomed to.
My first thought once the game started is how physical all the players were. Which is the football I have come to love with my team. Within the first five minutes, Perth delivered a bone-crunching tackle to stop Adelaide’s press.
Here in the United Kingdom, very few teams play with that physicality. It was a joy to watch as someone who loves that kind of shin-kicking football.
If a team lost possession it didn’t take long for a defender to slide in and take it back. What’s a couple of yellow cards between friends when a goal can be stopped.
My second major thought on the play was the pace of the game. It was frantic and scrappy in the best possible way. Respect was certainly paid but each team played as if this was a cup final.
It was fast especially on the wing where the majority of the head-to-head battle lines were drawn.
End to end stuff from each team with no let-up for either side. The players looked exhausted by the end.
It’s an easy choice to select a goal scorer as a standout player. However, Chelsie Dawber is something special.
From kick-off until her substitution she did not stop. For such a young player she has a really wise head on her shoulders. Her awareness of space and lightness of touch made her a class act. I hope that Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson is paying attention.
For Perth Glory, one player kept popping up over and over again making their presence known. Susan Phonsongkham did not stop until her substitution in the last ten minutes. Getting an assist for her troubles, just looking at her heat map, I don’t think there is a blade of grass she didn’t touch. Another young player who has a very bright future ahead of her. She certainly made up for tactical error that lead to Adelaide’s second goal.
The first half was tight between the two teams and that made it such an entertaining first match to watch. When Perth came back into the game within the first ten minutes of the second half, you felt it could be anybody’s game. As a neutral, this was a great first game to get into the new season.
Overall I have found the Australian League is one that a lot of WOSO fans sleep on (no pun intended) because of the time difference.
This should change as it is a fast and furious league which makes it one of the most enjoyable to watch.
Now I just need to pick a team!
If you want to check out more of Allie Coker‘s thoughts and opinions, check out her Twitter @axlsgirl or her podcast, The Woso Show, which drops every Wednesday.
Lucy Fuller on the Melbourne Derby:
It has been a very long time since I last watched the A-League Women, in fact, I last watched it when the likes of Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso were over there playing in the NWSL off-season. Due to this, I didn’t know half of the team’s players with me only recognizing Lynn Williams for the Victory plus Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott for City, those seemed to be the only names that stood out to me after looking at the team sheet.
The standard of the game has definitely improved since I last watched the league even with some of those huge names no longer appearing, but I guess that sometimes helps as it gives other players the chance to make a name for themselves. One player that really stood out to me though was Wilkinson who had a fantastic game scoring all five of City’s goals. For me, the game really put the spotlight on her and she has really made a name for herself in my eyes – she was really impressive. I think I will be keeping a close eye on her as the season progresses and even further into the future.
City had a great game with an aggressive press and some great play to win them the game 5-1 and I will be honest after watching the game’s build-up I really didn’t expect the scoreline to go in City’s favour let alone be so big.
When you look at the stadium the game was played in, it goes to show for me how Australia is pushing the league. The venue at AAMI Park is stunning but could you image UK teams playing in stadiums like that week in week out? It would be amazing.
It was a bit strange seeing the ground so empty though with people spread out so much but I guess that is still an effect of the pandemic that a lot of countries are still having to deal with for now. There was still a bit of a noticeable atmosphere though which was great and I am sure as the pandemic and restrictions start to ease we will see the stadium filling up.
Watching this game has made me want to watch a lot more of the league throughout the season and follow it a bit closer and luckily doing so is being made a lot easier here in the UK thanks to BT Sport and the likes of Impetus.
Lucy Fuller runs the UK-based football site Edge of the Area which can be found via these links:
Site : www.edgeofthearea.co.uk
Instagram : www.instagram.com/edgeofthearea
Twitter : www.twitter.com/edgeofthearea
Darrell Allen on Adelaide United v Perth Glory:
After seeing in the New Year, I decided I would make the effort to try and watch the Adelaide United vs Perth Glory fixture live on BT Sport with the programme scheduled to begin at 6.00am UK time.
I didn’t end up going to bed until just after 2.00am as it was New Year’s Eve so I knew it was going to be a tall order to be up for the live broadcast but I still set my alarm clocks for between 5.30am and 6.00am with the intention of watching the game live whilst also putting the game on record in case I slept through the mentioned alarms.
With alarms going off every few minutes, I eventually came round at 6.15am and was awake enough to realize what was going on and that I needed to get the TV on to watch the game. I wasn’t far behind the live broadcast starting but very happy I had recorded it so I could tune in “As Live” and only be around 15 minutes behind the live show.
Whilst sitting up in bed with just my bedside lamp and light from the TV screen trying to make me more awake, the first observations I noticed were how nice the weather was in Australia and how I am sure we could all do with a nice holiday in warmer climates with early thoughts and plans in progress to join fellow Impetus writers at the Women’s World Cup in 2023, something for us all to look forward to in what will hopefully by then be a less pandemic hit world but we can only take a week or even a day at a time and see where the world takes us.
Anyway, back to the game in hand and it was also noticeable at the very nice facility the fixture was taking place at with Coopers Stadium hosting this exciting clash between the Reds and Perth Glory, in what was to be the first of a doubleheader with the men in action following the A-League women’s contest.
This was to actually be just the second time I have ever tuned in to any ALW action with the former being around a year ago during lockdown when I also watched a Perth Glory game.
In the early stages of the game, it was noticeable that Adelaide seemed to have more energy and intensity, although I understand this was probably to be expected with Perth Glory having had a few weeks since their last fixture.
I was impressed with how the Perth Glory defence stood firm however and they were putting in superb effort and commitment to stay level.
The two stand-out players for me from each team were Chelsea Dawber for Adelaide with a brilliant first-half brace and Susan Phonsongkam for Perth Glory who looked very lively and made the visitors first-half goal which saw Adelaide have a narrow 2-1 advantage at the break.
The second half began and followed a similar pattern to the first with Adelaide dominating but a very hard-working Perth side gave it everything particularly in defence which was standing up well to the Adelaide attack.
Alana Jancevski’s penalty early in the second half set up a great contest with Perth drawing level and then having to use all their effort and energy to try and keep Adelaide out.
The words of advice from the Adelaide bench and the talks during the drinks break clearly had an effect as they seized their opportunity’s well and finally make the most of one of their many corners when McNamara headed home to make it 3-2.
The highlight of the second half was still to come when Emily Condon scored a beautiful free-kick from 20 yards out to seal Adelaide’s 4-2 win.
This was a very watchable game and one I was certainly pleased to get up for. A deserved win for Adelaide who did all the basics right, were clinical, had the required cutting edge, and made the most of their set-pieces.
Perth may feel the scoreline was harsh but they will improve I am sure as the weeks now go on and a regular run of fixtures hopefully resumes. From a personal point of view, I certainly enjoyed the game and look forward to continue learning about the A-League Women and setting that alarm for more games.
Darrell Allen is Impetus‘ grassroots women’s football writer.