A Vine Time For Sydney In Tassie

Perth Glory 1-3 Sydney FC

Above: Cortnee Vine celebrates after scoring against Perth Glory today. Photo: A-League Women.

By Ben Gilby (27/2/22)

At University of Tasmania Stadium, Launceston, Tasmania.

Sydney FC gained an important victory over Perth Glory which puts them back in the driving spot for top spot in the end-of-season ladder.

Going into the first W-League/A-League Women’s match to be played in Tasmania, both head coaches named unchanged starting line-ups from the previous round. For Perth, Demi Koulizakis and Sadie Lawrence came in on the bench for Alana Jancevski and Leena Khamis. Sydney had just the one change among their substitutes with Cote Rojas coming back from international duty with Chile to replace Mary Stanic-Floody

Sydney’s four goals in the January encounter between the two sides came as the result of outstanding wing play. The Sky Blues looked to repeat the process from the start, looking to get crosses into the mix and forcing turnover ball. It was relentless from Ante Juric’s side in the first 12 minutes.

It was also clear that the Sydney head coach has studied the influence of Cyera Hintzen on Perth’s attack. Her surging runs through the midfield have been a source of many Glory goals since the New Year. Every time the 24-year-old American gained possession, she was quickly swamped by at least one defender showing close attention.

Above: Cyera Hintzen was well marshalled for much of the game by Sydney. Photo: Perth Glory.

Hintzen’s importance to Perth is multifaceted as an outlet as well as a potential scorer or creator. Therefore the smothering effect of her at the start only served to enhance the domination of territory and possession for Sydney.

Whilst Sydney continued to dominate with Tash Rigby kept particularly busy on the right-hand side, it took 34 minutes for it to finally be reflected on the scoreboard.

More pressure on the right led to a corner from Mackenzie Hawkesby who aimed for Nat Tobin in the middle of the box. The defender, who was originally going to play for the Glory this season, flicked a volley over Courtney Newbon in the Perth goal and into the net.

Perth responded well after the goal and earned several corners with Hana Lowry bending some dangerous efforts into the box. It remained 1-0 to Sydney at the break.

The second half, like the first, opened with torrential rain which, like the opening period eased off within 15 minutes.

Lowry had a golden opportunity to equalize within five minutes of the action resuming. Hintzen got away and fed sub Lisa De Vanna on the right. The Matildas legend returned the favour to Hintzen who played in a low pass towards Lowry who was closed down by Ally Green at the cost of a corner.

The resulting flag kick was another de la Harpe special curled into the six-yard box. A series of goalward headers were eventually dealt with.

Above: Sydney FC celebrate after Cortnee Vine puts them 2-0 up. Photo: A-League Women.

Within two minutes, Sydney made Perth pay for missing that opportunity. It came from a move that brought them so much success in the first encounter between the two sides in January. Hawkesby lifted the ball through to Vine, who was allowed far too much space. Despite Kim Carroll’s attempts to backtrack, there is only going to be one outcome as she took a touch forward and comfortably lifted the ball home.

Seven minutes later, Sydney confirmed the win. Princess Ibini beat de la Harpe along the left and played a cleverly positioned low ball in from the right which bisected Perth’s defence for Vine to slide home the third.

Cote Rojas came off the bench and was immediately involved along the left to feed Ibini whose effort was well held by Newbon.

Rojas continued to attempt to use her magic wand to break through, but Claudia Mihocic was, again working exceptionally hard to deny the Chilean.

Cortnee Vine had to leave the pitch with ice applied to her knee, and there will be concerns with Finals up and coming, especially after she missed the denouement of last season with an ACL injury.

Perth kept knocking on the door in the closing stages and they were rewarded for their efforts with four minutes remaining. Rigby played a square ball to De Vanna who had taken up a central position just over 30 yards out. The Western Australian played a beautiful pass through the Sydney defence for Aideen Keane to run onto and lift the ball over the diving Whyman. It was the 20-year-old’s first A-League Women goal.

There was a concerning clash between Keane and Whyman in stoppage time as both competed for a ball with the Sydney goalkeeper taking a knock to the head and Keane falling awkwardly.

Both players resumed play although Whyman also took another hit shortly afterwards when she rose AFL style to take a ball over the back of her own defence.

Above: After finding victories hard to come by in Victoria, Sydney FC returned to winning ways against Perth today. Photo: Sydney FC.

Sydney FC now take back the clear favourites tag for ending the home and away season on top of the ladder after Melbourne City’s slip up to Brisbane Roar. Perth will be hoping that Canberra United can do them a favour against Melbourne Victory next weekend with their Finals hopes now out of their own hands.

Speaking afterwards, two-goal Cortnee Vine said: “I’m absolutely stoked, it was a really important game and I think we came out there and showed everyone what we can do and why we are at the top. 

“I’m really proud of the girls. It’s good to get back on the scoresheet for me and get back in my stride with the team. I’m really happy I put two away today and hopefully, I can put some more away in the next few games.”

Mackenzie Hawkesby felt: “We stuck to our style of play and got the job done. We knew we had to bounce back this week and it was a huge game with Perth looking for Finals. We stayed together.”

Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby said: “It was a really tough game. Sydney were class today. We asked all we could of the girls, but Sydney were too good for us. We had a lot more chances than we did last time against them and we’re still fighting for Finals.”

Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis rued his team’s slow start: “We knew we started a bit flat in the first 15-20 minutes and that made it hard to find our place in the game. We then started to play more our style, but we conceded a goal. We tried really hard in the second half, but they had some more quality than us.

“The second half we at least threw some punches, we tried to attack them and we scored. Last time we played them we were very flat. From that point of view, it is an improvement. We could have been better. It didn’t show what we are capable of.”

“The performance this week wasn’t what we wanted in terms of the result. We now focus on the performance against Wellington. We have to make sure we follow process, review the game plan, and do our best to win the match. If things go in our way, great.”

Above: Sydney FC are marching on together towards another Premiers Plate. Photo: A-League Women

Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-2-1-3): Newbon, de la Harpe, Mihocic, K.Carroll, Rigby, Leth Jans, Cain, Lowry, Phonsongkham, Hintzen, Sakalis. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Koulizakis, De Vanna, Lawrence, Keane.

Scorer: Keane 86’

SYDNEY FC (4-1-2-3): Whyman, Rule, Mclean, Tobin, Green, Ray, Lowe, Hawkesby, Vine, Siemsen, Ibini. Substitutes: Offer (GK), Nash, Hunter, Rojas, Johnson.

Scorers: Tobin 34′, Vine 52′, 59′.

Referee: Rebecca Mackie.

Attendance: 692.

Artwork: Graphics by PW

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