Western United stay at the top with win over Brisbane

Western United 2-0 Brisbane Roar 

By Ben Carey (21/01/22)

Above: Hannah Keane embraces teammates after scoring for Western United. Photo: Yahoo Sport.

Western United recorded a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Tasmania. A very good local crowd of over 2,000 spectators watched the match, which was the first part of a doubleheader. 

Brisbane started off the more aggressive of the two sides, with Katrina Gorry, Larissa Crummer, and Shea Connors all involved in promising half chances in the first couple of minutes. Just before the 10 minutes mark, Crummer made a good physical challenge on a Western defender to steal the ball, and took a shot on goal, but it was easily collected by the Western United keeper, Hillary Beall.

A few minutes later, Connors won an excellent ball in the midfield, passed to Gorry, who whipped it out to Roar captain, Ayesha Norrie. Norrie ran at the goal and struck a good shot, but Beall made a diving save to deny the shot. 

The first real chance for Western United came in the 19th minute after a defensive mistake from the Brisbane backline led to Hannah Keane having possession of the ball. She took a shot on goal, but Hancuff was equal to it.

Just before regulation time for the first half expired, Adriana Taranto found herself in a dangerous position with the ball. She drilled it low and hard to the bottom left corner. The shot had Hancuff beaten, but just faded wide. 

Taranto was disappointed; however, she wouldn’t have to wait long before being rewarded for her hard work. Two minutes later, she was an essential part of Western United’s first goal of the match. Taranto hit a good through ball to Jessica McDonald, who crossed it into the box, drawing a favourable deflection from a Brisbane defender that found the feet of Keane, who found the back of the net, with assistance from the inside of the goalpost.

The Roar started out the second half just as strongly as in the first half, with lots of great build-up, usually involving Gorry, Connors, and Crummer, but in every instance, the finishing product was not there. Brisbane’s best chance of the match came in the 49th minute when a great long ball from the midfield found Crummer in enough space to land a 747. Crummer ran at the Western keeper, with easily enough time to shape up a good shot but ended up kicking it straight to the keeper in the middle of the box.

Just before the hour mark, on the counterattack from one of Brisbane Roar’s attempts, Western United struck again.

McDonald made an amazing run past two Brisbane defenders and delivered a solid ball into the box. T.J. Vlajnic hustled hard to win the ball, putting it against the inside of the post. It bounced back out right in front of the goals and before anyone could clear it Vlajnic had successfully followed up for Western’s second goal of the day.

Western United managed to close out the remaining 30 minutes plus a long injury time without too much drama. The win ensured that they would stay at the top of the table, two points ahead of Melbourne City, and with one game in hand over their nearest rival.

Western United showed again why they are the team to beat this season, with a consistent performance all round. McDonald performed exceptionally well in her last game for Western United before returning home to the States. Her quick, dynamic movement and great passes helped set up one goal and create a bunch of other opportunities throughout the match.

Keane put in a solid shift as always, scoring the initial goal and creating other dangerous chances for her teammates. Beall defended the Western United goals very well, making six saves to record her fourth clean sheet for the campaign.

Above: Brisbane Roar’s Jessie Rasschaert (left) tussles with Tyla-Jay Vlajnic. Photo: Keep Up.

For Brisbane, the attacking mindset was definitely there. The Roar had 18 shots during the match. But poor passing accuracy, lack of intent, and an inability to convert chances let them down.

That said, Connors was excellent. Her speed, willingness to make challenges and win the ball was perhaps the best it has been all season. She took several shots on goal and created good opportunities for her teammates as well. Gorry worked her magic in the midfield as always, but there’s only so much one woman can do. Hollie Palmer and Crummer had some good moments in the match as well.

Western United will face Canberra United next weekend and Brisbane Roar will take on Wellington Phoenix, buoyed by their first win of the season today.

Teams: WESTERN UNITED (4-3-3): Beall, Papadopoulos, Cummings, Cerne, Medwin, M. Taranto, Robers, A. Taranto, McDonald, Keane, Vlajnic. Substitutes: Dall’Oste, Beard, Sawicki, Steer, Johnson.

Scorers: Keane 45+2’, Vlajnic 56’.

Teams: BRISBANE ROAR (4-14-1): Hancuff, Kramer, Lind, Rankin, Rasschaert, Norrie, Connors, Gorry, Palmer, Riley, Crummer. SubstitutesShuttleworth, McQueen, Levin, Kruger, Robinne.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello

Attendance: 2,050.

Artwork by: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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