Sydney FC 3-0 Adelaide United
By Ben Carey (25/03/22)
Above: Nat Tobin celebrates with her Sydney FC teammates after scoring Sydney’s second goal. Photo: Sydney FC.
Sydney FC defeated Adelaide United on Saturday afternoon at home, providing a big boost for their hopes of winning the premiership for the third time in a row, something that has never been done in A-League Women’s history.
The match began slowly, with both sides feeling each other out. Their last meeting was back in November 2022 when Adelaide shocked Sydney with a late game-winner from Emilia Murray. There were a few attempts up each end, drawing saves from both keepers. But both sides were struggling to keep possession and build any truly dangerous attacks.
In the 14th minute, out of nowhere, an attempted long shot from Nat Tobin in the midfield deflected unkindly off an Adelaide defender and landed awkwardly in the box. Both Reds goalkeeper Annalee Grove and Sydney’s Rachel Lowe went for the ball. Grove was unable to get a firm grip, allowing Lowe an easy tap-in to secure the lead.
Adelaide had a few chances up the other end in the rest of the first half, but both the Sydney defensive line and Jada Whyman were equal to everything the South Australian side could throw at them.
The second half picked up where the first had left off, Adelaide with lion’s share of possession, but not able to do much with it. When Sydney got the ball they were pressing forward and taking shots on goal. Grove made a number of brilliant saves to keep her team in the match, but the Adelaide defence were conceding far too many corners.
Just before the 70-minute mark, a corner kick from Mackenzie Hawkesby dropped into the box and Adelaide failed to clear allowing Sydney captain and star defender, Tobin, to step up and slotted it past Grove to make it 2-0.
Just over 10 minutes later, Hawkesby, who had been working so hard all match, finally got her reward. A clever flick-on from Madison Haley gave Princess Ibini the ball in an acre of space. She ran down the left flank and worked hard to get past the defenders and hit a beautifully weighted cross to Hawkesby who was perched just in front of the goal and tucked it in to put the nail in the coffin for Adelaide.
Although Adelaide held the majority of the possession, Sydney were much more aggressive and efficient when they had the ball. Their quick passing, dynamic movement, and attacking mentality were too strong for Adelaide.
It was a fantastic team performance from Sydney with everyone performing well and working together harmoniously. Tobin had a phenomenal game, defending superbly up the back and being involved in the attacks up front as well. She was directly involved in setting up the first goal, and she scored the second by herself.
It also must be said that despite conceding three goals, Grove was immense for Adelaide. She made nine saves against the fearsome attacking force that is Sydney. She did everything she could to keep her side in the match.
Adelaide United will play again on Tuesday when they take on Wellington Phoenix in their last match of the season. Sydney FC will play Perth Glory on Wednesday.
Teams: SYDNEY FC (4-3-3): Whyman, Rule, Tobin, de la Harpe, Green, Hunter, I. Dos Santos, Hawkesby, Vine, Lowe, Ibini. Substitutes: Offer, Fenton, Stanic-Floody, Haley, Lemon.
Scorers: 14’ Lowe, Tobin 67’, Hawkesby 79’.
ADELAIDE UNITED (4-4–3): Grove, E. Hodgson, Waldus, McCormick, I. Hodgson, Holmes, Sasaki, Westland, Bowler, Worts, Murray. Substitutes: Wilson, Tonkin, Barbieri, Hayward, Panagaris.
Referee: Rachael Mitchenson.