City Win Thriller To Make Amends

Melbourne Victory 2–3 Melbourne City

By Kieran Yap.

After last week’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of their cross-town rivals Melbourne City began the first half with obvious determination to make amends.

They welcomed Alex Chidiac into the starting line-up and reinstated Rhali Dobson while Victory started without superstar Lisa De Vanna due to a sore hamstring.

From the kick-off the game was fast paced, physical and entertaining, Melina Ayres nearly skipped into the area but was denied by a sliding Jenna McCormick and Amy Jackson earned herself an early yellow card for a bruising tackle on Chidiac.

City were visibly working much harder than last week defensively, typified by Harriet Withers desperately racing back from the wing to block a dangerous run by Longo.

City’s hard work was rewarded in the 22nd minute, Chinatsu Kira drove at the Victory defence and although her shot was scuffed the ball fell to Chidiac on the edge of the area. She shaped to shoot but took a couple of touches to carry the ball clear and into space to fire into the top right corner with a classy left foot finish. Neutral fans and supporters of the national team will be glad to see a fit and in form Alex Chidiac, in case anybody dared forget how good she in her absence, this was a wonderful reminder of her poise, pace and skill.

Above: Alex Chidiac puts Melbourne City 1-0 up. Photo: @MelbourneCity

City had the momentum and were unlucky not to double the lead after Gabby Garton scrambled to get back into goal after a rushed clearance but the effort by Vlajnic drifted just wide. The lead was doubled just minutes later when Kira cut the ball back from the touchline, whipping it venomously across goal where an unfortunate Claudia Bunge deflected it into her own net for an own goal. There was not much she could do to prevent it, the cross was designed to cause havoc and Bunge would have been unwise to let it run past her, City were deservedly 2-0 up.

Although City were in control, Victory players were not discouraged. Angie Beard and Melina Ayres were both denied by Tegan Micah, both side footed good strikes on goal and it took the City ‘keepers best efforts to stop them scoring.

Kyra Cooney-Cross with the extra responsibility in midfield kept busy and kept attacking, eventually earning a free kick that Melinda Barbieri hit very well and Micah did well to athletically dive and palm over the bar.

Just minutes into the second half, another free kick to Victory and again Barbieri lined up, this time she smashed the ball past the wall and beyond Micah who could do nothing to stop it spearing into the net. It was a phenomenal strike, perfectly hit and directed, it feels like every week another “goal of the year” is declared and this was another contender.

Victory began the second half with an increase in aggression, the press and pace in their play from last week had returned and they drew level in the 50th minute. A hopeful ball forward was scrappily dealt with by the City defense and Catherine Zimmerman bustled into position at the edge of the area, turned and belted a half volley to score her second in two games. It was a beautiful goal aesthetically, both feet rising from the ground as she struck it. The new Victory signing celebrated beneath a pile of ecstatic teammates.

Above: Catherine Zimmerman – Melbourne Victory’s goal scorer on the ball later in the game. Photo: @VictoryWLeague.

Victory appeared to have the upper hand and City looked to be tiring, Cooney-Cross and Barbieri combined on the right to cross into Ayres who was desperately unlucky to see her header bounce off the far post and McCormick again slid in in to stop Zimmerman as she raced onto a through ball.

City managed to survive the pressure and hit back in 87th minute to take the lead. Alex Chidiac picked up the ball in space in the middle of the park, she exchanged passes with Hollie Palmer and carried the ball forward with purpose, she slid a perfect through ball ahead of Harriet Withers who placed it past Garton to make it 3-2. Withers had looked most likely to score last week for City and had made a nuisance of herself throughout this match, to score such a vital goal was a deserved reward for the speedster.

Above: Harriet Withers’ late winner for Melbourne City sparked huge celebrations for the Sky Blues. Photo: @MelbourneCity

Victory had chances to equalize, Natalie Martineau’s close range header came close, Ayres had a volley on target but Emma Checker took the pain to block it and Kyra Cooney-Cross had a chance flash just wide on the near post but City would hold on for a deserved win.

It was a shame that such a fantastic football match had to end, but it was worse that it ended in the fashion that it did, in the late stages a group of men behind the goal (members of the Victory men’s Active Support) threw bottles at Teagan Micah as she prepared to take a goal kick. It was a needless display of toxic masculinity, a carryover from the ridiculous posturing that plagues some A-League games. While it was initially great to see a large attendance, there are some people the game is better off without and throwing objects at players deserves a lifetime ban from both competitions.  It was childish, abusive and dangerous. 

In the end, the final whistle blew, City had made up for last week’s loss and with the return of Emma Checker completing a side that looks like it is beginning to click things are starting to look up for the reigning champions.

Victory have a win a draw and a loss to their name this season but they look dangerous when they attack, they again showed multiple avenues to goal and although missing their best player in De Vanna, they were in the game until the last minute.

This was a terrific game with some brilliant goals and individual performances, the only downside apart from the crowd trouble were injuries to Longo and McCormick and hopefully they recover quickly.  If last week’s derby was a perfect performance, this was an almost perfect contest with a deserving winner.

Teams: MELBOURNE VICTORY: Garton, Doran, Beard, Bunge, Morrison, Jackson, Cooney-Cross, Longo, Ayres, Mindy Barbieri, Zimmerman. Substitutes: Maizels (GK), Markovski, Martineau, Privitelli, Eliadis.

Scorers: Mindy Barbieri 47, Zimmerman 51.

MELBOURNE CITY: Micah, Tumeth, McCormick, Johnson, Dobson, Vlajnic, Palmer, Davidson, Kira, Withers, Chidiac. Substitutes: Melissa Barbieri (GK), Allen, Checker, Cain, Robinne.

Scorers: Chidiac 22, Bunge (OG) 25, Withers 86.

Referee: Danielle Anderson.

Attendance: 1,034.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

Impetus is not associated with or approved by the players or teams shown.

Condon The Difference Once Again

Perth Glory 1–2 Adelaide United

By Ben Gilby

Perth Glory’s highly talented team of youngsters went down to their second straight Westfield W League defeat of the season against Adelaide United at Dorrien Gardens, with Emily Condon scoring the decisive goal for the South Australian side for the second week in a row.

Above: Emily Condon (on right) holding off Perth’s Sarah Morgan. Condon’s goal separated the two sides for the second week running. Photo: @wleague

The game took place on a warm late afternoon in Perth on a pitch which showed signs of being slightly sun scorched in places.

Glory made two changes from the side that went down 1-0 to the same opponents last weekend with Sarah Carroll coming in for Jamie-Lee Gale after recovering from illness and Hana Lowry replacing Kat Jukic in an attacking position. There was a further change on the bench with Patricia Charalambous in for Isabella Wallhead.

Adelaide just had one change in their starting line-up – a straight swap with Charlotte Grant coming in for Emily Hodgson in the defence who went down to the bench. Ella Tonkin dropped out of the squad in addition.

Perth started playing some really lovely easy on the eye triangular passing moves and looking comfortable on the ball.

Yet, despite this early possession, it was the visitors who took the lead. Emily Condon, scorer of the only goal between the two sides last week found Maria Jose Rojas who played the ball back to Condon on the right of box. Her cross in was cleared by Glory’s Tash Rigby. However, the ball was returned to the danger zone quickly through Mallory Weber who weaved a lovely pass through to former Leicester City and Coventry United striker Fiona Worts to slot home with just six minutes played.

Five minutes later, Rojas found her way into the box but she was brilliantly marshalled by Sarah Carroll and Elizabeth Anton at the expense of a corner, which Glory dealt with and the outstanding local youngster Gemma Craine showed her searing pace to break through and hit an effort wide.

Above: Adelaide United’s Maria Jose Rojas (right) battles with Perth Glory’s Tash Rigby in the first half. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Perth looked slightly more organised this week and had another opportunity when Malia Steinmetz found Craine who was too quick again for Maruschka Waldus and earned a corner. Deborah-Anne de la Harpe’s ball in was met by the head of Caitlin Doeglas but Sian Fryer-McLaren was not tested in the Adelaide goal.

A catastrophic error at the back almost led to the visitors doubling their lead. Whilst under no pressure, Glory defender Sarah Morgan’s attempted back pass was far too short and let Emily Condon in, but the Adelaide midfielder inexplicably put it wide.

United conjured up another effort when Charlotte Grant got free from de la Harpe down the right and played in a tempting curler which was just too high.

Perth finally managed to release themselves from defensive duties thanks to a great bit of skill which saw Doeglas turn a defender and a burst of speed saw her play in Hana Lowry. The seventeen year-old home towner played in a lovely cross for Doeglas but the danger was dealt with. Doeglas had another opportunity just before the break when Morgan dinked a ball over the top to her, but Fryer-McLaren snaffled up the danger.

Above: Hana Lowry (right) showing great promise at the age of seventeen for Perth Glory. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

The final chance of the opening stanza fell to the visitors as Grant got past Morgan but Elizabeth Anton did brilliantly to hold her up at expense of a corner. From the resulting set piece, Waldus headed down to Rojas, but Lily Alfeld was down quickly to deny Adelaide’s dangerous Chilean.

The overall pattern of the first half was Perth looking dangerous on the attack, but struggling to generate sufficient possession to maintain the pressure. This is, again partly connected to twin issues of putting a team together late and the consequences of coronavirus quarantine protocols, which has meant that they have only recently been able to train together.

Adelaide started the second half on the front foot. Charlotte Grant weaved her magic again and played in Maria Jose Rojas but Sarah Carroll cleared well.

Yet, out of nothing Perth conjured up an equaliser after 53 minutes. Hana Lowry picked up a loose Adelaide pass and found Marianne Tobain who combined with Caitlin Doeglas and the latter slotted a brilliant effort across the face of Sian Fryer-McLaren for Glory’s first goal of the season.

Above: Caitlin Doeglas (14) gets the celebrations after her goal for Perth Glory. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Lowry got free again and pulled in a glorious cross which Marianna Tobain connected with acrobatically but it flew over the bar. Beaming sixteen year-old Tijan McKenna then came on for her home debut for Perth. McKenna, younger sister of former Glory star Leticia, who is now at Brisbane Roar, is still at school.

The goal changed the momentum briefly and Perth began to cause real problems in the Adelaide defence, notably with Lowry, Craine and Tabain at the heart of it all. A high ball in from Tash Rigby was needlessly headed out for a corner under no pressure by Matilda McNamara. The flag kick found Lowry whose shot was blocked.

Above: Sixteen year-old Tijan McKenna (right) was delighted to make her home debut. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

More disappointment came for Perth with twenty minutes to go when star player Gemma Craine went down attempting to run down McNamara. Glory will be hoping it proves to be cramp rather than a hamstring injury.

With sixteen minutes left, Adelaide’s Georgia Campagnale let fly with a stunning effort from outside the area which rocketed towards the top right hand corner, but an outstanding save from Lily Alfeld saw the ball pushed away for a corner.

Moments later, Adelaide had better luck when Rojas beat Rigby and found Weber on the edge of the box. Her ball in to the far post was headed in by Emily Condon.

Above: Adelaide United celebrate Emily Condon’s winner leaving Perth Glory’s Deborah-Anne de la Harpe dejected. Photo: @wleague

Worts could have added a third with eight minutes left when she fired an effort over the bar, but perhaps she might have been better off squaring to a team-mate who was free on the right hand side of the box.

Condon had another chance in the closing periods, but she was well marshalled by young Perth striker Lowry in defensive mode. Mallory Weber fired in a powerful effort from the edge of the box to follow up, but Alfeld did well in the Glory goal.

There were more positives for Perth to take in defeat and there is clearly a lot of young talent in the squad, but they need more time to gel. However, time is something which is not available in this short W League campaign. Losing their most influential attacker does not bode well for an immediate change of form, particularly with Canberra United next up.

Perth Glory coach Alex Epakis said: “We’re heading in the right direction. We’ve had some good moments with the ball. We just need to find some cutting edge now to create chances. We have to be more proactive to create more pressure. Gemma Craine has the X-Factor and we’re confident in her putting chances away. We have to do more to support her and make sure we have numbers up there with her and not just relying on her.”

Adelaide United have now wrapped up back to back victories after an opening 4-3 loss to pace setters Canberra United. The South Australians have a solid foundation to claim a maiden Finals appearance come March.

Teams: PERTH GLORY: Alfeld, Rigby, de la Harpe, Anton, Carroll, Steinmetz, Tabain, Morgan, Craine, Doeglas, Lowry. Substitutes: Bennett (GK), Charalambous, Green, McKenna, Jukic.

Scorers: Doeglas 53.

ADELAIDE UNITED: Fryer-McLaren, Grant, I. Hodgson, McNamara, Waldus, Holmes, Worts, Campagnale, Condon, Weber, Rojas. Substitutes: Grove (GK), E. Hodgson, Kirkby, Mullan, Tonkin.

Scorers: Worts 6, Condon 75.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Attendance: 673.

Artwork: Graphics by PW

Impetus is not associated with or approved by the players or teams shown.

The Swedish Scene

@DandalBs returns with our weekly feature on all the news, views and transfer speculation in the top two tiers of Swedish Women’s Football, the Damallsvenskan and Elitettan.

As we suspected two weeks ago, it now seems almost certain that Kopparbergs/Göteborgs FC will play Damallsvenskan 2021 as a part of BK Häcken. Häcken is the club behind the huge Gothia Cup youth tournament and at the present the strongest of the men’s elite clubs in Göteborg. Things should be confirmed on 27th January when the board of BK Häcken has called its members to an extra annual meeting to decide whether or not they will take over Kopparbergs/Göteborgs FC.

Above: BK Häcken are set to vote on taking over Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC.

From BK Häcken’s perspective, their official supporter club, with no formal standing but influence, has announced that they are against incorporating Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in their club. However, they have stated that they are not against a co-operation between the clubs.

Back within Kopparbergs/Göteborgs, coach Jörgen Ericson has left the club after three years. As he departed, he said: “I love the girls, the club has been gold. But it’s enough now.” It is reported that club chairman Bronsman would have liked him to stay. Mats Gren stays on the coaching staff and has been joined by Matti Demegård, Sweden’s assistant coach when they won silver medal at the 2016 Olympics’ Women’s Football event.

Above: Lotta Ökvist – has joined reigning champions Kopparbergs/Göteborgs from Manchester United this week. Photo: @NeverlandMGMT.

There have been some movement of players at the club over the last week as Sweden U19 midfielder Hanna Andersson has left after limited playing time and joins Piteå. It has also been rumoured that Julia Roddar may be on the move to NWSL side Washington Spirit Roddar is under contract 2021, so a transfer fee would be required. Coming in is Swedish international defender Lotta Ökvist from Manchester United. United manager Casey Stoney said of the transfer: “It was the right thing to do by her as a person to allow her to go back to Sweden and be closer to the people that she cares about,” following reports that Ökvist was finding it hard being in England during the pandemic.


Damallsvenskan 2021 will start on 18th April and finish on 13th November. Match schedule not set yet. It has also been confirmed that this will be the last 12 team season for the Swedish women’s top flight. There will be only 1 club relegated and three promoted from the Elitettan. There will then 14 teams in the Damallsvenskan from 2022.

The Swedish Cup for Women in 2021 will be structured with four groups of four teams and will be played between 13th and 27th March. The four group winners will advance to semi-finals.

Rosengård‘s 25 year-old back-up goalkeeper Emma Lind has joined Frauen-Bundesliga club Turbine Potsdam.

Above: Emma Lind newly arrived at Turbine Potsdam. Photo:

After five years in Linköping, mostly as a back-up, 24 year old goalkeeper Matilda Haglund moves back to Elitettan side Lidköping.

Damallsvenskan clubs are starting their pre-season training, with newly promoted Hammarby doing so in the midst of snow. The club have stated their aim to win the top flight championship within three years. Their lost top flight title came in 1985.

Above: Hammarby begin training for the 2021 Damallsvenskan campaign in the snow. Photo: Jonas Lindkvist.

Goalkeeper Shannon Lynn, who has been at Vittsjö since 2014, has signed a new contract to stay at the club for one more year. The club have also announced the signing of 24 year-old Finnish international midfielder Julia Tunturi from Eskilstuna on a two year deal.

Peamount United: Champions League Heroics & Domestic Double Delight

Hot on the heels of a sensational performance in the qualification stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the club clinching the League and Cup double, Ben Gilby spoke to Elaine Harrington, secretary of Republic of Ireland’s top side Peamount United.

Above: Peamount United celebrate winning the FAI Women’s National League at the end of the season. Photo: @peamountutd

Elaine began our conversation by explaining the history of the club: “We were founded in 1983. The club itself is mostly known for its success with our women’s teams which was established in 1988. Year on year we have strengthened girls/women’s section and now attract some of the best players to our club. We won the first ever Women’s National League in Ireland, and subsequently became the first ever Irish team, male or female to qualify for the final stages of the UEFA Champions League in the process.”

It is to Peamount United’s Champions League history that we then turned to. “Previously when we played in the Champions League we got through the qualification group finishing as the best runner up. We were then took on Paris St. Germain. Sometimes the fact we are an amateur club can have a strain on our players as they are all either in college or work and find it hard to get time off. This season we had a qualification game against Glasgow City. It was a surprise to us how well we did (Peamount took City to a penalty shoot-out), we worked hard to prepare but the fact the girls all have to return to college / work can put a little strain on them.”

Peamount United’s return to Champions League football a couple of months back came after they won the Women’s National League for the first time in seven years. “For the previous three years we had finished as runners-up so we were getting stronger, but just couldn’t get it over the finish line. Wexford were the champions and we beat them twice. We actually only lost one game all season but Shelbourne pushed us all the way finishing one point behind us in 2019”

That championship win put Peamount United into a UEFA Women’s Champions League First Qualifying Round tie in which they were handed possibly the toughest possible draw – away to last season’s Quarter-Finalists, Glasgow City. Peamount took City to extra-time and then a sudden death penalty shoot-out: “Honest opinion: We were outstanding!” said Elaine.

“I think we were not expecting the result. We never even considered penalties! I think going into a game as the underdogs is a help as you feel you have nothing to lose, we had been playing really well in the previous games and had no injuries so we were hopeful. We were absolutely delighted with the performance of the team, however we were a little disappointed thinking how close we got. We dusted ourselves off as we had a semi-final game against Wexford on the following Sunday, which we won thank God!”

Those Champions League appearances have had long lasting benefits for the Irish side as Elaine explained: “When you have a success like that it can then give you that final push to try and win the league again to get back to Champions League again. It also gives you the opportunity to attract new players in.”

Above: Peamount United walk out to a guard of honour from opponents Wexford Youths when the FAI WNL title was confirmed. Photo: @peamountutd

I then asked Elaine to give us the lowdown on the top flight of women’s football in the Republic of Ireland: “The Women’s National League (WNL) was founded in 2011, previously we competed in the DWSL (Dublin Womens Soccer League). The WNL was set up by the FAI to try run things more professionally. This year there are nine teams in it. There is a gap between top and bottom, however the gap is closing as more girls are playing soccer at the moment. It is well supported by UEFA and FAI, but as long as it remains amateur it is hard to grow it. It costs about 50,000 Euros per annum to run a team, and we are always relying on sponsors and asking our players to get a sponsor for themselves. But hopefully it will change in the future. The 20*20 campaign has been a big help to girls’ sports.”

The year 2020 has not just been about an incredible UEFA Women’s Champions League performance – they also secured their return to the competition next season by not just winning the WNL but claiming the FAI Women’s Cup in fine style.

The Women’s National League of Ireland was won by five points from runners-up Shelbourne. Peamount United won eleven of their twelve matches, with just one defeat – 3-0 to Wexford Youths in August. The FAI Cup was won in true style as the club beat Cork City 6-0 at Tallaght Stadium. Stephanie Roche scored two with Aine Marie O’Gorman, Karen Duggan, Rebecca Watkins and Teigan Ruddy on the mark.

All of Peamount United’s fantastic achievements in 2020 have of course come against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. Harrington identified the areas that it had impacted on the club: “The biggest impact is not having spectators at our games. Financially we are better off as we have received COVID payments to the club from our Government to help us out. Apart from that the other major challenge that we have is the fact that the girls have to work or study and still play. The amateur status is the thing we would most like to change, if we could even go semi-professional it would be a big help.”

The club have a fantastic pathway for female football too, which Elaine outlined to me: “We currently have a top girls team at every level from U12. The FAI have brought in an U17 WNL team two years ago, and hopefully next season we will have an U19 WNL team. Our aim is to try and keep them at the club for as long as possible.” 

As a totally amateur club, Peamount United rely on a small band of volunteers to keep them up and running. One of the most prominent of this band is Denis Commins who Harrington identifies as being “one of the founder members of the club. He has always ensured that everything is run to benefit the girls in every way possible, he is always going out and looking for sponsorship for girls, along with looking after our facilities, which are top class.” 

Above: Peamount United celebrate completing the domestic double by lifting the FAI Women’s Cup after a 6-0 win over Cork City. Photo: @FAI_WNL

Elaine Harrington ended by stating what she feels is her strongest wish for the club over the next five years: “I hope to see us go semi-professional. I’m sure if the same people that are involved with it today are still around we will be as good if not better than we are today.”

Impetus – Your One Stop Home For W League Coverage in the UK

Artwork: Graphics by PW

Impetus‘ comprehensive coverage of the 2020/21 Westfield W League season is drawing large numbers of readers throughout the UK, Australia, USA, Scandinavia and France! We’re proud that, thanks to our Australian based contributors Kris Goman and Kieran Yap, and UK based Ben Gilby we have been in a position to offer reports on every game played so far and share with you exclusive photos from Sydney based matches.

Our ‘Sunday Dub’ articles each week will continue to feature all the reports, action, views and news. Look out for our Midweek Dub interviews and previews in addition.

Impetus is the home of W League coverage in the UK – know any women’s football fans who haven’t joined the ‘Sunday Dub’ yet? Spread the word #SundayDub

Thanks to Graphics by PW for this phenomenal piece of artwork to support our coverage!

  • Impetus is not associated with or approved by the players or teams shown.

Four-midable from Super Fran

Reading 0-5 Chelsea

by Ben Gilby

Above: Fran Kirby celebrates one of her four strikes at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. Photo: @BarclaysFAWSL

Chelsea took advantage of all other FA Women’s Super League teams being on the side-lines to close the gap on Manchester United at the top of the table to three points in addition to holding a game in hand and having superior goal difference over United after a comfortable win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

Emma Hayes’ side went into the game with Guro Reiten back in her influential midfield spot with Beth England, Ji and Pernille Harder forming part of an astonishingly strong bench with, perhaps an eye on next Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United.

Reading had plenty of possession in the earliest of the initial exchanges before Fran Kirby began to spark the visitors into attack.

With five minutes played, Melanie Leupolz stole possession from Angharad James and played in Kirby who in turn fed Sam Kerr. The Matildas superstar could have had a shot, but laid a ball off for Kirby which the hosts cleared for a corner.

Four minutes later, Kirby showed her influence again down the left and once more found Kerr, but the Australian’s shot was not powerful enough and easily blocked.

There was a glimmer of hope for Reading just before the quarter hour mark after Reiten gave away a free kick centrally outside the box, but Fara Williams’ weak effort went well wide.

Shortly afterwards, Reading were punished after a superb solo finish from Fran Kirby. A long ball through was flicked on beautifully by Kerr into the path of Kirby who was in acres of space. The former Royal rounded Grace Moloney and hit the ball into the net with ease. It was a deserved goal for a player in dominant form.

Kirby’s magic start to the game almost led to a second goal on twenty-two minutes. Jonna Andersson charged down the left and found Kirby in acres of space but the effort came back off of the woodwork.

Seconds later there was no stopping the Chelsea hot shot. She easily won a battle against Emma Mitchell and held off the former Arsenal defender to hit a shot across Moloney for her second of the afternoon.

Just before the half-hour mark, Reading came close when James played in Tash Harding who saw Ann-Katrin Berger off her line and lofted a great effort only to see it bounce narrowly wide.

The Royals did a good job in taking the sting out of Chelsea by trying to maintain a patient passing game around the half hour mark, but the home side’s downfall was an inability to maintain that possession in an attacking sense.

An example of poor control of the ball in an attacking position by Reading almost let in Chelsea for a third goal on thirty-six minutes as Kerr broke free and looked to be in a great position to shoot, but squared for Kirby which allowed the Royals to clear.

Above: Niamh Charles had an impressive afternoon for Chelsea. Photo: @ReadingFCWomen

As the half entered its closing stages, Chelsea pressed. Andersson was found by Reiten on the left and played in a glorious curling cross towards Niamh Charles which Moloney dealt with.

Then, a glorious inch perfect ball from Sophie Ingle found Charles on the right. The former Liverpool player beat Lily Woodham and laid a pass back for Kirby in the box, but Jess Fishlock cleared.

Right on the half-time whistle, Kirby grabbed her hat-trick goal which she so richly deserved for an outstanding performance.

Fara Williams gave away a free-kick and received a yellow card for her pains. Erin Cuthbert floated the resulting set-piece to the back post to Kerr. The East Fremantle born striker lofted the ball back to Kirby who was unmarked in the six yard box and she nodded home with ease. Reading keeper Grace Moloney protested that the ball was out of play when Kerr played the cross in and received a yellow card as a result.

Fran Kirby was in on goal within three minutes of the re-start and was denied by a sensational tackle from Jess Fishlock. Moments later, Sam Kerr was agonisingly close when Erin Cuthbert found Kirby who played a lovely ball in but the Australian put her header just wide of the left hand post.

Chelsea earned a corner on fifty-two minutes after a quick counter attack. Originally, a poor clearance from Ann-Katrin Berger fell straight to Lauren Bruton, but the visitors regained possession and drove up the left wing. Kerr got in behind and earned a corner. The flag kick was met with another thumping header from Kirby for hers and Chelsea’s fourth with questionable marking once more from Reading.

Just past the hour mark, there was a flurry of danger from Reading when Angharad James pulled a decent ball back into the box but Millie Bright was able to clear. Shortly afterwards, Bruton found Tash Harding who raced through and was just denied by Berger before the assistant lifted an offside flag.

Chelsea rang the changes and two of the new arrivals were involved in their next chance with ten minutes left. Ji played in Pernille Harder who raced in but was denied by Moloney.

With six minutes to go, the visitors earned a free kick when Beth England was fouled by Deanna Cooper centrally just outside the box. Ji fired in a free-kick which Moloney seemed happy to let go wide – but it was far closer than she may have thought.

Less than a minute later, Ji had better luck with a glorious finish. Blundell played in a high ball which Jessie Fleming played towards the South Korean who let it bounce before unleashing a great shot into the far corner of the net.

Fran Kirby will quite rightly take all the headlines from a sensational individual performance. There does need to be major questions asked of Reading’s defensive structure which allowed their former star so much space amid some catastrophic marking. Chelsea will also point to a really positive performance from 21 year-old midfielder Niamh Charles who hasn’t started many games this season, but put in a great shift this afternoon.

It makes their showdown with Manchester United at Kingsmeadow next weekend even more mouth-watering. If Chelsea were to win that, it would mark a potentially decisive shift in the championship race.

Teams: READING: Moloney, Leine, Cooper, Mitchell, Woodham, Eikeland, Fishlock, James, Williams, Harries, Harding. Substitutes: Bartrip, Bruton, Naylor (GK), Carter, Rowe, Skeels, Roberts.

CHELSEA: Berger, Blundell, Bright, Cuthbert, Andersson, Leupolz, Ingle, Kirby, Reiten, Charles, Kerr. Substitutes: Mjelde, England, Ji, Eriksson, Fleming, Harder, Telford (GK).

Scorers: Kirby 16, 23, 45+2, 53. Ji 86.

Referee: Abigail Byrne.

Six of the Best in Victory Over Reigning Champions

Melbourne City 0-6 Melbourne Victory

By Kieran Yap

Above: Amy Jackson jumps for joy after scoring for Melbourne Victory. Photo: @victorywleague.

Under a beaming summer sun and in front of a vocal and ecstatic crowd, Melbourne Victory delivered a football lesson to Melbourne City and sent out a warning to the rest of the league. After a stuttering and at time frustrating opening game, they look to have hit their stride.

The navy blue fans had plenty to cheer in the first half, they started aggressively, snapping into tackles and pressing their opposition at every opportunity. It was almost undone after a sequence of errors presented City striker Harriet Withers with an open goal, but her shot under pressure from 16 yards bobbled wide.

Despite this scare, Victory had the best of the opening exchanges and on 15 minutes they made it one-nil, the busy and tireless De Vanna received the ball from Zimmerman and threaded a perfect pass into the path of Annalie Longo, the New Zealand playmaker did not have to break stride and was able to side foot it past Micah in the City goal with a well placed first time shot.

De Vanna remained a constant threat and combined with Cooney-Cross to flash a cross just out the reach of Zimmerman in the middle and minutes later tried to lob Micah after another City turnover but hit her shot high and wide.

The second goal eventually came after Angie Beard intercepted a pass into the City midfield. The Victory captain fed De Vanna out wide and continued her run to receive the return ball hitting a shot from close range that Micah did well to save. Unfortunately for City she could not hold the ball, Melina Ayres was on the spot to tap home the rebound and she wheeled away to celebrate with the fans behind the goal.

Harriet Withers was the most dangerous player for Melbourne City, she provided them with an attacking focal point not obvious in previous games and although City had trouble maintaining possession her tenacity, pace and willingness to shoot meant that Victory could not lose focus at the back.

She provided City’s best clear chance in the first half after running onto a long ball on the right wing, driving with purpose into the box and cutting the ball back to Japanese International Kira. The shot was well saved by Garton when a goal looked certain and after some short-lived panic, Victory managed to clear.

The half ended after two more chances for Victory, Kyra Cooney-Cross and De Vanna linked up to send a dangerous ball into the box towards Zimmerman and Ayres but again Micah was well positioned to deny them.  In the dying minutes before the break, De Vanna tackled and flicked a pass to the unopposed Ayres who perhaps had too much time to think about the shot and in the end hit it over the bar.

The second half continued much the same as the first, the introduction of Rhali Dobson injected more pace up front for City but they struggled to maintain possession or create from midfield despite working hard to chase and press. Victory had no such problems and on the 60th minute Melina Ayres nearly doubled her tally after receiving a Cooney-Cross pass on the edge of the box and firing against the frame.

Above: Melbourne City’s Harriet Withers on the ball in what was a desperately disappointing game for them. Photo: @melbournecity

The returning Matilda, Alex Chidiac made an almost immediate impact after coming on for City, surging in familiar style towards goal before being bundled over by De Vanna, the resulting set piece ended in a spectacular point blank Garton save from Withers after McCormick headed across goal.

City looked to have some momentum finally after that moment and Dobson came close to scoring with a long run along the left flank and shot that flashed wide of the near post, but their momentary ascendancy was killed off in spectacular fashion.

Lisa De Vanna had the ball played out to her on the right wing, with the defender racing to reach her she let it run past both of them with a delightful step over and surged toward goal. With only Tory Tumeth ahead of her she sped past the young defender and fired across Micah into the far corner. It was vintage De Vanna and a spectacular goal, the calm finish capped off a run that began deep in her own half. After some near misses in the first game, she had hit full stride to punish City.

This goal opened the floodgates with midfieler Amy Jackson exchanging passes with Ayres to glide through the defense almost unopposed and make it 4-0. It was a great run and finish but Micah was left stranded by overwhelmed and fatigued defenders.

Victory had no intention of slowing down even in conditions that required drink-breaks every 15 minutes and as added time ticked over, Catherine Zimmerman scored her first W-League goal, emphatically blasting home into an open goal after a perfect Barbieri cross found her at the far post.

Spectators could be forgiven for thinking it was all over at 5-0 but Victory had one more goal left in them, Kyra Cooney-Cross ran onto a chipped Tiffany Eliadis pass and accelerated past her marker to finish well to make it 6-0 to Melbourne Victory.

Above: So much to celebrate for Melbourne Victory. Photo: @WLeague.

Six goals, from six scorers, all coming from different styles of attacks, Jeff Hopkins would have been pleased to see six different scorers and an attacking third of the pitch working in perfect harmony.  The substitutes had an impact and Angela Beard continued her form from their first game with an excellent performance at left back.

City again showed glimpses and a fully match-fit Alex Chidiac will help link the midfield and the attack but today they were a long way off Victory who looked fluid, inventive and clinical in comparison. City will get a chance for redemption in six days, it will be an engaging encounter but one set of fans will be more excited than the other.

Teams: MELBOURNE CITY: Micah, Johnson, Tumeth, McCormick, Allen, Vlajnic, Cain, Davidson, Withers, Palmer, Kira. Substitutes: Melissa Barbieri (GK), Sardo, Chidiac, Robinne, Dobson.

MELBOURNE VICTORY: Garton, Doran, Beard, Morrison, Bunge, Jackson, Zimmerman, Longo, Cooney-Cross, De Vanna, Ayres. Substitutes: Maizels (GK), Mindy Barbieri, Martineau, Privitelli, Eliadis.

Scorers: Longo 15, Ayres 29, De Vanna 72, Jackson 80, Zimmerman 90, Cooney-Cross 90 + 2.

Referee: Lachlan Keevers.

Attendance: 729.

Westfield W League Table Round Three:

Canberra United3210757+ 2
Sydney FC2200516+ 4
Melbourne Victory2110604+ 6
Adelaide United2101443=
Brisbane Roar3030113=
Western Sydney Wanderers2101243– 2
Melbourne City3012181– 7
Perth Glory1001010– 1
Newcastle Jets2002240– 2

Superior Second Half Sees Adelaide Take The Glory

Adelaide United 1–0 Perth Glory

By Ben Gilby

Adelaide United recorded their first W League win of the season at Marden Sports Complex when they saw off a Perth Glory side who put in a game effort in the first half of a game played in 34c heat.

Above: Adelaide United’ Emily Condon (left) who scored the only goal of the game from the spot, holds off Perth’s Elizabeth Anton. Photo: @WLeague.

It was the Western Australians’ first game of the campaign on a weekend when some clubs were playing their third match of the season. This actually may well have benefitted new head coach Alex Epakis and his players. Given the extremely late arrival of the vast majority of coaching staff and squad which meant that around Christmas, five were still in quarantine, it has meant than some full squad training sessions have been able to take place ahead of their opening game in Adelaide.

Perth conjured up their first chance of the game with just three minutes played as Gemma Craine cut in from down the left and let fly with an effort which came back off the post.

Everything dangerous from a Perth point of view came along that left flank in the first period with Craine at the heart of everything positive that her team were producing. With eight minutes gone she played in Marianna Tabain who put an effort wide of the left hand post.

Maria Jose Rojas was the star turn for Adelaide United in the opening exchanges and after being played in by Isabel Hodgson, the Chilean turned beautifully and found Fiona Worts before Glory tidied up.

Above: Perth Glory’s Malia Steinmetz can’t stop Adelaide United’s superstar Maria Jose Rojas (left). Photo: @PerthGloryFC

Perth replied with Kat Jukic winning a free kick on the edge of the box on twelve minutes after being robustly brought down by Matilda McNamara, who received a yellow card. Tabain’s curling free kick went narrowly wide of the left hand post as Glory continued to look good coming forward. Five minutes later, Craine ran onto a through ball which forced home keeper Sian Fryer-McLaren to race off her line quickly to grab the ball.

Lily Alfeld then kept Perth in the game when she pushed over a sensational strike from Emily Condon just ahead of the first drinks break.

Once more Craine was causing real problems for Adelaide. With twenty-six minutes gone, she drove her way up the left and eased her way into the box before Fryer-McLaren denied her again. Shortly afterwards Craine had United in knots again and a great pass found Deborah-Anne de la Harpe who forced Fryer-McLaren into another save.

With eight minutes of the half to go, the tempo eased due to the conditions, but Craine was still looking sharp in getting another shot away which Fryer-McLaren held.

Lily Alfeld was called into action shortly afterwards when Condon danced through the box and hit an effort which was saved as the two sides went in 0-0 at the break.

Above: Adelaide keeper Sian Fryer-McLaren made several superb saves in the first half. Photo: @AUFCWomen

Adelaide were the more organised side at the start of the second period as Perth found it more challenging to build possession, particularly in the final third. United’s build up found Dylan Holmes who drove in a glorious effort which came back off the bar to Mallory Weber who took too long to get her effort in.

Minutes later, Maria Jose Rojas took the ball past the entire Perth defence with ease, but her shot flew over the bar.

Adelaide conjured up another effort when Marianna Tabain fouled Mallory Weber on the edge of the box. Emily Condon’s free kick landed in Glory keeper Alfeld’s arms.

Perth’s inability to make patient, accurate passes when attacking just added to the amount of pressure that Adelaide were able to build. Whilst it was apparent that the large number of new players in the Glory side were still trying to settle in and work out how to play together, there was still an argument for changing the tactics slightly to shake things up. Gemma Craine got a rare second half effort away for Perth from the right hand side of the box which Sian Fryer-McLaren had to dive to save.

With ten minutes to go, a clever run from Rojas ended with a penalty when Natasha Rigby went in with her and looked to have taken the ball first but was adjudged by referee Georgia Ghirardello that the challenge was robust enough to warrant the spot kick. Emily Condon hit the penalty into the right hand side of the goal with the ball flying through a hole in the net and Adelaide were ahead.

Craine broke clean through for Perth with four minutes left and was brought down just outside the box by Sian McLaren who was yellow carded for her efforts. Tabain’s effort was well dealt with by a diving Fryer-McLaren and that was the last chance for the visitors.

Perth Glory will be delighted by the problems that Gemma Craine caused Adelaide plus some of the work of Lily Alfeld and Marianna Tabain. Despite this, with the season so short in 2021, the Western Australian side will need to hit the ground running from now on to avoid being left behind.

Above: Adelaide United celebrate their first win of the season. Photo: @AUFCWomen

After their great effort in defeat to Canberra in their opening game, Adelaide will be delighted to get the win. They are undoubtedly a good team with some super players in Maria Jose Rojas, Mallory Weber, Emily Condon and Chelsie Dawber – if they can win the tight games regularly then they can be a real danger this season.

Teams: ADELAIDE UNITED: Fryer-McLaren, E. Hodgson, I. Hodgson, McNamara, Waldus, Holmes, Worts, Campagnale, Condon, Weber, Rojas. Substitutes: Grare (GK), Grant, Kirkby, Mullan, Tonkin.

Scorer: Condon (pen) 80.

PERTH GLORY: Alfeld, Rigby, de la Harpe, Anton, Gale, Steinmetz, Tabain, Morgan, Craine, Doeglas, Jukic. Substitutes: Bennett (GK), Wallhead, Lowry, Green, McKenna.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Jets Fight Hard But Sky Blues Take The Points

Newcastle Jets 1–2 Sydney FC

By Kris Goman.

Above: Sydney FC celebrate keeping their 100% start to the season intact. Photo: @SydneyWFC

Sydney made the trip north up the highway to McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle for this third round W League clash.

Sydney went into the game coming off a win against cross city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle came off a loss to the Wanderers, both having only played one match.

Sydney lined-up in a 4-3-3 formation compared to the home side’s 5-4-1 defensive formation.

Seven minutes in, Newcastle’s Taren King got a yellow for a tackle on Princess Ibini in the centre of the park. Teresa Polias took the free kick and Ally Green moved it down the left side and crossed to Cortnee Vine who controlled and shot harmlessly wide of the top left corner.

Soon after, Polias took a corner and curled it in. Claire Coelho punched it away but Natalie Tobin gathered it up and passed out to Ibini who took a shot but it was easily blocked.

Another bad clearance, which was Newcastle’s downfall against the Wanderers, is snatched by Remy Siemsen who had a crack but the effort was blocked again by Coelho. The resulting corner was safe in Coelho’s hands. Ibini takes another decent shot after bringing the ball to the top of the box from the sideline but it too goes wide to the left.

The Jets got out of their half with Sophie Harding taking the ball down the left unchallenged after a long ball in transition. For some unknown reason, she then almost stopped when she got into the box to eventually pass across to Rhianna Pollicina who shot low and Jada Mathysson-Whyman took the ball in.

Newcastle were not allowing Sydney too much time on the ball and thus the turnovers are frequent, despite the pressure. Sunny Franco had a shot which went high over the crossbar as Newcastle started to up their own pressure.

Back at the other end, Cassidy Davis fouled Ibini and once more Ibini is the target of a yellow grade tackle. It looked more like a rugby tackle and was quite late. The continued fouls on Ibini show that the Jets aren’t letting her get any space. Polias took it and went for goal but skied her effort over the crossbar.

With four minutes to go until the break, the Jets got a free kick near the sideline. Gema Simon took it and there was a lot of heading as the ball bounced around the box before it landed at the feet of Tara Andrews who popped it past Whyman for the first goal of the match. Newcastle ahead 1-0 and it stayed that way at half time.

The second half opened with Sydney dominant from the start. Within two minutes, Cortnee Vine sent a couple of balls into the box that bounced around but eventually got to Taylor Ray at the back of the box. The 19 year-old wound up her left foot, struck it beautifully and it flew into the bottom right corner for the equaliser.

Newcastle finally got a bit of play when Sunny Franco took it down the right and crossed but Sophie Harding was ruled offside so it was all for nought.

Once more, a heavy tackle from behind by Franco on Ibini results in a free kick for Polias. She chipped it into the whirlpool but the ball was headed away safely by Newcastle. Sydney had another chance shortly afterwards when Vine brought it down the right and crosssed to Siemsen but the Jets defence stepped up and she’s offside.

Ally Green took a nice run down the left for Sydney, swerving past a few players but the cross went over Allira Toby’s head. It went back into general play around the box a number of times before landing at Rachel Lowe’s feet and she lobbed an effort over the players in front. It goes in the left side of the net past Claire Coelho’s forlorn look. 2-1 and Sydney take the lead at the 75 minute mark.

Newcastle had a chance to hit back after a bit of ping pong in the box which ended with handball by Mackenzie Hawkesby. Jets’ Gema Simon stepped up with Tara Andrews for the kick just outside the box and the chance to equalise. Andrews took it with some power towards the top left but it just skims the bar.

With four minutes stoppage time announced, Newcastle were applying all the pressure. A long ball went forward to Toby but she sent it over the crossbar before the final whistle blows.

Sydney ran out winners in what was, in the end, a pretty close match that could have gone either way. Sydney had the better possession and territory and probably the most telling statistic was balls into area which was 32 for Sydney and 12 for Newcastle.

Despite this, Sydney only had 10 Shots and Newcastle 8, and shots on target were only 3 for Sydney and 4 for Newcastle.

Newcastle certainly continue to be a threat and are no easy beats but Sydney’s class shone through in the end to take them into second place in the table with two matches in the round left to play. Cortnee Vine got player of the match.

Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS: Coelho, Brewer, Simon, King, Davis, Bass, Franco, O’Brien, Pollicina, Harding, Andrews. Substitutes: Simonsen (GK), Tamplin, Petratos, Allan, House.

Scorer: Andrews 41.

SYDNEY FC: Mathyssen-Whyman, Mclean, Green, Tobin, Brush, Polias, Hawkesbury, Ray, Siemsen, Vine, Ibini. Substitutes: Offer (GK), Hristodoulou, Lowe, Rule, Toby.

Scorers: Ray 48, Lowe 75.

Referee: Isabella Libri.

Attendance: 1,918.

Two Stunning Strikes Leaves Fans Roaring

Brisbane Roar 1–1 Canberra United

By Kieran Yap.

Above: Olivia Chance brings the ball away on her Brisbane Roar debut against Canberra United. Photo: @brisbaneroar

The star studded Brisbane Roar against the in-form Canberra United had all the ingredients for a blockbuster encounter, both sides met on a windy Thursday night undefeated with Canberra on fire in front of goal and The Roar yet to concede despite their trouble finding the back of the net.

Katrina Gorry changed that unwelcome statistic when fans were still finding their seats, unleashing a rocket off one step in the third minute. She received the ball around 25 yards out and with the wind at her back, struck it into the top corner beyond the leaping Sally James in the Canberra goal.

There was very little the young goalkeeper could do to prevent it, it was perfectly hit, with very little warning or wind up. The Canberra defender closed her down but not quickly enough and there was no immediate danger until the ball left Gorry’s wand of a right boot.

With the goal in hand Brisbane looked to be in cruise control, the pressed Canberra to deny them space in the midfield and prevent them playing the ball easily out from the back. The away team responded with a few encouraging counter attacks, utilizing the pace of Paige Satchell and the craft of Michelle Heyman. Any easy scoring opportunities were denied by the experienced and miserly defence of Polkinghorne and Carroll, though Heyman did crash a shot off the woodwork with when she was able to run at the goal and was unlucky not the score.

With the wind in their back Brisbane seemed eager to test James from distance at every opportunity, Gielnik and Gorry trying their luck again and Isobel Dalton hitting the post late in the half with a shot on the turn from 20 yards.

If the first half had a pattern it was that Roar were largely playing the way they wanted and denying Canberra the chance to get into a rhythm, Gielnik looked determined to score and was only denied by confident keeping by James, once to save a well hit toe poke from the flank and again coming out to claim Mariel Hecher’s curling through ball before Gielnik could reach it.

Above: Emily Gielnik celebrated her hundredth game but couldn’t mark it with a goal. Photo: @TheRoarCorps

The second half followed much the same pattern, Brisbane dominated early possession with Gorry knitting the team together and making herself available for every possible pass. She is a delight to watch in full form, able to move her own team and the opposition around with clever movement and tight ball control.  The Roar number 10 had was unlucky not to double her team’s tally with a low shot on the run denied by James.

Brisbane’s new signing, former Perth prodigy Leticia McKenna was the next to be frustrated, after an exchange of passes and decoy runs opened up some space for her, her shot was good but James was it’s equal.

Soon after, Michelle Heyman used a clever change of pace to beat Clare Polkinghorne on the right but the resulting strike from the edge of the box was well saved by Georgina Worth, the Brisbane goalkeeper had a busy night, mopping up the long balls and distributing from the back, but was rarely troubled, when her time came and Heyman hit the target, she met the challenge.

Katrina Gorry continued to torment the Canberra defence and she combined with Rosie Sutton to whip the ball across goal leaving James helpless and the defenders stranded, Emily Gielnik arrived at the far post, on cue in her 100th game and determined to score she met the ball at full pace but somehow managed to hit the cross bar from point blank range.

From the ridiculous to the sublime and from one moment of madness to another the game suddenly changed in a single moment. Grace Maher received the ball inside the centre circle, just inside her attacking half, she quickly spotted Worth off her line and with the wind in her back she hit the ball as sweetly as a ball can be hit, sailing it over the back peddling keeper and stunning the crowd, the opposition and her teammates with a probable contender for goal of the season.

Above: Grace Maher (right) celebrates her stunning equaliser for Canberra United. Photo: @WLeague.

As fatigue kicked in and the weather worsened with heavy rain joining the wind, the game opened up in the late stages with both teams trying to find the winner, Gorry had a shot saved again by Sally James after Gielnik galloped forward and played it back to her and Flannery attempted to replicate her heroics from the previous game and score a long range winner for United but the evening ended in another draw for Brisbane, another escape act by Canberra and another set of spectacular W-League highlights to start the round.

Teams: BRISBANE ROAR: Worth, Dalton, Rankin, Polkinghorne, Carroll, Heatley, Hecher, Gorry, McKenna, Gielnik, Sutton. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Murphy, Torpey, Chance, Horsey.

Scorer: Gorry 3.

CANBERRA UNITED: James, Foletta, Keir, Nash, Fletcher, Hughes, Satchell, Maher, Koulizakis, Flannery, Heyman. Substitutes: Richards (GK), Goldstein, Rasschaert, Galic, Grove.

Scorer: Maher 78.

Referee: Isabella Blaess.

Attendance: 1,079.