Review: Westfield W League

Week eleven of the Westfield W League in Australia was full of shocks and upsets as the two sides still looking for their first victories finally got off the mark in some style…and impacted on the title race in the process. Impetus editor Ben Gilby reports.

The biggest shock result of this W League season is still causing tremors three days later after Adelaide United claimed their first win of the campaign with a clinical victory over championship chasing Western Sydney Wanderers.

The South Australians were on top of the game from the off at the Marden Sports Complex as they imposed a pleasing on the eye passing game on the Parramatta based side who were playing their game in hand on leaders Melbourne City.

With just six minutes gone, Emily Condon’s effort came crashing back off the bar. Eleven minutes later, Alex Huynh lost possession and Adelaide’s Chelsie Dawber hit an effort in from 20 yards.

Then, with half-time approaching, the Lady Reds deservedly hit two goals in six minutes. Firstly, from Condon’s inch-perfect cross, Mallory Weber tapped home. Then, into first-half stoppage time, Weber ran onto Charlotte Grant’s long ball to dispatch it into the net perfectly.

Matters could have got even worse for Wanderers at the start of the second half when Weber was denied her hat-trick by an offside call, and Huynh atoned for her earlier error by denying Dawber.

It took Western Sydney until the 81st minute to gain a realistic chance when Kristen Hamilton was pulled down in the box by Matilda McNamara. Her penalty effort flew dreadfully over the bar. With a minute of normal time left, the visitors finally got on the board when American Sam Staab headed in Ella Mastrantonio’s cross.

Three minutes into stoppage time there was a glimmer of hope for Wanderers when Kyra Cooney-Cross’ ball in was headed into her own net by Lais Dos Santos Araujo. Two minutes later, the visitors could have levelled matters but captain Amy Harrison’s volley failed to connect. It would have been cruel on Adelaide if it had. It was just a shame that only 569 spectators were present to witness their famous win.

For Western Sydney Wanderers, they are now six points behind leaders Melbourne City having both played the same number of games. Their clash at Marconi Stadium on 20th February now offers the Wanderers a final opportunity to have any hope of denying the Victorian side the minor premiership.

Melbourne Victory stepped up their finals hopes with a comfortable 3-0 win over Canberra United at Lakeside Stadium in front of 562 spectators.

A two-goal burst just after the half-hour mark set up Melbourne’s fourth successive win when Darian Jenkins’ cross was met by Melina Ayres. Seven minutes later, the home side doubled their lead when Angela Beard’s high ball in was laid off beautifully by Natasha Dowie for Ayres to score again.

It was Dowie who scored the third with thirteen minutes left when she nodded home despite a large number of Canberra defenders ahead of her – any of whom could have cleared the danger.

Whilst Melbourne now have strong hopes of contesting the final four, the capital city side have now gone a staggering five games without scoring. This for a side who, earlier in the campaign were in the top four themselves.

Last year’s beaten Grand Finalists Perth Glory earned their first win of the 2019/20 season at their ninth attempt with a vital 4-2 success away to fellow strugglers Newcastle Jets in front of 828 spectators at the McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Glory built on their positive performance against championship chasing Western Sydney Wanderers last week and, whilst it’s too late to aim at a finals campaign this time around, the Western Australians will be going all out in the final quarter of this season to put distance between themselves and the bottom three.

Perth will also be delighted by the performance of 16-year-old starlet Hana Lowry who scored a superb goal to celebrate her first start. On 22 minutes, she sent a bullet of a header arrowing into the net from Crystal Thomas’ corner.

Glory doubled their lead just before the break when Thomas was pushed over in the box by Newcastle’s Tessa Tamplin and Morgan Andrews dispatched the resulting penalty as the visitors went in 2-0 up at the break.

Newcastle rallied briefly at the start of the second half, but it was Perth who were on the scoresheet next on 65 minutes. Morgan Andrews hit a scorcher from outside of the area which came crashing back off the crossbar and fell at the feet of Caitlin Doeglas who couldn’t miss.

The home side got on the scoresheet nine minutes later, although it had a slight piece of fortune about it when Tessa Tamplin’s attempted cross from well outside the box fly over Perth keeper Morgan Aquino’s head and straight in.

However, what Tamplin could do in the freak strike stakes, Perth’s Spanish star Celia could also do as she curled in a beautiful lofted goal from over 20 yards just three minutes later as the Western Australians re-established their three-goal lead.

There was still time for a further goal as Newcastle grabbed a second. Renee Poutney played in Lauren Allen beautifully. Allen took the ball on and fired high into the net from an acute angle, but it was Perth Glory who took the honours with a 4-2 win –  a result which sends Newcastle Jets crashing three places to the bottom of the table.

Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar all had the bye this week.

Next weekend’s fixtures see some huge matches with the top four taking on each other. Firstly, Western Sydney Wanderers’ season is on the line when they take on cross-city rivals Sydney FC in a second v third clash and then leaders Melbourne City take on in-form rivals Melbourne Victory. Don’t miss our round-up of those matches and the other two clashes here on Impetus next Tuesday.

Ben Gilby
bgilby@blueyonder.co.uk