There were goals galore in Round four of the A-League Women. 16 were score over five games, as some big names found form, and other created stunning highlights.
Canberra United defeated Wellington Phoenix 3-0, with playmaker Grace Maher running the show and hitting a sensational goal. Michelle Heyman scored a brace to make the scoresheet for the first time. Canberra have been creating chances in the opening rounds, but their ability to finish them off was sharpened in this match. It will only build their confidence, and they still remain undefeated.
In the simultaneous match, Melbourne City put the Newcastle Jets to the sword. The 5-1 score line was not reflective of the match. The Jets attacked throughout, in impressive style, but struggled to beat Sally James in Goal.
Up the other end, City had the opposite fortune. It seemed like every shot that they struck hit the target or the back of the net. Kaitlyn Torpey opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a long-range goal that is quickly becoming her trademark.
A Daniella Galic corner kick slipped through Georgina Worth’s hand for the second, before Bryleeh Henry brought up her third in as many games from close range.
Tara Andrews pulled one back for the visitors with a strong header. But City responded in style with one of the goal’s of the season through Caitlin Karic. Emina Ekic scored the fifth from the penalty spot to finish of the scoring.
Sydney FC beat Brisbane Roar with a comprehensive performance. The damage was done early with Madison Haley scoring a brace before half time. Remy Siemsen and Sarah Hunter finished off the roar with a goal in in the closing minutes of the game.
On Sunday, Adelaide United fought out another 1-0 win, this time against Western Sydney Wanderers. The Reds created the better chances, and should have scored a second. Western Sydney was on the back foot from the fifth minute, after Chelsie Dawber’s calmly struck penalty.
The last game of the weekend, saw Melbourne Victory fly to face Perth Glory. Fans would have been optimistic of a close win, but the 3-0 score line signals a return to form by Jeff Hopkins side. Melina Ayres scored with two poacher’s goals, and Alex Chidiac’s corner swung inside the far post to kill off the contest.
Round Four Takeaways
Everybody loves chips
Grace Maher was the first to do it. The Canberra number 10 had the ball in a crowded penalty area. She chose the hardest option for most, but the best way to score. With perfect technique, Maher clipped the ball over the mass of player, and Wellington goalkeeper Brianna Edwards, to open the scoring.
Maher has a habit of spectacular goals, but this was still one of her best. Few players have the ability to assess the situation so quickly and the skill to finish so perfectly.
Caitlin Karic was next. The winger has starred at FV Emerging over the past two years and was impactful for the Australia Under 23 side earlier this year. Many of Victoria’s NPLW fans have waited for her to find her feet at A-League level, and her first goal was a real “I told you so” moment for every commentator of the state league.
Running onto a long ball from defence, Karic chipped the ball over Georgina Worth with scarcely believable style. It was basically her first touch since coming on as a substitute, and killed off any hope Newcastle had of a comeback.
Karic is a star in the making. It was stunning confidence from a 17 year old,.
Sydney FC’s Madison Haley scored her from close range. The striker raced onto Sarah Hunter’s through ball and carried it close to goal, before calmly lofting it over Hensley Hancuff in goal.
There were three contenders for goal of the season in 180 minutes if football. Each goal was as good as you will see anywhere in the world.
Young Matildas rising
Australia’s best youngsters were impressive before this season. But following an Under 20 World Cup and numerous youth team camps, many have raised their game to a new level.
Sarah Hunter dominated the midfield for Sydney FC in the same was she did against Costa Rica. Her passing range, scoring ability and reading of the game was on full display over 90 minutes. Hunter looked as good as any of the midfielders in Sydney FC’s illustrious history, and her upward trajectory is continuing.
Bryleeh Henry scored yet again. It was the hardest goal of her career, but she has a habit of always being in the right spot. As discussed in the season preview, Henry anticipates where the ball will end up, and works hard to get there. She is in career best form at her new club, and has gone to another level after her World Cup adventure.
City also started with Naomi Chinnama. The central defender has been acknowledged as a player to watch, including by this website. She started for Australia at the U20 World Cup, and has risen to new heights in the early stages of this season.
Chinnama looked comfortable in possession and was dominant defensively. Newcastle attacked relentlessly throughout the game, but Chinnama was rarely out of position and continued to try and pass the ball around the committed press.
City also boasted Sally James and Daniella Galic. Both players were impressive. Calls for Galic to be considered for the senior Matildas seem premature, but she is an exciting talent that only need to polish her final third finishing. James is already one of the competitions best keepers.
Melbourne Victory’s Jess Nash has been one of their most consistent players so far this season. replacing Polly Doran at right back was no small task, but the Young Matilda has done so in fine form. Victory also started with Alana Murphy in midfield.
Partnered up with Elise Kellond-Knight and Alex Chidiac, Murphy was one of Victory’s most important players in the 3-0 win. She seems to have a license to attack, but works hard defensively. Murphy was on track to become a star last season. As a graduate of Melbourne Victory’s Elite Girl’s program, she is well prepared for the senior team. But her time in Young Matildas camps looks to have accelerated that even more.
Next week’s game to watch
Melbourne City and Western United face off. It will be the last time this season that two sides with perfect records meet, and will be compulsory viewing for fans and neutrals.
Western United have surpassed most expectations, will be rested after the bye, and will be keen to get another win against a local rival.
Melbourne City have looked infallible recently. Their midfield is dynamic, and they have a front three that thrive in one-v-one situations.
City’s defence will come under their toughest test yet, and United’s midfield will need to be at their best. Mark Torcaso is a vastly experienced coach, while Dario Vidosic is in his fourth game in charge. There are plot lines everywhere.
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