There were goals galore, a classic match and frustration about playing conditions in an incident packed Week 12 of The A-League Women’s,
The round started midweek with Sydney FC defeating Melbourne Victory in a 6-3 epic at AAMI Park. Sydney FC burst out of the blocks to establish a three goal lead through Princess Ibini’s brace, and Mackenzie Hawkesby’s excellent one-touch finish.
These fixtures are rarely straightforward, and Victory pulled two goals back through Lia Privitelli and Rikke Madsen. Sydney scored once more with a Madison Haley header before half time to enter the break with a 4-2 lead.
There was room for two more goals in the second half. Cortnee Vine was difficult to deal with all afternoon and scored a deserved goal with her trademark pace, before seeing up Ibini for her third. Maja Markovski converted a penalty for Victory. It was too late to get a result, but goal difference could be vital come season’s end.
Canberra United were annihilated by Western United on Saturday. The damage was all done in the first half with goals from Danielle Steer, Melissa Taranto, Hannah Keane and Sydney Cummings.
Canberra struggled to defend high balls into their area, and Western United had no trouble exploiting it. This was Canberra’s second 5-0 loss in a row, and after looking like finals contenders a fortnight ago, they now need to improve at both ends of the pitch.
Western Sydney Wanderers leapfrogged above Canberra United after a win against Newcastle Jets. A deflected Olivia Price goal was the difference, but Jordan Bloomer was vital in goal for the home side against a usually free-scoring Newcastle.
This was the first 1-0 result in a Jets game all season, and only their third match without scoring so far.
Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix played out a six goal thriller that had every bit of drama and action one could want from a game. Fans of both games would feel robbed of a win for different reasons but that is all part of what makes up a classic. More on that below.
In the last game of the round, Melbourne City defeated Adelaide United 1-0. Rhianna Pollicina’s goal was the difference, but City created far more chances, with Annalee Grove the main reason the score was not higher.
The difference in depth between the sides was obvious. City was able to bring on Young Matildas Caitlin Karic and Daniela Galic to give Adelaide something to worry about when they badly needed to score.
Week 12 Talking Points:
We need to talk about the fixtures:
Sydney FC’s win over Melbourne Victory was well deserved. You do not win 6-3 by chance. However, the fixturing leading up to a Grand Final rematch needed to be better.
Since January 15, Melbourne Victory had played three times before Thursday’s blockbuster. Sydney FC’s last game was on January 11.
There are upsides and downsides to this. Match fitness matters, and Sydney’s performance without a hit out in over two weeks was impressive. But Victory looked exhausted in the second half. Once Sydney had a two-goal buffer, the home side had an impossible hill to climb.
Outside of the top four battles, Perth Glory have not played in more than two weeks. This is a side that struggled for momentum. Following an important, and convincing win over Wellington Phoenix they have been unable to build on that.
The do not play again until February 4th and while they have injuries and players welcome a rest, this is a team that needs to be on the field and finding their best football. They will play league leaders Western United who epitomise form and momentum this season.
By the end of Week 13, the top two sides will have played teams with massively different fixtures to them leading into the game.
We can never expect a completely even fixture, but in the last month it has been too far from it. In a league where Victory just scraped into finals by goal difference last season, and Glory just missed out, every advantage and disadvantage matters. They should be minimized more than they currently are.
We also need to mention the kickoff times. 3pm games in summer are dangerous for players to perform in, difficult for fans to attend, and not conducive to a good spectacle. Coaches, players, fans and media personalities all spoke out over the weekend.
Something, actually most things need to change.
Lose a World Cup winner, somehow get stronger.
Jess Mcdonald was one of the recruits of the season for Western United. She helped established standards on and off the field. There were some questions about how she would be replaced, and against Canberra United new signing Danielle Steer took only five minutes to find the net.
On the other flank, Angie Beard was dominant from left back. The former Fortuna Hjørring defender rotated effortlessly with Tyla Jay Vlajnic and the pair were a constant threat that Canberra Unitec could not handle.
Western United have lost an American star, but now have two former A-League champions on the same side of the pitch. In addition to the winning culture already brought over from Calder United, their win should not be surprising even if the scoreline was.
Wellington are lucky, but their performances are no fluke
Wellington Phoenix had their game delayed by a full day due to tragic floods in Auckland affecting their flight. When the match against Brisbane Roar kicked off, things immediately went against them.
Shea Connors looked rampant for The Roar. She scored a brilliant solo goal, then earned a free kick that resulted in a Katrina Gorry goal and a Kate Taylor red card.
Two goals and one player down, The Phoenix looked finished. But they fought on, and through wonder strikes from Michaela Foster and Millie Clegg, they pulled level in the second half.
Goals from Grace Wisnewski and Larissa Crummer for either side made it 3-3, but despite Brisbane surging late and hitting the post three times, Wellington held on, and almost won it through Michaela Robertson’s disallowed goal.
Something has clearly clicked in Natalie Lawrence’s team. After scoring just three times in 10 weeks, they have eight goals in two games.
This was a classic game, to back up a strong performance. Wellington have developed some genuine stars in Clegg and Betsy Hasett.
There are officially no guaranteed wins in the A-League Women anymore.
Game to watch in Round Thirteen.
Sydney FC host Melbourne City in another battle between two top four sides. Sydney’s attack has never looked better this season. Mackenzie Hawkesby, Cortnee Vine, Princess Ibini and Madison Haley are all in scoring form, and Kirsty Fenton’s return from injury has been a welcome reinforcement to their injury hit defence.
Melbourne City sit one place above Sydney FC in second. Thier 1-0 win over Adelaide United was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.
These are two of the best attacking teams in the league. It should be one of the most entertaining games of the season.