Huge weekend for the W-League, with some important results. A top of the table clash between Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets saw both sides share the spoils after a thrilling end with a Sam Kerr hat trick within 15 minutes and a Jets equaliser during extra time. Apparently this game was a real heart breaker, but how would we know unless you could attend the game because Fox Sports couldn’t leave the cameras rolling after the A-League game before it to allow fans to watch it. The draw between the Jets and Glory left it open for Brisbane Roar to reach the top of the table if they could get a win over Melbourne City. With the opportunity presenting itself, they took it, much like I’ll be taking as much shortbread biscuits over this Christmas. Proving doubters wrong, Brisbane produced a dominant display to win over fancied favourites City. Adelaide United again struggled to get points, this time losing to Western Sydney Wanderers.
Meanwhile Sydney FC and Canberra United fought it out to decide who would be in the top four over Christmas.
Sydney FC v Canberra United
If you don’t like displays of fierce strong women, maybe this game isn’t for you (and probably this blog honestly) because Sydney v Canberra is never one for the faint hearted, and this played up to its title. Crunching tackles by both sides occurred early and continued for the duration of the game.
Sydney played a quick counter game, utilising Lisa De Vanna’s skills of lightning fast pace and fearless running at defenders with the ball somehow still stuck to her feet, while keeping it organised at the back, with Teresa Polias shielding the ball from the defence and Emily Sonnett keeping Michelle Heyman quiet (miraculously for all Sydney FC fans). Meanwhile Canberra seemed to carry on the tactics from last weekend against City, by being organised, narrow and trying to play the ball out from the back.
Both teams had chances in the first half. Canberra probably looked the most threatening, having a lot of the possession and being patient in the last third. Meanwhile Sydney relied on the counter, and demonstrated a clear lack of patience through going for a shot anytime the goal was in range.
What’s that law again where you think of something, just to be proved wrong moments later? Commentators call it the commentator’s curse. Well this happened as I was legit just thinking, gee Sydney need to be patient and hold the ball up more in the last third right, then BOOM, De Vanna proves me wrong and gets the break through.
The first Sydney FC goal was a product of a bit of a mess occurring in the midfield, where Sydney won the ball in the middle of the park to release Princess Ibini early. Whilst Sydney players were on the ground because of the initial phase of play, Ibini crossed the ball in from the left flank for an unmarked De Vanna to place the ball into the net. No team should leave De Vanna free in the mixer, it’s a bit like leaving a cake unattended within a dog’s reach, it just won’t work out for anyone.
Canberra looked to pull one back, and actually looked good when they could string some passes together. However it was Sydney’s forwards who again proved the superior, after a few counters demonstrating the terrifyingly brilliant movement of their top three, they got rewarded once again with another goal for De Vanna. This goal was a piece of De Vanna brilliance, after receiving the ball on the right flank, Canberra defenders were fooled and allowed her to cut in to line up a cracker of a shot on her much preferred left foot. It was an excellent goal. But seriously, letting De Vanna cut in onto her left foot is just asking for trouble.
Half Time: Sydney FC 2 – 0 Canberra United
Sydney pressed early in the second half, Canberra forgot the second half was happening, and it led to Sydney celebrating once again for another goal. This time it was an own goal by Toni Pressley in the first 5 minutes of the second half. The own goal was a result of a cross, by none other than De Vanna, who floated a beautifully weighted goal from the left wing across the box intended for Ibini. However it was Pressley who got to the ball, and produced an own goal any striker would be happy to claim as their own, because the technique was spot on for placing it in the back of the net, not for the intended clearance.
With wind in there sails, three nil up, Sydney continued to look forward. They even looked to have another goal by Sonnett, for me to feel robbed when it was called back for offside during the lead up. The replay confirmed it was a good call, but gee I felt robbed.
Canberra did shift part way through the half, by changing their formation to allow for more attackers and leaving three at the back. This did allow for Sydney to have more chances, which they ought to be spewing they didn’t capitalise on. However this move did allow for Canberra to look like they wanted to rally, as they were able to attack with more players. Only for an organised Sydney defence and the ever solid centre midfield of Kylie Ledbrook and Polias, to deal with everything Canberra were able to throw at them. Unfortunately for Canberra, they just were shut out of the penalty box and limited to long range half chances. It must have felt like when you find your Christmas presents in the top cupboard out of reach and there is no chair in sight.
The game ended with Canberra unable to claw a goal back, and Sydney being comfortable with their missed opportunities in front of goal. A positive for Canberra must be, by pushing Pressley back into the defence in the second half, they were able to look much more solid, even when they had fewer players in the back. Meanwhile Sydney must be feeling positive, not only did they get a good result, they were able to replace Lisa De Vanna for Caitlin Foord in the middle of the second half. This is just cruel for any team on the receiving end of this.
Full Time Thoughts
- Sydney like to play very direct with runs at the defence and balls in behind the defence. If it had to be likened to clothing it would be like the ugly Christmas sweater, freaking ugly to look at, but flaming effective.
- Canberra had lots of possession, with a couple of half chances but weren’t able to really able to do much upfront. Coach Heather Garriock demonstrates her willingness to change tactics, however they will need to find one that works for their players soon and stop merely adjusting to other teams.
- The stability of Ledbrook and Polias in the midfield, I would argue, is just as important as having De Vanna smashing goals. The duo provide stability, maturity and creativity that is proving successful and will place them in a good position for the back end of this season.
- Canberra are really missing Ash Sykes up front. This is a player who can get goals when Heyman is man marked out of a game. Canberra have been unfortunate with player availabilities, and if they want to make a push at reaching finals football they will need some more luck and consistency with their selection. Otherwise they have the pieces to do so.
Round 8 Results
Sydney FC 3 – 0 Canberra United
Adelaide United 1 – 2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Newcastle Jets 3 – 3 Perth Glory
Brisbane Roar 2 – 0 Melbourne City