The Great Footy Tour of East Coast Australia has largely come to an end. I’ve just got off a plane, back on home soil of Hobart. After catching up with my housemate over one of those healthy microwave meals, because I wasn’t going to cook but I kinda need to eat healthier now I don’t have the excuse of travelling and the W-League induced maccas runs, I’m now sitting here in my room I’ve literally only spent two weeks in despite paying 3 months rent, as we are about to chat about what went on this round. Will I do a post dedicated to The Great Footy Tour, maybe, but not right now. Right now we have a wild W-League to talk about.
Round 10 was one for the goalkeepers. After many rounds and many games, we were at a crossroads of not having had a clean sheet for a very long time. It changed this weekend. There were two clean sheets. Housekeeping will be happy with that. Sometimes when there are clean sheets it’s because nothing was happening at the other end. Not the case here, it was all due to stunning displays of goalkeeping, which was had across all the grounds. Spectacular. Goalkeeping Union, going over and above this round.
Perth Glory 1 – 0 Canberra United
Our first clean sheet in a very long time, rejoice! Otherwise this match honestly wasn’t one to write home about. Instead it will provide essential points for Perth in their quest for silverware and remain as a thorn in Canberra’s side, with the side deserving at least a result out of this one. The first half can be best summarised as Kerr offsides and hospital passes. Kerr was offside a lot, and both sides were stringing together passes as if it were a game of Marco Polo. Passing blind and nowhere near the intended player. Both sides went into this match clearly aware of the others threat to play on the counter, accordingly setting out with deep defences. While Canberra’s attack seemed a bit ad hoc, with no real plan and over-relying on individual effort, Perth continued their long ball game. Corsie at the heart of Canberra defence said a big fat “NO” to Perth’s long ball plan, as she continued to have Kerr’s number all game long.
Early in the second half, Canberra were starting to build some momentum, Campbell pulled a save out of her back pocket that left Flannery stunned. Hitting the ball as sweetly as Flannery did into the top of the goal just shouldn’t be stopped, yet somehow Campbell reach high to keep it from going in. Both sides had spells during the second half, however some good defending and lack of finesse upfront, meant a goal just wasn’t going to come from open play. Enter some theatrics. Ok, theatrics maybe isn’t the right way to put it. But Kerr milked the very minimal contact Roestbakken gave her in the box. Rather, Roestbakken appears to be shielding the ball, fully within the laws of the game, but Kerr is on the ground in the box and the referee makes the decision. Penalty. 84th minute. Kerr knows how to milk a foul and sink a goal, and that’s the combination we were given here to seal an otherwise unlikely victory for Perth here.
Sydney FC 3 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Here marks the end of my Tour with my last Sydney home game of the season, at the beautiful Jubilee Oval down in Kogarah. I went into this game on a high already. It was a beautiful sunny day (even if it was super hot in the sun), and I’d just ate my fill of dumplings, pork buns and these delightful emperor ball, pancake-like puff things (I was pessimistic about the dessert at first, but went back for seconds, that’s how good it was). Really the key for a good match is the pre-game meal, and I’d gone above and beyond having made a detour to China Town on the way to the match.
Despite my clear pre-match preparation, the actual game started a bit scrappy and slow, with neither team really grinding into gear early. However, it was Sydney who were able to get the better of the early exchanges. After a mini-midfield battle, where the Sydney midfield just kept coming after the ball after some loose passing, Colaprico found the most delicious ball out of the mess to Foord. Foord all game long kept hugging the touchline on the flank, waiting for the pass like Colaprico’s here. Once Foord got the ball at her feet, there was space and opportunity to run with the ball and cross it into the box, where McCaskill was waiting to rise above the rest and head the ball home. Sydney lifted their play and looked a lot more fluid after the goal, meanwhile Newcastle were really missing Stengel at number 9 to lead the line but did have Collister working a few chances from the flank.
The players who weren’t slow to start were the keepers. Eckerstrom pulled out an outreached clanker of a save early in the 12th minute, which set the bar she continued to reach for the rest of the game. My personal player of the match, until the dying stages of the match forced my hand to make a late change for the gong. Meanwhile Bledsoe wasn’t too shabby herself, making the penalty area her own during crosses, plus coming up with cat like reflexes at an essential point in the match where it was holding in the balance and Newcastle were sniffing a way back into it.
Leaving off where the first half left, Sydney continued to grow in confidence in going forward, whilst the Jets just looked for damage control and perhaps the counter if they had some luck late on. Despite the Jets hanging on, Ibini had other ideas. For the second goal, Huerta worked in such a tight space in all the right ways, to get past her defenders and send in a low cross through the mixer. All Ibini had to do was produce a poachers finish, which was on point. What wasn’t a poacher’s goal however, was the Jets reply. Take a bow Copus-Brown, her first goal in the league and it’s an absolute stunner. Bledsoe dived right, jumped high as a deer, but still couldn’t get a touch on the shot, which went “swoosh” into the top, far corner. This is type of goal found in dreams and FIFA games, Copus-Brown just did that on the fly. Astounding.
Newcastle had a whiff, and despite not looking likely for most of the match, they almost had an opportunity to level the score. It was antsy and clearly a goal was still in the game. However it went to the home side, in McCaskill. All I’ve got in my notes literally is “95” Goal McCaskill stunner”. It was a good goal guys, ball at the edge of the penalty area, smashing it home, securing a win for Sydney.
Melbourne Victory 1 – 0 Melbourne City
Ok, I’m going to be honest here. In the lead up to the match, I hadn’t been so excited to watch a Melbourne derby in a long, long time. However, in the lead up to the match I got suckered into changing up the design to this here website. By the time the match started, the two hours prior I’d set aside for searching through WordPress templates suddenly wasn’t enough. So whilst I had this match on my iPad, listening to the soothing tones of Anna Harrington and Kate Gill call the match, my head was in nerdy land that didn’t involve nearly as much football as it usually does. Despite my lack of my usual attention, I certainly didn’t miss the state of the pitch. My conspiracy is the ground’s day job is clearly as a stadium holding sandcastle competitions, hence the quality of the field.
From what I could grasp of the first half, City seemed to have a lot of the ball, but without Spencer or any other real focal point of attack, struggled to break down a very well structured Victory side. Meanwhile, Victory appeared to be working hard in keeping the ball out of the box, but were just hoofing it up to Dowie, whose isolation is the same isolation one would get trying to use Vodafone on Antarctica, neither getting the reception or support one would ideally want.
The second half should have seen City stamp their authority on the match, get the lead and at least force Victory to play some more to get any points. In fairness, Dumont had a brilliant match in denying Butt so many killer opportunities. Carrying on from the first half, where Dumont had one-handedly punted Butt’s karate-kick-like shot off the line, Butt went through one on one with the Victory keeper. Dumont came out on top. Nothing was going to be going to get past Dumont unless it was of the spectacular variety. City just couldn’t produce that type of finish without a quality, natural number nine leading the line.
For Victory? They’ve shown they can get a result off the smell of an oily rag. So long as they remain structured off the ball, and can get “some” support for Dowie upfront, they will always be in it. However City were defending well, so it was going to be something special to get past them. And was Nairn’s goal special. With the struggle of scoring from open play, plus no hint of a dangerous Victory free kick near the goal, nor a penalty in sight, Nairn’s idea was for it to come off a corner. Without the ball touching any head, foot or other body part, Nairn simply swooped the ball up and well over William’s high stretched hands, to have it dip back down, curving into the top far post. Absolutely wild. Absolute scenes, where Victory continue their good form against their neighbours. Was it deserved? Well if you’re a team who isn’t scoring, you can’t win games and that was City here. Victory merely capitalised on the opportunity with a worldie of a corner.