The regular season has all but come to the end. Sure, we still have the rematch between Victory and Canberra, but that’s a dead rubber now. We’ve got Premiers, we’ve got a top four, PLUS times and information on next weeks semifinals. It’s the end of the road for five sides, and the begining of hope and perhaps something special for the other four. This season has been unreal. The finals series will very likely be the regular season on steroids, so at least we’ve got that to look forward to.
But here goes, the last Match Day Monday of the regular season.
Thursday nights have been flaming winners this season. Something to look forward to, and a good reason to stay in and avoid any other potential engagements with a simple “I’ve got soccer”, knowing they’ll think it’s training but really it’s you on the couch watching two teams go head to head. Just brilliant.
Sydney FC 0 – 2 Melbourne City
It’s with a heavy heart that it became abundantly clear this Thursday night it just wasn’t meant to be for Sydney to get one over either Melbourne side during the regular season. City here were just up for the task, hungry and simply wanted it more. I’d love to blame Sydney’s poor display on playing against the wind in the first half, then being too tired in the second to do much more. However, credit where credit is due, City were very good. Across the park, City simply were stunning.
The match consisted of Sydney’s defence being the only good thing about their display. Green at the heart of defence, who replaced an unavailable Ralston, was stunning. Along with Kennedy, they both battened down the hatches, kept the line super deep to limit the threats of Mace and Spencer getting in behind, and were the reason it wasn’t an absolute thrashing. City meanwhile did what they did last time, found the chink in Sydney’s armour down their right flank, exposing Sydney’s slow left back (sorry Harrison, you inspire me but you’re a tad slow, it’s ok, so am I). Had City found their scoring boots, they could’ve had a real field day. Not just any field day, they probably could’ve snuck into the top four.
False hope for Sydney fans was given when Kinga hit her penalty wide. But cruelly Kinga went on to snatch any late burst by Sydney to snatch a draw, as she got the second goal of the evening. Once again Spencer run amuck, seeing plenty of the ball, even if her decision making was like me deciding whether to eat chocolate or fruit, one option is definitely the better, but the other is too tempting. And Stott. It pains me to like a City player this much. But whilst most of her defensive colleagues in the back look to play a simple pass, her first more with the ball is always positive and forward if there is the whiff of space about. It’s beautiful to watch.
All in all, City saw out the season well, whilst Sydney have a chance to rectify their season in a semi-final. I’d rather be in a semi-final, so I’ll take this game on the chin yeah.
Friday night was wild for me. Ok not fully wild, like “party woooo”, but in that I’d just finished my first week of a new job, my first full time gig, and I was staying in a backpackers the night. So stories yeah.
Adelaide United 1 – 0 Brisbane Roar
Scrapping in to watch the match was always going to be hit and miss. I finish work at 7pm, had to check into the backpackers and really, really needed some food. A 7.30pm kick off wasn’t going to be easy. Add on I lost the password given to me for the hostel wifi, so I’m relying on phone data, not ideal. Due to the internet situation, I decide the later match of Perth v Victory is where I want to spend my data, much like my decision that night to save money on eating in for dinner, but going out to eat a lush dessert (think a gooey biscuit, ice cream and strawberries, delicious).
Over dinner, I manage to succumb to the temptation of using data on this match by watching the first ten minutes. Adelaide were back in their element. No pressure of a potential fourth spot. Playing a side who were expected to come out attacking, so they can sit back and eat it up like a sponge, they looked much more comfortable. Brisbane looked decent, clever in the midfield as always, but from the early fire, didn’t really set the pitch on fire. Just my luck, when I flick over to Twitter after I turn off my stream of the match, Adelaide go and bag a goal. Their Icelandic players stepping up to the plate to ensure a grand farewell to the locals, and hopefully leaves them feeling fuzzy to come back next season.
Following Twitter for much of the rest of the match, on a phone quickly dying, I go get my dessert as a congrats to myself for lasting a first week in the mayhem which is behind the scenes of TV news. The match looks tense, with plenty of chances going the Roar’s way, but Adelaide keeping their noses ahead. I arrive home, see there are ten minutes left and being a one goal, I tune back in. Brisbane were pressing, but just were missing out on that centre forward finish once again. Dying minutes, and there is a penalty given to Brisbane. I rub my hands, thinking I may have got a prediction for this round right with a sinked penalty. Sinked it was, but not in the good way for Brisbane. Willacy stepped up and produced a huge save to stop the ball from going in. How Brisbane didn’t find an equaliser, even with a penalty handed to them, is beyond me. I still need to watch the match back and catch it fully, but my gosh.
Perth Glory 1 – 2 Melbourne Victory
I’m set up with my laptop, on my death trap of a top bunk, it’s only got railings near the head so getting up and down is a nightmare with nothing high to grab a hold of. Gee was I happy to watch the first half of this. Nairn was simply magic. Grab some popcorn, and simply enjoy her playing in our league, you owe it to yourself to do this. With the ball at her feet, and players making quality runs up the top, Nairn can just make the right passes and pull the strings. It was beautiful. Perth’s midfield had no chance. Add in Gielnik finding her form again and Dowie being the player to hold the ball up, Victory set out the first half of this game on a mission. Perth were left a bit bewildered, unable to grab ahold of meaningful possession in the midfield, and Johnson in defence dealing with Hill or Kerr, whoever was playing on the end of the line, with ease for any high ball coming to the forwards path.
Victory in the first half was everything you want to see in a side to take out the Premiership in the magnificent season that the W-League has produced this time round. They lived up to the part. Still feeling the left over hurt of Sydney’s loss the previous night, mixed with the reality of working long hours and getting up early to drive 3.5 hours to my mums the next morning, I tried to call it an early night. Victory were looking good, I didn’t need to watch another Melbourne side do so well in consecutive evenings. It hits half time, I go “right, let’s get some sleep”. Turns out, the universe had other plans. After a number of nights well spent in hostels without snorers, my streak comes to an end. I get a snorer. Not one that snores for only the first little bit, but the solid snores of someone who is gonna go all night. I wasn’t going to get much sleep, no matter how many times I yawned. So I wind up intermittently watching the second half, but largely following on Twitter as watching it on my phone with my laptop now closed just wasn’t doing it for me.
Perth were looking for a trick from Kerr. Whilst she was able to pull one back, there was just no way Victory were going to let her pull the wool over their eyes and produce a game winning hattrick. No that can be saved for the semi-final. (Ok no I don’t want that, but for a whole other reason).
After driving the length of Tasmania, or near about, at 5am in the morning because I knew I wouldn’t go back to sleep listening to snoring, I arrive at my mum’s place. It’s more than a bit smokey, with the bush fires hitting the other side of the river hard, making Huon Valley smokier than a stage at a rock concert. But I’m home, with my mum briefly, so it’s worth both the drive and smoke in my eyes. I grab a couple hours sleep midday after mum told me to go to bed, having fallen asleep to Netflix on the couch, so I’m ready to watch the Wanderers. Prepared? But not ready.
Newcastle Jets 4 – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers
It’s the end of the road for these two sides. After the season the Wanderers have provided, it only seems fitting that they left me frustrated beyond belief to finish the season off. With the way the Wanderers were playing for much of the match, it was their game to lose. And boy, did they manage to find a way to lose. For much of play they were the better side, carrying the ball well and creating chances, it was quality, near the best play of their season. Their issue of the season has been finding a goal scorer, and Saturday night they weren’t able to find one, even if it had hit them in the face.
La Bonta put in a huge spell, so did Addo, whilst Lowe again impressed with the ball at her feet in tight spaces. One of the players who deserves a shout out for the Wanderers has to be Holloway though. All match, bombing down her flank, providing service many centre forwards crave. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a centre forward to finish the many opportunities she produced. The Wanderers had me hopeful for so long, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They were exposed with the slow centre backs, having played a higher line due to the general dominance in their display. A youthful Jets side, with pace to burn, only needed a handful of chances to smash a basketful of goals in for a convincing victory.
I could write more on this display, but I may have broke Twitter with how much I tweeted about the Wanderers display in that, so maybe just check that out so I don’t hurt my heart any more by reliving it all.
Next season. Next season will be the Wanderers. Just you watch.