Australia 3 (Sarah Walsh 25', Katie Gill 49' pen(1st half), Kyah Simon 90'+1)
North Korea (DPR) 2 (Yun Mi Jo 33', Yong Hui Kim 53')
The Matildas have shocked 5th ranked North Korea, winning a two-game 'friendly' series by defeating them 3-2 in a tough game on Saturday 6 March at a wet Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane. Twice the Australian's lead was closed by the temperamental Koreans but some magic in the last stoppage time of the game saw Kyah Simon score an audacious goal.
After recording a 2-all draw with the North Koreans just three days earlier, the Australians were desperate to hold out the visiting side in the second game of the series. They started strongly and a penalty claim was turned down in the 8th minute when Collette McCallum curled a free-kick from the left and though 'keeper Myong Hui Hong failed to hold and the ball soared out of play Katie Gill had been impeded and hauled down in the box by the shirt. The was to set the scene for the game - cynical play by the Koreans and poor judgment by the referee.
The Koreans lifted their possession and penetration, Yun Mi Jo drew a save from Melissa Barbieri, and in the 18th minute Lauren Colthorpe had to track back at pace to take the ball off the feet of an attacker in the area.
In the 23rd minute Clare Polkinghorne made a surging run but alas hit her shot high and wide.
Australia's first goal however started with a Lauren Colthorpe free kick that found its way to Katie Gill at the edge of penalty box. Gill headed down to Sarah Walsh free on the right, who burst into the area and drove the ball past the 'keeper before she could be closed down. 1-0
DPR Korea lifted, seeking to remedy their unaccustomed situation, piled on the pressure testing the newly build Matilda's defensive structure. In the 33rd minute the ball was not delat with on the Australian's left, and the Koreans switched play. Free on the left Ye Gong Re sent a cross past Barbieri and found an unmarked Yun Mi Jo who sent a diving header into the net to level the scores. 1-1
In the 44th minute Australia was awarded a penalty much to the chagrin of the DPR team whose officials ordered them to the sideline impeding the progress of the match. Admittedly it was hard to see what the infringement was that referee Sarah Hodson had seen, but this sort of histrionics are well-worn tactic of the DPR to rattle opponents.
Inexplicably the referee kept trying to get the Korean players from the sideline rather than allowing the Australian's to take the penalty (which Lisa De Vanna did) or start carding. FFA should lodge a complaint with AFC.
After a delay of five minutes with the DPR Koreans refusing to return to their half of the field officials managed to bring order to the match once again and a clearly unfazed Katie Gill slotted the resulting penalty kick.
After the break both sides probed but the Koreans looked sharper up front and battered Lisa De Vanna when she ran at their defence. The Matildas midfield got a little lost and their defence showed both some very solid and intelligent play but also cheap turnover of possession.
In the 53rd minute Kim Carroll was unable to stop a surging Yong Ae Kim who took the ball into the area on the right and expertly finished to the left past the fully stretched arm of Matilda's 'keeper Melissa Barbieri.
A sublimely confident move from the Matilda's ended in substitute Kyah Simon lobbing the keeper for the win. Kyah Simon knocked the ball to Katie Gill 30m out on the right side - and took off. Gill slipped the ball to McCallum who lofted the ball pinpoint onto Simon's right and two Koreans closed. She kept her cool and slotteed the ball past them and scored what was an audacious goal. It showed the maturity of this young Australian squad, and mental toughness.
The Westfield Matildas will now prepare for their Asian Cup (doubling as World Cup qualifying) tournament in China in May, where they are in a tough group - Group B - with Vietnam, South Korea, and China.
"I thought we defended exceptionally well and to beat a team of DPR Korea's caliber I think shows great credit to our players ability and character," said Sermanni. "The players all did well and a result like that is another great step on our road to
With the result marred only by the actions of the DPR Korea management before half-time Sermanni was not surprised by the incident. "We deal with those incidents as they come and that pales in comparison to some of the things that happen. "Until such time something is done about it you've just got to deal with it."
But on the Westfield Matildas performance Sermanni singled out the improvement in striker Katie Gill who had a hand in all three of the Australian's goals. "What Katie's done over the last year, she's made a tremendous jump in her overall ability. "Now her physical strength really compliments her ability and we saw that in the way she was able to bring those around her into the game and you can clearly see the
results," finished Sermanni.
AUSTRALIA : 1. Melissa BARBIERI (gk)(c), 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (26. Laura ALLEWAY +90'), 5. Lauren COLTHORPE, 9. Sarah WALSH (17. Kyah SIMON +78'), 10. Kylie LEDBROOK (24. Tameka BUTT +54'), 11. Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Katie GILL, 13. Thea SLAYTER (15. Sally SHIPARD +78'), 14. Collette McCALLUM (c) (30. Emily VAN EGMOND +90'), 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 23. Kim CARROLL
Subs not used: 18. Lydia WILLIAMS (rgk), 19. Leena KHAMIS, 28. Michelle HEYMAN, 29. Ellie BRUSH
Coach: Tom Sermani
DPR KOREA : 1.Myong Hui HONG (gk),4.Jong Sun KWON, 5.Yong Sim CHOE, 6.Un Sim RA, 7.Yun Mi JO (20.Su Ok RYOM 77'), 8.Hyon Hi YUN (15.Myong Hwa JON 54'), 9.Un Byol HO (17.Haeng Bok KANG 38'), 10.Yong Hui KIM (c) (3.Hyon Sun JANG 90'), 12.Un Ju KIM, 13.Chung Sim KIM (11.Ye Gyong RI 31'), 19.Pok Sim JONG
Subs not used: 2.Sol Ryon SIN, 14.Hye Ok KIM, 16.Jong Hui HU, 21.Myong Hui JON (rgk)
Cards: Hyon Hi YUN 5', Yong Hui KIM 86', Un Sim RA 88', and the other 3 in the wall, and the whole team if justice was done!
Referee: Sarah Hodson (Aus) - Rating: 3/10 (Turned a very ordinary performance into terrible one with her indecisive handling of the walk-half-off by the Koreans following hwe award of a dubious penalty)
Assistant referees: Allyson Flynn, Airlie Keen; Fourth official: Casey Reibelt
Game ratings: 8/10
Pitch rating: 8/10
Australia 2 - North Korea 2