Sydney poised to take premiership

By Stephen Webb:

W-League 2013-14 week 11
Sunday 2 February 2014, 3 pm
Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Catherine Cannuli 95’)
defeated by
Sydney FC 3 (Leena Khamis 8’, Jodie Taylor 37’, 56’)

Sydney needed this win to ease the pressure when they face Canberra — the only team to have beaten them all season — in the match for the premiership next weekend.

Wanderers could count themselves unlucky in the first half, with two shots against the woodwork, but Sydney’s more difficult opponent was the hot, windy conditions.

Caitlin Foord for Sydney had the first chance, getting into the left side of Wanderers’ penalty area but shooting to the left of goal. Servet Uzunlar replied for Wanderers, shooting from distance to the right of Sydney’s goal.

Casey Dumont, intending to throw to Teresa Polias, found Linda O’Neill and then had to collect the ball at O’Neill’s feet as it was returned to her running at the Sydney goal.

Midfielder Leena Khamis (named player of the match for her contribution to Sydney’s relentless attacking play) was the first to score. After several valiant attempts by Wanderers to clear from their penalty area, Sydney came in from the right and Khamis buried an easy chance.

Jenna Kingsley won a corner off Amy Harrison and Catherine Cannuli had a great shot after the ball was played back from the Sydney penalty area. Dumont had to palm the ball over the crossbar and from the corner Rachael Soutar got up well and headed into Dumont’s hands.

Jodie Taylor played a fine ball from the middle to Foord going down the left. Foord was stopped by a good tackle but Sydney had a corner. Another good tackle by Emily Van Egmond (a standout for Wanderers) stopped Foord getting onto a cross from the right. Alanna Kennedy made a saving tackle in front of goal.

Jenna Kingsley shot from a narrow angle on the right and Dumont’s finger tips made sure it didn’t curl in. Wanderers had a corner, though, taken by Cannuli but Dumont caught it soundly.

Kingsley was unlucky not to score when she raced Harrison and got a shot away, only to see it drop onto the crossbar.

By the 23rd minute Sydney looked tentative going forward as if conscious of the threat of a Wanderers counter-attack.

Trudy Camilleri hit a left foot shot to Dimitra Poulos and Helen Petinos was offside when Poulos sent her on her way down the left.

Sydney got away several shots that were either blocked or deflected into the arms of Poulos. Taylor rounded Poulos to the left of goal and crossed just beyond the right post, leaving Emma Kete only the side netting to shoot for.

In the 34th minute Uzunlar got into the left side of Sydney’s penalty area and hit the crossbar.

Poulos collided with Taylor while collecting a high ball and Taylor was then stopped by a great tackle from Kennedy.

Dumont was then brave at the feet of O’Neill, arriving in the right side of the box to meet a good ball by Van Egmond on the left.

A quickly-taken free kick by Sydney from the middle of the park sent Taylor toward Wanderers’ left post, with Taylor placing her shot low past Poulos. Wanderers’ cheer squad kept drumming and singing regardless of the score line or the heat: “Win or lose we will always follow you …”

O’Neill won a corner from Renee Rollason and Van Egmond cut the ball back for Cannuli (playing some powerful football but soon to retire), who shot high.

Danielle Brogan was twice good stopping Cannuli but, as half time loomed, Sydney played across the back repetitively before giving the ball away to O’Neill, who shot long and wide.

Half time was clearly appreciated by players from both sides whose movement was lethargic to say the least (unlike the RBB, jumping around in the sun as if powered by Energizer batteries).

O’Neill started the second half with a shot to the right of goal. Poulos came off her line well to close down Kete, chasing a through ball. Later, Poulos made a great save to deny an attempted lob from Taylor, breaking toward goal. Then Wanderers forced Dumont to fall on a shot at the other end.

In the 57th minute Chloe Logarzo got into the right of the Wanderers’ box, beat Uzunlar and cut back for Taylor who had an easy finish before Caitlin Cooper could block.

Cannuli, following up on a break by Uzunlar down the left, hit a long-range shot to Dumont.

Taylor again broke away and released a shot but was offside.

With half an hour to go Wanderers resorted to harsh tackling and long shots.

Leena Khamis stretched not quite far enough to make sufficient contact on a cross from Taylor on the left. Van Egmond was great beating two players before dropping a shot on goal. It looked in but bounced off the crossbar and Dumont and away.

Dumont got down at the left post to save another shot and Wanderers’ resulting corner was followed by a shot from the right that ended at the left post where a header only found the Sydney keeper.

Taylor pulled the ball back from the right for substitute Sam Kerr to shoot high.

Sydney gave Dumont a break with ten minutes to go; Shamiran Khamis getting a run.

Wanderers’ American substitute Tori Huster cut out a ball that would have seen Kerr with a good chance.

A Polias corner for Sydney from the left was deployed to take advantage of the strong breeze and would have squeezed in past the near post if not scrambled away by Poulos. Polias’ second attempt was longer but with similar intent and hit the crossbar.

Kerr and Foord on the right attempted to set up Taylor, who finally only delivered a gentle effort to the right of target. Then Taylor headed a cross from Kerr down to Poulos.

Cannuli played a one-two with Van Egmond that almost paid off but Sham Khamis got down courageously to save.

Jessica Seaman fouled Kerr and the quick free kick almost had Taylor in at the right post. A swinging corner by Taylor from the left was met with a glancing header past the right post. On the counter Wanderers won their penalty, Cannuli sending Sham Khamis the wrong way.

With Sydney already establishing a new W-League high of 36 goals for the season and guaranteed a home semi-final, this week’s 1-3 result means even a draw against Canberra next week (February 9) will give Sydney the premiership (finishing top of the ladder). The finals round begins the following week (February 15 and 16) with the grand final on February 23.

Match stats:

Western Sydney Wanderers:
22. Dimi Poulos (gk), 2. Caitlin Cooper, 5. Emily Van Egmond, 6. Rachel Soutar (12. Jessica Seaman 48’), 9. Jenna Kingsley (8. Tori Huster 60’), 10. Server Uzunlar, 13. Catherine Cannuli, 14. Alanna Kennedy (19. Jordan Baker 70’), 15. Teigen Allen, 16. Linda O’Neill, 18. Helen Petinos
Subs not used: 1. Mackenzie Arnold (gk)
Yellow cards: Linda O’Neill 62’, Servet Uzunlar 69’

Sydney FC:
1. Casey Dumont (gk) (17. Sham Khamis 81’), 2. Teresa Polias, 3. Danielle Brogan, 5. Liz Ralston, 8. Amy Harrison, 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Renee Rollason, 13. Trudy Camilleri (12. Chloe Logarzo 46’), 14. Jodie Taylor, 18. Emma Kete (20. Sam Kerr 76’), 19. Leena Khamis

Subs not used: 7. Nicola Bolger
Yellow cards: nil

Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistants: Sarah Ho, Delfina Dimoski, Kelly Jones

By Stephen Webb

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