‘Good battle’ ends in draw

By Stephen Webb

Westfield W-League Season 7, 2014-15
Round Four
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
October 6, 2014, 5 pm

Sydney FC 1 (Spencer 60’)
drew with
Melbourne Victory 1 (Simon 86’).

A hard-fought draw with Melbourne Victory on Monday evening left top spot in the W-League to Perth Glory, who walloped Western Sydney Wanderers the day before.

Perth’s club record win — 1-10 at Marconi Stadium — was helped along by former Sydney players Sam Kerr (2), Caitlin Foord (2) Alanna Kennedy.

Sydney, still settling in new signings and about to lose coach Alen Stajcic to the Matildas, looked solid in defence for most of the match but tired toward the end, conceding the late equaliser to Gema Simon.

Champions Melbourne Victory initially attacked with long balls for Lisa De Vanna to chase but Alesha Clifford’s height and capability quickly negated that option.

De Vanna was more threatening with the ball at her feet, confident to run at two or three defenders and frequently almost running through them. Otherwise she pushed the ball forward and ran on to the return pass, looking to shoot or break through a gap. Sydney’s defence was awake to this and quickly shut her down.

Sydney, characteristically, held the ball longer, playing through midfield and looking to release Jasmyne Spencer.

One Spencer shot was saved by Brianna Davey but gave Sydney a corner, which nearly fell for Renee Rollason.

Samantha Johnson, out of touch for most of the game, had a strong moment against Hannah Brewer and Rachael Quigley to win another corner for Sydney, headed on target by Servet Uzunlar and tipped over the crossbar by Davey.

De Vanna flicked the ball wide on a cross from Elli Reed (who did well to ignore a long and critical commentary from some Sydney supporters).

De Vanna was very unhappy about being penalised for a foul she committed, Rollason drew on some fine reflexes to cut out a Melbourne pass, and Spencer directed a soft shot to target.

Uzunlar played a decent ball for Spencer to chase but Emma Checker got the better of her.

Reed caught Rollason on the ball but the assistant referee caught a teammate offside as Reed played forward.

Uzunlar bowled over Reed and ran on to set up Amy Harrison for a shot. Davey rushed out to block her.

Casey Dumont spilled the ball as she slid to make a save and Amy Jackson slid in to take advantage but only hit the side netting.

Melbourne were forced to concede another corner after Spencer latched onto another through ball.

Sydney’s failure to clear the ball from their area led to a corner for Melbourne from which Jackson shot on a good cross by Christine Nairn and Dumont saved low.

Quigley was replaced by Gema Simon in the 35th minute.

A free kick by Nairn from the right was touched over the crossbar by Dumont.

Natalie Tobin hit a sweet ball through for Spencer but Davey again came out quickly to take the ball from Spencer’s feet.

De Vanna set up a shot for Nairn, who blasted high over goal.

Teresa Polias took her turn to find Spencer but put too much weight on the ball and Davey collected without risk to her personal safety.

When the whistle blew to end an entertaining half it was still nil all.

The second half saw the goals but was less enjoyable.

After Nairn was brought down outside Sydney’s penalty area she only hit her free kick into the wall. Another Nairn free kick, after a foul by Uzunlar, was cleared by Sydney.

Stephanie Catley fouled Harrison outside the top right corner of Melbourne’s penalty area and Rollason won a corner from the free kick.

De Vanna ran the ball clear for Melbourne and delivered a long ball for Reed. Nicola Bolger had the free kick when Simon dragged down Teigen Allen.

In the 60th minute Harrison whipped a low cross from the right into the path of Spencer steaming toward goal. Spencer connected six metres from goal, giving Davey no chance.

Spencer tried to replicate the goal a few minutes later on a Bolger cross from the left but succeeded only in crashing into Davey.

In the 72nd minute Dumont pulled off a one-handed diving save to deny Reed.

Gulcan Koca replaced Ella Mastrantonio for Melbourne and Tobin, who had looked very accomplished with the ball at her feet, came off for Chloe Logarzo.

Allen won a corner off Simon.

Cately ran from the left across the top of Sydney’s penalty area, passing to De Vanna, who turned to target and shot across goal, calling a great save from Dumont, gathering the ball at her second attempt.

Hannah Brewer brought down Bolger on the edge of the Melbourne penalty area, the free kick only going into the wall.

In the 80th minute Brewer was replaced by Beatrice Goad. Then an injured Spencer was replaced by Olivia Price, who slipped into midfield while Uzunlar got to run up front.

Dumont scrambled a high ball away and Sydney conceded a corner on a Reed cross from the right. Dumont took two grabs but held the ball.

In the 86th minute a mistake by Johnson let Melbourne break down the right. Nairn beat Rollason and crossed for Simon to score.

De Vanna earned her yellow card for bringing down Polias and a long ball from Harrison found Logarzo offside.

A cross from the left was too long for De Vanna but De Vanna wasn’t deterred, taking on three Sydney players and winning a corner.

Without Spencer Sydney didn’t look like regaining the lead; although Rollason broke through the Melbourne defence and got away a shot that provided no problem for Davey.

Now under the tutelage of new head coach Daniel Barrett, Sydney FC remain undefeated but, on the basis of a display Stajcic descrbied as “a good battle”, they are far from invulnerable.

Match details

Sydney FC:
Casey Dumont (gk), Teresa Polias, Alesha Clifford, Jasmyne Spencer (Olivia Price 81’), Servet Uzunlar, Nicola Bolger, Amy Harrison (Trudy Camilleri 93’), Renee Rollason, Natalie Tobin (Chloe Logarzo 74’), Teigen Allen, Samantha Johnson
Substitute not used: Alyssa Harris (gk)
Yellow cards: Servet Uzunlar 51’

Melbourne Victory:
Brianna Davey (gk), Hannah Brewer (Beattie Goad 81’), Lauren Barnes, Stephanie Catley, Amy Jackson, Racheal Quigley (Gema Simon 36’), Christine Nairn, Lisa De Vanna, Ella Mastrantonio (Gulcan Koca 74’), Emma Checker, Elli Reed
Substitute not used: Cassandra Dimovski (gk)
Yellow cards: Amy Jackson 19’, Gema Simon 57’, Lisa De Vanna 88’

Crowd: 700+

Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistants: Allyson Flynn and Tanya De Boer
Fourth Official: Liz shorter

Best players:
3. Christine Nairn (Melbourne Victory)
2. Servet Uzunlar (Sydney FC)
1. Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne Victory)

Report and photographs by Stephen Webb