Elusive home win elevates Wanderers into top three
By Arvind Hickman:
Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2016 – Round 5
3pm, Sunday 15 November, 2015 – Marconi Stadium
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Carney 24, Dimovski 55, Winters 68)
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Spiranovich 75)
Western Sydney Wanderers have won their first home game in more than two years with a commanding 3-1 victory at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
The Wanderers second win on the trot sees them jump into third on the W-League table while Victory remain rooted to the bottom, having failed to register a single point.
Michelle Carney and captain Keelin Winters netted for the Wanderers on either side of an own goal by Victory ‘keeper Cassandra Dimovski.
Laura Spiranovic pulled one back for the visitors, but by then the points had been safely locked up in Western Sydney.
Wanderers coach Norm Broadbent paid tribute to his charges work ethic and told Back of the Net he is confident of a top five finish.
“We knew football-wise we could match them and get on top of them but the work ethic was what I think was most impressive,” he said. “We wanted to smother and not give them any time on the ball because they’ve got some very good players.
“I’d be very disappointed if we don’t finish in the top five, knocking on the four. We’ve got Canberra fairly well in our sights and with this bunch of girls I’m confident we will do well every week.”
Just about everything good for the Wanderers came through the feet of the outstanding central midfielder Winters, who last season helped the Seattle Reign claim the NWSL Shield in the US.
Her vision, composure and range of passing was often on another level, controlling a game the Wanderers could have won by more.
Defensive midfielder Chloe O’Brien had a strong game breaking up Victory’s play while tasked with shackling US import Christine Nairn.
O’Brien, who efficiently turned defence into attack throughout, often provided Winters the freedom to operate higher up the pitch, where she was supported by skilful UK international Hannah Beard on the right wing, Erica Halloway on the left and hardworking Michelle Carney through the middle.
Another player that warranted praise was centre back Ellie Carpenter, who defended stubbornly alongside Carmelina Moscato and also produced the move of the match with an unbelievable burst of pace and skill.
In the 23rd minute, the 15-year-old beat Spiranovich to the ball just inside the Victory half and ran at considerable pace, beating several Victory players before hitting a cross from the right side of the box. Desperate defence blocked the first ball, but Carpenter showed great determination and composure to collect the rebound and play a simple ball across goal for Michelle Carney to tap in.
Earlier in the half Winters volleyed just over the cross bar after starting and finishing a slick move that involved Beard and Halloway.
Victory’s best chance of the first half came when Nairn played a cross from the right side of the box that rocketed off the cross bar with the keeper beaten. Nairn was Victory’s main threat and late in the half slalomed through two Wanderers before curling a shot high and wide.
Although Victory started the second period brightly, the Red & Blacks doubled their advantage in the 55th minute when Beard crossed from the left and Elizabeth Grey headed towards the goal. The ball, going wide, was deflected on target by Briar Palmer, with Dimovski failing to keep it out.
It was a goal that owed much to a dominant Wanderers display in the air, regularly using their height advantage to cause panic in the Victory box.
At this point the game had opened up and Victory nearly netted when Hayley Raso forced a smart low save from Wanderers shot-stopper Jada Whyman.
Winters then secured the three points from the penalty spot after Carney was hacked down by Thea Slatyer.
Spiranovich scored a brilliant consolation goal when she beat a defender and hit a rasping drive into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Whyman produced an outstanding diving save to keep the two-goal buffer in tact, while Carney should have added a fourth late on when she blasted over at point blank range.
While Wanderers are on track for a finals berth, the loss of several key players in Victory’s off-season continues to haunt them.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: Jada Whyman (gk), Carmelina Moscato, Chloe O’Brien, Rachael Soutar (Helen Petinos 46’), Erica Halloway, Elizabeth Grey (Alix Roberts 84’), Michelle Carney, Keelin Winters (c), Hannah Beard (Linda O’Neill 70’), Demi Koulizakis, Ellie Carpenter
Substitutes – Teagan Micah (gk)
Cautions – none
Melbourne Victory FC: Cassandra Dimovski (gk), Briar Palmer, Annabel Martin, Enza Barilla, Jamie Pollock, Christine Nairn (c), Laura Spiranovic, MelindaJ Barbieri, Thea Slatyer, Hayley Raso (Whitney Knight 70’), Cindy Lay (Melissa Taranto 70’)
Substitutes – Teresa Morrissey (gk), Alexandra Natoli
Cautions – Hayley Raso 28’
3 – Keelin Winters (WSW)
2 – Ellie Carpenter
1 – Michelle Carney (WSW)
Game rating: 7/10
Referee: Lara Lee
Referee rating: 8/10
By Arvind Hickman