Sydney tenacity protects early lead
By Stephen Webb
W-League Season 8, 2015/16
Sunday 8 November 2015, 4pm
Lambert Park, Sydney
Sydney FC 1 (Kyah Simon 14’ pen)
Perth Glory FC 0
Sydney FC hung on for 75 minutes to secure a hard-fought three points against reigning Premiers Perth Glory on Sunday.
Perth’s Thia Eastman brought down Amy Harrison in the top left corner of Sydney’s penalty area and Kyah Simon sent Mackenzie Arnold the wrong way to put Sydney in the lead.
But it was Sydney’s desperate, scrambling defence for the remainder of the game that secured the home side its win.
Both sides hit the woodwork as the match progressed but Perth provided the more consistent threat, with Sydney losing the ball too quickly when on the attack.
Elizabeth Ralston conceded a corner when stopping Carla Bennett, who looked like scoring.
But it was Samantha Kerr who caused most problems for Sydney. Initially it was from her through balls, particularly for Bennett on the right flank. Then she became more directly involved in attacks herself.
Ellyse Perry cleared a cross from Kerr on the left, Kerr winning the ball with a great tackle on half way and running down the line.
When Sydney looked in a good position to score, the flag was up for offside.
Kerr collected a lobbed through ball and shot wide to the left. Then she was onto another through ball but caught offside.
Sydney finished the first half strongly with better build-ups, one ending in a shot by Leena Khamis past the left post. Another ended with Harrison shooting past the right post.
Ralston blocked Kerr coming in from the left side of the box but conceded a corner that caused Sydney some anxious moments.
Bennett hit the crossbar and Kerr kept threatening to score until the half-time whistle blew.
Teigen Allen put in some fabulous tackles at the beginning of the second half.
Nicola Bolger was fouled on the edge of the Perth penalty area and Sydney’s free kick hit the top left corner of the goal frame. Perth failed to clear and Sydney won a corner.
In the 52nd minute Sydney looked good attacking down the left but again were ruled offside. A minute later Sydney’s Michelle Betos had come out bravely to stop Kerr.
Sydney cleared a shot off the line.
Things got even worse for Sydney in the 57th minute when Caitlin Foord came on to replace Emily Henderson.
Betos had to save one shot and then Foord, breaking down the left channel, shot just over the top right corner of Sydney’s goal.
Betos again had to be brave, this time diving at the feet of Foord.
Allen put in another solid tackle on Danielle Brogan but came off worse, eventually replaced by Sunny Franco.
Sydney blocked another Perth shot before attacking down the left through Jasmyne Spencer, who crossed for Simon, whose shot was deflected for a corner.
Khamis nearly got a header on target while struggling to stretch a high ball into the box. Sydney won two more corners.
In the 72nd minute Spencer cut in from the left and shot high.
Kerr won Perth a corner and Spencer was played into the Perth penalty area but stopped by Katie Holtham, who conceded a corner to Sydney.
Another Spencer shot was deflected high before dropping onto the crossbar.
Then Simon entertained the home supporters by nutmegging two Perth players in a row. However her cross was disappointing.
Alanna Kennedy made a good tackle to stop Kerr but Sydney were defending the hard way, slogging volleyed clearances with ten minutes to go.
Simon nutmegged Bennett with a backheel and Arnold made a very good save, coming out to stop Khamis.
As regular time came to an end Perth won two corners.
Ralston, caught on the ball with few options, gave away possession. Kerr had a chance but Betos saved.
Sydney made substitutions and held up the ball in corners — anything to wind down the clock.
It wasn’t pretty but it was impressive — especially if you were a Sydney fan.
1. Michelle Betos (gk), 2. Liz Ralston, 3. Ellyse Perry, 5. Jasmyne Spencer, 6. Teresa Polias (c), 7. Nicola Bolger (11. Natalie Tobin 91’), 8. Amy Harrison, 14. Alanna Kennedy, 15. Teigen Allen (4. Sunny Franco 70’), 17. Kyah Simon, 19. Leena Khamis (9. Princess Ibini-Isei 93’)
Substitute not used: 18. Sham Khamis (gk)
Yellow cards: Amy Harrison 68’, Kyah Simon 88’
1. Mackenzie Arnold (gk), 3. Kim Carroll, 4. Katie Holtham, 5. Shannon May, 6. Carla Bennett, 7. Nicole Stanton, 11. Emily Henderson (9. Caitlin Foord 58’), 13. Danielle Brogan, 16. Thia Eastman (8. Shawn Billam 78’), 19. Ella Mastrantonio, 20. Sam Kerr (c)
Substitutes not used: 22. Evangeline Gooch (gk), 14. Catlin Doeglas
Yellow cards: Nicole Stanton 25’
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
3. Same Kerr (Perth Glory)
2. Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC)
1. Leena Khamis (Sydney FC)
Report and photographs by Stephen Webb