Roar down Sydney FC in W-League decider

A Lisa De Vanna strike settled an exciting Westfield W-League Grand Final at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday afternoon where Brisbane Roar finished deserved winners, twice taking the lead in their 2-1 victory.

A Lisa De Vanna strike settled an exciting Westfield W-League Grand Final at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday afternoon where Brisbane Roar finished deserved winners, twice taking the lead in their 2-1 victory.

The championship decider was always going to come down to these two teams – the form groups of the 2010/11 season – and they didn-t disappoint, producing a physical yet entertaining finale.

The win sees the Roar exact some revenge on their loss to Sydney FC in last year-s decider. The Roar now has two W-League titles to their name and Sydney FC the one.

The match began in disastrous fashion for Sydney FC when, in just the ninth minute, Tameka Butt opened the scoring. Kylie Ledbrook-s wonder strike after 34 minutes levelled proceedings but an astonishing second half saw the winner come through the boot of De Vanna with 25 minutes remaining.

Brisbane started emphatically with short and quick passes and fluidity in their movement that they have graced the league with all season. While the home sides slow start wasn-t necessarily uncharacteristic, their lack of shape and conviction from the midfield was.

Also uncharacteristic was the uncertainty of the Sydney FC defence as they conceded a rare goal from a cross. In the ninth minute, Butt, who caused Sydney problems in two previous encounters this season, beat both Sky Blues centre-backs to a Lana Harch cross before she leaped well to head into the bottom corner.

The diversity of the Sydney FC start to previous performances of the reigning Champions was noticeable as they failed to recapture the innovation and flair that saw them dominate teams with a certain impudence but the pressing was still evident, as was the hard-work.

When Harch broke through the Sydney FC defence, she looked set to deliver more pain, but her touch to round Dimi Poulos was poor. The missed chance seemed to spark the hunger that the Sky Blues have shown throughout 2010/11. Kyah Simon and Leena Khamis began to pressure Casey Dumont in goal, and Sydney eventually equalised with a superb Ledbrook goal in the 34th minute.

Just a minute after a Simon cross almost curved past Dumont, Ledbrook also had an effort from the edge of the area look to go into the far corner. While Simon-s effort was debatable about whether it was a cross or a shot, Ledbrooks was not. It was a shot, and her effort struck the post and deflected in.

The physicality of the encounter made it difficult to become the idealistic final of pass and move football, but the basics of that preferred style was there to be seen, only the execution occasionally lacking due to immense pressing from both sides.

Amy Chapman skewed a golden chance to re-take the lead only minutes ahead of half-time, but her attempted finesse shot flew high and wide.

Brisbane controlled the first half with 61% of the ball, their two holding players proving pivotal in the distribution of possession. Despite having 10 shots on goal, the Sky Blues only delivered four balls into the penalty area, indicating how solid the Brisbane back four had been.

Right after the halftime break, Simon had another dangerous effort tipped over for a corner. Her effort from outside the box was rocketing towards the far top corner, but Dumont was quick to react.

The rain began to fall but the quality of the match didn-t follow suit. Indeed, it possibly increased.

Was the introduction of more longer balls, a natural progression considering the weather, a negative factor? Or did the higher lines and quick attacks, calling for a more open game, add to the spectacle? Regardless of the midfield scrap or the want for a romantic final, the chances came thick and fast for the early parts of the second half.

Brisbane boasted the majority of these chances, with De Vanna, substituted on for an injured and distraught Harch, forcing a save from Poulos. Similarly Dumont was called upon to deny Ledbrook her second.

The opportunities spurred on the players and the movement and creativity returned to the arsenal of the two best teams this season. A goal seemed inevitable and it came through De Vanna.

The lightning quick striker caused Sydney problems on almost every attack in the second half and eventually found herself on the scoresheet in the 64th minute. Beating her marker with strength, she calmly slid the ball past a helpless Poulos to give Brisbane their second lead of the match.

The goal just encouraged an even more open game of football with both teams looking to score – Brisbane desperately aiming for a third to kill the game. The chance came with 15 minutes remaining but Kennya Cordner hit the side netting from just a few yards out.

Khamis had a strong penalty shout turned down and it was followed by a Lauren Colthorpe effort for Brisbane going not far over. The game was end-to-end as Sydney poured players forward – meaning a distinct lack of defensive cover when Brisbane attacked on the counter.

The Brisbane defence continued to hold firm and deny Sydney on numerous attacks, as the Sky Blues failed to deliver that pin-point cross they so desperately desired.

In the five minutes of stoppage time Sydney had numerous corners but were continuously denied. Long range efforts and hopeful crosses were also ineffective as the final slowly drew to a close.

And, after what must of felt like hours of defending, the defiant Brisbane held on to complete a 2-1 win and secure the W-League title.

A superb game ended a superb season, with the two best teams fiercely battling it out for the Championship. Sydney FC, the premiers, despite falling short in the hunt for the W-League title, were consistently outstanding and scored 29 goals, the most by 12 (Brisbane were second on 17, in the regular season. The defence, equally impeccable, conceded just nine goals.

The eight wins in 10 games was suitable justification of the phenomenal football played by the Sky Blue women. Advocating positive football with explicit pass and move football they defeated every other team in the league at least once.

A heartbreaking end to a season to be proud of for Sydney FC.

Sydney FC: (LEDBROOK 35-)
Brisbane Roar: 1 (BUTT 9-, DE VANNA 64-)

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Dimi POULOS (gk), 2. Teresa POLIAS, 3. Danielle BROGAN, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 8. Renee ROLLASON (13. Catherine CANNULI 76-), 9. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Kylie LEDBROOK (c) (16. Linda O-NEILL 90 + 1), 11. Lydia VANDENBERGH, 15. Teigan ALLEN (14. Nicola BOLGER 67-), 17. Kyah SIMON, 19. Leena KHAMIS.
Substitutes Not Used: 5. Alanna KENNEDY, 20. Erin HERD (gk).

Yellow Cards: 10. Kylie LEDBROOK 37-, 19. Leena KHAMIS 75-.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 10. Kylie LEDBROOK 35-.

Brisbane Roar line-up: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 4. Claire POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Kim CARROLL, 7. Joanne BURGESS (3. Karla REUTER 85-), 8. Elisa KELLOND-KNIGHT, 10. Lana HARCH (19. Lisa DE VANNA 42-), 11. Avi LUIK, 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Amy CHAPMAN (16. Kennya CORDNER 66-), 16. Lauren COLTHORPE
Substitutes Not Used: 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 20. Kate STEWART (GK).

Yellow Cards: 19. Lisa DE VANNA 65-, 4. Claire POLKINGHORNE 71-,
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 13. Tameka BUTT 9-, 19. Lisa DE VANNA 64-.

Referee: Kate Jacewicz