A classy and confident performance has helped Sydney FC’s Westfield W-League team defy the odds, with the Sky Blue women securing their place in the final-four with a crucial round-10 win over Adelaide United.
A classy and confident performance has helped Sydney FC-s Westfield W-League team defy the odds, with the Sky Blue women securing their place in the final-four with a crucial round-10 win over Adelaide United.
Needing all three points to give themselves any hope of a berth in the finals, Sydney came out firing with goals to Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook and Joanne Burgess setting the platform for victory early in the first half.
Ledbrook said her side was determined to take advantage of the opportunity to steal 4th spot following the Central Coast-s earlier win over the Melbourne Victory.
“We knew we were a chance for the finals and when we got those early goals we were lucky,” she said after the match.
It was prolific striker, Khamis who bagged the first goal after just four minutes of play, set-up nicely by new recruit Leah Blayney down the left.
Two minutes later, stand-in skipper, Ledbrook was awarded a free-kick and fired home Sydney-s second, with her set-piece soaring past the fingertips of Emma Wirkus and into the back of the Adelaide net.
In the slippery conditions, both sides were physical but it was the Sky Blues who stayed strongest in defence to keep United-s opportunities to a minimum.
Kelly Golebiowski used excellent vision in the 28th minute to pick out Jo Burgess, who then picked out the Adelaide keeper before doing far better with the follow-up to claim the hosts- third.
Young defender, Jessica Seaman almost capped off the opening stanza in style, but her long-range shot was denied by the bar – still, Alen Stajcic-s side looked in complete control at the break.
Adelaide pressed after the restart, forcing Danielle Small to make a clearance off the line but the clean sheet was short lived – Reds- number 10, Victoria Balomenos delivering a cracking free kick past Sydney keeper Nikola Deiter to etch Adelaide-s comeback.
On a roll, United closed the gap further on Sydney FC when Kristyn Swaffer-s header sailed over Small and into the top left corner.
With only one goal separating the sides the match seemed destined for a thrilling finish, and the hosts came close to sealing the deal, only to see some sharp Adelaide defence scramble the ball away from the line. The Reds then created a blistering chance for their captain Dianne Alagich to equalise, but she too was denied.
United went a player down in the closing stages when Renee Harrison fell foul of the referee after committing a foul on Sydney substitute Maggie Elhusseni, but it had little impact on the final score with the Sky Blues taking the all-important victory.
The match marked the return from long-term injury of Matilda, Sarah Walsh and after a short but testing hit-out, she-s now set her sights on the finals.
“I only got to manage a few touches but it-s great to be back on the park,” said Walsh. “We played really good and I think we deserved to make the semis after a performance like that.”
After an epic finish to the regular-season, Sydney FC has now set its- sights on the Westfield W-League semis and a mouth-watering clash with title favourites, the all-conquering Queensland Roar.
Sydney FC 3 (Leena Khamis 4-, Kylie Ledbrook 6-, Jo Burgess 28-)
Adelaide United 2 (Victoria Balomenos 52-, Kristyn Swaffer 59-)
Sydney FC: 20.Nicole Deiter (gk), 3.Danielle BROGAN, 4.Alesha CLIFFORD, 6.Servet UZUNLAR (18. Nicola BOLGER 90-), 8. Jo BURGESS (14. Maggie ELHUSSEINI 72-), 10.Kylie LEDBROOK (c), 15. Jessica SEAMAN, 17.Danielle SMALL, 19.Leena KHAMIS, 22. Kelly GOLEBIOWSKI (9. Sarah WALSH 75-), 23. Leah BLAYNEY.
Substitute not used: 1. Rachel COOPER (gk).
Yellow Cards: Kelly Golebiowski 19-.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Leena Khamis 4-, Kylie Ledbrook 6-, Jo Burgess 28-.
Adelaide United: 1. Emma WIRKUS (gk), 3.Sarah AMORIM, 4.Dianne ALAGICH (c), 5. Angela FIMMANO (2. Renee HARRISON 60-) 6.Kristyn SWAFFER, 8.Sandra SCALZI, 10.Victoria BALOMENOS (17. April MANN 73-), 12. Tanya HARRISON, 14. Donna COCKAYNE (9. Stephanie TOKICH 66-), 15. Lauren CHILVERS, 16. Leanne SLATER.
Substitute not used: 20. Sian MCLAREN (gk).
Yellow Cards: Lauren Chilvers 5, Renne Harrison 70-/86-.
Red Cards: Renee Harrison 86-.
Goals: Victoria Balomenos 52-, Kristyn Swaffer 59-.
Referee: Casey Reibelt.
Crowd: 800 at Parramatta Stadium.