Talking Points: How costly will Wanderers slip-up prove?
At the start of the round Western Sydney Wanderers were looming as the biggest threat to Westfield W-League leaders Melbourne City, but that was before they dropped three points in Adelaide.
The Wanderers incurred a significant dent to their title aspirations on Saturday when they became the first team this season to come away empty-handed against the Lady Reds.
Eventually succumbing 3-2, the result now sees the Wanderers forego their game-in-hand advantage and remain six points behind the pace-setting City.
Ultimately, Dean Heffernan’s side had no one to blame but themselves as they shipped three first-half goals at Marden Sports Complex, then missed a crucial penalty before eventually breaking through for a pair of late consolation goals.
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The departure of Irish midfielder Denise O’Sullivan following the end of her guest player contract was evident as the Wanderers were caught out time and time again by the hosts – Mallory Weber leading the returns with a brace following Chelsea Dawber’s early opener.
Prior to the shock result the Wanderers looked on track to set-up a penultimate round showdown with City that could well have decided the Premiership outcome. Now they have to rely on the undefeated City dropping points against Melbourne Victory or Brisbane Roar in coming weeks to remain in with a shout of silverware.
By contrast, the result is a high water mark for Adelaide after a difficult season that has seen Ivan Karlovic’s side not get their reward with competitive performances that suffered for a lack of goals.
At the start of the round, Adelaide were the competition's lowest scorers with just six goals in eight games. By the full-time whistle, the Lady Reds had overtaken the Newcastle Jets in the Westfield W-League ladder to move up to eighth place.
“I thought from the very first second all the way to the end they were really good,” Karlovic said of his side’s performance.
“We’ve been like that for a number of games this year and we haven’t come out with the three points, but I’m just glad for them that they got what they deserved out of the game finally.”
Glory breakthrough for first win of the campaign
Bobby Despotovski’s Perth Glory side have endured a frustrating season as they sought to reinvent themselves without the talismanic Sam Kerr but they may have found a new goal-threat-in-the-making in Hana Lowry.
The 16-year-old made her starting debut for the Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday night – and delivered a crucial goal her side’s break-through 4-2 win over Newcastle Jets.
Her 22nd minute headed finish marked the first time the Glory had scored first this season but they made the most of it with further goals from Morgan Andrews, Caitlin Doeglas and Celia Jiménez sealing their first win of the season.
The Jets fought back late but their two goals proved only consolation as the result – combined with Adelaide’s win on Saturday – sent them to the bottom of the Westfield W-League table.
"They worked so hard and definitely 100% deserved everything they got from this game. At the end of the day we wanted this game more than Jets I think,” Despotovski said of his side.
Hopkins masterminds a record-breaking win over Canberra
Melbourne Victory’s form roll continues to build momentum as they dispatched Canberra United 3-0 – the result marking a record-breaking 49th win in the Westfield W-League for head coach Jeff Hopkins.
The Victory proved indomitable for a fourth straight match as they notched a second-straight clean sheet to surge into the top four ahead of Brisbane Roar
Elevated to the starting line-up after impressing in training mid-week, 20-year-old Melina Ayres delivered in spades for Hopkins side with a classy first-half double at Lakeside Stadium – her first returns in front of goal this season.
While defending last year’s Premiership title is only the slimmest of mathematical possibilities for the Victory at this stage, they still loom as a potent opponent should they convert their run into a Finals Series spot.
"I was really pleased for her because she comes into the side and whenever she comes in she gives 100 per cent,” Hopkins said of Ayres' performance.