It was a case of practise makes perfect for super sub Kyra Cooney-Cross.
Western Sydney Wanderers snatched three points against Adelaide United when the 17-year-old dead-ball expert watched her 92nd-minute free-kick whistle into the corner of the Lady Reds net.
Cooney-Cross only joined up with her new teammates this week after moving on from Melbourne Victory last season and spending the back end of the off-season at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championships with the Westfield Young Matildas.
In fact, only five days ago she was playing in an energy-sapping third place playoff in Thailand. But there was no chemistry required on the match-winning play, and it certainly was no fluke.
Cooney-Cross’ set-piece was a strike forged after hour-upon-hour on the training field perfecting her craft, although she admits she was not exactly aiming for a shot on goal.
“No, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Cooney-Cross said.
“But I have been practising them every day in training.”
The spotlight of Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season was almost taken by another Westfield Young Matilda.
Sixteen-year-old prodigy Mary Fowler earned her side a penalty from a dazzling run and dusted herself down to fire Adelaide United into a 39th-minute lead.
United States international Kirsten Hamilton, another Westfield W-League first timer, cancelled out the 16-year-old sensation’s strike on the brink of half-time to set the match on a knife edge.
Cooney-Cross was introduced as a 51st-minute substitute in place of fellow 17-year-old debutant, Vesna Milivojevic.
INTERNATIONALS: Five key foreigners in the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season
NEW SIGNINGS: All the Westfield W-League ins for 2019/20
It was not a new experience for Wanderers’ off-season signing. She had taken her Westfield W-League bow as a 15-year-old and gone on to play 16 matches for Melbourne Victory.
But, only five days after playing in a third-place playoff defeat against Korea Republic U-19s in Thailand, Cooney-Cross was thrust into action. And sure did she deliver.
“It felt amazing,” she added.
“The girls did well. I’ve only been in pre-season for two sessions so it was amazing to play out there with the girls.”