Hayley Raso starred as Brisbane Roar ran riot with four goals in 18 second-half minutes to hammer Western Sydney Wanderers 4-0 on the road.
Allira Toby hit a double either side of Raso's third goal of the season, and teenage substitute Leah Davidson netted her first Westfield W-League goal as the Queenslanders halted the Red and Black’s club record six-match unbeaten run in spectacular style.
Returning from their bye week, Western Sydney struggled to cope with Jake Goodship’s side’s high press in the first half at Marconi Stadium, as Raso and Clare Polkinghorne were both denied at close range by in-form Wanderers keeper Abby Smith in a goalless first half.
Dean Heffernan’s charges came out swinging after the break but Brisbane responded with a barrage of blows, scoring four goals in quick succession, and Raso could have grabbed four or five to herself were it not goalkeeper Smith’s superb reflexes and some wayward finishing.
Western Sydney were missing star forward Lynn Williams, who was away with the United States national team, although two-goal hero Toby took her chance while standing in for the absent Tameka Yallop, while Mackenzie Arnold pulled off a string of saves to shut out the competition’s top scorers and record the Roar’s biggest ever win against Wanderers.
Elise Kellond-Knight got through 60 minutes on her second start after returning from injury as Brisbane made it eight-matches undefeated against Western Sydney to climb into the top four. Roar are three points behind second-placed Wanderers, who are six points off Melbourne City at the top.
Toby had a golden chance to put Roar ahead inside the first minute from Rylee Baisden’s flick but slid her shot wide on a slick Marconi Stadium pitch, before Katrina Gorry tested Wanderers keeper Abby Smith with Brisbane using their possession far better than the home side.
Sam Staab was forced into a goal-saving tackle to deny Baisden a clear sight on goal as Roar pushed, and Western Sydney finally got their first shot away on 23 minutes when Kristen Hamilton’s cross was stabbed at goal by Ella Mastrantonio but Mackenzie Arnold parried the close-range effort around the post.
The excellent Carson Pickett played Hayley Raso through on goal but Smith came to the rescue with a last-ditch block and the Red and Black keeper made another save from Clare Polkinghorne’s header, again from Pickett’s cross, before Toby steered a driven shot wide of the Wanderers goal.
Roar logged 14 shots to Wanderers’ four in the first half, but the hosts came out firing with Cooney-Cross seeing her strike pushed on to the crossbar by Arnold, Courtnee Vine slammed a right-footed shot into the side netting and Hamilton was denied by the feet of Arnold within four minutes of the restart.
Suddenly the floodgates opened when Kellond-Knight found Raso with a defence-splitting pass and Toby pounced after the Westfield Matilda's strike cannoned back off the post, before Raso seized on an error by Alex Huynh and drilled a 20-yard shot past Smith on 61 minutes.
Wanderers were rocked as Raso volleyed over from close range and 18-year-old Davidson slotted in her first senior goal, six minutes after coming on, following a beautiful pass from Hollie Palmer on 68 minutes.
Toby had the final word with a smart finish on 70 minutes after Gorry overturned possession, although Raso was denied twice by Smith late on and Arnold made a fine save from Hamilton's rasping drive in a wide-open finish.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Kick off: 4pm AEDT
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Thursday, 16 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT