The Dub is back!
It took them seven seasons but the Western Sydney Wanderers finally clinched their first ever Round One win thanks to a stoppage time winner from teenager Kyra Cooney-Cross. The 2-1 result over Adelaide United at Marconi Stadium is just the type of win that can kick start a season and the 17-year-old will be the toast of Western Sydney!
It was a beautiful night for football in Sydney’s West.
The game soon came to life with a goal mouth scramble in the Adelaide penalty area in the 5th minute giving fans a taste of the excitement to come. Both teams were prepared to play direct football which led to plenty of skilful passes but also smart interceptions.
In the 38th minute Adelaide took the lead when some clever footwork from Mary Fowler won her a penalty against Wanderers defender Alex Huynh. The youngster coolly converted to give the visitors the lead.
That lead was short lived however when WSW equalised after Kristen Hamilton headed home past keeper Sarah Willacy after getting onto a fantastic cross from Alix Roberts!
It would be a vital goal, ensuring the home side went into the sheds with their tails up.
Half time Wanderers 1 – United 1
The second half was thrilling football with Ella Mastrantonio (WSW) working tirelessly with Amy Harrison. The two veterans linked well with Courtney Nevin and Sam Staab down back to feed Hamilton, Vine and substitute Cooney-Cross up front.
It was enough to convince the home fans this year could be something special. Vine hit the cross bar again whilst Hamilton forced some top saves from Willacy.
Down the other end, Fowler was causing all kinds of problems and keeping Nevin, Huynh and Staab on their toes. Kahlia Hogg forced a fine save from Smith after a powerful drive saw the American shot stopper dive to her right.
Smith followed up with another save shortly after as Adelaide kept on fighting hard. Huynh and Nevin made some crucial clearances as the Wanderers kept their opponents at bay.
Just when it looked like both sides would share a point, the Wanderers won a free kick in the 92nd minute. Mastrantonio insisted that Cooney-Cross take it. CC delivering a teasing ball that Willacy had little chance in stopping with bodies flying all around her whilst the ball bounced past her into the back of the net!
The goal sent the home crowd into a frenzy!
Shortly after, the referee blew the final whistle to see the Wanderers sit on top of the W-League ladder for the first time ever.
Full time. Wanderers 2 – United 1
Who stood out?
American imports Kristen Hamilton and Abby Smith stood out for the Red and Black, showing why their arrival brought so much excitement to the long suffering Wanderers army.
Cortnee Vine was electrifying with her pace whilst Courtney Nevin worked hard in defence,
Amy Harrison (Matildas, WSW) and former Matilda Ella Mastrantonio added some much needed starch to the Wanderers midfield.
16-year-old sensation Mary Fowler (Young Matildas) was a standout on debut, fighting hard as a lone ranger up front.
Goalkeeper Sarah Willacy also had a solid game despite conceding two goals and Amber Brooks was strong in a defensive midfielder role as the Reds fought hard and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Hamilton 44′, Cooney-Cross 92′)
Adelaide United 1 (Fowler 39′)
WSW: Smith (gk), Roberts, Staab, Huynh, Nevin, Mastrantonio, Harrison, Milivojevic, Halloway (c), Hamilton, Vine
Adelaide: Willacy (gk), Ashley, Grant, Brooks, Johns, Hogg, Holmes, Condon, Weber, M.Fowler, Hodgson
Yellow: Grant 66′, Jones 75′
Written by Janakan Seemampillai, published by Tanner Coad