Womens National League 2008-2009 Season Round 02




written by Thomas Esamie



Played (31/10/08) Hindmarsh Stadium
Referee : Sara Hodson, Crowd :
Adelaide United
Kristi Harvey, Renee Harrison, Sarah Amorim, Dianne Alagich, Kristyn Swaffer, Sandra Scalzi (Lauren Chilvers 68), Stephanie Tokich (Donna Cockayne 77), Victoria Balomenos, Sharon Black (Tanya Harrison 82), Leah Robinson, April Mann.
Goals : Scalzi 11, 46, 50
Coach : Mike Barnett
3 - 2 Newcastle Jets
Alison Logue, Hannah Brewer, Elizabeth Sharpe, Cheryl Salisbury, Amber Neilson, Gema Simon, Joanne Peters, Stacy Day, Katie Gill, Nicole Jones, Harmony Attwill
Goals : Day 38, Salisbury 89
Coach : Gary Phillips

Played (1/11/08) Perry Park
Referee : Prue Donohoe, Crowd :
Queensland Roar
Lara Boon, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter (Stephanie Latham 82), Clare Polkinghorne, Brooke Spence, Jenna Tristram (Courtney Beutel 45), Kim Carroll, Alicia Ferguson, Lana Harch, Lauren Colthorpe, Ellen Beaumont (Vedrana Popovic 69)
Coach : Jeff Hopkins
0 - 1 Canberra United
Lydia Williams, Amy Chapman, Sasha McDonnell (Ellie Raymond 77), Ellie Brush, Rebecca Kiting (Snez Veljanovska 55), Grace Gill, Cian Maciejewski, Kara Mowbray, Thea Slatyer, Nicole Sykes, Lucy Allan
Goal : Mowbray 15
Coach : Robbie Hooker

Played (1/11/08) Parramatta Stadium
Referee : Jacqui Melksham, Crowd : 686
Sydney FC
Rachel Cooper, Danielle Brogan, Lisa Gilbert, Servet Uzunlar, Heather Garriock, Joanne Burgess, Kylie Ledbrook, Michelle Heyman (Carlie Ikonumou 89), Nicole Bolger (Loren Mahoney 55), Leena Khamis, Jordan Marsh
Goals : Bolger 55, Khamis 82
Coach : Ante Juric
2 - 1 Melbourne Victory
Melissa Barbieri, Marlies Oostdam, Tal Karp, Laura Alleway (Bronwyn Nutley 86), Maika Ruyter-Hooley, Sarah Groenewald (Alisha Foote 59), Louisa Bisby (Megan Archer 80), Rebecca Tegg, Brittany Timko, Daniela Diggiammarco, Enza Barilla
Goal : Groenewald 24
Coach : Matt Shepherd (sent off 89)

report by Thomas Esamie


Back in the days of the WNSL Victoria Vision were the perennial cellar dwellers, so when the new Victorian side won their first round match of the new competition against the Mariners I thought perhaps it was time to leave my preconceived ideas behind. You'll have to admit that Victorian representation in the national side has been scarce. Before goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri the sole previous Victorian in the Matildas was Jane Oakley who played in the 1995 World Cup.


On the strength of this match I'm not quite ready to change my mind, but I'm open to the idea that Melbourne are no certainties to prop up the table.


The thing that immediately strikes you watching the play is that Barbieri talks. A lot. All. The. Time. To her teammates, to the referee, at one stage I was sure she had struck up a conversation with a family in the Mick Cronin stand. In contrast the Sydney team was more circumspect in their communications and it was more spread out among the players. Barbieri seemed most intent on keeping her teammates aware of their surroundings, at least I assume "left shoulder", and "right shoulder" had something to do with how they should position themselves.


Also clear from the play is that Heather Garriock is classy player, she makes time for herself on the ball, has good close control and knows how to cross. In combination with the very skilful and hard running Khamis they're going to be a thorn in all the W-League sides they're going to encounter.


The match played out in a distinctly one-sided fashion in the early stages, most of the action was taking place in Melbourne's half and what little progress made was inevitably snuffed out by Sydney's defensive line who were very organised and rarely looked like they were going to be troubled.


Of course, as is often the case, that wasn't really enough.


While Sydney had the better of play they didn't really force many saves from the Melbourne keeper and perhaps they should have. Then a single slip by a defensive player (on the far side of the field.. I couldn't see who it was) allowed the Victory to get the ball to the by line and then lay it across. With Rachel Cooper still between the ball and the goal it fell to Sarah Groenewald. She struck the ball and it ricocheted into the net to stun pretty much everyone. Even, as it turns out, the scorer. As Groenewald was going through her warm down with the substitutes Archer and Nutley she related her scoring feats and said that the ball was at her feet, they were all yelling to have a shot, she took a swing, and it went in. She couldn't believe it. It was cute. And annoying.


I'm pretty sure picking the ball out of her net was Cooper's 3rd touch of the ball.


The goal did rattle Sydney and ignited something akin to self-belief in the Melbourne team. Melbourne passes were finding their mark and Sydney did a bit more scrambling to keep a lid on things. In Sydney's case most of their forays were directed at, or through, Leena Khamis. I can understand why, but it did make things a little more predictable if you're trying to defend and I got the feeling that maybe this was going to be Sydney's downfall. As it turns out it was their salvation... live and learn.


While most of Sydney's corners didn't amount to much the players did try a bit of variety and on one occasion they played it long beyond the far post and a long looping header eluded the keeper, the defender on the far post and, sadly for Sydney, the net. Just.


I had also been surprised, pleasantly so, that the W-League had attracted some overseas players. Like Canadian Brittany Timko who was playing for the Victory and Marlies Oostdam who came a much shorter distance across the Tasman Sea. Sadly neither player was able to inspire the Victory to dominate the game to keep the lead secure. Perhaps it's asking a bit much for a team to gel in the second competitive match.


As halftime rolled around I was confident enough to move to the other end of the field to take in the bulk of the action. As I walked through I made a guess at the crowd and came up with about 450. The ground announcer later said 686. I used to be good with numbers.


After the resumption Michelle Heyman had two chances at goal in close succession. Neither quite worked out for her but you get the sense that she is an excellent player in need of some confidence. As the striking partner to Khamis while Sarah Walsh is absent she runs a lot, and challenges for the ball well but is probably on something of a learning curve. I hope she gets a chance to prove herself... and I hope she does.


Melbourne continued confidently in the second half. Sydney was disposessed in midfield and the Victory broke quickly to contrive a chance which was just a bit further than an outstretched leg too far from being a goal.


The bulk of the play which led to threats on the Sydney goal by Melbourne came from set pieces and there were enough of those to suggest it might not stay at 1-0. However the bulk of the suggestion came from Sydney.


The Garriock - Khamis connection contrived a break down the left of field and a pinpoint cross was met with a slightly less pinpoint header from Khamis, the ball flying just wide.


Almost immediately afterwards Heyman put in a cross from the right side and Barbieri managed to flap at the ball allowing Khamis to followup, or at least come close.


Finally another raid was not cleanly handled by Barbieri and this time Bolger's followup was true and Sydney had equalised at long last. It was a long time coming, and a lesser team might have decided to hold out for a draw but Melbourne still pushed forward when they could.


You could sense there was a bit of tension.. the on field screams were a little higher and the tackles a bit... meatier. Tension was there on the sidelines too. Matt Shepherd was clearly unamused by a free kick decision and in returning the ball to Sydney he kicked it a little too hard. About 40 metres too hard. He got a talking to from the fourth official.


Both sides were working hard to get ahead, it made the match fun. On one occasion a Melbourne corner caused some panic in the Sydney penalty box, it was cleared away and immediately Sydney went on the attack Melbourne defenders in tow. In the end no meaningful shot at goal resulted from that play but it was evidence of the kind of enterprise on offer.


Soon after there very much was a meaningful shot on goal. Kylie Ledbrook unleashing something from the depths of hell after some clever buildup work by Khamis and Heyman and the shot had Barbieri at full stretch but she managed to hold onto it.


Khamis seems, by this stage, to have taken it upon herself to score the winner, come what may. Having managed to get close to the goalline on a break she chose to take an ambitious shot at goal rather than squaring a pass to an umarked Heyman, who expressed an opinion on the merits of that decision. There's something in the psyche of a born scorer, when faced with the ball at your feet and a goal ahead things like players in space tend to be pushed out of the immediate situation. It is also possible, and I'm just thinking out loud, that maybe Khamis felt she had a better chance from a tight angle with a keeper to beat than Heyman who was in front with 3 defenders ahead of her.


Shortly after Melbourne again troubled Cooper's goal when Burgess put a ball on a plate for Khamis bore down on Barbieri's goal and hit the post with her shot, the rebound gathered by the goalkeeper. You could taste the goal coming, but with 10 minutes to go it still hadn't come. It was starting to look like a point each.


Although there was a nice little motivator for any Sydney players who might have been watching as Barbieri clutched at her left arm, presumably the goalmouth scrambles had taken their toll.


FInally, with barely 7 minutes to go, Khamis was one on one with the keeper, this time thanks to a Ledbrook pass, and slotted the ball neatly past her and into the net. The crowd may not have been big but they certainly felt the same relief the players did. Was that the end of it? Oh no, not at all.


Melbourne now had little to lose and pressed forward. In a chase for the ball that Cooper was probably going to win ended up a bit messy with Tegg ending up on the ground. Penalty! Apparently. It was far away, but it seemed a generous decision. Still Oostendam still had to convert and Cooper did well to fist away a heavy shot that was only slightly to her right and about head height.


Melbourne had been close to producing the first draw of the season. As it stands Sydney are sitting on 2 wins, Perth on two losses and 6 other teams with a win and a loss.


However the game wasn't quite over.


In the dying seconds another contentious free kick saw Melbourne coach kick a chair on the sidelines, resulting in the referee having a chat to the fourth official. No doubt the earlier indisgression came into play and as a result Matt was sent from the sidelines.


His players soon followed. I got into the car so I could get to see the men play the Mariners at the Sydney Football Stadium rather than hang around for the Womens Mariners taking on their Perth counterparts.

Played (1/11/08) Parramatta Stadium
Referee : Amelia Morris, Crowd : 686
Central Coast Mariners
Lisa Hartley, Caitlin Cooper, Lyndsay Glohe, Rachael Doyle, Jodie Bain, Renee Rollason, Stephanie Haim (Emma Stewart 81), Gill Foster, Trudy Camilleri (Kathryn Pryer 90), Taryn Rockall (Elizabeth O'Reilly 57), Britt Simmons
Goals : Camilleri 69, Rollason 83, 90pk
Coach : Stephen Roche
3 - 1 Perth Glory
Kate Stewart, Stacey Learmont, Carys Hawkins, Shannon May, Ciara Conway (Katarina Jukic 53), Tanya Oxtoby, Elisa D'Ovidio, Collette McCallum, Elle Semmens, Rachael Smith, Shiya Lim (Danielle Calautti 46)
Goal : May 85
Coach : Nicola Williams






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