Womens National League 2008-2009 Season Round 04




written by Thomas Esamie



Played (15/11/08) Campbelltown Stadium
Referee : Lee Corey, Crowd : 900
Sydney FC
Nikola Dieter, Samantha Spackman, Danielle Brogan, Alesha Clifford, Lisa Gilbert, Servet Uzunlar, Jo Burgess (Loren Mahoney 30), Kylie Ledbrook, Linda O'Neill (Maggie Elhusseini 78), Danielle Small (Jessica Seaman 86), Leena Khamis
Goal : Khamis 48
Coach : Alen Stajcic
1 - 1 Newcastle Jets
Alison Logue, Samantha Wood (Rhali Dobson 78), Cheryl Salisbury, Amber Neilson, Gema Simon, Joanne Peters, Stacey Day, Katie Gill, Nicole Jones (Leia Smith 89), Kirstyn Pearce, Taleah Doyle
Goal : Gill 68
Coach : Gary Phillips


report by Thomas Esamie


Heather Garriock is as crucial to this team as Steve Corica is to Sydney's male counterparts, and in some respects even more so. Thanks to a hip injury she was not able to play but still showed up to be there on the sideline. Without her there as the "go to" player and a calming, experienced voice when the going gets tough someone else would have to fill in. While Lisa Gilbert is a good player she cannot fulfil those roles.


Missing from the lineup too was Michelle Heyman whose absence meant someone else would have to help Leena Khamis upfront. While Heyman hasn't produced any goals I would have liked to see her get more time as someone who shows some promise. Then again perhaps she too is injured. [It eventually turned out that Michelle had to make a choice between a career and football.. hopefully she'll resurface.]


This was the first of a double header being played at the Campbelltown Sports Complex that is as impressive as it is isolated. Right next to Leumeah railway station it has many car parking options and a Wests Leagues club next door. Apart from that a small row of shops which were closed by this stage of the afternoon left the main food options to be the stadium stall and the Club. I opted for the club in the hour or so before the start of the match.


Among the crowd seemed to be a sizeable contingent of family, friends and relatives of the players judging from the people leaning over the fence to say hi and the banners for the "Spackmanator" and so on. It gave the atmosphere of a large family barbecue and perhaps a little closer to the days of the former national mens competition wistfully reminisced about by those who missed those days before marketing took over.


Though the marketing wasn't entirely absent. Even the ground announcer sounded somewhat sheepish as he declared "The Westfield W-League is football with style, and Westfield is shopping with style". Just incase it was unclear the locations of the Westfield Shopping centres in the vicinity were listed on the hoardings ringing the pitch.


I'm nothing but grateful for Westfields support of the womens game so these things are nothing more than amusing counterpoints to an event otherwise reeking of family fun.


On the pitch Newcastle staked a claim for dominance early with a corner resulting in a scramble that could so easily have ended sompleace other than the arms of Nikola Dieter.


Sydney's first opportunity came after Alesha Clifford moved forward from defence with the ball and was upended for her trouble. The resulting freekick was within scoring range but Kylie Ledbrook was unable to keep the ball below crossbar height and it sailed harmlessly over.


Newcastle in general had the advantage in play with Gill and Jones up front being supported by the midfield when moving forward. Sydney on the other hand were looking for quick breaks and sending the ball to Khamis at every opportunity to exploit her skill and speed to maximum effect. Of course it's not always Khamis as Servet Uzunlar showed with a long range effort after 16 minutes following a turnover.


After 23 minutes Cheryl Salisbury clattered into Jo Burgess to concede a free kick which was inventively headed towards goal and Khamis but ultimately missing both. Football with Style... maybe it really is more than a clever marketing line.


Katie Gill, normally found scoring at the other end, was trying to help out in defence and like most well meaning forwards trying to help out their teammates ended up seeing flashbacks of all the tackles they suffered at the hands of defenders and instantly decide this one tackle will become retribution for all the wrongs of the past. As such she did well to only get a yellow card and Sydney's free kick was headed towards goal on target this time but Alison Logue was able to snatch the ball from its goalbound path.


On the halfhour a chase for the ball left Burgess clutching her leg and needing to be replaced, Lauren Mahoney coming on for the stricken player. Hopefully it isn't anything serious Burgess being one of the more reliable players for Sydney. I say this while being at pains not to suggest there's anyone who is *un*reliable, more that some are less reliable. I know, give me a shovel... I'll keep digging.


Leena Khamis managed to get the ball on a break by Sydney and had more time than it seemed she knew to control the ball to pick her spot but instead snatched at the chance and in retrospect maybe should have tried to take the shot with her right foot instead of the left. Given the match was 35 minutes old by now the narrow miss should probably have at least forced a save from players well into the match stride.


At the 38 minute mark beyond the far stand you could see the Queensland Roar arrive for the ensuing match with their opponents, the Mariners, having been at the stadium since well before the start of the Sydney-Newcastle game. Maybe they got lost ;-)


Just before the halftime break Khamis found herself in the unfamiliar role of becoming providor when Sydney had two players bearing down on goal with just one defender to beat but she overhit the pass that might have put Sydney clear on goal. Instead the ball was eventually bundled over for a corner which came to nothing. This, and a half chance from a free kick also just before the half might have diminished Khamis' confidence in continuing her scoring streak.


At the other end perennial scorer for Newcastle Katie Gill also came close with a header after a cross from the left only just clearing the crossbar and landing on top of the net.


The second half seemed to catch the scoreboard attendant on the hop as the clock failed to restart and perhaps some of the same thing was affecting the Newcastle defence. An optimistic ball into a penalty area devoid of attacking options by Linda O'Neill was confidently met by Cheryls Salisbury who headed the ball down to some of her teammates. Except the first person to get to the ball was Leena Khamis who wasted no time at all and immediately hit a ferocious shot goalwards. However to complicate matters for Alison Logue the shot took a massive deflection off Kirstyn Pearce and eluded the keeper on it's way to the net and Sydney's lead.


A little later there were two injured Sydney players getting attention on the park in a sometimes excessively physical encounter. There was a picture in the papers with a newcastle and sydney player entangled in something more akin to an Olympic Wrestling tournament than a game of football.


Gill repeated her defensive skills on Khamis a little later in the match and Sydney took the free kick quickly, a little too quickly as it turned out as Newcastle were quickest to react and carried the ball towards the Sydney goal but ran out of ideas allowing Sydney to regroup and prevent any equaliser.


Alesha Clifford again proved her worth to the Sydney defence with a solid display and as a result of intelligent positioning was on hand at 62 minutes to head a dangerous Salisbury ball away for a corner instead of allowing the Jets a clear shot by Peters, as would otherwise have happened, and possibly a goal.


However the goal did eventually come and as you'd expect it was Gill who scored it. She should stick to playing forward and leave all that tackling to players who won't get sent off for it. A ball to Gill was neither intercepted by Spackman nor was Gill suitably impeded from it and it resulted in a shot from just inside the 18 yard box across the keeper and it ended up nestling in the far corner for a deserved yet annoying equaliser.


From there it seemed Newcastle were happy and didn't really do much to threaten the Sydney goal anymore, Sydney on the other hand did try to pull out a winner but failed to do so. Their best chance was another opportunity by Khamis who eluded the defence and was one on one with the keeper but possibly took too long to shoot and her shot went through the keepers legs but was significantly slowed by Logue almost-but-not-quite sitting on the ball and allowed Gema Simon to chase back and clear the ball off the line just before the goal came about.


Subesquently changes came about from both coaches and with the cooling conditions as evening set in a number of players started to cramp up. The match could have seen a dramatic late winner for Sydney had Jessica Seaman, who had come on for Danielle Small, been able to direct her shot inside the post at the far end of a cross. As it was the W-League had its first draw surprisingly deep into the season.

Played (15/11/08) Campbelltown Stadium
Referee : Kate Jacewicz, Crowd : 900
Central Coast Mariners
Emma-Kate Dewhurst, Caitlin Cooper, Lyndsay Glohe (Ellyse Perry 81), Rachael Doyle, Jodie Bain, Teresa Polias, Renee Rollason, Kyah Simon, Gill Foster (Britt Simmons 85), Trudy Camilleri (Stephanie Haim 64), Elizabeth O'Reilly
Coach : Stephen Roche
0 - 5 Queensland Roar
Casey Dumont, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter (Stephanie Latham 83), Clare Polkinghorne, Brooke Spence, Kim Carroll, Elise Kellond-Knight (Ellen Beaumont 83), Alicia Ferguson, Lana Harch, Lauren Colthorpe, Courtney Beutel (Ruth Blackburn 72)
Goals : Polkinghorne 12, Harch 66, Colthorpe 68pk, Kellond-Knight 80, Latham 89
Coach : Jeff Hopkins

Played (15/11/08) Members Equity Stadium
Referee : Prue Donohoe, Crowd :
Perth Glory
Maya Diederichsen, Stacey Learmont, Carys Hawkins, Tanya Oxtoby, Ella Mastrantonio, Lisa De Vanna, Dani Calautti, Elisa D'Ovidio (Shannon May 67), Collette McCallum, Marianna Tabain, Emily Dunn
Goals : McCallum 25, de Vanna 41, Alagich 56og
Coach : Nicola Williams
3 - 2 Adelaide United
Emma Wirkus, Renee Harrison (Lauren Chilvers 62), Sarah Amorim, Dianne Alagich, Kristyn Swaffer, Sandra Scalzi (Donna Cockayne 72), Stephanie Tokich (Tanya Harrison 67), Victoria Balomenos, Sharon Black, Leah Robinson, April Mann
Goals : Black 90, Cockayne 90
Coach : Mike Barnett

Played (15/11/08) Bob Jane Stadium
Referee : Casey Reibelt, Crowd :
Melbourne Victory
Melissa Barbieri, Marlies Oostdam, Tal Karp, Laura Alleway, Maika Ruyter-Hooley, Sarah Groenewald (Deanna Niceski 83), Louisa Bisby, Rebecca Tegg, Brittany Timko, Daniela Digiammarco (Sophie Hogben 56), Enza Barilla (Ursula Hughson 56)
Coach : Matt Shepherd
0 - 1 Canberra United
Lydia Williams, Amy Chapman, Bronwyn Studman, Sasha McDonnell (Nicole Sykes 90), Ellie Brush, Grace Gill, Cian Maciejewski, Kara Mowbray, Thea Slatyer, Ashleigh Sykes (Jennifer Bisset 58), Christine Walters (Rebecca Kiting 87)
Goal : McDonnell 22
Coach : Robbie Hooker






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