Three away wins out of three for the teams with Thorns in them in the week back from the holiday break, as the top of the ladder starts to get some separation from the middle of the pack scrambling for the last playoff spot. The W-League heads into the new year with 3 be-Thorned teams solidly in the top three.
Melbourne Victory 1, Newcastle Jets 3
Britt Eckerstrom and Newcastle looked relatively untroubled on a rainy day in Melbourne against a Victory side that struggled to keep hold of the ball and get good shots off.
The rain was clearly making it difficult for both keepers, and when Eckerstrom faced a fairly routine shot early on, she nearly spilled it before taking control of the ball. The adverse conditions may have affected her decision making on the Victory goal—where you’d expect an imposing keeper like Eckerstrom to come and claim a high cross into the area, she stayed on her line, perhaps fearful that she might not get a good grip, and 15-year old Kyra Cooney-Cross’s header took a deflection that left Eckerstrom without a chance of making a save.
Other than that, Eckerstrom had very little to do on the night as her Newcastle side climbed to second in the league on the back of some excellent fullback play, the highlight of which was left back Hannah Brewer’s impressive solo goal.
Adelaide United 1, Sydney FC 2 (untelevised)
Sydney left it late to grab the win against Adelaide, with Caitlin Foord scoring the winning goal in the 93rd minute. Adelaide put in an impressive attacking performance in the second half, which Emily Sonnett and the Sydney defense dealt with well. Their only mistake came when Caitlin Cooper, Sonnett’s center back partner, conceded a penalty while moving away from her goal.
Perth Glory 0, Brisbane Roar 2 (untelevised)
Sam Kerr failed to make the team for undisclosed reasons, and Hayley Raso scored, as Brisbane kept high-scoring Perth off the scoreboard, going clear at the top of the ladder in the process.
Raso’s goal was a determined follow-up effort, after Celeste Boureille made an excellent run and headed a corner on-target, which the Perth defense could only just about clear off the line. Yet again, the football gods conspire to keep Boureille’s efforts out of the net.
Canberra United: Bye Week
Canberra United and Ashleigh Sykes took the week off. In the meantime, enjoy the coverage of Canberra United from local radio station 2CC: Sykes gave an interview a few weeks ago, and the assistant coach gave a more general overview of their season just before the break.
Sydney FC host Newcastle Jets in a top-4 television clash on Tuesday between two of the more complete looking teams in the league. Look for Sonnett to try and make her presence felt on corners and set pieces against Thorns teammate Eckerstrom.
Also on TV, leaders Brisbane Roar play host to Melbourne Victory on Thursday in what should be a relatively straightforward outing for Raso and Boureille.
Offscreen, Sykes is scheduled to return to a Canberra side that need to start impressing if they want to make their way into a playoff spot. At home against the bottom team Adelaide United should be the place to do just that, though Adelaide just gave Sydney FC a run for their money, so Canberra will need all the attacking ability they can get.