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Westfield W-League Recap: Newcastle Jumps Canberra In Standings While Perth Remain Perfect

[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap] recap of the action in the Westfield W-League, featuring the back story to the games, the players who made the difference, team of the week, and a look ahead to the match ups you don’t want to miss from Rachael Caldwell.

The Games

Perth Glory 1 (Tabain 51’) – 0 Sydney FC

The Narrative: The battle of the unbeatens was a tight match through and through. Perth’s lone goal was enough of an advantage to earn three points and remain undefeated on the season. There were few clear-cut chances in the game as both defenses were able to lock down the standout forwards for each of the respective squads. While Sydney came up short, this game proved that Sydney can definitely be a contender come the end of the season and that Perth isn’t totally invincible. Next up, Perth looks to continue its winning streak against Adelaide and Sydney has a derby date with Western Sydney.

The Player: Sam Kerr missed this match with a hamstring issue so the defensive pressure on Kate Gill throughout the match was immense. Enter Marianna Tabain. There weren’t many dangerous offensive spells in the match, but Tabain finished the chance she was given to put her team ahead. Good teams find a way to get goals and win matches and Perth did just that against Sydney. The best teams have players that can step up each week and it seems that Perth has plenty of playmakers.

Worth A Shout: For the second week in a row, goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold put in a stellar performance give her team a big shutout win and also ended Jasmyne Spencer’s goal scoring streak at three games. Arnold also came up with a huge one-on-one save against Amy Harrison to preserve Perth’s lead. We knew Perth would have lots of offense this season, but Arnold and the defense have been key to their early success.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Franco 84’) – 1 Melbourne Victory (Jackson 72’)

The Narrative: On the heels of their loss to Western Sydney, Brisbane did something in this game we haven’t seen from them very often this season. That is, fight to the finish. While Melbourne is probably kicking themselves about letting in a late equalizer, Brisbane has to be a bit more optimistic about what the rest of their season can hold if this team really plays up to expectations. If they turn their season around, they could perhaps challenge for the fourth playoff spot. Melbourne is still posting inconsistent results, but they do not have much to worry about yet as they’re still in the hunt for one of the top spots. They will play Canberra next as Brisbane faces Newcastle.

The Player: Katrina Gorry earned player of the week so obviously she was doing something right in this match. While Brisbane was only able to put on goal on the board, they probably should have had several more as Gorry seemed to keep putting forwards in excellent positions behind the defense all game long. While the finishing wasn’t there this week, Gorry’s performances continue to be key to Brisbane if they want to turn the season around.

Worth A Shout: Elise Kellond-Knight had a tough task in this match, namely keeping the speedy Lisa De Vanna in check. De Vanna didn’t get on the board in the game and aside one shot and her assist to Jackson, she was fairly quiet on the day. Kellond-Knight also provided some offensive pressure throughout the game with one of her free kicks almost resulting in a Roar goal.

Canberra United 2 (Heyman 47’, Munoz 75’) – 3 Adelaide United (Moore 40’ 63’, Powell 76’)

The Narrative: Canberra United could be in a bit of trouble. Last year’s regular season champs have won only once in their past four games. Unfortunately for Canberra, their loss means that Adelaide no longer has the distinguished honor of being the only team in the league yet to post a win this season. It was a gutsy performance from Adelaide and they deserve credit for the win, but Canberra still seems to lack that killer instinct they had last season and haven’t been able to put teams away recently. They’ll have a chance to turn things around in a big match against Melbourne and Adelaide plays league leaders Perth.

The Player: W-League veteran Kristy Moore is a huge leader on this young and learning Adelaide squad and its great to see her help this team earn a positive result in what is sure to continue to be a trying season. Moore’s brace was a big part of the win but she also kept this team in the game for the full 90 with her leadership and the result was a boost for the team’s morale. Moore was able to capitalize on Canberra’s mistakes and grab the first win of the season.

Worth A Shout: Oh, Michelle Heyman is going to be kicking herself for not finishing more than just one of her many chances in this match. Heyman will be relieved to have finally gotten back on the board after a brief scoring drought, but she was everywhere in this match and consistently putting pressure on Adelaide’s defense with shot after shot.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Carney 31’) – 5 Newcastle Jets (van Egmond 45’; Reynolds 46’; Andrews 51’, 59’; Yeoman-Dale 75’)

The Narrative: We’ll always have last week, Western Sydney. The poor Wanderers have now allowed 16 goals over the course of their last three matches. That is a tough pill to swallow. Making things even worse, Western Sydney was tied with Newcastle going into halftime of this match, meaning that 14 of those 16 goals they have allowed have come in the second half of games, bringing the whole “different team in the second half” ideal to another level. Perhaps lost in all of this is that Newcastle seems to be making a genuine push for the playoffs this year. They’ll play Brisbane in the next round as Western Sydney faces derby rival Sydney.

The Player: Not a lot of stand out offensive stars on this Jets squad but they’ve been finding a way to win games and suddenly find themselves in position for postseason play early on in the season. Tara Andrews has been one of many players to step up for the Jets, and she did more of that in this match bagging a brace to help complete Newcastle’s dominant comeback effort. Andrews’ goals were her second and third on the season, and her success will be important for Newcastle.

Worth A Shout: I know that Hannah Southwell was to blame for essentially gifting Carney what would be Western Sydney’s lone goal of the match, but Southwell is only 15-years-old. Her start in this match qualified her as the youngest goalkeeper to start in a W-League match in league history. If you don’t expect a young player like her to make a few mistakes in her first ever professional game, you’re crazy. Congrats to her on her first win.

Team of the Week

Perth Glory

Mark it down, its officially three weeks in a row for Perth as my team of the week. After a strong display against Canberra this week, Perth followed it up with another shutout win, this time to take Sydney FC from the ranks of the unbeaten. Perth has played arguably the toughest two opponents it will see this season, and passed the tests with flying colors. With no Sam Kerr this weekend the offense could have been expected to struggle and while they didn’t provide many fireworks, Perth still found the necessary goal to grab three points and remain undefeated.

Next Week’s Game to Watch

Melbourne Victory vs. Canberra United

Melbourne is coming off a less than scintillating tie with struggling Brisbane and Canberra is hurting after their frustrating loss to a beatable. While Melbourne is still within striking distance of first and second place on the table, both teams are floating a bit closer to mid-table than they wanted, or expected, heading into the 2014-2015 season. As last season’s regular season champs and grand finale winners respectively, these teams are expecting to be in the playoffs at the end of the season, making this game a chance for both teams to get back on track. Canberra probably needs the win more, but Melbourne could do well to earn three points.