The Western Sydney Wanderers fell to Canberra United in the opening round of the Westfield W-League 2013/14 season but there were plenty of positives for a team that included eight players on debut.The 4-1 final score line belied the effort and chances created by the Red & Black with inexperience the difference between the two sides – something that will change quickly as the young Wanderers adapt to the league.
Bright light for the Wanderers, Demi Koulizakis scored off the bench in her first ever Westfield W-League appearance and with fellow substitute Rhianna Pollicina looking very dangerous, it is with anticipation that the fans in attendance look forward to the Sydney Derby in Round 3.
The Wanderers started on the front foot but took a step backwards almost instantly when Michelle Heyman was the beneficiary of a long-ball from United keeper Chantel Jones to score in the second minute.
Undeterred the new-look Red & Black side kept up the intensity and created a number of chances with Helen Petinos and Michelle Carney making inroads.
It was Carney in fact who almost grabbed the equaliser as Jones was only just able to clean-up a Jordan Baker through-ball with the Wanderers striker’s desperate attempt to get a foot to ball almost enough for it to go in the back of the net.
Moments later though and Canberra doubled their lead as Heyman again capitalised on a long-ball to score past former team-mate Trudy Burke in a one-on-one.
If that goal was cruel, Canberra’s third was torture as the Wanderers started the second half on top of the away team with numerous shots on goal but lacking a killer instinct. Canberra took advantage of the Wanderers’ inability to capitalise when Ellie Brush headed in from a corner.
While undoubtedly the better side throughout the match, Canberra’s third goal was tough on a brave Wanderers outfit who had not been outplayed but would live to regret errors at key times.
By this stage the match was all but wrapped-up with a plethora of substitutes disrupting the free-flowing football of the first half.
Canberra’s fourth goal by Caitlin Munoz was followed by the introduction of Wanderers’ young guns Pollicina and Koulizakis who made an immediate impact.
Full of energy and with the game out of reach, the pair played without fear and impressed onlookers by attacking space and taking-on opponents.
Their endeavours were rewarded when, in the 90th minute, Koulizakis found the ball at her feet in the box and with time to shoot, she made no mistake to grab a well-deserved consolation goal for the Red & Black.
The Wanderers continue their tough start to the season when they travel to Melbourne to take on the reigning Champions, Victory. Canberra travel to Adelaide to face the Lady Reds.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Koulizakis 90’)
Canberra United 4 (Heyman 2’ 40’ Brush 57’ Munoz 76’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Trudy BURKE (GK), 2. Caitlin COOPER (C), 3. Jessica SEAMAN, 5. Helen PETINOS, 6. Rachael SOUTAR, 8. Grace HENRY (14. Demi KOULIZAKIS 67’), 9. Keelin WINTERS, 10. Michelle CARNEY, 13. Jordan BAKER (15. Rhianna POLLICINA 76’), 18. Tia GAVIN (11. Lorena BUGDEN 71’), 19. Chloe O'BRIEN
Unused Substitutes: 20. Shamiran KHAMIS (GK)
Canberra United: 1. Chantel JONES (GK), 2. Catherine BROWN, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ (3. Julia DEANGELIS 81’), 7. Ellie BRUSH, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 13. Nicole BEGG (C), 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Lori LINDSEY (9. Grace GILL 50’), 18. Rebecca KITING, 22. Stephanie OCHS (17. Holly HOUSTON 67’)
Unused Substitutes: 20. Melissa Maizels (GK)
Cautions: 11. Michelle HEYMAN 90+2