Wanderers off to a flying start in the W-League

A long range free kick from new recruit Kyra Cooney-Cross has helped secure the Wanderers a last gasp 2-1 win over Adelaide United in the opening game of the Westfield W-League at Marconi Stadium tonight.

Coming on for her debut for the club as a substitute early in the second half, the Young Matilda fired in a long-range effort on 92 minutes that eluded everyone in the box before sneaking into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The Victorian only joined the club earlier this month, signing from Melbourne Victory.

In what was an entertaining game, the Wanderers had to come from a goal down after falling behind to a Mary Fowler penalty in the 37th minute.

However, Dean Heffernan’s side showed plenty of resilience to level up just before half time through US international Kristen Hamilton.

Hamilton was on the spot at the far post to head home a superb cross from the right from Alix Roberts.

Hamilton showed some outstanding touches during the game, exciting the fans with her skill and exceptional speed. 

Her compatriot and teammate Abby Smith was also in great form, producing three or four stunning saves.

Despite missing two key signings in Lynn Williams (USA) and Denise O’Sullivan (Republic of Ireland), the Red & Black produced some quality football at times against an Adelaide side that gave them a hard-fought contest for the entire 80 minutes. 

Wanderers head coach Heffernan named a strong starting line-up, including American trio  Smith in goals, Sami Staab in the heart of the defence and Hamilton upfront at the point of the attack.

The Wanderers started the game strongly, dominating the first 20 minutes with some slick football.

They should have been rewarded just six minutes into the game when Cortnee Vine found herself on the end of a superb cross. Her header hit the base of the left post and the ball fell to Erica Halloway but her effort was cleared off the line.

The Red & Black then peppered the visitor’s goal with a series of long range efforts but to no avail.

United provided a scare on 16 minutes when Isobel Hodgson broke down the right flank, surged into the box and fired off a solid shot that was well saved by keeper Abby Smith.

Smith was again called into action in the 27th minute, coming off her line and getting down low to deny Fowler from point-blank range.

But, Smith could do nothing to prevent United going ahead on 37 minutes with Fowler converting from the spot after she had been fouled in the area.

However, Western Sydney refused to be rattled and found themselves on level terms just a minute before half time following some great work down the left side by Roberts.

Roberts took the ball to the byline before sending an outstanding cross to the far post where Hamilton made no mistake, nodding home from close range.

The Wanderers had the better of the second half as they searched desperately for a winner, but had to wait until Cooney-Cross’s 92nd minute effort.