Four matches occurred in a thrilling A-League Women's weekend that included a remarkable comeback, a record breaking goal scoring match and a valiant effort from the league's newest side.
Round Four featured one game on Thursday, one match on Sunday and two games on Monday, including two derbies. Below you will find match descriptions of all four fixtures.
A-League Women Round Four
- Sydney FC remain ladder leaders despite drawn match.
- Hannah Wilkinson made history twice in the same game with a five goal performance.
- Adelaide United and Perth Glory did not play due to their match's postponement.
More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.
Four of the five A-League Women's games went ahead this round, with only the Adelaide United versus Perth Glory match being postponed due to Western Australian border restrictions. The A-Leagues have since announced Glory's new January schedule, which includes their two postponed December games.
As for the rest of this week's fixtures, Sydney FC remained atop the ladder despite drawing Western Sydney Wanderers in the Sydney Derby. In the A-League's other derby, City took their revenge after their round two loss against Victory, with striker Hannah Wilkinson netting five goals.
The record making performance has rocketed Wilkinson to first in the A-League's scoring chart for this season, with seven goals overall. Her teammate Holly McNamara supplied three assists for Wilkinson, with those putting her atop the A-League assists chart.
Elsewhere, Wellington put in a valiant effort against Jets, but were denied a draw late in the match while Canberra United made a late game comeback against Brisbane Roar worth rewatching.
Here is the A-League Women's ladder after Round Four, with the Perth-Adelaide postponed match still to be played:
|6||Western Sydney Wanderers||4||0||3||1||1||3||-2||3|
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Canberra United 3-3 Brisbane Roar
The game was an important one for two sides looking for their first win of the season and Canberra their first point. Both teams had lost their first two matches after conceding late goals. Roar then fell to Victory in Round Three while United's match against Perth was postponed.
In this opening game of Round Four, it was home side that would be first to find the back of the net.
Allira Toby, returning to Canberra for the first time this year, received the ball on the outside edge of Roar's box and passed it to Michelle Heyman in front of goal. Last year's Julie Dolan Medalist put it in to give United the 1-0 lead in the tenth minute.
As happened in their last match, Canberra's lead did not last long. Brisbane equalized thirteen minutes later due to an uncommon mistake from Karly Roesbakken. The Matildas' defender made a back pass to Keeley Richards. The goalkeeper missed the wobbling ball and it went in for an own goal.
Then in the 38th minute, Roar's Anna Margraf took a shot on goal after a give and go and forced Richards to make a save. Her deflection found an unmarked Shea Conners who tapped it in to make it 2-1 for Brisbane.
The second half started with both teams looking offensive. Matildas' Katrina Gorry showed she is returning to form, making a number of smart and creative passing plays in Brisbane's midfield. She then contributed to the third goal for her side.
Sending in the ball off a corner, Gorry's ball found Anna Margraf after it had taken a deflection. The attacker's shot on goal then found the back of the net. It was Margraf's second of this campaign and a deserving one for the 20-year-old who has been an offensive force and rising star for Roar all season.
The home side though, did not give up. Canberra kept pressing and were able to get one back in the 88th minute. After Heyman was awarded free kick about ten yards outside of Brisbane's box, her teammate Grace Maher capitalized on the opportunity and sent in a wonderful curling shot into the corner or Roar's goal.
With the scoreline at 3-2, the tide turned in United's direction. In extra time Maher went from scorer to provider when she sent in a ball that found Holly Caspers. The attacker deflected it past Roar keeper Georgina Worth to make things even at Viking Park. The goal rescued the point.
Holly Caspers is the hero in Canberra tonight!— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) December 23, 2021
Her first @LibFinancial A-League goal rescues a point for @CanberraUnited. #CBRvBRI #WeAreALeagues @ParamountPlusAU https://t.co/ejxBuE2r4z pic.twitter.com/28sppFqvTe
Brisbane's trend of dropping points due to late goals continued while Canberra got their first point of the season.
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Melbourne Victory 1-5 Melbourne City
In a stunning performance, Melbourne City defeated Melbourne Victory 5-1 on Boxing day at AAMI Park.
City opened the scoring through Hannah Wilkinson in the fifth minute. The new recruit and Football Fern striker was put through on goal by attacking partner Holly McNamara. Wilkinson had been wasteful in the derby two weeks ago but was in a much more dangerous mood on Sunday afternoon.
Wilkinson rounded Casey Dumont to slot the ball home and put Victory on the back foot early in the game. It was a tough start and things would not get much easier for the defending champions.
Wilkinson added a second minutes later. Holly McNamara was again involved although this time less deliberately. The young striker pressed Dumont as she attempted to play the ball out. The mis-hit pass ricochet off her back and landed with Wilkinson who calmly finished over the top of the keeper.
The Hannah Wilkinson show continued in the 26th minute when she completed her first half hattrick. It was another costly error from Victory that provided the opportunity and Wilkinson was not going to waste it.
Tiffany Eliadis returned to the side and the experienced midfielder was the latest to be tried in central defence. The team is still searching for the replacement for Kayla Morrison and Eliadis’ pace might be a solution against teams without Hannah Wilkinson.
On this occasion, both Eliadis and Dumont collided as they tried to clear a long pass forward. Wilkinson was on hand to finish into an empty net and put City 3-0 up.
The rout continued in the second half as City added two more to take their tally and Wilkinson’s to five for the day. First the creative and threatening Holly Mcnamara set her up with the perfect lofted pass to chip Dumont.
She finished off the contest with a close range tap-in after a curled, well timed low cross in from Tyla-Jay Vlajnic after the left back was set free by Leticia Mckenna.
Take a bow Hannah Wilkinson 🔥— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) December 26, 2021
A famous @LibFinancial A-League performance 😍
5 goals, simply incredible 👑#WeAreALeagues
📹 @Channel10AU pic.twitter.com/ZfHp3xzQMd
Maja Markovski scored a consolation for Victory but the 5-1 score line felt representative of the match.
Victory had struggled to create many opportunities. They were suffocated in possession by City and forced into backwards or slow, easily intercepted passes. The impressive depth in attack is undermined by the lack of options in defence and on this occasion they were made to pay.
City have a defence stacked with talent, experience and versatility. Rado Vidosic can bring Naomi Chinnama off the bench to help close out a match and have Emma Checker marshalling the backline.
Upfront they are more limited, they have two exceptional strikers and injuries in the attacking third have not effected them so far.
Interestingly, Victory and City played out similar if reversed fixtures last season where Victory won in a thrashing then lost in a tight contest.
Melbourne Victory also suffered a short form slump at roughly the same time in the fixtures. They lost 6-0 to Brisbane following the defeat to City. They have too much experience and pedigree to panic over this result. But the solution to the defensive issue remains elusive.
Melbourne City have an in form strike partnership and a solid, dependable defense. They have solved last season's issues and look like a team in form.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Sydney FC 0-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
The weekend’s second derby ended in stalemate but both teams will be happy with the result. The 0-0 draw put Sydney FC clear on top of the table while Western Sydney showed significant improvement from the recent 2-0 loss in the same fixture.
There were changes to both teams. Remy Siemsen missed through illness and was replaced by Maria Rojas in her first start for Sydney FC. Wanderers were missing their manager, Catherine Cannuli who was forced to enter COVID isolation as a precaution. 15-year-old fullback Alexia Apostolakis was named in the starting eleven for the first time.
Chances were easy to come by in the first half. Minutes into the game Sheridan Gallagher beat Jada Whyman to a loose ball outside the area. She skipped past the onrushing goalkeeper but her long range shot hit the side netting.
Cortnee Vine raced up the other end almost immediately and found herself one on one with Langnam in the Wanderer’s goal. Her shot also missed at the near post but it would be the first of many Sydney FC chances.
Mackenzie Hawkesby had the first of many chances for the inform midfielder. First, she flashed a shot over after good build up play by Rojas and Princess Ibini. Soon after she missed a tap in at the near post from a Vine cross.
For much of the first half, Sydney Fc’s attack functioned well. They pressed hard and combined in the familiar style but could not find the goal. Western Sydney looked to bring Bryleeh Henry into the game with long passes.
Hawesby continued to threaten. Her corner kick looked to be floating in at the back post but evaded everybody and another bounced off the woodwork. Her final chance of the half came after Ibini cut the ball back after textbook wing play but her shot was defended well and Langnam collected easily.
The second half was more even and cagey. The Wanderers continued to defend well and Sydney FC’s opportunities became rarer. Henry almost stole a goal after getting behind the defence but Whyman was alert to the danger.
In the end, the match ended even. Considering the ease of which Sydney FC won the last meeting between the two, this was a good result for The Wanderers and they look to be finding some form after a rough start to the league.
Sydney FC are in outright first position following Melbourne Victory’s defeat. They will be disappointed with the draw on the balance of play but happy with the ladder at the end of round four.
On a side note, a hair-pulling incident during the match had many questioning whether Sheridan Gallagher should have been given a straight red for violent conduct, instead of a yellow. We will let you judge for yourselves.
The talking point at halftime in the #SydneyDerby.— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) December 27, 2021
Sheridan Gallagher was booked for this foul. #SYDvWSW #WeAreALeagues @LibFinancial pic.twitter.com/h8pzXxyngw
Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Newcastle Jets
Wellington Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis kept her trend of consistency, starting the same eleven as their previous match against Sydney FC. Jets made two changes to their line-up from their Wanderers' draw, with Marie Dølvik and Sophie Harding getting the start over Ashlee Brodigan and Sunny Franco.
The first half of the match was a much more balanced one then when both sides met two weeks prior. Not only were Phoenix keeping Jets more restrained in their offence, but were themselves venturing further up Newcastle's side of the pitch and more often then their last meeting.
The second half turned from a balanced one to a defensive one for Phoenix. Part of the reason for this was that Newcastle came out after the break pressing more and raising their game, leading to Wellington progressively tiring. The tactics resulted in Jets increasingly circling Phoenix's goal as the minutes wore down.
Phoenix's back line should be commended for their defensive efforts, with the team as a whole putting in a performance that slowed and at times frustrated Newcastle. However, their efforts only lasted so long.
Wellington keeper Lily Alfeld, who had an outstanding game, was able too stop a rocket shot from Cassidy Davis in the 83rd minute, with the ball deflected and hitting the cross-bar. However, it then deflected back into play finding Jets' Jemma House who put it in to make it 1-0.
.@NewcastleJetsFC take a 1-0 win home in the final @LibFinancial A-League match of Round 4ï¸âƒ£ thanks to Jemma House's late winner.— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) December 27, 2021
The win over @WgtnPhoenixFC takes the Jets into the top four. #WELvNEW #WeAreALeagues pic.twitter.com/spIgIAJEF1
The goal was House's first in the A-League Women's. Her team's shooting gallery continued after her strike, with Newcastle's Elizabeth Eddy having a go two minutes after that only to be denied. The game ended 1-0.
Speaking after the match, captain Alfeld hailed her back four's performance, describing them as "immense this evening" and simply stated she was "absolutely gutted." Phoenix can leave this match with their heads held high thought. There was considerable improvement in their play from their first meeting against Jets in Round Two, throughout the team.
.@LilyAlfeld was brilliant between the sticks for @WgtnPhoenixFC tonight. #WELvNEW #WeAreALeagues @LibFinancial @ParamountPlusAU pic.twitter.com/Wf1OqRn81u— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) December 27, 2021
Wellington's next contest will not be an easy one though, with the side meeting first Round Sydney FC on Thursday, December 30, 2021. Jets play second ranked Melbourne City on Sunday, January 2, 2022.
The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.