Two A-League Women's matches kicked off the opening day of the 2021-22 season on Friday evening.
The first of these matches saw the franchise debut of Wellington Phoenix's women's team. The second saw the opening day's sole goal.
A-League Women's Kickoff Day Highlights
- Wellington Phoenix get first ever point in their A-League Women's history.
- Rebekah Stott celebrates return with win for Melbourne City.
- Three more A-League Women's Round one games this weekend.
All matches are available on Paramount+ in Australia.
Wellington Phoenix versus Western Sydney Wanderers
The debut of the A-League Women newest franchise Wellington Phoenix required viewers to be patient. Lightning postponed the kickoff by two hours. It was worth the wait.
As a new franchise, recently announced and assembled with a relatively young squad, Phoenix are expected to have a growth year as they settle into the A-League Women. However, their opening match proved that they have the caliber to compete.
Despite having eight teenagers and an average age of 20 in their starting eleven, Phoenix demonstrated an attacking style of play which created a number of good chances. The new squad played cohesively while holding off Wanderers who only produced three shots on target all evening.
Wanderers' form did pick up in the second half, with the game finishing with the Sydney side dominating. They were unable to convert any viable opportunities though and the score ended 0-0 giving Phoenix their first ever A-League Women's point.
This. Save. From. Alfeld. 😎 pic.twitter.com/TL2Tkhs8Lu— Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) December 3, 2021
Speaking during the post match press conference Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis stated:
"I knew that we had the ability. People see that it is really young players but these players haven't been seen because they are in New Zealand but they can compete.
"We have shown that. We knew the way we were going to play was going to frustrate teams and potentially give us opportunities."
Wellington face Newcastle Jets next Friday in Round 2 while Wanderers face their cross-town rivals Sydney FC on Saturday, December 11, 2021.
Canberra United versus Melbourne City
The second match of the day kicked off at Canberra's Viking Parc. Melbourne City were starting this season anew, after a disappointing 2020-21 campaign that saw them finish a franchise worse position of seventh place. Canberra are hoping to grow on last year's fourth place position.
The game proved to be more in City's favour. The visitors had greater possession and a larger number of shots then their hosts. However, United were able to hold off City with keeper Keeley Richards proving her worth throughout the game.
In the second half, Richards made three quality saves from well placed Hannah Wilkinson shots. United did show their offensive capabilities, with veterans Michelle Heyman and Ashleigh Sykes displaying the dangerous possibilities their attacking partnership could bring.
The winning goal came from Wilkinson's teammate, 18-year old Holly McNamara. McNamara picked up the ball in the box in the 80th minute and was able to beat Lauren Keir to send in a brilliant curving ball into the top corner of the goal. The game ended 1-0 for City.
The evening saw the return of A-League Women and Football Ferns veteran Rebekah Stott. Stott had been out of the game for over a year after having been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Now in remission, she played the final 30 minutes of last night's game.
Stott said the following post match through her personal twitter:
"All the emotions All the emotions tonight, absolutely stoked to be back out there with the girls, especially with a huge win on the road, and honoured to hold this record with this great club.
"Bring on the #MelbDerby!"
The Melbourne Derby against Victory is on Sunday, December 12, 2021, the same day Canberra will meet Adelaide United in Round 2.
This weekend's remaining A-League Women's games can be found using this link.