Photo Credit: Brenda Kerr
Photo Credit: Brenda Kerr
Australia have commenced their preparations for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup with a tight 2 – 1 win over DPR Korea at Bill McKinlay Park in Auckland.
First half goals from captain Clare Polkinghorne and striker Michelle Heyman on either side of Kim Yun Mi's equaliser were enough for Australia to notch up their first win of 2015.
“It was a great effort. We grinded it out towards the end when we were under pressure but it was a tremendous effort,” said Alen Stajcic.
“There were four or five players either debuting for the national team or returning to the fold after time out of it so there were a lot of players playing for their spot and they all did really well."
The clash saw forward Larissa Crummer make her senior Matildas debut while defender Hayley Crawford returned to the national team after a decade long absence.
In their first international in nearly 9 months, Australia endured a nervous start, surviving two early corners as Korea poured on the pressure early.
It took the Australians 10 minutes to find a foothold in the match but once they did the breakthrough came quickly.
With their first corner of the game Polkinghorne took advantage of lax marking to volley home the corner ball from close range.
Australia had barely finished celebrating when they conceded minutes after as Kim slotted home passed Brianna Davey in the 14th minute.
As expected between these two confederation rivals, a tight midfield tussle ensued for 20 minutes as the Matildas and Korea fought to gain the ascendancy.
The deadlock was broken just minutes from half time when Elise Kellond-Knight played in Ashleigh Sykes.
Sykes' produced a neat touch and lay off to Canberra United teammate Michelle Heyman with the spearhead driving home to give Australia a 2-1 half time lead.
[More: Preview - Australia v DPR Korea]
The second half started in the same vein as the first with DPR Korea again putting the Australian defence under duress.
Davey was called on several occasions as the North Koreans pushed for an equaliser before a raft of substitutions injected fresh legs into the physically testing clash.
Kyah Simon played her first minutes for the Matildas after recovery from an ACL but it was Kennedy who created forward momentum for Australia as they regained control of proceedings.
The 82nd minute saw Davey called into action again to deny DPR Korea an equaliser through Ra Kim Su.
Despite DPR Korea, the world no. 7 pushing for a late equaliser, the Australian defence held firm to see out the match.
"To have a lot of new players battle it out and get a result against a world class team was outstanding.”
“The resilience and hard work was a stand out, there were some match winning moments throughout the game and the work rate, intensity and desire to chase back and defend the result was brilliant."
Women’s International Tri Series
Australia 2 (Polkinghorne 11', Heyman 37')
DPR Korea 1 (Kim YM 14')
Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland
Tuesday 10 February Kick-Off: 3.30pm local (1.30pm AEDT)
Australia: Brianna Davey, Servet Uzunlar, Hayley Crawford (Danielle Brogan), Clare Polkinghorne, Stephanie Catley (Caitlin Foord 45') Elise Kellond-Knight (Teresa Polias), Katrina Gorry (Alanna Kennedy), Nicola Bolger, Michelle Heyman (Kyah Simon), Ashleigh Sykes (Lisa De Vanna), Larissa Crummer
Nicola BOLGER (Sydney FC), Danielle BROGAN (Adelaide United), Kim CARROLL (Brisbane Roar), Stephanie CATLEY (Melbourne Victory), Alex CHIDIAC (Adelaide United), Hayley CRAWFORD (Newcastle Jets), Larissa CRUMMER (Brisbane Roar), Brianna DAVEY (gk) (Melbourne Victory), Lisa DE VANNA (Melbourne Victory), Casey DUMONT (gk) (Sydney FC), Caitlin FOORD (Perth Glory), Katrina GORRY (Brisbane Roar), Amy HARRISON (Sydney FC), Michelle HEYMAN (Canberra United), Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (Brisbane Roar), Alanna KENNEDY (Perth Glory), Aivi LUIK (Brisbane Roar), Teresa POLIAS (Sydney FC), Clare POLKINGHORNE (Brisbane Roar), Hayley RASO (Brisbane Roar), Kyah SIMON (Sydney FC), Ashleigh SYKES (Canberra United), Servet UZUNLAR (Sydney FC), Emily VAN EGMOND (Newcastle Jets)