Sydney turned sky blue as a Leena Khamis brace saw the Sydney Derby end in a 2-1 win to Sydney FC who departed Wanderland with bragging rights and three points in their first win of the season.

Five Things We Learned – Western Sydney Wanderers

1.  Derby Means Debutants: Wanderers coach Norm Boardman surprised fans with a starting eleven that handed W League debuts to Eliza Ammendolia, Alix Roberts and goal keeper Jada Whyman. It was a dice roll that looked to be in vain as Whyman rushed from her box conceding a foul and earning a caution in the first minute of play. Bad quickly turned to worse as a brilliant fingertip save onto the crossbar was lashed in on the rebound by a waiting Khamis in just the second minute. Whyman recovered to produce an impressive second half keeping her side within reach of an equaliser despite constant threats by Spencer, Simon and substitute Ibini-Isei.

2.  Cooper Counts: Western Sydney were again without Caitlin Cooper as a leg injury leaves the captain facing an extended stay on the sideline and her backline presence was seriously missed as Sydney exposed gaps in the defensive line. The Wanderers were mostly able to defuse open play attack but were twice punished failing to clear amongst set piece danger.

3.  Flood Gates: Despite the loss, the Wanderers weren’t without their chances. The front line again saw their efforts clatter against the cross bar, hook wide of the target and land in the safe hands of S. Khamis. There was some joy for the home side who took advantage of another standout performance from Erica Halloway whose storming run and well executed cross found the head of an unmarked Liz Grey for a consolation goal in the 82 minute.

4.  Ellie Everywhere: The Wanderers have a real prospect on their hands in centre back, Ellie Carpenter. Calm, confident, poised under pressure, composed on the ball and always looking to go forward Carpenter left another lasting impression as she burst across the pitch to keep the sky blue attack at bay.

5.  No Surrender: Entering the break down by two the Wanderers composed themselves to give a much improved account in the second half. Credit to their senior players, a steadier pace and a ‘never give up’ attitude across the pitch, Western Sydney kept the game close.

Five Things We Leaned – Sydney FC

1.  The Spark: Sydney entered round three hoping the derby setting would provide the spark needed to ignite what has been a lacklustre start to the season and they made their intentions clear stunning the Wanderers with a goal in the second minute. The physicality of the game called Sydney’s personnel into action and they didn’t disappoint, bossing the midfield and pushing their cross city rivals for the full ninety minutes.

2.  Driving Force: It’s the post-game wrap that writes itself; Teresa Polias is the heart and soul of Sydney FC. With another commanding shift at the helm, Polias was everywhere, dropping back to defend and springing forward to attack leading her team by fierce example.

3.  Set Piece Joy: After a frantic opening thirty minutes, Sydney settled to gain both the majority of possession and momentum. Plying intelligent pressure, Sydney drew close fouls and consecutive corners to keep the Wanderers on the back foot. Excellent dead ball service from Renee Rollason and Polias were rewarded with assists for both Khamis goals (2’ 37’).

4.  Dynamic Duo: Sydney looked to close the game down in the second half adding Princess Ibini-Isei to the attack. Her impact was instant, breaking down the line and combining well with Spencer to pepper the Wanderers goal. The sheer pace shared between the two left the opposition scrambling in a partnership that could be the catalyst for more Sydney goals as the season and Ibini-Isei’s game time develops.

5.  Most Improved: With the exception of a lone Wanderers goal late in the contest, the derby showcased a vastly improved Sydney defence. Having conceded 10 goals so far this season, the inclusion of Matildas star Alanna Kennedy, who was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet at the other end, gave Sydney the confidence and shape to nullify the Wanderers advances.

“Did You See That?!” Moment:

BRB: In the heat that was the opening half at Wanderland, the Sky Blues burst down the field to win a corner. With the team rushing to apply the pressure, the Referee preferred a drinks break to cool the players and the momentum between bursts.

Up Next

The Western Sydney Wanderers head down the highway to face an undefeated Newcastle Jets outfit while Sydney FC face a Perth Glory who too has felt the sting of City.