Who saw THAT coming? It has been the response to many an upset or surprise result, often accompanied by “peak W-League” when scorelines that shock us roll in.
It was no different on Saturday when Newcastle, fresh off announcing Matilda midfielder Emily van Egmond would miss the remainder of the season, rolled Perth 3-1. With American imports Taylor Smith and Katie Stengel already sidelined, and Perth needing to win to maintain its standing in both title and top four race, it was a stunning Newcastle rearguard to come back from a goal down.
And it has sparked the discussion, what is the biggest upset in the history of W-League? Fox Sports commentator Teo Pellizzeri put together this shortlist of nominees.
Have we missed a great W-League upset? Let us know!
Round 4 2010 – Sydney FC 1 Newcastle Jets 2 at Campbelltown Stadium
Sydney FC dropped just two games on the way to finishing top of the league in 2010-11 and this defeat was a big surprise at the time.
The Sydney squad had six of the 2010 Asian Cup winning Matildas playing that day, the Jets had just one (Thea Slatyer) while the Sky Blues had other Matildas of the era Teresa Polias, Renee Rollason and Danielle Brogan along with a young Caitlin Foord all on the park.
With Sydney in control of the match up 1-0 thanks to Leena Khamis, Newcastle subbed on 16-year-old Tara Andrews in the 71st minute hoping the striker could change the game. Andrews equalized in the 84th minute and Sydney responded by piling forward to try to re-take the lead. But when Sydney goalkeeper Dimi Poulos rushed off her line to clear in the 90th minute, Andrews intercepted and shot in a tumbling, rolling attempt from inside her own half to complete the unlikeliest of comeback wins.
Round 5 2013-14 – Brisbane Roar 0 Adelaide United 1 at QSAC
Roar had Germany legend Nadine Angerer in goal, six Matildas that would be picked for the 2014 Asian Cup playing on the day, plus Amy Chapman and a young Larissa Crummer. Adelaide, by contrast, were largely compiled of youngsters and state league players save for Melissa Barbieri in goal, Norway veteran Lisa-Marie Woods and dual Australia-England international Kristy Moore.
A red card after five minutes for Laura Alleway after a clattering challenge on Moore gave Adelaide a sniff, even though with 10 players Roar still retained the ascendancy. But as the second half wore on Adelaide eventually made the player advantage count, with Daniela Di Bartolo’s one and only W-League goal giving the Reds a famous away win.
Adelaide would only win once more in their remaining seven games, while Roar went on to finish runner-up.
Round 5 2014 – Brisbane Roar 1 Western Sydney Wanderers 2 at Lang Park
Round 7 2014 – Adelaide United 1 Perth Glory 0 at Adelaide Shores
The Roar had eight current or former Matildas on the pitch to Wanderers’ one (Caitlin Cooper) but would inexplicably drop this match on the way to missing W-League finals for the first time. What motivated the Wanderers’ win? Just seven days earlier they were humiliated 10-1 by Perth Glory. As they say, a week is a long time in football.
Shortly after, Perth Glory took their perfect six wins from six record to Adelaide only to be rolled 1-0 by Kristy Moore’s second-half goal. Perth would win the league by 10 points, 20 ahead of Adelaide in second last, but were still upset by the Reds when the teams met.
Round 7 2016-17 – Melbourne City 1 Canberra United 2 at CB Smith Reserve
Close viewers of Melbourne City’s form would have seen the team wobbling and winning unconvincingly, but it would still be unfair not to include the end of City’s streak on this list.
After 17 wins within regulation time and one on penalties for a run of 18 undefeated, it was Canberra that finally ended City’s invincibility thanks to a late winner from 15-year-old Karly Røstbakken. City then went on to lose to Western Sydney, Perth and Victory as part of a mid-season swoon before reviving their campaign in the final two rounds to make the top four and defend their championship.
Round 13 2016-17 – Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Canberra United 0 at Campbelltown Stadium
What is it about Wanderers the week after copping double figures?
After capitulating in Adelaide to concede seven times in the last 25 minutes (final score 10-2) the Wanderers seemed on a hiding to nothing against a Canberra team in a neck-and-neck race for the Premier’s Plate with Sydney FC and Perth Glory. With Sydney losing at home to Newcastle the day before, Canberra looked good to re-take the lead on the ladder.
But a rearguard defensive performance and Katie Stengel’s lone goal delivered Wanderers a surprise win against the odds. Later that night, Adelaide would win away in Perth to on a weekend where the top three teams on the ladder all got rolled.
Stats archive credit to The OzFootball.net database and FFA Statistician Andy Howe