ALW Match Report: Wellington Phoenix 1-4 Western United

Hannah Keane Western United

Western United picked up back to back wins in its debut Liberty A-League Women season with a second-half flurry seeing the Green and Black defeat Wellington Phoenix 4-1.

Jessica McDonald scored her second goal in as many matches to give the visitors the lead but Wellington equalised before half-time through Marisa van der Meer.

United pushed to regain the lead and finally found the goal in the 71st minute thanks to a thumping header from Sydney Cummings.

After a stellar performance, Hannah Keane was finally rewarded with two goals within a five-minute spell, sealing a dominant win for Western United.

Team News

Mark Torcaso made just one change to Western United’s inaugural starting XI from last week with Tyla Jay Vlajnic coming in at left-back for her United debut.

That saw Stacey Papadopoulos move to right-back and Francesca Iermano drop to the bench alongside star midfielders Chloe Logarzo and Jaclyn Sawicki.

First Half

Western United got off to a strong start going with the wind to begin the match and McDonald nearly put the visitors in front with a header in the seventh minute that just flashed over the crossbar.

The Green and Black was able to assert early pressure via a string of corners, with both the breeze and Vlajnic’s quality over the dead ball proving a threat to Wellington.

Torcaso’s side hit the front on 17 minutes when McDonald finished expertly inside the box, adjusting quickly to turn home Keane’s cutback.

The opener sparked Wellington into life and the home side began to increase the pressure, ensuring United’s lead lasted only seven minutes.

After Hillary Beall got an initial fist onto an in-swinging corner, United couldn’t clear its lines and van der Meer was able to loop a header over the defenders on the goal line and into the net.

The remainder of the first half played out rather like a basketball match with both teams frequently exchanging breaks forward, but for all of the attacking intent there was to be no further impact on the scoreboard before the interval.

Second Half

United set about retaking the lead in the second half but the match continued largely from where it finished in the first half, with plenty of transition moments in midfield and limited clear cut opportunities.

Keane was a persistent menace to Wellington’s defence and had her best chance soon after the restart when she worked her way onto her left foot in the box, but her powerful drive stung the palms of Brianna Edwards as the Phoenix keeper pushed it to safety.

Logarzo came off the bench with hopes of providing a spark in the middle of the pitch for United and quickly found her footing on the ball.

In the end it was a simple approach that saw United regain the lead with 20 minutes to play as Vlajnic swung in another superb corner which Cummings met to power a header into the bottom left corner.

The visitors then moved to kill the game off and Keane finally got her reward with a quickfire brace to put the result beyond doubt.

While the first had a hint of fortune as she tapped home from close range after a defensive error, the second was scintillating as she thumped home Emma Robers’ delightful cross with a bullet header.

United was then able to see out the remaining minutes, becoming just the third club to win its first two matches in the Liberty A-League.