ALW Match Report: Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Western United

Hannah Keane Western United

Western United’s perfect start to the 2022/23 Liberty A-League Women season came to an end on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 defeat against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Goals from Sarina Bolden and Amy Harrison either side of Hannah Keane’s equaliser secured the win for the home side.

Despite the loss, United remains three points clear at the top of the table ahead of a trip to Hobart next week to face Brisbane Roar.

Team News

Mark Torcaso made the highest amount of changes to his line-up so far this season with four new faces coming into the starting XI.

Two of those faces were first time starters in Natasha Dakic and new signing Danielle Steer, who in the process made her first ever start in professional football. Julia Sardo and Kahli Johnson also returned to the starting line-up.

United’s bench had a menacing look about it with Angie Beard appearing in the squad for the first time alongside fellow international stars Chloe Logarzo and Jaclyn Sawicki.

First Half

There was a high tempo at the beginning of the game with both teams willing to play forward passes in search of runners in behind the opposition defence.

United had a number of early corners but Western Sydney were able to clear the danger before breaking forward to take the lead in the 12th minute.

A through ball beat United’s defence down Western Sydney’s left wing and allowed Sophie Harding to square the ball to Bolden who tapped home from close range.

Torcaso’s side set about finding a prompt equaliser and Jess McDonald was in the thick of things, seeing a shot blocked after a fine cross from Sardo.

Western Sydney then had two major chances within a couple of minutes of each other around the 20th minute.

The first fell to Harding as she robbed Emma Robers of the ball before running into an open box, but Hillary Beall stood tall to make a vital save.

Beall was on hand again for the second chance which was almost a carbon copy of Western Sydney’s goal, but this time Bolden’s shot was initially charged down by Dakic and then pushed past the post by Beall.

A superb piece of wing play from Johnson unlocked the door for United’s equaliser as the No.10 beat her opponent on the right side before clipping a cross towards the back post which Keane met with a powerful header into the back of the net.

The match continued in end-to-end fashion and there was nearly a memorable moment for Steer who volleyed strongly towards goal just before half-time but was robbed of a first professional goal as the ball rebounded off the left-hand post.

Second Half

United made one change at the break with Stacey Papadopoulos coming on for Sardo at right-back as the Green and Black look to win the game in the second half.

But it was the Wanderers that started the second period of the two and were given a big chance when the referee judged McDonald’s touch back to Beall to be a back pass.

It was a chance that Harrison gleefully took as she squeezed the indirect free-kick in from a tight angle to restore the hosts advantage.

Torcaso emptied his bench with the three aforementioned international stars all coming onto the pitch to try and help United secure another comeback win.

With this being the third game in a week for Torcaso’s side, the final bit of polish on the ball was found wanting as passes struggled to stick in midfield and a number of balls into the box were not taken advantage of.

That was no more evident than when McDonald’s cross came back off the inside of the post and flashed past Keane on the goal line, allowing the Wanderers to smuggle away the danger with five minutes to play.

In the end, the hosts successfully saw out the remainder of the game, inflicting United’s first defeat in the Liberty A-League.