ALW Match Report: Western United 3-0 Wellington Phoenix

Western United A-League Women

Western United recorded a commanding 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix to go top of the Liberty A-League Women table on Sunday evening.

Chloe Logarzo opened the scoring in the first half before a double salvo killed the game off with 10 minutes remaining – Grace Maher first scoring an olimpico direct from a corner, then Hannah Keane firing in a well-deserved sixth goal of her season.

United remained in control throughout and ran out convincing winners to jump into first place on the back of a fifth victory on the spin, sending off star goalkeeper Hillary Beall in the perfect way possible in her final game for the Club.

Western United team news

Kat Smith named an entirely unchanged team from last week’s win over Brisbane Roar, keeping the same XI from the start and the same set of five substitutes.

Beall started in goal in her last game for the Club with Logarzo leading the side out as captain before she heads into camp with the Matildas.

First Half

Western United has typically started games brightly under Kat Smith and did so again here, controlling the early possession battle and playing most of the opening quarter of an hour in Wellington territory.

That failed to translate to any significant opportunities on goal, though, with the Phoenix happy to see away a couple of early corners and rushed shots from United.

The early sharpness dissolved into a period of sloppiness for United who struggled to find meaningful quality in the final third to break through Wellington’s block.

Wellington then sought to gain some ascendancy in the game and looked to stretch United’s defence with balls in behind and direct play down the flanks.

United was able to recover defensively whenever Wellington tried to exploit any gaps, with Beall’s only action in the first 30 minutes being a routine catch at her near post.

The home side was crying out for a piece of quality to unlock the door and it came in the 29th minute with a devastating breakaway.

Once the ball broke for Keiwa Hieda on the right-hand side, she released Hannah Keane on goal and after her strike cannoned off the crossbar, Logarzo was on hand to steer her header into an empty net.

The goal gave United a bit of a lift in possession and the Green and Black quickly put together another nice move as Jaclyn Sawicki fired on target from just outside the box.

Wellington went back up the other end and Adriana Taranto needed to make a last-ditch tackle to stop Isabel Cox from shooting one-on-one against Beall.

Western United saw out the remainder of the half and held the lead going into the break, though there was plenty of room for improvement going into the second 45 minutes.

Second Half

Coming out of the interval, Western United sought to remain in control and continue pushing for further impact on the scoreboard to kill the game off.

Smith’s side maintained its comfort on the ball and went immediately in search of the killer blow as Maher fed Keane with incredible long ball, but the American’s lifted effort grazed the top of the crossbar and bounced out.

There was a slight lull in the game until the 70th minute when United truly planted the foot on the accelerator and finished the game.

A superb save from Rylee Foster denied Logarzo a second as she sent a bending effort towards the corner of the net, but Maher quickly followed with a deadly delivery from the ensuing corner that flew all the way in.

Another corner from Maher minutes later nearly resulted in another goal but Wellington were able to clear from the goal line before Keane drew another excellent save out of Foster.

Keane was everywhere but was just missing the goal she deserved until the 78th minute. It was a magnificent finish as she leapt to volley into the roof of the net after Aimee Medwin picked her out with a perfect cross.

The No.9 then nearly turned provider when she intercepted an underhit back pass and teed up Kahli Johnson in the box, but Wellington recovered to get in the way of the shot in the nick of time.

Western United never relented until the final whistle, one which sounded to put the Green and Black on top of the Liberty A-League table with five matches remaining.