Western United drew 1-1 with a Tasmanian Select XI at UTAS Stadium on Tuesday afternoon in the Club’s first ever women’s match.
It was a momentous occasion for the Club and for the girls, who have put in months of training to reach this moment ahead of the Club’s inclusion in the A-League Women.
Akeisha Sandhu opened the scoring within five minutes in the match before Jazmin White equalised later on in the first half.
Both sides worked to find a winner and came close on a couple of occasions in very damp and difficult conditions in Launceston.
Mark Torcaso named a strong line up for this historic occasion, with most of the starting XI consisting of players that played for Calder United against Bulleen Lions less than 24 hours earlier.
With an interchange format, though, there was plenty of opportunities for changes throughout the match with nine substitutes named. Adriana Taranto took the captain’s armband.
Starting XI: 1. A.Dall’Oste, 2. N.Dakic, 4. A.Groba, 7. A.Cerne, 8. M.Mathews, 10. A.Sandhu, 13. J.Sardo, 15. E.Talevski, 18. A.Taranto, 19. M.Taranto, 20. M.Heysen
Substitutes: 5. R.Deralas, 6. O.De La Plaza, 9. F.Iaria, 12. A.Smith, 14. A.Eicke, 17. T.Stella, 22. E.Ditella, 24. N.Kaur, 30. L.El Hayek.
Western United got off to the perfect start in the match, scoring a delightful goal inside the opening five minutes.
Some nice interplay moved the ball out to the left wing where Akeisha Sandhu picked it up just inside the box and thumped an excellent left-footed strike over the goalkeeper and into the top right corner.
United went in search of a second and controlled possession in the middle of the pitch, with Alana Cerne and Melissa Taranto seeing plenty of it in midfield.
For all of the possession, the Green and Black was largely limited to half chances and shots from long range, with Montanna Mathews putting one on target and Cerne bending another just high and wide.
Tasmania began to gain a foothold in the match and sprung United with a swift attack in the 24th minute, with Jazmin White played in behind and finishing one-on-one with Alyssa Dall’Oste.
Both sides kept their line-ups rotating with a number of changes in an interchange format, seeing plenty of talented players given the opportunity to take to the pitch.
The heavy rain that was consistent throughout the first half showed no signs of slowing down in the second as the players returned for the second period.
The opening stages after the interval played out in much the say way that the majority of the first half did, with United getting the ball into threatening positions but just failing to find the final pass to score.
Tasmania still possessed a threat going the other way and very nearly took the lead just past the hour mark after a goalmouth scramble following a corner, but Dall’Oste and her defence remained strong to block multiple attempts and clear the danger.
Tough conditions made it difficult for either side to fashion any clear cut chances, though United did have one big opening when Alyssa Smith got through down the right-hand side, but she couldn’t pick out the pass to create a shot on goal.