Sydney FC top ALW ladder after Western United falter

March 21, 2024 BY

On the hunt: Lorena Baumann of Newcastle Jets and Catherine Zimmerman of Western United FC in action at Wyndham Regional Football Facility last weekend. Photo: MARK AVELLINO / SPORTPIX / SIPAUSA

THE race for the A-League Women Premier’s Plate will be a five-way finish after a string of contenders dropped points on a bumper Sunday card.

Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City played out a 0-0 stalemate and Western United lost 3-1 to Newcastle, allowing Sydney FC to take top spot with their 4-2 win over Wellington.

Two weeks from finals, the Sky Blues (36 points) lead the league and have a game in hand on the chasing pack, with Western United (35), City (35), Central Coast (34) and Victory (33) all within a single win.

Sunday’s Melbourne derby promised plenty but delivered little, with neither team able to stamp their authority on the contest and strike a blow in the race for the Premier’s Plate.

The Citizens edged possession and the shot count, but didn’t create much of note in the scoreless draw.

Their best chance came from a sweeping counterattacking move shortly before the hour, Emina Ekic firing a driven cross through the box although none of her teammates could direct the ball goalward.

Victory striker Emily Gielnik missed a couple of half-chances, including a one-on-one effort that was easily tended to by City keeper Barbara.

There was no such stumble for Sydney FC in their trip to New Zealand, as they survived a second half scare to beat Wellington 4-2.

Star winger Cortnee Vine scored twice and assisted another, twice benefitting from perfect Mackenzie Hawkesby set-piece delivery to net goals.

Her first was unstoppable, volleying a corner home past Phoenix keeper Rylee Foster with genuine ferocity. But after being down 3-0, Wellington found a way back in with Isabel Cox and Mariana Speckmaier scoring in a nine-minute span, before Jordan Thompson coolly sealed the points on 75 minutes thanks to a Vine assist.

Sydney jumped Western United for top spot after the former leaders fluffed their lines in the first A-Leagues match at their new Regional Football Facility in Tarneit.

Libby Copus-Brown needed just five minutes to put the Jets in front via a gorgeous Sarina Bolden cross, and when United’s Aimee Medwin levelled things on 20 minutes, Newcastle’s Lauren Allan had her side back in front less than 60 seconds later.

United would be ropeable with conceding the match-sealing goal, leaving star Jet striker Bolden completely unmarked to head home a corner on 66 minutes.

Central Coast’s businesslike shift saw them thump four first-half goals past Canberra United to continue their climb up the table after a 4-1 win.

In their first campaign back in the competition, the Mariners are almost certain to play finals after Rola Badawiya found two goals in the opening 35 minutes in Gosford.

Chinese forward Wurigumula and Kyah Simon also scored for the Mariners, while Nicki Flannery netted a late consolation for United. The Mariners have now won four straight games.