Congratulations to the Central Coast Mariners, and more importantly to everyone who supports them following a belated first win of the season.
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The much awaited 10th W-League season kicked off at Allianz Stadium with Sydney FC’s poor form from last season’s closing games hanging around like a bad smell as they to Brisbane Roar 3-1.
Sydney FC were hot favourites for a possible title triumph last season but the closing stages saw them crumble before the big prize was theirs.
Their poor form continued when Brisbane’s Abbey Lloyd set up Katrina Gorry for a piledriver into the back of the net after only 17 seconds on the field.
One of the fastest W-League goals in history had Sydney FC on the ropes right at the beginning of the match.
Georgia Yeamon-Dale had Sydney FC’s first shot of the match but it flashed wide with the Sky Blues looking to hit back as quickly as possible.
Sydney’s Amy Harrison intercepted a pass in midfield and danced through Brisbane’s defence, leaving Gorry for dead, before spotting Mackenzie Arnold off her line.
She almost stole the show with a long-range strike but Arnold did enough to safeguard her post.
Brisbane doubled their lead eight minutes before the interval when new Hong Kong recruit Wai Ki Cheung pulled off a one-two with Ayesha Kirby before whipping in a delightful first time ball into Allira Toby. The 23-year-old headed past Shamiran Khamis to double Brisbane’s advantage. The Roar were looking confident heading into the break.
The first chance after the restart fell again to Brisbane as they continued their dominance. Celeste Boureille pounced on a loose ball in the box from a corner but her shot was inches wide.
Sydney FC’s 15-year-old debutant Julia Vignes had Sydney’s closest chance of the second half, pouncing on Hayley Raso’s loose ball and sliding her shot into the path of goalkeeper Arnold.
Brisbane defender Summer O’Brien gave away a penalty in the 78th minute after a high foot challenge on Leena Khamis. Substitute Emily Sonnett stepped up and converted calmly into the top-right corner to halve the deficit with 10 minutes remaining.
Allira Toby put the contest beyond doubt after placing herself in prime position to receive Natalie Tathem’s cross and loop her header over Khamis after 84 minutes. The 23-year-old completing her brace as she rounded out the scoring in a massive 3-1 victory to open the season.