W-League wrap: Reigning champions miss out

The final four for the 2012-13 W-League was decided, with the champions failing to win a place. And who got Goal.com's player of the week?
GOAL.com Indonesia   By TAKU TANEKA


Ahead of their final game of the regular W-League season, Sydney FC knew what was required to keep their finals dream alive; a win against city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.  The two teams had previously met in a tense Week 2 affair the Sky Blues eventually won 1-0 courtesy of a first half winner from New Zealand's Emma Kete.  This fixture would prove to be another close battle.  Playing in a virtually elimination final, Sydney FC went ahead in the ninth minute when a well-placed Alanna Kennedy cross found the feet of 18-year-old Matilda Caitlin Foord.  In the 30th minute, however, their lead disappeared as classy Swede Louise Fors curled a shot from outside of the area for the Western Sydney Wanderers.  But less than 10 minutes after the equaliser, the Sky Blues scored a second when Samantha Kerr's header went in after a fine delivery from dual-international Ellyse Perry.  The goal by Kerr proved to be the only difference between the sides at half-time.  While the second half contained more end-to-end football, it took until the 74th minute for another goal.  Having been illegally tackled inside the box, Fors stepped up to the penalty spot to equalise with her second and make the score 2-2.  Ultimately, it took the combination of two 19-year-olds in Nicola Bolger and Samantha Kerr for Sydney FC to score their third.  Kerr's through ball to Bolger led to a one-on-one opportunity for the substitute and the former Newcastle Jets midfielder calmly put the chance away.  The never-say-die spirit the Wanderers had kept Sydney FC on their toes until the full-time whistle, but the Sky Blues held on for a 3-2 win.


Obstructing Brisbane Roar's quest to finish the W-League regular season as premiers were defending champions Canberra United, who needed a win themselves to qualify for finals.  Anticipated to be a tight contest before kick-off, the fixture at Queensland's Sports and Athletics Centre proved to be anything but as the home side ran riot in the first half.  The onslaught began in the 11th minute when Katrina Gorry weaved past defenders on the wing and drove a regulation cross into the area.  Canberra's goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, due to the pressure she faced from Roar players, let the ball slip through her grasp and into the net to make it 1-0.  Then in the 38th and 41th minutes Tameka Butt - continuing on from her two-goal effort in Week 11 - gave the Roar a deserved three-goal buffer.  Firstly, following a beautiful ball from team-mate Vedrana Popovic, Butt coolly slotted a penalty after she was fouled inside the area.  Minutes later, the Roar's three most influential players in the first half - Popovic, Gorry and Butt - combined for the latter to score with a regulation finish.  With the score seemingly destined to end at the break at an emphatic 3-0, Canberra scored a goal as American Kristen Mewis headed a corner into goal.  However, Canberra's first-half stoppage time goal did not prove to be the catalyst for a comeback in the second half.  The Roar continued their goal-scoring ways in the 65th minute after Emily Gielnik shot into a vacant net.  Butt then secured her hat-trick in the rout five minutes later with a tap-in from a cross.  The resounding 5-1 loss means Canberra's season is over and Brisbane Roar finish the season in top spot.


Perth Glory arrived at Burton Oval in South Australia to take on Adelaide United desperate to atone for their shock loss in Week 11 to wooden-spoon contenders Newcastle Jets.  But they would have to play themselves into form for their upcoming finals series without key striker and Australia international Lisa De Vanna missing due to suspension.  In De Vanna's absence, Matildas and Glory team-mate Kate Gill acted as the focal point in attack and she scored the opening goal in the 18th minute.  When Marianna Tabain's cross was miscalculated by Reds defender Ann Mayo, Gill was in the right place at the right time and shot past Kristi Harvey in goal.  For the remainder of the first half, the Glory looked the more likely of the two sides to score but could not finish any one of the opportunities they created.  Seven minutes after half-time, the Glory were made to rue their missed chances when Reds player Racheal Quigley scored following team-mate Abby Erceg's clever switch of play.  But cometh the moment, cometh the woman, and in the 65th minute Gill netted her double when she headed home Collette McCallum's corner to make the score 2-1.  Rounding out the hard-fought display was Tabain who, after Gill made a break and cut the ball back across the face of goal, scored a tap-in third goal for the visitors.  The result set up the final fixture of the weekend well, with Melbourne Victory needing a win to poach second position in the premiership.


Given their superior goal difference record, Newcastle Jets needed only a draw to avoid the dreaded W-League wooden spoon.  In contrast, opponents Melbourne Victory were looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run as they approached the business end of the season.  In a first half that included three goals, the Victory raced into the lead in the fourth minute via a cross from Amy Jackson that deflected off the post and opposition goalkeeper into the net.  Victory then doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute thanks to 21-year-old midfielder Enza Barilla, who capitalised on a sloppy clearance to score with a blazing strike.  Undeterred by the huge task they faced to salvage a result, the Jets halved the deficit seven minutes later. Tara Andrews shot hit the post but Jasmin Courtenay scored off the rebound.  In the blink of an eye, the Jets were level going into half-time. Once again, the goal came from a rebound, with Matilda Emily Van Egmond this time reaping the benefits.  Around 15 minutes into the second half, the Victory regained their lead thanks to Barilla's second goal for the afternoon from a frantic corner.  But the game was far from over, as the Jets admirably continued to pressure their finals-bound opponents.  Drama struck late in the form of a penalty to the Jets in the 84th minute when, in attempting to round the goalkeeper, Kate Hensman was fouled.  Reliable as ever, Van Egmond put away the penalty.  The final six minutes of the match saw both sides push hard for the three points, but neither team was able to produce a match-winner as the game concluded 3-3.


Returning to the type of form that saw her win the Players' Player accolade at the 2009 W-League awards as a Perth Glory player, Samantha Kerr'sinfluence in Sydney FC's game against rivals Western Sydney Wanderers cannot be understated.  Her feats for the day included scoring the goal that put Sydney FC momentarily ahead 2-1 before setting up team-mate Nicola Bolger's match-winner in the 83rd minute. The victory means Sydney FC finish fourth and qualify for finals.

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