Gielnik The Difference Despite Wanderers Efforts

Western Sydney Wanderers 1–2 Brisbane Roar

Report and EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS from Kris Goman.

Brisbane Roar continued their seven match unbeaten start to the W-League season with a 2-1 win at Marconi Stadium against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Above: Two goal Emily Gielnik in action for Brisbane Roar against Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Kris Goman.

The Queenslanders have travelled to the emerald city for a long weekend to play both Sydney teams. In the current climate it’s good to get these things done while you can, plus it probably saves on travel expenses and gives better rest between the games. So it’s a big win win for Brisbane before they even start playing.

Courtney Nevin isn’t playing tonight for the home side and isn’t a substitute either. Apparently coach Dean Heffernan is resting her this match and it’s her birthday tomorrow. This results in a reshuffle of the usual team and Yeoman-Dale has moved to left back from the forwards to replace her.

Georgina Worth is out for Brisbane with a knee issue and so Morgan Aquino is making her debut in goal for the Roar. Katrina Gorry is out and we won’t be seeing her playing again this year due to the happy reason of her being pregnant rather than having an injury. Although, like an ACL injury, it will probably take her out for a year so she won’t be going to the Olympics, opening a spot for a young contender.

Wanderers are kicking off playing in 4-3-3 formation and Brisbane are 4-4-2.

The match starts pretty rough with a few tackles sending various playing flying before Emily Gielnik takes a shot from the far left of the box that’s straight to Sarah Willacy.
Sarah Hunter, two goal hero for Wanderers in their last match seems to be being cheered on by the rest of her Year 12 cohort at Pymble Ladies College every time she gets the ball in this match. I guess a few more schoolmates have come along to support her after her stunning game last week. It’s great to see and adds to the atmosphere at Marconi.

Thirteen minutes in, Teigan Collister makes a break down the right for the Wanderers. Her cross is cleared back to Libby Copus-Brown who sends a lovely long ball through to Leena Khamis in the box in front of goal. She chips it to the top right of goal as two defenders arrive and it’s in for her long awaited first goal of the season as the Wanderers take an early lead.

Brisbane are immediately back on the attack and make a few excursions into the box including a corner that comes to naught. Then a cross comes over from the left and is punched out by Willacy. Isobel Dalton comes flying in from outside the box and sends a low one towards goal that lands at the feet of Emily Gielnik who turns and is able to put it to the top right bin of the goal for the equaliser just two and a half minutes later.

We’re up and down the field a few times with Collister continually making good runs down the right for Wanderers. At one stage Khamis takes a long range shot on goal but she puts far too much into it and it is on a trajectory to the moon rather than goal.

Similarly for the Roar, Mariel Hecher is making good inroads down their right, occasionally foiled by Georgia Yeoman-Dale. At one point Gielnik is at the top of the box and passes back to Olivia Chance who takes a lovely strike but it just clears the top post.

Above: Georgia Yeoman-Dale of Western Sydney Wanderers trying to escape from Brisbane Roar’s Olivia Chance. Photo: Kris Goman.

A fine pass back from Collister finds no one in a fairly empty box and a chance goes begging for the Wanderers.

Hecher then receives the ball just outside the box. Yeoman-Dale fronts up to her. She has one foot just inside the box. Hecher flicks the ball up to the right and it hits Yeoman-Dale’s hand and a penalty is awarded. Pretty bad luck on Yeo-Da’s part as there’s no way she could have avoided it and she was only just partially in the box. In fact whether her hand was in the box could be debated but it certainly did deflect the path of the ball.

Gielnik steps up to take the penalty with thirty-one minutes played. It’s a fairly slow shot but she sends Willacy to the right and the ball to the left so it’s in easy. As well as putting the Roar in front, this also puts Gielnik level with Canberra United’s Michelle Heyman in the race for the Golden Boot on six goals each.

Just a minute later, Gielnik gets the opportunity for another clear strike on goal but sends it quite wide to the right this time. Straight after, Tameka Yallop is on the ball and brings it down to the goal line. Her cross is brought down but she has it back almost immediately to take a shot but it’s also well wide to the right.

Above: Emily Gielnik slots the ball past a despairing Sarah Willacy. Photo: Kris Goman.

Wanderers get a corner and it comes in right in front of the box. Khamis jumps but doesn’t quite connect but it deflects off Kim Carroll’s lower shoulder. There are calls for a hand ball but in this case, I think the call is right.

Just before half time Jamilla Rankin sends a beautiful cross to the front of goal but it’s cleared safely by a Caitlin Cooper header then brought down the midfield by Julie Russell to pass for a similarly lovely cross by Collister. It goes to Khamis who draws Morgan Aquino and the ball is headed to the left in front of an open goal. Chloe Middleton rushes on to it but her volley can’t be controlled as defenders rush in and it goes up over the net to miss the equaliser.

Two minutes of extra time are announced. A Brisbane attack sees Middleton chop at Yallop and earn herself a yellow and a free kick for Brisbane at the top left of the box. Gielnik will take it, looking for her hat-trick no doubt. As expected, she goes for goal. It’s low and to the right but Willacy is all over it despite an unmarked Polkinghorne rushing onto her. The half time whistle goes and it’s looking pretty even after 45 minutes.

Early in the second half, Wanderers get into the box and Russell is on the left and open when she gets the ball from a cross from Danika Matos. Her shot is a half volley that goes high.

Ten minutes later, Russell gets another shot on goal as she brings it into the box, side stepping a couple of Brisbane players and shoots across the goal and it narrowly misses the top far corner.

Wanderers are immediately on the attack and Brisbane don’t clear it out when they regain possession. Hunter gets it across to Rosie Galea at the top of the box who shoots with some free space in front of her. It’s wide to the left but it looked dangerous and Wanderers are pressing hard right now.

It’s now Brisbane’s turn to attack and Yallop brings the ball through the midfield before passing to Chance on the left who crosses to the goal mouth. Kaitlyn Torpey comes in for it and both Yeoman-Dale and Willacy are there. Willacy gets above and punches it away safely but collects Torpey in her wake who goes down in front of goal. She’s back up after some treatment but it looked like a heavy fall.

Above: Brisbane Roar’s Kim Carroll poised to hit a pass. Photo: Kris Goman.

Wanderers push again and it’s stuck in the right corner for a couple of throw-ins before Galea flicks it across to Khamis unmarked in the middle of the box. She turns and shoots but Aquino has it covered in some good goal keeping.

Wanderers seem to have the upper hand at the moment and have three shots to Brisbane’s none after 20 minutes of the second half.

In a switch, Hecher gets a run down the left and her cross is kicked out by Matos for a corner. The corner is low and goes through a few people before finding its way to the back of the box to Yallop. She shoots but it’s deflected and goes up high to be gathered by Willacy safely.

A careless distribution by Aquino goes straight to Collister. Khamis is clear in front of goal but the lob is intercepted and doesn’t reach Khamis. In the rush for the ball, Rankin is knocked over and Collister gives away a free kick after a wasted opportunity.

A transition sees Leticia McKenna offside. It’s straight back up the other end again and Russell brings it into the box on the left, kicks it back from the goal line and it’s tipped into the air by Aquino and then headed by Hunter across the goal. It hits the right goalpost and bounces back into play and it’s cleared by Rankin in a very close call.

The Roar attack again and McKenna gets a shot from the top of the box that skims the top post.

It’s straight back up the other end though and Galea extracts a foul on the right of the box from Rankin. Galea to take the kick. She goes for goal to the top right bin and Polkinghorne heads it out to the left. Not sure it had enough on it to get in but it was an audacious move. The resulting corner lands right in front of goal and is headed up and into the arms of Aquino by Cooper. Khamis has been knocked over in the foreground and complains about it but there’s no action on it.

Above: Caitlin Cooper and Leena Khamis compete at a corner. Photo: Kris Goman.

In yet another transition, Gielnik somehow manages to get up from being knocked over in the box to get down to the other end to receive a through ball in the box. Willacy comes right out to deflect it across the goal. Torpey is there to pick it up but her shot goes straight to Matos covering who kicks it out for a corner.

The short corner is crossed by Rankin then punched away by Willacy. The clearance comes back in but this time is snatched by Willacy.

The game has become very transitional now and it’s Brisbane’s turn for a crack. After some play around the box Dalton has a shot over the heads of everyone but there’s not enough on it and it bounces to the feet of Willacy who scoops it up.

Once more back down the other end and this time Henry gets a shot that hits the crossbar. She looks to be offside but it’s not called.

With five minutes to go, a nice ball to Gielnik sees her take a run down the right but her pass back into the box is ineffectual and is cut off and cleared by Matos. It then goes out wide to Hecher but her cross goes to no one and goes out in acres of space on the right of goal. She should have really taken a shot then.

In a slightly desperate effort, Hunter passes to Collister who takes a shot from a long way out. It’s not on target and goes out to the right. The previously well organised Wanderers have morphed to a bit of a shambles as desperation for the equaliser sets in. They need to settle again to be more effective and patient.

In a much better move, the clearance from Aquino goes to Matos who places the ball back to Galea who tips it over right in front of Khamis who runs onto it in the box. She races with Aquino to the ball but Aquino throws herself on top of it before Khamis can connect.

There’s another push by the Wanderers and a couple of incursions are foiled until Yeoman-Dale takes it down the left and crosses to Khamis in the box. A little back heel is cleared by Polkinghorne to Matos who has a crack but she’s a long way out and it was never going in. There’s a minute left.

Above: Sarah Hunter, Western Sydney Wanderers’ teenage star shields the ball from Brisbane Roar’s Australian International Tameka Yallop. Photo: Kris Goman.

The clearance is to Cooper who brings it up but it goes out. Wanderers throw in.  Yeoman-Dale takes it. Khamis flicks it into the box and Galea sends it back out to Hunter. She passes back to Copus-Brown who sends it back into the box with interest. Khamis picks it up, turns and strikes. It’s on target but Aquino dives and pushes it out with one hand, saving the day for the Roar.

There’s a corner with 5 seconds to go. Khamis heads it over the goal and full time is called much to the relief of Brisbane.

So disappointing for the Wanderers not to equaliser or even win in the second half. They really did dominate although the stats aren’t really showing that. Possession was 48% WSW 52% Roar,  territory 47% WSW 53% Roar,  corners 4 for Brisbane and 3 for the Wanderers and shots 13 for Brisbane and 11 for the Wanderers which I find hard to believe after the second half. Shots on target were Brisbane 7, Wanderers 3, balls into area Brisbane 25, Wanderers 24 and saves Wanderers 5, Brisbane 2.

Speaking after the game, Leena Khamis agrees that Western Sydney Wanderers were very unlucky and deserved a point at least and big-upped the save by Morgan Aquino, which is nice.

Emily Gielnik gets Player of the Match which I don’t really agree with. Yes, she got two goals and the first was a cracker but the second was a penalty and she had very little impact on the second half. I realise goal scorers often get this award but I think the defenders stepped up, particularly in the second half.

Polkinghorne saved the day many times and Aquino really saved the day, right at the end and was very solid, except for a couple of dubious distributions. Jenkins also had a very solid game both in attack and defence. Khamis, Collister, Yeoman-Dale and even Galea coming on as a sub late in the game all were worthy contenders. But I don’t make these decisions.

So Brisbane have Sydney to play next and I think they need to ask a few questions. Wanderers played well today, perhaps their best match of the season, despite losing. They are mostly a young team with a couple of veterans but were able to take it to Brisbane today. Sydney is also a young team but have a lot more experience playing together. Given the Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar match will be another top of the table bout, it will say a lot about the state of the W-League. I worry a bit that Brisbane are stacked with Matildas yet haven’t been able to perform as expected. Yes, they haven’t lost yet but they’ve drawn four times and didn’t dominate today against a team at the bottom of the table. Their only convincing win was against Melbourne Victory. Anyway, it should be a very interesting match on Sunday.

Teams: WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: Willacy, Matos, Yeoman-Dale, Orgill, Cooper, Middleton, Collister, Copus-Brown, Hunter, Russell, Khamis. Substitutes: Newbon (GK), Chauvet, Gomez, Galea, Henry.

Scorers: Khamis 14.

BRISBANE ROAR: Aquino, Heatley, Rankin, Polkinghorne, Carroll, Dalton, Hecher, Chance, Freier, Yallop, Gielnik. Substitutes: Zaffina, Horsey, Margraf, McKenna.

Scorers: Gielnik 16, pen 32.

Referee: Casey Reibelt.

Attendance: 494.

Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.

Artwork: Graphics by PW

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