21/02/2024

Hannah Keane scoring one of two goals for Western United. (Photo: Western United/Twitter)

It was Western United that prevailed in the top-of-the-table clash against Sydney FC on Wednesday. With two first-half goals from Hannah Keane and a masterclass from fellow import Jessica McDonald saw the home side maintain their unbeaten record.

Both teams were locked in a stalemate early with both doing well at absorbing the pressure when their opponents went into attack. Despite the stalemate, Western United had a few attempts at goal but Sydney FC goalkeeper Katie Offer was able to mop up possession or the ball went wide.

United drew the first blow with a goal from Keane at the 18th-minute mark and it saw the home side take an early advantage. McDonald drew Offer out which allowed Keane to strike after a pass from Melissa Taranto.

Sydney upped the tempo in front of goal while on defence, while Western United started to slow down, with a turnover in its offensive half giving Sarah Hunter a chance to level the score but Western United goalkeeper Hilary Beall was once again vital.

McDonald was able to set up Western United’s second goal of the game after setting it up at the top of the 18-yard box for Keane to swoop in after outmuscling Natalie Tobin which allowed her to score her second for the evening. 

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Beall once again proved to be a force for United in the box, finishing the match with five saves and mopping up any chance that Sydney FC had to get back into the match.

Beall was well supported by her defence led by the likes of Sidney Cummings (six clearances, three intercepts, and two tackles) and Alana Cerne (two clearances, two intercepts, and three tackles) 

The Sky Blues were unable to get the job done for Princess Ibini in her 100th A-league match. Despite looking lively for patches throughout the game, both Ibini and Madison Haley had shots on goal in the final minutes of the match.

Alongside Ibini’s milestone, there were two A-League debutants with Danielle Steer and Rola Badawiya making their debuts for Western United and Sydney FC respectively. Both made an impact for their sides, setting up shots on goal.

Western United will head to Wanderers Football Park to take on Western Sydney while Sydney FC will remain at home to take on Perth Glory but will be sweating on Tobin’s availability after the captain went off with a corky during the 76th minute.

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