15/04/2024

Hayley Raso celebrates scoring against Thailand. (Photo: Hayley Raso/Twitter)

After a 4-0 demolition of Sweden in Melbourne, the Matildas made their way to Gosford to take on Thailand in the second friendly of this international window.

They were greeted by warm weather and the famous sauce bottles and cannon as the 11,271 in attendance saw the home side walk out with a 2-0 victory.

The team would walk out with four wins on the trot, and for coach Tony Gustavsson, there are two reasons why the results are good.

Speaking after the game, he mentioned that sometimes games are not always what they appear to be just looking at the result.

At the end of the day however, ultimately the team will be judged by those results and less about the process involved in the individual matches.

“One is obviously confidence, like internally, individual players in the team feel confident and believe in what we’re doing,” Gustavsson said.

“The belief was there before but wins gives you more confidence, and the other thing is momentum.

“I think it’s important to understand we’re going into this World Cup together. Everyone in this room, the fans, like look at tonight as well, we’re doing this together.

“I think the wins create that momentum and we need everyone around us to believe in this team and carry this team through.

“In that sense I think it’s massive that we have these four wins, because we get the nation behind us. Not that they haven’t been before, but the belief rises with wins.”

The pressure was on early, as multiple chances were created by the hosts, who tried to take advantage of the high back line Thailand implemented. They looked to use the pace of Cortnee Vine and Hayley Raso to carry the ball down the wings and cross the ball into the 18 yard box.

At the 20 minute mark of the first half, Sam Kerr transitioned to the right wing while Vine went into the middle of the pitch to try and create some different attacking options, before moving back about five minutes later after a few missed chances.

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Despite a continuous mountain of pressure and multiple fantastic opportunities, the Matildas front line could not find a way to deliver the ball to the back of the net for the majority of the first half.

They came inches away from conceding the opening goal, as Orapin Waenngoen took a shot that barely missed the far post from just outside the 18 yard box.

It would take until the 40th minute before the Matildas could finally take advantage of the chances they had created throughout the first half. A Katrina Gorry corner would find the head of Sam Kerr to set the cannon off at the sauce bottle end of Central Coast Stadium to give the home side a 1-0 lead at half time.

The second half started with multiple substitutions for the home side, as Emily Van Egmond, Mary Fowler, and Larissa Crummer would replace Caitlin Foord, Cortnee Vine, and Charlotte Grant.

Those substitutions paid off immediately as the Matildas would get a second just 70 seconds after the resumption of play. Van Egmond would pass it through to Hayley Raso, who dribbled into the box and had no issues finding the back of the net.

The first half woes would return in the second half, as the Matildas hit the woodwork multiple times. Thailand’s keeper Warapom Boonsing pulled some magic out to stop the hosts from extending the lead.

“We had a lot of chances, [and] I think we need to be a little bit more clinical,” Raso said post-game.

“Myself, I had a few chances that I should have finished off, and as a team I think we had a lot of shots on goal so just working on being more clinical. But in the end, it’s the result that counts and it was an important win.”

Tony Gustavsson’s side would be unable to trouble the scoresheet further throughout the second half despite some more fantastic chances as they ran out 2-0 winners over Thailand.

The second half would see two substitutions of note, as Elise Kellond-Knight would come on for the first time after multiple injuries, replacing Katrina Gorry, while Matilda McNamara would see her first minutes as a Matilda, coming on in the 89th minute for Hayley Raso.

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