Sydney FC had a fantastic season in the W-League. While they fell at the final hurdle in the grand final, the Sky Blues won the premiership and played some fantastic football throughout the campaign.
Sydney wrapped up the premiership on the final game of the season against Melbourne Victory, winning in a thoroughly professional showing with young individuals playing with maturity well beyond their years.
For a side that was looking more towards the 2021-22 season to be a big success rather than this campaign, as Cortnee Vine stated in an interview earlier this year, it’s quite the achievement.
Sydney’s season began with a 3-0 thumping over local rivals Western Sydney Wanderers. Sydney’s defence, as it was throughout the season, was immense, and Ally Green played a major role from left-back, attacking through both inverted and overlapping runs and using her positional awareness to defend smartly.
“That was a very important game for us to win and to put us in good stead for the league”, said Ally Green.
“The season this year was going to look very different for most teams, with the departure of the majority of internationals and Matildas overseas.
“Going into that first round we knew both ourselves and WSW were going to have fresh, new look Aussie teams, which meant we were on an even battlefield.
“We came through victorious with a solid performance and I think it really showed what we were capable of achieving this season.”
Sydney followed up on its derby victory with a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets followed by a repeat of its first two fixtures, winning 2-0 against the Wanderers and the Jets.
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The Sky Blues then defeated 2019/20 champions Melbourne City, thanks to goals from Remy Siemsen and Nat Tobin, and a red card towards City wing-back Tyla-Jay Vlajnic.
They made it six wins from six with a 4-0 victory over Canberra United, with a brace from Siemsen and goals from Vine and Mackenzie Hawksbey.
Throughout the season and including finals, Sydney conceded just 12 goals – an average of 0.86 per game.
Four of those conceded goals came in a surprise defeat to Brisbane Roar and taking away that quadrant of goals and singular game from the average means a concession of just 0.62 goals per game.
Remy Siemsen alone scored more goals per game, scoring 0.68 goals per 90 this season, including finals.
“We were certainly disappointed with that defeat, as it was a super important game for us to win to remain at the top of the ladder and put a good distance between second place”, said Green.
“However that did not go our way and Brisbane played their best game all season. We still created chances and were dangerous at times but nothing could convert when we needed it to.
“For us, we took this performance back to training and worked on some things to improve for next round.
“It is hard staying at the top and every team will always put on their best performance to beat us, so for what we achieved staying at first for the whole season was credit to our girls and coaching staff.”
Sydney followed that defeat with a vital 2-1 win against finals contenders Adelaide United away from home.
“We were coming off a quieter period of byes and defeats, so for us it was crucial to switch this momentum to winning games and gaining our confidence back again”, said Green.
“However, this was never in doubt and we always had the talent to do so. We lost Ellie Brush in the previous game in Perth and this was a big loss too.
“We managed to fill in the gaps and players stepped up when they were asked to. This win meant we were back on track to claiming our first premiership in 10 seasons.”
Following that vital win against Adelaide, Sydney won convincingly away from home against Perth Glory, with braces from Remy Siemsen, Princess Ibini and Clare Wheeler securing the points.
Sydney then lost 2-0 to its opponents from two rounds ago – Adelaide – and a 0-0 draw against Canberra United in the match that followed meant that the premiership was set to go home with either Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory on the final match of the season.
A draw or win would secure the match for Sydney, while Melbourne Victory entered Sydney needing nothing less than three points.
Part 2 coming soon.
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