A goal in each half from winger Caitlin Foord has continued the Westfield Matildas’ dominance over the Football Ferns in a 2-0 result at Ballarat’s Morshead Park Stadium this afternoon.
Foord was the standout as the Westfield Matildas delighted the 4,371 strong crowd in the regional Victorian city to ensure they would extend their unbeaten streak against their Trans-Tasman rivals which goes back to October 1994.
Head Coach Alen Stajcic was full of compliments for Foord who always looked a threat when she was in possession.
“She’s an unbelievable player. You just see how she runs at people, causes problems for opposition defences and if she can add goal scoring to her list of attributes there’s no reason she can’t be one of the best players in the world,” said Stajcic.
While impressed by patches of the performance, Stajcic said there were still plenty of areas that could be improved on.
“I think our good spells and good passages of play showed that fluency and cohesion that we had in the qualifiers in Japan but I thought we had too many spells where we were a bit sloppy on the ball and gave the ball away too cheaply,” said Stajcic.
“I think the difference between our good play and our bad play were too great but that can come with not being together for three months and hopefully we improve again on Tuesday. Overall I’m happy but I know we can still improve.”
In their first match since their successful Olympic qualifying tournament back in March, the Westfield Matildas flew out of the blocks, Foord giving the home sides a 5th minute lead as her strike from outside the penalty area managed to bamboozle Erin Nayler in the New Zealand goal.
In a scintillating opening 15 minutes, the Westfield Matildas could have been further in front if not for some superb shot stopping from Nayler.
First Lisa De Vanna stung Nayler’s gloves with Michelle Heyman almost capitalising on the follow up in the 8th minute before Chloe Logarzo unleashed a cracking shot from distance heading for the top corner that was expertly saved by the Football Ferns keeper.
The New Zealanders slowly worked their way back into the contest and managed to stem the Westfield Matildas’ momentum, Katie Bowen with the Football Ferns’ best chance of the half when she flicked an attempt over the bar on the half hour.
Heymand fired narrowly wide in the 36th minute as the Westfield Matildas began to wrestle back the ascendancy and just before half time she was again unlucky not to score when her quick fire shot from a mad goalmouth scramble in the New Zealand penalty area crashed into the crossbar.
Less than six minutes into the second half Foord sent the Westfield Matildas two goals ahead when she pounced to shrug off her defender and produce a quality clinical finish to beat Nayler.
Stajcic went to his bench throughout the second 45 minutes to give his squad some valuable game time, goalkeeper Casey Dumont making her second appearance and first since recovering from a knee reconstruction when she replaced Mackenzie Arnold who had been reliable throughout.
Stajcic was full of praise for the town of people and council of Ballart for their support of the team during their week long stay.
“Ballarat has been so good to us and the whole town should acknowledge what a great effort they’ve done in welcoming us the way they did, the wonderful facility they’ve got here and for the great crowd that came out and supported a great bunch of young Australian athletes,” said Stajcic.
The Westfield Matildas and Football Ferns will now head to Melbourne where they will meet again on Tuesday at Etihad Stadium for the double header with the Caltex Socceroos taking on Greece. Click here for ticketing details.
The match will be shown LIVE on FOX SPORTS (Channel 505) and ABC TV.
Westfield Matildas 2 (Foord 5’/51’)
Football Ferns 0
Crowd: 4,371 @ Morshead Park Stadium, Ballarat
Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)
Westfield Matildas starting line-up: 18.Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk) (12.Casey DUMONT (gk) 88’), 3.Caitlin COOPER, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE (c) (15.Teigen ALLEN 88’), 6.Chloe LOGARZO, 7.Steph CATLEY, 8.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (20.Ellie CARPENTER 64’), 9.Caitlin FOORD, 11.Lisa DE VANNA (2.Larissa CRUMMER 81’), 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 16.Michelle HEYMAN (17.Kyah SIMON 64’), 19.Katrina GORRY (13.Tameka BUTT 64’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 10.Emily VAN EGMOND
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Football Ferns starting line-up: 1.Erin NAYLER (gk), 2.Ria PERCIVAL, 4.Katie DUNCAN (27.Paige SATCHELL 85’), 5.Abby ERCEG (c), 7.Ali RILEY (3.Anna GREEN 70’), 9.Amber HEARN (13.Rosie WHITE 89’), 12.Betsy HASSETT (11.Kirsty YALLOP 70’), 14.Katie BOWEN (8.Jasmine PEREIRA 76’), 15.Meikayla MOORE, 16.Annalie LONGO, 17.Hannah WILKINSON (10.Sarah GREGORIUS 46’)
Substitutes not used: 18.Catherine BOTT, 23.Cushla LICHTWARK (gk), 26.Jane BARNETT
Yellow cards: Moore 3’
Red cards: Nil