The Westfield Matildas have concluded their European tour and farewelled retiring midfielder Collette McCallum with a highly assertive display in a 1-1 draw against Scotland in Falkirk overnight.
The Westfield Matildas struck first with a goal from an unfamiliar source, defender Laura Alleway scoring her first international goal after 26 minutes only for Jane Ross to equalise for the hosts just before the hour mark.
While unable to send McCallum off with a fairytale finish in her last game, the Westfield Matildas showed they are progressing in the right direction ahead of June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ Canada as they produced a plethora of chances against the Scots.
Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay was arguably the busiest player on the pitch in the opening half as the Westfield Matildas peppered the Scottish goal.
Michelle Heyman and Lisa De Vanna both forced fine saves from the shot stopper and her heroics looked to have paid dividends when Scotland were awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute after Stpeh Catley was adjudged to have handballed the ball in the area.
But Westfiield Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey was determined not be shown up by her opposite number, diving to her left to make a superb save from Kim Little’s effort from the penalty spot.
Three minutes later Alleway pounced during a goal mouth scramble to give Australia a lead they arguably deserved, which Servet Uzunlar almost doubled with a stinging shot only for Fay to keep it out.
Then just before the hour mark Scotland were back on level terms when Jane Ross found the back of the net before the post denied Emily van Egmond from restoring the Westfield Matildas’ advantage in the 74th minute.
Stating he would bring her on to give her a farewell, Head Coach Alen Stajcic brought on McCallum with four minutes of regulation time remaining.
Fittingly in stoppage time, there was one last trademark McCallum cross that the Scotland defence managed to keep out, the final whistle bringing the curtain down on a magnificent career.
Backing up from a match against Austria just 36 hours earlier combined with a tumultuous 18 hours of travel from Villach to Falkirk, Head Coach Alen Stajcic was full of praise for his team’s performance.
“We played a lot of good football today and really dominated the first 45 minutes like we haven’t done for a long time so we should have really been three or four goals up at half time,” Stajcic said.
“It came back to bite us in the end when Scotland created a couple of chances in the second half and scored from one of them, so it’s disappointing that we didn’t win but the performance was excellent and a testament to the players’ hard work over the last six weeks.
“The effort today was superb, the execution on the field was brilliant and it was just that little bit in the penalty box that let us down but if we can improve that facet of the game we’re certainly capable of beating anyone.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen a Matildas team dominate an opponent like we did today. We should have really buried them because we had a host of chances, but it just shows how far we’ve come as a team.”
Stajcic also paid a final tribute to McCallum, who bows out of the game after 81 ‘A’ international appearances and 11 goals for her country.
“Collette is a brilliant person on and off the field and in my opinion one of the top few Matildas of all time,” Stajcic said.
“She is a tremendous footballer so we’re all extremely happy for her and proud of her career and we wish her all the best for the future.”
Scotland 1 (Ross 59’)
Westfield Matildas 1 (Alleway 26’)
Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
Westfield Matildas starting line-up: Brianna Davey (gk), Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Laura Alleway, Servet Uzunlar (Elise Kellond-Knight 70’), Teresa Polias, Katrina Gorry (Kyah Simon 84’), Emily van Egmond (c) (Collette McCallum 86’), Caitlin Foord (Samantha Kerr 63’), Michelle Heyman (Ashleigh Sykes 70’), Lisa De Vanna
Substitutes not used: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Kate Gill, Tameka Butt, Hayley Raso, Larissa Crummer, Nicola Bolger, Teigan Allen, Aivi Luik
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