Wanderers fight hard despite Derby loss

Western Sydney Wanderers Liberty A-Leagues team have shown plenty of promise despite losing their opening round fixture 2-0 against Sydney FC.

Report supplied by the A-Leagues.

In front of a crowd of 11,471, a record for the Liberty A-League, the only jarring note for Ante Juric’s side was a concerning injury sustained by captain Nat Tobin who had to be carried off in the second half with a suspected torn meniscus.

But goals from Kirsty Fenton and Fiona Worts hardly reflected the Sky Blues’ domination against a Wanderers side whose coach Robbie Hooker was only appointed days before the season started.

With a clutch of new faces on both sides, the team which found a rhythm quicker was always likely to dominate – and Sydney found their groove from the beginning.

By the time Kirstie Fenton lashed the home side ahead in the 11th minute, the Sky Blues had already probed at the Wanderers defence more than once – and when a corner was half cleared, Fenton met the ball with a thunderous half volley from the edge of the box which found the top corner via the fingertips of goalkeeper Kaylie Collins.

If there was a suspicion that the US keeper, making just her third professional appearance, might have done better, she proved her worth with a series of saves as Sydney dominated proceedings – the highlights a leap to tip over Cortnee Vine’s rasping drive, and a save low down to keep out the same player’s freekick.

Finally Western Sydney were able to record a shot, albeit not on target, as Sophie Harding tried her luck from long range .

But when Princess Ibini lofted a simple ball over the top for Fiona Worts to run clear, the experienced striker lobbed Collins with comfort from the edge of the box to double the home side’s advantage.

Sydney’s comfortable evening was soured early in the second half when captain Natalie Tobin went down under challenge from Harding and was immediately in some distress, seeming to hold her leg. Harding had initially appealed for a penalty but was quickly more concerned with Tobin’s welfare as the Sydney defender was carried off on a stretcher.

The injury seemed to suck some of the drive out of Sydney and Western Sydney managed to find a foothold in the contest. Substitute Melissa Cacares drew two fine saves from Whyman, giving new Wanderers coach Robbie Hooker some moments of promise to work on having been appointed so soon before the start of the season.