The Wellington Phoenix have been punished for a couple of early mistakes in their first Liberty A-League match in Western Australia.
The Phoenix have been beaten 2-0 by the Perth Glory at Macedonia Park, after conceding two goals in the opening quarter of an hour.
Both teams had to play the majority of the match with 10 players after Nix forward Emma Rolston and Glory midfielder Ella Mastrantonio were shown straight red cards for a heated clash in the 34th minute.
Despite their best efforts when it was 10 on 10, Wellington were unable to unlock the Perth defence and find a way back into the match.
“We got punished for two mistakes which…we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable for,” Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence told media post-game.
“We need to stop making these mistakes that are leading to these goals and start taking our chances as well.”
Lawrence refused to blame the longest road trip in a professional women’s football league for the result.
“We knew that the travel was going to be tough, we knew that the heat was going to be tough and we prepared as much as we could for it.
“There’s some fatigue amongst the girls [and] there’s a little bit of jet lag, but that’s not really an excuse that we’re willing to hide behind.
“New Zealand is where we want to be and where we want to be based and travel is part of it.”
The defeat means the Phoenix are now six points adrift at the bottom of the table, with just one point from eight matches, but Lawrence felt the team “dominated” after the two red cards.
“We had more possession, we had better pass completion, we’ve had more shots, we’ve had more final third entries again than any other game this season so we’re building and getting better and better.
“Game eight and yeah one point on the board but…we believe that we’ve still got 10 games to fight for.
“As long as we keep sticking to our process then we believe the outcome will happen.”
Natalie Lawrence made two changes to the XI which started last week’s 1-0 defeat to Western United, with Football Ferns Kate Taylor and Paige Satchell returning from injuries and replacing Saskia Vosper and Milly Clegg respectively. Marisa van der Meer shifted out to right back with Taylor returning at the heart of the Nix defence.
The Phoenix had the better of the possession to start the match but were two-nil behind before a quarter of an hour was gone.
American striker Cyera Hintzen scored from the Glory’s first shot in the sixth minute.
Hintzen managed to turn her defender and then unleash a powerful left-footed shot from 25 yards out, that Nix goalkeeper Brianna Edwards was able to get a hand to but couldn’t keep it out of the back of the net.
Perth then earned a penalty in the 13th minute and Susan Phonsongkham converted from the spot.
Edwards ensured the Phoenix didn’t concede a third goal shortly after, making a sharp save to parry a powerful Hana Lowry shot around her near post.
With the temperature in the high 20s, the match paused for a drinks break in the 26th minute, giving Lawrence a chance to talk to her players.
Both teams soon found themselves having to adapt to playing with 10 when Rolston and Mastrantonio were shown straight red cards for their coming together.
The Nix settled the quicker of the two sides after the send offs and soon started to threaten Glory’s goal.
Ava Pritchard found the side netting in the 39th minute and moments later she came agonisingly close to getting her head to an enticing right wing cross from Paige Satchell.
Stand-in captain Chloe Knott, who worked tirelessly in midfield throughout, also skied a shot from the edge of the Perth box near the end of the half and Wellington will have been disappointed the weren’t able to test Glory ‘keeper Sarah Langman before halftime.
The Phoenix continued to get into good positions at the start of the second-half, without creating a clear-cut opportunity.
Michaela Robertson struck the side netting from a tight angle four minutes after halftime before Michaela Foster rattled the crossbar with a cross come shot.
Knott too had an effort from the edge of the area in the 63rd minute that just sailed over Langman’s bar.
The Nix continued to push numbers forward after the second drinks break with Pritchard looking the most likely to pull a goal back.
Her best opportunity came in the 80th minute when Clegg, on as a substitute, whipped in a great cross from the right flank. Unfortunately for Pritchard and Wellington her near post volley was off target.
The Junior Football Ferns forward also forced Langman to make a diving save shortly after, following more good work down the Phoenix right, this time from Robertson.
But it wasn’t to be for the Nix, with the Glory defending resolutely to keep a clean sheet and hold on for a 2-0 win.
The Wellington Phoenix women will make the long journey home tomorrow before turning their attentions to next Sunday afternoon’s match against Canberra United at Sky Stadium.
Wellington Phoenix: 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER (6. Isabel GOMEZ 78th), 7. Chloe KNOTT (c), 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 13. Paige SATCHELL (20. Milly CLEGG 63rd), 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 16. Emma ROLSTON, 21. Michaela FOSTER.
Unused substitutes: 22. Georgia CANDY (gk), 2. Saskia VOSPER, 17. Claudia CICCO.
Perth Glory: 20. Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Natasha RIGBY (c), 7. Liz ANTON, 8. Hana LOWRY, 10. Susan PHONSONGKHAM (9. Demi KOULIZAKIS 57th), 12. Sofia SAKALIS (23. Alana JANCEVSKI 79th), 15. Cyera HINTZEN (17. Abbey GREEN 86th), 18. Sadie LAWRENCE (13. Sarah CAIN 79th), 19. Isabella FOLETTA, 21. Ella MASTRANTONIO.
Unused substitutes: 1. Morgan AQUINO (gk).
15. Cyera HINTZEN (Perth Glory) – 6th
10. Susan PHONSONGKHAM (Perth Glory) – 14th pen
7. Liz ANTON (Perth Glory) – yellow – 30th
16. Emma ROLSTON (Wellington Phoenix) – red – 35th
21. Ella MASTRANTONIO (Perth Glory) – red – 35th
13. Paige SATCHELL (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 45+4
17. Abbey GREEN (Perth Glory) – yellow – 90+5