Western Sydney Wanderers W-League coach Richard Byrne was one of many to praise the efforts of Lo’eau LaBonta following her stellar performance against Adelaide United on Friday night.

The former FC Kansas City midfielder was instrumental in ensuring the Wanderers left Marconi Stadium with their first win of the season after a frustrating defeat to Newcastle Jets in Round 1.

LaBonta opened the scoring early in the first half after driving home a loose ball cleared from the corner and continued to dictate play through the midfield for the remainder of the game.

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“She’s a fantastic player,” said Byrne post match.

“What she brings onto the field is just pure class.”

The 24-year-old was elusive and calm while dribbling through the middle and consistently shifted the ball to wider overlapping players before re-involving herself further down the field.

The presence of LaBonta added to an already invigorated home side as captain Erica Halloway and Israeli signing Lee Falkon both had glimpses of goal which were denied by the reactive diving efforts of Eliza Campbell.

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Dutch midfielder Marlous Pieete was also generating chances with her blistering runs down the left flank while LaBonta dazzled in the center of the park and tried her luck with a number of long range strikes.

“When she has the ball then she just lifts all the others and things happen,” said Byrne.

“Luckily we’ve got people around her in the attacking third now that can also do the job as well.”

“The combination with her and the attacking players is very good.”

LaBonta’s performance did not go unrecognised by the fans either who named her the

However despite the persistent attacking prowess from the Wanderers scores remained locked until Rosie Sutton capitalised on a free kick deflection late in the second half.

In a situation similar to the Newcastle clash it was a scoreline not indicative of the number of chances the red and black managed to culminate.

Byrne is confident leading into next week’s clash against Brisbane that his side will be able to better prepare and produce a stronger result.

“We’ve played two teams now it’s been their first game, so its been quite difficult to see what formation we can play or what style we can play,” he said.

“It will be different this time around because we’ll have some footage to actually look at.”

This win was a particularly symbolic return for Western Sydney Wanderers who in Round 12 last year suffered an abysmal 10-2 loss to Adelaide United.

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!