W-League: Sky Blues record routine win

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Sydney FC recorded a routine 2-0 opening day win over Adelaide United at Lambert Park as on-loan American striker Jasmyne Spencer scored a goal in each half on debut.

It was in many ways a typical first game of the season for both sides. Sydney was dominant for most of the first half, but was largely frustrated in its efforts to break through as the Adelaide defence easily dealt with the home side’s attempts to focus play through the middle, and otherwise happy to break up the game with fouls in the midfield.

The Sydney women’s approach improved markedly after they started to work the ball out wide, with left back Samantha Johnson pushing high to support the attack and Amy Harrison finding space behind the Adelaide defenders on the right.

Indeed, it was Harrison who gave the game its first real opportunity – a ball over the top creating a one-on-one for the winger, which was smothered well by a charging Melissa Barbieri.

With half time approaching, the floodlights flickered into life and Sydney made a breakthrough, sending a dangerous ball into the box from the left side for Jasmyne Spencer.

The American forward, perhaps aware of the danger that the biggest cheer in the first half might’ve been reserved for a ball cleared over the stand and onto the road outside the stadium, rose well to beat two Adelaide defenders to the header and score her first goal for the Sky Blues.

The second half began brightly for Adelaide; a cross from Emily Condon deflected across Casey Dumont in the Sydney goal and onto the post, but there was little else from the away side for the remainder of the half.

Sydney pushed wide as they had done in the first period and Spencer slammed home her second of the game after she met a low cross in a crowded penalty area to double Sydney’s advantage.

Eventually, it became clear that the match had been won, and Sydney enjoyed the vast majority of the last few spells of possession to close out the half.

Melissa Barbieri was in impressive form, and the scoreline could’ve blown out even further had she not made a series of difficult saves midway through the second half: another one-on-one first and an almost point-blank drive in the following minutes.

The referee waved away strong shouts from the bench for a Sydney penalty and Nicola Bolger hit the crossbar with a drive from outside the box before coach Alen Stajcic slowed the tempo with a double substitution in midfield.

“Sydney is sky blue!” shouted a small but dedicated gathering of Sydney FC supporters in the bleachers, with rivals Western Sydney Wanderers falling to a rampant Canberra United across the city, the chant’s claim rung true.

Sydney will gladly claim the points and look forward to a clash with Brisbane Roar next weekend while Adelaide will need to gather its bearings and look for improvement against a high-flying Canberra United.

Sydney FC squad: Dumont (GK), Polias (c), Spencer, Uzunlar, Bolger, Harrison, Rollason, Tobin, Logarzo, Allen, Johnson

Subs: Harris (RGK), Ralston, Price, Makrillos

Adelaide United squad: Barbieri (GK), Steer, Pedersen, Woods, Hodgson, Alonso, McCormick, Holtham, Powell, Campagnale, Moore (c)

Subs: Willacy (RGK), Holmes, Condon, Borg

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