Taylor Ray returns in Sydney’s derby redemption

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Following a 12-month injury layoff due to back-to-back ACL injuries, Sydney FC midfielder Taylor Ray has starred in her team’s victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.

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The 18-year-old could have returned in a part-time role a few weeks ago but said she wanted to be 100 per cent on her return.

Not only did the youngster have to deal with physical injury, she had to overcome mental trauma to get where she is now.

“I went through a stage of depression,” she said.

“I just had to try and stay positive.

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“To have the staff but more importantly the players alongside me was amazing.”

A win over the cross-town rivals felt a little better than a normal victory according to Ray.

She admits the team were out for redemption from the heavy defeat at the hands of the Wanderers earlier in the season.

“I think it was a bit of revenge,” she said.

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“We came into this game not as cocky and knew we had to fight for it.”

Sydney coach Ante Juric was full of praise for Ray.

“Taylor was outstanding,” he said.

“I wanted to play her earlier but she wanted to make sure she had the 12 months to make sure she’s fine.

“She’s one of the smartest footballers in the team so I knew she’d fit in straight away.”

Juric said the team has been improving since their derby defeat.

“At the end of the (first derby) game I actually apologised to the girls,” he said.

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“It was my fault because I didn’t tinker with certain things.

“Today we probably had the right personnel to match up.”

Western Sydney have now lost three out of four matches but coach Dean Heffernan insists the wheels have not fallen off.

“The girls put in as much effort as they can which is what they always do,” he said.

Heffernan indicated his disappointment in the match being played at Cromer Park, a synthetic pitch.

“We saw one girl get injured and three or four cramping,” he said.

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“I spoke with the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) during the week and spoke to both clubs asking why this game is on synthetic?

“We never see an A-League team play on synthetic so that part leaves a bit of a bad taste in our mouths.”

The result makes for an interesting reading as Sydney leapfrog Western Sydney on the ladder.

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Jordan Warren
Football mad, Bachelor of Journalism student at UOW. Liverpool to win the league. Covering Sydney FC in the A-League and W-League for 2019-20.