W-League finals still the goal for Western Sydney Wanderers

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Julie-Ann Russell affirms the Western Sydney Wanderers’ finals aspirations are still alive after a 1-0 win over Perth Glory.

The Wanderers entered the bottom-of-the-table clash with just one win to their name from their first seven matches, before Russell’s first ever W-League goal secured a much-needed victory that puts them just four points off a finals position.

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With four regular season matches left to play, Russell is confident the Red & Black can embark on a winning run and reach the top four.

“It’s definitely still in reach,” she said of the Wanderers’ finals pursuit.

“I feel like there’s an opportunity to go on a run now and with that win under our belts the vibe and mood around the club is much better. Even when we had those couple of losses everyone had been so resilient.

“I think that with this win we will keep moving forward and there’s definitely a massive opportunity for us to get to the finals.”

The last-placed Glory had very few opportunities on the night, but their defence was almost impenetrable.

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And despite having not won in five matches, the Wanderers found a way to get the job done, which made the result all the more vital according to Russell.

“It was so important that we got all three points,” she said.

“The last couple of weeks we had been improving and our performances had been good, but obviously football can be a cruel game.

“In the second half we had lots and lots of chances, but the football gods were against us; they just didn’t want us to score any more. It was important that we held Perth off and didn’t let them score.”

Russell netted the match-winning goal in the 45th minute, applying the finishing touch to captain Caitlin Cooper’s wonderful, driving run and through ball. It was a big moment for the Irish international, it being her first ever W-League goal.

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As the two most experienced players in a youthful side, Russell said it was important she and Cooper led the way to keep the Wanderers’ season alive.

“We really had to step up there, give more guidance and be more vocal,” she said.

“As more senior players I think it was vital that we made sure the younger players just kept going and kept their heads screwed on.

“I was delighted to get my first W-League goal, and for it to be the match winner it was extra special.

“Caitlin is really good at breaking the lines and running through the defence. The ball she slipped in for me was just perfect. It was really on a plate for me; I had to just finish it.”

The Wanderers’ run-in to the finals includes two meetings with reigning champions Melbourne City, and away games against Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United.

Feature Image Credit: Steve Christo

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Jye Campbell
Journalism student at Western Sydney. Love my football (#lazoumance) and rugby league (#pantherpride). Advocate for FIFA Career Modes. Covering Western Sydney Wanderers in both A-League and W-League for the 2020/21 season.

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