Sydney FC dominate Phoenix but fall short of history

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Sydney FC were all over Wellington Phoenix on Thursday leading 5-0 at half-time in their A-League Women clash. However, while a record night seemed on the cards, the Sky Blues were surprisingly unable to add to their tally.

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The first-half went exactly the way coach Ante Juric drew it up as his team put five goals past the Phoenix and captain Lily Alfeld. It wasn’t surprising Sydney came out firing after a scoreless outing against Western Sydney Wanderers on Monday but not many expected five goals in a half.

Wellington were sluggish, often leaving players unmarked in the box, but Sydney deserved to head into the break with a big lead. The Sky Blues got on the board thanks to a cracker from distance by Rachel Lowe, while slick passing and clinical finishing helped add to their lead.

At half-time, I personally started looking at the record books, certain that Sydney were going to bag at least 10. The record for the most goals in a match is actually already held by the Sky Blues. Back in 2011, they put on an absolute show, beating Perth Glory 11-0.

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In such good form and with Wellington struggling to even get the ball, a run at the record seemed the way to go. As a Sydney player and with the game already won, why wouldn’t you want to go down in history?

However, just 45 minutes later not only was there no broken record, even more surprisingly there was no change to the scoreline.

An improved second-half performance for Wellington and a slightly more quiet half for Sydney meant that both the record books and the score remained unchanged this time round. 

Now some could argue that Sydney were quite happy to park the bus and leave with all three points. But for anyone watching the game this didn’t seem to be the case as the Sky Blues remained in attack mode only to become less clinical in front of goal and this is what coach Juric noticed.

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“We played a perfect first half but I would have liked to have seen a full game performance,” he said.

“We always like to play hard no matter the scoreline, that’s our mentality. Credit to Wellington who came out better in the second-half but we also could have been better and that’s why the score stayed the same.” 

No Sydney fan or player will be disappointed with the match but chances to make history don’t come round too often. A great performance could have been a historical one if the side piled on a few more goals during the second 45.

As much as teams want to set records, there is also nothing worse than being the team on the other side while one is being set. This showed as the young Nix side put up a greatly improved defensive performance, helping them not be remembered in history for all the wrong reasons. 

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Coach Gemma Lewis described her side’s first-half efforts as “pretty soft, pretty passive, and pretty lethargic”, and due to this she explained that her half-time talk wasn’t very pleasant.  

“They needed to be held accountable during the half-time break and they knew it wasn’t good enough. Everyone was really disappointed but at least they came out in the second-half a little bit better,” she said after the match. 

Her mid-game chat seemed to work and despite the feeling and scoreline at half-time, this wasn’t the game that Wellington ended up on the wrong side of history. 

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However, history or not, the Sky Blues came away with another big win and remain undefeated after five games this season.

Despite not being on the opposite side of a recored breaking performance this time, it seems that Wellington may have to fight off the history books on more than one occasion during their first season if they continue their recent form.  

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda  

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Harry Bartle
Harry is a young Journalist based in Wellington. He will be covering the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021/22 season for the Football Sack and has a love hate relationship with Ulises Davila

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