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Westfield W-League: DiBernardo scores brace in debut

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Vanessa DiBernardo scored a brace this weekend in her debut for Perth. (Photo: Westfield W-League)

The Westfield W-League continued this weekend, with the league’s fifth round of fixtures taking place across Australia. Here’s how the matches played out:

Newcastle Jets 0-0 Canberra United
In week five action, Newcastle Jets hosted Canberra United on Saturday and both defenses prevailed in a 0-0 stalemate. Australian international and former Chicago Red Star goalkeeper Lydia Williams notched the shutout for Canberra, her first and the team’s second of the season, while Jets netminder Hannah Southwell, an Australian youth international, posted her third shutout of the season. Megan Oyster and Caprice Dydasco, both American imports from the Washington Spirit, were starters for the Jets, with Dydasco playing the entire match, as did Canberra’s Kendall Fletcher (Seattle Reign), Ellie Brush (Houston), Michelle Heyman (Western New York) and Veronica Perez (Mexico) for Canberra. Newcastle now has five points in seventh place, with Canberra a point behind in eighth.

Melbourne City 2-0 Adelaide United
In a top of the table clash that seemed nigh impossible before the season started, undefeated expansion side Melbourne City defeated second place Adelaide United 2-0 on Saturday in their first home match ever. Australian international midfielder Larissa Crummer, who is just 19 years of age, scored her league-leading sixth goal of the season, after scoring only twice in 37 previous W-League games with Brisbane and Sydney FC. Welsh international Jess Fishlock scored the second goal late in the match. Her Seattle Reign teammate and Scottish international Kim Little played 90 minutes for City while NWSL loanees Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York) and Sarah Killion (Sky Blue FC) and American goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage played the full match for United. With the win, expansion side Melbourne City stayed perfect on five wins from five games (15 points), while Adelaide fell from the unbeaten ranks. The Reds are still having a landmark season, as they have never made the playoffs in their seven seasons or won more than three games in a season, twice finishing with no wins (2009-10 and 2010/11). They have two wins, one loss and one tie and remain in second place on seven points, though now tied with Perth and Western Sydney, who both won this weekend.

Perth Glory 2-0 Brisbane Roar
Brisbane Roar entered their home match with Perth Glory on six points and tied for third on Sunday. Perth, last year’s Premiership winners and Grand Final runners-up, were desperately trying to turn their season around, sitting on four points and in seventh place on goal difference. U.S. youth international and Chicago Red Stars loanee Vanessa DiBernardo signed this week with the western Australian side and scored in her first eight minutes with the team and again in the 88th minute, the same number of tallies that her teammates had scored over four games. The win saw Perth jump from seventh to joint second with Adelaide and Western Sydney.

Australian internationals Caitlin Foord and Samantha Kerr and American import Nikki Stanton (all with Sky Blue FC) started for the Glory while Haley Kopmeyer (Seattle) and Claire Polkinghorne (Portland) started for Brisbane. Kerr was subbed off in the 22nd minute after a non-contact injury.

Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 Melbourne Victory
The Western Sydney Wanderers entertained bottom side Melbourne Victory (zero points and ninth place) on Sunday and came away with a 3-1 win on goals by Seattle Reign loanee Keelin Winters (her second goal of the season), Michelle Carney and an own goal, while Laura Spironovic replied for Victory, her second of the season and only Melbourne’s third goal of the campaign. Western Sydney jumped from sixth place to joint second with the win while the very young Victory side remains rooted to the bottom of the table and, unless they pull off an unlikely string of wins, can almost write off their season.

Sydney FC, now lying joint fifth on six points with Brisbane, had the week off.

Next week, Adelaide United entertains Newcastle, Melbourne City is home to Brisbane, and Sydney FC hosts Canberra United, all of which are on Saturday, November 21.

Notes: Brisbane Roar announced that it will play two games this season on the Gold Coast in Broadbeach, along with an upcoming game in Redcliff after playing earlier this season in Redland City. This is a strong sign that the Queensland side and the league wants to take the top tier women’s league beyond the major cities of the country, into regional towns with strong club teams. Brisbane Roar interim chief executive David Pourre said: “The W-League is one of the most engaging and accessible competitions in the country. Playing games at other venues allows fans to get even closer. We have a responsibility to grow women’s football and we want young women and girls to come along and watch our elite women in action.”


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