The Westfield Matildas have ended the international tri series with two wins from their two matches after defeating host nation New Zealand 3-2 at Bill McKinlay Park in Auckland on Thursday evening.
The Westfield Matildas stormed out of the blocks and were 3-0 up at half time before the Football Ferns clawed their way back to set up an tense finale.
The narrow victory follows Tuesday’s impressive 2-1 result against DPR Korea, giving Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic and the squad an indication that they are on the right track in the lead up to June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Defender Steph Catley was a notable absentee against the Football Ferns after she copped a knock to the ankle against DPR Korea but goalkeeper Casey Dumont and midfielder Amy Harrison both made their Westfield Matildas debuts.
For the most part across the two games, Stajcic was generally pleased with what he saw but believes it was only a glimpse of what his squad’s potential.
“We had seven or eight really good chances in the first half which was pleasing to see but we came back to the field in the second half and let them back in,” Stajcic said.
“We tried out a lot of players on this tour and they did really well, there is a lot of attacking ability in the team and the good part for us is that we’re just starting and we know we can get a lot better in every aspect of the game.
“We have a good platform and good foundation to build from and the main thing for me is that there’s still so much room for improvement meaning the next few months are crucial.”
A stunning long range strike from Emily van Egmond inside the first ten minutes opened the scoring and moments later it was 2-0 when Caitlin Foord provided a deft flick to find Michelle Heyman who provided a clinical finish.
The Westfield Matildas continued to threaten and were rewarded with a third goal before half time, Asian Women’s Player of the Year Katrina Gorry threading the ball through for Foord who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
Forced onto the back foot in the opening 45 minutes, the Football Ferns responded strongly as Sarah Gregorius struck twice to swing the momentum.
But having made three substitutions, the Westfield Matildas managed to stem the tide and late in injury time 16 year old Alex Chidiac became the third debutant as she came on for one of Australia’s most experienced campaigners Lisa De Vanna who has 92 caps to her name.
The squad will return home tomorrow (Friday) before regrouping for another training camp starting in Canberra on Monday as preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Canada continues.
See all of the Westfield Matildas’ games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 live on SBS ONE.
Football Ferns 2 (Gregorius x 2)
Westfield Matildas 3 (van Egmond, Heyman, Foord)
@ Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland
Westfield Matildas starting line-up: Casey Dumont (gk) (Brianna Davey (gk)), Hayley Raso, Clare Polkinghorne, Danielle Brogan, Elise Kellond-Knight, Tersa Polias, Emily van Egmond (Aivi Luik), Katrina Gorry (Alanna Kennedy), Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord (Amy Harrison), Michelle Heyman (Kyah Simon)
Substitutes not used: Alex Chidiac, Kim Carroll, Ashleigh Sykes, Larissa Crummer, Servet Uzunlar, Hayley Crawford
The Westfield Matildas are heading to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. To buy tickets to watch the girls in action click here.
For travel package information on the GREEN & GOLD ARMY Family, Friends and Fans tour click here.