THE Matildas began their final preparations for next month's Women's World Cup in Germany by cruising to a 3-0 win over New Zealand in their first of two international friendlies.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni fielded a partly experimental line-up for the match at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford today ahead of the team’s second outing against the Football Ferns on Sunday at 3pm.
Teenage debutant Caitlin Foord commenced her international career in sensational fashion with a well crafted individual effort on the 10 minute mark.
The 16-year-old Year 11 Illawarra Sports High student, one of two debutants along with Sydney FC teammate Catherine Cannuli, converted from 10 yards with a composed finish to become one of the youngest ever goal scorers for the Westfield Matildas.
The Westfield Matildas midfield trio of Emily Van Egmond, Kylie Ledbrook and Aivi Luik dominated for large periods and the young debutant Foord was dangerous down the right flank whenever in possession.
While the game became a tug-of-war between the two sides for much of the second half, Sermanni’s substitutions breathed life into his side with Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr adding an effervescent edge to Australia’s attacks.
And five minutes after Simon’s arrival the Sydney FC striker scored with a sensational long-range strike on 79 minutes to double the Westfield Matildas' advantage.
The Westfield W-League's leading goal scorer and Player of the Year launched an unstoppable 30-yard effort into the top corner of the net.
Fellow substitute Kerr struck the post a few moments later and Leena Khamis then did likewise against a tiring New Zealand defence.
The match was the first for the Westfield Matildas since the recent knee injury to key forward Kate Gill which will force the reigning AFC Women's Player of the Year to miss Germany.
Striker Khamis filled the void and capped a hard-working performance with a goal six minutes from time after latching onto a perfect Van Egmond pass.
The Westfield Matildas have now beaten the Football Ferns 3-nil in their past three meetings and will return to the training field tomorrow morning to prepare for their second match against the New Zealanders on Sunday.
“I was delighted with the performance today,” said Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni.
“When you consider that we’ve had no real match practice before today and New Zealand are coming off the back of four games (at the Cyprus Cup in March) to come out and perform this well is very pleasing.
“We had pretty much four debutants tonight in the side in Catherine Cannuli, Caitlin Foord, and Laura Alleway and Emily Van Egmond, who have only played a few minutes each at international level, all four players stood the test, and for Caitlin Foord to score such an outstanding goal on debut is just fantastic.
“You can’t really pick fault with the performance today, the team worked exceptionally well and the three goals were very well taken.
Next match: Sunday, May 15, Bluetongue Stadium, 3.00pm kick-off. Tickets on sale via Ticketek.com.au. Match broadcast Live and Exclusive on ABC1.
Westfield Matildas 3 (Caitlin FOORD 10’, Kyah SIMON 79’, Leena KHAMIS 85’)
New Zealand 0
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Jacqui Melksham
Assistant referees: Sarah Ho and Allyson Flynn
Fourth official: Airlie Keen
Westfield Matildas line-up:18. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2. Ellyse PERRY, 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 10. Kylie Ledbrook, 19. Leena KHAMIS, 20.Catherine CANNULI (17.Kyah SIMON 74’), 23.Kim CARROLL (6. Servet UZUNLAR 67’), 26. Laura ALLEWAY, 27. Aivi LUIK, 29.Caitlin FOORD (22.Sam KERR 79’), 30. Emily VAN EGMOND
Substitutes not used: 1. Melissa BARBIERI, 14. Collette MCCALLUM, 15.Sally SHIPARD, 16.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 24.Tameka BUTT, 25.Casey DUMONT
New Zealand line-up:1. Jenny BINDON (gk),2. Ria PERCIVAL (13.Rosie WHITE 66’), 3. Anna GREEN,5. Abby ERCEG, 6. Rebecca SMITH (c),8. Hayley MOORWOOD (19. Olivia CHANCE 84’), 9. Amber HEARN ( 10.Sarah GREGORIUS 90’+2), 11. Kirsty YALLOP (18. Katie BOWEN 46’), 12.Betsy HASSETT, 16. Hannah WALL (4.Katie HOYLE 46’), 17. Hannah WILKINSON (15.Emma KETE 66’)
Substitutes not used:, 7. Ali RILEY, 14.Sarah MCLAUGHLIN, 20. Aroon CLANSEY (gk), 21. Hannah BROMLEY
Yellow cards:Hannah WALL, Anna GREEN