Matildas cruise past Finland

The Westfield Matildas have scored a comprehensive 3-0 win over Finland in their final group match of the Cyprus Cup to finish second in the group behind England.

Kate Gill, Ashleigh Sykes and Emily van Egmond all found the back of the net in what Head Coach Alen Stajcic described as a ‘much improved performance’ from the Westfield Matildas’ previous outing, which saw them suffer defeat of a similar score line to England.

“We probably created 10 or 12 chances and probably should have scored more than three so our finishing and converting is something we need to keep working on, but overall it was much improved compared to the other day,” Stajcic said.

“We knew Finland play a similar way to how England play, so we went back to the training ground after the loss to England and worked on the things we spoke about and needed to get right, so to see us learn from that and take it into this game was pleasing.”

Also pleasing for Stajcic was to see the cohesiveness in the squad as he continues to tinker and experiment, fielding a different starting line up to the ones that took the field in the opening two matches of the tournament.

“It’s a part of our culture that everyone knows each other’s roles and it’s great to see players without many caps coming in and doing well,” Stajcic said.

“There are definitely good signs in the team and it shows how much depth we’ve got.”

Determined to take the game up to Finland from the outset, Caitlin Foord had an effort cleared off the line in the 9th minute before Kyah Simon unleashed a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.

The Westfield Matildas’ sustained pressure eventually saw the deadlock broken in the 28th minute when a fine build up from Simon and Foord created an opening for Kate Gill who made no mistake slotting the ball past the Finland keeper to take her impressive scoring tally to 41 goals from 85 international matches.

Elise Kellond-Knight was enjoying her starting role at left back as she caused Finland all kinds of headaches when she pushed forward but the Westfield Matildas could not add to their dominance on the scoreboard going into half time.

Gill went close to scoring her second as her header skimmed the outside of the post just after the hour mark in what would be her last action of the night as she was replaced by fellow striker Michelle Heyman.

But it was another substitute that would make an immediate impact as Sykes struck with her first touch within a minute of coming on as she slotted the ball home from a Lisa De Vanna assist.

Well in control of the contest, De Vanna then won the Westfield Matildas a penalty in the final minute of regulation time which van Egmond, who wore the captain’s armband for the match, duly converted to cap off a dominant victory.

The result means the Westfield Matildas will meet Czech Republic in the final day of competition on Wednesday 11 March 2015 at Tasos Marko, Paralimni (Kick-Off 2pm local time, 11pm AEDT).

Match Details

Westfield Matildas 3 (Gill 28’, Sykes 78’, van Egmond 90’ (pen))

Finland 0

@ GSZ Larnaca, Cyprus

Westfield Matildas starting line-up: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Servet Uzunlar (Hayley Raso 52’), Laura Alleway, Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight (Gema Simon 52’), Teresa Polias, Nicola Bolger (Collette McCallum 79’), Emily van-Egmond, Kyah Simon (Ashleigh Sykes 77’), Kate Gill (Michelle Heyman 63’), Caitlin Foord (Lisa De Vanna 63’). Substitutes not used: Brianna Davey (gk), Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Katrina Gorry, Larissa Crummer