An Allira Toby double and one of the fastest goals in Westfield W-League history has handed Brisbane Roar the perfect start to the new campaign with a 3-1 victory against Sydney FC.
Katrina Gorry stunned the home crowd with a goal inside the opening 20 seconds before Allira Toby struck either side of the break to secure three points on the road for the Roar.
Head Coach Mel Andreatta was thrilled to get the new campaign off on a positive note and was pleased with her side's performance across the park.
"I'm proud of the girls and how well they've come together and executed a plan that we have been working towards all pre-season," Andreatta said.
"We know Sydney are renowned for their ability in the front third. Today our defenders did really well and we had a bit of luck as well."
Brisbane's starting side featured three debutants in Americans Celeste Boureille and Carson Pickett alongside Hong Kong International striker Wai Ki Cheung, who all impressed for the visitors.
The debutant tally rose to five by full-time with 16-year-old Hollie Palmer and Lucinda Pullar coming off the bench in the second-half.
Gorry’s strike which hit the back of the net after 17 seconds was the second-fastest goal in the last two Westfield W-League seasons, only beaten by Caitlin Doeglas’ nine-second strike for Perth Glory last campaign.
In her first Westfield W-League game, Cheung's inch-perfect ball from the left wing found its way to Allira Toby in the area who bundled the ball over the line to extend Brisbane's advantage in the shadows of half-time.
The Roar dominated across the park in the first-half, and despite being tested by the Sky Blues in the second-half, manage to complete a confidence-boosting win.
Brisbane could just about have put the game to bed early in the second-half had it not been for a goal-line deflection from a close-range shot from Boureille which flew inches wide of the post.
The Sky Blues set up a tense final 10 minutes when Emily Sonnett netted from the spot but Toby was quick to silence the home fans again with a perfectly-placed header sealing the deal late in the second-half.
"I didn't know too much about it [the goal]. I just jumped and hope for the best and thankfully it paid off for me," Toby said.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Katrina Gorry's strike for the first goal came after just 17 seconds was one of the fastest in Westfield W-League history.
- The Roar did the bulk of the attacking during the first-half with Katrina Gorry, Wai Ki Cheung, Celeste Boureille and Hayley Raso all firing attempts at the Sky Blues' goal.
- It wasn't until the 53rd minute that goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was tested, but she was more than up to the challenge with an acrobatic save from an Amy Harrison free-kick.
- Allira Toby snuffed out late hope for the hosts with a terrific header four minutes after the Sky Blues cut the deficit in half.
Brisbane Roar – Gorry 1’ – 0-1
Allira Toby snatches the ball on the right wing before squaring to Abbey Lloyd who lays off to Katrina Gorry on the edge of the area who fires home, hitting the roof of the net with a powerful striker with her right foot.
Brisbane Roar – Toby 37' – 0-2
Wai Ki Cheung finds space down the left and places a terrific cross into the area where the ball is bundled over the line by Allira Toby.
Sydney FC – Sonnett 80' – 1-2
Summer O'Brien picks up a yellow card for a high boot in the area and the referee points to the spot. Emily Sonnett finishes high to the right from the spot.
Brisbane Roar – Toby 84' – 1-3
Natalie Tathem curls a cross in from the right wing and Toby outjumps her Sky Blues opposition, rising high and looping a header in under the crossbar.
Westfield W-League 2017/18 Hyundai A-League 2017/18: Round 1 – Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Friday, 27 October
Sydney FC 1 (Sonnett 80' pen
Brisbane Roar 3 (Gorry 1’, Toby 37', 84')