Sunday Recap: History in Tarneit, a statement in Gosford and a new Liberty A-League leader

The Liberty A-League action concluded on Sunday, with four matches, including a Melbourne Derby and Western United’s homecoming.

The day got underway with a pair of fixtures at 2:00pm AEDT – the Melbourne Derby between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City ended 0-0 while defending champions Sydney FC defeated Wellington Phoenix 4-2.

SATURDAY RECAP: Highlights and key talking points from 5 fixtures incl. big Wanderers response

Central Coast Mariners then punched their ticket to the Liberty A-League finals series after thrashing Canberra United 4-1 at Industree Group Stadium before Newcastle Jets topped Western United 3-1 in first match in Tarneit.

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Melbourne Victory 0-0 Melbourne City – Home of the Matildas

MATCH REPORT: Honours even in the Melbourne Derby but Victory equal a record

The woodwork was rattled twice but neither side were able to break the deadlock in a goalless draw between Liberty A-League rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City at the Home of the Matildas.

In a first half short on clear-cut chances, it was Victory who came closest to breaking the deadlock but defender Jamilla Rankin’s powerful effort crashed back off the cross bar and away to safety on Sunday.

After looking dangerous in the first half, City forward Emina Ekic then hit the woodwork soon after half-time but neither side were able to land a knockout blow as it finished all square in Round 20.

The result leaves City third in the Liberty A-League ladder, while Victory are fifth, three points clear of Western Sydney Wanderers in sixth place.

With the draw, Victory are now nine matches unbeaten (W5 D4), equalling the club’s longest undefeated streak in the Liberty A-League from November 2013 to January 2014.

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Wellington Phoenix 2-4 Sydney FC – Porirua Park

MATCH REPORT: Matildas star’s masterclass fires in-form Sydney to crucial Liberty A-League victory

A double from Cortnee Vine has fired Sydney FC to the top of the Liberty A-League ladder as the Sky Blues defeated Wellington Phoenix 4-2 at Porirua Park, a result which leaves the Nix’s finals hopes hanging by a thread.

Matildas star Vine made it 1-0 in the 18th minute, lashing home a brilliant half-volley before an own goal from Tiana Jaber made it 2-0 to Sydney soon after half-time on Sunday.

The Sky Blues – now seven matches unbeaten – threatened to run away with it after that as Vine scored her second of the game with a good header from inside the box before Wellington launched a late comeback.

Two goals in eight minutes from substitute Isabel Cox and Marianna Speckmaier made it 3-2 before American defender Jordan Thompson calmed any Sydney nerves, firing home their fourth to seal an impressive win.

The result moves the Sky Blues to the top of the ladder and they will stay there if Western United fail to get a point against Newcastle Jets.

As for Wellington they sit 10th on the ladder, eight points outside the top six, and will have to win their remaining three games to have any chance of sealing a spot in the finals.

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Central Coast Mariners 4-1 Canberra United – Industree Group Stadium

MATCH REPORT: Clinched! Matildas star fuels finals-bound Mariners in comprehensive win over Canberra

A Rola Badawiya brace coupled with a classy display from Kyah Simon helped Central Coast Mariners thrash Canberra United 4-1 to secure finals football in their first season back in the Liberty A-League.

China striker Wurigumula opened the scoring after just four minutes in Gosford, where a crisp strike from Rola Badawiya made it 2-0 after six minutes on Sunday.

Having laid on both goals, Matildas forward Simon then got in on the act, converting from the spot to make it 3-0 before Badawiya put the result beyond any doubt prior to half-time.

Canberra did have their fair share of chances after the break and pulled one back late on through Nickoletta Flannery however the win had long since been secured by the home side.

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Western United 1-3 Newcastle Jets – Regional Football Facility

MATCH REPORT: Newcastle crash Western United’s homecoming party as historic theme continues

History was made in Tarneit but Newcastle Jets did not read the script as they spoiled the party after taking down Western United 3-1 in the Liberty A-League.

For the first time in their history, Western United played an A-Leagues fixture at the Regional Football Facility, where former head coach and current Philippines boss Mark Torcaso was in attendance as well as John Aloisi and the Isuzu UTE A-League side.

But the visiting Jets crashed the party on Sunday – Elizabeth Copus-Brown, Lauren Allan and Sarina Bolden ensuring seventh-placed Newcastle stayed within three points of the top six.

Western’s Aimee Medwin had cancelled out Copus-Brown’s opener Western in the 20th minute but Allan’s long-range stunner a minute later restored Newcastle’s lead before Philippines star Bolden put the game beyond doubt.

The result condemned Western to back-to-back defeat for the first time since March 2023 as they lost top spot to defending champions Sydney FC after Round 20.

It also ensured all four of the meetings between Western and Newcastle have been won by the team leading at half-time on the day, with the Jets 2-1 ahead on Sunday.

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