Mackenzie Hawkesby pulled all the strings as Sydney FC continued their derby dominance over the Western Sydney Wanderers with a 2-0 A-League Women win following some contentious refereeing calls.
Hawkesby grabbed the Sky Blues’ opener from the penalty spot in the 30th minute at Allianz Stadium on Saturday before setting up Matildas winger Cortnee Vine for their second four minutes later.
The victory moves Sydney up to second on the ALW table, behind Melbourne City on goal difference.
But the Wanderers were left scratching their heads that the penalty from which Hawkesby opened the scoring was even awarded.
There were no clear signs of a handball or a push in the box when referee Rebecca Durcau blew up.
“It was a critical point of the game,” Wanderers boss Kat Smith told AAP.
“We weren’t at our best but to have decisions like that go against you, it is a bit of a sucker punch.”
Adding insult to injury was Sydney goalkeeper Jada Whyman not being penalised for a lunging tackle on Wanderers forward Amy Harrison in her own box in the second half.
“For studs up and contact in the box, for me that’s as good as pulling a shirt at a corner,” Smith said.
The questionable decisions will be of no comfort to the Wanderers as their wait for an ALW win stretched into a 14th game.
Sydney are undefeated in their past seven derby meetings and it was thanks to some flashes of brilliance from Hawkesby that they got over the line.
Hawkesby was the heartbeat of all Sydney did right as they got off to a menacing start, with Wanderers keeper Jordyn Bloomer called into action early.
Without American import Madison Haley due to a niggling injury, they were still able to stretch the Wanderers defence through Vine, Princess Ibini and Remy Siemsen, who started up front for the first time this season.
Siemsen limped off with a twisted knee on the hour mark, but head coach Ante Juric confident her injury wasn’t serious.
In sapping heat, Sydney got the breakthrough when Durcau pointed to the spot with half an hour gone, their lead doubling when Hawkesby played a precise ball over the top for Vine to latch onto and finish past Bloomer.
“We’re still up there and we haven’t even hit our straps, not even close,” Juric said.
“It was one of our better games, especially in that first half with the heat.
“There were a lot of pleasing signs.We kept the ball a lot better to take the factor of the heat out.”
Siemsen’s exit seemed to lift the Wanderers and they threatened to jag one back.
Substitute Cushla Rule hit the woodwork with one effort, but that was the closest they got to breaking a goalless run which now stretches to four games.
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