Record-breaking A-League goalscorer Hannah Wilkinson will be cheered on by Wellington Phoenix fans as she most likely holds the key to helping the Kiwis avoid the competition’s wooden spoon.
Wilkinson (29) will lead the line for Melbourne City against ninth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers when the teams meet in the last round on Sunday (2.05pm, NZT, March 6).
For bottom-placed Phoenix to avoid the wooden spoon in their debut season, they need Wilkinson’s City to beat WSN by a margin of five goals or more.
With Football Fern Wilkinson in the side, don’t rule it out.
She has scored 11 goals in 11 appearances for second-placed City, becoming the fastest player to reach 10 goals in the women’s A-League history.
In December, she scored five goals in a single game in the 5-1 derby victory over Melbourne Victory.
She’s currently second in the race for the A-League’s golden boot.
If she can get on another goalscoring streak against WSN on Saturday, she’ll probably hear the cheers from across the Tasman Sea …
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-off: 7.05pm (NZT)
Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis: ‘I’ve seen City do it before, maybe it’ll happen’
While the Phoenix wait for the result from Parramatta, head coach Gemma Lewis was ruing her side’s lost chance at avoiding the wooden spoon through their own efforts.
The Nix lost the final game of their inaugural season 3-1 to Perth Glory.
“I thought maybe they could do it with the adrenaline and the emotion of it being the last game, but they’ve given so much throughout the season that it didn’t really surprise me that they didn’t have anything left in the tank at that point,” she said after the match.
Grace Jale scored for the Phoenix with four minutes remaining, giving her one in each of her last four matches.
Who knows? Maybe that goal will prove decisive on Saturday evening when the maths are applied to the A-League table. And maybe, just maybe, the Phoenix side pulled together in little more than three weeks can look back at a promising first season.
As for Lewis, she hasn’t given up yet: “I’ve seen City do it before, maybe it’ll happen.”