The 15-Year-Old Who Saved The Matildas
The headlines say the Matildas drew 1-1 with England overnight. Here's what really happened.
The real story is the sizzling performance of 15-year-old Aussie Mary Fowler, and the fact that the Matildas were extremely lucky in this, the second match of their European tour.
Let's talk about the good luck first.
While the sixth-ranked Matildas equalised late against their third-ranked hosts, England were the better team and had more chances. Indeed, the Lionesses -- cool team name -- were extremely unlucky not to be awarded another two goals.
First there was the moment when the ball clearly went over the line yet Australian keeper Mackenzie Arnold was ruled to have kept the ball in play.
Then there was the incident when England scored but the movement was ruled offside -- even though, as this image shows, the England attackers were in perfectly good position when the ball was passed their way.
The Matildas escaped with a late equaliser to Claire Polkinghorne.
But the real story of the game for the visitors was the form of Mary Fowler, a 15-year-old from Cairns who has an Irish father and a Papua New Guinean mother.
It was Fowler who provided the energy for Australia's late comeback, a contribution recognised by Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.
"I thought she was fantastic," he told the Matildas website.
"The other night when she came on against France I thought she had a good impact but it was minimal, but tonight I think she had a really good impact.
"Her work-rate off the ball was fantastic... but her ability to find space, to pick up the ball and find that half a yard to get a shot away is something I haven’t seen before.
"As long as she can keep improving and developing her game, there’s no doubt she’s going to be a big threat for us in the coming years."
We think we'll be hearing more about Mary Fowler for years to come.
The Matildas next play Chile in a two-match series here in Australia on November 10 and 13, with games in western Sydney and Newcastle.