Wagga soccer sensation Jada Whyman has returned from the AFF Women’s Championships in Indonesia with a silver medal after her under 20s Australia side fell to a red-hot Thailand in the final.
The Young Matildas produced a string a of thumping victories throughout the tournament in Indonesia, opening their account with a 7-0 win over Malaysia before rolling Timor Leste 9-0 in their second game.
The Aussies then racked up an astonishing 12 goals in their third pool game against Cambodia with goalkeeper Whyman again keeping a clean sheet.
The Western Sydney Wanderers star was later challenged in the Young Matildas’ final pool game against Thailand, who handed the girls in gold a 4-2 reality check.
The loss condemned the Aussies to a semi final date with Pool B winners Vietnam and an early exit loomed after Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung drew first blood for the Vietnamese.
However, the Young Matildas rallied with aplomb and dominated their opponents in sweltering conditions to run out 4-2 victors after goals to Alex Chidiac (two), Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Courtney Nevin.
I am very proud of all the girls’ efforts, not just tonight, but across the entire tournament.Young Matildas coach Leah Blayney after the final loss
The two-goal win set up a rematch with Thailand and the Aussies got off to a flyer in the big dance, bagging the first goal through Mary Fowler to hold a deserving 1-0 lead at half time.
Fowler slotted her second goal in the 58th minute to double the Young Matildas’ advantage, but momentum began to shift in Thailand’s favour after they pegged one back less that two minutes later.
The scores were suddenly level in the 70th minute when Thailand scored their second banged and the Young Matildas found themselves trailing three minutes later after Rattikan Thongsombut scored the eventual match-winner.
Young Matildas coach Leah Blayney told media she noticed improvements in the final.
“We certainly approached the match with a fearless mentality and dominated for long periods. I am very proud of all the girls’ efforts, not just tonight, but across the entire tournament,” Blayney said.