Lowe strike earns Sydney FC another ALW win

Sydney FC remain on course for a third straight A-League Women premiership, avoiding a banana skin in Auckland with a 1-0 defeat of Wellington.

After a nervy first half, Rachel Lowe's second-half strike won it for the Sky Blues.

Lowe scored just 98 seconds after coming into the match as a half-time substitute.

The clash between last year's premiers and wooden spooners was surprisingly tight throughout, decided by a goal-mouth scramble.

On 47 minutes, Wellington's defence couldn't deal with a corner from Mackenzie Hawkesby, who produced a number of smart set-pieces.

The Nix had three chances to clear but instead Sarah Hunter headed the ball Lowe's way, who turned and thrashed home.

Sydney captain Natalie Tobin lauded the "super-sub" Lowe, but was disparaging of her team's showing.

"It definitely was not one of our best performances ... we felt very tired," Tobin said.

The Sky Blues were worthy winners at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday, the first A-League Women's match in Auckland, which drew 1182 fans.

Ante Juric's side had more shots, more possession and were unlucky not to add to their tally in the second half.

Cortnee Vine, back from Matildas duty which included a stunning goal against Spain, was unlucky not to win a penalty early when Marisa van der Meer tugged her back in the box.

Before the break, Jada Whyman passed her toughest test of the afternoon, diving to her right to deny van der Meer's header.

Juric's half-time switch-up produced dividends, and the Sky Blues looked to kick on.

Edwards produced a sharp diving save to prevent Lowe doubling up on 78 minutes, and the Nix keeper was soon airborne again to deny Vine's curling effort.

The tight margin kept Wellington in it until the dying stages and Paige Satchell had a chance to nick a point in injury time.

Released clear from a throw in, she shot from a tight angle rather than cut back to Emma Rolston, and was foiled by Whyman before time ran out.

The loss means the Nix are now out of the finals race.

After another shocking season, Natalie Lawrence's side are five points adrift of second-last Newcastle.

"It's still a tough one to take. We've become 1-0 specialists," Lawrence said after the Nix's fourth 1-0 result of the season, all losses.

"The season is not done for us. We keep going right to the end."

There were positives for the Nix, with Claudia Cicco energetic at right-back and able to contain Vine, and Mackenzie Barry also solid at the back.