Mary Fowler takes down Mackenzie Arnold in clash of Matildas teammates before Olympics

Alanna Kennedy and Mary Fowler are a step closer to winning the Women's Super League title after Manchester City thumped West Ham 5-0.

Matildas duo Mary Fowler and Alanna Kennedy have inched closer to claiming the Women's Super League title after they helped their English club side Manchester City put five past Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold in a 5-0 drubbing of West Ham. The pair each played the full 90 minutes in their side's win, as City moved three points clear of rivals Chelsea.

City remarkably netted their first goal after just 25 seconds and from there it was one-way traffic. The Manchester side then scored their second in just the fourth minute before Fowler played an instrumental role in the lead-up to the third goal, darting in from the right wing to switch the play. The 21-year-old then played a pivotal part in City's fourth after putting the ball on a plate for Laura Blindkilde Brown to score after a well-timed run in behind.

Pictured Mary Fowler left and Mackenzie Arnold right
Alanna Kennedy and Mary Fowler are a step closer to winning the Women's Super League title after Manchester City thumped Mackenzie Arnold's West Ham 5-0. Image: Getty

The match marked the fifth consecutive start for Fowler who had struggled to gain minutes earlier in the season and City coach Gareth Taylor sang her praises after full-time. "She’s a top player, a top person to work with,” Taylor said after the 5-0 win.

"As well as all her quality, she’s one of the best finishers I’ve seen and we’re still waiting for her to unleash with goals. The biggest compliment I can pay is she’s really reliable with and without the ball. She works so hard for the team defensively. She’s reliable in possession and we need that... She’s reliable with the ball, she looks after the ball in one-on-one situations. She’s a unique kind of person and unique player really.


"She’s very calm, very level-headed and doesn’t get too excited about praise or too down in the low moments. That’s a really good way of being. We’ve given her a platform to play.

"She feels more comfortable now and we’re seeing good things from her." With three league games left to play City sit top the table on 49 points, three points ahead of Chelsea who have a game in hand, and six ahead of third-placed Arsenal.

Caitlin Foord shines in Sam Kerr's absence ahead of Paris Olympics

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson believes superstar attacker Caitlin Foord is only now starting to get the recognition she deserves after a brilliant display in the Matildas' 2-0 win over hard-pressing Mexico earlier this month. The Arsenal dynamo teed up Hayley Raso to open the scoring in the ninth minute before netting a wonderful curling effort herself in the 52nd in a promising display ahead of the Olympics.

Foord has played second fiddle to injured skipper Sam Kerr throughout her time in the Matildas fold. Kerr is of course unavailable to the Matildas for their Olympic campaign after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament while training with Chelsea in January.

The brutal blow saw Kerr ruled out of the rest of the Women's Super League season in England and leaves Gustavsson without his talismanic leader for Australia's Olympics campaign, which begins in July. The Matildas will rely heavily on Foord at the upcoming Games, with Australia drawn in the group of death with the USA, Germany and Zambia in Group B.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 01: Caitlin Foord of the Matildas and Sam Kerr of the Matildas celebrate a goal during the AFC Women's Asian Olympic Qualifier match between Australia Matildas and Chinese Taipei at HBF Park on November 01, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)
Caitlin Foord has stepped up for the Matildas in Sam Kerr's absence.

Paris will mark the fifth Olympic Games for the Matildas, having featured in 2000, 2004, 2016 and 2020 with fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics their best-ever finish. They qualified for Paris after defeating Uzbekistan 13-0 on aggregate earlier this year but their hopes of a maiden Olympic medal took a hit following the brutal group stage draw.

The Matildas have only ever defeated the USA once in 33 meetings. Their last meeting was at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medal playoff where the USA won 4-3.

But Gustavsson believes Foord can lead the Matildas to a medal at Paris. "She's starting to slowly get the credits that she deserves," Gustavsson said after Australia's 2-0 win over Mexico.

"The one thing that she has that some smart and technical players don't have is the commitment to defend. Look at her slide tackles, look at her off-ball work. Like she is committed like no one else - she likes to compete, and she is a competitor.

"Combine those two: being technical and competitive - it's rare, especially at the top, top level. And then look at her playing week in, week out at one of the best clubs in the world - I definitely think she's up there with the best ones."

with AAP