Matildas come from behind for series clean sweep

The Matildas were forced to come from behind to defeat New Zealand 4-2 in the third and final match of their series today on the Sunshine Coast.

The Matildas were forced to come from behind to defeat New Zealand 4-2 in the third and final match of their series today on the Sunshine Coast.

In a match marred by high winds, the visitors held a 2-1 half time advantage, however a second half double from long-serving skipper Cheryl Salisbury helped ensure Australia claim a clean sweep of the series after earlier 2-0 and 2-1 wins for the FIFA Women's World Cup quarter finalists.

The win also extended Australia's remarkable winning streak against the Kiwis to 14 matches dating back to 1994.

AFC Women's Player of the Year nominee Collette McCallum opened the scoring in just the ninth minute scoring direct from an inswinging corner that deceived the goalkeeper.

New Zealand equalised just four minutes later through Merissa Smith, before taking a shock lead seconds prior to half time through captain Hayley Moorewood.

Australia restored parity 13 minutes into the second period, and this time it was the home skipper getting her name on the scoresheet, with Salisbury finishing with confidence from the penalty spot after a handball.

The Matildas however had to wait until five minutes from full time to regain the lead against the spirited New Zealanders with Salisbury heading in a McCallum corner.

The dose was repeated in injury time, this time Clare Polkinghorne heading in her maiden goal for the Matildas from a Heather Garriock corner.

"The conditions made today extremely difficult to play good football with extreme winds, and also quite a firm pitch, so it certainly wasn't a pretty match," said coach Tom Sermanni.

"On the plus side we managed to score four goals against a very spirited New Zealand team, and held our discipline throughout even when we fell behind.

"The series was very beneficial giving us some quality time on the pitch together, and I also had the opportunity to blood some younger players at international level."

The Matildas are preparing for the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup which will be held from May 28 - June 8, 2008, in a venue yet to be decided.

Match Details:

Australia 4 (Collette McCallum 9', Cheryl Salisbury 58' pen/85', Clare Polkinghorne 91') New Zealand 2 (Merissa Smith 13', Hayley Moorwood 46'+)

Matildas line-up: Melissa Barbieri (Lydia Williams h/t); Clare Polkinghorne, Cheryl Salisbury, Sally Shipard (Kim Carroll h/t), Karla Reuter (Ellen Beaumont h/t), Heather Garriock, Collette McCallum, Joanne Burgess (Amy Chapman 58'), Caitlin Munoz (Tameka Butt 70'), Sarah Walsh, Kate Gill (Victoria Balomenos 87') Subs not used: Elise Kellond-Knight, Amber Neilson, Renee Rollason, Unavailable: Lyndsay Glohe, Lisa De Vanna

Cautions: Munoz 41'

New Zealand: Jenny Bindon (GK), Ria Percival, Abby Erceg, Maia Jackman, Ali Riley, Merissa Smith (Wendi Henderson 75), Hayley Moorwood (Captain), Emily McColl, Kirsty Yallop (Simone Ferrara 45), Renee Leota (Annalie Longo 80), Emma Kete. Substitutes not used: Rachel Howard (RGK), Hannah Bromley.

Fixtures: Australia v New Zealand 2-0 Saturday 1 March

Australia v New Zealand 2-1 Monday 3 March

Australia v New Zealand 4-2 Wednesday 5 March