Goals to Emily van Egmond and Sam Kerr have struck in added time to lift the Matildas to a 2-1 friendly win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in Townsville.
The Matildas were heading for their first loss to the Football Ferns since 1994 on Friday night, trailing 1-0 at the end of the regulation 90 minutes despite dominating the contest.
Van Egmond got on the end of Ellie Carpenter’s cross to slam home the equaliser, before Kerr pounced on a loose ball from a corner kick on the edge of the six-yard box to head the Matildas to a dramatic win.
In the first of their two-game series, a wonderstrike by Anna Green in the 32nd minute was the difference until the final few minutes as the visitors made the most of their only real opportunity of the game.
And it came completely against the run of play. Green sliced across a half-volley from out wide on the left following Meikayla Moore’s long ball, rocketing into the top corner above the outstretched hands of Lydia Williams.
It was the Ferns’ only opportunity of the first half as the Matildas hounded Green’s left edge through Hayley Raso and Carpenter for the duration of the contest in front of 10,779 fans.
The returning Katrina Gorry was excellent in midfield, with her accuracy carving the Ferns’ defence apart all evening.
She combined well with Mary Fowler who had a stellar outing, with Ferns goalkeeper Victoria Esson keeping her side in front until the dying stages.
Australia enjoyed 71 per cent of the first-half possession, completed more than double the amount of passes and had 16 shots (six on target), but lacked clinical finishing.
They had three close chances in the opening 10 minutes, the best falling to experienced defender Clare Polkinghorne who’s glancing header was exceptionally saved off the line by Esson.
Gorry and Fowler’s interplay with the forwards was a standout as they attacked down the right.
Kerr and Kyah Simon had chances late in the opening half, but Kerr scuffed her shot wide from close range and Simon’s header was blocked by teammate van Egmond.