It was a bright start for Australia as high pressure up the park saw them put the hosts under pressure early. Brittany Whitfield found the net in the first minute only for it to be ruled out for offside but the breathrough soon came in the 3rd minute. Neat midfield combinations saw Nicola Bolger's flick put Linda O'neill into space and the 19 year old slotted it past the Vietnam keeper Tran Thi Kim's legs for the opening goal of the tournament.
However celebrations were barely completed before the Vietnamese hit back swiftly with Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt leveling the score. A corner from the right found Vu Thi Nhung whose driving strike rattled the underside of the cross bar and Nguyệt was on hand to head home the rebound from close range beating Young Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey.
Level on the scoreboard, the two sides traded midfield possession but it was Vietnam who was to take the lead close to half time as Phạm Hoàng Quỳnh added a second to see the home side lead 2 - 1 going into the break.
Davey was called into action again two minutes later when she turned Nguyệt's strike around the post and then again parried away Tran Thi Thu Thao goalward bound effort.
Vietnam continued to press their advantage and finally found a second in the shadows of the half time break. Erika Elze's headed clearance dropped to edge of the box and Phan Thi Trang. Her return strike had enough of a deflection to finally beat out Davey and give the home side a 2 - 1 half time lead.
Down at the break, Jeff Hopkins called on his experienced heads with Teigen Allen and Emily Van Egmond called into action. However, the task was made that much more difficult just after the restart when Nguyệt scored her second goal of the match just inside the box.
But it wasn't long before Van Egmond, who is currently playing in Denmark, took control of the midfield feeding the runs of winger Ashley Brown and striker Emily Gielnik.
The continual pressure finally told and just on the hour mark the Young Matildas pulled a goal back. Substitute Ashley Brown's pass hit a Vietnamese defender and into the path of Gielnik and she found the corner of the net.
Two minutes it was all square as the Brown/Gielnik combination bore fruit again with the former's left sided cross finding the head of Gielnik whose looping flicked header found the net.
The bright Bolger had a chance minutes later to give Australia the win but she was denied the Vietnamese custodian. However, 10 minutes later the salvage job was done with Gielnik’s third goal. This time it was Whitfield the supplier as she advanced down the right, played in Gielnik with the red-hot striker doing the rest.
While pleased with the result, Westfield Young Matildas head coach Jeff Hopkins also acknowledged that there were lessons to be learned.
"I was not very happy with the performance, the way we went about things. But we're known for team spirit, never say die, and it showed because we were really under the pump at 3-1 down so all credit to the girls," said Hopkins.
"Today was a real test for us and maybe an eye-opener for us to understand really what we're up against. I think today will do us the world of good. It will get the team really focused on what we have to do and how difficult it is to win games. We are a much better side than we showed today and I think you'll see that."
"Emily, we're quite lucky to have her, and also Tara Andrews, the two players that give us great attacking options through the middle, both handy with the ball at their feet, both blessed with a lot of pace and both good finishers," he added.
The Westfield Young Matildas will play DPR Korea in the second of five FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualification matches.
Live match updates and behind the scenes stills and footage will be available via Girls FC Facebook www.facebook.com/girlsfc and Twitter
Listen to what Emily Gielnik had to say about the match on All Night Appetite
Westfield Young Matildas v Vietnam
2012 FIFA Youth World Cup Qualifiers
Australia 4 (Linda O’NEILL 4’, Emily GIELNIK 60’/62’/73’)
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Thong Nhat stadium, Vietnam
Westfield Young Matildas line-up: Brianna DAVEY (gk), Stephanie CATLEY, Rebekah STOTT, Erika ELZE (20. Ashley BROWN 45’), Vedrana POPOVIC, Kahlia HOGG (10. Emily VAN-EGMOND 45’) , Nicola BOLGER, Linda O’NEILL, Michaela HATZIRODOS (15. Teigen ALLEN 43’), Emily GIELNIK, Brittany WHITFIELD
Yellow cards: Nicola BOLGER 57’
Red cards: Nil