Extra Time: Hat-trick hero Spencer thriving under the weight of expectation

Melbourne City striker Jasmyne Spencer could have been forgiven for not looking forward to facing her old club Sydney FC this past Saturday.

She certainly wasn't expecting to make history for the Westfield W-League’s most successful club by scoring both their and her first ever hat-trick.

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In fact, she still didn’t know that was the case until after the full-time whistle had been blown.

“I found out [that it was the club’s first W-League hat-trick] after when a few of the girls told me,” she told w-league.com.au. “It’s crazy given given how talented the roster has been over the last few years."

The 28-year-old American had endured a tough debut against her other previous Westfield W-League club, going down 2-0 to Canberra United in Round 1.

It was an abrupt realisation of what had been suggested by many - that City were not going to have it easy in becoming Champions for a fourth successive year.

An influx of stars to other rosters around the league and a depletion from City’s, due to injuries and departures, placed a lot of burden on their off-season arrivals.

Sydney FC were also rampant in Round 1, routing Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0, giving Spencer even more of a point to prove against her former employers.

But rather than wilt under the pressure to deliver, she thrived.

“It is my job as a striker to score goals. It’s not something that comes easily so on a personal level I’m really proud but as a team it was a really solid performance and we worked hard from back to front,” she added.

“On the field the expectation and standard is really high, as is the intensity in training sessions.

“What we took away from the game in Canberra was we had a lot of opportunities and we took away the positives and built on that.

“I think we’re going to get better as we’ve had to cope without a few players. It’s a great starting point, but we want to build on it.

“The team is absolutely hungry for more success. The season is still young and the table is tight so we’re aware of how competitive it is going to be this season.”

City’s next test is a rivalry closer to home, taking on their unbeaten rivals Melbourne Victory after the conclusion of the international break.

Again, Spencer has reason to be somewhat apprehensive of Derby day, having been part of Sydney FC’s first and only defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers back in 2014.

“That was not a happy one,” she recalls. “It was my first year at Sydney and I think that was the first time the Wanderers beat us. It was end-to-end, I scored to tie it up but they got the winner. 

“I try to block it out but it definitely motivates you as well and you try to learn from every experience.”

Victory will be hoping to dish out another Derby upset when Round 3 rolls around on Friday 16 November but, based on the evidence from Round 2, Spencer is not one for repeating bad experiences.