First Grade |
Monaro Panthers 0 def. by Canberra United Academy 4 (Hayley Taylor-Young 12’, 27’, Sasha Grove 40’, 81’)
By Jakob Gisik
The Monaro Panthers officially opened their refurbished Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening, but couldn’t mark the occasion with a win, falling 4-0 to the Canberra United Academy in front of a strong home crowd.
Dynamic duo Hayley Taylor-Young and Sasha Grove scored a brace apiece for the Academy, who also welcomed back midfielder Bella Barac from an ACL injury sustained during the 2018 season.
The match was an arm-wrestle in the opening 10 minutes, with both Taylor-Young and Monaro’s Chris Yip-Au trading opportunities to grab an early lead for their side.
But the Academy didn’t have to wait much longer to hit the scoreboard, as Taylor-Young volleyed home an Isabel Mulhall cross after finding herself totally unmarked inside the penalty area.
Taylor-Young could have doubled her tally in the 24th minute after she was played through on goal by Grove, but her close range shot was well seized by Monaro goalkeeper Liana Hall.
There was nothing Hall could do about Taylor-Young’s next effort though, as the Academy striker received the ball just inside the area before turning her defender and curling a left-footed strike into the top corner.
Grove extended the visitors lead to three shortly before the break, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner after being released on goal by a lovely long-range pass from Demi Nikias in midfield.
The second-half started much the same way as the first, with the home side tightening the screws on the Academy strikers.
Barac was brought on by Heather Garriock just past the hour mark and received a rousing ovation from her teammates and crowd.
Hall was kept busy in goals and was well supported by fullback Kaitlyn Joy, who blocked a 71st minute shot by Grove that looked destined for the bottom corner.
But Grove wouldn’t be denied a second time, scoring 10 minutes later after getting the slightest of touches on a Barac cross that trickled into the back of the net.
Monaro had one final chance to steal a late goal, as a strong effort from Alicia Meuronen out wide appeared to catch Academy goalkeeper Alex Hinson off guard, but the ball was denied by the crossbar.
The match petered out from there to end 4-0 in favour of the Academy, a result which sees them consolidate second spot on the ladder.
They’ll be looking to make it four Premier League wins in a row when they host Tuggeranong United next week, while it doesn’t get any easier for Monaro as they take on league leaders Canberra FC.
Monaro Panthers 1 def. by Canberra United Academy 7
Monaro Panthers 0 def. by Canberra United Academy 4
Contribute by Tony Choy
This match up was between 5th and 3rd on the ladder respectively, with the Academy having lost to this team in a pre-season game.
If as a consequence CUA had any nervousness coming into this contest it was not apparent during an impressive first half. The passing was accurate and crisp, with the midfield contesting the ball well. The attack whether using width or through the middle of the park was continually a threat and the overall ball movement was a joy to watch.
CUA’s dominance in controlling the first half of this game in the attacking two thirds translated into the defence only being infrequently tested with one shot on target.
On the flip side CUA had scored three excellent goals via good build up and well-struck finishing. By the end of the first 45 minutes CUA were three to the good.
The second half saw Monaro working itself back into the game with the Academy content to guard their lead with strategic positional changes.
Monaro came close to scoring on at least a couple of attempts while CUA rounded off their tally from a beautifully taken free kick just outside the penalty area from almost directly in front of goal.