Canberra travels to Adelaide this Friday for their final regular match of the season.
Canberra United will be out to extend their club record winning sequence to eight victories in succession when they travel to meet Adelaide United at Adelaide Shores Football Centre on Friday evening. And, whilst Canberra are certain of a home semi-final, the match in South Australia presents the Lady Reds with an outside chance of making the top four themselves,
In order to achieve this feat Adelaide must beat Canberra and hope that Brisbane Roar slip up against Newcastle Jets in Queensland twenty-four hours later without Newcastle Jets over turning the two-goal advantage that the Lady Reds currently have over the Novocastrians. Any sort of positive result for the Roar would, however, make any Adelaide achievement moot.
For Canberra, who mathematically secured their home semi-final against Sydney FC following the 3-0 success over the Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park, the main focus will be on sustaining the momentum built up over the past seven successes and will approach the encounter with as much thorough preparation and planning as is the norm for the reigning champions.
There is hope for the Lady Reds despite Canberra’s impressive form as it was the team from Adelaide that inflicted one of only three league defeats on their Capital guests during the greens triumphant march to a second Westfield W-League Grand Final win last season. That 3-2 win at McKellar Park in mid-October 2014 was revenge for Canberra’s narrow 1-0 success at the Adelaide Shores venue earlier in the campaign, the win coming courtesy of a goal just past the hour mark from Stephanie Ochs.
Closer in time, Adelaide provided the opposition at McKellar Park in Round 9 where goals from Michelle Heyman (2), Jenna McCormick and a late penalty from Veronica Perez gave Canberra a 4-0 win, their biggest of the season to date. Heyman sat out last week’s win over Western Sydney Wanderers but could be back for this one, lining up alongside top scorer Ashleigh Sykes who became just the second player in Canberra history to score more than six goals in a season when she bagged the third goal in the win over the Red & Black on Sunday taking her tally to seven.
The 2015 winners also recorded an eighth clean sheet in eleven games in that match with only Wanderers’ Erica Halloway breaching the defence in 723 minutes of football since Canberra was defeated by Melbourne City in Gosford all the way back in Round 4 in early November.
As such Canberra will be favourites to continue their winning ways. But, only a fool would underestimate Jamie Harnwell and his team and Canberra will no doubt be in for another tough examination ahead of their semi-final showdown with Sydney FC.
Adelaide United v Canberra United
Friday 15th January 2016
Adelaide Shore Football Centre
Kick-Off: 19:00 (local), 19:30 (AEDT)
Canberra United Squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Emma KETE, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Tegan RIDING. 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING, 19. Nickoletta FLANERRY, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Georgia BORIC
Unavailable: 15. Emma CHECKER (knee – season)