Canberra United clinch top spot in Westfield W-League
Canberra United ensured a thrilling conclusion to the Westfield W-League regular season with a dramatic 2-1 win over Sydney FC to claim the premiership.
Canberra United ensured a thrilling conclusion to the Westfield W-League regular season with a dramatic 2-1 win over Sydney FC to claim top spot and win the premiership.
The scoreline and the intensity of the contest was a repeat of their most recent meeting a fortnight ago.
This time around Stephanie Ochs was the match-winner firing home a goal worthy of the occasion inside Casey Dumont's near-post on the hour mark.
Sydney had earlier drawn level as Sam Kerr showed typical athleticism in guiding a far-post header over Lydia Williams, profiting from Ellyse Perry's equally trademark cross.
The most contentious moment of the match came on 13 minutes with the referee awarding a spot-kick for an apparent off-the-ball tug on an attacker as Dumont cleanly fisted a cross to safety.
The ice-cool Caitlin Munoz neatly tucked away the penalty just as she did against the Sky Blues a few weeks back.
The match went from end to end throughout with both sets of players defying the hot conditions on Sydney United Sports Centre's artificial surface.
The home side were again up in arms soon after the penalty, with the Sky Blues' Emma Kete brought down by Catherine Brown on the edge of the penalty area with calls for a red card as the final defender waved away.
Perry then struck the outside of the post with a well-hit shot as the Sky Blues pushed hard for an immediate equaliser which Kerry duly delivered.
Half chances at either end were a common theme, notably several long range efforts from Canberra's Lori Lindsey and Michelle Heyman.
Sydney FC midfielder Nicola Bolger saw her effort from the edge of the penalty area narrowly clear the crossbar but then came Ochs' pivotal contribution concluded a stunning counter-attack and a wonderful Ashleigh Sykes run down the left.
Sydney pushed hard in the dying stages but Canberra retreated in numbers when not in position setting up their defence impressively.
Sydney FC will now host Melbourne Victory next Sunday at WIN Jubilee Oval in a repeat of last year's grand final, while Canberra United will welcome Brisbane Roar to the nation's capital on Saturday, with both matches kicking-off at 3pm.
Sydney FC 1 (Sam Kerr 24’)
Canberra United 2 (Caitlin Munoz 13’ pen, Stephanie Ochs 60’)
Sydney FC: Casey DUMONT (gk), Teresa POLIAS, Danielle BROGAN Renee ROLLASON 46’), Alesha CLIFFORD, Nicola BOLGER (Chloe LOGARZO 66’), Amy HARRISON, Caitlin FOORD, Ellyse PERRY, Emma KETE, Leena KHAMIS (Jodie TAYLOR 77’), Sam KERR
Substitutes – Sham KHAMIS (gk),
Cautions – None
Canberra United: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Catherine BROWN, Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, Kendall FLETCHER, Grace FIELD, Caitlin MUNOZ (Grace GILL 64’), Michelle HEYMAN, Nicole SYKES, Ashleigh SYKES (Meg McLAUGHLIN 87’), Lori LINDSEY (Jennifer BISSET 91’), Stephanie OCHS
Substitutes – Trudy BURKE (gk),
Cautions – Catherine Brown 16’, Jennifer Bisset 93’