Canberra United Through to Decider

Canberra United has progressed through to the Westfield W-League Grand Final after a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Energy Australia Stadium on Saturday evening.

Canberra United has progressed through to the Westfield W-League Grand Final after a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Energy Australia Stadium on Saturday evening.

The only goal coming through Kara Mowbray midway through the first half to extend their unbeaten streak to eight games as the side heads to the decider.

Nerves were evident in the first few minutes but it was the home side that had the first chance when Canberra could only clear the ball as far as Gema Simon who lined one up from 40 metres out and forced a save from Lydia Williams after only five minutes.

Two minutes later, Canberra had their own chance when Sasha McDonnell won the ball in the midfield to turn over possession before Amy Chapman played a ball over top of the Jets defence to Caitlin Munoz who couldn-t put her touch on target.

Canberra-s Ashleigh Sykes had an opportunity of her own to put the visitors in front when Munoz played a through ball to Sykes who pulled the trigger from a wide angle but couldn-t do any better.

The nerves were finally settled mid way through the first half when Kara Mowbray put the visitors in front on the 25th minute mark with a left foot strike far post finding the back of the net after Ashleigh Sykes cut the ball back.

Newcastle pressed looking for an equaliser which nearly came through the head of captain Joanne Peters who blazed her header just wide of Williams.

In nearly a repeat of the first goal, Canberra came close to doubling their lead when Sykes again made a dangerous run down the right hand side before cutting it back across the face of goal but McDonnell couldn-t redirect her touch on target.

With a 1-0 half time lead, Canberra United rolled their sleeves up and grinded out the next 45 minutes as Newcastle dominated the second half with wave after wave of attack in search for an equaliser.

Only minutes after the restart, Newcastle had the Canberra back line scrambling when Katie Gill found the ball below her in front of goal but the initial shot was blocked before the ball feel to the feet of Sanna Frostevall.

The Swedish import fired a shot on target but Williams was equal to the challenge palming the ball over the crossbar to maintain the lead.

The home side were continually frustrated by the Canberra defence with threat after threat averted and missed opportunities proving to be the Jets undoing.

Both Gill and Emily Van Egmond had golden opportunities to level the scores as time wore on but neither could hit the target with their chances as the 2889 in attendance crept closer to the edge of their seat as every minute past.

Despite all the pressure, it was Canberra who came the closest to finding the back of the net when the speedy Sykes beat the offside trap and found herself in paddocks of space with only the keeper to beat.

Logue quickly came off her line to cut down the angle forcing Sykes to rush her shot as it cannoned into the legs of the Newcastle custodian.

Newcastle-s inspirational player Cheryl Salisbury was introduced with ten minutes remaining and nearly had an instant impact when her first touch couldn-t beat Williams from an acute angle only second after taking to the field.

The last ten minutes were thrilling as the Jets continued to press for a late equaliser to push the game into extra time but with numbers behind the ball, Canberra defused any opportunities and cleared the ball where ever possible.

The final whistle couldn-t come soon enough for Canberra United but when it did there were sign of relief and jubilation as the visitors became the first team through to the 2008/09 Westfield W-League Grand Final.

“Reaching any Grand Final is great but in the inaugural year of the Westfield W-League is obviously something that no other team is going to be able to do apart for one other team,” head coach Robbie Hooker said.

“It-s a great feeling and it-s great for the club because it-s a new club.”

“Unlike a lot of the other clubs who have got Hyundai A-League clubs behind them, we had to start from scratch.”

“It-s a tremendous effort from the girls.”

“I-m really pleased for the girls, it-s going to be a great week [leading up to the Grand Final] for them and a great week for the club and all the fans that travelled up here today.”

In a bold move, Hooker started with Cian Maciejewski and Grace Gill on the bench despite the two players playing a significant role in the midfield for Canberra United this season.

“They came on and played their part and didn-t miss a beat,” Hooker said.

“I-ve had no complaints from Cian [Maciejewski] and I-ve had no complaints from Grace [Gill] and have shown me over the last day or two that they-re up to playing in this league and up to the challenges of playing in a professional team where you-re going to get left out.”

While Canberra held on long enough to secure the victory, Hooker was the first to admit that his side wasn-t as entertaining as we-ve come to expect from his side but praised the hard work of the team for the full 90 minutes.

“We spoke about these games being tight and not pretty, in terms of football I wasn-t happy with really how we played football.”

“I think we-re a lot better team than that but under the circumstances of playing away from home in a semi final against a parochial crowd and it-s a tight game.”

“Those things are expected and those things happen and if you can defend like that every week you only need to score one goal and we managed to do that.”

Canberra United-s grand final opponents will be determined tomorrow when the Queensland Roar host Sydney FC live on ABC1 at 4:00pm.

Newcastle Jets: 1. Alison LOGUE, 6. Amber NEILSON, 7. Gema SIMON, 8. Leia SMITH, 10. Joanne PETERS, 11. Stacey DAY, 12. Katie GILL, 14. Nicole JONES, 15. Emily VAN EGMOND, 16. Kirsyn PEARCE (5. Cheryl SALISBURY 80‘), 18. Rebecca SMITH, 19. Sanna FROSTEVALL

SUBS NOT USED: 2. Hannah BREWER, 9. Rhali DOBSON, 20. Gemma O-TOOLE (GK), 21. Taleah DOYLE

GOALS: Nil YELLOW CARDS: 5. Cheryl SALISBURY 86- RED CARDS: Nil

Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Rhian DAVIES (9. Grace GILL 83‘), 3. Amy CHAPMAN, 5. Sasha McDONNELL, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Rebecca KITING, 10. Hayley CRAWFORD, 12. Kara MOWBRAY, 13. Thea SLATYER, 14. Ashleigh SYKES

SUBS NOT USED: 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Maja BLASCH GOALS: 12. MOWBRAY 25- YELLOW CARDS: Nil RED CARDS: Nil

Referee: Sara HODSON Crowd: 2889