United get off to a good start with 4-1 success.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Demi Koulizakis 89’) Canberra United 4 (Michelle Heyman 3’, 41’, Ellie Brush 57’, Caitlin Munoz 75’)
A new season and a convincing start to the Westfield W-League campaign as Canberra United brushed aside Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown with a thoroughly professional performance claiming a 4-1 win to kick-start their journey. Ahead within three minutes, United was simply a class apart from the Red & Blacks, routinely creating opportunities and showing a clinical edge in front of goal.
With only fifteen fit and available players from which to select it was hardly a surprise to see Head Coach Elisabeth Migchelsen’s first team selection for the year with the starting line-up containing more than a hint of familiarity. In fact there were also familiar faces in the Wanderers’ eleven as former goalkeeper Trudy Burke and defender Caitlin Cooper lined up for the West Sydney outfit against their former employers.
But it wasn’t long before Burke was picking the ball out of her net and the goal was in the main due to a sensational clearance from new United number 1 Chantel Jones. The US custodian, signed from Perth Glory as a replacement for the injured Lydia Williams, bludgeoned a long-range punt down field. The ball eluded the Wanderers’ covering defence and was collected by Ashleigh Sykes whose cross was turned into the net by Michelle Heyman.
Jones was the catalyst again, hammering a long kick down field that goal-machine Heyman controlled after the ball cleared the dithering Wanderers defence, racing away to coolly roll a finish past The advancing Burke. At 2-0 United was very much in the ascendancy and chances continued to come their way with Heyman, Stephanie Ochs and Sykes causing all manner of problems for the Wanderers back-four.
United lead by that Heyman brace at the interval and sealed the points twelve minutes into the second half with another razor-sharp piece of finishing. Winning a corner on the right hand side, Ochs delivered a perfect in-swinger which was met by the run of Ellie Brush who thumped a downward header, using the pace off the corner, past Burke and into the back of the net to the delight of the travelling support.
Three became four with quarter of an hour to play as another incisive United attack ended with a clinical finish. Sykes was again the provider, part of a player of the match performance according to the visiting coaching staff, burning off her marker with ease and rolling in a perfectly weighted square ball to Caitlin Munoz who rolled back the years with an imperious finish with the outside of the boot at the near post.
It should have been more for United but a lack of composure in front of goal cost them further opportunities to extend the advantage and they were denied a clean-sheet at the death as Wanderers substitute Demi Koulizakis struck a shot at goal that deflected heavily off Catherine Brown to leave Jones flat-footed and unable to prevent the consolation.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Trudy BURKE, 2. Caitlin COOPER, 3. Jessica SEAMAN, 19. Chloe 7O’BRIEN, 6. Rachael SOUTAR, 8. Grace HENRY (14. Demi KOULIZAKIS 66’), 9. Keelin WINTERS, 10. Michelle CARNEY, 13. Jordan BAKER (15. Rhianna POLLICINA 76’), 5. Helen PETINOS, 18. Tia GAVIN (11. Lorena BUGDEN 70’)
Substitutes not used: 22. Sham KHAMIS
Canberra United: 1. Chantel JONES, 2. Catherine BROWN, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ (3. Julia DE ANGELIS 80’), 7. Ellie BRUSH, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Lori LINDSEY (9. Grace GILL 50’), 18. Rebecca KITING, 22. Stephanie OCHS (17. Holly HOUSTON 66’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Melissa MAIZELS
Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 11. Michelle HEYMAN (Canberra United)
Referee: Rebecca DURCAU