Gosford Bound For Wanderers Challenge

Canberra heads to Gosford this week to tackle Western Sydney Wanderers.

Canberra United return to Central Coast Stadium in Gosford for the second time this season as they meet Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 7 of the Westfield W-League. United’s away trip to the Red & Blacks is, once again, being shown live on Fox Sports and ABC TV, hence the Western Sydney home match being switched to the home of the Central Coast Mariners.

The greens will be hoping for better luck than their maiden visit to the Gosford facility as they were felled 2-4 by table-topping Melbourne City in Round 4, a match in which Ashleigh Sykes and Michelle Heyman scored the goals for Raeanne Dower’s team. Since that fixture United have drawn 0-0 with Newcastle Jets and claimed a priceless one-goal success over Sydney FC last weekend.

Nicole Begg’s second goal of the season, turning home an inviting cross from substitute Nickoletta Flannery, who made a huge impact upon her introduction into the forward line, put third on the ladder in what is a hugely contested pack chasing finals football. Indeed, only two points separate Adelaide United (second, 8 points) and Sydney FC (eighth, 6 points) with Canberra one of three teams locked on seven. 

With Melbourne City all but away with the Premiers plate, ten points clear and unbeaten in six matches, the rest of the field ae left playing catch-up and Canberra’s assignment against fourth placed Western Sydney Wanderers looks like being another tight battle. 

Canberra has not lost out to the Wanderers in five previous Westfield W-League encounters since their first meeting in November 2012. That match at Campbelltown Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw with Munoz netting for United whilst in the return at McKellar Park, Canberra cruised to a 5-0 win with goals scored by Hayley Raso, Michelle Heyman, Munoz, Kristie Mewis and a Wanderers own goal.

The teams clashed once in Season 6 with United claiming the spoils at McKellar with a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Heyman and Stephanie Ochs. Last season a double from Heyman, added to by strikes from Ellie Brush and Munoz helped United to a 4-1 away win over the Wanderers at Campbelltown Stadium with the return at McKellar ending all-square at 1-1 following Brush’s 90th minute equaliser. 

The Wanderers have started the new campaign reasonably well and have recorded two wins and a draw from five matches. They began by leading Adelaide United 2-0 through goals from Keelin Winters and former Canberra star Caitlin Cooper before the Lady Reds recovered to restore parity and earn a point. Back-to-back home losses to Brisbane Roar (0-3) and Sydney FC (1-2) followed but they have got back onto the winning trail in the past three weeks.

Goals from Winters, Michelle Carney and an own goal gave the Wanderers a 3-1 home win over a struggling Melbourne Victory before a stoppage-time winner from Carmelina Moscarto gave Western Sydney a dramatic 2-1 win against Newcastle Jets. Chloe O’Brien having earlier equalised the Jets’ opener. 

United will be without their Matildas’ international trio of Munoz, Heyman and goalkeeper Lydia Williams with youngster Georgia Boric set to step up into the first team squad once more as understudy to Melissa Maizels. 

Both teams have realistic goals of making the top four and playing finals football and with Canberra boasting three home matches in succession at the conclusion of this fixture, Dower and her team will be out to do their best to return to the Capital with three more points and gain a good position heading into the closing weeks of the campaign. 

Western Sydney Wanderers v Canberra United
Sunday 29th November
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 14:00

Canberra United Squad 
2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 12. Emma KETE, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Tegan RIDING. 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING, 19. Nickoletta FLANERRY, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Georgia BORIC