Canberra moves into second with a win against Western Sydney Wanderers in Gosford.
Canberra United eased into second place in the Westfield W-League table with a commanding 4-1 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford. A brace from midfielder Kendall Fletcher led the way as the Wanderers failed to contain the aerial threat posed by the American.
The warning signs were there early on for the Wanderers as Jenna McCormick headed against the bar from a Veronica Perez corner early on before Meg McLaughlin powered another header just over from the same source moments later. It was third time lucky for United just before the quarter hour as Perez found her mark and Fletcher thumped home a bullet header.
United was clearly in the ascendancy at this stage but the Red & Blacks almost found a way back into the game as dynamic midfielder Keelin Winters was denied by an acrobatic tip over the bar from Canberra goalkeeper Melissa Maizels. It was one of a number of fine saves from the United stopper.
Ashleigh Sykes had almost doubled the visitors lead pouncing on a poor clearance from Jada Whyman in the Wanderers goal and skipping past a half-hearted attempt at a challenge, but her shot lacked sufficient power to trouble the retreating Wanderers custodian.
Despite Canberra enjoying the better of possession Wanderers were still in the match and they started the second half brightly with Winters firing over from the angle whilst Elizabeth Grey saw a snap-shot parried away by Maizels. That was to prove a decisive save as less than sixty seconds later United were two ahead.
Nicole Begg made a penetrating run down the left flank, carrying the ball a good fifty metres, and fed McLaughlin in space. The forward advanced and her low cross into the danger area was diverted past Whyman by the covering Wanderers defender Rachael Soutar.
By now United was in full flow and they almost made it three as a brilliant interchange between substitute Nickoletta Flannery and Sykes freed Perez in front of goal but the Mexican was unable to add the killer touch. Sykes then tested Whyman herself and the hard-running McCormick was inches away from connecting with a Begg cross.
Wanderers were still in the match though and, after Winters was denied by Maizels, got their goal. Linda O’Neill struck the base of the post and Erica Halloway rammed the rebound into the net. But United, far from deterred, responded immediately. Grace Gill had only been on the field a matter of moments and her first touch was a delicious free-kick that Fletcher met perfectly to arrow home her second header of the match.
That deflated the Wanderers and Sykes added the coup de grace when she collected a precise Perez reverse pass and slid her second of the season under Whyman to complete an excellent away performance.
Sunday 29th November 2015
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Erica Halloway 77’)
Canberra United 4 (Kendall Fletcher 14’, 79’, Rachael Soutar O.G. 53’, Ashleigh Sykes 83’)
(Central Coast Stadium, Gosford)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Jada WHYMAN, 3. Carmelina MOSCATO, 4. Chloe O’BRIEN, 6. Rachael SOUTAR, 8. Erica HALLOWAY (7. Helen PETINOS 82’), 9. Elizabeth GREY (16. Linda O’NEILL 61’), 10. Michelle CARNEY, 11. Keelin WINTERS, 12. Hannah BEARD (17. Alix ROBERTS 61’), 14. Demi KOULIZAKIS, 15. Ellie CARPENTER
Canberra United: 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK (9. Grace GILL 77’), 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN (19. Nickoletta FLANNERY 63’), 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Emma CHECKER (2. Catherine BROWN 82’), 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING
Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 6. Rachael SOUTAR, 15. Ellie CARPENTER (Western Sydney Wanderers), 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 15. Emma CHECKER (Canberra United)
Referee: Kelly JONES