Above: A battle for possession at Viking Park yesterday. Photo: Anthony Caffery Photography via Canberra United.
Canberra United 3-0 Newcastle Jets
By Ben Gilby (26/2/22)
Canberra United continued their fine run of results in the final weeks of the season by sweeping Newcastle Jets aside in wet conditions in the national capital.
Eleven minutes were on the clock when Canberra hit the front. Lauren Keir’s corner on the left was originally headed away by Sophie Harding. Possession was recycled back via Jets’ Bethany Gordon to Keir who returned the ball back into the mix for Michelle Heyman.
The league’s all-time record goalscorer managed to extricate herself from the close attentions of Cassidy Davis and lay off for Allira Toby to fire home from close range.
Jets had a half-chance to reply within three minutes when Sasha Grove lost possession to Lauren Allan who hit a long-range effort that lacked the power needed to bother Chloe Lincoln in the Canberra goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, another Keir corner from the left led to Canberra doubling their lead. It came in high into the mix. Ally Haran got up highest to nod across the box towards Heyman who flicked a header into the net at the left-hand post.
There was still time for things to get even worse for the Jets as they were swamped by a Canberra high press in stoppage time when trying to play out from the back. It was Heyman once more with the finish as she robbed Tiana Jaber of the ball, rode off an attempted challenge from Kirsty Fenton, and slotted the ball calmly past Claire Coehlo for her sixth goal of the season.
Jets came out after the break and claimed the first chance of the second half on 50 minutes. Liz Eddy hooked a ball through on the half volley to Ash Brodigan, who beat Emma Ilijoski in a footrace, but as Lincoln advanced out of goal the forward put her shot well wide of the far post.
Ten minutes into the half, Ilijoski was given too much space on the left to advance before finding Toby inside. The former Sydney FC star was unmarked and able to hit an effort from almost 30 yards which narrowly cleared Coelho’s crossbar.
Shortly afterwards, Coehlo’s clearance was nodded back from where it came from by Chelsee Washington who found fellow substitute Margot Robinne who advanced before lofting an inch-perfect ball into the path of Caspers whose shot was smothered by the Newcastle keeper.
Canberra were pushing hard for a fourth with Washington being determination personified to persist with her challenge on Eddy, eventually succeeding to get away and win a corner. Heyman was also looking for her hat-trick, and with Jets still affording Canberra too much space, the 61-cap Matilda was able to escape down the left and cut into the box where were effort at the near post was repelled by Coelho’s foot.
After waiting for so long to pick up their first win of the campaign, Canberra have now won two of their last three, recording seven points and scoring ten goals in the process. The Viking Park faithful may well be contemplating a far different ending to the season had those wins started racking up a few weeks earlier.
Teams: CANBERRA UNITED (4-3-3): Lincoln, Taylor-Young, Haran, Keir, Ilijoski, Middleton, Maher, Hughes, Toby, Heyman, Grove. Substitutes: Caspers, Esposito (GK), Robinne, Vidmar, Washington.
Scorers: Toby 11′, Heyman 29′, 45+1′.
NEWCASTLE JETS (4-3-3): Coelho, Brewer, Fenton, Davis, Eddy, Gordon, Johnson, Brodigan, House, Harding. Substitutes: Allan, Gooch, Magus (GK), Morley.
Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.