Brush wins it late for Canberra United

Canberra United 2-1 Sydney FC

By Ryan Miller-Woods (11/2/23)

Above: Canberra United celebrate their dramatic win. Photo: Canberra United

The last time that Canberra United was victorious against Sydney FC let alone scored against the Sky Blues was 2nd December 2018. Today, the Capital City side pulled off a 2-1 win at McKellar Park thanks to goals by Michelle Heyman and Ellie Brush, who struck a late winner against her former club.

Within the first minute, it was Sydney FC who were very close to opening. Madison Haley provided a brilliant pass from outside the box for Rachel Lowe in the box whose attempt at goal was spectacularly stopped by Chloe Lincoln.

In the fourth minute of the match, Heyman controlled a Grace Jale pass, made a little run towards the box and then had shot that went past Sydney FC goalkeeper Jada Whyman and into the back of the net for the opening goal of the match. After not having registered a goal against Sydney FC in over nine hours of football in the A-League Women, it was pretty much the perfect start for United.

In the 23rd minute, Jale made a great run just before the halfway line as she drove herself forward which amounted to a half volley that was saved by Whyman. Jale had really been at the forefront of most of Canberra’s chances at that point of the match and arguably looked like United’s most dangerous player. She had been getting herself into positions and overall being paramount to a lot of Canberra’s best buildup play.

Sydney responded rapidly afterwards as Cortnee Vine crossed the ball to Charlie Rule on the outside of the box. Her control on the chest set up a volley that was saved by Lincoln.

Late in the first half, Madison Haley laid off a great through ball to Vine who then had a shot towards goal that went over the bar. Hayley Taylor-Young had been attempting to block Vine’s chance in the box and appeared to have sustained an injury in the process. After a short delay to proceedings, she was substituted off for Emma Ilijoski.

Less than 10 minutes into the second period, Sydney levelled. Lincoln’s pass to Ellie Brush was intercepted by a charging Rola Badawiya. She was able to take full advantage of the mistake on the left side of the six-yard box to put the ball into the back of the net for her first goal in the A-League Women.

Sydney continued to press. Vine made a great run into the box. Lincoln rescued her side with a strong save. Not long afterwards, there was another strong opportunity as Vine pulled a great cross into the box with the ball finding Princess Ibini whose header from close range went over the bar.

Late in the game, with a draw looking likely, Grace Maher’s corner found Brush in the box whose first-time header went into the back of the net for Canberra’s winning goal. It was the former Sydney FC player’s second goal of the season in her 140th match in the A-League Women.

For Canberra, this result and overall performance will have really boosted their finals ambitions. The win not only puts them up into fifth position on the A-League Women’s ladder but with Melbourne Victory’s draw against Brisbane Roar today, Canberra are now only five points behind with a game in hand.

Sydney still have two games in hand. It wasn’t their day today.

Teams: CANBERRA UNITED (3-5-2): Lincoln, Murray, Hughes, Brush, Grove, Maher, Jale, Taylor-Young, Milivojevic, Flannery, Heyman. Substitutes: Richards, Taranto, Ilijoski, Middleton, Gett.

Scorers: Heyman 4’, Brush 87’.

SYDNEY FC (4-3-3): Whyman, Mclean, Fenton, Hunter, Lowe, Haley, Vine, Tobin, Rule, Ibini, Hollman. Substitutes: Offer (GK), Stanic-Floody, Lemon, de la Harpe, Badawiya.

Scorers: Badawiya 53’.

Referee: Kelly Jones.

Attendance: 943.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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