Canberra United 4-2 Adelaide United
By Ryan Miller-Woods (4/3/23)
Above: Michelle Heyman (left) and Laura Hughes for Canberra United. Photo: @CanberraUnited twitter
Canberra United are really mounting a serious late-season charge for the Finals with a 4-2 victory against Adelaide United at McKellar Park.
Michelle Heyman continued her superb run of scoring following last week’s brace with a hat-trick today. Canberra’s other goal came from Grace Maher. The visitors had Katie Bowler and Maruschka Waldus on the scoresheet.
Canberra went ahead in the third minute when Grace Maher converted into the bottom left-hand corner.
The home side doubled their advantage when Maher’s long-range pass found Nicki Flannery outside the box who crossed the ball to Vesna Milivojevic. Her shot in the box slightly deflected off Waldus and into the path of a charging Michelle Heyman who directed it into the back of the net.
Nanako Sasaki had a decent chance of scoring for Adelaide but was not able to capitalize on the opportunity after the offside flag was raised.
Adelaide responded through Katie Bowler who scored with her first-time shot going over Keeley Richards and into the bottom left corner in the 20th minute.
Grace Jale started the move that resulted in Canberra’s third. Flannery’s cross from the edge of the box found Heyman who directed a charging header into the bottom left corner in the 30th minute for Heyman’s second within a 20 minute spell.
The scoring spree was not finished yet as within two minutes, Nanako Sasaki’s free kick found Waldus in the box who headed the ball into the bottom right corner.
Sasaki’s creativity continued in the second half. She launched a great pass to Hayward who flicked the ball into the air and then soon after had a shot towards goal that went over the bar in the 56th minute.
There was a coming together between Hannah Holgerson and Richards in the box in the 70th minute which brought a delay to the proceedings. Unfortunately, new signing Holgerson was visibly in tears after being helped to her feet on the pitch before being substituted off in the 72nd minute for Zoe Tolland.
A Canberra goal kick launched the next major opportunity with possession finally working its way to Flannery who was gifted a very good opportunity towards goal in the 73rd minute as her shot just sailed over the bar.
Jale provided an amazing through ball which found Heyman who ran onto the ball and into the box with her shot going past Grove into the bottom left corner to double Canberra’s advantage in the 76th minute.
For Heyman, her third goal of the match and her first hat trick this season brought her total amount of goals for the season to 12 and the competition had a new Golden Boot leader.
Adelaide came agonisingly close to grabbing a late consolation in the 88th minute as a cross by Isabel Hodgson found Dylan Holmes in the box whose header trickled towards the left post.
This victory for Canberra against Adelaide marks their fourth win in a row and most importantly for them, they are now tied on points with Melbourne Victory.
Adelaide showed glimmers of hope, but tt doesn’t get any easier for them. They are home to Perth Glory next round. Whilst Adelaide won the encounter between the two sides at the start of the campaign, both teams are in a very different place now.
Teams: CANBERRA UNITED (3-4-3): Richards, Murray, Ilijoski, Hughes, Maher, Jale, Taylor-Young, Faulknor, Milivojevic, Flannery, Heyman. Substitutes: Segavic, Taranto, Wu, Middleton Gett.
Scorers: Maher 4’, Heyman 11’, 30’, 76’.
ADELAIDE UNITED (4-3-3): Grove, E. Hodgson, McCormick, Waldus, Hayward, Holmes, Sasaki, Westland, Barbieri, Bowler, I. Hodgson. Substitutes: Farrow, Holgersen, Kontoutsikos, Tolland, Worts.
Scorers: Bowler 20’, Waldus 32’
Referee: Isabella Libri