First Grade |
Canberra United Academy 2 (Bella Barac 12’, Sasha Grove 38’) drew. Canberra FC 2 (Jamie Berkeley 6’, Mel Bunker 33’
By Jakob Gisik
The top of the table clash between Canberra United Academy and Canberra FC certainly lived up to expectations, as the two teams played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Hawker on Saturday evening.
The young Academy side matched it with their more experienced opponents for the full 90 minutes, twice coming from a goal down to secure a vital point from the encounter.
Canberra FC struck early after Jamie Berkeley soared in at the back post to volley home a well-directed free-kick from Krista Hagen.
But Heather Garriock’s side equalised shortly after, as Bella Barac produced a stunning free-kick that curled across the face of the wall and into the side netting.
Parity remained for the next 20 minutes, until a loose pass from an Academy defender fell to Mel Bunker, who fired a low, line drive into the bottom corner of the net to restore the visitors lead.
It lasted just five minutes however, as Sasha Grove intercepted an errant pass herself and coolly tapped the ball under Canberra FC’s goalkeeper Nat Vasta to level the scores going into the break.
The intensity elevated in the second-half, and was highlighted by a number of physical collisions between the two sides.
The biggest of which came in the 62nd minute, when Canberra FC defender Ivana Galic laid a heavy tackle on Hayley Taylor-Young, leaving the Academy striker a little worse for wear.
Annie Grove then received the first yellow card of the game after she collided with Bunker in midfield, with the latter moving gingerly after the challenge.
The match appeared as though it may peter out, until a flurry of opportunities in the final 10 minutes reignited the contest once more.
Barac came close to scoring her second with a free-kick that was not to dissimilar from her first, but her effort was well saved by Vasta in goals.
Canberra FC then had two huge chances to steal the match in stoppage time, but shots from both Brittany Palombi and Vanessa Ryan were denied by the woodwork.
Canberra United Academy 2 (Hill, Babic) drew. Canberra FC 2 (Panagiotopoulos, Langtry)
Canberra United Academy 2 (Riethmuller, Canavan) def. Canberra FC 0
Canberra United Academy 4 (Burridge, Jones (3)) def. Canberra FC 0
Contributed by Tony Choy
A clear sunny day welcomed both teams to play their best football. Alas neither side took up the offer and a scrappy first half left spectators bemused. Structure and ball movement were sadly lacking with the game descending into a physical arm wrestle for possession. Few clear scoring opportunities were created at either end and the score was a stagnant 0-0 when they went into the sheds at the end of the first half.
Now whatever the Academy coach said to his charges during the HT break certainly seemed to do the trick! It was like a new team had run out onto the field and the improvement in CUA’s level could not be denied.
Camped in Canberra FC’s half the pressure was applied until a firmly stuck shot by Tia Burridge was parried by the keeper only to fall at the feet of the follow up attack. That was all the invitation required for CUA to go 1-0 ahead. The Academy were relentless and a corner from the right side was turned nicely into goal to double the lead. Canberra FC tried to break the shackles and had their own chances to score, but it was the Academy who again found the back of the net a further twice more to run out convincing winners. Congratulations to Charlotte Jones who completed a hat-trick during a lively second half.