Canberra bring down Jets


Michelle Heyman scored twice as Canberra United extended their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League season with a 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at a swelteringly hot McKellar Park on Saturday.

Michelle Heyman scored twice as Canberra United extended their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League season with a 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at a swelteringly hot McKellar Park on Saturday.

Canberra has now won their first five matches of the campaign.

Heyman grabbed a second-half brace of headers to add to Sally Shipard’s first-half opener as Canberra cruised to victory staying clear at the top of the table.

Following their club record four-game winning start to the season it was no surprise to see Canberra United boss Jitka Klimkova name the same starting eleven for the visit of the Jets.

Ace Westfield Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna recovered from a nasty looking head knock last weekend to take her place in Newcastle’s attacking third alongside young tyro Tara Andrews.

As expected the opening exchanges were based around the central midfield tussle with both teams fighting to gain the ascendancy and early chances at a premium.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 10 minutes was when Ashleigh Sykes, freed by a precise flicked pass from Caitlin Munoz, attempted to square a pass to Taryn Hemmings when a shot might have been the better option as the promising move broke down.

The Jets were the first to test the Westfield Matildas goalkeepers on show with Lydia Williams brilliantly tipping the ball over the bar as Stacey Day struck a firm shot from 25 metres that threatened to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

Heyman’s ambitious volley looped harmlessly into the arms of Jets custodian Melissa Barbieri less than a minute later.

In oppressive heat it was hardly surprising that the pace of the game slowed at times but it was the injection of speed from Hemmings that made the difference as United took the lead in the 29th minute from an unlikely source.

The US import raced clear on goal and looked certain to score only to be denied by a brilliant block from Barbieri.

The let-off for Newcastle was only momentary though as from the resultant corner Ellyse Perry cut the ball back to the edge of the penalty area where Sally Shipard met it with a fierce strike that flew through a crowd of players and past the unsighted Jets stopper for her first ever Canberra goal.

Caitlin Cooper almost doubled the home team’s lead on a couple of occasions 10 minutes before the interval.

Firstly the robust stopper saw a far post volley well blocked down low by Barbieri before the Newcastle goalkeeper was well positioned to catch a firm header after a spell of aerial ping-pong in the Jets area.

At the other end De Vanna tested the reflexes of Williams with the Canberra number one proving her match with a splendid diving save to her left as Canberra preserved their slender lead at the break.

It was the home team that started the brighter in the second stanza putting the Jets defence under increasing pressure with the United midfield dominating.

With Ashleigh Sykes and Hemmings causing havoc on the flanks United nearly went 2-0 up when Shipard, perhaps inspired by her first half goal, hammered a shot from 25 metres that the busy Barbieri did superbly well to push over the bar.

A second seemed ever more likely as it duly arrived in the 64th minute and, if the opening goal scorer was something of a surprise, this one certainly wasn’t.

A slick move and delightful pass from Perry released Shipard whose deep cross was met at the far post by Heyman with a firm downward header sent back across goal and into the far post for her sixth goal of the season.

The two-goal cushion gave United some breathing space at last and Jennifer Bisset revelled in the freedom offered her bustling around the park and creating a half-chance for Perry whose shot from the edge of the area came off the boot nicely but straight at Barbieri.

Newcastle were far from done at this stage though and got themselves back into the match with a beautifully created goal 13 minutes from time.

Some classy approach work by Gemma Pearce, evading a trio of challenges, resulted in a cross that was met by Gema Simon who curled a cracker over Williams and into the net off the far post.

United’s response was immediate and stunning.

A swift break saw Ashleigh Sykes release Perry and her near-post cross was diverted by a glancing header from Heyman that snuck into the far corner for a high-quality goal to put Canberra 3-1 ahead with 11 minutes to play.

That third goal killed off the hopes of the Jets as they visibly looked deflated with Canberra coasting through the final 10 minutes to cement their lead at the top of the league.

Canberra United 3 (Sally Shipard 29, Michelle Heyman 64, 80)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Gema Simon 77)
Attendance: 887 @ McKellar Park, Belconnen