Canberra outclassed in Westfield W-League Decider

In a clinical display, the League Champions outclassed their visiting oppenents with composure on and off the ball proving the difference between the two sides.

In a clinical display, the League Champions outclassed their visiting oppenents with composure on and off the ball proving the difference between the two sides.

Signs were positive before the Grand Final even kick off with both key players Amy Chapman and Caitlin Munoz passing fitness tests but unfortunately for rising star Rebecca Kiting, her day was over before it started with a calf complaint.

It was a nervous start for Canberra United and it didn’t take long for the more experienced Roar to capitalise when Lana Harch gave the home side a one nil lead after only six minutes.

A lack of composure saw a dangerous ball by Ellen Beaumont from the left wing find Courtney Beutel at the back post, her initial header up over the hands of Canberra custodian Lydia Williams but struck the cross bar before Harch found the back of the net with the rebound after the ball fell to her feet.

Canberra began to play with a little more confidence but it was the basics that continued to elude the visitors as chances were few and far between in the first half.

It didn’t take long for the Roar to extend their lead when goal scorer, Harch, turned provider with the number ten neatly played the ball to the top of the eighteen yard box to Tameka Butt who was steaming in and found the back of the net when her first time shot deflected in off the far post.

The Roar nearly had a third only five minutes later when Beutel played a dangerous ball behind the defensive line for Harch to run on to but Williams was quick off her mark and pounced off the ball to snuff out any chance.

Two goals down, the visitors got a chance to regroup and have a breather when Queensland goalkeeper, Dumont, suffered a knock of the head after the keeper bravely rushed off her line to collect the ball but recieved impact from the boots of Canberra’s Sasha McDonnell and defender Clare Polkinghorne.

Canberra’s best chance of the half came in the four minutes of stoppage time before the break when a back pass from Polkinghorne put a dazed Dumont was put under pressure as Munoz chased down the loose pass but the Queensland custodian was equal to the challenge to clear the ball away in the nick of time.

With nothing to loose, Canberra changed their formation when Chapman was replaced at the break by the quick Ashleigh Sykes, choose to play three at the back and three upfront.

Ten minutes into the second half, Canberra finally found the back of the net through substitute Sykes but the goal was deemed offside when Mowbray’s first shot struck McDonnell on the way to goal who was deemed to be in an offside position before Sykes finished off a goal mouth scramble.

With the wind at their backs, Canberra continued to press for goal.

Mid way through the half, Harch nearly netter her second of the match when Karla Reuter took a quick free kick to find the striker all alone before she tried to chip Williams with her first touch.

In front of a record Westfield W-League crowd of 4554, Canberra couldn’t find their way through the solid Queensland backline as the home side continued to frustrate the visitors with the pressure and a lack of composure forcing mistake after mistake.

Unfortunately for Canberra, a few late opportunities couldn’t reduce the deficit as time wore down on the visitors title aspirations.

It was missed chances in the second half that head coach Robbie Hooker believes was the difference.

“I thought we had a chance to get back to 2-all,” Hooker said following the final whistle.

“We had a few chances in the second half, chances that if you’re going to get back to two-all or winning the game we need to take those.”

Canberra were looking to repeat their previous performances against the Roar which saw them notch a victory and a draw for two matches but the home side capitalised on uncharacteristic defensive errors to seal the victory.

“We didn’t really change anything that we’ve normally done in the last few weeks, a similar approach to the way we played them at home a couple weeks ago, but as I said, five minutes of poor defending has cost us the result here,” Hooker said.

“The two goals we gave them was at best sloppy defending but in games like this if you give away sloppy goals you’re going to be on the wrong end of the result.”

Despite the result, it’s hard not to be proud of the Canberra United performance this season as the darkhorses defied their critics to progress through to the decider.

“To be honest at the end of the day, it wasn’t our day today,” Hooker said.

“No excuses, I think Queensland were the better side today and that’s football.”

“At the start of the year if someone said “look I’ll give you a spot in the Grand Final”, you’d take it and be happy with that.”

Queensland Roar: 1. Casey DUMONT, 2. Kate MCSHEA (c), 3. Karla REUTER, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5. Brooke SPENCE, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 10. Lana HARCH (11. Ruth BLACKBURN 85′), 13. Tameka BUTT, 16. Lauren COLTHORPE, 18. Casey BEUTEL (17. Tashina ROMA 84′), 19. Ellen BEAUMONT (15. Stephanie LATHAM 75′)

SUBS NOT USED: 14 Vedrana POPOVIC, 20. Lara BOON (GK)

GOALS: 10. Lana MARCH 6′, 13. Tameka BUTT 26′

Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Rhian DAVIES (15. Nicole SYKES 80′), 3. Amy CHAPMAN (14. Ashleigh SYKES 46′), 5. Sasha McDONNELL, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH (c), 9. Grace GILL, 10. hayley CRAWFORD, 11. Cian MACIEJEWSKI, 12. Kara MOWBRAY, 13. Thea SLATYER

SUBS NOT USED: 17. Christine WALTERS, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Maja BLASCH (GK)


Referee: Kate JECEWIZ

Crowd: 4554