Head Coach Ray Junna believes the season is far from over following Canberra United’s courageous 2-1 defeat to league leader’s Brisbane Roar at McKellar Park on Saturday.
Head Coach Ray Junna believes the season is far from over following Canberra United-s courageous 2-1 defeat to league leader-s Brisbane Roar at McKellar Park on Saturday.
The round six defeat is Canberra-s third loss of the season however the top half of the table remain firmly in the club-s sight and need results in their remaining four matches.
With a number of injuries to the squad, the younger players stepped up for Canberra as the home side through caution to the wind and went for the upset against the much more experienced outfit.
The league leaders were the first to strike when they took the lead after only six minutes into the match through Roar-s Joanne Burgess.
The midfielder controlled the ball well outside the penalty area on the right hand wing before an innocuous ball back into the box floated over the top of Lydia Williams who had slipped while back-peddling. It slipped in just under the crossbar.
The home side had a great chance to equalise less than five minutes later when Ashleigh Sykes found herself all alone with the keeper but a great save from Casey Dumont denied the striker who tried to slot it past her.
As possession swung back and forth, neither side could gain the upper hand with quality chances few and far between as both Williams and her opposite number Casey Dumont defused waves of attack.
Brisbane continued to pepper their opponents 18-yard box with crosses and shots from distance but little troubled a settled Williams.
A dangerous run from Brisbane-s Ellen Beaumont into the penalty area had the Canberra defence on the back foot and with goal in sight a desperate lunge from Ellie Brush blocked a well struck shot.
On the stroke of half time, Canberra had another chance to equalise when Tseng collected the ball and played it into Ashleigh Sykes at the top of the box who struck a shot from distance. The rebound was pounced on by Dumont with Tseng on her doorstep.
Narrowly down at half time, the home side came out from the break with attack on the mind and was quickly rewarded when midfielder Cian Maciejewski netted her first goal for the club in the 58th minute.
An initial cross from Rebecca Kiting wasn-t cleared by Kate McShea who was tussling with Tseng in the middle and the resulting clearance was punish by Maciejewski who volleyed first time from the top of the box just inside the far post.
With many giving them little chance before kick-off a quietly confident Canberra United side played with the attacking confidence that-s become synonymous with the outfit.
Yet to taste defeat since their loss to Canberra in round two last season, Brisbane-s winning formula again struck when Elise Kellond-Knight silenced the vocal home supporters with a contender for goal of the year.
The midfielder collected the ball at the top of the box, took a couple touches to her right and curled home a stunning shot into the top right corner with little Williams could do to prevent Brisbane taking the lead in the 74th minute.
Needing an equaliser, Canberra continued to push forward without luck as a couple headers from Brush on target couldn-t beat Dumont in goal as Brisbane hung on to record their fifth win of the season.
Despite the result, Junna was full of praise for his young side-s efforts against the reigning champions.
“Testament to the girls they gave it their all,” Junna said following the match.
“That was our goal to come here and play football and take it to them which we did but unlucky with two soft goals again.”
“[Conceding lucky goals] seems to happen to us more than anyone else but we have four more goals left and we-ll keep plugging away.”
“[Finals football] is not out of our grasp; we-ll certainly give it a go.”
Canberra United 1 (Maciejewski 58′)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Burgess 6′, Kellond-Knight 74′)
Canberra United squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Rebecca KITING, 3. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 7. Ellie BRUSH (6. Ellie RAYMOND 90-), 9. Grace GILL (5. Kahlia HOGG 60-), 10. TSENG Shu O, 11. Cian MACIEJEWSKI, 12. Snez VELJANOVSKA, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Nicole SYKES, 19. Jennifer BISSET (22. Lucy ALLAN 63-)
Subs not used: 20. Jocelyn MARA,
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Casey DUMONT, 2. Kate McSHEA, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (c), 5. Brooke SPENCE, 6. Joanne BURGESS, 7. Pam BIGNOLD (13. Tameka BUTT 65-), 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 10. Lana HARCH (12. Stephanie LATHAM 86-), 11. Aivi LUIK, 18. Courtney BEUTEL (14. Sasha McDONNELL 65-), 19. Ellen BEAUMONT
Subs Not Used: 20. Kate STEWART
Yellow Cards: McDonnell 79-, Butt 90-
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Pru DONOHOE