A place in the top four, and potential finals football, is tantalisingly close for Canberra United who, ahead of a crunch match with Adelaide United, find themselves just three points of the pace with a game in hand.
Should Canberra get the maximum return against the Lady Reds at McKellar Park this weekend, they can draw level with Melbourne Victory, who are inactive, with the current goal difference five goals in favour of the team from Victoria.
A third win in a row, secured with a three-goal salvo against Western Sydney Wanderers, has pushed United into the battle for the top four, banishing memories of successive heavy losses to Wellington Phoenix and Western United to the backs of minds, and reigniting aspirations of Liberty A-League glory.
Michelle Heyman’s current rich vein of form which has seen the prolific striker net four times in her last three outings, moving onto 91 goals in 154 matches at the elite level, has come at just the right time for Njegosh Popovich and his team, sparking the team into life.
A subtle change in formation, and the utilisation of Grace Maher from central defence, has worked wonders for the team from the National Capital, resulting in 3-0 wins over Newcastle Jets and the Wanderers, neatly sandwiching the dramatic late win over Sydney FC courtesy of Ellie Brush’s towering header.
Canberra know that Adelaide will pose a serious threat however, the team from South Australia, having the fourth best defensive record in the league, only conceding sixteen times in thirteen matches to date.
But it’s the other end that has proven to be a cause for concern for those of a red persuasion, the double netted in a the hugely creditable 2-2 away draw against Melbourne Victory, only goals eight and nine of the campaign.
United has first-hand knowledge of this themselves of course, having travelled to ServiceFM Stadium in Adelaide earlier this season, coming away from the Round 9 match in January with a hard-fought 2-0 success thanks to goals from Heyman and Maher, strikes separated by only three minutes.
Canberra generally enjoys playing Adelaide at home, ten wins and two draws from fourteen matches with 41 goals scored and only 14 conceded, bears testament to that, but a chastening 1-3 home loss in early January last year means Adelaide will have fresh memories of a win in the ACT.
This is set to be an absorbing contest and one which will help shape the destination of the 2022/2023 season.
Saturday 4 March 2023
Canberra United v Adelaide United
(McKellar Park, 15:00)
Gates Open at 14:00
TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE