United Go West for New Year’s Clash

Canberra heads to Perth for their first match of the new year.

Canberra United makes the long-distance trek west to Perth to take on the Glory in Round 12 of the Westfield W-League in a repeat of last season’s championship decider to kick off the New Year. On that occasion United upset the Perth party with a clinical 3-1 success that sealed the clubs second Westfield W-League title. And whilst topping the table for either of these team’s appears unlikely, this match could have a major bearing on the finals.

It’s fair to say that Season 8 of the competition hasn’t exactly gone to plan for Perth Glory. Ranked number one just twelve months ago, the Glory have seen some of their lustre disappear and have often struggled in matches. A large turnover of key personnel, not least in the form of Head Coach Jamie Harnwell who joined Adelaide United, left the Glory almost starting from scratch.

The loss of talismanic striker Samantha Kerr to a season ending foot injury was a major blow to any perceived stability and her absence has been felt in a team that was scoring goals for fun last season. They still boost the talents of Caitlin Foord, an outstandingly gifted athlete whose pace is a major cause for concern for any team, and in former United custodian Mackenzie Arnold have a reliable stopper.

In one of football’s many quirks, United has only ever lost once in Western Australia, a 0-3 reverse at Ashfield Sports Club in October 2014. Other than that they have a formidable record on their longest domestic journey. In seven matches in the far west Canberra has won three and drawn three and has bagged a fourteen goals in the process. 

United’s forwards seem to enjoy playing against Perth Glory with Ashleigh Sykes having scored eight times against them, including a double in the 2014/15 Grand Final, whilst Michelle Heyman has seven, a tally that includes the only two hat-tricks registered by a Canberra player in their history – back-to-back in seasons 3 and 4. Caitlin Munoz isn’t adverse to a goal against Perth either, with three of her Westfield W-League goals haul coming against the Glory.

Conversely United has also shipped a few against their opponents this weekend with the Glory, at the time of writing, the team with the third best goals for record against Canberra, just behind Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory. United will be aware of the quality that Perth can bring to the game and with the temperature set to be high, the task will be tough, but not insurmountable. 

Perth Glory v Canberra United 
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Ashfield Reserve, Perth
Kick-Off: 16:00 (local), 19:00 (AEDT)

Canberra United Squad 
1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Emma KETE, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Tegan RIDING. 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING, 19. Nickoletta FLANERRY, 20. Melissa MAIZELS