The need for points is important for Canberra United as they head to No. 2 Sportsground in Newcastle for Liberty A-League Round 13 and a meeting with the Newcastle Jets, but of more immediate concern is the need for a performance and a rediscovery of the mojo that swept the Jets aside with glorious abandon at McKellar Park.
Since handing out a hammering in Round 10 in front of just over 1,000 fans at the team’s Belconnen home, United have been on the receiving end having seen a brace of scarcely credible 0-5 defeats logged in the club’s history books.
It may have felt like every attack was ending with a goal, but it was only a few weeks back that Canberra were coming off the back of a superlative win in Adelaide themselves and sending the Jets packing off the back of a pair of Michelle Heyman goals, and single efforts from Wu Chengshu, Ellie Brush and Vesna Milivojevic.
There’s an optimistic mood in the camp, fostered by the unique family culture that is ingrained in the halls of United’s home and amongst a close-knit squad that will continue to fight for each other until the very end.
It’s in fact a far cry from the reported ‘darkest day in the club’s history’ as reported elsewhere. Two defeats, as heavy and perhaps unexcepted as they were, doesn’t define an era in a history of a proud institution. Indeed, there are ample examples of many team’s suffering such back-to-back disappointments and recovering swiftly.
And United will be keen to join those ranks this weekend. Canberra have a great record in Northern NSW, having won nine and drawn three of fourteen matches interstate, and having only tasted defeat three times in 22 matches overall against Newcastle, scoring 55 times in the process.
That’s a record that United will be out to maintain. Defeats hurt, but in football they’re a common occurrence. It’s how you respond that matters, and United are brimming with intent heading into this one.
Sunday 5 February
Newcastle Jets v Canberra United
(No. 2 Sportsground, Newcastle, 16:00)
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