Belconnen United claimed their fourth successive Women’s Federation Cup on Wednesday night with a stellar 5-2 win over the Canberra United Academy.
A cagey first few minutes saw the game struggle to break open, as neither side could create clear-cut chances. The Academy had a chance soon after as Michaela Day slipped in possession and Aoife Colvill broke down the left, but Catherine Brown got across to make a tackle in the box and disrupt the play before the ball was cleared.
Four minutes later a defensive lapse almost cost the Academy, as an under hit back pass fell invitingly to Nicole Jalocha but her effort struck the left upright and stayed out. United pressed the young defence and disrupted their efforts to play out from the back, forcing turnover after turnover in a midfield sea of blue.
Their pressure was rewarded after 20 minutes as another turnover was picked up by Cara Cutaia, who raced in and fired across Olivia Riddel in goals to give her side the lead.
United doubled the lead only five minutes later, as Jalocha rifled home an effort from outside the box to put the youngsters firmly on the back foot. But they responded well six minutes before the half, and when a searching cross from the right was spilt on the bounce by Klara Manenica in goals, Colvill was on hand to tuck the ball into the net and reduce the half time deficit.
The two sides came out of the break evenly, however Belconnen slowly began to grab the initiative and restored their two goal buffer sixteen minutes into the half. Jalocha pounced on a misplaced pass in midfield and played Chloe Callaghan into space behind the defence, and the pacey forward raced away to calmly finish into the bottom corner.
Katie Woodman had the ball in the back of the net shortly after only to see it ruled out for offside but nine minutes later they had their fourth. Jessie Williams was brought into the game and scored with her first touch, nudging the ball past the keeper after Ellie Raymond’s brilliant square ball from the wing.
The game turned into a series of end-to-end attacks in the final ten minutes, with Manenica clawing away an effort from Jasmine Genovesi onto the crossbar before Maddy Whittall hit the post from a Belconnen spot-kick. The Academy pulled back another goal in the 89th minute as Colvill curled in a stunner from out on the wing over the top of the keeper, before Williams hit back for United just a minute later, chipping Riddel for her second goal.
The match capped off a great week for United, who claimed their seventh consecutive Premiership on Sunday before the Cup win which puts them on pace to complete another treble.