There were semi-final places up for grabs in both the Australia Cup Qualifying and Federation Cup during the week whilst Gungahlin United welcomed all-time Liberty A-League top scorer Michelle Heyman back into the fold for their rearranged Round 1 Women’s NPL match against West Canberra Wanderers.
FEDERATION CUP: ACADEMY AND BLUE DEVILS PROGRESS
Canberra United Academy eased their way into the hat for the final four in the Women’s Federation Cup after they came out on top against Tuggeranong United in the replayed Quarter Final encounter.
With the first match having been abandoned after 58 minutes due to a lightning storm with the Academy 4-3 to the good, the teams had to do it all again and it took the Academy less than twenty minutes to take control of the contest, Charli Gregson striking first, before Sofia Christopherson made it two.
A spurt of three goals in the space of just nine minutes killed off brave Tuggeranong intentions with Latisha Babic and Tayla Hampson putting the tie out of reach of Tuggeranong before Christopherson added her second to round off the evening and secure a second win in succession for the youngsters.
Belconnen United joined the Academy in the semi-finals as they made their way past the challenge of lower-ranked opposition in ANU WFC. Noting the threat of the University side, the Blue Devils swept into action early and any thoughts of an upset were assuaged when Keira Bobbin and Olivia Bomford netted inside eight minutes.
Bobbin made it three before twenty minutes had elapsed and Bianca Kimpton sealed Belconnen’s progression before half-time. Credit to ANU WFC though who stuck to the task and only shipped two more, Talia Backhouse, and a first for Ella Palframan in a senior shirt, making the final tally 6-0.
AUSTRALIA CUP QUALIFYING: HEARTBREAK FOR TUGGERANONG, OLYMPIC THROUGH
A 92nd minute equaliser from West Canberra Wanderers defender Harrison Palic broke Tuggeranong United hearts in the Australia Cup Qualifying Quarter Final at Greenway Enclosed on Wednesday evening, forcing the match into extra-time where the extra quality of the NPL side saw off their Capital League opponents.
United had led for most of the match after a Sean Kiddey drive had deflected in off the luckless Connor Bill, but the Wanderers had gone close, no more so than when Rhys Anderson saw his effort come back off the inside of the post and away to safety.
There were chances at both ends in an engrossing match, Sam Walker denied when one-on-one by a superb save by the legs of former Tuggeranong gloveman Jakeb Wiseman, whilst Jenno Ceruti, off the bench for the Wanderers, thought he had levelled only for Harrison Buesnel to pull off a quite astonishing goal-line clearance.
Once Palic did score, poking home from close range following a goalmouth melee, the momentum swung to the NPL team and Ben Obst curled in a stunner to give them the lead in extra-time. Substitute Thomas Barbatano rounded James Benivento in the Tuggeranong goal for three, and Anderson sealed the result in stoppage time.
Monaro Panthers booked their semi-final place with a ruthless display to dispose of ANU FC at the AIS.
Four first half goals did for the CPL promotion chasers with Amilio Kista, on his return to the team scoring twice, Andre Carle taking his season goal tally to half-a-dozen, and Gabe Cole putting the Panthers into the last four.
They eased off after the break, although perhaps could have added more than the one netted by Ben Basser-Silk with five minutes remaining.
The Panthers will meet Canberra Olympic in the semi-final after Olympic defeated Belconnen United 4-1 at Gungahlin Enclosed. All the damage was done before the interval as Luca Florez, Elie Darwich and Aisosa Ihegie capitalised on Blue Devils mistakes to give Olympic a three-goal cushion.
Belconnen responded well in the second half and pulled one back via a crisp finish from Adam Forner, and then struck the post from close range, as nerves began to jangle for Olympic. They were settled late on when Ihegie broke clear to calmly stroke home his second.
WOMEN’S NPL: WANDERERS SPOIL HEYMAN RETURN
The return of Canberra United Liberty A-League star Michelle Heyman was a surprise to many of the watching public at Gungahlin Enclosed as the top scorer pulled on the black and white of Gungahlin United, but not even her presence would deny the West Canberra Wanderers a superb win.
There was little in the match but the one moment of real quality proved to be decisive. Tara Cannon collected the ball a long way from the Gunners goal but unleashed a dipping swerving strike that lanced over the ‘keeper and into the net for a deserved match-winner.
The three points meant Wanderers won for the third game in succession to go joint top on nine points and have yet to concede a league goal in 2022, their clean sheet record standing at 270 minutes.
Women’s Federation Cup: Quarter Finals
Canberra United Academy 5 (Gregson 12’, Christopherson 17’, 70’, Babic 61’, Hampson 66’) Tuggeranong United 0
Belconnen United 6 (Bobbin 5’, 17’, Bomford 8’, Kimpton 37’, Backhouse 50’, Palframan 80’) ANU WFC 0
Australia Cup Qualifying: Quarter Finals
ANU FC 0 Monaro Panthers 5 (Kista 10’, 34’, Carle 26’, Cole 39’, Basser-Silk 85’)
Tuggeranong United 1 (Bill 37’ (og)) West Canberra Wanderers 4 (Palic 90+2’, Obst 95’, Barbatano 108’, Anderson 120’) – after extra time
Belconnen United 1 (Forner 54’) Canberra Olympic 4 (Florez 4’, Darwich 39’, Ihegie 43’, 80’)
Women’s NPL Capital Football
Gungahlin United 0 West Canberra Wanderers 1 (Cannon 23’)