Canberra FC v Canberra United Academy | Preliminary Final | Sunday, 2pm @ Deakin Stadium
Last season’s preliminary final between Canberra FC and the Canberra United Academy was an instant classic.
Canberra FC looked dead and buried as the match approached the 90th minute, but a late goal forced extra time, before Grace Gill netted a spectacular free-kick to give Deakin a dramatic victory.
One year on, and the two sides are set to meet in the preliminary final again, with a spot in the Grand Final against Belconnen United on the line.
The teams have met twice this season already, playing out an enthralling 2-2 draw at Hawker in round six, before Canberra FC prevailed 2-0 on a cold July night at Deakin Stadium.
Gill didn’t feature in either of those matches, but the veteran midfielder has been in superb form and will again be the key for Canberra FC down the spine of the park.
Gill and Krista Hagen are the conductors in midfield for Deakin, so Heather Garriock will be hoping her side clamps down on the two Canberra FC play makers from the kick-off.
That task will be a little more difficult given the absence of Mia McGovern, who was picked in the Westfield Junior Matildas squad for the upcoming AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Thailand.
The match will also pit the joint NPLW golden-boot winners against each other.
Both Brittany Palombi and Hayley Taylor-Young topped the regular season goal scoring leader board with 27 apiece, after Palombi bagged four in the final round to draw level with the young Academy striker.
Palombi was well held by the Belconnen defence last week, while Taylor-Young grabbed a double against a Gungahlin United back four that afforded her too much time and space.
The two matches earlier in the year have demonstrated how evenly matched the sides are, and Sunday’s game may come down to which defence can keep the oppositions’ strikers under control.
You can catch all the action LIVE on BarTV Sports from 2pm on Sunday.