The Canberra United Academy locked in their top four spot with a thrilling win on Saturday evening at Hawker against Gungahlin, while Woden-Weston continued their charge to the four, Belconnen United won big and points were shared at O’Connor.
Canberra United Academy 2 (Tara Cannon 86’, Hayley Taylor-Young 90+2) def. Gungahlin United 1 (Elke Aitolu 11’)
By Jakob Gisik
Hayley Taylor-Young’s stoppage time winner lifted the Canberra United Academy to a stirring 2-1 win over Gungahlin United at Hawker on Saturday evening, booking the Academy’s ticket to the finals in the process.
Gungahlin entered the match needing only a draw to secure a finals berth themselves, and for 91 minutes it looked as though they had done enough.
But Taylor-Young had other ideas and, with just seconds remaining, the Academy striker received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before sliding it into the bottom corner to put her side ahead.
Academy coach Heather Garriock, who moved Taylor-Young to the number nine spot in the second-half, was all praise for her star striker after the match.
“I set Hayley a challenge before the game to make an impact and show her qualities,” Garriock said.
“When she’s in that nine position and she gets in behind defences, which she did for the goal, she just finishes them and she’s just really natural from that perspective.
“Everyone likes her as a winger, but I really like her as a nine because she causes havoc.
“In fact I would say that she’s a similar player to a Hayley Raso or an Ash Sykes because she’s lightning quick.
“So she’s an outstanding player and a young one for the future.”
It was a nervous start for the Academy, who fell behind early after Elke Aitolu thumped a free-kick into the back of the net from 25 yards out.
Garriock’s side recovered and soon began to dominate in general play, but a number of missed opportunities meant they would go into half-time trailing 1-0.
The second-half saw a similar trend emerge, and for 85 minutes it looked as though it wouldn’t be the Academy’s night.
That was until Tara Cannon, who was a late call up to the first grade side, volleyed home an Isabel Mulhall corner to level the scores.
“Young Tara that scored the set play, she’s a reserve grade player,” Garriock said.
“I saw her at training the other night and I thought ‘she’s pretty good,’ so I put her in and she scored off the set play, which she basically took upon herself.”
Cannon’s goal paved the way for Taylor-Young to slide home the match winner and send the Academy to a second straight finals series.
They’ll conclude their regular season against Belconnen United on Saturday, while for Gungahlin, they’ll need at least a point from their last round clash with Canberra FC to secure a finals spot.
Other Results |
Belconnen United 6 (Karen Clarke 38’, Nicole Jalocha 43’, 52’, 78’, Reilly Yuen 56’, Keira Bobbin 66’) def. Monaro Panthers 0
Belconnen United continued their momentum after winning the title with a big win against the Monaro Panthers at McKellar Park on Saturday afternoon.
The teams battled it out early at McKellar with neither side able to grab the upper hand, but that only lasted until the 39th minute when Karen Clarke swept the ball home after the ball went to ground from a set-piece to give the home team a deserved lead. Five minutes later it was two goals as Nicole Jalocha scored and that was how the score remained at half-time.
United broke the game open in the second half though, and Jalocha kicked it off with her second goal just seven minutes in before youngster Reilly Yuen got on the scoresheet four minutes later.
Keira Bobbin was the fourth player on the scoresheet as she lifted a strike over the advancing goalkeeper and Jalocha completed her hat-trick and the scoreboard damage with 12 minutes to play.
Belconnen round out the regular season against the Academy on Saturday, while Monaro will look to spoil Woden-Weston’s shot at finals in their final game.
Wagga City Wanderers 0 def. by Woden-Weston 5 (Sofia Christopherson 11’, Anna Vandenbroucke 33’, 37’, 84’, Shaquille Chong 39’)
Woden-Weston kept their finals hopes alive with a big win in Wagga Wagga, thanks in large part to a hat-trick from Anna Vandebroucke.
Sofia Christopherson got Mark Boyd’s side off to the perfect start just 11 minutes in, before Vandenbroucke struck twice in just four minutes ahead of half-time to leave the visitors in a strong position.
Shaquille Chong furthered that position with a goal of her own from outside the box six minutes before the break, and Boyd’s side were cruising at the break.
They inflicted further damage in the second half as Vandenbroucke netted her third goal of the afternoon to round out the scoring and bring Woden-Weston within two points of Gungahlin United for fourth spot with a game against Monaro next weekend.
Canberra Olympic 1 (Victoria Jamieson 40’) drew. Tuggeranong United 1 (Steph Coates 22’)
Canberra Olympic and Tuggeranong United shared the points on Sunday afternoon at O’Connor with both goals coming in the first half.
When a long free-kick was floated in and not dealt with by the Olympic backline, it was Tuggeranong’s Steph Coates who was first to react and she nodded the ball home to put Michael Aldred’s side in the lead.
The hosts bounced back though not long after through a stunning chipped effort from Victoria Jamieson as she pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the area and caught the United goalkeeper off her line.
The teams battled it out from there, but neither side were able to break the deadlock from then on with the points staying shared.
Tuggeranong will have the final weekend off having finished their season as massive improvers on 2018, while Olympic will wrap up their campaign in Wagga Wagga.