Canberra United Academy and ANU WFC took points against The Blue Devils and Canberra Croatia respectively this weekend, meaning there was some shuffling around at the top of the table. Riverside’s clash on Tuesday night is more than ever a title decider.
Belconnen United was hosting Canberra United Academy at Kaleen Oval, and the team coached by Scott Conlon let go of their top spot after conceding two early goals to the players in Green (1-2).
Matty Moore’s pre-game talk worked a treat, with his team up a goal within a minute of football at Kaleen.
Holly Murray launched Sofia Christopherson in behind the defence, and the forward’s cross was parried away by Ellie Summers, but fell kindly in Alyssa Di-Campli’s feet, who finished from point blank range despite Lauren Preston’s best efforts to clear. Murray again was at the start of the second goal 12 minutes later, when her free kick lobbed Summers and was headed in by Jaya Bowman. The defensive heroics of the Academy did the rest.
Talia Backhouse’s direct free kick two minutes into the 11-minute stoppage time was too little too late, and Belconnen conceded their fourth defeat of the season at the worst possible time. Tuesday’s clash against Olympic is now a must-win for the Blue Devils.
Canberra Olympic a day later took advantage of the Blue Devils’ defeat to take all three points at home against West Canberra Wanderers (1-0). The thinnest of margin was enough against Rey Castro’s team, who was hoping to recreate the upset of Round 12 to get out of the last spot on the table.
Unfortunately, despite Sam Briggs’ saves and a few chances skyed, the last word went to the home team. Maddy Whittall, ten minutes before the break, perfectly served by Leah Carnegie, used her pace and power to find the bottom right of the net.
The second half saw Olympic dominating without being able to double their advantage, while also rotating their squad at the start of a week that will see them play three times in six games.
The Wanderers tried to throw the kitchen sink at it in the last five minutes, but Janet King rarely was threatened. A success on Tuesday night would mean a first League Championship in Canberra Olympic’s history.
For their last game of the regular season, Gungahlin United did the job at Kambah 2 to get the win over Tuggeranong United (7-2). The Gunners did not waste any time on Sunday. Darby Whiteley battled with the Tuggies’ defence to score the first goal of her team 13th minute in, before striking again with a header following a Sharon Chao cross four minutes later.
Tuggeranong answered not long after, courtesy of a brilliant run from their captain Zoe Terry. Gungahlin made sure to squash any hope at an equaliser before half time, first with a cross from Kayla Wright that ended up dipping under the cross bar, before the same player dribbled past Amy Wiggan to bury her second goal in the back of the empty net.
Andrew Woodman’s team had two more goals to their tally before the hour mark, thanks to Natalie De Marco. A first goal from point blank range, and the second surely the goal of the weekend, a missile from 25 meters in the top left corner.
Rainey Niles’ goal from long range with 15 minutes to go was answered to eventually by the pace and technique of Sharon Chao in the injury time for the ninth goal of the afternoon.
Canberra Croatia dropped two points at Deakin against ANU WFC, missing an opportunity to put pressure on the top two in the last week of the season. After a goalless first half, two scrappy goals saw the teams even at full time.
Canberra Croatia struck first with a cross from Brittany Palombi at the 55th minute, missed by the ANU keeper that took a kind deflection towards their net, Tatum Mazis credited with the goal.
The University Club’s answer came 20 minutes later, with a good build-up play that ended in Edith Fordyce-Croker taking her chance from close range at the far post. First parried by Chloe Lincoln, the ball ricocheted on Fordyce-Croker to end up rolling in the back of the net.
Croatia saw Gungahlin overtake them on the table, albeit with a game in hand, while ANU WFC, with that point mathematically ensured we would see them in the WNPL again in 2024.
Saturday 26 August
Belconnen United 1 (Backhouse 90+3’) Canberra United Academy 2 (Di-Campli 1’, Bowman 14’)
Sunday 27 August
Canberra Croatia 1 (Mazis 55’) ANU WFC 1 (Fordyce-Coker 70’)
Canberra Olympic 1 (Whittall 33’) West Canberra Wanderers 0
Tuggeranong United 2 (Terry 25’, Niles 78’) Gungahlin United 7 (Whiteley 13’, 18’, Wright 29’, 43’, N. De Marco 49’, 60’, Chao 90+2’)
Tuesday 29 August
Canberra Olympic v Belconnen United
Thursday 31 August
Canberra Olympic v Tuggeranong United
ANU WFC v Belconnen United
|5||Canberra United Academy||20||9||2||8||26||40||-14||29|
|8||West Canberra Wanderers||20||2||2||16||15||64||-49||8|
21 Brittany PALOMBI (Canberra Croatia)
14 Hattie CRAM (Belconnen United)
13 Bessie RIETHMULLER (Belconnen United)
11 Talia BACKHOUSE (Belconnen United), Tatum MAZIS (Canberra Croatia)
9 Darby WHITELEY (Gungahlin United)
8 Michelle HEYMAN (Gungahlin United), Ginger OLIVER (Gungahlin United)
7 Isabella BARAC (Canberra Croatia), Sharon CHAO (Gungahlin United), Olivia GURNEY (Canberra Olympic), Nicole JALOCHA (Canberra Olympic), Charli MITCHELL (Canberra Croatia), Madelyn WHITTALL (Canberra Olympic)
6 Tamara COCHRANE (Canberra United Academy),
5 Keira BOBBIN (Belconnen United), Alyssa DI-CAMPLI (Canberra United Academy), Michaela THORNTON (Canberra Olympic), Own GOALS
4 Jade BROWN (Gungahlin United), Tia BURRIDGE (Canberra Olympic), Maddison CACHIA (Canberra Olympic), Roxie SWART (ANU WFC), Pearl TEIN (Belconnen United), Samantha WOOD (Tuggeranong United)
3 Ella-Rose BROWN (Gungahlin United), Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON (Canberra United Academy), Natalie DE MARCO (Gungahlin United), Rhiannon FENSOM (Canberra Croatia), Alyse JENSEN (West Canberra Wanderers), Rainey NILES (Tuggeranong United), Erika PENNYFIELD (Gungahlin United), Nikita PERRY (West Canberra Wanderers/Canberra Croatia), Zoe TERRY (Tuggeranong United), Kayla WRIGHT (Gungahlin United), Reilly YUEN (Belconnen United)
2 Elke AITOLU (Canberra Olympic), Sienna BIRNIE (Canberra Croatia), Jaya BOWMAN (Canberra United Academy), Cara CERUTI (West Canberra Wanderers), Sofia CHAVERRA (ANU WFC), Alexandra COOK (Canberra Olympic), Rachael CORBETT (Gungahlin United), Edith FORDYCE-CROKER (ANU WFC), Lauren HALL (West Canberra Wanderers), Isabella HOPKINS (ANU WFC), Sheridan MCELLIGOTT (ANU WFC), Riley MCQUEENIE (Canberra United Academy), Peri NASH (Canberra United Academy), Alexandra NEALAND (Canberra United Academy), Katrina PERIC (Canberra Olympic), Marija RATHOUSKI (Belconnen United), Madeleine STEINACKER (Belconnen United), Kate WALKER (West Canberra Wanderers), Sarah WHITFIELD (West Canberra Wanderers), Kayla WRIGHT (Gungahlin United)
1 Tehya ASPLAND (Canberra Olympic), Latisha BABIC (Canberra United Academy), Jamie BERKELEY (Canberra Croatia), Amy BONGIORNO (Canberra Croatia), Arusha CHEW (Canberra Olympic), Jade EMMS (Belconnen United), Emma DOUGLAS-OLIVEIRA (ANU WFC), Charli GREGSON (Tuggeranong United), Isabella HINDMARSH (Belconnen United), Abby HURMAN (Tuggeranong United), Ashlyn LEWIS (Tuggeranong United), Sarah MATTHEWS (Tuggeranong United), Ailish MCDONAGH (ANU WFC), Maya OSMOND (Canberra United Academy), Madeleine PERCEVAL (Gungahlin United), Alina ROBERTS (Belconnen United), Vanessa RYAN (Canberra Olympic), Alexandra SERRAS (ANU WFC), Elisha WILD (Canberra United Academy), Juliet WILLIAMS (ANU WFC), Zoe WILLIAMS (Tuggeranong United), Jasmine ZABEL (Canberra Olympic)