Gungahlin United came out on top against Belconnen United in a thrilling encounter at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval as a superb strike from Sharon Chao proved the difference. The Gunners have beaten Belconnen twice in a row in the league now and are just two points behind them on the table.
As expected between two of the best teams in the competition, the game started on a high rhythm, both squads trying to make a difference early on. Bessie Riethmuller and Hattie Cram had chances for the visitors in the first ten minutes but could not connect with the ball well enough.
Following her missed opportunity, Cram fell on Rachael Corbett, injuring the midfielder. The ensuing substitution would have almost immediate consequences, with the arrival on the pitch of Chao.
On her second sighting of goal, Chao left the keeper no chance. From outside the area, she managed to keep the ball despite a crowded area, before her left foot sent a precise and powerful effort into the top right corner, out of Emms’ reach. At the other end, whatever Belconnen United tried, built attacks, long ball, set pieces, they always found a committed Gungahlin defence on their way.
At Deakin Stadium, Canberra Olympic got the three points thanks to another close encounter against Canberra Croatia as Olivia Gurney’s goal prove the difference in a 1-0 away win.
The two teams were meeting for the fifth time already this season and the goal from Gurney in the 15th minute confirmed Olympic’s superiority in this duel this year, with four successes and a draw.
It could have easily gone the other way. A mere minute before Olympic’s goal, a golden opportunity saw Sienna Birnie hesitating in her footing and eventually missing the chance. Seconds later, Gurney stole the ball in Brandy Nicholson’s feet, outpaced her defender, found an opening past Rhiannon Fensom, and placed a powerful enough shot to surprise Chloe Lincoln at the near post.
It was the first goal conceded by the Canberra United goalkeeper in her new colours, 375 minutes – and four consecutive clean sheets – after her first start for Canberra Croatia. Her teammates tried to find an equalizer, both from set pieces and open play, but neither Brittany Palombi, nor Tatum Mazis, Nikita Perry, or Bella Barac, were able to really threaten Janet King.
Olympic came closer to increasing their advantage in the second half, with Nicole Jalocha finding Lincoln twice in her way, with the crossbar also helping the keeper the second time around.
Earlier on Sunday West Canberra Wanderers and Tuggeranong United shared the spoils at Wanderers Park. A goal either side of the break proved to describe the encounter pretty accurately, each team dominating their half and the game ending 1-1.
The visitors were clear in their intentions early on. Within the first five minutes, Samantha Briggs had been tested four times. Tuggeranong were soon rewarded, thanks to a powerful cross from Zoe Terry. Briggs thought she had parried the ball away, only to see it bounce in her goal behind her.
The Wanderers tried to answer, and Alyse Jensen started adjusting her aim with a couple of attempts from distance. Lauren Hall from set piece brought the danger close to Amy Wiggan as well, but the home team would need to be patient to finally find the equaliser.
It happened before the hour mark. A corner kick taken by Hall created a scramble in the box, and Jensen would be the one to take advantage of it. After an attempt from Melinda O’Callaghan, the midfielder collected the ball and smashed it into the back of Wiggan’s net.
The last game of the weekend was played at ANU South Oval, where Canberra United Academy got the three points against ANU WFC winning 1-0. An inspired half-volley from Riley McQueenie early in the second half allowed the players in green to keep some hope for post-season.
Although ANU tried to impose their style at home, they found themselves often having to favour counter attacks. The Academy settled in their possession play early on, and kept it up for the whole first half, leaving crumbs to their opponents. If they were not able to really threaten Claire Joseph in these 45 minutes, they created more than enough chance to deserve taking the lead before the hour mark.
A cross from the right, cleared by the ANU defence, landed in McQueenie’s area. The full back had to resist a defender to get to the ball and proceeded to connect almost perfectly with it. Her powerful shot flew just past Joseph’s gloves, landing under the crossbar.
The rest of the game saw the Academy in control, and ANU’s best chances came from a distance, but Eliza Evans was vigilant. Sofia Christopherson had opportunities to seal the deal for her team, but always found Joseph in her path.
Sunday 23 July
West Canberra Wanderers 1 (Jensen 55’) Tuggeranong United 1 (Terry 8’)
Canberra Croatia 0 Canberra Olympic 1 (Gurney 15’)
ANU WFC 0 Canberra United Academy 1 (McQueenie 53’)
Gungahlin United 1 (Chao 17’) Belconnen United 0
|5||Canberra United Academy||14||6||1||7||14||25||-11||19|
|7||West Canberra Wanderers||15||2||2||11||12||47||-35||8|
14 Brittany PALOMBI (Canberra Croatia)
11 Bessie RIETHMULLER (Belconnen United)
7 Hattie CRAM (Belconnen United), Nicole JALOCHA (Canberra Olympic), Tatum MAZIS (Canberra Croatia), Charli MITCHELL (Canberra Croatia)
6 Talia BACKHOUSE (Belconnen United), Darby WHITELEY (Gungahlin United)
5 Isabella BARAC (Canberra Croatia), Keira BOBBIN (Belconnen United), Olivia GURNEY (Canberra Olympic), Ginger OLIVER (Gungahlin United), Michaela THORNTON (Canberra Olympic), Madelyn WHITTALL (Canberra Olympic)
4 Maddison CACHIA (Canberra Olympic), Sharon CHAO (Gungahlin United), Roxie SWART (ANU WFC)
3 Tia BURRIDGE (Canberra Olympic), Alyssa DI-CAMPLI (Canberra United Academy), Rhiannon FENSOM (Canberra Croatia), Alyse JENSEN (West Canberra Wanderers), Erika PENNYFIELD (Gungahlin United), Nikita PERRY (West Canberra Wanderers/Canberra Croatia), Pearl TEIN (Belconnen United), Own GOALS
2 Elke AITOLU (Canberra Olympic), Ella-Rose BROWN (Gungahlin United), Cara CERUTI (West Canberra Wanderers), Rachael CORBETT (Gungahlin United), Lauren HALL (West Canberra Wanderers), Michelle HEYMAN (Gungahlin United), Sheridan MCELLIGOTT (ANU WFC), Riley MCQUEENIE (Canberra United Academy), Alexandra NEALAND (Canberra United Academy), Rainey NILES (Tuggeranong United), Marija RATHOUSKI (Belconnen United), Madeleine STEINACKER (Belconnen United), Zoe TERRY (Tuggeranong United), Kate WALKER (West Canberra Wanderers), Sarah WHITFIELD (West Canberra Wanderers), Samantha WOOD (Tuggeranong United), Reilly YUEN (Belconnen United)
1 Tehya ASPLAND (Canberra Olympic), Latisha BABIC (Canberra United Academy), Amy BONGIORNO (Canberra Croatia), Jaya BOWMAN (Canberra United Academy), Jade BROWN (Gungahlin United), Sofia CHAVERRA (ANU WFC), Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON (Canberra United Academy), Tamara COCHRANE (Canberra United Academy), Alexandra COOK (Canberra Olympic), Natalie DE MARCO (Gungahlin United), Emma DOUGLAS-OLIVEIRA (ANU WFC), Edith FORDYCE-CROKER (ANU WFC), Charli GREGSON (Tuggeranong United), Isabella HINDMARSH (Belconnen United), Isabella HOPKINS (ANU WFC), Abby HURMAN (Tuggeranong United), Ashlyn LEWIS (Tuggeranong United), Sarah MATTHEWS (Tuggeranong United), Maya OSMOND (Canberra United Academy), Madeleine PERCEVAL (Gungahlin United), Katrina PERIC (Canberra Olympic), Alina ROBERTS (Belconnen United), Vanessa RYAN (Canberra Olympic), Elisha WILD (Canberra United Academy), Juliet WILLIAMS (ANU WFC), Zoe WILLIAMS (Tuggeranong United), Jasmine ZABEL (Canberra Olympic)