Canberra close in on their first premiership | (Credit: Getty Images)
Canberra United have maintained top spot on the Westfield W-League ladder with a well-earned 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at Adamstown Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Great goalkeeping from custodians Melissa Barbieri and her Canberra counterpart Lydia Williams kept the scoreline at 0-0 at halftime following an exciting opening 45 minutes.
But Canberra broke the shackles with some confident play in the second stanza with goals to Taryn Hemmings and stand-out striker Michelle Heyman giving the visitors a 2-0 lead after 74 minutes.
The Jets never gave up and duly pulled one back goal via substitute Rhali Dobson in the 86th minute.
But despite Newcastle pressing hard for a late equaliser, United held on for a deserved victory.
The win pushes Canberra out to 20 points from their eight matches, while the Jets remain in fifth on six points.
The match started in perfect conditions in front of another healthy crowd and it was Canberra who had the first chance on goal in the seventh minute when Caitlin Munoz ran onto a good through ball from Jennifer Bisset. She took play into the box but saw her shot bravely smothered by Barbieri in the seventh minute.
Just a few moments later the Jets had their first chance after some good lead up work from Monnique Kofoed as Lisa De Vanna created a shot from in front that was easily saved by Canberra goalkeeper Williams.
The Jets threatened again in the 14th minute when Emily van Egmond and Kofoed worked a nice one-two on the edge of the area, but the Canberra defence was able to scramble the ball to safety.
Down the other end, Munoz sent her long-range effort narrowly wide as the play swept from one end to the other at quick pace.
The Jets continued to press and went close when De Vanna sliced her shot just outside the far post while Williams produced a fine save from Bolger, after she danced her way through the Canberra defence in the 25th minute.
Canberra had their chances too as Michelle Heyman saw her chip from a corner saved by Barbieri, before scuffing a shot from inside the area a couple of minutes later.
De Vanna picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon just after the half hour mark for back-chatting the referee before Heyman should have had the first goal for Canberra when she got the ball just 10 yards out but spooned her shot over the crossbar.
Canberra finished the half the stronger with three great chances.
A sublime through ball from Taryn Hemmings puts Heyman through on goal but Barbieri positioned herself perfectly to save the angled shot.
A minute later, Munoz launched a lobbed shot that slammed off the crossbar. The rebound was handled by the Jets defence on the edge of the area. Sally Shipard took the free-kick but sent it over the crossbar and the teams went to half-time locked at 0-0.
Canberra maintained their attacking intentions to start the second half. Hemmings shot wide just a minute after the resumption before Heyman had her shot deflected away a few moments later.
The Jets worked their way back into the contest with De Vanna laying off for Bolger who rocketed a shot from inside the box but Williams pulled off a spectacular save to keep the sides deadlocked after 53 minutes.
The Jets went undermanned around the hour mark when Kofoed was assisted from the field after a head knock, before De Vanna was forced off with a gash to her forehead. Kofoed returned a moment later but while De Vanna was off the field Canberra scored.
A lovely through ball from Heyman put Hemmings through on goal and she took the ball into the box before sliding a calm shot under Barbieri and into the corner of the net for Canberra to lead after 63 minutes.
The visitors went close to doubling their advantage when Hemmings hit the near post from an acute angle, with Shipard sending the follow-up over the crossbar from 15 out. Barbieri then saved a sharp shot from Heyman, as Canberra held sway.
De Vanna tried to turn the momentum back into Newcastle’s favour with some industrious work up front, but it was the composed Canberra midfield that created the next goal for the visitors.
Shipard worked a play with Heyman that saw the ball go out to Hemmings on the right wing. She put the ball through for Heyman who sprinted into space in the middle of the park before calmly rounding Barbieri and slamming home for Canberra to lead 2-0 after 74 minutes.
The Jets looked to the bench to rescue the match by bringing on striker Tara Andrews in the 75th minute, but it was Canberra in control and they almost got a third in the 81stminute when Heyman crossed for Nicole Sykes who saw her volley spectacularly saved by Barbieri.
The Jets pulled a goal back in the 86th minute when Bolger got into space inside the box and slid a lovely pass across goal where substitute Rhali Dobson poked home to make it 2-1.
The Jets threw everyone forward in the final few minutes with some long-range attempts peppering the Canberra goal, but the visitors held on for a well-earned victory.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Rhali Dobson 86’)
Canberra United 2 (Taryn Hemmings 62’, Michelle Heyman 75’)
Sunday 18 December 2011
Adamstown Oval, Newcastle
Referee: Kirralee Gardner / AR1: Tanya de Boer / AR2: Catherine Nash / 4th Official: Andrew Higgins
Newcastle Jets: Melissa BARBIERI (gk), Hannah BREWER, Alanna KENNEDY, Gemma PEARCE, Nicola BOLGER, Linda O'NEILL (Rhali DOBSON 65’), Emily VAN EGMOND, Lisa DE VANNA, Monnique KOFOED (Tara ANDREWS 75’), Stacey DAY (Alexandra HUYNH 85’), Ariane HINGST
Substitutes not used: Alison LOGUE (gk)
Yellow Cards: Nicola BOLGER 14’, Lisa DE VANNA 32’
Red Cards: Nil
Canberra United: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Caitlin COOPER, Caitlin MUNOZ (Grace GILL 86’), Ellie BRUSH, Michelle HEYMAN (Hayley RASO 84’), Nicole SYKES (Snez VELJANOVSKA 90’), Ashleigh SYKES, Sally SHIPARD, Ellyse PERRY, Taryn HEMMINGS, Jennifer BISSET
Substitutes not used: Aroon CLANSEY (gk)
Yellow Cards: Taryn HEMMINGS 64’
Red Cards: Nil