Canberra United claimed three points and second spot on the ladder sinking the Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1.

Five Things We Learned – Western Sydney Wanderers

1. Slow Start. Notorious for making a flying start the Wanderers were well and truly grounded by a dominant Canberra United at Central Coast Stadium. On the back foot early, the Wanderers struggled to settle and their shaky start was punished by an early Fletcher goal (14’).

2. Up Front. A reshuffled attack featured a deep lying Michelle Carney and Liz Grey as the number nine. Despite her start, Grey was diffused by a clever Canberra defence who neutralised her close range and aerial threat pushing the tall forward up, down and across the field. Their efforts left Grey exhausted with nothing in the tank when a counter attack ignited.

3. Chances. Despite the final score the Wanderers were again not without chances. Keelin Winters was twice denied from range by the fingertips of Canberra keeper Melissa Maizels who also smothered a host of chances from corners.

4. Width. Coach Norm Boardman prepared his side for the pace and skill of the Canberra attack (namely Ashleigh Sykes) by shifting centre-back Ellie Carpenter into left fullback. Even with some positive runs, Carpenter and usual standouts Erica Halloway and Hannah Beard were unable to make any definitive impact on the game, despite Halloway’s late strike (77’). Both Halloway and Beard were well contained, losing attacking width fighting for possession in their own half. Once it was won, the pair surged forward but found no support.

5. Fighting Spirit. Down by one the Wanderers started the second half with renewed purpose. Showcasing their ‘never say never’ attitude the Wanderers never looked completely out of the contest, threatening to push Canberra to the end. The Red and Black showed resilience bouncing back from a Rachel Soutar own goal (53’) to pull one back through Halloway but were flattened as Canberra responded through Fletcher just one minute later (78’).

Five Things We Learned – Canberra United

1. Depth. If ever the Wanderers were confident of recording their first ever win against Canberra United, it was at the weekend and without Matildas stars Williams, Heyman and Munoz. The issue was you simply could not tell. Canberra were a well-oiled unit who moved the ball with fluidity and controlled the game with composure and confidence. A real nod to squad depth and development coming into the business end of the season.

2. Patience. Well prepared for their opponents, Canberra played the long game, holding the ball, keeping possession and forcing the Wanderers to do the leg work. Attacking prowess, menacing runs and solid combinations from Sykes, Begg, Fletcher, McLaughlin and Perez added to the long list of Canberra players looking to pull apart the Wanderers backline.

3. Switch. Taking full advantage of the large pitch, Canberra dictated possession, swinging play from side to side, making room and playing in behind the deep sat defence. The Wanderers defensive task was made particularly difficult by Canberra’s ability to drag players out of position and apply the blistering pace needed to cause damage through the middle.

4. Stand Out. Star forward and absolute handful, Ashleigh Sykes was certainly deserving of her ‘Player of the Match’ award. Her presence and work rate off the ball alone was enough to unnerve an already unsettled Wanderers backline, driving into the box and dancing around defenders. Her pace and attacking threat was relentless and she finally found her reward beating the keeper and finding the back of the net in the 82’.

5. Stand In. Canberra were without their number one, Lydia Williams (Matildas) but they were not without a force between the sticks. Maizels kept the Wanderers contained and combatted their 90 minute effort tipping two beautifully struck Winters efforts over the bar and putting out fires from close range in what was a fantastic performance. Maizels was especially decisive just after the break keeping out two clear chances that threatened to swing momentum as the Wanderers looked to equalise.

Up Next

Round 8 sees the Western Sydney Wanderers head across town for the second instalment of the Sydney Derby while Canberra United will look to extend their winning streak to three on the trot as they return home against Brisbane Roar.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Halloway 77’)

Canberra United 4 (Fletcher 4’, 79’, Soutar O.G. 53’, Sykes 83’)

Sunday 29 November 2015

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Kick-off: 2pm

Referee: Kelly Jones

Western Sydney Wanderers: Jada Whyman (gk), Carmelina Moscato, Chloe O’Brien, Rachael Soutar, Erica Halloway (Helen Petinos 82’), Elizabeth Grey (Linda O’Neill 61’), Michelle Carney, Keelin Winters (c), Hannah Beard (Alix Roberts 61’), Demi Koulizakis, Ellie Carpenter

Substitutes – Teagan Micah (gk)

Cautions – Rachael Soutar 28’, Ellie Carpenter 75’

Canberra United: Melissa Maizels (gk), Julia De Angelis, Kendall Fletcher, Jenna McCormick (Grace Gill 77’), Ellie Brush, Meg McLaughlin (Nickoletta Flannery 63’), Nicole Begg (c), Ashleigh Sykes, Emma Checker (Catherine Brown 82’), Veronica Perez, Rebecca Kiting

Substitutes – Georgia Boric (gk)

Cautions – Emma Checker 16’, Julia De Angelis 64’