Canberra United comfortably dispatched Adelaide United for a fourth straight win, on a breezy Saturday afternoon at home.

Michelle Heyman netted two, her first to open the account ten minutes in cleaning up after Veronica Perez forced a save, and a second with ten to go, off the far post. Jenna McCormick scored her first W-League goal, off a perfect cross from Ash Sykes, and in added time Perez made easy work of a penalty for a fourth.

Canberra United - Key Players and Plays

After an admittedly slow start to their championship defence, Canberra United must be pleased with how the season has progressed, and how they’re currently placed. The side on Saturday looked confident and the result reflected that. Three of the goals were built off good movement, and were true team goals.

The defence was tested through great build-up play, with Adelaide’s Allira Toby and Rosie Sutton both getting a good look on a number of occasions, but the back four of Checker, Kiting, Brush and Begg impressed. Checker felt good about the win, and not conceding. “Obviously, a win is a win, but also to get a clean sheet, as a back 5 is just a massive tick. We had a few disappointing mistakes early on in the season, myself and all of us, but I think it’s been something – we’ve worked pretty hard together in training, and I think it’s pretty evident in the past few weeks especially that it’s starting to come through.”

She is settling nicely into Canberra. “Always hard coming into a side like Canberra; tight knit, played together for a long time; I mean they’ve got a very special style of play, but it was one that I saw myself being able to fit into, and now after a couple of months we’re gelling really well and I think we’ve pulled it together at an important part of the season.”

The midfield has similarly started to gel, and it can not be said enough that Kendall Fletcher has a work rate other sides must be green with envy over. On Saturday, she did not stop running, and was a factor both in defence and on the counter.

No doubt Canberra coach Rae Dower will have some words for the squad on maintaining their flow. Periods in the second half saw the passing dropped off, and she admits there’s still work to do on finishing.

“2-0 is great going in at half time, but it would have been a bit more comfortable if we had been probably 4 or 5, which would have shown the dominance that we had in that first half.”

Adelaide United - Key Players and Plays

Adelaide still look like a side that saw a great start to the season, in second place just a few weeks back. Their build up play was good, and both Toby and Sutton were well served in attack. They will both likely rue some chances, particularly at this point in the season.

While the score line reflected Canberra’s dominance, particularly in the back third of the match, Adelaide weren’t as far out of it as it seemed. Kaitlyn Savage kept them in it in the first half, with a couple of really classy saves, while Abigail Dahlkemper was everywhere.

After conceding only eight goals in seven matches, seeing four netted in Canberra will sting for Adelaide. They are now up against it in many ways, with finals spots likely to be heavily contested, it will be important to forget round nine, and regroup.

Up Next

Canberra United enjoy their third home match in a row next week, hosting Melbourne Victory at McKellar Park next Saturday. The real summer heat should be a factor for that match, with high 30s expected for the weekend, something Dower is factoring in. “We look at recovery now for the girls, getting their food in as quickly as we can, their fluids in. They’ll do a really good recovery tomorrow, ice baths as we speak. We monitor them through the week so there are a couple of hot days for training. No doubt, the officials will include drinks breaks if required.”

They’ll be hoping to continue building on the form that’s lifted the side to a comfortable second on the ladder, and take a win into the Christmas break before a trip west in the new year.

Adelaide United are on the road again next week, headed to Newcastle for what should be a cracker. Both teams are on the hunt for crucial points, as they find themselves in a very crowded section of the ladder. Adelaide also find themselves winless since Round 4 and November, so no doubt will be desperate for the three points.

Toby had her shoulder attended to in the first half, but played 75 minutes, so hopefully that won’t be a concern.

Canberra United 4 (Michelle Heyman 9’, 84’, Jenna McCormick 15’, Veronica Perez 90+3’ (pen))

Adelaide United 0

Saturday 12 December 2015

McKellar Park, Canberra

Kick-off: 4.00pm

Referee: Kelly Jones

Canberra United: Lydia Williams (gk), Kendall Fletcher, Jenna McCormick (Emma Kete 65’), 6. Caitlin Munoz (3. Julia De Angelis 78’), Ellie Brush, Michelle Heyman, Nicole Begg, Ashleigh Sykes (Meg McLaughlin 82’), Emma Checker, Veronica Perez, Rebecca Kiting

Substitutes: Melissa Maizels

Cautions: Emma Kete 81’

Adelaide United:  Kaitlyn Savage (gk), Lauren Steer, Alexandra Gummer, Sarah Killion, Allira Toby (Georgia Campagnale 74’), Chantelle Ryder (Gabrielle Bentley 89’), Emily Condon, Rosie Sutton, Elizabeth Milne, Abigail Dahlkemper, Tiarn Powell (Lorena Maggio 59’)

Substitutes: Claudia Jenkins

Cautions: Chantelle Ryder 56’