Canberra United heads back to Melbourne this weekend to tackle Melbourne Victory for the second time this season aiming to repeat the success they secured in Round 7 and in the process secure a spot in what would be their third Grand Final. A single goal from Ashleigh Sykes secured the win for Canberra at Etihad Stadium in that fixture and the forward is in a rich vein of form.
Sykes struck the stunning goal that meant United downed Perth Glory at Viking Park last weekend, only the second defeat of the season for the league champions, and the first time in her Westfield W-League career that Sykes had scored in three consecutive matches. Indeed, only Michelle Heyman has managed that feat in green before, extending her run of successive goals to five matches in the championship winning 2011/12 campaign.
The Victory will probe to be tough opponents for Canberra however and will only need to cast their minds back to Round 3 this season for a confidence boost. On that occasion, at McKellar Park, the Victorians romped to a 4-2 success, capitalising on any home mistakes to punish Canberra. And with players such as Lisa De Vanna, the promising Beattie Goad and United States imports Lauren Barnes and Christine Nairn the Victory will be confident of going back-to-back.
The 2013/14 champions haven’t kicked a ball in anger since 30th November when they were unceremoniously dumped out of the International Women’s Club Championship in the First Round. Japanese outfit Okayama Yunogo Belle proved too strong for the Australian representatives, hammering Joe Montemurro’s team 5-0. There is a chance then that Victory may be a little under-done heading into the contest.
But Canberra won’t be relying on that for success. A win here would mean that United would be back in the showdown for the first time since 2012 and with a chance to become a multiple winner of the trophy. There is even an outside shot that United could end up hosting Grand Final should Sydney FC upset Perth Glory and Elisabeth Migchelsen’s team triumph in Geelong.
There is precedent for that to happen. Last season Victory hosted a Grand Final from third when they, and Brisbane Roar, knocked over the top two [Canberra United and Sydney FC]. The Sky Blues even won a Grand Final from fourth in Season Five. So Canberra heads to Victoria with destiny in their hands. Ninety minutes (with the possibility of extra-time) looms large. This should be a belter.
Canberra United: 1. Chantel JONES, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Tegan RIDING, 16. Lori LINDSEY, 17. Holly HOUSTON, 18. Rebecca KITING, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Stephanie OCHS
Melbourne Victory: 1. Brianna DAVEY, 2. Hannah BREWER, 3. Jessica AU, 4. Alex NATOLI, 5. Lauren BARNES, 6. Gema SIMON, 7. Stephanie CATLEY, 8. Amy JACKSON, 9. Rachael QUIGLEY, 10. Christine NAIRN, 11. Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Ella MASTRANTONIO, 13. Alexandra GUMMER, 14. Tiffany ELIADIS, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Beatrice GOAD, 17. Gulcan KOCA, 18. Elli REED, 19. Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, 20. Cassandra DIMOVSKI, 29. Caitlin FRIEND
Canberra United: 8 Michelle HEYMAN, 4 Ashleigh SYKES, 2 Ellie BRUSH, Caitlin MUNOZ, Stephanie OCHS, 1 Grace FIELD, Lori LINDSEY, Sally ROJAHN, Own GOALS
Melbourne Victory: 8 Rachael QUIGLEY, 5 Amy JACKSON, 3 Lisa DE VANNA, 2 Lauren BARNES, Stephanie CATLEY, Gema SIMON, Christine NAIRN, 1 Beattie GOAD, Gulcan KOCA
ROUND 3, 28/09/14 (McKellar Park)
Canberra United 2 (Lindsey 59’, Heyman 80’) Melbourne Victory 4 (Barnes 38’ (pen), Catley 42’, De Vanna 48’, Simon 68’)
ROUND 7, 25/10/14 (Etihad Stadium)
Melbourne Victory 0 Canberra United 1 (Sykes 29’)
(Capital Football Media Release)