Image courtesy @KaiMoebus

 

Match of the Round: Woden-Weston v Canberra Olympic

 

 

On a weekend off for the ACT NPLW competition, fans seeking their NPLW fix – and willing to brave the cold – had a washed out Round 7 fixture replay on Saturday afternoon at the Melrose Synthetic pitch to tide them over. Some quality Woden-Weston play in the attacking third proved to be the difference between the sides, with the Wanderers running out 4-1 victors over Canberra Olympic.

Canberra Olympic came into the game fresh off a bye, while Woden-Weston were keen to press their finals claims after a loss to Gungahlin United in the previous round. Woden-Weston welcomed back their perpetual motion machine captain Cassia Mcglashan, however they were without her speedy forward partner Sofia Christopherson and regular fullback Bridget Plummer.

Olympic’s Emma Guo threatened in the first minute of the game with a one-on-one opportunity, but was closed down by Woden-Weston keeper Christina Esposito. A minute later Olympic keeper Cindy Chalker passed to her captain Victoria Jamieson, who could only control the ball with a heavy touch. Mcglashan was able to steal the ball away and side-foot it into the net for a 1-0 lead. The contest between the two captains – Jamieson marking Mcglashan, both wearing a number 23 jersey – was to be a highlight throughout the afternoon.

Almost directly from the restart, Olympic had their midfield buildup play on full display, several one-touch passes taking the ball to Lily Dawson on the left wing at the end of the movement. This was to be a theme in the game for Olympic. Their sharp passing got them forward, however there was too little support for striker Emma Guo and her fellow wide attackers, leaving them unable to link up or capitalise on opportunities.

The weight of possession was often with Woden-Weston in the first half. Samantha Briggs made a run into the box in the 17th minute, but her cross to Anna Vandenbroucke just failed to find her. Two minutes later Tayla Zanotto turned with the ball at the top of the Olympic penalty box, however she couldn’t find the required power in her shot.

Vandenbroucke was brought down heavily on the edge of the Olympic penalty box in the 21st minute by Emily Dillon, but astoundingly the referee waved play on. It took some minutes for Vandenbroucke to recover from the impact before continuing.

Woden-Weston’s Alex McKenzie continued her impressive form of recent weeks, taking precise corners and controlling play in front of her defence. In the 27th minute she released her right winger Alana Bain with a delightful ball. Bain unleashed a shot from the edge of the six yard box, Esposito doing well to push the ball wide for a corner.

Just after the half hour Olympic’s Eleanor Jones lined up a free kick outside the Woden-Weston box, and Esposito in goals was able to juggle and regather the ball as it arrived. Three minutes later Woden-Weston’s McKenzie had the same opportunity at the opposite end, with her free kick met by Mcglashan’s header wide of goal.

Olympic wide midfielder Emma Finch came close to scoring in the 38th minute, having run onto a fine Guo through ball. Her right wing cross was tipped onto the crossbar by Wanderers keeper Esposito. Guo had a similar opportunity from out wide two minutes later, however her centred ball was unable to find a team-mate in front of goal.

The Olympic pressure bore fruit in the 42nd minute. Kiara Gaspari’s left foot volley from a cleared corner kick deflected off the head of a defender, wrong-footing Esposito and finding the back of the net.

Woden-Weston’s McKenzie had two shooting opportunities just before half time, with the first blocked by a defender and the follow-up parried wide for a corner by Cindy Chalker. Nothing came of the corner kick and the teams went into half time with a goal apiece.

Image courtesy @KaiMoebus

Mcglashan’s first significant moment of the second half – in the 52nd minute – almost mirrored that of the first half. An Olympic backpass to the keeper was only cleared as far as her, but Mcglashan’s subsequent shot sailed over the bar.

Olympic left winger Dawson found herself with a one-on-one with the Woden-Weston keeper a minute later, however Esposito managed to close her down and deflect the attempt on goal.

Vandenbroucke stamped her authority on the game in the 62nd minute, running onto a backwards header from an Olympic defender and striking the bouncing ball with venom over the keeper and into the top left of goal, giving Woden-Weston a 2-1 lead.

The lead allowed the Woden-Weston team to push even harder for a win as tall centre-back Sarah Whitfield joined the attacking formation, with the Woden-Weston defence reverting to a back three. The move almost paid off immediately, with a Whitfield header off another fine McKenzie corner in the 64th minute cleared off the goal line by a defender. The forward line of Whitfield, Bain, and McGlashan, and the willingness of Vandenbroucke to chime into the attack, was to trouble the Olympic defence for the remainder of the game.

This was no better illustrated than in the 68th minute as Vandenbroucke received the ball from a drifting Whitfield and took the ball to the byline. She then returned the ball beautifully to Whitfield in space in the box, who made no mistake to slide the ball home for her team’s third goal.

Bain fired from distance near the left touchline three minutes later, having cut in to elude her defender. The shot clattered off the crossbar and into the path of Vandenbroucke, with Olympic’s Jodie Kirkness doing well to pickpocket the ball and send it behind for a corner.

Bain was to fare better in the 75th minute, scoring Woden-Weston’s fourth after more excellent work down the right by Vandenbroucke. Her cross was palmed down to Bain at the back post, and she confidently converted the chance with little in the way of defensive pressure.

The last 15 minutes of the game were scoreless, despite further opportunities to Finch for Olympic (two of them), and Whitfield and Bain for Woden-Weston.

Woden-Weston will come away from the game knowing that they are able to fashion goal scoring chances via several different avenues in the absence of the pacey Sofia Christopherson. Their hopes for a finals berth are still alive after this game.

For their part, Canberra Olympic had more of the game than the scoreline suggests. Their rebuilding continues after the loss of much experience at the conclusion of the 2018 season. They were certainly right in the mix in this game, but are currently just lacking a bit of an x-factor in attack.

Next weekend Canberra Olympic head north to Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, while Woden-Weston come back to Melrose Synthetic to take on current champions Belconnen United.

 

Final score:

Woden-Weston Wanderers 4 (Mcglashan 2′, Vandenbroucke 60′, Whitfield 67′, Bain 75′)

Canberra Olympic 1 (Gaspari 42′) 

 

Teams:

Woden-Weston Wanderers – Coach: Mark Boyd

Christina Esposito, Ellen Brown, Samantha Briggs, Sarah Whitfield, Vanessa Burdett, Anna Vandenbroucke, Alex McKenzie, Tayla Zannotto, Cassia Mcglashan (c), Alana Bain, Alice Johansson-Crumfield, Briana Maguire, Hanna Coppell, Abigail Maguire, Lilian Geale

Yellow cards: Nil

Canberra Olympic – Coach: Andrew Woodman

Cindy Chalker, Emily Dillon, Victoria Jamieson (c), Keeley Pasfield, Jodie Kirkness, Emma Finch, Kiara Gaspari, Emma Croker, Eleanor Jones, Lily Dawson, Emma Guo, Georgina Woodward, Abigail Stanton, Courtney Attwood, Krissa Manns

Yellow cards: Nil

 

Around The Grounds:

No other games this weekend.

 

Ladder:

Pos Team P W D L For Against GD Pts
1 Belconnen United FC 11 10 1 0 66 2 64 31
2 Canberra FC 13 9 2 2 59 9 50 29
3 Canberra United Academy 13 8 1 4 50 18 32 25
4 Gungahlin United FC 11 8 0 3 32 16 16 24
5 Woden-Weston FC 11 6 0 5 27 28 -1 18
6 Tuggeranong United FC 12 4 0 8 12 49 -37 12
7 Monaro Panthers FC 12 2 0 10 19 46 -27 6
8 Wagga City Wanderers FC 12 2 0 10 13 60 -47 6
9 Canberra Olympic FC 11 2 0 9 10 58 -48 6