Image courtesy Capital Football


Match of the Round: Gungahlin United v Tuggeranong United



The round 11 matchup between these two teams was very much about momentum. Gungahlin were looking to regain theirs after a bye round and no part to play in the Federation Cup weekend, while Tuggeranong were looking for their second successive win. On a chilly, windy day at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval, the visitors made Gungahlin work hard for their 3-0 victory, and Gungahlin will feel they are not yet back to the form and fluency that saw them win five in succession during the first half of the season.

The game started brightly for Gungahlin as they took the lead in the fifth minute. Erika Pennyfield’s run down the right wing culminated in a cross that sailed into the net at the far post after Tuggeranong keeper Miriam McLaren failed to get a hand to it.

The Tuggeranong defence was well organised by Steph Coates, and they would catch  Gungahlin attackers offside repeatedly throughout the game. At the other end of the park, Tuggeranong were relying on the tireless Chloe Daisley to play a sole hand in attack, but her effectiveness was limited with little support from her team mates.

Gungahlin’s Elke Aitolu rattled a shot onto the crossbar from range on 15 minutes, and several minutes later lifted a free kick over the bar. Her involvement in the game was to be curtailed at the half hour mark when she limped off the field with an ankle injury, replaced by Jade Brown. Aitolu’s absence was to blunt the effectiveness of the Gungahlin attack, who missed her composure on the ball, intelligent distribution, and shooting prowess.

Gungahlin’s Ruby Gambale at right fullback appeared to relish the cool conditions, making several energetic runs forward and combining well with Pennyfield in the attacking third.

In the middle of the park, Gungahlin’s Stella and Nat De Marco were holding sway. The pair were able to make use of their mobility to cut out Tuggeranong’s efforts in that area of the field, and were also bringing those around them into the game. On the right side of the Tuggeranong midfield Kristy Helmers was enjoying a strong game, imposing herself on the contest wherever possible and winning challenges.

In the windy conditions Tuggeranong were often looking to play out from the back on goal kicks, but Gungahlin were aware of this and pressured the Tuggeranong defence to good effect. As a result the home side enjoyed a territorial advantage much of the time.

Gungahlin’s Rachael Corbett showed more willingness to get forward in the back end of the half, and closed first half proceedings with a shot from range that sailed wide of goal. Her team went into the sheds holding a one goal lead.

Beth Williams took the field for Tuggeranong when play resumed, replacing Alice Linn in a defensive role. This allowed Coates free rein to roam forward more often from deep. An early chance on the Gungahlin goal came after Coates won the ball in defence and made a run down the right wing, combining with Helmers. Her cross was met by Sophie Bui who scuffed her shot, and the followup by Chloe Daisley was blocked.

In the 52nd minute Helmers won the ball in midfield and played the ball through to Chloe Daisley, whose shot forced Sophie Spice’s first real save of the afternoon. The ensuing corner troubled Spice and was cleared off the back post by Gambale.

Just after the hour Chloe Daisley was substituted for Tuggeranong, forcing a reshuffle, with Helmers moving into the striker role. Helmers was to trouble the Gungahlin defence for the rest of the game with her strength and willingness to shoot.

Bui had a great opportunity to tie up the game in the 70th minute after a Rhiannon Daisley free kick for Tuggeranong fell to her at the front post, but she could only toe the ball inches wide of goal.

A yellow card was recorded against Coates in the 71st minute after she clattered into the back of Nat De Marco while challenging for a goal kick. A minute later Spice was called into action after Helmers broke forward and fired in a low shot. A quick Gungahlin counterattack followed, with Stella De Marco releasing Pennyfield on the right wing. Her shot was wide of both a diving McLaren and the left Tuggeranong post.

Ella Brown scored Gungahlin’s second goal in the 76th minute after playing a delightful one-two with Nat De Marco and racing into the penalty box, carefully placing her low shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

Pennyfield continued her good work down the right flank in the last ten minutes of the game, firing in several crosses which were unfortunately not anticipated by her team mates. In an action-filled last two minutes involving her and Nat De Marco, a Pennyfield shot only just went over the bar after De Marco played a through ball, and moments later De Marco’s sweetly struck shot hit the underside of the crossbar and cannoned into the field of play.

Gambale was rewarded for her forward runs in the final moments of the game, scoring a tap-in goal after bursting forward with the ball and playing a one-two with Stella De Marco, then riding McLaren’s challenge.

In a game where both central defences performed well, Gungahlin benefited from a higher degree of midfield control and a greater willingness across the board to venture forward. They didn’t have it all their own way, however, and Michael Aldred’s players can be proud both of their improvement over the course of the season, and their ability to compete for the majority of the game against a side currently running in third.


Final score:

Gungahlin United 3 (Pennyfield 5′ E. Brown 76′ Gambale 90+1′)

Tuggeranong United 0 



Gungahlin United – Coach: Diego Iglesias

Sophie Spice, Brigitte Sander, Marija Rathouski, Maddie Perceval (c), Ruby Gambale, Stella De Marco, Rachael Corbett, Natalie De Marco, Erika Pennyfield, Ella Brown, Elke Aitolu, Jade Brown, Kailey Tonini, Niamh Larkin, Danielle Gaspari

Yellow cards: Coates 71′

Tuggeranong United – Coach: Michael Aldred

Miriam McLaren, Lara Mustaine, Claire Falls, Stephanie Coates, Kristy Helmers, Alice Linn, Zoe Terry, Rhiannon Daisley, Chloe Daisley, Sara Daisley, Sophie Bui, Beth Williams, Amber Harvey, Mackenzie Alcock, Jana El-Istanbouli

Yellow/Red cards: Nil


Around The Grounds:

Canberra United Academy 7 – 1 Canberra Olympic

Canberra FC 2 – 0 Woden-Weston

Wagga City 2 – 0 Monaro Panthers

Bye – Belconnen United



Pos Team P W D L For Against GD Pts
1 Belconnen United FC 9 8 1 0 57 1 56 25
2 Canberra United Academy 11 7 1 3 44 14 30 22
3 Gungahlin United FC 9 7 0 2 29 12 17 21
4 Canberra FC 10 6 2 2 41 8 33 20
5 Woden-Weston FC 9 5 0 4 23 24 -1 15
6 Tuggeranong United FC 10 3 0 7 9 43 -34 9
7 Monaro Panthers FC 11 2 0 9 18 44 -26 6
8 Wagga City Wanderers FC 10 2 0 8 12 44 -32 6
9 Canberra Olympic FC 9 2 0 7 8 48 -40 6