Comfortable it may have been but there was plenty of room for improvement after Canberra United cemented its spot in the top four of the Westfield W-League with a convincing 3-0 win over Newcastle Jets in the Round 5 clash at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle. United dominated from the opening whistle and were two goals to the good within the first 12 minutes with Stephanie Ochs and Michelle Heyman netting.
The Jets fought their way back into the contest and arguably were the better team in the second half before Ochs bagged her second goal to seal the win for the visitors and rack up a third win in four outings for Elisabeth Migchelsen’s team, sending them into their pre-Christmas trip to Perth in good stead.
The match got underway in hot and blustery conditions and it was the experienced Canberra side that controlled the tempo and the territory launching a number of dangerous attacks within the first few minutes that were scrambled to safety by an overwhelmed Jets defence. The visitors profited from their pressure in the eleventh minute when Ochs took a lovely pass from Ashleigh Sykes on the edge of the box and curled her shot around a diving Eliza Campbell into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The visitors doubled their advantage just one minute later via a superb individual effort from Heyman who showed all the power and poise that have made her a regular at international level, to push between two defenders and round Campbell before sliding her shot into an open net for a typically adroit Heyman finish.
Newcastle was dealt a blow when attacking midfielder Madeline Searl limped off with a knee injury in the 15th minute, replaced by Jasmin Courtney as the home team, up against it and staring down the barrel of another big loss following their 6-0 drubbing by Melbourne Victory, attempted to stem the green flow.
Canberra continued to threaten with Heyman and Sally Rojahn going close only to see their shots saved by brave work from Campbell. Newcastle eventually worked their way back into the contest with Rhali Dobson finding plenty of space on the left wing and creating opportunities for Gema Simon and Hannah Beard, but the Canberra defence was equal to the task to send their side to the half-time break leading 2-0.
The Jets came out with more determination in the second half and took the game to their opponents as United’s approach and form dipped. Dobson, who was the stand-out for the home side, continued to use her pace to great advantage down the left flank while Simon and Beard threatened in the middle but just couldn't find the back of the net.
It was therefore somewhat against the run of play that Canberra sealed the win just past the hour marl when Heyman broke down the right flank and crossed into the box for Ochs who buried her angled shot into the far corner of the goal for a 3-0 lead, her second of the match and illustrating the burgeoning Heyman/Ochs axis.
To their credit the Jets continued to press for an elusive goal with the best chance falling to substitute Adriana Jones, who got on the outside of the United left-side defence and strode into the box only to fire her angled shot into the side netting. Down the other end Heyman went close when her lofted shot skimmed off the crossbar, Ochs saw her chance for a deserved hat-trick flash narrowly wide of the post while Campbell did well to save in a one-on-one with Ashleigh Sykes but the game, as a contest, had long been over and Canberra emerged comfortable winners.
Newcastle Jets 0
Canberra United 3 (Stephanie Ochs 11’, 62’, Michelle Heyman 12’)
(Wanderers Oval, Newcastle)
Newcastle Jets: 1. Eliza Campbell, 2. Hannah Brewer, 3. Stacey Day (4. Siahn Bozanic 71’) 6. Ashley Spina, 7. Gema Simon, 8. Madeline Searl, (13. Jasmin Courtney 15’, 19. Adriana Jones 84’), 9. Tara Andrews, 10. Rhali Dobson, 12. Hannah Beard
Canberra United: 1. Lydia Williams, 2. Catherine Brown, 4. Kendall Fletcher, 7. Ellie Brush, 9. Grace Gill, (19. Jennifer Bisset 51’), 11. Michelle Heyman (8. Meg McLaughlin 75’), 12. Sally Rojahn, 13. Nicole Sykes, 14. Ashleigh Sykes (3. Georgia Yeoman-Dale 81’), 16. Lori Lindsey, 22 Stephanie Ochs.
Yellow Cards: 2. Catherine BROWN, 12. Sally ROHAN (Canberra United)
Referee: Katie PATTERSON