W-League | No place like home for Canberra United

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They dominated the numbers, had two goals disallowed and let their lead slip twice to succumb to a draw but Canberra United are honestly just happy to be back home.

Yesterday’s thrilling 2-all draw with Adelaide United at McKellar marked their first fixture in Canberra in over a month.

And boy did they enjoy it.

“I love being back,” yesterday’s captain and two goal hero Ashleigh Sykes said post-match.

“McKellar’s looking like a bowling green at the moment.”

Coach Rae Dower echoed those sentiments although couldn’t resist a shot at fellow clubs, praising the strength of her side.

“Pretty sure the girls were pretty happy about that [being home],” a much-relieved Dower said.

“We knew what the draw was like at the beginning of the year and we’ll actually play wherever were told to play, evidently some clubs have a bit more leeway with that but we’ll do what we’re told to do.”

Canberra dominated the first hour in front of a raucous home crowd although had to endure a host of offside calls including a disallowed goal before Sykes, legally, got on the end of a Grace Maher cross to break the deadlock.

The home side continued to apply pressure in the second half but were stunned when Adelaide’s Sofia Huerta was taken out by Jenna McCormick in the box and awarded a penalty.

Huerta duly converted to put the Lady Reds back in the contest.

The controversy didn’t end there however with Canberra having another goal rubbed out, this time for an offside called on goal scorer Celeste Boureille, who had headed home a deflected attempt from Jasmyne Spencer.

Sykes then lobbed an audacious shot past Sarah Willacy in goals to hand Canberra back the lead before Huerta again proved a menace with her second goal coming two minutes later.

The Canberra winger was disappointed but ultimately proud of the way her team kept their focus in a frustrating game.

“It was particularly disappointing with that last one, it was a good chance to seal the game.”

“Sometimes you do get caught up in the game but today I thought everyone kept their heads really well and just kept playing.”

Dower chose to focus on the performance rather than the result in her post-match sentiments, praising her side for having the character to bounce back from the Sydney loss.

“We’re disappointed we don’t take three points but from the team’s perspective in terms of the resilience and character they showed after Tuesday’s game that was a phenomenal effort today.”

“That’s what we wanted, we wanted a response and we got it so really, really happy with the girls’ performance.”

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Dominic Unwin
Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.

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