Match Day Monday – Round 6

It’s Monday again, and this one marks the halfway point of the regular season. Despite being halfway through the season, all teams are vying for a place for the finals and the race for first place is heating up too. Last weeks bottom place team, Sydney FC perhaps making the biggest lunge of the week, moving up three places to get to sixth. This makes me very happy, but also demonstrates how tight this season is.

The only game accessible from the comfort of your couch was Canberra United v Brisbane Roar on Fox Sport online. Look it’s a different rant, that may come soon, but is it really good enough to be promised access to W-League games on TV, but the week after the Matildas play, the only access to this round is through an online subscription? No, Foxtel and FFA need to do better. Like I said different rant, and because I am lucky enough to access Fox Sports online live streams, I was able to watch the tense of Canberra v Brisbane, but still access to these games is an important issue to grow the game.

Canberra United v Brisbane Roar
First Half
The tone of this match was set early. Brisbane looked threatening early, whilst Canberra were compact and looked to break with quick counter attacks, utilising the pace of Michelle Heyman and Ash Sykes.

For Brisbane, Hayley Raso shone. No matter where she was on the park, Raso was able to get the ball in space and often cutting into the middle of the park, displaying a new skill to her growing repertoire. A number of Brisbane’s chances were a result of Raso’s hard work up front.

The defending from both teams differed greatly, but worked for both of them. Canberra were quick to get ten players behind the ball the moment Brisbane gained possession, making them difficult to break down. Meanwhile Brisbane’s defence looked less disciplined, the moment the ball went past their midfield they had fewer players in place to defend, but were able to consistently scramble and stop the threat Canberra’s pacey attack brought. Don’t ask me how Brisbane managed that, they just somehow did.

Half Time Thoughts
Brisbane were the better side and looked the most likely to score.
Raso was on fire, with Tameka Butt also contributing well and the Brisbane defence winning crucial challenges when they looked out numbered.
Canberra had some breaks but were not in control of the game. They looked solid but were being exposed on the wings, especially on the right side against Kaitlyn Torpey and Raso.
Ellie Carpenter’s move to midfield was a stroke of genius. The best on the field for Canberra.

Second Half
The second half was more of the same really. Brisbane were the team pressing for a goal, with Canberra still causing some trouble on the counter attack. A positive for Brisbane, was their ability and hunger to win the second balls. Unlike Canberra, who after doing so well at that against Perth last week, just weren’t fighting as hard for those second chances. Very little time was spent in the middle of the park, with most of play being in and around the final third for either side, with Brisbane being the slightly more dominant.

Just when I was considering the reality I might just get to watch my first nil – nil game of this season, Brisbane come up with the goods. Butt scored a beauty, after losing both centre backs to allow for Katrina Gorry to magically place the ball onto Butt’s foot, who controlled it with ease before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner giving the keeper to chance.

The game continued, with Brisbane continuing to push and Carpenter being the centre of chances for Canberra. Most impressively for Canberra was Carpenter winning the ball deep in midfield, to run into space, play a one two with Thorsnes to then bring the ball to the wing and produce a low cross in front of goal, where Heyman on any other given day would have finished the chance. Meanwhile for Brisbane Gorry bossed the midfield, winning the ball and creating chances with nifty passes.

Final Score: Canberra United 0 – 1 Brisbane Roar

Full Time Thoughts
Brisbane were the hungrier of both the sides, winning the second balls. They wanted to win this game, it showed both with their determination on the pitch and their celebration after the final whistle. That celebration made me wonder if this was round 12 with the points winning the championship, not round 6 giving them second place on goal difference.
For Canberra they just couldn’t get control of the midfield effectively to have meaningful spells of possession. They relied too much on the hopeful long ball and half chances from a break.
It was always going to be there to exploit the gaps out wide allowed for by Canberra’s narrow defensive set up, and Brisbane did.

Round 6 Results
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 – 1 Perth Glory
Sydney FC 2 – 0 Melbourne Victory
Canberra United 0 – 1 Brisbane Roar
Melbourne City 1 – 1 Adelaide United

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