Sydney on the verge
Sydney FC have effectively claimed the Westfield W-League premiership with a 3-0 win over Canberra United at Seymour Shaw Park.
Sydney FC have effectively claimed the Westfield W-League premiership with a 3-0 win over Canberra United at Seymour Shaw Park, which means only a landslide defeat in the final round next week can stop the champions finishing the regular season on top.
Brisbane Roar's scoreless draw earlier in the day against Newcastle Jets in their final outing of the season meant the Sky Blues commenced their penultimate match three points in arrears of the Roar but with a six-goal advantage.
Though sitting third, Canberra United were equally desperate for points ahead of a crucial encounter next week against fellow finals aspirants Perth Glory.
A tight opening meant chances were limited with Sydney's US defender Lydia Vandenbergh breaking into the penalty area midway through the first half before Caitlin Cooper made a crucial interception.
Ten minutes before the interval Kylie Ledbrook looked for a moment to have scored one of the goals of the season as she got on the end of a flowing move with a first time shot from the edge of the penalty area, but Lydia Williams expertly tipped the effort over.
From the ensuing corner Canberra suffered a blow with influential midfielder Cian Maciejewski stretchered from the field suffering from a neck injury, the midfielder taken to hospital purely as a precaution.
Sydney defender Danielle Brogan then latched onto a half-cleared corner but Ellie Brush was well placed to clear the low shot off the line.
The Sky Blues made a perfect, albeit lucky, start to the second half with Caitlin Foord's low cross from the right was turned into her own net by United skipper Brush as she attempted a volleyed clearance.
The visitors attempted to come back into the contest, with Michelle Heyman denied by a smart save from Sydney goalkeeper Dimi Poulos in one of a number of encounters between the pair during the second stanza.
Sydney FC came close to doubling their lead midway through the second half as substitute Heather Garriock crossed from the left but Williams just did enough to stop Leena Khamis' shot from entering the goal.
It was however another substitute, Catherine Cannuli, who effectively ended the match and ensured the premiership would be retained by the Sky Blues with the sealing goal 14 minutes from time. A typically smart ball from Ledbrook into the danger area was deftly finished by Cannuli with a flick past an exposed Williams.
The best however was saved for last as Vandenbergh's long raking ball was expertly volleyed home at the far post by Kyah Simon, in what proved a fitting goal to ensure a victory which effectively ended the premiership race.
Sydney FC: 3 (Brush 48og , Canulli 76, Simon 82) Canberra United: 0 Crowd: 973