Maher scores from centre circle to clinch a point for Canberra against Roar

Stunning strikes from Brisbane Roar’s Katrina Gorry and Canberra United’s Grace Maher punctuated an exhilarating 1-1 draw at Dolphin Stadium on Thursday night. 

Maher’s second-half goal hit from within the centre circle cancelled out Gorry’s spectacular early hit to ensure honours were even at full time of a contest dominated in large by the Roar.

Brisbane went goalless through the opening two rounds of the season but took just three minutes to impact the scoresheet against Canberra, and in some style.

Gorry scored the emphatic opener, beating Canberra ‘keeper Sally James with a perfectly struck curling attempt from some distance.

Michelle Heyman has scored for fun since returning to Canberra this season and almost found the back of the net for the fifth time in three games when she dispatched a thunderous strike toward Brisbane’s goal, but the crossbar felt the brunt of the impact of Heyman’s first shot of the contest.

The Roar kept James busy throughout the first half, calling the young shot stopper into a number of brave saves to ensure the visitors’ lead remained at just one at the half time break.

15 minutes of respite at the break proved all Canberra were afforded by the Roar who came out of the sheds to continue their immense application of pressure on goal, with Gorry, Emily Gielnik and Leticia McKenna firing off the best of Brisbane’s numerous attempts early in the second stanza.

Canberra’s record of late goals had Brisbane on high alert, and tension in the Roar camp rose when Gielnik missed an excellent chance from close range to put Brisbane two goals ahead with less than 20 minutes to play, sending her strike from a relatively tight angle toward an open net off the crossbar. 

After seeing wave after wave of their attacks go to waste it seemed the Roar would soon live to regret their inefficiency in front of goal, and they were ultimately punished by a Maher strike scored in truly outrageous style.

The Canberra number 10 picked up the ball in the centre circle, saw Georgina Worth off her line and let rip with an attempt which lobbed the back-pedalling Roar ‘keeper and dropped into the back of the net.

The spectacular equaliser handed Canberra a foothold in the game Brisbane should never have afforded them, but their lack of conviction in front of goal coupled with a little bit of magic from the visitors ultimately forced the Roar into sharing the spoils in a truly entertaining 1-1 draw.

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Key Moments

Gorry displays poise and precision to convert sensational goal

Katrina Gorry proved you brute force isn’t necessary to score from distance when her expertly-taken shot from distance sailed past Canberra stopper Sally James and into the back of the net just three minutes into the contest.

With the ball at her feet in a central location outside of the box, Gorry utilised her close control while sizing up the goal before pulling the trigger on the strike.

There wasn’t much power behind the shot, but it wasn’t needed – Gorry had placed the ball to perfection, sending it over James’ head to score Brisbane’s first goal of the 2020/21 season.

Heyman strike rattles the bar

Michelle Heyman was unsighted through the first ten minutes of play, but the Golden Boot leader almost made an emphatic introduction to the contest when she cannoned a right-footed strike off the bar with eleven minutes on the clock.

Heyman received the ball from Demi Koulizakis in her stride to set up a dribbling run toward goal. 

Kim Carroll retreated allowing Heyman the space to send a strike toward Worth; the Roar ‘keeper was well beaten but the shot rose slightly too high, thundering off the bar.

Dalton strike the latest in flurry of long-range attempts 

With the clock ticking down toward the half time break, Isobel Dalton struck the third memorable attempt on goal of the opening stanza.

It would have challenged Gorry’s strike as an early contender for Goal of the Round had it snuck the right side of the post, but Dalton’s curling shot hit the meeting point between the right-hand post and the crossbar, deflecting away from goal and keeping Brisbane’s lead at one.

Heyman evades Polkinghorne but can’t beat Worth

Heyman went close to taking the honours in her battle with fellow Westfield Matildas veteran Clare Polkinghorne when she ghosted past the Roar defender and in on goal. 

But the resulting strike wasn’t hit with enough pace to get past Worth; the Roar goalkeeper got down low to her right to push Heyman’s low shot from the right side of the box around the post and out for a corner. 

Gielnik misses gilt-edged chance 

Brisbane peppered shots largely from distance at Canberra’s goal for the bulk of the second half, but it was a chance to Gielnik inside the six-yard box which presented as Brisbane’s best chance to go two goals ahead.

That chance was wasted by the Westfield Matildas forward, who hit Gorry’s cross first-time toward an open goal, only to see her shot ricochet off the crossbar and, somehow, away from goal. 

Maher nicks a point for Canberra with sensational strike from the centre circle

Brisbane had seen chance after chance fail to hit the back of the net in the second half, and it always seemed Canberra – the late show experts – would hit back before the end of the game.

But no one was prepared for how Canberra would get their equaliser – not even Worth, who was caught some distance off her line by an attempt from Maher near the halfway line which sailed over the Roar ‘keeper’s head and into the back of the net.

The truly outrageous and ambitious shot proved the ticket Canberra needed back into the game, as they secured a draw in superb fashion.


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