Canberra’s finals dreams still alive after hard-fought win over Adelaide

An Ellie Carpenter goal has given Canberra United a lifeline in their bid for the Westfield W-League finals as they saw off Adelaide United 1-0 at McKellar Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Westfield Matildas defender finished off a scrappy move for United just before the hour mark to give Heather Garriock’s side a much-needed win.

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Ex-Canberra striker Michelle Heyman almost became public enemy number one 11 minutes in after she rounded goalkeeper Sham Khamis but her shot was blocked via some terrific defending from Taren King.

The home side would slowly settle into the game and Nikki Flannery had a couple of chances and probably should have buried at least one but couldn’t quite find her shooting boots.

South African striker Rhoda Mulaudzi almost found the back of the net via a header from outside the penalty area but her effort flew just wide.

Carpenter went close straight after the interval but her vicious shot was well parried away by Reds custodian Sarah Willacy.

However, Carpenter wasn’t to be denied and with 59 minutes on the clock the fullback popped up to bury a loose ball into the back of the net.

Megan McElligott was played in by the freshly out of the retirement Ash Sykes and her effort ricocheted off Reds defenders and into the path of Carpenter who made no mistake from close range.

Adelaide pressed hard for an equaliser and would have had one through Fanndis Fridriksdóttir had Khamis not forced the Icelandic international’s shot onto the crossbar.

Veronica Latsko had been quiet by her own lofty standards and probably should have done better with 10 minutes remaining after springing Canberra’s offside trap but her shot was comfortably blocked by Khamis.

A crucial victory for Canberra who find themselves only three points off a spot in the top four while the Reds miss their chance to climb back into the finals placings.

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