Superb Sydney lay down Premiership marker by smashing Canberra

Sydney FC shot an almighty warning to the Westfield W-League on Monday night after smashing fellow title contenders Canberra United 4-0 in Kogarah for the club’s sixth win in a row.

Remy Siemsen scored a second-half brace after Cortnee Vine added to Mackenzie Hawkesby’s opening strike as Ante Juric’s side brushed the Green Machine aside and raced seven points clear atop the Westfield W-League ladder.

The match was billed as a potential Grand Final preview in some quarters before a ball had been kicked but Sydney were at their merciless best in emphatically underlining their Premiership credentials and maintaining in their 100% record this season. 

Despite a promising start, Canberra could not break up Sydney’s rhythm and rode their luck in the second half after they were made to chase the game following Hawkesby’s strike on 16 minutes.

Golden Boot leader Michelle Heyman was effectively silenced by a Sydney defence which has not conceded a goal in over 360 minutes of football, since Newcastle Jets striker Tara Andrews found the net in Sydney’s 2-1 win on January 8.  

Vine broke Canberra’s second half resistance after an onslaught early in the second half, before Siemsen scored twice in the space of four minutes to deal Canberra’s Premiership bid a crushing blow. 

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Key moments

The visitors were underdogs coming into this Monday afternoon clash in Kogarah, but started promisingly. Michelle Heyman nearly stole a march on the Sydney FC rearguard early on after lovely approach play from Canberra resulted in Nickoletta Flannery’s flick-on landing at the feet of the in-form forward, but she could not get true connection.

But after a controlled and composed start from Canberra, Sydney began to quickly assert their dominance on the match. Remy Siemsen, firmly back in her goalscoring groove after two consecutive efforts against Sydney FC and Melbourne City in recent weeks, was first to draw a save from Canberra goalkeeper Keeley Richards after she danced past two United defenders on the left and hit a deflected effort goalward. 

Sydney took the lead on 16 minutes through Hawkesby. Isabella Foletta could not halt Princess Ibini’s surge into the box, the Sydney forward’s cutback was spilled by Richards and Hawkesby was quickest to react and bury the rebound to give the Sky Blues the lead.

Drafted in for Rachel Lowe, it was the midfielder’s second goal of the campaign having notched a penalty against Western Sydney Wanderers on January 16.

The hosts were in control following Hawkesby’s strike and had chances to further their advantage. Natalie Tobin had Richards scrambling across her goal to keep out a long-range effort, while the elusive Cortnee Vine could not find a teammate in the centre or the corner of the net after steaming past Canberra fullback Foletta and sliding the ball across the face. 

Sydney had two wonderful chances to double their advantage three minutes into half time. Ibini marched toward the box and released Clare Wheeler, who had advanced from midfield, but the former Newcastle Jet did not keep her composure and ballooned her effort over the bar. 

Then, when Polias swung in another dangerous corner, it was Vine who headed onto the crossbar after Richards came and miscued the flight of the delivery.
Richards atoned for that error of judgement by making a fine low save to deny Ibini’s drive, with Siemsen’s follow up clattering the underside of the crossbar.

But eventually Sydney did double their advantage with Vine the scorer. Siemsen and Hawkesby combined neatly on the edge of the box, before Vine arrowed a fine finish into the corner of the net as the home side’s dominance finally paid dividends.

Having been denied earlier by the woodwork, Siemsen was next on the scoresheet. She headed Polias’ corner back across goal and it was well-saved by Richards, but the former Manly United product squeezed the rebound home to make it three goals in three consecutive games.

Soon it was four for the competition front-runners. Another Polias corner floated across to the back post and was not dealt with by the Canberra defence, allowing where Siemsen to stoop and nod in her second of the encounter.

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