Heroic Moments: Ubogagu’s strike makes Brisbane big winners from Westfield W-League Round 11
Chioma Ubogagu’s strike may have given Brisbane Roar three points against Melbourne City on Friday night, but it’s had even wider implications on the competition as teams vie for a spot in the Westfield W-League 2019 Finals Series.
With Melbourne Victory out of action with a bye, and Perth Glory later losing to a depleted Newcastle Jets outfit, Brisbane may just be the biggest winners of Round 11.
Mel Andreatta’s outfit are now two points off first spot and, after Sydney FC grabbing three points, have created a bottleneck at the top where seven teams are fighting for four spots.
Just as it seemed as though the Roar and City would play out a 0-0 draw — a result that would help neither side — Jenna McCormick played a sensational diagonal pass to Ubogagu.
The England international drove into the box, turned two Melbourne City defenders inside-out, and tucked the ball past a sprawling Lydia Williams.
It was a coolly taken strike considering the circumstances. Less than 20 minutes earlier, Elise Kellond-Knight had missed a penalty and City were mounting what appeared to be a serious onslaught.
Ubogagu may be called upon again as Brisbane face another six-pointer in the form of Sydney FC. With Ante Juric’s side beating Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 on Thursday night, Brisbane can ill afford to lose this clash, lest they risk sliding down the ladder to join the peloton.
Eckerstrom saves Newcastle in huge boil over
When Perth Glory took a 1-0 lead against a depleted Newcastle Jets side on Saturday night, it appeared natural order was progressing as expected.
Sam Kerr had grabbed her 50th Westfield W-League goal for Perth and the Jets were presented with a mountain they would have to climb without talisman Emily van Egmond, who has been ruled out for the rest of the 2018/19 Season.
But, as we have seen time and time again in the Westfield W-League, the reality can take a drastic turn from expectations. Which is exactly what happened when Arin Wright and Tara Andrews cancelled out Kerr’s opener in the space of 11 second-half minutes.
The best was yet to come, though, as Britt Eckerstrom continued her sensational form this campaign.
On 86 minutes, Kerr was blaring down on goal with eyes only for the back of the net. Despite Newcastle’s best attempts to shut her down, once Kerr gazed at the goal and planted her left foot to the ground, a shot was inevitable.
Up to the challenge was Eckerstrom, who flung to her right and parried Kerr’s shot out of harm’s way.
The save preserved Newcastle’s lead with only minutes remaining in the match, and gave the perfect platform for Cortnee Vine to grab Newcastle’s third and her third of the 2018/19 Season.
Foord worldie sums up Sydney’s performance
One-nil up and turning the screws against their crosstown rivals, Sydney FC needed that extra bit of force to breach Western Sydney Wanderers’ defence.
It seems they got more than they bargained for on 64 minutes when Caitlin Foord picked up the ball metres into Western Sydney territory.
With space in front of her, and few options further afield, the Westfield Matildas forward drove towards the box, evading the Wanderers midfield.
Foord decelerated 25 metres out from goal before digging the ball out of her feet and unleashing a venomous strike on goal. Nicole Simonsen flew through the air, but to no avail, as the net bulged and danced to signal Foord’s laser-like precision.
It was a great strike that comes at a time in Sydney FC’s campaign where there is little room for error.
Ante Juric’s outfit are now in the mix for a finals spot and take on Brisbane Roar in Round 12 in an epic six-pointer. They then face both Melbourne outfits in the final two rounds, so Sydney FC’s fate rests solely in their hands.
Carpenter helps Canberra get the wood on Adelaide
You could be forgiven for forgetting Ellie Carpenter represents the Westfield Matildas as a defender, especially when she puts in attacking displays in the Westfield W-League like the one against Adelaide United.
Heather Garriock threw caution to the wind, setting her side up in a 3-4-3 formation that lent itself to the attacking, physical prowess of Carpenter and Nikola Orgill.
It paid dividends on 59 minutes when Carpenter, who was playing left-wing in a midfield four, found herself inside Adelaide’s box in the midst of a Canberra attack.
Megan McElligott’s strike, courtesy of an Ashleigh Sykes cross, was denied by Adelaide - who else but Carpenter would pounce on the rebound?
She took her chance with aplomb, striking past Sarah Willacy and sending the McKellar Park faithful into raptures.
Like the other Heroic Moments of Round 11, Carpenter’s strike is vital in the context of Canberra’s chase for a top-four finish.
With only two games remaining for Canberra — against Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar — they will need the maximum six points and other results to go their way if they are any chance of playing finals football.