Heyman nets first-half brace as Canberra dominate Wanderers

Michelle Heyman's first-half double helped Canberra United waltz to a 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Viking Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Canberra striker is now just one goal behind Sam Kerr's all-time record 70 Westfield W-League goals; Heyman looked to have drawn level with Kerr with a third first-half goal but Western Sydney's Georgia Yeoman-Dale was adjudged to have put the ball in the back of her own net, as the Green Machine jumped to the top of the table with three points which never looked in doubt.

Heyman came into the fixture on a two-game goalless streak, but before the half-time whistle had blown the Westfield Matildas striker had a brace to her name after her side's first-half demolition job.

Heyman put Canberra ahead with a delightful left-footed curler which nestled into the top corner of goal to hand the hosts an early advantage. Half an hour later she was at the double after a ruthless Canberra counter attack started by Kendall Fletcher was finished by the golden boot leader.

The 32-year-old was at it again minutes later, ghosting toward the back post from a Grace Maher corner to contest with Yeoman-Dale for the ball; the Wanderers defender scored an own goal under Heyman's pressure, deflecting the cross into her own net as Canberra went three goals ahead in a scintillating opening stanza.

Keeley Richards was on debut in goal for Canberra and the shot-stopper was called into two clutch saves on either side of half time to deny both Leena Khamis and Libby Copus-Brown to keep her side in the ascendancy. 

Sarah Willacy replaced Courtney Newbon in goal for the Wanderers ahead of the Round 9 fixture and produced one save for the highlight reel to deny Laura Hughes a long-range bomb in the second half - a rare moment of action for Willacy which didn't involve picking the ball out of the back of her net. 

With a quarter of an hour to play Heyman was withdrawn from the contest as Canberra cruised to victory , keeping their half-time lead intact to win 3-0 and go top of the Westfield W-League table.

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Key Moments

Clinical Heyman strike gives Green Machine early lead

Two games without a goal meant Heyman came into this contest hungry to bounce back and inch ever closer to Kerr's all-time Westfield W-League goalscoring record.

With less than four minutes on the clock Heyman netted for the fifth time this season, striking on the turn with her left boot and send the ball curling into the lop left corner. 

GOAL: Heyman rolls and goals to send Canberra ahead

Khamis strike calls Richards into action

Richards was tested early on debut in between the sticks for Canberra when Khamis fired a venomous strike in her direction from a tight angle inside the box. 

Khamis received the ball after a marauding run from Georgia Yeoman-Dale down the left flank; the midfielder nutmegged Jessikah Nash to find Khamis who shot at goal, but Richards showed quick reflexes to parry the attempt.

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SAVE: Richards denies Khamis with a strong palm

Heyman bags her brace as Canberra pull away

A second Heyman strike had the hosts on a roll in the first half, after the Canberra spearhead finished off a fantastic team move with relative ease.

A lofted through ball from Fletcher pierced Western Sydney's backline and Nickoletta Flannery was quickest onto the scene, collecting the ball out wide and firing a perfect cross along the deck for Heyman to sweep home.

GOAL: Heyman at the double for Canberra

Canberra flex their muscle as Heyman forces a third

Heyman let her talent shine in the first half as the Westfield Matildas striker proved a cut above the Wanderers defenders who attempted to contain her impact on the contest.

Yeoman-Dale experienced first hand the difficulties of marking the Canberra spearhead when Maher sent a corner to the back post. The pair grappled for ascendancy as the ball floated toward them, and Heyman's pressure forced the Wanderers defender into scoring an unfortunate own goal in the process.

GOAL: Heyman wraps up first half hat-trick

Richards on hand again to keep Canberra's sheet clean

As Canberra's attack ran riot down one end Richards provided an equally important impact in goal down the other, pulling off her second vital stop of the contest to deny Copus-Brown.

Richards produced an athletic leap to her left to tip Copus-Brown's poked strike from close range away from goal and keep her clean sheet intact.