Canberra United consolidated second place on the Westfield W-League ladder with a routine 4-0 win over Adelaide United at McKellar Park.
Goals from Michelle Heyman (2), Jenna McCormick and a late Veronica Perez penalty proved enough for the Champions to ease to victory and increase their advantage over Sydney FC in third to, temporarily at least, six points.
The hosts took the lead in the ninth minute with a quicksilver counter-attack off an Adelaide free-kick. Lydia Williams gathered the ball and her throw to Jenna McCormick started the move. McCormick linked with Heyman who, in turn, released Ashleigh Sykes into space. Sykes’ first-time cross found Perez in space and the Mexican internationals shot was spilled by Kaitlyn Savage into the path of Heyman who stabbed home from close range.
Sykes’ pace was causing numerous problems for the Lady Reds defence and from another perfect delivery from the flying forward Canberra increased their lead in the 15th minute. McCormick was the beneficiary of the pass, miscuing her initial effort which was blocked on the line, but when the rebound fell kindly to the former Adelaide United player of the year she had an easy task to tap in her maiden Westfield W-League goal.
Canberra were dominating possession and territory but Adelaide went close on the break when Allira Toby stretched to reach a cross and sent a diving header down into the ground and over the crossbar in what was the visitors best opportunity of the opening stanza. However, the home team was well worth their comfortable half-time advantage and were unlucky not to increase their lead as Savage denied Heyman after a pile-driver from the striker appeared destined for the top corner.
The second half was a far more prosaic affair with Canberra unable to find the rhythm that had impressed before the break whilst Adelaide could find no way back into the match with Williams largely untested. As such the match meandered along at a fairly pedestrian pace until just after the hour.
Perez had a great chance to make it three in the 63rd minute but, after engineering space for herself on the edge of the box, struck a shot that lacked the requisite venom to trouble Savage.
Canberra introduced Kiwi international Emma Kete into the fray with 25 minutes remaining, the first action for the New Zealander since her appearance at McKellar Park in Round 2, in an effort to find more cohesion in the final third but the Lady Reds had tightened up defensively and Canberra found chances harder to come by.
United finally added a third with six minutes to play as Heyman bagged her second. Substitute Julia De Angelis created it with a slide-rule pass into the Matildas striker. There was still plenty to do for Canberra’s all-time leading scorer, but she delightfully flicked the ball around the covering defender before cracking a right foot shot in off the base of the far post for her 54th career Westfield W-League goal.
There was still time for one more as the home team was awarded a penalty in the 93rd minute. Perez did the business from the spot to round off the result.