Two-goal Sykes becomes big-match player

Westfield W-League Grand Final player of the match Ashleigh Sykes says Canberra United executed their game-plan perfectly to pull off a surprise 3-1 win over in-form premiers Perth Glory.

For the second time in three weeks Sykes netted a winning goal to help her side overcome the Glory and their all-star line-up.

Sykes scored twice in three second-half minutes to become just the second player after team-mate Michelle Heyman to score a brace in a season decider.

“It’s awesome and amazing,” said Sykes of the win. “We got one (Grand Final win) a few years ago (in 2012) but this one is even more special I guess.

“There were times in the season when they (Perth) were flogging teams that we thought they were unbeatable. But the last game of the season when we beat them gave us some extra confidence, and also allowed us to formulate a game-plan to give us the best chance of doing that and it obviously paid off. But credit to them as they have been a fantastic side all year.

“Normally Katie would slot those but maybe nerves can play a part,” Sykes said of the Glory’s missed penalty. “But (goalkeeper) Chantel (Jones) did really well.”

Sykes says there was little between the teams on the day but that her United side made the most of their opportunities in an action-packed encounter.

“There is always a chance that Perth, with so much dangerous attacking potential, that they could hurt if given a chance,” she said. “We were trying to be cautious and working hard as a unit and tucking in defensively.

“Sometimes it is a case of who puts away their chances so maybe that was the main difference today.

“I think we went into the game that we could win it if we played to our strengths, and I think we executed our chances perfectly.”