Canberra United kept alive their hopes of retaining the Westfield W-League crown with a 5-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers.
Canberra United kept alive their hopes of retaining the Westfield W-League crown by making sure they were in the top four heading into the final round of action after a commanding 5-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park.
A stunning virtuoso display from Hayley Raso was the highlight as Canberra scored at regular intervals to claim a morale boosting win.
Following the abandoned fixture on the weekend both teams elected to play the same XI that started the aborted game at McKellar Park.
Wanderers forward Catherine Cannuli was looking especially lively early in and, after sending a shot into the side-netting from an angle, the striker linked up well with her front-line partner Sarah Walsh to create a second opening with the space of a few minutes.
This time her shot did beat Mackenzie Arnold in the United goal from the same angle, but crashed back off the base of the post.
In a fairly temperate opening quarter the home team's greatest threat came through the ingenuity of Kristen Mewis and the pace of Raso.
Raso was giving the Wanderers defence plenty to think about and from one lung-bursting run she cut the ball back to Jennifer Bisset in a good position but the midfielder rather dragged her shot and the move petered out.
United finally burst into action just past the half hour mark as Raso was denied by a smart save from Thora Helgadottir after an electrifying run into the area. The reprieve was short-lived for the Wanderers though as from the resultant corner Canberra took the lead.
Caitlin Cooper met the cross with a firm header and, after Ellie Brush had stabbed the ball towards goal, Raso was on hand to turn it over the line from close range.
Having taken the lead things got even better for Canberra a minute before the interval as they doubled their advantage. Raso was again heavily involved showing sensational pace to skin the full back and lay a perfect square pass to Michelle Heyman who broke her eight-match goal drought with a side-foot finish from six yards.
With a two-goal lead in the bank Canberra emerged for the second half hungry to show the midweek crowd of 712 just what they are capable of and the second 45 minutes did not disappoint. Western Sydney threatened sporadically but, in truth, it was United who made the better chances.
Awarded a free-kick on the near side as Raso was impeded for the umpteenth time, Caitlin Munoz lined up her effort and her curving cross-shot deceived Helgadottir and the ball curled at the perfect angle to drop over her head and into the back of the net.
There was more to come to delight the home support as three became four with eight minutes to play. Munoz was again heavily involved as her in swinging corner struck the unsighted Vanessa Hart on the thigh and pinged into the back of the net.
There was a fifth goal to come, one that equalled the club's record victory, and it came from US import Mewis on her debut. The American had looked in fine fettle in the middle of the park and on an adventurous sortie into the Wanderers half in the last minute, gained her reward for an effervescent display.
Collecting a through ball, Mewis controlled and picked her spot, slotting past the advancing Helgadottir to make the score 5-0 and round out the action in some style.
Canberra United 5 (Hayley Raso 34-, Michelle Heyman 44-, Caitlin Munoz 74-, Vanessa Hart (og) 82-, Kristen Mewis 89-) Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Attendance: 712
Canberra United: 1. Mackenzie Arnold, 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 6. Caitlin Munoz (17. Samantha Wood 88-), 7. Ellie Brush, 8. Hayley Raso (16. Catherine Brown 81-), 11. Michelle Heyman, 13. Nicole Sykes, 17. Ariane Hingst (9. Grace Gill 86-), 19. Jennifer Bisset, 23. Kristen Mewis
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Thora Helgadottir, 2. Samantha Spackman, 3. Alexandra Huynh (14. Trudy Camilleri 63-), 4. Alesha Clifford, 8. Vanessa Hart, 9. Sarah Walsh, 10. Servet Uzunlar, 11. Louise Fors, 13. Catherine Cannuli, 15. Teigen Allen, 16. Linda O-Neill (6. Rachael Soutar 57-)
Yellow Cards: 1. Mackenzie Arnold, 6. Caitlin Munoz (Canberra United), 3. Alexandra Huynh, 8. Vanessa Hart, 10. Servet Uzunlar (Western Sydney Wanderers) Referee: Rebecca Durcau, 8. Vanessa Hart