Brisbane battle through to Grand Final

Canberra’s Caitlin Munoz beats Brisbane defender Karla Reuter to the ball. Brisbane prevailed in a tight contest. (Photo credit: Nick Guoth)

Story by Ann Odong

It took a drama filled penalty shootout but the Brisbane Roar have qualified for the 2010/11 Westfield W-League Grand Final after defeating Canberra United 4-2 (pen) at Ballymore Stadium. For the Roar, it will be their third appearance in the decider, which is a superb effort considering the League has only had the three seasons.

The home side were the first to trouble the scorers when forward Tameka Butt goaled in the 23rd minute. Reacting first when strike partner Lana Harch’s header rebounded off the crossbar, the 19-year-old turned the ball past Canberra goalkeeper Lydia Williams.  Despite gathering a mountain of possession and another close Butt chance in the 33rd minute, Brisbane were unable to add to their total before the break.

Twelve minutes after the restart, Canberra United were level as midfielder Sally Shipard hit up striker Caitlin Munoz at the back post. With a quick swivel, Munoz rocketed a left-footed strike into the net from a tight angle. From that point it was end-to-end football with both sides creating and squandering chances through Butt and Canberra’s Michelle Heyman.

Extra time was required and, as they had all day, Brisbane took the lead six minutes in, with defender Laura Alleway spotting up fellow substitute Kennya Cordner at the back post.  On an acute angle, the Trinidad and Tobago import finished brilliantly as she nutmegged Williams.  The celebrations had barely finished when Canberra levelled the scoring with Heyman lashing home a lose ball at the top of the 18-yard box.

With the scores level 2-2 after 120 minutes, only penalties would be able to separate the two sides. Brisbane’s Lauren Colthorpe was first up only to strike straight at Williams. Canberra took the lead through Shipard with Kim Carroll equalising for the Roar. Canberra captain Ellie Brush was unable to give her team the lead when her penalty rattled the cross bar, however, Tameka Butt had no trouble doing so. Caitlin Cooper was successful as was Elise Kellond-Knight but when Canberra defender Ellyse Perry had her penalty saved by Casey Dumont, it was up to the 19-year-old goalkeeper to send her side through. Smiling and with wonderful composure, the Roar custodian did so.

After hanging up her gloves on a football career that only reached the heights she could jump, Ann Odong has turned her attention to reporting and supporting the game she loves. Ann will be looking at the game down under as well as examining those behind the game.