Canberra United inflicted a first defeat of the season on Sydney FC as they emerged 2-1 victors from their re-scheduled Round 3 match on Wednesday night.
Canberra United inflicted a first defeat of the season on Sydney FC as they emerged 2-1 victors from their re-scheduled Round 3 match at McKellar Park on Wednesday night.
Goals from Michelle Heyman and Caitlin Munoz, the latter from the penalty spot, paved the way for a memorable win for the hosts over the previously unbeaten Sky Blues.
With the matches coming thick and fast this week it was no surprise to see each team making three changes to the starting line-ups that prevailed in Round 10.
Canberra recalled Lydia Williams in goal for Trudy Burke whilst Sally Rojahn and Ashleigh Sykes were restored to the starting line-up.
For the Sky Blues, Aleisha Clifford, Chloe Logarzo and ex-Canberra forward Emma Kete were all drafted back into the team in place of Danielle Brogan, Caitlin Foord and Leena Khamis respectively.
Both teams came out of the blocks intent on stamping their authority on the encounter but the crowd didn’t have to wait long for a goal and when it came it had the McKellar Park faithful on its feet in awe and appreciation.
It was all the work of Heyman with the international striker showing her credentials in front of watching Matildas’ Coach Hesterine De Reus.
Collecting a pass thirty metres out, Heyman easily eluded Elizabeth Ralston with a terrific piece of skill before unleashing a thunderbolt past Casey Dumont.
Sydney responded well and Williams had to be alert on a couple of occasions whilst at the other end Dumont did well to palm over a spectacular volley from Munoz.
However, the league leaders deservedly fought level ten minutes before the half-time break.
Awarded a free-kick outside the box, dead-ball expert Renee Rollason did what she does best and curled a sensational shot high over the Canberra wall and past the flailing Williams for a stunning equaliser.
Canberra should have regained the lead minutes later but Sykes diverted a Heyman cross-shot straight at Dumont from inside the six-yard box before poking the rebound past the post.
The pace of the match was intense and the challenges were flying in with Ellie Brush receiving a yellow card for a robust tackle on youngster Amy Harrison.
United regained the initiative twelve minutes into the second half from the spot. Sykes won the penalty kick after being brought down by a lunging tackle by Alesha Clifford. Munoz did the rest, coolly placing the ball past Dumont and into the corner.
Heyman almost made it three with twenty minutes to go but was denied by Dumont, advancing rapidly from her line to snuff out the danger.
Sydney FC weren’t done and Canberra central defensive pair Catherine Brown and Brush had to defend stoutly to block a number of Sky Blues raids augmented by the introduction of the speedy Foord after 75 minutes.
A cracking sliding tackle from Brown dispossessed the rampaging Sam Kerr with minutes left as United visibly flagged.
Kerr should have levelled with two minutes remaining, skewing horribly wide from in front as the ball arrived at pace.
But try as they might Sydney FC could not find a way past the United defence for a second time and the home side held on for all three points which moved them into third place on the ladder, leapfrogging Brisbane Roar.
Canberra United 2 (Michelle Heyman 9′, Caitlin Munoz (pen) 57′)
Sydney FC 1 (Renee Rollason 35′)
Played at McKellar Park
Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ (9. Grace GILL 62′), 7. Ellie BRUSH, 11. Michelle HEYMAN (3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE 87′), 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES (8. Meg McLAUGHLIN 93′), 16. Lori LINDSEY, 22. Stephanie OCHS
Sydney FC: 1. Casey DUMONT, 2. Teresa POLIAS, 4. Aleisha CLIFFORD, 5. Elizabeth RALSTON, 7. Nicola BOLGER (19. Leena KHAMIS 62′), 8. Amy HARRISON, 10. Renee ROLLASON, 12. Chloe LOGARZO (9. Caitlin FOORD 76′), 14. Jodie TAYLOR, 18. Emma KETE, 20. Samantha KERR
Yellow Cards: 7. Ellie BRUSH, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 16. Lori LINDSEY (Canberra United), 8. Amy HARRISON (Sydney FC)