Two goals in the space of two minutes helped Canberra United end the season with a third straight victory, overturning a 0-1 half-time deficit to defeat Brisbane Roar at Perry Park as Michelle Heyman and Vesna Milivojevic struck to earn a 2-1 success.

After the memorable midweek win at McKellar Park that stalled Sydney FC’s Premiers Plate tilt, United Head Coach Njegosh Popovich made four changes, recalling Emma Ilijoski, Sofia Christopherson, Nickoletta Flannery, and goalscorer Heyman into the starting team with Alex McKenzie, Ruby Nathan, Deven Jackson, and Tegan Bertolissio reverting to the substitutes bench.

With nothing but pride on the line for both teams, it was unsurprisingly a slow burner in front of a large crowd enjoying the Easter holiday weekend sunshine, opportunities in the opening half-hour extremely limited with Alicia Woods shot at goal for Roar easily repelled by Chloe Lincoln whilst Nickoletta Flannery shot wide for the visitors.

Somehow Roar failed to convert the best chance just before the half-hour. Kijah Stephenson sent the ball across goal after being freed by Jenna McCormick, Lincoln getting the faintest, but most important, of touches to divert it between the legs of Mia Corbin who otherwise would have had the simplest of tap-ins.

Corbin made more contact with a second chance ten minutes from the break, presented with a clear shot on goal after exceptional approach work from Ayeesha Norrie on her 100th appearance, but Corbin, after beating Lincoln with the low drive, was denied by the presence of Sasha Grove on the goal line, the defender making the vital clearance.

The home side were pressing the greater and hit the front two minutes before half-time. Deborah-Anne De La Harpe swung over the corner from the left-side and central defender Jenna McCormick arrived on the scene, leaping highest to plant a header into the far corner of the  net.

The Roar might have doubled their lead two minutes after the resumption as Corbin volleyed across the face of goal when well-placed at the back-post, but it was United who really threatened as they rattled the woodwork in the 50th minute. Sarah Clark took aim and thundered in a drive that shook the foundations, Heyman unable to turn in the rebound.

Popovich sent on McKenzie and Bertolissio just before the hour in an attempt to shake things up as Canberra went in search of an equaliser, and they struck the frame of the goal again in the 63rd minute. Heyman played in Christopherson whose shot hit the outside of the post.

Lincoln was at her belligerent best to repel a Sharn Freier strike before Milivojevic danced into the Roar box, beating three challenges, but hammering her shot over the crossbar nine yards from goal. However, Canberra were level within a minute.

Madelyn Whittall made inroads down the right flank and cut back for Heyman. The United skipper’s first touch spun her away from her marker and the second despatched the ball into the back of the net for the super-strikers’ seventeenth of the campaign, equalling the all-time Liberty A-League record for goals in a season.

Incredibly, United won it two minutes later. Milivojevic made amends for her earlier miss, the Serbian midfielder breaking behind a tiring Roar defence onto a Heyman pass to advance on goal and slide a composed finish underneath former United custodian Keeley Richards.


Brisbane Roar (1) 1 (McCormick 43’) Canberra United (0) 2 (Heyman 84’, Milivojevic 86’)

TEAM: 1. Chloe LINCOLN, 3. Sarah CLARK, 4. Holly MURRAY (2. Alex MCKENZIE 57’), 5. Emma ILLIJOSKI (28. Tegan BERTOLISSIO 67’), 8. Sasha GROVE, 13. Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON, 16. Madelyn WHITTALL (9. Ruby NATHAN 87’), 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY (11. Deven JACKSON 75’), 22. Cannon CLOUGH, 23. Michelle HEYMAN


YELLOW CARDS: 11. Sharn FREIER (Brisbane Roar), 3. Sarah CLARK (Canberra United)