A goal from Michelle Heyman settled the Clash of the Capitals in favour of Canberra United as the hosts defeated Wellington Phoenix 1-0 on a warm afternoon at McKellar Park in front of an appreciate crowd of 1,341.

There was a trio of changes from the team that was beaten away by Central Coast Mariners in Canberra’s last outing, the three Young Matildas recalled to the starting line-up as Chloe Lincoln returned between the posts, and full-backs Sasha Grove and Tegan Bertolissio were selected to patrol the right and left flanks respectively.

With Phoenix seeing their finals aspirations fade with Western Sydney Wanderers win the night before, and United determined to haul themselves off the foot of the table, a cagey opening to the contest ensued, the visitors’ Emma Main having the best opening inside the first fifteen minutes but failing to get on the end of a teasing free-kick.

Phoenix midfielder Daisy Brazendale tried her luck from outside the area just prior to the half-hour, but her shot lacked the spark to truly test Lincoln in the United goal, whilst at the other end Nickoletta Flannery fired over from the angle of the box in what was an even first stanza which, in truth, failed to hit many heights.

Vesna Milivojevic looked to break the deadlock as the half drew to a close, but her long-range strike drifted wide of Rylee Foster’s goal, before Flannery snuck in behind the Wellington defence but was unable to control her shot which flashed wide of the near post.

It was Wellington who had the first chance of the second-half, Main denied by the boot of Lincoln, in reply Heyman unselfishly elected to square towards Flannery instead of taking on a shot herself when well placed. Shortly afterwards, Sofia Christopherson fired wide after superb solo approach work.

The Phoenix nearly took the lead in the 59th minute as Main sprung the offside trap and found Isabel Cox inside the area. The midfielder connected with the low cross but saw her goalbound effort pushed around the post by Lincoln, a fine save from the goalkeeper to preserve parity.

Both teams made changes in a bid to influence the result, Njegosh Popovich sending on Holly Murray and Madelyn Whittall into the fray and United fashioned a chance with fourteen minutes to play as Christopherson broke through but fired straight at Foster.

United finally broke the deadlock with twelve minutes remaining as Heyman netted her fifteenth goal of the season, and 97th for United. Flannery made it, breaking down the left flank and sending over a magnificent cross which the prolific Heyman met with a glancing header that flashed across Foster into the top corner.


Canberra United (0) 1 (Heyman 78’) Wellington Phoenix (0) 0

TEAM: 1. Chloe LINCOLN, 3. Sarah CLARK, 5. Emma ILLIJOSKI (4. Holly MURRAY 61’), 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Ruby NATHAN, 13. Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON, 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY (11. Deven JACKSON 83’), 22. Cannon CLOUGH, 23. Michelle HEYMAN (2. Alex MCKENZIE 90+1’), 28. Tegan BERTOLISSIO (16. Madelyn WHITTALL 61’)


YELLOW CARDS: 11. Hope BRESLIN, 18. Hailey DAVIDSON (Wellington Phoenix)