The champagne was put on ice for Sydney FC as Michelle Heyman came off the substitutes bench to snaffle a second-half match-winner and secure a memorable Canberra United victory in the Hume Derby, a 1-0 result that meant the Sky Blues are forced to wait for any potential Liberty A-League Premiers coronation.

For the final home match of the season, Head Coach Njegosh Popovich rang the changes from the team that defeated Wellington Pheonix on Sunday, making four alterations as Alex McKenzie and Holly Murray formed the midfield defensive axis, whilst Deven Jackson and Madelyn Whittall were selected out wide.

Chloe Lincoln was named Captain for the first time in her career as regular skipper Michelle Heyman started from the bench and was forced into the first save of the afternoon in only the third minute, plunging low to her right to block from Caley Tallon-Henniker.

The title-chasing Sky Blues went close to going in front after a dozen minutes. Princess Ibini found Cortnee Vine at the top of the penalty area and the Matildas international’s hit on the turn was pushed onto the outside of the post by a fingertip save from Lincoln.

And it was Lincoln who denied Vine again in the 28th minute, clutching a fierce shot with impudent ease to preserve parity. By contrast, Canberra’s chances were at a premium, McKenzie driving wide and Sarah Clark hammering a shot over the bar, both not troubling Jada Whyman in the Sydney goal.

Lincoln was at the forefront again five minutes from the break, making a sensational save from a thunderous free-kick by Mackenzie Hawkesby, diving to her left this time to beat away the well-struck effort as Sydney continued to knock on the door.

Popovich introduced Heyman and Sofia Christopherson at the interval and it didn’t take long for United’s leading scorer to make her mark, Heyman flicking a near-post finish just the wrong side of the upright following excellent approach work from Whittall.

And it was Heyman that, against the run of play gave Canberra the lead in the 56th minute. Jackson initiated it with a driving run at the heart of the Sky Blues teeing up Vesna Milivojevic for a shot at goal.

The Serbian midfielder’s effort was sweetly hit, forcing Whyman into a save, but the visiting ‘keeper was unable to hold onto the ball and, with Heyman loitering with intent six yards from goal, which proved to be a mistake, the forward sweeping home to the rebound from close range for her sixteenth goal of the season.

Sydney FC pushed for an equaliser, but Lincoln, and her defensive colleagues in front of the Young Matildas custodian, were resolute and up the other end Heyman nearly doubled the lead, breaking clear and striking the outside of the post in injury time.

But it matters not, as Canberra claimed a memorable and famous success.


Canberra United (0) 1 (Heyman 56’) Sydney FC (0) 0

TEAM: 1. Chloe LINCOLN, 2. Alex MCKENZIE, 3. Sarah CLARK, 4. Holly MURRAY, 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Ruby NATHAN (23. Michelle HEYMAN 46’), 11. Deven JACKSON (5. Emma ILLIJOSKI 77’), 16. Madelyn WHITTALL (19. Nickoletta FLANNERY 60’), 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 22. Cannon CLOUGH, 28. Tegan BERTOLISSIO (13. Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON 46’)