Brisbane upset Canberra to book place in W-League Grand Final

Brisbane Roar knocked out Premiers Canberra United to book their place in the Westfield W-League Grand Final with a 2-1 win at McKellar Park on Saturday.

Brisbane Roar knocked out Premiers Canberra United to book their place in the Westfield W-League Grand Final with a 2-1 win at McKellar Park on Saturday.

A goal from midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight settled the contest in favour of the Queenslanders who just about deserved their victory in difficult conditions in front of 1,148 hardened spectators.

Following hot and humid temperatures  throughout the week in  the national capital, a day of constant drizzle welcomed the teams onto the field for the semi-final shoot-out leaving the playing surface slick with moisture and conditions underfoot treacherous. And it was Brisbane that took advantage early on.

The visitors took the lead in the fourth minute with a well-rehearsed set-piece. Kellond-Knight took a corner short to Hayley Raso and received the return before slinging over a wicked cross into the danger area. Kim Carroll, embarking on a late run, arrived unmarked inside the six yard box to bundle the ball into the net from close range.

Utilising an inter-changeable front three Canberra attempted the immediate response. Michelle Heyman, Stephanie Ochs and Ashleigh Sykes’ mobility threatened to tear open the Roar defence with Sykes in particular roasting her marker with her sheer pace. But it was Brisbane who enjoyed the better of the opening quarter.

It was somewhat against the run of play therefore when Canberra equalised midway through the half. As with the Brisbane strike, the goal came from a corner. Lori Lindsey bent in a terrific cross which the onrushing Ellie Brush met with a firm downward header which caused consternation in the Roar defence. In the ensuing scramble the ball popped up and Caitlin Munoz reacted fastest to nod in from three yards.

There was little to choose between the teams following Canberra’s equaliser and the protagonists entered the sheds to escape the rain with the scores locked at 1-1 and everything to play for heading into the second half.

Roar lost the influential Raso at the commencement of the second half, the former United winger forced to leave the field following a heavy clash with Ashleigh Sykes in the shadows of half-time and Sykes lasts just five minutes longer, giving way to Georgia Yeoman-Dale.

Canberra fired the first salvo of the second half as Lindsey broke the Roar offside trap with a threaded pass through the visitors back four. Heyman collected the pass in her stride and headed straight for goal but Nadine Angerer showed just why she was voted the best player in the world, standing firm and diving to her left, to push the ball to safety as the Matildas international attempted to round her.

Within minutes Brisbane had made Canberra pay as they re-took the lead. Once more it was from a corner which was half-cleared. Kellond-Knight returned it with interest, firing in a low shot that skidded off the turf and spun away from the attempted save by Williams who, possibly unsighted, couldn’t keep it out.

Facing the prospect of bowing out United set siege to the Roar goal with Brisbane happy to defend well and rely on the trusty pairing of Carroll and Laura Alleway to deal aerially with any Canberra crosses and they did so in relative comfort, despite eight minutes of stoppage time and a concerted late home surge, to see the Queenslanders into their fifth Grand Final.

Canberra United 1 (Caitlin Munoz 23’)

Brisbane Roar 2 (Kim Carroll 4’, Elise Kellond-Knight 58’)

Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN (8. Meg McLAUGHLIN 89’), 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ (15. Sally SHIPARD 70’), 7. Ellie BRUSH, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES (3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE 50’), 16. Lori LINDSEY, 22. Stephanie OCHS

Brisbane Roar: 1. Nadine ANGERER, 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 5. Brooke SPENCE, 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 10. Katrina GORRY, 11. Vedrana POPOVIC, 13. Tameka BUTT, 16. Hayley RASO (6. Joanne BURGESS 45’), 17. Emily GIELNIK (18. Sunny FRANCO 84’), 19. Ayehsa NORRIE (9. Larissa CRUMMER 65’)

Yellow Cards: 3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 15. Sally SHIPARD (Canberra United)

Attendance: 1,148