Canberra United suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brisbane Roar in their first match of the season.
A brace of goals in the opening eleven minutes ultimately proved to be the downfall for Champions Canberra United in their opening Westfield W-League game of the season as Brisbane Roar emerged triumphant at Suncorp Stadium. Goals from Tameka Butt and Ruth Blackburn did the damage early on for the Roar who were well worth their 2-1 victory in front of 14,471 spectators.
With several players unavailable, United Head Coach Rae Dower picked a youthful looking team to face the challenge of the Queenslanders with the central midfield pairing of Julia De Angelis and Grace Maher tasked with getting to grips with their more experienced opposition. Jenna McCormick was handed a debut in the centre of defence and Meg McLaughlin started up front.
Roar, who missed out on finals football for the first time in their history last season, got out of the blocks sharply and took the lead inside ten minutes. Tameka Butt turned defender Ellie Brush superbly on the edge of the area, scooting into the box and finishing past Lydia Williams via deflection off the boot of the covering defender.
The home supporters had barely finished celebrating when they netted a second moments later in bizarre circumstances. Ruth Blackburn met a free-kick with a flick towards goal that normally would have been easy pickings for Williams. However, a combination of the spin on the ball and a miss-handle, saw the ball squirm from the Matildas’ number one grasp and roll into the net via the base of the upright.
After the shock of this opening Canberra started to assert their authority and reduced the deficit six minutes before the interval. De Angelis created it with a sublime through ball, dissecting the heart of the Roar defence with a 35 metre pass that sent Heyman bursting clear of the back four. The Westfield W-League all-time leading scorer showed just why she has over half a century of goals to her name by rolling the ball past the advancing ‘keeper and slotting into the empty net.
Heyman’s 51st goal in the competition gave Canberra hope of a reprieve and in the second stanza they tested home goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer, on debut, more than once but the Roar stopper stood firm. At the other end Brisbane had chances to increase their lead but Williams was in no mood to be beaten again repelling a number of opportunities created by the hosts.
The final whistle was greeted with delight by the Brisbane faithful and should be a huge confidence boost for their campaign. Canberra meanwhile will be disappointed not to have gained something from the match and will be out to remedy that situation in their first home game against Sydney FC.
Sunday 18th October 2015
Brisbane Roar 2 (Tameka Butt 9’, Ruth Blackburn 11’) Canberra United 1 (Michelle Heyman 39’)
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Brisbane Roar: 1. Haley KOPMEYER, 3. Amy CHAPMAN, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 6. Angela BEARD, 8. Ayesha NORRIE (16. Ashley SPINA 90+2’), 10. Katrina GORRY, 12 Alisha FOOTE (7. Gabe MARZANO 52’), 13. Tameka BUTT (18. Maili FORBES 50’), 14. Summer O'BRIEN, 15. Ruth BLACKBURN, 17. Emily GEILNIK
Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN (19. Nickoletta FLANERRY 55’), 10. Grace MAHER (9. Grace GILL 64’), 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 18. Rebecca KITING (16. Tegan RIDING 87’)
Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 7. Gabe MARZANO, 15. Ruth BLACKBURN (Brisbane Roar)
Referee: Kate JACIEWICZ