United downed by Roar in Brisbane
The Brisbane Roar have gone to the top of the W-League after beating Canberra United 1-0 in a dominant performance at Perry Park.
by Liam Daly, Sportal The Brisbane Roar have gone to the top of the W-League after beating Canberra United 1-0 in a dominant performance at Perry Park.
The Roar, now one point clear of Sydney FC who have a game in hand, controlled the match from the outset, but despite a weight of possession they were forced to settle for one-goal margin, which came through Lana Harch in the 60th minute. Tameka Butt looked the most threatening of the home-side forwards, while captain Clare Polkinghorne was strong in the middle of the park and Kennya Cordner made an impressive impact in her W-League debut.
Michelle Heyman was the pick of the visitors, showing initiative in attack. But United lacked continuity across the park and never truly found their rhythm in what was their first loss of the season.
The home-side had the best of the early going and within the opening ten minutes they'd had enough dominant possession to fire in two shots on target. But the third-placed United were able to briefly stem the flow of one-way traffic when captain Ellie Brush found room to threaten with a header on goal from within the area.
The shots were coming thick and fast through the opening 25, but efficiency in front of goal was lacking, and neither side had the potency to truly trouble the keepers.
An attacking left-side run from Amy Chapman opened up the Canberra defence in the 28th minute, but Joanne Burgess failed to capitalise on the best opportunity of the half, rifling her shot over the cross bar from within the 18-yard box.
United found space down the right side courtesy of a clever through ball from Heyman, but again the attack broke down with a wayward final pass and some intelligent positional play from the Brisbane defence.
In the 40th minute, attacking weapon Butt looked to take matters into her own hands, cutting through the United defence and launching a searing shot on goal, which was brilliantly saved by a diving Lydia Williams.
Brisbane continued to hold the ascendancy right to the half-time whistle, with Elyse Kellond-Knight firing from range and forcing another save from Williams moments before the break.
Grace Gill had a shot on goal for Canberra to start the second half, but the home team were soon back on the offensive, driving forward with intent and keeping the pressure on the visitor's defence.
Brisbane continued to find space in the attacking third, and in the 60th minute the breakthrough came. Polkinghorne released Chapman down the right hand side and when she fired in an accurate cross Harch made no mistake, controlling the pass and guiding her shot low into the corner of the net.
Trailing with less than a quarter of the game remaining, United began to show purpose, with substitute Shu O Tseng proving a handful for the Brisbane defence with her hard-running attack.
Brisbane substitute Cordner came on in the 77th minute and made an immediate impact, beating defenders at will on the left-hand edge and providing quality service for her fellow forwards.
But as much possession and position as the Roar held, opportunities to double the lead continued to go to waste, with a lack of goal-front composure to blame. United fought hard for a late equaliser, but similar to the home-side they were unable to find accuracy with their shooting.