United defeat Roar 3-2 in thrilling W-League final
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United defeat Roar 3-2 in thrilling W-League final

Canberra United applied the icing on the most dominant campaign in W-League history with a thrilling 3-2 grand final win over Brisbane Roar today.

Fittingly, it was the astute finishing of Canberra striker Michelle Heyman which ultimately handed the club its breakthrough W-League title.

United defeat Roar 3-2 in thrilling W-League final

United defeat Roar 3-2 in thrilling W-League final

In front of a club record 2512 delirious fans at McKellar Park, the Golden Boot winner nailed goals in either half to bring her tally to 15 for the campaign.

United are the first side to go through a W-League season undefeated after a victory set up by two fine early goals.

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It was an ideal time for United to end its horror run against Roar, having failed to beat the two-time champions in their last eight meetings.

"It's such an honour and privilege to be with these girls week-in week-out and I couldn't lead a better team," jubilant Canberra skipper Ellie Brush said afterward as she hoisted the trophy aloft.

Heyman opened the scoring on 11 minutes after finding herself on the end of a one-touch through ball from Ashleigh Sykes.

Her shot across Roar keeper Casey Dumont found the left hand corner of the net for her 14th goal of the season.

Seven minutes later, it was Heyman who turned provider for Sykes to help Canberra double its lead.

A pinpoint pass from Grace Gill put Heyman behind the defence, whose pass found a lunging Sykes in the goalface.

Three minutes later, the Roar got back into the match when substitute Emily Gielnik tucked away a Tameka Butt cross having only been on the park for ten seconds.

Canberra blew a chance to restore its two goal lead when Hayley Raso failed to pass to a flying Sykes, who would have been one-on-one with Dumont.

Fittingly it was Heyman, the W-League's all-time leading goalscorer, who gave United breathing space.

The 23-year-old's textbook header from a Gill corner found its mark in the 56th minute, giving Canberra one hand on the W-League trophy.

Brisbane refused to give in, and when Tameka Butt slotted home a penalty with 25 minutes left after a clumsy tackle by United defender Caitlin Cooper, the title race was on again.

Incredibly Butt, who will play alongside Canberra's Taryn Hemmings at Boston Breakers over the off-season, has now scored in all four W-League grand finals.

The hosts' speed on the flanks, led by Sykes, twin sister Nicole, Hayley Raso and Taryn Hemmings, troubled the Roar defence all game.

With its healthy travelling contingent in full voice, Brisbane finished the better of the two sides, but the hosts scrambled well.

With its first silverware now secure, Canberra's focus will now switch to retaining the services of first-year coach Jitka Klimkova.

The former Czech international's attacking mindset has been embraced by United's players, and the squad is desperate for her to return.

W-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL

CANBERRA UNITED 3 (Michelle Heyman 11' 56', Ashleigh Sykes 18') bt BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Emily Gielnik 21', Tameka Butt pen 65') at McKellar Park, Canberra today.

Player of the final: Michelle Heyman

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