Canberra United's first game had multiple storylines being written at Viking Park - marking a return to the pitch for a cancer-survivor, the first game back for a once-retired veteran of the A-League Women, the 10-year age difference and a home-grown talent's return from Norway.
Melbourne City's Rebekah Stott made her return to the professional football pitch after 248 days away following her battle with cancer, adding 60 minutes to her name in her side's 1-0 win.
A corner in the opening stages almost led to the fairytale return to the ALW for Ashleigh Sykes in the 11th minute.
Before Canberra's home-grown talent Karly Roestbakken stepped onto the park in green for the first time in 649 days, coming on for Chloe Middleton in the 62nd minute, some 10 hours after her signing was announced.
Only one, however, was gifted the fairytale ending. As City walked away with three points and ended United's unbeaten run at home.
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Stott said she still had a way to go in building up her game and getting used to playing the number six role.
"We're pumped. It's always so hard to come to Canberra and get a win with the crowd, the atmosphere and just being here. So we're so happy," she said.
The deadlock was broken 79 minutes in, with City's Holly McNamara hammering a long range effort into the right-hand corner, beating an outstretched Keeley Richards.
United dominated the first half and did not capitalise on their chances. In the second half City began to control the game's tempo, and applied the pressure for the full 45-minutes to convert.
When Friday comes around, it will be 135 days since I found out I was in remission, 294 days since my diagnosis was confirmed, 348 days since I played professional football & 622 days since I last represented @MelbourneCity blissfully unaware of what was going on inside my body. pic.twitter.com/d1fT7e21FT— Rebekah Stott (@stotty_13) November 29, 2021
Head coach Vicki Linton agreed it was a game of two halves and said she was not particularly pleased with their second half effort.
"We started well, I thought the first half was good. We didn't come out with the same intensity, they picked up their intensity and played a little bit better and we didn't deal with that," she said.
"We needed to control the ball a little bit more, we weren't able to do that. And then we copped a goal that ... they'd be working towards to be fair, but maybe a little bit disappointing how we copped the goal.
"Hard to take a loss, it was probably effort worthy of at least a draw based on the whole 90 minutes. So it's kind of a little bit hard first game up. We came in a little bit under done so I said to the players like can't fault their effort and what they put in. So I'm really pleased with that."
The first half dominance may come down to the 10-year average difference in experience between United's forward line and City's defence, with the visitors taking time to settle into the match, in a veterans versus the next generation clash at Tuggeranong.
The average age in green's front line was 30 years old with Michelle Heyman (33), Sykes (29) and Margot Robinne (30) making up the side's front three.
Melbourne City's backline of Emma Checker (25), Winonah Heatley (20) and Naomi Thomas-Chinnama (17), have an average age of 20.
United will regroup for their match on the road against Adelaide United next Sunday.
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