After an unbeaten 18 games, Melbourne City finally succumbed to the teamwork displayed by Canberra United this weekend at C.B. Smith Reserve.

Almost everyone had been waiting for this moment and it was fitting that Canberra United’s unity was the key to halting the reigning champions in a 2-1 defeat. A goal to Canberra’s Jenna McCormick was quickly matched by a fabulous finish from Beverly Yanez, leaving many wondering how long anyone could stay in front of City.

And then it was Karly Roestbakken, the second youngest goalscorer in W-League history, who shattered the dreams of some and fulfilled the dreams of others when she easily smacked in a goal from close range.

Is City’s Reign Over?

Wondering how it all came about also allows a moment to consider that this is actually a good thing for City and for the competition.

As we have come to expect, City have delivered some fascinating football this season but there have been cracks and they’ve had to fight and come from behind more than once now, yet as Laura Alleway highlighted after the match, there’s no cause for concern.

“I think this is probably going to be a good thing for us. It has been fairly smooth sailing last year and then coming into this year, we’re yet to drop any points so I think if anything it will be a positive thing."

"It will shake us up a little. We’ll go back to the drawing board, we’ll work hard and we’ll get ready for next week,” Alleway stated.

W-League always brings change but perhaps the significant adjustments for City in losing the likes of Kim Little, Lisa De Vanna and the unavailability of Larissa Crummer have been difficult positions to fill. This core of the team is the same but there are plenty of new faces.

“We’re still a new squad. Everyone expects us to be the same as last year. The truth is we’ve got new players here. This is Bev’s [Beverly Yanez] second game, Erika [Tymrak] is still getting used to it."

"We’re still meshing and getting used to each other and I think that will come. There have been a few moments where you can see there’s some awesome play up front and it’s just the final third, getting that clinical finishing in, but it will come. It’s early days still,” Alleway went on to comment.

What City are also learning is that they constantly need to evolve their game as the other teams have studied how to restrict them.

“I think tactically they’ve come out in a different style this year and we’re still trying to get used to it. A lot of the teams have come out with a really high press and we’re still just trying to figure out how to get our way around it,” Alleway surmised.

Canberra Fires Some Early Christmas Cheer

Canberra delivered what so many wanted for Christmas and they did it without Jasmyne Spencer, Hayley Raso and with Stephanie Ochs playing just a half of football. That points to some talent, depth and heart in this Canberra squad.

How did they do it? With more than a few weapons but amongst the most important was through their speed up front with Ashleigh Sykes in particular causing trouble for City’s defence. Sykes’ pace and unselfish distribution and created opportunities across the 90 minutes.

Another key factor was Canberra’s ability to punish mistakes caused in part by their high press, but perhaps the biggest factor in their game winning effort was teamwork.

“We wanted to get a win this week and get our season back on track. We had a few changes in personnel so we had to consider that but those girls stepped up massively today. It’s so nice to have a squad where people can interchange really easily,” Sykes declared.

“It’s great to see the kids contributing so fantastically and I think it gives everyone a bit of joy and a lot of confidence.’

With Brisbane Roar taking and losing an early lead against Melbourne City just last round, Canberra could be forgiven for wondering their fate when the same quick response transpired this week.

“You think ‘bugger’, your first reaction is. You go up against a team like that. I mean we were pretty happy keeping them nil-nil at halftime and to get a goal was fantastic and I thought we just hold on to this now, they came back and we had to go again."

"They don’t stop fighting. They have a lot of quality. They’re going to be dangerous for the rest of the tournament and into finals. We got the win today but by no means is the season over,” Sykes affirmed.

Next Week

Melbourne City take a road trip to duel against the Western Sydney Wanderers whilst Canberra United have a tough clash at home against Brisbane Roar.


Melbourne City 1 (Yanez 53')

Canberra United 2 (McCormick 49', Roestbakken 83')

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Teigen ALLEN, 3.Lauren BARNES, 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 7.Steph CATLEY (c), 10.Jessica FISHLOCK, 11.Erika TYMRAK (14.Melina AYRES 78’), 13.Rebekah STOTT, 15.Amy JACKSON (6.Aivi LUIK 70’), 16.Beverly YANEZ, 17.Marianna TABAIN,

Unused Substitutes: 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 26.Erin HUDSON (gk)

Canberra United squad: 1.Trudy BURKE (gk), 2.Yukari KINGA,, 5.Jenna McCORMICK, 7.Ellie BRUSH, 10.Grace MAHER, 11.Michelle HEYMAN, 12.Hannah BREWER, 13.Celeste BOUREILLE, 14.Ashleigh SYKES, 19.Nickoletta FLANNERY (4.Clare HUNT 90+2’), 22.Stephanie OCHS (, 16.Karly ROESTBAKKEN 45’)

Unused Substitutes: 8.Hayley RASO, 20.Georgia BORIC (gk)