Credit: Getty Images Credit: Getty Images

Even a big brass band and gold banners flanking the field to celebrate Canberra’s centenary could not lift a lacklustre Canberra United to victory over the professional Brisbane Roar team in their W-League match on Sunday.

The Canberra crowd of 803 was littered with golden tinged Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, families resplendent in green and gold face paint, and Travis the Frog boasting a Canberra 100 gold tie.

But Brisbane took the shimmer off the day for the locals with an early goal in the 8th minute to Elise Kellond-Knight off a Hayley Raso assist and Canberra looked to be out of time from that moment on.

Canberra’s best chance came 15 minutes into the game via a lightning run down the left flank by Ashleigh Sykes who exposed the Roar’s edge. As she cut back to the top of the box she was tripped, resulting in a penalty to the home side.

The ensuing penalty kick, taken powerfully by Lori Lindsey, drew the biggest cheer of the day until the crowd realised that the shot had bounced off the left up right and back onto the field of play and could not be converted.

Ashleigh Sykes seemed to outpace the experienced Roar backline at will, but even her forays deep into the second half, when players from both sides were looking wilted in the heat, produced nothing but crosses into the side netting or straight to Kate Stewart who was my player of the match.

Stewart’s strength, courage, timing, judgement, speed and ball control were a delightful feature of a match which did not live up to its star billing.

The good news for Brisbane fans is that Nadine Angerer was kitted up and looked ready to play. The even better news is that Roar did not need Angerer, with Stewart keeping a number of attacking raids by Canberra United’s speedsters Michelle Heyman and Stephanie Ochs at bay.

Canberra enjoyed the bulk of possession through Lindsey and Fletcher, but it was the organisation and discipline of the Roar midfield and backline which continued to spoil and frustrate United into mistakes.

Once Roar had the lead, they appeared satisfied to let Canberra come at them to the midfield, and not risk too many forward forays thereafter, although former United speedster Hayley Raso, and Larissa Crummer did cause headaches for Canberra’s backline.

Brisbane answered the question as to whose preparation would serve them best in this top of the table clash, with momentum winning this duel.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @groubes