A goal from Elise Kellond-Knight proved the difference as Brisbane Roar inflicted a first defeat of the season on Canberra United with a narrow 1-0 win in a match that marked the Centenary of Canberra at McKellar Park.
Kellond-Knight struck after eight minutes to settle an even contest with United wasting a glorious chance to take a point missing a first half penalty.
The returning Hayley Raso had Canberra hearts in mouths inside the first three minutes as the speedy youngster, formerly of Canberra, broke the United offside trap.
Catherine Brown had a nibble at the heels of the Roar striker and did just enough to put her off balance and allow goalkeeper Lydia Williams bursting from goal to smother the danger.
United failed to heed the warning and paid the penalty five minutes later as the Roar hit the front.
Again Raso was the catalyst skinning her marker and cutting back a superbly weighted pass into the path of Kellond-Knight who wrong-footed Williams with a crafty finish from left to right across the 'keeper and into the corner. It was the first goal Canberra had conceded this season and prompted a quick-fire response from the home team.
The hosts went onto the offensive and really should have equalised after a quarter of an hour.
Ashleigh Sykes won Canberra a penalty, going down under a challenge in the area, and referee Kiralee Andruschak pointed to the spot.
Lori Lindsey stepped up to take it, but rattled her effort off the post and Ashleigh Sykes saw her follow up blocked.
Kendall Fletcher was next to go close, her half-chance from a corner being cleared off the line, before Stephanie Ochs tested Kate Stewart in the Roar goal, the shot-stopper tipping over her drive from distance.
It wasn't all United though as the Roar looked dangerous on the counter-attack with Raso and her fellow winger, Larissa Crummer, causing mayhem down the flanks and making sure that full-backs Sally Rojahn and Canberra captain Nicole Sykes were kept honest throughout the opening forty-five minutes as Roar went into the interval 1-0 ahead.
The second half failed to match the tempo of the opening stanza as both teams visibly tired, the warm temperatures taking their toll and causing some misplaced passes and under-hit through balls with neither team able to string together any meaningful cohesive patterns of play.
As such United Head Coach Elisabeth Migchelsen replaced Grace Gill in midfield with Caitlin Munoz in a bid to add more attacking impetus.
Brisbane responded with a tactical switch off their own, the hard-working Crummer replaced by Joanne Burgess, in a bid to find the width that had allowed the visitors to flourish towards the end of the first half.
However, there was barely a shot in anger in a half that failed to live up to the billing with chances few and far between.
Migchelsen threw on Georgia Yeoman-Dale for her first appearance of the season, in place of Catherine Brown, forcing a tactical reshuffle with Fletcher dropping into the back four and Ashleigh Sykes to wide midfield.
But not even the express pace of Yeoman-Dale could find a way back into it with the highly impressive Stewart diffusing the home teams’ sporadic attacks.
Meg McLaughlin, United’s third and final substitute, rifled a cross-shot that whistled just wide with ten minutes to play but the Roar held on to record a deserved win and gain a measure of revenge for their opening day defeat.
Canberra United 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (Elise Kellond-Knight 8’)
Canberra United: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN (3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE 75’), 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 9. Grace GILL (6. Caitlin MUNOZ 60’), 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES (8. Meg McLAUGHLIN 85’), 16. Lori LINDSEY, 22. Stephanie OCHS
Brisbane Roar: 20. Kate STEWART, 2. Laura ALLEWAY, 3. Amy CHAPMAN, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5. Brooke SPENCE, 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 9. Larissa CRUMMER (6. Joanne BURGESS 61’), 10. Katrina GORRY, 11. Vedrana POPOVIC, 16. Hayley RASO
YELLOW CARDS: 16. Hayley RASO (Brisbane Roar)