Canberra, Brisbane share spoils

The much-anticipated Westfield W-League Grand Final rematch between Canberra United and Brisbane Roar ended goalless in hot and humid conditions at McKellar Park in Canberra.

The much-anticipated Westfield W-League Grand Final rematch between Canberra United and Brisbane Roar ended goalless in hot and humid conditions at McKellar Park in Canberra.

The result was a fair reflection of a game in which both teams created a number of half chances but were unable to penetrate two well-organised defences.

The closest either team came to a match winner was a late Caitlin Munoz free kick that was brilliantly pushed onto the bar by Brisbane Roar custodian Hoshimi Kishi.

The champions made an uncharacteristically nervy opening in defence as new goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold got to know her back four in competitive conditions for the first time.

A back pass from Ellie Brush had Arnold backtracking as Christine Walters covered to clear before a ball was allowed to bounce in the area and Emily Gielnik's acrobatic overhead effort just cleared the crossbar.

The defensive errors continued as Caitlin Cooper turned over possession on halfway allowing Roar striker Lana Harch to break two on one but her square pass was too heavy for the supporting attack and Arnold gratefully cleaned up.

Ariane Hingst did her best to lift a strangely lacklustre United with a lofted pass that was intercepted by the Roar back four but it was the visitors who made most of the running in the opening stanza.

It took until the 32nd minute for Canberra to craft a meaningful opportunity but when they did they should really have opened the scoring. A superb cross-field ball from Walters found star striker Michelle Heyman free in the area but her header lacked direction and drifted harmlessly wide of the far post.

Shortly afterwards Munoz launched an audacious effort from 40 metres that dipped over the bar with Kishi watching on anxiously. Chances were at a premium though as the first half ended 0-0.

United almost went in front within a minute of the restart as Heyman met a corner with a dangerous downward header that evaded Kishi but was hacked clear off the line.

However, it was a sporadic moment in a half in which midfield dominated.

Brisbane continued to offer a threat going forward, particularly from set pieces, as captain Clare Polkinghorne strode into the penalty box from a corner to meet the ball with a firm header that flashed wide of goal.

The Roar introduced Tameka Butt for the hard-working Hannah Beard as they sensed that the points were there for the taking whilst Canberra responded by sending on Hayley Raso for the speedy Georgia Yeoman-Dale in an effort to add more dash to the front third.

It was Brisbane who threatened next though as Katrina Gorry latched onto a through ball and, having got there ahead of the advancing Arnold, should have done rather better than lob harmlessly over the bar.

Munoz then went close six minutes from time as Walters sent forward a raking pass that the experienced Australia international flicked on but could only look on as the ball narrowly evaded the target. The midfielder went even closer with her free-kick that crashed off the woodwork.

Canberra United 0 Brisbane Roar 0