Michelle Heyman leads Canberra United to victory over Wellington Phoenix, claims top spot in Golden Boot race

Canberra United edges past Wellington Phoenix in Liberty A-League showdown

Canberra United emerged victorious against Wellington Phoenix in a thrilling Liberty A-League clash, with Michelle Heyman securing a crucial win for her side. Heyman, a record-equalling A-Leagues legend, scored the only goal of the match with a header in the 78th minute, taking her season tally to 15 goals and positioning herself as a top contender for the Golden Boot.

Heyman’s goal also saw her equal Sam Kerr for the most goal contributions in Liberty A-League history, with 21 in total (15 goals and 6 assists). Her remarkable form this season has put her three goals ahead in the Golden Boot race, making her a standout performer in the competition.

Canberra’s victory marked the end of a five-match winless streak and propelled them off the bottom of the standings, although Adelaide United’s clash with Sydney FC could potentially change their position. On the other hand, Wellington Phoenix, who were eliminated from the finals race prior to the match, remain in eighth place after 21 matches.

The encounter between the two teams showcased a competitive first half, with both sides creating opportunities to score. Canberra’s solid defense kept Wellington at bay, securing their first clean sheet since March the previous year. Despite Phoenix’s efforts, including several close chances, they were unable to find the back of the net.

One of the standout moments of the match came in the 64th minute when Canberra’s goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln made a remarkable save to deny Isabel Cox a goal-scoring opportunity. However, it was Heyman who ultimately made the difference, heading home Nikki Flannery’s cross to secure the victory for Canberra.

In a heartwarming moment for Wellington, 18-year-old Olivia Ingham made her long-awaited A-Leagues debut after overcoming a serious injury. Ingham, who had previously represented New Zealand at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, returned to the field after an ACL injury and signed a three-year contract with the Phoenix. Her debut was a testament to her perseverance and dedication to the sport.

Overall, Canberra United’s triumph against Wellington Phoenix was a testament to their resilience and Heyman’s exceptional talent, while Ingham’s debut provided a touching moment in an action-packed Liberty A-League encounter.

Denis Hardin

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