Sykes scores winner for Canberra United

A sensational solo goal from Nicole Sykes earned Canberra United a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets on a hot Saturday at Deakin Stadium.

A sensational solo goal from Nicole Sykes earned Canberra United a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets on a hot Saturday at Deakin Stadium.

Sykes netted her maiden United goal 10 minutes before the half-time break to secure a vital victory for the champions, which sends them into the league's top-four.

A knee-injury sustained during Canberra's mid-week win over Perth Glory meant that Caitlin Cooper, who played her 50th career Westfield W-League match on Wednesday, was forced to sit out the encounter, meaning United coach Jitka Klimkova had to re-jig her defensive line.

Experienced German international Ariane Hingst dropped back to the centre of defence alongside skipper Ellie Brush with Sally Shipard drafted back into midfield for her first start of the season.

The signs were good early on for the home team with Nikki Washington and Hayley Raso causing mischief in the Jets ranks.

Too often, though, the final pass went astray leaving Michelle Heyman an isolated figure in the final third. With both midfields snapping into challenges, meaningful action in and around the respective penalty areas was minimal.

United finally found the goal they were looking in the 34th minute although it came from an unlikely source.

Full-back Sykes, playing on the right flank, broke her scoring duck in some style.

Collecting the ball mid-way inside the Jets' half, Sykes set off on a solo run with her sudden burst of acceleration taking her away from the covering defence. Cutting inside Sykes sized up the opportunity and slid the ball across Campbell and into the far corner.

Having gained the initiative, Canberra pressed for a second with Washington again in the thick of the build-up but had to settle for a single goal lead at the break.

Klimkova must have had an angry word or two to her team during the interval as they emerged from the changing rooms in top gear storming onto the offensive in an effort to get what could prove to be a crucial second goal.

Heyman got in behind the Jets defence within minutes of the re-start but her touch was heavy and Campbell was quick off her line to smother. Seconds later, Caitlin Munoz flicked on a Sykes throw-in and Raso burst clear but rushed her finish which was always rising as it cleared the crossbar.

The Jets hopes of finding a way back into the contest as handed a real blow in the 64th minute as midfield dynamo Emily van Egmond was dismissed upon receiving a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge in midfield.

It was a cruel blow for the former Canberra playmaker who had been enjoying a powerful match for her team being at the heart of the majority of their infrequent forays into Canberra territory.

Klimkova had earlier introduced Samantha Wood for Shipard as the intense heat made the going tough and Georgia Yeoman-Dale entered the fray alongside the Jets' Alisha Foote with 14 minutes to play. To their credit the 10 players of Newcastle continued to battle hard but Brush, in particular, was in a resolute mood snuffing out the sporadic Jets breakaways.

United pressed hard looking for more goals that would elevate them even further in the league ladder and substitute Yeoman-Dale almost provided the fans with a spectacular second in the 89th minute.

Spotting Campbell off her line, Yeoman-Dale sent in a superb lob that the Jets 'keeper did especially well to push past the post. It mattered little in the final reckoning though as Canberra claimed three priceless points.

Canberra United 1 (Nicole Sykes 34') Newcastle Jets 0

Canberra United: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Hayley RASO (5. Grace FIELD 87'), 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 15. Sally SHIPARD (18. Samantha WOOD 54'), 16. Catherine BROWN, 17. Ariane HINGST, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 21. Nikki WASHINGTON (3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE 76')

Newcastle Jets: 1. Eliza CAMPBELL, 2. Hannah BREWER, 3. Hayley CRAWFORD (8. Madeline SEARL 39'), 4. Gemma PEARCE, 5. Tori HUSTER, 6. Angela SALEM, 7. Gema SIMON, 10. Emily VAN EGMOND, 12. Tiffany BOSHERS (9. Tara ANDREWS 54'), 16. Stacey DAY, 18. Michaela HATZIRODOS (15. Alisha FOOTE 76')