The Western Sydney Wanderers put in one of their performances of the season and went within moments of claiming their first ever win against Canberra United in a 1-1 draw at McKellar Park.A 90th minute equaliser broke Red & Black hearts after a brilliant piece of team play saw Hannah Beard put the Wanderers ahead early in the first match.
While a late equaliser always hurts the draw continues a great run of results for Western Sydney who have only lost one match in four weeks.
The game started perfectly when Hannah Beard headed home after Michelle Carney expertly knocked-on a brilliant Kendall Johnson cross.
Reminiscent of Antony Golec’s cross in the Champions League Final, the goal stunned the home crowd into silence and provided the Red & Black with the impetus to dominate the half.
Repeated attacks on Canberra’s goal had the home team under pressure and it was again Kendall Johnson providing the creativity when she spotted the keeper out of position and attempted to curl a corner directly into goal.
Unfortunately for the left back, Canberra’s keeper Jones recovered just in time to tip the ball over the bar – but both Jones and the parochial home crowd had only their lucky stars to thank when Wanderers almost scored off the resulting set-piece.
Caitlin Cooper, having gone up for the corner against her old team, was first to the ball but slammed it into the near post with the home team somehow scrambling the ball to safety.
The match’s biggest moment of controversy came late in the half as Helen Petinos streaked down the left, cut in and curled a shot towards the far post.
Jones saved expertly with her feet but as Carney ran towards the ball to tap into an empty net she was pushed in the back by a Canberra defender sending her sprawling to the deck.
Somehow the referee turned down appeals for what looked like a stone wall penalty.
While the Wanderers dominated the first half the second stanza was a much more even affair with attacks from both sides making for an entertaining spectacle.
Both sides toiled hard but no real chances were created until the last kick of the game when a Canberra shot hit the post and fell to Ellie Brush at the top of the box.
Brush broke hearts as her effort rolled past a diving Trudy Burke and into the very corner of the goal. A cruel end to what should have been a deserved victory for the Red & Black.
With two wins and a draw from their past four matches the Wanderers are one of the in-form teams in the Westfield W-League at the moment and will look to take that momentum into their Round 9 match against Melbourne Victory at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
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