The Western Sydney Wanderers lost their first Westfield W-League match in four weeks when they fell to Canberra United in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.It was a tense and tight match for the majority of the game with only a late flurry of Canberra goals blowing out the score in the third vs fourth match-up.
While often looking dangerous on the flanks and around the penalty box, missed chances, individual errors and trouble at set-pieces meant that the Red & Black never truly threatened to take all three points.
The loss is not a killer-blow by any chance with the Wanderers only dropping to fifth on the table, instead it will be full of valuable lessons for the team to take into the second half of the competition.
Canberra opened the match as the better team with a raft of set piece opportunities early including one header hitting the crossbar.
It didn’t take much longer for United to hit the lead though as an unmarked Kendall Fletcher slammed a free header into the back of the net.
A rasping hit by Keelin Winters that forced a fingertip save by the Canberra keeper was the only other chance of note for either team in the first half but the Red & Black opened the second half as the better team.
The Red & Black should have been on equal terms only 40 seconds into the second half when crisp interplay on the edge of the box by Liz Grey and Winters saw the latter get in on goal before firing over the bar.
Chances continued for the Wanderers and only minutes later they had their best chance of the match.
Winters collected Ellie Carpenter’s cross inside the box, layed-it off for Grey but the strikers half-volley was straight at the keeper with the entire goal begging.
It was a miss that was instantly regrated as the very next play Canberra doubled their lead as Rachael Soutar unfortunately hit Meg McLaughlin’s cross into her own net..
Despite the sucker blow, the Wanderers responded in typically determined fashion with some scintillating build up play involving Hannah Beard and Winters ending with Grey blazing a half chance over the bar.
When Winters’ free-kick was tipped over the bar by the keeper and Chloe O’Brien's diving header flashed wide from the resulting corner, it looked like it was going to be one of those days for the Red & Black.
However, the team was finally rewarded when Erica Halloway impressively side-footed home after Linda O’Neill’s effort rebounded off the foot of the post.
The comeback was short-lived however as Fletcher scored her second goal for Canberra straight off the kick-off.
Sykes sealed the deal for United minutes later, sliding underneath Whyman to end the match on a sour note for the Red & Black.