The Western Sydney Wanderers have been knocked out of finals contention after a 3-0 defeat against the second-placed Canberra United.Travelling to the ACT to play a team they’ve never beaten, the Red & Black needed all three points to stay in contention for a maiden Westfield W-League finals berth.
Despite Canberra missing Australian internationals Lydia Williams and Michelle Heyman, the green machine were always going to be a formidable opponent having won their previous six matches.
An early goal to Canberra set the scene for the game and put the Wanderers on the back foot from the get go.
Losing possession in their defensive third, the Wanderers were opened up by a wonderful Kendall Fletcher pass for Caitlin Munoz to open the scoring in the sixth minute.
Canberra needed a result to seal a home semi-final so didn’t take their foot off the pedal, doubling their lead in a matter of minutes.
Fletcher again was the creator with her deep cross being knocked home by Rebecca Kiting for her first ever Westfield W-League goal.
Michelle Carney almost got one back for the Wanderers when Keelin Winters unlocked the Canberra defence to release Erica Halloway, but Carney couldn’t connect with the winger’s expert cross.
Canberra continued to pepper the Wanderers but couldn’t get the breakthrough needed to truly kill off the game.
A tremendous performance by Wanderers keeper Teagan Micah – keeping the score line respectable – was one of the highlights in a poor Wanderers performance.
The third goal finally came when Ashleigh Sykes – who had until that moment been kept quiet all game by Ellie Carpenter – latched onto a Veronia Perez pass to seal the result.
Canberra hadn’t conceded a goal at McKellar Park since Hannah Beard’s strike for Wanderers in November 2014 but the Red & Black came as close as anyone had to breaking that streak late in the game.
Halloway, collecting a rebound off a corner, hit a bullet-like shot from outside the area, beating the keeper only to have it cleared off the line by a Canberra defender at the last second.
The result sealed Canberra’s home final and ensured that Wanderers would have to wait another season before tasting finals football.
Western Sydney concludes their season next week when they host Perth Glory at Popondetta Park on Sunday 17 January. Kick-off is at 3pm.