The Western Sydney Wanderers have fallen short of their first ever win over Canberra United, as a 90thminute equaliser by Ellie Brush saved the day for United.

The 1-1 draw is yet another disappointing home performance by Canberra who have fared much better on the road this season.

For the Wanderers, it will be a tough pill to swallow, as a win would have seen them close the gap on the top four to just one game.

The game took a surprise twist early as Western Sydney shocked the home crowd by opening the scoring.

In one of their first attacks of the contest, the Wanderers were able to make the most of a shaky Canberra defence as American import Lauren Johnson played in a cross which was headed on by Emma Carney. Carney’s header found Hannah Beard who floated her header into the top corner, beating an outstretched Chantel Jones.

With the lead secure, the Wanderers sat back holding a tight defensive line in front of Trudy Burke in goals. With this extra space Canberra were able to dominate possession but were unable to find any fluency in the final third as Western Sydney held firm.

United’s best chance of the half came off an error from their opposition. Burke, attempting to clear the ball but only finding Stephanie Ochs, who slipped the ball through for Caitlin Munoz, but the former Matilda blasted her shot inches over the bar.

The majority of the second half was devoid of any clear chances, but Canberra’s increasing threat was evident. Then after a couple of close calls, United were rewarded for their perseverance.

A Lori Lindsey free kick was headed onto the crossbar by Munoz, with the rebound landing at the feet of Brush, who scrapped home, the ball sneaking just inside the left upright.

The late drama continued as Michelle Heyman found herself with space in the penalty area, the striker’s decision to shoot rather than pass proved critical as the Wanderers managed to scramble the ball away from danger.

Both teams will remain firmly in the middle of a clustered ladder. However, the Wanderers will be kicking themselves for letting three points slip through their fingers; but will have the chance to atone for their error against the Victory next week.

For Canberra the draw keeps them one point behind Sydney FC, setting up a crucial clash when the two sides meet next week at McKellar Stadium.

Canberra United starting XI: 1. Chantel Jones (GK), 4. Kendall Flethcer, 5. Grace Field, 6. Caitlin Munoz, 7. Ellie Brush, 11. Michelle Heyman, 12. Sally Rojahn, 13. Nicole Begg (c), 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 16. Lori Lindsey, 22. Stephanie Ochs

Canberra United substitutes: 2. Catherine Brown, 3. Julia De Angelis, 10. Grace Maher, 20. Melissa Maizels (GK)

Western Sydney Wanderers starting XI: 1. Trudy Burke (GK), 2. Caitlin Cooper (c), 3. Jessica Seaman, 4. Caitlin Jarvie, 5. Helen Petinos, 6. Rachael Soutar, 7. Kendall Johnson, 9. Keelin Winters, 10. Michelle Carney, 12. Hannah Beard, 16. Linda O’Neill

Western Sydney Wanderers substitutes: 8. Grace Henry, 11. Lorena Bugden, 14. Demi Koulizakis, 20. Shamiran Khamis (GK)

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