Western United had to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Canberra United in the Liberty A-League Women on Saturday, but it could very easily have been a greater result.
Alana Cerne’s own goal gave Canberra the lead after half an hour before United responded with a barrage in the second half.
Adriana Taranto eventually broke the dam wall with 15 minutes to play and United continued to press forward but couldn’t find a late winner.
Chloe Logarzo led the team out as captain in her 100th match in the Liberty A-League Women, reaching a fantastic milestone in her storied career.
The No.6 headlined an unchanged starting line-up and substitute’s bench, with Hannah Keane and Adriana Taranto becoming the first players to reach 30 Liberty A-League appearances for Western United.
Canberra United were immediately on the attack and had a big chance right from kick-off when Vesna Milivojevic got inside the box on the left flank and squared the ball to Nikki Flannery, but a combination of a tight angle and recovery defending enabled Western United to clear the danger.
The visitors then went up the other end and tested Canberra’s defence with a couple of dangerous balls into the box from Grace Maher, nearly teeing up Logarzo and Keane for the opening goal.
Western United struggled to get into a rhythm in the first 20 minutes, holding the majority of possession but allowing Canberra the better of the attacking play.
That eventually translated into longer periods of possession for the home side and they took advantage with the opening goal.
After working the ball well down the right flank, Canberra found space in behind Western United’s defence and Sasha Grove was able to put a good ball into the box and while it initially looked like Michelle Heyman had scored the goal, it went down as an Alana Cerne own goal.
Canberra continued to bring the majority of the energy across all areas of the pitch but Western United remained in the came and kept working to get on top in the game.
Adriana Taranto was United’s consistent outlet on the right wing but she and her teammates couldn’t find the finishing touch heading into the half-time interval.
Western United needed to respond in the second half but it was so nearly made an even more difficult task as the home side came firing out of the blocks once again.
Milivojevic went on a mazy run on the left wing, taking on a number of Western United defenders but the Green and Black eventually recovered to make sure the Serbian couldn’t get a shot away.
Western United began to creep further forward to increase the pressure on Canberra’s goal as Adriana Taranto got into the box and forced a smart save from Chloe Lincoln to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The Green and Black somehow didn’t score from the following corner after a massive goalmouth scramble as Melissa Taranto, Keiwa Hieda and Keane all had rushed attempts on goal from in and around the six-yard box, but Canberra through bodies on the line to hold on.
Lincoln became the hero for Canberra as United continued to lift the intensity, Keane the next player to force another good save from the home side’s goalkeeper after Hieda had a shout for a penalty waved away.
Hieda was in the thick of the action off the bench and created United’s biggest chance to equalise when she beat her opponent and squared the ball to Jaclyn Sawicki in front of goal, but United’s co-captain couldn’t direct her effort away from the goalkeeper.
United kept pushing and pushing and finally got the deserved equaliser with 15 minutes left to play as Tyla Jay Vlajnic bent in a cross that went over Keane’s head and was finished off coolly at the back post by Adriana Taranto.
Kat Smith’s side continued to push forward and had a number of chances to go on and win it late on, starting with Adriana Taranto at the back post again as she leapt to meet Keane’s cross, but the ball was just slightly too high and she couldn’t get over the top of her header.
Sawicki was increasingly involved going forward and nearly scored a brilliant goal to open her Western United account, striking the post from the edge of the box. Hieda and Avaani Prakash were onto the rebound and put the ball into the net, but the offside flag was up to spoil the party.
Sawicki was inches away yet again just a moment later when Keane threaded her through on goal, but her finish rolled agonisingly wide of the post.
Western United brought all of the impetus late on in the match but the side would ultimately be left frustrated, settling for a point.