Western United fell to a 2-0 defeat against Western Sydney Wanderers in the Liberty A-League Women on Saturday afternoon.
Despite dominating possession and territory across the 90 minutes, Western United had no joy in the final third and was punished by two goals from the Wanderers in the final 10 minutes.
The defeat is only United’s second at City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field since the start of last season, and the Green and Black will look to bounce back over the international break and into the next game against Adelaide United.
Mark Torcaso made just the one change to the starting XI with Adriana Taranto coming in to replace Lucy Richards, playing a slightly less familiar role on the right-wing.
Hillary Beall made her home return in Green and Black while Avaani Prakash returned to the bench. Tyla Jay Vlajnic wasn’t passed fit to return from a groin issue and missed out again.
Western United got off to a fast start, looking to get on the front foot and put the visitors’ defence under pressure in the early moments.
Hannah Keane was lively through the middle with Kahli Johnson and Adriana Taranto looking to create either side of her, but despite the pressure there was no early goal from the home side.
Melissa Taranto had a long-ranger fizz just over the crossbar and Keane put the first shot on target but it was never troubling the goalkeeper as it rolled straight into her grasp.
Western Sydney posed a threat on the counter attack but it was largely the Green and Black in possession and moving forward, just lacking the final touch in the attacking third.
Johnson was forced off just after the half hour mark and Keiwa Hieda injected her customary creative vigour in the left-hand side, immediately getting in the thick of the action to create a spark for her team.
She very nearly provided the assist for the opener when she linked up with Keane, but the American’s effort flashed over the crossbar as pressure arrived from the Wanderers defence.
United was ultimately left frustrated throughout the first half with the lion’s share of possession and territory but nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
The second half was rather a continuation of the first with the vast majority of the game going in United’s direction but no significant chances being created.
The Wanderers were content on closing up space whenever United went forward and were able to keep the hosts at arm’s length in and around their penalty area.
The more the Green and Black pushed forward in search of that goal, the more space was left behind the defence and Western Sydney continued to try to exploit it going back the other way.
Sophie Harding’s pace in behind brought about a couple of heart-in-mouth moments for United but the defence was able to recover expertly, with Grace Maher in particular making a couple of crucial, perfectly-timed interventions.
It was fitting then that Harding would be the one to give the visitors the lead when she pounced on Beall’s attempted clearance and rolled the ball into an empty net.
United through everything forward in the final 10 minutes in search of a goal but it was one of those days for the Green and Black as the Wanderers confirmed the win in injury time as Cushla Rue struck on the break.