Canberra ends Wanderers' ALW finals hopes with 1-1 draw
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Kat Smith says despite the disappointment of her side's A-League Women's finals hopes being ended by a 1-1 draw with Canberra United, her side has been able to build a platform for future success
Entering their meeting with United at Wanderers Football Park on Sunday afternoon desperate to keep their faint hopes of finals football alive, the hosts took the lead when Olivia Price turned in a Sophie Harding cross in the 25th minute.
However, a peach of a half-volley from Vesna Milivojevic 10 minutes later restored the game to a parity that would ultimately hold, despite the best efforts of both sides.
A draw was not enough for the Wanderers, who are now seven points behind fourth-placed Melbourne Victory with just two games remaining, their five losses at the start of the season having come back to bite them.
"In the context of [Canberra's] season, that's very much a point gained," Smith said.
"But unfortunately, with the way the season has played out, [poor results in] our first six games had some good results in the middle, but as teams do, when you get to this point of the season you know what really cost you in those earlier games.
"Results are tough to come by but our performances have been getting better and better.
"From our foundation, the growth that we've seen makes me really excited about what's to come in the next couple of games but also what we've put in place to get this club back up the top."
Fifth-placed Canberra are now five games unbeaten and ensured they remain within touching distance of the finals despite being unable to convert one of their many chances to push on from Milivojevic's strike.
Docked three points midweek after being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in a 2-1 win against Sydney, a loss could have dropped Canberra from being level on points with Victory at the start of the week to six adrift by the end of it.
But having already signalled an intention to appeal their points deduction, Canberra are two points behind the defending ALW champions, who play Melbourne City on Monday.
Furthermore, the team from the nation's capital will host Victory next Saturday, the first of three-straight games against Victorian opposition to end their regular season.