A draw between finals-hunting Melbourne Victory and Canberra has ended a W-League weekend where Sydney FC continued their premiership charge.
In a tight tussle at Epping Stadium, Nicki Flannery’s first-half stoppage time equaliser cancelled out Angie Beard’s early opener for Victory as Sunday’s match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The result keeps Victory fourth on the ladder with Canberra just two points outside the last finals position in fifth place.
The hosts, chasing a fourth win on the trot, took the lead in just the ninth minute when a cross from Beard looped over Canberra goalkeeper Keeley Richards and into the net.
The fortuitous strike was the 23-year-old’s first goal in Victory colours.
Canberra, who have now won just one of their past six fixtures, drew level in the second minute of stoppage time when a slick passing move released Flannery who slotted past Victory goalkeeper Gaby Garton.
The visitors held on to claim a point despite a late rally in the second half from Victory, with Matildas veteran Lisa De Vanna coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the game’s dying minutes.
The result keeps the race for fourth position wide open with both teams still having four matches left to play before finals.
Sydney, on the other hand, are now five points clear with just three games to play at the top of the ladder after thrashing last-placed Perth Glory 6-2 on Thursday.
Remy Siemsen, Princess Ibini and Clare Wheeler all scored doubles for the Sky Blues in the convincing win.
Third-placed Adelaide United made the most of Brisbane not playing this weekend, with their 2-1 win at Newcastle on Friday cutting the gap to the second-placed Roar to three points.
Any slim chance defending champions Melbourne City may have held of sneaking into the finals appear to be over, with a 1-0 loss to Western Sydney on Thursday leaving them 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Victory with four games to play.
Victory host the Wanderers next Thursday while in other matches next weekend Adelaide welcome Sydney to South Australia and Brisbane face Canberra in the nation’s capital.