Canberra United played host to Brisbane Roar in a hot Thursday night game, with the teams splitting the points to start Round 9.
With a few personnel changes through the week, United welcomed back Maria Rojas and Ashleigh Sykes while a few of this season’s players watch on from the stands.
Denise O’Sullivan’s impressive stint in Green came to an end after a loan extension agreement wasn’t reached with North Carolina Courage, and Natasha Prior saw a nasty head clash end her season in their previous home game.
Katrina Gorry was an omission for Brisbane Roar with an injury.
The first half was a lacklustre overall, a product of a few extra helpings at Christmas lunch and the heat sapping quite a bit out of play.
Rhoda Mulaudzi scored in the third minute, poaching the ball near the top of the box, rounding Arnold to net one before much of the crowd had settled into their seats.
That was quick!@RhodaMulaudzi doing it all. The @CanberraUnited attacker stole possession off Polkinghorne, before rounding the keeper and scoring with aplomb. #WLeague #CBRvBRI— Westfield W-League (@WLeague) December 27, 2018
🎥 @FOXFOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/2p99hjzGrn
Generally, the few chances were shared evenly, Nikki Flannery saw a solid shot through, but Mackenzie Arnold was able to punch it clear and Yuki Nagasato fired one right to Sham Khamis.
Allira Toby pulled up with what looked like a cork, treading gingerly around midway through the half but while she seemed hobbled by it, it didn’t stop her scoring to level.
Toby scored in the 38th minute, off a Carson Pickett assist, who popped it into the box after pulling it back on her right, Toby slamming it past Khamis to level.
Before the break, there was a flurry of activity, a yellow for Yuki Nagasato, who tripped Nikola Orgill in the 43rd minute and a scramble in the goal in additional time, with Jenna McCormick just denied.
McCormick returned the favour, to start the second half, first to the ball with Mulaudzi and Flannery both surging on the goal.
The cheer that went up in McKellar Park at the familiar number 14 substitute, with assistant coach Ash Sykes coming out of retirement lifted the home side somewhat.