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.
United saw more chances in the last half hour of the match, peppering the goal in the last few minutes, but were unable to find a winner.
Mulaudzi to Flannery for a clean shot only to be denied by a Clare Polkinghorne header. Flannery with a turn and shoot but Arnold could dive and save.
Khamis came out of the box to collect Nagasato and a yellow with ten minutes to go in the match, with both sides finding a bit of pace to finish as the temperature came back below 30 degrees.
Chances were flying in the last gasps, Flannery and Pickett had the most spectacular shots - while Rojas will rue the one straight on goal she pushed high.
Canberra United coach Heather Garriock wasn’t happy with the result, particularly where the side had dominated play.
“I’m more disappointed with the point, we should have got three points today.”
“There’s a lot of positives tonight, but we need to finish games.”
Captain Rachel Corsie paid tribute to the character of Canberra United in bouncing back from a crushing loss in Round 8, but conceded there isn’t much time to turn the season around.
“There’s four games left, we need to start getting points on the board.”
Brisbane Roar coach Melissa Andreatta wasn’t happy leaving Canberra with the single point but praised her side’s efforts in difficult conditions.
“I think there’s a few factors that impacted the performance. The weather was one. You could tell, for both teams, there was a bit of fatigue and sloppiness toward the end.”
Andreatta praised McCormick's desperation and particularly Polkinghorne all round as a fantastic leader to work with.
“Polky is an absolute brick, not only on the park but what she does off the park, getting around players.”
The Brisbane side have a few weeks off now to reset and refresh before travelling to face Melbourne City, while Canberra United face Perth Glory in Round 10.