Caitlin Cooper opened the scoring for Canberra | TWG
A Maika Ruyter-Hooley header with seconds remaining has given the Melbourne Victory a 1-1 draw with Canberra United in their round three Westfield W League encounter at McKellar Park on Saturday afternoon.
After Canberra worked their way in front in the sixth minute through Caitlin Cooper, they held the overwhelming majority of possession, although Melbourne were a constant threat with some fantastic long range shots on target.
In the end United couldn’t take advantage of their amount of ball and when tall defender Ruyter-Hooley rose for a clean header from a corner - the last play of the game - they were made to pay.
Early on it looked like it would be an open affair, after a couple of dangerous set pieces to the Victory, Canberra defender Cooper controlled a bouncing ball close to goal and her shot managed to find a path between players into the back of the net.
The ball was then held for most of the first half in Canberra’s midfield, with Sally Shipard the standout, but the hosts failed to create enough headaches for the Victory’s young goalkeeper Brianna Davey.
Despite lacking in possession, it was the Victory who had three excellent chances go begging in the first half.
First it was Ella Mastrantonio in the 28th minute, her well struck shot from outside the box parried over the bar by Canberra goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Minutes later Amy Taylor ran onto a loose ball and hit an even better shot from long range, but again Williams was up to the task, tipping it just over the bar.
But the Victory’s best chance of the game came through a free kick after Emily van Egmond was penalised for a hand ball two metres out from the left side of the 18 yard box.
The ball was laid off to Jodie Taylor whose shot careered into the crossbar, ricocheting to Mastrantonio, whose bouncing effort went through Williams’ hands and just wide.
The Victory had another genuine chance early in the second half, Taylor having a darting run on the right half side on the box and cutting in, but she shot across the face of goal.
Shu O Tseng came on for United in the 55th minute and nearly had an immediate impact, her pass beating the offside trap and finding Kahlia Hogg running towards a one-on-one with Davey, although she shot straight into the Victory’s custodian.
Canberra nearly had a lucky goal with 16 minutes left, Elyse Perry’s attempted cross hitting the top of the crossbar although the youngster was in the thick of it again minutes later but Davey held onto a solid save to her right.
It looked like Canberra would hold on for the win as the game petered out before Ruyter-Hooley made her mark on the game.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Ruyter-Hooley 90)
Canberra United 1 (Cooper 6)