After their season opener against Sydney FC, Western Sydney faced another tough challenge in Round 2 against reigning Premiers, Brisbane Roar.

Dan Barrett’s vision has become clearer with the return of a number of players, including Rachel Lowe and Courtney Nevin, and the moving of Erica Halloway and Georgia Yeoman-Dale into attack.

Ultimately, WSW were unlucky not to come away with at least a point from what was a competitive back-and-forth game.

Despite the heat, Western Sydney looked more assured in possession in the first half, moving the ball out from the back and finding passing lanes through LaBonta and Uzunlar.

Leena Khamis offered height up front to compete with Clare Polkinghorne, while the speed of Yeoman-Dale and Halloway enabled them to break through the defensive line a number of times to offer drilled and looping crosses that were regularly cleared by Brisbane’s well-drilled centre-back partnership of Polkinghorne and McCormick.

The visitors took time to get their bearings but began to control the game within 20 minutes. Ubogagu and Torpey offered plenty of speed out wide, though Brisbane centre-forward Allira Toby was often well-rallied by the WSW defenders.

Katrina Gorry and Celeste Boureille continued to pull strings in the centre of the park, applying and relieving pressure when necessary, which began to take its toll toward the back end of the first half as WSW gave a number of free kicks away in their own half.

The opening goal came in the midst of Brisbane’s pressing, as McCormick took possession around the top corner of the box, cutting in between two defenders to prepare for a shot on goal.

However, she was clipped just before hitting the line, going down to shouts of “penalty!”

The referee disagreed, placing the ball just outside the top corner of the box. The left-footed Carson Pickett stepped up and drilled it low and hard around the WSW wall and into the bottom right corner, beating Jada Whyman at her front post.

The second half saw WSW start to make their way back into the game, with a number of shots exchanged between the two teams. Wanderers had a good chance to level the score in the 65th minute after a shot was deflected onto the bar and seemingly bundled in by Khamis, but it was adjudged to not have crossed the line, much to the disappointment of the cheering crowd.

WSW kept the pressure on Brisbane for most of the rest of the game, with the heat starting to affect the Roar’s attacking players. The Red & Black had yet another chance to tie the game as Kylie Ledbrook sent a perfect pass between Brisbane’s right-sided defenders for a charging Georgia Yeoman-Dale to run onto, but she panicked in the final second and shot well wide of the post.

When asked about what changed this game compared to their result against Sydney FC, WSW goalkeeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman said, “Nothing has changed, we played the same game to last time, but we were a bit more focused and I think we did play a great game but just didn’t get the result,” she said.

“It was just luck; it was a crap goal by me. We didn’t deserve to lose today, we should have at least drawn but they played fantastic and scored a good goal, that’s just football.”