Late equaliser denies Canberra vcitory

A 94th minute equaliser from defender Maika Ruyter-Hooley denied Canberra three precious points on a blisteringly hot afternoon at McKellar Park in Round Three of the Westfield W-League.

A 94th minute equaliser from defender Maika Ruyter-Hooley denied Canberra three precious points on a blisteringly hot afternoon at McKellar Park in Round Three of the Westfield W-League.

Ruyter-Hooley rose highest from a Victory corner deep into stoppage time to break Canberra hearts with a towering header that gave Lydia Williams, United-s ultra-impressive goalkeeper, no chance flashing into the net with seconds remaining.

In truth it was probably what Melbourne deserved with the visitors creating the better chances for most of the match and forcing home ‘keeper Williams into three tremendous saves in the first half. The likelihood of Victory claiming a point seemed remote early on though.

United took the lead in the sixth minute with almost the game-s first attack. Ashleigh Sykes- pace penetrated the Victory defence and her dangerous cross was deflected for a corner. From the resultant kick, Canberra played it short to Ellyse Perry who-s whipped in cross caused havoc in the Melbourne penalty area. The ball eventually fell to defender Caitlin Cooper who crashed home her first goal for the club from twelve metres giving 15-year-old ‘keeper Brianna Davey, in for the injured Melissa Barbieri, no chance.

Despite taking an early advantage United were unable to build on the possession that they dominated in the opening ten minutes with the Victory suddenly bursting into life and taking the match to Canberra in a concerted fashion.

The Victory-s first sight of goal arrived in the 29th minute when a flashing drive from Ella Mastrantonio had Williams at full stretch, the Canberra custodian arching back to palm the ball over the crossbar. The Matildas international was forced to repeat the feat moments later when Amy Jackson tried her luck from distance only to be denied by Williams- reflexes.

Amazingly the Canberra ‘keeper pulled off an even better save nine minutes before the interval. Melbourne were awarded a free kick twenty metres out which was lashed towards goal by Jodie Taylor and, as the ball ricocheted back off the crossbar, it seemed certain that Mastrantonio would level, poking a shot towards the corner that Williams- brilliantly pushed past the post to preserve United-s half-time lead.

United had a glorious chance to kill of the match ten minutes after the re-start when half-time substitute Kahlia Hogg was freed through the middle by an astute pass from fellow replacement Tseng Shu-O. Hogg had the pace to get clear of the defence but fired a rather tame shot straight at Davey.

In response Victory orchestrated a neat attack that ended with English international Taylor flashing a shot just past Williams- right hand post as their search for an equaliser intensified.

Canberra did have the ball in the net midway inside the half when Sally Shipard fired home from just inside the penalty area after excellent approach work by Tseng, but the Canberra cheers were drowned at source when referee Kate Jacewicz blew for a foul by Tseng on Ruyter-Hooley as the defender attempted to clear.

The home side upped the intensity in an effort to find the decisive second goal but could only look on in anguish as a looped cross from Ellyse Perry smacked back off the crossbar and just fell away from the onrushing Michelle Heyman.

And Canberra-s failure to grab a second goal was to prove costly when Ruyter-Hooley pounced in stoppage-time to give Victory a share of the spoils and leave United four points adrift of league leaders Sydney FC.

Saturday 20th November 2010 McKellar Park, Belconnen, ACT

CANBERRA UNITED 1 (Caitlin Cooper 6-) MELBOURNE VICTORY (Maika Ruyter-Hooley 94-) Half-time: 0-0

Canberra United: 1. Lydia Williams (gk), 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Lyndsay Glohe, 4. Michelle Heyman, Caitlin Munoz (8. Tseng Shu-O 55-), 7. Ellie Brush, 10. Emily Van Egmond, 11. Cian Maciejewski (5. Kahlia Hogg 46-), 14. Ashleigh Sykes (9. Grace Gill 75-), 15. Sally Shipard, 16. Ellyse Perry Substitutes not used:, 20. Jocelyn Mara (gk)

Melbourne Victory: 20. Brianna Davey (gk), 3. Marlies Oostdam, 6. Maika Ruyter-Hooley, 7. Snez Veljanovska, Ella Mastrantonio (19. Enza Barilla 68-), 9. Stephanie Catley, 10. Jodie Taylor, 11. Kendall Fletcher, 12. Amy Jackson, 13. Ashley Brown (18. Ursula Hughson 46-), 17. Caitlin Friend (2. Rita Mankowska 87-) Substitutes not used: 30. Nicole Paul (gk)

Discipline: YELLOW CARDS: 15. Sally Shipard (Canberra United), Caitlin Friend (Melbourne Victory)

Match Officials: Kate Jacewicz (referee), Greg Taylor, Luke Withell, Allyson Flynn (4th official)

Attendance: 836