Sky Blues, Roar play out goalless draw in the wet
There was nothing to separate Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar as the two finals contenders drew 0-0 under incessant rainfall at Leichhardt Oval on Thursday night.
Aubrey Bledsoe was the busier of the two goalkeepers on a night where neither side managed to create any extended spell of domination.
A tightly contested first half began in Brisbane's favour and ended in Sydney's as both sides wrestled for ascendancy in a relatively scrappy affair.
Brisbane had the first clear-cut chance of the evening when Rylee Baisden struck a close-range dagger directly into the palms of Sydney goalkeeper Bledsoe.
Baisden's chance was about all the visitors could muster in the first half as Sydney grew into the game.
Half-chances presented themselves to both Caitlin Foord and Remy Siemsen but neither Sky Blue striker could convert, and so the sides went into the break with scores level.
In a peculiar moment early in the second half Bledsoe stood still thinking Allira Toby was offside as she charged in on goal; Toby blasted a shot directly into the unmoving Bledsoe who thought play would stop for the offside call but no such decision eventuated.
If Toby had slid the ball to either side of Bledsoe, who had stopped in her tracks, Brisbane would have taken the lead in contentious circumstances.
Two chances presented themselves to Siemsen soon after, but the Westfield W-League Golden Boot leader put one shot wide of the post and the other over the bar.
Tameka Yallop returned for the Roar off the bench and almost put her side in front, beating Alanna Kennedy down the left side of the box and firing a shot off Bledsoe's fingertips and onto the crossbar.
As the game neared its conclusion Yallop popped up once again, this time with a much clearer chance on goal, but Bledsoe was up to the challenge once more, pulling off a phenomenal stop to keep the scores level.
Chances began to flow as the clock wound down but neither side could manage a breakthrough, instead settling for a share of the points in a tough 90 minutes of football.
Baisden goes close to finishing off sharp Roar attack
Some fancy footwork from Westfield Matildas midfielder Katrina Gorry sparked Brisbane Roar's best chance of the first half, which Baisden ultimately failed to finish from a tight angle.
Gorry burst through three Sydney FC bodies to play Hollie Palmer down the left flank, who drilled a cross into the box which skipped through a number of bodies to find Baisden unmarked at the back post.
Baisden's first-time strike was goal-bound but Bledsoe stood tall, palming the shot away and collecting the rebound under immense pressure from the incoming Gorry.
Arnold stands tall to deny Siemsen
She didn't know much about the chance, but Siemsen almost scored an opportunistic goal if it wasn't for Brisbane goalkeeper Arnold standing in the right place at the right time.
Veronica Latsko had done well to beat her opponent and dart toward goal, and her cross into the six-yard box deflected off Siemsen's leg from close range and toward goal.
Without moving a muscle the ball bounced off Arnold's leg and away to safety.
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Bledsoe makes peculiar save in contentious moment
Brisbane striker Toby had the goal at her mercy when Bledsoe stood motionless as Toby rushed in on goal, assuming the attacker was offside.
Kennedy got a touch on the pass which made the flag go down, but Toby blasted her shot directly into the statuesque Bledsoe who accidentally made the most crucial save of the game.
Yallop comes off the bench to rattle the bar
Tameka Yallop almost made an instant impact off the bench in the second half when her strike from a sharp angle hit the crossbar.
Some neat footwork set Yallop free in the box but Bledsoe got a finger on her shot to push it onto the bar and away.
Bledsoe the hero with ripping save to deny Yallop
Tameka Yallop was in the thick of the action once more when she was handed clear-cut chance on goal with ten minutes to play.
She sized up the goal and Bledsoe set herself for the shot, leaping to her right to push the strong attempt on goal away to safety.
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