A stunning 96th-minute goal from Michelle Carney enabled the Western Sydney Wanderers to pull off a miracle 1-1 draw with Adelaide United.
A stunning 96th-minute goal from Michelle Carney enabled the Western Sydney Wanderers to pull off a miracle 1-1 draw with Adelaide United in a Westfield W-League thriller at Burton Park on Saturday.
After appearing the better team for large stretches of the contest, the Wanderers found themselves trailing when Emily Condon goaled in the 70th minute to give the Lady Reds the edge.
United appeared home and hosed with back-to-back victories for the first time since 2008, before Carney, who substituted into the game virtually on the 90-minute mark, stunned the home side with a swinging cross from the right-hand side, which rebounded off the left-hand post and into the back of the net.
Western Sydney did most of the early attacking, spearhead Catherine Cannuli looking dangerous early with a close-range rifle in the opening minutes which took a United deflection and forced Reds keeper Melissa Barbieri into a sharp save.
Heather Garriock's shot from the right in the 16th minute was also well stopped by Barbieri as the visitors pressed hard and put Adelaide's defence under pressure.
On the immediate counter, the Reds conjured their best early opportunity when Rachael Quigley got on the end of one, only to be well blocked by desperate Western Sydney defender Caitlyn Cooper.
The Wanderers, looking the more dangerous outfit, came agonisingly close to breaking the stalemate when Emily van Egmond weaved her way through congestion and slammed one that beat Barbieri all ends up in the 23rd minute but smacked into the right-hand post.
Adelaide's hopes rose when Teigen Allen appeared to be hanging onto Quigley inside Adelaide's penalty area.
Referee Rebecca Durcau's whistle sounded but she awarded the free kick against Quigley, much to the home side's disappointment.
The contest was spicing up, Allen giving Jess Waterhouse a decent shove and Lisa-Marie Woods and Heather Garriock getting physical at various times in a bruising opening half which ended with the score 0-0.
The Wanderers looked good after the interval, Garriock was beautifully played through in the 56th minute before uncorking a sizzler from the left that forced Barbieri to produce her diving best once again.
The Reds worked their way into the contest and eventually fired the first belated strike when 15-year-old substitute Condon goaled, having been on the park barely 12 minutes.
Condon, who became the youngest-ever Lady Red when she debuted in last week's big win over Canberra United, became the youngest goalscorer in the W-League when she crushed one low and hard past Wanderers custodian Mackenzie Arnold from the right after receiving a nice lay-off from Tiarn Powell.
Western Sydney striker Catherine Cannuli, who had pocketed four of the Wanderers' eight goals for this season before today, looked dangerous time and time again in attack.
She looked like equalising in the 77th minute only to have her shot deflected by Reds stopper Daila-Tais Borg before skipper Garriock's header from the ensuing corner floated well high.
Garriock, in the thick of most of the physical clashes all afternoon, was crunched in the 90th minute and forced to hobble off the park and to the sidelines, which proved a game turner.
The Wanderers captain was replaced by Carney who, in an instant, went from being consigned to an afternoon as an unused sub to becoming the match-levelling hero.
A couple of Cannuli efforts in stoppage time were denied by Barbieri and Adelaide looked home before Carney produced a stunning goal on the back of a corner with an amazing solo effort.
The striker's first half-chance was stifled by Adelaide before Carney retrieved the ball and swung one viciously from the acutest of angles from the right-hand side.
Carney's strike was arguably a cross attempt but it did enough to rebound in past the sprawling Barbieri as the Wanderers, with seven seconds left of game time, shell-shocked the Reds with a last-ditch equaliser.
Adelaide United 1 (Condon 70) Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Carney 90+6) @ Burton Park, 11/1/2014
Adelaide United: 1. Melissa Barbieri (GK), 6. Laura Stockdale, 7. Rachael Quigley (3. Alexandra Gummer 74'), 9. Lisa-Marie Woods, 10. Monique Iannella (14. Jayah Brown 84'), 12. Daila Tais-Borg, 15. Jenna McCormick, 16. Jessica Waterhouse (8. Emily Condon 58'), 17. Tiarn Powell, 21. Snez Veljanovska, 23. Kristy Moore (C) Yellow cards: Woods 45
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Mackenzie Arnold (GK), 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Shawna Gordon, 5. Emily Van Egmond, 7. Heather Garriock (C) (11. Michelle Carney 90'), 12. Jessica Seaman, 13. Catherine Cannuli, 14. Alanna Kennedy, 15. Teigen Allen, 16. Linda O-Neill (6. Rachael Souter 74'), 18. Helen Petinos (10. Servet Uzunlar '56) Yellow cards: Nil