Canberra United’s Pride Round meeting with 8th-placed Western Sydney Wanderers saw the home side’s unrelenting defensive performance cancelled out by a 97th minute equaliser.

Round 19 kicked off at McKellar Park in blistering 30 degree heat, as the both sides gave a good account of themselves early on in the match.

It was the Wanderers who produced the first clear cut chance of the contest, as a dangerous cross from Danika Matos saw Coco Majstorovic called into action on 8 minutes, palming the ball into the path of Olivia Price who fired over the bar from close range.

With key absentees away with the Young Matildas and out with injury, United lined up against the away side with a makeshift backline, as Emma Ilijoski partnered Alex McKenzie on her 50th A-League Women match, while wingers Madelyn Whittall and Sofia Christopherson dropped into deeper fullback roles.

However, perhaps the top performer of the day was stand-in number 1 Majstorovic, who made up for Chloe Lincoln’s absence with a point blank save to deny Ella Buchanan on 35 minutes, after Amy Harrison’s ball in from the edge of the area.

In a very even contest, United went close to taking the lead 3 minutes before half time as Deven Jackson’s curling ball found Michelle Heyman in behind, although her shot found the side netting.

Heading out for the second half, Canberra began on the front foot, looking more confident on the ball, although the recent Matildas call-up Harding provided the away side with a dangerous threat in transition.

A flurry of early set pieces proved to be costly giveaways from the Wanderers to start the second stanza, as Canberra finally took advantage in the 57th minute, Stanic-Floody’s carefully waited free kick finding Heyman, who’s flick on allowed Nickoletta Flannery to tap home into an open net.

Happy to preserve the lead they had obtained, United’s goal prompted a more defensive approach from the home team, as the Wanderers began to push numbers forward in search of an equaliser. On most occasions however, Western Sydney were met with a rigid Canberra response headlined by strong performances from Alex McKenzie in defence, and Holly Murray, anchoring the midfield.

As time ticked by, United’s discipline continued to frustrate their opponents, as Coco Majstorovic was called into action on various occasions, thwarting Sophie Harding’s 64th-minute low drive, before stopping India Breier’s long range effort with two minutes of normal time remaining.

However the away side’s weight of chances in the second half proved to be too much to handle at the death, as Maliah Morris stole in behind to finish competently past the impressive Majstorovic, and bring her team level in the 97th minute.

Attention now turns to the reverse fixture against the Wanderers, who host Canberra at 7pm on Wednesday the 13th of March at the Wanderers Football Park.