Canberra United slumped to a chastening 4-1 defeat at the hands of Western Sydney Wanderers in their rearranged Liberty A-League match at Wanderers Football Park.

After the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at McKellar Park on Saturday, Head Coach Njegosh Popovich made one change from the starting team that were denied three points at the death as Sarah Clark replaced the injured Mary Stanic-Floody, but Canberra were second best for most of the match.

United got off to a dream start with a goal after just 52 seconds of the encounter. Midfield maestro Vesna Milivojevic freed Nickoletta Flannery down the right flank and the winger provided the perfect cutback for ace striker Michelle Heyman to sweep past Wanderers custodian Sham Khamis.

The Western Sydney response was immediate. Just three minutes later, a corner from the right-hand side by Talia Younis was met by the head of Holly Caspers, who guided the ball home, despite the best efforts of Emma Illijoski on the goal line.

Incredibly, the home side found themselves in front before the quarter-hour mark, Caspers this time turned provider, getting in behind the United defence and rolling the ball across goal for Ella Buchanan to tap into the empty net from close range.

And it got worse for Canberra as they conceded for a third time in the 24th minute. Former United defender Madison McComasky, up from the back for a corner, got on the end of a pinpoint cross to rocket a header past Coco Majstorovic to increase the Wanderers advantage with her first ever Liberty A-League goal.

Both teams had opportunities to add to the scoreboard before the interval, Milivojevic firing wide for Canberra whilst Cushla Rue saw an effort float just over the bar, but it was the hosts who headed into the break in firm control of the destination of the points.

United sent on Ruby Nathan for Alex McKenzie at the break but were undone within sixteen seconds of the restart as a routine long ball caught the rejigged backline square, Caspers ghosting in on goal, and the forward slotted her second of the evening, sending in a fine finish off the base of the post.

Hannah McNulty was United’s second roll of the dice, the substitute making her second appearance in green, replacing the hard-working Holly Murray with just over twenty minutes remaining, but the visitors threat on Khamis goal was limited.

Indeed, it appeared that Western Sydney were more likely to add to their tally, comfortably seeing out the second-half. Of note was a late appearance by young Maia Cameron, the late substitute becoming Canberra cap #146 when she came on for Clark with six minutes to play.

Western Sydney Wanderers (3) 4 (Caspers 4’, 46’, Buchanan 14’, McComasky 24’) Canberra United (1) 1 (Heyman 1’)


TEAM: 18. Coco MAJSTOROVIC, 2. Alex MCKENZIE (9. Ruby NATHAN 46’), 3. Sarah CLARK (14. Maia CAMERON 84’), 4. Holly MURRAY (15. Hannah MCNULTY 69’), 5. Emma ILLIJOSKI, 11. Deven JACKSON (6. Ava PIAZZA 83’), 13. Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON, 16. Madelyn WHITTALL, 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN