Canberra and Sydney share the spoils

Canberra United and Sydney FC battled to a hard-fought stalemate in the Westfield W-League match in the nation's capital, sharing a goal apiece in a match that could have gone either way.

Canberra United and Sydney FC battled to a hard-fought stalemate in the Westfield W-League match in the nation's capital, sharing a goal apiece in a match that could have gone either way.

Sydney went into the match missing their most experienced trio with Jo Burgess and Sarah Walsh still to return from injury, while influential skipper Heather Garriock was ruled out during the week with a re-occurrence of a hip injury after only returning to the fray in the top of the table clash against the Queensland Roar last weekend.

Conversely the home side was at full strength for the first time this season with both Thea Slatyer and Cian Maciejewski returning from suspension, adding to last week's injury returnees in strike pair Hayley Crawford and Caitlin Munoz.

The first half was a tough and competitive battle as befitting teams separated by just two points on the competition ladder.

After a scrappy opening Munoz set the match alight with a typically sizzling strike hit from outside the penalty area to open the scoring on the 37-minute mark. The goal was the first of an injury-hit season for the experienced Matildas striker and reminiscent of her famous goal for Australia in the 2006 Asian Cup Final in Adelaide.

The ledger was evened just six minutes later when United defender Rhian Davies brought down Nicola Bolger allowing youngster Jordan Marsh to equalize from the penalty spot.

The home side had perhaps the best chances of the second half with notably Ashleigh Sykes pushing a good attempt wide after Munoz played the ball into the danger area.

Then Munoz sent a long throw trickling tantalizingly across the face of the Sydney goal with neither Sasha McDonnell nor Kara Mowbray able to convert.

Sydney looked the more likely of the two sides in the dying moments of the match against a tiring United defence. Blues striker Leena Khamis having strong claims for a late penalty after a late challenge on the league's top scorer.

"The way the game ended up panning out, I think a draw at the end of the day was probably a fair result," said Canberra United coach Robbie Hooker.

Sydney will be looking to get their season back on track next week against bottom side Perth Glory, with the Blues having now won just one of their last five outings.

United will face a crucial six-pointer against the Mariners with both teams locked on points in 5th place on the Westfield W-League ladder.

Match Details

Canberra United 1 (Caitlin MUNOZ 37-) Sydney FC 1 (Jordan MARSH 43-)

McKellar Park, Canberra Attendance: 840 Saturday 6 December 2008

Referee: Prue Donohoe Assistant Referees: Brett Woodford, Leanne Smith Fourth Official: Gary Vandeburgt

Canberra United line-up: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Rhian DAVIES (12.Kara MOWBRAY 69-), 3.Amy CHAPMAN (19.Jennifer BISSET 87-), 5.Sasha MCDONNELL, 6.Caitlin MUNOZ, 7.Ellie BRUSH (c), 9.Grace GILL (8.Rebecca KITING 57), 10.Hayley CRAWFORD, 11.Cian MACIEJEWSKI, 13.Thea SLATYER, 14.Ashleigh SYKES.

Yellow cards: Cian MACIEJEWSKI 59-, Thea SLATYER 78-. Red Cards: Nil

Sydney FC line-up: 20.Nikki DIETER (gk), 3.Danielle BROGAN, 4.Alesha CLIFFORD, 5.Lisa GILBERT (c), 6.Servet UZUNLAR (13.Loren MAHONEY 86-), 10.Kylie LEDBROOK, 16.Linda O-NEILL, 17.Danielle SMALL 18.Nicola BOLGER (15.Jessica SEAMAN 72-), 19.Leena KHAMIS, 21.Jordan MARSH

Substitutes not used: 1.Rachel COOPER (gk),14.Maggie ELHUSSEINI

Yellow cards: Lisa GILBERT 16-, Linda O-NEILL 21-, Kylie LEDBROOK 89- Red Cards: Nil