Harding continues golden boot pursuit in hard-earned draw against the Roar

Sophie Harding’s sixth goal of the season ensured the points were shared between Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers in a lively 1-1 draw at Perry Park.

Mia Corbin opened the scoring for the home side in the first half but Harding responded after the break, levelling the scores and helping the Wanderers to a third-straight game unbeaten, climbing up one place on the Liberty A-League table into ninth after Round 8.

Despite controlling the opening stages of the game clear-cut chances were proving hard to fashion for Brisbane Roar with winger Sharn Freier spurning the best of them after she was picked out inside the box by the lively Mia Corbin.

The home side’s dominance would eventually take it’s toll on the Wanderers though and it would be Corbin who made the difference in the 26th minute.

A well orchestrated Brisbane press caused the Wanderers to lose possession of the ball 25-metres from goal and Corbin did the damage. The American picked up the loose ball, drove into the box before seeing her shot deflect off the boot of Vicky Bruce and into the net beyond the sprawling dive of Western Sydney keeper Shamiran Khamis.

The home side came close to doubling their lead in the 33rd minute but Matilda Tameka Yallop saw her dipping effort from outside the box tipped over the bar.

Rebecca Kirkup thought she bagged Brisbane’s second of the afternoon from the resulting corner but her powerful header was ruled out by the referee for a foul on the Wanderers keeper and 1-0 is how it remained at the break.

But while Brisbane were the team causing more problems in the first half, Western Sydney came out much stronger in the second and had their equaliser just five minutes after the restart.

A good move down the Wanderers’ right saw Holly Caspers released into space and the 23-year-old duly picked out her strike partner Sophie Harding inside the box who slotted home her sixth goal of the campaign.

From that point onwards it was the away side who threatened to take the lead and they were inches away from doing so. Harding’s drilled cross into the box was almost sent into her own net by Kirkup but the Brisbane defender’s blushes were spared as the ball crashed back off the underside of the bar and safely into the arms of keeper Jordan Silkowitz.

In the 72nd minute Harding almost fired the Wanderers’ in front but her shot from the edge of the box whistled past the outstretched glove of Silkowitz and, crucially, past her right-hand post as it remained one apiece.

Silkowitz was then called into action once again as Robbie Hooker’s Wanderers continued to up the ante. Cushla Rue’s pass sent Caspers through on goal but her left footed shot was brilliantly saved by the Brisbane keeper at her near post.

Tameka Yallop then sent another sighter towards goal but her shot from outside the box flew over the crossbar while Sophie Harding saw her late effort saved as an enthralling contest finished all square at Perry Park.