The Western Mustangs nearly took home all three points on Sunday (Sept. 22), with an inspired final 10 minutes of play. But, with a mixture of luck and stout defending, McMaster held on to keep Western off the score sheet and ensure a point in a goalless draw in Ontario University Athletics women’s soccer.
Photo: Fraser Caldwell/McMaster Athletics
The result marked the Marauders (3-1-4) fifth clean sheet of the season, and kept them firmly inside the top half of the OUA West division table with 13 points from eight games.
Sunday’s matinee was a disjointed one in the opening half, where the two teams quickly settled into a physical contest in midfield, while struggling to establish the linkup play needed to feed their respective strikers.
Anne Yeboah and Emma Mangialardi saw little of the ball in the final third, until Yeboah produced McMaster’s clearest chance of the game in the 34th minute. The rookie forward showed her class by taking down a bouncing pass in the penalty area and knocking it into space as she turned. But her uncontested shot hooked skyward.
Neither team found another chance of that calibre before the halftime whistle, although play opened up considerably in the final minutes of the period.
It was the visitors who began to turn the screws as the teams resumed play in the second half, asking constant questions of McMaster’s defence. The Marauders drew back as the Mustangs took the initiative in the middle of the park, but the hosts showed their organization in the back as the pressure mounted.
Despite its ascendance, Western could cut out very few clear scoring chances in the face of the McMaster defence. That changed in the final 10 minutes of the match, when the Mustangs were finally able to stretch the field. A well-weighted pass in the 85th minute unlocked striker Lauren Winquist through the middle, and her effort beat McMaster’s onrushing goalkeeper Duffey before striking the post and bouncing clear.
The Marauders weathered a final storm in the 90th minute, when a low drive struck Duffey’s near post and rolled to an oncoming Mustang midfielder who scooped her effort just over the bar.
The final whistle was a welcome sound for the hosts, who secured a point in yet another low-scoring contest. McMaster has allowed only four goals through eight games in 2013.
The Marauders return to action on Friday, Sept. 27, when they travel to Windsor to battle the Lancers. McMaster will look to cement the season series against Windsor, having beaten the Lancers at Ron Joyce Stadium on Sept. 15.