Loss puts dampener on Brisbane Roar W-League season
FOOTBALL: Melbourne City set up a winner-takes-all mini W-League final against Newcastle on Friday night with a 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar.
But the crucial C.B Smith Reserve showdown ended in comical circumstances when the ground's sprinkler system came on and could not be switched off, forcing referee Lara Lee to cut injury time short.
City's success snapped a staggering six-game winless run for last season's champions and at the same time eliminated Roar from the playoff race.
After stunning ladder-leader Sydney 3-1 on Saturday, Newcastle temporarily moved in to the top four.
But City's timely victory saw it move back above the Jets in to fourth with one round to play.
All City needs to do in Coffs Harbour on Friday is hold on for a draw.
But should Newcastle win, then City would miss out on the finals almost 12 months after sweeping to the title undefeated in its debut W-League season.
Marianna Tabain opened the scoring in the 18th minute for City, before Rebekah Stott doubled the host's advantage just after the hour mark.
Katrina Gorry ensured City would endure some nervous moments in the closing stages when she pulled a goal back in the 67th minute.
But what should have been an agonising seven minutes of injury time turned in to anything but.
A second goal off the boot of New Zealand international Stott in the 91st minute all but sealed the result.
And when the sprinklers came on in Fawkner about a minute later, the game was literally washed out.
With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees for much of the contest, the cool down was temporary relief for players.
But the fact that five minutes of potential playing time was lost wouldn't have washed too well with Brisbane.
That said, Roar has a bye next week, so needed to beat City to have any chance of making the finals. Brisbane therefore would have had to score three goals in that time.
Canberra United squandered a golden opportunity to move above Sydney when it lost 1-0 to seventh-placed Western Sydney at Campbelltown Stadium.
It means Sydney (22 points), Canberra (20 points) and Perth (20 points) can all still claim the minor premiership.