CANBERRA UNITED will have to wait until Tuesday for a chance to break back into the top four, with weather twice delaying the match against the Western Sydney Wanderers before an electrical storm eventually called a halt to the game at McKellar Park.
The match was scheduled to be the televised game at 2pm, but at 39 degrees, officials declared it too hot to proceed and delayed kick-off until 7pm.
But the heat gave way to a late electrical storm that further delayed kick-off until 7.30pm.
A bolt of thunder marked the start and, after lightning picked up in frequency, the referees stopped the match for safety reasons in the 33rd minute with scores locked at 0-0.
With less than a half played, no result could be called and, after deliberations, the referees decided to delay the match to Tuesday, a decision welcomed by both sides.
''I'm glad common sense prevailed at the end of the day,'' Wanderers coach Steve Roach said.
''For us, some players were getting up at 5.30 this morning, 6 o'clock, then get told we're not [playing], lie on the floor of a club, [which is] not ideal preparation, come back, warm up, delayed, warm up again, delayed, pull the pin, come off, delayed. Right now it's a 15-hour day for us.
''Then you're starting to talk about player injuries from cooling down, warming up, cooling down, warming up. So, yeah, I think common sense has prevailed.''
The day took its toll on Canberra players also, who were thankful not to be the visiting team having to bus home and back again on Tuesday.
''A crazy long day and we're all pretty mentally drained. It's taken a lot out of us, coming and going,'' United captain Ellie Brush said.
''[It's] probably a good result in the end and we're glad to be coming back to play them in full again on Tuesday.''
Had the game got to half-time before being abandoned, the result would have stood and, with both sides needing a win, it would have left neither satisfied.
''It came pretty close to a result. Twelve minutes [and] that result [would] stand, which if it was still nil-nil doesn't help either of us,'' Roach said. ''Especially with Brisbane doing a favour to both of us by beating Sydney.''
Both Canberra and Western Sydney need a win to stay in finals contention, and after Brisbane Roar beat Sydney FC 2-0 on Saturday, a win will put United into fourth place.