Marconi Stadium was the venue as Perth Glory ran out 1-0 winners on Friday afternoon, seeing off Western Sydney Wanderers in a close contest.
Despite the very warm weather, the first half was played at a frantic pace, with chances at both ends.
Sam Kerr’s coolly taken finish just after halftime proved decisive, with Ellie Brush’s desperate lunge not enough to prevent the goal. Although both sides continued to push forward, there would be no more scoring.
The win means Glory stay at the top of the table, ahead of Brisbane Roar on goal difference, while the Wanderers drop to eighth.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Jada Whyman had a good game in goals, showing safe hands whenever Perth lobbed the ball into the penalty area, and also making a spectacular save from Marianna Tabain in the first half. Although she was unable to stop Sam Kerr dribbling around her to score the only goal of the game, she isn’t the first player to be outpaced by Kerr, and she won’t be the last either.
Lo’eau LaBonta was excellent once again, starting the game as the holding midfielder and protecting the back four. She also showed her versatility, pushing forward into an attacking midfield role when the Wanderers needed to chase the game, and often finding players in good positions on the flanks.
However, the Wanderers will rue their wastefulness in front of goal. Erica Halloway and Rosie Sutton both missed gilt-edged chances to put their side in front, and most of their shots did not trouble the goalkeeper.
It’s getting repetitive, but Sam Kerr was once again the difference for her team, looking dangerous whenever she got the ball in the attacking third of the field.
Rachel Hill can’t be overlooked though – she showed great vision to set up Kerr for the winning goal, and their strike partnership looks to be coming on in leaps and bounds.
Perth really benefitted from the halftime introduction of Nikki Stanton. They have missed her calming and authoritative presence in midfield, and her distribution allowed them to have more control of the game.
Melissa Maizels also played well, making a couple of vital saves to keep the scores level in the first half.
The Glory defence were caught out with balls over the top a few times in the first half, but they adjusted well during the interval, dropping deeper when out of possession and denying the Wanderers space in behind.
Improvement after the break is a theme of Perth Glory’s performances: 80% of their goals this season have come in the second half, and Kerr’s goal is the twelfth that they have scored after halftime.
It’s the derby next weekend for Western Sydney Wanderers, who face in-form Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Perth Glory have a bye next weekend. Their next game is on Saturday 16th November, when they play Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Perth Glory 1 (Sam Kerr 50’)