Perth Glory have fallen just short of a finals berth but they at least ended their A-League Women campaign with a 1-0 away win Brisbane.
Perth Glory coach Alex Epakis has paid tribute to retiring defender Kim Carroll following the team's gutsy 1-0 A-League Women victory over Brisbane Roar.
Glory's finals hopes were ended even before Saturday's kick-off after bottom-of-the-pile Wellington Phoenix failed to beat fourth-placed Melbourne Victory earlier in the day.
That match finished 2-2 following a last-gasp Phoenix equaliser, and it meant Perth could only finish fifth at best.
But Glory still had plenty to play for at Perry Park in Brisbane given it was Carroll's final game.
Perth's players lifted for the occasion, producing a fighting display in the second half to ensure the 35-year-old went out a winner.
Gabriella Coleman scored the winning goal in the 72nd minute, with her glancing header at the near post from a Hana Lowry corner proving the difference.
Glory had to produce a series of Herculean defensive efforts from that point on to ensure Roar didn't equalise.
Lowry and Demi Koulizakis both produced goal-line clearances, while captain Natasha Rigby limped off in the dying minutes after bravely putting her body on the line in a bid to win possession.
The efforts were all greatly appreciated by former Matildas star Carroll, who was full of smiles after the match as she hugged her elated teammates.
"She's an iconic player. Football's not going to be the same without her," Epakis said.
"I'm just really pleased she gets to go out a winner.
"We're not going to get the opportunity to play finals, and that's going to sting because ... we feel like we can compete with those top four teams.
"But nonetheless, we've had a really strong and solid season.
"Players have progressed, the team's progressed, and we're certainly heading in an upwards trajectory."
The first half lacked highlights, but Coleman was left kicking herself when she was one-on-one against the goalkeeper in the 40th minute but could only get a fluffed left-foot strike away.
Things spiced up after the break, with Coleman venting her fury after Roar defender Holly McQueen lashed out at her following a tackle.
Roar striker Shea Connors looked threatening all game and almost broke the deadlock in the 64th minute with a floating long-range strike that bounced off the upright.
Brisbane had a series of corners following Coleman's goal, but they couldn't find a way past Glory's brick-wall defence.
Rigby struggled to walk after coming off second best in a late challenge for the ball, but Epakis did not think the injury was serious.
"I believe at this stage it's a deep cut in the knee," he said.
"It's nothing structural, which is great."