First points for Perth | (Credit: Getty Images)
Perth Glory have held on to record their first win of the new Westfield W-League season in a 2-1 victory over Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A healthy crowd were on hand to watch Perth's first home fixture of the season but the majority were left a little rattled when Adelaide' Rachael Quigley opened the scoring in the second minute.
However, the Glory responded almost immediately through defender Erika Elze in the sixth minute before Katarina Jukic put the hosts ahead just before the break.
Perth still had plenty of work to do holding onto that lead through the second half as the Reds threw the kitchen sink at the hosts' defence.
But some exceptional work by Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, who left the field bruised and battered following several physical challenges, kept the Reds at bay as Perth produced their first win under new coach, Jamie Harnwell.
Neither side could find their rhythm throughout a scrappy opening period to the match, where both teams somehow created goals, mainly through their opponent's mistakes.
Perth struggled to clear from defence in the second minute, allowing Ashleigh Gunning to win a physical contest for the ball. Playing a one-two with striker Marijana Rajcic, Gunning's initial shot was saved by Arnold.
But as the ball bobbled invitingly in the air, Quigley produced a spectacular bicycle kick to open the scoring for Adelaide.
During the off-season, the Glory had lost three international calibre players in Katie Gill (knee), Samantha Kerr (knee) and Collette McCallum (year off), so the young side was always going to be a work in progress this season.
But Harnwell had managed to retain the class of Marianna Tabain on the left wing and it was hardly surprising when her incisive free kick caused all sorts of dramas for the Reds' defence in the sixth minute, allowing Elze to pounce on a loose ball and drive it home to equalise.
Two minutes later, Tabain showed off her skills to beat two defenders and cross for an unmarked Emma Kete, but the striker sent her free header wide of the post in a big let off for Adelaide.
Another two good chances went begging for Kete over the next ten minutes as she was initially denied a shot on goal by a desperate defensive tackle from Nenita Burgess, before seeing an 18th-minute snap shot go wide.
Adelaide lifted their intensity midway through the half as they pressed their Glory deep into their defence.
Rajcic did well to round goalkeeper Arnold in the 21st minute, but could only hit the side-netting from a tight angle.
Despite losing control of possession, Perth were always dangerous on the break and this proved to be the case as they took the lead in the 37th minute.
Again it was Tabain showing off her quality for the goal as her brilliant ball through midfield, released Kete through on goal.
Rather than shooting herself, Kete did well to draw the defender before squaring up for Jukic to tuck the ball home.
The second half proved a much tougher affair for Glory, however, as Adelaide lifted their rating in a big way, threatening Arnold's goal on numerous occasions.
In the 52nd minute, a lofted Adelaide free kick looked to have been comfortably taken by Arnold, but the impact of Reds skipper Abby Erceg crashing into the goalkeeper, almost took her over the line.
Arnold did well to ground the ball centimetres in the clear.
The challenges just kept coming for Arnold as she punched a 59th-minute corner clear while being pounded by Georgia Macri, while Ruth Wallace eventually earned a card when her AFL-style hit on the goalkeeper in the 66th minute left Arnold winded and in pain.
Having scored early in the match, the classy Quigley was threatening every time she went forward for Adelaide, the midfielder hitting the bar from long-range in the 74th minute before having another on-target shot tipped over the wood work five minutes later.
The drama kept coming during added time as Glory midfielder Elisa D'Ovidio appeared to have been dragged down in the box during injury time in a rare forward move for the hosts.
No penalty was called, allowing the Reds to stream forward one more time, but the Glory defence held firm for the win.
Perth Glory 2 (Erika Elze 6’, Katarina Jukic 37’)
Adelaide United 1 (Rachael Quigley 2’)
Saturday 5 November 2011
nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Perth Glory: Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk), Erika ELZE, Shannon MAY (Jaymee GIBBONS 69’), Katarina JUKIC (Sadie LAWRENCE 77’), Tanya OXTOBY, Katie HOLTHAM, Ella MASTRANTONIO, Danielle CALAUTTI, Elisa D'OVIDIO, Marianna TABAIN, Emma KETE (Lara FILACOMO 86’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Kristy TESCHINSKY (gk)
Yellow Cards: Danielle CALAUTTI 50’, Elisa D'OVIDIO 53’, Katie HOLTHAM 75’
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United: Kristi HARVEY (gk), Ruth WALLACE, Anna GREEN, Abby ERCEG, Racheal QUIGLEY, Leanne SLATER (Greta FRENCH-KENNEDY 79’), Marijana RAJCIC, Ashleigh GUNNING (Daniela DI BARTOLO 63’), Donna COCKAYNE, Georgia MACRI (Vanessa REED 82’), Nenita BURGESS
Substitutes not used: Sian MCLAREN (gk)
Yellow Cards: Ashleigh GUNNING 31’, Ruth WALLACE 60’, Racheal QUIGLEY 82’
Red Cards: Nil