Canberra United lost their grip on a 4-1 lead at McKellar Park, finishing with an epic 4-4 draw against Perth on Sunday.
The scoreline was a repeat of Perth and Canberra’s last meeting in last season's fascinating clash in Bunbury, when Kerr scored a hat trick and Ash Sykes clawed the game back for Canberra with a brace.
This goal fest was the end-to-end game everyone predicted, and while Kerr was left scoreless for the first time at McKellar since 2011, she played an influential role in the second half comeback.
Within the first minute of the game Perth’s Rachel Hill had played a ball over to Kerr but last-minute replacement Taren King picked it off in the air to put it out of danger.
Nikki Stanton, sitting in front of Perth’s defence, dominated early. One of her passes forced Rachel Corsie to make a sliding tackle to deny a shot from Doeglas. The ensuing corner from Stanton was headed cleanly by Canberra’s O’Sullivan, in space, directly into her own net.
Within a minute of restarting, Canberra’s Laura Hughes had the ball and was felled just inside the 18-yard box. Refiloe Jane’s unconventional penalty had Eliza Campbell diving the wrong way and the scores were square.
After the flurry of goals, the game built in line with the tensions. A yellow was issued to Kim Carroll who pulled down Malaudzi on her way to goal. Soon after, Kerr was denied a scoring chance when a ball ran past Sham Khamis. She collided with Kerr, upending her. The referee waved off Perth’s appeals for a penalty.
While Glory enjoyed the majority of control through the midfield, with Nikki Stanton who was playing deep, up top, wide, and everywhere she was needed, it was Malaudzi who scrambled a goal to give United the lead.
Malaudzi’s goal celebration was world class as she ran to space, feigned being struck, and fell flat on her back.
United built a useful buffer at halftime. Rojas struck the ball cleanly from outside the box, having received the ball from Roestbakken who had intercepted the ball on its way to the halfway line. Rojas took two touches and struck with power over a leaping Campbell.
Perth built patiently early in the second half, controlling a lot of ball out of the backline through the impressive Katie Naughton and Stanton, but Refiloe Jane for Canberra was floating in front of United’s backline and re-launching Canberra’s attack time and again.