Perth Glory Women face an uphill battle to qualify for the Westfield W-League finals series after gallantly going down 2-0 to defending champions Canberra United at Ashfield Reserve in stifling heat on Saturday.
Ellie Brush put the visitors ahead after 22 minutes with a textbook header at the near-post before Ashleigh Sykes sealed Canberra’s sixth straight win three minutes from full-time with a close-range finish.
Glory needs both Adelaide and Newcastle to lose their respective matches on Sunday to remain in contention for the finals, with two games in the regular season remaining.
The mercury was sitting just above 34C when the match kicked off and both teams battled bravely in the conditions to play out an entertaining contest in front of 395 people.
“We worked hard right to the end, but unfortunately it didn’t get us over the line,” Glory captain Kim Carroll said.
“Without using excuses, injuries are hurting us this season.”
Matildas star Caitlin Foord was dominant early, but she was forced from the pitch in the 38th minute with a suspected broken collarbone after landing heavily on her right shoulder following a crude challenge from Canberra skipper Nicole Begg.
Canberra was also dealt a cruel injury blow before kick-off when young defender Emma Checker suffered a serious knee injury during the warm-up.
Glory striker Katie Schubert courageously continued after being left with a bloodied nose following a head clash with Canberra goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Sykes posed a serious threat from start to finish, reminding the crowd of her heroics in last season’s W-League Grand Final and would have scored multiple times if it wasn’t for the goalkeeping heroics of Glory custodian Mackenzie Arnold.
The Matilda pulled of several spectacular saves which kept Perth in the contest until the final minutes.
Right back Sarah Carroll also made an impressive return after missing more than two months with toe and quad injuries.
“We’re going to go for the wins in our final two games,” Kim Carroll said. “We’re still a competitive team and that’s what we want.”
Perth will host finals contender Adelaide in its final home game of the season at Ashfield Reserve next Sunday, kicking off at 4pm.