Perth Glory missed the chance to reclaim top spot on the Westfield W-League ladder after falling 2-0 to Brisbane Roar in front of a record crowd at Dorrien Gardens on Friday night.
Second-half goals from Hayley Raso and Allira Toby secured the victory in a match dominated by the visiting Brisbane side.
It was a disappointing result for the majority of a 1,046-strong crowd – a record for a W-League match held at a community ground in Perth – which turned out to see Glory do battle with Roar in a potential premiership-decider.
Glory (13 points) has now slipped to fourth on the W-League ladder behind Brisbane (18), Newcastle (16) and Sydney (15) with four matches to play before the finals series.
Marianna Tabain almost put Glory ahead in the seventh minute with a dangerous chip shot from 20 yards which forced Roar goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold to make an overhead save on the goal line.
Roar midfielder Katrina Gorry, meanwhile, proved a constant threat throughout the match, setting up teammates Tameka Butt and Emily Gielnik for a string of chances in the first half.
Glory goalkeeper Melissa Maizels was constantly on notice and had to make a diving save to her left to deny Gielnik.
Natasha Rigby also made a dramatic clearance off the goal-line on the cusp of the half-time to ensure that both teams went into the break on even terms.
Toby looked set to break the deadlock three minutes after the resumption, but a quick-thinking Tabain made a desperate lunge to prevent the Roar winger from scoring at close range.
Shawn Billam and Raquel Rodriguez then both almost converted with headers from two Sarah Carroll crosses in as many minutes, however, it was Roar who drew first blood through Raso just before the hour mark.
Billam did well to stop the ball from crossing the line after a dangerous corner from Gorry, but Raso was on hand to fire home the loose ball and put Brisbane ahead.
Butt almost doubled the visitor' lead two minutes later with a long-range attempt, only to be denied by another impressive save from Maizels.
Glory’s fate was sealed when Toby guided a deep cross from the right by Gorry into the back of the net.
Shannon May had a late chance to grab one back from the home side, but her strike was blocked by Arnold.
In typically forthright fashion, Glory Head Coach Bobby Despotovski admitted that his side had been second-best on the night.
“They deserved the win, simple as that,” he said. “We huffed and puffed, we had some passages of good play, but just not enough of those good moments to take the game.
“I am disappointed for the girls because they gave everything that they had, but at the end of the day, on this night, we were not good enough.”
Glory’s next match is away to Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday January 6, with skipper Sam Kerr – who missed Friday’s match for family reasons – expected to return.
Perth Glory 0 Brisbane Roar 2 (Hayley Raso 59’, Allira Toby 66’)
Referee: Rebecca Durcau
Assistants: Matthew Southern, Adrien Liechti
Fourth Official: Shane Skinner
PERTH GLORY: 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Kim CARROLL (C), 4. Natasha RIGBY, 7. Nicole STANTON, 8. Shawn BILLAM (12. Shannon MAY 67’), 9. Rachel HILL, 10. Raquel RODRIGUEZ, 11. Nicola BOLGER (13. Jaymee GIBBONS 57’), 16. Amanda FRISBIE, 17. Marianna TABAIN, 18. Melissa MAIZELS (GK)
Substitutes not used: 5. Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 24. Morgan AQUINO (GK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
BRISBANE ROAR: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD (GK), 2. Carson PICKETT (19. Hollie PALMER 92’), 4. Clare Polkinghorne (C), 6. Celeste BOUREILLE, 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 10. Katrina-Lee GORRY, 12. Allira TOBY (15. Abbey LLOYD 66’), 13. Tameka BUTT, 14. Summer O’Brien, 16. Hayley RASO, 17. Emily GIELNIK (9. Wai Ki CHEUNG 88’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Georgina WORTH (GK)
Yellow cards: Katrina-Lee Gorry 15’
Red cards: Nil