Perth Glory faces an uphill battle to qualify for the Westfield W-League finals after falling 2-0 to Sydney FC at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday night.
Despite strong support for the home team from a boisterous local crowd of 846, Sydney struck twice through Lisa De Vanna and Chloe Logarzo either side of half-time to consign Glory to a third straight defeat.
Glory has now slipped to sixth on the ladder – three points adrift of the top four – with two matches to play in the regular season.
Bobby Despotovski’s side began the match determined to snap their losing streak, with skipper Sam Kerr leading from the front and causing early headaches for the Sky Blues defence.
Kerr connected with a dangerous Marianna Tabain cross in just the third minute of the match, but her powerful header was comfortably collected by Sydney goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.
The Matildas star continued to wreak havoc and set up fellow-striker Rachel Hill for the potential opener in the 19th minute with a searching low cross from the left, only for Sydney centre-back Liz Ralston to close her down at last second.
Less than a minute later, former Glory player De Vanna swung the momentum Sydney’s way when she intercepted a wayward pass out of defence before sweetly curling the ball past Glory custodian Melissa Maizels.
Kerr looked set to pull one back for Glory in the 29th minute when she was played through into the box by Tabain, but her strike cannoned into the side netting.
Sydney midfielder Kylie Ledbrook then sent a scare through the Glory camp when her long-range attempt skidded off the top of the woodwork as half-time approached.
Kerr had another chance to square the ledger seconds before the half-time whistle, but was once again closed down by the watchful Ralston.
Glory’s defence was consistently stretched by Sydney trio De Vanna, Caitlin Foord and Princess Ibini-Isei and it led another defensive error just four minutes after the break that saw Logarzo put the ball into the back of an empty net.
Hill was presented with the two best chances of the second half, but was either closed down or slipped at the crucial moment to continue a frustrating run in front of goal for Glory.
Ledbrook was sent off in the 72nd minute after picking up her second yellow card, however, Glory were unable to capitalise upon their numerical superiority for the remainder of the match.
Despotovski said his team rued the two individual mistakes that led conceding both goals, but that he was proud of their efforts.
“They are disappointed with the result, but they are very happy with how they played,” he said.
“It was going to be a problem if we didn’t play in such a manner and we lost 2-0 to Sydney. So we go back to the drawing board.”
Despotovski urged his side to play with more patience, particularly when moving the ball forward to his two speedy attackers, as Glory looks to snap their scoring drought against Canberra United at Hay Park, Bunbury on Saturday.
“We’re just rushing things, knowing that Sammy Kerr is up front with Rachel – the two fastest players in the league – and we just want to deliver that ball so quickly to them, even sometimes when they’re not ready,” he said.
“We walked the ball from left to right, we created overloads, but we delivered the ball probably not as good as we would have hoped into the box and the rest is history. They caught us on a couple of individual mistakes and scored two goals.”
With finals still a mathematical chance for Glory, Despotovski has high expectations that his side will push hard for maximum points in their remaining two games against Canberra and Western Sydney.
“Everyone in the change-room knows what needs to be done,” he said. “The next couple of games are going to be crucial for us, not only to make finals but to stamp and say we want to play this kind of football all the time.”
Perth Glory 0 Sydney FC 2 (De Vanna 20’, Logarzo 49’)
Attendance: 846 at Dorrien Gardens, Perth
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistants: Josh Mannella, Matthew Southern
Fourth Official: Shane Skinner
Perth Glory: 3. Kim CARROLL (C), 4. Natasha RIGBY, 7. Nicole STANTON, 8. Shawn BILLAM (13. Jaymee GIBBONS 76’), 9. Rachel HILL, 10. Raquel RODRIGUEZ (15. Alexia MORENO 89’), 12. Shannon MAY, 16. Amanda FRISBIE, 17. Marianna TABAIN (5. Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 61’), 18. Melissa MAIZELS (GK), 20. Samantha KERR
Substitutes not used: 24. Morgan AQUINO (GK)
Yellow cards: Nicole Stanton 21’
Red cards: Nil
Sydney FC: 2. Teresa POLIAS (C), 4. Elizabeth RALSTON, 6. Chloe LOGARZO (7. Rachael SOUTAR 83’), 9. Caitlin FOORD, 10. Kylie LEDBROOK, 11. Lisa DE VANNA (3. Remy SIEMSEN 71’), 13. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 15. Caitlin COOPER, 17. Angelique HRISTODOULOU, 20. Princess IBINI-ISEI ((19. Leena KHAMIS 65’), 29. Audrey BLEDSOE (GK)
Substitutes not used: 1. Shamiran KHAMIS (GK)
Yellow cards: Kylie Ledbrook 52’, Leena Khamis 90’
Red cards: Kylie Ledbrook 72’