Perth Glory exacted revenge for last season’s Grand Final defeat with a crushing 4-1 win over Melbourne City in the Westfield W-League season opener at nib Stadium on Friday night.
Glory stunned the reigning champions in the second half after Matildas star Sam Kerr opened the scoring for the home side in just the third minute of the match.
Kyah Simon equalised for City three minutes into the second half, but from there it was all Perth as US import Rachel Hill netted a brace and fellow-new recruit Nicola Bolger found the back of the net to seal the result.
Costa Rican international Raquel Rodriguez was impressive in her W-League debut, showing great composure on the ball and affecting some brilliant passes from the midfield to strikers Kerr and Hill.
Defenders Amanda Frisbie and Tash Rigby were also critical in nullifying the influence of dangerous City attackers Ashley Hatch and Larissa Crummer.
“We were under a bit of pressure but I thought we handled it well,” Kerr said.
“The only real danger was Hatch down the right side and I thought Tash did a great job on her for 80-90% of the game. Other than our mistakes, I honestly don’t think they put too much through.”
Kerr capitalised on a brilliant pass from Sky Blue FC teammate Nikki Stanton in the third minute to give Glory the lead, threading the ball past City goalkeeper Emily Kenshole, who was a late replacement for Emily Shields who injured herself in the pre-match warm-up.
City dominated the first half with Hatch, Simon and Japanese attacker Yukari Kinga keeping the Glory defence on their toes.
Glory custodian Melissa Maizels was forced to make a number of crucial saves, including one above her head to deny Hatch on the cusp on half time.
Simon caught the Perth defence napping early in the second half with a powerful strike from outside the penalty area to level the score at 1-1 before Bobby Despotovski’s side sprang into action.
Hill found space on the right wing in the 75th minute and shrugged off a challenge from City’s Alanna Kennedy before netting her first goal in purple.
Eight minutes later Hill teamed with Bolger to put the result beyond doubt, with the American adding another in the first minute of added time to cap a memorable night for Glory and avenge last season’s Grand Final heartache.
“There’s nothing more I can ask,” Despotovski said.
“We came here to get three points and we got three points. I’m over the moon.
“We defended well and we scored four good goals. We didn’t have that many friendlies in the lead up, so I think the players did an extraordinary job tonight.”
Perth Glory 4 (Sam Kerr 3’, Rachel Hill 75’, Nicola Bolger 83’, Rachel Hill 90’+1)
Melbourne City 1 (Kyah Simon 48’)
Attendance: 1308 at nib Stadium
Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
Assistants: Arvin Shanmugnathan, Adrien Liechti
Fourth Official: Matthew Southern
PERTH GLORY: 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Kim CARROLL (6. Danielle BROGAN 89’), 4. Natasha RIGBY, 7. Nicole STANTON, 9. Rachel HILL, 10. Raquel RODRIGUEZ, 11. Nicola BOLGER (8. Shawn BILLAM 84’), 16. Amanda FRISBIE, 17. Marianna TABAIN (12. Shannon MAY 46’), 18. Melissa MAIZELS (GK), 20. Samantha KERR (C)
Subs not used: 1. Gabrielle DAL BUSCO (GK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
MELBOURNE CITY: 2. Yukari KINGA, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Ashley HATCH, 7. Stephanie CATLEY (C), 9. Larissa CRUMMER, 10. Jessica FISHLOCK, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 15. Amy JACKSON, 17. Kyah SIMON, 30. Emily KENSHOLE (GK)
Subs not used: 5. Lia MULDEARY, 11. Rhali DOBSON, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Emily SHIELDS (GK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil