A stunning goal from skipper Sam Kerr helped Perth Glory upset second-placed Sydney FC 1-0 at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday.
Kerr was at her destructive best, scoring the only goal of the match – her third of the season – early in the first half and regularly putting the Sky Blues defence under pressure.
The hard-fought win lifted Glory to fourth on the Westfield W-League table, equal on points with third-placed Canberra United and just two behind leaders Melbourne City and Sydney.
“This is a huge three points for us,” Kerr said.
“We’re always happy when we get the win, especially when it’s two in a row, and Sydney’s a great side.”
After a tight opening to the match, played out in front of 481 fans, Kerr made the breakthrough in the 18th minute when she slammed the ball into the top left from the right side after being brilliantly fed by Shawn Billam.
Kerr almost doubled the home side’s lead seven minutes later when she wrong-footed Sydney goalkeeper Shamiran Khamis and played the ball towards the open goal, only to be denied on the line by quick-thinking defender Alanna Kennedy.
Kerr and American import Vanessa DiBernardo combined for a number of chances during the match, but were unable to add a second goal for their team.
Sydney’s first scoring chance came in the 32nd minute, but the visitors rarely troubled Perth stopper Gabby Dal Busco, such was the dominance of Glory’s defence, led by veteran Kim Carroll and Mexican international Ariana Romero.
Despite losing the match, Sydney trio Kennedy, Liz Ralston and Teresa Polias were among the best players on the pitch, regularly being called into action to shut down attacks from Kerr, DiBernardo and Rosie Sutton.
Billam, Nikki Stanton and Alyssa Mautz were also impressive in the midfield for Glory.
“We have a lot of confidence in our squad this season,” Kerr said.
“We’ve done a lot of work, I think we’re really fit and you can only gain confidence you’ve had and we had a really good one.
“We’ve really started to connect and we can only get stronger from here.”
Glory’s next match is away to Adelaide United on Saturday, December 17, before returning to Dorrien Gardens to face the Newcastle Jets on January 2.
Perth Glory 1 (Sam Kerr 18’)
Sydney FC 0
Attendance: 481 at Dorrien Gardens, Perth
Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
Assistants: Matthew Southern, Shane Skinner
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
PERTH GLORY: 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Alyssa MAUTZ, 7. Nicole STANTON, 8. Shawn BILLAM (13. Jaymie GIBBONS 85’), 9. Rosie SUTTON, 10. Vanessa DIBERNARDO, 17. Natasha RIGBY, 18. Gabby DAL BUSCO (GK), 20. Samantha KERR, 22. Arianna ROMERO
Subs not used: 5. Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 14. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 24. Morgan AQUINO (GK)
Yellow cards: Sarah Carroll 68’
Red cards: Nil
SYDNEY FC: 1. Shamiran KHAMIS (GK), 2. Teresa POLIAS, 3. Remy SIEMSEN (20. Princess IBINI-ISEI 75’), 4. Elizabeth RALSTON, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 7. Nicola BOLGER, 11. Natalie TOBIN (12. Olivia PRICE 58’), 13. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 14. Alanna KENNEDY, 17. Kyah SIMON, 19. Leena KHAMIS
Subs not used: 15. Sarah EASTHOPE (GK), 16. Hannah BACON
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil