Perth Glory scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure a crucial 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday – and a place in next month’s Westfield W-League finals series.
Despite taking the lead in the 50th minute when skipper Sam Kerr headed home her ninth goal of the season, Glory conceded two own goals within eight minutes to give Victory the advantage on the scoreboard.
Victory looked set to claim a second major scalp in as many weeks, having stunned Brisbane Roar 4-1 last Monday, after consecutive deflections off Arianna Romero and Alyssa Mautz in the 52nd and 60th minutes respectively.
Falling behind sparked Glory into action in front of the boisterous 578-strong crowd and the team was eventually rewarded when Kerr was brought down inside the penalty box in the 80th minute.
American import Vanessa DiBernardo stepped up to the spot and easily placed the ball to the left of Victory goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, making amends for her missed penalty against Newcastle last Monday.
Rosie Sutton then capitalised during a goal-line scramble five minutes later to secure the three points, helping Glory consolidate second position on the table.
Glory now trails leaders Sydney FC by just two points, but has a game in hand over the Sky Blues with three rounds remaining before the finals and cannot be knocked out of the top four.
A relieved Kerr paid tribute to her teammates for not dropping their heads after giving up the lead on the hour mark.
“It’s obviously hard looking at the clock ticking down, but we stayed positive. A win’s a win, so we’re happy,” Kerr said.
“We didn’t deserve it up until the 60th minute when we really put things into gear and got working. I think we deserved the win in the end. We picked up our game and we played well as a team, so we’re happy.
“The ball’s in our court (for the rest of the season). If we win our last three, we finish top. We’re happy to make the four, but to go one or two would obviously be a bonus.”
Glory had three chances to find the opener inside first eight minutes as Bobby Despotovski’s side quickly signalled their attention to bounce back from last Monday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with the Jets.
Victory did not trouble returning Glory goalkeeper Melissa Maizels until the 25th minute when Victory skipper Christine Nairn sent a long-range free kick hurtling towards the goalmouth.
After Sunday's result Glory remain unbeaten in six matches and will now prepare to take on Canberra United at McKellar Park on Saturday before returning to Dorrien Gardens on Sunday, January 22, for the team’s final regular season home match against Adelaide United.
Perth Glory 3 (Samantha Kerr 50’, Vanessa DiBernardo 80’ pen, Rosie Sutton 85’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Arianna Romero 52’ OG, Alyssa Mautz 60’ OG)
Attendance: 578 at Dorrien Gardens, Perth
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistants: Arvin Shanmuganathan, Shane Skinner
Fourth Official: Tom Dowle
PERTH GLORY: 1. Melissa MAIZELS (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Alyssa MAUTZ, 7. Nicole STANTON, 8. Shawn BILLAM (13. Jaymee GIBBONS 67’), 9. Rosie SUTTON, 10. Vanessa DIBERNARDO, 17. Natasha RIGBY, 20. Samantha KERR (C), 22. Arianna ROMERO
Subs not used: 5. Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 14. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 18. Gabby DAL BUSCO (GK)
Yellow cards: Natasha Rigby 63’, Alyssa Mautz 73’
Red cards: Nil
MELBOURNE VICTORY: 1. Bianca HENNINGER (GK), 2. Alexandra NATOLI, 5. Alexandra GUMMER, 6. Annabel MARTIN, 9. Natasha DOWNIE, 10. Christine NAIRN (C), 13. Laura SPIRANOVIC, 15. Adriana TARANTO (8. Ayesha NORRIE 87’), 16. Samantha JOHNSON, 17. Gulcan KOCA (11. Melinda BARBIERI 90’), 25. Kariah WHITE (7. Lia PRIVITELLI 76’)
Subs not used: 20. Bethany MASON-JONES (GK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil