Sydney FC ran out comfortable winners at Dorrien Gardens in a game which saw them come out on top thanks to scoring some outstanding goals and taking advantage of worrying defence from the hosts.
Perth named unchanged starting eleven with just two changes on the bench, with Kat Jukic returning after missing the two away games last week due to work commitments and Jamie-Lee Gale coming in for Patricia Charalambous.
For Sydney, Ellie Brush returned with Rachel Lowe stepping up from the bench. Charleeze Rule dropped to the bench and Teresa Polias was out of the squad.
The visitors, stung by their thrashing by Brisbane Roar started on the front foot and earned a corner within thirty seconds and a second before two minutes were played.
With Glory clearing these dangerous set pieces, they tried to maximise their possession by playing close passing triangles in midfield and waiting for the right moment to release the final pass. Sydney hustled quickly and Cortnee Vine intercepted, broke away and won her side’s third corner with five minutes on the clock. A high ball in was hacked clear.
Taylor Ray then looked to off load just outside the box, but was brought down by a rumbustious challenge from Taneesha Baker on her eighteenth birthday, just outside the ‘D’ centrally. The free-kick was far from successful and allowed Caitlin Doeglas to break down the right and play in Baker but the Sydney defence held out.
The visitors had clearly done their homework on Perth’s build up patterns and there were regularly two Sky Blue shirts snapping at the heels of the Glory player in possession. The pressure forced errors in the early exchanges which merely added to Sydney’s stranglehold on the game.
Perth’s first effort came ten minutes in and an excellent turn and shot near the penalty spot from Doeglas was well held by Jada Mathyssen-Whyman.
Vine was having a field day down the right and a cross-field pass began a move which ended with Princess Ibini’s weak effort being saved by Lily Alfeld.
Vine created more danger down the right on the twenty-minute mark and earned the Harbour City side a free-kick which Taylor Ray swung in. Vine’s looping header was caught under the bar by Alfeld.
Perth responded instantly with a promising link-up between the two teenagers Hana Lowry and Taneesha Baker. It resulted with Baker’s effort skewed into the side netting. Four minutes later the home side saw an effort from Marianna Tabain fly over the bar.
The Purples had now settled into the game and were seeing far more possession but since the disastrous season-ending injury to Gemma Craine during their second match of the campaign, Perth are struggling for shots on target and genuine sharpness in and around the box. Something the Glory are not lacking is desire – and a prime example of this came when their Kiwi defender Liz Anton managed to win a tackle despite being prone on the ground with the Sydney attacker towering above her.
Princess Ibini was popping up all over the field and revelling in the freedom she enjoyed whether it be helping her defence down the left-hand flank, getting shots away from the centre or joining Vine’s raids along the right.
As the game neared half-time there was absolutely no doubt that Perth would be happy with their progress throughout the opening stanza. They had been under serious pressure but the defence, marshalled expertly by Tash Rigby and with the ever-impressive Alfeld between the sticks, had kept a very impressive clean sheet. Once more, although not ahead on the scoreboard, there was plenty for the Western Australian side’s fans to be proud of.
Yet as things have often turned out for Perth this season, there was heartache out of pride. With two minutes remaining in the half, Ellie Brush, just inside from the right-hand flank played a pass just outside the box to Remy Siemsen who turned and fired an instant shot past Alfeld to put the visitors ahead at the break.
Within three minutes of the re-start, Sydney again emphasised the importance of having dangerous finishers. Clare Wheeler played a ball out to Mclean on the right flank. She fed Ibini just inside the box. Ibini turned Rigby and fired a rocket into the right-hand side of the net.
Siemsen’s alertness was responsible for Sydney’s third with fifty-three minutes on the clock. Once more it was Wheeler with the assist as she played a delightful chip into the box with Siemsen getting between Sarah Carroll and Liz Anton to hit a shot that squirmed under Alfeld and over the line. It was a goal that was avoidable from Perth’s perspective and it further underlined the difference between the sides – potential finishing ability.
A minute later, Siemsen was in once more and her shot had to be tipped over by Alfeld.
Sydney were not finished and on the hour mark it was 4-0 and again, it was a goal which was exceptionally disappointing from a Perth Glory perspective. Ally Green crossed in and Wheeler, allowed way too much room, slid in at the near post in score with Alfeld left worryingly exposed by her defence.
The Western Australians creditably got up off the canvas and swung back at Sydney two minutes later. Kat Jukic’s pass through was not dealt with by Taylor Ray and Hana Lowry was able to fire a low shot from the edge of the box for the seventeen-year-old’s first of the season.
Less than a minute later, Perth’s never say die spirit saw them rewarded again. A long throw inside her own half by Deborah-Ann De La Harpe released sub Jamie-Lee Gale down the right and she beat Green expertly before playing in a low cross which was met firmly by Lowry and the Glory were back in it at 4-2. A fantastic response by the young Perth side.
But, with twenty minutes left Sydney extinguished any dramatic hopes that the home side had of completing a famous comeback. Green played a ball down the left to Wheeler who got away from teenage sub Isabella Wallhead with ease, cut across the bye-line and hit a shot into the net.
Immediately afterwards, Alfeld had to be alive to the danger after a quick free kick came in which she had to tip over.
With eight minutes left, Sydney got the ball in the net once more, although celebrations would be quickly cut short. Cortnee Vine beat Rigby and played a high cross into the box from the right and with Alfeld well beaten, the ball come off of Allira Toby’s upper arm and went over the line before being correctly ruled out.
Sydney missed another opportunity to add to their tally when Rigby brought Ibini down in the box and referee Isabella Libri pointed to the spot. Up stepped Wheeler and Alfeld made a fantastic save and Ray’s follow up was also cleared.
To compound matters further, Ellie Brush was on the receiving end of a tough tackle from Wallhead which led to her being led from the pitch with a serious looking knee injury.
Deep into stoppage time, Sydney finally scored their sixth. Ibini cut in from the left, and got past Wallhead, Gale and Carroll to fire in a low effort which looked to have gone in off Carroll to complete the rout.
For Sydney, this was the perfect response to their shocking loss to Brisbane Roar and their hopes of finishing the regular season on top of the table are now looking more realistic than ever.
This was unquestionably Perth’s most disappointing performance of the season – but they showed character to keep plugging away. With Gemma Craine’s absence leading to a lack of firepower, at the very least they need to get their solid defensive shape back over the coming weeks as they look for that all important first win of the season.
Perth Glory: Alfeld, Rigby, Carroll, Anton, De La Harpe, Lowry, Steinmetz, Tabain, Doeglas, Moreno, Baker. Substitutes: Bennett (GK), T. McKenna, Gale, Jukic, Wallhead.
Sydney FC: Mathyssen-Whyman, Rule, Mclean, Green, Tobin, Brush, Ray, Wheeler, Lowe, Siemsen, Ibini. Substitutes: Campbell (GK), Hristodouou, Hawkesby, Rule, Toby.
Referee: Isabella Libri
Photo: Sydney FC