Glory young gun preserves Perth’s perfect start to the season with late winner against Adelaide

Watch the highlights from Perth Glory's 2-1 win over Adelaide United on Saturday night.

A late Susan Phonsongkham winner has ensured Perth Glory’s perfect start to the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season continued, firing home a late goal in the league leaders’ 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Adelaide United on Saturday night.

Perth found themselves behind before half-time, with Dylan Holmes opening the scoring just before half-time for the visitors at Macedonia Park.

Glory responded after the break through Grace Jale – who scored her third goal of the season – before Phonsongkham fired home the winner with time expiring to preserve Glory’s perfect start to the season.

The goal is also the 22-year-old’s third of the season, continuing a brilliant start to the season for Alex Epakis’ side, who will end Round 4 atop the Liberty A-League standings.

JETS SOAR: Stamatelopoulos steals show in Penha’s reunion as Jets celebrate first win of Stanton era
RUSSELL: Wanderers academy graduate’s first goal in 588 days fuels Western Sydney win over Glory

For Adelaide, it was a much improved showing after consecutive defeats to Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory, but their wait for a first win of the season stretches into the fifth round of the campaign.

Glory started strongly and had it not been for two brilliant stops from Reds keeper Annalee Grove, the home side could have easily been ahead within minutes.

Jale broke in behind the Reds defence, but was denied by Grove before she could get a shot away, with the ball then falling to Millie Farrow who had her effort denied by the Adelaide shot-stopper on the follow up.

Once again, the Glory’s new attacking duo linked up, with Jale putting it on a platter for Farrow to slide into the back of the net, but the English forward’s first goal in Glory colours was disallowed by the offside flag.

Adrian Stenta’s side began to grow into the contest as the first-half wore on, with former Glory striker Alana Jancevski forcing a smart stop from Morgan Aquino to keep the scores level.

But they would eventually be rewarded as a Jancevski corner to the back-post from was nodded back across the face of goal from Ella Tonkin, to Holmes who smashed home the opener.

Glory responded well as Hana Lowry tested Grove with a strike from distance. It was her second long-range effort denied by the 22-year-old in the first-half alone, after forcing a good save from Grove just prior to Holmes’ opener.

Epakis’ charges started the second-half strongly and brought the scores level five minutes after the restart, as Phonsongkham squared it to Jale who slid the ball under Grove who was unable to save the ball from rolling off the post and over the line.

With time expiring, Phonsongkham dazzled her way past a two Reds defenders before slamming the ball past Grove at her near post to complete the comeback.

The talking point

Perth Glory continue to be the team to watch in the early stages of the Liberty A-League season.

For the first time this campaign, Alex Epakis’ side found themselves behind on the scoreboard, but the league leaders showed tremendous mettle to bounce back and come away with a fourth win from four games to start the season.

Glory’s speed on the break, headlined by Susan Phonsongkham, Grace Jale and Millie Farrow look set to cause all sorts of headaches if they can continue their hot start – with the former duo combining for six goals – while the latter has three assists to her name.

Importantly, for their sake, they can sit back tomorrow and watch the action play out knowing they will be still be top of the pile when the round comes to an end.

The star

Susan Phonsongkham is having some start to the season.

Once again, the 22-year-old was sensational in Perth’s win over Adelaide, teeing up Jale for the equaliser, before yet another dazzling gun to add to her already sensational highlight reel to wrap up the win.

There aren’t many players in the competition who can dribble their way past defenders like Phonsongkham can and her x-factor in the final third makes her one of Glory’s most dangerous attacking options.

Her form in NPLW NSW with Bankstown City in between Liberty A-League seasons was a precursor for what was to come this campaign, having scored 17 goals in 23 games.

Now, the Young Matilda is translating that form to Australia’s premier competition, eclipsing her previous season best of two goals in the space of four games.

In fact, she had only scored four goals in five previous seasons across her stints at Western Sydney Wanderers and Glory.

Her form puts Glory in good stead for the rest of the season, given their already deep arsenal of attacking options including Grace Jale, Millie Farrow, Sofia Sakalis, Quinley Quezada and Tia Stonehill.

What this means

Perth are top of the table heading into the remainder of Round 4 action on Sunday, currently sitting five points clear of second place Melbourne City.

Alex Epakis’ side are back at home next Saturday night for one of their toughest tasks yet, when they welcome Melbourne Victory to Macedonia Park on November 18.

Meanwhile, Adelaide sit equal bottom of the table with Canberra United and Western Sydney Wanderers on one point. The Wanderers can send the Reds bottom on goal difference should they claim a point against City on Sunday evening.

The job doesn’t get any easier for Adrian Stenta’s side, who return home next week to face reigning champions Sydney FC on November 19 – in their first game back in the competition since jetting off to Uzbekistan to take part in the AFC Women’s Club Championship.