Saturday Wrap: Glory end 15-month drought, Matilda’s 94th-minute golazo decides a thriller

WATCH: Emily Gielnik's 94th-minute stunner sends Victory past Canberra in a five-goal thriller on Saturday

Round 13 in the A-Leagues rolled into Saturday with four games on the agenda, and there were talking points aplenty by the end of the night – highlighted by a special win for Perth Glory in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

The 11th-placed Perth notched a statement victory over third-place Western Sydney in the Isuzu UTE A-League, ending a 15-month wait for a win away from home.

Simultaneous fixtures in the Liberty A-League kicked off the proceedings on Saturday, as league-leaders Melbourne City beat Wellington Phoenix 2-1 and Melbourne Victory edged Canberra United in a 3-2 thriller decided by a stunning Emily Gielnik strike in stoppage time.

After three entertaining fixtures, Saturday’s final act played out in Perth in the Liberty A-League as Glory drew 0-0 with Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park (10.30pm AEDT).

Saturday talking points

Heyman honoured after historic milestone

Michelle Heyman was the toast of the town in Canberra on Saturday afternoon, after her brace in Unite Round which took her career total to 101 Liberty A-League goals. 

The Canberra and Matildas legend received a special presentation before her side’s clash with Melbourne Victory asa. Result of becoming the first player in Liberty A-League history to reach the 100-goal mark, and proceeded to score another two goals to excite the home crowd.

Canberra went on to lose 3-2 after Emily Gielnik’s superb match-winner in the 94th minute. 

Matildas stars score landmark goals in pulsating Victory win

Both Emily Gielnik and Alex Chidiac are off the mark at Melbourne Victory, with the Matildas duo both finding the back of the net for the very first time this season in a dramatic win over Canberra.

Chidiac has played four games for Victory this season after her December return to the club where she won the Julie Dolan Medal last season. Chidiac opened her account for the campaign with an opportunistic finish poked home from close range; then it was Gielnik’s turn to break her duck in 2023-24 – and the long-range strike was well worth the wait.

Gielnik returned to the Liberty A-League in the off-season and has had an injury-interrupted start to her return Down Under. But her 94th-minute match winner against Canberra was a thing of beauty, struck off her weaker left foot into the top-left corner with confidence and class.

Glory end 15-month wait for road win with gutsy Wanderers upset

October 23, 2022: Perth Glory defeat Central Coast Mariners at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford.

Fast-forward 454 days to Perth’s Saturday night clash with Western Sydney at CommBank Stadium, and at long last, a 15-month drought is broken. 

Glory finally broke their road hoodoo in style against the Wanderers, going two goals clear through Stefan Colakovski and David Williams, then surviving a late scare in the form of an Oli Sail own goal, to take all three points from their third-placed foes.

Liberty A-League: Canberra United 2-3 Melbourne Victory

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Two goals to Michelle Heyman weren’t enough for Canberra United as a stunning strike from Matildas striker Emily Gielnik deep into stoppage time earned Melbourne Victory a dramatic 3-2 win on Saturday afternoon.

Victory conceded the opening goal to in-form Canberra striker Heyman, who bagged her 102nd league goal in a flying start to the contest. 

But the visitors struck back twice to lead by half-time; Rachel Lowe lobbed Canberra keeper Chloe Lincoln from range to level the scores before Matildas midfielder Alex Chidiac put Victory ahead with her first goal since returning to the Liberty A-League.

The second half had plenty of bite but neither side could break through until the 70th minute when Heyman converted Sofia Christopherson’s strike from close range.

Heyman’s leveller looked set to earn Canberra a share of the spoils until Gielnik’s first goal of her comeback season in the Liberty A-League earned Victory all three points. Gielnik cut onto her left foot to whip a curling strike into the top-left corner in the 93rd minute of a five-goal thriller.

Liberty A-League: Melbourne City 2-1 Wellington Phoenix

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Melbourne City extended their lead at the top of the Liberty A-League table with a 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.

The Phoenix travelled to City Football Academy in need of a result to stop a run of three consecutive defeats but despite a late fightback, failed to take a point from the league leaders on the road.

Rhianna Pollicina’s 51st-minute strike set City on course to victory and Hannah Wilkinson could have sealed it just beyond the hour mark.

Daniela Galic created the chance with a slaloming run through a sea of Wellington bodies and her cross deflected off the post into the path of the New Zealand international – but Wilkinson shot over the crossbar from close range.

City did forge a two-goal buffer through a clinical Emina Ekic strike – but then came the late Wellington resurgence, sparked by Mariana Speckmaier’s deficit halver in the 78th minute. 

The home side was reduced to 10 players for the final minutes of the game after Ekic’s second yellow card of the game for an innocuous challenge in midfield, but held firm to claim all three points and extend their lead over second-placed Perth Glory at the top of the table to eight points.

Perth face Brisbane Roar in the late fixture on Saturday night.

Isuzu UTE A-League: Western Sydney Wanderers 1-2 Perth Glory

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Perth Glory’s 15-month wait for a win on the road has come to an end, with Stefan Colakovski’s first-half strike setting up a 2-1 upset win over Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium on Saturday night.

Substitute David Williams scored a crucial second in the 87th minute as Perth – currently second-last on the Isuzu UTE A-League table – survived a late Wanderers charge inspired by Marcelo’s 96th-minute headed goal, which may go down as an Oli Sail own goal, to defeat the third-placed Wanderers in a major boilover.

Glory co-captain Adam Taggart wore the armband in Wanderland and led his team from the front, providing the assist for Colakovski and setting the tone for a brave display from the visiting side, helped by Williams’ composed finish late in regular time on a fast break ignited by Giordano Colli. 

Wanderers captain Marcelo halved the deficit deep into stoppage time with a header that may go down as an own goal to Glory keeper Sail – but it was too little, too late for the home side as the full-time whistle blew with the score at 2-1 in favour of Perth.

Perth last won away from home on October 23, 2022; that result came against Central Coast in Gosford. The West Australian club failed to register a win in the following 17 away fixtures before Saturday night’s tight win over Marko Rudan’s Wanderers.

For the hosts, it was an opportunity missed to close the gap at the top of the table to just one point. Western Sydney sat third pre-game but could have closed the gap to both Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix, the two front-runners on 25 points apiece after 13 rounds. 

For Alen Stajcic and the Glory, it was an opportunity seized. Perth remain second-bottom but with just their third win of the season, move to within two points of Newcastle Jets in 10th.

Liberty A-League: Perth Glory 0-0 Brisbane Roar

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Perth Glory lost ground in the Liberty A-League Premiership race after a 0-0 draw with 10th-placed Brisbane Roar at Macedonia Park on Saturday night.

Perth fell eight points behind Melbourne City earlier on Saturday after the league leaders’ 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix, and failed to close that gap back down to five in a goalless stalemate with Brisbane.

Glory survived a major scare late in the first half when Sharn Freier earned a penalty off a handball from Glory captain Tash Rigby. 

Roar captain Ayesha Norrie stepped forward to take the resulting penalty but Glory keeper Morgan Aquino produced a clutch save low to her left; Jenna McCormick blasted over the bar from the rebound as the sides went into half-time level. 

Glory were gifted another major let-off in the second half when Aquino spilled Mia Corbin’s long-range shot into the path of Frier at the back post. The Brisbane winger missed the target with the goal at her mercy.

Brisbane were dominating proceedings at Macedonia park before Glory striker Millie Farrow burst into life; Roar defender Holly McQueen denied Farrow a goal with a desperate block from a narrow angle, and just minutes later Farrow wasted a gilt-edged chance, striking centrally in a one-on-one and allowing keeper Jordan Silkowitz to make a save. 

Susan Phonsongkham came off the bench and threatened to break the game open but missed a pair of big chances late in the piece as the two sides were made to settle for a share of the spoils.

Missed the Isuzu UTE A-League action on Friday night?

Re-live all the highlights below from Sydney FC’s 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets, and a 1-1 draw between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory.

Sydney FC 4-0 Newcastle Jets

Wellington Phoenix 1-1 Melbourne Victory