Perth Glory have come home with a wet sail to defeat a brave Wellington Phoenix 3-2 at Wanderers Football Park on Monday night.
The last time Wellington held a 2-1 lead at half-time, they went down by three goals to two – and tonight was no different for the new Liberty A-League side giving absolutely everything to the cause to try and earn a maiden league victory.
KEEPUP followed on LIVE to bring you all the highlights, goals, up to date scores and biggest talking points from what promises to be an entertaining matchup.
MATCH REPORT: Perth into top four as two late goals sink Phoenix
‘I can’t even explain it, (I’m) so gutted’ – One-goal defeats getting harder for ‘Nix to stomach
For the second time this season, Wellington have fallen to defeat after leading at the break. Gemma Lewis’ side have shown steady improvement as each round of the season goes by, but the search goes on for club’s maiden Liberty A-League victory.
Wellington have lost their past three games by a solitary goal, a run including two 3-2 losses in which the ‘Nix led 2-1 at half-time.
The most recent of those 3-2 defeats came against Perth on Monday night, with the Glory scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to turn the tide.
An emotional Grace Jale reflected on what could have been in the aftermath of the result.
“I can’t even explain it, (I’m) so gutted,” Jale told Paramount+.
“We worked really hard. Obviously being up at half time and being robbed at the end, it’s tough. But it’s football, we didn’t win in the end, and that’s how it goes.
“I think they really stepped it up at the last second… we had some chances too, we need to finish, we need to be more clinical and that’s just how it is.”
After missing Wellington’s last two games through injury, Mackenzie Barry returned to Liberty A-League action with a determined shift in the middle of the Phoenix backline.
The 20-year-old Kiwi has been touted as a future Football Ferns star, and with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand drawing closer, Barry says it would be a dream to represent her country after a promising start to her professional career in the Liberty A-League.
“I guess that’s super motivating,” Barry told Paramount+. “I’m really proud of myself for stepping up in this professional league, this is my first time playing (at this level).
“It’s definitely a huge goal of mine playing for the women’s side, especially playing at home in front of my friends and family. So I’d love to make it into that squad.”
FULL-TIME: PERTH GLORY 3-2 WELLINGTON PHOENIX
GOAL! LATE DRAMA AS PERTH REGAIN THE LEAD (8.24pm AEDT)
Absolute heartbreak for the ‘Nix as Mie Leth Jans tucks home a simple finish from close range to restore Perth’s lead – a lead Perth held at 1-0 before Wellington stormed to a 2-1 advantage.
Hintzen supplied the equaliser, then Leth Jans found the crucial third for Perth to carve out a 3-2 lead in Western Sydney.
GOAL! Perth back on level terms through substitute Hintzen (8.15pm AEDT)
They’ve been plugging away for the majority of the second half, and with less than 10 minutes to play Perth finally have their equaliser – and are now on the hunt for a winning goal.
Cyera Hintzen was the goalscorer, heading into a vacant net after a cross from Mie Leth Jans amongst a sea of Wellington bodies.
Potentially awful injury for Craine another unlucky moment for Glory striker (8.06pm AEDT)
This isn’t what you want to see.
Gemma Craine has gone down in agony after falling on her left wrist – it’s an injury which from all appearances looks a very serious one to the out of luck Glory striker.
Craine made two appearances for Perth last season before a severe hamstring injury ended her campaign; you can only hope the damage to her left arm is not severe, and we see the Glory forward back in action in no time at all.
Perth trail Wellington 2-1 with 15 minutes to play.
Play resumes with Perth chasing the game (7.42pm AEDT)
This is a vital half in Perth Glory’s season as they trail the winless ‘Nix 2-1.
Gemma Craine has come off the bench for Alex Epakis’ side in place of Sakalis, and she’s had the first opportunity of the second half, firing a strike into the side netting.
Perth can go fourth with a win here, and anything less will be considered a major disappointment for the team vying for a spot in the finals.
HALF-TIME: Phoenix turn it around (7.26pm AEDT)
Well, that was some half by the ‘Nix.
Trailing after 14 minutes, Gemma Lewis’ side came back from a losing position to draw level for the first time in the club’s short Liberty A-League history. Then, they took the lead. It’s an evening of firsts for Wellington – but an elusive win is next on the checklist when play resumes after the break.
Watch all the highlights from an entertaining first half below.
GOAL! Aquino caught off guard as Knott sneaks Phoenix into the lead (7.15pm AEDT)
From trailing 1-0 to leading 2-1, a sneaky Chloe Knott finish has put Wellington in front against a shocked Perth Glory in Western Sydney.
Aquino had the ball safe within her clasp, before laying the ball on the deck in preparation for a regulation clearance by the Glory keeper.
But Knott closed the space, and suddenly the ball was out of Aquino’s reach. Knott intercepted the clearance, then ran toward the loose ball, before striking from the left side of the 18-yard-box toward the opposite corner of goal.
Aquino got back to close the space, but lost her footing in her second mishap in quick succession as the ball trickled past and over the line to give the ‘Nix the lead.
GOAL! Two goals in first 20 minutes as Phoenix find a leveller
A magnificent Alyssa Whinham through pass has unpicked the lock to the Perth defence, finding Phoenix star Grace Jale to finish over Morgan Aquino and level the scores at 1-1.
It’s the first time Wellington have trailed before equalising in the Liberty A-League, and although Aquino got a palm on the ball she could only help it sail over her head and over the goal line.
GOAL! Perth trap the ‘Nix to go ahead through Sakalis (6.50pm AEDT)
An intense Perth Glory press saw Wellington turn the ball over on two occasions in quick succession, resulting in a pair of opportunities for Perth to find the opener.
Hana Lowry failed on the first attempt with a ball off the right flank – but Sofia Sakalis made no mistake from the second just one minute later.
This time Perth attacked down the left, with Abbey Green whipping the delivery in for Sakalis to attack. The goal has been attributed to Sakalis for now, but a heavy deflection off Kate Taylor could see it ultimately credited as an own goal to the Wellington defender.
KICK-OFF: Perth get the ball rolling (6.35pm AEDT)
The very first Liberty A-League meeting between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory gets underway.
It’s the first ‘distance derby’ in the women’s game, however with both teams on the road in Western Sydney, this unique occasion has been dubbed the ‘suitcase derby’. Let’s see which team packs the points in their luggage as they depart Wanderers Football Park.
PREVIEW: PERTH GLORY V WELLINGTON PHOENIX
They were the feel good story of Round 8: a Perth Glory side defying the odds and rising above adversity to defeat the Wanderers and remain in the finals hunt.
If Perth are to finish inside the top four, they’ll need to do so by sealing points on a run of games outside of WA. Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna says she’s close to seeing out a full 90 minutes for the first time this season – could she be the key to Glory’s chances against a winless Wellington?
KEY STAT: Glory have won only one of their nine matches in the competition when facing a team for the first time (D1, L7), a 3-2 win against Adelaide United (15 November 2008).