History! Wanderers spearhead writes her name into club folklore with brilliant brace in Glory upset

Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers FC - Highlights | Liberty A-League 2023-24 | Round 11

Sophie Harding claimed a special piece of Western Sydney Wanderers history on Sunday night, scoring a brace to lead her side to a 2-0 win over Perth Glory at Macedonia Park.

Harding took her goal tally to eight for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season to claim the Wanderers’ all-time single-season scoring record, eclipsing Kristen Hamilton who bagged seven goals – and the Julie Dolan Medal – in the 2019-20 campaign.

The 24-year-old scored goals on either side of half-time to help her side to a second-consecutive win, and into the top six on the Liberty A-League table.

For Perth, defeat at home is a setback as Alex Epakis’ side pursue league-leaders Melbourne City. Glory began the night six points behind City in second place and the gap remains the same heading into Round 12.


Maliah Morris had an early opportunity to put the Wanderers ahead, taking possession with back to goal and shooting on the turn. Glory keeper Morgan Aquino was beaten but the shot flashed just wide of the bottom-right corner.

Harding was next to threaten from range, driving a powerful strike just over the crossbar, before Glory’s Susan Phonsongkham stung the gloves of Wanderers keeper Kaylie Collins with a left-footed attempt from close range.

Harding then opened the scoring with a magnificent curling attempt from the edge of the area. She scooped the ball over Aquino and in to bag her seventh goal of the Liberty A-League season.

Glory came close to an equaliser in the 37th minute when Hana Lowry found herself in space to gather possession and fire a bullet toward the top-left corner.

Lowry beat Collins but couldn’t find the top corner. The ball rattled off the crossbar and repelled out for a goal kick.

Glory remained on the hunt, buoyed by Lowry’s nearly moment and just minutes later were in again, as Phonsongkham picked out Grace Jale with an early cross into the box.

Jale’s header took a touch off Wanderers defender Madison McComasky and deflected toward goal, but Collins sprawled backward to gather the ball before it crossed the line.

Millie Farrow was the shining light for Perth on Sunday night and contributed everything except a goal to her side’s cause. The English striker buzzed about Macedonia Park with unrelenting energy – but her finishing touch was lacking when she needed it most early in the second half.

A Liz Anton cross fell into Farrow’s path in the box but her unmarked strike from a narrow angle was scuffed into the arms of a grateful Collins.

In the battle of two number nines it was Harding, not Farrow, having the final say at Macedonia Park.

Farrow was industrious but Harding was lethal; the Wanderers spearhead made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute, gliding pat Glory defender Jessika Cowart to slot home her second of the night, and eighth for the season.

As Harding secured her brace, she breezed past Hamilton as the Wanderers’ all-time leading goalscorer for a single Liberty A-League season.

The star

Sophie Harding became Western Sydney’s most prolific goalscorer in a single Liberty A-League season on Sunday night…

And she still has 12 games remaining in the campaign to build on her record-breaking eight-goal haul.

Harding scored a brace for the third time this season on her travels to Perth, helping the Wanderers to a second-consecutive win, and into sixth spot on the Liberty A-League table.

Wanderers head coach Robbie Hooker could be heard on the pitchside microphones challenging the 24-year-old spearhead to bag her first hat-trick of the season – but a combination of missed opportunities and excellent glovework from Glory keeper Morgan Aquino ensured Harding’s season tally remained at eight by the end of the Wanderers’ 2-0 win.

But with 12 games left to play this season, it feels inevitable Harding will put some distance between herself and Kristen Hamilton (seven goals, 2019-20 season) on the club’s all-time single-season scoring leaderboard.

What it means

Perth Glory’s four-game winning streak to begin the 2023-24 campaign set the foundations for a special season in the West – but Alex Epakis’ side have found the going considerably tougher through the following seven rounds, winning just two games, drawing two and losing three.

Glory’s third loss of the season came against the Wanderers on Sunday, ensuring Melbourne City’s six-point lead at the top of the table remained intact heading into Unite Round.

Glory take on Melbourne Victory at Leichhardt Oval on Friday, January 13 as part of Unite Round while Western Sydney face league-leaders City. The Wanderers’ good form hurt Glory on Sunday, but could help the West Australian outfit reduce City’s lead at the top back to just three points next weekend.