Coleman and Anton on target in opening-round draw

Gabriella Coleman scored on her club debut and Liz Anton also found the net as Glory twice came from behind to secure a deserved 2-2 draw with Canberra United in a thrilling opening-round clash at McKellar Park.

Full match highlights HERE.

Looking to secure a first ever win in the nation’s capital, Alex Epakis’ side found themselves pushed back in the opening exchanges and fell behind when Grace Jale headed home a Grace Maher corner.

Glory replied in kind in the 35th minute, however, as Ella Mastrantonio picked out Liz Anton who nodded in her third goal for the club, all of which have come against Canberra.

Vesna Milivojevic went on to restore United’s lead just before the break, only for the women in white to start the second half brightly and deservedly level for a second time through Coleman’s close-range effort.

Epakis was measured in his assessment of a game which ebbed and flowed for the entire ninety minutes.

“It was very much a Round One fixture,” he said.

“Both teams had moments; we certainly had some moments where we weren’t good enough, especially when we were trying to play through the opposition centrally.

“But on the flipside of that, we also had some really good moments and some positive indications of what’s to come.

“[At half-time] we acknowledged that the intent of what we were trying to do was exactly what the gameplan was, but the execution wasn’t there.

“So we put some solutions out there and credit to the players, they went out there in the second half and delivered.

“Especially the players that came on, I felt that they added to that lift in performance as the second half went on.

“G [Gabriella Coleman] worked extremely hard and I think the goal was a just reward for all the effort she put in both with and without the ball.

“She’ll gain a lot of confidence from today… there are signs there that she’s going to be an important player for us this season.”

Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Canberra came flying out of the blocks and debutant Glory ‘keeper Sarah Langman was forced into action to deny both Jale and Nickoletta Flannery inside the opening ten minutes.

That early pressure was duly translated into the opening goal courtesy of Jale’s towering set-piece header, but the away side responded almost immediately with a fine shot from Hana Lowry which drew an equally impressive save from Chloe Lincoln.

Sofia Sakalis then saw her effort cleared off the line before Anton found a way through, meeting Mastrantonio’s pinpoint corner delivery with a glancing header that Lincoln was unable to keep out.

The chances continued to flow at either end as half-time approached and the game’s third goal arrived four minutes before the break when Maher teed up Milivojevic and she drilled a low shot past the advancing Langman.

Just as they had the first time, Glory again responded well to falling behind, starting the second half purposefully and gaining their reward via a goal which bore a distinctly American flavour.

Rylee Baisden linked up well with fellow-substitute and countrywomen Cyera Hintzen who surged into the box before squaring for Glory’s third US import, Coleman and her crisp finish gave Lincoln no chance.

The end-to-end nature of what was a compelling contest never let up in the final half-hour, Nickoletta Flannery going closest to bagging a winner when she hit the post from close-range, but ultimately both sides were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2022/23 Season Round 1

Canberra United 2 (Jale 12′, Milivojevic 41′) Perth Glory 2 (Anton 35′, Coleman 64′)

Half-time: 2-1

McKellar Park

Referee: Casey Reibelt

Canberra United: 18.Chloe LINCOLN (GK), 5.Emma ILIJOSKI, 8.Sasha GROVE, 9.Chegshu WU (6.Laura HUGHES 70′), 11.Grace JALE, 15.Madison MCCOMASKY, 16.Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17.Vesna MILIVOJEVIC (13.Sofia CHRISTOPHERSON 79′), 19.Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23.Michelle HEYMAN (C)

Substitutes not used: 1.Keely RICHARDS (GK), 4.Holly MURRAY, 24.Ellen GETT

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 20.Sarah LANGMAN (GK), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (C), 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 12.Sofia SAKALIS (10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM 67′), 16.Isabella WALLHEAD (11.Rylee BAISDEN 46′), 17.Abbey GREEN, 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO (13.Sarah CAIN 76′), 23.Alana JANCEVSKI (15.Cyera HINTZEN 57′), 42.Gabriella COLEMAN

Substitutes not used: 1.Morgan AQUINO (GK)

Yellow Cards: Mastrantonio

Red Cards: None