Glory produced a valiant fightback in their final Westfield W-League game of the season, but were ultimately consigned to a 3-2 defeat by Western Sydney Wanderers at Bunbury’s Hay Park.
Requiring three points to lock in a finals berth and with a strong wind at their backs, the visitors raced into a three-goal lead inside the opening half-hour, Sam Staab and Kristen Hamilton (2) finding the net.
After the break, however, the home side thrilled an enthusiastic crowd of 1175 by pulling one back through Celia midway through the half and then setting up a frantic finale when Morgan Andrews headed home a second.
And although his charges were ultimately unable to complete the comeback and secure a share of the spoils, Head Coach Bobby Despotovski was still proud of their second-half display.
“As much as I was disappointed with the first-half performance, I was as proud of the second-half performance,” he said.
“I was proud of how they responded to the criticism that I gave them in the dressing-room at half-time.
“They lifted the intensity after the break and when you put a team like Western Sydney Wanderers under pressure, they crack.
“All of a sudden we score one goal, then we get a second and we push them all the way.
“Obviously it wasn’t to be, but I am so proud of how they responded in that second half.
“This season everyone in our squad has had a chance to play and not many clubs in Australia can say that.
“All the players are going to be better for it.
“It’s always good to come to Bunbury and we know that the people of the south-west will support us all the time, so hopefully we can make this an annual event.”
Glory left themselves a mountain to climb by conceding three goals in the opening 28 minutes, with all of them coming from set-pieces.
The first saw Staab bundle the ball over the line from close-range after Shannon May had managed to clear a corner off the line, while the second came via another Kyra Cooney-Cross corner which was headed home by Hamilton.
And it was the US international who extended her side’s lead by converting from Ella Mastrantonio’s free-kick as Glory’s marking again let them down.
But Despotovski’s side had already shown their attacking intent when Celia struck the foot of the post with 12 minutes on the clock and they began the second half in far more purposeful mood.
Crystal Thomas and Andrews were both denied by compatriot Abby Smith in the Wanderers goal, before Celia succeeded, at the second attempt, in driving a loose ball into the bottom corner of the net.
With their tails up and the home fans urging them on, the women in purple surged forward and duly pulled another back seven minutes from time.
This time Celia was the creator, launching in a deep cross for Andrews who powered home a towering header to notch her sixth goal in the last four games.
Despite throwing everything they had at Western Sydney in the final minutes, however, Glory were unable to muster a third before referee Georgia Ghirardello brought an enthralling contest to a close.
The result means that the WA side finish the season in seventh spot on the ladder having recorded three wins, two draws and seven defeats from their 12 games.
Perth Glory 2 (Celia 62′, Andrews 83′) Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Staab 3′, Hamilton 11′, 28′)
Hay Park, Bunbury
Referee: Georgia Ghirardello
Assistant Referee 1: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Assistant Referee 2: Harry Bolan
Fourth Official: Shane Skinner
Perth Glory: 1.Eliza CAMPBELL (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 5.Shannon MAY, 6.Arianna ROMERO, 7.CELIA, 8.Morgan ANDREWS, 9.Crystal THOMAS (15.Alexia MORENO 66′), 11.Leticia MCKENNA (4.Ayesha NORRIE 56′), 13.Jamie-Lee GALE, 14.Caitlin DOEGLAS (28.Katarina JUKIC 78′), 24.Natasha RIGBY (c)
Substitutes not used: 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 21.Morgan AQUINO (gk)
Yellow Cards: McKenna
Red Cards: None
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1.Abby SMITH (GK), 3.Sam STAAB, 4.Caitlin COOPER, 5.Courtney NEVIN, 7.Amy HARRISON, 10.Kyra COONEY-CROSS ( 11.Cortnee VINE 90+6′), 19.Susan PHONSONGKHAM (14.Chloe MIDDLETON 78′), 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO, 23.Kristen HAMILTON, 27.Danika MATOS,
Substitutes not used: 30.Courtney NEWBON (GK), 26.Rosie GALEA
Yellow Cards: Vine, Phonsongkham
Red Cards: None