Glory round off superb season with stylish win

Glory’s 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium may not have been enough to secure them a Finals spot, but it still provided a fitting end to what has been a superb season for Alex Epakis’ side.

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With Melbourne Victory two points ahead of them and boasting a significantly superior goal difference, Glory went into the game in Wollongong needing to claim a win themselves and for Victory to be beaten by Canberra United at AAMI Park.

An Isabel Gomez own-goal and fine, second-half efforts from Cyera Hintzen and Aideen Keane duly saw the WA side uphold their side of the bargain, but the AAMI Park clash finished goalless, meaning their better goal difference was enough for Victory to clinch fourth spot.

While naturally disappointed at being pipped for a Finals berth by such a fine margin, Epakis was unstinting in his praise of his charges’ performance both on the day and over the course of a campaign which saw them play all but one of their games away from home.

“First and foremost, I think we need to look at the broader context and where we were 12 months ago, the hurdles we’ve had to overcome in the last couple of months,” he said.

“We’ve achieved so much by overcoming those hurdles and that’s even before we talk about the success we had on the field.

“I think it’s important to highlight that.

“The fact is that we were able to overcome those challenges and perform on the field and have the success we did.

“Despite not making Finals, we won something today and it’s more of a group win.

“The performance today was a reflection of that.

“We said that if today was to be our last game that we would go out with a bang and we certainly did that.

“I thought we had a fairly solid performance today.

“I was aware of the scenario in the other fixture, but we tried to block that out and make sure we wrapped up the job we had to do.

“It’s unfortunate… and it might be disappointing, but we’re going to continue to take stock of the success we have had this year.”

After a cagey start, the game burst into life in the 24th minute when Natasha Rigby flicked on a Deborah-Anne de la Harpe corner and in her attempt to clear the ball, Gomez contrived to slice it into her own net.

Glory rarely looked back after the hitting the front and deservedly doubled their lead just after the hour-mark, Liz Anton delivering a cross to the near post and Hintzen claiming her fifth goal of a hugely-impressive maiden A-League campaign by crashing a shot past Lily Alfeld.

Within two minutes, 2-0 became 3-0 as Keane marked her starting debut by capitalising upon a defensive error, racing in on goal and calmly slotting home her second goal in as many games.

With the win all but secured, thoughts turned even more strongly to events at AAMI Park and the hope that Canberra might be able to find a way through, but ultimately it was not to be.

And amidst the tension, Phoenix managed to claim a late consolation when de la Harpe brought substitute Cushla Rue down in the box and Grace Jale scored from the spot despite the best efforts of Morgan Aquino.

Match Details

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Jale (pen) 86′) Perth Glory 3 (Gomez (O.G.) 24′, Hintzen 62′, Keane 64′)

Half-time: 0-1

Referee: Rachel Mitchenson

WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Wellington Phoenix: 1.Lily ALFELD (GK) (C), 2.Saskia VOSPER (5.Jordan JASNOS 90+2′), 3.Kate LOWRY, 4.Mackenzie BARRY, 6.Isabel GOMEZ (11.Kelli BROWN 67′), 7.Chloe KNOTT, 9.Ava PRITCHARD (14.Cushla RUE 79′), 10.Grace JALE, 13.Te Reremoana WALKER (19.Charlotte LANCASTER 90+2′), 16.Hannah JONES, 20.Alyssa WHINHAM

Substitutes not used: 12.Brianna EDWARDS (GK)

Yellow Cards: Pritchard

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 1.Morgan AQUINO, 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (C), 5.Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM (17.Abbey GREEN 76′), 13.Sarah CAIN (9.Demi KOULIZAKIS 73′), 15.Cyera HINTZEN (11.Lisa DE VANNA 83′), 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 21.Aideen KEANE (29.Leena KHAMIS 63′)

Substitutes not used: 20.Courtney NEWBON (GK)

Yellow Cards: Lawrence

Red Cards: None