Glory stun league leaders as Finals charge gathers pace

Glory sent shockwaves through the Liberty A-League competition on Saturday afternoon as goals from Susan Phonsongkham, Alana Jancevski and debutant Hannah Blake secured a thrilling 3-1 win over league leaders Western United in Ballarat.

View full match highlights HERE.

Phonsongkham earned and then converted the penalty which put the visitors in front after 11 minutes and although Emma Robers equalised midway through the first half, Jancevski’s free-kick and a stoppage-time effort from Blake consigned the hosts to just their second defeat of the season.

Given that Glory were missing two key players in the form of suspended midfielder Ella Mastrantonio and injured top scorer Rylee Baisden, it was little wonder that Head Coach Alex Epakis felt this was his charges’ best performance of the season.

View his full post-match media conference HERE.

“I’m very pleased with everyone,” he said.

“We stuck to the structure that we wanted to play, we were focused and we got rewards for playing good football and doing it for 90 minutes.

“It was complete because the players felt comfortable in the moments and we managed the transitions.

“They [Western United] are a good team and they’re top of the league for a reason, but we were able to nullify their threats and also take our opportunities in the attack.

“I think we know that every performance and result is going to matter and we’re really focused on just making sure that when we walk off the field after 90 minutes, we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to get something from the game.

“I’m really confident that this was a season-defining performance because we’ve got a run of home games to look forward to and we’re hoping to use the momentum and the positive feeling from this game to drive us home for the next couple of weeks.”

On a cool afternoon in regional Victoria, Glory came flying out of the blocks and deservedly hit the front early in the piece when Phonsongkham was brought down in the box by Melissa Taranto and duly found the bottom corner from the penalty spot.

Sarah Langman was then called upon to keep out a fizzing Robers strike, but the United midfielder was not to be denied moments later, firing into the roof of the net after a Tyla Jay Vlajnic cross had not been dealt with by the Glory defence.

Phonsongkham and Izzy Foletta subsequently went close to restoring the visitors’ lead as they finished a compelling first half very much on the front foot.

United were to enjoy their best spell of the game immediately after the restart and it took a superb goal-line clearance from Foletta, followed by a fingertip save from Langman, to prevent Jaclyn Sawicki from making it 2-1.

Form there on in, however, it was Glory who took control and they restored their lead in spectacular style 17 minutes from time.

Having been introduced from the bench moments earlier, Jancevski lined up a free-kick from 25m out and sent a thunderous, left-foot effort arcing its way past Hillary Beall into the roof of the net.

Stung by that stunning strike, United threw caution to the wind as they sought an equaliser in the final minutes and having dug deep to repel them, Epakis’ side landed a sucker-punch in stoppage-time.

Isabella Foletta capped a dynamic 90-minute performance by bisecting the United defence with an inch-perfect through-ball and Blake, not long off the bench, calmly slipped her shot under the advancing Beall to seal a potentially huge win.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2022/23 Season Round 13

Western United 1 (Robers 22′) Perth Glory 3
(Phonsongkham (pen) 11′, Jancevski 73′, Blake 90+6′)

Half-time: 1-1

Morshead Park Stadium, Ballarat

Referee: Caitlin Williams

Western United: 
21. Hillary BEALL (gk), 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI (15. Adriana TARANTO 68′), 5. Aimee MEDWIN, 9. Hannah KEANE, 11. Emma ROBERS, 13. Danielle STEER (10. Kahli JOHNSON 69′), 16. Melissa TARANTO, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Sydney CUMMINGS,
22. Alana CERNE, 23. Angie BEARD 

Substitutes not used: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 7. Francesca IERMANO, 24. Julia SARDO

Yellow Cards: Beard, Adriana Taranto, Vlajnic

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM (14.Hannah BLAKE 66′), 12.Sofia SAKALIS (9.Demi KOULIZAKIS 76′), 13.Sarah CAIN (23.Alana JANCEVSKI 65′), 15.Cyera HINTZEN (17.Abbey GREEN 89′), 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA

Substitutes not used: 1.Morgan AQUINO (gk)

Yellow Cards: Anton

Red Cards: None