Magnificent comeback win keeps Finals hopes alive

Glory staged a remarkable second-half comeback to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory over Melbourne City at Macedonia Park and keep their Liberty A-League Finals hopes very much alive.

View full match highlights HERE.

The result also ensured that the retiring Kim Carroll could farewell the Glory faithful on a winning note, but such an outcome looked incredibly unlikely for the first hour of the game when Alex Epakis’ side were second-best and fortunate not to be trailing by more than just Rhianna Pollicina’s first-half effort.

But once Sadie Lawrence headed home her first ever Glory goal to make it 1-1 with 20 minutes left, the game took on an altogether different complexion.

Within sixty seconds, Hannah Blake found the net with a stunning lob to put the home side in front and although substitute Hannah Wilkinson soon restored parity, the drama was far from over.

Hana Lowry restored Glory’s lead with nine minutes left, before Cyera Hintzen made it 4-2 with her sixth goal of the season and although Julia Grosso reduced the arrears in stoppage-time, the high-flying visitors were unable to find the net again in a frantic finale.

The result leaves Glory three points behind fourth-placed Melbourne Victory, with a game in hand, setting up a dramatic final week of the season in which the women in purple face away clashes with Sydney FC on Wednesday and Brisbane Roar on Saturday.

Given the roller-coaster 90 minutes he had just witnessed, it was little wonder that Epakis was somehwat lost for words at the start of his post-match media conference.

Listen to his full media conference HERE.

“My heart rate is just starting to calm down now,” he said.

“Wow, just wow.

“What a match!

“That performance was a microcosm of how the whole season has gone.

“We started slowly, we looked a bit down and out and then we found a way to overcome what we needed to in order to get the result.

“I think that’s the identity of this team.

“We know what we are and what we’re capable of; we’re a fighting team, we’re a squad and everyone contributes to the performance.

“We’re a team of workers, we work hard for everything that we get and I think that’s why I’m really happy.”

A bumper crowd was on hand and keen to pay tribute to Carroll who announced earlier in the week that she intends to bring the curtain down on her illustrious, 15-year career at the end of the season.

But along with the rest of the Glory defence, the former Matilda was forced to work overtime for the whole of the first half and the opening stages of the second as City dominated in every facet.

Liz Anton had already blocked two goalbound efforts and Leticia McKenna had gone close against her former club before Pollicina pounced on a fumble from Sarah Langman to hand the Victorians a deserved lead.

Daniela Galic then came within centimetres of doubling their lead as she thumped a shot against the junction of bar and post and at that stage, City looked poised to run away with it.

But Glory dug deep to stay in the game and were rewarded when a Lowry corner was flicked on at the near post by Hintzen, fresh off the bench and Lawrence popped up to head past Melissa Barbieri.

The home Members and fans had barely finished celebrating that goal when Barbieri’s misplaced clearance was seized upon by Blake who sent an inch-perfect chip back over the City veteran’s head and into the net.

The goals continued to flow as Wilkinson picked out the top corner at the other end to make it 2-2, but seven minutes later, Tash Rigby showed incredible tenacity to win the ball before finding Hintzen and her square ball was delicately curled in by Lowry.

Hintzen duly got on the scoresheet herself shortly afterwards, clipping home her side’s fourth having been teed up by fellow-US-import Gabriella Coleman and although Grosso’s close-range response caused some anxious moments right at the death, Glory were not to be denied.

An unforgettable afternoon continued after the final whistle as Carroll received the plaudits her remarkable service to the club and Australian football deserved and given the tenacity Glory showed here, the 35-year-old’s final season in purple may yet extend beyond next weekend.

Match Details

Liberty A-League Round 19

Perth Glory 4 (Lawrence 70′, Blake 71′, Lowry 81′, Hintzen 86′) Melbourne City 3
(Pollicina 33′, Wilkinson 74′, Grosso 90+1′))

Half-time: 0-1

Macedonia Park

Referee: Kelly Jones

Kick-off: 3pm WST

Perth Glory: 20. Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Natasha RIGBY (c), 7. Liz ANTON, 8. Hana LOWRY, 12. Sofia SAKALIS (42.Gabriella COLEMAN 74′), 14. Hannah BLAKE, 18. Sadie LAWRENCE (6. Tijan MCKENNA 82′), 19. Izzy FOLETTA, 21. Ella MASTRANTONIO (13. Sarah CAIN 74′), 23. Alana JANCEVSKI (15. Cyera HINTZEN 59′)

Substitutes not used: 1. Morgan AQUINO (gk)

Yellow Cards: Lowry, Foletta

Red Cards: None

Melbourne City: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 6. Leticia MCKENNA (25. Darcey MALONE 69′), 7. Julia GROSSO, 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 9. Holly McNAMARA (21. Isabella ACCARDO 89′), 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 14. Katie BOWEN, 15. Emma CHECKER (C), 19. Maria ROJAS (17. Hannah WILKINSON 69′), 24. Daniela GALIC (22. Bryleeh HENRY 80′)

Substitutes not used: 1. Sally JAMES (gk)

Yellow Cards: Malone

Red Cards: None