Patricia Charalambous’ first ever Westfield W-League goal was not enough to prevent Glory from suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Melbourne City as they went down 2-1 in Dandenong on Thursday evening.
Second-half goals from Rhali Dobson and Alex Chidiac put City in control before substitute Charalambous clinically finished in a one-on-one situation right at the death to halve the arrears.
The assist for the midfielder’s goal was provided by fellow-substitute Marianna Tabain and was a fitting way for the 28-year-old to mark becoming just the second player after Shannon May to reach the magnificent milestone of 100 W-League appearances for Glory.
The women in purple had looked the better side for much of the first period, with Tijan McKenna and Hana Lowry both going close to giving them the lead.
But they were stung in the 63rd minute when Dobson marked her final W-League game before retirement by crashing home from close-range before Chidiac doubled the hosts’ lead with a neat finish.
The result means Alex Epakis’ side will head into Sunday’s away clash with Melbourne Victory still targeting a maiden win of the campaign, although there was again much to like about the way the youngsters in the squad acquitted themselves against vastly more experienced opposition.
Clear-cut chances were at something of a premium during an attritional first half, but it was Glory who created the better of them.
The first fell the way of McKenna who was released down the left by a superb ball from Lowry and after surging into the box, fired narrowly wide.
Lowry, who was hugely influential throughout the opening 45 minutes, then twice went close in a matter of seconds, her first shot being blocked by a cluster of City defenders and her follow-up effort just missing the target.
The home side responded with a double chance of their own in the shadows of half-time, Lily Alfeld reacting superbly to foil Chinatsu Kira at point-blank range and the lively Chidiac then seeing her low shot deflected past the post.
Catilin Doeglas drew a first save of the night from Melissa Barbieri in the home goal with the opening action of the second half, but Glory suffered a hammer blow just after the hour-mark when Dobson struck.
Kira’s corner reached Tori Tumeth at the back post and her clever back-heel picked out the former Matilda who gleefully thumped the ball into the roof of the net.
1-0 very nearly became 2-0 just moments later, Alfeld managing to push Chidiac’s corner onto the post as it threatened to creep into the net and Vlajnic also threatened with a free-kick as Rado Vidosic’s side continued to press.
That pressure finally told 11 minutes from time when substitute Harriet Withers found Chidiac and she span cleverly before placing her shot past Alfeld.
Melbourne City 2 (Dobson 63′, Chidiac 79′) Perth Glory 1 (Charalambous 90+4′)
Frank Holohan Reserve, Endeavour Hills
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Melbourne City FC: 23.Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 5.Tori TUMETH (7.Julia SARDO 87′), 6.Noor ECKHOFF, 9.Alex CHIDIAC, 10.Chinatsu KIRA (13.Sarah CAIN 82′), 11.Rhali DOBSON (12.Harriet WITHERS 75′), 15.Emma CHECKER (c), 17.Samantha JOHNSON, 18.Leah DAVIDSON, 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC (20.Lia MULDEARY 87′), 22.Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMA
Substitutes not used: 30.Sophia VARLEY (gk)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 1.Lily ALFELD (GK), 4.Natasha RIGBY (C), 5.Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 7.Elizabeth ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Malia STEINMETZ (23.Katarina JUKIC 71′), 10.Alexia MORENO (17.Marianna TABAIN 71′), 12.Sarah MORGAN (2.Sarah CARROLL 71′), 14.Caitlin DOEGLAS (11.Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 64′), 16.Isabella WALLHEAD
Substitutes not used: 20.Rebecca BENNETT (GK)
Yellow Cards: Morgan
Red Cards: None