Melbourne City’s air of W-League invincibility has well and truly disappeared after the champions crashed to their third straight loss, going down 3-2 at home to Perth Glory. The West ns now go top of the table while City stay stuck in fourth spot, four points adrift.
Had Matilda Sam Kerr discovered her scoring touch earlier than the last quarter of the match Glory could have won this game by a distance, so many chances did she and her teammates spurn. Kerr was the worst culprit before atoning with two goals, first equalising and then giving Glory a late winner.
Glory were on top early but City were not without some first-half opportunities themselves, the best coming from a free kick after captain Jess Fishlock was fouled outside the penalty area by Nicole Stanton. The Welsh international delivered a terrific free kick that beat the wall and forced Glory goalkeeper Gabrielle Dal Busco to dive and tip the ball on to the bar before the visitors cleared.
Glory should have gone one up in the 33rd minute when Kerr broke free wide on the right, outpaced Laura Alleway and slid a pass through to Rosie Dee Sutton who shot wide with only Lydia Williams to beat. Four minutes later Kerr herself was one on one with Williams after being played through by Alyssa Mautz only to be denied by the City goalkeeper.
Kerr then had a shot saved by Williams before she got clear on the left, this time shooting over the bar.
Glory got the goal their enterprise deserved just two minutes after the restart, and it was Sutton who applied the finishing touch. Shawn Billiam slung over a low cross from the right and the striker didn’t look to have made the best contact as she struck the ball first time, but she had placed it well enough to avoid Williams’ dive. Just after, on the hour mark, City got back on level terms and it was Fishlock who provided the leveller with a spectacular bicycle kick finish. Di Bernardo cleared Rebekah Stott’s header off the line, but as the ball bounced out Fishlock leapt acrobatically to volley home.
City coach Joe Montemurro introduced 15-year-old Jacynta Galabadaarachchi to the fray and the youngster had an immediate impact, shooting wide in the 64th minute and shortly afterwards hitting the bar with a shot after Steph Catley’s cross was only partially cleared. Kerr was again twice denied, with a shot and a header, by Williams but it was City who struck next, with Galabadaarachchi to the fore. The teenager’s cross found Aivi Luik whose shot took a cruel deflection to beat Dal Busco.
Kerr could not continue missing chances, and eventually she got on the scoresheet to square things up at 2-2, running on to Sutton’s pass to slot past Williams. City defender Lauren Barnes was then dismissed, picking up her second yellow card in six minutes and the hosts were up against it as they tried to hold on to a point. Kerr more than made up for her catalogue of misses with six minutes remaining when she scored with a deft chip from wide on the left having spotted Williams off her line, the ball crashing in off the angle of upright and crossbar.
City hit the post in the dying moments, but their run of poor results continues.