It was just football, no drama in the A-League Women this weekend. Supporter groups made their feelings known to APL about the unpopular Grand Final decision, and the players delivered on the pitch.
Adelaide United scratched out another 1-0 win. It was their fourth of the season. This time it was against Wellington Phoenix and due to a Mackenzie Barry own goal. When Chelsie Dawber gets the ball wide on the right, good things happen for The Reds. Her cross was low and fast. If Barry had not directed it into goal, Emilia Murray certainly would have.
Hollie Palmer scored her first of the season in Brisbane Roar’s 1-0 win over Western Sydney. Brisbane looked in control early, but The Wanderers fought their way back in. Kat Smith’s side is not as poor as results suggest, they are consistently competitive, but desperately need a reliable centre forward to give opponents something to worry about.
In the top of the table clash, Western United defeated Melbourne City 3-1 thanks for some goalkeeping heroics, and as vintage performance form Chloe Logarzo.
On Sunday evening, Melbourne Victory defeated Newcastle Jets 5-2 in a physical, fast-paced contest. Melina Ayres and Kayla Morrison were the scorers for Victory. Sarah Griffith and Ash Brodigan scored to give hope to the Newcastle fans, but it was another entertaining loss by The Jets.
It was a costly game for both teams. Claudia Bunge, and Casey Dumont were subbed out for Victory with injuries. Taren King had to be removed late after twisting awkwardly. Ash Wilson finished the game a player down as a result.
In the most entertaining game of the weekend, Perth Glory staged a remarkable comeback against a fast paced and confident Canberra United. The 3-2 win looked highly unlikely in the opening stages, but seemed inevitable after half time.
Round Five Talking Points
Perth Glory find their groove (eventually)
Alex Epakis’ team have struggled in the opening games of the season. Although they have recruited strongly and narrowly missed finals in 2021/22, they entered Round Five without a win.
It looked set to be another disappointing afternoon as Canberra United raced to a 2-0 lead through Nikki Flannery and Vesna Milivojević.
Before half time, something finally clicked for the Glory. Alana Jancevski in particular stepped up and started testing Canberra’s defence, her shot somehow crashed off the woodwork twice without going in.
Perth’s leading scorer Rhylee Baisden pulled one back deep into injury time and it was game on. The second half was end to end stuff, with both teams looking of the opinion that attack was the best for of defence. Cyera Hintzen and Baisden scored in the dramatic second half comeback for the home side.
There were some subtle tactical changes made by the Glory. Jancevski and Susan Phonsongkham both started deeper than their usual roles. The shift gave Perth more presence in midfield, but this felt like a win of belief and effort against a team that have been in dangerous form recently.
Canberra United will be disappointed to surrender the lead, but the Glory looked better than they have all season. It may be the start of a revival of results, but it will definitely rejuvenate their confidence.
Western United deliver in the big moments
The new kids in the league have retained their perfect record after five rounds. The match against Melbourne City was the toughest test of the season for either side, and Western United’s seized the big moments to ensure their win.
Adriana Taranto scored before either team had a chance to settle. In a game of high quality, and against a settled defence, taking chances was crucial. She made the most of hers in the second minute.
City were always going to come back, and levelled the scores. Despite Dario Vidosic’s side having plenty of possession, Western United looked comfortable without the ball, and Hillary Beall repelled any shots on target.
Beall later saved a crucial penalty with the scores level. It would be a sliding doors moment on the match, because Chloe Logarzo’s incredible individual effort put Western United ahead.
The third goal came late, but Logazro scored her second from the spot with enviable composure.
It was a tight contest between the leagues top two sides. In the end, Western United stood tallest when it mattered.
Kayla Morrison does it all
If you were to only look at the score, you would think that five goals to Victory meant a good day for their high profile attack.
Although star striker Melina Ayres brought up her brace within 20 minutes, it was Kayla Morrison who will take the match ball home.
The Victory captain, and centre back scored twice before half time and sealed the game with her third as Newcastle were mounting a comeback.
Her first was a powerful header from Alana Murphy’s corner kick. The other was a faint touch to a dangerous free kick.
The hattrick arrived from another corner. Claire Coelho struggled to hold the ball on the line, and Morrison knocked it in.
She was also excellent defensively. A perfectly executed sliding tackle prevented The Jets from making it 4-3 and continuing their momentum.
This was more than just the best game since her ACL injury. This was one of Morrison’s best games of her career.
Game to watch in Round Six
Perth Glory’s resurgence could be short lived. They face the top of the table Western United next Sunday. Alternatively, this could be the best chance anybody has had to beat Mark Torcaso’s ladder leaders.
It will be Wester United’s first trip to Perth, the Glory are coming off an incredible win, and eventually one of Alana Jancevski’s missiles will hit the back of the net.
Chloe Logarzo looked like her old self again. She was energetic and dangerous off the bench. With the Matilda back in form, it will be a must watch game for neutrals. For fans of either side, this is an encounter that will indicate where they are this season.
Another win for Western United will confirm what is already apparent, they are potential champions.
A win for Perth will show they are definitely back on track.
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