Perth Glory 2-1 Brisbane Roar
By Ben Gilby (4/12/21)
Above: Perth Glory’s influential English centre–forward Gemma Craine drives for goal against Brisbane Roar tonight. Photo @PerthGloryFC
Perth Glory hit an incredible two goals in the final three minutes to earn a dramatic win against a promising Brisbane Roar side at Macedonia Park.
Whilst Alex Epakis’ team looked impressive offensively in the opening forty-five minutes, they were ineffective for much of the second half with Georgie Worth only troubled in the final five minutes.
Perth attacker Gemma Craine, hailing from Derby in England’s East Midlands, popped up along the left-hand side in the opening seconds, looking reassuringly sharp, which brought an instant reminder to Glory fans of what she did in the opening weeks of last season before her devastating injury in the first home game with Adelaide United.
Hana Lowry, looking to step up towards Matildas selection this season offered herself impressively in the early exchanges with her back to goal, linking up with Sarah Carroll outside her despite Brisbane’s attempts to suffocate the teenager with markers.
With nine minutes on the clock, Brisbane captain Ayesha Norrie pushed through the midfield and played an inch-perfect ball into the feet of Margraf in the box, but Sarah Carroll paid close attention to the midfielder ensured that she couldn’t get a shot closer on target. Shortly afterward, a deflected cross found Mariel Hecher, but she couldn’t trouble Morgan Aquino on her return to Perth’s goal.
As the half moved towards the 20 minute mark, local hero Lisa De Vanna grew ever more into the game. The Perth native showed some outrageous skill down the left-hand touchline to beat her markers and play in a dangerous ball to the delight of the fans. With 18 minutes on the clock, Craine popped up on the right this time and put on the afterburners to cruise her way through and play a ball in towards Sophia Sakalis who couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
The early signs were that De Vanna and Craine could build a dangerous partnership, if they can continue to develop their pairing then that duo plus the ability of Janczewski, Lowry and Susan Phonsongkham means that Perth could create something special this year.
Despite Western Australian skill creating half-chances, it was the Roar who took the lead. Liz Anton’s fine tackle gave the visitors a throw on the left, around 15 yards from the by-line. The resulting throw saw Shea Connors get away from Anton too easily and play a low ball across the box. Margraf and Sarah Carroll went in together for the ball and it looked to be the Roar star who just got the final touch.
Perth hit back as De Vanna shot from an acute angle along the left which bounced off the bar, and there was no doubt that the 37-year-old is still in possession of her magic wand.
The home side came close once more ten minutes from the break when Alana Janczewski’s free-kick curled in on the strengthening wind and just went over the bar.
The final chances of the half both went Roar’s way as Norrie played in Connors who hit a low shot across goal from the left-hand side which Aquino had to stretch as wide as possible to hold.
Shortly afterwards, from a similar position on the left, Connors got away from Rigby and Anton and hit another low shot that Aquino got down to push away for a corner.
The 25-year-old from New Haven was the pick of the Brisbane crop in the opening half along the left showing all the skill required to mark her out as a player to keep an eye on this season.
She started the second stanza impressively once more as she was allowed too much time on the ball and earned her side back-to-back corners. The second of which saw Margraf’s flag-kick curl in on the wind and Aquino did well to push it away.
The Perth goalkeeper did well to deny Connors once more ten minutes into the second half when she had to stick out a foot to deny the increasingly impressive US-born star.
De Vanna came off in the aftermath with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Poppie Hooks, a player at the other end of her career, as the 16-year-old local product stepped out for her A-League Women debut.
Margraf came close once more as the game approached the hour mark as she took advantage of her side’s increasing ability to get behind the Glory backline. The midfielder’s powerful effort came back off the bar.
The Queenslanders were now well on top. They were dominant in midfield ensuring that Lowry and Sadie Lawrence gained very little in the way of possession.
With just over 20 minutes left, Roar vice-captain Katrina Gorry entered the pitch, marking her return to senior football.
Susan Phonsongkham’s arrival for the final quarter of an hour brought some increased energy along the right-hand side for Glory.
Then came the sequence of events which turned everything on its head as the Western Australian youngsters showed they have all the character needed to match the ‘Winning Mentality’ banners that surrounded pitchside.
Sarah Carroll played a ball up the left for sub Deborah-Ann de la Harpe who then spread the ball out to Rigby via Sarah Cain. The midfielder then latched a pass into the path of Craine whose low ball across the box was aimed towards Hooks and Phonsongkham. The former couldn’t quite reach it, but the latter certainly did and Perth were level.
Just a minute later, Macedonia Park exploded with joy as Craine’s pressure told once more. The English star kept breathing down the neck of Jessie Rasschaert who was trying to direct the ball back to her goalkeeper Worth, and in the uncertainty that Craine caused, the ball rolled into the net and the Western Australians clinched a sensational win amidst incredible vocal scenes around the ground.
Don’t miss Impetus’ EXCLUSIVE post-match chat with Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis on the site in the coming days.
Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-4-2): Aquino, S.Carroll, K.Carroll, Rigby, Anton, Lowry, De Vanna, Sakalis, Lawrence, Janczewski, Craine. Substitutes: de la Harpe, Phonsongkham, Cain, Hooks, Newbon (GK).
Scorers: Phonsongkham 88′, Worth (OG) ’90
BRISBANE ROAR (4-3-3): Worth, Margraf, Rasschaert, Rankin, Norrie, Hecher, Crummer, Connors, Kitano, Haffenden, Clough. Substitutes: Gorry, McDougall, Bailey (GK), McElligott, Gett.
Scorer: Margraf 23′.
Referee: Rebecca Durcau.
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