Leth Jans’ Header Seals Glory For Perth

Perth Glory 1-0 Adelaide United (10/2/22)

At Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, NSW.

Above: Perth Glory goalscorer Mie Leth-Jans celebrates with Deborah-Ann de la Harpe. Photo: Scott Gardiner via Perth Glory.

By Kris Goman.

This is a must-win match for both teams as they try to make the finals. Adelaide has won five of their last six matches and are going for a record four clean sheets in a row this match. Although Perth has been playing very well lately too and went into the game unbeaten in their last four, Adelaide went into this match as favourites.

Perth apply early pressure from kick-off but Emily Hodgson escapes down the left to get Adelaide into their half. Nice passing through the centre for Glory to Abbey Green on the right and this passage of play ends in a corner for Perth. Deborah-Anne de la Harpe takes it and it goes to near post to be headed straight into far side of goal by the Dane, Mei Leth Jans. Perth go up early 1-0.

Adelaide respond with a press but Perth’s defence is up to the task. Fiona Worts brings the ball into the box and Emily Condon gets a shot away but it’s not on target and is out to the left of goal.

Dylan Holmes brings the ball down the centre and passes to Chelsie Dawber on the right of the box. Her cross is picked up by Worts. Worts shoots but is tackled and goes down. Condon gets to the ball and shoots at close range but Morgan Aquino saves. The save however bounces back into the field of play and Worts has recovered for the follow up and makes no mistake. It’s in the back of the net for the equalizer. Or is it?

Seems there’s no kickoff and it’s not really clear what’s going on. The goal was disallowed and apparently it’s Worts that was offside. Adelaide United boss Adrian Stenta made his views clear. It didn’t really look like offside as the ball was in front of Worts the whole time. Bizarre. The score is back at 1-0.

Cyera Hintzen took an ambitious shot on goal from a long way back and it takes off over the goal post. Perth are awarded a free-kick when Hana Lowry is kicked in the shins. She gets to take it and it goes to the far post where Annalee Grove is all over it easily.

Hintzen gets another corner for Perth. de la Harpe to take it again but it’s volleyed away by Emily Hodgson.

Half hour in and Perth has slightly more possession and is keeping Adelaide under wraps.

Above: Mie Leth-Jans heads home Perth Glory’s winning goal. Photo: A-League Women.

A bouncing ball comes into the box and Worts sends it over the goal.

Adelaide gets a free-kick almost on the byline and just outside the box after a foul by Anton. It goes into the box and Dawber eventually is able to strike but Aquino is right in its path and is able to pick the ball up.

Nanako Sasaki draws a foul from Demi Koulizakis in a choice position on the left about 20 meters from the box. The kick is cleared by Perth to Koulizakis but Hintzen can’t capitalize once she has possession.

Lowry has the ball in the centre and passes to Hintzen out on the left who switches back to Lowry. Lowry’s shot is blocked by Kayla Sharples. There’s another corner for Perth soon after, just before halftime. It’s sent to the near post again but is headed away and Condon, on the counter, takes it all the way to the Adelaide 6-yard box but couldn’t get a shot away and leaves Dawber frustrated by Condon’s indecision as she doesn’t pass and doesn’t shoot.

Interestingly, Leth Jans, in her halftime TV interview, wasn’t aware the goal was disallowed and thought the match was tied. Adelaide return to the field looking a bit angry and determined after the break.

Susan Phonsongkham comes on at halftime for Koulizakis after her first start for Perth.

Adelaide are trying a few long shots early on and is pressing hard. They are obviously amped up by the halftime talk.

Phonsongkham gets a yellow for dissent very early in the half.

Above: Perth Glory’s Hana Lowry (right) puts in a challenge. Photo: A-League Women.

Hintzen wins a corner as her cross is pushed out by Adelaide. Liz Anton puts the corner out for a goal kick.

Isabel Hodgson gets a yellow after pulling Phonsongkham’s shirt then kicking the ball away.

At 62 minutes, Phonsongkham goes for a late tackle on Holmes and gets another yellow and that converts to a red and she’s off after only 17 minutes on the field. Perth has it in front of them with only 10 players on the field to stop an invigorated reply.

Adelaide get a free kick on the left that Worts takes. It goes straight to Aquino. Worts gets another shot on goal but it’s also to Aquino who grabs it comfortably.

Adelaide seems to have taken their foot off the gas. Hintzen is able to stop a lot of balls upfront and the Reds using their numerical advantage. Stanbury sends a big ball downfield that Dawber runs onto and gets a good shot to the top right of goal, but Aquino gets a glove to it. The resulting corner causes mayhem in the box as it goes to the back post and is headed and goes right across the goal. It lands over with Worts but her shot goes high.

Green sends ball across the box that De Vanna pulls up on but Sakalis has a shot but misses.

A late attack by Adelaide is defended well by Perth. With three minutes to go, Keane gets a shot in on the right but Sharples is able to block it. Yellow to Emily Hodgson as she’s a bit feisty in the last minutes of the game. Dawber crosses and Omiya gets a shot away but Aquino deflects it as four minutes of extra time are announced. The short corner is taken by Worts who plays a pass towards Mullan but it goes out for a goal kick.

Tense moments in the dying minutes of the game. Another corner is awarded to Adelaide as the seconds tick away. Worts takes it and Kim Carroll heads it away. Sakalis holds up the ball and draws a foul from Mullan. The whistle goes and Perth are victorious in an outstanding performance from ten players against a full-strength Adelaide. They get the three points and are now equal in points with third-placed Adelaide.

Above: Adelaide United need to re-group ahead of another game at the weekend as the Finals race just got even tighter for them. Photo: Adelaide United.

In the post-match interview, Deborah de la Harpe said they had, “A perfect display of what we’re about as a team away from our support system and to get the win with ten men is amazing. Shows our resilience and a fantastic effort from the whole squad.”

Worts’ post-match thoughts on the no goal, “Thought I was offside and looked and the flag wasn’t up so I just put it in. We’ve got a pretty quick turnaround (to the next match) so we need to pick ourselves up and go again.”

Liz Anton, Tash Rigby, and Kim Carroll stood very strong defensively for the Western Australian side.

This win is huge for Perth Glory. The three points take them to equal third with both Adelaide and Melbourne Victory but they are in fifth spot based on goal difference. Possession was pretty even during the game but Adelaide had 14 shots to Perth’s seven and six on target shots to Perth’s one. It just shows how strong defensively Perth were and obviously Aquino’s six saves made the difference.

Perth don’t have an easy run to the finals with a match on Sunday against Melbourne City, then Victory, then Sydney and finally finishing with Wellington Phoenix. Adelaide meets Brisbane on Sunday, followed by Phoenix mid-week followed by Victory, before finishing with Sydney. The finals are still very much open and it makes for an exciting end to the season as all teams battle for those coveted four spots.

Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from an exceptionally proud Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis post-match: “It was such a proud and pleasing performance. I said to the group before the game what we’re going through and achieving as a collective is inspiring.

“The players are facing up to all the challenges. I said to them that we needed an inspiring performance today and they certainly went above and beyond that. It wasn’t always pretty and it wasn’t always in the game plan, but it was resilient, it was based on a determination, it was pure effort. There was a fixated mindset that we wanted to defend the lead.

“It fills me with so much belief and it will fill the group with so much belief about what the next couple of weeks will look like.”

Above: Plenty for Perth Glory to celebrate after the game. Photo: A-League Women.

Epakis highlighted what he was particularly looking for from his team going into the match. “It was about a response to the disappointment of last week (when Perth let a 3-1 lead slip in Canberra) and put on a resilient performance to put that behind us. We don’t look past the performance, the rest will come.”

The tough games keep on coming for Perth as they now have just two days to recover before facing another rival in the Finals race, Melbourne City. Perth’s head coach outlined.

“The players really pushed themselves to the absolute limit today. The quick turnaround isn’t great, but we have a lot of momentum and energy after today, so that will cover up a few things in difficult moments. Everyone is ready to do a job and everyone has belief in each other.

“You can’t underestimate the challenges that we are going through as a group. We’re a small travelling party and we have been together now for over a month. We’ve had a different challenge came up almost every day. We haven’t sat on our hands, we’ve taken on the challenge and the result today typifies that.”

Asked about some controversial officiating decisions which included Adelaide having a goal disallowed for offside and his own returning star Susan Phonsongkham receiving two yellow cards, Epakis said: “Over the course of the season I think the decisions even themselves out. I’ve got no real opinion on the sending off. It could have gone either way. At the end of the day, the team responded well. Susan is gutted, but she will bounce back strongly and have a good end to the season.”

Teams: PERTH GLORY: Aquino, Carroll, Rigby, de la Harpe, Anton, Lowry, Koulizakis, Cain, Hintzen, Green, Leth Jans Substitutes: Newbon (GK), Phonsongkham, De Vanna, Sakalis, Keane.

Scorer: Leth Jans 6′.

ADELAIDE UNITED: Grove, I. Hodgson, McNamara, Sharples, E. Hodgson, Sasaki, Holmes, Condon, Dawber, Worts, Hayward. Substitutes: Stanbury, Omiya, Mullan, Evans, Templeman.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello

Attendance: 308

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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