Perth Glory 0-1 Adelaide United
Report by Ben Gilby with Photos from Tom McCarthy at Macedonia Park (27/11/22).
Above: Aerial action as Adelaide United mount an attack. Photo: Tom McCarthy.
Adelaide United maintained their perfect start to the new A-League Women season with an impressive tactical first-half performance that ruined Perth Glory’s homecoming at Macedonia Park after almost a year away.
The visitors, without last season’s top striker Fiona Worts, set out their attacking stall from the off targeting the right-hand side with runs and rapid passing exchanges between Chelsie Dawber, Isabel Hodgson and Dylan Holmes. The trio would dominate from this area throughout the opening half.
Adelaide, mindful of Perth’s pacey attacking threat were imposing the high press every time the hosts gained possession in their half, attempting to force the Glory into playing across them rather than through. This was another part of the game that Adrian Stenta’s side were on top in.
It was the threat of the right-hand side, combined with some on-point ball play that delivered the lead to the South Australians. Dawber got free along the flank again and squared a low pass from the by-line which was slammed home by Holmes who was unmarked and able to run through the box to apply the finish.
Mindful of the joy Adelaide were persistently getting along the right, Alex Epakis switched Rigby to that flank. The Reds continued to press and Xiao had chance to double their lead when she cut inside Bella Wallhead before Sarah Langman in the Glory goal could smother.
Langman saved her side once more ten minutes before the break when Anton failed to get a solid clearance which allowed Xiao to direct an effort goalwards which the furiously backpedalling Perth keeper was able to palm away.
For all Perth’s attacking potential within the squad, the Western Australians were rarely seen in the final third. Cyera Hintzen was forced to drop deep, and Sofia Sakalis was being well marshalled. It was a half-time conundrum for Alex Epakis to try and solve.
The home side finally had some creative joy when Hana Lowry delivered a pin-point pass to release Hintzen with the American able to show her pace and explosive shooting, but her effort was well held by Annalee Grove.
Lowry’s influence was growing with the hometown hero’s vision a continuing threat. The Young Matilda’s shot on goal was repelled by Grove before the follow-up eventually went wide of the right-hand post.
However, Adelaide were not done. Dawber produced another superb cross which bisected both Kim Carroll and Rigby from the right and fell perfectly for Murray, but her effort rolled agonisingly wide of the near post. Shortly afterwards, the visitors had the ball in the net for the second time as Emily Condon fed substitute Katie Bowler who strayed offside before applying the finishing touch.
With Alana Jancevski introduced with just under 20 minutes to go, the 19-year-old young gun was involved immediately feeding Hintzen who got a shot away. Shortly afterwards, Rylee Baisden was found centrally but she was denied by the outstretched foot of Grove.
Jancevski was giving Paige Hayward an uncomfortable time with her creativity and outrageous natural talent coming to the fore. Fellow sub Susan Phonsongkham was felled near the by-line into stoppage time by Hayward which delivered the home side’s final chance. Up-stepped Jancevski to whip a viciously curling effort towards the net only for Grove to push it over.
Adelaide United’s control of the first half, allied with some clever tactical moves from Adrian Stenta nullified Perth’s threats for so long was what earned them a second successive win.
Perth have many options to explore from an offensive perspective. Once they can get the best combinations firing, they remain a real threat in the A-League Women, and Newcastle Jets could well feel a backlash next week. Yet, they will need to get used to opponents denying them space and pressing high. Adelaide showed today the impact it can have.
Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-4-2): Langman, Rigby, Anton, Carroll, Wallhead, Baisden, Mastrantonio, Lowry, Coleman, Hintzen, Sakalis. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Cain, Green, Jancevski, Phonsongkham.
ADELAIDE UNITED (4-2-3-1): Grove, Hodgson, Tonkin, Waldus, Hayward, Sasaki, Holmes, Dawber, Condon, Murray, Xiao. Substitutes: Barbieri, Bowler, McCormick, Westland, Wilson (GK).
Scorer: Holmes 19′.
Referee: Rebecca Durcau.
More of Tom McCarthy’s photos from Macedonia Park:
For more of Tom McCarthy’s photos from this and other matches, see his website: http://www.nplphotos.com