Perth Glory 2-0 Wellington Phoenix
by Ben Gilby (15/1/23)
Above: Susan Phonsongkham (left) celebrates after dispatching her penalty to put Perth Glory 2-0 up. Photo: Keep Up.
Perth Glory earned a much-needed win in the first-ever Distance Derby in Western Australia to mark legendary defender Kim Carroll’s 150th W/A-League Women game in style.
A 5,500km journey with a time zone difference of five hours thrown in for good measure is one of the biggest away trips in senior women’s club football. These two sides spend hours on planes for away matches in a normal week, but this one is something else.
Alex Epakis’ side went into the game without Rylee Baisden. The striker, who had scored five of the team’s 10 goals this season suffered a heartbreaking ACL injury in Perth’s game at Melbourne Victory. It’s the third season in a row that the Glory have lost a major attacking player to a season-ending injury.
Perth were aggressive from the off with multiple players looking to press and close down Phoenix every time they got on the ball. The purple and orange shirts maintained a high line.
Izzy Foletta, in only her second game for the hosts, was busy from the start. The former Brisbane Roar player has added intelligence and guile to the Glory backline as an excellent addition to Alex Epakis’ squad.
Whilst Wellington had the greater percentage of the possession, it was Perth who did more with it in offensive areas. Unlike the majority of their games this season, they were able to turn their early opportunities into a scoreboard lead.
Local star Hana Lowry picked up the ball just inside the Phoenix half and laid off inside to Cyera Hintzen. The American striker turned her marker with ease, and let fly from over 20 yards with a long range low strike that bounced in at the left-hand post past the desperate outstretched arm of Brianna Edwards.
The Glory continued to probe, and within eight minutes doubled their advantage. Lowry entered the far left-hand side of the box and was felled by Mackenzie Barry and referee, Casey Reibelt had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Susan Phonsongkham to dispatch a low spot kick into the left-hand corner.
For the visitors, Grace Wisnewski and Chloe Knott were battling hard and looking to create where possible, but on the rare occasions that they were able to approach the home penalty area, the high press did its job and forced the Nix into errors resulting in turn over ball.
Ten minutes before the break, Emma Rolston went down under pressure from Ella Mastrantonio. As the Football Fern went down, she managed to get the ball lodged between her legs with Mastrantonio making contact in a bid to get the ball free. Rolston reacted by getting to her feet and reaching out with her hand to make contact with the former WSL player’s face. Not surprisingly both were shown a red card.
Phoenix had half chances, with a corner coming off the bar and then Paige Satchell found space to gallop down the right-hand flank, beating Foletta in idiosyncratic style before delivering a pacey ball in that Ava Pritchard couldn’t quite get on the end of as the half ticked towards its conclusion.
The visitors had the first chance of the second period when they saw another ball in come off the bar. Shortly afterwards, Michaela Foster brought down Foletta just outside the box in a clumsy challenge on the right-hand edge of the box. Up stepped Phonsongkham to hit a free kick which, although dipping, couldn’t quite come down in time.
The second half then game stretched into an end-to-end encounter before the home side took over once more. Sofia Sakalis’ influence grew as the youngsters’ sparkling footwork and creative vision came to the fore.
Perth forced a plethora of second-half corners, one such came in with 10 minutes left to provoke a playground-style scramble in the box before the danger was dealt with. Sub Abbey Green had a late opportunity when one on one with Edwards after gaining turn over ball from Kate Taylor, but couldn’t get her shot on target into the goal.
Whilst this was a much-needed win for Perth to keep their Finals hopes alive, they left a lot of potential additional goals out there, which could have proved costly against an opponent in better form. Alex Epakis’ side now have a long wait until their next game – 4th February at Western United – to continue their second half of the season surge.
Tom McCarthy‘s photo gallery from the match will follow on a separate article on the site later today along with Ben Gilby‘s coverage of both team’s post-match media conferences.
Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-2-3-1): Langman, Rigby, Anton, Carroll, Foletta, Lawrence, Mastrantonio, Phonsongkham, Lowry, Sakalis, Hintzen. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Cain, Green, Jancevski, Koulizakis.
Scorers: Hintzen 6′, Phonsongkham 14′.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-2-3-1): Edwards, Foster, Taylor, Barry, Knott, Wisnewski, Robertson, Rolston, Satchell, Pritchard. Substitutes: Candy (GK), Cicco, Clegg, Gomez, Vosper.
Referee: Casey Reibelt.