Ruthless Perth claim the Glory

Perth Glory 4-0 Newcastle Jets

by Ben Gilby (12/2/23)

Above: Sofia Sakalis dispatches the penalty that put Perth Glory 1-0 up today. Photo: Keep Up.

Perth Glory showed their ruthless side in punishing a profligate Newcastle Jets at Macedonia Park this afternoon, with the Western Australian side extending their unbeaten run to four games.

Alex Epakis’ side, who have now won their last three matches on the spin, had less possession, fewer shots, and trailed the corner count 1-6 to the Jets but showed their attacking capability when opportunities came their way, allied with an extremely well-organised defence that the visitors could not break through.

The home side were forced into making a change in goal with Sarah Langman ruled out under concussion protocols, meaning Morgan Aquino started. Zara Board, a hugely promising local teenager, who had a superb campaign for Subiaco in the NPLW WA last season which saw her called up by the Junior Matildas last season, took the vacant spot on the bench.

Both teams went into the match having defeated league leaders Western United on their last outing, and it was the Jets, who achieved this in midweek, who started on the front foot in Balcatta. Cannon Clough and Lara Gooch were looking to create, and Sarah Griffiths, in her last A-League Women match before returning to the NWSL was getting through a stack of work along the left as Aquino was forced into two early saves in the Perth goal.

Such was Newcastle’s domination of the territory in the early exchanges, it took the hosts 13 minutes to launch their first serious attack. It reaped instant dividends as Sofia Sakalis escaped down the left-hand side.

Above: Celebrations for Perth Glory after Sofia Sakalis dispatched her penalty. Photo: Keep Up.

As the 20-year-old entered the box, Murphy Agnew clipped her feet, giving referee Georgia Ghirardello no choice but to point to the spot. Sakalis picked herself up and dispatched the penalty with a low shot to the left of the centre in the goal.

Newcastle tried to respond initially with Griffith remaining prominent, but Perth were buoyed by the goal and lifted the pace of both their intensity and press. They were focusing specifically their attacks along the right.

With four minutes remaining of the half, Perth doubled their lead in style. Cyera Hintzen looked to retain possession in the box, and as she tried to extricate herself from a scramble, the American turned away from the attentions of the Jets defence and laid the ball back to local-born star Izzy Foletta to rifle home the second from outside the area.

Despite maintaining over 55% of possession, the Jets were now in serious trouble. The moral of the first half was that it wasn’t whether you had the ball, it was what you did with it. Perth are back to the ruthless mind-frame that served them so well last season.

Newcastle looked to regain some momentum after the break as they regained the bulk of possession and Agnew saw a shot go wide. They were almost made to pay for that miss immediately after Perth broke away and a cross came in from the left and rebounded off of the bar, straight onto the arm of Lauren Allan, and a penalty was awarded. Once more, it was Sakalis who stepped up, but this time Georgina Worth repelled the Victorian’s powerful spot-kick.

Newcastle continued to work hard and look for openings, but Perth’s defence remained well-organised and the visitors were not able to find any sort of telling pass to puncture the backline.

The Jets were punished once more by the ruthless Glory side for failing to convert possession into goals with just under 25 minutes remaining. Substitute Demi Koulizakis was in a tussle for possession on the edge of the box and managed to offload to Hintzen. The striker fired a rocket of a shot that struck the boot of Emily Garnier and flew out of the reach of Worth in the visitors’ goal.

Jets tried to respond, but Aquino was more than up to the shots that came her way. Perth continued to punish the visitors. Alana Jancevski was played through and hit a typically stunning first-time looping shot over Worth from the edge of the box and into the net with four minutes remaining, but it was ruled out for offside.

Deep in stoppage time at the end of the game, that fourth goal did arrive as Hintzen received a tap pass from Jancevski on the right-hand edge of the box and, looking up, the American saw Worth off her line and steered a stunning shot over the Jets keeper and into the net to a raucous reception from the Perth fans.

This was not a free-flowing win for the Glory, but they were ruthless and showed their quality up front which allowed them to take chances when they came. Wins like that show a team high in confidence and in their abilities. They are well in the race for Finals football.

Ben Gilby’s report on Perth Glory’s post-match media conference and Tom McCarthy provides a photo gallery of all the action can be seen on the site here:

Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-2-3-1): Aquino, Rigby, Anton, Carroll, Foletta, Lawrence, Cain, Phonsongkham, Lowry, Sakalis, Hintzen. Substitutes: Blake, Board (GK), Green, Jancevski, Koulizakis.

Scorer: Sakalis (pen) 15′, Foletta 41′, Hintzen 67′, 90+7′.

NEWCASTLE JETS (4-3-2-1): Worth, Clough, King, Garnier, L. Allan, Johnson, Davis, Agnew, Griffith, Gooch, Brodigan. Substitutes: J. Allan, Allen, Andrews, Coelho (GK), Puxty.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Attendance: 860.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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