Lowry’s individual flair the difference as Perth’s Finals chase continues

Perth Glory 2-0 Brisbane Roar

by Ben Gilby (25/2/23)

Above: Perth Glory’s hometown hero Hana Lowry celebrates after scoring both of her side’s goals today. Photo: Keep Up.

Perth Glory maintained their Finals charge after two pieces of individual skill from hometown star Hana Lowry ensured that the Western Australian side won their fourth game in a row and extended their unbeaten run to five.

This was a hugely important game that served as a virtual knock-out for the loser in the chase for fourth place. Glory’s win emphasised the Macedonia Park mentality that has seen the purples keep three consecutive clean sheets, scoring eight goals in the process at the venue in Balcatta.

Perth Glory boss Alex Epakis handed a first start to recent signing Hannah Blake, with Susan Phonsongkham out of the squad. Ella Mastrantonio returned from suspension on the bench. Sarah Langman was also named as a substitute after returning from concussion.

For the Queenslanders, head coach Garrath McPherson gave his Matildas stars Katrina Gorry and Larissa Crummer a start. Isabella Shuttleworth also started in goal with Hensley Hancuff on the bench.

Above: Perth Glory’s Sarah Cain (left) battles with Talitha Kramer. Photo: Keep Up.

With the A-League Women returning after the international break, neither side could be excused for the disjointed nature of the opening. Passes were off target and attempts on goal few and far between.

Floating above the disconnect at the start was Gorry with intelligent runs into channels and some outstanding touches with instant control.

For the Glory, it was the link-up play between Izzy Foletta and Cyera Hintzen that offered the best route to goal. The pair have built up an excellent understanding since Foletta was added to the squad. Hintzen bends her runs along the left to link up with the Western Australian native before receiving possession and cutting in towards goal.

From one such link-up came the game’s opening goal – albeit one with a major slice of luck about it. Foletta found Hintzen, but Shuttleworth dealt with the danger. However, a moment of disaster followed as the Roar keeper lost her footing whilst making contact with the ball. The consequences were as bad as they could have been as the weak clearance rolled to Lowry just outside the box and the talented local looked up and lifted the ball instantly into the net to put the home side ahead.

The momentum shifted into Perth’s favour and within nine minutes, they doubled their lead. Once again, it was another unconventional goal that highlighted the talent that Lowry has.

Above: Cyera Hintzen (left) leads the charge towards Hana Lowry after the local star doubled Perth Glory’s lead. Photo: Keep Up.

Glory had earned a corner on the right-hand side, and the 19-year-old stepped up. Shuttleworth was lost in a big crowd of players immediately in front of her in the box as Lowry curled an Olimpico into the far side of the net.

There was more work for the Roar defence to do shortly afterwards as Blake perplexed Kajsa Lind on the edge of the box before dinking a ball over the top for Hintzen to run on to, but Shuttleworth got down well at her near post to save.

Perth were relentless and energetic with their press and the Roar struggling to clear as the game rolled around to half-time.

Brisbane earned a chance within seconds of the second half beginning with Kim Carroll conceding a free-kick and receiving a yellow card as a result, but the resulting set-piece didn’t trouble Morgan Aquino.

Within five minutes, Perth thought they had extended their lead further. Lowry was initially fed by Sofia Sakalis from the left. Possession was pulled back to the edge of the box where Roar captain Ayesha Norrie was brought down by Foletta before the ball came through for Lowry to guide the ball home, but referee Isabella Libri hauled play back for the foul.

Above: Sofia Sakalis on the ball – the Perth youngster had a superb second half. Photo: Keep Up.

Brisbane responded as Connors was unmarked along the right and played a one-two before firing in a cross-shot that Aquino had to get down quickly to.

After the hour mark, the pace dropped and substitutes were called for. Yet, it was one of two of the starting players who combined to create the next opportunity with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Hintzen collected possession on the right and played a low cross-field pass to pick out Sakalis who showed typical skill to cut in and fire a shot that had Shuttleworth beaten, but came back off of the crossbar.

Within seven minutes Sakalis suffered the same fate a second time after receiving the ball to the left of the box. The East Melbourne-born starlet cut inside sublimely between two defenders before curling a shot off the bar once more, but in the end, two goals were enough for the home side.

Whilst this was not the free-flowing performance that Perth have produced in recent weeks, it was another example of Alex Epakis’ side being able to get over the line when their backs were right against the wall.

For all Brisbane’s work and potential, they were never able to create a telling final ball to seriously trouble the Perth defence. Garrath McPherson’s side now face a mountainous task to play Finals football this year.

To access Ben Gilby‘s coverage of the post-match media conferences and Tom McCarthy‘s photo gallery from Macedonia Park click here: https://impetusfootball.org/2023/02/25/perth-glory-v-brisbane-roar-extra/

Teams: PERTH GLORY (4-2-3-1: Aquino, Rigby, Anton, Carroll, Foletta, Lawrence, Cain, Blake, Lowry, Sakalis, Hintzen. Substitutes: Green, Jancecski, Koulizakis, Langman, Mastrantonio.

Scorers: Lowry 22′, 31′.

BRISBANE ROAR (4-2-3-1): Shuttleworth, Rasschaert, Lind, Rankin, Kramer, Palmer, Norrie, Connors, Gorry, Riley, Crummer. Substitutes: Freier, Hancuff, Levin, Robinne, Stephenson.

Referee: Isabella Libri.

Attendance: 680.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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