A controversial penalty handed Perth Glory a 1-0 win over Canberra United on Thursday night in the closing stages of an enthralling Westfield W-League clash at Dorrien Gardens.
Five minutes remained when Sam Kerr went to ground as Karly Roestbakken defended her on the edge of the area, and the Glory forward dispatched the penalty after the referee pointed to the spot.
Perth began the stronger of the two sides with Sam Kerr, Rachel Hill and Alyssa Mautz all linking up well across the front, but they struggled to create any major chances of note in the opening minutes.
But six minutes in they came close as Taren King made an excellent clearance off the line from a header before Sham Khamis pulled off a stunning save to deny Leticia McKenna’s stinging effort from outside the area.
The hosts were not short on chances from free kicks but struggled to find the right ball into the area, while up the other end Maria Rojas came close on a couple of occasions but just nudged her efforts wide.
United’s backline continued their excellent first half, preventing the Glory from executing their standard long ball game to Kerr and Hill up top and at the same time playing out from the back to teammates.
The two sides remained locked at the break and while Perth again came firing out of the blocks in the second half United weathered the storm and began to turn the game around.
Ellie Carpenter was excellent out wide and drifting in through the middle, while Khamis continued to rule her 18-yard area with authority when Glory tried to play the ball in.
Ashleigh Sykes replaced Rojas for Canberra with 35 minutes to play, and then Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi both had attempts from outside the area but could not put them on target as the visitors struggled to get into the Perth area.
Nicki Flannery forced Eliza Campbell into producing a stunning save as she curled an effort all but in to the top corner, and minutes later had another chance but could not connect with the end of Mulaudzi’s cross.
A deflected effort from Shannon May forced Khamis to claw the ball away from her bottom corner, and inside the final 10 minutes Campbell raced off her line to deny Sykes as Flannery slid a ball through for her.
And with just five minutes to go, Kerr and Roestbakken battled right on the edge of the area before Kerr went to ground and the referee awarded Perth the spot-kick.
The result leaves United still five points adrift of the top four with three games to play.
Next up, a big clash with Adelaide United at McKellar Park thanks to Summerland Football.