Heroic Moments: Kerr goal changes see-sawing Westfield W-League Semi-Final
Sunday afternoon treated Westfield W-League fans to a rollercoaster of a Semi-Final: Melbourne Victory took an early lead before Perth Glory knocked on their door with chance after chance, led by Sam Kerr.
It was therefore fitting for Kerr to break the deadlock with a strike that would change the course of the game.
Perth had been pinned into their half in the first 45 minutes, fashioning only half chances through long balls and audacious killer passes.
SKY BLUES WIN: Sydney into consecutive Westfield W-League Grand Finals after thrilling win over Roar
GLORY FOR PERTH: Kerr hat-trick fires Glory to third Westfield W-League Grand Final
'IT TOPS IT WITH LIVERPOOL': Dowie rates Victory alongside English giants ahead of Semi-Final
But in the second half, they came out a different outfit and controlled the game, moving Melbourne Victory around and finding a passing rhythm.
This dominance would bear fruit on 72 minutes when Leticia McKenna whipped in a dangerous cross, deceiving Melbourne’s defence and falling into the path of Kerr.
Kerr — who was mid-air at the time of the strike — adjusted her body while airborne and hammered the ball home on her first touch as she landed.
The goal blew wind in Perth’s sails and vindicated the squad’s attacking mindset fans have seen throughout the 2018/19 Season.
McKenna shows the kids are alright
Leticia McKenna has had a breakout Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season and she reached new heights against Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.
The 16-year-old announced herself to the league with a cracker against Canberra United and has gone from strength to strength, bagging two goals and an assist for the season.
McKenna was unfortunate not to be attributed with an assist after her cross to Kerr took a touch on its way.
However, she wouldn’t be denied her first assist of the season in extra time, making a lung-busting run down the wing and playing a one-two with Kerr.
What may impress fans most is McKenna’s composure in the final third, picking out Kerr despite there being a flurry of bodies in the box.
Kerr heaped praise on her teammate and rightly so: McKenna’s rise this season typifies Perth’s blend of youth and experience and is a sign of good things to come for Glory fans.
Bledsoe stands tall against giant of international football
The talk of town may be Sam Kerr’s hat-trick - and rightly so - but special credit must go to Sydney FC goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe who pulled off an incredible save in the second half against Brisbane Roar.
When Clare Polkinghorne played through Yuki Nagasato on 65 minutes, the former Japan international seemed destined to score.
Nagasato, a FIFA Women’s World Cup winner, was in on goal with only Bledsoe to beat.
However, Bledsoe closed down the angle and stood tall to deny Nagasato in sensational fashion, parrying the ball away and keeping Sydney FC in front.
That save would prove a turning point in the game — three minutes later, Sofia Huerta let fly from inside the box to double Sydney’s lead, making Bledsoe’s save all the more crucial.
Bledsoe had a game to remember for the Sky Blues, making four saves and claiming one cross in a commanding performance.