Melbourne Victory have surged into third spot on the Westfield W-League ladder after a hard-fought but crucial 1-0 win over Perth Glory on Tuesday night.
Annalie Longo scored the decisive goal just after the hour mark to ensure Jeff Hopkins’ side extended their unbeaten run to six matches.
Victory started the clash in fifth spot on the table, but leapfrogged both Canberra United and Adelaide United to sit third, two points behind Brisbane Roar but with a game in hand.
While it wasn’t Victory’s most fluent performance of the campaign, they again showed their ability to grind out results and are heading towards the finals as the form team of the competition.
They had goalkeeper Gaby Garton to thank for keeping them on level terms in the first half, with the shot-stopper making a couple of important saves.
Despite dominating large periods of the contest at Dorrien Gardens, Glory remain winless for the campaign and appear destined to finish with the wooden spoon.
Doeglas spurns great chance for Glory
It was an evenly contested first 20 minutes with neither side creating a clear-cut chance, before Glory had a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead.
Hana Lowry showed great vision to play an excellent pass over the top for the run of Caitlin Doeglas, who sprung the Victory offside trap.
Doeglas went one-on-one with Gaby Garton, but the Victory shot-stopper did superbly to get down low and save the goal-bound shot.
Garton called on to save Victory again
Just a few minutes later and it was the same duo involved in another superb chance for the home side.
The ball somehow squeezed through to Doeglas on the left of the Glory attack, with the winger again bearing down on goal.
And Garton again showed her outstanding reflexes, smothering Doeglas’ shot to keep the scores level.
Alfeld forced to scramble
After ending the first-half the stronger, Victory finally forced Glory keeper Lily Alfeld into a save just before the hour mark.
Angie Beard surged forward from inside her own half, taking the ball deep into Glory territory.
The left-back’s cross deflected off a Glory defender and appeared to be looping towards the far post, with Alfeld forced to backtrack and tip the ball away for a corner.
Longo breaks the deadlock
After surviving that let-off a few minutes earlier, there was nothing the Glory defence could do to stop Longo opening the scoring on 62 minutes.
This time it was Kyra Cooney-Cross making in-roads down the left, before getting to the byline and cutting the ball back for Longo to blast it home.
It was the New Zealand international’s third goal of the campaign.
Perth search for equaliser
Glory continued to push for a breakthrough and one of their best chances to draw level came from their marauding left-back.
Deborah De La Harpe had space to charge forward from left-back, taking a shot from long range which drifted just wide of the post.
Perth Glory v Melbourne City
Friday, March 19, 2021
Kick-off: 9.35pm (AEDT)
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 4.35pm (AEDT)