Melbourne City secured their fifth Westfield W-League win on the trot after beating Perth Glory 1-0 on Thursday night.
A 63rd minute goal from New Zealand international Rebekah Stott proved the match-winner for the three-time Champions, who extend their lead atop the table to four points after a hard-fought display.
Stott pounced from close range on the hour mark after Steph Catley’s free-kick hammered against the underside of the crossbar.
City had dominated the ball and territory from the opening whistle but struggled to convert possession into clear-cut chances, particularly in the first half.
Kyah Simon, playing her 100th Westfield W-League game, nodded Ellie Carpenter’s cross wide and came close to pouncing on a spill from Glory custodian Eliza Campbell, while the Perth ‘keeper was very relieved to see Emily van Egmond’s free-kick whistle past her post.
Having started on the back foot, the visitors settled and offered danger on the break through the endeavour of American forward Crystal Thomas. Kat Jukic tested City ‘keeper Lydia Williams from range and Morgan Andrews – one of five players of National Women’s Soccer League club Reign FC game taking part on the pitch – tried her luck from distance and was very nearly rewarded.
Rado Vidosic withdrew Milica Mijatovic for Lauren Barnes as City stepped up the pressure and nearly hit the front when Campbell fumbled Catley’s cross into the path of Aivi Luik, only for the Westfield Matildas veteran to stab the ball wide.
City had opportunities to double their lead after Stott put the hosts in front. Van Egmond’s cutback found Carpenter free inside the box only for the fullback to pull her shot into the side netting, and a spectacular flying save from Campbell prevented Claire Emslie from grabbing her first Westfield W-League goal.
Van Egmond's free-kick goes close
The league leaders enjoyed the majority of territory and possession during the opening 45 minutes, but it was this clever free kick from van Egmond that gave Glory goalkeeper Campbell the greatest cause for concern.
The Australian international has found the net three times in City colours this season, however, her strike on this occasion would fizz wide of Campbell’s post.
Andrews' effort flies wide
Perth remained compact and tight in the first half but were still able to trouble their opponents when springing forward on the counter.
This snapshot from Andrews came within inches of the visitors taking the lead.
Stott pokes home after Catley's stunning hit
City broke the deadlock just after the hour mark after a superb free-kick from Australian vice-captain Catley.
The City skipper stepped up from outside the box and rattled the underside of the crossbar, with Simon reacting quickest on the rebound, and the ball ultimately bundled over the line by Stott.