Perth Glory drew 4-4 against Canberra United in an absolute classic in Bunbury on Saturday, which featured a hat-trick to Glory's Sam Kerr.
STORY OF THE GAME
Canberra fought back from 3-0 down to steal a point in a thrilling eight-goal shootout in front of a bumper crowd at Hay Park in Bunbury on Saturday.
Superstar striker Kerr netted a first-half hat-trick as Glory raced to a 4-2 lead on the cusp of half-time, much to the delight of the 1,369 boisterous supporters watching on.
However, a sloppy piece of goalkeeping by Perth’s Melissa Maizels deep in added time allowed Grace Maher to score from a free kick and give Canberra strong hope of pulling off a miraculous fightback.
Elise Thorsnes pounced on a defensive error on the hour mark to square the match at 4-4 and steal a crucial point for Canberra in their bid to play in next month’s Westfield W-League finals series.
Glory’s campaign is all but over and now must win their final game against Western Sydney next Sunday, as well as hope several results go their way, to have any chance of making the top four.
Kerr and fellow striker Rachel Hill combined to give Glory what seemed an insurmountable 3-0 lead after just 22 minutes before Canberra captain Ashleigh Sykes inspired her side back into the contest with a brace.
Canberra defender Ellie Carpenter completed an amazing shutdown job on Kerr in the second half.
Hill played Kerr through for the opening goal, with the Matildas star catching Canberra goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer off her line and chipping in easily from the top of the box.
Kerr doubled Glory’s advantage four minutes later when she blocked Kopmeyer’s attempted clearance from a goal-line scramble before knocking the loose ball into the back of the net.
Seeking her third goal, Kerr mistimed a header towards the goalmouth only for it to fall short of the target, with Hill beating Kopmeyer to the ball and hammering it home from close range to extend Glory’s lead to 3-0.
Sykes pulled one back for the visitors in the 24th minute when she was played through against the run of play, having only the hapless Maizels to beat in goal.
Michelle Heyman should have scored Canberra’s second in the 35th minute when she charged through a gap in Perth’s defence, but a miraculous save by Maizels maintained the home team’s two-goal buffer.
However, an unmarked Sykes netted her second two minutes later when she flicked the ball in at the back post from a Laura Bassett corner.
Kerr completed her hat-trick in the 44th minute when she was again played through by Hill before
Maher reduced Canberra’s deficit to one just seconds before the main break.
After a fast-paced opening 45 minutes, both teams began to show the effects of the burning Bunbury sun early in the second half, with no player able to seriously threaten the opposing goalkeeper.
Thorsnes then pounced on Glory’s failure to again clear another dangerous free kick from Bassett, with the Canberra striker showing great delight at putting the match back on even terms.