In-form Sydney FC have extended their unbeaten run to a fourth straight game with a commanding 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.
The Sky Blues were rarely troubled at Cromer Park as they usurped their cross-town rivals into second place on the Westfield W-League table, with goals from Veronika Latsko, Ellie Brush and Sofia Huerta avenging their five-goal Sydney Derby defeat earlier in the season.
While the goal-scoring trio basked in the plaudits, it was a ultimately quietly efficient defensive showing that laid the platform for Ante Juric’s side as they notched their fourth straight clean sheet.
The Wanderers found the target just once through a frustrating 90 minutes for Dean Heffernan's side, who finished the contest with 10 players following the second-half dismissal of Kristen Hamilton.
The result keeps Sydney within striking distance of the Premiership with two games remaining, while the Wanderers will need to regroup ahead of a clash with league leaders Melbourne City next weekend to keep their Finals hopes on track.
Questions were asked pre-game how the Sky Blues would fare in attack without departed Westfield Matildas duo Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord, but doubts of their attacking threat were answered just two minutes in with the first shot of the contest.
Huerta’s floated cross just eluded its intended target in Remy Siemsen, but Latsko’s follow-in run at the back post paid dividends as the American clinically slotted a first time finish for her second goal of the season.
The response from the Wanderers was immediate as Ella Mastrantonio blazed wide from distance before Cortnee Vine forced a save from Aubrey Bledsoe in the Sky Blues’ goal with a header.
However, the hosts were the more composed on the ball and doubled their advantage in just the 14th minute as Brush headed home from Teresa Polias’ corner kick - the goal Brush's first in Sky Blue since departing the Wanderers in the off-season.
The Wanderers took time to regain their composure but weren't without chances as Amy Harrison saw a thundering 25th minute strike from distance beat Bledsoe only to clip the crossbar.
However, scoring chances proved harder to come by as the half progressed - with Brush pushing a shot across the face with the only clear cut chance before the break - while the Derby intensity stepped up with strong challenges from Wanderers duo Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin earning bookings amid a flurry of fouls from both sides.
The attacking intent briefly returned in the second stanza as Wanderers' leading goalscorer Kristen Hamilton saw her 47th minute strike curl just wide of the top corner, however, the defences soon reclaimed control.
It took until just prior to the hour before the Sky Blues found an attempt on goal as Brush headed over the bar from a Polias free kick.
While the scoring opportunities remained sparse, the bookings were more free-flowing as a tangle in midfield saw Mastrantonio and Amy Sayer both saw yellow just after the hour, before Hamilton was dismissed after receiving her second booking of the contest in the 66th minute following a challenge on Brush.
Capitalising on the additional space, the Sky Blues fashioned further chances as Brush headed wide from another Polias set-piece delivery in the 72nd minute, before Latsko also fired off-target with a shot from inside the penalty area minutes later.
Latsko threated again in the 85th minute after being found in space at the back post by Huerta but couldn't steer her finish past Courtney Newbon, while Sayer fired just wide of the post from the top of the box three minutes later.
The pressure told in injury time as Huerta complemented her earlier assist with a goal to underscore her influential performance - blasting a firm finish into the top corner for the American international's fourth goal of the campaign.
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Saturday, 22 February 2020
Kick-off: 4pm AEDT
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
Thursday, 20 February 2020
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT