This was a game of two contrasting styles. Melbourne City try to play a possession heavy style of football, relying on lots of small passes to create openings. Perth are all about speed – they sit back, win the ball and counter.
I think it’s fair to say that this game was a win for the dirty counter-attack.
Perth Glory 5 – Melbourne City 2
Rachel Hill and Sam Kerr proved once again why they are the deadliest strike partnership in the league. One of the earliest women’s football clubs ever formed was called Dick, Kerr Ladies FC in England. I think we should just rename Perth Glory Hill, Kerr Ladies FC and be done with it.
I wasn’t so sure what to expect from this game. I definitely expected a reaction from City after last week’s derby loss. I expected them to come out all guns blazing like they had against Sydney and tear Perth’s vulnerable-looking defence apart. That didn’t happen.
City had their chances but their finishing was insipid. Jasmyne Spencer didn’t see enough of the ball and nor did Kyah Simon. While Simon only lasted the first half on her return from injury, she looked lively. She would have posed much more of a threat had she received the ball more often.
The game did not take long to heat up. Glory made their intentions clear from the get-go – long balls over the top to Kerr, Hill and Alyssa Mautz (who had a wonderful game and probably deserves more plaudits). Soon enough, the tactic paid off, with Kerr scoring a worldie in the 10th minute.
The goal deserves a paragraph of its own. Receiving the ball around the halfway line, Kerr ran at the defence. For some reason four city defenders decided to back off. That was a fatal mistake and when Sammy realised that she had no options to lay the ball off, she decided to go herself from outside of the box. Bang. Bottom corner. Williams had no chance.
Ten minutes later she found herself in the clear again. This time, she did have a friendly face to cross to, and Hill duly converted. 2-0.
City looked bereft of answers. Looking at the stats you wouldn’t have thought so – shots on target were roughly equal, and City were dominating in completed passes and possession. The stats just didn’t tell the story. Yes, City had their chances in an extremely open end-to-end game and the Glory defence will have some work to do in the training field over the next week. However, in the first half at least I never got the sense that Perth’s dominance would be seriously challenged.
At some stage in a game the individual quality that Melbourne City possess will come out and here it shone through Kellond-Knight. KK, who otherwise had a quiet game in midfield, curled in a delightful free kick early in the second half. She clearly didn’t want to be outdone by Alanna Kennedy in the earlier game for Sydney. Game on…
…well, not for very long. Only a minute or two later Kerr struck again after a wonderful ball from her partner in crime Hill. Glory were well and truly back in the ascendency.
I recall a ripper of a save by Glory keeper Eliza Campbell at some point around now. She stopped a certain goal from Rhali Dobson. Her game is worth highlighting – the more time goes on the more she cements herself as the next generation of Tillies keeper after Lydia and Macca. You could argue that she had a slight blip letting the free kick go in, but it was hardly easy. She was excellent for the rest of her game and her distribution was flawless.
Younger Leticia McKenna also had a fantastic game sitting in behind the front three. She almost scored with a cheeky chip over Williams but was denied by the crossbar. Luckily for her team, Mautz was in the right place at the right time to convert the rebound. 4-1 Glory.
I’m going to be honest, it was at this point that I started checking out. Night games in Perth are a genuine trial of longevity. I think Twitter was going down with me. It had been a long day, okay?
City scored again through a contentious KK penalty but even in a league as crazy as the W-League it didn’t seem likely that they were ever going to find the extra gear that they needed to get a point from this one. They made plenty of passes but lacked the ability to score from open play. There is something missing for them right now. Perhaps it’s a lack of cohesion.
I’d have questions about the coach, too, given the extremely talented squad that they have. I recall at the beginning of the season that they wanted to play “more like men,” or something to that effect. Maybe having a coach who was more familiar with how the W-League worked might be beneficial rather than someone who just sees this job as a stepping stone to a men’s league.
Mautz scored again in injury time although by that stage it was just for the cameras. 5-2 Perth.
This was an exciting open game that was fantastic for the neutral. It seemed like a fairly decent crowd stayed back from the A League game that preceded it and the Perth faithful got very on board with the Sam Kerr show. It’s the type of game that will bring people back to the W League.
City clearly have a lot of soul-searching to do. Perth on the other hand have the same problem that plagued them last season – defence. They clearly have immense firepower up top and I don’t know if any team can possibly contain them. For the Glory, it’s a matter of not being outscored. I’m not sure what the solution is except giving the youngsters time to grow and shine with time.
In the mean-time, if you’re going to watch one W League game all season, watch Perth. It won’t be short of entertainment.
Featured Image from Fox Sports Football Twitter page.
By Taryn Heddo