Women’s Match Review: Wellington Phoenix vs. Perth Glory

The Wellington Phoenix’s maiden Liberty A-League season has ended in defeat.

The Phoenix women have been beaten 3-1 by Perth Glory in their final round match at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, struggling to back-up from Tuesday night’s win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Perth led 1-0 at halftime courtesy of an unfortunate Wellington own goal and the Glory scored twice in three minutes early in the second-half to all but kill off the game.

In-form forward Grace Jale scored a late consolation goal for the Nix when she converted a penalty.

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis told media post-game that it “wasn’t our greatest performance” and the score line “was probably a fair reflection of the game”.

“We knew the two day turnaround was going to be hard and to get an own goal in the first half wasn’t really something that set us on the greatest path,” Lewis said.

“As soon as it went two-nil the girls went quite flat. I think it’s hard when you have a two day turnaround to find that second gear when you’re two-nil down to drive and get three goals.

“I was hoping they could do it with the adrenaline and the emotional charge of it being the last game, but they’ve given so much for us throughout the season that it didn’t really surprise me that they didn’t have much left in the tank at that point.”

Jale’s goal is her fourth in as many games and sees her finish as the team’s top scorer with six.

“She had that agreement with Jitka [Klimková] (Football Ferns coach) to score three goals in [the final] six games and I think she’s come away with five,” Lewis said.

“She’s delivered and more. We’re super happy with her. She’s been on a roll.”

Lewis made two enforced changes to the XI which started against Western Sydney Wanderers, with Saskia Vosper replacing suspended left back Talitha Kramer and Te Reremoana Walker coming in for injured defender Zoe McMeeken.

Walker started at centre back with Mackenzie Barry shifting out to the right side of the back four.

Barry was called in to help her central defenders in the opening minutes, making a great covering tackle to deny Glory playmaker Susan Phonsongkham a shot at goal.

Phonsongkham had the first shot on target in the ninth minute, but she was unable to test Phoenix goalkeeper Lily Alfeld.

The Nix had couple of corners in the first quarter of an hour but weren’t able to create goalscoring opportunities.

Their best chance of the first half came in the 14th minute, when 18-year-old playmaker Alyssa Whinham created an opening on the edge of the Perth area before dragging her shot wide of goal.

Wellington had only one other shot before halftime with Isabel Gomez blazing over with a long-range effort in the 21st minute.

Moments later Gomez unfortunately turned the ball into the back of her own net from a Glory corner, giving Perth the lead.

The Glory finished the half the stronger of the two teams but Gomez made a great goal-line clearance and Alfeld held on to a shot from close-range to ensure the Phoenix only trailed by one goal at the break.

The Nix made a bright start to the second-half. Gomez shot straight at Morgan Aquino from distance, Walker headed a free-kick narrowly wide of Perth’s goal and Whinham found the side netting, all inside the first five minutes after halftime.

But the Glory slowly arrested back control and American forward Cyera Hintzen doubled their lead in the 61st minute when she expertly deflected a cross from Liz Anton inside Alfeld’s near post.

Shortly after the restart Perth had their third goal, with Aideen Keane pouncing on a rare mistake from Phoenix vice-captain Kate Taylor and slotting a left-footed shot past Alfeld.

The Wellington captain made a great save in the 65th minute to deny Hana Lowry the Glory’s fourth.

The Nix kept their heads up and searched for a way back into the game. Saskia Vosper rattled the crossbar with a spectacular curling effort in the 84th minute and substitute Cushla Rue picked up the loose ball in the Glory box and won Wellington a penalty.

Jale held her nerve after a long wait, picking out the bottom right corner of Morgan Aquino’s goal.

Barry came closest to scoring the Phoenix’s second in the 89th minute when she shot over the bar after a Phoenix corner.

The Wellington Phoenix now await the result of Sunday afternoon’s match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City to see where they finish on the ladder.

The Phoenix currently sit bottom of the table, but will swap places with the Wanderers if City win by six or more goals.

Wellington Phoenix:
1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (c), 2. Saskia VOSPER (19. Charlotte LANCASTER 90+1), 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 6. Isabel GOMEZ (11. Kelli BROWN 67th), 7. Chloe KNOTT, 9. Ava PRITCHARD (12. Cushla RUE 79th), 10. Grace JALE, 13. Te Reremoana WALKER (5. Jordan JASNOS 90+1), 16. Hannah JONES, 20. Alyssa WHINHAM
Unused substitutes: 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk)

Perth Glory: 1. Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Natasha RIGBY (c), 5. Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7. Liz ANTON, 8. Hana LOWRY, 10. Susan PHONSONGKHAM (17. Abbey GREEN 76th), 13. Sarah CAIN (29. Leena KHAMIS 73rd), 15. Cyera HINTZEN (11. Lisa DE VANNA 83rd), 18. Sadie LAWRENCE, 21. Aideen KEANE (9. Demi KOULIZAKIS 73rd)
Unused substitutes: 20. Courtney NEWBON (gk)

6. Isabel GOMEZ (Wellington Phoenix) – 23rd own goal
15. Cyera HINTZEN (Perth Glory) – 61st
21. Aideen KEANE (Perth Glory) – 63rd
10. Grace JALE (Wellington Phoenix) – 86th penalty

9. Ava PRITCHARD (Wellington Phoenix) – 30th
18. Sadie LAWRENCE (Perth Glory) – 70th