Western United remained perfect in the Liberty A-League Women with another thrilling win, defeating Perth Glory 3-2 at Macedonia Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Green and Black started the new year on the right foot but had to do it the hard way, twice coming from behind and seeing a host of chances denied by a mix of excellent defending and goalkeeping.
In the end Hannah Keane, Chloe Logarzo and a late own goal from Demi Koulizakis booked United’s fifth straight win to begin the campaign.
United hadn’t played in the Liberty A-League for 15 days and there were three changes between matches for Mark Torcaso’s side.
Kahli Johnson and Stacey Papadopoulos both returned to the starting line-up after short spells on the sidelines, while Julia Sardo made her first start in United colours, coming in to face her former team.
The hosts sprung into an early lead after forcing a turnover high up the pitch before working the ball to Rylee Baisden who tucked her shot into the bottom left corner.
United set about making amends as soon as possible and Jessica McDonald nearly provided an instant reply with a header that flashed just over the crossbar from Adriana Taranto’s corner.
It wasn’t too long until the equaliser came, though, as Keane erased Perth’s lead within 10 minutes. It came from another Taranto delivery, this time an in-swinger that Keane bundled in from the goal line after Sydney Cummings’ initial header was saved onto the crossbar.
The Green and Black was in the mood to move ahead and Keane nearly turned provider moments later with a lovely ball for Johnson, but Sarah Langman made a fine save to deny the teenager.
Taranto’s set piece delivery remained a significant threat and Perth had some last-ditch defending to thank for maintaining the 1-1 score line as a mixture of defensive blocks and goalkeeper saves denied a series of United shots around the half hour mark.
McDonald continued to feature prominently, and she nearly bagged her third goal of the season when she rounded Langman in the box, but the American just couldn’t find the net from a tight angle.
Perth brought problems of their own at the other end and a frantic minute saw Hillary Beall in the thick of the action, first drawing a yellow card for simulation from Sofia Sakalis in the box and secondly receiving a booking of her own after a late challenge just outside of her area.
There was time for more chaos before half-time as United hit the crossbar twice in quick succession on the stroke of the interval as Johnson drew another top save onto the woodwork from Langman before the resultant corner was played short, and Emma Robers’ cross was headed onto the bar by a Glory defender.
Just like in the first half there was an early goal for the hosts as Hana Lowry buried a shot into the bottom right corner after fending off Melissa Taranto in front of goal.
It took a little longer for the equaliser to come the second time around and it was a sweeping move that brought about a third goal in two games for Logarzo.
Just a matter of minutes after coming off the bench, Logarzo was on hand to finish expertly with her left foot from McDonald’s precise cut-back after a measured build-up from back to front.
Logarzo had another shot in anger after a distribution error from Langman but the Perth stopper made up for it moments later with another high-class save, reaching up into the top corner to deny Keane what would have been an excellent solo goal.
United continued to throw players forward in search of winner but the match remained very open as both sides sought the telling blow heading into the final 10 minutes.
That blow was ultimately landed by Western United and it was cruel on Langman as she could only punch Melissa Taranto’s free-kick into the path of Keane, who reacted swiftly and sent the ball into the net via a last-ditch effort on the goal line from Koulizakis.
The visitors then saw out the remainder of the match and defended strongly in order to thwart any further Perth advances, maintaining the Club’s perfect start to the Liberty A-League season.