W-League: Clean sheet glory at last for Arnold

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Perth Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold had extra reason to smile after her team’s fifth straight win from as many matches last weekend.

The 3-0 triumph over Canberra United was the first time Glory returned a clean sheet this season despite Jamie Harnwell’s side sitting pretty at the top of the Westfield W-League table.

Arnold, who returned to Perth this year after two seasons at Canberra and Western Sydney, played a starring role in the victory, making a number of crucial saves as Glory claimed the maximum points.

“We’ve always wanted to get a clean sheet and with the goals (scored against us) in the other games being quite average, it was really good to come out here and get that clean sheet,” Arnold said.

“We keep improving every game so to come out and get a clean sheet against Canberra is something we’re really happy with and hopefully we can keep it up for the next couple of weeks.”

It is also the first time Arnold has featured in a side that has found itself leading the league at any point during a season, but the 20-year-old was wary of the immediate challenges that lie ahead.

Glory hosts second-ranked Sydney FC on Saturday and an away clash with defending champions Melbourne Victory awaits them in a fortnight as the Perth club bids to remain unbeaten against all teams.

Arnold battled through an ankle injury during the win over Canberra and she revealed post-match it was something that would need to be managed for the rest of the campaign.

“It’s been an ongoing injury ever since the season started, but I got a bit of a knock in the first half (against Canberra) and made it a bit worse, but it’s nothing I can’t get through,” she said.

“It shouldn’t be (an issue from this point onward). I’ll just go in there, treat it and see how it goes.”

While Arnold and Glory were all smiles after last Saturday’s win, Canberra was left to rue missed opportunities.

Last year’s premiers dominated in attack, but failed to beat an inspired performance from Arnold as well as the sturdy Glory defence.

It was not the return to the west former Glory goalkeeper Chantel Jones had hoped for, but she took plenty of positives from the match despite the end result.

“If we didn’t have very many chances on goal and we still lost, then I’d be very concerned,” Jones said.

“In the first half we had five or six really good scoring opportunities so that’s a positive for us. We just need to clean up some things in our backline and we’ll be a lot stronger next game.”

Jones lapped up the chance to take on a number of her former teammates last Saturday, but the American-born custodian stopped short of declaring Glory the team to beat this season.

“They’ll definitely be one of the teams to beat, but I think there’s a lot of strong teams now and you can’t really single out one team,” Jones said.

Canberra will look to regroup against Adelaide United this Sunday before turning their attention to an away fixture against Melbourne Victory the following weekend.

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