W-League: Tabain’s sizzling strike sinks Sydney

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Perth Glory maintained its perfect record in the Westfield W-League with a fighting 1-0 win over fellow title contenders Sydney FC at Ashfield Sports Club.

A stunning strike from Marianna Tabain in the 51st minute proved the difference as Glory coasted to their sixth win from as many matches this season and move five points clear at the top of the W-League table.

Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold also made a desperate save in the closing stages that proved telling to the final result.

It was an impressive win by Glory, especially after striker Sam Kerr was ruled out before the match with a hamstring injury and Golden Boot leader Kate Gill had little influence on the contest without her partner in crime.

But Kerr’s good friend Caitlin Foord showed no mercy against her former side with two dashing runs down the left wing inside the opening four minutes, forcing Sydney goalkeeper Casey Dumont to make an early save with her outstretched leg.

Dumont was again called into action in the eighth minute when an unmarked Collette McCallum attacked the goalmouth from long range.

The ball very rarely left Glory’s attacking half in the opening 15 minutes as the home side heaped pressure the sluggish Sky Blues.

Sydney’s best chance came when the ball spilled to Amy Harrison after a series of headers, but the young striker butchered her attempt over the bar.

Gabrielle Marzano impressed in her first starting appearance for Glory, filling the void left by Kerr and making several attacking plays, including a brilliant through pass to Tabian, who lacked penetration on her subsequent shot.

Arnold was rarely called into action in the opening 45 minutes, such was her team’s dominance in attack.

Dumont spent several minutes on her haunches late in the first half after copping a knock during an aerial contest but picked herself up.

Four players were cautioned by referee Casey Reibelt during an often spiteful first half in which neither side was able to find the back of the net.

The deadlock was broken just six minutes after the restart when Tabain capitalised on another fine piece of work from Foord with an impressive strike into the top-right corner of the net.

Dumont suffered another blow to the body on the hour mark, but this time was unable to continue and had to be carried off on a stretcher.

Tabain immediately put replacement goalkeeper Alyssa Harris under pressure with another long-range attempt as Glory set out to extend their lead.

Prolific American striker Jasmyne Spencer was unable to impact the match, although she nearly embarrassed the Glory defence midway through the second half with an awkward deflection that went just wide of the left post.

Harrison had a chance to equalise in the 82nd minute after Glory defender Sarah Carroll failed to clear a cross, but Arnold quickly closed on approaching Sky Blue and successfully blocked the attempt.

Carroll made up for her earlier blunder with a match-saving tackle on Sydney substitute Chloe Logarzo and another vital clearance in the dying minutes to ensure the home side walked away with maximum points for the sixth time in as many games this season.

It was Sydney’s first loss of the season but the two-time champions will take heart from only conceding three goals in the first six matches and they are likely to regain Renee Rollason, Kyah Simon and Teresa Polias over the coming weeks.

Perth Glory squad: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 4. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5. Shannon MAY, 6. Alanna KENNEDY, 7. Gabrielle MARZANO, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 12. Kate GILL, 14. Collette MCCALLUM (C), 15. Shelina ZADORSKY, 17. Marianna TABAIN

Subs: 3. Carys HAWKINS, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 13. Elisa D’OVIDIO, 18. Gabrielle DAL BUSCO (GK)

Sydney FC squad: 1. Casey DUMONT (GK), 3. Liz RALSTON, 4. Alesha CLIFFORD, 5. Jasmyne SPENCER, 6. Servet UZUNLAR (C), 7. Nicola BOLGER, 8. Amy HARRISON, 9. Ellyse PERRY, 12. Chloe LOGARZO, 15. Teigen ALLEN, 16. Samantha JOHNSON

Subs: 13. Trudy CAMILLERI, 14. Olivia PRICE, 18. Heidi MAKRILLOS, 20. Alyssa HARRIS (GK)

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