W-League: Glory shoots down the Jets

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Perth Glory secured a home semi-final after a fighting 4-2 win over the Newcastle Jets at Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday.

Sam Kerr scored a first-half brace and Caitlin Foord and Elisa D’Ovidio also found the back of the net as the league-leading Glory claimed maximum points for the eighth time from nine matches this season.

The win means Glory will finish at least second on the table even if they fail to claim any points from the final three games against Western Sydney (seventh), Sydney FC (second) and Canberra United (third).

But Jamie Harnwell’s side did not have it all their own way on Saturday as the resurgent Jets, currently fourth on the table, fought hard to also earn a spot in the finals.

The Jets drew first blood in the seventh minute when Emily van Egmond found space on the right wing and chipped over the head of Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold who had come off her line.

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Van Egmond almost doubled the lead for her side five minutes later when she fired on goal from the top of the box, forcing a leaping Arnold to knock the ball over the top of the crossbar.

Glory appeared rattled at how determined the Jets were to cause an upset and almost coughed up another goal in the 18th minute on the back of some uncharacteristic miscommunication from the home side’s usually impenetrable defence.

Kerr then stepped up to the plate with three minutes of brilliant football that virtually guided her side to victory.

The speedy striker contested a high ball against Jets goalkeeper Claire Coelho, bringing it to ground and then knocking it into the path of Foord. The classy winger made no mistake from the top of the box.

Glory were back on level terms and less than three minutes later Kerr had put her team in front when she out-paced Jets defender Georgia Yeoman-Dale to fire the ball past a helpless Coelho.

Coelho, deputising in goals for the absent Hannah Southwell, was down for several minutes after being floored during an aerial contest with Glory striker Kate Gill but the custodian carried on despite being left dazed from the incident.

Kerr heaped the pressure on Coelho and the Jets defence for the remainder of the half and was rewarded in the fourth minute of injury time when she pounced on another long ball and chipped it over the head of the stunned goalkeeper.

With a spring in her step at half-time, Kerr had a chance to net a hat-trick in the first minute after the resumption but her strike from the left side was saved by a diving Coelho.

Kerr was pulled from the game in the 62nd minute as Glory looked to manage the 21-year-old’s recovery from a recent hamstring injury.

Both teams played very defensive games in the second stanza with neither side giving the other any real chances to score.

Marianna Tabian’s long-range strike in the 70th minute failed to trouble the goalkeeper while Jets substitute Elizabeth Copus-Brown gave her best chance too much air.

The match appeared headed for a second-half stalemate until D’Ovidio intercepted a pass from Coelho in the 84th minute, dribbled around a Jets defender and scored her second goal in as many weeks.

Tara Andrews then pulled one back for the visitors five minutes later with another chip shot over the head of Arnold, who played out the final minutes in pain after copping a knock to the ankle.

Perth Glory: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 4. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5. Shannon MAY, 6. Alanna KENNEDY, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 12. Kate GILL, 14. Collette MCCALLUM (C), 15. Shelina ZADORSKY, 17. Marianna TABAIN, 20. Samantha KERR

Subs: 3. Carys HAWKINS, 7. Gabrielle MARZANO, 13. Elisa D’OVIDIO, 29. Kathleen WAYCOTT (GK)

Newcastle Jets: 2. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 3. Hayley CRAWFORD, 5. Katherine REYNOLDS, 6. Angela SALEM, 7. Tori HUSTER, 8. Amber NEILSON, 9. Tara ANDREWS, 10. Emily VAN EGMOND (C), 11. Rhali DOBSON, 16. Cassidy DAVIS, 20. Claire COELHO (GK)

Subs: 12. Sophie NENADOVIC, 15. Elizabeth COPUS-BROWN, 17. Grace MCINTYRE, 21. Renee RUDDER (GK)

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