W-League: Perth add icing to Premiership cake

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Sam Kerr starred with a hattrick in Wollongong as Perth Glory beat Sydney FC 5-0 to send a warning to their finals opponents ahead of the last round of the regular season.

The Glory arrived in Wollongong having already won the Premiership two weeks ago with a 5-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers. Sydney, meanwhile, were looking to cement their place in the top four ahead of the finals but must now win their last game to be sure of their position.

Both sides started quickly under dark skies and unrelenting rain. Sydney had the first opportunity to open the scoring after winning a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area. It was deflected wide to Renee Rollason, who hit the post with a low shot across the face of the goal; the angle perhaps too tight for her third goal of the season.
Perth steadied, and Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr combined for the first goal. Foord picked up possession in midfield and drifted across the Sydney defence before sliding the ball across to Kerr, who arrived before anyone else to give her side the lead.
Sydney, for a while, looked as though they would calm the game, and eventually find parity. Indeed, they nearly had a reply when Amy Harrison shook the crossbar with a drive from nearly 40 yards a few minutes after the goal. The Sky Blue worked to build on that chance with better control in possession and promising forward movement through Jasmyne Spencer.
The match began to turn, however, after Aleisha Clifford was judged to have pushed Kate Gill as a cross floated into the box. Gill scored a confident penalty and Sydney began to lose their shape; pushing forward for a goal to drag themselves back into the game, they invited pressure on a shaky defence.
As half time approached, Foord added a third with a low, hard shot that skipped on the wet turf, giving Dumont no chance in the Sydney goal. Sydney’s incumbent talisman, Jasmyne Spencer, attempted to give the scoreboard a sense of competition as the referee looked at her watch, but failed to make anything of a one-on-one and hit her shot at the goalkeeper’s feet to close out a disappointing half for the home side.
The second half soon picked up where the first left off – Perth, simply, were sharper on the ball. 

Foord squeezed a pass out of midfield to Kerr on the right touchline, and the winger turned to run at the Sydney defenders in front of her. Rollason fell back and Kerr drove on, running into the heart of the Sydney defence and somehow coming out on the other side with the ball, which she rushed to poke into the net.

Four goals ahead, Perth began to toy with their opponents. Eventually, they were rewarded with a fifth, and Sam Kerr her hattrick; the winger shanking her cross into the top corner to complete Sydney’s humiliation – which, to be fair, had probably been hanging in the air since half time.
Finally, it appeared as though Perth had had their fun, and seemed happy enough to leave with just the five goals. The rain fell heavier, and the game slowed as the ground softened. The final whistle came, and with it relief for the home side.
Provided Sydney avoid a loss next week, the two might yet meet again in the finals. Sydney, certainly, will be looking to set the record straight with a match back in more familiar territory against Newcastle United, while Perth head to Canberra to take on last year’s regular season premiers.
Sydney FC: Dumont, Polias, Clifford, Spencer, Uzunlar, Bolger, Harrison, Rollason, Camilleri, Allen, Johnson. Substitutes: McLaren, Ralston, Logarzo, Simon
Perth Glory: Arnold; Carroll, Kennedy, Zadorsky, Studman; McCallum, May, Foord; Tabain, Kerr, Gill

Substitutes: Dal Busco, Marzano, D’Ovidio, Hawkins

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