LaBonta praises backs after tight Perth contest

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Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta was beaming with admiration for the defensive efforts shown by her side following their narrow defeat to first place Perth Glory FC at Marconi Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Facing Perth Glory this season is proving to be a formidable task for the defence of many teams as Rachael Hill and Samantha Kerr continue to surge ahead in the W-League scoring tally with seven and five goals respectively.

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The presence of Kerr alone is usually enough to make defenders quake in their boots and the recent AFC Women’s player of the year recipient expectantly left Friday’s contest with another goal to her name.

However her solitary strike in the 50th minute was all that divided two sides which have experienced widely contrasting starts to the W-League season in terms of success.

The usually rampant Perth Glory attack was well subjugated by the Wanderers throughout the game and LaBonta accredited the tight result to the clinical performances on display from centre-backs Maruschka Waldus and Ellie Brush.

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“I was so proud of our centre-backs today,” LaBonta said post match.

“Whether it was coming in and making sure they kept their back to goal I think they did so well in reading passes and doing well in shutting those two down.”

The Wanderers back four also successfully baited Kerr into the offside trap on several occasions and managed to escape the contest without being subjected to a three goal haul victory that Perth Glory have achieved over teams such as Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory this season.

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LaBonta believes the outcome against the visitors on Friday was not indicative of the number of chances the Wanderers produced over the course of the bout and expressed her frustration in yet another game which could have easily swayed in favour of the red and black.

“Sometimes it’s just not our game and we’re unlucky,” she said.

“We created a bunch of opportunities but we just couldn’t finish.

“It’s always hard ending on that.

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Succinct passing down the right flank was yielding early results for the Wanderers but putting away the chances is what LaBonta identifies as main issue contributing to the side’s slump into seventh place.

“We’ll work on some crossing and finishing this next week because that’s definitely something we have to work on,” she said.

“We’ve had a few losses now but we’ll just keep working hard to get that result.”

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LaBonta is eager to use next week’s game against rivals Sydney FC as a means to take advantage of the current small point disparity between teams inside and out of the top four.

“That’s the crazy thing about this league,” she said.

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“Everybody’s so close with one win you can jump three spots.”

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Rowan McClatchey
Rowan McClatchey
Bachelor of Journalism student from the University of Wollongong, covering Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2017/18 season.

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