25/05/2024

Perth Glory handled their front end absences just fine as players like Gemma Craine (pictured) and Cyera Hintzen stood up, but found new issues in defence. (Photo: A-League Women/Twitter)

Set piece struggles and poor discipline undid Perth Glory's strong offensive work in the second half against Adelaide United ahead of a tough week of fixtures.

Perth Glory didn’t struggle up front without veteran striker Lisa De Vanna, but found new issues as the goals kept coming the other way.

De Vanna finished the 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar with a hamstring issue, and even with nearly a month to recover, still didn’t take to the field in the 4-2 loss to Adelaide United.

While she isn’t off the mark yet in 2021/22, De Vanna scored three goals and contributed an assist in a championship winning 2020/21 with Melbourne Victory.

But the front end was the least of the Glory’s problems, putting two goals into the back of the net on either side of half time in a display of exciting and dynamic counterattacking.

On club debut, American striker Cyera Hintzen put her name onto an A-League Women scoresheet for the first time, benefitting off the hard running and dribbling of midfielder Susan Phonsongkham in her first Glory start.

The second then came from a penalty, taken by teenager Alana Jancevski, who’s had a brilliant start to life at the top level.

In just her third A-League Women game, the Junior Matilda’s powerful strike was too much for Annalee Grove, the ball rolling over the line for her second goal of the season.

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But it was after this point that the Glory began to fall apart after what was a fairly convincing first half defensive performance despite the score line.

Kim and Sarah Carroll often held steadfast as the last line of defence, clearing and deflecting any balls in with ease.

But as the game wore on, the defence was exposed both by some Chelsie Dawber individual brilliance and United’s clinical set pieces.

Both second half goals were given up from set pieces, one from a free kick and one from a corner. The Glory gave up 10 corners in total, so the dam wall was going to burst eventually.

United captain Matilda McNamara scored the first from the corner nearly completely unmarked, running through the whole defensive line and catching keeper Morgan Aquino unawares.

For the fourth opposition goal and the match sealer just four minutes later, Jancevski undid her strong first half work, giving up two fouls within 30 seconds to all but gift the Reds a free kick. Emily Condon’s curling ball into the top right of the net was then the final stake through Glory hearts.

Coach Alex Epakis pointed to over three weeks without games for the second half fadeout.

“We were good enough at times, but but there were times when we weren’t,” he told the Perth Glory website.

“It was an inconsistent performance. I believe that not playing competitively for three weeks meant we didn’t have the edge we needed to manage the game from start to finish.

“The times we did play well, I really liked what we did and we were effective in phases. We are going to focus on that and eradicate the pressure we put on ourselves with cheap, silly turnovers.

“We know we can do better.”

As per current fixtures, the Glory will go from one extreme to the other, playing three games in the next 11 days.

The first match-up is set to be against Canberra United at Wanderers Football Park on January 5, followed by Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on January 8, and then Newcastle at No. 2 Sportsground eight days later.

There’ll be no reprieve after their first loss of the season, and it’ll truly test what this squad can do.

“After the two weeks of training we wanted a different result, but we’ve got a few things we need to go and work on for the next game,” debutant Hintzen told the Paramount broadcast post-game.

“We have to fix what we messed up on today, and really get a quick turnaround for the next game. I think it’s going to be tough but I definitely think we can do it.”

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