A defiant Melbourne City FC battled valiantly but were unable to stop a rampant Perth Glory outfit from securing a 5-2 win at nib Stadium on Sunday night.
City were left reeling as the hosts raced to a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes courtesy of in-form duo Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill.
The comeback was on when Elise Kellond-Knight beautifully curled in a free-kick moments after the restart to register her first City goal, but the Glory responded emphatically when Kerr and Alyssa Mautz completed a two-goal blitz to restore the host’s advantage.
The quick-fire double crushed City’s spirit, but Kellond-Knight showed composure to complete her brace from the penalty spot with 20 minutes to play, before Mautz put the icing on the cake in stoppage time to complete a double of her own.
On another night the scoreline could have been very different for City, who created several goal-scoring opportunities, but were denied by a string of fine saves from Perth ‘keeper Eliza Campbell.
The return of Matildas star Kyah Simon from injury was a positive note in an otherwise difficult night for City, who will aim to bounce back at CB Smith Reseve when they host Adelaide United this Saturday.
Both sides entered the round’s final fixture with a contrast in fortunes, with City arriving in the West intent on bouncing back from a disappointing Melbourne Derby defeat and, in turn, putting an end to the Glory’s unbeaten record.
But the hosts were quickest out of the blocks and it took a superb save from Lydia Williams to prevent Kerr from opening the scoring inside the opening seven minutes.
The warning signs were there but City were powerless to prevent Kerr from opening the scoring three minutes later, as the Matildas star capped off a stellar solo run with an emphatic finish to give her side the lead.
The visitors were left reeling as Hill made it 2-0 only 10 minutes later, before Vidosic’s side grew into the contest. Tameka Butt and Kellond-Knight both had efforts on goal saved by Campbell as the hosts entered the break with a two-goal cushion.
Kellond-Knight never stopped trying all night and dragged City back into the contest minutes after the restart when she belted a superb free-kick past Campbell to halve the deficit.
But the hosts knocked the wind out of City’s sails when Kerr fired home via a wicked deflection in the 52nd minute to restore the two-goal buffer.
City continued to press forward, with Rhali Dobson denied her first goal of the season by a sharp reflex save from Campbell, before Mautz pounced on a loose ball in the 62nd minute to fire home Perth’s fourth after the ball had cannoned off the crossbar.
Kellond-Knight pegged one back from the spot with 20 minutes to play after Nikki Stanton fouled Jasmyne Spencer in the penalty area, but the Glory were not to be denied as Mautz added to City’s misery with a goal in stoppage time.
Rado Vidosic’s side will aim to return to winning ways when City faces Adelaide United at CB Smith Reserve on Saturday 1 December.