A 2229-strong crowd at McKellar Park oversaw a difficult first home match for Canberra United, falling 3-2 to early league leaders Perth Glory.
United fought valiantly against a side that hadn’t conceded a goal in the league, weathering an early storm that saw Chloe Lincoln forced into action inside 10 minutes to deny Hana Lowry from close range.
Glory’s barrage of corner kicks in the opening exchanges eventually saw them take the lead from a set piece, finding the lead through a 12th minute Natasha Rigby header.
Canberra grew into the game after falling behind, particularly through the midfield where Vesna Milivojevic and new signing Mary Stanic-Floody began to pick dangerous passes to find the likes of Maria Rojas and Sasha Grove in behind.
The intensifying pressure applied by United eventually saw the Glory defence come undone, with a Stanic-Floody corner finding the flying Cannon Clough, to score her first goal for the club just four minutes after going one down.
With both sides level the momentum began to swing the way of Canberra, however it was former United star Grace Jale that found the back of the net just six minutes before the break, finishing coolly against her old side after being set up by the ever-lively Millie Farrow.
A swift response from the home side however would ensure that spoils would be shared heading into half time, after a cool-headed Milivojevic penalty was slotted home to restore the level contest, following the foul on Maria Rojas.
A promising start to the second half by United was cancelled out after referee Isabella Libri was called into action again, pointing to the spot following a foul on Sofia Sakalis. It was Sakalis herself that converted the penalty, despite Lincoln’s best efforts, powering the shot into the top left corner to put the away side in front for the second occasion on 51 minutes.
In the aftermath of Perth’s lead, it was a stubborn defensive display from the away side that sought to preserve their advantage, defending in numbers to thwart the advances of an increasingly desperate Canberra side.
United’s inability to string the final passes together in the attacking third prompted changes from coach Njegosh Popovich, turning to the likes of youngsters Deven Jackson, Ruby Nathan and Sofia Christopherson to change the tide.
Jackson in particular made an impressive cameo, instantly bringing the game to life right on the 90 as she struck a volleyed effort against the crossbar, United’s best chance since going behind.
Canberra’s final push in the last minute of the game saw Jackson again causing issues, winning a free kick on the edge of the area, however the following delivery from Milivojevic was cleared by the Glory defence.
An unrelenting effort from the home side was not enough in the end, falling to the form team of the Liberty A-League Women, although carrying plenty of positives into their next match away against Western Sydney Wanderers.