Harding wonder strike lifts Wanderers to win over Glory

Justin Chadwick |

Sophie Harding’s effort from outside the box secured three points for finals-chasing Western Sydney.
Sophie Harding’s effort from outside the box secured three points for finals-chasing Western Sydney.

Perth Glory’s finals hopes are all but over after Sophie Harding produced a goal-of-the-season contender to lift Western Sydney Wanderers to a 1-0 A-League Women win.

Harding broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute of Saturday’s game at Wanderers Football Park when she chested down a long pass before unleashing a looping strike from outside the box.

The ball sneaked over the top of Glory goalkeeper Morgan Aquino and in – sending the Wanderers players into a frenzy.

The result extended Glory’s winless run to 10 matches, and left them six points adrift of the sixth-placed Wanderers with two rounds remaining.

Glory were on top of the ladder in November after starting their season with four wins and a draw.

But the wheels have fallen off dramatically since then, with the side’s most recent victory coming back on December 31 when they beat the Central Coast Mariners 2-1.

The first half was an arm wrestle, with a combined four shots on target between the two sides.

Although the Wanderers had three of them, each was easily dealt with by Aquino.

The biggest talking point of the opening period was when Glory skipper Natasha Rigby was bundled over in the box by Wanderers defender Madison McComasky.

Glory’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears, with the teams going to the break locked at 0-0.

Harding’s moment of magic changed everything, leaving the Wanderers with a six-point lead over nearest rivals Newcastle, who have a game in hand.

In Saturday’s other match, Brisbane moved up to ninth with a 2-1 win over Adelaide at the Mars Sports Centre.

The Roar opened the scoring in the ninth minute in impressive fashion, with fullback Deborah-Anne De la Harpe launching a run from near the halfway mark before producing a cool finish with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Adelaide equalised in the 26th minute courtesy of a pin-perfect pass from Dylan Holmes.

Holmes got around an opponent before firing off a long, low ball for Chelsie Dawber to run onto.

Dawber rounded the goalkeeper and shot into the open net.

Brisbane’s Tameka Yallop restored her side’s lead in the 74th minute, the Matildas midfielder breaking away to score after springing the offside trap.

But her day was ended in the 83rd minute when she limped off with a left ankle injury.