Glory down Phoenix to keep ALW finals in sight
Perth Glory have pulled off a smash-and-grab in New Zealand, downing Wellington Phoenix 1-0 to maintain their hopes of gatecrashing the A-League Women finals.
Glory held on for dear life after Cyera Hintzen scored the game's only goal early in the contest.
Last-placed Wellington fired 17 shots to their opponents' two in the second half but could not find an equaliser.
"You don't want to give away that many shots ... there were some moments where I aged very quickly," Perth coach Alex Epakis said.
"Credit has to go to Wellington ... they took control of the game."
The 1-0 loss was the Phoenix's sixth such result in a frustrating campaign.
Natalie Lawrence's side maintain hope of avoiding a second-straight wooden spoon, facing second-last Newcastle Jets next week in what could be a decisive clash.
Perth are aiming higher, sitting fifth, five points behind fourth-placed Melbourne Victory but with a game in hand as they look to leapfrog the reigning champions.
Saturday night's match-winner Hintzen could be their ticket into the finals.
The American scored after 11 minutes, racing onto a first-time lay-off from Hana Lowry to finish a quality move with a thunderous low drive.
The goal opened up the contest, with good chances flowing to both sides.
Wellington's Emma Rolston sent a worldie attempt over the bar, while the busy Paige Satchell almost equalised after a bustling run from inside her own half.
The New Zealand international's shot squirmed through the legs of Glory keeper Sarah Langman, who regathered the ball as it threatened to trickle over the line.
At the other end, Elizabeth Anton was unfortunate not to double Perth's lead when her strong header from Lowry's cross bounced down and over the bar.
Lowry might have scored herself when she was played in by Hintzen, only to scoop her effort off-target.
The Phoenix were on top for the last 50 minutes, dominating possession and territory without fashioning clear-cut chances.
Langman produced the game's best save just after the break, diving sharply to her right to deny Marisa van der Meer's effort.
Lawrence switched to a back three to overload in attack, and saw Satchell and substitute Ava Pritchard miss chances as Wellington slumped to another loss.
"It's probably one of the (results) that's hurt the most," Lawrence said.
"There's frustration but there's a sense of pride in the way we're playing."