Glory slip up in 1-1 ALW draw with Wanderers
Perth Glory coach Alex Epakis remains confident his team will gatecrash the A-League Women finals despite watching two vital points slip away in a 1-1 draw with Western Sydney.
Glory hit the lead in the 54th minute of Sunday's match at Macedonia Park when captain Natasha Rigby scored her maiden goal in her 90th appearance.
The memorable moment put Glory on track to post their fifth straight win.
But when Wanderers striker Sophie Harding was brought down in the box by Glory goalkeeper Morgan Aquino in the 80th minute, Amy Harrison stepped up to convert the penalty.
Glory striker Cyera Hintzen had the chance to win it in stoppage time when the ball sailed to her at the far post, but she hit the chance wide of the target.
The result reduced the gap between sixth-placed Glory and fourth-placed Melbourne Victory to four points.
Glory still have a game in hand on the defending champions.
But Perth will be kicking themselves after letting points slip against the eighth-placed Wanderers, who kept their own finals hopes alive with a deserved point on the road.
Glory take on ninth-placed Adelaide and last-placed Wellington in their next two matches.
They then face title contenders Melbourne City and Sydney FC, before finishing their campaign against the seventh-placed Roar.
"I think that we're certainly capable of making up those points in the coming games, there's no doubt about that," Epakis said.
"We're still six games undefeated, we're still creating chances, we're not conceding many chances.
"I"m still pretty confident that we'll go and get the job done against the other teams to get the points we need."
The Wanderers had the better of the opportunities in the first half, with Harding striking the woodwork from long range in the second minute.
Perth found their groove in the second half, and it was Rigby who was the surprise goal scorer.
Rigby attacked a loose ball and completed a perfect one-two with Alana Jancevski before firing in her shot.
"What a goal," Epakis said.
"At half time, she was pretty fixated on really ripping in.
"And wow - what you get with Tash is pure determination. She wears her heart on her sleeve. And moments like that, it's just her putting all those things out there."
Rigby's hopes of a fairytale win were denied, however, by the visitors' late penalty.
Wanderers midfielder Bethany Gordon was forced off in the second half after dislocating her shoulder.
"She's good now. It's been put back into place," said coach Kat Smith, adding Gordon has shown she was "tough and strong" by refusing painkillers on leaving the field.