Sam Kerr all but ends Canberra United’s season
Canberra United's win drought on the road extended to 417 days and they'll almost certainly miss finals for the first time in consecutive W-League seasons after falling to Perth Glory on Thursday night.
Perth dominated large parts of the match thanks to superstar Sam Kerr who scored the winner with a contentious penalty in the 84th minute for a 1-0 victory in Western Australia.
Canberra must now win their three remaining games to have any chance of playing finals.
They can still reach 18 competition points but that's only been enough to play finals once since the competition went to a 12-game season in 2012-13.
United have lost four away games and drawn one this season and if they lose in Brisbane in the penultimate round the drought will push past 700 days by the time their 2019-20 campaign begins.
The result puts second-year coach Heather Garriock under pressure with the former Matildas legend winning just seven of her 21 games in charge at the club.
Canberra were minor premiers the season before Garriock arrived but they now look set to miss the play-offs for the third time in their 11-year history and the first time in back-to-back seasons.
Garriock declined to speak to The Canberra Times for the first time this season following the loss.
Garriock will likely be given another season to turn things around but she'll need to show her bosses some improvement in the final three games.
There were 16 goals in the two previous matches between the clubs but this time the defences largely stood firm with Canberra goalkeeper Sham Khamis a standout.
Perth dominated the opening exchanges and Leticia McKenna hit a rocket from 25 metres that required a fingertips save from Khamis on six minutes.
Canberras first real chance fell to Nikki Flannery thanks to an assist from Rhoda Mulaudzi but her shot was blocked by Glory defender Natasha Rigby.
Kerr was proving a constant threat putting herself in goal scoring positions but the world's best player couldn't find that final touch in the first half.
American import Rachel Hill hit a bomb on the half-hour mark which produced more acrobatics from Khamis but the visitors then started to work their way into the contest.
Perth returned in the second half the stronger team on the back of Kerr who had two shots in as many minutes.
Canberra teenager Ellie Carpenter tried to make something happen but couldn't find her strikers despite several strong crosses.
Hill almost chipped Khamis thanks to a pinpoint pass from Kerr and two minutes later the American fired one across the face of goal.
Garriock subbed on Ash Sykes in the 55th minute but she couldn't find a record extending 17th goal in her 15th meeting against Perth.
Flannery nearly scored the opener in the 67th minute but Glory shot-stopper Eliza Campbell made a save of the season contender pushing the shot just over the top right corner.
The controversial penalty arrived in the 84th minute when Karly Roestbakken made minimal contact with Kerr who went down inside the box and the referee didn't hesitate pointing to the spot.
Kerr stepped up to the mark and hammered into the bottom left corner to take the outright lead in the golden boot race and send Perth top of the ladder, while all but ending Canberra's season.
PERTH GLORY 1 (Samantha Kerr 85m pen) bt CANBERRA UNITED 0 at Dorrien Gardens. Referee: Casey Reibelt.
Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times