Match Preview: Wanderers v Perth

Our Wander Women will look to take a giant step towards a first finals campaign since 2020 when they host the Perth Glory on Saturday afternoon.

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The Wanderers come into the match in a confident mood after putting in one of their most clinical performances in a midweek win over Canberra United.

They may have fallen behind after less than a minute, but they showed their resolve to equalise just three minutes later, and scored three more times to secure a 4-1 victory that saw them jump into the top six.

Despite being without the services of star attacker Sophie Harding, who was rested as a precaution after tweaking her ankle last weekend, Holly Caspers stood up and performed in her place, getting two goals as well as an assist to take her tally to five goals and seven assists for the season.

There were also great moments as Madison McComasky and Ella Buchanan scored their first goals in Red and Black, with the latter scoring her first ever professional goal in just her fourth ever game.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 13: Holly Caspers of the Wanderers celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal during the A-League Women round five match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Canberra United at Wanderers Football Park, on March 13, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The win was a crucial one for the Wanderers, as it represented their game in hand on many of the teams around them, and they now hold a three point gap over both the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory in seventh and eighth, whilst also having a superior goal difference over both.

Robbie Hooker’s chargers are right where they want to be with just three games to go, and they know a win over the Glory will put them on the cusp of a finals campaign that many wouldn’t have expected at the start of the season.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 07: Sophie Harding of the Wanderers celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal during the A-League Women round 11 match between Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers at Macedonia Park, on January 07, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

The side did experience a tough run of form recently, but Hooker made tactical tweaks -reverting to a back four after spending much of a season with a fiver at the back formation -which has seen performances and results improve in recent weeks.

They were unlucky not to defeat Canberra in the first of their two clashes on Saturday, with Maliah Morris’ late equaliser earning them a deserved share of the points, and they will hope to continue their lethal form in front of goal against the Glory.

For Perth, a season that started with so much promise – they were top after eight rounds and were in the top two until round 12 – has fallen away dramatically, going without a win in their last nine games and now staring down the barrel of failing to qualify for the finals after being in the mix for much of the first half of the season.

To put their decline into perspective, they have failed to win a game in 2024, with their last victory coming over the Central Coast Mariners in the final game of 2023.