A crowd of 1369 eager South West soccer fanatics visited Hay Park on Saturday to catch Perth Glory women’s side draw with Canberra United.
The A-League showdown tested the players’ agility and determination, while the scorching heat made matters worse.
The Glory side entertained the crowd with a handful of shots on goal in the first 10 minutes.
Perth and Matildas powerhouse Samantha Kerr put on a show, netting her first goal to thunderous applause in the 13th minute.
Three minutes later, Kerr slotted her second to keep her side in finals contention.
American forward Rachel Hill put the Glory in front 3-0 in the 22nd, with Canberra’s defense and goalkeeper seeing red.
As the Glory (and crowd) relaxed, Canberra’s Ashleigh Sykes responded with two goals in the 24th and 34th minutes.
Kerr got her hat-trick in the 43rd minute, before a costly error from Perth keeper Melissa Maizels gave Canberra’s Grace Maher a goal in stoppage time.
It’s been good and it’s nice when you see heaps of people out here supporting us.Samantha Kerr
Play became fierce in the second half, with both sides needing a win to keep their finals hopes in tact.
United’s Elise Thorsnes evened the scores in the 62nd, slotting her shot comfortably past Glory’s defenders.
Perth went hell-for-leather towards the ball as Kerr, Raquel Rodriguez and Kim Carroll were all shown yellow cards.
Maizels and United keeper Haley Kopmeyer made spectacular saves as both sides went on the attack late in the half.
The 4-4 result dashed Glory’s chances of making the finals, while Canberra now sits fourth on the ladder.
Although disappointed in the result, Glory women’s coach Bobby Despotovski praised the South West for its hospitality during the visit.
“It’s brilliant – there’s 1300/1400 people here, kids are enjoying themselves, it’s a beautiful day, nice field to play on and good entertainment,” he said.
Kerr said the side felt supported by everyone they had met.
“It’s been good and it’s nice when you see heaps of people out here supporting us,” she said.
“It’s nice that we can give back to the community, I know that Bunbury is a real sporting city so it’s a win-win for everyone.”
City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan praised both teams’ efforts and the public’s support for the event.
He said the City planned to revitalise Hay Park’s soccer facilities to attract more exhibition games in the future.
Event initiator Giuliano Cantoni said he would like for Perth’s men’s and women’s sides to visit the region every year.