Melbourne City have suffered their third consecutive loss after going down 3-2 to Perth Glory at AAMI Park.
City went behind to a Rosie Sutton strike (49’) but then fought back to take the lead through Jess Fishlock (60’) and Aivi Luik (72’).
But a double to Glory star Sam Kerr (77’, 84’) stunned the reigning champions and gave the Perth side a lone hold on top spot after Round 8.
Sydney FC opened the round on Friday with a tough 1-0 win over a Brisbane Roar side that were much improved after their hefty defeat against Canberra United the previous week.
Kate Stengel scored twice as Western Sydney Wanderers came from behind to earn a crucial 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets.
Having sat out the round, Canberra United will have the opportunity to return top when they open Round 9 on Wednesday at Melbourne Victory with the match broadcast on Fox Sports/ABC TV.
Meanwhile last season’s invincibles, City, have dropped to fourth on the W-League table after Tuesday’s defeat.
Glory could have hit the front as early as the 15th minute when Alyssa Mautz played through Vanessa Di Bernardo only to be denied by Lydia Williams.
Minutes later Jess Fishlock was fouled, she took the free kick which forced a save from Gabrielle Dal Busco which struck the crossbar.
In the 37th minute Sam Kerr had a one-on-one with Williams and again the Matildas goalkeeper was there to rescue City.
The first half ended goalless but it took just four minutes into the second stanza for Glory to get on the scoresheet when Shawn Billam teed up Sutton who fired home.
Welsh international, Fishlock, equalised on the hour, taking advantage of a goalmouth scramble with an acrobatic strike.
Fifteen-year-old Jacynta Galabadaarachchi struck the crossbar seven minutes later, but on the other end Kerr was striving forward only to be denied by Williams once again.
City then hit the front in the 72nd minute when Galabadaarachchi’s ball landed to Aivi Luik whose shot deflected into the goal.
Five minutes later the Glory showed they were not finished when Kerr finally got her deserved goal to make it game on.
American Lauren Barnes was given her marching orders after she took down Kerr in midfield with replays suggesting she might have been clean through.
And with five minutes remaining Kerr’s cheeky dink at the edge of the box claimed the winner for the Glory to send City to its third consecutive loss.
Fishlock said luck was simply not on their side and the game could have gone either way.
She also highlighted how much of a threat Kerr was when they lost the ball.
“It would be big concern if we were playing really badly, weren’t making passes or creating of those things,” Fishlock said.
“The reality is it hasn’t been that way at all, we could have walked away from both games with six points and the last three games.
“It’s a funny old season and at the beginning of the year, we played awful and won games… I have no issues in saying that and right now we’re playing well and losing games, that’s football and that’s the way it goes.
“We have to keep bouncing back and believing the way we can play and I have no doubt it will turn.”
Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said he was “ecstatic” that the Perth side were top of the table but that they needed to concentrate on next week’s clash against Newcastle Jets.
Despotovski said there was a real buzz collectively in the squad which trained on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“City were on top when they hit the lead, they deserve to be in front at that point, what happened next is the girls woke up to themselves,” Despotovski said.
“We needed some spark and Kerr provided it, pouncing on a loose ball and Sutton worked extremely hard in today’s game.
“Sam is instrumental, anyone in the league would like to have her on their side… a leader of the pack, leading the team in the right way.”
Sydney FC 1 (Princess Ibini 55’)
Brisbane Roar 0
Friday 23 December 2016
Venue: Lambert Park
Referee: Katie Patterson
SYDNEY FC: Sham Khamis (gk), Teresa Polias (c), Liz Ralston, Servet Uzunlar, Nicola Bolger (Remy Siemsen 79’), Natalie Tobin (Francisca Ordega 59’), Georgia Yeoman-Dale, Alanna Kennedy, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis, Princess Ibini (Caitlin Foord 71’)
Substitutes – Sarah Easthope (gk)
Cautions – Liz Ralston 50’, Leena Khamis 59’, Teresa Polias 66’
BRISBANE ROAR: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Nina Frausing-Pedersen, Amy Chapman, Clare Polkinghorne (c), Kaitlyn Torpey, Katrina Gorry, Allira Toby (Brooke Spence 84’), Tameka Butt, Summer O’Brien (Angela Beard 30’), Emily Gielnik, Madlyn Evans
Substitutes – Georgina Worth (gk), Abbe Lloyd
Cautions – none
Newcastle Jets 1 (Jenna Kingsley 8’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Katie Stengel 11’, 30’)
Monday 26 December 2016
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Referee: Lara Lee
NEWCASTLE JETS: Katelyn Rowland (gk), Sophie Nenadovic, Megan Oyster, Cassidy Davis, Gema Simon (c), Emma Stanbury (Liana Danaskos 69’), Jen Hoy, Grace McIntyre (Brooke Miller 79’), Jenna Kingsley, Clare Wheeler, Ashlee Brodigan (Rhali Dobson 37’)
Substitutes – Claire Coelho (gk)
Cautions – Sophie Nenadovic 87’
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: Jada Whyman (gk), Caitlin Cooper (c), Chloe O’Brien (Eliza Ammendolia 75’), Helen Petinos, Kendall Fletcher, Sarah Yatim (Rachel Lowe 60’), Erica Halloway, Katie Stengel, Paige Nielsen, Ellie Carpenter, Angelique Hristodoulou
Substitutes – Casey Dumont (gk), Alix Roberts
Cautions – Caitlin Cooper 22’, Ellie Carpenter 48’, Jada Whyman 52’, Erica Halloway 55’
Melbourne City 2 (Jess Fishlock 60’, Aivi Luik 72’)
Perth Glory 3 (Rosie Sutton 47’, Sam Kerr 77’, 85’)
Tuesday 27 December 2016
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:05PM (Local)
Referee: Casey Reibelt
MELBOURNE CITY: Lydia Williams (gk), Teigen Allen, Lauren Barnes, Laura Alleway, Aivi Luik, Steph Catley (c), Jess Fishlock, Erika Tymrak (Jacinta Galabadaarachchi 62’), Rebekah Stott, Melina Ayres (Melina Ayres 84’), Beverly Yanez
Substitutes – Erin Hudson (gk), Tyla Jay Vlajnic
Cautions – Jess Fishlock 65’, Lauren Barnes 73’, 79’, Teigen Allen 88’
Red Card: Lauren Barnes 79’
PERTH GLORY: Gabrielle Dal Busco (gk), Sarah Carroll, Kim Carroll, Alyssa Mautz, Nicole Stanton, Shawn Billam (Jaymee Gibbons 53’), Rosie Sutton, Vanessa DiBernardo (Caitlin Doeglas 70’), Natasha Rigby, Sam Kerr (c), Arianna Romero
Substitutes – Melissa Maizels (gk), Patricia Charalambous
Cautions – Nicole Stanton 18’, Natasha Rigby 43’, Jaymee Gibbons 92’
Adelaide United, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory – BYE