A Jacinta Coleman header earned Redbacks the three points in a hard-fought win on Sunday at a wet, wintry Celebration Park against Subiaco AFC, to take them back to the top of the table.
Results on Friday meant Redbacks had dropped to second place in the table so they knew they couldn't afford to drop any points in the game if they were to restore their three-point lead over the chasing pack.
On paper this looked like it should be a certain win, as Subiaco have yet to register a win this season, but in the game against them earlier in the season the team struggled to break down the determined Subiaco side, and they also went into the game without Sarah Carroll, Renee Leota, Lauren Continibali, Grace Monteiro and Olivia Woods, so this was going to be a tough test, especially given the wet and slippery conditions.
The team started off very brightly though and the first scoring opportunity occurred in the 1st minute when a Kim Carroll free-kick needed a smart save from the Subiaco goalkeeper and captain Marissa Pidgeon to keep it out.
Another opportunity to open the scoring presented itself in the 10th minute when Jayna Ridley used her body well to win the ball and break free to go one on one with Pidgeon. The keeper again pulled off a good save to push Ridley's effort wide of the post.
Redbacks continued to pressurise their opponents and they finally got the goal their play deserved in the 30th minute when leading goalscorer Larissa Walsh was released by a neat header from skipper Shawn Billam. Walsh then produced a delightful chip over Pidegon into the net to make it 1-0.
Redbacks realised that they would need more than a single goal to win the game and continued to create chances, with a corner from Carla Bennett in the 38th minute forcing the Subiaco defence to clear off the line.
The importance of extending the lead was then highlighted when Subiaco struck with an equaliser in the 43rd minute. A dangerous cross in from the right found an unmarked Anna-Lena Dymowski in the box and her header beat Maya Diederichsen to make it 1-1.
The visitors then nearly went in front in the 50th minute, when Dymowski was played into space, but she dragged her shot just wide.
The winning goal arrived in the 64th minute when Bennett's corner found the head of Jacinta Coleman who put the ball into the back of the net for her third goal of the campaign but more importantly put her team 2-1 up.
Coleman had a chance to extend the lead still further in the 68th minute when her first touch took her clear of the defence into the penalty box, but the covering defenders got back quickly enough to put enough pressure on her to force her to hurry her shot.
Despite continued pressure, the third goal wouldn't come, but they finished the game strongly and with 27 shots and 12 corners can feel a little unlucky not to have scored more.
Coach Carlos Vega-Mena post-match interview.