Canberra United's W-League season has been resurrected with a nail-biting 2-1 win over league leader Perth Glory at Deakin Stadium on Wednesday night.
After losing its past two games and dropping to sixth on the ladder, the significance of the win for Canberra was obvious when coach Jitka Klimkova dropped to her knees in relief when full-time was called.
Klimkova agreed it was as good as winning last year's grand final.
''Absolutely, maybe even [a] better feeling after this game because we needed it so much. I can finally say I am happy with both sides - the result and the performance,'' she said.
Led by captain Ellie Brush in her 50th W-League game, Canberra put on a solid defensive performance all over the field, obviously motivated to reverse its recent fortunes.
''It's a bit of excitement but a lot of relief as well,'' Brush said of the win.
''We knew we could do it, we spoke about what a good team they were, but our team as well today.
''We stood up and did ourselves proud.
''[It was] so important to get the three points, not just for the competition, but for our own self-esteem, really, and confidence in ourselves.''
The game provided plenty of nervous moments. Perth appeared to equalise when Collette McCallum found the back of the net in the 84th minute, but the goal was not allowed, having gone through untouched from an indirect free kick.
It was some good fortune for the home side after Perth had already twice hit the woodwork, and relief for the 623 fans and Klimkova on the sideline.
''I had five times heart attack,'' she said after the match.
''We are happy to say welcome to the luck again [but] it wasn't just the luck, it was hard work on the field and the girls deserved to win today.
''We had chances to have more goals in the net.
''Perth played really good football, they showed they are a really strong team, and [why] they are first position in the ladder.''
Canberra opened the scoring at the five-minute mark with a Caitlin Munoz penalty, but Perth equalised four minutes later through a header from Rosie Sutton off a free kick.
United controlled possession for most of the half, with American import Nikki Washington creating plenty of opportunities down the wing, but unable to convert.
Washington finally got the breakthrough in the 53rd minute, intercepting a pass in Perth's backline, then beating a defender to create a one-on-one with keeper Carly Telford and slotting it home for her second goal in as many matches.
McCallum's disallowed goal made for a nervy final to the match, but Canberra's defence held strong, the win keeping them in touch with the top four, with another home game on Saturday against the struggling Newcastle Jets.
CANBERRA UNITED 2 (Caitlin Munoz 5m pen, Nikki Washington 53m) bt PERTH GLORY 1 (Rosie Sutton 9m) at Deakin Football Stadium. Crowd: 623. Referee: Peta McCallum