A Glorious night for Perth

Perth Glory’s charge towards the finals is gathering pace with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix, a result which moves Dave Mitchell’s men above their Kiwi opponents to fifth on the A-League ladder.

Perth Glory-s charge towards the finals is gathering pace with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix, a result which moves Dave Mitchell-s men above their Kiwi opponents to fifth on the A-League ladder.

Daniel McBreen and Todd Howarth both found the net before half-time, while Eugene Dadi endured a miserable return to ME Bank Stadium as he saw his poorly-struck second-half penalty saved by Tando Velaphi.

“I-m just so pleased for the players, the last week has been so punishing on the players.

“What-s happened this week must not happen again,” Mitchell said, in reference to Perth-s third game in six days.

The Glory coach opted to make a number of changes to the side that staged such a stunning comeback at Adelaide last time out, with Naum Sekulovski returning at left-back, Jamie Coyne moving to right-back in place of Scott Neville, Mile Sterjovski slotting into right midfield in place of Adriano Pellegrino and Andrija Jukic handed his first start of the season playing just behind target-man McBreen.

Fired-up Glory issued a statement of intent as early as the first minute when an outnumbered Steve McGarry battled to win the ball in midfield before linking up with Jukic whose clever reverse pass was just too long for the onrushing McBreen.

The home side were clearly determined to match the visitors physically in every area of the field and consequently there were plenty of full-blooded challenges and off-the-ball niggles to keep referee Ryan Shepheard on his toes.

“I don-t think he (referee) changed the course of the game.”

Burns and McGarry continued to impress in the midfield engine room, providing plenty of protection for the back four while also linking up well with the frontmen and enabling full-backs Sekulovski and Jamie Coyne to overlap to good effect down either flank.

Phoenix increasingly found themselves on the back foot and it came as no surprise when they fell behind on 22 minutes.

McGarry-s persistence allowed Sekulovski to fire in a delightful diagonal ball from the left that arrowed its way to McBreen on the edge of the box. Glory-s new recruit cushioned the ball on his chest, powered away from marker Andrew Durante and then calmly slipped the ball past the advancing Liam Reddy to claim his second goal for the club.

Glory showed no sign of easing the pressure on the increasingly rattled visitors and shortly before the break their increased dominance yielded a deserved second goal.

This time it was Jamie Coyne who teed up the chance, beating Troy Hearfield down the right before whipping in a pinpoint cross to the far post where Howarth gleefully crashed a half-volley past the helpless Reddy and into the roof of the net.

McBreen continued to torment the Phoenix defence as soon as the second-half got underway, testing Reddy with a low drive on 49 minutes, but the visitors also finally managed to carve out a couple of chances themselves, with Hearfield drawing two decent saves from Tando Velaphi in quick succession.

Another effort from McBreen flew narrowly over the bar before the tensions that had simmered throughout the game boiled over on 70 minutes.

Phoenix substitute Adrian Caceres saw his fierce angled drive superbly parried by Velaphi, but the loose ball fell at the feet of Hearfield and as he prepared to pull the trigger, referee Shepheard harshly adjudged that he had been impeded by Glory substitute Scott Bulloch and pointed to the spot.

Already incensed by the penalty decision, Glory-s players were further inflamed by an incident in back play involving Naum Sekulovski and several opponents and an all-in bout of pushing and shoving ensued.

The delay certainly appeared to affect Eugene Dadi, as the former Glory striker produced a shockingly feeble spot-kick that was gratefully pounced upon by Velaphi, much to the delight of the home fans.

“I think someone was trying to show off and Tando has made a good save by standing his ground,” Mitchell said.

With the Kiwi side committing plenty of men forward in a bid to force their way back into the game, gaps inevitably appeared at the back and Glory came agonisingly close to adding a third when Sterjovski picked out a sliding McBreen with an inviting low cross, but the bustling target-man skied over from close range.

A second goal would have been a fitting reward for McBreen who turned in a classic centre-forward-s performance and along with McGarry was the stand-out in what was an excellent overall team display.

“I still don-t feel like I-m firing on all cylinders but hopefully we are going to keep the momentum going and by the time we get into the finals, because I-m confident we will, I-ll be ready deliver my best,” McGarry said.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Round 24

Perth Glory: 2 McBREEN 22-, HOWARTH 41-, Wellington Phoenix:0

Friday 22 January 2010 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth Crowd:9368

Referee:Ryan Shepheard Assistant Referees:Joe Fusari, Matthew Cheeseman Fourth official:David Costello

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Danny McBreen (5.Jamie HARNWELL 88-), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, , 6.Chris COYNE, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 14. Steven McGARRY, 17.Todd HOWARTH (13.Scott BULLOCH 56-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 23.Andrija JUKIC (16.Adriano PELLEGRINO 68-)

Substitutes not used:20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), Yellow cards: Sekulovski, Bulloch Red cards:nil

Wellington Phoenix: 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Jon McKAIN, , 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS (14. Adrian CACERES 54-), 8. Paul IFILL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 15. Eugene DADI, 17. Vince LIA (5. DIEGO 88-), 18. Ben SIGMUND (9.Chris GREENACRE 64-), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 40.Liam REDDY (gk)

Substitutes not used:20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), Yellow cards: Brown, Dadi, Muscat, Lia Red cards:nil