Academy side denied at the death

The Perth Glory Academy First Team were forced to settle for a share of the spoils on Saturday after Balcatta found the net in stoppage time to secure a 2-2 draw at a rainswept Grindleford Reserve. 

Debutant Jayden Gorman had given Glory the lead on 16 minutes and the visitors duly dominated the opening period to take that lead into the break.

Balcatta equalised on the hour through Adam Zimarino, however and although Gorman subsequently bagged what looked set to be the winner two minutes from the end, Jon Corness popped up with an equaliser for the hosts in the third minute of stoppage time.

"It was one that got away today," concluded PGFC Academy Head Coach Richard Garcia.

"We started really well, deservedly led and we should have gone on with it when we were on top; but it wasn’t to be.

"It was a great strike from Jayden [Gorman] for the opener and we controlled the rest of the half and could have been further ahead had it not been for  [Balcatta goalkeeper] Lewis Italiano.

"Even in the second half we had some great chances and Lewis [Italiano] pulled off some fantastic saves to keep them in it.

"After conceding a sloppy goal and showing lapses in concentration, we regrouped and deservedly regained the lead and thought we had the three points.

"But we defended poorly as a team and showed our inexperience for the last one, although it was a good finish.

"We need to maintain our concentration when we are on top and dominating.

"We must be better when teams have their moments in attack and make sure that we are continuously focused."

Garcia's side made the best possible start to the game, Jack Leech seizing upon a poor clearance from ex-Glory man Italiano before picking out Gorman who raced towards goal and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner of the net.

And Glory went close again moments later when a superb cross-field ball from Leech found the overlapping Josh Rawlings as he raced into the box, but his shot was deflected behind by Calum O’Connell.

Then on 38 minutes, the crowd and both benches stood in a minute’s applause for Dylan Tombides to mark the round which is played in his memory and to raise awareness of the foundation named in his honour, DT38.

Moments later Glory were in again, a good advantage from referee Michal Jasinski allowing Henry Hore to race forward and play in Ciaran Bramwell who saw his shot was well saved by Italiano at full stretch.

A lively start to the second half saw Italiano called into action yet again, this time to deny Hore and Ethan Brooks in quick succession, while at the other end, Nic Speca had to be alert to push away a dangerous cross from Shubham Mokala.

Balcatta did find a way through on the hour-mark, however, Zimarino latching on to a ball from Alex Wild, cutting inside his marker and drilling low past Speca.

The chances continued to flow for both sides, with Speca doing well to tip John Kearney's header over the bar before Gorman restored his side's advantage with his second goal of the afternoon.

Hore provided the through-ball and Glory's number 11 clinically clipped the ball over the advancing Italiano to claim what looked like the winner.

But there was to be a sting in the tail, as with the last kick of the game, Corness rifled a first-time shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.

In the day's other games, meanwhile, Glory's Under-18s and Under-20s both picked up three points courtesy of respective 5-0 and 3-1 victories.

Match Details

Balcatta FC 2 (Zimarino 58', Corness 90+3') Perth Glory 2 (Gorman 16', 88')

Half Time: 0-1

Referee: Michael Jasinski

Balcatta: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2. Joseph MARINO, 3. John KEARNEY, 4. Calum O'CONNELL, 5. Shubham MOKALA (13. Carmelo GIUFFRE 68'), 7. Ben PELLIZZARI, 10. Jon CORNESS, 11. Adam ZIMARINO (9. Gavin KNIGHT 83'), 12. Roberto DEL BORRELLO, 15. Calum STOCKS (8. Alex WILD 30'), 16. Alex CASTIELLO

Substitutes not used: RGK David KEENAN, 22. Michael ZIMARINO

Yellow cards: O’Connell 63'

Red cards: None

Perth Glory: GK Nick SPECA, 2. Zayd FARAH, 3. Joshua RAWLINS, 4. Luke BODNAR, 5. Nicholas WALSH, 6. Josh SAMSON, 7. Ethan BROOKS (15. Gomo DUKULY 55'), 8. Jack LEECH (16. Kristian POPOVIC 55'), 9. Ciaran BRAMWELL (24. Gabriel POPOVIC 62'), 10. Henry HORE, 11. Jayden GORMAN

Substitutes not used: RGK Jacob RANGE, 22. Alessandro CIRCALI

Yellow cards: Rawlins 47', Farah 85'

Red cards: None

Picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy

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