Academy side roar back to down Lions

The PGFC Academy First Team moved to the top of the NPL WA ladder after an injury-time winner from defender Walter Scott secured a dramatic 3-2 win over Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park.

Jake Brimmer missed an early penalty for the visitors before the home side raced to a two-goal lead courtesy of a brace of headed efforts early in the second half from Steve Sokol and Liam Henderson.

But the Glory youngsters hit back through Joe Knowles and substitute Yacoub Mustafa to level it up and just as the points looked set to be shared, Scott popped up in the box in the 94th minute to slam home and secure his side's sixth win in nine games.

While delighted with the last-gasp winner, however, Head Coach John Gibson was not particularly impressed with his charges' overall performance on the day.

“It was a fantastic comeback in the end," he said, "but we let ourselves down with our approach to the game and that is disappointing. Early on we created good opportunities, plus a penalty and didn’t capitalize.
“Stirling were super-competitive right until the end and the crowd was very parochial, which is another challenge, but we as a group always focus on ourselves and what we can control. We were certainly very sloppy at times today and we demand much more from each other. This young group will only get better and grow; they aren’t even close to where we want to be individually and collectively. We will work even harder in attaining our goals and targets.”

The win saw Glory replace Perth SC at the top of the table on goal-difference, but Gibson insisted that the hard work starts now.

“We remain focused and intent on maintaining the standards we’ve set, plus improving further," he said. "Our biggest battle is ourselves. We now move on to next week with a trip to Inglewood United, who have had a win today and it will be good to pit our wits against a familiar foe with Glory A-League striker Andy Keogh now Head Coach at the club.”

Goalscorer Scott, meanwhile, was quick to praise the character Glory showed to battle their way back in the latter stages.

“The game provided us with a big challenge," he said. "Throughout the whole game we were not at our best and we will work in training this week to eliminate certain negatives within our game, but in saying that, I am really happy for the guys that came off the bench that lifted the whole squad and galvanized the team.

“Yacoub creating two quick goals got us back in the game and fortunately I could finish very late to get the win. It was important to win because, on days like these when you aren’t at your best, coming away with a result is very important over a long season.

“I was really happy to score. I just gambled and made a run into the box as I knew it was late and fortunately the ball fell to me. It was a great feeling and hopefully I can get a few more this year.”

An entertaining first half saw plenty of chances created, with Brimmer squandering the best of them when he struck the post from the spot after Knowles had been brought down in the box.

But the deadlock was finally broken just after the break when former Livingston midfielder Dean Cummings picked out Sokol with a pinpoint cross and his glancing header found the top corner.

With the home fans in full voice, Henderson then nodded home Stirling's second only for Glory to hit back almost immediately as Knowles buried his sixth goal of the campaign from close range.

And it was soon 2-2 as substitute Mustafa raced at the home defence, played a neat one-two with Callum Timmins and then applied a clinical finish.

The comeback was duly completed right at the death when Knowles nodded down Brimmer's cross and Scott pounced to find the net.

The First Team's victory completed a clean sheet for the Academy sides on Saturday with the Under-18s winning 7-1 and the Under-20s getting up 2-0.

Match Details

NPL WA 2018 Season Round 9

Stirling Lions 2 (Sokol 47', Henderson 57') Perth Glory 3 (Knowles 59', Mustafa 61', Scott 90+4')

Half-time 0-0

Macedonia Park

Referee: Josh Mannella

Stirling Lions: GK Pasquale GIOFFRE, 4 Alex SULESKI, 5 Liam HENDERSON, 6 Dhhors CHOL, (19 Zane CASELLA 90+2’) 7 Dean CUMMINGS, 8 Dejan SPASESKI, 9 Robert PETKOV (16 Moses KALAU 81’) 11 Alex TANEVSKI 13 David FILIPPOU (12 Matthew CHERRIE 66’) 14 Steve SOKOL, 15 Nathan DE ABREU  

Substitutes not used: RGK Lance ALAVAKIS, 17 Robbie MCNEILL

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Luca BODNAR, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Sam RIAK, 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS, 7 Jacob ITALIANO (13 Yacoub MUSTAFA 58’) 8 Brandon WILSON (14 Henry HORE 52’), 9 Joe KNOWLES, 10 Jake BRIMMER, 11 Daniel STYNES (12 Chok DAU 72’)

Substitutes not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 15 Harry QUIGLEY 

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