The PGFC Academy First Team missed out on the NPL WA title in dramatic circumstances on Saturday as a 75th-minute goal from substitute Adam Carlino condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Subiaco.
A draw at Rosalie Park would have been enough for John Gibson's men to be crowned champions, but the defeat meant they were pipped at the post by rivals Perth SC who won comfortably at Joondalup United.
While understandably disappointed, however, Gibson was magnanimous in defeat before switching his focus to the upcoming McInerney Ford Top Four Finals series
“We have been pretty good all season," he said, "but today we were not good enough. No excuses. On reflection a draw was possibly a fair result, but it wasn’t to be. We always knew it was going to be a tough game and it came down to one moment.
“The group is devastated. We were 15 minutes away from doing something pretty cool. Ultimately the title was decided yesterday, but we had numerous opportunities in the previous weeks to win it and we need to be much better.
“Our season to date has been ok and we’ve improved, but we’ve achieved nothing. It’s not easy to win things.
“Obviously it's disappointment for us today, but I must congratulate Ramon [Falzon] and Perth SC on winning the NPL title. They’ve been on a fantastic run in recent times and deserve to be praised, so well done to them.
“However, we look forward to meeting them next week in the Top 4 Finals which will present another great challenge.”
With Subiaco requiring a win to maintain their hopes of avoiding relegation, the opening exchanges were predictably tense and it wasn't until the 20th minute that either goal was threatened, Anthony Topini firing over the top.
The hosts went close again on the half-hour, player-coach Ian McMurray rising highest to head a free-kick at goal, but Glory custodian Jackson Lee was alert to tip the ball over the top at full stretch.
The home side, buoyed by the news of scores elsewhere going in their favour, went close again four minutes later when Manase Abandelwa made space down the flank and picked out the unmarked Mitchell Bath at the back post, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Glory improved after the break and soon carved out a decent chance, Michael McDougall finding a pocket of space on the edge of the box and unleashing a shot which drew a fine save from Subiaco 'keeper Ryan Montgomery.
Montgomery was then called into action again to foil Daniel Walsh after the defender had met Callum Timmins' dangerous free-kick, but just as they were enjoying their best spell of the game, the visitors were hit by a sucker-punch.
A rapid counter-attack saw Topini break down the left and although his shot on the run was saved by Lee, the rebound fell kindly for the onrushing Carlino who fired home from close-range.
Things went from bad to worse for Glory when Timmins was shown a second yellow card by referee David Bruce and despite applying some concerted late pressure, the ten men were unable to find a way through a resolute Subiaco defence.
On a more positive note, the Under-18s won 4-2 earlier in the day and were crowned champions of their division, while the Under-20s also grabbed all three points courtesy of a resounding 5-0 victory.
Subiaco 1 (Carlino 75’) Perth Glory 0
Referee: David Bruce
Subiaco: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 5 Manase ABANDELWA (4 Robert HARDING 73’), 6 Jackson DONGRAY, 8 Mitchell BATH (11 Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS 89’), 10 Alex CASTIELLO, 12 Nathan Smith, 13 Jonas DORLING, 14 Ross JARMAN, 15 Anthony TOPINI, 18 David PERICH, 19 Ian MCMURRAY (9 Adam CARLINO 61’)
Substitutes not used: 3. Vasco DA SILVA, 21 Teophile BROWN
Yellow cards: Jarman 29’, Bath 76’, Topini 81’
Red cards: Nil
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Luke BODNAR (14 Jordan ABRAHAMS 61’), 3 Nic MCDONALD, 4 Daniel WALSH, 5 Zayd FARAH, 6 Henry HORE, 7 Chok DAU, 8 Callum TIMMINS, 9 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (13 Gomo DUKULY 80’), 10 Michael MCDOUGALL (15 Abias BUKURA 80’), 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA
Substitutes not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 12 Jack LEECH
Yellow cards: Timmins 23’, Brown-Montgomery 38’
Red card: Timmins 83’