Glory dispatch table toppers

A sparkling second-half performance saw Perth Glory return to winning ways at ME Bank Stadium as they accounted for top of the table Sydney 2-0.

A sparkling second-half performance saw Perth Glory return to winning ways at ME Bank Stadium as they accounted for top of the table Sydney 2-0.

Goals from Scott Bulloch and Branko Jelic helped Dave Mitchell-s men to see off the challenge of the Sky Blues and give the West Aussies the perfect push start into the second half of the season.

“It was a good team performance, the defence was solid. We-re back to the old Glory that we-ve been used to,” Mitchell said.

“It was important for us to win today and it was nice to keep a clean sheet.”

The Glory boss made two changes from the side that drew with Wellington last time out, Jamie Coyne returning at right-back after shrugging off his thigh injury and Scott Bulloch making his first start of the campaign in place of Mile Sterjovski who dropped down to the bench after a week spent battling a stomach bug.

Glory also made a number of tactical adjustments with Scott Neville pushed into a right midfield berth and Todd Howarth starting at left-back to allow Naum Sekulovski a roaming brief on the left-hand side of midfield. To complete the midfield rearrangement, Adriano Pellegrino slotted into the middle in place of the suspended Wayne Srhoj, while new-signing Tommy Amphlett was named among the substitutes.

“We threw things around a bit today and you never quite know exactly how it is going to pan out, but when you-ve got people working hard and making it difficult for their opponents then you-ve always got a chance,” Mitchell said of his new look line-up.

The first-half may not have offered too much in the way of goalmouth action at either end, but it was played at a good tempo and the tactical battle threw up plenty of points of interest.

Sydney-s screening midfielders Terry McFlynn and Stuart Musialik meant that Bulloch and strike partner Branko Jelic often found themselves outnumbered by white shirts, but Jamie Coyne and Neville did combine effectively down the right on a number of occasions, with several dangerous crosses the net result.

Howarth also got in on the act and it was his in-swinging corner from the right that created the home side-s best chance of the first-half. Jelic got above his marker to head goal ward but the ball struck the unwitting Stephan Keller and rebounded away for a corner.

Karol Kisel, meanwhile, saw plenty of the ball in the opening period as the visitors shaded it in terms of possession and territory, but the Slovakian-s shooting failed to match his neat approach play as he fired several long-range efforts wide of the target.

Glory-s backline kept Sydney-s attacking duo of Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge reasonably well-shackled, although the latter did force a superb fingertip save from Tando Velaphi with a well-struck angled drive shortly before the break.

Looking for a way to unlock Sydney-s resolute rearguard, Dave Mitchell introduced Sterjovski at the start of the second-half in place of Howarth and the Socceroos star made an immediate impact.

Embarking on a slaloming run down the flank, he left several Sydney defenders flat-footed before dragging his low shot narrowly wide of the near post.

Glory looked brighter all over the park and on 57 minutes they made the breakthrough they had worked so hard to find.

Jamie Coyne was the provider, whipping in an inviting cross from the right and Bulloch, despite sporting a bandage on his head following a first-half clash with Sung-Hwan Byun, showed no hesitation in powering home a diving header from close range.

That turned out to be his final contribution as he made way for Victor Sikora and the effervescent Dutchman played a key role in ensuring that Sydney did not find a way back into the game.

If the clutch of visiting fans were expecting their side to mount a rousing comeback they were mistaken as Glory continued to look the stronger side. On 78 minutes Sterjovski released Jelic, but the Serbian striker-s attempted lob was claimed by Sydney ‘keeper Clint Bolton.

Sikora made sure his second half introduction was well worth the wait as he continued to probe Sydney-s defence with his tenacious attack on the ball.

The Sky Blues did threaten briefly when substitute Jon Aloisi glanced a header wide and then fired over the bar after latching onto a punched clearance from Velaphi, but moments later Glory grabbed a second to secure the win.

A clever one-two between Sikora and Sterjovski saw the latter race into the box, and while he had an option to shoot, the unselfish striker instead skilfully slid a low cross into the path of Jelic who neatly tucked away his fifth goal of the season.

Perth continued to pile on the pressure in the dying moments and were perhaps unfortunate not to have added a third before the final whistle brought down the curtain on Glory-s third successive victory over the men from the Harbour City.

“There-s not much between all the teams. There are certain little bits and pieces that can go for you or against you… for us to get that win and make that gap a bit bigger was really important,” said Mitchell.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Round 15

Perth Glory 2 (Scott BULLOCH 57-, Branko JELIC 88-) Sydney FC 0 Sunday, 22 November 2009 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Referee: Strebre Delovski Assistant Referees: Michael Nugus and Joe Fusari Fourth Official: Steven Gregory

Crowd: 8,932

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Scott BULLOCH (8. Victor SIKORA 58-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH (21.Mile STERJOVSKI 46-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI (28. Tommy AMPHLETT 81-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk) Yellow cards: Victor SIKORA 68- Red cards: Nil

Sydney FC: 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Stephan KELLER, 4.Simon COLOSIMO, 6.Karol KISEL, 7.Brendan GAN (18.Adam CASEY 72-), 8.Stuart MUSIALIK, 14.Alex BROSQUE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN (c), (9.John ALOISI 64-), 19.Mark BRIDGE, 22.Sung Hwan BYUN (12.Shannon COLE 81-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), Yellow cards: Sebastian RYALL 47-, Simon COLOSIMO 66- Red cards: Nil