Perth Glory ended their inaugural National Premier League WA season with a 4-2 win against Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium.
A brace from Jamie Maclaren, that took his season’s goal tally to nine goals in five appearances, and an own goal from Jarrod McNally, had given the Glory a 3-0 lead, before Inglewood skipper, and former Glory midfielder Andrija Jukic pulled one back before the break. Brandon O’Neill restored the Glory’s three goal advantage just after the hour, before United substitute Emmanuel Mansaray scored a late consolation.
Glory coach Jon Gibson felt that having access to the players helped to keep his side competitive throughout the season. “When we’ve had players drop down its made a difference to the squad, but pay credit to the young boys this year who’ve stuck with it, they’ve learnt some big lessons this year,” he said. “It’s difficult, obviously we’re playing within the regulations, it’s interesting, because when the score is the other way we’re not good enough.
Gibson was delighted the way the younger lads have improved over the season, which bodes well in the future for the club. “The group is a really young group, they’re all 96’s, so that’s been really interesting, having boys play in a men’s competition, which is very foreign to them,” he said. “You see one or two of them splattered amongst senior players at other clubs, but here it’s slightly different and they have to be totally accountable on the pitch.
It was perfect start to the game for the Glory, and they were ahead after only seven minutes. Maclaren burst clear down the left, and his low cross was steered past Luke Martino by the unfortunate Inglewood defender Scott Blackmore, who had tracked back to get in front of the lively Chris Harold.
The Glory was dominating and doubled their advantage three minutes later. Maclaren was given far too much space on the edge of the penalty area and his low shot gave Martino no chance. It was 3-0 on the quarter hour, Daniel de Silva’s superb through ball sent Maclaren clear, and the Australian under 20’s striker lobbed Martino to all but seal the win.
A shell shocked Inglewood rallied and pulled a goal back on 34 minutes. Ryan Clarke was a constant threat in the game and it was from his cross that Jukic nodded past Jack Duncan from close-range. The goal lifted Inglewood and they went close to second moments later. Jordan D’Sousa’s cross picked out Shane Pickering, whose header was straight at Duncan who saved. Duncan again denied Pickering before the break, the big defender lost his marker in the box from Jarrad McNally’s cross, but his side foot shot was saved low by the Glory custodian.
The Maclaren show continued after the break, the 21-year-old’s long-range shot crashing off the bar. But it was Inglewood who began to take control, as they looked to end the football career of former Werder Bremen player Matt Danskin, who announced his retirement in the week. Greg Sharland and Jukic fired wide before Duncan saved well to deny Clarke’s shot on the hour.
But somewhat against the play the Glory made it 4-1. They won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, and O’Neill’s set piece was curled up and over the wall and into the net, giving Martino no chance. Still Inglewood pushed forward and Pickering’s header was cleared off the line by some desperate defending by Glory. But on 76 minutes they did pull one back, Mansaray scoring from close-range, after Clarke’s long throw wasn’t cleared.
The Glory were still a threat going forward and a superb reaction save from Martino denied Maclaren his hat trick. Then Inglewood were then given a lifeline late when Mansaray was brought down in the penalty area and referee Tim Mihevc pointed straight to the spot. Clarke stepped up, however Duncan guessed the right way and saved.
The win took the Glory up to 10th spot on the NPL-WA table, after Subiaco AFC were beaten 3-0 by ECU Joondalup, and Gibson is already looking ahead to next season. “We’ve got a week off and then it’s straight into trials and the NYL (National Youth League) season, so the majority of the same group will stick together and move forward,” he said.
Perth Glory 4 (OG 7’, Maclaren 10’, 15’, O’Neil 68’)
Inglewood United 2 (Jukic 34’, Mansaray 76’)
Saturday 23rd August 2014
Intiga Stadium, Inglewood
Referee: Tim Mihevc
Assistant referees: Daniel Cole, Simon Hicks
Attendance: 100 Approx.
Perth Glory: GK Jack DUNCAN, 2 Josh TUCKER (17 Bor Bor SAMBINI 58’), 3 Jacob COLLARD, 4 Mark BARNETT, 5 Gian ALBANO (19 Slob VULIN 37’) (16 Jack OLDHAM 76’), 6 Brandon O’NEIL, 7 Harry O’BRIEN, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 9 Jamie McLAREN, 10 Daniel DE SILVA, 11 Chris HAROLD
Subs not used: RGK Luke RADONICH, 14 Matt NTOUMENOPOULOS
Yellow cards: nil