PGFC Academy first team have fought back from 2-1 down to beat Balcatta 3-2 in the Football West NPL Round 15 game at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
An early penalty to Henry Hore gave Glory the perfect start, but the home side hit back to lead at the break with goals from Alex Wild and skipper Calum O’Connell.
After the break, Perth dug deep as Chok Dau levelled and the Glory Youth MGP Yacoub Mustafa sealed the win. Glory had to defend doggedly late and managed to hold out Balcatta to claim all three points.
“We made a perfect and fast start to the game, which has been a strong focus in recent times. Unfortunately, we conceded two sloppy goals, which was very disappointing and isn’t like us,” Head Coach John Gibson said.
“Obviously, we had six changes in the side today from previous weeks, so the cohesiveness wasn't there but the players that have been patiently waiting for an opportunity performed well and need to be praised,
“It shows we have some good depth in our squad this season. We were pleased for the group with the way the players bounced back to score the equaliser and then went on to score again quickly then manage the game from that point on.”
Gibson has been pleased the way his players have finished games off, and again it showed the maturity of the group.
“It’s certainly more than just fitness, this group keeps evolving and growing, they are individually and collectively tough,” he explained.
“They have strong self-belief, confidence and character. They approach every game with an aggressive mentality, but this is a process that is consistently growing and evolving.
“We are demanding more from each other and are pushing even harder - we still have major improvements within this group and look forward to next week, another tough game and challenge against Joondalup United.”
The Academy side made the perfect start and were ahead in the first minute. Glory pounced on a loose ball from the kick-off and Callum Timmins played in Domfeh, who was brought down by Balcatta keeper Kyle McDonald and referee Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot. Hore kept his nerve and stepped up to score from the resulting penalty.
The home side hit back and levelled 12 minutes later, as O’Connell’s ball over the top found Alex Wild who fired home from close-range.
The home side then hit the front on the half hour, skipper O’Connell making no mistake. Perth suffered a blow on the stroke of half-time with defender Sam Riak limping off, and he was replaced by 15-year-old Daniel Walsh.
PGFC were on the front foot in the second half as Hore took on a couple of Balcatta defenders before unleashing a powerful shot, but former Glory Youth custodian McDonald produced a stunning save to deny him.
There was little the keeper could do on 65 minutes when Dau restored parity. Hore picked out substitute Bayley Brown-Montgomery, whose clean back-heel found Dau, whose shot had too much power to beat McDonald.
Then three minutes later we regained the lead. Ollie Annis found the overlapping Dau, who picked out Mustafa, who volleyed home into the far corner of the net.
Balcatta pressed late but the Glory stood firm and could've added a fourth late. The lively Dau raced at the Balcatta defence, beating two defenders before racing into the box, but McDonald was out quickly to save at his feet.
A great team performance from the youngsters and keeper Lee Jackson said they had to earn it. “It was a hard-fought win and we showed a lot of character to come back from 2-1 down,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be conceding the two goals that we did, and similarly we could’ve scored more, so we definitely have some things to work on throughout the week.
“We were dominant for major periods of the game but I think putting those final touches on the game will separate us from the other teams in the league.”
It was a perfect day for the other Academy senior teams against Balcatta the under 20’s won 3-1 while the under 18’s completed the treble running out 2-1 winners.
Balcatta 2 (Wild 13', O'Connell 31')
Perth Glory FC 3 (Hore pen 1', Day 65', Mustafa 68’)
Referee: Michal Jasinski
Balcatta: GK Kyle MCDONALD, 2 Joseph MARINO, 3 Hayden STEVENS, 4 Calum O’CONNELL (C), 5 Tom PELLIZZARI, 7 Asher NELSON (15 Adriano JELENOVIC 57’), 8 Carmelo GIAFFRE, 9 Alex WILD, 10 Jonathan CORNESS, 18 Robert DEL BORRELLO (20 Shubham MAKELA 63’), 23 Lawrence SHURAMA (12 Anton DE FRANCESCH 72’)
Substitutes not used: 25 Damien STANOEVSKI, 21 AMOS
Yellow cards: Stevens 45+2’, Del Borello 62’, O’Connell 67’
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Luca BODNAR, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Sam RIAK (15 Daniel WALSH 42’), 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS, 7 Chok DAU, 8 Henry HORE, 9 Michael DOMFEH (13 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY 61’), 10 Michael MCDOUGALL (C) (12 Jack LEECH 81’), 11 Yacoub MUSTAFA
Substitutes not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 14 Gomo DUKULY
Yellow cards: Hore 28’, Riak 37’, Brown-Montgomery 66’