Two penalties emphatically converted by Mile Sterjovski and Shane Smeltz sent Glory back into the winners’ circle at the expense of Gold Coast United on Saturday, ensuring that the Iron Ore Cup could be added to the club’s trophy cabinet for the first time in its short history.
Two penalties emphatically converted by Mile Sterjovski and Shane Smeltz sent Glory back into the winners- circle at the expense of Gold Coast United on Saturday, ensuring that the Iron Ore Cup could be added to the club-s trophy cabinet for the first time in its short history.
The home side were good value for the win, dominating for long periods, while the Queenslanders endured ninety minutes to forget, capped off by the second-half dismissal of defender Zac Anderson.
On a warm, sticky night, Glory turned up the temperature on the out-of-form visitors right from the opening whistle. Restored to a central midfield role, Liam Miller quickly found his passing range, connecting with fellow-returnee Mile Sterjovski to good effect several times during the opening exchanges.
United found themselves stretched left and right by Sterjovski and Andrezinho and had a narrow escape as early as the fourth minute when Sterjovski picked out Shane Smeltz with a delightful curling cross, but Glory-s leading scorer saw his diving header comfortably gathered by Glen Moss in the visitors- goal.
Having prised the Queenslanders open down the right, the home side then switched their attentions to the left on 12 minutes when Todd Howarth overlapped from full-back and picked out Billy Mehmet whose viciously swerving shot from just outside the box had Moss scrambling, but ultimately flashed centimetres wide of the post.
Undeterred by another near miss, Ian Ferguson-s men continued to flow forward and their incessant pressure finally bore fruit seven minutes later in bizarre circumstances. Sterjovski-s corner prompted a brain snap from Gold Coast defender Zac Anderson who opted to try and clear it with his hands rather than his head, giving referee Strebre Delovski little alternative other than to point to the spot.
Sterjovski stepped up to the plate and as the Shed held their collective breath, calmly sent Moss the wrong way to bag his twelfth goal for the club and celebrate the birth of daughter Lilly earlier this week in style.
With Jacob Burns successfully shackling danger man James Brown, the visitors failed to offer much in attack and with the exception of a headed effort from Dylan Macallister that flashed over the bar, Danny Vukovic-s goal was rarely threatened. At the other end, meanwhile, the hosts continued to ask plenty of questions of United-s defence, but were unable to add to their lead before the break as both sides seemed to tire in the unforgiving conditions.
Half-time Perth Glory 1-0 Gold Coast United
United sent out a sharp reminder that they were still in the contest early in the second-half, but Vukovic showed great reflexes and a safe pair of hands to claim Brown-s well-struck shot after Adama Traore had got away down the left to deliver the cross.
That let-off stung Glory into action, however and within sixty seconds they had doubled their advantage, again from the penalty spot. This time it was Andrezinho who drew a foul from Ben Halloran and Smeltz assumed spot-kick responsibilities from Sterjovski. Having waited for Moss to commit himself to his dive, the New Zealand international cheekily dinked the ball over the prone ‘keeper into the net before racing off to celebrate his fifth goal of the campaign with his delighted team-mates.
Already facing an uphill task, United-s chances of an unlikely comeback were dealt a further blow just after the hour mark when Anderson picked up a second yellow card for a cynical bodycheck on Andrezinho.
Mehmet then went close on 72 minutes as he climbed highest to meet a Miller free-kick only to head narrowly wide, while moments later at the other end, Trent McClenahan timed his sliding block to perfection as Macallister bore down on goal in a rare United foray forward.
By this time Adam Taggart had been introduced from the bench for his first senior appearance of the season and the Australia Under-23 international came close to making an immediate impact, firing in a stinging drive that was deflected away at the expense of a corner by the industrious Traore.
Such was Glory-s dominance in the latter stages that they strung together more than thirty consecutive passes at one point and almost added a third in the dying seconds as Miller stung Moss-s palms with a low shot and Taggart was ruled off-side as he rattled home the rebound.
The youngster was left holding his head in his hands, but he was all smiles moments later as Delovski brought the curtain down on a vital win that sends Glory into their two-game road trip to Sydney and Wellington with a real spring in their step.
Perth Glory: 2 (Sterjovski 19', Smeltz 54') Gold Coast United:0 nib Stadium, Perth Saturday 3rd December 2011 Attendance: 6484 Referee: Strebre Delovski
Perth Glory: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Josh MITCHELL, 3.Bas van den BRINK, 4.Billy MEHMET, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Liam MILLER, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (22.Adam TAGGART 70-), 25. Trent McCLENAHAN, 27.ANDREZINHO (14.Steven McGARRY 79-)
Substitutes not used: 8.Adam HUGHES, 30. Lewis ITALIANO (GK)
Yellow cards: McClenahan 15-, Miller 37-, van den Brink 44-
Gold Coast United: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 4.Zac ANDERSON, 5.Kristian REES, 7.Golgol MEBRAHTU (16.Maceo RIGTERS 46-), 12.Dylan MACALLISTER, 14.Ben HALLORAN, 15.Adama TRAORE, 18.James BROWN (27. Ambesager YOSIEF 85-), 23.Dylan McGOWAN (29.Mitch BEVAN 79-), 24.Jonas SALLEY
Substitutes not used: 20.Jerrad TYSON (GK), 27. Ambesager YOSIEF,
Yellow cards: Anderson 19-, Salley 26-, Rees 77-
Red cards: Anderson 62-