Glory go close in battle of Bunbury

Perth Glory has gained more valuable match time and was unlucky not to take a share of the spoils against a well drilled Gold Coast United at Hands Oval in Bunbury on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

Perth Glory has gained more valuable match time and was unlucky not to take a share of the spoils against a well drilled Gold Coast United at Hands Oval in Bunbury on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

Perth had plenty of well crafted goal scoring opportunities, particularly in the opening half, but was unable to finish off their good work and succumbed to a small defensive lapse on 23 minutes with Joel Porter scoring the only goal of the match to give Gold Coast a slender 1-0 victory.

“It was a tough old game. I-m not too disappointed in the result as we were able to try a few things and get some more cohesion amongst the players which is our primary concern before the season starts,” Mitchell said.

“I was happy with what we got out of the game in terms of preparation for the season especially with the number of players we had missing,” Mitchell added.

Perth suffered a blow before kick-off with star striker Eugene Dadi ruled out of the team with a virus. Dadi joining a long casualty list that already included midfield pair Jacob Burns (hamstring) and Wayne Srhoj (hamstring) plus defenders Andy Todd (back) and Jamie Harnwell (hamstring).

“We had a few players on the park who were still feeling the effects of the flu so it was credit to them to put in the effort they did,” said Mitchell.

“If we had a another month before the season it would be handy but we haven-t so we-ll prepare as best we can and make sure we-re ready to go for that first game in a fortnight.”

Dadi-s absence giving Branko Jelic his first start for the Glory and he began brightly. The Serbian finding himself on the end of some great play by Mile Sterjovski who skillfully brought the ball down in the box to find Jelic on the far post but his shot bobbled wide of the upright.

Perth with another great chance four minutes later as Sterjovski and Jelic again linked up however Jess Van Strattan in the Gold Coast goal was alert to the danger and cut-out the through ball.

“Branko is getting better and better as his fitness increases, he has great touch and made some telling passes today, he has given us a glimpse of what he-ll be able to offer the team going forward,” said Mitchell.

The visitors though were the first to capitalise on their forward thrusts when Zenon Caravella and Shane Smeltz combined to get the ball across the goal face for an on rushing Porter to pounce on a muffed clearance and slam it into the back of the net.

Gold Coast marquee, Jason Culina, showed his worth with some outstanding touches and long balls which continued to find team mates in dangerous positions. The Socceroos midfielder almost extended United-s lead with a shot from 18 yards that forced Perth keeper Tando Velaphi into a good save.

The Glory though had their opportunities to equalise, most notably through Downey who used his pace to get in behind the defence however he was unable to capitalise on the creative build-up.

Despite going into the break down a goal there were enough signs in the opening half that the Glory could find the back of the net in the second stanza however the match turned into more of a defensive slog although Perth could have snatched a deserved late goal.

A very impressive Scott Neville, who started at right back, was a constant threat for the Glory, his gut busting runs continued all the way through to the final whistle. He almost created the equaliser on 87 minutes with a well placed cross which was met by second half substitute Todd Howarth but his shot was stopped by Van Strattan on the line.

Glory had their final opportunity a minute later as young trialist Adam Taggart directed his header on target from a precise Pellegrino corner but again Van Strattan was up to the challenge and maintained Gold Coast-s clean sheet.

“The people in Bunbury have turned out and really supported the game well, their hospitality has been first class and I hope they enjoyed the game as much as we liked playing down here,” Mitchell said.

Perth Glory 0 Gold Coast United 1 (Porter 23-) Saturday, 25 July 2009 at Hands Oval, Bunbury (Western Australia) Kick-off 2.00pm

Crowd: 2985

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Jimmy DOWNEY, 3.Jamie COYNE, 6.Chris COYNE (18.Brent GRIFFITHS 72-), 8.Victor SIKORA, 11.Branko JELIC (25.Adam TAGGART 86-), 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Scott BULLOCH (24.Todd HOWARTH 46-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI

Substitutes: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk)

Yellow cards: nil Red cards: nil

Gold Coast United: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 6.Adam GRIFFITHS, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ (11.Milson 72-), 10.Jason CULINA, 13.Sebastiaan Van den BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 16.Kristian REES, 17.Matthew OSMAN, 21.Richard GREER, 22.Adama TRAORE (23.Steve FITZSIMMONS)

Substitutes: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 24.Steve LUSTICA

Yellow cards: Adam Griffiths 47-, Red cards: nil