Perth Glory’s Hyundai A-League 2015/16 campaign has begun with a 3-2 loss at the hands of Central Coast Mariners at Gosford.
A gallant Glory levelled the score in the first half after conceding a goal in the 9th minute, boosting hopes of securing at least a point on the road but two penalties against Perth in the second half helped the Mariners to all three points.
Glory had often struggled to score in Gosford, yet it only took three minutes for Perth to put the ball into the back of the net. Glory Captain Richard Garcia’s low cross found new signing Guyon Fernandez, who tapped in from close range. However, the goal was incorrectly disallowed, as replays indicate both Garcia and Fernandez were onside during the play.
A minute later, veteran goalkeeper and new Glory recruit Ante Covic was called into action, pulling off a great save after Nick Fitzgerald fired a shot from the edge of the box.
Five minutes later, the Mariners took the lead. Fitzgerald cut the ball back for Fabio Ferreira to shoot at Covic, but his save ball flew into the body of Roy O'Donovan and trickled into the empty net.
Glory refused to give up and found a 23rd minute equaliser through Garcia. Chris Harold chipped in a delightful cross from the right and an unmarked Garcia expertly guided the ball into the bottom right corner with a sublime header.
Both teams pushed for more goals during the half but were let down by some poor finishing.
The second 45 however saw the Mariners gain the upper hand.
In the 57th minute, Fernandez brought Fabio Ferreira down in the box and the Portuguese striker had no trouble in converting the spot kick.
Ferreira looked for his second minutes later and forced a stunning save from Covic, parrying the shot away.
There was more trouble for Glory six minutes later when Antony Golec mistimed his tackle on Storm Roux. Ferreira stepped up again to take the penalty and sent the ball into the top left corner.
Glory, which had brought in nine new players in the off-season, pushed forward searching for a goal.
Spanish import Diego Castro found himself in space and looked certain to bury what looked to be a sitter but his shot went over the bar.
In the closing minutes Josh Risdon fired on goal but and was only blocked thanks to a smart, low save by Mariners keeper Liam Reddy.
The Mariners’ custodian was called into action late in the game, when substitute Sidnei Sciola curled a dangerous shot from the edge of the box, forcing the ‘keeper to push the ball over the bar.
Glory did score a consolation goal on the stroke of full time, when substitute Mitch Oxborrow’s long range shot was deflected into the path of Hungarian Gyorgy Sandor, whose improvised stab at the ball lobbed over Reddy and into the net to register Glory’s second goal.
However the Mariners walked away with the full points at the final whistle.
Glory will now look to its first home match at nib Stadium next Sunday against Wellington Phoenix in the Distance Derby.
Kick-off is at 4pm.
Central Coast Mariners
2. Storm Roux, 4. Jacob Poscoliero, 6. Mitch Austin, 7. Fabio Ferreira, 8. Nick Montgomery (C – 5. Harry Ashcroft 74’), 9. Roy O’Donovan, 10. Anthony Caceres, 11. Nick Fitzgerald (20. Anthony Kalik 71’), 12. Liam Reddy (GK), 21. Michael Neill, 22. Jake McGing.
Unused Substitutes: Pearce (GK), 18. Glen Trifiro, 25. Eddy Bosnar.
Perth Glory FC
1. Ante Covic (GK), 5. Antony Golec, 6. Dino Djulbic, 7. Gyorgy Sandor, 10. Nebosja Marinkovic (16. Sidnei Sciola 75’), 11. Richard Garcia (C), 14. Chris Harold (18. Mitch Oxborrow 65’), 17. Diego Castro, 19. Josh Risdon, 20. Guyon Fernandez, 23. Michael Thwaite
Unused Substitutes: 3. Marc Warren, 12. Jerrad Tyson, 15. Hagi Gligor