Glory go down swinging on Boxing Day

A valiant performance from Perth Glory has failed to reap the rewards they deserved after being beaten by a first half goal from Adelaide United in their Boxing Day clash at Members Equity Stadium.

A valiant performance from Perth Glory has failed to reap the rewards they deserved after being beaten by a first half goal from Adelaide United in their Boxing Day clash at Members Equity Stadium.

A magnificent crowd of 12,581 people turned out to show their support for Perth-s push to the finals and were treated to a hard fought contest with the Glory leaving nothing on the pitch in a never say die performance.

“When they (the crowd) were getting behind us it is a great feeling,” said Glory star Jamie Harnwell.

“Apart from a goal I think we-ve given the fans everything else that we possibly could. It would have been good to walk away with the result but the ability, the character, the effort was all there for them to see and hopefully they-ll be back for our final home game,” Harnwell said.

It was the third occasion that the league leading Adelaide side have secured a win against Perth this season by a solitary goal. While Glory Coach Dave Mitchell was left to lament the missed opportunities by his side he could also take heart from a performance that was full of positives for the club in their run home this season.

“It was disappointing because there was a great crowd today and they got behind us and supported the team and that is exactly what we are looking for,” Mitchell said.

“I think we had the better chances without doubt but they also didn-t let us play as well as we had been playing which is credit to Adelaide.

“They-re top of the league and have a lot of experience playing away from home in front of hostile crowds and they scrambled and defended very well and took their chance,” Mitchell said.

The win leaves Perth in seventh spot but still in with a shot at the finals however Mitchell conceded that with four matches remaining in the regular season the Glory are in a must win situation, starting with a New Years Eve clash against Central Coast in Gosford.

“It-s going to be very difficult, we are running out of games but it is a challenge we-re ready to take,” Mitchell said.

“We-re still a chance but we-ve got to win next week, and the week after and the week after that and so on,” he added.

Mitchell opted to keep faith with the starting line-up from last week resounding victory over Sydney, with one change to the bench with youngster Andrija Jukic making way for debutant Dutchman Victor Sikora.

With a wonderful atmosphere generated by the bumper holiday crowd both sides made lively starts to the game and created several early chances in front of goal.

Fabian Barbiero saw his effort for the visitors deflected wide with barely a minute on the clock, while five minutes later, a sweeping Glory move culminated in Adriano Pellegrino delivering a pinpoint cross that Eugene Dadi headed narrowly past the post.

Following those initial exchanges, an enthralling game developed, with Glory looking the likelier to break the deadlock. Pellegrino and Jimmy Downey linked up to good effect down the right, the latter using his pace to overlap very effectively on several occasions, while Nick Rizzo also provided a number of teasing crosses from the left.

Nikita Rukavytsya and Dadi were engaged in a physical tussle with the uncompromising defensive pairing of Robert Cornthwaite and Sasa Ognenovski, while Wayne Srhoj sought to gain the upper hand in central midfield.

Glory created a a number opportunities which forced Eugene Galekovic into last-gasp interventions and so it came as a surprise when Adelaide went one up after 40 minutes.

Brazilian Cristiano was allowed to fire a low cross into the danger area and although the ball was initially half-cleared, it fell kindly for the lurking Kristian Sarkies who thundered an unstoppable drive past Tando Velaphi and into the back of the net.

Glory swiftly regained the initiative once the second-half got underway with two excellent chances in the first ten minutes. Firstly Cornthwaite was forced into a last-gasp lunge to prevent Rukavytsya from latching onto a Downey ball over the top and then Dadi blazed over the bar after Marc Anthony and Rukavytsya had combined cleverly to carve out the shooting opportunity.

Sikora was duly handed his debut and was introduced in place of the impressive Rizzo on the hour mark and made an immediate impact with both his work-rate and his impressive range of passing. Unfortunately the visitors were clearly aware of the threat that he posed and responded by frequently marking him with two defenders.

Aurelio Vidmar-s side showed during their Asian Champions League exploits that they are particularly adept at protecting a lead and they dug deep to keep a rampant Glory at bay.

Jamie Harnwell was eventually pushed up front and as full time approached it was the talismanic utility man who almost conjured a dramatic late equalizer.

Naum Sekulovski got away down the left and whipped in a delightful cross, Harnwell rose above his marker to power a towering header on goal but Galekovic somehow managed to dive full length and get enough on the ball to deflect it around the post.

“How he (Galekovic) got down to that I don-t know, I was almost ready to turn away and celebrate,” Harnwell said after the match.

“We had a number of chances throughout the game and Adelaide really made us pay off one bad mistake and other than that we-ve really had the better chances.

“We-ve just got to be better at hitting the target,” he added.

Harnwell had another chance to get a last gasp equaliser but Galekovic again foiled Perth-s efforts.

Hyundai A-League Round 17

Perth Glory 0 Adelaide United 1 (Kristian Sarkies 40-) Friday 26 December at Members Equity Stadium Local kick off 8.00pm

Referee. Craig Zetter

Perth Glory: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5.Jamie HARNWELL (c) 7.Nick RIZZO (29.Victor SIKORA 59-), 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 14.Eugene DADI (3.David TARKA 75-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 22.Wayne SRHOJ (9.Adrian TRINIDAD 70-), 25.Marc ANTHONY.

Substitutes not used: 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), Yellow cards: Dadi 21-, Srhoj 49-, Anthony 78-, Rukavytsya 90+2- Red cards:

Adelaide United: 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 6.CASSIO, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.CRISTIANO (3.ALEMAO 73-), 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON (25.Robert YOUNIS 34-), 16.Daniel MULLEN, 18.Fabian BARBIERO (21.Jason SPAGNUOLO 90-+2), 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 24.Paul REID

Substitutes not used: 50.Tommi TOMICH (gk) Yellow cards: Cassio 81- Red cards: