Glory kick start season

Goals from midfield duo Wayne Srhoj and Adriano Pellegrino has secured a thoroughly-deserved first win of the season for Perth Glory as Dave Mitchell’s men were rewarded for an impressive performance against the previously unbeaten Newcastle Jets.

Goals from midfield duo Wayne Srhoj and Adriano Pellegrino has secured a thoroughly-deserved first win of the season for Perth Glory as Dave Mitchell-s men were rewarded for an impressive performance against the previously unbeaten Newcastle Jets.

In front of a healthy crowd of 9398 at ME Bank Stadium, Glory ensured the visitors were under pressure from the outset and continued their domination for long periods to delight the home supporters.

“I think defensively we looked very strong but are probably still lacking a few combinations however the second goal was a great move and I think you can see we-re becoming more and more accustomed to playing together and with that the results will come,” Mitchell said.

“It has kick started the season and from that point of view it is a relief for all the players and I-m really happy for them because they deserve it,” added Mitchell.

The Glory looked particularly dangerous down the left with Victor Sikora and Naum Sekulovski pushing forward at every opportunity. Sikora, who overcame a corked thigh sustained in last weekend-s match against Wellington, was at the heart of most of Glory-s attacking moves while the former Dutch International also showed great energy in closing the Jets- midfielders down on the rare occasions that they threatened to push forward.

Space and time, however, were at something of a premium for both sides and although Glory enjoyed the bulk of the possession, they initially struggled to unlock a rugged Jets- backline and create clear-cut chances.

Neither goalkeeper had been tested before the home side managed to break the deadlock in some style on 23 minutes. Mile Sterjovski-s strength enabled him to win possession on the edge of the Newcastle box and feed Branko Jelic, who in turn threaded a pass into the path of the onrushing Srhoj. The hard-working midfielder skilfully cushioned the ball in his stride before calmly side-footing home underneath Jets custodian Ben Kennedy.

Srhoj then threatened to increase his tally some ten minutes later, but this time Kennedy was equal to his long-distance drive.

Newcastle managed to create a couple of opportunities of their own as half-time approached, Sasho Petrovski forcing a smart stop from Tando Velaphi and a short time later Jason Hoffman saw his header clip the post and rebound away to safety.

Relieved at their let-off shortly before the break, Glory began the second-half brightly and came close to doubling their advantage on 50 minutes. Sekulovski-s inch-perfect cross picked out Sterjovski, but the Socceroos- firm header skidded narrowly wide of Kennedy-s right-hand post.

Just as they did in the first-half Perth remained patient and kept probing at the Jets- defence which reaped rewards in the form of a second goal on 73 minutes.

Sekulovski-s pace enabled him to gallop clear of Tarek Elrich down the left to peel back an inviting cross for Adriano Pellegrino. Last season-s Most Glorious Player still had plenty to do as the ball bounced just in front of him, but he showed great technique to thump a rising half-volley wide of Kennedy and into the far corner of the net.

“We-ve done reasonably well in the first two games and taken plenty of positives from them and that has paid off,” Pellegrino said.

“We-re playing a better brand of football each week and we wanted to put in a strong performance at home. We played well here last season and that was important for us to keep that going this season.

“We know it-s just one win but we felt like it was coming over the past few weeks. We can take plenty of confidence out of that and look forward to Melbourne coming next week,” Pellegrino said.

Glory proceeded to up the tempo and substitute Matthew Mayora came close to adding a third with almost his first touch of the game. The powerfully built striker latched onto a deft flick from Sterjovski but just fired his shot wide of the upright with the goal mouth open.

Just as pleasing for Mitchell was Glory-s doggedness at the back with central pairing Andy Todd and Chris Coyne forming a solid partnership to help Perth to their first clean sheet in 13 Hyundai A-League matches.

“It was nice to keep that clean sheet, it was a bit of an achilles heel for us last season and something we have worked to tighten up and that was positive,” Mitchell said.

Glory will now turn their attentions to a Friday night blockbuster against reigning Champions Melbourne Victory in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash.

The two goals scored by Glory was also great news for local outfit Balcatta Soccer Club. This was a ‘Hyundai Goals for Grassroots- match and the goals scored by Perth Glory ensures $3000 goes to Balcatta.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Rd 3 Perth Glory 2 (Wayne SRHOJ 23-, Adriano PELLEGRINO 73-) Newcastle Jets 0 Sunday, 23 August 2009 at Members Equity Stadium, Perth

Referee: Craig Zetter Assistant Referees: Michael Nugus & Josh Manella Fourth Official: David Costello

Crowd: 9,398

Perth Glory line-up: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA (23.Andrija JUKIC 91-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC (24.Matthew MAYORA 71-), 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO (17.Todd HOWARTH 89-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk) Yellow cards: Adriano PELLEGRINO 48-, Naum SEKULOVSKI 53-, Jacob BURNS 62- Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets line-up: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3.Adam D-APUZZO, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5.Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6.Ben KANTAROVSKI (15.Sean ROONEY 30-), 7.Jin-Hyung SONG 19.Jason NAIDOVSKI (76-), 8.Matt THOMPSON (c), 9.Sasho PETROVSKI, 11.Tarek ELRICH, 16.Jason HOFFMAN (2.Angelo COSTANZO 84-), 17.Fabio VIGNAROLI

Substitutes not used: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk) Yellow cards: Ben KANTAROVSKI 5-, Sasho PETROVSKI 23-, Fabio VIGNAROLI 30-, Sean ROONEY 45- +1, Ljubo MILICEVIC 45- +1 Red cards: Nil