Perth Glory returned to winning ways in the West with a dominant 3-1 victory over 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium.
Diego Castro’s brace and a stunning first-time strike from Andy Keogh ensured Glory’s rampant first-half showing would be enough to see off a spirited Wanderers side.
The result leaves Kenny Lowe's men outside the top six on goal difference only, level on points with both Brisbane Roar and Sunday's opponents.
It was a barnstorming start for Glory, with Diego Castro dispatching a powerful penalty following Keanu Baccus’ foul on Joel Chianese after just seven minutes. Referee Jonathan Berreiro initially waved the shouts for a spot-kick away, but after consulting with the VAR, changed his decision and issued a straight red to the Western Sydney defender.
The action continued in the same vein just moments later, with the hosts seemingly doubling their advantage through Chianese. Chris Harold’s fantastic run saw him get in behind the Wanderers defence and deliver a dangerous ball to Chianese who bundled it home, but the strike was chalked off after the VAR ruled that the former Sydney FC man had strayed offside.
Despite their numerical inferiority, it was Western Sydney who were next to find the net as Oriol Riera slotted home the second penalty of the day. The Spaniard was brought down by an onrushing Liam Reddy just inside the area, with the home 'keeper receiving just a caution for the foul as Riera was adjudged to have been going away from goal prior to the contact.
A frenetic and hugely-entertaining first half then continued as Castro stepped up to restore Glory’s lead with a world class free-kick. The mercurial attacker's second goal of the game arrived four minutes before the break and saw him join Keogh as the only two Perth players to have reached the 30-goal mark for the club during the Hyundai A-League era.
Glory weren’t finished there, however, with captain Keogh curling a fine shot off the crossbar and into the net from Castro’s neat pass to ensure that the hosts went into the break 3-1 up.
Understandably it was a more subdued second stanza, with Perth’s persistent pressing forcing the visitors to play from deep in their own half.
But Wanderers almost found a way back into the contest when new recruit Marcelo Carrusca thundered a volley against Reddy’s near post just short of the hour-mark.
Having survived that scare, Glory pressed hard to extend their lead, with Harold almost making it four from a tough angle on the right-side of the box after being teed up by Castro.
Substitute Jacob Italiano was next to test Vedran Janjetovic with just under 15 minutes left to play, the 16-year-old firing a first-time shot from Harold’s cutback straight into the hands of the 'keeper.
Italiano's lively cameo was certainly appreciated by the home faithful, as were strong debut performances from this week's new arrivals, Neil Kilkenny and Dino Djulbic.
Kilkenny, in particular, caught the eye with a fine display in the middle of the park where he linked up with Castro to great effect throughout and helped drive the hosts to a well-deserved and timely victory.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season
Perth Glory 3 (Castro 7' & 41', Keogh 43') Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Riera 17')
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Manella
Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: Jack Morgan
Video Assistant Referee: Mathew Cheeseman
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 3. Jack CLISBY, 4. Josh RISDON (24. Raul LLORENTE 70'), 5. Brendan HAMILL, 6. Marcelo CARRUSCA, 7. Steven LUSTICA, 8. Rolieny BONEVACIA, 9. Oriol RIERA, 25. Chris HERD (Jaushua SOTIRIO 69'), 33. Michael THWAITE, 42. Keanu BACCUS
Substitutes not used: 40. Nicholas SUMAN (GK), 11. Brendon SANTALAB, 19. Mark BRIDGE
Yellow cards: Bonevacia, Herd, Riera
Red cards: Baccus 7'
Perth Glory: 33. Liam REDDY (GK), 4. Shane LOWRY, 7. Joel CHIANESE (26. Jacob ITALIANO 69'), 8. Xavi TORRES (20. Jake BRIMMER 90+1'), 9. Andy KEOGH (C), 14. Chris HAROLD (15. Brandon WILSON 83'), 16. Joseph MILLS, 17. Diego CASTRO, 23. Scott NEVILLE, 66. Dino DJULBIC, 88. Neil KILKENNY
Substitutes not used: 13.Nick FEELY (GK), 29. Jeremy WALKER
Yellow cards: Reddy, Mills
Red cards: None