Glory roar towards the finals

A first ever senior goal from Scott Neville and a second-half strike from Scott Bulloch capped a commanding performance from Perth Glory as they prepared for next week’s finals trip to Wellington with a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar.

A first ever senior goal from Scott Neville and a second-half strike from Scott Bulloch capped a commanding performance from Perth Glory as they prepared for next week-s finals trip to Wellington with a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar.

“Our finals campaign started today.

“Obviously going in with a win you get a lot of confidence for the Wellington game,” Bulloch said.

Dave Mitchell opted to make several changes from the side that was edged out at Sydney last week, with Tando Velaphi regaining the gloves from Aleks Vrteski, Jamie Harnwell replacing corked thigh victim Chris Coyne and Adriano Pellegrino coming in for Andrija Jukic. There was also a positional switch, with Scott Neville moving from right midfield into the centre of defence alongside Andy Todd who was named skipper for the day.

Glory have made a habit of scoring early goals in recent weeks and they again wasted no time in breaking the deadlock, taking the lead with just nine minutes on the clock. Todd Howarth was the provider, swinging in a searching cross from the right and when Roar goalkeeper Matt Ham failed to connect with his attempted punch, the ball fell kindly for Scott Neville who gleefully side-footed into the empty net.

Neville-s landmark strike was the first meaningful goalmouth action of the afternoon and as the half wore on, both goalkeepers remained virtual spectators for long periods. The visitors enjoyed the bulk of the possession and territory and occasionally looked dangerous when Reinaldo and Sergio van Dijk managed to link up in the final third, but with Todd turning in a true captain-s display at the back, Glory-s goal was rarely threatened. The Queenslanders- best effort came from Adam Sarota on the half-hour mark, but the young midfielder-s 20 metre effort found the side netting.

Glory duly responded by carving out a decent chance of their own five minutes later, with Jamie Harnwell firing over at full stretch after sliding in to connect with a fine low cross fired in from the right channel by the overlapping Jamie Coyne.

Glory continued to look likely to double their lead at the start of the second-half, as Daniel McBreen linked up cleverly with strike partner Jamie Harnwell, but although the latter-s clever lob left Ham flat-footed in the Roar goal, it sailed centimetres over the bar to land on the roof of the net.

As they searched for an equalizer, the visitors committed plenty of bodies forward but that inevitably meant that they left gaps at the back which Glory went close to exploiting on several occasions. Both McBreen and Harnwell were foiled by last-ditch challenges as they prepared to pull the trigger when well placed, before substitute Scott Bulloch showed the strikers how it should be done as the Roar defence was again opened up on 73 minutes. The former Sorrento man reacted first to a teasing cross from fellow substitute Tommy Amphlett and calmly drilled a low angled shot past Ham into the far corner of the net.

The tireless McBreen then again went close to continuing his remarkable scoring record since arriving from North Queensland, stinging Ham-s palms with a ferocious 20 metre drive before Tando Velaphi made his first meaningful save of the afternoon at the other end, parrying an effort from substitute Mitch Nicholls away for a corner.

As full time approached, Wayne Srhoj decided it was time to pull out his party piece, attempting an audacious lob from just inside his own half, but unfortunately for the midfielder he was denied what would have been a contender for goal of the season by the post.

There was still time for Glory to twice go close to adding a third before referee Peter Green sounded the final whistle, allowing Dave Mitchell and his men to thank the fans for a fantastic season of support before switching their focus to next weekend-s historic semi-final trip to Wellington.

“Very pleasing, we kept a clean sheet and scored a couple of goals and it was a good team performance.

“Wellington will be difficult, its just disappointing because we came so close to getting a home final,” Mitchell said.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Round 27

Perth Glory: 2 (NEVILLE 9-, BULLOCH 73-) Brisbane Roar: 0

Saturday 13 February 2010 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth Crowd: 8054

Referee: Peter Green Assistant Referees: Michael Nugus, Matthew Cheeseman Fourth official: David Costello

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Danny McBreen, 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 5.Jamie HARNWELL (23.Andrija JUKIC 71-), 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO (28. Tommy AMPHLETT 59-), 17.Todd HOWARTH (13.Scott BULLOCH 59-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), Yellow cards: Sekulovski, Jukic Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar: 1. Matt HAM (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Pieter COLLEN, 7. Michael ZULLO (2. Andrew PACKER 62-), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK (17. Mitch NICHOLS 73-), 11. REINALDO, 13. HENRIQUE (10. Steven BRYCE 83-), 14. Adam SAROTA, 21. Tommy OAR, 22. Ivan FRANJIC Substitutes not used: 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), Yellow cards: Reinaldo, Packer Red cards: Nil