Glory settles for draw against league leaders

An impressive display from Perth Glory saw them dominate Sydney FC for long periods at ME Bank Stadium, but they were unable to unlock the league leaders’ resolute defence in Sunday’s compelling 0-0 draw.

An impressive display from Perth Glory saw them dominate Sydney FC for long periods at ME Bank Stadium, but they were unable to unlock the league leaders- resolute defence in Sunday-s compelling 0-0 draw.

“I think the way we played, the way we had a lot of the game, we created some chances and we just couldn-t put them away.

“As we-ve said before, goals change games and in the first five minutes we-ve hit the post and a couple of corners have come in and we just couldn-t put them away,” Glory coach Dave Mitchell said.

“As Mitch said, I thought we dominated most of the game we just couldn-t put the ball in the back of the net.

“That-s football and it does feel like we-ve given up the three points today,” was captain Jacob Burns assessment.

With the team an unchanged from the line-up from that which put four past Newcastle Boxing Day, Mitchell-s men responded by continuing where they had left off.

With barely seven minutes on the clock, Todd Howarth got away down the left and produced a fine cut-back to the top of the box for Mile Sterjovski.

Glory-s marquee man beat Sydney goalkeeper Clint Bolton with a low drive, only to see the ball strike the post before Stephan Keller cleared as the lurking Jamie Harnwell homed in on the rebound.

Moments later the home side again sliced through the visitors- defence, this time down the left, as Jacob Burns, Harnwell and Sterjovski combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Jamie Coyne, but his 20 metre effort was deflected just wide of Bolton-s left-hand post.

In terms of passing and movement, Mitchell-s charges were arguably producing their finest display of the season thus far and the visitors seemed to have no answer to it.

Keen to get the ball wide at every opportunity, Adriano Pellegrino on the right and Howarth on the left were a constant menace, while Harnwell-s physical presence clearly unsettled Sydney-s back four, as did the guile and trickery of strike partner Sterjovski.

Jamie Coyne was relishing his role in central midfield, often getting forward to join the attack and he came close to breaking the deadlock twice in the space of eight minutes.

First, he just failed to get enough purchase on a headed effort from a Burns corner and was then denied by a fine save from Bolton after latching onto a raking cross from the effervescent Pellegrino.

The league leaders had simply been unable to function as an attacking unit, mainly due to another outstanding display from Chris Coyne and Andy Todd, but they did finally manage to create a decent chance in the shadows of half-time.

John Aloisi escaped down the right and whipped in a teasing cross shot, but the onrushing Mark Bridge just failed to make contact at the far post.

The home side continued the onslaught in the second half and again came close to breaking the deadlock on 69 minutes.

Sekulovski was the creator, outpacing the visitors- defence on a searing break before squaring for Harnwell, but the target-man-s side-footed effort was deflected wide.

From the resulting corner Howarth picked out Sterjovski at the far post and his header had the Sydney defence at panic stations before they finally managed to scramble the ball away to safety.

Sydney did force themselves into the contest in the latter stages of the game, forcing a flurry of corners and carving out a decent opportunity for Steve Corica who saw his crisp effort repelled superbly by Tando Velaphi.

Then in stoppage only another stunning save from Velaphi prevented Vitezslav Lavicka-s side from grabbing what would have been the most fortuitous of victories.

Substitute Chris Payne picked up the ball deep in his own half and embarked on a slaloming run that culminated in a low shot that Velaphi blocked heroically at close range to ensure that both sides took a share of the spoils from what was a compelling, high-quality encounter.

“As the game has gone on, you know they-re a dangerous side and so they can come back into it. They had a couple of chances towards the end but apart from that I think we dominated most of the game,” Mitchell said.

The Glory-s next match is away to second place Melbourne Victory next Saturday.

“Sydney are a great side, they-re on top, so to dominate a side like that you-ve got to take confidence going into Melbourne and Adelaide because they will be two tough games,” Mitchell said.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Round 22

Perth Glory 0 Sydney FC 0 Sunday, 10 January 2010 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Referee: Strebre Delovski Assistant Referees: Josh Manella and Joe Fusari Fourth Official: Steven Gregory

Crowd: 9, 319

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 5. Jamie HARNWELL, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH (2. Jimmy DOWNEY 75-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (13.Scott BULLOCH 89-).

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 23.Andrija JUKIC Yellow cards: Chris COYNE 57- Red cards: Nil

Sydney FC: 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 3.Stephan KELLER, 6.Karol KISEL, 8.Stuart MUSIALIK, 9.John ALOISI (16. Christopher PAYNE 77-), 10. Steve CORICA (c), 12. Shannon COLE, 13. Antony GOLEC, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 19.Mark BRIDGE (26. Hayden FOXE 90+2), 22.Sung Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes not used: 18.Adam CASEY, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil