Glory triumph reignites season

Perth Glory sit just two points from a top four spot following a hard fought win, their first of the season and first against Wellington, at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Perth Glory sit just two points from a top four spot following a hard fought win, their first of the season and first against Wellington, at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A second-half penalty from Eugene Dadi, his fourth goal of the campaign, was enough to secure the victory and give Glory a confidence boost ahead of a tough road double.

“The important thing today was the three points,” said Coach Dave Mitchell.

“We-ve played well in games this season but haven-t got our just rewards. Today we went in with plenty of self belief and it-s nice to come away with the three points, I think it just reinforces in everyone-s minds that we have what it takes to win matches,” said Mitchell.

Not only did Perth take three points for the first time this season they also kept their first clean sheet with keeper Jason Petkovic rarely troubled in a team effort that clearly pleased the coach.

“We look solid in defence, the midfield worked hard and Eugene was excellent up front, it was a full team performance and the result was positive,” said Mitchell

“We-ve got the monkey off the back now so it is important that we steady things from here on in.

“I think we can play a lot better than that and I looked around the dressing room following the game and there are quite a few players who are out and if we get all of them back there will be plenty of competition for places so the squad is looking quite good.”

Mitchell made three changes to the starting line-up with Wayne Srhoj and James Robinson dropping into midfield while Jamie Harnwell took his place in the heart of defence and was solid all night.

It was also a welcome return to competitive action for Naum Sekulovski who was a second half substitute and gave the match a real spark with his inclusion.

With the stakes high and the conditions blustery, it was perhaps no surprise that the game got off to a stuttering start. Clear-cut chances were very much at a premium as an arm wrestle developed in a congested midfield.

Srhoj-s willingness to sit just in front of the back four allowed gave Robinson more licence to showcase his creative talents and he was the driving force behind most of Glory-s attacking forays.

Scott Bulloch continued his impressive start to the season and caused the Phoenix defence plenty of problems with his pace and tidy crossed. He was unfortunate not to open his A-League account on 17 minutes as Dadi and Nikita Rukavytsya linked up well to create the chance, but Bulloch dragged his angled shot wide of Glen Moss- goal.

Undeterred, the 24-year-old was again heavily involved in creating Glory-s best chance of the opening period. Bulloch-s deep in-swinging free-kick was nodded back across the face of goal by Robinson where it was well met by Nikolai Topor-Stanley however the defender-s goal bound header was cleared off the line.

Defensively the Glory showed plenty of improvement with the Phoenix attacking trio of Daniel, Troy Hearfield and Shane Smeltz restricted to a only a few half-chances.

The introduction of Sekulovski gave the Glory a new cutting edge and his cross on 69 minutes prompted an almighty scramble in the Wellington box that saw Dadi and Pellegrino both denied by some desperate defending. Three minutes later, Sekulovski forced an acrobatic one-handed save from Moss with a delightful 22 metre chip that was on target for the top corner.

The visitors- resistance finally cracked when they failed to deal with another teasing Sekulovski cross as defender Jon McKain dragged Dadi down as he prepared to pull the trigger from close range.

The Glory faithful held their collective breath as the towering target-man opted to take responsibility from the spot and he didn-t disappoint much to the delight of the home town fans.

“It has been frustrating not to get the three points so it is a relief for everyone,” said Dadi.

“There hasn-t been any doubt amongst the players, no doubt amongst the coaching staff. The game today we have tried to put everything together. It is a good start for us and we want to continue to improve,” Dadi said.

Glory held their nerve in the shadows of full-time and will now have a quick turn-around as they look to Central Coast on Friday night in Gosford.

“The Mariners are always a tough assignment but a win gives us a confidence boost and we-ll go over with our tails up,” Mitchell said.

Perth Glory 1 (Eugene Dadi 78-(pen)) Wellington Phoenix 0 Sunday 21 September 2008 at Members Equity Stadium, Perth

Referee: Strebre Delovski Assistant Referees: Michael Nugus & Joe Fusari Fourth Official: Steven Gregory

Crowd: 4,433

Perth Glory line-up: 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 3.David TARKA, 4.Jamie COYNE (Captain), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 8.James ROBINSON, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (9.Adrian TRINIDAD 73-), 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 22.Wayne SRHOJ (19.Naum SEKULOVSKI 64-).

Substitutes Not Used: 27.Stuart McLAREN, 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk). Yellow Cards: Jamie Harnwell 14-, Nikolai Topor-Stanley 63-. Red Cards: Nil

Wellington Phoenix line-up: 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Michael FERRANTE, 11.DANIEL, 12.Richard JOHNSON (6.Tim BROWN 85-), 13.Troy HEARFIELD (15.Adam KWASNIK 71-), 16.David MULLIGAN (18.Ben SIGMUND 86-), 21.Leilei GAO, 22.Andrew DURANTE (captain).

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Mark PASTON (gk). Yellow Cards: Richard Johnson 28-, Tony Lochhead 44-, Jon McKain 78-. Red Cards: Nil