Glory power past Phoenix to consolidate top spot

Shane Lowry, Chris Ikonomidis and Andy Keogh all found the net as Glory produced a ruthless display to down Wellington Phoenix 3-0 at nib Stadium on Saturday evening.

The victory, their seventh at home this term, saw Tony Popovic's men re-establish a four-point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder and the result was rarely in doubt after Lowry opened the scoring with a diving header on 16 minutes.

Ikonomidis marked his return from international duty at the AFC Asian Cup by nodding home the second before the break and Andy Keogh completed the scoring midway through the second half with what was his tenth goal of the season and his 50th in the Hyundai A-League for Glory.

Full match highlights

Head Coach Tony Popovic was understandably delighted with the victory and particularly pleased to see his side secure a fourth consecutive clean sheet.

"It was a very good performance and result," he said. "It's pleasing that we're backing up the performances.

"It's a great achievement [the four consecutive clean sheets] and I'm delighted for the players and the club. It's not easy to do, so credit to the players.

"When you're creating, you're always satisfied and we've always felt that if we continue to create chances, the goals will come. The focus and the intensity was there and we didn't slack off."

The game exploded into life as early as the second minute when Roy Krishna capitalised upon a loose clearance and squared for David Williams who saw his first shot blocked heroically by Lowry and his follow-up crash against the crossbar.

The home side responded in kind almost immediately, Diego Castro picking out Ivan Franjic whose looping, far-post header was clawed clear by Filip Kurto in the Phoenix goal.

The next chance of a lively opening fell the way of Castro who rifled in a 20m shot which Kurto initially spilled and then gathered at the second attempt as Keogh prepared to pounce.

The Wellington 'keeper was forced to stretch his 1.92m frame again shortly afterwards to keep out a Castro free-kick that was destined for the top corner, but from the resulting corner, there was nothing he could do to block Lowry's stunning header.

As Glory continued to pour forward, Keogh was the next to go close, seeing his header parried by the overworked Kurto, before Juande fizzed a low drive narrowly wide of the post from just outside the box.

A second goal seemed inevitable and it duly arrived ten minutes before the break, Ikonomidis nodding home the loose ball from close range after Kurto had parried a swerving strike from the ubiquitous Castro.

Within seconds of the restart, Glory were threatening again, Kurto saving from Keogh who had seized upon an error from Louis Fenton to get a shot away and that was followed by Davidson bending a shot centimetres wide of the target.

Just after the hour-mark, the hosts went even closer to adding a third when Ikonomidis saw his fiercely-struck effort cannon down off the underside of the bar and bounce back out.

They were not to be denied moments later, however, Keogh picking Alex Rufer's pocket and drilling into the bottom corner to claim his milestone goal.

There was then a rare scare for the Glory defence when Sarpreet Singh's cross struck the bar, before normal service was resumed as Ikonomidis and Davidson both went close to adding a fourth in the latter stages.

Match Details

Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season Round 17

Perth Glory 3 (Lowry 19', Ikonomidis 35', Keogh 64') Wellington Phoenix 0

Half-time: 2-0

Referee: Shaun Evans

Attendance: 9148

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 3.Jason DAVIDSON, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC (23.Scott NEVILLE 82'), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 9.Andy KEOGH, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17.Diego CASTRO (11.Brendon SANTALAB 70'), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27.JUANDE, 88.Neil KILKENNY (20.Jake BRIMMER 73')

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 7.Joel CHIANESE

Yellow cards: Spiranovic

Red cards: Nil

Wellington Phoenix: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 11.David WILLIAMS (23.Max BURGESS 85'), 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex Rufer, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI (7.Cillian SHERIDAN 70'), 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE (12. Antony GOLEC 85'), 21.Roy KRISHNA

Substitutes not used: 3.Justin GULLEY, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk)

Yellow cards: Doyle

Red cards: Nil

#OneGlory