Perth Glory Youth has kept the pressure on Melbourne City at the top of the Foxtel National Youth League ladder after a hard fought 2-1 win against Adelaide United at the Adelaide Football Shores Sporting Complex on Sunday morning.
Joe Knowles scored his tenth goal of the season to give the youngsters the lead, before Harry O’Brien added a second just before half time.
A late goal from Dylan Smith gave the home side a sniff, but the Glory played out the game, and drew level with City at the top of the table, setting up a thrilling end to the season next week.
“It was a fantastic effort for the lads today in very hot conditions,” said Glory Coach John Gibson.
“We controlled the game in the first half and deservedly went in 2-0 at the break, but we couldn’t put them away in the second. They scored late and we had a few anxious moments but the lads stood firm and we go into next week still with a chance of taking out the title, and that is a great effort from these players.”
Keeper Jordan Thurtell was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet, but he thought the team's performance was a top efort.
“It was hot out there today, and playing on astro turf is something the lads don’t do every week, soto come here and get three points was a massive effort,” he said. “It was a great game, just disappointing to concede late, but it sets up an enthralling game next week.”
The visitors knew a win was essential if they were to keep their title hopes alive and on 36 minutes they hit the front.
Slobodan Vulin, played the ball over the top to Borbor Sam.
Adelaide keeper John Hall raced out his goal, but his attempted headed clearance fell to Knowles, and the striker fired home into the empty net.
The goal lifted the Glory, and they looked dangerous on the counter attack, with Sam and Knowles a constant threat.
the home side pressed late looking for the equaliser, but the Glory defence had to be strong as the home side pushed forward. Then in the shadows of the break it got even better for the Glory, when they doubled their advantage. Knowles’ in swinging corner picked out O’Brien at the near post and the midfielder headed home from close-range.
Glory defender Nathan Costello was first into the book in the first minute of the second half, and was followed moments later by Adelaide’s Christopher Skull.
The hot conditions were taking its toll on both side and again referee Jarrod Mullar signalled for a drinks break halfway through. Adelaide was having plenty of possession but was struggling in the final third.
Glory should have wrapped up the points on 80 minutes. De Silva, who had come on five minutes early, was sent one-on-one with Hall, but the Adelaide custodian stood tall and saved.
But with the finishing line in sight the home side pulled one back on 87 minutes. Good work by Mark Ochieng, ended with him cutting the ball back to Smith who fired past Thurtell.
It set up a nervous last six minutes, but Glory held out, and with the win moves them level on points at the top of the table, and next week the title goes down to the wire, with only three goals separating the sides.
Glory host Brisbane Roar next Sunday at the Ashfield Sports Park at 11am, while Melbourne City travels to Newcastle Jets.
Foxtel National Youth League
Adelaide United Youth 1 (Smith 87’)
Perth Glory Youth 2 (Knowles 36’, O’Brien 42’)
Sunday 22nd February 2015
Venue: Adelaide Football Shores Sporting Complex
Referee: Jarrod Mullar
Assistants: Andrew Kite and Sean Grimmond
Fourth Official: Kyle Bartlett
Adelaide United Youth – GK John HALL, 6 Christopher SKULL, 7 Bruce KAMAU, 8 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 10 Dylan SMITH, 11 Samed AL TUNDAG, 12 Mark OCHIENG, 14 Oliver ZAFIRIDIS, 15 Benjamin WARLAND, 16 Jack BLADEN (C), 21Adam PISCIONERI
Subs: RGK Daniel MARGLISH, 2 Niko APOSTOLOPOULOS, 3 Ruon TONGYIK. 17 Antoni TRIMBOLI
Perth Glory Youth – GK Jordan THURTELL, 2 Matthew DAVIES, 3 Jacob COLLARD (C), 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 5 Riley WOODCOCK, 6 Calvin WHITNEY, 7 Borbor SAM, 8 Harry O’BRIEN, 9 Joe KNOWLES, 10 Cameron EDWARDS, 13 Slobodan VULIN
Subs: RGK Jordan YOUNG, 11 Daniel DE SILVA, 12 Dejan SPASESKI, 14 Ali GHOLAMI