Perth Glory's youngsters have capped off their last home game of the PS4 National Premier League WA campaign with an outstanding 1-0 win against fourth placed Sorrento.
A penalty late in the first half from midfielder Slobodan Vulin was the difference between the two sides, coupled with a fantastic defensive display to ensure the young guns maintained their edge.
Glory Coach John Gibson was delighted with the clean sheet and the three points.
“Set-pieces have been our nemesis this season and against a big physical side like Sorrento we were seriously tested, but we competed and concentrated for ninety-plus minutes,” he said.
Glory welcomed back skipper Jacob Collard from FFA Cup duties and Nathan Costello at the heart of the back four.
The captain delighted how his troops battled for the victory.
“I’m just so happy for the boys,” Collard said.
“We defended well in the second half, but all the boys put in a massive shift today and I’m very happy with the performance. It’s been a long time coming and all season we’ve been very unlucky, losing by the odd goal in many games, so to win a tight one today shows we are improving.”
Gibson brought in Collard, along with striker Stefan Valentini and Vulin to the side. The trio were part of the successful A-League squad that beat Lions FC in the FFA Cup last week.
Glory dominated early and Calvin Whitney’s long-range shot flew over the top, and buoyed by last week’s win against Balcatta, the home side were taking it to Sorrento.
They went even closer on the quarter hour. Defender Gian Albano picked the ball just outside his own penalty area and set off on a mazy run which took him past several Sorrento players, before unleashing a shot which whistled over the top.
Then it was the skipper's turn to try his luck from long-range, but Collard’s shot flew wide of the target.
Former Perth Glory winger Scott Bulloch went close for the visitor’s moments later.
He picked the ball up on the left and ghosted between two Glory defenders, but his shot lacked power and was saved low by Jordan Franken.
But on 39 minutes the Glory’s dominance was rewarded with the opener.
Valentini raced onto a throw in, and knocked the ball past Steve McDonald, but the big defender stuck out a hand and referee David Bruce spotted the handball and pointed straight to the spot.
Vulin kept his nerve and sent keeper James Morgan the wrong way to convert the resulting penalty, and send the Glory youngsters into half time with a deserved lead.
Sorrento came out after the break and piled on the pressure, but the Glory defence stood firm, with Collard and Costello outstanding at the back.
Glory was hitting on the counter attack and the pace of Valentini and Nikola Talimdzioski was causing the Sorrento back four problems.
Talimdzioski almost doubled the Glory’s lead on the hour, after finding space on the edge of the box but his shot flew inches past the post.
Sorrento Coach Steve Neville moved Steve McDonald up front with fifteen minutes remaining and the big Scotsman was a real handful.
First he nodded on to Jack Slater, but the New Zealand striker fired wide.
Moments later he headed down another ball but substitute James A Morgan failed to convert.
The Glory youngsters, were defending deep and Sorrento continued to press.
Slater was picked out in the box after being given too much space, but with the goal at his mercy he fired over the top and at the final whistle it was the Glory boys celebrating a first ever win in the NPL over Sorrento.
In other games Bobby Despotovski’s under 20’s are one win away from the title after a 7-0 win against Sorrento. Jnana Purcell bagged a brace, while Alex Taneski scored his 21st goal of the season. Callum Dobbs, Daniel Stynes, Michael McDougall and Losene Dulleh scored the others.
A win next week at Cockburn City will give them the title.
Callum Salmon’s Under 18’s completed a clean sweep on the day for the Glory after a 4-0 win against Sorrento under 18’s. Josh Kotio capping of a great game scoring a brace, with Callum Timmins, Abu Dulleh, scoring the others.
Perth Glory 1 (Vulin 39’)
Referee: David Bruce
Perth Glory: GK Jordan FRANKEN, 2 Gian ALBANO, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 5 Ali GHOLAMI, 6 Jacob COLLARD, 7 Calvin WHITNEY, 8 Dejan SPASESKI, 9 Stefan VALENTINI (14 Sam MCKEARNEN 71’), 10 Slobodan VULIN, 11 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI (15 Michael MCDOUGALL 87’)
Subs not used: RGK Riley STEPHENSON, 12 Waliedin ISMAIL, 13 Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS
Yellow Cards: Costello 85’
Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 4 Shaun KILLKELLY, 6 Daryl PLATTEN, 8 Ryan PEARSON, 9 Todd HARNWELL, 12 Jack EADES (7 James A MORGAN 65’), 13 Stephen MCDONALD, 15 Scott BULLOCH (10 Jason MIRCO 35’), 18 Sean CANHAM, 19 Jack SLATER, 20 Brad MCDONALD (22 Lewis HALL 65’)
Subs not used: RGK Jordan BLANK, 2 Danny CAIN
Yellow cards: Nil