Perth Glory's young guns produced their best performance of the QBE Night Series, with a stunning 5-2 win against Inglewood United on Sunday night, pushing the Group A front runners out of the finals.
The win moved the Glory youngsters to fourth after final standings and gave defending champions Floreat Athena the edge to grab the second qualifying spot after it managed to win 3-1 against Subiaco.
Glory Coach John Gibson was happy with the win, but was disappointed to miss out on a finals berth.
“A really good performance tonight, but we are pretty annoyed with ourselves not being in the finals. A little better quality in the previous rounds and we would be preparing for next week's semis,” Gibson said.
The win gave the Glory youngsters confidence going into the PS4 NPLWA season and Gibson said they were looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re progressing nicely. We’ve had a good Foxtel NYL season and have ended the QBE Night Series well,” he said.
With head coach Kenny Lowe and first team players Andy Keogh and Richard Garcia in the stands the Glory opened well.
On the quarter hour Daniel Stynes sent Sean Troup down the wing, his cross picked out Hagi Gligor but the midfielder fired just wide of the target.
But on 36 minutes the Glory’s early dominance was rewarded with the lead. Mitch Oxborrow wasn’t closed down and his long-range shot beat Alex Dunn, but crashed off the crossbar. Nikola Talimdzioski was quickest to react to score from the rebound.
Gligor then went within inches of a second on 44 minutes, his free kick from the edge of the box flashed inches wide.
Glory extended its lead in the final minute of the half after Stynes forced the Inglewood defender to turn the ball over and Talimdzioski pounced to score
Inglewood knew it needed at least a point to guarantee passage to the next phase, but it was the Glory youngsters who started the second half stronger and increased its lead after 53 minutes.
It was Stynes again who was the provider. The midfielder played in Joe Knowles, whose low cross was turned home by Sam McKearnen.
Glory was playing some fantastic football and it wasn’t a surprise when they added a fourth on 65 minutes, Gligor ending a great team move to score.
Inglewood looked to get back into the game, but they found Glory keeper Jordan Thurtell in superb form to deny them.
But Inglewood wasn’t finished and pulled two goals back quickly through second half substitute Ashley Rosindale.
The Glory youngsters settled and scored a fifth to complete the win three minutes from time. Joe Knowles racing clear and finishing with aplomb.
There was a somber moment after full-time with the Glory players and coaching staff standing in silence to mourn the passing of a family member of Aryn Williams.
Knglewood United 2 (Rosindale 73’, 83’)
Perth Glory 5 (Talimdzioski 36’, 45’, McKearnan 53’, Gigor 65’, Knowles 87’)
Sunday February 28 2016
Venue: Inglewood Stadium
Referee: Steven Gregory
Assistants: Alexander Novatsis and Shane Skinner
Inglewood United: GK Alex Dunn, 2 Rikki Smith, 4 Scott Blackmore, 6 Calum O’Connell, 7 Kenny Keogh, 8 Jason Barrera, 9 Brian Woodall, 11 John Migas, 13 Josh Pereira, 14 Mark Pritchard, 22 Ryan Sardi
Subs: RGK Mitchell Pappas, 5 Paul Zimmarino, 10 Ashley Rosindale, 16 Tim Gould, 18 Jason Colli
Perth Glory: GK Jordan Thurtell, 2 Sean Troup, 3 Sam McKearnan, 4 Aryn Williams, 5 Ross Millard, 6 Calvin Whitney, 7 Daniel Stynes, 8 Mitch Oxborrow, 9 Joe Knowles, 10 Hagi Gligor, 15 Nikola Talimdzioski
Subs: RGK Joel Driscoll, 12 Gian Albano, 13 Waliedin Ismail, 14 Alex Tanevski, 16 Thomas Pope