Perth Glory produced an outstanding team performance to beat WA powerhouse Perth Soccer Club 1-0 at the Ashfield Arena on Saturday.
Joe Knowles scored the winner just before half time, to end a stellar week for the young striker, after he impressed with the A-League side, in the final game of its pre-season tour of the Philippines.
But the Glory youngsters had to hold off a late surge from Perth SC, before hanging on for three valuable points.
“It was an unbelievable team performance, and I believe it’s the best we have played all year,” goalscorer Knowles said.
“I played my part, and fortunately I popped up with a goal to win it, but overall it was deserved with the team effort we put in.
“It just shows, on your day we are good enough to beat anyone and we have four games left to move further up the table, because we have been playing well recently but haven’t been rewarded on the scoreboard.”
Skipper Jordan Thurtell, who returned to the side after a month’s break said the team performance was outstanding and showed they can match it with any team in the league.
“The boys were excellent, the fight everybody showed, it was just a great team performance,” he said.
“The back four were really solid the whole game and kept Gustavo Catarcione, who is a really good striker, quiet.
“I thought Brandon Wilson in midfield controlled the game for us, and helped the other boys around him, and Joe (Knowles) scored a great goal too, which in the end gave us the win.
“You could tell in the rooms after the game what it meant to the players, and it would have to be one of the best performances I've seen the boys put it.”
With head-coach John Gibson away this week, former Glory A-League Captain Jacob Burns was in the dug out.
The visitors started brighlty with Rocco Pizzata firing just over early, before the league’s top scorer Catarcione almost put his side in front seven minutes in.
The Brazilian intercepted a wayward pass and raced one-on-one with Thurtell, but the Glory custodian stood tall to save.
Glory defended desperately, but had a strong penalty shout of their own turned down when Knowles was brought down in the box- referee Tom Glavovic wasn’t interested.
Perth SC still looked dangerous, and the crossbar came to the Glory’s rescue on 20 minutes, Nick Ambrogio volley beat Thurtell but the woodwork saved the day.
The visitors’ keeper Francis Soale was called into action for the first time in the match, after Nikola Talimdzioski made room down the left, and picked out Kosta Petratos, who was denied by a stunning save from Soale.
Soale was at it again on 25 minutes, this time Petratos’ deep cross found Daniel Stynes at the back post, his header was saved low by the Perth custodian.
It was the best period of the match for Glory. Knowles fired wide, before former Newcastle Jets defender Adrian Madaschi got back with a last ditch tackle to deny Knowles again on 43 minutes.
But in first half stoppage time Glory deservedly hit the front.
Petratos played an inch perfect through ball for Knowles to race on to and held off his marker and finished clinically low past Soale.
Glory continued to dictate terms after the break, Jack Iredale headed wide early, before Talimdzioski's shot on the run flashed inches over the top.
Soale was keeping his side in the game, and produced another stunning save to deny Stynes on the hour.
But he went one better on 86 minutes, producing a great double save to thwart Knowles and Talimdzioski respectively.
The Glory looked comfortable at the back, but in the third minute of stoppage time, all their hard work was nearly undone.
With probably the last kick of the game, Catarcione found himself free in the box with only Thurtell to beat, but the striker fired wide of the target and the Glory was left to celebrate a courageous three points.
In earlier games on the day Aidan Edwards, Joe Tweats and Ethan Brooks gave Callum Salmon’s under 18’s a 3-2 win against Perth SC, to maintain top spot on the table.
While Bobby Despotovski’s under 20’s moved into second place on the table with a 3-0 win also against Perth SC. Ben Johns bagging a brace and the other to Losene Dulleh.
Next week Perth Glory PS4NPLWA sides head north, to the ECU Football Stadium, to take on ECU Joondalup.
Perth Glory 1 (Knowles, 45+1’)
Perth SC 0
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Referee: Tom Glavovic
Assistant referees: Adrien Liechti and Anthony Walsh
Perth Glory – GK Jordan THURTELL (C), 2 Gian ALBANO, 3 Scott ROBERTSON, 4 Jack IREDALE, 5 Ross MILLARD (13 Dejan SPAESKI 66’), 6 Brandon WILSON (14 Sean TROUP, 90), 7 Kosta PETRATOS (12 Yacob MUSTAFA, 90+3’), 8 Calvin WHITNEY, 9 Nikola TALIMOZIOSKI, 10 Joe KNOWLES, 11Daniel STYNES - Subs not used - RGK Riley STEPHENSON, 15 Sam MCKEARNEN - Yellow card - Thurtell 73’
Perth SC – GK Francis SOALE, 2 David FILLIPPOU (15 Harley ORR, 72’), 4 Adrian MADASCHI (17 Francesco FURFARO 75’), 5 Nathan DIAZ, 6 Clark KELTIE (C), 7 Aleksandar JOVIC, 9 Gustavo CATACIONE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 12 Jordan DE LEO, 13 Rocco PIAZZATA, 14 Dino TOPCAGIC (11 Matthew MILENCOVIC 46’) - Subs not used – RGK Daniel PASSARELLI, 16 Thomas JEBB - Yellow card - Pizzata, 64.
Red cards: Nil.