Gold Coast down Glory Youth

A brave but undermanned Perth Glory couldn't stop Gold Coast United from consolidating their position atop the National Youth League table through a 3-1 victory at 6PR Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A brave but undermanned Perth Glory couldn't stop Gold Coast United from consolidating their position atop the National Youth League table through a 3-1 victory at 6PR Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

United went ahead through a first-half brace from Elliot Ronto but had to weather a spirited Glory fightback after half-time as goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson saved a Sebit Oyet penalty just minutes before Perth pulled one back through Al Jovic.

The hosts were dominating general play and looked good to force an equaliser but Gold Coast were always dangerous on the counter, demonstrating this in style when second-half substitute Robert Russell took advantage of a Perth mistake to drill the third.

It was an intriguing start to this encounter, however, as reigning National Youth League champions United lost several frontline players, who were being held in reserve for the senior team as Miron Bleiberg's men have a number of injury concerns.

However, United still had a star performer in Ben Halloran on the right flank, the youngster forcing Glory goalkeeper Tim Doyle to tip the ball around the post in the 14th minute.

Ryan Pearson fired a half-chance wide for Glory in the 20th minute and his missed proved costly as the visitors took the lead three minutes later.

Patiently holding onto the ball, United switched play from the left, releasing Halloran down the right, who cut in as he approached the box. Instead of a shooting with a half chance, Halloran slipped the ball out to Ronto on his right, who lofted the ball over Doyle and into the back of the net from a tight angle.

In the 34th minute, Gold Coast's Jordan Farina, the son of former Brisbane and Qantas Socceroos' coach Frank, blasted a shot over from five metres, but the miss hardly mattered as United doubled the advantage a minute later.

Once again Halloran was involved as he worked hard to gain possession of a 50-50 ball on the right, the midfielder slipping his pass to an overlapping Koh Satake, whose low cross into the box was converted by Ronto at the near post.

Gold Coast created a host of opportunities before half-time but couldn't find the back of the net, the visitors ruing the missed chances as Glory hit back hard after the re-start, fired by the introduction of Stephen Walmsley for Kieran Colwell at the break.

Two minutes into the second period, Walmsley had worked his way forward and was brought down by Ben Wearing in the area, referee Matthew Cheeseman immediately pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Oyet, but the midfielder's nervous build-up gave United goalkeeper Tyson a chance to guess the direction the penalty was heading as the stopper palmed away Oyet's shot.

However, despite the disappointment, the Glory continued to press hard as Jovic ghosted his way through the United defence two minutes later and was on hand to nod home a Walmsley cutback.

Presumably given a hairdryer by coach Gareth Naven at half-time, the Glory had definitely stepped up their intensity right across the park, the hosts working their way into space, hitting their passes and generally denying Gold Coast possession.

Gold Coast were still dangerous on the counter but their best chance before the hour fell to Kim Sung-Kil, whose free kick from 20 metres out was tipped around the post by Doyle.

Glory looked to have levelled proceedings in the 58th minute when skipper Sam Mitchinson nodded the ball home from a Cameron Edwards corner on the right. But the goal was flagged offside, and United maintained their lead.

In the 66th minute, Glory goalkeeper Doyle did well to deny a close-range chance by Gold Coast's Mitch Cooper while five minutes later, United speedster Russell took the ball in defence and ran the length of the field, only to hit the post.

Down the other end, a brave Tyson denied Glory substitute Sahr Musa in the 71st minute when he dived on top of the ball just as the Perth forward shaped to pull the trigger.

And his efforts proved worthwhile as Russell delivered the sealing goal in the 77th minute, the forward taking advantage of a scuffed clearance from Perth in midfield, before bursting forward, breaking two tackles and firing home.

Perth Glory 1 (Jovic 49) Gold Coast United 3 (Ronto 23, 35, Russell 77)