Inspired Glory fall just short

A Mark Bridge goal in first-half stoppage time ultimately secured all three points for Sydney FC at nib Stadium, but the Sky Blues were desperately fortunate to escape with a win after Glory launched a stirring second-half fightback.

A Mark Bridge goal in first-half stoppage time ultimately secured all three points for Sydney FC at nib Stadium, but the Sky Blues were desperately fortunate to escape with a win after Glory launched a stirring second-half fightback.

Only a combination of the woodwork and a string of superb saves from Liam Reddy kept the home side at bay as they laid siege to the visitors- goal, inspired by substitutes Travis Dodd and Mile Sterjovski.

In contrast, the tone for the first-half was decidedly more low key at least in terms of goalmouth action.

Time and space were very much at a premium, every challenge fiercely contested and the frantic pace meant that both sides struggled to retain possession, especially in the final third.

Of the few chances that were created, however, Glory-s enjoyed the lion-s share.

Billy Mehmet drew a regulation save from Sky Blues ‘keeper Liam Reddy after strike partner Shane Smeltz had cushioned a Josh Mitchell cross into his path, while on 35 minutes Liam Miller came close to breaking the deadlock.

Josh Risdon pushed up effectively from full-back and combined neatly with the industrious Mehmet to carve out an opportunity for the Irishman, but although his clever dummy granted him extra time to get his shot away, his low drive ultimately lacked the power to unduly trouble Reddy.

That close-call seemed to spur the home side on and although the returning Jamie Coyne continued to effectively shackle Andrezinho on the left, Risdon and Miller began to look more threatening down the right.

With Mehmet-s tireless hustle keeping the visitors- defence in on its toes and Glory-s own back four largely untroubled, it looked as if it would be Ian Ferguson-s men who would be the side to get their noses in front before the break.

Sydney FC had other ideas, however and despite having looked largely toothless going forward to that point, they produced a moment of class on the stroke of half-time to claim a shock lead.

Mark Bridge started and finished the move, picking out Nick Carle with a superb thirty metre pass and the in-form marquee midfielder held the ball up well before sliding a low cross which the onrushing Bridge gleefully slammed into the net from close range.

Half-time: Perth Glory 0-1 Sydney FC

Trailing at home for the first time this season, Glory came out all guns blazing at the start of the second-half and came close to restoring parity courtesy of a sweeping, length-of-the-field move on 57 minutes.

Chris Coyne broke from the edge of his own box, eventually finding Travis Dodd who had been introduced along with Mile Sterjovski just seconds earlier and the former Adelaide man supplied a superb cross which Coyne headed powerfully, but straight at Reddy.

The switch to a back three meant that Glory were able to commit plenty of men forward and it took another save from Reddy to keep the visitors in front as he went full length to tip an Adam Hughes header over the bar.

Dodd continued to run riot down the left, while Hughes also started to push forward to far greater effect and was narrowly off-target on the hour mark having out-muscled his marker to latch onto a Miller free-kick.

Seven minute later another incisive Glory attack tore the Sky Blues open, this time Sterjovski was the architect, teeing up a fine shooting opportunity for Smeltz who dragged his low shot narrowly wide of Reddy-s left-hand post.

The visitors- goal was well and truly under siege at this point and the hosts came close to claiming the goal their pressure warranted twice in the space of a minute.

Firstly Miller was denied his first goal for the club by a stunning fingertip save from Reddy and then Sterjovski fired over after drifting in behind the Sydney defence to get on the end of another teasing cross from the impressive Dodd.

Next up it was Smeltz-s turn to go close again, the Kiwi international shrugging off the attentions of several defenders to reach another flick-on from Mehmet only to fire over as Reddy advanced from his line.

The Sydney FC goal seemed to be enjoying a charmed life and its crossbar was well and truly rattled on 79 minutes as Hughes thumped it with a viciously-struck half-volley from just outside the box.

Sadly, in the midst of his best performance in Glory colours, Dodd appeared to pull his hamstring with five minutes remaining and limped from the fray to be replaced by Todd Howarth.

Still Ferguson-s men threw everything forward in search of a late leveller including ‘keeper Danny Vukovic who remarkably forced another superb save from overworked opposite number Reddy as he headed a Sterjovski corner towards the top corner.

The last-ditch defending continued right up until the final whistle sounded, but Vitezslav Lavicka-s men held firm to leave Glory rueing what might have been.

Hyundai A-League Week 6 Perth Glory:0 Sydney FC:1(Bridge 45') nib Stadium Saturday 12th November 2011 Attendance: 9046 Referee: Gerard Parsons

Perth Glory: 1.Danny Vukovic (GK), 2.Josh Mitchell, 3.Bas Van Den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 6.Chris Coyne, 7.Jacob Burns, 8.Adam Hughes, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 19.Josh Risdon (13.Travis Dodd 55-)( 17.Todd Howarth 85-), 27.Andrezinho (21.Mile Sterjovski 55-)

Substitutes not used:, 30. Lewis Italiano (GK)

Sydney FC:1. Liam Reddy, 3. Jamie Coyne, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 8. Karol Kisel (12. Shannon Cole 77-), 10. Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn, 17. Terry Antonis (9. Bruno Cazarine 67-), 19. Mark Bridge, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant (2. Sebastian Ryall 82-)

Substitutes not used: 20. Ivan Necevski

Yellow cards: Jamieson 77-