A late goal from striker Joe Knowles earned a vital 1-1 draw for Glory in Saturday’s clash with ECU Joondalup at the ECU Football Stadium.
The powerful finish from the former ECU player cancelled out an early Shane Pickering goal for the hosts, with the point meaning that Glory’s survival in PS4 NPLWA is all but secured.
Knowles, who had been out injured for a number of weeks, was naturally delighted to get on the scoresheet and felt that his side deserved a share of the spoils.
“We weren’t switched for their opening goal,” he said, “but I thought we showed great character to come back and dominated for most of the game.
“On a personal note, I’ve had trouble with my right groin and to be fair, I’d been shanking them all day with my left, so I took a chance with my right and was happy it went in.
“It was my first 90 minutes in a while, so I’m glad to have got that in my locker, but we have a big game next week and we’ll be doing all we can to get a result in that one to definitely secure our NPL future.”
Glory Coach John Gibson, meanwhile, was also pleased with the performance, but again called upon his young charges to show more self-belief.
“I thought for 80 minutes we were on top,” he said, “but we kill ourselves in the first five minutes by going behind,
“We showed great resilience again to get back in the game, but the lads need to be confident and not be scared to win.
“That’s something that’s been a challenge for us, but they have grown up really quickly.
“Overall, it was a super point and credit to the senior boys, Brandon [Wilson], Joe [Knowles] and Nick [Feely]) who were magnificent for us today.
“Now move on to Cockburn next week.”
It was the home side who made the perfect start on what turned out to be a wet afternoon in the northern suburbs, taking the lead after only two minutes when Sam Pollard’s free kick was driven low past Nick Feely by Pickering.
Pollard went close again on 15 minutes, Daryl Nicol racing down the left and cutting the ball back to the former Glory youngster whose shot flashed narrowly wide of the target.
Glory eventually settled, however and started to take control of the game, with Michael McDougall’s shot drawing a save from home goalkeeper, Fraser Greenwood.
Moments later, Daniel Stynes’ free-kick was well saved Greenwood and the follow-up shot from Wilson was also blocked by the ECU custodian.
It was more of the same immediately after the break as substitute Yacoub Mustafa was denied by the busy Greenwood.
But the home side went close to doubling their lead on 66 minutes when Nicol raced in on goal only to see his lobbed effort drift wide of the post.
Feely then saved well to thwart Steven McGarry and the former Glory favourite headed inches over moments later.
But with seven minutes left, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough.
Having won possession in midfield, Knowles was given far too much room and after driving forward, he finished superbly with a low shot.
There was still time for some late drama as Gordon Smith’s volley flashed over, but ultimately Gibson’s men held on for a deserved share of the spoils.
The result left Glory level on points with 13th-placed Balcatta and one point clear of 14th-placed Mandurah City, with those two sides set to meet next weekend.
And given their vastly superior goal difference, Glory should maintain their top-flight status regardless of their own result against Cockburn City.
In Saturday’s other games, the Under-18s continued their finals push with a 3-2 win and the Under-20s also tasted victory courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline.
ECU Joondalup 1 (Pickering 2')
Perth Glory 1 (Knowles 83')
Saturday, August 19, 2017
ECU Football Stadium
Referee: Tom Dowle
Assistants: Andre Ferreira, Vraj Patel
ECU Joondalup: GK Fraser GREENWOOD, 3 Ross MILLARD, 4 Steven MCGARRY, 5 Rikki SMITH, 6 Shane PICKERING, 7 Kevin MOON, 8 Declan HUGHES, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Gordon SMITH, 11 Samuel POLLARD, 17 Jack JONES
Subs not used: RGK Jordan YOUNG, 12 Fraser GARNAUT, 13 James OWEN, 16 Tom HOUGH,19 Graham DORAN
Yellow cards: Moon 48’
Perth Glory: GK Nick FEELY, 2 Luca BODNAR, 3 Hayden STEVENS, 4 Cameron MURRAY, 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS, 7 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (14 Yacoub MUSTAFA 46’), 8 Brandon WILSON, 9 Joseph KNOWLES, 10 Daniel STYNES, 11 Michael MCDOUGALL (12 Gomo DUKULY 67’)
Subs not used: RGK Kyle MCDONALD, 13 Jack LEECH, 17 Sam RIAK
Yellow cards: Timmins 42’, Knowles 68’, Wilson 74’