Perth Glory FC has claimed all three points in its final home match of the 2014-15 Hyundai A-League season, beating a ten man Melbourne City 3-1, thanks to a stunning Jamie Maclaren hat-trick.
The treble took the 21-year old striker's tally to eight goals for the season and his performance edged out a heroic Danny Vukovic as man of the match.
Perth kicked-off with a new look line-up, featuring Diogo Ferreira and debutant Mtich Oxborrow in the midfiled, while Slovenian Denis Kramar slotted in the back line for an injured Scott Jamieson.
It was 20-year old Oxborrow, who made his presence felt within minutes, after his long shot had former Glory ‘keeper, Tando Velaphi, scrambling across goal but it was deflected wide of the post for a corner.
City threatened in the 20th minute, after a tidy cross found David Williams in the box. His header appeared to be destined for the back of the net but Danny Vukovic dove to his right making his second important save of the match.
The battle between Williams and Vukovic resumed barely three minutes later, when the City Striker pounced on a loose ball just inside Glory's area. He let loose a powerful shot, which was met by the Glory custodian’s chest before being cleared away to safety.
City was on top, and Harry Novillo was the next to force a classy save from Vukovic in the 34th minute. The Frenchman found himself in possession on the edge of the Glory box and fired a low shot toward the bottom left hand corner. Vukovic was equal to the task, palming the ball to safety.
Five minutes later and Josh Risdon forced Velaphi into action, crafting a measured curling effort that appeared destined for the top corner, but the City stopper managed to tip the ball over, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
In the 42nd minute, Glory hit the lead courtesy of a cool Jamie Maclaren finish. His run was timed to perfection, as he latched on to a classy Danny De Silva through ball, dribbled into the City area and fired past a helpless Velaphi.
Melbourne’s hopes of coming back took a dent on the stroke of halftime, as Paulo Retre picked up two yellow cards in a minute. The first came courtesy of a trip on Danny De Silva, while the second was for charging Denis Kramar.
City came out intent on levelling the match, and in the 52nd minute they did just that through Aaron Mooy.
After conceding a free kick on the edge of the area, the Socceroo stepped up and guided the ball past Vukovic – a special effort to beat arguably the A-League’s most in-form goalkeeper.
Perth almost wrestled the lead back two minutes later when Dino Djulbic forced Velaphi into a smart save to his right.
The Glory centre-half back showed some neat footwork in the area and was unlucky not to add to his three goals this season.
After 65 minutes, Glory restored their lead and once again it came through Maclaren.
The chance came after De Silva found himself one-on-one with Velaphi, who spilt the young gun’s first time effort. The ball fell to Maclaren, who tucked the ball away for his second of the day, with a little help from the upright.
However, it wasn’t until the 87th minute that the result was put beyond doubt and Maclaren grabbed his hat trick.
Substitute, Chris Harold, broke down the right wing and laid the ball into the path of Maclaren who finished from point blank range.
As referee, Chris Beath, blew for full time, Perth returned to equal-second in the Hyundai A-League
Kenny Lowe was satisfied with his team's performance, singling out top drawer performances from Vukovic and Maclaren.
"Vukovic is the best keeper in the league. He's top notch and a good guy, he works ever so hard on the training ground."
"Jamie gets himself into good positions, he's starting to grow. He's maturing as a person and a player," he said.
Lowe was also quick to pay tribute to the Glory faithful.
"I'm pleased for the fans, they're hurt as much as we're hurt. The fact that they came to support the boys is a testament to them."
"An FFA Cup Final and we're 2nd in the league, most amount of away wins, 17 weeks at the top of the table. It's been an unbelievable year. It's also been an unbelievably tough year too."
Glory hit the road next week to take on the 9th placed Western Sydney Wanderers for its final game of the 2014-15 Hyundai A-League season.
GOALS: Jamie MACLAREN 42’, 65’, 87, Aaron MOOY 52’
YELLOW CARDS: Paulo RETRE 45’, Connor CHAPMAN 67’
RED CARD: Paulo RETRE 45’
Perth Glory FC
TEAM: 1. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 9. Andy KEOGH, 11. Richard GARCIA (4. Riley WOODCOCK , 13. Diogo FERREIRA (27. Dragan PALJIC 63’), 15. Jamie MACLAREN, 19. Josh RISDON, 20. Danny DE SILVA, 23. Michael THWAITE (c), 25. Mitchell OXBORROW (14. Chris HAROLD 78’), 28. Denis KRAMAR
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Jack DUNCAN (gk), 31. Jacob COLLARD
Head Coach: Kenny LOWE
Melbourne City FC
TEAM: 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTULU (21. Stefan MAUK 74’), 6. Aaron MOOY, 9. Harry NOVILLO, 10. Robbie KOREN (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 70’), 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 15. David WILLIAMS, 18. Paulo RETRE, 20. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 22. Jack CLISBY (7. Iain RAMSAY 45’), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (c)
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 26. Marc MARINO
Head Coach : John Van’t SCHIP
Referee: Chris BEATH
Assistant Referees : Matthew CHEESEMAN & Josh MANELLA
Fourth Official : David BRUCE