Mehmet fires Glory to opening win

A second-half header from debutant Billy Mehmet ensured that Glory made their first ever winning start to an A-League season in front of nearly 9500 jubilant fans at nib Stadium.

A second-half header from debutant Billy Mehmet ensured that Glory made their first ever winning start to an A-League season in front of nearly 9500 jubilant fans at nib Stadium.

And it was no more than the men in purple deserved having dominated the highly-rated visitors for the entire first-half and much of the second.

Ian Ferguson-s side may have contained a host of new faces, but they clicked into gear right from the opening whistle and kept the Reds under the pump for the entire first 45 minutes.

With Liam Miller dictating terms from central midfield and Andrezinho running riot down the left flank, the South Australians found themselves under siege and could have been two or three goals adrift at the break.

Glory-s first opening came on 10 minutes when Miller-s free-kick landed at the feet of Travis Dodd who showed great close control to kill the ball and shrug off the attentions of marker Cassio, but his shot on the turn flashed narrowly wide.

Andrezinho then created two excellent chances in quick succession, turning Daniel Mullen inside out and firing in teasing low crosses which strike duo Billy Mehmet and Shane Smeltz came within centimetres of converting.

Mehmet duly returned the favour for the quicksilver Brazilian on 36 minutes, racing away down the right and delivering a cross which ultimately proved a fraction high for Andrezinho who couldn-t keep his header under the bar.

Josh Mitchell, meanwhile, was marshalling Glory-s defence superbly, ensuring that highly-rated strike duo Bruce Djite and Sergio van Dijk barely managed a half chance between them and skipper Jacob Burns also caught the eye with a strong showing as Miller-s defensive midfield foil.

Only the finishing touch was lacking from Glory-s dominant first-half display and players and fans alike were again left frustrated on 42 minutes.

Another Andrezinho cross from the left picked out Smeltz before eventually breaking for Miller on the edge of the box, but the Irishman curled his right-foot shot three metres wide.

Half-time Perth Glory 0-0 Adelaide United

The Reds began the second-half a little more purposefully and managed to produce their first real shot in anger on 50 minutes when van Dijk thumped a 25-metre free-kick just wide of Vukovic-s left-hand post.

Scott Neville then produced a vital block moments later as van Dijk prepared to pull the trigger having latched onto a flick-on from former Ukrainian international midfielder Evgeniy Levchenko.

The second-half was rapidly developing into a ding-dong battle and attention again switched to the Adelaide box on 54 minutes as Glory carved out yet another gilt-edged goalscoring opportunity.

The tenacious Mehmet blocked an attempted clearance from McKain and the ball fell kindly for Smeltz, but Reds- ‘keeper Eugene Galekovic produced a fine save to block the Kiwi international-s well-struck 16-metre effort.

The ebb and flow then continued just short of the hour-mark when only a superb goal-line clearance from the alert Todd Howarth prevented Djite from giving the increasingly dangerous visitors the lead.

Ferguson went to his bench as the game moved into its final quarter, introducing Steven McGarry and Tommy Amphlett for Travis Dodd and Andrezinho respectively and the latter made an immediate impact, beating Milan Susak for pace down the right and whipping in a cross which Galekovic claimed at full stretch.

Then on 73 minutes Glory had a decent shout for a penalty turned down by referee Jarred Gillett as McKain appeared to handle a header from Smeltz who had managed to get on the end of a cleverly-worked free-kick bent goalward by Howarth.

The Shed upped the decibel level as Glory appeared to regain the momentum and their heroes duly responded with the goal that they had been threatening all afternoon. Amphlett was the provider, driving in an inch-perfect cross from the right and Mehmet needed no second invitation to get across his marker and head powerfully home from close range.

Smeltz then had a golden opportunity to make the game safe with five minutes to go, but after latching onto Howarth-s through ball and turning Cassio, he dragged his low shot wide.

And as the Reds poured men forward in search of a late leveller, Mehmet almost took full advantage on the break, racing clear on goal only to see Galekovic turn his shot wide with a fine save low to his right.

The former Ireland Under-21 international was left holding his head in his hands, but he was all smiles three minutes later as referee Gillett brought the curtain down on a compelling clash which bodes extremely well for Glory-s prospects this season.

2011-2012 Hyundai A-League Round 1

Perth Glory: 1 (Mehmet 77') Adelaide United: 0 Sunday 9th October 2011 nib Stadium Attendance: 9452 Referee: Jarred Gillett

Perth Glory line up:1. Danny VUKOVIC, 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 7. Jacob BURNS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Liam MILLER, 12. Scott NEVILLE (6. Chris COYNE 84-), 13. Travis DODD (14. Steven MCGARRY 66-), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 27. ANDREZINHO (15. Tommy AMPHLETT 69-)

Substitutes not used: 20. Neil YOUNG (GK)

Yellow cards: Burns 50-, Mehmet 59-, Vukovic 87-

Adelaide United line up: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC, 4. Jonathan MCKAIN, 5. Daniel MULLEN (14. Cameron WATSON 25-), 6. CASSIO, 7. Zenon CARAVELLA, 8. Evgeniy LEVCHENKO, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 11. Bruce DJITE, 16. Spase DILEVSKI (17. Iain RAMSAY 81-), 22. Milan SUSAK (21. Francisco USUCAR 83-), 23. Andwele SLORY

Substitutes not used: 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK),

Yellow cards: Levchenko 38-