Perth Glory FC have returned to the top of the Hyundai A-League table, creating history along the way with a one-nil win over Central Coast in Gosford. It's the first time the team has beaten the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium in 15 matches.
Nebojsa Marinkovic gave Perth the lead, three minutes before half-time with a stunning 30 metre curling free kick. The 28-year old dead ball specialist, fired his shot into the top right corner, whizzing past Mariner’s keeper Liam Reddy. On a night where Glory could have had five goals to the tally, Marinkovic’s free-kick was enough to put the West Australians back on top with 12 points.
It was a cagey start to the first half but it was Marinkovic in the 17th minute who looked to break the dead lock with a long range effort, however the Serbian fired his shot wide. Then in the 24th minute Andy Keogh was on track for something special in the box when he expertly controlled a lobbed ball into his path to carve out an opportunity, but the ball bounced off his defender and the Mariners were clear of any present danger.
Central Coast threatened on the half hour mark when Isaka Cernak came rushing in to meet a cross from Nick Fitzgerald, but sprayed his shot wide.
The first clear chance for Glory came in the 33rd minute when Marinkovic sent in a ball from a corner, which found an unmanned Rostyn Griffiths at point black range but the midfielder steered the ball across the face of goal.
Perth custodian Danny Vukovic was tested in the 39th minute when he blocked an Anthony Caceres long range shot but had to scramble and put his body on the line as Mariner’s goal sneak Mitch Duke followed up on the loose ball and blasted his shot into Vukovic, who forced the ball for a corner.
Two minutes later Mitch Nichols was brought down by Mariners skipper John Hutchinson. Marinkovic stepped up and took the free kick, sending the ball over the wall and into the back of the net for arguably the goal of the season after five rounds.
Perth came out firing in the second half, sniffing a win and it was in the 48th minute when sharp shooter Andy Keogh found himself one-on-one with Reddy but couldn’t put the ball away. Four minutes later the Irishman was brought down, again by Hutchinson. Marinkovic stepped up for the free-kick but the hard and low driven shot was well covered by Reddy.
In the 55th minute, ‘Super-Sub’ Jamie Maclaren looked to etch his name on the scorers sheet, with a left foot snap on the half-volley but the ball posed little trouble for Reddy.
Keogh looked destined to score in the 67th minute when he found himself one-on-one with Reddy again but the keepr did enough to get a touch and send the ball for a corner. The ball was taken quickly and whipped in towards goal to find Griffiths again in the box who was unable to steer the ball across the goal line.
In the last minute of stoppage time, young gun Danny De Silva had the chance to kill off the game, as Glory found themselves four on two but the teenager fired his shot wide.
Despite the missed chances, goal scoring hero Marinkovic said it was a spirited effort by the boys.
“We have a good team and we have to make sure we continue with this winning form” he said.
“I am delighted to have scored my first Hyundai A-League goal which helped secure three points and send us to to the top of the table but now our focus turns to Tuesday night, when we take on Bentleigh Greens in the Westfield FFA Cup Final” Marinkovic added.
Perth Glory FC travels to Melbourne on Monday to take on Victorian NPL side Bentleigh Greens in the Semi-Final of the FFA Cup. A win there and Perth will face either Adelaide United or the Mariners who will battle it out in the other semi-final clash at Coopers stadium on Wednesday night.
Perth's FFA Cup match at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 4.
Kick-off is at 4.30pm WST.
Perth Glory FC will return to nib Stadium for the big clash against Asian Champions, Western Sydney Wanderers on November 15.
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Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick
Fourth Official: Matthew Cropper
Crowd:6391 at Central Coast Stadium
Yellow Cards: ’52 John Hutchinson
Perth Glory FC : 1.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (’77 13.Diogo FERREIRA), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Youssouf HERSI, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (’74 11.Richard GARCIA), 15. Jamie MACLAREN,(’71 20.Daniel DE Silva) 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (C)
Unused Subs: 2. Jack CLISBY, 30 Jordan THURTELL
Central Coast: 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7.John HUTCHINSON (C), 9.Mitchell DUKE, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD (’82 17. Richard VERNES), 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 18.Glen TRIFIRO (’78 14.Malick MANÉ), 21.Michael NEILL, 23.Isaka CERNAK, (’61 15.Matt SIM ) 25.Eddy BOSNAR,
Unused Subs: 1.Matthew NASH (gk) 3.Joshua ROSE
PERTH GLORY FC Fixtures
Tuesday November 11
Bentleigh Greens v Perth Glory FC
Westfield FFA Cup Semi-Final
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Melbourne
Kick-off 7.30pm EST
Saturday November 15
Perth Glory FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Round 6 Hyundai A-League
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off 6.30pm WST