No Glory against Gold Coast

Perth Glory will be hoping a change of fortune is delivered this Christmas with the club focusing their attentions on a Boxing Day fixture against Newcastle to help elevate them back into the top six.

Perth Glory will be hoping a change of fortune is delivered this Christmas with the club focusing their attentions on a Boxing Day fixture against Newcastle to help elevate them back into the top six.

The Glory showed endeavour against a revitalised Gold Coast however they were unable to reign in an early goal from star striker Shane Smeltz while Scotsman Charlie Miller added a second late in the game as United registered a 2-0 win at Skilled Stadium.

“It was disappointing not to get something from the game because we changed things around and managed to create a few chances but didn-t have the key to unlock them in the penalty area,” Coach Dave Mitchell said following the match.

It was the worst possible start for Perth who found themselves behind after just four minutes when Miller lofted a ball to Smeltz on the edge of the box and the Kiwi International knocked down the pass with his chest and blasted a volley into the top left corner.

The news didn-t seem to be getting much better for the visitors when hard nut defender Andy Todd was helped from the field with what appeared to be concussion. Todd involved in a heavy collision with United defender Steve Pantelidis and was caught in the head with an errant boot. The former English Premier League player was left dazed but amazingly brushed off the effects to return to the pitch and perform to his usual lofty standards.

To the Glory-s credit they regained their composure after a miserable start and started to apply pressure of their own. Dutch dynamo Victor Sikora was the first to test Gold Coast ‘keeper Jess Vanstrattan, a nicely timed glancing header was on target after a great Scott Neville cross.

Sikora involved again a few minutes later as hard working midfielder Adriano Pellegrino fired in a cross-field pass that just missed the outstretched foot of his team mate.

Pellegrino, shifted into central midfield as the Glory coaching staff tried a different combination through the centre of the park, decided to chance his luck from long range and it was well worth the effort. The shot from 25 yards was struck crisply and sent Vanstrattan scrambling to his right for a fumbling save.

In stark contrast to the opening 20 minutes it was Perth who had the bulk of the chances now and again it was United-s custodian that kept his side in the lead. Perth skipper Jacob Burns firing in a great free-kick that cleared the wall and was headed for the top right corner if not for Vanstrattan-s intervention.

Perth continued to press at the start of the second stanza and changed their shape to a more attacking formation. The extra man through midfield seemed to work as the visitors enjoyed the majority of possession and pumped 15 balls into the penalty area as opposed to just three for the home side.

They were almost embarrassed however when Jason Culina tried an audacious shot from 5 meters inside his own half that had Glory goal keeper Tando Velaphi scrambling backwards. The young Perth keeper thanking his lucky stars as the ball hit the crossbar and rebounded to safety.

As the game wore on however it was Gold Coast that stepped up a gear and found themselves two to the good on 76 minutes as Smeltz turned provider as Miller gleefully struck a shot from close range across Velaphi and into the back of the net.

“We managed to get some good possession but didn-t threaten too much in the second half and as we chased the game we opened up at the back and Gold Coast capitalised on the break,” said Mitchell

“We haven-t been creating too much of late and we-ll definitely have to adjust that going forward. It-s something we-re working hard to rectify and I-m confident we can start finding goals again.”

While Perth tried hard an inability to make the most of their attacking options hurt and they must now quickly regroup for a showdown on Boxing Day against the in-form fourth placed Jets who have won four matches on the trot.

“I think as a team we have lost a little bit of confidence but a good performance against Newcastle will rectify that. It-s something we need to snap out of and there is the mental maturity in the team to find their way through this tough patch,” said Mitchell.

“We-ve got another five games at home in the run to the finals and need to secure as many points as possible from them. We have been good at home for the most part and are looking forward to playing in front of a passionate home crowd on Boxing Day.

“We know not everything is exactly right at the moment but we are all pulling in the same direction and I have no doubt we can find some positive momentum and get the results we need,” said Mitchell.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10: Rd 20 Gold Coast United 2 (Shane SMELTZ 4-, Charlie MILLER 76-) Perth Glory 0 Sunday, 20 December 2009, Skilled Park, Robina

Referee: Chris Beath Assistant referees: Brad Hobson and Nathan Macdonald Fourth official: Matthew Gillett Crowd: 4,310

Gold Coast United: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER (23.Steve FITZSIMMONS 69-), 16.Kristian REES, 22.Adama TRAORE (24.ANDERSON 59-), 34.Charlie MILLER (19.Andrew BARISIC 78-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk) Yellow Cards: Steve PANTELIDIS 40-, Charlie MILLER 69-, Andrew BARISIC 90- Red Cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD (10.Wayne SRHOJ 55-), 5.Jamie HARNWELL (13.Scott BULLOCH 81-), 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH (21.Mile STERJOVSKI 61-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk) Yellow Cards: Andy TODD 20-, Mile STERJOVSKI 62-, Jamie COYNE 65-, Wayne SRHOJ 75- Red Cards: Nil