No Glory in Canberra

Perth Glory has been left empty handed on the road again after a frantic final few minutes saw Central Coast secure all three points on a chilly night at Canberra Stadium.

Perth Glory has been left empty handed on the road again after a frantic final few minutes saw Central Coast secure all three points on a chilly night at Canberra Stadium.

Perth looked to be in the box seat to take at least a point from the game after striker Mile Sterjovski notched his first goal of the season on 82 minutes to level the scores however an unfortunate slip by young Glory keeper Tando Velaphi with just a minute of regular time remaining gifted the Mariners the winner.

It was a bitterly disappointing end for Perth who dominated proceedings in the opening half hour and rattled the cross bar twice. A goal down at the break the Glory persisted against a suborn Central Coast defence and got back into the game only to see their efforts evaporate in the dying stages.

“Goals change games and when we dominated we played well, moved the ball around well and created chances but couldn-t score,” Mitchell said.

“They (Mariners) got back into the game and made it difficult from then on.

“Credit to the boys in the second half, we put in a good shift and looked to have done enough to get something out of the game but it wasn-t to be. To lose the game the way we did was very disappointing for everyone.”

Velaphi, who has saved Glory on countless occasions and again was in top form early in the match, will want to forget the moment the ball bounced over his head and the ensuing slip on a dewy surface as he tried to recover. The custodian relegated to just an onlooker as Matt Simon poked the ball into an open net.

“He (Tando) came into the rooms and apologised to all the players,” Mitchell said.

“Tando has made some great saves during the season, he is a great goal keeper in his own right and he-ll learn from it, as we all will. There is nothing really you can say in that instance except keep your chin up.”

After registering a double last week Glory striker Branko Jelic again looked in a goal scoring mood and he had a number of great opportunities throughout the match.

The first coming from a set-piece as skipper Jacob Burns delivered a great cross to the far post where Jelic pounded a header goalward to force a save from Mariners custodian Danny Vukovic.

A short time later the Serbian marksman tried his luck from the top of the 18 yard box and it was well worth the effort as the ball cannoned off the cross bar much to the relief of a beaten Mariners defence.

Despite Perth-s dominance it was the home side who struck as the first half wound down. Central Coast Captain Alex Wilkinson pouncing on a loose ball and slotted it through several sets of legs after Velaphi had initially parried away a goal bound effort.

The Glory found less space to operate in the second half however an equaliser looked to have been found when Sterjovski lobbed Vukovic in the 72nd minute but the goal was waved away after a late off-side flag was raised.

As the clock wound down the visitors were given a reprieve when Brad Porter was adjudged to have handled in the penalty box and Sterjovski stepped up to take the spot kick. His shot was initially blocked but he pounced on the rebound and this time made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

That sparked Perth into life and three minutes later they could have gone ahead when a long throw found Wayne Srhoj in the box but his header frustratingly bounced off the woodwork.

A last gasp free kick from Jelic 18 yards out did beat the wall but was comfortably saved by the Mariners keeper as the final whistle blew.

Perth now return home for another huge home clash and are left to ponder what they must do to secure a point on the road after coming away with nothing for the third time this season.

“If you look at tonight-s performance we-ve done everything else but win the game and so we just have to keep plugging away,” Mitchell said.

“We-re strong at home and there is no reason we can-t take our best performances on the road.

“We are continually analysing our travel routine and what can be done to ease the burden of the long flights however I don-t think we-re far away from getting something out of our games away from home.”

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 Rd 5 Central Coast Mariners 2 (Alex Wilkinson 42-, Matt Simon 89-) Perth Glory 1 (Mile Sterjovski 82-) Friday, 4 September 2009 at Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Crowd: 5139

Referee: Ben Williams

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC (23. Adam KWASNIK 83-), 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA (11. Dylan MACALLISTER 79-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK (21. Ahmad ELRICH 69-), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Nicky TRAVIS

Substitutes not used: 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA (24.Matthew MAYORA 66-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE (17.Todd HOWARTH 54-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), 25.AMARAL Yellow cards: Naum Sekulovski 47-, Branko Jelic 49- Red cards: Nil