Perth Glory moved four points clear of the PS4 National Premier League WA drop zone after a hard fought 2-1 win against West Australian Top Four contenders Floreat Athena at the Ashfield Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Kosta Petratos gave the Glory youngsters the lead just before the half hour, before Jon Stynes, brother of Glory midfielder Daniel, levelled.
But the winner came from Glory’s new Young Socceroo defender Ross Millard, and despite having defender Scott Robertson sent off on 69 minutes the Glory youngsters hung on for three valuable points.
Glory Coach John Gibson said it was a great performance and well deserved.
“We are super happy today for the entire group, they deserve praise, as per normal it's been a relentless week, but the group's attitude, work rate and character never wanes - their mentality the whole season has been absolutely tops - and it was cool to do it tough and grind it out,” he said.
“We’ve provided opportunities to over 35 players (ages varying from 1992 to 2001) so far this season, and not matter which squad we have at training and on match day - we just get on with the task at hand and follow the process - the aim is always to be the best we can.”
The win was vital after two tough losses - 80min penalty at ECU last Saturday, and to Armadale in midweek.
“Floreat are a Top 4 side, strong and it's always a tough contest which is a nice challenge which we enjoy - our focus is ourselves and everyone is delighted for the group at the end of a tough week - but we love it because this is the reality of professional football.
Glory opened brightly and Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris was busy early, saving well from Jamel Reiners volley.
But there was nothing the Floreat custodian could do on 26 minutes, when the Glory youngsters’ early pressure was rewarded with the lead.
Petratos found space on the edge of the penalty area and his shot through a crowded penalty area took a slight deflection and beat Jason Saldaris.
It was more than the Glory deserved, but Floreat lifted and Dean Evans’ long range shot was well blocked by Jack Iredale, but on 37 minutes Floreat levelled. A ball into the box found Jon Stynes, who brought the ball down well on his chest before finishing low past Nick Feely.
But three minutes before half time Glory regained the lead. It was the other Stynes this time who set it up, Daniel’s through ball sent Millard in on goal and the youngsters finished clinically past Jason Saldaris to send them into the break 2-1 to the good.
It was end to end football after the break, Oxborrow’s teasing cross was well claimed by the Floreat keeper, before substitute Ludovic Boi's free kick was headed clear by former Floreat defender Aryn Williams.
Moments later Feely had to be alert to save well from Jon Stynes’ header, but just after the hour Glory went close to a third.
Oxborrow’s free kick was heading for the net, but a stunning save from Jason Saldaris denied him.
But on 69 minutes Glory suffered a huge blow, when it was reduced to ten men after defender Scott Robertson was given a second yellow card by referee Stuart Muldoon, and was sent off.
Floreat looked to make their numerical advantage count and Chris Saldaris saw his close-range shot flash over the top, before Shaun Timmins’ cross took a deflection off Iredale, but it went straight into the arms of a grateful Feely, who saved.
Glory hit on the counter attack ten minutes from time, and almost added a third. Nikola Talimdzioski racing clear from a ball over the top, but his chip was well saved by Jason Saldaris.
Feely had to be alert to save Bobby Wilson’s header late, before Floreat had a late chance to level.
Daniel Stynes was fouled on the edge of the box, Floreat was convinced it was in the penalty area, but the referee ruled a free kick.
Robbie Gasper’s free kick was blocked by the wall and the whistle sounded to seal a magnificent three points for the Glory youngsters.
Perth Glory 2 (Petratos 26’, Millard 42’)
Floreat Athena 1 (Stynes 37’)
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Venue: Ashfield Arena
Referee: Stuart Muldoon
Assistant referees: Brendan Skinner, Max Hallas
Perth Glory: GK Nicholas FEELY, 2 Aryn WILLIAMS, 3 Jack IREDALE, 4 Scott ROBERTSON, 5 Ross MILLARD, 6 Brandon WILSON, 7 Daniel STYNES, 8 Mitch OXBORROW (13 Dejan SPASESKI 80), 9 Kosta PETRATOS (14 Sam MCKEARNEN 65), 10 Jamal REINERS (12 Cal WHITNEY 56), 11 Nic TALIMDZIOSKI
Subs not used: RGK Riley STEPHENSON, 15 Alex TANEVSKI
Yellow cards: Robertson
Red cards: Robertson (69min)
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Shaun TIMMINS, 5 Bobby WILSON, 6 Clayton ARNEZ, 8 Jonathan STYNES, 10 Kris GATE (14 Ludovic BOI 46) 11 Dennis GALAN (12 Nathan SCULLY 73), 15 Christopher SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phillip ARNOLD, 33 Cameron YORKE (9 Robert GASPER 73)
Subs not used: RGK Jordan BARBAS, 16 Kye DOUGLAS
Yellow cards: Timmins, Saldaris, Wilson
Red cards: nil