Perth Glory BEATS TOP Team

Alistair Edwards' rein as Perth Glory coach got off to the best possible start at nib Stadium on Saturday night as his new charges secured a well-deserved 2-1 win over ladder leaders Central Coast.

Alistair Edwards' rein as Perth Glory coach got off to the best possible start at nib Stadium on Saturday night as his new charges secured a well-deserved 2-1 win over ladder leaders Central Coast.

Two superb goals from Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz helped Perth Glory re-ignite their finals hopes and inflict only a third defeat of the season upon the visitors who failed to build upon a 13th-minute strike from Bernie Ibini.

Clearly keen to impress their new boss, Glory started brightly with Chris Harold going close as early as the 7th minute, but the Mariners are renowned for their strength on the counter-attack and duly enhanced that reputation by taking the lead against the run of play six minutes later.

Steven McGarry had his pocket picked by Daniel McBreen some 25 metres from goal, the former Glory loanee found Michael McGlinchey who in turn slipped the ball into the path of Ibini and he calmly side-footed past the advancing Danny Vukovic to bag his sixth goal of the season.

McGlinchey then went close to doubling his side's advantage via another rapid breakaway prompted by a searching long ball from Patrick Zwaanswijk, but if the Mariners thought that a repeat of last week's 5-0 drubbing of Wellington was on the cards, they were quickly proved wrong.

Demonstrating that Zwaanswijk didn't have the monopoly on pinpoint long passes, Nick Ward picked out Dodd cutting in from the right channel and the 33-year-old showed all his class and experience by cushioning the ball in mid-stride and firing low past the helpless Mat Ryan.

Visibly lifted by that well-constructed leveller, Edwards' men forced their way into the ascendancy as half-time approached, maintaining and rotating possession well in midfield even if they found it hard to prise open the league's tightest defence.

The visitors were restricted to the occasional threatening break, one of which could and perhaps should have produced a 16th goal of the season for McBreen, but he skied wastefully over having been teed up perfectly by former Glory man Mile Sterjovski.

The same narrative continued during the early exchanges of the second stanza, with Glory pouring forward and they came within centimetres of taking the lead just after the hour mark when Josh Risdon was cruelly denied his first ever A-League goal as his stunning 24-metre pile-driver thundered against the crossbar.

Glory's frustration was short-lived, however as four minutes later Smeltz supplied the goal their unrelenting pressure warranted.

Again Risdon was a key figure, linking up with McGarry down the right and whipping in an enticing cross which Smeltz headed powerfully into the far corner of the net despite an heroic effort from Ryan to keep it out.

The high-flying Mariners thus found themselves in unfamiliar territory chasing the game and seemed to have little answer to a Glory side now brimming with energy and intent.

On 75 minutes Miller squandered a gilt-edged opportunity to make the game safe as he headed wide having been picked out by a tremendous cross from the overlapping Dean Heffernan, before substitute Ryo Nagai fired over after turning Pedj Bojic inside out as he slalomed his way down the right flank.

Given the Mariners' penchant for scoring late goals, it was little wonder that the tension levels rose palpably among the home fans as the final whistle loomed, but with Michael Thwaite and Steve Pantelidis very much to the fore, Glory dug deep and held on to move to within four points of the top six.