A massive fightback from Perth Glory's youngsters ensured three points after coming back from behind for a 2-1 win against Mandurah City in its PS4 National Premier League WA game.
Ryan Francis gave the home side the lead on 52 minutes with a wonder strike, but Glory skipper Daniel Stynes levelled with a rebound on 69 minutes, and a penalty from Kosta Petratos after Joe Knowles was brought down - deep into stoppage-time won it for John Gibson’s side.
Gibson said the win was a great reward for his side’s performance.
“Again we were super today, it was Mandurah’s first home game for the season and from the outset we took the game to them,” he said.
“We were very disappointed to go behind but the character and mentality we have in this group showed and we got the positive outcome,” he said.
“Mandurah are a strong, physical and well-organized team, but the group stood firm together and also pleasing was to hand a starting debut to defenders Riley Warland (2002) & Cam Murray (1999) who were lead well by Jack Iredale and Jordan Thurtell.
“We have a new group, and many haven’t played at this level, but with every game they are adapting well to the challenges of senior football.”
Warland said it was a well-deserved three points.
“I thought we outplayed them for majority of the game, and we coped with the physical side of the game pretty well,” the young defender said.
“It was great coming away with three points, it was a well-deserved win, and all the players stepped up in a good team performance.”
The youngster said it’s great to given the opportunity to play in the side, and he said the coach believes in him and he is thankful to Gibson for the trust he’s had in him.
“Being 14, it's a great experience to be playing with some great talent in the team and playing against some of the best players in the state is a great opportunity to see where I'm at in my development,” he explained.
“I'm very thankful to Gibbo for giving me such a great opportunity at such a young age, he works extremely hard with the group so it’s nice to repay the faith he’s shown in me and to help the team come home with all three points.”
Gibson made two changes to the side that lost to Perth SC last week, with Warland coming in for Bayley Montgomery-Brown, and Murray coming in for Walter Scott.
It was the Glory youngsters who started the better and had the home side on the back foot.
Mandurah keeper Cyril Sharrock had to be alert to save Joe Knowles’ snap shot early, and tipped over his header moments later.
Stynes and Petratos were causing problems and the pair combined midway through the half.
Stynes wriggled past two defenders and laid the ball to Petratos, who's shot beat Sharrock, but the post came to the rescue of the Mandurah custodian.
Mandurah was struggling in the final third, with Glory defendersd Jack Iredale and Luca Bodnar outstanding, but they did have Thurtell to thank just before the break to keep a clean sheet at the half-time break.
City started the second half well, and was rewarded with the opener on 53 minutes. Francis was given too much room on the edge of the penalty area, and superbly curled his shot into the top corner of the net.
It was a bitter blow for the Glory, but the youngsters continued to press and levelled on 70 minutes.
Knowles’ long-range shot smacked against the post, into the back of Sharrock and Stynes was quickest to react to score from the rebound.
Glory began to dominate and Jack Leech’s cross picked out Stynes, who hit the post, before Michael McDougall shot from the edge of the penalty area and also hit the woodwork.
Mandurah striker Oriel Fernandez had the perfect opportunity to give his side the lead on 84 minutes, after been sent in on goal, but fired wide of the target.
Fernandez had another opportunity two minutes later, a cross from Francis found him but his shot was superbly saved by Thurtell.
It looked like it wasn’t to be Glory’s day, after Montgomery-Brown and Knowles both hit the post as they pressed for the winner.
But in stoppage time Knowles, whose endeavor and drive was superb all afternoon, was brought down in the penalty area and referee Steve Gregory pointed straight to the spot.
Petratos kept his nerve and scored the resulting penalty to seal the three points.
In other results, Glory U-20s won 4-0 while the U-18's remain undefeated after a stunning 7-0 win over Mandurah.
This weekend Glory host Stirling Lions at Ashfield Reserve from 3pm.
Mandurah City 1 (Francis 53’)
Perth Glory 2 (Stynes 70’, Petratos 92’)
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Kelly’s Hot Water Community Stadium
Referee: Steven Gregory
Mandurah City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 2 Oliver MCGEE, 3Jeff BRIGHT, 4 Matt STARES, 5 Mitch FIRTH, 6 Oscar THOMPSON, 7 Thomas STRAKER (17Oriel FERNANDEZ 62’), 8Andrew BROWN (c) (16 Joe O’BRIEN 80’), 9 Mark MCAUGHLIN, 10 Sean TROUP, 11 Ryan FRANCIS
Subs not used: RGK Brad EIFFE, 12 Jordan RHODES, 14 Slade RULE
Yellow Cards: Bright 38’, McGee 93’
Perth Glory: GK Jordan THURTELL, 2 Cam MURRAY, 3 Luca BODNAR, 4 Jack IREDALE, 5 Riley WARLAND, 7 Yacoub MUSTAFA (12 Michael MCDOUGALL 62’), 8 Jack LEECH, 9 Joe KNOWLES, 10 Daniel STYNES (c), 17 Kosta PETRATOS, 21 Callum TIMMINS (14 Bayley MONTGOMERY-BROWN 80’)
Substitutes not used: RGK Stef KING, 13 Sam RIAK, 15 Callum DOBBS
Yellow Cards: nil