Positive signs against EPL opponents

Perth Glory and English Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers showed they were both heading in the right direction ahead of their respective seasons following an entertaining display at Members Equity Stadium in Perth.

Perth Glory and English Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers showed they were both heading in the right direction ahead of their respective seasons following an entertaining display at Members Equity Stadium in Perth.

Glory-s highly regarded new recruits took to the field for the first time with Socceroos pair Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski starting in midfield and up front respectively while former Premiership defender Andy Todd also started the match and played 90 minutes at the back.

The star signings impressed, as did the majority of the Glory squad who took the pitch, however a goal in the second minute from Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was enough to hand Wolves a 1-0 victory.

“In general I think we can walk away with our heads held high, it was a good performance from our squad who are still learning to play together,” said Glory Coach Dave Mitchell.

“We had new players coming into the team for the first time and they-ll take a few games to come together but overall it was a pleasing effort.

“We know we have plenty of things we can work on in the lead-up to the start of the A-League season however I was very happy with the way the lads applied themselves tonight and the performance should give our supporters plenty to look forward to this season,” Mitchell said.

Burns was a standout in midfield and showed why the Glory were so determined to bring him to Perth. The 31 year old echoed the sentiments of his coach in saying there were plenty of positives to take from the run.

“There were a lot of new faces out there and I think we have to take the good out of the game,” Burns said.

“A lot of us have only been here for a week and we-re playing a good opposition, a Premier League side. It was a bit unlucky to cop that early goal but we turned it around well and created some chances.

“It-s the first match for a lot of us and it was good to get some kilometres under the belt, get a feel for each other and I think in patches we did really well. There are things to iron out and it-s great to have these games to do that against good quality, we-ll be better for it in the end,” said Burns.

The game started with a bang as Ebanks-Blake wasted no time whatsoever in showing why he topped the Championship goal scoring charts for the last two seasons, putting the visitors in front after two minutes.

The England Under-21 international latched onto a flick from strike partner Chris Iwelumo just inside the box and although his initial shot cannoned off the post he was in the right position to put the rebound into the back of the net.

To their credit Glory shrugged off the early set-back and soon carved out their first chance of the night, Burns was the provider, linking up neatly with Sterjovski whose crisp drive from the edge of the area flew narrowly wide of Wayne Hennessey-s left-hand post.

Wayne Srhoj was the next to try his luck for Glory, testing Hennessey with a 22 metre effort and the Welsh International goalkeeper was also called into action moments later, dashing from his line to foil the onrushing Sterjovski who had latched onto a deft through ball from Todd.

Wolves created some chances of their own with midfield cog Karl Henry especially influential and Ebanks-Blake a constant menace up front. Only a superbly-timed last-ditch challenge from Jamie Harnwell prevented Ebanks-Blake from doubling his tally on the half-hour and shortly afterwards, Velaphi produced a stunning parry to block a curling effort from former Southampton midfielder Andrew Surman.

As expected, both coaches opted to shuffle their packs at the start of the second-half, with Mitchell introducing Scott Bulloch and Youth Team player Million Butshiire while Mick McCarthy made seven changes, including club record signing Kevin Doyle.

The half got off to a lively start, with Glory arguably enjoying their best period of the game. Butshiire showed no sign of nerves on what was his senior debut, troubling the Wolves backline with his movement and strength, but clear cut chances remained at a premium for the home side.

Irish international Andy Keogh had the best of the chances for the Wolves in the second stanza when he cut in at pace from the right flank and his shot thundered against the underside of the bar before rebounding away to safety.

Mitchell continued to introduce young talent and the youthful Glory side more than held their own against their Premiership opponents as the game wore on. Scott Neville and Youth Team player Ryan Pearson both turned in lively late cameo performances while Velaphi further enhanced his growing reputation as full-time loomed.

Dave Mitchell will certainly have been encouraged to see his first-choice goalkeeper fully recovered from his recent hamstring problems and also heartened by a very accomplished debut from Andy Todd. The former Derby County man formed a solid partnership alongside Jamie Harnwell at the heart of the Glory defence and also caught the eye with some clever distribution.

Wolves Manager Mick McCarthy was very complimentary of Perth and was happy with the progression of his squad getting some match time into their pre-season program.

“It was a good competitive game and I thought they (Glory) played well,” McCarthy said.

“This has been good for us, the trip has been brilliant and that-s the kind of game I wanted today.

“They (Perth) have some decent players… Andy Todd is a great competitor and will be a good signing.”

Both Wolves and Glory will be in action again at Members Equity Stadium on Wednesday night albeit against different opponents. Wolves will tackle Robbie Fowler-s North Queensland Fury while Perth takes on Fulham, including Socceroos ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer, in a massive double header.

Match Details

Perth Glory 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Ebanks-Blake 2-) Friday, 10 July 2009 Members Equity Stadium, Perth

Crowd: 11,083

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI, 2.Jimmy DOWNEY (12.Scott NEVILLE 50-), 3.Jamie COYNE (19.Naum SEKULOVSKI 74-), 4.Andy TODD, 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 7.Jacob BURNS (15.Howard FONDYKE 85-), 8.Viktor SIKORA (13.Scott BULLOCH 46-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO (25.Ryan PEARSON 79-), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (24.Million BUTSHIIRE 46-).

Substitutes not used: 18.Brent GRIFFITHS, 26.Dean EVANS, 30.Nick FEELY

Wolverhampton Wanderers: 1.Wayne HENNESSEY (13.Marcus HAHNEMANN 46-), 3.George ELOKOBI (26.Matt HILL 46-), 6.Jody CRADDOCK (12.Bobo BALDE 61-), 8.Karl HENRY (4.David EDWARDS 46-), 9.Sylvan EBANKS-BLAKE (20.Kevin DOYLE 46-), 11.Stephen WARD, 16.Christophe BERRA (15.Nenad MILIJAS 61-) (5.Richard STEARMAN 46-), 17.Matthew JARVIS (21.Greg HALFORD 46-), 19.Chris IWELUMO (10.Andy KEOGH 14-), 22.Andrew SURMAN (2.Ronald ZUBAR 61-), 23.Kevin FOLEY (24.George FRIEND 46-).

Substitutes not used: 18.Sam VOKES