Perth Glory’s record-equaling home winning streak has come to an end at the hands of bitter rivals Adelaide United, succumbing to a 2-1 loss to the Reds on Monday evening at nib Stadium.
Perth took the lead in the eleventh minute, courtesy of a clinical Nebojsa Marinkovic strike, before a defensive error and a Jimmy Jeggo goal allowed the Red’s to fly home with the three points.
With Perth sweating through its sixth hottest day (44.4 degrees) on record the match got underway, with the mercury hovering at 36 degrees.
It wasn’t long before Adelaide put Glory under some pressure, albeit accidentally when an attempted cross from Sergio Cirio nearly crept past Danny Vukovic in the fourth minute.
Cirio was again the aggressor in the seventh minute, however Glory skipper Michael Thwaite showed why he is one of the most respected defenders in the league, steering the Spaniard away from goal before clearing the ball to safety.
Four minutes later, Thwaite turned provider for his side, when his precise long ball found the run of Andy Keogh. The Irishman was able to gather possession and pick out Marinkovic on the edge of the penalty box who didn’t hesitate in lashing the ball past Adelaide keeper, Paul Izzo. The thunderbolt into the bottom left hand corner was the Serbian’s third goal this Hyundai A-League season.
The extreme heat claimed its first casualty in the 25th minute, when Chris Harold left the field looking exhausted. Impact player Jamie Maclaren entered the fray in place of the 22-year old.
As the match progressed, the Reds began to press the Perth defense higher up the pitch and in the 30th minute it paid dividends. Reluctant to hoof the ball to safety, Richard Garcia looked to send the ball back to Vukovic but his back-pass was too light. Adelaide’s Craig Goodwin claimed the ball before coolly slotting the ball into the back of the net, levelling the scores at 1-1.
The Reds’ continued to test Glory’s defense, with Bruce Djite going close to putting his side ahead in the 41st minute. After finding himself unmarked, Djite went unrewarded as Vukovic closed the angle well denying the former Socceroo.
The players came out after the half time break to a nib Stadium shrouded in shadow which was a welcome relief for the crowd too. However the cooler climate seemed to suit the visitors more as they grabbed the lead in the 48th minute. Djite found space on the left hand side and was able to square up Jeggo who made no mistake, firing the ball past Vukovic from just beyond the six yard box.
However, Adelaide was tested repeatedly as Glory continued to threaten on the counter. In the 53rd minute Keogh sent Sidnei Sciola through on goal but his first touch let him down, and he fired into the side netting from a narrow angle.
Both sides were enjoying periods of possession however neither tested the keeper. Cirio went closest for the away side after a dazzling run through the Glory box in the 74th minute, his shot smashing against the crossbar and flying out for a goal kick, much to the relief of the 9,699 strong home crowd.
With the game hanging in the balance, Vukovic showed his value once more with an astute save to deny Mabil’s powerful shot in the 87th minute.
Maclaren had a tough chance to secure a point for Kenny Lowe’s side in the 89th minute but he saw his attempted chip sail over the crossbar.
As referee Strebre Dilovski blew for full time, Glory suffered their first defeat at nib Stadium since March 2014 and Kenny Lowe refused to blame the weather or the tight schedule.
“I don’t want to make excuses. The players worked their socks off. We gave it a real shake the second half,” he said.
“They got a lift after the first goal. Fair play to them though.”
Lowe said that the heat wasn’t ideal, but it’s a factor of playing professional football in Australia.
“It’s tough to press Adelaide all over the park in 40-odd degrees.”
“I’m knackered and I was just sitting in the chair,” Lowe joked.
Lowe was also quick to allay fears over the fitness of Chris Harold, confirming it was simply the heat that saw him leave the ground in the 25th minute.
The players will now enjoy a slight break with the AFC Asian Cup kicking off on Friday and Lowe said it’s come at a good time.
“We’re looking forward to the break. We’ll have a few days off and then get back into the swing of things.”
Perth will return to nib Stadium on Sunday January 25, on the eve of Autralia Day for another clash against third-placed Melbourne Victory.
Come along and show your Aussie pride for what promises to be an enthralling People’s Game.
GOAL SCORERS: Nebojsa MARINKOVIC 11’, Craig GOODWIN 31’, Jimmy JEGGO 48’
YELLOW CARDS: Nebojsa MARINKOVIC 38’, Scott JAMIESON 45’, Sidnei SCIOLA 51’, Jimmy JEGGO 59’, Marcelo CARRUSCA 63’, Rostyn GRIFFITHS 77’
PERTH GLORY FC: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD (15.Jamie MACLAREN 25’), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA (20.Daniel DE SILVA 60’), 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c)
SUBS NOT USED: 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk)
COACH: Kenny LOWE
ADELAIDE UNITED: 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ 68’), 11.Bruce DJITE (5.Osama MALIK 80’), 16.Craig GOODWIN (17.Awer MABIL 45’), 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH
SUBS NOT USED: 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 30.John HALL (GK)
COACH: Josep Gombau
Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI
Assistant Referee: Josh MANNELLA & Tim MIHEVC
Fourth Official: David BRUCE