Bunbury boy Josh Risdon has emerged as the hero, after scoring the best goal of his career, helping Perth Glory to secure three points and an emphatic 3-2 victory over Asian Champions, Western Sydney Wanderers.
nib Stadium was charged by an electric atmosphere, as more than 150 Wanderers fans made the long trek across the Nullarbor.
Glory kicked-off the match in positive fashion and created a number of chances through Sidnei Sciola.
But it was the Wanderers who created the first real threat in the 10th minute, through former Glory boy Nikita Rukavytsya, who blasted a shot on goal but was blocked thanks to the heroics of a determined Danny Vukovic.
Two minutes later, a lofted ball into the path of Romeo Castelen, who made a well-timed run to beat Glory’s defenders, slotted the ball home to put the Wanderers ahead.
From there though, it triggered one of Glory’s best fightbacks this season.
A minute after Castelen scored, young winger Chris Harold almost pegged it back after meeting a cross from Andy Keogh in front of goal but his header lacked the power to beat Ante Covic in the Wanderers goal.
Perth attacked in waves from the flanks, while midfielders Mitch Nichols and Rostyn Griffiths tried to create the opportunities.
The second half picked up where the first left as Glory searched for the equaliser.
It almost came in the 48th through a corner as Griffiths headed on goal but only into the hands of Covic.
Two minutes later Glory peppered the Wanderer’s goal again after a free kick from Jamieson made it into a packed box, only to spill over into Harold’s feet, who fired on goal. The ball whizzed inches past the upright.
Kerem Bullet almost put the Wanderers in front shortly after, but his shot hit the upright and ricochet safely into Vukovic’s hands.
The equaliser came in the 55th minute after Richard Garcia lobbed up to head the ball over Covic and Sidnei came running in to guide it home.
Perth got out of jail in the 66th minute when a low Castelen ball across the six yard box found striker Labinot Haliti, but the Wanderer missed his shot from point blank range.
13 minutes later, Glory punished that mistake and took the lead. Scott Jamieson’s corner from the left was whipped in and found the head of Rostyn Griffiths, who powered his header over a flailing Ante Covic.
However, the joy was short lived as Western Sydney reacted quickly and equalised just 6 minutes later. Chris Harold miscued his pass and accidentally teed up in-form striker Kerem Bulut, who slotted past Vukovic from close range.
However, Glory refused to give in and threw everything at the Wanderers.
Coach Kenny Lowe pushed Dragan Paljic and Nebojsa Marinkovic into the fray as Glory looked for a much needed winner but it was an unexpected face that provided a moment of brilliance.
Josh Risdon made a barnstorming run through the Wanderers midfield in the 88th minute and from the edge of the box, unleashed a venomous strike into the near top corner.
The goal marked a turn in fortune for Perth Glory FC, breaking a nine game winless streak and enough to send the 9415 fans into raptures.
“I think my wife increased our health insurance halfway through that game,” Lowe joked after the match.
“It would have been easy to roll over after drawing as many games as we have, but we didn’t,” he said.
Lowe said while he was happy for the team and the fans to enjoy the win, he wasn’t getting ahead of himself.
"I think after the 27 games if we do anything, we can look back at this win. If we do nothing, it's just one result,” he said.
Glory, for now, rise one spot to third.
Glory travel to face bottom side Newcastle Jets next week, before returning to nib Stadium to face Sydney FC on April 10 in what will be the second last home game of the season.
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Perth Glory FC : Danny Vukovic (GK), Rostyn Griffiths, Dino Djulbic, Andy Keogh, Richard Garcia (Dragan Paljic 83’), Chris Harold (Nebojsa Marinkovic 75’), Sidnei Sciola (Mitch Oxborrow 90’+1), Mitch Nichols, Josh Risdon, Scott Jamieson, Michael Thwaite (C)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Ante Covic (GK), Yusuke Tanaka, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Labinot Haliti (Jason Trifiro 75’), Yojiro Takahagi, Nikita Rukavytsya, Kerem Bulut (Steve Kuzmanovski 83’), Romeo Castelen, Iacopo La Rocca, Sam Galloway, Jonathan Aspropotamitis
Scorers: Romeo Castelen (13’), Sidnei Sciola (55’), Rostyn Griffiths (68’), Kerem Bulut (72’), Josh Risdon (87’)
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Jonathan Aspropotamitis (49’), Kerem Bulut (72’), Dino Djulbic (76’), Michael Thwaite (86’)
Attendance: 9415 @ nib Stadium