Shared glory in Perth

Perth Glory has maintained their unbeaten run at home this season and continued their pressure at the top of the table however the West Australians missed an opportunity to jump to outright leaders after a hard fought 1-1 result against a resilient North Queensland outfit at ME Bank Stadium.

Perth Glory has maintained their unbeaten run at home this season and continued their pressure at the top of the table however the West Australians missed an opportunity to jump to outright leaders after a hard fought 1-1 result against a resilient North Queensland outfit at ME Bank Stadium.

Three points would have seen Perth claim the Hyundai A-League top spot for themselves and they looked to be in the box seat when they went one-up after the restart against a Fury side reduced to 10 men just before the break.

However Mile Sterjovski-s converted penalty wasn-t to be enough as the Queenslanders dug in and pegged back a late goal to even the ledger. The equaliser coming in controversial circumstances however with Glory keeper Tando Velaphi catching the ball on the goal line and appeared to be bundled over but no foul was awarded.

“We had a great opportunity today to win the game, going one-nil up, and they weren-t causing us too many problems,” Perth Glory Coach Dave Mitchell said.

“It was disappointing the way the second goal happened but we didn-t have the spark to regenerate and create another goal. That-s the annoying part from our point of view.

“When they got the goal they made it very difficult for us but that-s where we have to be good enough to take on the challenge and take it to the next level to create opportunities and we didn-t,” said Mitchell.

Bright and breezy conditions and a bumper crowd greeted the two sides as they took to the field but after some lively early exchanges neither Glory nor the Fury managed to find any real rhythm in what developed into a fractious first-half.

A corner in the opening minutes from Adriano Pellegrino was headed wide by Jamie Coyne who did well to climb above his marker, before the recalled Eugene Dadi latched onto a clever through ball from Jacob Burns only to see his well-struck effort deflected away from the target by Scott Wilson-s timely sliding challenge.

Having survived those early scares, North Queensland tightened up at the back and adopted a robust approach in midfield that successfully disrupted Glory-s attempts to get the ball down and bring their wide players into the game.

The stop-start pattern of the first-half was not helped by the sad sight of Fury-s Shane Stefanutto being carried from the field shortly after the half-hour. The Socceroos defender went to ground after chasing a ball to the by-line and then grabbed his knee in pain.

North Queensland suffering a further setback when Ufuk Talay was booked for a second time in the opening half leaving the visitors with just 10 men to fight out the second stanza.

Perth wasted little time making their numerical advantage count, breaking the deadlock within four minutes of the re-start. Skipper Jacob Burns releasing a hard running Sterjovski with a fine lofted ball down the left and the Socceroo cut into the box before being upended in full flight by John Tambouras.

Sterjovski dusted himself off and calmly sent goalkeeper Paul Henderson the wrong way from the spot to notch his third goal of the season and second penalty conversion in as many weeks.

To their credit, however, North Queensland refused to buckle and showed great resilience to restore parity on 71 minutes. A Chris Tadrosse-s free-kick found Tambouras in the box and his headed effort found its way on goal but was saved by Velaphi. Under heavy pressure the Glory custodian was forced backwards and adjudged to have carried it over the line despite pleas from Perth players that the youngster was fouled.

An industrious Victor Sikora attempted to conjure an immediate reply but his well-struck half-volley flashed over the bar and moments later substitute Branko Jelic just failed to covert a clever chipped cross from Sterjovski.

Despite several more promising attacking moves as full-time approached, Perth was unable to find the winner and was left to make do with just a point.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Rd 9

Perth Glory 1 (Mile Sterjovski (pen) 49-) North Queensland Fury 1 (John Tambouras 71-) Saturday, 3 October 2009 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Crowd: 12,872

Referee: Ben Williams

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS, 8.Victor SIKORA, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 14.Eugene DADI (11.Branko JELIC 75-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO (23.Andrija JUKIC 77-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 12.Scott NEVILLE, 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk) Yellow Cards: Victor Sikora 44-, Jacob Burns 45+1-, Eugene Dadi 72-, Wayne Srhoj 83- Red Cards:

North Queensland Fury: 1.Paul HENDERSON (gk), 2.Robbie MIDDLEBY, 3.Chris TADROSSE, 4.Scott WILSON, 6.Ufuk TALAY, 8.Shane STEFANUTTO (7.Jason SPAGNUOLO 33-), 9.Robbie FOWLER (24.Dyron DAAL 69-), 12.Jack HINGERT (14.Chris GROSSMAN 60-), 18.James ROBINSON, 19.Daniel MCBREEN, 21.John TAMBOURAS.

Substitutes not used: 20.Justin PASFIELD (gk) Yellow Cards: Ufuk Talay 25-, Ufuk Talay 45-, John Tambouras 58-, Jason Spagnuolo 85- Red Cards: Ufuk Talay 45-