Sikora strike not enough for Glory

A momentary lapse in concentration has cost Perth points for a second straight week as North Queensland Fury made the most of their chances to inflict a 2-1 defeat on the Glory at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

A momentary lapse in concentration has cost Perth points for a second straight week as North Queensland Fury made the most of their chances to inflict a 2-1 defeat on the Glory at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

Perth made the home side chase after going one-up through Dutchman Victor Sikora however two goals in the space of six second-half minutes proved enough for the Fury to secure a maiden win on home soil.

While Mile Sterjovski, Glory-s marquee player, had to frustratingly watch from the sidelines for a second week after being unable to shake off a leg injury, it was North Queensland-s main man, Robbie Fowler, who stole the headlines.

Fowler-s equaliser a product of all his experience and guile as much as Perth-s inability to think past their protests for a dubious foul which allowed the Fury skipper to quickly take the resultant free kick and score from the top of the box.

Both sides were swiftly into their stride on a slick playing surface ideally suited to passing football and it was Glory who carved out the first opportunity of the night with barely five minutes on the clock.

Sikora-s persistence forced an error from Fury defender Rostyn Griffiths, allowing Adriano Pellegrino to whip in an inviting cross from the right which eluded everyone in the box before being collected by Todd Howarth on the opposite flank. The former Perth SC man then teed up an equally superb cross for Branko Jelic and only the crossbar prevented the Serbian striker from opening the scoring with a powerful diving header.

That let-off seemed to serve as something of a wake-up call for the hosts who proceeded to force their way into the contest over the next twenty minutes and create several decent chances of their own.

With Ufuk Talay prompting from midfield and David Williams impressing with his movement in wide areas, Fury asked plenty of questions of the Glory backline and Robbie Fowler almost broke the deadlock on 17 minutes, flashing a rising half-volley just over the bar from 20 metres out.

Perth, however, still looked very dangerous on the break, especially down the left and it was from that flank that they floored the Fury with a classic counter-punch.

Naum Sekulovski-s clearance from left-back found Jelic pulling out wide and after holding the ball up cleverly, Glory-s top scorer slid a low cross into the path of the onrushing Sikora who calmly side-footed into the corner of the net.

The breakaway goal clearly took the wind out of Fury-s sails and provided the cue for Glory to impose themselves and enjoy what proved to be their best period of the game.

Wayne Srhoj seized control in central midfield, frequently turning defence into attack with a deft flick or a clever run off the ball, while Howarth and Pellegrino patrolled menacingly down either flank.

While North Queensland enjoying plenty of possession it was Glory who looked the more threatening as they calmly soaked up the pressure and broke with pace at every given opportunity.

Unfortunately for the Glory, their pattern was disrupted by Sikora-s premature departure just before the break who was troubled with what appeared to be hamstring tightness.

Predictably enough, Fury came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second-half, desperate to give their home supporters something to shout about, although, just he had done in the first-half, Jelic came very close to grabbing an early goal for Perth.

Another searing Glory break saw Jelic cutting in from the left and firing goal-ward but his effort whistled just over the crossbar to the evident relief of Fury goalkeeper Paul Henderson.

At this stage Perth looked to have weathered the storm, but quality strikers make a habit of scoring goals at crucial times and so it proved as Fowler strode onto centre stage with 65 minutes on the clock.

Chris Coyne was harshly adjudged to have fouled former Glory utility man James Robinson on the edge of the box and as the visitors were still organising their wall to defend the free-kick, Fowler cheekily took it quickly and bent the ball past a helpless Tando Velaphi.

Glory-s protests fell on deaf ears and they barely had time to collect their thoughts before Fury grabbed what proved to be the winner. Substitute Dyron Daal had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he picked up the ball just inside the box, swivelled neatly onto his left foot, and crashed a superb shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Perth Coach Dave Mitchell responded by clearing his bench in the final fifteen minutes, sending on Scott Bulloch and Eugene Dadi and switching to a three-man defence in a desperate bid to salvage a point.

Despite plenty of endeavour Glory couldn-t find their way past a packed and robust Fury defence and ultimately found themselves on the wrong end of a frustrating 2-1 defeat for the second week in succession.

Perth, who is undefeated at home this season, must now turn their thoughts towards a crucial match against Melbourne Victory at ME Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Round 12

North Queensland Fury 2 (Robbie Fowler 65-, Dyron Daal 71-) Perth Glory 1 (Victor Sikora 25-) Saturday, 24 October 2009 at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville

Crowd: 6332 Referee: Peter Green

North Queensland Fury: 1.Paul HENDERSON (GK), 3.Chris TADROSSE, 6.Ufuk TALAY (16. Paul KOHLER 54-), 7.Jason SPAGNUOLO (10.Jeremy BROCKIE 60-), 9.Robbie FOWLER (c), 11.David WILLIAMS, 14.Chris GROSSMAN, 17.Osama MALIK, 18.James ROBINSON (24. Dyron DAAL 68-) 21.John TAMBOURAS, 23. Rostyn GRIFFITHS

Substitutes not used: 20.Justin PASFIELD (RGK). Yellow cards: Kohler 58- Red cards:

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA (23.Andrija JUKIC 44-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE (14.Eugene DADI 78-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH (13.Scott BULLOCH 74-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI.

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk) Yellow cards: Red cards: