So close for Glory Youth

Western Australia’s reputation for producing outstanding goal keepers was reinforced today with Glory Youth Team custodian Dejan Aleksic playing a starring role for Perth in their round 13 clash against Sydney FC.

Western Australia-s reputation for producing outstanding goal keepers was reinforced today with Glory Youth Team custodian Dejan Aleksic playing a starring role for Perth in their round 13 clash against Sydney FC.

The 17 year old kept the National Youth League-s leading team at bay in his 57 minutes on the pitch, making a string of fine saves and marshalling a defence that came under immense pressure from the home side.

His outstanding day between the posts was capped of with a penalty save late in the opening half.

Aleksic-s heroics almost earned Perth a deserved point but the youngster could only watch from the Glory bench as Sydney stole all three points with a last gasp goal four minutes into injury time.

“Everyone worked hard for each other, you can't fault that from anyone, but obviously it was very disappointing to concede in the last minute,” Aleksic said.

“Our team motto is passion, determination and dedication and I think everyone had that out there today. We-re gutted at the defeat but have a strong belief in ourselves and will definitely bounce back when we play again on Boxing Day,” he said.

Aleksic has grown in confidence with each passing game and the Bosnian born youngster is enjoying every minute of the national youth competition.

“The concept is fantastic and one of the best experiences I-ve had,” Aleksic said.

“I-ve previously been playing State League in WA but this is the off-season and I wouldn-t have had an opportunity to continue to work on my game without this competition so I-m really enjoying the chance to play.”

A gallant effort from the Glory denied Sydney until virtually the last play of the game when Robbie Mileski was the fortunate recipient of a deflected shot that fell invitingly to the midfielder to score a header in the 94th minute.

It was a cruel end for the West Australian youngsters who rode their luck but battled gamely throughout a match played in wet and windy conditions.

The home side had the best of the opening exchanges with three opportunities on goal in the opening 10 minutes while Perth found it difficult to maintain possession and break into the Sydney penalty area.

Aleksic was thrust into action early with a near-post save off Sydney striker Adam Biddle before stopping another low drive from the attacker a short time later.

Sydney-s Chris Payne hit the post late in the half and had the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes when awarded a penalty after being bundled over in the box by Glory defender Dino Djulbic.

Aleksic however had other ideas and calmly eyed the spot kick to deflect the ball away from goal to ensure the game remained locked at nil-all.

“I had a feeling it was going to go down the middle so I didn-t jump too far to the side and fortunately the ball deflected off my legs.

“It-s always great to save a penalty and it took us into the break all square which was important,” he said.

Glory skipper Scott Neville also caught the eye with his desperate defending and calmness under pressure to superbly lead the Glory effort. His performance getting the nod of approval from interested onlookers, Glory Coach Dave Mitchell and Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek.

Perth started to force their way into the match with their first significant chance arriving courtesy of Ludovic Boi who found space but screwed his shot narrowly wide.

Glory striker Eli Babalj gave the side further cause for optimism forcing Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic into a diving save as the second half wore on.

The result looked like ending in a stalemate but for a last gasp effort from the home side to snatch the winner. Sydney maintains their lead at the top of the table while Glory stays in fourth place.

Sydney FC 1 (Robbie MILESKI 94-) Perth Glory 0

Saturday 20 December at Cromer Park, Dee Why

Referee: Gary Vandeburgt Assistant Referees: Stephen Lucas, Adam Weir Fourth Official: Matthew Gillett

Crowd: 220

Sydney FC line up: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolas TSATTALIOS 3.Adam BIDDLE, 4.Chris TRIANTIS (c), 5.Matthew JURMAN, 6.Chris Payne (9.Kerim BULUT 57-),7.Robbie MILESKI, 10.Luke AUSTIN, 11.Kofi DANNING (8.Matthew HALL 60-) 12.Ibrahim HAYDAR, 13.Sam MUNRO (14.Steve LUSTICA 60-).

Substitutes not used: Nil. Yellow cards: Adam BIDDLE 31-, Chris TRIANTIS 77- Red Cards: Nil.

Perth Glory line up: 1.Dejan ALEKSIC (gk) (40.Alex PEARSON (gk) 55-), 6.Dean EVANS, 7.Joshua RISDON, 8.Steven HESKETH (14.Lewis HALL 55-), 9.Hayden DOYLE (5.Liam HARVEY 45+1-), 11.Ludovic BOI, 12.Reece VITTIGLIA (10.Adam LUCA 55-), 15.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Eli BABALJ, 17.Dino DJULBIC (OA), 18.Mark LEE (OA).

Substitutes not used: Nil. Yellow cards: Dino DJULBIC 42-, Scott NEVILLE 78-, Eli BABALJ 83-. Red Cards: Nil.