Glory’s biggest crowd of the season were treated to a superb ninety minutes of entertainment on Sunday afternoon as the home side turned on the style to trounce Melbourne Victory 4-1
Glory-s biggest crowd of the season were treated to a superb ninety minutes of entertainment on Sunday afternoon as the home side turned on the style to trounce Melbourne Victory 4-1.
12,358 fans flooded into nib Stadium and the vast majority of them went home delighted after goals from Shane Smeltz (2), Mile Sterjovski and Andrezinho secured the points for Ian Ferguson-s side a lead in what was undoubtedly their most complete performance of the campaign to date.
Harry Kewell did reply for the visitors from the penalty spot after the break, but any hopes the Victorians may have had of launching an unlikely comeback were thwarted when substitute Danny Allsopp saw red for an ugly two-footed lunge on Steve Pantelidis
Victory may have had nine days off to Glory-s four, but it was the home side who looked the more keyed up and purposeful right from the off and a pattern of one-way traffic was immediately established which was to last for the entire first-half.
Josh Risdon started what was to develop into a siege of Ante Covic-s goal by fizzing a 25-metre effort narrowly over the bar after just four minutes and Steven McGarry and Shane Smeltz then both went close before Glory made the breakthrough their total dominance deserved on 13 minutes. Mile Sterjovski turned the hapless Matthew Kemp inside out before cutting back an inviting ball for Smeltz who calmly side-footed past the stranded Covic to bag his seventh goal of the campaign.
With the exception of some bright moment from Isaka Cernak, Victory offered precious little in terms of a response to that early set-back and indeed rode their luck as a rampant Glory carved out further opportunities which McGarry and the effervescent Evan Berger narrowly failed to convert.
It thus came as no surprise when Glory doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark, although the circumstances were somewhat bizarre. Victory skipper Adrian Leijer had been warned by referee Peter Green for manhandling Todd Howarth as Glory prepared to take a corner and when the former Fulham man then inexplicably repeated the offence seconds later by actually wrestling Howarth to the ground, a penalty was the inevitable result. The furious protests of the visiting players delayed the taking of the spot-kick, but Smeltz remained totally unruffled and calmly sent Covic the wrong way to make it 2-0.
Having given Matthew Foschini a torrid time down the left virtually from the opening whistle, Berger continued in the same vein as half-time approached and duly drew a foul from the despairing defender just inside the box.
This time it was Sterjovski who stepped up, but the result was the same as he too beat Covic to ensure that Glory headed for the sheds three goals to the good with a standing ovation from the home faithful ringing in their ears.
Perth Glory 3-0 Melbourne Victory
With Victory having switched to an old-fashioned 4-2-4 formation in a bid to haul themselves back into the contest, spaces were bound to appear at the back and the hosts needed no second invitation to exploit them. Berger continued to torment his former club and only last-ditch blocks from Rodrigo Vargas and the embattled Leijer prevented him from opening his account in Glory colours early in the second-half.
Steve Pantelidis, meanwhile, was again impressing at the heart of the defence and produced a perfectly-timed challenge to shrug Harry Kewell off the ball as the marquee man raced into the box during one of Victory-s rare forays into Glory territory on 55 minutes.
With Liam Miller and Jacob Burns pulling the strings in midfield, McGarry causing plenty of problems with his movement and Sterjovski and Berger continuing to run riot out wide, Glory remained a constant menace going forward, with even Bas van den Brink getting in on the act as he stung Covic-s palms with a thumping 22-metre effort on the hour mark.
By this time Victory coach Jim Magilton had gone to his bench to introduce both Jean Carlos Solorzano and Danny Allsopp and the attacking duo combined to earn their side a lifeline on 68 minutes. The former Socceroo played the Costa Rican into the box, he fell spectacularly under the challenge of Pantelidis, referee Green pointed the spot and Kewell did the rest from the twelve metres.
Undaunted by the minor setback, Glory continued to pour forward and came close to adding a fourth on several occasions before Victory-s ill-discipline all but sealed their fate as Allsopp was given his marching orders with twelve minutes to go.
Billy Mehmet then upped the feelgood factor around nib Stadium by another notch as he made his return from a calf injury in replacing Smeltz and he was the first to celebrate with fellow-substitute Andrezinho after the Brazilian cut in from the left in the final minute of normal time and fired home Glory-s fourth of a memorable afternoon.