Thurtell the hero for Glory youngsters

A man of the match performance from keeper Jordan Thurtell has helped Perth Glory FC youth team secure a 1-1 draw in Saturday morning’s Foxtel National Youth League clash against Sydney FC at Lambert Park.

 The young Socceroos heroic’s looked in vain with minutes to go, as Sydney lead from Jordan Tsekenis’ first half goal, but a last gasp Chris Harold goal earned them a share of the spoils.

“I think we started off very slow and were forced to do a lot of running early but we kept ourselves in the game going into half time,” Thurtell said.

“In the second half we completely ran over them from the starting whistle and controlled the tempo. We scored late but could have scored more in the second half, and we're very unlucky hitting the post twice, but overall a quality second half that deserved more from the game.”

The home side was out of the blocks early and Thurtell had to be alert after only ten minutes, tipping away Max Burgess’ powerful header. It was one-way traffic from there on and Cristian Gonzalez fired a dangerous cross moments later which was only inches away from George Blackwood at the far post. Glory settled but still struggled to break down a tight Sydney defence.

The home side pressed and Blackwood burst into the area, rounded Thurtell but took the ball too wide.

However on 36 minutes Sydney's pressure was rewarded with the opening goal. Burgess picked the ball in the middle of the park, and sent a perfectly weighted through ball into Tsekenis who finished clinically past Thurtell. 

Glory head coach John Gibson made a change at the break bringing on Borbor Sam to replace Cameron Edwards. The team started brightly and was having more of the ball, but it was still the home side that created the best chances. On the hour Burgess played in Charles Lokolingoy, but he fired wide. Then eight minutes later Thurtell produced a stunning save to thwart Gonzalez’s free kick. The Glory settled and began to get on top, and went close to the equaliser on 72 minutes. Jack Clisby's run into the penalty area ended with a low shot that beat Anthony Bouzanis, but crashed off the post.

It was the visitors now on top and pressing for the equaliser and Harold and Joe Knowles’ pace was causing problems for the Sky Blues defence. But it looked like time was against them, but at the 11th hour they got their rewards. Mitchell Oxborrow made space down the right, his inch perfect cross found Harold who headed home past Bouzanis to level.

There was still five minutes of stoppage time, and both had teams had late chances to win it. First on 92 minutes Burgess raced clear and played Gonzalez in down the channel, but instead of shooting he cut the ball back to Burgess and the chance was gone.

Then in the final minute, Glory almost won it after winning a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and skipper Jacob Collards’ set piece curled over the wall, but crashed off the crossbar. The points had to be shared

“I thought the team showed unbelievable character in the second half having been 1-0 down most of the game,” striker Joe Knowles said.

“We fought it out right to the end, and even nearly grabbed all three points late, but we all worked our socks off and it was a fair result in the end" he said.

Foxtel National Youth League

Sydney FC 1 (Tsekenis 36’)

Perth Glory 1 (Harold 90’)

Venue: Lambert Park

Referee: Dylan Lambert

Sydney FC: GK Anthony BOUZANIS, 2 Jacob TRATT (C), 3 Aaron CALVER, 5 Themba MUATA-MARLOW, 7 Daniel ARALUO, 8 Max BURGESS, 10 George BLACKWOOD (4 George TIMOTHEOU 86’), 12 Christopher GLIGOR (11 Anthony TOMELIC 65’), 14 Cristian GONZALEZ, 18 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 19 Jordan TSEKENIS (6 Lachian SCOTT 69’)  

Subs: RGK Luke BABIC, 20 Luke BABIC

Yellow Cards: Scott 71’

Perth Glory FC: GK Jordan THURTELL, 2 Matthew DAVIES, 3 Jacob COLLARD (c), 4 Jack CLISBY, 5 Riley WOODCOCK, 6 Mitchell OXBORROW, 7 Chris HAROLD, 9 Joe KNOWLES, 10 Cameron EDWARDS (12 Borbor SAM 46’), 11 Slobodan VULIN, 17 Brandon O’NEILL

Subs: RGK Dylan WILSON, 13 Ali GHOLAMI, 14 Todd NORRIS

Yellow Cards: Vulin 19’, Oxborrow 42’