Tight tussle to open season

A new look Perth Glory outfit may have come away empty handed from their cross border raid against Adelaide in round one but the WA side’s spirited display points to plenty of positives with the season in its infancy

A new look Perth Glory outfit may have come away empty handed from their cross border raid against Adelaide in round one but the WA side-s spirited display points to plenty of positives with the season in its infancy.

A wonder strike from Adelaide skipper Travis Dodd just before half time was the only thing that separated the two sides with Perth having their fair share of possession throughout the contest.

No fewer than six players were handed their Hyundai A-League debuts for Glory with off-season recruits Frank Juric, Hayden Doyle, Amaral, Adriano Pellegrino, Scott Bulloch and Eugene Dadi all making Dave Mitchell-s starting eleven.

Attacking midfielder Adrian Trinidad was a late withdrawal after failing a fitness test, while injury also ruled out the tenacious James Robinson.

On a positive note, key defender David Tarka played his first full game in the Hyundai A-League in more than a year following a long term injury and looked solid at centre half.

“I-ve pulled up well and it was nice to be back out there with the lads,” Tarka said from the change rooms.

“We-re disappointed not to get anything from that game to be honest. We had some good chances in front of goal and were solid at the back. There wasn-t a huge gulf between the teams at all and I think the more time we spend together the better we-ll become,” said Tarka.

With a raft of new faces for Glory it wasn-t surprising that it was Adelaide who seized the early initiative, with Travis Dodd and Jason Spagnuolo both going close to grabbing the game-s opening goal.

Glory successfully weathered that early storm and gradually brought themselves back into the contest. Amaral began to get the better of his intriguing midfield duel with Paul Reid, aided by the selfless tenacity of Adriano Pellegrino, and as the half wore on it was the visitors who looked likelier to break the deadlock.

Pellegrino and Mark Lee both went close with shots from outside the box before Amaral-s vision carved out an excellent opportunity for Bulloch. The experienced Brazilian threaded a delightful ball through to Dadi who in turn linked up with Bulloch, but the former Sorrento youngster placed his left-foot effort wide of Eugene Galekovic-s goal.

Despite Glory finishing the half with the ascendancy they succumbed to a sucker punch delivered by the dangerous Dodd. United-s livewire skipper combined cleverly in midfield with Cristiano before racing goalward and beating Juric at his near-post with a well-struck low shot.

Returning Olyroos Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Nikita Rukavytsya were thrown into the fray at the start of the second period and both immediately provided a noticeable increase in pace and urgency for Perth.

The home side did force a couple of regulation saves from Juric shortly after the break, but the former Hannover 96 stopper was largely a spectator as Glory proceeded to take the game to their hosts.

A higher defensive line denied Adelaide space in midfield, allowing Glory to dominate in terms of both possession and territory, although clear-cut chances continued to remain frustratingly elusive.

Mitchell responded by introducing a seventh debutant in the form of young Western Knights striker Anthony Skorich and he showed plenty of promise during the latter stages.

United were was busy battening down the hatches, replacing striker Paul Agostino with the defensive minded Jonas Salley, and often leaving Cristiano to plough a lone furrow up front.

Glory-s attacking forays became increasingly desperate as full-time approached, with the Adelaide defence creaking but never quite cracking under the pressure.

Bulloch created Glory-s best chance with ten minutes remaining as his persistence down the right provided a close-range shooting opportunity for Rukavytsya. As he prepared to pull the trigger the star striker found himself closed down by a cluster of lunging United defenders.

Perth now returns home to take on Newcastle in a Friday night blockbuster at Members Equity Stadium and will no doubt be looking forward to further developing their chemistry in front of a passionate home crowd.

“There were good signs and with the Olyroos boys back in town our squad can finally gel as one. I can-t wait to get back out there on Friday night and hope to see plenty of Glory supporters turn up as we take it right up to Newcastle,” Tarka said.

Adelaide United 1 (Travis Dodd 41-) Perth Glory 0 Sunday 17 August 2008 Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Referee: Peter Green Assistant Referees: Matthew Cream & Paul Cetrangolo Fourth Official: Regis Queffelec Crowd: 10,510

Adelaide United: 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.Alemao, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.Paul AGOSTINO (15.Jonas SALLEY 69-), 10.Cristiano (25. Robert YOUNIS 82-), 24.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO (18.Fabian BARBIERO 75-)

Substitutes Not Used: 30 Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Angelo Costanzo 26-, Scott Jamieson 43-, Paul Reid 54-, Travis Dodd 89-.

Red Cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 20.Frank JURIC (gk), 3.David TARKA, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 10.AMARAL, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 14.Eugene DADI (13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA 46-), 15.Hayden DOYLE (2. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 46-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY (24.Anthony SKORICH 70-), 21.Mark LEE.

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk)

Yellow Cards: David Tarka 35-, Adriano Pellegrino 40-, Dino Djulbic, 49-, Nikolai Topor-Stanley 82-.

Red Cards: Nil