Title race to go down to the wire

A maiden NPL WA title remains within the reach of the PGFC Academy First Team following a dramatic 3-3 draw with Cockburn City on Saturday.

John Gibson's side had come into the Ashfield clash knowing that three points would be enough to clinch top spot and they were on course to do just that when leading 3-2 as the game entered stoppage time.

A late, late header from Julian Teles, however, secured a draw for the visitors, meaning that Glory will take a two-point lead over Perth SC into next weekend's final round of the regular season.

A draw against Subiaco at Rosalie Park on Saturday should be enough for Glory given that their goal-difference is significantly greater than that of Perth [+41 to +27] who travel to rock-bottom Joondalup United.

The Cockburn clash burst into life after 25 minutes when Jesse Lazzaro was picked out by Reuben Tristao and duly fired past Nic Speca at the near post.

Glory's repsonse was an impressive one, however, the in-form Michael Domfeh swiftly restoring parity by converting Bayley Brown-Montgomery's cross and Callum Timmins then firing his side in front just before the break with a stunning, 30-yard free kick.

When Ollie Annis teed up Domfeh for his second and the hosts' third just short of the hour-mark, it looked as if the purple ribbons were ready to be tied onto the championship trophy.

But former Glory man Harry O'Brien reduced the arrears 12 minutes from time to set up a remarkable finale.

In the final minute of normal time, Annis' handball on the line earned him a red card, only for Speca to save Daniel Robinson's subsequent spot kick.

And yet Scott Miller's men were not to be denied a share of the spoils, Teles rising highest in the box two minutes later to nod home Lazzaro's cross and ensure Glory's title celebrations would be put on hold.

Coach Gibson, however, struck a gracious note after the game, praising the contribution Cockburn made to what was an enthralling contest.

"It was a good game of football today with both sides desperate to get something out of the game," he said.

“We conceded early, but this  group are determined and tough and we responded pretty well, with two goals in quick succession, plus the third just after half-time.

“Cockburn deserve credit because they came with a specific game plan and played well. Scotty [City Head Coach Scott Miller]  changed things  up a little and we handled it ok, but the opposition is always going to have periods where they dominate and create chances, which they did.

"It was great to be able to provide further opportunities for PGFC players due to many players being away with the A-League side in Malaysia and also a few others away with the national sides. We handed starting debuts to both to Jordan Abrahams and goalkeeper  Speca and it looked like Nic's penalty save had won it for us. But it wasn’t to be as we switched off momentarily and got caught out.

"Next week presents another new challenge at Subiaco."

In Saturday's other games, meanwhile, a 6-2 victory for the Under-18s means that they are in with a chance of clinching the title with a win next weekend, but the Under-20s were edged out 1-0.

Match Details

Perth Glory 3 (Domfeh 38', 59', Timmins 40') Cockburn 3 (Lazzaro 25', O'Brien 78', Teles 90+2')
Ashfield Reserve
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Steven Gregory
Assistant referees: Stuart Muldoon, Ammar Timour


Perth Glory: GK Nicholas SPECA, 2. Nic MCDONALD, 3. Sam RIAK, 4. Jordan ABRAHAMS, 5. Ollie ANNIS, 6. Jack LEECH, 7. Trent OSTLER, 8. Callum TIMMINS, 9. Michael DOMFEH (13. Gomo DUKULY 86'), 10. Michael MCDOUGALL, 11. Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (14. Adias BUKURU 81')
Substitutes not used: RGK: Michael HODGSON, 12. Aiden EDWARDS, 15. Sasa NJEGIC
Yellow cards: Domfeh 75', Brown-Montgomery 77'
Red cards: Annis 88'

Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 4. Euen GRANT, 6. Reuben TRISTAO, 8. Cameron EDWARDS (3. Daniel DOLS 64'), 9. Julian TELES, 10. David ARAYA, 11. Harry O'BRIEN, 12. Ryan PRATT, 15. Daniel SANTICH (7. Lucas MELLO 89'), 16. Daniel ROBINSON, 17. Jesse LAZZARO
Substitutes not used: RGK: Ryan BARKER, 13. Blake ADAMS, 20. David DOSANTOS
Yellow cards: None
Red cards: None

Picture courtesy of Vision Inspired Photography

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