GLORY BREAK NEW YEAR EVE HOODOO AND THE GOALPOSTS
Perth Glory jumped back to the top of the Hyundai A-League after a 4-1 win against Central Coast Mariners on New Year’s Eve at the Central Coast Stadium. It was the first time Glory had won a game on NYE, and they did it in style, totally dominating the home side. Andy Keogh gave them the lead early before the game was delayed for 45 minutes after the goal post snapped and had to be replaced. After the delay Fabio Ferreira doubled Tony Popovic's side advantage and the Portuguese midfielder grabbed a second before the break. The Mariners pulled one back on the hour through half time substitute Jordan Murray, but Keogh had the final word, the skipper scoring his second to complete a comprehensive victory.
"It’s a great feeling (to be on top),” Popovic said post-match. “I thought the players have done exceptionally well in the first third of the season to be in first spot, now we finish the year on top, so there’s a lot of good things to look back on. We’ll have a drink tonight, we’ll enjoy that, the club should be proud as well. But we know there’s a lot of work ahead, really busy schedule. We put ourselves in a good position, now we have to navigate the tricky period and try and finish the season strong.”
Glory made three changes to the side that were beaten by Sydney Fc last time out, with Matthew Spiranovic coming in for the suspended Shane Lowry, while Juande and Alex Grant returned in place of Dino Djulbic and Jake Brimmer who both dropped to the bench. After last week’s first defeat of the season, it was a hungry Glory side from the kick off and they were rewarded with the lead after only three minutes. Good work down the right by Ferreira and Ivan Franjic ended with a ball to Joel Chianese, who eased past his marker, his shot was parried by Adam Pearce, the rebound falling to Keogh and the skipper made no mistake to break a six-game run without a goal.
It looked like Glory had doubled their lead on 10 minutes, Neil Kilkenny's free kick was headed home by Tomislav Mrcela, but the flag was up for offside, a tight decision. But the big Glory defender had done more damage as he flew into the net after his header, with the left-hand post snapping at the base, and the game was delayed, and both goals were replaced by portable goals. When the action returned Glory almost doubled their lead on 20 minutes, Kilkenny sent Chianese in again, his shot was well saved by Pearce the rebound falling to Ferreira, his shot was blocked and Franjic's follow up shot flashed inches wide.
But three minutes later Glory did double their advantage. Jason Davidson made space down the left and his deep cross found Ferreira, who headed home. Mariners pressed put couldn't a way back into the game and it was Glory who looked like adding to their lead. They almost found a third on 34 minutes when Franjic's cross from the right picked out Keogh at the back post, but the skipper couldn't keep his header down. But four minutes before the break Glory did add a third. A ball into the box by man of the match Kilkenny found Ferreira, and his delicate chip flew over Pearce and into the top corner of the net, putting Glory into cruise control going into half time.
The Mariners were on the front foot after the break, but they rarely troubled Liam Reddy's goal, but they went close themselves on the hour. Keogh reacted well to a poor back pass, nipping into the box and unselfishly picking out Chianese who shot could only hit Keogh and the chance was gone. Mariners substitute Jordan Murray had their first real chance seven minutes later, his header glancing header flashing just wide of the far post, before Aiden O'Neill's shot on the run was well held by Reddy. But the home sides pressure was rewarded on 78 minutes, Tommy Oar's deep cross was headed back across goal by Matt Simon, and Murray nipped in to bundle the ball over the line.
The home crowd were buoyed by the goal, but it was Glory who looked more likely to add to their account, and Brendan Santalab curling effort whistled just over the top on 80 minutes. Djulbic came on to replace the injured Mrcela three minutes from time, his 100th Perth Glory appearance, and they celebrated it in style by adding a fourth goal in stoppage time. Franjic's ball found Keogh in space, and the Irishman made no mistake finishing low past Pearce to send the Glory fans home happy and regain their lead at the top of the table at the end of 2018.
Popovic was proud of his players’ performances thus far, but knows he needs to manage the squad ahead of a busy period, where Glory will play six games in the space of 21 days. “We’ll have to manage them, they’re not going to be able to play like today — play on Sunday, then Wednesday, then Sunday at home — with all our travel," he said. "They won’t be able to do all that. It’ll be up to us to manage them the best we can [in] this January period and I’m hoping they all come through unscathed. Then from February onwards, when it’s back to a game a week, hopefully they’ll be back at full fitness.”
Central Coast Mariners: GK Adam PEARCE, 3 Jack CLISBY (25 Jordan MURRAY 46’), 5 Antony GOLEC (10 Tommy OAR 69’), 7 Andrew HOOLE, 8 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11 Connor PAIN, 13 Aidan O’NEILL, 15 Kye Rowles, 18 Matthew MILLAR, 19 Matt SIMON (C), 23 Mario SHABOW (4 Jake MCGING 29’) - Subs not used: RGK Ben KENNEDY, 22 Jacob MELLING
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (11 Brendan SANTALAB 75’), 9 Andy KEOGH (C), 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16 Tomislav MRCELA (6 Dino DJULBIC 86’), 22 Fabio FERREIRA (20 Jake BRIMMER 57’), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 17 Diego CASTRO - Referee: Kurt Ams
IKONOMIDIS ON TARGET ON SOCCEROO'S STARTNG DEBUTS
The Socceroos finalised preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE after a solid 5-0 win against a poor Oman side at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Sunday evening. Former Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek is coach of the Oman side and they had been on a good run of form, undefeated in their last 12 internationals and won the Gulf Cup recently, but they were no match for a rampant Socceroos side. It was a great night for Perth Glory striker Chris Ikonomidis, who scored and had a hand in another, as the 23-year-old impressed on his starting debut. First half goals from Andrew Nabbout, Ikonomidis and Awer Mabil had Graham Arnold's side in total control, and further goals from Milos Degenek and Jackson Irvine completed the rout.
“There’s definitely a bit of confidence involved but it’s also a maturity thing,” Ikonomidis told Fox Sports post-match. "I’ve reached an age where I can keep cool in front of goal and look where the goalkeeper is. I’m very happy, I worked really hard over the last few months to get back into the squad and it felt good to be back out there with the team tonight. We’ve got attackers all across the front four that can interchange and have a lot of creativity. I think we showed that [against Oman] but we’ve still got a lot more to show. We can play anywhere in the front third and I think that versatility will help us a lot. We’ve got a lot of good players in the squad and we want to put our best team out.”
It was a perfect start in the behind closed doors friendly and the Socceroos were handed the lead on 14 minutes. An error from defender Saad Al Mukhaini, who chested the ball down into the path of Nabbout, and the Urawa Red Diamonds striker made him pay firing low past keeper Faiyz Al Rashidi. It was 2-0 three minutes later, Ikonomidis was picked out on the edge of the box after good work by Mabil and Mustafa Amini, and the Glory striker finished first time low into the corner of the net. The Socceroos were well on top and the lively front three of Nabbout, Ikonomidis and Mabil was causing headaches in the Oman defence and it was wasn't a surprise when they added a third on 24 minutes. Skipper Mark Milligan started the move sending Aziz Behich to the bye-line and the defenders low cross was turned home by Mabil at the near post.
The Socceroos went on with it after the break and added a fourth on the hour, Ikonomidis' corner picked out Degenek and the Red Star Belgrade defender finished with aplomb. Arnold went to his bench moments later, but still the Socceroos dominated, with Matt Ryan having a quiet time at the other end. They added a fifth in the final minute, and it was the goal of the game. Second half substitutes Alex Gersbach and Irvine combining, the defenders determined run and pass found the Hull City midfield and his first touch took him away from his marker and his second was a volley that flew past Al Rashidi.
Head coach Arnold has a headache over selection for the opening game v Jordan next Sunday, but he was delighted with his sides performance and said he's studied EPL side Liverpool and will be looking for his side to be a fluid attacking side. "I've been studying them (Liverpool) a lot, that’s the system and the style we want to play," he explained. "We've got not only four goal scorers up front but saw Jackson (Irvine) score from [The number] six [spot], and Nassimo (Luongo) can score from a six. It's more the patterns we're playing, and they'll get much better. Tonight, was OK, but there's a lot of improvement left in the side and lots of work to do this week."
Socceroos: GK Matt RYAN, 2 Milos DEGENEK, 4 Rhyan GRANT, 5 Mark MILLIGAN (22 Jackson IRVINE 72'), 10 Robbie KRUSE (9 Jamie MACLAREN 64'), 11 Andrew NABBOUT (14 Martin BOYLE 72'), 15 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 16 Aziz BEHICH (3 Alex GERSBACH 80'), 17 Mustafa AMINI (8 Massimo LUONGO 64'), 20 Trent SAINSBURY (6 Matthew JURMAN 80'), 21 Awer MABIL - Subs not used: RGK Danny VUKOVIC, RGK Mitchell LANGERAK, 13 James JEGGO, 19 Joshua RISDON
Oman: GK Faiyz AL RASHIDI, 2 Mohammed AL MUSALAMI (11 Saad Al-MUKHAINI 46'), 5 Mohammed AL SHEIBA (13 Khalid AL-BRAIKI 46'), 7 Khalid Khalifa AL HAJRI (16 Muhsen AL GHASSANI 66'), 10 Mohsin AL KHALDI, 11 Saad SUHAIL, 12 Ahmed AL MHEJRI (32 Yaseen AL-SHEYADI 62'), 15 Jameel AL YAHMADI (6 Raed SALEH 62'), 17 Ali AL BUSAIDI, 21 Mataz SALEH, 23 Harib AL SAADI - Subs not used: RGK Ammar AL RUSHIDI, RGK Ahmed AL RAWAH, 31 Mahmood AL MUSHAIFRI, 3 Mohammed AL RAWAHI, 4 Ali AL JABRI, 9 Mohammed AL GHASSANI, 25 Salaah AL YAHYAEI, 34 Mohammed AL HOSNI - Referee - Omar Mohamed Alali
BEADLING REWARDED WITH A DOUBLE
Dunfermline Athletic may have found the answer to their goal scoring problems with the return of Tom Beadling. Saturday’s match at Falkirk was just the midfielder's third start of the season but his double set the Pars on their way to their first win in four matches.
“It has been frustrating for me and I have worked hard for moments like that really,” said Beadling, who signed with Dunfermline from Sunderland in the off-season only to spend the last four months on the sidelines with a thigh tear.
“I am just happy that I can help the team and get the win ... At the moment it is just about playing as many games as I can because I have missed a hell of a lot of football this season through injury. I am delighted to be in the team and to be back playing.”
Saturday’s match didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts as Falkirk were able to snatch a lead within the first two minutes. “We were disappointed with the start,” Beadling commented. “But I thought the team reacted really really well. We kept our heads and kept playing.”
Myles Hippolyte levelled the game on 13 minutes with Beadling getting on the end of a Kallum Higginbotham free-kick just four minutes later. “I just saw the opportunity to nip in,” he said. “I just got my studs to it and thankfully it sneaked in.”
Beadling was on target again eight minutes into the second half. “Higgy did brilliantly again, he pulled it back to me,” he said. “I have waited a long time for those feelings and worked hard for them, thankfully on Saturday they came.”
The manner and margin of the win is sure to breed confidence within the Dunfermline camp. “We spoke as a group in mid-week that we have probably underachieved with the players that we have got,” Beadling said. “Our aim is to be more consistent and that starts on Saturday against Alloa.”
“We will be going into that looking for the three points again ... That is what we are pushing for and we have the players to do it. We just need to put wins back to back and go on from there because it has been a bit stop start. Consistency is key for us.”
SAINSBURY SHARES HIS WORLD CUP PRIDE
By the time Trent Sainsbury and his teammates were standing shoulder to shoulder next to the star-studded French team in June, they had done just about everything they could to prepare. It was the atmosphere in Russia that took the Perth central defender by surprise.
“We’d been pretty much practising the whole month in Turkey just leading up to that game,” Sainsbury said of lining up at the 2018 World Cup Finals. “There was a little bit of nerves. I remember saying to the guys before the game: ‘Just play with some balls. Show them what we’ve got’.
“Then as soon as the national anthem came on it really struck me that we could have a chance here — that we could beat them — because of the support we had. It sounded like a stadium full of the real hardcore Aussies singing the anthem and it brought a bit of a tear to the eye.”
After missing the 2014 World Cup because of a freak injury, Sainsbury was making his World Cup debut against the team that went on to win the tournament. The boy from Armadale SC would have to deal with a handful of the world’s most exciting attackers, including wonder kid Kylian Mbappe.
Sainsbury was named Australia’s man-of-the-match in an agonising 2-1 loss, and although they were bundled out in the group stage the Socceroos earned respect with their performances against France and Denmark. Increasingly, however, respect is not enough for Sainsbury.
Viewed as Australia’s future captain by many, Sainsbury envisages a day when our national team has shed its underdog tag. While the World Cup was the obvious highlight of his year professionally, it was not the only childhood dream he played out on a soccer pitch.
This month, he had another spine-tingling moment as he stood shoulder to shoulder with his teammates. It was his first start in the Champions League and he was playing for Dutch champions PSV against his former club, Italian giants Inter Milan.
“With club teams the Champions League is the ultimate,” he said. “When you’re a young kid and you hear that theme song come on it’s something you dream about. Being on the pitch and hearing it blasting out over the speakers - to be honest, the adrenaline’s flowing so much you have to smile about it.”
He stood tall on the big stage once more, praised for his role in the 1-1 draw which stopped Inter Milan going through to the knockout phase. Inter Milan gave him only one game during his six-month stint on loan from the Chinese Super League. “I felt a little bit like I had a point to prove,” he said.
Up next for Sainsbury is the Asian Cup, where the reigning champions have the chance to go back to back. The national team has flown to Dubai for a training camp ahead of next week’s clash with Jordan. The final will take place in February, days before his first child - a son - is due to enter the world on 11 February.
“I found out my wife was pregnant this year which was a massive thing for me personally,” he said. “My sister had another baby. Everything is looking up for me and my family. I would love to be holding my child in one arm on February 11 with the Asian Cup in the other.”
GLORY CAUTIOUS WITH VETERAN CASTRO
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic will carefully manage captain Diego Castro during a busy stage of the season that has them already without Chris Ikonomidis. Glory will play 10 games over a 48-day stretch, starting with Monday night's away clash with Central Coast Mariners.
Castro has been restricted to just three games this season because of two separate hamstring injuries, but the 36-year old is a strong chance to return against Central Coast. Keeping the veteran midfielder is vitally important given Glory will be without Ikonomidis for up to eight games because of Socceroos duties.
Popovic said it was important not to push Castro too hard during the upcoming busy stretch. "He's our captain, he's our leader, and he's a fantastic footballer," Popovic said. "We'll certainly have to manage him throughout this period. We envisage there'll be no issues and moving forward we look forward to seeing his quality out on the pitch."
Glory will be guaranteed to finish 2018 on top of the ladder if they beat Central Coast, who sit in last spot with just two points to their name. But Popovic isn't taking the A-League cellar dwellers lightly, especially after they pushed Glory to the edge in round five, before Ikonomidis' dramatically snatched victory in the 95th minute.
KERR NOT SURE OF FUTURE PLANS
Perth Glory and Matildas superstar Sam Kerr admits she’s not certain of what the future holds at the end of the 2018/19 season for her. The 25-year-old will no doubt be courted by a number of big clubs around the world, but after the final game of the Westfield W-League on February 1, and hopefully finals, Kerr will then be representing the Green and Gold in the inaugural Cup of Nations tournament against Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand between 28 February and 6 March, but what is her future in the west?
The striker is also contracted with Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, who will open pre-season preparations on 4 March ahead of the regular season kick off the on 13 April. From there, the NWSL is set to play until 3 June before breaking for 12 days during the group stages of the World Cup in France, a busy period for the Glory marque, but when asked about her future at the club she was non-comital. “I don’t know,” Kerr said. “Hopefully I’m in the finals so I don’t have that long. We have camps and I’m not really sure. We’re all required to go back to our US teams pretty early and we have that tournament here in Australia which I forgot about.
“Someone was like ‘I’ll see you soon!’ and I was like ‘Where? I’m not coming to Melbourne. I honestly haven’t thought about it, just W-league at the moment but I’m sure there’ll be things for us to do, there’s always coming over to Sydney to train if we need. At this point, I am going back (To the US) but football’s so crazy it could change tomorrow. I just take every day as it comes, try and enjoy my time and keep playing good football. You can’t really think a week ahead let alone a few months.”
Kerr was frustrated after Glory's 1-2 defeat against Melbourne Victory, their first defeat of the season, and she said it was a bad day at the office for the whole team. “It was a disappointing game,” she said. “We didn’t really have our best game… but all is good, we’re still doing well, it’s our first loss of the season so we’re not going to drop our heads. To be honest, we played badly and let the ref dictate the game so that’s our fault. As a team, we came out in the second half and we did better. We just needed to play better earlier.
“In the last ten minutes when we finally passed the ball between our front three, we scored. I don’t even know what they changed in the second half or didn’t change, I don’t really take notice of the other team, I just knew that we weren’t playing really well in the first half. Our games built off defensive play and we had no defensive pressure in the first half and once we changed, it changed the game a bit. It’s been a tough week, to be honest. We’ve trained every day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and then travelled. Yeah, the travel’s been hard, but it’s been a tough week and look like I said, it was hot, but we’ve played in worse conditions – last week was worse – but we just didn’t play well so it felt really hard."
Despite their eventual defeat, Kerr and Glory had several opportunities that could have – had the bounce of the ball favoured them – completely changed the complexion of the contest. “That’s the thing, even when we play badly, we’re still a really, really dangerous team,” Kerr explained. “If we just got that final pass right today, I thought there were a few times where just that final ball in the box and it would have been a goal. We’re a dangerous team when we play but when we play really well, we can destroy teams. We just didn’t have our best game and that’s ok, sometimes you don’t play well. It’s on no one, we all worked our arses off, but it just didn’t come and that’s football and that’s why we love the game.”
DOWIE DOUBLE ENDS GLORYS UNBEATEN RUN
Perth Glory's unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League has come to end, after a brace from ex-Liverpool striker Natasha Dowie gave Melbourne Victory a 2-1 win in round nine at AAMI Park on Friday afternoon. Bobby Despotovski's side went into the game on top of the league after a seven-game unbeaten run, but missed chances cost them and Dowie gave the hosts the lead ten minutes before half time, before the English striker bagged a second seven minutes from time. Rachel Hill pulled one back in the final minute, but it was too little too late and Victory leapfrogged them at the summit. “We were below our best and we didn’t deserve anything out the game," Despotovski said. "Melbourne Victory wanted to win the game more than us and that was the bottom line. We couldn’t break down their defence, we played long too many times and the midfield wasn’t involved and that didn’t work out for us.”
Glory made one change to the side that beat Sydney FC last time out, with Jacynta Galabadaarachchi coming for her starting debut for the club, she replaced Leticia McKenna, who dropped to the bench. It was also a big game for Victory Teigan Allen, who will play her 100th W-League appearance. Glory opened well and went close in the opening minute, Kerr waltzed past two Victory defenders, but her shot from long-range was straight at Casey Dumont. Victory went close themselves on the quarter hour mark, Angela Beard's shot was a saved by Eliza Campbell. Victory looked dangerous going forward and they had the best early chance on 26 minutes, former Cockburn City midfielder Ella Mastrantonio's snap shot stung the palms of Campbell.
Kerr was in again moments later, Hill's defence splitting pass sent Kerr clear, she rounded the keeper but there was too much on her touch and the ball rolled agonizingly wide. Victory opened the scoring on 35 minutes, and it had been coming. Christine Nairn had tested Campbell moments earlier, but the Glory custodian couldn't do anything when Dani Weatherholt released Dowie on the right of the box, and she stepped inside her marker before finishing well, for her seventh goal of the season. It was a bright end to the half with both sides going close. Kerr released Hill who went one-on-one with Dumont, but the Matildas keeper stood tall to deny her. Moments later Emily Gielnik curled a fine strike onto the crossbar from 20 yards, before Dowie hit the post from a tough angle. Glory had the final chance of a frantic half in the final minute, Kerr's deep cross picked out Hill at the back post, but Dumont reacted well to palm her header around the post, and at the break Victory led 1-0.
Galabadaarachchi debut came to end at the break, replaced by Leticia McKenna, but it was Victory who went close to doubling their lead early, Gielnik was given far too much space in the box, but her shot from close-range was superbly saved by Campbell. But Glory continued to create good chances and they went close to levelling on the hour, Hill cuts the ball back to Kerr from the left, but her shot flashes inches wide of the post. It was the best period of the game for Glory and they went close again moments later, Hill winning possession on the edge of the penalty area, but her chip drops the wrong side of the crossbar. Kerr was getting frustrated after a number of no calls from referee Rachel Mitchenson, and she went into the note book after a clumsy challenge on Mastrantonio.
It looked like Victory would double their lead on 77 minutes, Dowie was sent in goal, but Kate Naughton got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny her. But six minutes later Victory did score the vital second goal. A run into the box by Gielnik was tracked by Jamie Lee Gale and the ball was clearly out, but the Matildas striker pulled the ball back to Nairn, whose deep cross was headed home by Dowie at the back post, much to the displeasure of Campbell, the Glory keeper was booked for her protests. The replays showed the ball was clearly out, but no VAR in the W-League, and it looked all over for Glory, but Hill had other ideas. Kerr slide-rule pass sent Hill in goal and she finished clinically past Dumont. Glory pressed for the equaliser in the six minutes of stoppage time, but they could find it and Victory took the points.
Melbourne Victory: GK Casey DUMONT, 3 Teigan ALLEN, 5 Laura ALLEWAY, 7 Christine NAIRN, 8 Angela BEARD, 9 Natasha DOWIE (c), 15 Emily GIELNIK, 16 Samantha JOHNSON, 17 Danielle WEATHERHOLT, 19 Lia PRIVITELLI (10 Kyra COONEY-CROSS - 73’), 21 Ella MASTRANTONIO - Subs not used: RGK Bethany MASON-JONES, 6 Annabel MARTIN, 18 Grace MAHER
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY (12 Jenna ONIONS 79’), 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI (11 Leticia McKENNA 45’), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO, 22 Abbey GREEN - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
GLORY LOOKING FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE WIN AT MARINERS
It may be the festive season, but Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory face a difficult away trip on New Year’s Eve when they take on bottom of the table Central Coast Mariners in Gosford NSW. The Mariners haven't won an A-League game for over 300 days, and the venue isn't a good one for Tony Popovic's side, and we all know what happens in these sort of games (top v bottom) so the men from the west will need to be at their best if they are to come home with all three points. They will have to do it without two influential players.
Shane Lowry is suspended, while Chris Ikonomidis has flown out with the Socceroos squad for the upcoming Asian Cup games, and we wish them and Chris all the best in the UAE. Diego Castro is in line to come in to replace Ikonomidis, if he has shaken off his hamstring tightness, while Joel Chianese, Fabio Ferreira, Brendon Santalab or Chris Harold could also do a job if needed. There is also a chance Matthew Spiranovic will return to the back line for the clash in place of Lowry, although Alex Grant and Scott Neville could also fil the void, which shows the depth we have in the squad this season, so Popovic has some interesting selection headache's ahead of Monday's game.
The coach said they will carefully manage Castro during the most packed section of the season. Glory will play 10 games over a 48-day stretch, starting on Monday night. Castro has been restricted to just three games this season because of two separate hamstring injuries, but the 36-year-old is a strong chance to return against the Mariners. Keeping Castro fit is vitally important given Glory will be without Ikonomidis for up to eight games because of Socceroos duties. "He's our captain, he's our leader, and he's a fantastic footballer," Popovic said. "We'll certainly have to manage him throughout this period "We envisage there'll be no issues now. And moving forward we look forward to seeing his quality out on the pitch."
Defender Dino Djulbic will notch his 100th game for Glory when he lines up against the Mariners. He didn't need any reminding of the danger that Central Coast poses. "It's never easy going over there," Djulbic said. "And teams that are bottom of the league have nothing to lose. It's dangerous." Glory lost for the first time this season against Sydney FC last week, a game they really never got started until it was too late, and they could have, and probably should have nicked a point late, with Brendon Santalab's effort being disallowed for the slightest touch by Chianese on keeper Andrew Redmayne, who won the Academy Award for his theatrical dive, but to be fair Glory were second best on the night and the Sky Blues deserved their win.
The Mariners led in the F3 Derby against Newcastle Jets last week, but conceded two goals to go down 1-2, and keep them firmly trenched at the bottom of the ladder without a win this season, but they do welcome back former Mali international defender Kalifa Cisse and former Socceroo winger Tommy Oar to the squad. But Gosford is not a happy hunting ground for Glory, they have won only two of their 20 fixtures at Central Coast Stadium, failing to score in their last three at the venue, but they will be hoping to change that on Monday, to maintain their lead at the top.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 3 Jack CLISBY, 4 Jake McGING, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Andrew HOOLE, 8 Michael McGLINCHEY, 10 Tommy OAR, 11 Connor PAIN, 12 Adam PEARCE (GK), 13 Aiden O’NEILL, 15 Kye ROWLES, 16 Josh MACDONALD, 18 Matt MILLAR, 19 Matt SIMON (c), 20 Kalifa CISSE, 22 Jacob MELLING, 23 Mario SHABOW, 24 Joe GAUCI, 25 Jordan MURRAY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: OAR (return from injury), CISSE (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 21 Corey GAMEIRO (calf), 44 Ross McCORMACK (knee), 1 .Ben KENNEDY (leg injury), 6 Tom HIARIEJ (calf injury)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SPIRANOVIC (returns from injury), CASTRO (returns from injury), Grant (returns from injury), FERREIRA (promoted) - Outs: 4 Shane LOWRY (suspended) 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (International Duty) - Unavailable: Nil
GLORY HEAD EAST FOR TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH
Westfield W-League leaders Perth Glory face a top of the table clash over east on Friday afternoon when they take on second placed Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park (3.20pm WA Time - live on Fox Sports 505). The game is a curtain raiser for the A-League game between Victory and Wellington Phoenix, but the way these two sides have played this season it should be a cracker.
Only goal difference separates the two sides, but Glory leap frogged Victory on the back of a brace from skipper Sam Kerr gave them a hard fought 2-1 win against Sydney FC last week to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. On the other hand, Victory have had the wobbles and have lost back to back games against Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar respectively, but Glory need to improve on the road and Friday will be a huge test.
Glory will be wary of English Natasha Dowie; the ex-Liverpool striker has bagged six goals for the Navy Blue this season, but Glory were boosted by the return of talented youngster Jacynta Galabadaarachchi last week, with only Isabella Foletta out for the Victory clash with muscle soreness. Victory’s entire squad is available to take the field on Friday. With both teams possessing brilliant attacking prowess in the front third, it’s set to be an exhilarating match at AAMI Park. Tune in on SBS Viceland or Fox Sports Football to take in the must-see Westfield W-League clash this Friday.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1 Casey DUMONT (GK), 3 Teigan ALLEN, 5 Laura ALLEWAY, 6 Annabel MARTIN, 7 Christine NAIRN, 8 Angela BEARD, 9 Natasha DOWIE (c), 10 Kyra COONEY-CROSS, 11 MelindaJ BARBIERI, 14 Melina AYRES, 15 Emily GIELNIK, 16 Samantha JOHNSON, 17 Danielle WEATHERHOLT, 18 Grace MAHER, 19 Lia PRIVITELLI, 20 Bethany MASON-JONES (GK), 21 Ella MASTRANTONIO - *two to be omitted* - Ins: COONEY-CROSS (promoted), MAHER (promoted) - Outs: Nil
Perth Glory squad: 1 Eliza CAMPBELL (GK), 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ , 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON , 9 Rachel HILL, 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 11 Leticia McKENNA, 12 Jenna ONIONS, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Alexia MORENO, 20 Sam KERR (c), 21 Morgan AQUINO (GK), 22 Abbey GREEN, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - *two to be omitted* - Ins: DOEGLAS (promoted), MORENO (promoted), AQUINO (GK) (returns from injury) - Outs: 23Stacey CAVILL (GK) (not selected) - Unavailable: 18 Isabella FOLETTA (general soreness – 1 week)
IRISH EYES NOT SMILING ON O’NEILL, YET
Sydney FC’s Brandon O’Neill says he has had no contact from new Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy yet about switching his allegiance to Ireland. The 24-year old Perth-born and raised midfielder is eligible to represent both Australia and Ireland, the home nation of his parents.
O’Neill was previously linked to the Green Army under namesake boss Martin O’Neill, but he has been axed and at the end of November was replaced by McCarthy. With the Sky Blues man seemingly behind Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Jackson Irvine, Musti Amini and James Jeggo in the Socceroos’ pecking order, O’Neill could turn to Ireland.
But he has yet to receive a call from McCarthy. "Not just yet. It’s hard with the time difference,” O’Neill joked to ftbl.com.au. "That’s another aspiration for me, playing for a national team. I’d be forever honoured and humbled to play for the Irish national team or for Australia, with my family and friends having ties with both countries.
"That’s something else I’ll have to look at when the opportunity arises. I can only control literally what I can do and that’s wake up every morning and try and be the best I can every day. Sleep well, eat right and do all the things and more that a professional footballer should be doing."
O'Neill has played every game of the A-League season for Sydney FC with the club third on the table. The midfielder has been happy with the Sky Blues' start but believes they can get better. "It’s been really good," said O'Neill, a product of ECU Joondalup's academy system.
"We’ve started the season extremely well – getting to an FFA Cup final, winning some tough games on the road and been in and around the top of the league for a while. It’s a pleasing start but there’s a to improve on and get better at. We’re looking forward to getting better and achieving success. It’s a good start but we believe we can get a lot better."
O'Neill said new coach Steve Corica has not changed much since taking over at Sydney from Graham Arnold. "A lot of things, in terms of the club, how we operate, how we go into a game, how we train, a lot of that has stayed the same, which is really good because its bred success in the past," he said.
"We have a really good culture here, winning is what we’re focused on and that’s what we want to do. We also want an environment where you can succeed both individually and as a team. Bimbi’s a lot quieter person than Arnie, he has his own way of getting points across. But he’s very knowledgeable, he’s such a good person as well to work under."
EX-GLORY JUNIOR DE SILVA STARS FOR SYDNEY
Former Perth Glory starlet Daniel De Silva said the personal significance of his decisive goal on Friday night was that it was his first for his new club, rather than who the opposition was. De Silva’s 87th minute strike helped Sydney FC to a 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Glory.
De Silva, who became the youngest player to represent Glory when he debuted as a 15-year old, said he was pleased the win narrowed the gap to his original club to just three points. “Perth is always going to be my home, but Sydney is my club now and I’m really happy to be able to help them to get the victory,” he said. “Hopefully there’s many more goals to come and I can continue to help them to success through this season.”
“I haven’t scored in the season yet, so my first goal, it’s good to get a bit of pressure off my back now. Obviously it’s a bit nostalgic, it’s where I started my career and everything. I used to come to Glory as a kid. It’s a special club to me, but I play for Sydney now and I’m really happy that we won.”
LATE DRAMA ENDS GLORYS UNBEATEN RUN
Perth Glory's unbeaten start to the Hyundai A-League has come to an end, after a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Friday evening. It was the Sky Blues ninth consecutive win against Glory, but it wasn't without drama. The visitors led at the break thanks to top goalscorer Adam le Fondre and Danny De Silva doubled their advantage late. But Chris Ikonomidis' goal in the final minute gave the hosts a sniff and roared on by the big crowd they thought they had found the equaliser in stoppage time, with Brandon Santalab firing home but the goal was ruled out for a foul on keeper Andrew Redmayne, the decision looked harsh and despite the Glory players protests it fell on deaf ears.
"The last five minutes showcased the spirit of the team, even when you feel all is lost, the players still show their fight, determination and character and in the end, we could have had an equaliser. It epitomises what the players have done through the first nine games of the season," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said. "We'll get over this. We've lost a game of football. I think in the first 20 minutes the growth of the team was evident as we totally dominated the game. "But as the game shows you, you can get kicked at those times and we conceded a goal out of nothing and they played as a team with experience that is very accustomed to winning and it became hard for us to break them down. I'm certainly not happy that we lost and we played well enough for the [unbeaten] run to have continued tonight. It wasn't to be, but there's not too much wrong. We just need to recover well, enjoy Christmas with our families and come back to start the next series of games, in what is a very busy period in January, refreshed and ready to go."
Popovic made two changes to the side that beat Newcastle Jets last week, both in midfield. Jake Brimmer and Juande came in with Brandon Wilson and Joel Chianese dropping to the bench. Glory opened brightly and had plenty of the ball in the opening quarter-hour, but against the run of play they found themselves behind on 17 minutes. Brandon O'Neil's corner wasn't dealt with and Le Fondre made them pay, the former Cardiff City striker firing home from close-range. Glory looked to hit back, and Andy Keogh headed over from Ikonomidis' cross on the half hour. Moments later Keogh went even closer. Ivan Franjic's cross picked out the Irish striker, but Redmayne produced a reaction save to deny him. The home side ended the half well and went close again three minutes before the break. The lively Ikonomidis waltzed past three Sydney defenders before his shot was tipped over by Redmayne. But in first half stoppage time Sydney went close to a second. Rhyan Grant's cross from the right was saved by Liam Reddy, and the Glory custodian was alert with a superb reaction save to deny Alex Brosque's follow up shot.
Glory went close early in the second half, Brimmer's long-range free kick stung the palms of Redmayne, and Ikonomidis' follow up shot was clear. Both sides had chances as the game opened up. First Shane Lowry's ball into the box headed over by Keogh, before Michael Zullo's ball into the box was well dealt with by Tomislav Mrcela. Moments later Brosque set up Milos Ninkovic, but the Serbian striker fired over the top. Keogh was in again on the hour, this time sent clear by Brimmer, but Redmayne was down smartly to save. But five minutes from time the visitors doubled their lead, Ninkovic picking out De Silva, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, and the former Glory midfielder finished clinically past Reddy.
It looked all over, but Popovic's side had other ideas, and they pulled one back in the final minute of normal time. Neil Kilkenny's free kick was nodded back across goal by Dino Djulbic and Ikonomidis lost his marker at the back post to fire home. It set up a barn-storming finish and in the third minute of stoppage time Glory thought they had levelled. A ball into the box was fumbled by Redmayne, under pressure from Chianese, the ball was played back to Santalab who finished superbly, but referee Jonathan Barreiro had spotted a foul on the keeper and disallowed the goal, much to displeasure of players and the 10,356 supporters alike. “It’s the most important win at the moment with Perth being unbeaten until tonight," Sydney Fc coach Steve Corica said. "I’m pleased that the boys played really well and stuck to the game plan. We got the three points, so we’ll have a great Christmas now. [On nine straight wins v Perth] “It’s not an easy place to come either but we obviously like playing here.”
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (7 Joel CHIANESE 60', 6 Dino DJULBIC, 9 Andy KEOGH (11 Brendon SANTALAB 67'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE (23 Scott NEVILLE 79'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 15 Brandon WILSON
Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Michael ZULLO (18 Jacob TRATT 90'), 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 11 Daniel DE SILVA 83'), 22 Siem DE JONG (8 Paulo RETRE 60'), 23 Rhyan GRANT - Subs not used: RGK Alex CISAK - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
KERR AT THE DOUBLE AS GLORY GO TOP
Perth Glory moved to the top of the Westfield W-League table for the first time this season after a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Friday afternoon in extremely hot conditions, with the teams having two drinks break in each half. Former Glory defender Alana Kennedy gave the visitors the lead at the break, but skipper Sam Kerr was the hero heading two second half goals to give them all three points, and leap from Melbourne Victory at the summit on goal difference. "It was incredibly hot and that meant it probably wasn't an enjoyable first half for anyone," Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said. "At half-time I didn't want to bore our players with the tactical decisions and this, that and the other. What I said to them was that I'd rather give it a go and lose 4-0 than stay safe and lose 1-0. I took all the pressure away from them and said to give it a shot at least. And they did that."
Despotovski made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Newcastle Jets last week with Alyssa Mautz retaining from suspension in place of Isabell Foletta, while Jamie Lee-Gale came in for Jenna Onions, who dropped to the bench. Also, on the bench was talented winger Jacynta Galabadaarachchi, her debut for the club after moving from Melbourne City in the off-season. With the mercury in the high 30's at kick off it was Glory who opened the brighter and Kerr's header was well saved by Sky Blues custodian Aubrey Bledsoe after only eight minutes. Sydney also looked dangerous going forward and two minutes later Princess Ibini raced clear one-on-one with Eliza Campbell, but a great last-ditch tackle from Katie Naughton cleared the danger. Despite the heat it was end-to-end football and Shannon May stung the palms of Bledsoe, before Mautz was also denied by the impressive American keeper. Kennedy headed over the top for Sydney as the chances continued to come, before Bledsoe saved superbly to deny Leticia McKenna.
But on 27 minutes it was the visitors who took the lead, and what a goal it was. They won a free kick on the edge of the box and Kennedy, Boutsianis like, curled the ball home where the spiders live, giving Campbell no chance. The Sky Blues went close to a second ten minutes later, Savannah McCaskill's powerful shot was tipped over the top by the alert Campbell. Glory had two good late chances, first Kerr was again denied by Bledsoe, before producing the save of the half to deny Mautz's close-range shot. Glory brought on Galabadaarachchi at the break in place of McKenna, while there was a change of referee, with Football West official Shane Skinner taking over from Kate Jacewicz. It was a perfect start for the home side and they were level two minutes in. Stanton's corner picked out Kerr, who lost her marker and headed home at the back post. They went close to a second on the hour, a sublimed through ball from Galabadaarachchi sent Kerr through, the striker unselfishly squared the ball to Rachel Hill, but the American striker couldn't find the target.
The home side were on top and Kerr's shot flashed wide of the post before Mautz's cross was inches away from Hill. Kerr went close again eight minutes from time, finding space on the edge of the box, but her shot flashed the wrong side of the post. But three minutes later the Glory superstar wasn't going to be denied. Hill's deep cross found Kerr, who out jumped her marker, and her looping header went into the far corner of the net. But Sydney weren’t finished, and former Glory midfielder Lisa De Vanna fired inches wide, before another ex-Glory player Caitlin Foord had the final chance of the game in stoppage time but Kim Carroll got back with super block to deny her.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI 46'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL, 12 Jenna ONIONS, 22 Abbey GREEN
Sydney FC: GK Aubrey BLEDSOE, 2 Teresa POLIAS (c) (18 Taylor RAY 90'), 4 Elizabeth RALSTON, 6 Chloe LOGARZO, 8 Amy HARRISON (5 Ally GREEN 83'), 9 Caitlin FOORD, 10 Savannah McCASKILL, 14 Alanna KENNEDY, 20 Princess IBINI (11 Lisa DE VANNA 65'), 22 Sofia HUERTA, 23 Danielle COLAPRICO - Subs not used: RGK Trudy BURKE - Referre - Kate Jacewicz (Shane Skinner 46')
GLORY LOOK TO END BARREN RUN AGAINST SYDNEY FC
Perth Glory will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League when they open round nine against last season’s league winners Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Friday evening. (6.00pm WA Time) It's part of a double header on the night with Glory Westfield W-League side also taking on Sydney FC prior to the A-League clash. The Sky Blues have had the wood on the men from the west and have beaten them in the last eight meeting, but with Tony Popovic in charge this season the Glory are different side, and a win on Friday will see them move five points clear at the summit. Diego Castro will miss the game with a tight hamstring, which is a concern, while Matthew Spiranovic could return after missing the win at Newcastle last week, and Popovic is confident Castro will be fit to return for the December 31 clash with Central Coast.
"He trained yesterday and Monday, and he did very well, I think he could have been right for this week. It would have been touch and go," he said. "I don't think he could have started, but off the bench he would have been OK. But we don't feel there's a need to risk him at this stage." Spiranovic also limped off with a hamstring niggle in the 1-0 win over Melbourne City a fortnight ago, and Popovic said he will be assessed again at training before a final call is made on his availability. "The injury he's had and the length of time he's been out, it will always be a risk to a certain degree," he said. "As long as it's calculated, and we feel we've controlled everything we can, then we'll put him in when we feel he's ready."
Glory defender Ivan Franjic is hoping for a big crowd for the big Friday night clash, and he is relishing the challenge of taking on a Sky Blues side that have dominated the league in recent years. "We set out to be top at the end of the year and we're just taking it game by game," he said. "Obviously Victory keep winning and putting pressure on us, but we've been responding well, and we just need to keep going. Sydney FC are close, and this is a good opportunity to open up a bit of a gap on them. In fact our next two home games are against Sydney FC and we know it's never been easy for teams to come to the West in the past, so now we want to make it [nib Stadium] a fortress again. We have another opportunity to do that on Friday night."
Sydney have made a somewhat inconsistent start under new Head Coach Steve Corica but they have dominated this fixtures and have scored 29 goals in the eight game winning run, which includes a 3-0 win in a Semi-Final in the 2016/17 Season. They sit third on the table and bounced back from a shock loss to Wellington to win the Sydney Derby last week, and Franjic feels that they will still present a stern challenge. "It's always different when you have a new coach, but they are still a quality team with quality all around the park. But as we've shown in recent weeks, so have we," he said. "We respect every opponent, but we always focus upon ourselves. We've believed in our ability as a squad since day one of pre-season and I think we're showing that now. It seems like we still fly under the radar a little bit, but we've been up the top for a while now and people are starting to talk about us."
Sydney It's also a milestone match for Sky Blues and former Glory midfielder Brandon O'Neill, who plays his 100th Hyundai A-League match, while defender Rhyan Grant will play his 150th game for the club. He made his debut for the club in 2008 against the Glory at the same venue and after undergoing two knee reconstructions and winning two A-League championships and one premiership, the 27-year-old said it's been a real journey. "It’s something I’m really proud of," he said. "Like I said it’s something that doesn’t really happy very often but to happen at a big club like Sydney FC is pretty special and something I’m really proud of."
Grant, who was named in the Socceroos squad for the upcoming Asian Cup, said the trip west will be tough against the leaders but he said they are determined to end the home sides good run. "They’re going pretty well at the moment, we’ll have a look and we will have a look at different footage on where we can exploit them, I suppose and see what we can do," the defender said. "On the weekend, Newcastle had a lot of chances, so we sort of look at that and see what they did wrong and how we can do better I suppose and make sure we take our chances and score those goals."
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: NEVILLE (returns from injury), JUANDE (returns from injury) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 2 Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC (hamstring – 1 week), 17 Diego Castro (hamstring – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, RGK Alex CISAK, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Daniel DE SILVA, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 18 Jacob TRATT, 21 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 22 Siem DE JONG, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 24 Cam DEVLIN, 31 Luke IVANOVIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WILKINSON (return from illness), LOKOLI-NGOY (promoted), DEVLIN (promoted) - Outs: 5 Jop van der LINDEN (hamstring – 3 weeks) - Unavailable: 3 Ben WARLAND (foot – 3 weeks), 12 Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19 Chris ZUVELA (knee – indefinite)
SKY BLUES UP NEXT FOR GLORY WOMEN
It's a huge Friday of football at the nib Stadium, with a double header between Perth Glory and Sydney FC, and first up Bobby Despotovski's Westfield W-League side take on Sydney FC, which is followed by the Hyundai A-League clash. Glory were held at home by Newcastle Jets last week at Dorrien Gardens, while Sydney carried on their recent good form by easily beating the unbeaten Adelaide United 5-1, making it 10 goals in their last two games, so it sets up an enthralling game. The Sky Blues won the last meeting in WA, a 2-0 win at Dorrien Gardens with Lisa De Vanna and Chloe Logarzo on target, but Glory will be looking to turn that around in this one. Alyssa Mautz returns from suspension to complete a lethal forward line, along with Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill, but Sydney have a form forward line to, with De Vanna, Logarzo, Caitlin Foord, Princess Ibini on fire, so it should be a high scoring game.
Despotovski said it's a huge challenge against the form team of the league but they are up for it. "It's going to be very hard because it's a crucial game for both sides in terms of not losing grip on the top four, and like in every other game, we'll need to be at our best to get anything out of it," he said. "The conditions are going to be hot which will play a big part in the pace of the game, but we need to be switched on and do the right things." The Coach was philosophical about last week’s draw against the Jets, who were down to ten men, but they have moved on. "I was happy with the way we defended against the Jets, especially at set-pieces which are one of their key strengths," he said. “We missed a couple of chances, but that's fine because at least we're creating chances and most of the time we'll take them. You get games like this from time to time and you have to respond in a positive manner."
The return of Mautz is a huge plus, but the Coach said the W-League debut of the exciting youngster Jacynta Galabadaarachchi who has recovered from a knee injury is another plus. “It'll be a long-awaited debut for Jacynta, we brought her here for the simple reason that she is a good player. She's very tricky and having trained for a week-and-a-half now, hopefully she can come in when we need her and do good things for us,” Despotovski explained. “All the girls love playing at nib Stadium. They love the surface and the big occasion and hopefully a good crowd will roll in during the game. That's why you play football; to play on the big occasions at the big stadiums." Glory custodian Eliza Campbell has been in stellar form for Glory and she believes Friday is their biggest test of the season. If we come out playing our best, we can give them a run for their money,” the 24-year-old said. “We discuss it (Sydney’s goal threats) and practice a bit on how they play but usually we just focus on how we want to perform. It’s a tough game this week and we can’t drop our standards. We have to perform well.”
ROUX LOOKING TO CREATE A STORM ON THE PITCH
When you are bouncing along at the bottom of the A-League, it's hard to imagine that a big club is looking at you as a potential signing. After all, why would Melbourne Victory, on the road to a fourth A-League title, be looking at defenders from Central Coast Mariners, the club with the worst defensive record in the league?
Fortunately for New Zealand international Storm Roux, the Victory coaching staff didn't think that way. Kevin Muscat and his team were looking for a replacement for the departed Jason Geria, their former right back who had moved to Japan. They wanted a fast, quick and aggressive full-back who could get forward and help the attack but do a job defensively.
So, much to his surprise, Roux found himself on the road south from the Central Coast to Melbourne in the off season. "Joining Victory was a no-brainer. It's the biggest club in Australia, and when they come knocking you have to listen, you don't really think twice," he said. "It was a bit of my frustration at the Mariners that when we kept losing all the time.
"You do get a bit dispirited and you think none of the big teams will look at you so it was a bit of a surprise that Victory came calling. But once I knew they were interested it did fuel my excitement about coming down here. I feel like I have fallen back in love with football again."
Roux pays tribute to the impact that Muscat and top players like Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen have had on his game in just a few short weeks. "Winning games is great, but I also feel like I have learned a lot here, especially from Kevin Muscat and players like Keisuke Honda," he said.
"From what I have seen of him (Honda), even in just these few games, he looks like the best import the A-League has ever had. Playing with good players like him and Toivonen and the others here makes all of us look better. They read the play, they make the runs. I have linked up well with Honda this season and it's been really enjoyable."
"With Kevin Muscat as my coach I have learned more about the defensive side of the game. He has helped me with positioning and I have learned that it's not just all about bombing forward all the time. I have got an assist and I got the equaliser against Glory the week after. I would like to add to both."
Roux was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and his family moved to Auckland in New Zealand when he was just two. They then relocated to Perth when he was 13, where he polished his skills. "I went to the Mariners in 2013, Graham Arnold signed me after I had played for NZ in the Youth World Cup," he said.
"At the time the Mariners had just won the A-League championship and were a very competitive team. Then Arnold left and so did other players. It was annoying to go from being part of a really good team to becoming a team that struggled to win games. Things never really got back to where they were."
"My first year there was very good and we made the semi-finals and had finished third in the league. The next four years were a real struggle. It's hard for a young player to keep coming up week after week in a team that keeps on losing games. It does affect your confidence."
To compound matters, Roux then broke his ankle and sustained ligament damage. He also suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for some time. "I realised last season that I was pretty stale and not in a good place and the club felt the same, so when the chance came to move on, they allowed me to."
IKONOMIDIS SELECTED FOR ASIAN CUP SQUAD
Perth Glory striker Chris Ikonomidis' fine form has been rewarded after being called into the 23-man squad for the Asian Cup Finals in UAE in January. It's great news for the striker, but not for Glory, who will be without the talented goal sneak for up to seven games during the tournament, if the Socceroos make the final. Ikonomidis is one of three A-League based players in the squad, with Rhyan Grant and former Glory defender Josh Risdon also in Graham Arnold's squad.
Arnold said Ikonomidis has earned his pot in the squad after performing well in the A-League this season. “Chris will add pace and energy to our attack,” he said. “Which is the consistent feature of the players that we have picked in the Socceroos’ attack for this tournament." The 23-year-old, who left Serie A club Lazio at the end of last season, admits he took a risk to join the Glory, but it’s paid off, and his enjoying his football at Glory and Head Coach Tony Popovic has had a lot to do with that. “Mentally I’ve grown a lot with the boss [Tony Popovic] here at Perth Glory,” he explained. “He’s helped me to learn new positions, I can play across the front three which is a great asset to have in modern football.
“Learning to play the number 10 role or as a winger or a striker and ending up with the same results in scoring and assisting is probably the greatest thing that I’ve added to my game in the last six months. I took it [Socceroos selection] into consideration when picking my next destination. Getting back here and playing well, scoring goals and getting back into the Socceroo boss’ face every week. That was part of the plan and I’m very happy that it happened.”
Arnold has chosen a pacy, attack-minded squad for their Asian Cup title defence, including the likes of Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Krus, and Ikonomidis it’s an exciting squad. “He [Arnold] wants to play a really attacking, attractive brand of football with quick attackers going one-on-one and guys who like to get in the box and score goals,” he said. “Thankfully for me that’s my game. I’m really excited to get into camp with him and the new team because I think I can bring something new to them and they can definitely help me improve a lot.”
Full Squad: GK Mathew Ryan, GK Danny Vukovic, GK Mitchell Langerak, Mustafa Amini, Aziz Behich, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Chris Ikonomidis, Jackson Irvine, Matthew Jurman, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Mark Milligan (C), Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Trent Sainsbury
CASTRO RULED OUT OF SYDNEY BLOCKBUSTER
Perth Glory will be without captain Diego Castro for Friday night's blockbuster against Sydney FC, but defender Matthew Spiranovic is a sneaky chance to return. Castro missed last week's A-League win over Newcastle Jets after experiencing hamstring tightness at training in the lead up to the game.
36-year old Castro missed the first four rounds of the season after injuring his other hamstring, but his latest setback isn't as serious. Coach Tony Popovic is confident Castro will be fit to return for the 31 December clash with Central Coast Mariners, which comes 10 days after the match against Sydney FC.
"He trained yesterday and Monday, and he did very well," Popovic said. "I think he could have been right for this week. It would have been touch and go. I don't think he could have started, but off the bench he would have been okay. But we don't feel there's a need to risk him at this stage."
Spiranovic lasted just 31 minutes in his Glory debut before limping off with a hamstring niggle against Melbourne City a fortnight ago. The 30-year-old, who had only just returned from a year-long hip injury, will be assessed again at training on Thursday before a final call is made on his availability.
"The injury he's had and the length of time he's been out, it will always be a risk to a certain degree," Popovic said. "As long as it's calculated and we feel we've controlled everything we can, then we'll put him in when we feel he's ready." Glory sits two points clear on top of the A-League table with Sydney six points behind in third.
GLORY BRING DOWN THE JETS
Perth Glory climbed back to the top of the Hyundai A-League table after a 2-0 win against Newcastle Jets at McDonalds Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Neil Kilkenny's third minute penalty and a snap shot from Jason Davidson just before the half hour mark was the difference, but it was the home side that dominated, and Glory custodian Liam Reddy was outstanding making four critical saves to keep the Jets at bay. "The players were outstanding, and we're deservedly top of the table and there is a real spirit among the playing group and the staff and we want this momentum to continue," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said. "But we know how quickly things can change in football and no-one is taking this for granted. Of course, we would have liked to have got another goal to make it easier in the second half today, but Newcastle were good and kept coming, that said, I always felt that we would see it through in the second half."
Popovic made two changes to the side that beat Melbourne City last time out with Dino Djulbic coming in at the back in replace of the injured Matthew Spiranovic, while skipper Diego Castro missed with a tight hamstring, and he was replaced by Joel Chianese. It was a frantic opening to the game and the Jets should have scored in the first 30 seconds. A quick break down the right ended with a cross into the box by Daniel Georgievski, and Jair's first-time volley was superbly saved by the alert Reddy. Moments later Chianese as sent clear by Andy Keogh and raced into the box and was upended by Jets keeper Glen Moss and referee Stephen Lucas pointed straight to the spot. There was a delay when the official checked with VAR, but they gave it the all clear and Kilkenny stepped up and sent Moss the wrong way to open the scoring.
The home side looked good going forward and Rony Vargas' shot flashed wide of the post on eight minutes and seven minutes later they went closer. Georgievski's cross picked out Jair again, this time the Brazilian’s glancing header crashed off the post, with Shane Lowry clearing the danger. Reddy was having a blinder and he produced another stunning save to thwart Jair's curling effort. As well as the Jets looked going forward, their defending wasn’t the best and Glory should have doubled their lead on 22 minutes. Tomislav Mrcela started the move and made a run into the box and he was picked out by Davidson's cross, but the big central defender couldn't keep his shot down.
But that miss was forgotten three minutes later when Glory doubled their advantage. Kilkenny's deep free kick was headed back across goal by Djulbic at the back post, where Mrcela flicked the ball goalward and Moss flapped at the ball and it landed kindly for Davidson who volleyed home from five meters, to open his account for the club. The Jets continued to press, and Reddy was equal to the task again four minutes before the break. Jason Hoffman, who came off the bench in a tactical move by Jets Coach Ernie Merrick on 38 minutes, his low shot from the angle was superbly saved by the Glory custodian. Then in the final minute Jair was in again, but his first touch was poor, and Reddy was out bravely to save at the strikers’ feet.
The home side were desperate for a good start to the second half and Dimi Petratos' free kick picked out Steven Ugarkovic, but his effort was straight at Reddy, before Hoffman headed just wide. Glory sat back and soaked up the Jets pressure, and the home side were struggling to break down a tight defence, well led by Lowry. Hoffman then tried his luck from the edge of the box, but his shot whistled wide of the upright, but the Jets were running out of ideas, although Djulbic was lucky not to concede a penalty after a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box in stoppage time, and after VAR checked it was given the all clear and Glory held on for a clean sheet and take home the three points.
Newcastle Jets: GK Glen MOSS, 4 Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 7 Dimi PETRATOS, 8 Jair (16 Nick COWBURN 75'), 10 Ronald VARGAS, 13 Ivan VUJICA (3 Jason HOFFMAN 37'), 14 Kaine SHEPPARD (23 Matthew RIDENTON 65'), 17 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - Subs not used: RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (22 Fabio FERREIRA 70'), 9 Andy KEOGH (11 Brendon SANTALAB 77'), 15 Brandon WILSON (20 Jake BRIMMER 65'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 14 Chris HAROLD - Referee: Stephen Lucas
GLORY YOUNGSTERS BACK IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Perth Glory youth side are back in the winner’s circle in the Foxtel Y-League after a well-deserved 2-0 win against Melbourne Victory in Week six at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. Daniel Stynes opened the scoring early, before skipper Henry Hore added a second just before the hour mark, the win moving Glory up to third in Conference A, with two games remaining, but the win was a great way to end their 2018 fixtures. “It was a very composed performance by the boys and that’s something we’ve been asking of them over the last month or so,” Head Coach Richard Garcia said post-match. "We asked them to think about when things start going against you, to start thinking about what your role is within the team and do that role and be composed in those times when you’re a little bit under the pump. I think they showed that today and they controlled the game, which is very pleasing.
“It’s been a hard few results for the boys; they really felt like they were good in spells and they’ve actually been quite good in the second halves of most of the games, but we needed to bring that all together into one performance. It’s been a big focus during the last few weeks and I think today saw them bring that together. Obviously, we’ll give the boys a bit of time with their families over Christmas, but we want try and keep things as professional as we can. We want to make our environment very much like a full-time, professional environment, so we’ll give them a little bit of time, but then it’s straight back into training.”
In good news for the first team squad, Stynes is back and firing and he opened the scoring on six minutes. His close control took him past three Victory defenders before finishing clinically past Matthew Sutton. Victory, who were coming off a big win last time out against Adelaide United, almost hit back three minutes later. Aydin Mustedanagic was given far too much space on the edge of the box, his shot was tipped on to the post by Jackson Lee and Cameron Murray cleared the rebound. It was a lucky escape for Glory, but they went close to doubling their lead on 22 minutes. The lively Trent Ostler cut in from the left, but Sutton was down smartly to save.
Stynes thought he had doubled Glory’s lead four minutes later, when his shot was fumbled by Sutton, but the keeper got back to save the ball on the line. Victory went close to levelling just before half time, Stefan Ristic playing in Jack Palazzolo, but his shot flashed wide of the target, but Glory went to the sheds with the lead. In further good news for the A-League side Jacob Italiano came on at the break after recovering from injury to replace Gabriel Popovic, and it was an even start to the second half, with both sides having half chances. But on 55 minutes it was Glory who added to their lead. Midfielder Hore was in the right place at the right time to ram home the ball after the ball fell kindly for him in the box.
Glory pressed for a third, with Sasa Njegic, Ostler and Italiano going close, while at the other end Thierry Iradukunda, Liston Diaz and Mustedanagic went close, but they were unable to find a way back into the game. "I think the group had some good intentions, but not for long periods enough. The importance of our structure, it was evident that we need to get better at it,” Victory Coach Gareth Naven said. “I can tell our group are working hard, you can tell in their faces that they're maximising their effort. It just shows the importance of everyone understanding what they need to do in the moments of the game is so vital to make sure the performance is at a level where you can definitely get some rewards."
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 19 Nicholas SPECA 78’), 2 Daniel WALSH, 3 Cameron MURRAY, 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Kristian POPOVIC (17 Jayden LEADER 75’), 6 Henry HORE (C), 7 Ethan BROOKS (14 Sasa NJEGIC 63’), 8 Trent OSTLER, 9 Jai SELDEN, 10 Daniel STYNES, 11 Gabriel POPOVIC (15 Jacob ITALIANO 46’) - Subs not used: None
Melbourne Victory: GK Matthew SUTTON, 2 Daniel AYE (14 Thiel IRADUKUNDA 27’), 4 Benjamin CARRIGAN (C), 5 So NISHIKAWA, 6 Stefan RISTIC, 9 Jack PALAZZOLO (7 Liston DIAZ 63’), 10 Brandon LAUTON, 11 Aydin MUSTEDANAGIC, 15 Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 17 Yazid SAID, 18 Aaron ANDERSON (8 Jack MORTON 66’) - Subs not used: RGK Lucas RUNJE - Referee: Shane Skinner
GLORY HELD BY THE JETS
Perth Glory maintained their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League season but had to settle for a share of the spoils against Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. The hosts made the best possible start with Leticia McKenna scoring after only four minutes, but the Jets hit back with Katie Stengel scoring twice in as many minutes. But they then lost Matildas defender Larissa Crummer, who was sent off after bringing down Sam Kerr in the box, Kerr firing home the resulting spot kick to level. Glory pressed for the winner, but the Jets held firm with keeper Britt Eckerstrom pulling off some good saves. "It's disappointing not to have won, but they [Newcastle] played very well with ten, but I'm disappointed that we decided to go direct," Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said. "Sometimes you get a false sense of security when playing against ten and just start to lump it and that just makes it easier for them to defend. If we'd done everything we spoke about at half time, I'm sure we'd have got all three points. But at the end of the day, I think Newcastle deserved a point as they defended very, very well. We now have a quick turnaround ahead of the Sydney FC game on Friday, we'll have Alyssa [Mautz] and Jacynta [Galabadaarachchi] back and we usually play well at nib Stadium, so we look forward to it."
In front of another big crowd the Glory were on the front foot early and were rewarded with the lead on four minutes. Nikki Stanton's corner wasn't dealt with and McKenna pounced to fire home via the underside of the crossbar. The Jets weren’t to be outdone and levelled on 17 minutes, Taylor Smith ran at the Glory defence and slipped in Stengel, who finished clinically pasted Eliza Campbell. The crowd were stunned sixty seconds later when the visitors hit the front. Smith was the supplier again, this time whipping in a cross from the left and Stengel made no mistake.
But seven minutes later the Glory were level, Kerr raced into goal and was brought down by Crummer, and with her being deemed the last defender, she was shown a straight red card by referee Lara Lee. Kerr picked herself up and beat Eckerstrom to level things up. Glory went close to the lead in the shadows of half time. First Kerr cut in from the right, but her shot flashed over the top, before Rachel Hill raced past two defenders, and her cheeky lob dropped just over the top, but at the break it was all-square.
Although down to ten the Jets still looked dangerous, and they went close to regaining the lead five minutes in. A great through ball sent Jenna Kingsley in a one-on-one with Campbell, but the Glory custodian stood tall to deny her. It was end-to-end football and Glory went close on the hour, Kerr was sent clear again by Natasha Rigby, she rounded the keeper, but the angle was tight, and she could only find the side netting. The crowd were on the edge of their seats and Stengel went close to her hat-trick moments later, her stinging shot flashed inches over the top. Campbell had to be alert again on 71 minutes, this time getting down well to save Arin Gilliland-Wright, before Cortnee Vine fired over the top when well placed. Kerr then stung the palms of Eckerstrom, before Shannon May was denied by the Jets keeper, and Caitlin Doeglas' follow up header was straight at the Jets American keeper. Glory went within inches of the win in stoppage time, May's long-range strike beat Eckerstrom, but it crashed off the upright and away to safety. There was still time for another Glory chance in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Stanton's free kick was superbly saved by Eckerstrom and the points were shared.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON , 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (14 Caitlin DOEGLAS 50') , 12 Jenna ONIONS (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 56'), 18 Isabella FOLETTA (22 Abbey GREEN 68'), 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL
Newcastle Jets FC: GK Britt ECKERSTROM, 2 Hannah BREWER, 5 Arin GILLILAND-WRIGHT (4 Libby COPUS-BROWN, 71'), 6 Cassidy DAVIS, 7 Gema SIMON, 9 Katie STENGEL, 10 Emily VAN EGMOND, 14 Taylor SMITH (25 Teigan COLLISTER 85'), 17 Jenna KINGSLEY (11 Cortnee VINE 64'), 18 Clare WHEELER, 22 Larissa CRUMMER - Subs not used: RGK Claire COELHO - Red cards: Crummer - Referee: Lara Lee
MAY'S GLORYOUS CENTURY
Perth Glory Womens’ Shannon May is set to join the W-League centenary club when she takes to the field against Newcastle Jets this evening. The 27-year old midfielder was just 17 when she played her first game for Glory against Sydney FC in 2008.
May becomes the first Glory Women player to reach the 100-game milestone as a one team player. “It’s definitely something that I’m super proud of, it’s a massive honour to play for this club and to make 100 appearances is something that I’m really proud of,” she said.
But May never envisaged making it to 100 games when she pulled the shirt on for her first game. “I didn’t even know if it would continue for ten seasons,” she said. “I was young and I was just happy to be playing and for there to be a women's team was awesome, especially for a team that I grew up supporting. I was super stoked to be a part of it.”
The inaugural Glory Women squad was mostly local players who had grown up playing together through various State and NTC squads. “We were really really close, which was probably a good thing being friends and playing together for a while,” May said. “When I look back at the team now, not many of them are playing anymore!”
This milestone brings into sharp focus the benefits her experience offers the current squad. “I pick them up when they’re feeling low, calm them down a little bit, try to help them out as much as I can, and do my part in trying to guide them and mentor them and make sure they stay positive on the field and off the field as well,” May said.
May has played with and against some of the finest players in Australia but singles out Collette McCallum and Sam Kerr as two of the absolute best. “She (Collette) was one of my role models growing up. Training alongside her I learned a lot, positionally and tactically and she’s just an all-round great person,” May said. “Sam Kerr, you can’t really beat playing alongside one of the best in the world.”
Apart from the upcoming centenary game, May’s proudest moment to date was the 2014 season with Glory when the team finished Premiers and earned a home Grand Final against Canberra United. “That week of training sums up why you play football,” she commented.
“We were all in such good spirits leading up to the Grand Final, and everyone was excited. We had quite a young team, but we were a really good close group with the likes of Caitlin Foord, Alannah Kennedy. That was definitely something I look back on and think that was a really good time."
A primary school teacher, Shannon juggles the demands of her work with her football but feels that the two aspects of her life complement each other. “Soccer is a good balance with school. If I’ve had a really busy day at school I know I can come to the soccer field and I feel free and I feel happy and can kick a ball around,” she said.
The current season has started well, and May feels says there is no reason why it can’t continue. “We’re all pretty positive and our headspace is pretty good,” she said. “We believe that we can stay at the top … so every game is important. It’s definitely our goal to finish at the top or as close to the top as we can, and we’d be really disappointed if we didn’t make the top four.”
GLORY HEAD EAST IN CONFIDENT MOOD
Perth Glory hit the road this weekend when they take on Newcastle Jets at the McDonald Jones Stadium in week eight of the Hyundai A-League (2.00pm WA Time) Glory sit top of the league, two points clear of Melbourne Victory, and they have a good record at the venue, but the Jets are coming off back-to-back wins and will be looking to end Glory's unbeaten start to the season.
Diego Castro returned to the starting line-up last week in the 1-0 win against Melbourne City and the Spanish mastro looked like he'd never been away and his performance was rewarded with a spot in the A-League Team of the Week. But Castro said it a huge positive to be undeafted, but they are not getting ahead of themselves. "That's important in the sport - the psychology part," he said. "The team looks good. I think every round we take confidence. But we just look forward to the next game. We will see what happens at the end. That's when it's important."
Castro missed the opening four games with a hamstring injury he picked up in a pre-season friendly against new NPLWA side Rockingham City, and he said he wasn't rushed back, and it was good to see the side open the season so well. "Even when I wasn't playing with the team, the team was still looking good," he said. "That takes a bit of pressure off me in terms of my recovery. Now my focus is on taking the fitness to the best level again. I am happy with the result in that part."
There are still injury concerns in the Glory camp, and they will be sweating on the fitness of defender Matthew Spiranovic, who lasted just 31 minutes against City in his Glory debut, before limping off. The Socceroo defender had missed a year of action with a hip injury, but Head Coach Tony Popovic is confident Spiranovic's latest injury isn't serious. They will still be without Alex Grant, who has a foot injury, and Scott Neville, who has an ankle injury, but in better news midfielder Juande is a chance to make his return this week after recovering from a knee injury, while the Jets welcome back Lachlan Jackson and Jason Hoffman to the side that beat Brisbane Roar last week.
"[The scans showed] there was some fluid there, just a little bit, which we've seen previously with him," Popovic said of Spiranovic’s injury. "It's just about managing it now. He was running yesterday and was confident and felt no pain at all, so that's a really good sign. If he can do the full week's training next week, I'd say he'd be a really good chance. When you've been out for that long, the challenge will always be there when he comes back to the first time," Popovic said. "We could wait two months, and still that first three or four games will be difficult for him. It's about us trying to make sure he can last longer."
Glory will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season on Sunday, and Popovic said it will be another tough game. "Every game has been tough and getting to this point has been tough, and there will be many more challenges ahead along this path, but at the moment we are top of the table and we have to believe that we can stay there,” he said. "I feel that we now go on the road with a real belief and the confidence grows with each result. It's difficult travelling from here and Newcastle is one of the longest journeys because you have to get the bus up from Sydney. "But the players have dealt well with those challenges so far and will be best prepared to deal with them again this weekend.
“We have another chance to keep ourselves there [on top of the ladder] this weekend against a side that got its first win at home last week. We know how well they did last year under Ernie Merrick and they'll be buoyant and full of confidence, but we're also a good side that's full of confidence, so hopefully we can play our part in a good match and come away with the points. We've done very well over these couple of weeks with the travel and a short turnaround and now we've had a longer window of eight days between games which has really helped the players to recover, and hopefully that will show in how sharp they are on Sunday."
Newcastle Jets: GK Glen MOSS, RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 4 Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 7 Dimi PETRATOS, 8 Jair, 10 Ronald VARGAS, 11 Mitch AUSTIN, 13 Ivan VUJICA, 14 Kaine SHEPPARD, 16 Nick COWBURN, 17 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20 Lachlan JACKSON, 23 Matthew RIDENTON, 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: HOFFMAN (return from injury), JACKSON (return from injury) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 9 Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 1 round), 24 Joe CHAMPNESS (foot – TBC)
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted), FERREIRA (promoted), 27.JUANDE (promoted) - Outs: 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Hamstring) - Unavailable: 2 Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 23 Scott NEVILLE (ankle - 2 weeks)
GLORY LOOKING TO DOWN THE JETS
Perth Glory will look to continue their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League when they host Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening (7.00pm WA Time). Glory are coming off a 2-2 draw last week in Adelaide, and Head Coach Bobby Despotovski thought they should have won the game, and probably would if not for the controversial sending off, of Alyssa Mautz in the second half. "I think it was a case of two points dropped against Adelaide," he said, "but it depends how you look at the game and there is a danger of over-analyzing it. We travelled over there and played in 40 degrees and came back with a point, so we're happy, but we're not happy if you see what I mean and now we are focused on improving and winning all of our home games."
Newcastle have won two and lost three of their five games to date and were beaten 3-1 at home by Melbourne City last time out, and Despotovski is hoping for a big turn out on Saturday at Dorrien Gardens, the home of Perth Soccer Club, as they look to maintain their good home form. "Our members and fans will make a big difference because the team love playing in front of them and I hope they turn out in big numbers again," he said. "The Jets have had an inconsistent season so far, but they possess many players that will pose a threat to us, with Emily van Egmond being the prime example. They will be a tough opponent, but if we perform to 100% of our ability, I don't think we'll have a problem."
It’s also a big game for Glory midfielder Shannon May, who will play her 100th game for the club. The 27-year-old, who also helped Queens Park to the State Women’s title last season, will become the first Glory player to hit the milestone, and she has played a key role in the side's unbeaten start to the current campaign. Despotovski said it will give his side extra motivation to win their third straight win at home this season. "It's a little extra motivation for us, because Shannon is a hugely popular player who has obviously made a massive contribution to the club. She deserves to be able to celebrate her fantastic achievement with a win,” he said. “We are looking to put in a good performance and get all three points. We have been putting in the hard yards during our training sessions this week and are expecting everyone to be fit and firing on Saturday."
VILLA KEEPING TABS ON RISDON AND O'NEILL
They're former teammates who will be butting heads in the Sydney derby but Josh Risdon and Brandon O'Neill could be reunited next season with a number of English clubs looking closely at the A-League duo. Aston Villa are beleived to be among several Championship clubs keeping tabs the West Australian pair, who have expressed a desire to test themselves in Europe in the near future.
Villa has reviewed footage of Risdon and O'Neill and will no doubt ask for advice from former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, who played alongside Risdon at the recent World Cup, as they monitor their form. But Villa are not the only English outfit interested in them. A London-based club is believed to be eyeing O'Neill but is under a transfer embargo and cannot make a move for him as things stand, while another club from England's north which has previously taken on Australian players will be sending scouts to watch Risdon next month.
Risdon, 26, and O'Neill, 24, are close mates. They both came through the ECU Joondalup academy and played together at Perth Glory together before heading east, Risdon to Western Sydney Wanderers and O'Neill to Sydney FC. Their respective bloodlines should also make any potential move to Europe a little easier with O'Neill holding an Irish passport and Risdon in the process of applying for a Croatian one, with heritage through his mother's side.
POPOVIC HAPPY WITH TRIUMPH DESPITE SLUGGISH START
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic was pleased with the way his side responded to a first half that was a ‘little bit flat’ in their 1-0 success against Melbourne City last night. The A-League table-toppers scored just before half-time with midfielder Chris Ikonomidis netting his fifth goal of the campaign.
But Popovic acknowledged his team were not at their best in the first 45 minutes, a challenge that Glory responded to in impressive fashion. “I have to be happy with three points,” Popovic said. “Another home win, tough match. Real difficult, physical encounter. We win and we keep a clean sheet so we’re very happy.”
“I think Melbourne City played well, they came out very strong in the first half. I thought in the second half, the game was different. It changed. We weren’t really caused many problems by Melbourne City. In the first half, they always looked a threat and they were dangerous.”
Elaborating on Glory’s first half performance, Popovic felt his players took longer than expected to get over a trip to Wellington Phoenix last week. “It’s a short turnaround (Sunday evening game in Wellington to Saturday evening game in Perth),” he said. “I feel that our players in the first half were still getting over that trip. We looked a little bit flat.”
Asked on his opinion if Ikonomidis’ stunning A-League form were to be rewarded with a Socceroos call-up for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 - something that would sideline the midfielder for a chunk of Glory’s season - Popovic said it would be “wrong” to hope that he was not selected to represent his country. “I think you have to be pleased,” he said.
“It’d be wrong of me to say any different because I played for the Socceroos. I had that honour and pleasure. From a club’s point of view, we’d love to see all the players staying here but really, it’d be wrong of us to not wish any of our players to have that honour, if they get it.”
But Popovic stopped short of saying he was expecting to lose Ikonomidis. “I’m not expecting to lose any of them because it’s not easy to get into the Socceroos,” he added. “Does he have an opportunity? I’m sure he does. “If you base it on his form, he is a young player with a lot of talent, a lot of potential and that’s a decision for Graham Arnold.”
WILLIAMS MILESTONE GAME HAS ARRIVED
It's not every day a player achieves 100 games in the W-League but for Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams, that day has finally come. Katanning-born Williams has been part of the W-League since the inaugural season but back then she was donning the green as a member of Canberra United.
Williams was part of the first game Canberra played, which was a 2-1 loss to the Newcastle Jets in the opening round. However, heading into the 2018/19 season, she didn't know her milestone was creeping up. "I didn't know until a few weeks ago that it would be my hundredth during this season," Williams said.
Unfortunately, the 30-year old has been made to wait a bit longer despite being the first choice 'keeper at both Canberra and City. In 2014, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus in the left knee while playing for Western New York Flash. It was the second time she had suffered that injury on that same knee having had a knee reconstruction in 2012.
Despite these injuries, Williams has become one of the most successful players in the league with three Championships (2011/12, 2016/17 and 2017/18) and two Premierships (2011/12 and 2013/14). "The Canberra season where we went through undefeated and then won, that was epic," she said of her favourite menory, the 2011/12 season with Canberra.
Williams becomes the first goalkeeper to reach the 100-game milestone. "It hasn't happened to a lot of players and the significance is amazing obviously," she said. "You see other girls from different countries getting their 100th cap and I think to recognise the W-League that is pretty cool."
It hasn't been the best start to the season for City, who currently sit in seventh having just a single win to their name this season. So a win against the Newcastle Jets would put the cherry on top of the cake for Williams in her milestone match.
"You always go through things in life that mean something to you, to get a win in such a monumental way and personal achievement that would be amazing," she said. "Whilst it is amazing for me as I have been going through the season, to get a win, in general, would be great."
IKONOMIDIS TAKE GLORY BACK TO THE TOP
Perth Glory regained the lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League after a hard fought 1-0 win against Melbourne City in week seven at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. Melbourne Victory had jumped above Tony Popovic's side earlier in the day with a 2-0 win against Adelaide United, but a Chris Ikonomidis goal just before half time gave them all three points and move them two points clear at the summit. It wasn't the best performance of the season, but despite City having plenty of the ball and asking a lot of questions they failed to have one shot on target for the whole game.
"You have to be happy with another three points, another home win," Popovic said. "It was a tough match and a physical encounter. Melbourne City played well. They came out very strong in the first half, but in the second half the game changed, and I didn't think we were caused many problems by them. "I think every side that is challenging at the end [of the season] will be up there because they can win when they're not at their best." The only downside in the win was an injury for Spiranovic, and the coach is confident it was nothing serious. "I haven't seen Matt since the game," he said, "but at the time I was told that it was precautionary because his hamstring tightened up, so we're hoping it's nothing serious."
Popovic made two changes to the side that drew against Wellington Phoenix last week with skipper Diego Castro returning in pace of Joel Chianese, who could count himself unlucky to miss out performing well so far this season, while at the back Matthew Spiranovic came in for his Glory debut, with Dino Djulbic dropping to the bench. City was without not just out of favour front man Bruno Fornaroli - left out of the squad for the third successive game - but was also missing Belgian marquee man Ritchie De Laet and French midfielder Florin Berengeur, they were replaced in the starting elven by Curtis Good and Nathaniel Atkinson.
It was a perfect night for football, but it was a disappointing crowd with the stands fairly empty at kick off, what more do people want - top of the league and playing good football. It was a cagey opening to the game with clear cut chances few and far between, the best early chance fell to the home side on the quarter hour, but Ivan Franjic's shot from the edge of the box was straight at City keeper Eugene Galekovic. City hit back and went close themselves six minutes later, a corner fell kindly to Nathaniel Atkinson, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over the top.
City had Glory on the back foot and Lachlan Wales shot was blocked by the alert Shane Lowry, but on the half hour Glory lost Spiranovic with a leg injury and he was replaced by Djulbic. Glory ended the half well and were rewarded with the lead two minutes before the break. Brandon Wilson won the ball just outside the penalty area and fed Castro, who in turn found Andy Keogh in the box. The Irishman’s cross was deflected into the path of Ikonomidis and the youngster fired home, much to the delight of the Shed.
Glory went close to a second early in the second half, Neil Kilkenny picked out Castro on the edge of the box and his shot on the run was superbly saved by Galekovic. Ikonomidis went close to his and Glory's second on the hour, his shot on the turn in the penalty area was saved low by Galekovic. Glory continued to look for the second goal to kill the game off and it almost came on 75 minutes, Tomislav Mrcela looping header crashing off the crossbar.
City were then reduced to ten men when former Newcastle United defender Curtis Good was shown a second yellow card by referee Peter Green for a challenge on Franjic. It looked a little harsh but that was the end of the challenge from City. Glory went close again late when substitute Jake Brimmer's long-range shot flashed inches over the top, but at the final whistle it was a win in a scrappy game.
Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce felt City lacked cutting edge in attack. “I thought we were on the front foot all night and certainly, first 35 minutes I thought we looked a dominant team,” he said. “Some good passing, some really good pressing, just at times the execution and decision-making around the box could have been a little bit better and if it was, it would have led to goals.”
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 9 Andy KEOGH, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC (6 Dino DJULBIC, 33'), 15 Brandon WILSON (20 Jake BRIMMER 63'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO (c) (7 Joel CHIANESE 85'), 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 11 Brendon SANTALAB
Melbourne City: GK Eugene GALEKOVIC, 3 Scott JAMIESON (c) , 4 Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5 Bart SCHENKEVELD, 8 Riley McGREE, 10 Dario VIDOSIC (7 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 71'), 13 Nathaniel ATKINSON (21 Ramy NAJJARINE, 88'), 15 Kearyn BACCUS (17 Anthony CACERES, 71'), 19 Lachlan WALES, 22 Curtis GOOD, 26 Luke BRATTAN - Subs not used: RGK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 34 Connor METCALFE - Red cards: Good 79' - Referee: Peter Green
GLORY YOUTH LET IT SLIP IN BRISBANE
Perth Glory's Foxtel Y-League Finals chances have almost been quashed, after they squandered a lead to lose 2-1 to Brisbane Roar in week five at Lions stadium on Saturday morning. Chris Harold had given the youngsters the lead with an early penalty, but the home side hit back with goals from Mirza Muratovic and Shannon Brady to secure the points. "It was very similar to last week against Adelaide, we played some very good stuff in patches, but lapses of concentration have cost us again," Head Coach Richard Garcia told the Glory website.
"We had good spells in the game, but when the lads get tired, they tend to forget the lessons that we are trying to get them to learn. We're asking them to make more independent choices on the field and think about the game in terms of how we want to play and what we want to. We want them to be more self-sufficient on the park and it's a steep learning curve. Progress is being made and now we need to push through that barrier and make sure that they can keep concentrating and focused when they're tired and under pressure. The boys are disappointed themselves, but it's an experience that will stand them in good stead."
It was a perfect start for the visitors when they were awarded a penalty after referee Zijad Ahmetovic spotted a handball by Stefan Nigro in the penalty area and pointed straight to the spot. Harold stepped up and despite Roar keeper Macklin Freke guessing the right way, he found the bottom corner of the net. The home side went close to the equaliser three minutes later, Zach Duncan forced a turnover and the ball fell to Daniel Leck whose shot crashed off the post.
Moments later Joe Caletti fired wide of the target for the hosts, but on 19 minutes they levelled. Muratovic first upshot was well saved by Jackson Lee, but Brady poked home from close-range. The home side were on top and went close to the lead on 24 minutes when Oliver Duncan's shot crashed off the post. But sixty seconds later they did find a second. Muratovic was given far too much space and his powerful shot flew past Lee.
Glory looked to hit back, and Henry Hore shot, against his former club, flashed wide, while at the other end Stefan Nigro's curling shot whistled inches past the post. Roar thought they had a third on 42 minutes, Leck going clear and finishing past Lee, but the flag was up for offside. It was backs to the wall for Glory and some desperate defending late in the half kept the Roar at bay, but they did lead 2-1 at the break.
It was a positive start for Glory after the break and Daniel Stynes fired wide early. Both sides created some good chances but failed to take them. Harold, who was in the side to get some game time, was replaced by Jayden Leader on 78 minutes, has they chased the equaliser. It was Roar who almost nicked a third when Leck's close-range effort went over the top. Glory were still pressing forward, and they went close in the final minute, Roar failed to clear their lines, and in the goalmouth scramble the ball was headed just over the bar by Gabriel Popovic.
Brisbane Roar: GK Macklin FREKE, 2 Emlyn WELLSMORE, 3 Luke DE VERE, 4 Aaron REARDON, 6 Zachary DUNCAN (17 Daniel MASKIN 72'), 7 Shannon BRADY (22 Brodie BOYCE 87'), 8 Oliver DUNCAN (19 Jay BARNETT 56'), 9 Mirza MURATOVIC, 11 Daniel LECK, 15 Stefan NIGRO, 18 Joe CALETTI - Subs not used: RGK Lachlan HUNTER
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Kristian POPOVIC, 6 Henry HORE, 7 Ethan BROOKS (20 Abias BUKURU 65'), 8 Cameron MURRAY (13 Trent OSTLER 65'), 9 Chris HAROLD (17 Jayden LEADER 75'), 10 Daniel STYNES, 11 Gabriel POPOVIC - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA - Referee: Zijad Ahmetovic
GET ALONG AND SUPPORT PERTH GLORY VS MELBOURNE CITY ON SATURDAY EVENING
Perth Glory will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the Hyundai A-League when they host Melbourne City in round seven at nib Stadium on Saturday evening (7.00am) Glory are coming off a hard-fought point against Wellington last week, while City put their off-field problems with Bruno Fornaroli behind them to beat Newcastle 3-0. The Uruguayan striker has been left out of the squad for the last three weeks after a dispute with head coach Warren Joyce, something that has happened before at the Melbourne club.
But that is no concern of Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic he is only interested in his own squad and he is looking forward to playing back in front of the clubs’ supporters and he said it's a great atmosphere when they are in full voice. "In front of a big crowd, we can create an atmosphere that will hopefully be intimidating for them [City] and make it difficult for them," he told the Glory website. "Together with that support and a good performance, we can continue this great run. During my short time here, the noise and atmosphere that the crowd has created has been fantastic. Those [crowd] numbers will rise, I'm sure. The club is heading in the right direction.
"We need the people to feel a connection with the club and I feel that that is starting to happen. We need to keep playing the football we're playing in order to entice new fans to want to come and watch. The fans that are coming are enjoying watching their team play and I envisage more to come. It [nib Stadium] reminds me a little bit of the old Parramatta Stadium and I experienced a great atmosphere there where you felt that the fans were right on top of the players. With 10,000 at nib Stadium, it feels like a real atmosphere and with 15 or 20,000, I'm sure the noise would be even more fantastic. But whatever the crowd is on Saturday, I'm sure they'll be right behind us."
Popovic is aware the quality City have in their squad, and he is expecting a tough game on Saturday, and he is pleased with the improvement in skipper Diego Castro, who is recovering from an injury he picked up in pre-season. "They [City] are a very good side," he said. "Their expectation is to be challenging for the title every year and I think as a club they should be. From what I've seen this year, everyone seems to think that they're not doing well but that they're not far off. They have some very talented individuals and some great young talent as well and we expect a difficult game."
"With Diego, we feel that he is getting stronger with each training session and he's shown in the games that he's looking better and better and he'll certainly play a part this week. It was a confidence boost for him to get the minutes he did over in Wellington." In other team news Matthew Spiranovic could also feature for the hosts as he closes in on a return to full fitness, while Chris Harold is also back in the squad, while City are again without Fornaroli and Michael O'Hallorn who has a hamstring injury.
City secured their first win at nib Stadium in nine attempts in Round 15 of last season, but Glory avenged that defeat six weeks later by downing the Victorians 2-1 courtesy of goals from Neil Kilkenny and Adam Taggart. Kilkenny moved from City after not getting game time under Joyce, and he celebrated his goal with some extra emotion, the Glory midfielder admitted whoever they are playing he’s not one to hide his emotions. “I was 100 percent fit at City,” he said. "I think you saw that when I arrived at Glory because I hit the ground running. “I’ve always been a fiery character and no matter who we play I want to win and that’ll be the case on Saturday.”
The City coach has put his faith in attacking midfielders like Riley McGree, youngster Lachlan Wales, former Socceroo Dario Vidosic and French import Florin Berenguer, in place of the unsettled Bruno Fornaroli and he said it won’t change this week. ''It’s the same as last week, nothing has changed. When I came to the club the commitment of the owners and the people were fantastic. My aim is for every player to show that commitment on the pitch and in training ... you need everyone showing 100 per cent commitment to the cause,'' Joyce said, reinforcing the reasons he gave last week for omitting Fornaroli.
Joyce knows they have a tough game on Saturday and he has a lot of respect for Popovic and his players, Especially Andy Keogh who he worked with in the UK. "''Perth are a good side, we are under no illusions. They have got square pegs in square holes. Their players have got the job descriptions about right," he said. "They are well organised, they have plenty of experience, they are well drilled and are hard to break down and beat," he said. ''They have a good forward line and can score goals too. ''I brought him (Keogh) in at Leeds ... he played up front with [Aaron] Lennon and [James] Milner, we won everything at junior level. 'He's a good player, he's got everything, he still wants to do really well. He had a really top career all the way through; he's skilful, tough, technically good."
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SPIRANOVIC (promoted), HAROLD (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 2 Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 2 .Scott NEVILLE (ankle - 2 weeks), 27 JUANDE (knee – 1 week)
Melbourne City FC squad: GK Eugene GALEKOVIC, RGK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2 Ritchie De LAET, 3 Scott JAMIESON (c) , 4 Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5 Bart SCHENKEVELD, 7 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8 Riley McGREE, 10 Dario VIDOSIC, 13 Nathaniel ATKINSON, 15 Kearyn BACCUS, 19 Lachlan WALES, 21 Ramy NAJJARINE, 22 Curtis GOOD, 25 Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26 Luke BRATTAN, 27 Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 34 Connor METCALFE - *two to be omitted* - Ins: NAJJARINE (promoted), METCALFE (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (not selected), 11 Michael O’HALLORAN (hamstring)
GLORY YOUNGSTERS LOOK FOR THE DOUBLE OVER ROAR
Perth Glory academy side hit the road again in week five of the Foxtel Y-League, when they make the trip to Lions Stadium to take on Brisbane Roar on Saturday morning. (8.30am WA time). The sides met in week one when the youngster ran out 2-1 winners at Dorrien Gardens, but after two defeats the side are determined to get back to winning ways in this one. Keeper Jackson Lee said last week’s second half performance was an improvement, and he said they need to maintain that standard on Saturday. "It was a disappointing result last week, but it also provided us with a lot of positives after half time,” he told the Glory website. “That has allowed us to see the standard of football we can play, so hopefully we can maintain that standard and even improve on it, this week.”
Lee has been in good form in recent weeks, and he said travelling with the first team to Malaysia and training within the A-League squad, along with Liam Reddy and Tando Velaphi, has helped his game, but he knows there is still improvement to come. "Training with the A-league team has been a privilege that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of and I’ve loved every minute of it. Learning from two veterans of the game such as Liam and Tando and having a coach like Danny Milosevic has been amazing,” he explained. “They’ve given me a lot of tips and pointers and I’ve been trying to implement them into my game as best as I can.”
The keeper, who travelled away with the Australian Under 18’s team to Japan in August, said Saturday is a chance to bounce back from the last two defeats, but they will need to be at their best against a good Roar side. "The Brisbane side will be good and there’s no doubt that it will be a fight for the three points on Saturday,” he said. “We’re up for the challenge and we’re looking to set things right after the last two weeks, so we’ll come out wanting to play the football we know we can play and hopefully we can do enough to get the right result.”
Although disappointed with the last two results, Head Coach Richard Garcia saw some good signs last week, in their second half display against Adelaide United, and the performance of debutant Gabriel Popovic was pleasing, and he will be looking for more of the same this weekend. "The last two games we have let ourselves down in certain aspects of our game and are yet to grasp some concepts fully" he said. "We showed in the second half last week signs of what we are capable of and it was good to see.
"This is a type of competition the guys should want to test themselves in and if you’re not on your game you get punished for little errors and we need to learn from them. It's tight in the conference with only three points separating all teams, so we head into Saturday's game focused on improving, and with it being a short season we need to get back to winning ways this week to keep in touch of the leaders. Our second half performance last week was encouraging, and the players have set that standard and we’ll be looking for them to continue with it on Saturday.”
OLDFIELD JOINS CAMBRIDGE COACHING TEAM
Cambridge United have added former Manchester City and Leicester City midfielder David Oldfield to their coaching team. Perth-born Oldfield, who also played for Luton Town, Stoke City, Peterborough United and Oxford United, will assist caretaker manager Mark Bonner, who has taken over following last week's departure of Joe Dunne.
Oldfield, 50, has been caretaker manager at both Oxford and Peterborough in the past as well as taking the reins at non-league Brackley Town. He has also worked as development coach at West Bromwich Albion, head of academy coaching at MK Dons and assistant manager to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at both Burton Albion and Quuens Park Rangers.
“David Oldfield has started with us today, to support on the grass and in training,” Bonner said of the former England Under-21 international’s move to Cambridge. “We want to get the most out of our training sessions, and for that you need coaches on the grass.”
“Since Tuesday we’ve seen the need for that additional pair of hands in training so we can work with the full group of players on specific areas. It’s something that works for all parties, given David is out of work currently. We’ve also got Barry Corr involved whilst he is out injured, adding his experience.”
KERR DOUBLE GIVES GLORY A POINT
Perth Glory continued their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League, after Sam Kerr scored a double in a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United at Marden Sports Complex on Thursday evening. Veronica Latsko had opened the scoring for the hosts early, but Kerr gave Bobby Despotovski's side the lead at the break. They had to fight for the point late after Alyssa Mautz was sent off on the hour, and Latsko levelled eleven minutes from time. Both sides had chances to win late but had to settle for a point.
Glory went into the game unchanged from the side that beat Melbourne City last time out, and they made a bright start and went close in the first minute. Rachel Hill finding Kerr in the penalty area, but Reds keeper Sarah Willacy was down quick to save the strikers shot. Kerr was in again moments later, after Shannon May's through ball sent her in on goal, but she fired straight at the Reds custodian. But against the run of play it was the home side who hit the front on 22 minutes.
A long ball over the top sent American striker Latsko and Glory defender Katie Naughton racing towards goal, Latsko out muscled Naughton and finished clinically from the edge of the box. Glory hit back, and May's snap shot flashed wide, and five minutes before half time Glory levelled. Mautz's was sent down the right and her deep cross was headed home by Kerr at the back post. Then on the stroke of half time Glory hit the front, and it was Kerr again. Hill was the provider, her great cross picked out Kerr, who cut inside her marker and finished with aplomb past Willacy.
It was more of the same after the break, with both sides going close in an entertaining game, but on 58 minutes Glory were reduced to ten when Mautz was sent off for a second yellow card in the matter of minutes. The decision looked a little harsh, but it was now the Reds on top searching for the equaliser and it nearly came two minutes later, but with the goal at her mercy Gunnhildur Jonsdottir could only find the woodwork.
Then on 79 minutes the home side did level, Laura Johns' corner was met by Jonsdottir, whose header crashed off the post, but Latsko was quickest to react to fire home the rebound. The game was still up for grabs and Glory were hitting on the counter attack and almost nicked all three points late. Kerr was picked out and she raced into the box and her shot from the angle looked destined for the bottom corner, but Willacy got down well to deny her.
Adelaide United: GK Sarah WILLACY, 2 Emily HODGSON, 5 Gunnhildur JONSDOTTIR, 8 Emily CONDON (3 Charlotte GRANT 78'), 9 Fanndis FRIDRIKSDOTTIR (7 Isabel HODGSON 46'), 11 Laura JOHNS, 12 Veronica LATSKO, 15 Emma CHECKER (c), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 22 Amber BROOKS, 23 Michelle HEYMAN - Subs not used: RGK Sian McLAREN, 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (6 Abbey MEAKINS 59') , 12 Jenna ONIONS, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL, 13.Jamie-Lee GALE, 22 Abbey GREEN - Red cards: Mautz - Referee: Katie Patterson
GLORY LOOK TO TAME THE REDS
Perth Glory are in Westfield W-League action on Thursday evening when they make the trip to Marden Sports Complex to take on third placed Adelaide United. (4.30pm - WA time). The game will also be shown live on Fox Sports, and head coach Bobby Despotovski will be looking for a repeat of last week’s big win against Melbourne City, which took them to second on the table. Doubles from Alyssa Mautz and Sam Kerr and another from Rachel Hill gave Glory a 5-2 win, and Despotovski said they need a similar performance on Thursday. "Adelaide are a very solid team, and they are well-drilled and disciplined and we'll need to play as well as we did against Melbourne City to get anything out of this game," he told the Glory website. "We need to be very solid at the back and take our chances up front and I would expect our girls to rise to the occasion."
Glory had the bye last week and Despotovski said it was important and the group would have benefited from the rest and extra preparation. "Sometimes when you have a week off, it can be a little bit disruptive in terms of the momentum that you have built up," he said. "This was the second break we've had in four weeks, but hopefully it will be beneficial for us and we'll be rested and sharp. At the end of the day, it was good for us to be able to refresh the bodies." Sam Kerr has had a huge week, being voted the fifth best player in the world in the Ballon d'Or awards in Perth, but she didn’t travel to the event, instead stayed in Perth to prepare for Thursday’s big game and she will be fit and ready to go. In other team news Isabella Foletta is out due to illness, while keeper Morgan Aquino misses the trip due to a hip injury, and Stacey Cavill comes in as replacement, while Abbey Meakins and Hana Lowry have been added to the squad.
Despotovski said the whole side have been good and he's satisfied with the way his chargers are tracking. "I'm happy with where we're at after four games," he said. "If a point had been on offer before our first game away at Brisbane, we would have taken it, especially as we were without Nikki (Stanton) and Sam (Kerr). "Then Canberra is a tough trip with changing 'planes and the time difference etc, so to come back with three goals in the last eight minutes was very positive for us. Since then we've had the two home wins and now, we need to go into this Adelaide game confident, refreshed and ready to fire."
Rachel Hill has also been starring for Despotovski’s side and the American striker has bagged three goals this season, and she said the league is so tight they need to be at their best on Thursday. “That’s what is so good about this league, it’s so competitive and you really never know who might come out on top,” she said. “Every game you have to go into it with a good game-plan and wanting to win and being motivated. In any game you could win or lose, you never know which way it’s going to go. We’re going into [the Adelaide game] confident and prepared but know it’s going to be tough. “We’ve been working on our combination play and working together as a group to try and break their backline, and when we do get our chances to make sure we put them away.”
Adelaide United squad: GK Sarah WILLACY, GK Sian McLAREN, 2 Emily HODGSON, 3 Charlotte GRANT, 5 Gunnhildur JONSDOTTIR, 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 7 Isabel HODGSON, 8 Emily CONDON, 9 Fanndis FRIDRIKSDOTTIR, 11 Laura JOHNS, 12 Veronica LATSKO, 15 Emma CHECKER (c), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 17 Kahlia HOGG, 21 Lara KIRKBY, 22 Amber BROOKS, 23 Michelle HEYMAN - *two to be omitted* - Ins: HOGG (promoted), KIRKBY (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 18 Meleri MULLAN (knee), 10 Chelsie DAWBER (shin)
Perth Glory squad: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, GK Stacey CAVILL 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Abbey MEAKINS, 7 Nicole STANTON , 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA , 12 Jenna ONIONS, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE , 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 19 Hana LOWRY, 20 Sam KERR (c), 22 Abbey GREEN, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MEAKINS (promoted), LOWRY (promoted), GREEN (promoted), CAVILL (promoted) - Outs: 18 Isabella FOLETTA (illness - 1 week), 21 Morgan AQUINO (gk) (hip injury – 4 weeks) - Unavailable: Nil
DE SILVA SET TO START AFTER INJURY LAY-OFF
Young Socceroos' attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva is a strong chance to make his first start for Sydney FC in Saturday's clash with Wellington Phoenix. A hamstring injury has plagued the 21-year old's start to the 2018/19 campaign but now he is in the frame to be included in the first eleven to add some much needed creativity to Sydney's attack.
De Silva missed last week's away win over Central Coast Mariners as he was not eligible to play against the club he is on loan from, however, he did manage 60 minutes for Sydney's youth team. While still not at peak condition, he has declared he is fit and ready to make his first A-League start in a Sky Blue jersey on Saturday evening.
"It was good to play with the youth to get some minutes, an opportunity to get some match fitness," De Silva said. "It’s always good to be in contention and whatever the coach decides you obviously respect that as a player. When the opportunity comes you have to take it with both hands, I’m looking forward to getting back out there this weekend and I’m looking forward to it and the rest of the season as well."
LOWRY’S RED CARD TO STAND
Australia's top football referees believe Wellington Phoenix defender Ryan Lowry should not have been sent off against Perth Glory on Sunday. But the club's appeal to have his red card rescinded has been rejected. Lowry was sent off by Adam Kersey after the Video Assisted Referee reviewed a tackle where his studs brushed a Glory player's legs following a tackle.
Referring to the incident, Football Federation Australia referees' director Ben Wilson said that in a post-round review involving himself and the FFA's senior referee coaches, "the correct outcome should have been a yellow card for a reckless tackle". But Wellington's appeal to the Match Review Panel was dismissed because the panel "can only overturn a red card if all three members determine no card was warranted".
KERR NAMED FIFTH BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD
West Australian superstar Sam Kerr has been named the world’s fifth-best female player in the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or. Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg won the prestigious award, which she described as “a huge step for women’s football” after it was presented for the first time.
Kerr, 25, was nominated after starring for clubs – Perth Glory and Chicago Red Stars – and country, winning the Golden Boot as top scorer in Australia’s W-League and American National Women’s Soccer League. She scored 13 goals for Glory during the 2017/18 campaign before finding the net another 16 times with Chicago.
Kerr also helped Australia reach the AFC Women’s Asian Cup final, which the Matildas lost to Japan in April, and has scored eight goals in 19 international appearances this calendar year. The Men’s Ballon d’Or - first presented in 1956 - was won by Croatia and Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric.
BABALJ MAKES INDIAN MOVE
West Australian striker Eli Babalj has signed for Indian Super League club ATK. The 26-year old had been without a club since being released by Czech outfit Mlada Boleslav, where he made two appearances last season, prior to linking with ATK last week.
First team football has largely evaded Babalj since leaving Melbourne Heart in 2012 to join Red Star Belgrade. He returned to the A-League twice in the past five years, with Heart and then Adelaide United, as well as playing for Dutch clubs AZ Alkmaar and PEC Zwolle.
Babalj played locally for Perth SC and spent a season in Perth Glory’s youth team before entering the Australian Institute of Sport in 2008. Upon graduating he joined Heart where he tallied up 44 appearances, and scored 12 goals, across three seasons.
Interim chairman of Floreat Athena Paul Kotsoglo says the club appears to have avoided immediate financial collapse after donations reduced a $213,000 debt to less than $90,000 in an appeal that started last month. “The only real risk was of all those people calling their debts in,” Kotsoglo told the 'Guardian Express'.
A November 24 letter to supporters and members claimed Floreat were on the verge of going into recievership, saying the club’s finances were “shocking” and its survival was at stake. The letter said Canberra bureaucrats demanded “good governance and strong plans” to claim a recently announced $3 million Federal Government grant.
The letter, issued following the club’s annual general meeting, did not detail the financial problems but did ask for contributions from a “sizable donation” or “$10 or $20” towards the emergency fundraiser. A later letter said writedowns, write-offs, sponsorships and rearranged payments had also helped reduce the debt.
Kotsoglo said Floreat’s debt was the result of operational costs, including fees to Football West, rubbish collection, the bar and power bills. He was not qualified to comment if the club had been mismanaged by its previous leadership. A review of Floreats’ accounts is being conducted and the club will work with Canberra departments so all requirements were met in the submission for the grant.
SYDNEY'S O'NEILL TARGETS MOVE ABROAD
Sydney FC want to extend the contract of Brandon O'Neill but the central midfielder has aspirations to play abroad. The 24-year old scored one of the goals of the A-League season with a 25-metre pile driver on Saturday to give Sydney a hard-earned 2-1 away win over Central Coast Mariners.
That strike is likely to stimulate even more interest in O'Neill, who is off contract at the end of the season and is already believed to be on the radar of some overseas clubs. "I think it (the A-League) compares to a lot of European leagues and a lot of Asian leagues," O'Neill said.
"But it's always been a dream of mine to play at the highest level possible and whether that is in the European league, or whatever, I'm driven and I'm determined to make that a reality ... I'm the sort of guy that is never happy being happy, I want to be tested, I want to be challenged because that brings out the best in me."
O'Neill wasn't happy with his overall performance but rated Saturday's strike the best of his six A-League goals because it came from his weaker foot. "It's been in my mind for the last couple of weeks, I need to add goals to my game, I need to be further up the pitch,' O'Neill said.
LYDEN LIFTS LID ON INJURY HELL
Jordan Lyden admits he has been “haunted” by injuries for the past three seasons but is confident that is behind him now and is ready to get back to his best. The midfielder burst into England's Premier League in early 2016 as a 20-year old with Aston Villa, who joined from ECU Joondalup six years ago.
But since that breakthrough campaign, where he played four Premier League games and two FA Cup matches for the first-team, Lyden has faced injury hurdle after hurdle. He has had to contest with quadriceps, ankle and knee complaints, which have pushed him further out of the selection equation at Villa.
Since joining League Two club Oldham Athletic on loan at the end of August, Lyden is gaining game-time and keen for his career to kick on. “It tested my character massively,” 22-year old Lyden said. “The hardest thing, I find, in football is injuries because you cant do anything about them.”
"If you’re not getting picked at least you can do something about it, you can impress in training. But the worst thing is sitting on the sidelines seeing people play while you can’t do anything about it. So it’s been difficult. My parents live in Australia still so I haven’t really had the support.”
“I still speak to my parents every day. My host family back at Villa have helped me massively and everyone at the club has helped me over the years. It has been a good test of my character but I’ve got through it now and hopefully I can push on.”
Lyden has made six appearances for Oldham, scoring one goal. “I’ve come to Oldham to get first team experience and to get some minutes under my belt,” he said. “I made my debut three years ago with Villa but I’ve sort of been haunted with injuries.”
"I fell down the pecking order but hopefully I can keep showing what I’m doing here at Oldham and see where it takes me in my career. I’m still contracted at Villa but who knows what will happen? I’d like to go back there and impress the gaffer there, as I want to play at that top level.”
“I’m really happy at Oldham at the moment, the boys have helped me settle in and so has the gaffer ... over the last four games I’ve started, so I’ve got myself in a good routine in the moment, playing in the games and getting throught it. Fingers crossed I can keep that going.”
Lyden is also hopeful his loan to Oldham, which expires January, can be extended through to the end of the season. “The body’s coping quite well,” he said. “The games in the Football League come thick and fast, which is good. I’m playing Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday with very little training in between so the games are keeping me fit.”
“I’m more than happy to stay here for the rest of the season. The main thing for me now at the stage I’m at in my career is getting games, so where I can most of them. Hopefully I can help get Oldham back into League One and kick on from there.”
Perth-born Lyden has represented Australia at Under-20 level, earning two caps for the Young Socceroos in 2014. But becoming a Socceroo remains one of his goals. “Definitely. I’d love to represent my country,” he said. “I’ve represented them at Under-20 level but the most important thing I feel is club football.”
“If you haven’t got a club you can’t really play for your national team. So I think if I keep performing like I am then hopefully the manager of the Socceroos will like me, and I get picked I will show him what I can do. I will take the chance with both hands and perform. That’s what you have to do in football.”
VAR IS THE TALKING POINT IN GLORY'S DRAW IN WELLINGTON
Perth Glory maintained their lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League after coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw over the ditch against Wellington Phoenix. But all the after-match comments were again about VAR, after Phoenix defender Ryan Lowry was sent off after referee Adam Kersey was advised to look at a tackle from the former ECU Joondalup skipper. It looked a little harsh, but it gave the Glory a lift, this after the hosts had dominated the first half at the Westpac Stadium, and led at the break with a well taken goal from Roy Krishna. But eight minutes from time skipper Diego Castro came off the bench to level for Tony Popovic's side, and they went close to winning it late.
"In the first half, Wellington were very good, and we were poor, and you have to give them credit for that," Popovic said. "They pressed us, they moved the ball quickly and caused us problems. We seemed a little lethargic and off our game and half time couldn't come soon enough. "But in the second half, we got into the match, we started controlling it a little better and, in the end, we got the goal. The game got more stretched in the second half and they found it hard to keep up that level of pressing as a team. We started to get more confident and found getting into the final third a lot easier. Against ten men we could have stolen it in the end, but overall, a point is good."
Popovic made one change to the side that beat the Mariners last week with Dino Djulbic coming in for the injured Alex Grant, while new recruit Brandon Santalab was on the bench for the first time after recovering from injury. It was the hosts who started the better in this one and Glory had keeper Liam Reddy to thank for keeping them in the game. On 10 minutes a wayward pass from Djulbic was intercepted by Nathan Burns, but Reddy was out quick to narrow the angle and the striker fired wide.
Glory went close themselves moments later, Djulbic rising highest from Neil Kilkenny’s corner, but his effort flashed over the top. Then on the quarter hour Andy Keogh, who was celebrating his 100th appearance for the club, raced clear, as he rounded Phoenix keeper Filip Kurto, the pair collided, the Polish keeper coming off worse, and he was carried off and replaced by Oliver Sail. There was a nine-minute delay to the game but on resumption it was the home side on top. Louis Fenton fired inches over the top, before Reddy produced a stunning save to deny Spanish midfielder Mandi Sosa.
Reddy was at it again on 40 minutes, this time he got down well to palm Burns’ shot from the edge of the box around the post. The home side then had a penalty turned down by VAR moments later when Fenton looked to have been pulled back by Jason Davidson, but it was turned down by the referee. But the home sides pressure was rewarded four minutes later, Krishna pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the box firing low past Reddy, to become Phoenix's all-time record goalscorer in the process.
It was more of the same after the break and Reddy got down well at his near post to deny Krishna a second, but the introduction of Jake Brimmer and Castro gave Glory a lift and they started to get on top. The Spanish midfielder went close just three minutes after coming on. A great through ball from Kilkenny found him in the box, but his shot on the turn was blocked and cleared. Then on 74 minutes Ryan Lowy, brother of Glory’s Shane, was given a straight red card, much to the amazement of both sets of players, and coaches after a challenge on Chris Ikonomidis, and four minutes after coming on he was sent off.
It was one-way traffic as Glory pressed for the equaliser, and their pressure finally told on 82 minutes. There looked little danger out wide on the right with Ikonomidis boxed in by two Phoenix defenders, but he somehow managed to wriggle free and pulled the back from the bye-line to Castro, who made no mistake from eight meters. Glory pressed for the winner and Davidson should have done better after being picked out by Ikonomidis at the back post, but he blazed over the top. In the final minute it was like a pin ball machine with Glory shots being blocked by some desperate Phoenix defending and at the whistle both sides had to share the spoils.
Phoenix Coach Mark Rudan slammed referee Adam Kersey, as his side became the latest victim of the controversial VAR after Ryan Lowry was retrospectively shown a red card. “It definitely was not a red card, at best a freekick because he slid in, but he completely got the ball cleanly. There was no malice in the challenge. It’s not like he kept his studs up,” he said. “There was another body around. There was no reaction from the Perth players. There was certainly no reaction from us. I was very surprised when he came over to have a look at that. When I saw him looking at it, I still couldn’t believe he was looking at something like that. We didn’t deserve for a decision like that to go against us. “Not only is he (Kersey) liable, but so are the people in the office or that little bunker room, whatever you want to call it, making those decisions or being in the ear of the referee to have a second look at it.”
Wellington Phoenix: GK Filip KURTO, (RGK Oliver SAIL 20'), 4 Mandi SOSA, 9 Nathan BURNS (3 Reuben WAY 79'), 13 Liberato CACACE, 14 Alex RUFER (5 Ryan LOWRY 71'), 15 Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16 Louis FENTON, 18 Sarpreet SINGH, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE (C), 27 Steven TAYLOR - Subs not used: 11 David WILLIAMS, 23. Max BURGESS - Red cards: Lowry
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC (11 Brendon SANTALAB 79'), 7 Joel CHIANESE (17 Diego CASTRO 65'), 9 Andy KEOGH (C), 15 Brandon WILSON (20 Jake BRIMMER 57'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 88 Neil KILKENNY – Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 22 Fabio FERREIRA - Referee: Adam Kersey
REDS TOO STRONG FOR GLORY
An experienced Adelaide United side has edged out Perth Glory 2-1 in Sunday's Conference A Foxtel Y-League clash at Marsden Sports Complex. The home side fielded a strong line-up which contained some of the more senior players in the Hyundai A-League squad. Ryan Strain, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Nikola Mileusnic and Isaac Richards all featured to get more minutes under their belts.
Glory were also boosted by first team squad members Matthew Spiranovic and Daniel Stynes, but they found themselves behind early with Cooper Nunn on target. It was an even second half with chances at both ends, but the home side doubled their lead on the hour, with defender Zayd Farah turning a cross into his own net. Glory pressed late, and debutant Gabriel Popovic pulled one back with a well taken goal, but it was too little too late.
"The first half we struggled to play how we wanted to play but managed to defend reasonably well and weather the storm of their attack," Glory keeper Jackson Lee said. "The second half was a vast improvement, and we felt we controlled the game for the majority and created multiple chances which could have turned the course of the game, but we didn't take them. But that second half is the new benchmark of how we want to play so we'll be doing everything we can to stay above that and keep improving."
Both sides were level on points at kick off, but it was the home side who started the brighter and Mileusnic shot crashed off the post on 10 minutes, but their dominance was rewarded 12 minutes later. A short free kick from Louis D’Arrigo picked out Nunn, and he finished clinically low past Lee. Stamatelopoulos had a great chance to increase the buffer, but his shot was well saved by Lee.
Glory opened the second half well and went close to the equaliser two minutes in. Good work from Jaidon Selden out wide ended with a cross to Gabriel Popovic, but his shot was well saved by Isaac Richards. The home side went close on 53 minutes, Stamatelopoulos' free kick was well saved by Lee. But there was nothing the Glory custodian could do when the home side doubled their lead on 64 minutes. Pacifique Niyongabire’s cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Farah.
Glory needed a lifeline and they found one four minutes from time. Second half substitute Ethan Brooks finding Gabriel Popovic, and the son of A-League coach Tony, finished well at the near post. It set up a tense finale, but Glory couldn’t find the equaliser and it was Adelaide taking the three points and taking them top of the table and continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Despite the defeat Coach Richard Garcia was pleased with the way his side had played on the day. "I was very happy with the mentality of the players after a disappointing performance and result last week," he told the Glory website. "Our willingness to work hard and the manner in which we kept possession and were patient with the ball was great to see. We didn't rush or panic on the ball and were a lot more measured in our performance today."
The coach did feel, however, that Adelaide's two goals could have been avoided and that his charges were not at their best going forward. "The goals we conceded were disappointing - a set-piece and an own-goal, and when we got forward, we lacked ambition in the final third," Garcia said. "In between the boxes, we did really well, but we had lapses of concentration at either end of the pitch and they proved to be the difference. We controlled the second half and did really well. Our goal just probably came a little bit late, but we still had a couple of half-chances which, on another day, might have bounced our way and someone would have had a tap-in. "Overall it was a good hit-out for the guys
Adelaide United: GK Isaac RICHARDS, 10 Ryan STRAIN, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 18 Lachlan BROOK (6 Ryan YATES 16'), 19 Al Hassan TOURE (14 Blake CARPENTER 53'), 22 Cooper NUNN, 27 Louis D'ÁRRIGO, 28 Kristin KONSTANDOPOULOS, 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 39 Nikola MILEUSNIC (24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 46'), 44 Jared CLARK - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Matthew SPIRANOVIC (14 Ethan BROOKS 61'), 3 Daniel WALSH, 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Jack LEECH (15 Kristian POPOVIC 46'), 6 Henry HORE, 7 Abias BUKURU, 8 Cameron MURRAY, 9 Jaidon SELDEN, 10 Daniel STYNES (16 Jayden LEADER 74'), 11 Gabriel POPOVIC - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA - Referee - Nick Elagin
DE SILVA TO GET WORKOUT WITH SYDNEY YOUTH
Sydney FC hope Daniel De Silva's enforced rest back to the youth league will work in their favour long-term, with the on-loan midfielder unable to face his former club on the Central Coast Mariners. The 21-year old became the first player to move under a new A-League rule which allows players under the age of 23 to be loaned between clubs.
However his shift came with a catch, with De Silva unable to play against the Mariners under the terms of the loan. It comes at a frustrating time for the attacking midfielder, who has had just 54 minutes on the field this year for Sydney after suffering a hamstring injury in the pre-season.
"There was always going to be this period now where he couldn't play against his old club," Sydney coach Steve Corica said. "He's disappointed but he will be able to get some game time in the youth team this week. He probably needs that, he needs to get minutes into his legs and get ready for next week."
LOWRY BROTHERS TO PUT FAMILY PLEASANTRIES ON HOLD
Perth Glory defender Shane Lowry will play Santa Claus today, delivering an early present from Mum to younger brother Ryan after flying into New Zealand for the A-League clash with Wellington Phoenix. But that is as far as seasonal goodwill and brotherly love will stretch before the pair line-up against each other tomorrow.
The game will put the brothers on opposite teams for the first time in their careers. “I’m sure I’ll be able to find him. Hopefully, I can give him a tap a few times,” joked Shane, at 29, four years older than Ryan. “Mum gave me a little Christmas present to give him. That’s the only present he’s going to get. There won’t be any from me.”
Lowry, who scored in his 50th Glory appearance in last week’s 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners, will be at the heart of a new-look defence tomorrow. Alex Grant (foot) has joined Scott Neville on the injury list and while Dino Djulbic is likely to start, former Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic did not travel and is yet to debut.
Glory are top of the table with four wins and a draw from their opening five games and coach Tony Popovic will draw on the depth he created with smart pre-season recruiting.
“The club recruited well,” Lowry said. “There is competition for places and when people have unfortunate injuries it’s an opportunity for someone else to stake a claim.”
“When players come in, it doesn’t disrupt the side. We’ve worked really hard in pre-season on our systems and structure. We’re not a full tilt yet. We’ve still got a couple more gears to go. You see how well we can play in patches and when it clicks how many problems we can cause teams.”
Lowry said the last-gasp win over Central Coast showed there was not a lot between first and last in the A-League. “There are no easy games,” he said. “Everyone thought we were going to beat Central Coast by a fair amount, them being bottom. They showed it doesn’t work like that. “But we showed that we are physically and mentally very fit.”
KEOGH HOPING FOR THREE POINTS ON HIS MILESTONE
Perth Glory make the long trip to New Zealand in week seven of the Hyundai A-League when they take on Wellington Phoenix in the 'Long distance Derby at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (2.00pm WA Time) Tony Popovic's side sit on top of the table after the dramatic stoppage time winner by Chris Ikonomidis last week against Central Coast Mariners, but they will go into this one without central defender Alex Grant, who injured his foot against the Mariners, but in better news Matthew Spiranovic is included in the squad, after a solid 45 minutes for the Youth team last weekend after recovering from a long term hip injury.
Grant, who has been instrumental in the Glory defence this season, injured the plantar fascia in his foot against the Mariners, but his partnership with Shane Lowry and Tomislav Mrcela has been vital in the early success this season. But Popovic is undecided who will replace the 24-year-old, his options are Spiranovic, capped 35 times by the Socceroos, or veteran Dino Djulbic. "Still undecided on that," Popovic told the Glory website on Thursday. "We've got two sessions today. We must decide today, because we're travelling tomorrow. It's been a year since he (Spiranovic) has played any football. We're very pleased he got through it (the youth game) unscathed. His thoughts were only on football, which probably indicates he's put the injury behind him mentally. Now it's just about him moving forward and getting stronger and pushing to get into the team."
In other team news skipper Diego Castro will be looking for more game time after making his return from a hamstring injury off the bench last week, while Chris Harold and Brendon Santalab have been including in the squad. But Popovic will still be without midfielder Juande, who injured his knee in training last week, while defender Scott Neville will miss again with an ankle injury. Popovic said the injury to Juande was unfortunate, as the Spaniard had settled in well in the side. "He got an injury in a challenge in a collision with Diego," he said. "As he fell, he twisted his knee, but he could be back next week, or the following."
Glory are top of the table with four wins and a draw from their opening five games. In contrast, Wellington are languishing in ninth spot after a three-match losing run in which they've conceded eight goals, and new coach Mark Rudan showed his frustration last week against Adelaide by punching a hole in the dugout. Sunday is also a huge game Shane and Ryan Lowry, in line to play against each other for the first time, while striker Andy Keogh who will play his 100th game for the club. He will be hoping history repeats itself on Sunday, as the former Wolves striker scored on his Glory debut in a 2-1 win in Wellington four years ago.
Keogh is Glory's record scorer with 44 A-League and five FFA Cup goals. He has bagged four times in this season’s unbeaten run but said the debut strike was one of his fondest memories in the A-League. “There’s been many good occasions,” Keogh said. “My first game I scored. It was nice to get that hoodoo off your back. It’s a fantastic achievement to get 100 games for any club. I’m delighted with that. You give your all, be loyal, be honest. My body has been kind to me the last few years. Long may that continue.”
Keogh, in his fourth season with Glory, said the current table-topping squad was the strongest he had played with at the club. “The quality and depth are the best since I’ve been here, and it shows in our performances,” he said. “It’s an enjoyable place to be right now.” Popovic said Keogh has been integral in the club’s good start to the season. "Andy has been great for the club during the time that he has been here," he said. "What he's shown so far this year is that he's a goal scorer and a leader. He's doing a great job, I'm pleased with the way he's going, and I'm delighted that he'll be reaching that milestone. In this industry and particularly with the salary cap here in Australia, there is a lot of player movement, so it's a special milestone that doesn't happen too often and hopefully there will be more players who will achieve that here at Perth Glory."
Popovic said Sunday's game will be a stern test, and he said Wellington will be desperate to get back to winning ways, but his side will look to cement top spot by recording a third consecutive away victory. "We've picked up two important wins away this year," he said. "We know that it's a difficult journey in terms of getting there and how long it takes, which will be new for me and for some of the other staff and players, but we're looking forward to that challenge. We understand that we're up against a team that has lost three in a row, but they also played very well in the first two games. We know it will be a real tough encounter and that we'll have to be good to get a result."
Wellington Phoenix squad: GK Filip KURTO, RGK Oliver SAIL, 4 Mandi SOSA, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 6 Dylan FOX, 8 Mitch NICHOLS, 9 Nathan BURNS, 11 David WILLIAMS, 13 Liberato CACACE, 14 Alex RUFER, 15 Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16 Louis FENTON, 18 Sarpreet SINGH, 19 Tom DOYLE, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE (C), 23 Max BURGESS, 27 Steven TAYLOR - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Cacace (promoted), Singh (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: Nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 88Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SANTALAB (promoted), SPIRANOVIC (promoted), HAROLD (promoted) - Outs: 2.Alex GRANT (injured) - Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – 1-2 weeks), 23.Scott NEVILLE (ankle 1-2 weeks), 27.JUANDE (knee – 1-2 weeks)
IKONOMIDIS NOMINATED FOR NAB YOUNG FOOTBALL OF THE YEAR
Perth Glory striker has been rewarded for his great start to the Hyundai A-League, after the 23-year-old was announced as the October/November nominee for the Hyundai A-League, NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award. The striker, who is striving to get back into Socceroos line-up, has been in scintillating form, and has featured in all five matches of the Glory games this season, scoring four goals and has played a key role in Glory establishing a four-point lead at the top of the table.
The NAB Young Footballer of the Year will be announced at the Dolan Warren Awards Ceremony next year and the 23-year-old is understandably thrilled to have received the nomination. “It’s a huge honour and I’d like to thank Perth Glory for bringing me in and giving me the opportunity to play good football," he said. "My thanks go to the coaching staff and my teammates and I'd also like to thank my parents for supporting me throughout my career and express my gratitude to FFA and NAB."
Glory Coach Tony Popovic said it's just rewards for the young striker. "We are delighted that we got him to the club. He's a great young talent with great potential and he wants to be the best he can be and take his game as far as he can," he said. "We're delighted that we have the opportunity to help with his development. He's really showing his quality and I'm sure he'll just keep getting better and better."
NAB’s Head of Media & Partnerships, Thomas Dobson, meanwhile, said he is proud to see the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award continue to identify and reward outstanding achievement of talented young footballers. “We congratulate Chris on his nomination and look forward to watching his development and growth on the football field in the years to come,” said Dobson. “We are also pleased to recognise Chris’ nominated junior club, Sutherland Sharks, and hope that our support will help the club to continue developing the game in communities across Australia.”
“Chris’ nominated junior club will receive a NAB Club Recognition Award, which includes a range of equipment along with $1,000. The overall winner of the NAB Young Footballer of the Year 2018/19 Award will receive a $10,000 personal investment portfolio, along with a NAB Private Client Manager to assist with a range of banking products and services. As a supporter of the NAB Young Footballer of the Year program, we are proud to play an important role in identifying and rewarding the future stars of the game." Each month representatives from the FFA Technical Department vote on a 3-2-1 basis for the most outstanding U-23 players in the Hyundai A-League during that period.
IN-FORM TAGGART CRAVES CONSISTENCY
Adam Taggart is focused on continuing his rich vein of goal-scoring form with Brisbane Roar rather than a potential Socceroos re-call. The 25-year old striker has made a superb start to his time with the Roar, scoring five goals in the opening five games, including a brace in Saturday night’s 2-0 win over Melbourne City.
A consistent scorer in the A-League in recent years, Taggart is sure to keep turning heads if he continues the prolific form in which he has started this campaign. And while there is always speculation linking in-form A-League players with a spot in the national team, the seven-times Socceroo re-affirmed that his focus is solely on repaying the faith shown in him by the Roar.
"You need to focus on the right things and that's performing for Brisbane Roar. I'm here every day and I'm pushing as hard as I can every day to be the best player I can be," Taggart said. "To get into the squad and start getting back into the Socceroos you need to make sure you're performing every single week, it can't just be one good game here and there and one goal here and there."
"I'm not going to be one of those people that says 'I should be in the Socceroos' because I don't agree with that. The squad deserves a lot more respect than that. I'll be working hard every single day and pushing as hard as I can but it's for the right reasons, to be performing as best as I can for Brisbane Roar. They are the ones that brought me here and showed the faith in me."
Taggart has certainly repaid Roar's faith in him in spades over the first five weeks of the season. After an injury-plagued last few years, the former Perth Glory finisher believes he is "probably the fittest he's ever been", which is a key reason behind his excellent start to the 2018/19 campaign.
Taggart is benefitting from working under former Caltex Socceroos striker John Aloisi, while his combination with the likes of Eric Bautheac, Alex Lopez and Tobias Mikkelsen is looking stronger every week. "And I still think there is a lot more to come," said Taggart, who was the A-League Golden Boot winner in 2014 when with Newcastle Jets.
"We know we've probably only shown glimpses of what we can do but there's still so much room to improve. You see those things in training and parts throughout a game but I think we have so much more to offer. As good as it is to get a win under our belt, it's important to make sure we keep pushing."
ATHENA AWARDED $3MILLION GRANT DESPITE POOR FINANCES
A Federal Government promised $3 million grant to Floreat Athena is in jeopardy with the National Premier Leagues club now begging members for $75,000 to stave off closure. The grant was announced by One Nation senator Peter Georgiou in August, without any formal review of the club or its project, after Finance Minister Mathias Cormann backed the funding.
But Floreat are on the verge of collapse, according to a letter sent to members by incoming chairman Paul Kotsoglo, who said a review of its finances found they were in a “shocking” state. He said Floreat Athena needed to raise $75,000 by today, or risk being put into administration.
Kotsoglo told the 'West Australian' his club was already close to reaching its fundraising goal, and he was confident the target would be met. He said the appeal was the first step in the new board’s strategy to demonstrate that Floreat could meet the conditions necessary to receive the funding, needed to upgrade Litis Stadium.
Floreat’s plight raises fresh questions about how the Government uses its $1 billion Community Development Grants fund, which has been attacked by Labor as a “slush fund” to help prop up marginal seats. Labor spokesman Matt Keogh said the Government had shown a “woeful lack of probity” in making the funding announcement while clouds hung over the club’s financial position.
Georgiou said he became involved to help Floreat Athena win a long-term lease at its stadium and refurbish the stadium as a WA football landmark. “I was not and have not been privy to the club’s finances,” Georgiou said. The City of Vincent last year refused to grant Floreat a long-term lease on Litis Stadium over concerns about its financial position.
GLORY TO STAY GROUNDED: POPOVIC
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic says it will be easy to keep his players grounded despite their stunning start to the A-League season. Glory's fairytale continued on Sunday when they scored in the dying seconds of stoppage time to secure a dramatic 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners.
The result propelled Glory four points clear on top of the ladder, with Popovic's charges tallying four wins and a draw from the opening five rounds. The star-studded squad are one of the favourites to win the title, and are set to be further boosted by the return of former Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic in the coming weeks.
But Popovic is confident his players won't get ahead of themselves. "I think it's quite easy," Popovic said of the challenge of keeping everyone grounded. "They're a very good group. They're a pleasure to coach. A lot of these players are winners, and they were winners before I got here."
Forward Chris Ikonomidis was the hero on Sunday. Ikonomidis, who joined Glory from Serie A club Lazio in the off-season, opened the scoring in the 12th minute, and had nerves of steel in stoppage time when he chested down Neil Kilkenny's cross before calmly slotting home the winner.
"I think we underestimate how difficult it is to bring a ball down in injury time when you're fatigued, and to have that composure to finish it so well," Popovic said. "It's so easy to lean back and put the ball over the crossbar. But it just shows the signs of maturity that are coming with him."
'REAL LEADER' KILKENNY THE ARCHITECT OF PRECIOUS LATE WIN
Robbed of regular midfield partner Juande on Sunday, ever-present Perth Glory gun Neil Kilkenny rolled up his sleeves and set about turning in a performance of the highest quality. The 32-year old was calm, classy and wholly effective amid the drama that enveloped the league-leaders' thrilling 3-2 victory over Central Coast Mariners.
Glory's last-gasp triumph - sealed by Chris Ikonomidis in the 95th minute - owed a large debt to Kilkenny. It was from his chaos-inducing cross that the similarly impressive Ikonomidis was able to complete his decisive double at the death. So too was it an excellent Kilkenny delivery that enabled Shane Lowry to head Glory back into a lead they had thrown away in the first half.
Perth's main man in the middle finished as the second player this season to have delivered two assists, and yet that stat only scratched the surface of his contribution. He also instigated the opener, dinking a delightful ball over an unsuspecting Mariners defence for Joel Chianese to cushion into Ikonomidis' path.
Kilkenny's eight possession recoveries, 103 touches and incredible 56 passes in the opposition half were all game-highs, and resulted in an astute assessment from Tony Popovic. "He's a real leader," the Glory boss said of the former English Premier League player. "He helped the young midfielders in Brandon Wilson and Jake Brimmer today."
GLORY MOVE CLEAR AT TOP
Perth Glory moved four points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League table and maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a thrilling 3-2 win against Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Chris Ikonomidis opened the scoring for the home side early, but an own goal from defender Tomislav Mrcela levelled at half time. Shane Lowry celebrated his 50th start for the club by heading Glory back in front, but a stunning strike from Burnley FC loanee Aiden O'Neill restored parity for the Mariners. The visitors then had Kalifa Cisse sent off in stoppage time, but it looked like the points would be shared, but Ikonomidis fired home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to send the 10,417 crowd in to raptures.
"The euphoria was very high, as it always is when you win a game so late," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said. "It was a great win for us. Central Coast were very resilient, but I thought we were on top for long periods, but when we scored, they came back into it quickly and scored themselves. It was a great response from us to pick ourselves up again, get control of the game again, stay patient and eventually get the win. It was a tough win, but one I thought we deserved." Popovic made two changes to the starting line-up with central defender Mrcela replacing Dino Djulbic, who dropped to the bench, while Brandon Wilson came in for the injured Juande. There was also good news on the bench with skipper Diego Castro returning after injury had forced him out of the opening five games.
The home side opened brightly, and Andy Keogh sent Joel Chianese in early, but Ben Kennedy was out quickly to smother his shot, but the flag was up for offside. But Glory’s early pressure was rewarded with the lead on 12 minutes. Neil Kilkenny's ball out wide picked out Chianese, who laid the ball into the path of Ikonomidis who finished clinically from five meters. Glory went close to a second on 23 minutes, when Ivan Franjic found space down the right and whipped in a great cross but Chianese headed just past the post.
After defending for most of the game, the Mariners started to get into the game and Liam Reddy had to be alert on 35 minutes to save well from Connor Pain's shot on the run. But after dominating for most of the game, sixty seconds later the visitors found the equaliser. There looked little danger when Andrew Hoole crossed into the box, but mis-communication between Mrcela and his keeper, ended with the defender turning the ball into his own net.
Glory made a change at the break after Alex Grant picked up an injury, and he was replaced by Djulbic, and the home side were on the front foot. Chianese shot flashed over the top before Franjic's dangerous cross was turned behind by Cisse. Moments later Franjic's cross fell kindly to Ikonomidis, but the striker's effort whistled wide of the target. But on the hour the Glory regained the lead. Kilkenny was the supplier again, his deep cross was met by Lowry, and the former Aston Villa defender headed powerfully home, and raced off to celebrate with the Shed.
But their lead lasted for only four minutes. The ball was only cleared away by Wilson as far as O'Neil, and the midfielder finished superbly past Reddy from 20-meters. Glory brought on skipper Castro on 74 minutes, and the Spanish Maestro was given a standing ovation from the Glory faithful. Glory pressed for the winner and Ikonomidis snap shot was saved low by Kennedy, but it looked like time was running out, but four minutes into stoppage time Mariners skipper Cisse was shown a second yellow card by referee Jarred Gillett after a poor tackle on Ikonomidis and was sent off.
Mariners were now hanging on and Glory, roared on by the big crowd, went in search of the winner and in the final minute of stoppage time they found it. Castro sent Kilkenny down the left, his cross picked out Ikonomidis, who brought it down and fired home first time to seal the win and set off wild celebrations on and off the pitch. “Sometimes when your luck’s out, your luck’s out,” Mariners Coach Mike Mulvey said. “At the end of the day, absolutely gutted for the boys because they put in a great shift today. We’ve not quite got it right, we’re still conceding goals where the opposition doesn’t need to do too much. We put in a good effort today, we came from behind twice. They score in the 95th minute, the lads didn’t deserve that. But you need to give credit to Perth. It’s not the first time they’ve done that this season. It’s a difficult place to come – on the one hand I’m proud but we’re gutted."
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT (6 Dino DJULBIC 46'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (17 Diego CASTRO 74'), 9 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON (20 Jake BRIMMER 79'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 22 Fabio FERREIRA
Central Coast Mariners: GK Ben KENNEDY, 3 Jack CLISBY, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Andrew HOOLE (8 Michael McGLINCHEY 62'), 11 Connor PAIN (19 Matt SIMON 87'), 13 Aiden O’NEILL, 15 Kye ROWLES, 18 Matt MILLAR (25 Jordan MURRAY 78'), 20 Kalifa CISSE, 22 Jacob MELLING, 44 Ross McCORMACK - Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 4 Jake McGING - Red cards: Cisse 94' - Referee: Jarred Gillett
KERR AND MAUTZ AT THE DOUBLE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory jumped to second on the Westfield W-League and maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a stunning 5-2 win against last season's Champions Melbourne City at nib Stadium on Sunday evening. Skipper Sam Kerr gave the home side the lead early, before Rachel Hill doubled the lead on 21 minutes. City pulled on back just after half time with Elise Kellond-Knight scoring, but Kerr added her second moments later before Alyssa Mautz made it four just after the hour. Kellond-Knight reduced the margin from the spot, but Mautz put the icing on the cake in stoppage time to add her second and Glory's fifth.
"It was a roller-coaster, the intensity was incredibly high and we're very happy with the win," Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said. "It's not so much important for us to send a message to the rest of the competition, it's important for us to keep close to Melbourne Victory on the top. Every time City pushed us back and ended up scoring, we quickly responded with another goal to keep that two-goal cushion. For a long time at 4-2, the game was in the balance and we couldn't relax. But in the end, we got a great win."
It was a healthy crowd that stayed behind after the Glory A-League side had beaten Central Coast Mariners, and Kerr went close to the opener on seven minutes. The striker raced clear, but Matilda's keeper Lydia Williams was out quick to deny her Australian team-mate. But three minutes later Kerr did open the scoring, picking the ball up in the middle of the park and racing at the City defence before rifling home from the edge of the box. It was almost two sixty seconds later, Hill finding Leticia McKenna, but her shot from the edge of the box was saved by Williams.
City lifted, and the impressive Kellond-Knight found Yukari Kinga, but the Japanese midfielder's shot flashed over the top. But on 21 minutes it was Glory that doubled their advantage, Kerr found space down the left and cuts the ball back to Hill, and the American striker made no mistake from four-meters. Glory were well on top and Katie Naughton and Hill went close to increasing their lead. City pressed late in the half and Tameka Butt shot was saved by Eliza Campbell, but at the break Glory led 2-0.
The home side went close to a third in the opening minute of the second half, Hill's close-range shot just over the top. But three minutes later City pulled one back, Kellond-Knight superbly curling a free kick around the wall and into the top corner, giving Campbell no chance. Kerr wasn't having any of that and three minutes later she restored the two-goal advantage. Hill was the provider, picking Kerr out on the edge of the box, and her shot took a deflection and giving Williams no chance.
City still looked dangerous and Glory custodian Campbell produced a stunning save to deny Rhali Dobson, after she was found at the back post by Jasmyne Spencer. Kerr had a goal disallowed on 64 minutes, but sixty seconds later it was 4-1. McKenna lost her marker in the box, her shot crashed off the crossbar, but Mautz was quickest to react to fire home the rebound. Still City pressed and pulled one back on 70 minutes after Nikki Stanton brought down Spencer and referee Katie Patterson pointed straight to the spot. Kellond-Knight stepped up to take the resulting penalty and sent Campbell the wrong way to score.
Despite the score line Glory were on the back foot and they had Campbell to thank for keeping their two-goal lead, when she denied Butt. Glory wrapped the points up in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Kerr unselfishly crossing to Mautz who had a tap-in from close-range, her fourth goal of the season and wrap up a hard fought three points and the 2,138 supporters went home happy.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (18 Isabella FOLETTA 76'), 12 Jenna ONIONS (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 80'), 20 Sam KERR, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS
Melbourne City: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, 2 Yukari KINGA (10 Nia STAMATOPOULOS 86'), 3 Lauren BARNES, 4 Chelsea BLISSETT, 8 Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 11 Rhali DOBSON (16 Sofia SAKALIS, 70'), 17 Kyah SIMON (5 Helen CACERES, 46'), 19 Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 22 Jasmyne SPENCER, 31 Tameka BUTT, 88 Theresa NIELSEN - Subs not used: RGK Melissa BARBIERI - Referee: Katie Patterson
CITY TOO STRONG FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory suffered their first defeat in the Foxtel Y-League after a 0-3 defeat against Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. A first half goal from Moudi Najjar gave City the advantage at the break, and despite pressing after half time Glory couldn't find the equaliser and a late Dylan Pierias goal and an own goal from Jayden Leader gave City the points. “It’s a disappointing performance, but I think it’s a good learning curve for the boys,” Glory coach Richard Garcia said post-game. “We did well in our first game, we did OK in our second game, but I think today we didn’t play to our full potential.
"We had bits and pieces where we did OK, especially towards the back end, but we just need to probably simplify things again and get back to what we’re doing at the start of the season. I’m not really concerned with the goals, I’m more concerned with some of the attitude that was put out there in terms of going off-plan and playing by yourself. It’s a team game and you’ve got to play as a team. I think some of the guys were a bit off today and went back into old habits.”
Glory A-League Coach Tony Popovic was in the stands for this one, to keep an eye on Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic and youngster Daniel Stynes, the pair making their first steps back from injury. Glory opened brightly, looking for a repeat of their last home game, a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar, and they went close early. The lively Trent Ostler raced at the City defence, and burst into the box, but his shot flashed inches past the post. City hit back and Curtis Good found Gianluca Iannucci with a long ball, the winger then tried to find striker Moudi Najjar but his cross was cleared well by the alert Spiranovic.
But on 19 minutes it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Josh Cavallo played Najjar into the box, and he sidestepped his marker and made no mistake, firing into the bottom corner and giving Glory keeper Jackson lee no chance. Glory looked to hit back immediately and Ostler found space out wide and his low cross found Abias Bukura, but City keeper Ahmad Taleb denied him. Ostler went close again before the break, this time getting on the end of a teasing cross from Ethan Brooks, but he fired wide.
Glory went close to the equaliser just after half time, Jacob Selden intercepted a poor pass out of the back line, the striker racing into the box, but Taleb stood tall and produced a great save to deny him. With Glory pushing forward City were getting behind them and half-time substitute Jordan Bos struck the side netting before Pierias’ glancing header at the back post flashed wide. Moments later skipper Good went inches away from find the back of the net, a pinpoint cross from Cavallo was met by the central defender, but his powerful header was superbly saved by Lee.
Then on the hour City went close again, a marauding run by Pierias saw him race into the box, his shot beat Lee, but Glory defender Zayd Farah got back to clear his shot off the line. But on 86 minutes City doubled their lead, Idrus Abdulahi showed great composure to send in Pierias one-on-one with Lee, and he made no mistake firing the ball home. Then in stoppage time City added a third, Stefan Colakovski effort was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Leader.
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Matthew SPIRANOVIC (C) (14 Nicholas McDONALD 46’), 3 Daniel WALSH, 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Jayden LEADER, 6 Jack LEECH (16 Kristian POPOVIC 58’), 7 Ethan BROOKS, 8 Abias BUKURU, 9 Jaidon SELDEN, 10 Henry HORE, 11 Trent OSTLER (17 Daniel STYNES 60’) - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA
Melbourne City: GK Ahmad TALEB (RGK Mark MAWITH 60’) 22 Curtis GOOD, 30 Moudi NAJJAR, 36 Dylan PIERAS (48 Joshua VARGA 86’), 37 Gianluca IANNUCCI (55 Stefan COLAKOVSKI 60’), 38 Joshua CAVALLO, 39 Anthony LESIOTIS, 41 Mitchell GRAHAM, 45 Mark KARLIC, 51 Idrus ABDULAHI, 58 Yaya DUKULY (49 Jordan BOS 46’) - Subs not used: Nil - Referee: Shane Skinner
HAS THE NPLWA LOST ITS APPEAL AND IDENTITY? (PART THREE)
With dwindling crowds and interest in the local game at an all-time low, many are saying has the NPLWA lost its appeal and identity amongst the locals? The Footballwa.net team have a look at some of the problems we believe are hindering the game in WA in a three-part article.
Part Three - We know all clubs are striving to be successful, but it needs to be successful across the board - not just at the top, and we must wonder do they not fully understand why kids play football? Many clubs put the emphasis on competition and winning but not all young players play for these reasons. A greater focus needs to be put on development and enjoyment, by doing that clubs will engage with families and build their club into a community. Many players strive to be part of an NPL club, but their parents are paying for senior players through junior registration fees, and this has seriously damaged the game. This is something everyone knows, yet no club is willing to admit.
Like us all of us, parents want value for money and for their child to enjoy their club football experience, so tell me how you'd feel to find out it's a parent coaching you child's team, and the $600+ you paid is actually being spent on some over-paid first team player? All clubs like to portray themselves as professional but their delivery and behaviour is sub-amateur at best. We believe some of this could be alleviated by clubs getting smarter in how they operate, what they charge (on the gate and junior fees) and how they engage with their local community, families and businesses. However, one thing everyone needs to get away from is a return to those "good old days" of 2000 spectators. Those days are gone and will never return. Clubs need to get realistic by developing and implementing strategies that will increase their attendance by say 5-10% a season. If clubs take small steps their crowds WILL slowly rise.
Is there too many NPL clubs? With 14 teams last season and now 12 this, it has meant the senior talent pool is diluted and many believe the standard of football has dropped. Like we've said all clubs like to integrate with the locals but is there to many clubs clustered together in the inner city, and we know there's no way to solve this given how Perth has grown over the last four decades. In the good old days people learned to love a club while they’re at a club for a while, and it becomes part of you, and your friends and families got involved and become in love with the club. But with players going from club to club this will not happen anymore. Where are we going to get our volunteers from in the future, let alone people coming to watch the games and develop a culture with a club? It's a topic that has the WA Football family talking, but what is the answer? We must find it sooner rather than later or the game in the state will stay in the shadows of other sports - Over to you!!
GLORY HAVE CITY IN THEIR SIGHTS (courtesy of Perth Glory)
Perth Glory Westfield W-League Head Coach Bobby Despotovski has called upon his side to match Melbourne City's intensity levels when they take on the reigning champions as part of Sunday's double-header at nib Stadium. The hosts will head into the game unbeaten this season and full of confidence following last weekend's convincing 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers. But Despotovski is adamant that his charges will have to show further improvement if they are to topple the all-conquering Victorians.
"The fact that they have won three back-to-back titles says a lot about their playing group and coaching staff and we'll have to be at our absolute best to get anything out of the game," he said. "But in saying that, we've been working on certain things, certain areas where we feel we can exploit their weaknesses and counter their strengths. We need to match their intensity as well and win our individual battles all over the park.
"Our level of intensity in the Western Sydney game was very high and the patches of play were shared between the two clubs. We had ten or 15 minutes of domination and then Western Sydney had the same for the next ten or 15 minutes. The difference between the two sides was that we took our chances. Overall, it was a good performance because firstly, we matched their intensity and then we scored our goals and we need to do exactly that again against Melbourne City."
Despotovski said he feels the best is yet to come from his squad. "I think there is definitely improvement in the group," he said." "We've got some young girls in the side who had never played a W-League game until this season, so to be sitting third on the ladder and still be unbeaten after three games is very pleasing. "The girls are developing very quickly and they need to because it's a very short season and we don't have time to bring someone in, give them a taste of it and then take them out. They have to grow up very quickly and our experienced players are helping them do that."
One of those experienced players, Kim Carroll, unfortunately sustained a nasty head injury during the first half of the clash with Wanderers, but Despotovski confirmed that the Matildas defender is almost certain to be available to face City. "Kim was training away from the group earlier in the week," he said, "but she will train normally on Friday and I'm 99.9% certain she'll be good to play." Sarah Carroll and Jacynta Galabadaarachchi will unfortunately both miss out due to injury, while key forward Kyah Simon could return for the visitors after recovering from an injury she picked up on international duty with the Matildas.
Perth Glory squad: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Alyssa MAUTZ, 5.Shannon MAY, 6.Abbey MEAKINS, 7.Nicole STANTON , 9.Rachel HILL, 11.Leticia MCKENNA , 12.Jenna ONIONS, 13.Jamie-Lee GALE , 14.Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15.Alexia MORENO, 18. Isabella FOLETTA, 20.Sam KERR (c), 22.Morgan AQUINO (gk), 24.Natasha RIGBY, 25.Katie NAUGHTON - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MEAKINS (promoted), GALE (promoted), MORENO (promoted), AQUINO (gk) (returns from injury) - Outs: 17.Liana COOK, 23.Stacey CAVILL (gk) (both omitted)
Melbourne City FC squad: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, 2.Yukari KINGA, 3.Lauren BARNES, 4.Chelsea BLISSETT, 5.Helen CACERES, 8.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 10.Nia STAMATOPOULOS, 11.Rhali DOBSON, 12.Adriana JONES, 16.Sofia SAKALIS, 17.Kyah SIMON, 19.Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 22.Jasmyne SPENCER, 23.Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 31.Tameka BUTT, 88.Theresa NIELSEN - *one to be omitted* - Ins: BLISSETT (promoted), CACERES (promoted), SIMON (return from injury) Outs: 14.Shelby GREEN (not selected), 15.Amy JACKSON (unavailable) - Unavailable: 7.Steph CATLEY (knee), 9.Jodie TAYLOR (international duty), 13.Rebekah STOTT (international duty)
SKIPPER BACK AS GLORY LOOK TO SINK THE MARINERS
Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory return to the nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon, when they entertain bottom of the table Central Coast Mariners in Week 5. After the international break Tony Popovic's side will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season, most recently a solid 2-0 win against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. The Coach was delighted with the performance, and he said the new look squad are starting to gel. "We were always a little concerned on the sideline about not taking our chances because we know how good Adelaide are," he said.
"The form that they’re in - you know at any moment they could get a goal or create an opportunity. So, you’re always sitting there happy with the performance, pleased with how well the team’s playing, but a little nervous knowing that your opponent is so dangerous. I’m delighted for the group that we got just reward for our outstanding performance away from home and we can keep our first clean sheet, which is against a very good opponent, so it’s a real positive for us.”
But Popovic isn't getting carried away with their good start and said Sunday's game against the Mariners is all they have on their minds. “I think everyone would like to have a good start, but I wouldn’t say now that anyone who is at the bottom of the table is out of the picture to win the title," he said. 'I wouldn’t say just because we’re on top that we are now assured of being there at the end. There is a lot of work to do. Yes, we’re happy where we are right now but there is a lot of work to do and a lot of things can change quickly, we've had the week off and we’ve really got to come out hard in our next home game and want more of the same.”
Perth Glory defender Ivan Franjic has impressed in his first four games in purple, and his form has many asking if a recal to the Socceroos is on the card, and the 31-year-old says he hasn’t given up hope of reigniting his Socceroos career, but he knows words are cheap. Franjic, who signed from Brisbane Roar this season, played in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was also part of Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup title triumph.
But the defender has fallen out of favour in recent times, but is determined to work his way back in. Franjic, a three-time title winner with Brisbane Roar, hopes new Glory coach Tony Popovic can help him get back into the national set-up. The speedy defender has played an important role in Perth’s unbeaten start to the A-League season and hopes team success will also lead to individual honours. But he faces an uphill battle to win a recall in time for January’s Asian Cup given he wasn’t selected for recent friendlies against Lebanon and South Korea. “Socceroos is something you always want to be a part of,” Franjic said. “It’s a great honour to play for the national team. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Asian Cup and play at the World Cup. It would be something I’d love to get back into. But unless I’m playing well at club level, it’s very hard to get in. I want to let my football do the talking and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”
Glory will be aiming to continue their unbeaten start to the season on Sunday. The Mariners have just two points to their name after four rounds, while the Glory have notched three wins and a draw. Franjic praised the influence of Popovic, who has helped transform Glory into title contenders. “He’s a great coach. He knows how to get the best out of every player and that’s important,” Franjic said. “I think we’re only going to get better as the season goes on. You’re seeing glimpses in games and it’s really exciting when we move the ball fast and play around the opposition.” In team news Popovic will have a big decision to make at the back, with Tomislav Mrcela back after suspension, will he keep Dino Djulbic back there with Shane Lowry and Alex Grant or make the change. The Mariners welcome back striker Matt Simon after missing last week with injury, and the skipper is always a handful up front along with Ross McCormack, so who ever players will be in for a hard afternoon.
Skipper Diego Castro has also been named in the squad after missing the opening four games with injury, and in further good new signing Brendon Santalab is also named in the squad after also missing the start of the season, but both look like coming off the bench if selected in the final 16-man squad. The only omission from the squad is youngster Walter Scott, who will play for the Youth side against Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. The Mariners will be without former Socceroo Tommy Oar with a knee injury, also Jonathhan Asprootamitis and Corey Gameiro, but they have brought in Simon, Jake McGing and Tom Hiarie.
It's not been the start Mariners coach Mike Mulvey was looking for after taking over the hot seat at the Gosford based club, and it will be tough game on Sunday, as in eight of the past nine meetings, this clash has been won by the home side, with the only exception coming when the Mariners sensationally fought back from 3-0 down to claim a point in a 3-3 draw at nib Stadium in October 2016. Mariners assistant Coach Nick Montgomery said they need to cut out silly errors. "We have is a fantastic group of players who are all working for each other and will all own up to their mistakes. It’s not an individual – it’s a collective as a team," he said. This includes the coaching staff, but we will work hard to eradicate those errors,"
Skipper Matt Simon missed the last game against Victory due to a minor calf complaint, but Montgomery said the decision was precautionary to ensure he is ready to make the trip to Perth, and also praised the squad’s depth. “With injuries, we’re not going to take risks,” he said. “We’ve got competition for places so there will need to be decisions made every week. We’ve got players chomping at the bit, to take on Perth now, which will be a tough game. But it's only four games in, it’s very early. We need to move on and learn from our mistakes. We’ve shown plenty of good stuff this season – it’s time to get back on the horse and charge forward as they say."
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted*- Ins: SANTALAB (returns from injury), MRCELA (returns from suspension), CASTRO (returns from injury) - Outs: 25 Walter SCOTT - Unavailable: 23 .Scott NEVILLE (ankle – 1-2 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners: GK Ben KENNEDY, RGK Adam PEARCE, 3 Jack CLISBY, 4 Jake McGING, 5 Antony GOLEC, 6 Tom HIARIEJ, 7 Andrew HOOLE, 8 Michael McGLINCHEY, 11 Connor PAIN, 13 Aiden O’NEILL, 15 Kye ROWLES, 18 Matt MILLAR, 19 Matt SIMON (c), 20 Kalifa CISSE, 22 Jacob MELLING, 23 Mario SHABOW, 25 Jordan MURRAY, 44 Ross McCORMACK - *two to be omitted*- Ins: McGING (promoted), HIARIEJ (promoted), SIMON (return from injury) - Outs: 10 Tommy OAR (knee) - Unavailable: 2 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (ACL), 21 Corey GAMEIRO (calf)
GLORY LOOKING TO CONTINUE THEIR GOOD FORM AGAINST CITY
It's been a successful start to the season for the PGFC Foxtel Y-League side, and last week’s hard-fought point against Melbourne Victory took the youngsters clear at the top of the Conference table. Head Coach Richard Garcia will be hoping his side can maintain their lead at the summit when they host Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning (10.30am). City arrive in the west at the foot of the Conference, but have only played the one game, a defeat against Brisbane Roar. Garcia is expecting another tough encounter against a City side that were beaten in last season’s Grand Final, but he said the players are determined to make their home venue a fortress. "They (City) were edged out in Brisbane and will be looking to get their season back on track, so we will need to be at our best on Saturday," he said. "The boys have worked extremely hard and will be looking to continue our good start, but they are well aware there is improvement needed if they are to continue our winning ways at home."
Last week Victory keeper Matthew Sutton was in fine form, but missed chances also cost the youngsters, and Garcia said they need to turn their chances into goals. "I thought we started the game fairly well and created some good chances. We must be more composed not only in front of goal, but all over the park" he said. "Yes, their keeper made several fine saves, but Jackson Lee was called upon to make a few excellent saves for us to keep us in the game late, but overall, we have taken a lot of positives out of the performance and improve where we were lacking. But It shows the determination the player group have, as they were all disappointed not to have won the game, but for many of them it was their first trip away in the competition and they will have learned a great deal, which will help them in the other away trips this season."
Glory striker Jaidon Selden continued his good form against Victory, and the 18-year-old, who played for Joey's in the AFF Youth Championships in 2016, said the performance was good and he thought they should have taken all three points after dominating early. “I thought that in the first 30 minutes we controlled the game and we were in their front third for most of it, but after that we lost concentration and the game changed,” he said. “In the second half they had a lot of chances, but we also needed to put our chances away. Overall it was a crucial point that we secured but of course we wanted to walk away with a win”
The striker said to wear the Green and Gold was an honour and he said he is working hard on his game and hopes for more time in the National set up. "Off the back of my performance in 2013 at Coffs Harbour, I was called into a camp at the AIS and from there I was selected for the Joeys, and this was a really proud moment for me,” Seldon explained. “In 2016 during qualifiers we won the AFF Championship and it was an amazing experience playing in front of 60,000 people. I’ve been away from the game due to injury however, but I’m really hungry and hope to get back into the youth national team setup.”
Seldon is expecting City to be up for a big game, after their opening round loss, but he said Glory are playing at home and is confident they can get the three points. "Training this week has been sharp, it’s been tough as well, but the boys have pulled through,” he said. “It’s a challenge to play away, and a lot of our boys are new, and they experienced it on the weekend, but this weekend we have the home advantage, so we expect to pick up the three points.”
MANCHESTER UNITED AND LEEDS UNITED HEAD TO PERTH IN 2019
The date is set for one of WA's greatest ever football events, which will see English Premier League giants Manchester United taking on Perth Glory and Championship rivals Leeds United in two games at Optus Stadium. The Red Devils have confirmed their entire first-team are set to make the trip Down Under to kick off their preparations for the 2019-20 season with a match against Glory on July 13 before meeting with Leeds on July 17. Glory owner Tony Sage said he's delighted to see two big English clubs head to Perth. "I'm super-excited that Manchester United are coming, and it represents a massive coup for Perth Glory," he said. "It is fantastic news for our club, but also for the wider football community in WA given the amount of time that the world's biggest football club will be spending here in Perth. It promises to be an unforgettable period for our football community and I can't wait."
Manchester United are one of the biggest brands in world football and have a global fan base of over 650 million. They have won the UEFA Champions League three times, the English league title on 20 occasions and have also claimed 12 FA Cups, and they have star-studded side. The game against Glory is set to break the record attendance for a football match in WA which was set when Tony Popovic's took on Chelsea, also at Optus Stadium, earlier this year. WA Premier Mark McGowan, Minister for Tourism Paul Papalia and Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray were joined by Manchester United legend Ronnie Johnsen, former Leeds United striker Michael Bridges and former Leeds midfielder and Glory's Football Director Jacob Burns for a press conference at Optus Stadium to confirm the Glory - United clash, along with the fact that United will be staying in Perth for ten days, also be playing old rivals Leeds at the same venue three days later.
Manchester United last traveled to Australia to play the A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium, Sydney in 2013 and have toured Down Under four times previously - including a trip to Perth in 1975. It will be the first time the Red Devils have played against Leeds since a 3-0 win in a 2011 League Cup match. Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, is excited to bringing his side back to Australia after nearly six years away. “Our pre-season tour is an integral part of the squad’s preparation for the forthcoming season and after what will be a forty-four-year absence since we last played in Perth, we are delighted to be returning to Western Australia to play not just one, but two games against Perth Glory and Leeds United," Woodward said.
“As well as preparing for the season ahead, the club will also have the opportunity to engage with our loyal fans in Australia, who last got the chance to see us play in Sydney in 2013.” - Tickets for the games are set to go on sale November 29.
MAYNARD-BREWER MAKES CHARLTON DEBUT
Young goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer has made his first team debut for English League One club Charlton Athletic, featuring in the 1-0 loss to Swansea City Under-23s in the EFL Trophy. Maynard-Brewer has worked his way through the club's ranks since joinng Charlton's Under-18s in 2015 from ECU Joondalup.
Maynard-Brewer, 19, has been training with the first team for the past couple of months and was given an opporutnity to showcase his potential last week. "Training with the first team now and seeing the standard of the players, I've taken what I need to do on board," Maynard-Brewer told cafc.co.uk "I know the level and intensity I need to be at and I'm just going to keep working towards it."
"I know as a goalkeeper I have to bide my time and, whilst biding my time, I have to keep learning and taking on board what the manager says. But it was a great feeling to make my competitive debut. Charlton always give goalkeepers and young players chances so if I keep working hard in training, playing well with the U23s and taking on board what the coaches say to me, especially Andy Marshall, then more opportunities will come."
DJULBIC HAPPY TO GIVE COACH HEADACHE
When defender Dino Djulbic re-joined Perth Glory midway through last season they were second bottom of the A-League ladder with a defence that was leaking goals. Now they are unbeaten, on the top of the pile, with a much-vaunted defensive wall that is key to the style of new coach Tony Popovic.
Djulbic did not make the squad for the first three games of the 2018/19 campaign but with Tomi Mrcela suspended Scott Neville the veteran started against Adelaide United last weekend. Glory claimed their first clean sheet of the season in Adelaide with Djulbic a stand-out performer in his 97th senior appearance for the club.
“I played a couple of pre-season games but the boss went in a different direction for the first few games and I knew I had to work hard,” said Djulbic, whose career started at Perth SC and has taken in time in the Netherlands, China, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
“I got my chance and we kept our first clean sheet. Hopefully it has given the boss a headache over what to do. I thought I did okay. I hadn’t played in a long time and it was good to be out there. We restricted Adelaide to one shot on target which is unreal with the attacking team they have.”
The big central defender has seen plenty of change in his three terms at Glory and knew other defensive signings would create strong competition in the Popovic system. “When the boss arrived he told us he wanted to play three at the back,” Djulbic said.
“He prides himself on having a good defence and structure. There’s a bit of different body movement and a starting position but other than that it’s pretty straightforward. Things are looking up but we are only four games in and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
RISDON LANDS A BLOW FOR A-LEAGUE STARSE
Josh Risdon believes A-League players can force their way into the national team under new coach Graham Arnold. The Western Sydney Wanderers full back was the only player from Australia's domestic competition in the Socceroos' squad for Saturday's international against Korea Republic in Brisbane.
Risdon didn't look out of place however and was arguably man of the match as Australia snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw. He said the appointment of Arnold - who has spent the majority of his coaching career at the helm of Central Coast Mariners or Sydney FC - is a good one for locally based players.
"He knows what it's like," 26-year old Risdon said. "Obviously there's a few boys now in the squad who are from the A-League and done well this season. If you put your hand up and are doing well in the A-League you deserve your spot in the national team."
Risdon's form for the national team has many tipping him for a move overseas sooner rather than later. "All I can do really is just play well every game and then my chance will come to go overseas," he said. "When that does come, if it's the right move for my career, then I'll definitely consider it."
For now, however, Risdon is just relishing the freedom he's been granted in the new Socceroos setup. With Arnold pushing his wingers into a more inside forward type role, Risdon had the freedom of the right flank against South Korea and nearly notched his first international goal.
"As a fullback he wants us to get really high and getting those runs and balls into the box," Risdon said. "That's really enjoyable, the way I want to play. I like going forward a lot. It's a lot of work but I really enjoy it." Risdon is expected to featured again tomorrow night when Australia meets Lebanon in Sydney.
ROTHERHAM'S WILLIAMS OUTLINES HIS SOCCEROOS ASPIRATIONS
Ryan Williams has seen a handful of his Rotherham United team mates jet off on international duty once a month this season and the Australian is keen for a slice of the pie. The 25-year old is having a fine season for the Millers, having been deployed both as a winger and a number ten.
Williams is having the best run of form since his move to the AESSEAL New York Stadium and has made it on to the radar of Australia boss Graham Arnold. However, while teammates Semi Ajayi, Kyle Vassell, Marek Rodak, Richie Towell and Ryan Manning have been recognised by their respective countries this season, Williams is yet to get the call.
He longs for the day he gets a place in the Socceroos squad, but is content at letting his football at Rotherham do the talking for now. “Playing for my country is something I always wanted to do as a kid,” he said. “Hopefully I do get a call-up, whenever that might be. It would be a very special day.”
“They are taking note. I've just not been able to push myself in there for some reason or another. To be honest with you, here is my bread and butter. Being here and playing well is what I'm most worried about. If I'm playing well for Rotherham and don't get a call-up, well, that's okay. But if I do get called up then, wow, great.”
In the form of his life and with the best years of his career, Williams is setting his targets high. He has yet to find the back of the net this season, though, with two assists, and he knows if he can improve his numbers he can go higher. “I see myself playing higher, for sure,” he added.
“My performances in the past few games have been good. If I was to add some more goals and a few more assists to my game, then why not? When I signed for Barnsley it was as a No 10 (and) I drifted out wide from there. Why shouldn't I be able to play in a top-eight Championship side or even in the Premier League? You might as well aim there.”
MRCELA’S GLORY JOURNEY HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN
Perth Glory signing Tomi Mrcela has come the long way home on his soccer journey. The West Australian-born defender, 28, who has signed a two-year deal with the A-League club, left his home state as a 6-year old when his family returned to Croatia.
Mrcela joined RNK Split’s academy as a teenager, played at eight Croatian clubs including a two-season spell with Lokomotiva and enjoyed a two-season stint with Korean side Jeonnam Dragons before landing back in Perth mid-year.
The defender could not be happier with the move and has been a stand-out in ladder-leading Glory’s unbeaten start to the season. “In my career I never gave up,” Mrcela said. “I had rejections from some clubs but that motivated me and I kept pushing. Now I’m here.”
He had interest from other Korean clubs and was looking at opportunities in Japan and the United Arab Emirates but was persuaded to return by new Glory coach Tony Popovic. “I came here because it is a great project and the coach can get me to the next level,” Mrcela said.
The 195cm centre-back missed the 2-0 win over Adelaide United after being sent off against Brisbane Roar. But he is now focused on Central Coast Mariners at Perth Oval in eight days. “Everything we worked on in the pre-season is paying off,” he said.
“We have worked hard on the formation, it is improving and everybody can see how we are looking in our defensive shape and how quick we can go on attack ... The boss wants us to build from the back. I enjoy it and like that style.”
The A-League takes an international break this weekend but Mrcela is confident it will not blunt Glory’s momentum. “We would like to have had a game but it’s not going to be an issue for us,” he said.
He is now injury-free, having played his last six months at Jeonnam with a knee problem and needing surgery when he arrived in Perth. “The boss was really understanding and gave me a lot of time to get my body in shape,” he said. “I’m feeling good, healthy and fit now.”
Mrcela made one Socceroos squad, in 2015, and still has hope of international recognition. “I’m a better player now and I have hopes that I will be there again,” he said. “Being in the A-League will give me more chances to get there. If the call comes it’s a bonus but I’m just focused on the club and my game at the moment.”
OSTLER STUNNER GIVE GLORY A SHARE OF THE SPOILS
Perth Glory remain unbeaten in the Foxtel Y-League this season after a hard fought 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday morning. A stunning strike from winger Trent Ostler gave the youngsters the lead at half time but Yazid Said levelled 19 minutes from time, but some good goalkeeping from Jackson Lee made sure they kept a share of the spoils.
“The boys put in a good performance and there were definitely some positives to take out of the game. The second half was a lot more rushed and we lacked some composure, but a lot of the team is inexperienced when it comes to NYL and composure in games comes with experience,” Lee said. “So hopefully we can learn from that and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The team was disappointed after the game which was a positive as it showed that we’ve all got that hunger to win and that we know that we can improve on our performance on the day to ensure we get the three points.”
Glory opened the game brightly and they were agonisingly close to lead on the quarter hour. Some neat lead-up play involving four or five Glory players ended with Ostler, whose long-range shot crashed off the crossbar. But the teenage winger wasn’t to be denied just before the half hour, when he gave the visitors the lead. Again, it was good build-up play from Garcia’s side, ending with Ostler, who beat two defenders before cutting inside and fired home superbly into the corner of the net. Victory lifted and ended the half well, but they couldn’t find a way past the Glory custodian. First Lee saved well to deny Birkan Kirdar on two occasions, before he spread himself well to thwart Nicholas Sette, who had been sent clear by Brandon Lauton.
Glory went close to a second early in the second half, but Victory keeper Matthew Sutton produced a stunning save save first to deny Jaidon Seldon, before thwarting Abias Bukuru twice with follow up shots. Glory were having the better chances but couldn’t turn them into goals. But on 71 minutes Victory levelled, Jack Palazzolo's cross was turned home by Said. Victory pressed late but Lee wasn’t going to be beaten again, and his best save came from a well-struck effort from Brandon Lauton.
Glory Coach Richard Garcia was happy with the performance. "The boys did really well, they dipped in the second half, but overall, their performance was pleasing,” he told the Glory website. “It was a very open game at times and both teams had their periods of dominance. There were some very positive signs in terms of things that we've been working on in training and hopefully in next week's game we'll be able to put it altogether in a complete performance.
"The mentality of the team was great. The fact that they are disappointed that they have drawn away from home shows that we have a dressing room full of young men who want to win and are pushing themselves to be better. "For a lot of these guys, it was their first trip away from home with the team and they dealt with it very well."
Melbourne Victory: GK Matthew SUTTON, 2 Daniel AYE (15 Matthew BOZINOVSKI 70'), 3 Luke GOULDING, 4 Benjamin CARRIGAN, 5 So NISHIKAWA, 6 Rahmat AKBARI, 7 Nicholas SETTE (9 Jack PALAZZOLO 55'), 10 Brendon LAUTON, 11 Birkan KIRDAR, 14 Thiel IRADUKUNDA, 17 Yazid SAID - Subs not used: 20 Lucas RUNJE, 8 Aydin MUSTEDANAGIC
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH, 3 Cameron MURRAY (14 Nic MCDONALD 73'), 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Jayden LEADER, 6 Jack LEECH, 7 Ethan BROOKS (15 Jordan ABRAHAMS 80'), 8 Trent OSTLER, 9 Jaidon SELDEN, 10 Henry HORE (16 Sasa NJEGIC 68'), 11 Abias BUKURU - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA - Referee: Jake Keating
GLORY EASE PAST WANDERERS IN W-LEAGUE
Perth Glory won for the first time this Westfield W-League season after a 3-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. A brace from Rachel Hill, and another from skipper Sam Kerr eased Glory to a comfortable win and move them up to second on the table, two points behind leaders Melbourne Victory. Hill opened the scoring with a stunning strike from the edge of the box on the quarter hour and then found strike partner Kerr for the second just before the break, before the American added the third early in the second half with a lobbed effort that brought the big crowd to its feet and maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Glory began brightly, with Alyssa Mautz forcing a good save from Wanderers keeper Jada Whyman as early as the fourth minute. But the Wanderers custodian was left helpless soon after, however, unable to reach a superb shot from Hill who somehow found a pocket of space among a cluster of defenders before firing into the top corner. Wanderers looked to hit back immediately, Georgia Yeoman-Dale cross picked out Rachel Lowe, but midfielder’s effort crashed off the woodwork.
Wanderers, who arrived in this one without a point, continued to press for an equaliser as the half wore on, and Glory had to defend in numbers and their cause wasn’t helped by a head injury to Kim Carroll which prompted a defensive reshuffle with Isabella Foletta coming on as replacement. But in the shadows of half time and against the run of play, it was the hosts who doubled their lead. Hill raced down the line and cut the ball back from the by-line, and Kerr controlled the ball and fired home into the roof of the net to open her account for the season with a clinical finish.
The visitors went close again early in the second half, Kylie Ledbrook header, from Courtney Nevin's cross flashed wide. But the Wanderers were still struggling to contain Hill and the American striker grabbed her second and Glory's third on 55 minutes. She was picked out by
Foletta, and she held off her marker, and her chip beat Whyman and went into the net via the underside of the bar. Kerr was then denied her second when Whyman stood tall to deny the Matildas striker on 75 minutes, but Glory eased through to the final whistle to take the points.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL (18 Isabella FOLETTA 25'), 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (14 Caitlin DOEGLAS 52'), 12 Jenna ONIONS, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL, 17 Liana COOK
Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Jada WHYMAN, 2 Caitlin COOPER, 4 Maruschka WALDUS, 5 Rachel LOWE, 6 Servet UZUNLAR (c), 8 Erica HALLOWAY, 10 Kylie LEDBROOK (9 Remy SIEMSEN 56'), 13 Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 14 Courtney NEVIN,17 Sydney MIRAMONTEZ, 19 Leena KHAMIS - Subs not used: RGK Nicole SIMONSEN, 12 Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 15 Talitha KRAMER - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
HAS THE NPLWA LOST ITS APPEAL AND IDENTITY? (PART TWO)
With dwindling crowds and interest in the local game at an all-time low, many are saying has the NPLWA lost its appeal and identity amongst the locals? The Footballwa.net team have a look at some of the problems we believe are hindering the game in WA in a three-part series of article.
Part Two - Yes, Football West could do more, but they do have a lot more leagues to cover, from juniors to masters and they wouldn't be happy if they weren't given the coverage. Over the few season's FW have paid to add articles promoting the game in the West Australian, but their budget can't do this on a regular basis, but it could be time to give media more from the budget to lift the game in WA. Footballwa.net do our best to promote the NPLWA, State League and we've started with coverage of the Amateur Premier League last season, while radio shows 'Let's Talk Football' and 'The World Football Programme' have brought football to the airways, while live steaming was added last season by Let's Talk Football, Perth Glory and Forrestfield United Facebook pages, while the 'The Far Post' have added great podcasts to the media coverage, but can we all do more?
Has the cost of fees for junior players also had a detrimental effort on crowds in the game? In the past junior players would come to the game to watch the senior players, bring their parents and it would boost the crowd, but now in this digital age, they have other things to take their attention, like computers and play stations, and unfortunately these are more appealing than watching football. Do clubs fully understand why kids play football? Many JNPL clubs put the emphasis on competition and winning but not all young players play for these reasons. A greater focus needs to be put on development and enjoyment, and by doing this the clubs will engage with families and build their club into a community. Kids and families need to be part of the club community and vice versa, and without this some clubs are going to disappear in the next 10 years.
Have clubs lost focus on their junior players as senior players milk the money? All NPL clubs fail to recognise what they really are, and too many clubs are striving to be professional in what is and always will be an amateur league. Because of this they do not recognise and engage with their local community, families and business. In our opinion the JNPL trial fiasco has led to a lack of loyalty by clubs towards young players. The players are given 10-months to prove themselves at a club, after which he/she is cast aside in the clubs’ search for "someone better” because of this. So, kids and parents jump from one club to another and do not develop a sense of "belonging" to a single club.
This article will continue next week in part three.
GLORY HEAD HOME FOR WEEK THREE IN W-LEAGUE
Perth Glory play their first home game of the season when they host Western Sydney Wanderers at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. (7.00pm) Bobby Despotovski’s side are coming off two draws on the road against Brisbane Roar and last week they came from 1-4 down to secure a point late in a 4-4 draw.
Wanderers head west looking for their first point of the season after defeats against Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar, but Despotovski said his squad is confident they can get the job done and avenge last season's final-round defeat at the hands of the red-and-blacks. "We'll have to be at our best to get the win," he told the Glory website. "We've been working on a couple of things that myself and [Assistant Coach] Jessine [Bonzas] noticed when we watched the [Canberra] game back. We've also had a look at what Western Sydney do well and what they're not so good at and will be looking targeting them in certain ways.
"I'm expecting a big crowd and a good game at Dorrien, which is our home and somewhere the girls love playing at. I'm pretty happy with where we're at. It was disappointing conceding a goal in the 88th minute at Brisbane, but would we have taken a point before the game, probably we would. Then against Canberra we found ourselves 4-1 down with eight minutes to go, so to come back and push all the way showed great character. They were two tough trips with the girls having to change 'planes etc, so I think they deserve praise for those two results."
In team news, Glory will be without Sarah Carroll, who was sent off last week, while new recruit Jacynta Galabadaarachchi’s debut for the club will also be delayed after the teenage winger suffered an ankle ligament injury in training. In more positive news youngsters Leticia McKenna and Jenna Onions are both pressing for starts after coming off the bench and impressing against Canberra, while midfielder Alyssa Mautz will be looking to hit the target for a third time in as many games since starting her second spell at the club, while skipper Sam Kerr is also set to feature after her midweek exertions with the Matildas.
VICTORY UP NEXT FOR GLORY YOUNGSTERS
Perth Glory will be looking to build on last week's 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar, when they make the trip to the Lakeside Stadium to meet Melbourne Victory on Saturday morning in week two of the Foxtel Y-League. Youth Coach Richard Garcia said his sides first up win in Conference A was pleasing. An own goal from Roar defender Jordan Courtney-Perkins and an Abias Bukuru strike was enough for the youngsters and Garcia, in his first game in charge of the side, said there is more to come from the group. "It was a decent performance from the guys, they were all very excited to get into their first game and it's good to get a win, but there are improvements to be made for sure," he told the Glory website. "They are still young boys and learning the game, but it's a solid start and performance for the first game of the season." Garcia praised his side, who across the board put in a good shift to get the job done and start their Conference on a positive note.
"All four of the attacking players (two strikers and wing backs) were exceptional, but the whole team deserve credit and played really well. I thought the guys in midfield did really well and controlled the game and steadied the ship for us," he explained. "While the guys at the back defended well, despite a little lapse of concentration late, but they are some of the improvement we need to make, but to be fair it was a hot today and both sides were quite tied late." The coach said it's a new experience for most the players, and it's a huge challenge travelling to a game, but he is confident they can put in a good performance. "It's a new challenge for the group with so many players in their first season in the NYL, but we head east full of confidence," he said. "We learnt a lot as a group last week, some positives and some negatives, but we got the result, and I thought we played some good football, and we will be looking for more of the same on Saturday. They (Victory) lost their opening game in Adelaide, so they will be determined to bounce back this week, but we hope to come home with a positive result."
Ethan Brooks was a constant threat against the Roar last week in his first Foxtel Y-League game, and the 18-year-old said it was good to start the season with three points. "I think we played really well for our first game, pressing them high up the field and causing turnovers for our forwards to capitalise on,” the former ECU Joondalup winger said. "We've prepared ourselves over the course of the year, and Richie really helped us in terms of physical conditioning this pre-season so we’re able to cope with the league. But obviously there are a lot of areas both offensively and defensively we can improve so that hopefully away to Victory we can pick up the win." Brooks said the quality of play and intensity is a lot higher than the NPLWA, but the players are relishing the challenge, and are all looking forward to Saturday's game in Melbourne. "It's vital to start your away games with a good performance, and we'll be doing all we can to win on the road," he said. "I think as long as we can stay focused and stick to the game plan that Richie has set up for us, we are more than capable of beating any team in the league."
UNITED IN A HEALTHY APPROACH (courtesy footballwest.com.au)
Inglewood United are the latest club to win a $750 football equipment package after embracing the Smarter Than Smoking Kicking Off Healthy Clubs program.
The Football West and Healthway initiative rewards clubs who have incorporated healthier practices. These may include offering healthier canteen choices, providing children with water and fruit or making it easier for youngsters to play football.
Inglewood have looked to make football more accessible for youngsters, therefore encouraging them to adapt a healthy lifestyle. “The objective is to increase participation of ALDI Miniroos and Junior aged players by significantly reducing the fees associated with registering to this club … and in some instances the fees have been reduced by 45%,” a club spokeswoman said.
“The club considers (this) will directly result in an increase of the number of players and families that will become involved with this club and sport for the coming season. The more players at the club and the more families will support notions of healthier lifestyles, increased fitness and healthier mindsets.”
She added: “A recent event to celebrate the end of the season for the MiniRoos players was very successful. The day was publicised as a family day and players were encouraged to attend with their entire family, extended family and friends.”
“The players were provided with lunch. The club provided a carnival atmosphere with bubble soccer, multiple blow up jumpy castles, blow up soccer pitch, archery and more. The carnival atmosphere directly provided a happy and exciting backdrop for the families to socialise, relax and enjoy a day outdoors with their children and other families.”
Up to three clubs each month can win a $750 Evolution Sports equipment package through the Kicking Off Healthy Clubs program. Clubs who have won previously include Westnam United, Wanneroo City, Rockingham United, Cockburn City, Denmark and Westside FC.
CASTIELLO HEADS TO GRINDLEFORD
Alex Castiello has become the latest signing for Balcatta for the 2019 season, after he signed for the Grindleford Reserve club from Subiaco. The talented defender had several clubs chasing his services but after talking to Head coach Goran Stajic it was an easy decision to join. "I’m very excited for the season ahead and really want to make an impact at the club,” he said. “There is a lot of young talented players at Balcatta, so it will be good to step into a more senior role.” The 24-year-old said his time at Subiaco was great and thanked the club and wished them all the best next season. “Subiaco was a great tenure I have a lot of really close friends from my time there and I wish them all the best in the future,” Castiello said. “It was a sad way to go out, but I think the club has the potential to bounce next season.”
Balcatta head coach Goran Stajic said the signing of the defender, and the inclusions of Callum Stocks, Adam and Michael Zimarino has strengthened the squad at the club. "Alex will not only compliment the playing squad’s depth but will ultimately help the club strive for silverware next season,” he told the clubs website.
“The plan is to sign quality players to the already strong squad that we currently have, so we can continue creating good habits and the style of play I believe can win the league. It’s not easy for us to sign the right profile player, but I can categorically state that it’s easy for players to come to Balcatta because the club attracts good people. The most important thing is trying to be calculated and measured in our recruitment for the future of the club.”
WILLIAMS IN-LINE FOR INTERNATIONAL SELECTION
Former Perth Glory defender Aryn Williams is on the verge of playing international football, and it's not for the Green and Gold of Australia. The 25-year-old is playing in the Indian I-League and is eligible to play for both Australia and India, and it's been reported he could be named in the Blue Tigers?? squad for their up-coming games. Born and raised in Perth, Williams is eligible to play for four countries in Australia, England, Wales and India through his parents’ heritage. His father was born in Kent, while his mother’s family hails from Mumbai. His older brother Rhys is a Socceroo, capped 14 times for the green and gold, who also made 10 appearances for the Welsh Under-21s. His twin brother Ryan, currently on the books of English Championship club Rotherham United, has played for both the Young Socceroos and Olyroos in the past. Williams is playing in his second season at Neroca and he said his agent has been in contact with the Indian FA and it’s a possibility he will be called up. "It’s definitely a dream I’m striving towards and hopefully within the next couple of months I will be able to acquire my Indian passport and represent the Indian national team,” he said. “My agent has been in brief contact with staff from the national team. Nothing is set in stone but hopefully I can get an opportunity to prove myself worth enough to play for the Indian national team.”
Williams came through the junior ranks at ECU Joondalup in Perth before spending three years with the academy of English Premier League club Burnley. He returned to Australia in 2014 and has had spells in the A-League at Glory, and in the NPL with Floreat Athena, Preston Lions ad Hume City. But last year he headed back overseas to join newly promoted Neroca. After starring as a defensive midfielder, Williams has returned to the Imphal-based club for a second campaign. “I’m really enjoying it to be honest,” he said. “When I left at the end of last season, I was already looking forward to coming back to India. It was an easy decision to come back. “I know the back-room staff really well and most of the players stayed on from last season so when they offered me a new deal, I was very happy to take it. It’s a tough league and sometimes difficult conditions. One week it’s 15 degrees in the middle of the mountains in the North East of India and the next week you’re playing beach-side in Goa at 35 degrees, so it’s difficult in that aspect. The league is definitely improving and quality foreign players are coming over for this season so it’s turning out to be an exciting season ahead.”
Neroca won the I-League’s second division in 2017 to secure promotion, and then finished second on the table in the top-flight last season. Williams explains that Imphal, the capital centre of the state of Manipur and with a population of over 400,000, is dominated by football and not cricket. “Neroca is great, it’s like a big family and they’ve made me and my partner, Kate, so welcome here,” he said. “The people are so friendly, and the fans are brilliant as well. Imphal is a quiet city but I have enjoyed it so far and it’s a great place for sight-seeing, with waterfalls and temples. “It’s football-mad but a lot of people participate in Olympic style sports events as well. Football is definitely the number one sport here in the North East and when our stadium is full to the max with our fans it’s a great thing to see.” This campaign the Orange Brigade have made a slow start to the I-League and are currently bottom after a draw and a loss after two rounds. Despite that, Williams and the club are aiming high, with the league winner getting a spot in the AFC Champions League qualifiers. “Our goal this season is to finish as high as possible and we’ve given ourselves a top four finish goal and I think that is pretty realistic to be honest,” the defender said. “Hopefully we can do one better than last season and finish on top of the table.”
REINERS LOOKING TO GET HIS FOOTBALL CAREER BACK ON TRACK
A nasty ankle injury on the Perth Glory training ground looked like it had ended Jamel Reiners A-League career, and he left the club by mutual consent. But the 20-year-old is working hard to get back into the game and has been training with Chris Coyne's Bayswater City in the NPLWA to get his fitness back, but he spoke to SBS - The World Game - about the injury and how he is determined to get back playing again in the A-League or overseas. Reiners who debuted for the Glory three years ago at the age of just 17, was viewed by many as of one of Australia’s brightest young products. The South African-born winger came through Football West’s National Training Centre and the FFA Centre of Excellence in Canberra and played 10 times for the Joeys. The winger tore all the ligaments in his left ankle, broke bones and dislocated his ankle, when he collided with a football mannequin while at Glory's training ground.
“I was in training, and I happened to get involved in a tackle and there was a mannequin involved as well right on the side of the pitch,” Reiners said. “We were playing a small-sided game, I struck the ball and got pressure from one side, which was to be expected. But as I ran off past the past, because I came with a bit of speed, but I looked to my left thinking I would run past the post. But I’ve ran into a mannequin that was right next to the goalpost planted there. My right ankle planted at the base of this metal mannequin and basically, I couldn’t stop myself. I hopped over with my left foot, my right foot planted at the base and it just snapped. I needed major ankle reconstruction surgery. I tore all my ligaments in my ankle, I broke both bones, I dislocated my ankle as well. It was a whole ugly scene to be fair. I was out for … rehab took me roughly 10 months, which was earlier than they expected. The doctors thought I would be out for at least a year. I started training, still with a little bit of pain but I was managing it.”
Reiners admits the mental fight to get back on the pitch was the hardest thing as he contemplated giving football away completely. “Mentally that was the biggest challenge,” he said. “I’ve had injuries before in my life but that was a different challenge. I’m steadfast in my faith and I pray every day, but honestly there were days when … I don’t know, I didn’t think I would maybe play again because of the horror of thinking about it and the actual pain, rehab sometimes as well.” At the same as he was recovering from the freak injury the striker, then only 19, was dealing with the sudden death of his father. “In the midst of it I was going through a lot,” Reiners said. “The injury only made things worse. It came at a pretty bad time, mentally I’d be a fool to say it didn’t take a lot out of me. I must focus on playing. There’s no other way to really explain it, you must go through it to understand what it’s like. Being so young and losing my father as well, at that age, and he was the one who always backed me through everything. He let me know the real of it as well, having that role model to always have your back but also let you know when you need to push harder. Just being a good positive influence on my football career and my life in general. For me that was something that was a lot bigger than football, and you could say my career was at a standstill at that point.”
Reiners managed to work his way back on to the training pitch after a long absence but departed Glory mid-way through last season after contract negotiations broke down. The forward, who made 17 A-League appearances for his hometown side, has been without a club since. “Perth were really good, they offered to help with my rehab. I was just on an insurance contract at that time,” he said. “I was in contract negotiations before I got injured as well, so that sort of threw a massive spanner in the works. After the rehab I had done I had to do football rehab, just training a lot without any pain and me running, say full speed almost, took nine months. I was ready by the start of mid-November and I then training until the end of December and in January they were telling me I needed to train with the first-team. They said they could offer me a lesser contract, a scholarship contract, but I wasn’t happy with that, so I left. From my point of view, I was doing what I needed to do to get back in the squad and try and negotiate a new contract as well. But, in their eyes, they see once you’re wounded, especially an injury like that. In essence, it was their fault too, I could have sued them, but I didn’t decide to go down that route. It’s a work-safety injury as well. It wasn’t a tackle. I guess had to roll with the punches and decided I’m a young player, I’ve got a lot of other things I’ve got to worry about first.”
After a long period out of the professional ranks, Reiners is ready for another shot. He has spent time training with NPL WA club Bayswater City this year and his ankle has fully recovered. “I’ve been in training, I’ve been training myself as well and I’m doing everything right,” Reiners said. “I’m just waiting for my chance. I’m fully recovered. To be fair, I feel stronger. I’ve got a few screws in there but I feel great. I feel like I’ve definitely come out the other side stronger person mentally. If I can withstand that, and get over that hump, then I’m untouchable.” Reiners said he is open to A-League offers or playing overseas if the opportunity arises. Still only 20, he is adamant he has a lot left to give in his footballing career. “The best step for me at the moment is I’m looking to get back into the A-League,” he said. “At the same time, I’m not one to say no to going overseas as well. At the moment it’s best for me to start playing again, whether that’s locally in one of the NPL’s. I’ve got a lot more to give on the pitch. It puts things into perspective. You realise you might only get one chance in life. If I’m lucky enough to get that chance again, I’m hungrier than ever.”
RISDON EYES INTERNATIONAL MOVE
Josh Risdon will be the only A-League player on the park for the Socceroos on Saturday but he is still harbouring ambitions of playing overseas. The defender has plied his trade domestically since 2010 and is a certain selection in coach Graham Arnold's starting line-up to play South Korea in a Brisbane this weekend.
Risdon admits the move from Perth Glory last year worked in his favour. And the 26-year old said his inclusion in the Socceroos squad meant the A-League remained a viable pathway to the green and gold, but that he maintained aspirations to join his national teammates abroad.
"I was looking to go overseas (when leaving Perth Glory) but nothing eventuated and at the time I'd fallen out of the national team," said Risdon, who joined Western Sydney Wanderers in May after seven seasons and 153 appearances for Glory.
"It was a goal of mine to go to Wanderers, be a part of national team and a World Cup then get a move overseas after that. It was a move that paid off and hopefully after another good season with Wanderers and the national team something might happen at the end of the season."
CASTRO WON’T PLAY IN ADELAIDE
Perth marquee signing Diego Castro has failed another fitness test and will not line up against Adelaide United this afternoon. The Spaniard will miss his fourth consecutive A-League game after limping out of Glory’s pre-season friendly win over Rockingham City with a hamstring injury six weeks ago.
Glory had been expecting him to be fit for the start of the season and while coach Tony Popovic would love to have him available, he will not bring him back too quickly. “If it was up to him he would probably want to play now,” Popovic said.
“He’s not quite right for that, but it’s great to see him out on the field running, working hard. We know that he’s getting closer and closer. We feel he hasn’t got to the level where he’s joining in regularly with the team. We are not going to rush him.”
Popovic is expected to make one change from the team that defeated Brisbane Roar last weekend, with defender Scott Neville likely to come in for the suspended Tomi Mrcela. Veteran Dino Djulbic has also been brought into the extended squad.
Glory have not had a happy time at Coopers Stadium, with the home side losing just one of their past nine meetings in seven years. But Popovic believes his unbeaten team has the momentum to break the hoodoo against the Reds, who are also unbeaten.
“They are enjoying the start they have had, but they want more of it,” Popovic said. “If they want more of it they have got to keep working ... find those details that can help us to keep getting the results. The players come in every day, they work hard, they want to get better. They thrive on that.”
AFTER 'CAR CRASH INJURIES' ROUX CHERISHES FRESH START
At AAMI Park in 2016, then Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux snapped his fibula, dislocated his shoulder and damaged ankle ligaments so badly that he needed surgery to repair them. The injuries read like the fallout from a car accident, but Roux sustained them without being touched by another player.
The right-back lunged to block a shot on goal, but as he fell to the ground his studs became stuck in the turf, meaning the New Zealand international's weight fell completely on his right leg and shoulder. Teammates and opposition players frantically called for medical help and tried to calm Roux as he lay on the ground.
"As soon as I went over I heard the snap," Roux recalls. "I went to grab the leg and I felt my shoulder was out of place so I just lay there thinking, 'How could this happen?' … The hardest part was getting surgery on both my ankle and shoulder pretty much at the same time and not being able to move and laying in bed for more than a month."
Roux was back to full fitness by round one the next season, although A-League off-season dragged because of the intense rehabilitation Roux had to do. "It's quite lonely in the off-season going in by yourself for rehab and then others come back in after you and they're training already and you're still on the sidelines," he said.
"Once I got back into full training and started that first game in late 2017 I never really thought about it again and it didn't affect me for games, it didn't even cross my mind. It was pretty unreal that you can get those injuries with not even being touched."
"I had a surgery to get the plates out because every time I got knocked on it that was quite sensitive but now I feel good. It was a couple of years ago now, it's all forgotten and I took that year after it happened to find my feet again and now I am hopefully over it."
Roux, 25, joined Victory from the Mariners in June of this year and has slotted in well at right back, scoring one goal and assisting another. This afternoon, when he lines up against his former side at AAMI Park, he looms as a crucial player given Victory have looked best this season when utilising the width Roux provides.
Although he parted ways with the Mariners by mutual consent, Roux admits his time in Gosford was sometimes a struggle. "There were a lot of challenges," he said. "I can't quite put my finger on one but the resources were a big factor. It was hard for a coach to come in and not have the resources that other clubs do and be able to get players other clubs can get."
"At the end of the day, you can try play as good football as you want, try get the structure right and all that but it is hard when over the four years - not saying the players were bad at the Mariners - but you don't have that standout guys other clubs sign that can really change the game."
Roux says he is excited about facing his former side. "Us as a team we have our groove and we've found our grit," Roux said. "That desperation is there so if we put it all together we can beat the Mariners. They've looked pretty good despite last week's loss, so we are wary of them. Every team that comes to AAMI Park to play us lifts their level."
GLORY STAY UNBEATEN AND RISE TO THE TOP
Perth Glory moved to the top of the Hyundai A-League table after a 2-0 win against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium in Sunday afternoon's Remembrance round. Skipper Andy Keogh bagged his fourth goal of the season to set Tony Popovic's side on their way, before Chris Ikonomidis fired home on 90 minutes after good work from Fabio Ferreira to seal the win. "We have to be happy, coming here's not easy and they'd had a fantastic week having lifted the FFA Cup and then backed that up by with a great performance against Central Coast," Popovic said post-match. "But from the outset, I thought we were well and truly in the game, had some good opportunities and overall, got the result we deserved. We had a game plan to come and impose ourselves... and today it worked out. I'm delighted for the group that we got just rewards for an outstanding performance away from home and kept our first clean sheet against a very good opponent."
Glory made one change to the side that beat Brisbane Roar last week with Dino Djulbic coming in for the suspended Tomislav Mrcela, although many thought Scott Neville would come into the side, but he injured his ankle at training on Saturday and will sidelined for up to a month. It was a sombre start to proceedings with the ode to remembrance and the last post played as the whole country remembered the fallen who gave their lives to defend our country in the first word war - 'Lest we forget'
This was the game of the round and it was the Glory who opened the brighter and they went close to the lead on 12 minutes. Keogh received the ball in the middle of the park and the skipper's clever turn took him clear of his marker and he sent Joel Chianese racing into the box, he cut inside his marker, but his shot was touched onto the bar superbly by the alert Paul Izzo. Then six minutes later Glory almost handed the lead to the home side. Glory keeper Liam Reddy delayed his kick and Ben Halloran closed him down, and Reddy just managed to get a foot to the ball and he brought the midfielder down in the process. The home fans were shouting for a penalty, but VAR gave the Glory custodian the benefit of the doubt.
Glory went close again on 26 minutes, Ivan Franjic and Chianese combined down the right, and the wingers cross picked out Keogh, who didn't make contact well and his volley flashed wide. The Reds started to get into the game and had plenty of possession, but they were struggling to create any clear-cut chances, but on 41 minutes it looked like they had a penalty. Vince Lia's shot hit the arm of Shane Lowry and referee Chris Beath said it had accorded outside the box, but on the tv replays it looked if it had been inside. But after being advised by the VAR to have a look at the replays the referee, after speaking to both skippers, decided to stick to his original decision, it looked like Glory got away with one there.
The home side were on the front foot early in the second half and they went close to the opener on 54 minutes. The lively Craig Goodwin raced past Djulbic on the left and his cross found Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, whose header flashed wide of the upright. It was a real arm-wrestle with both sides probing for the opener, but it was Glory who found it on 73 minutes. Neil Kilkenny's corner was headed goal wards by Alex Grant, but Izzo produced another great safe, but the rebound fell to Keogh and the Irishman made no mistake from close-range and raced off to celebrate with the small pocket of Glory supporters. It was almost 2-0 sixty seconds later, Chianese sending Keogh clear into the box, but Izzo stood tall to save.
Adelaide pressed forward looking to restore parity, and it looked like Halloran was going to do so when he burst into the box on 77 minutes, but Lowry got back with a superb block. There was some desperate defending by the back three as Adelaide pressed, but Glory were picking them off on the counter attack and on 90 minutes they added a second to seal victory. Former Adelaide winger Ferreira was sent clear by Ikonomidis and he raced into the box before unselfishly squared the ball to Ikonomidis, who had continued his run, and he fired home into an empty net. They almost added a third in stoppage time, but Izzo, who had a superb game, produced a stunning save to deny Ferreira, and a reaction save from a deflected shot.
Adelaide United: GK Paul IZZO, 3 Scott GALLOWAY (2 Michael MARRONE 79'), 4 Ryan STRAIN, 6 Vince LIA (7 Ryan KITTO, 76'), 8 Isaías SÁNCHEZ (c), 11 Craig GOODWIN, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 31 Mirko BOLAND (10 Ken ILSØ 67'), 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS - Subs not used: RGK Isaac RICHARDS, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (22 Fabio FERREIRA 78'), 9 Andy KEOGH, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE (15 Brandon WILSON, 64'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 14 Chris HAROLD, 25 Walter SCOTT - Referee: Chris Beath
GLORY BUY INTO POPOVIC’S FOCUS ON THE LITTLE THINGS
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has an almost fanatical attention to detail. And Alex Grant says that intensity has infused the side ahead of Sunday’s A-League clash with Adelaide United. Both clubs are unbeaten with Glory second on two wins and a draw while Adelaide are two points back in third with two draws and a win.
Grant said Glory were ready to stand up physically after picking up a few pointers in their pre-season 2-2 draw in Adelaide. “We are going to have to roll our sleeves up and give it to them,” defender Grant said. “We are expecting a physical, aggressive game, a quick-tempo game.”
Grant said the side had total faith in Popovic’s style, playing from the back with three central defenders and two wing-backs. “His attention to detail is unbelievable,” Grant said. “It’s those little details that can win you titles at the end of the day. We’ve put our trust in him and you listen to what he says. There’s a purpose to everything he does.”
GLORY START Y-LEAGUE WITH THREE POINTS
Perth Glory have begun the 2018-19 Foxtel Y-League season on a high after a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. An own goal from Roar defender Jordan Courtney-Perkins gave the hosts the lead before Abias Bukuru doubled their advantage before the break. Roar pulled one back late through second half substitute Emlyn Wellsmore, but it was too little too late. Glory midfielder Henry Hore said it was a great first up performance. “It was good performance from the boys and it’s always good to start the season with a win,” he said. “We had a good first half and deservedly led, but they got a bit of momentum after half time and scored late but it’s good to start off with a ‘W’.”
The home side made the perfect start and were ahead on 18 minutes. Hore sent the lively Ethan Brooks down the right, and his low cross was turned home by Courtney-Perkins, under pressure from Glory striker Jaidon Seldon. Brooks was a constant threat and he went close to doubling the lead five minutes later. Trent Ostler sending the winger in on goal, but he fired over the top. The visitors went close themselves moments later Mirza Muratovic raced into the box, but his shot was well saved by Jackson Lee.
Both sides had chances as the game opened up. Muratovic was in again on the half hour, but a great last-ditch tackle from Cameron Murray cleared the danger. Ostler then went close at the other end, but his curling shot was pushed around the post by Macklin Freke. But on the stroke of half time Glory doubled their lead. Quick feet by Seldon gave him space in the box and he fed Bukuru who made no mistake from close-range.
Roar opened the second half well and should have pulled one back on 50 minutes. Good work down the right by Lleyton Brooks ended with a cross to the back post to Daniel Leck, but with the goal at his mercy he failed to hit the target. Moments later skipper Stefan Nigro shot was well held by Lee. Glory almost pinched a third on the hour, but half-time substitute Jaydon Leader’s shot was saved low by Freke. Glory were defending well with Daniel Walsh, Murray and skipper Zayd Farah all outstanding, and they almost added a third with six minutes remaining.
Some great lead up play involved several players ended with Jack Leech, who’s shot flashed over the top. Roar found a lifeline in the final minute, Wellsmore was given far too much room on the edge of the box and his shot flew past Lee. Roar went within inches of the equaliser in stoppage time, when Isack Powell crossed to the unmarked Cristian Aloisi, son of the A-League assistant coach Ross, but the youngsters first time shot flashed inches wide of the far post.
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH (14 Nicholas McDONALD 90’+1), 3 Cameron MURRAY, 4 Zayd FARAH (C), 5 Henry HORE, 6 Jack LEECH, 7 Ethan BROOKS, 8 Abias BUKURU (17 Jordan Abrahams 75’), 9 Jaidon SELDON, 10 Sasa NJEGIC (16 Jaydon LEADER 46’), 11 Trent OSTLER - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA
Brisbane Roar: GK Macklin FREKE, 3 Kai TREWIN, 4 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 5 Isaack POWELL, 7 Lleyton BROOKS (19 Cristian ALOISI 80’), 8 Oliver DUNCAN (16 Eduardo CASTENEDA 39’), 9 Mirza MURATOVIC, 10 Bryce BAFFORD (2 Emlyn WELLSMORE 85’), 11 Daniel LECK, 14 Jay BARNETT, 15 Stefan NIGRO (C) - Subs not used: RGK Lachlan HUNTER - Referee: Adrien Liechti
HAS THE NPLWA LOST ITS APPEAL AND IDENTITY? (PART ONE)
With dwindling crowds and interest in the local game at an all-time low, many are saying has the NPLWA lost its appeal and identity among the locals? The Footballwa.net team have a look at some of the problems we believe are hindering the game in WA in a three-part article. Part One - It must be said first up the hard work from every club on and off the park to get their club running well will never change. Every club have those people who watch through thick and thin, but it's becoming a concern that the attendance in the NPLWA have fallen off dramatically over the past three seasons and the trend doesn't look like turning around anytime soon.
There seems to be many reasons behind this, and everyone has their opinion, but what do we need to turn this around? The major one which is mentioned on forums is no coverage of the game in the media, and that is a worrying one, but let’s have a look at it from the TV and newspapers perspective. With crowds between 60 to 200 at most games in the league, why would these organisations give a sport that can only pull those figures any publicity. Look in Sydney and Victoria, where crowds reach 1,000 up to 4,000 and those sorts of figures mean the local NPL has a far greater coverage than we do in the West. They have mainstream newspapers covering games in the sports section and live TV streaming and radio is available on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Before you jump up and down and say why isn't Football West doing anything about this, all clubs must first look at what they can do also. The Community newspapers are something we should use more to get our game out there to the local community. Every club have a media officer, who use the club’s social media platforms to get information out, and they could write a report on their game and send it to their local community paper, but not many clubs do this. I know Football West send all the NPL reports their own reporters do each week out to community papers, but we need more about the club’s inner workings, something a club media person could bring. Mentioning results from all teams at the club, plus the talented young players coming through the ranks and other club news to get the information out to people who have wandered away from their club and the game in recent seasons.
This article will continue next week in part two.
REDS NEXT UP FOR GLORY
The two in-form Hyundai A-League teams will face off against each other on Sunday afternoon when second placed Perth Glory take on third placed Adelaide United in week four at Coopers Stadium. Both sides have started the season well and are both unbeaten, while The Reds beat Sydney FC to take out the FFA Cup Final, so this one should be a cracker.
The Reds do have a good home record against Glory and have only lost once in their last nine meetings in the City of churches, but that was a stunning 5-0 win to Glory in 2016. The Glory haven't struggled in front of goal recently and have found the net in their last 15 matches, and Andy Keogh is on fire having scored in each of the opening three rounds this season and boasts five in his last six against Adelaide. Glory have been playing some good football with Keogh, Chris Ikonimidis and Joel Chianese all contributing, while wing backs Jason Davidson and Ivan Franjic have both fitted in well to Tony Popovic's new look side. But Sunday is their toughest game of the season, with the Reds on top of their game and Craig Goodwin on fire in front of goal
There are some interesting match-up's in this one, first Reds defender Michael Jakobsen will have his hands full with a confident Keogh. WA-born Scott Galloway and Ryan Strain will need to do a great deal of tracking back to stop the lively Ikonomidis and Chianese, while in the middle of the park Spanish duo Juande and Isaías Sanchez will go head-to-head .
There is still no room for skipper Diego Castro, but Chianese has been outstanding as his replacement and he said he's enjoying his opportunity in the side and working with Popovic. "I pretty much trained most of the pre-season as that right wing back position," Chianese explained. "I had to get really fit and change my game, especially defensively, and then we picked up a few injuries up front and they saw my movement getting in behind defenders and liked what they saw.
"So pretty much a week leading up to the first game of the season I was thrown up there in attack. It was a massive shock. "He (Popovic) has probably been the best coach I've had in terms of what we do on the park. He just demands the best from everyone. If you do slip up, he's very upfront and he'll pull you into his office and he'll let you know this is how it needs to be."
Big defender Alex Grant said the start to the season is good and he puts a lot of the clubs early success down to the new Coach, and he said Sunday's game is another tough test. “His attention to detail is unbelievable,” Grant said. “It’s those little details that can win you titles at the end of the day. We’ve put our trust in him and you listen to what he says.
"There’s a purpose to everything he does. Keeping the ball and being patient, building from the back has been a real focus. We know on Sunday we are going to have to roll our sleeves up and give it to them, and we're expecting a physical, aggressive game, a quick-tempo game.”
Reds striker Craig Goodwin was named as a train on player in the Socceroos squad for the upcoming games against Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, but his focus is on Sunday's game against a good Glory side. “It’s been a good start for me and for the Club as well. We’ve been doing well to start the season I think, so it’s just trying to deliver those performances on a consistent basis," he explained.
"Obviously I’ll need to try and do that against Perth, who for me have probably been the best team so far this year and have made some really good recruitment's and have strong players all across the park. So, I’ll be looking to have another good game there and hopefully help the team as much as I can.”
Adelaide United: GK Paul IZZO, RGK Isaac RICHARDS, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 Scott GALLOWAY, 4 Ryan STRAIN, 5 Taylor REGAN, 6 Vince LIA, 7 Ryan KITTO, 8 Isaías SÁNCHEZ (c), 10 Ken ILSØ, 11 Craig GOODWIN, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Nikola MILEUSNIC, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 31 Mirko BOLAND, 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS - *two to be omitted* - Ins: LIA (promoted), BOLAND (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 9.Baba DIAWARA (knee), 14.George BLACKWOOD (collar bone)
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted** - Ins: DJULBIC (promoted), SPIRANOVIC (promoted), BRIMMER (promoted) - Outs: 16.Tomislav MRCELA (suspended – 1 match) - Unavailable: 11.Brendon SANTALAB (hamstring – 1 week), 17.Diego CASTRO (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 21.Jacob ITALIANO (knee – 1-2 weeks)
GLORY YOUTH BEGIN Y-LEAGUE SEASON
After a successful Football West NPL season behind them Glory Youth will be looking to take that form into the Foxtel Y-League which kicks off this weekend, when the youngsters host Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. (10.30am) The league will see ten clubs divided into two conferences, and we have been drawn in Conference A, along with Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory. In Conference B there is Central Coast Mariners, Canberra United, Newcastle Jets, Sydney and Western Sydney Wanderers, and the winners of each conference will meet in the Grand Final.
Former Glory and Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia will take charge of the youngsters this season and he said it's a challenge they are all looking forward too. "It’s a great challenge for the group but one we’re all looking forward too,” he said. “We’ve brought in some young new faces to the squad and they will be interesting to watch, so we are really excited and have prepared well for the new Foxtel Y-League season.”
Garcia said the players have worked extremely hard at training after a tough NPL season, and they are looking to start the league with a positive performance. "The lads performed well in the NPL last season and it will hold them in good stead for the Y-League, but this is a tough competition with some of the best players in the country,” he explained. “It’s a short season, so we need to be on the front foot early, and it is important to open up with a win and a positive performance against a good Brisbane side.”
Midfielder Zayd Farah was impressive in his debut season in the NPL first team and he said the squad is looking forward to the Foxtel Y-League and continuing their good form. “We’re all looking forward to continuing the good run we’ve had for the last couple of months in the NPL,” he said. “Although we didn’t get the result that we wanted at the end of the season, we know that there were many positives to take from our performances.”
Farah played several games for the Hyundai A-League side in pre-season games and he said it's helped his game, and he said they enter the Y-League competition full of confidence and are determined to start the season with three points. "It was an amazing experience playing with A league and hopefully I can bring that experience to my youth league performances,” he said. “We are well aware it’s a tough competition and starting off with a win will set us up nicely for the season, so the first 3 points is important if will want to get ahead of teams early on in the season.”
HINA “ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC” AT RE-JOINING INGLEWOOD (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Inglewood United has bolstered its attacking options with the recruitment of left winger Hamza Hina. The Jordan youth international will get the opportunity to add to the dozen appearances he made for the club in 2017 after agreeing to a return for the coming National Premier Leagues season.
“I am absolutely ecstatic to be back with Inglewood United,” 21-year old Hina commented. “A part of me will always belong to Inglewood due to the warm way they welcomed me two years ago and how they helped develop me to the next level as a player, but more importantly as a young man.”
“When I left Inglewood at the start of this year, I felt there were some things that were unfinished. My family always taught me ‘If you’re doing something go all the way otherwise don’t even begin’ and now I’m returning to go all the way … I can’t wait to reignite the journey.”
“Going all the way is what we’ll aspire to next year. With a great bunch of players, an esteemed coaching team and a constantly supportive board we will not settle for anything less than number one. It could potentially be my last season in the country and I don’t plan to leave without a bang.”
WILLIAMS SET TO REPRESENT INDIA
Australian defender Aryn Williams is closing in on acquiring an Indian passport making him eligible to represent the Indian national team. Born and raised in Perth, Williams is eligible to play for four countries in Australia, England, Wales and India through his parents’ heritage. His father was born in Kent, while his mother’s family hails from Mumbai.
Already his older brother Rhys is a Socceroo, capped 14 times for the green and gold, who also made 10 appearances for the Welsh Under-21s. His twin brother Ryan, currently on the books of English Championship club Rotherham United, has played for both the Young Socceroos and Olyroos in the past. And now Aryn is closing in on his own international debut.
Williams' focus is on breaking into the Blue Tigers’ set-up. “It’s definitely a dream I’m striving towards and hopefully within the next couple of month I will be able to acquire my Indian passport and represent the Indian national team,” Williams said. “Hopefully I can get an opportunity to prove myself worth enough to play for the Indian national team.”
Williams came through the junior ranks at ECU Joondalup before spending three years with the academy of English Premier League club Burnley. He returned to Australia in 2014 and has had spells with Perth Glory and in the National Premier Leagues with Floreat Athena and Preston Lions (Victoria). But last year he headed back overseas to join newly promoted Neroca.
After starring as a defensive midfielder, Williams has returned to the Imphal-based club for a second campaign. “I’m really enjoying it to be honest,” he said. “When I left at the end of last season I was already looking forward to coming back to India. It was an easy decision to come back. I know the back room staff really well and most of the players stayed on from last season.”
“It’s a tough league and sometimes difficult conditions. One week it’s 15 degrees in the middle of the mountains in the North East of India and the next week you’re playing beach-side in Goa at 35 degrees, so it’s difficult in that aspect. The league is definitely improving and quality foreign players are coming over for this season so it’s turning out to be an exciting season ahead.”
Neroca won the I-League’s second division in 2017 to secure promotion, and then finished second on the table in the top flight last season. Williams explains that Imphal, the capital centre of the state of Manipur and with a population of over 400,000, is dominated by football and not cricket.
“Football is definitely the number one sport here,” he said. “Neroca is great, it’s like a big family and they’ve made me and my partner, Kate, so welcome here. The people are so friendly and the fans are brilliant as well. Imphal is a quiet city but I have enjoyed it so far and it’s a great place for sight-seeing, with waterfalls and temples.”
The Orange Brigade have made a slow start to the I-League and are currently bottom with a draw and a loss after two rounds. “Our goal this season is to finish as high as possible and we’ve given ourselves a top four finish goal and I think that is pretty realistic to be honest,” the defender said. “Hopefully we can do one better then last season and finish on top of the table.”
WA WIN SECOND GAME IN MALAYSIA
WA Gold Fields State Amateur team have continued their good form in Malaysia after a 3-0 win against Samarahan FC on Wednesday evening. Second half goals from Jayden Drummond, Sean Johnson and David Palin gave Colm Costello’s side the win. “It was a very good win on a very difficult pitch for both teams,” Costello said. “Because of the conditions we struggled to get the ball down and play but saying that we created lots of chances in first 45 minutes but couldn’t find the back on the net. “We had good chat at half time and all agreed the first goal was needed to calm things down and we went on with it which was pleasing. I was very happy with the win and every player but a solid shift in another victory and it sets up a cracking cup final for winner takes all game against Sarawak On Friday.”
Both sides had chances in the first half, the better falling to WA, but they couldn’t find the opener, but the pitch was taking its toll, in very poor conditions. But eight minutes into the second half the WA side did find the opener. Paul McCormack found space out wide and crossed to Drummond who headed home into the top corner. They doubled their lead 10 minutes later, a well worked move ended with Ben Greaves, who found Tom Grant, his cross found Johnson, who held off his marker and fired into the net.
WA sealed the win late when Graves crossed from the right and Palin made no mistake from close-range. Palin said it was a great night and a fantastic performance. “The opposition put on a ceremony before the game and to see the kids with big smiles on their faces performing for us was a highlight of the trip so far,” he said. “On the pitch conditions the team faced were probably nothing we would experience in Perth, so to put in a performance that was at a level that everyone could be proud of and take away the win was the most important thing.
“We have it all to play for Friday night now after two wins, the equation is simple win and we bring home the trophy, preparation has been really good, and everyone is looking forward to the game.” Keeper Paul Rainford said the side were great in atrocious conditions. “The boys played really well, in what was almost unplayable conditions,” he said. “In the first half we had some great chances but just couldn’t put them away, but in the second half we played well and got all the goals which was fully deserved.”
NO END IN SIGHT FOR MATILDAS VETERAN DE VANNA
Lisa De Vanna should be in the twilight of her career. But with her body and mind in perfect sync, the Matildas veteran has no intention of hanging up the boots anytime soon. De Vanna turns 34 next Wednesday. Most footballers would be fortunate to still be playing professionally at that age, but the one-time 'wild child' of the women's game in Australia has found a second wind.
It's easy to understand why. The Matildas have hit the home stretch on the road to next year's World Cup in France, where they are expected to be among the top contenders to win it. Then there's the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and after that there will be a World Cup on home soil in 2023. De Vanna wants to be part of it all - but she doesn't want to overstay her welcome.
"I'll never be a person who will play for the sake of who I am and just stay in the team," De Vanna said. "I want to play and leave when people go, 'You know what? She was the best player and she's left the game at a high level.' I never want it to be, 'It's time for her to leave'. I just take every tournament, every game as it comes."
The country's leading international scorer with 45 goals, De Vanna is just nine caps away from matching Cheryl Salisbury's all-time record of 151 international appearances for Australia. It seems like a formality that she will break it. The question is, what will the new mark be?
"If I can physically match up and I'm in the right headspace - and that for me is more important than anything - then I will play on to the Olympics," De Vanna said. "My body's great and that's the most important thing for me. If my body's good and mentally, I'm good, then I feel good, I can keep pushing.
"It would be fantastic if I could push on to 2023 if we can get it at home. I will be involved, somehow, in some sort of capacity - if not as a player, something, anything. I've given a lot to the country and I've left some sort of legacy and been a pioneer for football, so it'd be nice to get something in return."
VERSATILE IREDALE OUT FOR PREMIERSHIP PLACE
West Australian Jack Iredale has been Greenock Morton's Mr Fix It this season and is targeting promotion into Scotland's top flight. The 22-year old, who was on Perth Glory's books for three and half years, is fast establishing himself in the Scottish Championship.
This season Iredale has made 12 appearances, scoring one goal and notching three assists in league and cup competitions. Normally a centre or left back, he has amazingly been used in seven different positions already this campaign. His utility value has been fully demonstrated with stints at left wing, centre midfield, central defence, wing back and as a fullback.
On Saturday the former ECU Joondalup junior grabbed one goal and two assists in an impressive 5-1 rout of Partick Thistle. "It was a good day," Iredale told ftbl.com.au. "I'm enjoying my football. I’m enjoying the season a lot more when I’m playing, it was a bit stop-start (early on)."
"I've been asked to play multiple positions, about seven or so up till now. But I've been in at left wing back the past few games (and) getting a string of 90-minute performances together. It's been hard in a sense that it’s difficult find a rhythm, but also I’ve got attributes I can use there that helps."
Morton are in the hunt at the top half of the table and currently sit in fourth spot, nine points below league leaders Ayr. The Scottish Championship champion are automatically promoted, while the clubs that finish second, third and fourth go into the play-offs for the final spot in top flight.
Iredale says Morton are pushing hard to get to the top. "We're aiming as high up as possible," he said. "We've got our eyes on the playoffs for sure. (But) we need to sort our consistency I think. I would love to play in the Premiership. "I want to play as high as possible."
JONES 'STABLE' AFTER FRIGHTENING HEAD INJURY
Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones is stable and will be released from hospital tomorrow following a frightening head injury sustained playing in Saudi Arabia. The 36-year old was left unconscious for several minutes after an accidental collision with the knee of teammate Bruno Uvini in the 75th minute of Al Nassr's 2-0 loss to Al Ahli.
Jones had raced off his line to block Djaniny's opportunity, which was squared for Omar Al Somah to score to make it 1-0. The match was then halted for almost ten minutes as Al Nassr's medical staff tended to Jones, who initially lay motionless. He was eventually taken from the field on a stretcher after he regained consciousness and then immediately rushed out of the stadium in an ambulance.
Al Nassr confirmed Jones was taken to hospital and has remained there since his arrival. While he is expected to be released tomorrow, Jones is likely to be out of action for six weeks. That would rule him out of this month's Socceroos friendlies against Lebanon and Kuwait which will be crucial preparation for the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates.
BARNETT RETURNS TO INGLEWOOD (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Inglewood United has continued its off-season activity with the recruitment of Mark Barnett. The 22-year old defender returns to Inglewood fresh from a five-month spell at Scottish Premiership club Heart of Midlothian and following three productive years with Forrestfield United.
“I’m very excited to be joining Inglewood for a second time,” commented Barnett. “The Club has a great culture and a great bunch of lads full of quality. Inglewood has been very competitive over the last few seasons and I want to be part of the push for the league title under Trim Morgan.”
Barnett has matured greatly since he was with Inglewood in 2015, when medical reasons restricted him to only three senior appearances. “I improved greatly with consistent first team game time at Forrestfield and I recently returned from Scotland after extended trials with Hearts,” he explained.
“I want to continue my development next season by playing as many first team games as possible and focusing of the consistency of my performances. I hate losing - all I want is to win and to enjoy it in the process. I’m excited to link back-up with the old and the new faces at Inglewood United … I can’t wait to get started!”
KERR, DE VANNA, WILLIAMS IN MATILDAS SQUAD
Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has included West Australian trio Sam Kerr, Lisa De Vanna and Lydia Williams in his 20-player squad for the upcoming two-game friendly series with Chile. Australia meets the South American's on home soil in Penrith (10th November) and Newcastle (13th November).
“Our upcoming matches against Chile represent a key part of our ongoing preparation for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France,” Stajcic said. “With the draw for the tournament being held next month, it is vital that we continue to play and familiarise ourselves with a diverse range of opponents.”
The Matilda's squad to play Chile is Michelle Heyman (Adelaide United), Alex Chidiac (Atletico Madrid), Katrina Gorry, Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Ellie Carpenter (Canberra United), Sam Kerr (Perth Glory), Tameka Butt, Elise Kellond-Knight (Melbourne City), Laura Alleway, Emily Gielnik, Lydia Williams (Melbourne Victory), Larissa Crummer, Emily Van Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Princess Ibini-Isei, Alanna Kennedy, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Sayer (Sydney FC) and Mackenzie Arnold (unattached).
WA GOLDFIELD STATE TEAM OPEN TOUR WITH BIG WIN
WA Gold Fields State Amateur team have begun their tour of Malaysia with a 5-0 win against Kuching in Sarawak on Monday evening. It was Kingsley's Jayden Drummond who opened the scoring early, when Leeming's Ben Greaves played a great through ball for the winger to race on to, and he outpaced the last defender before finding the bottom corner of the net. In hot and steamy conditions, the WA side continued to control the game and added a second before the break. Leeming's David Palin found space on the edge of the box and he finished clinically to send WA 2-0 up at the break.
Colm Costello's side went on with it after the break and Palin added his second, a stunning long-range shot via the crossbar to make it 3-0. It was 4-0 when Kingsley’s Lee Thomas' free kick was flicked past the Kuching keeper by Wembley Downs defender Anthony Jones. Drummond made it 5-0 when Jones sent him clear and he eased past his marker and finished with aplomb to give the WA Gold Fields WA Amateur side a great start to their three-game tour.
"The conditions were tough out there, but the work rate from the lads, all over the park was first class," Drummond said post-match. "They (Kuching) weren’t a bad side, and technically quite good, but it was good to see we took our chances, which was something we have spoken about prior to the game about sharpening it up in the final third and we defiantly did that."
Starting side v Kuching - GK Paul Rainford, 3 Paul McCormack, 4 Ben Greaves, 5 Billy Wright, 6 Jayden Drummond, 8 Lee Thomas, 11 Tom Grant, 12 Jay McDonald, 13 David Palin, 14 Anthony Jones, 15 Ago Mojic - Subs - RGK Jordan Jones, 2 Niall Murray, 7 Eamon Kelly, 9 Sean Johnson, 10 Ryan Fish
WA play their second game against Samarahan FC on Wednesday before the final game against a SWAK Project team on Friday.
LYDEN HAS NO REGRETS
Jordan Lyden is glad he decided to link up with Oldham Athletic after being one or two advised him against the idea during the close season. The 22-year old midfielder is at Boundary Park on loan from Aston Villa, and he has impressed following an injury-interrupted start to his Athletic stint.
Asked for his early impressions of the cut and thrust of League Two football, Lyden said: “Each team is different obviously, they’ve all got their strengths and they’ve all got their weaknesses. To be honest I’ve been surprised with exactly how many teams do try and get the ball down and play football.”
“Some people said to me in the summer ‘oh, you don’t want to go down there’. They said it’s long ball football and because I’m a midfielder, it would just go over my head. But (manager) Frankie Bunn likes to get the ball down and we have got some really good technical players at the club. That’s definitely the way I want to play, so I am really enjoying it here so far.”
“It’s really opened my eyes because it is my first loan spell away from Villa. Obviously picking up the injury so soon after I arrived was disappointing, but the lads are great here and they’ve helped me settle in. I’ve spoken to the gaffer at length, and he’s got faith in me, so hopefully we can all push the club to where we need to be, where it belongs.”
“For me personally, I just need game time now. Villa have told me that if I get game time here, then we can talk about a new contract when I go back. I’d like to stay here for the season, get Oldham promoted and then hopefully I can push on back at Villa from there.”
Perth-born Lyden, an Australia under-20 international, was first spotted by Villa 14 years ago. He played locally for ECU Joondalup and moved to England at the age of 12 to join the Villa academy. Four years later signed his first professional contract.
Asked about his preferred role in the team, Lyden said: “I do like to sit in front of the back four, break up play, then hopefully give the ball to the more effective, more technically gifted players. At the same time, though, I can grab a goal.”
“Probably my best attribute is my discipline. I can sit in the middle of the park, I know my position and my role, and sometimes that’s the main thing you need. Hopefully everyone can push forward, leaving me to drop back and guard against the counter-attack, just in case we do lose the ball.
“I’ve spoken to the gaffer about my role in the team of course, and we both know now what he wants from me. It’s just about going out there and doing it now.” After missing Athletic's last three games, Lyden returned to action as a 75th minutes substitute in yesterday's 3-2 loss to Stevenage.
GLORY PRODUCE A GREAT FIGHT BACK TO EARN A POINT
Perth Glory produced a sensational comeback to maintain their unbeaten start to the Westfield W-League after a 4-4 draw against Canberra United at McKellar Park on Sunday afternoon. The ground hadn't been a good hunting ground for Glory and it looked like it would continue with eight minutes to go, as they trailed 4-1. Glory did take the lead in the fifth minute with Denise O'Sullivan turning the ball into her own net. But it went downhill from there, with Refiloe Jane converting a penalty and further goals from Rhoda Mulaudzi and Maria Rojasgave the home side a 3-1 lead at the break. Glory then had Sarah Carroll sent off and when Jane converted a second penalty it looked game over, but Glory had other ideas. Alyssa Mautz reduced the arrears, before Leticia McKenna volleyed home, and then in stoppage time Scottish defender Rachel Corsie diverted Sam Kerr's cross into her own net to ensure that the spoils would be shared.
"It was very exciting," Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said. "The game itself, I think we had most of the play from the back, but we struggled to create anything up front in the first half and got caught a couple of times. Everything that Canberra created in the first half was from our own mistakes and we need to eliminate those if we are to progress. In the second half, we brought on a couple of young players who managed to provide Sam (Kerr) with the right kind of service and we got back into the game. If the game had gone another five minutes, we might well have won it, but I'm not complaining; we came back from 4-1 down."
After last week’s draw in Brisbane Glory made two changes in the starting side for this one, with Kerr and Nicole Stanton coming into the side for Jamie-Lee Gale (omitted) and Abbey Meakins who dropped to the bench. The visitors made a perfect start, hitting the front on five minutes. Stanton’s corner was headed into her own net by O'Sullivan. But the lead lasted only two minutes when Laura Hughes was brought down in the box by Kim Carroll and referee Lara Lee pointed straight to the spot, and Jane steeped up and restored parity from the resulting penalty.
The hosts hit the front on the half hour mark, a corner from Jane was headed down by Corsie, and Mulaudzi swept the ball home from close-range. The home side added to their lead on the stroke of half time, Rojas won the ball in midfield and raced to the edge of the box and her stunning strike gave Glory keeper Eliza Campbell no chance, so at the break Glory had it all to do.
Glory needed a good start after half time and they went close early when Kerr went one-on-one with Shamiran Khamis, but the Canberra keeper saved superbly to deny her, and Mautz's follow up shot was blocked. But Glory suffered another blow on 65 minutes when Sarah Carroll received her second yellow card and was sent off. Campbell then did well to deny Mulaudzi as the home side looked to put the game to bed, and 12 minutes from time it looked game over when Canberra added a third. Nicki Flannery was brought down in the box by and Jane made no mistake from the spot to give the home side a 4-1 lead.
But Glory had other ideas and they hit back, led superbly by skipper Kerr, and with eight minutes remaining they reduced the margin. The skipper cut in from the left and crossed to Mautz, who brought the ball down well and finished low past Khamis. It looked like just a consolation goal, but Glory weren’t finished and five minutes later it was 4-3. Rachel Hill found Kerr in the box who's shot was blocked by Corsie, the ball falling to McKenna on the edge of the penalty area and she marked her senior debut by thumping home a stunning volley. The comeback was completed on 91 minutes, Kerr again was the supplier her run and cross from the left was turned into her own net by the unfortunate Corsie to give Glory a point in a stunning comeback
Canberra United: GK Shamiran KHAMIS, 2 Laura HUGHES (21 Ellie CARPENTER 68'), 3 Natasha PRIOR, 4 Rachel CORSIE (c), 5 Nikola ORGILL, 6 Refiloe JANE, 9 Rhoda MULAUDZI (13 Megan MCELLIGOTT 86'), 11 Denise O'SULLIVAN, 16 Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 19 Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23 Maria JOSE ROJAS (7 Aoife COLVILL 75') - Subs not used: RGK Melissa MAIZELS
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY (6 Abbey MEAKINS 78'), 7 Nicole STANTON, 9 Rachel HILL, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (11 Leticia MCKENNA 66'), 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY (12 Jenna ONIONS 66'), 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Stacey CAVILL - Red cards: Sarah Carroll 65' - Referee: Lara Lee
GLORY HOLD ON TO BEAT THE ROAR
Perth Glory moved joint top of the Hyundai A-League table after a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar in Week three at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. Skipper Andy Keogh opened the scoring early, this after he was denied the opener by a stunning double save from Roar keeper Jamie Young. Glory doubled their lead on the hour when Keogh's cross was turned into his own net by Connor O'Toole. Roar hadn't really threatened in the game but found a lifeline five minutes from time when former Glory striker Adam Taggart converted from the spot after he was brought down by Tomislav Mrcela, who was sent off.
It left nine-minutes of nervous moments for the 9,446 Glory supporters, but the ten men held on for the win and maintained their unbeaten start to the new campaign. "It's great for the players and whether they admit to it or not, there's always a little bit of anxiety in the players whether they show it on the field," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said. "You want to win that first one at home. We didn't pull it off against the Wanderers but tonight was another improved performance and they well and truly deserved the win."
Popovic kept the same side that beat Melbourne Victory on the road last week, while Chris Harold returned to the bench after illness, but there was still no Diego Castro, who is still struggling with a hamstring injury. Buoyed by the huge win at the Champions last week the Glory were on the front foot early and went close to the opener on six minutes Jason Davidson raced down the left and his cross picked out Keogh, whose header was well saved by Young, the Roar custodian then reacted superbly to tip Keogh's follow up header on to the bar, before the keeper pounced on the loose ball, a contender for save of the season there.
But nine minutes later the Glory did hit the front. Chris Ikonomidis who was the supplier, racing down the left and into the box before crossing low to Keogh, who nipped in front of his marker to steer the ball past Young. Glory looked dangerous going forward, with Ikonomidis a constant threat and on 23 minutes he found space in the middle of the park before finding Davidson, whose dangerous low cross was claimed by Young. The crowd were on the edge of their seats as Glory continued to press and Shane Lowry's header was straight at Young on the half hour.
But moments later the Roar should have levelled, when Brazilian striker Henrique was sent clear, one-on-one with Liam Reddy, but the Glory custodian stood tall to deny him. In only his second start for Glory, Ikonomidis was on fire, and he went close himself on 36 minutes. He found space on the edge of the box, and his shot on the turn flashed over the top. Roar pressed late in the half, but Glory held firm to go into the sheds one to the good.
Roar started the second half as they had finished the first and Reddy had to be alert again five minutes in when O'Toole's cross deflected off Lowry and was going in at the near post, but Reddy reacted well to keep it out. Glory hit back on 58 minutes when Joel Chianese picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and his volley flew inches over the top. Glory were now on top and Davidson fired over the top before Chianese was denied by Young. Glory needed a second goal after all their pressure and on 62 minutes they found it.
Great feet from Keogh in the box saw him bamboozle Avram Papadopoulos and his shot was turned home by the unfortunate O'Toole, much to the delight of the Shed. The home side went close to a third six minutes later, when substitute Scott Neville found Ikonomidis, whose first time shot whistled over the top. Glory were well in control and it looked like it would be an easy three points but that changed five minutes from time when Henrique played in Taggart, who was bundled over by Mrcela, and referee Daniel Elder pointed to the spot.
It got worse for Glory when Mrcela was given a straight red card, after being deemed the last man, and Taggart picked himself and kept his nerves to send Reddy the wrong way to reduce the margin. Roar were on the front foot now and pressed for the equaliser but despite having plenty of possession they couldn't find a way past a hard-working Glory defence. Roar coach John Aloisi wasn't happy post-match about his team's slow start. "I'm angry because of the way we started. We gave them too much space and time especially at the start," he said. "We were too stretched, and it wasn't good enough. We can't keep on starting like that. You come away from home and you expect the opposition are going to come at you a little bit. But you can't give them that space."
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON (23 Scott NEVILLE 62'), 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH (C), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (22 Fabio FERREIRA 85'), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY (5 Brandon WILSON 76') - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 14Chris HAROLD - Red cards: Mrcela 85'
Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Adam TAGGART, 11 Eric BAUTHEAC, 14 Alex LOPEZ, 16 Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 17 Matt MCKAY (C) (22 Tobias MIKKELSEN 66'), 19 Jack HINGERT (2 Dane INGHAM 85'), 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 33 HENRIQUE (26 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 85') - Subs not used: RGK Brendan WHITE, 4 Daniel BOWLES - Referee: Daniel Elder
GLORY TO ROAR AT HOME
Perth Glory return to the nib Stadium on Saturday evening when they host Brisbane Roar in Week three of the Hyundai A-League. (7.00pm WA Time) Tony Popovic's side go into the game on the back of the last gasp win against reigning Champions Melbourne Victory last week, a win that moved them joint top of the table. Chris Ikonamidis' goal was a perfect end to the game, after the Glory dominated the first half and led 2-0, but Victory hit back to level late.
In the past Glory would have gone on to lose it, but there is a steely resolve amongst the group, which is a typical Popovic trademark. Liam Reddy was outstanding between the sticks, along with a solid defence, again something Popovic has brought to the table since his appointment, while a busy midfield and strike force caused Victory all sorts of problems, so it bodes well for the season, but it's still early days.
This week former Glory striker Adam Taggart returns to with his Brisbane side, who are also unbeaten this season, but have drawn two, both at home. Taggart will be a handful, but the Roar have some other match winners, including Matt Mckay, Eric Bautheac and our nemeses Henrique, who always seems to score against us.
Glory will again be without skipper Diego Castro, whose hamstring injury has kept him out of the opening two games, and It looks like Popovic will air on caution with the Spaniard, while Chris Harold and Brendan Santalab are also unavailable for selection with illness and injury respectively. Popovic has added Matt Spiranovic and Dino Djulbic to the 24-man squad.
Defender Shane Lowry has been in outstanding form at the back, and he insists there won't be any hard feelings when they meet Brisbane Roar, and former striker Taggart. When the striker left last season Glory owner Tony Sage gave him a serve in the media, calling him a liar in a brutal Facebook spray, so it will be interesting to see how he's greeted by Glory fans on the night.
Taggart has looked sharp in the two games this season and will be one Lowry will need to keep an eye out for, but he said his decision to leave the club was all part of football and he said it will be just another game and another striker to mark. "It's part of football - players leave football clubs. That's just the way it is," he said. "It's no dramas for any of the players. It's just part of the business. There’re no ill-feelings from the players or anything like that. Every player has to look after themselves. I'm sure he's focused on trying to score against us, and we'll be trying to keep him quiet."
Lowry's performance in the win at Victory earned him a spot in the 'Team of the Week', while Taggart has already scored one goal this season, but he has also missed several other chances, as they opened the season with draws against Central Coast and Wellington. But for Lowry it's all about building on the win last week and he said competition for spots in the side is intense - and that's just the way he likes it. "It keeps everyone on their toes, for me personally that's a good thing," he said. "To take three points off the champions on their home turf is a massive mental boost for the players, the staff, and the club."
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SPIRANOVIC (promoted), DJULBIC (promoted) - Unavailable: 11 Brendon SANTALAB (hamstring – 1 week), 17 Diego CASTRO (hamstring – 1-2 weeks), 21 Jacob ITALIANO (knee – 1-2 weeks)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, RGK Brendan WHITE, 2 Dane INGHAM, 4 Daniel BOWLES, 6 Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Adam TAGGART, 11 Eric BAUTHEAC, 13 Stefan MAUK, 14 Alex LOPEZ, 17 Matt MCKAY (c), 18 Joe CALETTI, 19 Jack HINGERT, 22 Tobias MIKKELSEN, 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 26 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 33 HENRIQUE - *two to be omitted* - Ins: INGHAM (returns from injury), CALETTI (promoted) - Unavailable: 10 Brett HOLMAN (knee – TBC)
GLORY HOPING TO END CANBERRA HOODOO
Perth Glory head to the Capital on Sunday when they take on Canberra United at McKellar Park in Round Two of the Westfield W-League. (1.00pm WA Time) It’s not been a happy hunting ground for Bobby Despotovski’s side, losing on their last eight visits, and the home side will go into the game with confidence after beating Melbourne City in the opening round.
Glory do regain the services of skipper Sam Kerr, midfielder Nikki Stanton and Leticia McKenna from international duty and the coach is confident they can end their losing run in Canberra. "It's going to be a very hard game, but the girls are extremely focused and are going to do everything they can to bring a positive result back to Perth," he told the Glory website. “Everyone is expecting Canberra to win, so we will go as the underdogs and rightly so given our record over there. But we like it like that. We'll enjoy being the underdogs and will look to put the cat among the pigeons."
Glory secured a hard fought 1-1 draw at Brisbane Roar last time out and according to the coach, the presence of Kerr and Stanton will give the side a greater level of tactical flexibility as they look to improve upon that performance and result. "We were disappointed that we dropped two points by conceding in the last two minutes of the game at Brisbane," Despotovski said. “But in saying that, we didn't have a full-strength side and overall, it was a pleasing performance under the circumstances. This year we are going to try and play in a couple of different styles so that we can adapt to each individual game.
"Sam and Nikki are integral to that, so it's very important for us to have those two back. Canberra are a well-structured side with some very quick players who can hurt you on the break and they have one of the league's most influential players in Ellie Carpenter, so we'll need to be at our best to get the better of them."
Canberra United squad: GK Melissa MAIZELS, GK Shamiran KHAMIS, 2 Laura HUGHES, 3 Natasha PRIOR, 4 Rachel CORSIE (c), 5 Nikola ORGILL, 6 Refiloe JANE, 7 Aoife COLVILL, 9 Rhoda MULAUDZI, 11 Denise O'SULLIVAN, 13 Meaghan MCELLIGOTT, 16 Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 17 Madelyn WHITTALL, 18 Taren KING, 19 Nickoletta FLANNERY, 21 Ellie CARPENTER, 23 Maria JOSE ROJAS - *two to be omitted* - Ins: COLVILL (Return from International Duty), ROESTBAKKEN (Return from International Duty)
Perth Glory FC squad: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, GK Stacey CAVILL, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Abbey MEAKINS, 7 Nicole STANTON , 9 Rachel HILL, 11 Leticia MCKENNA , 12 Jenna ONIONS, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Alexia MORENO, 17 Liana COOK, 18 Isabella FOLETTA, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - *three to be omitted* - Ins: STANTON (return from suspension), KERR (return from suspension), MCKENNA (returns from international duty) - Outs: 13 Jamie-Lee GALE (omitted)
CLISBY ENJOYING LIFE ON THE CENTRAL COAST
Defender Jack Clisby is loving life at Central Coast Mariners, who he says have the bbest club culture he has ever been a part of. The 26-year old West Australian joined the Mariners from Western Sydney Wanderers over the off-season and has made a strong start to life under coach Mike Mulvey.
“My move up to the Mariners has been fantastic; the club, the culture, it’s the best culture I’ve felt within a playing group,” Clisby said. “Everyone’s on the same level, no one’s better than anyone else, we’re all a team, we’re all united, which is what I really love about this club.
“The togetherness that Mike and Monty (assistant coach Nick Montgomery) they’ve brought and their ideas, everyone respects their decisions, playing or not playing, whatever he says goes. Everyone respects that and is fighting to get in the team so there’s no bitterness and that’s what you need in a squad. It’s fantastic.”
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This page was last updated on the 1st November, 2018