Fremantle City vs Perth Glory


by Robert Gibbons with the assistance of Gerry Prewitt
Bernd Stange's decisions get stranger and stranger as the season goes on. His handling of his troops in this friendly against an enthusiastic Fremantle City in front of a subdued crowd of 4,000 fans was worse than the Grand Final loss. He may have won over some disgruntled fans with his starting line up, but lost the plot at half time.

Kasey Wehrman, PJ Roberts and Brad Maloney provided the aggression and service in central midfield that Damian Mori and young Nick Mrdja thrived on and within the opening two minutes they had hit the woodwork twice. Then in the 5th minute Mrdja finished off some good approach play by slotting home from close range. City were always looking for the quick counter attack, but generally the visitors backline of Ljubo Milicevic, Vinko Buljubasic and Craig Deans had matters under control until the 15th minute when a clumsy tackle by Todd Harnwell resulted in a penalty. Former Glory striker Dale Wingell's tame spot kick was well saved by Tom Tomich.

Shortly after that Wehrman showed the class he is capable of with a deft pass wide to Alistair Edwards whose burst down the left side and quality cross found Harnwell in the box where he redeemed himself by scoring Glory's second goal. In the 35th minute Maloney showed why he will be such an asset when fully match fit. Picking up a pass from Roberts in midfield he sprayed the ball to Buljubasic wide on the right, then he set off towards the near post, but then left defenders ball watching as he drifted to the back post as the cross came in. As the ball dropped loose he was unmarked for a shot on goal that City's defence did well to deflect for a corner.

At half time Glory were worth their 2-0 lead and Mrdja proved there's plenty of talent in the local competition, but Stange lost the plot after that. He pushed Edwards up front as promised but surprised everyone by sending Mori to left wing back! What next Vinko as goalie!!! In the 50th minute Mrdja set Edwards up for what should have been the sealer but the former marksman stuffed up twice, the 2nd time missing the target altogether. Stange then subbed Mrdja before he could further cement an understanding with Edwards. It was then that City lead by former Glory midfielder Paul McVittie seized the initiative, as the visitor's fire was bernd out by confusion.

While Fremantle lacked the combined talent of their N.S.L. opponents they made up for it with desire and invention. The latter Glory have sadly lacked at set pieces and it was set pieces that was to prove their undoing. City's opening goal came from a corner that was hit hard and away from goal and beautifully headed home by McVittie as Glory's defence stood flatfooted by the unorthodox corner. Wehrman had a chance to extend Glory's lead in the first half, but blasted his free kick over the bar. William Pryce (brother of Shane) had no such problems from a similar position. His perfectly executed free kick drew gasps of appreciation from the crowd and leveled the scores after 70 minutes.

By now Maloney was tiring, Roberts and Wehrman were getting in each other's way as Glory lacked leadership and cohesion. City smelt an upset and continually broke quickly on the counter attack when Glory's forward thrusts broke down. With 5 minutes to go Milicevic and Wingell wrestled for the ball in the box and the Glory man was adjudged to have fouled. This time with great courage Wingell made no mistake from the spot. This gained City a hard thought win and a lot of credit for the local game but has Bernd finally lost the plot, like Roberts did minutes before the end when he was sent off for excessive abusive of the referee.


by Michael Mullin
It was more like a family reunion at Fremantle last night, Friday, when Perth Glory met Fremantle City in a friendly caused by the demise of Carlton Football Club. In what could be considered an upset Fremantle won 3 - 2. As well as the thirteen appearing for Glory, Fremantle fielded a few former Glory players of their own. Their scorers included former Glory players Paul McVittie and Dean Wingell. Their other scorer was Will Pryce, brother of Glory player Shane Pryce. Wingell also missed a penalty in the first half, given when former Glory player Vlad Beretovac was adjudged to half been brought down in the penalty area.

This was a match of two distinct halves. Glory completely dominated the first. They lead 2 - 0 at half-time, a score that could easily have been many times more. They eased up considerably in the second, and made some personnel and positional changes that caused them to lose their shape. To their credit Fremantle kept on fighting and took advantage of Glory's slackness to pull back the two goal advantage and convert a late penalty to win. Fremantle were also aided by an indulgent display of refereeing by Angelo Nardi, who gave them two debatable penalties, and allowed some very dubious tackles and a lot of shirt pulling and holding by the Fremantle defence to go unpunished. Even a bout of fisticuffs from Dale Wingell only got him a talking to, so when PJ Roberts got sent off for a very innocuous tackle, we can only guess at the magnitude of his crime.

The match started with a series of Glory attacks. In the second minute first Mori, then Mrdja from the rebound, hit the same post. That set the scene for the rest of the first half. Mrdja scored the first goal, and his first for Glory, in the 6th minute when he picked up a through pass on the left, held off a challenge, and picked his spot in the far corner. Fremantle did fight back. Vlad Beretovac was causing problems on the left for Tod Harnwell. In the 14th minute Harnwell was caught for pace by Beretovac and was then adjudged to have fouled him in the penalty area. Dale Wingell took the kick and his rather feeble attempt was beaten away by Tom Tomic. Michael Mirco brought a fine high save from Tomic a few minutes later with a good turn and shot from the right of the penalty area.

However, Fremantle were under siege for long periods and only desperation, luck and brilliant goalkeeping kept the score to 0 - 2. At times there were nine Fremantle defenders in their six-yard area. Wehrman, three times, and Maloney, twice, sent long range shots over the bar. Mrdja was a constant threat and both he and Mori had countless shots beaten out by the massed defence. A long stream of Glory corners was successfully kept out as well. The second goal came in the 20th minute when Todd Harnwell ran through the middle of the Fremantle defence and met a long pass from Edwards. He turned neatly and with only the keeper to beat scored his first goal for Glory. The Glory defence of Deans and Buljabasic, with Milicivic sweeping, was mainly untroubled. When Fremantle did manage to get out of defence their strikers, Wingell and Correira, got very little freedom.

The second half was a different story. Incomprehensively, Glory switched Edwards to striker with Mori moving to left wingback. Glory seemed to lose interest. Their midfield dominance gradually disappeared. Mrdja was substituted by Naglieri, with Maloney moving forward to the striker's position. From then on Glory relied on long balls for Maloney and Edwards to chase. Fremantle's massed defence with Dean Wallace and Will Pryce, having been completely outplayed by Mori and Mrdja with the ball at their feet, were well able to cope with this changed tactic. Glory did break through the Fremantle defence. Edwards was put clear by Mrdja and pushed his shot weakly against the keeper and then blasted the rebound wide.

Fremantle were now coming back into the game. They started to win a few corners and from one they got their first goal in the 53th minute when McVittie on the edge of the box met the ball with a fine header that went through the defence low and into the goal. The equaliser came in the 79th minute, from a free kick about twenty five metres out in front of goal. Will Pryce's shot over the defensive wall deceived substitute goalkeeper Cargill and dipped into the goal inside the left post. When only a few minutes to play, the referee adjudged Wingell had been fouled by Milicivic when they went for a through ball and gave a penalty. This time Wingell converted and the Fremantle players went wild. In the last minute, after an innocuous tackle on the halfway line, Roberts was shown a red card.

Best players for Fremantle. There weren't any really. The gap between the local Premier League and the NSL is now vast. Fremantle were not up to the standard of even the weakest team that has come to Perth Oval this season. Players who caught the eye were goalkeeper Sam Tomea, Wallace, Pryce, McVittie, and Wingell. For Glory it is difficult to pick out any players, given the quality of the opposition. Mrdja caused a lot of problems for the Fremantle defence. Wehrman's workload was prodigious but his distribution is still suspect. Buljabasic after a slow start had a very sound game and looked like his old self going forward a few times in the second half. In the second half the whole Glory team looked like they would rather have been somewhere else. Although the scoreline shows a Fremantle win, there was little to support the argument that Fremantle are ready to enter the NSL, especially with the squad on show last night. The main question that could be asked was why did Glory bother to come out for the second half?

This page was last updated on the 6th April, 2001

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