The PGFC Academy First Team fought out a 0-0 draw with Sorrento in wet and windy conditions at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
The draw kept the youngsters five points clear at the top of the Football West NPL table, but they had the better chances to win the contest and were only kept at bay by some fine saves from Sorrento ‘keeper, James Morgan.
Head Coach John Gibson said it was a hard-fought game in very tough conditions and that his players deserved great credit for their recent impressive run of 11 games unbeaten.
“It was a tough outing today,” he said. “The pitch was extremely heavy, but it was a great experience for our players to play in and adapt themselves to the tough conditions.
“We competed and matched them in the physical contest and kept a clean sheet which is fantastic in those conditions, but our front-third play was pretty disappointing.
“It was super to hand a starting debut to young Nic McDonald who was part of very young back five [including ‘keeper Jackson Lee] who, with Dan Walsh, acquitted themselves maturely and handled any threats Sorrento posed.”
Walsh returned from the Australian Joeys training camp on Thursday night and slotted straight back into the back four and Gibson was pleased with the whole backline as they kept their sixth clean sheet of the season.
“We thought our defence as a whole was outstanding today,” he said. “It was a new back-four as we were without Luke Bodnar and Walter Scott through suspension, the first game they have missed this season.
“Sorrento are pretty direct and we coped with it well and when called upon, Jackson [Lee] was focused and pulled off a couple of good saves.
“So, to come to Percy Doyle in atrocious conditions and come home with a positive result is a huge plus, but we are still disappointed not to have taken all three points.”
Glory’s squad depth was tested for this one, with the absence of suspended duo Scott and Bodnar compounded by the loss of Yacoub Mustafa and Daniel Stynes to the senior squad for Monday’s game against Chelsea at Optus Stadium.
The conditions were so bad in the northern suburb that the Under-18s game was abandoned at half time, while the Under 20s game was postponed and it was still heavy under foot when the First Team got underway.
The pitch made the first half a real arm-wrestle, with clear cut chances few and far between and neither goalkeeper seriously tested.
After the break it was the hosts first to threaten, with Danny Jones finding space in the penalty area only to fire straight at Lee.
Glory duly lifted, however and started to take control, striker Michael Domfeh seeing his shot pushed away by James Morgan at full stretch and the Gulls”keeper producing a similarly impressive stop to keep out an Ollie Annis free kick.
Michael McDougall and Henry Hore also went close in the latter stages, but were ultimately forced to settle for a point which Annis felt they fully deserved.
“It was very tough conditions with the wind and rain,” he said, “but it’s the same for both teams and we dug deep to earn a point.
“We had to make changes today and the young boys who stepped up did really well and it’s always great to get a clean sheet away from home.
“We had a few chances to win it, but weren’t our best in front of goal and we scrambled well, especially with ten minutes to go when it got tough.”
All three sides return to action on Sunday when Stirling Lions visit Ashfield Arena.
The Under-18s start at 11am, the Under-20s at 1pm and the First Team kick off at 3pm.
Sorrento 0 Perth Glory 0
Half time: 0-0
Referee: Michal Jasinski
Sorrento: GK James MORGAN, 6 Darryl PLATTEN (18 Jordan BROWN 80′), 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 10 Jordan ROBERTS, 11 Tim HILL, 16 Chris BALAZS, 17 Reece VITTIGLIA, 19 Jack SALTER, 21 Godwin DARKWA, 22 Danny JONES (13 Steve MCDONALD 78’), 23 Cameron TEECE (7 Alex MORGAN 68’).
Substitutes not used: RGK Anastasis FARSALEAS, 3 Jaxon TEMATA
Yellow cards: Salter 49’, Darkwa 60’
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Zayd FARAH, 3 Nic MCDONALD, 4 Daniel WALSH, 5 Ollie ANNIS, 6 Callum TIMMINS, 7 Chok DAU, 8 Henry HORE, 9 Michael DOMFEH (12 Abias BUKURU 82’), 10 Michael MCDOUGALL, 11 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY (15 Trent OSTLER 68’)
Substitutes not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, , 13 Harry QUIGLEY, 14 Aidan EDWARDS
Yellow cards: Hore 47’, Timmins 90+3’