Ball bounces Victory’s way


A first-half own-goal from the luckless Scott Jamieson was enough to condemn Perth Glory to their second home defeat of the season at the hands of in-form Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

A first-half own-goal from the luckless Scott Jamieson was enough to condemn Perth Glory to their second home defeat of the season at the hands of in-form Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

But while the win consolidated the visitors’ place in the top three, the hosts came agonisingly close to earning a share of the spoils as they produced a spirited second-half display even after losing right-back Josh Risdon to a controversial red card.

Brimming with confidence having lost just twice in their last twelve outings, Ange Postecoglou’s men came flying out of the blocks and had it not been for the combined goal-line heroics of Danny Vukovic and Jacob Burns, would have hit the front as early as the 5th minute.

Marcos Flores managed to get away down the left before crossing for Archie Thompson whose headed effort was spectacularly parried by Vukovic at point-blank range and when Spase Dilevski attempted to scramble the loose ball home, Burns managed to get his head in the way to avert the danger.

Glory’s response to that early let-off was immediate, Shane Smeltz grazing the cross bar having risen highest to meet a Liam Miller corner, but the visitors continued to impress with their mobility in the final third and duly took the lead on 25 minutes.

Again Flores was the architect, bisecting the Glory defence to send Rojas dashing through the left channel and as he has done so often this season, the rising Kiwi star whipped a teasing low ball in across the face of goal and under pressure from the onrushing Thompson, Jamieson unfortunately found the back of his own net.

Ferguson’s side, however, dusted themselves off and as half-time loomed, enjoyed their first period of sustained pressure.

Mark Milligan almost joined Jamieson on the own-goal list as he deflected a Steven McGarry header centimetres wide of the post and the Victory defence found itself under the pump as the hosts forced a flurry of corners.

Sensing the shift in momentum, the home fans raised the decibel level and were almost rewarded in the 41st minute when McGarry unleashed a swerving long-range effort that was only kept out by a superb, fingertip save from Victory ‘keeper Nathan Coe.

Glory coach Ian Ferguson’s response was to introduce Nick Ward into left midfield at the start of the second-half, with Heffernan switching to centre-back to replace the injured van den Brink.

And the substitute made an immediate impact against one of his former clubs, showing some nice touches as a purposeful Glory lifted the tempo and started to ask some serious questions in the final third.

Travis Dodd, who had been giving marker Adama Traore a torrid time down the left, stung Coe’s palms with a fierce angled drive on 52 minutes and while Victory still occasionally threatened on the break, it was Glory who seemed destined to score the game’s next goal.

That dynamic changed dramatically on 68 minutes, however, when referee Regis Queffelec harshly deemed Risdon’s challenge on Leigh Broxham worthy of a second yellow and dismissed the young defender for the first time in his career.

The men in navy and white almost took immediate advantage, Adrian Leijer sending Rojas clean through on goal, but as nib Stadium held its collective breath, Vukovic stood his ground and produced a superb block to deny the quicksilver striker what would have been his 11th goal of the season.

Victory’s leading scorer then squandered another great chance to make the game safe for his side before Glory so nearly snatched a point in the first minute of stoppage time.

Spinning cleverly away from his marker, substitute Ryo Nagai thundered in a shot which beat Coe all ends up only to crash against the underside of the bar, bounce on the line and rebound away to safety, taking Glory’s hopes with it.