Brave Glory hold Fury

Nine-man Perth Glory have produced one of the bravest results in the club’s history, holding on to record a 1-1 draw with North Queensland in Townsville on Sunday evening.

Nine-man Perth Glory have produced one of the bravest results in the club’s history, holding on to record a 1-1 draw with North Queensland in Townsville on Sunday evening.

Perth took the lead through a stunning Robbie Fowler header in the 23rd minute but the visitors appeared in deep trouble during the second half when defenders Naum Sekulovski and Brent Griffiths both received two yellow cards and were sent from the field by referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.

Down to nine men in just the 64th minute, Perth produced a resilient rearguard effort as the Fury sensed blood.

But for all their hard work, Perth’s defence finally cracked nine minutes from time when Mark Hughes nodded the ball home from Ufuk Talay’s corner, although North Queensland couldn’t find the goal they so desperately needed to record just their third win of the season.

There was always going to be plenty of attention focussed on Fowler, the former Fury skipper, playing his first game back in Townsville after a controversial departure from the club at the end of last season.

And the striker didn’t disappoint in an incident-packed first forty-five minutes to this contest.

In the sixth minute, Fowler was denied what appeared a legitimate penalty when he cut inside the box and had his trailing leg taken out by Hughes’ clumsy challenge.

Five minutes later, Fowler went within inches of scoring from a free kick after Hughes fouled Michael Baird on the edge of the area. Fowler curled his kick beautifully over North Queensland’s wall, beating goalkeeper Justin Pasfield in the process, but seeing his effort ricochet off the bar.

In the 23rd minute Fowler finally nailed the goal he’d been threatening. Eighteen-year-old Perth debutant Josh Risdon won possession on the right, releasing Baird whose chipped cross was brilliantly headed home by the composed Fowler off the underside of the bar.

North Queensland responded four minutes later as Simon Storey’s cross from the right caused chaos in Perth’s defence, Under pressure, Velaphi couldn’t hold the ball, with Edds flicking it on towards goal only to for Risdon to head it clear on the line.

Fowler was denied moments later as he slammed a powerful, close-range shot straight into Pasfield’s stomach, while David Williams narrowly missed down the other end in the 31st minute.

The Fury were almost gifted a chance in the 33rd minute when Velaphi failed to control an over-hit backpass, but the stopper still managed to smother the ball before Williams could take a shot, while Dyron Daal also blazed over under pressure from Jamie Coyne.

Just before the break it was Baird’s turn to shoot narrowly wide, the Glory taking the momentum into the second half as they attacked early, with Fowler again being denied a spot kick despite being bowled over by Hughes in the area three minutes after the re-start.

In the 50th minute, the game changed complexion when Sekulovski earned a second caution for a foul on Williams and was sent for an early shower.

The Fury tried taking advantage of the extra man as Osama Malik nodded over in the 57th minute before Velaphi brilliantly denied a goalbound free kick from Talay just before the hour, the keeper diving full-length to his left to tip around the post.

In the 64th minute, Perth found themselves down another man when Griffiths was also given a second caution.

But, with half-time substitute Todd Howarth moving back into central defence, the Glory gritted their teeth and set up the defensive wall, placing everyone behind the ball as they attempted to hold on.

North Queensland had their chances as Chris Payne’s effort deflected narrowly wide, while Edds and Williams both also missed the target as the Fury earned a series of corners.

However, the sheer weight of numbers eventually overwhelmed the Glory defence nine minutes from time as Talay sent a corner to the far post and found an unmarked Hughes lurking, the defender nodding the ball in.

North Queensland continued to press but the exhausted Glory players held on, recording a much-needed point ahead of the bye this week.

North QLD Fury: 1 (Mark HUGHES 80-)
Perth Glory: 1 (Robbie FOWLER 23-)
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Kris Griffiths-Jones
Crowd: 4,466

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 10. Dyron DAAL (3. Brad McDONALD 65-), 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN (24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU 85-), 16. Simon STOREY, 17. Osama Malik, 19. Isaka CERNAK (15. Chris PAYNE 46-)

Substitutes not used: 28. Sebastian USAI (gk)

Yellow cards: David WILLIAMS 30-, Ufuk TALAY 78-

Red cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3. Jamie COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (C) (17. Todd HOWARTH 46-), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 10.Michael BAIRD (13.Tommy AMPHLETT 86-), 14.Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 18.Brent GRIFFTHS 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 24. Josh RISDON

Substitutes not used: 11. Branko JELIC, 20. Aleks VRTESKI (gk)

Yellow cards: Mile STERJOVSKI 7-, Naum SEKULOVSKI 38-/50-, Brent GRIFFTHS 58-/63-, Tando VELAPHI 89-

Red cards: Naum SEKULOVSKI 50-, Brent GRIFFTHS 63-