Dadi cool makes a point

Perth Glory extended their unbeaten run at home to four matches when substitute Eugene Dadi held his nerve to convert a last-minute penalty to secure a deserved point against Newcastle at Members Equity Stadium.

Perth Glory extended their unbeaten run at home to four matches when substitute Eugene Dadi held his nerve to convert a last-minute penalty to secure a deserved point against Newcastle at Members Equity Stadium.

A thrilling and often and controversial encounter saw Glory skipper Jamie Coyne and Jets midfielder Daniel Piorkowski sent off in a tumultuous second-half that ended with Glory securing a draw with almost the last kick of the match.

With plenty on the line for both sides the emotion boiled over on the Newcastle bench with Coach Gary Van Egmond making a bee line to Glory-s Argentinean ace Adrian Trinidad who won the penalty for the home side and had to be pulled away by Jets officials.

The fracas though couldn-t overshadow a gutsy effort from the Glory who showed a great passion and commitment to earn a valuable point and send the home fans into raptures.

“The second half we pushed and pushed and pushed to get an equaliser, I-d hoped it would have been earlier because I think we could have gone on and won the game,” Glory Coach Dave Mitchell said.

“We showed a lot of fighting spirit and character to come back in to get the result, thankfully we got something out of the game towards the end.”

Glory were forced to fight back twice in the match, Jets danger man Joel Griffiths opening the scoring after 17 minutes before Nikita Rukavytsya answered for Perth ten minutes later. The visitors edging ahead again in the dying seconds of the first half thanks to Tarek Elrich and that-s the way to score remained until Dadi delivered from the spot in injury time to level the proceedings.

The heart stopping final few minutes was made even more dramatic when Dadi was called back to the spot by referee Matthew Breeze after beating Ante Covic with a well taken penalty kick. The big striker was already celebrating with fans when Breeze ordered the penalty to be re-taken.

Hush fell over the Members Equity Stadium crowd but Dadi coolly stepped up again and was once more celebrating as he beat the Jets custodian for a second time.

Denied the services of Brazilian play maker Amaral and defender Hayden Foxe through injury, Mitchell opted for Wayne Srhoj in central midfield alongside Coyne, while Dino Djulbic showed great courage to shrug off his ankle injury, which initially was set to rule him out for a fortnight, to take his place in the heart of the defence.

“Dino showed enormous courage to even get out on the pitch, let alone play the full 90minutes and contribute like he did tonight. It was a fantastic effort and goes to show the level of commitment the players have to secure positive results for the club,” Mitchell said.

Glory started the brighter, with Srhoj impressing upon his return to the midfield engine room. Neat passing and good movement off the ball enabled Glory to apply plenty of early pressure and several timely defensive interventions from Jade North and Adam Griffiths were required to prevent Glory from capitalising on the half-chances created.

Newcastle, however, have carved out a reputation as one of the finest counter-attacking sides in the A-League and they showed why as they took a shock lead on 17 minutes. Jobe Wheelhouse was the architect, threading an inviting through ball between Naum Sekulovski and Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Joel Griffiths showed all his predatory instincts to thunder an unstoppable angled shot past Tando Velaphi from just inside the box.

Despite the setback, Glory continued to look the more purposeful of the two sides and duly gained their reward just before the half-hour mark. Nikita Rukavytsya it was who continued his recent goalscoring spree by bagging his sixth of the campaign in spectacular style. The highly-rated young striker picked up a Jamie Coyne pass thirty metres out from goal, took full advantage of a retreating Jets defence to cut inside and beat Ante Covic with a superbly struck left-foot effort.

Chances continued to be created at either end as the half wore on, with the Jets perhaps enjoying the lions- share and it was the visitors who bagged the third goal of the afternoon two minutes before the break. Mark Milligan picked out Tarek Elrich with a searching 60 metre pass and the former Sydney Olympic man cushioned the ball beautifully on his chest before sliding it past the advancing Velaphi and into the far corner of the net.

Glory again came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second-half and were unfortunate not to force an immediate equalizer as Nick Rizzo went close with a low drive and only a one-handed parry from Covic prevented Piorkowski from putting through his own net as he attempted to clear his lines.

The home side could have been forgiven for losing that momentum when Coyne received his marching orders just short of the hour mark for a challenge on Jin-Hyung Song, but in fact they simply dug deeper and continued to take the game to the visitors.

Numerical parity was then restored nine minutes later as Piorkowski headed for an early shower following a clash with substitute Scott Bulloch and Newcastle-s response was to simply pack their defence and try and hang on to their slender advantage.

It was virtually one-way traffic at this stage, with Glory launching wave after wave of attacks at a Jets rearguard who rode their luck as first Rukavytsya was denied what looked like a decent claim for a penalty and then Trinidad fired centimetres wide after latching onto a fine cross from the rampaging Djulbic.

Gary Van Egmond-s side may have felt that the points were in the bag as stoppage time loomed, but they were finally undone by Glory-s dogged persistence. Trinidad attempted to force his way goalward along the by-line only to find his progress checked by North. The Argentinean went to ground under the challenge and referee Matthew Breeze showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

With the FIFA match break next weekend Perth will have a fortnight to get their full squad back up and running and be ready to tackle the final 10 rounds knowing a maiden finals berth is well within reach.

Perth Glory 2 (Nikita Rukavytsya 27-, Eugene Dadi 92+-(pen))
Newcastle Jets 2 (Joel Griffiths 17-, Tarek Elrich 45-)
Members Equity Stadium, Perth
Sunday, 9 November 2008

Crowd: 7,837

Referee: Matthew Breeze
Assistant Referees: Joe Fusari & Matthew Cheeseman
Fourth Official: Steven Gregory

Perth Glory: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Nick RIZZO (9.Adrian TRINIDAD 76-), 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY (14.Eugene DADI 59-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI (11.Scott BULLOCH 42-), 22.Wayne SRHOJ.

Substitutes Not Used: 20.Frank JURIC (gk)
Yellow Cards: Naum Sekulovski 28-
Red Cards: Jamie Coyne 60-

Newcastle Jets: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Adam GRIFFITHS, 3.Jade NORTH (c), 8.Matt THOMPSON, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Jin-Hyung SONG (7.Kaz PATAFTA 88-), 11.Tarek ELRICH, 12.Jobe WHEELHOUSE (14.Shaun ONTONG 72-), 13.Adam D-APUZZO, 25.Daniel PIORKOWSKI, 26.Mark MILLIGAN.

Substitutes Not Used: 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 27.Jesse PINTO.
Yellow Cards: Jobe Wheelhouse 8-, Adam D-Apuzzo 36-, Mark Milligan 39-, Adam Griffiths 84-.
Red Cards: Daniel Piorkowski 69-