Glory and Gold Coast share the spoils

Perth Glory remains unbeaten at home this season but was denied their third consecutive win at ME Bank Stadium when Gold Coast marksman Shane Smeltz stole a dramatic late equaliser for the visitors.

Perth Glory remains unbeaten at home this season but was denied their third consecutive win at ME Bank Stadium when Gold Coast marksman Shane Smeltz stole a dramatic late equaliser for the visitors.

The 91st minute goal saw an entertaining and high quality match finish in a 2-2 stalemate although Perth would feel aggrieved they didn-t take all three points after they dominated for large periods of the game.

“Our performance first half was exceptional, they-re a good side and we dominated totally… it-s disappointing to concede so late,” said Glory Coach Dave Mitchell.

Perth-s attacking intentions were made clear in the opening quarter of an hour with goals from Branko Jelic and Victor Sikora providing the shock and awe against the league leaders.

Skipper Jacob Burns and Wayne Srhoj were impressive in the middle of the park and denied United-s much-vaunted midfielders any time or space in which to create. That allowed Sikora and Naum Sekulovski to link up down the left while Jamie Coyne and Adriano Pellegrino provided plenty of headaches on the other flank.

Jelic was the beneficiary of Perth-s attacking frame of mind and was in the right place at the right time to claim his third goal of the campaign. Fellow forward Mile Sterjovski was the link man as he delivered a pinpoint cross to allow Jelic to slot home from close range.

The Glory faithful barely had time to celebrate that goal before they were on their feet again as Perth doubled their advantage, this time through Sikora. Sekulovski-s incisive through ball bisected a flat-footed Gold Coast defence and the Dutchman raced clear to calmly clip the ball past the advancing keeper.

The visibly rattled Queenslanders were looking a shadow of the side that had won so many plaudits this season and were seemingly unable to cope with the pressure being applied by Glory in every area of the field.

Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina was forced to drop deeper and deeper to gain possession, limiting his ability to link up with top scorer Smeltz, who in turn was well-shackled by the unflappable Andy Todd.

United did create an opening as half-time approached, however Tando Velaphi produced a fine save to parry away a header from defender Bas Van Den Brink who had rumbled up from the back to meet a Culina corner.

Gold Coast regrouped at the break and within seven minutes of the re-start they had peeled back a goal. Culina and Van Den Brink teaming up again and this time the defender was able to direct his header past Velaphi.

Gold Coast then proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the game but found themselves frustrated by a Glory defence superbly marshalled by Chris Coyne and Todd.

Perth though weren-t without their chances and came agonisingly close to restoring the earlier two goal buffer. Firstly United keeper Scott Higgins blocked a Jelic effort low to his left and from the resulting corner he again reacted superbly, this time to parry a thunderous 20 metre effort from Srhoj.

Tension mounted as the final whistle loomed and Gold Coast committed numbers forward in search of an equaliser which arrived in controversial circumstances. Glory was caught unaware as substitute Amaral appeared to be upended, only for referee Matthew Breeze to award the free-kick to the visitors. The quickly taken ball released Steve Pantelidis down the right and his inviting low cross was swept into the net by Smeltz.

To compound Glory-s disappointment Velaphi was concussed as he collided with Smeltz which forced Jamie Harnwell to don the gloves for the final moments of what was a pulsating contest.

While a point against the in-form team of the competition wasn-t a bad result for Perth it didn-t provide much consolation to the Glory players who were bitterly disappointed their hard work didn-t receive the rewards it deserved.

“I think we gave the game away,” said Glory marquee Mile Sterjovski after the match.

“I though we dominated for most of the game, especially in the first half, and I don-t think they came into the game because they played well, we let them back into the game and it is very disappointing.

“There were some positives in the game, you can see we can play some excellent football and out of that we deserved a lot more. It is frustrating but we still have a strong belief amongst the group and our time will come very soon,” said Sterjovski.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 – Rd 6

Perth Glory 2(Branko JELIC 14-, Victor SIKORA 16-)
Gold Coast United 2(Jacob BURNS (og) 52-, Shane SMELTZ 90+1-)
Sunday, 13 September 2009 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Crowd: 9408

Referee: Matthew Breeze

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA (25.AMARAL 62-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ (5.Jamie HARNWELL 81-), 11.Branko JELIC, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI (17.Todd HOWARTH 68-), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI.

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil

Gold Coast United: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 4.Daniel PIORKOWSKI (24.ANDERSON 46-), 7.Zenon CARAVELLA (26.Gol Gol MEBRAHTU 62-), 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 11.MILSON (23.Steve FITZSIMMONS 63-), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 22.Adama TRAORE

Substitutes not used: 40.Robbie BAJIC (gk)
Yellow cards: Steve PANTELIDIS 39-
Red cards: Nil