A controversial late goal from Dylan Wenzel-Halls was enough to consign Glory to a first defeat of the season as Western United squeezed home 1-0 at AAMI Park.
Bruno Fornaroli and Adrian Sardinero were unable to convert the best of a number of chances created by the visitors over the course of a tense and hard-fought 90 minutes.
And the arm-wrestle was finally decided 12 minutes from time when Wenzel-Halls prodded home a Connor Pain cross which appeared to have crossed the byline before reaching the United substitute at the far post.
In his post-match media conference, Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia praised his side’s display, questioned the VAR’s decision to allow United’s goal to stand and explained the absence from the matchday squad of marquee man Daniel Sturridge.
View the full media conference HERE.
On the game…
“It was a massive step in the right direction,” he said.
“There were some very good individual performances, but as a team as well, it was a great performance, especially with some of the young guys coming in and having to fill some roles that they’re not used to.
“I thought they were exceptional tonight… we just probably needed to be a bit more patient when we got into their half.”
On the goal…
“I’ve seen the still now [of the cross from Pain] and I’ve seen that the ball is out.
“What do I say to this?
“We can’t even talk about this anymore; it’s an ongoing battle and we either fix the system or we don’t use it all because this is continuously happening in games over and over again.
“At the moment, we don’t seem to be getting the right decisions at the right times.”
On Daniel Sturridge…
“We always had a plan for Daniel to build through.
“Last week was a hello to our fans, but he needs to be able to continue to build his fitness.
“He’s looking good, but we want to make sure that we have him at the right time.
“We don’t want to bring him back at the start and then lose him for a long time and we’re trying to do that with a lot of the guys that are coming back from injury or who have been overseas.
“We’re conscious that we need to make sure we have all our guns firing at the right time.”
In what was a slow burner of a first half, Alessandro Diamanti’s audacious attempt to lob Brad Jones from the halfway line was the closest the hosts came to finding the net, while Adrian Sardinero and Bruno Fornaroli were unable to convert Glory’s best chances.
The Spaniard saw his shot blocked by the legs of United ‘keeper Jamie Young on 28 minutes and he then turned provider late in the half, playing in Fornaroli who flashed his low shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Fornaroli was then denied by Young shortly after the restart before Wenzel-Halls forced Jones into action at the other end.
The former Brisbane Roar man was not to be denied moments later, however, finding the net from point-blank range to deny Glory the point their performance merited.
Western United 1 (Wenzel-Halls 78′) Perth Glory 0
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Western United: 1.Jamie YOUNG (GK), 4. Leo LACROIX, 6. Tomoki IMAI (44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 46′), 8.Lachlan WALES (5. Dylan PIERIAS 71′), 10.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Connor PAIN (27.Jerry SKOTADIS 90+2′), 17.Benjamin GARRUCIO, 19.Josh RISDON, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI, 88.Neil KILKENNY, 99. Alexandar PRIJOVIC (9.Dylan WENZEL-HALLS 71′)
Substitutes not used: 37. Ryan SCOTT (GK), 26.Nicholas MILANOVIC, 34.Christian THEOHAROUS
Yellow Cards: Diamanti
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 1.Brad JONES (GK), 2.Aaron CALVER (24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 46′), 4.Luke BODNAR (22.Josh RAWLINS 79′), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7.Adrian SARDINERO ( 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL 46′), 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI (C), 14.Jack CLISBY, 18.Daniel STYNES, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 29.Darryl LACHMAN
Substitutes not used: 12.Cameron COOK (GK), 26.Giordano COLLI, 32.Aidan COYNE, 41.Chris DONNELL
Yellow Cards: Calver, Ota, Clisby, Burke-Gilroy
Red Cards: None