Glory go down in Wellington

A brave but undermanned Perth Glory have been beaten 4-0 by Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A brave but undermanned Perth Glory have been beaten 4-0 by Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Missing star players like Robbie Fowler, Jacob Burns, Andy Todd, Jamie Harnwell and Adriano Pellegrino, interim head coach Ian Ferguson was forced to field one of his youngest sides of the season, and despite their brave efforts, they were ultimately overwhelmed by Wellington’s experience.

It was hardly pretty football throughout as a result of some heavy Wellington rain but the Phoenix still opened the scoring through an own goal to Perth stopper Tando Velaphi under extreme pressure from Wellington’s Tim Brown in the 10th minute.

The Glory failed to lie down and created some good attacking moves and chances throughout the first half, the best of which was nodded wide by Todd Howarth in the shadows of half-time.

Wellington made the visitors pay, though, as Dylan Macallister drove home a 48th-minute free kick before Vince Lia scored with a half volley on the hour and Chris Greenacre added some polish in the 90th minute.

Despite the odds being stacked against them throughout the latter stages, the Glory failed to lie down and mounted numerous attacks in the final 30 minutes as Perth’s youngsters almost held their own against a Phoenix side that now appears finals bound.

In freezing and absolutely sodden conditions in the New Zealand capital, the hosts fashioned a chance in the first minute when impressive young midfielder Marco Rojas crossed for Macallister, who sent his header around the post.

With plenty of young guns in the side it was hardly surprising when Perth looked to attack, mainly through the speed and trickery of Tommy Amphlett who sent a dangerous ball into the box in the fifth minute.

Two minutes later, Mile Sterjovski slipped a quality ball through to Amphlett only for the young striker to be denied by a well-timed Manny Muscat tackle.

However, the Glory went behind ten minutes in through a slice of bad luck to Velaphi.

Once again, Rojas was the architect of the Wellington move, driving the ball in for Nicky Ward to head at goal, with the ball ricocheting off the bar and into the air.

Off balance and under pressure from Brown, Velaphi lost his footing in the slippery turf as he went to punch the ball clear and could only watch in horror as it bounced off his hands into goal.

Things almost got worse for Velaphi in the 21st minute when his opposite number Danny Vukovic, soon to be a Glory player himself, incredibly came within inches of scoring.

In scenes reminiscent of then Tottenham stopper Paul Robinson’s goal against Watford in the English Premier League four years ago, Vukovic produced a long punt forward that bounced wickedly off the turf.

With Velaphi having come off his line to initially clear the danger, the bounce caught him in no man’s land, although this time the ‘keeper enjoyed a slice of luck as it bounced off the bar, with Macallister scuffing the rebound.

While Macallister continued to fluff his lines down one end, Branko Jelic saw his penalty appeal waved away in the 25th minute when he appeared to be brought down by Lia in the box.

On the half hour Macallister produced one of the season’s worst misses when he failed to hit the back of the net from a metre out.

A headed attempt at goal from another Rojas cross ricocheted off the woodwork and fell to Macallister, but he could only tamely push the ball across goal instead of scoring, while Andrew Durante also missed the loose ball.

Wellington were almost made to pay when Steven McGarry, playing a livewire midfield role, crossed for Todd Howarth, who chipped onto the roof of the net.

Perth had an even better chance a minute before the break when young right back Josh Risdon delivered a pinpoint cross that Howarth, who’s scored twice in the last two games, could only nod wide of the target.

Although Wellington had not made the most of their chances in the first half, they didn’t take long to make up for it after the break when Macallister scored from a free kick.

Howarth was guilty of a shirt pull on Brown 25 metres out and Macallister stepped up to drive home the free kick, which took a wicked deflection off McGarry past Velaphi.

Perth were on the attack on the hour when it all went wrong as Wellington defender Ben Sigmund chopped off the move, the ball falling to Rojas who weaved his way towards goal before intelligently cutting back to Lia from the byline.

Lia’s first touch was poor as the ball ricocheted into the air, but he made up for it as he lashed it into the net on the half volley for a rare goal to the defender.

As the temperature dipped further towards single digits, Perth refused to lie down as a powerful Jelic header from Howarth’s cross forced a save from Vukovic in the 81st minute.

But Greenacre still managed to find the back of the net as the clock ticked into injury time as the Phoenix claimed the points.

Wellington Phoenix: 4 (Velaphi (OG) 10-, MACALLISTER 48-, LIA 60-, GREENACRE 90-)
Perth Glory: 0
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Peter O’Leary
Crowd: 5,115

Wellington Phoenix line-up: 19.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 4.Nicky WARD (11.DANIEL 64-), 6.Tim BROWN, 13.Troy HEARFIELD, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Marco ROJAS (10.Oscar Roberto CORNEJO 73-), 22.Andrew DURANTE, 23. Dylan MACALLISTER (9.Chris GREENACRE 64-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Reece CROWTHER (gk)

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil

Perth Glory line-up: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Josh MITCHELL, 11.Branko JELIC (18.Brent GRIFFITHS 84-), 12.Scott NEVILLE (c), 13.Tommy AMPHLETT (26.Adam TAGGART 57-), 14.Steven McGARRY, 15.Howard FONDYKE (27.Cameron EDWARDS 84-), 17. Todd HOWARTH, Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 24. Josh RISDON

Substitutes not used: 20. Alex PEARSON (gk)

Yellow Cards: Mitchell 34-

Red Cards: Nil