Glory were downed 1-0 by Macarthur FC in Launceston on Wednesday evening, Ulises Davila’s first-half goal proving enough to secure all three points for the Bulls despite defender Aleksandar Susnjar seeing red 14 minutes from time.
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Richard Garcia’s side came close to securing a share of the spoils whilst the visitors were down to ten men, substitute Daniel Stynes striking the foot of the post and a stoppage-time penalty initially awarded against Lachlan Rose for handball then being overturned by the VAR.
Glory’s sense of frustration was compounded by the loss of marquee man Daniel Sturridge who limped from the fray with an apparent groin injury just 18 minutes after being introduced from the bench.
The defeat, Glory’s first in their temporary home at UTAS Stadium, left Garcia rueing the way his side reacted to the early setback.
“Tonight wasn’t our night,” he said.
“I thought we started pretty well and had a couple of chances to score in the first ten minutes and then there was a mistake for the goal and the boys didn’t respond in the right manner after that.
“That’s something we need to work on; having the same behaviours no matter what the state of the game is.
“We need to have the same mentality whether we’re one up or one down.
“Then slowly, slowly they got themselves back in the game and really pushed hard, which was fantastic, but again, the basics and some of the decision-making at times was below par.”
After Mitch Oxborrow had sent a fierce, 20m effort fizzing narrowly wide with Glory’s first chance of the game, Davila scored with Macarthur’s.
An unfortunate error from Aaron Calver allowed the Mexican a sight of goal and he needed no second invitation to clip the ball past the helpless Liam Reddy.
Reddy then made an excellent save to prevent Apostolos Giannou from doubling the Bulls’ lead moments later and the Glory ‘keeper was also called into action to acrobatically punch away a Craig Noone corner which threatened to creep into the net.
Bruno Fornaroli, meanwhile, was providing the main threat for the men in purple, going close with both a header and a curling shot having been teed up by Jack Clisby on each occasion.
The Uruguayan threatened to bag his sixth goal of the campaign again midway through the second half, forcing Filip Kurto into a fine save with a well-struck free-kick as Glory began to edge their way back into the contest.
The subsequent dismissal of Susnjar, who picked up a second yellow for blocking’s Brandon O’Neill’s attempt to take a quick free-kick, handed the nominal home side a further lift and they duly piled on the pressure in the latter stages.
Following some neat interplay with fellow-substitute Pacifique Niyongabire, Stynes hit the woodwork and when referee Kurt Ams pointed to the spot in stoppage-time, it looked as if Glory would be handed a gilt-edged opportunity to earn a point.
But it was not to be as VAR handed the Bulls a reprieve and they duly saw out the final moments to hang on for the win.
Perth Glory 0 Macarthur FC 1 (Davila 9′)
Referee: Kurt Ams
UTAS Stadium, Launceston
Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 2.Aaron CALVER, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH (C), 11.Nick FITZGERALD (13.Brandon O’NEILL 46′), 14.Jack CLISBY, 19.Callum TIMMINS (18.Daniel STYNES 85′), 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY (15.Daniel STURRIDGE 46′) (24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 65′), 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Mitch OXBORROW (26.Giordano COLLI 73′), 29.Darryl LACHMAN,
Substitutes not used: 12.Cameron COOK (GK), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS
Yellow Cards: O’Neill
Red Cards: None
Macarthur FC: 46.Filip KURTO (GK), 2.Jake MCGING (22.Liam ROSE 32′), 4.James MEREDITH (35.Al Hassan TOURE 65′), 10.Ulises DAVILA (C), 11.Tommy OAR, 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17.Craig NOONE (20.Tomislav USKOK 65′), 23.Adrian MARIAPPA, 24.Kokola M’MOMBWA (19.Michael RUHS 53′), 31.Lachlan ROSE, 99.Apostolos GIANNOU (8.Jordon MUTCH 75′)
Substitutes not used: 1.Nicholas SUMAN (GK), 14.Moudi NAJJAR
Yellow Cards: Susnjar
Red Cards: Susnjar