A club-record Hyundai A-League crowd of 17,856 saw Glory suffer just their second defeat of the season on Saturday evening as Ola Toivonen’s free-kick and Keizuke Honda’s penalty steered Melbourne Victory to a 2-0 win at HBF Park.
Toivonen found the net from 25 metres out to claim his 11th goal of the season on 25 minutes and midway through the second half, Honda sent Liam Reddy the wrong way from the spot after a VAR review adjudged Scott Neville to have handled in the box.
Both goals came very much against the run of play as Glory dominated for long periods, created a string of chances and struck the woodwork twice through Joel Chianese and Diego Castro.
And while understandably disappointed by the result, Head Coach Tony Popovic took plenty of positives from the performance.
“It was just one of those days,” he said.
“We have to congratulate Victory; they came and got what they wanted and go home with the points tonight.
“But I thought overall the performance was very good. We created numerous opportunities and it was just a day when the ball wouldn’t fall for us. It just wouldn’t go in and their ‘keeper made some great saves.
“Tonight we couldn’t get through.
“We’ve had many good days here and in terms of performance, today was not a bad day.
“I’m sure that the fans will have gone home pleased and very proud of their team, the way they are playing at home, but unfortunately they don’t go home happy with three points.
“We know if we can keep backing up those type of performances we will be where we need to be and want to be.
“When we reflect, we’ll see that there were a lot of good things tonight.”
With the sold-out Shed in full voice, Glory started brightly and were almost gifted a goal when Carl Valeri’s errant backpass let Chianese in, but Lawrence Thomas was out smartly to foil the Glory attacker with his feet.
As the lively opening continued, Reddy was called into action at the other end to keep out a low shot on the turn from Kosta Barbarouses and the Glory ‘keeper followed that by blocking Honda’s long-range free kick.
Glory responded in the 18th minute via a looping header from Chris Ikonomidis which landed on the top of the net and the Socceroos attacker then fired just over after latching on to a fine ball over the top from Shane Lowry.
However it was Victory who drew first blood, Toivonen bending home a fine free-kick after Diego Castro had been penalised rather harshly for a foul on Terry Antonis.
To their credit, the hosts took the setback in their stride and twice came close to restoring parity just before the break, Chianese fizzing a low cross-shot narrowly wide and then seeing his close-range header tipped onto the bar by Thomas.
In the opening seconds of the second period Thomas again denied Chianese, this time getting down well to block a close-range shot and Glory’s number seven then sidefooted wide after being teed up by Neil Kilkenny.
Just short of the hour-mark, the home side went closer still, Castro rattling the crossbar with a superb free kick and at that stage, an equaliser seemed inevitable.
And yet it was Victory who were next to strike, Honda converting from the spot and although Ikonomidis, Kilkenny and substitute Brendon Santalab all went close as :opovic’s side laid siege to the Victory goal in the final quarter, the navy-and-whites held firm to secure their seventh away win of the campaign.
Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2 (Toivonen 25′, Honda (pen) 67′)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Perth Glory : 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 3.Jason DAVIDSON, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC (9.Andy KEOGH 60′), 6.Dino DJULBIC (11.Brendon SANTALAB 81′), 7.Joel CHIANESE, , 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 23.Scott NEVILLE, 27.JUANDE (20.Jake BRIMMER 72′), 88.Neil KILKENNY
Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 16.Tomislav MRCELA
Yellow cards: Castro
Red cards: None
Melbourne Victory: 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER (14.Thomas DENG 88′), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8. Terry ANTONIS (3.Corey BROWN 76′), 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (24. Elvis KAMSOBA 86′), 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 17. James DONACHIE, 21.Carl VALERI (c)
Substitutes not used: 1.Matthew ACTON (gk), 16.Josh HOPE,
Yellow cards: Toivonen, Antonis, Valeri
Red cards: None