Glory win again

A goal apiece from strike duo Mile Sterjovski and Robbie Fowler steered Perth Glory to a deserved 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon, a result that moves Dave Mitchell’s men back to the top of the A-League ladder alongside Adelaide United.

A goal apiece from strike duo Mile Sterjovski and Robbie Fowler steered Perth Glory to a deserved 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon, a result that moves Dave Mitchell-s men back to the top of the A-League ladder alongside Adelaide United.

Mitchell opted to make two changes from the side that drew at Melbourne Heart last time out, Jamie Harnwell and Sterjovski returning at the expense of Josh Mitchell and Branko Jelic respectively, with Andy Todd making a welcome first appearance of the campaign on the bench.

“We made it hard for ourselves because we created enough chances but didn-t capitalise on them.

“Credit to Wellington, they threw everyone up front and got an equaliser from a corner which made it a tight finish,” Mitchell said.

As so often this season, Glory were swiftly into their stride and within five minutes found themselves a goal to the good. Steve McGarry showed great tenacity to regain possession on the edge of his own box before picking out Robbie Fowler on the half-way line. The former Liverpool legend promptly brought his touch of class to bear, lofting a sublime, defence-splitting pass into the path of the onrushing Todd Howarth who calmly drew Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston before squaring unselfishly for Mile Sterjovski to round off a superb 90 metre move by side-footing home from just inside the box.

Moments later Glory thought that they had doubled their advantage, only for Naum Sekulovski-s effort to be ruled out for off-side and at that stage the home side were threatening to run away with it.

To their credit, however, the visitors steadied the ship and gradually gained a foothold in the game. Daniel and Paul Ifill began to ask some questions of Glory-s back four and it was the Brazilian who called Tando Velaphi into action for the first time on 17 minutes, forcing the home goalkeeper to fist his low cross away before Ifill saw his follow-up blocked close to the goal-line by the perfectly-positioned Sekulovski.

While Ricki Herbert-s men were arguably retaining the ball better, it was Glory who continued to look the more dangerous going forward, with Sterjovski clearly relishing his advanced role alongside Fowler and Howarth menacing to great effect down the left flank.

The visitors- high-defensive line had initially worked well, catching Glory-s frontmen off-side on several occasions, but it began to break down as half-time approached and the hosts came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage three times in the space of two minutes. Firstly Fowler miscued after fine approach work from Sterjovski, then Jacob Burns forced a fine one-handed save from Paston after Phoenix failed to clear their lines and finally Sekulovksi glanced a header wide having got in front of his marker to meet a teasing cross from Adriano Pellegrino.

Herbert went to his bench at the start of the second-half, throwing Mirjan Pavlovic and former Glory man Nick Ward into the fray and switching to a 4-3-3 formation, but it was Glory who continued to look more dangerous and Phoenix were grateful that the ubiquitous Daniel was on hand to head a Sterjovski corner off the line on 54 minutes.

Great interplay between Sterjovski and Fowler then created another fine chance for the home side on the hour-mark, with Sekulovksi firing just over from the edge of the box, but Wellington-s latest reprieve was to last less than a minute. Once again the effervescent Sterjovski was the architect, floating an inch-perfect cross into the box which Fowler headed powerfully past the helpless Paston.

As they had at times in the first-half, the visitors looked all bout out of the contest, but to their credit they continued to battle away and grabbed a lifeline on 72 minutes as Ifill-s corner evaded Velaphi and defender Ben Sigmund gleefully headed into the roof of the net.

Dave Mitchell-s response was to introduce Anthony Skorich in place of Fowler and the young striker almost added a third for Glory with is first touch. Again McGarry-s persistence earned possession for Glory in midfield and allowed Sterjovski to split the Phoenix defence with a through ball, but Paston stood up well as Skorich raced in on goal and managed to tip his shot wide.

The chances kept flowing thick and fast at both ends, with Paston producing another superb save to deny Howarth on 79 minutes after Pellegrino-s slaloming run had teed up his fellow midfielder, before Velaphi matched his Kiwi counterpart with a smart low block to keep out Chris Greenacre-s close range effort.

The home fans may have been anticipating a nerve-jangling end to the game, but in fact Glory showed great resolve to comfortably see out the final moments and indeed almost added a third as Howarth came close to grabbing the goal that his fine performance deserved.

Hyundai A-League Round 5
Perth Glory 2-1 Wellington Phoenix 1
Sunday, 5 September nib Stadium, Perth
Local kick-off: 3.00pm (5.00pm AEST)
Referee: Ben Williams
Attendance: 10,844

Perth Glory: 1. Tando VELAPHI, 3. Jamie COYNE, 5. Jamie HARNWELL (4. Andy TODD 87-), 7. Jacob BURNS (C), 9.Robbie FOWLER (22. Anthony SKORICH 76-), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO (11. Branko JELIC 88-), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20. Aleks VRTESKI,

Scorers: Sterjovski 5-, Fowler 61-

Yellow Cards: Sterjovski 25-

Red cards: nil

Wellington Phoenix:1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN (14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC 46-), 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. DANIEL (7. Leo BERTOS 67-), 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER (4. Nick WARD 46-)

Substitutes not used: 19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk)

Scorers: Sigmund 72-

Yellow Cards: Daniel 45-, Sigmund 80-, Hearfield 81-

Red cards: nil