Glory youth clinch thriller over CCM

An 87th-minute winner from Ndumba Makeche has helped 10-man Perth Glory to a 2-1 victory over Central Coast in a thrilling National Youth League clash on Sunday morning.

An 87th-minute winner from Ndumba Makeche has helped 10-man Perth Glory to a 2-1 victory over Central Coast in a thrilling National Youth League clash on Sunday morning.

In warm and humid conditions at Perth’s 6PR Stadium, the Mariners took the lead when Mitchell Duke fired his side ahead in the 11th minute.

But Glory returned fire and were back on level terms by half-time courtesy of Makeche’s 14th-minute strike.

However, the game changed complexion after the break when Glory skipper and centre-half Sam Mitchinson was dismissed in the 65th minute for denying Duke an obvious goalscoring opportunity as the last defender.

Forced into a defensive re-shuffle, the Glory appeared to be just holding on, but the Mariners were eventually caught out as Makeche completed his brace in the 87th minute.

Completing a good all-round day for Glory, instrumental seniors forward Travis Dodd made his return from a month-long absence with a hamstring injury, making it through 58 minutes where his crosses from the right were a constant threat.

The result sees Glory temporarily leapfrog Melbourne Heart and Roar onto the top of the National Youth League table, although this will depend on Sunday’s late-afternoon clash between the Heart and Roar. The Mariners, meanwhile, drop to fifth after Newcastle’s win over AIS on Saturday.

It was a high-tempo opening to this encounter, however, as both sides fought out an intense battle in the middle of the park before the impressive Duke showed off his predatory instincts with a classy finish from 15 metres in the 11th minute that gave Glory stopper Devon Spence no hope of saving it.

But rather than drop their heads, the hosts lifted a notch and levelled the score three minutes later.

It all started when Dodd set up Makeche for two shots at goal that were both blocked by Central Coast’s defence in the 13th minute.

But a failed clearance by the Mariners just allowed Dodd to have a shot of his own from the right with the goalkeeper beaten.

Although a desperate Nikola Stanojevic did brilliantly to get his foot to Dodd’s shot and clear it off the line, there was nothing he could do to stop Makeche picking up the rebound and drilling it home.

The Glory continued piling on the pressure throughout the half and were unlucky not to go ahead after Alec Jovic’s cracking shot in the 37th minute was tipped over the bar by Dylan Mitchell a few minutes before an unstoppable shot from Makeche drifted millimetres wide of the post.

Given some stern words at half-time, the Mariners came out firing as the impressive Justin Hayward burst down the left and forced Glory goalkeeper Spence to deflect his shot from a tight angle into the side-netting.

The Mariners also benefitted in the 65th minute when Mitchinson was shown a straight red for his professional foul on Duke as the striker accelerated towards goal.

And, given the man advantage, the visitors launched a full-scale assault as a goalbound header from Kwabena Appiah-Kubi was saved at full stretch by Spence before the Glory stopper tipped over another on-target header from Aaron Peterson.

But the Mariners fell victim to a classic counter-attack with three minutes remaining as Glory substitute Alex Caniglia burst down the right and found Makeche with a classy through-ball, the in-form striker making no mistake as he drilled it home from 15 metres.

There was still time for Brandon O’Neill to deny Hayward a goalscoring chance a moment later before Spence produced a brilliant finger-tip save to send a rocket from Duke over the bar.

Perth Glory 2 (Makeche 14, 87)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Duke 11)