Gutsy Glory grab win

A hot day and a fired-up Perth Glory turned up the heat on Sydney FC at Members Equity Stadium to secure an impressive 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon.

A hot day and a fired-up Perth Glory turned up the heat on Sydney FC at Members Equity Stadium to secure an impressive 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon.

Evergreen striker Jamie Harnwell was the hero with two goals as Glory secured a richly-deserved victory after what has been a testing few weeks for the club.

“There was a lot of pressure on myself, the players, the owners, the fans but we-ve all pulled together, training has been fantastic and we had a good vibe and a good feel that we-d get a result today,” said Coach Dave Mitchell.

“It was a great performance and I-m pleased for everyone who is associated with the club,” Mitchell said.

There were five changes to the side that last started for Glory and each played a part to produce a more solid looking set-up. Hayden Foxe played his first match of the season and was a rock in defence while Brazilian wizard Amaral weaved his magic in midfield.

Meanwhile Harnwell made a dramatic return into attack and showed he hadn-t lost any of his nous in front of goal with Perth benefiting from his endeavor throughout the 90 minutes.

“It was probably the most nervous I-ve been before a game, there was a lot riding on me going back up front and I didn-t sleep much last night,” said Harnwell.

“To come out and get a half chance early then the goal from a great tap from Nikita (Rukavytsya) settled the nerves pretty quickly. I was glad to score but it was even better that we won, it-s a great feeling for the boys.”

Several weeks of intense scrutiny on Perth was the back drop for this match however the commitment and solidarity inside the club translated into a season best performance and a catalyst for more to come.

“You can talk all you want, and we-ve done that over the last two weeks, but you have to go and put in the performances out there and that-s what we did today,” Harnwell said.

“Whether that-s a season defining moment we-ll have to see next week but if we put in the same level of work rate then the class shows,” he added.

Mitchell-s other changes included goal keeper Tando Velaphi, who made several important saves, while youngsters Jimmy Downey and Nikita Rukavytsya were also given a start.

While Glory-s excellent performance featured contributions from all players, Perth-s coaching staff would have been delighted to see Foxe back in action with his composure and aerial prowess giving the backline an ingredient it had been lacking this season.

It was also a welcome return for Amaral who was partnered by skipper Jamie Coyne, who adapting very successfully to a defensive midfield role, and the pair effectively nullified the threat posed by the always dangerous Steve Corica while prompting numerous attacking forays with their pinpoint distribution.

“We-ve had some influential players missing and that has caused some wobbles in the early part of the season and it-s nice to get them all back and we looked very solid,” Mitchell said.

“I think today we consistently did well, played some good football and created quite a few chances against the ‘bling, bling- and it was nice to beat them,” Mitchell added.

A visibly more confident Glory started the brighter of the two sides and came close to opening the scoring as early as the third minute when Rukavytsya and Harnwell combined cleverly to create a chance for the latter, but his low shot was narrowly off target.

The reunited front pairing were not to be denied for long, however, as two minutes later they successfully breached the visitors- rearguard. Rukavytsya-s searing pace allowed him to capitalise on a Brendon Santalab error to race in on goal where the highly-rated youngster cleverly drew the covering defenders before squaring for Harnwell who gleefully opened his goal scoring account.

Glory were not permitted to enjoy their advantage for long when the visitors hit back six minutes later through Brendon Santalab who managed to squeeze one under a diving Velaphi.

The Olyroos stopper may have been a touch disappointed not to have kept Santalab-s strike out but showed no mental fragility when, moments later, he made a stunning one-handed parry to keep out a deflected shot from Mark Bridge and repeated the feat shortly afterwards to foil Steve Corica.

Roared on by a vocal Members Equity crowd the Glory managed to create two excellent chances shortly before the break. The first falling to Rukavytsya who showed great skill to deceive two defenders and race clear on goal but his shot flashed centimeters wide of the post.

Necevski was then called into action once again to bravely block an effort from Adriano Pellegrino and Harnwell was just unable to steer the resulting rebound into the net.

Two minutes after the restart Harnwell again bobbed up, this time to knock home a wonderful header and give the Glory the buffer they deserved.

The goal coming after Pellegrino-s slaloming run down the right culminated in an inch-perfect cross that the onrushing striker headed powerfully into the back of the net.

The same combination almost gave Perth another goal but this time the header flew over the bar.

While the Glory were clearly the dominant side the 7759 strong crowd held their collective breath during five added minutes but any fears of a last second capitulation were unfounded as Perth finished strongly to secure a valuable three points.

Perth Glory 2 (Jamie Harnwell 5-/47-)
Sydney FC 1 (Brendon Santalab 11-)
Members Equity Stadium, Perth
Sunday, 19 October 2008

Referee: Peter O-Leary
Assistant Referees: Joe Fusari & Matthew Cheeseman
Fourth Official: Steven Gregory

Crowd: 7,759

Perth Glory line-up: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 4.Jamie COYNE (c) (22.Wayne SRHOJ 90-), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 10.AMARAL, 11.Scott BULLOCH, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (9.Adrian TRINIDAD 67-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 18.Hayden FOXE, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI.

Substitutes Not Used: 7.Nick RIZZO, 20.Frank JURIC (gk).
Yellow Cards: James Downey 28-.
Red Cards: Nil

Sydney FC line-up: 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Iain FYFE, 6.Tony POPOVIC (c) (5.Mitchell PRENTICE 50-), 7.Rob MIDDLEBY, 8.Stuart MUSIALIK, 10.Steve CORICA (28.Bobby PETTA 81-), 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Shannon COLE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 23.John ALOISI (18.Adam CASEY 73-).

Substitutes Not Used: 30.John FILAN (gk).
Yellow Cards: Stuart Musialik 37-, John Aloisi 45-, Brendon Santalab 90-.
Red Cards: Iain Fyfe 91+-.