Home sweet home

A stunning brace from Nikita Rukavytsya has helped steer Glory to a third successive home win as Perth downed Wellington Phoenix to start their climb up the Hyundai A-League ladder.

A stunning brace from Nikita Rukavytsya has helped steer Glory to a third successive home win as Perth downed Wellington Phoenix to start their climb up the Hyundai A-League ladder.

The highly-rated youngster struck in each half and was unfortunate not to grab a hat-trick as he tormented a Wellington defence that simply had no answer to his searing pace.

Also of note was a wonderful defensive effort from the Glory backline as they held firm to record a clean sheet, their second of the season. The classy performance across the pitch ensured Perth continued to make the trip west an uncomfortable experience for opposition sides.

“Our home form has been quite good, if we can maintain that you have a chance to get up into the top four but we-ve also got to pick up some points away from home,” Mitchell said.

“If we didn-t win the game we-d stay behind Wellington and at the bottom of the ladder… the win puts us above them now and hopefully we can get a couple of results,” said Mitchell.

Glory made two changes to their starting line-up with Dino Djulbic replacing Hayden Foxe, who was rested with hamstring soreness, while the speedy Nick Rizzo was handed his first start of the season in place of Scott Bulloch on the left of midfield.

Perth started the game in purposeful mood and Rukavytsya gave an early indication of what was to come as he latched onto a through ball from Jamie Coyne only to be foiled by Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston.

The visitors failed to take heed of that warning and paid the penalty some twelve minutes later as Rukavytsya was the recipient of a typically hard-earned flick-on from strike partner Jamie Harnwell.

The youngster-s eyes lit up with the goal mouth beckoning and left Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante trailing in his wake before calmly stroking the ball past the advancing Wellington ‘keeper.

While the Phoenix had the bulk of possession in the opening half they found themselves unable to break down a defence in which the new central pairing of Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Djulbic excelled.

The combative duo ensured that Vaughan Coveny and Shane Smeltz were able to enjoy their customary domination in the air, while Naum Sekulovski continued to impress at left-back.

Despite taking a one-nil lead into the break Mitchell admitted he had some stern words to say to his players and it had the desired effect with Perth not only doubling their lead but looking much more composed in the last 45 minutes.

Mitchell reshaped his team when Djulbic was forced from the field in the 65th minute after straining his ankle with Harnwell moving into the heart of defence and Eugene Dadi inserted into attack.

The big striker having an immediate impact as he crafted a wonderful through ball to Rukavytsya who turned on the after-burners to be one-on-one with Paston and he skilfully delivered to ensure all three points.

“I give credit to the team, without them I couldn-t have scored today,” Rukavytsya said.

“They played very well and worked very hard and to grab three points today is a big relief for us and gives us a lot of confidence heading into next week.”

The win takes Perth above Wellington and equal on points with sixth placed Newcastle who will make the trip to WA next Sunday.

“We set ourselves to make a big impact at home this season and we-re getting good results. It-s a form line we-re very keen to continue and it-ll be another big game coming up,” Mitchell said.

Perth Glory 2 (Nikita Rukavytsya 15-/70-)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Members Equity Stadium, Perth
Sunday, 2 November 2008

Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: Matthew Cheeseman & Joe Fusari
Fourth Official: Steven Gregory
Crowd: 7,228

Perth Glory: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 6.Dino DJULBIC (14.Eugene DADI 65-), 7.Nick RIZZO, 10.AMARAL, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (9.Adrian TRINIDAD 90-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.James DOWNEY, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI (22.Wayne SRHOJ 83-).

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk).
Yellow Cards: Nick Rizzo 88-.
Red Cards: Nil

Wellington Phoenix line-up: 1.Mark PASTON (gk), 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Karl DODD, 6.Tim BROWN, 7.Leo BERTOS (11.DANIEL 73-), 8.Vaughan COVENY (23.Costa BARBAROUSES 68-), 9.Shane SMELTZ, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Leilei GAO (10.Michael FERRANTE 68-), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c).

Substitutes Not Used: 20.Glen MOSS (gk).
Yellow Cards: Karl Dodd 39-.
Red Cards: Nil