Despite a brave fightback, undermanned Glory were unable to book a place in the Australia Cup Round of 32 as Newcastle Jets ran out 3-1 winners in Thursday evening’s Final Round Playoff at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Full match highlights available HERE.
Jordan Elsey’s header and a stunning strike from Daniel Penha had the Jets 2-0 up at the break and although Tyler Vecchio managed to halve the arrears with his first senior goal on 69 minutes, substitute Archie Goodwin added a third for the hosts deep into stoppage time.
Again missing a host of senior players due to injury and illness, Glory battled their way back into the contest with a lively second-half display, pushing a full-strength home team all the way.
And Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich was heartened by the way his charges refused to buckle even at the very end of an incredibly gruelling season.
“I thought the boys were a bit leggy and travel-weary,” he said.
“We lost four of our most experienced players to injury and COVID, so we were down to the bare bones again.
“It’s such a young team with so much inexperience that they haven’t quite learned how to travel yet, how to adapt to what it’s like to have to travel across the country, staying in different hotels, preparing and trying to match the intensity of [home] teams.
“But I thought second half the boys showed a hell of a lot of character again.
“At half-time we tweaked a few things and made some little changes and that made a difference.
“I think they went about their business really well in the second half, didn’t give up and kept pushing and pushing.
“To put that into context of how far they’ve come in such a short space of time, it was only a few weeks ago that we travelled here and copped a really severe loss.
“Now we came back from 2-0 down, fought really hard to get back into the game and then pushed for an equaliser late.
“That speaks volumes about the growth and the development of these young players and how much they’re actually improving.
“As a team, it shows a lot about their character and how hard they’re willing to work for me and for the club.
“I didn’t think we were great in terms of our quality, but I was very proud of their effort and I thought they showed a lot of character to come back into the game.”
It was the home side who were the quickest out of the blocks on a damp night in the Hunter Valley, with Liam Reddy forced to make two smart saves in quick succession to keep Angus Thurgate and Samuel Silvera at bay.
The Glory ‘keeper was eventually beaten in the 25th minute, however, Penha’s corner reaching Elsey at the far post whose diving header arrowed its way into the bottom corner.
1-0 became 2-0 five minutes later as Penha added a goal to his assist with a fine strike from just outside the box which gave Reddy no chance whatsoever.
As they have so often in recent weeks, Glory lifted the tempo at the start of the second half and were rewarded for their endeavour when Vecchio rounded off a rapid, length-of-the-field break by calmly sliding the ball past Michael Weier in the Jets goal.
Buoyed by that goal, Zadkovich’s side poured forward in search of an equaliser as the game moved into its final quarter, but they were ultimately unable to breach the home defence for a second time.
And it was Newcastle who were destined to have the last word as Thurgate’s cross was stabbed home by Goodwin who had been introduced from the bench just seconds earlier.
Australia Cup 2022 Final Rounds Playoff
Newcastle Jets 3 (Elsey 25′, Penha 30′, Goodwin 90+3′) Perth Glory 1 (Vecchio 69′)
McDonald Jones Stadium
Referee: Tim Danaskos
Newcastle Jets: 20.Michael WEIER (GK), 2.Dane INGHAM, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Jordan ELSEY, 6.Matt JURMAN (C), 9.Beka MIKELTADZE, 11.Daniel PENHA (26.Archie GOODWIN 90+1′), 13.Brandon WILSON (27.Lucas MAURAGIS 71′), 16.Kosta GROZOS (17.Valentino YUEL 61′), 25.Samuel SILVERA (14.Mohamed AL-TAAY 71′), 32.Angus THURGATE
Substitutes not used: 1.Jack DUNCAN, 7.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 19.Taylor REGAN
Yellow Cards: Al-Taay, Grozos
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (GK) (C), 19.Callum TIMMINS (32.Aidan COYNE 79′), 22.Josh RAWLINS, 26.Giordano COLLI, 28.Trent OSTLER (42.Josh ANASMO 46′), 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 36.Joseph FORDE, 37.Jacob MUIR, 41.Chris DONNELL, 43.Adam ZIMARINO (47.Tyler VECCHIO 61′), 45.Aidan EDWARDS (24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 61′)
Substitutes not used: 12.Cameron COOK (GK)
Yellow Cards: Anasmo, Muir, Lachman
Red Cards: None