Late goal denies unlucky Glory


Perth Glory have slipped to a 1-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix in their Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Perth Glory have slipped to a 1-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix in their Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors created several chances in the physical encounter, but an 86th-minute header from Ben Sigmund proved to be the difference between the two teams.

But Perth desevered at least a point from the match with two penalities for handball not given.

Liam Miller and Josh Mitchell had both gone close for the Glory before Sigmund’s decisive blow four minutes from time.

Phoenix were reduced to 10 men in additional time when substitute forward Mirjan Pavlovic was given his marching orders for a cynical and dangerous foul.

Ian Ferguson made one change to the starting side that beat Gold Coast United 2-0, with Adam Hughes coming into midfield and Billy Mehmet dropping to the bench.

Tommy Amphlett was included as a substitute, as was Steve Pantelidis, who came on for his first appearance for the Glory.

Glory made a strong start away from home and almost took the lead through Irish midfielder Miller.

The former Manchester United and Hibernian playmaker pounced on a loose ball before his well-placed curling effort was blocked by Phoenix defender Tony Lochhead.

In a scrappy opening, Glory looked the more likely to break the deadlock and again created an excellent chance after 13 minutes.

A well-weighted pass from the lively Mile Sterjovski found Mitchell, but his first time volley was saved and held by Tony Warner.

Andrezinho and Sterjovski were posing threats down the flanks, and the Brazilian almost carved out another Glory chance soon after.

After strong work from Todd Howarth in the centre of the park, striker Shane Smeltz, up against his former club, released Andrezinho down the left.

But the attacker misdirected his cross as several players made surging runs into the area.

Bas van den Brink headed an Andrezinho set-piece over the bar, before the Dutch defender was forced to clear a dangerous cross from Paul Ifill at the other end.

It took until the 45th minute for Danny Vukovic to be forced into his only save of the half, getting down well to his right to deny Chris Greenacre.

In a more settled start to the second half, a passing exchange between Hughes and Trent McClenahan down the right led to Miller striking a shot at Warner from just outside the area.

The visitors were finding more space in midfield, but it was Phoenix forward Dani Sanchez who went close next, putting his free-kick just wide of Vukovic’s right post.

Glory almost got a fortunate opener on 67 minutes when Warner fumbled a hopeful ball into the area.

Smeltz was on hand to capitalise, but the New Zealand international, under fierce pressure from Sigmund, was unable to find any space to get enough power on his shot.

The hosts found the winner thanks to a powerful Sigmund header from a corner in the 85th minute.

The 18-time New Zealand international rose highest to meet a Leo Bertos corner at the front post, thumping his effort into the top corner.

Pavlovic, introduced in the 76th minute, was sent off after bringing down Howarth in the fifth minute of added time.

Glory continued their brave search of an equaliser, but after a goalmouth scramble and two late corners, were forced to leave New Zealand without a point.

Perth Glory 0
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Ben Sigmund 86)