Glory ended the decade in style as Diego Castro, Joel Chianese and Bruno Fornaroli all found the net during a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.
The visitors made light of smoky, blustery conditions to dominate for long periods en route to securing a fourth successive win which will see them occupying third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder heading into 2020.
Castro struck the opener with a low shot from the edge of the box in first-half stoppage-time, before Chianese claimed his second goal in as many games with a well-taken header shortly after the break.
And Glory’s third win in their last three visits to Gosford was all but sealed on the hour-mark when Fornaroli took full advantage of a defensive error to bag his sixth goal of the campaign.
Head Coach Tony Popovic was understandably delighted to see his charges continue their fine recent run of form.
“It was a very good way to finish off 2019,” he told Fox Sports.
“This was a stake in the ground for ourselves; we’ve shown consistency by winning four consecutive games.
“A month ago we were bottom of the table, so it’s credit to the players that they’ve won these four consecutive games.
“We’ll enjoy tonight as a group and then move on very quickly to the Adelaide game.”
The game got off to a frenetic start, with Danny De Silva’s run down the left in the opening minute eventually leading to a chance for Jair whose left-foot effort struck the post.
Glory reacted strongly to that early let-off, with Chianese forcing a sharp save from Mark Birighitti having been played in by Castro and Fornaroli then also being denied by the home ‘keeper.
As the free-flowing opening to the game continued, Ivan Franjic produced a crucial sliding interception inside his own box to prevent Samuel Silvera from reaching Jair’s inviting low cross, before Chianese’s fierce drive fizzed narrowly over the bar at the other end.
Juande was next to try his luck for Glory, placing his shot just too high after the Central Coast defence had only half-cleared Neil Kilkenný’s corner to the edge of the box.
The visitors were not to be denied from a very similar position in first-half stoppage-time, however, as the Mariners again failed to deal with a Kilkenny corner and Castro rifled the loose ball unerringly into the bottom corner.
The goal was no more than Glory deserved for their first-half dominance, although they were grateful to Reddy for preserving their advantage on the stroke of half-time as the ex-Mariner produced an acrobatic, one-handed save to turn Silvera’s curling shot around the post.
If Glory’s opening goal was a fine piece of individual work from Castro, their second, three minutes into the second half, was a superb collective effort.
Castro and Fornaroli combined to release James Meredith down the left and his teasing cross was met by Chianese with a sublime glancing header that gave Birighitti no chance whatsoever.
Moments later, Fornaroli was prevented from making it 3-0 by a combination of Birighitti and Ziggy Gordon, but the Uruguayan did not have to wait much longer to bag his eighth goal in ten appearances against the Mariners.
Gordon’s unfortunate slip gifted the ball to Castro in the box and with the goal gaping, the Glory skipper squared it for Fornaroli to slide home.
Substitute Jordan Murray came close to heading the hosts back into the contest almost immediately, his effort drifting centimetres wide of the target and Eunsen Kim also threatened with an overhead kick having been teed up cleverly by Milan Duric.
But the men in white successfully kept Alen Stajcic’s side at arm’s length during the latter stages to close out the win and head into the New Year in buoyant mood.
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season Round 12
Central Coast Mariners 0 Perth Glory 3 (Castro 45+1′, Chianese 48′, Fornaroli 61′)
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Ben Abraham
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 4.Eunsun KIM, 7.Milan ÐURIĆ, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Daniel DESILVA, 16.Dylan FOX, 17.Samuel SILVERA (9.Jordan MURRAY 61′), 18.Gianni STENSNESS, 27.Lewis MILLER, 29.Jair BRITTO (19.Matthew SIMON 70′)
Substitutes not used: 3.Jack CLISBY, 6.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 26.Joshua NISBET, 30.Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ
Yellow Cards: Stensness
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH (3.Jacob TRATT 77′), 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE (20.Jake BRIMMER 80′), 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI (28.Gabriel POPOVIC 89′), 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 27.JUANDE, 88.Neil KILKENNY
Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS
Yellow Cards: Wuthrich, Tratt
Red Cards: None