Joel Chianese bagged a double and Xavi Torres curled home a sublime free-kick as Glory enhanced their finals prospects with a convincing 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium.
The hosts hit the front after 29 minutes when Chianese nodded home a Neil Kiklenny corner and the former Sydney FC man doubled the hosts’ advantage on the hour-mark, firing into an empty net after Andy Keogh’s initial effort had rebounded off the post.
A stunning strike from Andrew Hoole then gave the visitors a flicker of hope, but Torres’ late set-piece strike sealed the deal for Glory.
The result sees Kenny Lowe’s men climb to seventh place on the ladder and to within three points of Adelaide United who now occupy the last finals spot.
On a windswept night in Perth, Glory began brightly and only the post prevented Torres from putting his side in front in the seventh minute after the Spaniard had risen highest to meet a Scott Neville cross.
Kilkenny then saw his 20-yard strike saved by Mariners’ ‘keeper Ben Kennedy, but the midfielder claimed an assist moments later as his corner flew right across the box to the unmarked Chianese who nodded home at the far post.
Glory continued to press after the break, with Torres seeing a goalbound effort blocked by Storm Roux and the ubiquitous Kilkenny forcing Antony Golec into a goal-line clearance with a crossed free-kick that threatened to creep in at the far post.
The home side duly doubled their advantage 15 minutes into the second stanza, with the goal owing much to skipper Keogh.
The Irishman produced a superb turn in the box to lose his marker before rifling in a shot which beat Kennedy, struck the base of the post and rebounded across the face of goal where Chianese was on hand to sweep the loose ball into an unguarded net.
Glory’s march to victory was briefly interrupted on 72 minutes when Hoole took advantage of a pocket of space on the edge of the box to beat Nick Feely with a stunning curler.
Moments later, substitute Chris Harold thought he had made it 3-1 with a magnificent diving header only to see his effort ruled out by the VAR for what was adjudged to have been a foul by Keogh on Golec in the build up.
But any doubts that the three points would be staying in the west were dispelled when Liam Rose brought Keogh down on the edge of the box and Torres beat Kennedy all ends up with the resulting free-kick to claim his second goal in as many games.
The Central Coast ‘keeper then produced a fine save to prevent substitute Brandon Wilson from adding a fourth as Glory continued their dominance right up to the final whistle.
With a blank weekend coming up, the next action for the men in purple is scheduled for Sunday March 25th when Melbourne Victory will be the visitors to nib Stadium.
Hyundai A-League Round 22
Perth Glory 3 (Chianese 29′, 60′, Torres 89′) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Hoole 72′)
Half time: 1-0
Referee: Kurt Ams
nib Stadium, Perth
Perth Glory: 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Xavi TORRES, 9.Andy KEOGH (c), 16.Joseph MILLS, 18.Andreu GUERAO (15.Brandon WILSON 53′), 23.Scott NEVILLE, 26.Jacob ITALIANO (14.Chris HAROLD 66′), 66.Dino DJULBIC, 88.Neil KILKENNY
Substitutes not used: 4.Shane LOWRY, 22.Adam TAGGART, 40.Jackson LEE (gk),
Yellow cards: Chianese, Torres
Red cards: None
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 10.Daniel De SILVA,12.Trent BUHAGIAR (8.Blake POWELL 66′), 15.Alan BARO (c) (16.Liam ROSE 82′), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Wout BRAMA, 27.Petros SKAPETIS (11.Connor PAIN 66′)
Substitutes not used: 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 19.Jacob POSCOLIERO
Yellow cards: Melling, Rose
Red cards: None