Bruno Fornaroli scored a contender for goal of the season as Glory ended their 2020/21 A-League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Uruguayan matched his 2019/20 tally of 13 goals by thundering home a stunning effort from some 28 metres out to give Glory the lead midway through the first half.
But Richard Garcia’s men were pegged back after the break when Angus Thurgate was played into the box and slipped the ball over the advancing Tando Velaphi.
The result meant that Glory finished a challenging campaign in ninth spot having lost just one of their final eight games and Garcia took plenty of positives from the performance of a side showing seven changes from that which started against Brisbane Roar on Wednesday.
“It’s been a long ten days and we needed to freshen it up and the young guys who came in did extremely well,” he said.
“I was pleased with the first half of football… but then I thought we lost our way a little bit and could have been a bit calmer in that time when they started to get on top and maybe could have taken the sting out of it a little bit and kept the ball better.
“But again, when you’re fatigued, you make different decisions and that’s something we’ve got to improve on.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t make the Finals, but under the circumstances, I think that the boys have conducted themselves very well.
“We’ve unearthed some good players, the belief and the team mentality is growing and what we’re trying to build is starting to come together, so that’s a positive sign.
“Now we’ve got a lot of work to do in the off-season and pre-season to get where we want to be.”
After an opening quarter full of endeavour but entirely devoid of goalmouth action, the game exploded into life when Fornaroli conjured a goal of sumptuous quality from absolutely nothing.
Picking up possession some 30m out from goal, his first two touches moved him into a pocket of space and his third sent a thumping strike searing its way past Jack Duncan and into the top corner.
Clearly stung by that opener, the Jets responded almost immediately, with Velaphi called upon to make two smart stops from Archie Goodwin in as many minutes.
And the teenage striker continued his duel with the Glory ‘keeper in first-half stoppage time, firing in an angled shot which the latter seized gratefully to ensure that his side would go into the break with their noses in front.
The Jets remained on the front foot during the early exchanges of the second half, creating half-chances for Goodwin and Roy O’Donovan before Thurgate found a way through with 20 minutes left.
Lucas Mauragis picked out the midfielder’s run into the box and he duly lifted the ball over the onrushing Velaphi and into the net from a narrow angle.
As the game became stretched in the latter stages, substitute Valentino Yuel flashed a shot narrowly wide for the Jets and Velaphi produced a fingertip save to again deny Goodwin.
And yet it was Glory who almost had the final word, Josh Rawlins’ cross being helped on by Joel Chianese to fellow-substitute Diego Castro who was just unable to get enough power into his snap volley to beat Duncan.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Thurgate 70′) Perth Glory 1 (Fornaroli 22′)
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Referee: Adam Fielding
Newcastle Jets : 23.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 7.Jordan O’DOHERTY (28.Blake ARCHBOLD 46′), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 14.Ali ABBAS, 16.Matt MILLAR (17.Valentino YUEL 70′), 26.Archie GOODWIN (19.Kosta PETRATOS 84′), 27.Lucas MAURAGIS, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
Substitutes not used: 1.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 18.Jack ARMSON, 25.Jack SIMMONS, 51.Jordan LENNON
Yellow Cards: Topor-Stanley, Millar, Boogaard
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Jason GERIA (5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS 66′), 6.Osama MALIK, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 19.Callum TIMMINS (29.Darryl LACHMAN 66′), 20.Carlo ARMIENTO (11.Joel CHIANESE 46′), 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM (10.Andy KEOGH 78′), 24.Daniel STYNES (17.Diego CASTRO 60′)
Substitutes not used: , 8.Kosuke OTA, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
Yellow Cards: Ingham, Armiento, Geria, Rawlins
Red Cards: None