A spirited display was not enough to prevent Glory from suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of reigning A-League champions Sydney FC on a stormy night in Kogarah.
Kosta Barbarouses bagged what proved to be the winner early in the second half and although Glory rallied in the final 20 minutes, they were unable to find a way back into a game the start of which was delayed by an electrical storm and which was ended just short of the 90-minute mark by a combination of floodlight failure and the arrival of further lightning.
A first away victory over the Sky Blues since February 2016 would have moved Richard Garcia’s men to within two points of the top six, but instead they remain in ninth spot.
While disappointed with a number of decisions made by the match officials, notably their refusal to award an early penalty for what looked like a clear foul on Carlo Armiento, Garcia was full of praise for his side.
“I think the whole team’s performance tonight was positive,” he said.
“Liam [Reddy] was exceptional, but there were a lot of exceptional performances tonight.
“When things go against us, they really do go against us and they definitely did go against us tonight in every sense of the word.”
With a total of 16 fouls committed, the first half was a fractious, stop-start affair, although both sides still went close to breaking the deadlock on a number of occasions.
In addition to Paulo Retre’s controversial challenge on Armiento, Andrew Redmayne in the home goal made two saves from Ciaran Bramwell and Kosuke Ota.
Redmayne’s opposite number, Liam Reddy, was subsequently more severely tested as Sydney FC finished the opening 45 minutes on the front foot.
The Glory man showed superb reflexes to push a close-range effort from Bobo onto the underside of the crossbar and then went one better, somehow getting a glove to a downward header from the Brazilian striker and diverting the ball around the post.
Reddy continued to impress immediately after the break, blocking a well-struck free-kick from Luke Brattan, with Ota then sliding in to prevent Retre from forcing home the loose ball.
But on 54 minutes, Glory’s resistance was finally broken as Barbarouses found space in the box and sent a low, angled shot into the back of the net.
1-0 could have become 2-0 moments later, Reddy continuing his duel with Bobo by spectacularly tipping a header from Sydney’s leading scorer over the bar and at that stage, the men in purple looked to be up against it.
But they dug deep and with the lively Armiento to the fore, started to claw their way back into the game.
In the 68th minute, Bruno Fornaroli’s fierce strike was gathered by Redmayne and as the final whistle approached, the Sydney ‘keeper managed to keep out a cross-shot from substitute Josh Rawlins.
With the game becoming increasingly stretched in the latter stages and both sides throwing bodies forward, a tense finale seemed certain to unfold.
But it was not to be as referee Adam Kersey drew proceedings to a close with 30 seconds of normal and four minutes of stoppage-time remaining.
Sydney FC 1 (Barbarouses 54′) Perth Glory 0
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
Referee: Adam Kersey
Sydney FC: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN (21.Harry VAN der SAAG 86′), 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.BOBÔ (18.Luke IVANOVIC 71′), 10.Milos NINKOVIC (17.Anthony CACERES 71′), 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 16.Joel KING, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 26.Luke BRATTAN
Substitutes not used: 20.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 3.Ben WARLAND, 27.Jordi SWIBEL, 33.Pat WOOD
Yellow Cards: McGowan, Retre, Barbarouses, Wilkinson
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Jason GERIA (22.Josh RAWLINS 81′), 4.Sebastian LANGKAMP (13.Luke BODNAR 52′), 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Kosuke OTA (C), 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 19.Callum TIMMINS (88.Neil KILKENNY 81′), 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL (23.Dane INGHAM 58′)
Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 15.Brandon WILSON
Yellow Cards: Ota, Timmins, Armiento
Red Cards: None