Last season’s top scorer Bruno Fornaroli opened his account for 2021 as Glory shared a 1-1 draw with Perth SC in a hard-fought friendly at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening.
Having braved sweltering conditions, a bumper crowd saw the hosts start brightly and hit the front on the half-hour mark courtesy of a fine solo effort from Niccolo Sabatini.
Their lead last only four minutes, however, as the predatory Fornaroli stroked home Nicholas Walsh’s low cross from the left.
Bryce Bafford duly struck the woodwork after the break and fellow-substitute Daniel Stynes also twice went close for Glory who finished strongly.
And while quick to note that his side’s display left plenty of room for improvement, Head Coach Richard Garcia certainly appreciated the hit-out.
“It was fantastic to see the crowd out tonight, have a game against a competitive team and get some minutes under our belts,” he said.
“It’ll be great for us to now be able to review the performance and see how the boys did.
“There were definitely a few cobwebs… and they have a long way to go in terms of the chemistry with what they’re doing.
“It was ok.
“It wasn’t what I wanted, but at the same time, the guys got to play for an extended period against an opposition that wasn’t us, which was fantastic.
“I wanted a bit more fluidity.
“At times it was broken up a little bit and some players were a bit unsure still, so we still have to work on a few things and make sure that come the 20th [January], those guys know what we want.”
In a lively opening, Perth SC had already gone close three times through the dangerous Cameron Teece before Sabatini opened the scoring, surging his way into the box and calmly finding the bottom corner of Tando Velaphi’s net.
But the visitors hit back almost immediately, Walsh pushing forward from left-back and whipping in a teasing low cross which Fornaroli sidefooted home.
Glory steadily grew into the game from then on and having been introduced at the start of the second half, Stynes wasted no time in making testing out the Perth SC defence as he found the side-netting after neat approach work featuring Fornaroli and Carlo Armiento.
The former Gwelup Croatia man went close again moments later, forcing Adrian Sinagra in the Perth goal to make a fine save with his legs before Bafford thumped the loose ball against the bar.
Riley Van Dieken then wasted a decent chance for the men in blue when he fired over having been teed up by ex-Glory forward Yagoub Mustafa, but it was Garcia’s men who almost nicked it right at the death, Andy Keogh finding the net after Stynes had again been denied by Sinagra, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Earlier in the game, both Osama Malik and Brandon Wilson limped from the fray, with Garcia later confirming that the former appeared to have dislocated his shoulder, while the latter had been withdrawn as a precaution after feeling some tightness in his quad.
Perth SC 1 (Sabatini 31′) Perth Glory 2 (Fornaroli 34′)
Referee: Adam Fielding
Perth SC: 1.Adrian SINAGRA, 3.Jordan DE LEO (C), 4.Lachie BYRD, 5.Niccolo SABATINI, 9.Cameron TEECE, 10.Michael DOMFEH, 11.Riley VAN DIEKEN, 13.Calvin WHITNEY, 16.Jackson MORGAN, 19.Bojan RADINOVIC, 22.Kristian SANTICH
Substitutes: 6.Sam FLORES, 7.Yagoub MUSTAFA, 11.Jayden GORMAN, 12.Daniel MCKENZIE, 14.Carl DIAS, 15.Emerson ALEXIS, 18.Carl MORGAN, 21.Nathan BRYDE, 22.Max BLACKSHAW, 23.Ben RATAJCZAK
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 6.Osama MALIK (16.Nick SULLIVAN 73′), 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON (19.Calllum TIMMINS 45′), 17.Diego CASTRO (C) (10.Andy KEOGH 59′), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO (24.Daniel STYNES 46′), 20.Carlo ARMIENTO (21.Bryce BAFFORD 59′), 23.Dane INGHAM, 25.Nicholas WALSH (27.Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS 46′), 29.Darryl LACHMAN
Substitutes not used: 26.Giordano COLLI, 30.Liam DRISCOLL (GK), 34.Mason TATAFU
Yellow Cards: Ingham
Red Cards: None
(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)