Roar held by Glory


Perth Glory have held National Youth League leaders Brisbane Roar to an entertaining and even 2-2 draw at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

Perth Glory have held National Youth League leaders Brisbane Roar to an entertaining and even 2-2 draw at the Cleveland Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

On a steaming day in south-east Queensland – so hot there were drinks breaks called in each half – there were plenty of chances for both sides in what was a lively affair.

The Roar came back from a goal down to take a 2-1 advantage early in the second stanza, but the Glory did well to peg one back shortly afterwards and soaked up Brisbane’s pressure for long enough to head home with a share of the spoils.

The result means the gap between Brisbane and Perth remains just two points, the visitors unable to pinch a late goal on the break to jump to the top of the National Youth League table.

Perth fielded a starting XI peppered with the experience of Hyundai A-League hardman Steve Pantelidis and former West Ham, MK Dons and Scunthorpe right-back Trent McClenehan.

But despite the old hands on deck, Brisbane were in control early and made a number of threatening runs with Matt Thurtell, Nick Fitzgerald and Corey Brown providing the spark.

The Roar’s stranglehold on possession restricted the Glory to attacking on the counter – but as the match slowly began to open up each side was presented with a number of opportunities to take the lead.

In the 21st minute, Fitzgerald released James Donachie, who was on his own in the box with the goal at his mercy – but he dwelled on the ball for a split second too long and had his pocket picked.

Six minutes later, another desperate clearance stopped Fitzgerald from converting a perfect far-post cross from Tomislav Cirjak, while saves in the 29th and 30th minutes by Lewis Italiano denied close-range efforts from Rocky Visconte and Thurtell.

While there were fewer chances down the other end, only Herculean work in the goalmouth from Roar shotstopper Matthew Acton kept Perth at bay – but there was little he could do about Vittiglia’s 33rd-minute shot, which put the visitors ahead.

It was a hard lesson for Brisbane, who were lacking that killer instinct for the majority of the first half – but they found it four minutes from the break.

Left-back Brown was the provider, sending in a low cross into a crowded danger area, with Thurtell sticking out a foot to restore parity.

Perth started the second half on the front foot, twice going close to reclaiming their lead just 10 minutes after the resumption of play.

First Harry O’Brien blasted wide after being played in with a lovely cross from Vittiglia, then Acton produced another acrobatic effort to parry away Alex Caniglia’s shot.

They were made to pay for their waste by Brisbane in the 58th minute, when Fitzgerald finally broke through, pouncing on a loose ball in the box after a deflection from a cross.

But their lead didn’t last very long – in the 65th minute, Perth were back on level terms. Ndumba Makeche won the ball for his side on the edge of the penalty area and sent it in, where Jesse Makarounas was waiting.

A quality first touch set him up for a simple finish past Acton to make it 2-2.

But that’s the way it finished up – both sides searched long and hard for a late winner but the trying conditions clearly got to the players, who tired early on.

Brisbane Roar 2 (Thurtell 42, Fitzgerald 58)
Perth Glory 2 (Vittiglia 33, Makarounas 65)