Small slip costs gallant Glory

Perth Glory produced some of their best football this season in a sizzling second half but was unable to secure any points against a Gold Coast side that made the most of two gifted goals in a narrow 2-1 win at Skilled Park.

Perth Glory produced some of their best football this season in a sizzling second half but was unable to secure any points against a Gold Coast side that made the most of two gifted goals in a narrow 2-1 win at Skilled Park.

The performance from Perth even more meritorious after being unable to call on two of their best performers with Andy Todd out through suspension and marquee striker Mile Sterjovski forced to sit on the sidelines after failing a late fitness test.

Down 1-0 at the break it was a different Perth side that emerged from the dressing room, the Glory creating some brilliant attacking football but were left to rue a defensive slip-up and some line-ball decisions that didn-t go their way.

First year player Todd Howarth levelled proceedings in the 55th minute after being played into the box by enterprising Dutchman Victor Sikora. Howarth showed plenty of poise with only a small margin of error to score and skilfully slotted the ball under Gold Coast keeper Jess Van Strattan for his first Hyundai A-League goal.

It was just rewards for Perth who had created an avalanche of attacking moves but they were again chasing the game just moments later when Shane Smeltz was the beneficiary of a defensive mix-up.

Jamie Coyne and Scott Neville collided while trying to clear a speculative long ball allowing Gold Coast to get in behind and spot up Smeltz who fired home from close range.

It was doubly disappointing for Perth who had conspired to help the home side find the first goal of the game. A free kick from Jason Culina taking an unfortunate deflection off Neville to strand Glory keeper Tando Velaphi after 13 minutes had expired.

Perth to their credit didn-t let either gaff get them down, although it took until the second half for the West Australian-s to really find their feet.

The Glory clearly looked the best side following the break and on 50 minutes the visitors could genuinely feel aggrieved that Branko Jelic wasn-t given an opportunity from the spot when he was dragged down by Gold Coast defender Kristian Rees in the penalty area.

The Serbian striker brushing off that disappointment to continue to threaten and on 67 minutes he pounced to bury the equaliser but it was disallowed after a debateable off-side decision from the assistant referee.

Glory Coach Dave Mitchell was philosophical about the outcome, choosing to look at the positives of a second half performance that delivered some stellar interplay and chances on goal.

“The first half we didn-t play well. We still had a few chances although generally we weren-t up to scratch. I had a go at them at the break and to their credit the lads came out and played tremendously well,” Mitchell said.

“It-s disappointing to not take anything from the game and unfortunate that some decisions didn-t go our way but in the end a silly mistake cost us dearly. It was a mix-up in communication and something we can easily fix but we shouldn-t be putting ourselves in those positions.

“That was the only let down in an otherwise excellent second half. We kept attacking and I think if that goal by Branko had been allowed then we would have gone on and won the game the way we were playing.

“We can take plenty of positives out of the second half but the challenge now for us is to produce that for the full 90 minutes. If we can do that then we-ll be coming away with the points more often than not,” Mitchell said.

Perth will remain in Queensland this week to prepare for a trip to Townsville on Saturday to tackle the Fury.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 – Rd 11

Gold Coast United 2 (Scott NEVILLE 13- (og), Shane SMELTZ 56-)
Perth Glory 1 (Todd HOWARTH 55-)
Sunday, 18 October 2009 at Skilled Park, Gold Coast

Referee: Matthew Breeze
Assistant referees: Brad Hobson and Nathan MacDonald
Fourth official: Matthew Gillett

Crowd: 4,509

Gold Coast United: 1.Jess VAN STRATTAN (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.ROBSON (23.Steve FITZSIMMONS 69-), 9.Shane SMELTZ (11.MILSON 81-), 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON (7.Zenon CARAVELLA 58-), 16.Kristian REES, 24.ANDERSON.

Substitutes not used: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk)
Yellow cards: Steve PANTELIDIS 85-
Red cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA, 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC (14.Eugene DADI 69-), 12.Scott NEVILLE (13.Scott BULLOCH 88-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH (23.Andrija JUKIC 77-), 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk).
Yellow cards: Adriano PELLEGRINO 69-, Chris COYNE 90-
Red cards: Nil