Ten-man Glory hold Jets


Perth Glory have valiantly held on for a point against Newcastle Jets on Saturday, playing almost an hour with 10-men to snatch a 1-1 draw.

Perth Glory have valiantly held on for a point against Newcastle Jets on Saturday, playing almost an hour with 10-men to snatch a 1-1 draw.

Billy Mehmet struck early before being sent off just after the half-hour mark, before substitute Francis Jeffers salvaged a point for Gary van Egmond’s side at Ausgrid Stadium.

Ian Ferguson’s men were attacking early with 11 men, and it was the man who eventually copped a controversial red card – Mehmet – who fired Perth ahead with a sharp finish.

Mehmet got inside Jets defender Tiago at the near post from a Joshua Risdon cross, to slot the opener for the visitors in the ninth minute.

Some desperate Perth defence foiled Jets striker Ryan Griffiths just before he entered the penalty area shortly after, with the Newcastle man falling to the ground in search of a foul, but referee Strebre Delovski was not forthcoming with his whistle.

Mehmet had a free header for what should have been his second goal in the 15th minute – but he missed the target from close range.

The Jets had an ideal chance to equalise through defender Taylor Regan shortly after, who was unmarked at the back post for a Newcastle corner, and he fired a close-range strike into the upright when under pressure from on-rushing Perth defenders.

The complexion of the match changed when goalscorer Mehmet was given a straight red for a tackle on Brazilian defender Tiago in the 34th minute, with replays showing the striker clearly collected the ball cleanly in his challenge.

Newcastle struggled to penetrate for the remainder of the first-half despite their advantage.

Michael Bridges – a surprise starter for the Jets after overcoming a virus in mid-week – had a chance just prior to the hour mark from beyond the penalty area, but he scuffed his shot wide.

The Jets began to lift their intensity on the Perth goal, and it was this that saw them equalise in the 62nd minute.

Kasey Wehrman crossed for substitute Jeffers, who pushed a sharp header to Glory shot-stopper Danny Vukovic’s back post in fine style.

Perth did not sit back despite their numerical disadvantage, with Travis Dodd consistently looking threatening playing a lone man up front for the most part.

Vukovic held Sung-Hwan Byun’s powerful attempt from long range in the 68th minute, in a steadying sign from the Glory custodian.

Tarek Elrich found Bridges with a pinpoint cross in the 82nd minute in the Jets’ best chance for a winner, but Vukovic managed to pressure the striker’s headed attempt on goal that it sprayed over the crossbar and away to safety for Perth.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley had a chance from a set piece late, but Wehrman was called for a foul by Delovski, after he pushed Jacob Burns in the fight for the ball.

Perth had one final chance to find a winner from a set piece taken from the right after Topor-Stanley fouled Risdon, but it amounted to nothing, as the Glory held on for a valuable point.

The Glory and Jets are level on 14 points after 13 matches respectively, two shy of the sixth-placed Melbourne Victory, who are set to play Brisbane Roar later on Saturday.