Ten-man Glory pipped at the post

Ten-man Glory suffered late heartache at Leichardt Oval as Nicholas Pennington struck seven minutes into stoppage-time to secure a 2-1 victory for Wellington Phoenix.

View the full match highlights HERE.

In what was new Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich’s first game in charge, Nick Fitzgerald fired home his maiden goal for the club early in the second half to cancel out Ben Waine’s first-half opener for the hosts.

The dismissal of Osama Malik for an apparent foul on Waine moments after Glory’s equaliser duly swung the initiative back in Wellington’s favour, but the ten men dug deep and looked set to secure a battling point until Pennington found the net with the very last kick of the game.

While naturally hurt by the late goal, Zadkovich was quick to praise the approach his charges took throughout a hard-fought contest.

Click HERE to view his media conference in full.

“On the balance of the game, I think Wellington probably deserved the win,” he said, “but I was gutted for the boys.

“I’m super-proud of my players tonight.

“Their effort and their mentality, which was my first port of call this week, that was there on show and I was extremely proud of that.

“Their understanding and the balance of the squad is obviously lacking a little bit at the moment… but I can’t stress enough how extremely proud I am of their effort.

“There’s a difference between what I want and my philosophy and playing style and what we’ve got, so there is an element of inheriting a certain style because the players have been signed to play one style and I’ve got a different picture in my head of what that should look like.

“You can’t put that back on the players too much and obviously I’m going to stay true to how I think the game should be played.

“These things are going to take time; my style and philosophy are going to take time.”

A cagey start to the game eventually gave way to a period in which Phoenix looked the more threatening, with Gael Sandoval and David Ball both failing to trouble Liam Reddy in the Glory goal with half-chances.

Glory responded with a header from Andy Keogh which hit the side-netting, but they found themselves trailing soon after when the lively Sandoval lifted a ball over the defence into the path of Waine and the New Zealand international crashed home a first-time volley.

The men in purple wasted little time in hitting back at the start of the second half, Fitzgerald picking out the bottom corner after Josh Anasmo, on his starting A-League debut, had linked up well with Adrian Sardinero to fashion the opportunity.

Four minutes later there was another twist in the tale as Malik, who had been booked early in the second half for a foul on Ben Old, was adjudged to have tripped Waine and referee Kurt Ams produced a second yellow to reduce Glory to ten men.

To their credit, Zadkovich’s side showed great resolve to continue to take the game to Wellington, although they were grateful to Reddy for keeping Sandoval at bay with a superb, fingertip save which deflected the Mexican’s curling effort on to the junction of post and bar.

Callum Timmins then came close to replicating his stunning strike in last season’s corresponding fixture, this time his effort flying centimetres wide and as the game moved into stoppage-time, Glory looked to have done enough to secure a share of the spoils.

It was not to be, however, as a corner eventually fell at the feet of Pennington and he was able to fire home the winner through a crowded box.

Match Details

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Waine 37′, Pennington 90+7′) Perth Glory 1 (Fitzgerald 49′)

Half-time: 1-0

Leichardt Oval, Sydney

Referee: Kurt Ams

Wellington Phoenix: 20.Oliver SAIL (GK), 4.Scott WOOTTON, 7.Gael SANDOVAL (17.Callan ELLIOT 90+9′), 8.Ben OLD (32.George OTT 88′), 9.David BALL, 13.Nicholas PENNINGTON, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben WAINE, 19.Sam SUTTON, 23.Clayton LEWIS (5.James MCGARRY 71′), 33.Finn SURMAN

Substitutes not used: 3.Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 31.Kurtis MOGG, 34.Jackson MANUEL, 40.Alexander PAULSEN (GK)

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Adrian SARDINERO (22.Josh RAWLINS 79′), 10.Andy KEOGH (C) (43.Adam ZIMARINO 57′), 11.Nick FITZGERALD (24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 86′), 14.Jack CLISBY, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 42.Joshua ANASMO (26.Giordano COLLI 57′)

Substitutes not used: 12.Cameron COOK (GK), 18.Daniel STYNES, 28.Trent OSTLER

Yellow Cards: Malik, Timmins

Red Cards: Malik