Young guns stand tall in narrow loss


Perth Glory have a missed a bag full of chances in a heart breaking 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium.

Perth Glory have a missed a bag full of chances in a heart breaking 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium.

Jame Meyer’s first-half strike from long distance proved the difference but Roar’s victory owed as much to the brilliance of Michael Theo who kept Glory at bay with a string of fine saves.

A raft of injuries and suspensions meant that both line-ups had an unfamiliar look about them, indeed only eight of the 22 players who started last year’s Grand Final were named from the beginning.

Jack Clisby was handed his senior Glory debut at centre-back alongside Michael Thwaite who made a welcome return from injury, while Adrian Zahra made his first start for the club down the left flank and Ryo Nagai was employed up front just behind Travis Dodd.

And it was the new-look home side that settled the quicker, with Scott Jamieson laying on two decent chances in the opening ten minutes.

Overlapping to great effect down the left, the former Adelaide man firstly teed up Nagai who saw his goalbound effort blocked by Matt Jurman and then laid on a glorious opportunity for Dodd whose cushioned volley beat visitors’ ‘keeper Theo, but crept centimetres wide of the post.

And yet despite finding themselves well and truly under the cosh during those early exchanges, it was the Queenslanders who made the breakthrough on 16 minutes with what was their first effort on goal.

Meyer picked up possession wide out on the right and some 25 metres out, cut infield and then fired in a low drive that flashed into the bottom corner of the net, seeming to bounce just in front of Danny Vukovic’s despairing dive.

The rest of the first-half duly followed a pattern of Glory pushing forward and the visitors occasionally menacing on the break, though the clear-cut chances started to become a little thin on the ground.

Thwaite just failed to keep his header down after managing to connect with a Steven McGarry corner and the only other serious goal threat before the interval came on 41 minutes, the tireless Chris Harold getting away down the right and whipping in a teasing cross that just eluded Zahra who had made a fine run to get ahead of his marker at the far post.

The Australia Day fireworks on the foreshore provided a dramatic backdrop as the second-half got underway and Glory came close to providing some pyrotechnics of their own shortly before the hour-mark.

Nick Ward was the first to threaten, reacting first after Theo had rushed from his box to head clear, but his shot flashed over the unguarded goal and moments later, Dodd was foiled by a superb block from young full-back Corey Brown having been picked out by the lively Harold.

Understandably keen to protect their hard-earned lead, Roar were content to defend deep and in numbers, but still Glory stretched them, the mobile attacking quartet of Dodd, Nagai, Harold and Zahra regularly switching position to keep their opponents guessing.

Storm Roux then became Glory’s second debutant of the night, replacing Thwaite and slotting in at right-back as Pantelidis was moved back into the middle and the highly-rated young defender almost enjoyed a dream start, stinging Theo’s palms with a thumping angled strike on 75 minutes.

And the action continued thick and fast as the game move into its final quarter, Luke Brattan and Mitch Nichols going close for the visitors, while Dodd and Nagai tested the over-worked Theo at the other end.

Another goal seemed inevitable and twice in the last five minutes Glory came agonisingly close to claiming it as Ward was brilliantly denied at close range by Theo and from the resulting corner, Nagai saw his header cleared off the line.

But even when they threw Vukovic forward for a stoppage-time corner, the hosts could not breach Roar’s stubborn rearguard.