Youngsters pipped on penalties in Night Series semi

Glory giant flag

The PGFC Academy team suffered penalty shootout heartache in Saturday’s NPL Night Series semi-final, going down 5-3 to Perth SC after the two sides had fought out a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes.

Carlo Armiento gave Glory an early lead at Bayswater City’s Frank Drago Reserve, before Perth levelled through Andreas Theodosiades in the final minute of the first half.

Both sides went close in a tight second-half, but with neither able to break the deadlock, a shootout was required and after Armiento missed his opening penalty, Perth found the net with each of theirs to book a place in next week’s final.

Despite the defeat, Glory Head Coach was full of praise for his young side.

“I thought the lads were great tonight,” he said.

“They played with maturity beyond their years, but unfortunately ended up on the wrong side of a penalty shoot-out.

“It’s a hard way to lose, but that’s football.

“After such a good first-half of football that the guys dominated, it was disappointing to concede with virtually the last kick of the half.

“We never got over it and struggled to get going after the break.

“It was pleasing that the boys maintained their composure and the work rate of the players tonight was first class.

“It has been a good Night Series for the guys and we have seen the group evolve from it. Now we continue with the preparations for the new NPLWA season in two weeks.”

Glory took the game to the reigning NPL champions in the early stages and went close to bagging the opener after only nine minutes.

Following some good combination play between Ciaran Bramwell, Charlie Leech and Armiento, the ball eventually was played wide to Josh Rawlins whose low cross into the box just eluded Bramwell at the back post.

But two minutes later Glory’s early pressure did pay off,  Jacob Muir playing a ball from his own half through the middle of the park to Armiento whose shot on the turn from 20m flew into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Glory held on to that lead until the stroke of half-time when Theodosiades restored parity and during the second period, ‘keeper Jackson Lee made a string of fine saves to keep Perth SC at bay.

With neither side able to make the breakthrough in normal time, it took penalties to separate them and although Glory midfielder Charlie Leech was understandably disappointed that it was Ramon Falzon’s men who prevailed in the shoot-out, he insisted that the pre-season competition had provided ideal preparation for the upcoming NPL campaign.

“The penalty shoot-out loss was a tough one to take for the boys, as we put in such a good shift throughout the Night Series campaign and especially the 90 minutes against Perth,” he said.

“It is obviously a hard way to lose a game, however it is an experience that will stand us in good stead for the NPL season.”

The PGFC Academy begin this NPLWA season on Saturday 14 March when they take on Gwelup Croatia (kick-off time and venue TBC).