A youthful Glory side with an average age of just 23 secured a battling point courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Wednesday evening.
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With 17-year-old Aidan Coyne making his ISUZU UTE A-League debut at the heart of the defence alongside another 17-year-old in Josh Rawlins and fellow-PGFC Academy products Trent Ostler and Joseph Forde both gaining their first taste of senior league action off the bench, it was a night which offered an exciting glimpse into the club’s future.
And Glory acquitted themselves well, notably in the second half when Nick Fitzgerald so nearly broke the deadlock with a header which struck the inside of the post.
The Jets, who enjoyed the better of the first-half, ended the game with ten men after Daniel Penha received a straight red for an apparent elbow on Giordano Colli in stoppage-time.
Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich was unsurprisingly quick to praise the maturity shown by the squad’s youngsters during a game which, despite its lack of goals, was a compelling watch throughout.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort and mentality from the boys tonight,” he said.
“It was a game that was a little bit frustrating because there were moments, especially in transition, when we could have been better, but I was extremely proud of what the boys dished up, especially the young boys.
“It was a little bit of a stalemate at times with the set-up.
“We wanted to nullify their key threats and I think we did that quite well and frustrated them for long periods.
“The boys came out in the second half on the front foot and started to get our home crowd involved which was nice and it was a little bit frustrating that we didn’t get the win.
“It’s actually huge for our club the quality cattle that we have coming through and I know them well because I spent hours and hours on the grass in my previous role mentoring and shaping those guys.
“I think it was clear that there is a really bright future here for some of those boys.”
It was the Jets who were the quickest out of the blocks on a sticky night in the west and they should have taken the lead midway through the first half when leading scorer Beka Mikeltadze seized upon a defensive error and rounded Liam Reddy, but somehow failed to steer the ball into the empty net.
Glory’s best effort before the break, meanwhile, came from Ciaran Bramwell, another of the PGFC Academy graduates, who headed a Jack Clisby corner wide of the mark after doing well to climb above his marker.
Five minutes into the second half, many of the home fans thought the men in purple had found a way through when Adrian Sardinero’s inswinging free-kick was was met with a deft, glancing header from Fitzgerald which appeared to be arrowing its way into the top corner.
It was not to be, however, as the ball instead cannoned back out off the inside of the post and somehow failed to cross the line.
The Jets duly responded with a low drive from Penha which Liam Reddy did well to tip around the post and as the game opened up in the final quarter, Daniel Stynes tested Jack Duncan at the other end after a surging run to the edge of the box.
In what was a lively cameo off the bench, Stynes flashed a well-struck effort narrowly wide two minutes from time and then showcased his defensive capabilities by blocking a goalbound shot from Archie Goodwin right at the death.
By that time the visitors had lost the services of Penha whose clash with Colli prompted a prolonged bout of push and shove featuring almost every player from both sides.
Perth Glory 0 Newcastle Jets 0
Referee: Daniel Elder
Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (GK) (C), 7.Adrian SARDINERO (42.Josh ANASMO 67′), 11.Nick FITZGERALD (18.Daniel STYNES 67′), 14.Jack CLISBY, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY (36.Joseph FORDE 87′), 22.Josh RAWLINS, 26.Giordano COLLI, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 32.Aidan COYNE, 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL (28.Trent OSTLER 60′)
Substitutes not used: 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 43.Adam ZIMARINO, 12.Cameron COOK (GK)
Yellow Cards: Colli
Red Cards: None
Newcastle Jets: 1.Jack DUNCAN (GK), 2.Dane INGHAM, 4.Jordan ELSEY, 6.Matthew JURMAN (C), 9.Beka MIKELTADZE, 10.Olivier BOUMAL (26.Archie GOODWIN 46′), 11.Daniel PENHA, 13.Brandon WILSON (7.Jordan O’DOHERTY 64′), 19.Taylor REGAN (3.Jason HOFFMAN 46′), 27.Lucas MAURAGIS (15.Dylan MURNANE 73′), 32.Angus THURGATE (8.Mario Arques BLASCO 8)
Substitutes not used: 21.Savvas SIATRAVANIS, 20.Michael WEIER (GK)
Yellow Cards: Thurgate, Jurman
Red Cards: Penha