Robbie Fowler’s first outting in the purple of Perth ended in late disappointment in front of a record crowd of 16,091 at nib Stadium tonight.

The Glory dominated throughout but it was the visitors who will be the happier of the two sides after 90 minutes having stolen a point in injury time.

It was a whirlwind start for the hosts who were lightening quick out of the blocks, taking the lead as early as the fifth minute when striker Branko Jelic turned home a cross from Adriano Pellegrino. For a while it looked like the floodgates might open as Glory poured forward, and Pellegrino almost doubled the lead soon after but his volley flashed wide of Justin Pasfield’s goal.

The home crowd were silenced however just before the interval when, with their first real chance, Fury equalised. A half clearance by Jacob Burns was pounced upon by Chris Payne and he rifl
ed a low drive into the bottom left hand corner.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Glory pressing at every opportunity, and the impressive Scott Neville was unlucky with a long range strike that clipped the top of the crossbar. Former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski then wasted a glorious opportunity to put Glory ahead on the hour but he could only fire wide having been played through on goal by Fowler.

The miss was to prove costly as moments later the Fury took the lead with their first goal attempt since the restart. This time Payne was the provider as his sweeping ball was met by David Williams who volleyed past Velaphi.

The shell shocked Perth crowd were a little unsure what to make of it all, but they didn’t have to wait too long for a reason to find their voice again. An inswinging Sterjovski corner was only partially cleared to the edge of the area where right back Scott Neville was on hand to fire through a crowd of players past Pasfield. Things got better for Glory moments later when a neat build up released Pellegrino and his lofted cross was nodded home by Sterjovski.

Having taken the lead and with the Fury putting up little fight, Fowler made his exit to a rapturous round of applause. However it was not to be a winning start for the former Liverpool man thanks to a dramatic climax. Neville turned from hero to villain as he conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the left hand side of the area, and Dyron Daal’s ball in was met by the unmarked Chris Grossman who headed home.

Glory coach Dave Mitchell will have been encouraged by the character his side showed when they went behind, though given the difference in genuine quality between the two sides, they should never have gotten themselves into that position in the first place.

Perth Glory: 1. Tando VELAPHI, 3. Jamie COYNE, 5. Jamie HARNWELL, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Robbie FOWLER (22. Anthony SKORICH 82’), 11. Branko JELIC (17. Todd HOWARTH 71’), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI,
Substitutes not used: 20. Aleks VRTESKI, 23. Andrija JUKIC.
Scorers: Jelic 5’, Neville 74’, Sterjovski 79’
Yellow cards: Burns 23’, Sterjovski 29’, Sekulovski 65’
North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 4. Eric AKOTO, 5. Mark HUGHES, 7. Gareth EDDS (c), 8. Adam CASEY (21. Jason SPAGNUOLO 83’), 11. David WILLIAMS, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE (10. Dyron DAAL 76’), 16. Simon STOREY, 17. Osama MALIK, 19. Isaka CERNAK
Substitutes not used: 18.Brett STUDMAN, 20. Matthew HAM (gk),
Scorers: Payne 34’, Williams 64’, Grossman 92’

Yellow cards: Akoto 23’, Storey 33’, Hughes 45’ (+2)

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