Fowler fires as Glory down Victory

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Perth Glory ended a run of ten games without a win in spectacular fashion with an excellent 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory, thanks in large part to a hat-trick from Robbie Fowler.

The marquee striker, who has had his critics this week, was in stunning form as he tore the visitors’ defence to shreds and his finishing was first class.

Perth went into the game without former Socceroos striker Mile Sterjovski who injured his groin during the week, as well as the suspended Naum Sekulovski. Victory included Archie Thompson in their starting line up for the first time since last season’s Grand Final.
It was almost a dream start for the home side when Jamie Coyne cut in from the left touchline and fed Fowler – but the marquee striker shot straight at Michael Petkovic, who did well to push the ball to safety. Victory created their first chance minutes late but Archie Thompson’s effort was saved by Velaphi after the striker had burst into the area.
The breakthrough wasn’t long coming though as Glory were rewarded for a positive start. Fowler was bundled over in the area by Rodrigo Vargas and picked himself up to take the spot kick. His initial effort was saved by Petkovic but the former Liverpool and England striker tucked home the rebound for his side’s first home goal in 40 days.
Victory almost grabbed an equaliser on 33 minutes when Marvin Angulo broke into the penalty area but his goal bound effort was superbly tipped around the post by Velaphi.

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Glory then had a chance to double their lead seven minutes before half time. Fowler picked the ball up in midfield and his clever pass over the top released Scott Neville. Petkovic, however, spread himself well to smother the shot.

The hosts came out of the blocks sharply in the second half and Fowler almost scored again. His diving header from Baird’s excellent cross was saved, though the striker didn’t have to wait too long to hit the net again.

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Good pressure down the right saw Neville’s scuffed cross drop to the Glory number nine and he fired past Petkovic with his right foot.

Victory tried to get back into the game and came close as Hernandez fired just over from a 25 yard free kick – at the other end of the park the Robbie Fowler show continued just after the hour mark. Adriano Pellegrino lifted the ball over the Victory defence to leave Fowler through on goal and he calmly finished past the hapless Petkovic to complete his hat-trick.
The impressive Neville almost grabbed a fourth for his side on 70 minutes after a great overlapping run but the fingertips of Petkovic denied him.

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Shortly afterwards, Glory replacement Howard Fondyke was lucky to escape for just a yellow card for a horrible challenge on Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat.

Victory managed to grab a consolation goal ten minutes from time when substitute’s Mate Dugandzic and Diogo Ferreira combined for the former to score.

The win is a much needed one for Ian Ferguson’s side and moves them to within just two points of Victory who currently occupy a playoff spot.
Perth Glory: T Velaphi, S Neville, J Coyne, A Todd, J Harnwell, S McGarry, J Burns, A Pellegrino, T Howarth, R Fowler, M Baird.
Subs: A Vrteski, T Amphlett, B Griffiths, H Fondyke.
Melbourne Victory: M Petkovic, K Muscat, S Sukha, A Leijer, R Vargas, T Pondeljak, G Brebner, B Celeski, M Angulo, A Thompson, C Hernandez.
Subs: S Mattei, M Dugandzic, L Broxham, D Ferreira.

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