Smeltz swoops as Perth Glory win again

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Perth Glory made it three wins from three but it was a less than convincing performance against Wellington Phoenix at NIB Stadium.

Another goal from star striker Shane Smeltz, his third in two games, was enough for the West Australians to claim maximum points against Ricky Herbert’s men.

Glory went into the game with an unchanged first eleven from last week’s win over Melbourne Heart, and they were out of the blocks quickly with Travis Dodd breaking free down the right, but his pull back was poor and the Phoenix cleared.

The visitors registered their first effort on goal six minutes in when Chris Greenacre met a left wing cross from Andrew Durante but the Englishman’s header went wide of goal.

Perth should have opened the scoring on 16 minutes when Bas Ven Den Brink’s header across goal from Liam Miller’s corner evaded both Todd Howarth and Travis Dodd with the goal at their mercy.

Brazilian Daniel tested Danny Vukovic with a volley but it was the hosts who finally opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Van Den Brink once again got on the end of Miller delivery and this time his knock down was pounced upon by Smeltz who made no mistake with a cool finish past Tony Warner.

With the score 1-0 at the interval, it was Wellington who were more fired up for the second half and they began to dominate possession in the middle of the park. They almost drew level on 54 minutes when Ben Sigmund rose highest to meet an outswinging corner but his header struck the crossbar and was cleared.

Glory’s defence remained disciplined throughout, and it needed to keep its concentration and discipline with players further forward failing to retain possession. Travis Dodd in particular put in another power showing and was replaced by Tommy Amphlett just after the hour mark.

Despite controlling much of the second period, Wellington failed to test Vukovic in the Glory goal. Perth suffered a blow on 83 minutes when Liam Miller was taken off with that looked like a groin injury, however manager Ian Ferguson later confirmed that it was just cramp.

Wellington’s disappointing afternoon was made even worse when defender Manny Muscat was sent off for two yellow cards by referee Ben Williams, who was very quick to go to his pocket throughout.

The win keeps Glory level on points with Brisbane Roar at the top of the ladder ahead of two successive away games against Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 3. Sebastien VAN DEN BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 6. Chris COYNE, 7. Jacob BURNS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Liam MILLER, 12. Scott NEVILLE, 13. Travis DODD, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 27. ANDREZINHO.

Subs: 30. Lewis ITALIANO, 2. Josh MITCHELL, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 15. Tommy AMPHLETT.

Wellington Phoenix: 20. Anthony WARNER, 2. Emmanual MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 7. Leo BERTOS, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. Daniel CORTES, 12. Nicholas WARD, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Daniel SANCHEZ, 24. Alexander SMITH.

Subs: 1. Mark PASTON, 4. Brent GRIFFITHS, 13. Nikolas TSATTALIOS, 15. Cameron LINDSAY.

Referee: Ben Williams
Attendance: 8,299

Votes:
3. Bas Van Den Brink
2. Andrew Durante
1. Todd Howarth

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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