One game, one pub, one Perth Glory fan

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Perth Glory hosted Harry Kewell and Melbourne Victory in front of a bumper crowd of 12,358 at NIB Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and it was the West Australians who picked up maximum points with a resounding 4-1 win.

The Football Sack writers Neil Sherwin and Scott Condon caught up for the game in Melbourne’s Charles Dickens Tavern, and there was plenty to talk about over a friendly beer or two.

Perth Perspective (Neil Sherwin)

Well that wasn’t too bad was it?!

Glory fully deserved their win and it was fantastic to see so many fans at the game. The intensity of the players has been superb for a number of weeks now and it was there for all to see again on Sunday.

Mile Sterjovski has justifiably had his critics during his three year spell at the club and cynics will argue that his recent good form is merely an attempt to secure a new contract. They may have a point but whatever the reasons are, he has been excellent since the turn of they year and was instrumental in creating the first goal for Shane Smeltz.

Speaking of Smeltz, the Kiwi looked to be back to his sharp best and was a thorn in the side of both Adrian Leijer and Rodrigo Vargas throughout. Indeed, Victory’s entire backline had a nightmare day with the two Matthews, Foschini and Kemp, putting on a masterclass in how not to defend.

For me though the key to Glory’s success was comfortably winning the midfield battle in the first half. Jacob Burns, Liam Miller and Steven McGarry simply overan the inadequate duo of Leigh Broxham and Diogo Ferreira, so much so that the latter was dragged before half time.

A big mention needs to go to Steve Pantelidis who put in another excellent showing at centre half. It’s safe to say that the former Victory and Gold Coast defender was not given the greatest welcome when he joined the club but he has been superb since being called upon and many are warming the 28 year old.

At right back, Josh Risdon continues to be a serious prospect and he was not overawed in the slightest about facing Harry Kewell (who was lucky to stay on the pitch in the second half). Still only 19, Risdon has filled the void left by Scott Neville’s long term injury and his form has meant that the services of injury replacement Trent McClenahan were no longer required.

Overall a great night to be a Glory fan and the unbeaten run now extends to six games, easing the pressure considerably on coach Ian Ferguson.

From a personal perspective it was disappointing not to have been at NIB Stadium to witness such a great performance. Thankfully though I had the rather excellent consolation of being the only Glory supporter watching it in a bar full of Victory fans, including Scott. The silence after each goal went in was wonderful!

Victory View (Scott Condon)

Kudos goes out to The Football Sack‘s man from the west Neil Sherwin, who met me at the renowned Melbourne Victory pub the Dickens Tavern to watch the Perth Glory vs Melbourne Victory game, decked out in his Glory polo.

There was an air of tension around the pub before kick off as most of the Melbourne faithful knew that travelling to Perth was a waste of time. The coasters weren’t even damp when Shane Smeltz opened the scoring 12 minutes in, Sherwin’s yelp was thankfully drowned out by the groans of Victory fans.

A few minutes later and Harry Kewell lifts his studs, Sherwin is calling for a red card, thankfully not too loudly, I head off to buy a shout just in case.

The second goal just after the half hour mark greeted with a little more vigour, Adrian Leijer was adjudged by referee Peter Green to have bought down Todd Howarth. No-one at the Dickens Tavern saw it that way and my spidey sensors were preparing me for the worst. Shane Smeltz stepped up and did was he does best, 2-0 Glory and Sherwin’s reaction was a little more introverted this time.

Not too much time passes when Matt Foschini’s lack of discipline hands Glory a second penalty. This time no-one in the pub argues and it’s me who now becomes the aggressor, calling for Foschini never to don the flouro yellow of the Victory ever again. To make matters worse its former Victory whipping boy Evan Berger who is on the receiving end of the poorly timed challenge.

Half time is upon us, time for another beer and some chit chat – chit chat which is interrupted by the stats that have just appeared on the big screen. Victory zero shots on target. Zero shots on goal. Discussion turns to how a team possessing Kewell and Thompson could have such a stat and it is agreed that Broxham is the answer.

The second half goes pretty much along the lines of the first. Perth dominate and if it had not been for my western visitor I’d be half way home, muttering nonsense like “I’m never going to watch these guys until they play with some heart again”.

Solorzano ‘wins’ a penalty in the 67th minute. I know he doesn’t deserve it, but there is no way I’m going to admit it, and anyway it was Steve Pantelidis who the offence is against so in some small way its justified. “Take that Panta, ya thug”. Deep down I’m still thinking we can pinch a draw. Kewell steps up. Goal.

The game meanders on a bit, the Victory never look like it. Allsopp is red carded for a studs up tackle on Pantelidis, surely that should be applauded, not red carded!! Sherwin pipes up with “Allsopp ya dirty bastard”. I’m thinking that this bloke’s getting the cheapest beer this place has got next shout if he keeps that up.

Andrezinho comes on and scores a pretty good goal with about ten minutes left. The game is done, the pub starts to empty, the performance is that bad I dont even feel like beer anymore. Handshakes all round as even the most one eyed supporter can see that we’ve been totally outplayed by a better side on the day.

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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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