Perth Glory hits purple patch against Roar

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The final game of the Hyundai A-League’s ‘Big Wednesday’ was a captivating affair between Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar at NIB Stadium in front of 6912 spectators, with the spoils shared in a pulsating 3-3 draw.

It was a much more even affair than the last meeting between the two sides when Brisbane dismantled Glory 4-0 at Suncorp Stadium in the game that clinched their 36-game unbeaten record back in November.

Glory, who were without star Bas Van den Brink and Shane Smeltz through injury, came out of the blocks quickly and could have been a goal up inside the first minute but Liam Miller volleyed over when found with a deep cross to the back post.

The hosts were much the better side early on with Billy Mehmet, in the starting line up after having his red card against the Newcastle Jets rescinded, causing all sorts of problems up front.

The big striker had a half chance to opening the scoring but saw his effort blocked by Matt Smith, before his neat lay off fed Steve McGarry who fired over.

Mehmet’s efforts were rewarded on 16 minutes when he held off three defenders on the right wing and pulled the ball back to Travis Dodd whose neat first touch and finish gave Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos no chance.

Things got even better for Glory less than ten minutes later when Mile Sterjovski scored a contender for Goal of the Season.

Cutting in from the right hand side, he unleashed a ferocious drive that flew into the corner of the net past Theoklitos who didn’t move.

Two should have been three on 37 minutes when Todd Howarth connected with a Dodd flick on from Sterjovski’s corner but his stabbed volley was inches over the crossbar.

Brisbane struggled to get going for much of the first half with misplaced passes and poor decisions the order of the day, however they got themselves back into the game after 40 minutes.

Mitch Nichols picked up a the ball just outside the area and, unopposed, he rifled a stunning shot past a static Danny Vukovic.

The sides were almost level just seconds after the restart when Ivan Franjic crossed dangerously from the right but Besart Berisha’s backheel went just wide of the post.

Just as it looked like Glory were going to head to the dressing rooms ahead at half time, Erik Paartalu rose highest to head home a driven corner from Brattan for the equaliser in a dramatic ending to a frantic opening 45 minutes.

Glory started the second half almost as bright as the first, forcing a couple of early corners, and they saw a goal disallowed when Jacob Burns volleyed in from the edge of the area but referee Chris Beath had already blown for a free kick to Brisbane.

Television cameras captured Roar boss Ange Postecoglou giving his side a dressing down at the interval but it appeared to have little effect as they continued to struggle.

Sterjovski was next to try his luck on 56 minutes with a first time volley from Howarth’s throw in but the shot came back off the post via a deflection off Roar defender Mohamad Adnan.

Like the first half, it was all Glory with Billy Mehmet forcing Theoklitos into a stunning save with a header from Dodd’s cross.

However Glory’s failure to take their chances was punished on 69 minutes when Mitch Nichols latched on to a ball over the top from Erik Paartalu to fire home his second goal past the onrushing Vukovic.

It was Glory’s turn to mount a comeback though and they snatched an equaliser of their own with 79 minutes gone when referee Beath awarded them a penalty for a foul by Franjic on Sterjovski.

The winger picked himself up to calmly send Theoklitos the wrong way in front of The Shed, tying the score up at 3-3.

Travis Dodd almost won it for Glory deep into injury time but his header from Sterjovski’s cross went agonisingly wide of the right hand post.

In the end a draw was probably a fair result after what was a scintillating encounter from start to finish.

Glory slips to 9th after today’s action while Brisbane moves into second spot above Melbourne Heart on goal difference.

Perth Glory : 1 Daniel VUKOVIC, 2 Josh MITCHELL, 4 Billy MEHMET, 5 Steve PANTELIDIS, 7 Jacob BURNS, 10 Liam MILLER, 13 Travis DODD, 14 Steven MCGARRY, 17 Todd HOWARTH, 19 Joshua RISDON, 21 Mile STERJOVSKI.

Subs: 20 Lewis ITALIANO, 8 Adam HUGHES, 16 Evan BERGER, 22 Adam TAGGART.

Brisbane Roar:
Michael THEOKLITOS, 2 Matthew SMITH, 3 Shane STEFANUTTO, 4 Matthew JURMAN, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Erik PAARTALU, 7 Besart BERISHA, 14 Rocky VISCONTE, 16 Mohamad ADNAN, 17 Mitchell NICHOLS, 18 Luke BRATTAN.

Subs: 20 Andrew REDMAYNE, 8 Massimo MURDOCCA, 11 Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN, 19 Jack HINGERT.

The Football Sack ‘Player of the Year’ points:

3. Mile Sterjovski
2. Erik Paartalu
1. Steven McGarry

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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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