ANALYSIS: A change will do Glory good

-

Without a win in eight and a goal in four, few gave Perth Glory any chance of upsetting the odds against the league leading Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.

However, the Hyundai A-League once again proved its unpredictability as Glory came from a goal down to win 2-1 in what was interim boss Alistair Edwards’ first game in charge.

Edwards was understandably delighted with the result, heaping praise on his players for how they took to their task.

“I just thought that as the game progressed we just got stronger and stronger,” he said. “And the fact that we really stuck by the game plan, keeping possession as things were opening, enabled some top individual performances from the team.”

As Mariners boss Graham Arnold pointed out afterwards, a change in coach more often than not puts an extra spring in the step of a team and Glory certainly displayed that.

The most interesting thing about Edwards following his first post-match press conference is that he talks solely in football terms; no lazy clichés, no mixed messages, and genuine analysis of a situation.

He has a friendly demeanour, and took time to shake hands with everybody in the room at the end of the press conference.

It’s still very early days for himself and Gareth Naven, but there were a couple of noticeable tweaks to the side which made a big difference against the Mariners.

Irish influence

While there was nothing particularly revolutionary in putting out a side set up in a 4-3-3 formation, the move to restore Liam Miller to the point of the three man central midfield could well breathe new life into the Glory attack.

Miller’s composure on the ball is superb, and his willingness to get forward and support Shane Smeltz with runs from deep caused the Mariners problems.

Indeed, the Irishman should have gotten himself on the scoresheet with a header from Dean Heffernan’s left wing cross but the effort went wide.

When asked about Miller’s role in the side, Edwards was clear on his plans for the remaining fixtures.

“The way we are looking to play is to get people like Liam as far forward and supporting Smeltzy as much as possible because you don’t really want a player of Liam’s capabilities picking the ball up at left and right back,” he said.

The decision to play Steve McGarry as the defensive shield in front of the back four also worked due to the Scot’s energy and ability to read the game.

Licence to roam – full backs

Everybody knows the threat posed by Mariners full backs Padj Bojic and Josh Rose; they’ve been potent in attack for a number of seasons now.

However, both were largely ineffective on Saturday night thanks in large part to the high positions occupied by their opposite numbers Josh Risdon and Dean Heffernan, particularly in the second half.

Risdon rifled a long range effort off the woodwork just moments before setting up Smeltz for the second goal with a superb cross, while Heffernan also provided good service from the left and was regularly beyond Chris Harold in attacking positions.

Heffernan has been in and out of the team and was used as a left winger predominantly by Ferguson, but showed he can still do a very good job at full back.

With Scott Jamieson fit again after his recent knock, Glory are well stocked on the left hand side.

Pass, pass, pass…goal

After 25 minutes, there were noticeable jeers and whistles around nib Stadium after a passage of play that saw Glory go from an attacking position back to goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

They had kept the ball well and when nothing opened up they decided to start again. This didn’t sit well with sections of the crowd however, who would have been left feeling a little silly when just a minute later Nick Ward split the Mariners defence with a killer pass for Travis Dodd to score.

The team’s patience was rewarded, and the fans who booed could do with taking a leaf from their book.

Six games to save the season

While the win over the Mariners is a massive confidence boost for the new regime, Glory really need to back it up this weekend with a result away to the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The gap to sixth spot currently sits at four points so a late run to the finals is certainly possible, and Edwards certainly hasn’t given up the ghost.

“It’s not only about rolling the sleeves up and getting stuck in, it’s about the insight, when to do things, when not to do things,” he said.

“I’m now looking over the last six games, hopefully more, to see the ones who can fit into our way of playing because you can see that we tried to keep the ball as much as possible to open things up.”

If Edwards can deliver a finals spot then there might not be any need to conduct the worldwide search for a manager that owner Tony Sage spoke about last week.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

mm
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.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required