Glory’s kids are alright in Wellington win

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The 8,232 fans in attendance at nib Stadium last night got a glimpse of Perth Glory’s bright future as Alistair Edwards’ side battled hard to beat the Wellington Phoenix 4-2.

Stunning backdrop at nib Stadium

With seven of the starting line-up aged 22 or under, and a match day 16 consisting of 14 Australians, the club’s continued faith in its youngsters was rewarded.

They did it hard way though, going 2-1 down in the second half, before showing great character to turn the game on its head and claim all three points.

Glory boss Alistair Edwards was full of praise for his players after what has been a tough few weeks with Scott Jamieson, William Gallas, Shane Smeltz and Ryo Nagai joining a long injury list and skipper Jacob Burns absent through suspension.

“The players know that we will back the squad and today you saw a very, very young squad,” he said after the game.

“To come back from 2-1 down at home under pressure and perform the way they did and get the four goals just shows the character and belief in what we’re doing.”

The home side went in front after 16 minutes when Man of the Match Sidnei Sciola was given far too much time on the ball 25 yards from, and the Brazilian rifled a stunning left foot effort into the roof the net.

Glory were the better side for much of the first half but were pegged back by a lovely Stein Huysegems finish and a Paul Ifill header just after the interval put the Nix ahead.

Michael Thwaite tied things up again with a header, before goals from substitute Adrian Zahra, the benefactor from a mazy run by Steve McGarry, and Sidnei meant the score line fairly reflected how the balance of play went on the park.

Wellington boss Ernie Merrick spoke about his disappointment with his team’s performance as Glory knocked the ball around confidently at times.

“We’d gone seven games and played pretty well without getting a win for it, but tonight was very bad,” he said.

“We can’t keep losing points like that.”

Merrick sent out a positive line up, with Huysegems, Ifill, Jeremy Brockie and Kenny Cunningham interchanging in the forward positions all night, but the lack of creativity in midfield was glaringly obvious at times with no Carlos Hernandez.

It wouldn’t be an A-League game without a refereeing controversy, and Matthew Gillett was only happy to oblige when he pulled out a yellow then red card for Albert Riera before realising that midfielder had not been cautioned previously.

After nine rounds, the Nix are still winless, and it doesn’t get any easier with a home game against Brisbane Roar next weekend.

Glory will again play on Friday night in Round 10 when they take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Fringe players step up to the plate 

Chris Harold didn’t enjoy the best of offseasons and as a result slipped down the pecking order at Glory.

There were signs of a return to form a few weeks ago against Adelaide when he netted an important equaliser, and he was given a chance from the start tonight with Ryo Nagai ruled out with an injury picked up in training midweek.

From the first minute he was eager to get on the ball, obviously well aware that he had Nix full back Reece Caira beaten for pace every time.

At 1-0, Harold almost got on the scoresheet after a mazy run and shot which brought out a good save from Glen Moss, and it would have been just reward for his efforts.

Much has been about the career prospects of 16 year old Danny De Silva and we finally got to see in the first XI though, albeit only for 45 minutes.

The youngster displays excellent composure on the ball, and has a great eye for a pass so slotted into a midfield role very comfortably.

Once he is up to match fitness he will be special, make no mistake about it.

At full back, Matthew Davies gets better with every game having come in for the injured Josh Risdon earlier in the season, while Riley Woodcock put in a solid display in his full debut.

Much has been made about the inclusion of the Edwards’ brothers in the team but tonight both Ryan, apart from his very poor challenge on Albert Riera that could have brought a red card, and Cameron put in much improved performances.

Cameron in particular was a steadying presence in midfield when he was introduced for De Silva with a pass completion rate of 92%.

Even the substitutes got in on the act with Ndumba Makeche and Zahra playing their part in the comeback, and all will give Alistair Edwards a nice headache when his “old boys” return over the next few weeks.

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 2. Jack CLISBY, 4. Ryan EDWARDS, 10. Jamie MACLAREN, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA MORAIS, 17. Chris HAROLD, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 23. Michael THWAITE, 24. Matthew DAVIES, 25. Riley WOODCOCK.

Subs: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 6. Cameron EDWARDS, 11. Adrian ZAHRA, 18. Jack DUNCAN, 22. Ndumba MAKECHE.

Wellington Phoenix: 1. Glen MOSS, 3. Reece CAIRA, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 10. Stein HUYSEGEMS, 11. Jeremy BROCKIE, 13. Albert RIERA, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE.

Subs: 5. Michael BOXALL, 7. Leo BERTOS, 15. Jason HICKS, 20. Louis ITALIANO, 23. Matthew RIDENTON.

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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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