Glory sink Mariners in Burns’ swansong

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Perth Glory saved arguably their best performance under Kenny Lowe for the final home game of the season as they claimed a 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners last night.

The contest, played in front of 11,127 spectators at nib Stadium, was the back drop to a different kind of send off for club captain Jacob Burns who announced his retirement from professional football on Friday.

“I thought we deserved to win,” said interim coach Lowe afterwards.

“The last three or four performances have been good, the lads who have come in have started to get to know each other.”

Referee Stephen Lucas, in charge of his first Hyundai A-League game, took centre stage as early as the eighth minute when he awarded the home side a penalty.

Burns went down under a challenge from Mariners skipper John Hutchinson, playing his milestone 200th game in the league, and Lucas harshly awarded a spot kick that was comfortably dispatched by Steven McGarry.

Parity was restored again on 19 minutes and this time it was Burns on the receiving end of a head scratching decision as he was penalised for contact on Kim Seung-Yong in the area.

Nick Fitzgerald stepped up to score and the game remained locked at 1-1 for the rest of the half, though Glory were the better side.

The next goal arrived on 71 minutes when Sidnei Sciola Moraes converted from close range, before an own goal by Zac Anderson with five minutes remaining sealed the three points for Glory.

Lowe spoke about a change in tactics recently that has been more suitable for some of the squad, and named Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Sidnei as three of the benefactors.

“Sidnei doesn’t know what he’s going to do so the defenders haven’t got a clue, which helps,” he said.

“But what we know is if we give him a little bit of freedom he’s quite dynamic and it suited him.

“We played him left side of midfield last week, we stumbled on it really, but we had to shove him up there because his defensive responsibilities are absolutely useless.”

Lowe confirmed that William Gallas was adamant that he wanted to play despite going off injured at half time against the Newcastle Jets last week, and put in a lot of hours during the week to help minimise the tear that he currently carrying in his hamstring.

“I take my hat off to him, he’s actually played injured,” said Lowe.

“I guess that shows the spirit of our group, it shows the spirit in the club, it shows the spirit at the training ground.”

While there is still uncertainty over who will be in charge at Glory next season, Lowe said that the head coaching role is still of great interest to him.

“No matter where we finish it’s been unacceptable,” he said.

“That’s the bottom line and maybe I’ve got to cop that but I’ve come in with certain cards down, I’m not going to moan about that, but ultimately it rests with me so it’s not really acceptable.

“We may get an opportunity to put that right next year, I don’t know. I’d love it if that happened.”

Glory round off their 2013/14 season next weekend away to Sydney FC knowing a win will definitely see them avoid their first A-League wooden spoon.

For their part, the Mariners were lacklustre throughout and put in a very abject showing, much to the disappointment of coach Phil Moss.

“If you don’t win the fight, if you’re not up for it from the start of the game, it makes it hard and you’re climbing a mountain,” he said.

“We gave that penalty away early which, I have to be honest, I thought was quite soft but we got ourselves back in the game and the second half wasn’t good enough again.

“Full credit to Perth Glory, they deserved the three points tonight.”

The Mariners face old foes Brisbane Roar in their last regular season outing and still hold aspirations of finishing second behind their opponents.

Perth Glory: 18. Jack DUNCAN, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 7. Jacob BURNS, 8. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES, 17. Chris HAROLD, 19. Joshua RISDON, 23. Michael THWAITE, 36. William GALLAS.

Subs: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 4. Ryan EDWARDS, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 28. Darvydas SERNAS, 39. Luke RADONICH.

Central Coast Mariners: 12. Liam REDDY, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 15. Storm ROUX, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. Seung-Yong KIM.

Subs: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 20. Bernie IBINI.

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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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