FFA Cup: Perth pushed by plucky St Albans

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Their Westfield FFA Cup campaign may have ended, but St Albans Saints certainly won over many admirers on Tuesday night as they gallantly went down to Perth Glory 4-1 in a spirited performance at Knights Stadium.

The scoreline didn’t do justice for the team in the second tier of Victorian football, who pushed the A-League side to the limit.

It looked as though at times in the night the unthinkable could happen as St Albans showed they are no pushovers.

But in the end, the gulf in class proved too strong with the Glory running away with the tie thanks largely to a brace by Serbian import Nebojsa Marinkovic.

St Albans once again showed the Australian football public that a side from the lower state divisions can match it with the big boys with an assured performance.

The Saints’ showed their intent to take the match to their much more fancied opponents from the offset as they dominated the opening exchanges of the match.

They came excruciatingly close to an opener in the 12th minute when Adam Nakic let rip a ferocious shot that agonisingly flew wide of Glory ‘keeper Danny Vukovic’s left post.

The first half went just the way the Saints’ would have hoped for, looking assured at the back and threatening Perth with every forward venture.

That all changed when Marinkovic nailed a perfect free kick for the the visitors after free kick was awarded just shy of the box when Tedros Yabio handled the ball in the 38th minute.

Marinkovic’s spectacular curling free kick left Saints’ ‘keeper Stuart Webster rooted to his spot as the Glory took a lead they would not surrender.

The goal didn’t break the spirits of the home side who still battled bravely in the remaining minutes of the first half searching for an equaliser.

Jamie MacLaren extended Perth’s lead after just 30 seconds of entering the game as the sub was the second man to beat Webster in impressive style with a 30-yard lob.

The healthy crowd in attendance were giving something to really shout about as St Albans were handed a lifeline with a 69th minute penalty that captian-coach Ryan McDuffie coolly converted.

That was all the time the Saints’ fans had something to cheer about as Perth ran away with the match thanks to an Andy Keogh tap-in and Marinkovic’s second.

The two late Glory goals was a cruel way for St Albans to exit their first foray into competition could have easily had the result go their way on another day.

Despite the loss, St Albans defender Felix Rosman hailed the effort his teammates put in.

“It was a great night for the club, we had a good turnout and put in a really good performance considering we had a league game on Sunday.

“We were probably tired in the second half and got punished for a couple of errors.

“The boys are proud of the effort we’ve put in and we gave it everything we had. There is no regrets from our side.

“We set out to play a certain way and I thought in the first half our keeper didn’t have a shot to save except from the goal they scored which was a 50-50 free kick. These things tend to go to the bigger teams so we got punished.

” It was a great night for the club and a great night for Victorian football.”

St Albans Saints: 1.Stuart WEBSTER (GK), 2.Ryan McGUFFIE, 4.Barry DEVLIN (3.Gorgi NICESKI 90+1), 5.Felix ROSMAN, 8.Ross HARVEY, 9.Sean MCILROY, 19.Ante KOZUL (13.Nick CULLEN 88′), 14.Chris ROSS, 15.Konrad DOBRASZKIEWICZ (16. Ajak PANEK 78′), 17.Adam NAKIC, 18.Tedros YABIO

Unused substitutes: 12.Chol NYOK, 21. Tonio BARESIC (GK)

Perth Glory: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (8.Ruben ZADKOVICH 75′), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Youssouf HERSI (15.Jamie MACLAREN 61′), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE

Unused substitutes: 2.Jack CLISBY, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK)

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