Glory best in the west against winless Wanderers

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Perth Glory’s whirlwind start to the season continued with a 2-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers in front of 12,166 spectators at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

It’s been a massive week for Glory, who had less than 48 hours between last Sunday’s first A-League win in Gosford against the Central Coast Mariners and Tuesday’s FFA Cup Semi-Final win over Bentleigh Greens.


There were tired bodies on show, a point backed up by coach Kenny Lowe afterwards, but a goal in each half from defenders Dino Djulbic and Scott Jamieson got the job done.

“[We] ran out of petrol a bit in the last 10 or 15 which was to be expected,” said Lowe.

“They had a fairly fresh side but I’d have taken that before the game started.”

Jamieson’s goal in particular was a real crowd pleaser as he stepped up and curled a superb free kick into the top right hand corner, giving Wanderers goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis no chance.

The Glory left back also managed the find the net at the wrong end but knew very little about the goal as the ball hit him on the back and trickled over the line late on, though the effort was officially credited to Wanderers’ Jaushua Sotirio.

The Asian Champions were without a number of key players for the contest, namely Tomi Juric, Matthew Spiranovic, Ante Covic, Romeo Castelen and skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Tony Popovic’s side included a goalkeeper and back four with an average age of just 22, and at times their inexperience showed in what was their fourth loss from four A-League games.

“Every game we go into we go in to win and tonight wasn’t to be,” said Popovic afterwards.

“There are many reasons [for changing the team], not excuses, but just reasons. Last week we had many players that had their first game since May or June, we had a lot of fatigued players from the trip that played in Wellington as well, and we’ve got three games in seven days.

“We’ve had to juggle things around a bit and a lot of young boys got a chance tonight and they did very well.”

Glory started brightly but were guilty of committing too many players forward at times, and Danny Vukovic pulled off an excellent save from Labinot Haliti as Wanderers came close to finishing a two on one situation.

At the other end, the home side went in front after nine minutes as Dino Djulbic rose highest to head home a well delivered Nebojsa Marinkovic corner.

It was end to end stuff at times as Glory’s Youssouf Hersi squandered a golden opportunity to score against his old club, while Marinkovic had a low shot deflected onto an upright.

Jason Trifiro forced Vukovic into another strong save before Mark Bridge shot just wide of the left post.

The longer the game wore on, the more nervous the atmosphere became as the Wanderers pressed for an equaliser.

“I think I said to someone on the bench that there’s one one written all over this,” said Lowe.

“Vucks [Danny Vukovic] has made two great saves as well but on chances I thought the result was the right result.”

Vukovic may feel that he could have done better for the Wanderers goal as he failed to connect cleanly with a punch on Vitor Saba’s free kick into the penalty area, and has been critical of his own performances on social media, but Lowe isn’t worried.

“Sometimes players can be over critical of themselves but, on the flipside, he’s got very high standards so therefore he is critical of himself,” said Lowe.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to temper it and make sure he doesn’t be over analytical and over critical that it affects his confidence.

“But it’s not affecting his confidence, he’s super.”

Former Glory fan favourite Nikita Rukyavytsya, who rejected a return to the club in favour of moving to the Wanderers, was introduced on 68 minutes to a smattering of boos from the home support.

“It’s football, he’s wearing a different coloured shirt, of course he’s going to get booed, even I was booing him!” quipped Lowe.

Attendances at nib Stadium were a talking point in the lead up to the game but a crowd of over 12,000 was encouraging.

“If you didn’t enjoy that game then you’re never going to enjoy a game of football in your life,” said Lowe.

“I’m sat there first half thinking ‘it’s too open, we’ve got to close it up, it’s too much fun’.

“Hopefully they’ll want to come back again, and hopefully we can serve that up again but not run out of petrol in the last 15 and give everyone heart attacks.”

Glory will be keen to see another good turnout when they host the Wellington Phoenix next Friday night.

The Wanderers, meanwhile, host the Central Coast Mariners on Wednesday in the first of four consecutive home games.

Perth Glory starting XI: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 7. Youssouf HERSI, 9. Andrew KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11. Richard GARCIA, 19. Joshua RISDON, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE.

Perth Glory substitutes: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Chris HAROLD, 30. Jordan THURTELL.

Western Sydney Wanderers starting XI: 20. Dean BOUZANIS, 3. Daniel MULLEN, 5. Brendan HAMILL, 6. Anthony GOLEC, 7. Labinot HALITI, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 16. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 23. Jason TRIFIRO, 31. Alusine FOFANAH, 32. Daniel ALESSI.

Western Sydney Wanderers substitutes: 2. Shannon COLE, 10. Vitor SABA, 12. Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 30. Thomas MANOS, 35. Kearyn BACCUS.

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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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