Glory rout Mariners to sit top of the tree at Christmas

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Perth Glory’s superb run of form in the A-League continued at nib Stadium last night as they claimed a 4-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners to open up a sixpoint lead on Melbourne Victory.

Chris Harold helped himself to a brace in his first start of the season, while Andy Keogh and Daniel De Silva chipped in with a goal each as Glory equalled the league record of eight successive home wins.

De Silva, still only 17 years old, had most of the 9660 spectators on their feet when he flicked the ball up and volleyed a superb effort past a back peddling Liam Reddy in the Mariners goal on 71 minutes.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Glory though, with the visitors enjoying a lot of possession in the opening half hour in particular.

Afterwards, coach Kenny Lowe was happy to hold his hands up for his part in the team’s lacklustre start to the contest.

“I made a mistake at the beginning, asking the boys to press,” he said.

“I thought we could maybe cope with that and do it for the first 20. They carried my instruction out but that was my fault, maybe I was expecting too much after the week we’ve had.”

Lowe’s opposite number Phil Moss couldn’t understand how his team, who lost young full back Michael Neill to a potentially serious foot injury, was on the receiving end of such a heavy defeat.

“I can’t believe the score line, no way on earth was that a 4-1 game,” he said.

“I thought we were in absolute control for the first 35 minutes, or whenever the first goal was scored.”

Moss bemoaned the fact that mistakes keep costing his side goals and their luck won’t turn for the better until they sort that out.

“We have to be more aggressive in the top third in front of goal,” he said.

“And we have to be more aggressive in the back third to make sure that we get that killer instinct at both ends of the pitch because we’re playing some great football through the middle of it.”

Wide man Nick Fitzgerald carved out a good opening on 13 minutes but his strike from the corner of the box was well parried by Danny Vukovic in the Glory goal.

Glory opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when a lovely flick from Andy Keogh released Sidnei Sciola whose cross was tapped home by Chris Harold.

Harold turned provider a couple of minutes later, pouncing on a horrendous attempted pass by Liam Reddy to square for Keogh to net his seventh of the season in the A-League.

The Irishman could have had a second before the break as he pulled the ball out of the air and fired in a low volley that Reddy got down well to stop.

The Mariners responded shortly after the break when Matt Simon was afforded too much space in the penalty area and the bustling striker took advantage to finish low past Vukovic’s outstretched hand.

There was an air of restlessness around the stadium in the aftermath of that goal but De Silva’s wonder strike calmed any nerves, before Harold put the icing on the cake as he curled home a beautiful effort to finish off a clinical break from a Mariners corner.

Ahead of his one year anniversary in charge, initially on a temporary basis, Lowe stressed that the turnaround in Glory’s fortune is down to a collective effort.

“If it goes well maybe I get the credit but it’s not down to me,” he said.

“It’s down to everybody; the players, the admin, the owner for having a fair pair of bollocks for giving me the job in the first place.”

Glory now sits on 28 points from 11 games, equalling the total for the entire 2013/14 season.

With back-to-back fixtures in Melbourne against City and Victory to come, Lowe is just concentrating on the team improving following some negative preseason predictions.

“Everyone predicted us to be ninth in the league so it doesn’t matter what people say.”

Perth Glory starting XI: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Andrew KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11. Richard GARCIA, 14. Chris HAROLD, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE.

Perth Glory substitutes: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 15. Jamie MACLAREN, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 24. Matthew DAVIES, 30. Jordan THURTELL.

Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 12. Liam REDDY, 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 17. Richard VERNES, 18. Glen TRIFIRO, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Michael NEILL.

Central Coast Mariners substitutes: 1. Matthew NASH, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 15. Matthew SIM, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. Seung yong KIM.

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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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