Glory show character in draw with Wanderers

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Perth Glory were nine minutes away from a dream week until some magic from the Wanderers’ Mitch Nichols made sure of a two all draw.

With Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers looking to extend their winning runs, it was the home side who had the perfect start.

Within two minutes marquee import Diego Castro used all of his experience to win a penalty, skipping past Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne who brought the Spaniard down. Castro cooly slotted home to give Glory a 1-0 lead.

Despite a lack of width from Perth their passing and movement seemed much more cohesive in the opening stages compared to a midweek performance against Melbourne Victory.

Wanderers soon showed why they’re top of the league. Brendon Santalab, who was making his first start for 301 days, finished off a well rehearsed set-piece in the 19th minute to draw the teams level.

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The Wanderers weren’t content with the equaliser as they continued to ruthlessly dominate possession and create numerous chances. Former Glory man Scott Jamieson and Socceroo Dario Vidosic were causing havoc down the left hand as the half progressed.

Within the first 20 minutes it was clear that fans were in for a thoroughly entertaining game of football. Goals, crunching tackles and even cheeky nutmegs courtesy of Castro.

The home side were able to absorb the pressure from the league leaders with their defence, in particular the young Alex Grant, showing great composure under consistent duress. Into the break the score would remain level at 1-1.

Kenny Lowe responded to the obvious lack of width by injecting Chris Harold into the fold in place of Hagi Gligor who was on a yellow card. ECU Joondalup product Joe Knowles debut was cut short as he made way for Jamal Reiners looking to provide the same spark he provided midweek for the Perth attack.

Glory looked much more balanced in the second half with a 4-4-2 formation as they looked to offer more in the final third. Josh Risdon, brandishing the captain’s armband on his 100th appearance for the club, played in a peach of a ball to Reiners in the 54th minute, but the youngest player in the A-League was outmuscled by Jamieson.

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Speaking of peaches, young WA midfielder Mitchell Oxborrow put the Glory back in front in the 60th minute with one of the best you’ll see this season.

Oxborrow, in his 16th game, was able to finally deliver a free-kick into the top corner, something he’s threatened to do since his debut.

Perth Glory showed character and desperation to retain their lead for as long as they did in front of an impressive 7049 at NIB Stadium, as the Wanderers continued to pepper Ante Covic’s goal.

Despite their best efforts though the Wanderers drew level thanks to a Mitch Nichols pearl in the 81st minute.

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Nichols came back to haunt his former club with a superb curling finish into the top corner.

The entertaining game ended 2-2, which puts a stop to the Wanderers eight game winning streak, but continues Glory’s fine run of form. Tony Popovic’s side will feel unlucky to not take away all three points, as Aryn Williams saved a certain winner on the goal line from a Federico Piovaccari strike.

Perth Glory: 1. COVIC, Ante (GK) 29. WILLIAMS, Aryn 23. THWAITE, Michael 2. GRANT, Alex 19. RISDON, Josh (C) 13. FERREIRA, Diogo 15. GLIGOR, Hagi 7. SANDOR, Gyorgy 17. CASTRO, Diego 28. KNOWLES, Joe

Subs: GOLEC, Antony GARCIA, Richard TYSON, Jerrad (GK) HAROLD, Chris REINERS, Jamal

Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. REDMAYNE, Andrew 3. JAMIESON, Scott 4. TOPOR-STANLEY, Nikolai 11. SANTALAB, Brendon 17. ANGUILAR, Alberto 12. NEVILLE, Scott

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Bryce Conway
21-year-old Communications and Media Student at UWA, avid Liverpool and Seinfeld enthusiast following Perth Glory during the 2015/2016 A-League season.

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