Ten-men thriller sees Glory win on their return to HBF Park

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Aaron McEneff stole the show with an injury-time winner against Western Sydney Wanderers at HBF Park on Friday night.

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Perth headed into Friday night’s fixture in search of their first win in seven matches as they currently sit 10th on the ALM table.

Key defender Darryl Lachman returned to the starting line-up following a concussion against Brisbane Roar in Round 18.

Meanwhile, the Wanderers were aiming to establish consistency in their form, following a 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners the week prior.

The home side had clearly spared no money on welcoming players and fans back to HBF park as the squad entered the pitch guided by sparkling pyrotechnics and fireworks in their first match at the venue since last season.

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However, Glory’s hopes of a dreamy return home quickly turned into a nightmare as defender Jordan Elsey was sent off in the opening two minutes for his studs up challenge on Wanderers attacker Yeni Ngbakoto.

The red card was the second fastest dismissals in A-League Men history, with goalkeeper Ante Covic’s 2011 record remaining intact by a couple of seconds.

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The Wanderers quickly looked to take advantage having more men on the park but couldn’t keep the ball on the deck as most chances flew over Glory goalkeeper Cameron Cook.

The 21-year-old’s first save came from a Morgan Schneiderlin shot which he dove and parried to the left of goal.

Both sides pushed with end-to-end football, however Glory continued to struggle with attempts on goal.

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Eventually, Perth’s Ryan Williams gave his side their best chance yet, seemingly wandering through the left of the Western Sydney penalty box but was unable to test keeper Lawrence Thomas.

Ngabokoto almost gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of halftime with his low-cut volley hovering low and just past Cook’s right post.

By the end of the first half both head coaches Ruben Zadkovich and Marko Rudan each had a reason to be disappointed with their side’s performance; Glory’s red card and the Wanderers’ inability to capitalise.

Three glorious saves from Cook allowed the home side’s hopes to stay alive, followed by numerous blocks by Glory’s defence.

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The woodwork was then struck again by Calem Niewuenhof as his low shot sailed towards the left post.

By this point, Perth were counting their lucky stars as several repeated attempts from the visitors were again blocked, including a thunderous shot from Ngabokoto which hit the bar.

Inside the final 10 minutes, the playing field was levelled as Tomislav Mrcela was sent off for his last man challenge on David Williams.

Just when it seemed any chance of a win for either side was a miracle, a deflected shot from Glory’s Aaron McEneff strayed past Thomas, giving the Glory a 95th minute victory.

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The late win sees Glory push up to ninth on the ALM table.

Feature image credit: Estybs Photo

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Alex Govan
Alex Govanhttps://alexgovan1.wixsite.com/alexgovan
Aspiring sports journalist and passionate follower of the A-League and Premier League. Young, motivated and keen to be a part of TFS team.

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