Glory v Knights

Round 2 report by Eamon Duffy
Perth Glory v Melbourne Knights

In front of a crowd 9780 in warm sunny conditions, Perth Glory started the defence of their NSL Championship with a hard fought and very late 3-0 victory over the Melbourne Knights.

It was a rusty performance from Glory in that the team just did not seem to gel until the final exciting 10 minutes of the game.

In fact even the infamous Shed appeared very subdued, possible due to the strong sun beating down on them all match. In fact it appeared that more sound was coming from the 100 or so Knights supporters that braved the journey.

Onto the game and it was the Knights who brought the first save of the match from a keeper when in the 20th minute Fa'arodo tormented Coyne on the wing before passing the ball to Natsioulas who fired a great shot from 25 meters that was pushed over the bar by Petkovic.

Less than a minute later Perth had their best chance of the first half when Mori and Srhoj played some neat interchange football with the latter putting Mori through on goal, he succeeded in rounding the keeper but was on too tight an angle and could only steer the ball into the side netting.

The last action of the half saw Mori turn sharply 30 meters from goal and fire a shot just wide. This was in the 45th minute.

The 2nd half started with a much more determined effort from Glory and after just 48 minutes Horsley had a long range shot tipped wide by Johns in the Knights goal.

The pressure continued to build on the Knights and after 50 minutes Pondeljak put Mori through on goal and referee Lennie adjudged that Johns took down the Glory striker and awarded a penalty. However Mori's weak shot was well saved by Johns.

Just 3 minutes later another Glory attacked finished with Mrdja finding Mori in the 6 yard box but again the striker again failed to hit the target, this time hitting the top of the cross bar with his shot. In the 66th minute Pondeljak tried his luck with a long range effort but again Johns was equal to the task and saved well.

By the 70th minute Glory coach dAvray had made 2 changes with Despotovski and Caceres replacing Mrdja and Hassell.

The game looked to be heading to a dull nil all draw when Glory won a throw in with just 8 minutes remaining. Long throw specialist Coyne took the throw and placed it at the near post, panic ensued in the Knights defence and Mori was on hand to poke the ball into the back of the net to give Glory the lead.

With that goal Glory suddenly relaxed and started to play like the Champion they are and following a great run by Pondeljak, Mori had a shot that was blocked but rebounded to Pondeljak who finished with clinical accuracy to make it 2-0 in the 87th minute.

The scoring was finished just 1 minute later when Caceres who was very lively once he came on linked up well with Despotovski and finished the move with a neat chip into the back of the net.

The 3-0 scoreline flattered Glory and did little justice to the Knights who fought it out well and frustrated the Glory until that fateful final 10 minutes.

In a side issue to the match the highlight the half time break was a presentation to the captain of the Knights supporters team who defeated the Glory supporters in a ground breaking supporters match played the day before.

It just went to show that with a bit of effort as was shown by both sets of supporters that differences can be resolved and that supporters can and do have the good of the game at heart.

The supporters game was organised by the members of both clubs internet forums.