Adelaide v Glory

Round 9 report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Perth Glory brought Adelaide United's NSL honeymoon to an end with a stunning 4-1 victory in front of 13,096 Adelaide fans at Hindmarsh Stadium. The defeat ended Adelaide's unbeaten run and saw Perth jump back to the top of the NSL table.

Adelaide started the game strongly though it was Perth who had the first shot on goals. Good work by Matthew Bingley created an opening for Tom Pondeljak who shot meekly way over the bar in the opening minutes. Only a minute later it was Bobby Despotovski's turn to fire a half chance way off target and into crowd.

Adelaide pushed forward and was looking very dangerous down the flanks. Matthew Kemp drove over a fierce cross in the 9th minute and Petkovic appeared to climb all over Veart in desperation as he struggled to get to the ball. Adelaide quickly pushed forward again through Richie Alagich who smashed a 25m drive wide of the mark.

Down the right hand flank Adelaide's Goran Lozanovski was thundering in his curling crosses that were putting Perth's Murphy and Byrnes under pressure.

In the 15th minute Adelaide's clown took his microphone into Adelaide's cheer squad and suddenly started squawking away over the stadium's sound system. The distraction seemed to be a signal for Adelaide United to go sleep because within a minute they were two goals down. The first goal came from an individual effort from Pondeljak. Former Adelaide boy Bradley Hassell passed to Pondeljak who made a 20m diagonal run with the ball. No Adelaide player went with Pondeljak and he suddenly found himself in space outside the box. His strong drive from 25m appeared to catch Scarsella by surprise and he was easily beaten by a shot that should have been saved.

The big crowd was still recovering from the first goal when Damian Mori added a second in the 16th minute. Adelaide midfielder Ross Aloisi was caught on the ball and appeared to have been fouled from behind by Mori. But referee Breeze called play on and Mori used his pace to cut across the Adelaide defence. He then held off defender Rees, drew out goalkeeper Scarsella and slotted the ball past the stranded Scarsella for a trademark Mori goal.

The second goal silenced the crowd and threatened to kill off Adelaide United. But Lozanovski had different ideas. In the 19th minute he swung another cross deep into the box. Captain Aurelio Vidmar unselfishly knocked the header back to the edge of the box for Matthew Kemp who made no mistake slamming his drive past Glory keeper Jason Petkovic. The big home town crowd erupted and this appeared to unsettle Perth Glory and particularly Petkovic in goals.

Adelaide pushed forward looking to grab an equalizer. Lozanovski, Kemp and Alagich repeatedly put the Perth defence under pressure breaking down the flanks. But Perth defenders Murphy and Byrnes convincingly dealt with the pressure.

In the 27th minute Alagich got past Bingley and into the box. He was clipped from behind but stayed on his feet only to find Petkovic was equal to his stinging drive at an acute angle.

In the 36th minute Aloisi brilliantly put Demourtzidis through the Perth defence. Demourtzidis hesitated before being bundled off the ball. It was the best goal scoring opportunity of the game and it would prove to be a very costly miss.

Matthew Kemp was unlucky when he was bundled to the ground only metres from goals while trying to get on the end of another Lozanovski cross. The referee blew his whistle and Adelaide seemed set to get a penalty. To the disappointment of the crowd referee Breeze gave a free kick to Glory and booked Carl Veart for reasons known only by him.

Glory must have been relieved to hear the half time whistle and were fortunate to go into the break leading 2-1.

The second half was written to a different script. Glory came out in the second half and took control of the game against a very ordinary looking Adelaide. It took only 5 minutes for Bobby Despotovski to seal the three points for Perth. He seized on a mix up between two Adelaide defenders trying to close him down at the same time to easily round them and then chip his shot over goalkeeper Scarsella.

In the 67th minute Despotovski embarrassed Adelaide's goalkeeper Scarsella. Despotovski latched onto a poor clearance by Scarsella to chip him from 50 metres. Scarsella watched in horror as Despotovski's chip seemed goal ward bound only to rebound off the corner of the upright and crossbar. Scarsella then scrambled to get his hands on the rebound just before Mori.

It was all Perth Glory as Adelaide struggled to remain in the game. In the 75th minute Despotovski was foiled once by a clearly rattled Scarsella. Despotovski drove his shot low and hard but straight at Scarsella who saved, just, with his feet.

Tom Pondeljak rounded off Adelaide's night of misery when he scored his second and Perth's fourth in the final minute of the game. He beat Adelaide's offside trap and easily slotted the ball home past Scarsella in the 92nd minute.

In the end it was a convincing win for Perth Glory though the score line is a little harsh on Adelaide who did deserve more out of the first half. Still a soccer game last 90 minutes and Adelaide are going to have to improve their second half performances if they are going to push for a top six spot.

The performance of Perth did show up areas of concern for Adelaide United who are several players short of being amongst the NSL front runners. Coach Kosmina must recruit a couple strikers, a defender and a quality goalkeeper if Adelaide are to get the results that will keep the fans coming back.

Once again the best for Adelaide was Richie Alagich. A bandaged Valkanis, courtesy of a Mori elbow to the head that went unpunished, had a good game at the back while Matthew Kemp was the pick of the midfielders.

For Perth Shaun Murphy had an excellent game. Tom Pondeljak always looked dangerous, Matthew Bingley played well and Jason Petkovic confidently lapped up everything Adelaide threw at him.