Newcastle v Glory

Round 11 report by Eamon Duffy
Newcastle United v Perth Glory

A crowd of 2976 had to withstand a 30 minute Floodlight failure before witnessing Newcastle United's Masi scoring with a header just 7 minutes from time to give his side their first win in the last 7 starts.

That Masi was the scorer was justice for a very impressive performance from the player, as he tormented the visitors all night. The victory was deserved as Newcastle were the better team for all but the opening 15 minutes and Perth's coach Mich dAvray will be very glad to return to home base in order to regroup for the rest of the season.

There was a major blow to Perth even before a ball was kicked with an injury to striker Despotovski meaning he had to take a spot on the bench. It meant a start for Nick Mrdja for the first time since the opening game of the season and although the big striker tried hard all night he just never got to grips with the game.

Indeed the same could be said for the entire Perth team who appeared lethargic all through the match, with no player really taking hold of the game. The team appeared to suffer from the loss of both Despotovski and Horsley and with Miller playing with what appeared to be an injury the lack of depth of the squad was visible.

Chances in the match were few and far between although twice in the opening 10 minutes Perth came close with first Pondeljak firing in a good cross that Mrdja just failed to connect properly with and then the same player taking advantage of a Thomas mistake to fire a shot just wide.

However after the opening 15 minutes the momentum shifted in favour of the home side with Masi controlling things. Newcastle striker Johnson missed a glorious chance in the 28th minute when he received a pass from Griffiths and ran in on goal only for Petkovic to block the attempt and Bingley to scramble the ball clear for a corner.

In the 36th minute it was Brown setting up Ryan Griffiths but he blasted wide from a good position. Just 3 minutes late Masi made a great run and cross but this time Wilson was the one to miss from close range with a header.

Just 5 minutes into the 2nd half Masi again worked his way free and took on the Glory defence before blasting a great shot that was superbly saved by Petkovic. The resulting corner then had ex Glory defender Deans having a clear sight of goal but he blazed over the bar.

After 55 minutes a failure in the floodlight system caused a 30 minute delay to the match, but when play resumed it was business as normal for Newcastle as they made all the running.

As if Perth injury problems were not bad enough star midfielder Pondeljak suffered what appeared to be a groin strain and had to leave the match to be replaced by Shroj.

The game appeared headed for a 0-0 draw when with just 7 minutes remaining Masi played a good ball to Thomas near the bye line, he delivered the ball back into the penalty area and onto the head of Masi who had run unchallenged into position before beating Petkovic with a good header.

That was to be the last of the action even though Glory brought on an obviously less than fit Despotovski in a desperate attempt to salvage something from the match. However it was not to be.

So for the first time under Mich dAvray Perth have suffered consecutive losses in home and away fixtures or in this case away fixtures. hey will have to regroup and once again with the injuries attention will focus on the depth of the squad and the possible introduction to the squad of some young local talent.

For Newcastle it was a great relief to get back on the winning way, however one wonders if they will ever face as weak a Perth side as a result of their travel schedule and injuries.