Glory v Strikers

Round 16 report by Tom Niedrich
Perth Glory v Brisbane Strikers

12,142 people came on a magnificent Saturday evening to check out the brand-spanking new Members Equity Stadium, and the were not disappointed.

To top things off Glory put on a show befitting the occasion by blowing Brisbane Strikers away with well rounded team effort that saw 6 Glory goals from six different players.

After a gruelling away campaign the players seem to relish being back on home turf and Brisbane bore the brunt of the added enthusiasm this night. The first chance of the game presented itself to Danze after only 4 minutes when a lay-off from Srhoj falls at his feet, yet with only the keeper to beat from about 8 metres, he places the ball wide.

Srhoj has another opportunity 4 minutes later from the right, but his 30 meter drive goes straight into the arms of Higgins.

Brisbane has one of its very few sniffs at goal after 15 minutes as Brownlie dribbles himself free and manages to squeeze off a shot in the direction of the goal from 30 metres but his effort clears the bar.

Brownlie again manages to put himself in a scoring position 6 minutes later, but again the ball ends up in the second tier of the new southern stand.

The first goal at the MES fell to Despotovski after Mori had out muscled and outclassed two defenders on the left and lobbed the ball into the area. As the ball bounced off a defender, Bobby took advantage of some momentary confusion in the Brisbane backline and placed the ball into the back of the net.

Now the stadium really began to buzz as the Glory midfield took complete control with Srhoj and Pondeljak running tirelessly, while the Glory backline allowed very few intrusions from Brisbane. Just before halftime it was a Pondeljak drive at goal that caused the rebound to fall to Byrnes who made no mistake for Glory's second.

The second half saw Glory up the pressure even further, as Brisbane slumped after the demoralizing goal seconds before the half-time whistle.

Glory's third at the 55 minute mark was surely the goal of the round, as Brad Hassell fired of a cracking shot from 30 metres right in front, leaving the keeper with no hope for a save.

Brisbane did manage to pull one back after 57 minutes when Murphy was alleged to have knocked Pilic, the subsequent penalty put away by Brownlie.

This did stir the Strikers into action again for a short period of time with Stefanutto working hard down the left but unable to finish with any real threat to the Glory goal.

Glory however marched on, and a timely sub, bringing on Caceres, resulted in goal number 4 after a nice one-two with Despotovski left Caceres slotting the ball into the net in the 74th minute.

Pondeljak's tireless running paid dividends for him when in the 76th minute another one of his crosses into the box actually eluded not only the strikers but also the keeper, with the ball trickling into the net for number 5.

Last weeks goal-scoring hero Nick Mrdja also came off the bench to be part of the MES baptism and finished off the evenings scoring with a` tap-in at the 84th minute after some good work by Mori and Caceres.

It was a triumphant return for Glory to their home after a 12 week absence and left Brisbane with something to ponder on the red-eye back to Queensland.