Power v Glory

Playoff report by Eamon Duffy
Parramatta Power v Perth Glory

In front of 6059 excited supporters at Parramatta Stadium today, the home side took a giant stride towards hosting this years Grand Final following a 4-2 victory over the defending Champions Perth Glory.

The visitors had dragged themselves right back into the match, having been led 3-0 at half time, by scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half before a moment of sheer madness by Despotovski cost them a player and possibly the chance to return to Perth all square.

Power took just a minute to reply to this when Milicic raced onto a Rech header and outpaced the Glory defence, he rounded Petkovic but his angled goalbound shot was well cleared by Coyne.

There was to be no such clearance after just 9 minutes,when after Colosimo was fouled by Murphy, Ceccoli ran in from 22 meters and fired a left foot shot through the wall and despite getting a hand to it, Petkovic could not prevent it from entering the net and giving Power the lead.

It was just the start the home team had looked for as they promised to attack straight from the kick off. However after 16 minutes Mori found himself on the end of a great ball played through by Pondeljak but steered his low left foot drive straight at Bolton.

Just 1 minute later it was Mori robbing Beauchamp in midfield and heading for a 1 on 1 with Bolton, but the Power centre half somehow got back to smother the Mori attempt.

In the 32nd minute Rech played a clever ball out right to Gumprecht and his first time shot from the edge of the area flew narrowly over the bar.

Power were then forced into substituting Rech who was injured in a heavy challenge from Harnwell and his replacement Petrovski was immediately involved as he got on the end of a long Beauchamp ball and fired in a shot from 10 metres that was brilliantly smother out for a corner by Petkovic.

However just 3 minutes later there was nothing the Glory keeper could do when Petrovski brilliantly turned inside North on the right before firing a great shot into the net at the near post to give Power a 2-0 lead.

This lead became 3 goals just on the stroke of half time, when Petrovski broke from his own half before laying the ball inside for Zorbas, who did not have to break stride before firing a superb 30 meter shot past Petkovic into the right corner of the net.

Whatever was said by dAvray at half time had an immediate effect on Glory as within 20 seconds of the restart they had pulled a goal back. Great work on the right wing by Coyne, finished with a pass to Mori, he cut the ball inside and although deflected by the defender it was sweetly hit by Despotovski for his 100th goal for Glory.

The game was well and truly on just 10 minutes later when a now rampant Glory won a free kick on the left of the area and 5 meters out. Despotovski placed the kick perfectly on the head of Harnwell whose bullet like finish gave Bolton no chance.

At this stage Glory well all over Power but in a moment of sheer madness after 60 minutes the whole complexion of the game changed. First Mrdja had a great effort blocked over the bar by a defender and when the resultant corner was cleared to Milicic, Despotovski who had taken the corner decided to pull the Power player down. It turned out to be the Glory players 2nd yellow card in the game (the first was also an unnecessary one for not retreating 10 meters) and was to mean his side had to battle the last 30 minutes with just 10 players on the park.

Although they defended well in that last 30 minutes they were breached in the 75th minute when Dodd played a ball to Milicic and the leading scorer in the league teed himself up brilliantly as he controlled the ball and fired a volley from 30 meters past a helpless Petkovic and into the top left hand corner of the net for a 4-2 victory to Power.

So the 2nd half of the battle switches to the MES on Saturday night where Glory need to win by 2 clear goal and not concede more than 2 goals. Power will feel confident although the away goals may hurt them. As for Glory, it could have been worse if not for the 2nd half effort. It should mean a packed house for what promises to be a blockbuster 2nd leg.