Glory v Jets

Cup report by Eamon Duffy
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

Two goals from their all time leading goal scorer Bobby Despotovski was enough to cement a place for Perth Glory in the semi final of the pre-season competition.

The game played in perfect conditions in front of a crowd of 7,089 never really hit the lofty standards expected of the A-League,but then it must be remembered this is the pre-season.

The value of the victory should not be under estimated, and this was borne out in the post match press conference, when Newcastle coach Richard Money expressed grave concerns about his teams now enforced 20 day lay off before the season proper starts.

The game itself started brightly for the home side and they took the lead in just the 11th minute, when Young Socceroos Billy Celeski was on the end of a sublime pass from Steve McMahon Jnr, then danced his way past 3 Newcastle defenders before falling to the ground. Referee Angelo Nardi had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot penalising Allan Picken for the "trip". Despotovski duly stepped up and converted with a solid strike to the bottom right hand corner.

Just 5 minutes later though a rash challenge the McMahon saw him become the first player into the referee's book. This meant that in just 23 minutes of action the coach's son had received a straight red card and now a yellow card.

The next action was yet another card this time for Newcastle's Richard Johnson. However this was not a dirty or spiteful match and indeed after these 2 incidents the game settled.

In the 29th minute a terrible mix up in the Glory defence, ended with Coyne's attempted clearance finding its way to the Jet's Matthew Thompson on the edge of the area, he calmly carried the ball forward before tucking it neatly out of the reach of Petkovic in the Glory goal for the equaliser.

Perth should have regained the lead just 2 minutes later when a suspiciously offside looking Despotovski gathered the ball on the right side of the ground, before crossing superbly to the head of the inrushing Celeski who somehow managed to head over the bar from the 6 yard box.

So the teams went to the half time break with the scores locked at 1 each. The first half was slightly shaded by Newcastle without them really creating any real problems for the Glory defence, with their goal coming from poor defensive work as opposed to good creative football.

The 2nd half was barely 1 minute in when Glory were awarded a free just 10 metres out and on the right of the penalty area. Colosimo fired in the free but it was superbly tipped over by Reddy in the goals.

Good interchange between Despotovski and Celeski on the right wing finished with the former firing a shot into the body of Reddy who saved easily.

The complexion of the game changed in the 61st minute when the referee harshly awarded a free for a foul on Colosimo. The free was taken by Despotovski and from about 22 metres out he brilliantly bent the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the Newcastle net, with Reddy looking on. 2-1 to the home side.

Newcastle did a have a great chance to grab a 2nd equaliser on 77 minutes when a cross from their left eluded both defenders and attackers before it fell to Guy Bates but he somehow managed to stab the ball wide of Petkovic's right hand post.

Glory also had their chances especially in the 79th minute when following good work by substitute Caceres on the left, his cross was met at the far post by Horsley but it struck a defender and was eventually cleared.

So Glory hung on for a much needed win and confidence boost, and their reward is now a trip to Sydney and a battle next Sunday at Aussie Stadium against the glamour side of the A-League and the Number 1 marquee player in Dwight Yorke. It will indeed be a great test of the Glory's defensive abilities to see how the cope against such class.

The home coach Steve McMahon stated that he was very happy with the 2nd half performance as the side harried the opposition and created chances themselves.

Visiting coach Richard Money said that he now knows the difficulty in travelling to Perth especially after both the penalty and free kick that resulted in the goals.