A goal in the fourth minute of injury time by Luka Glavas gave Perth Glory a vital 2-1 home victory against the Newcastle Jets in tonight’s A-League clash at Members Equity Stadium.
Ron Smith sprung a surprise moving central defender and club captain Jamie Harnwell to a centre forward position with Bobby Despotovski unavailable. The Glory welcomed back Stan Lazaridis and Simon Colosimo to the starting line up with Ryan Townsend and David Micevski being omitted. The Jets made one change to their starting line up with Andrew Durante back from suspension, with Steve Eagleton dropping to the bench.
Glory opened brightly and went close in the opening minutes; Naum Sekulovski won possession from Durante the ball falling to Stuart Young whose shot shaved the outside of the post. The Glory were dominating the opening exchanges Lazaridis’ cross from the left found Young at the back post his nod back was cleared of the line by Durante, and Sekulovski’s follow up shot was well blocked by Ben Kennedy in the Jets goal.
The home side failed to make their possession count and was nearly punished in the Jets first meaningful attack, Vaughan Coveny was sent clear by Nick Carle and he went down under the challenge of keeper Tommi Tomich. The crowd held it’s breath as referee Angelo Nardi’s whistle sounded but the decision went the Glory’s way with Coveny booked for diving, a little harshly.
Glory continued to dominate, Young headed wide when well placed and Leo Bertos fired wide. The Jets hit back through Joel Griffiths on the half-hour he was found by Carle and he beat three Glory defenders but blazed over. Moments later the Glory went within inches of the lead Adrian Webster’s strike from the edge of the box cannoned back off the post.
Glory’s pressure finally paid off in the 38th minute and they deservedly had the lead, when Leo Bertos’ cross from the right was met by Harnwell who soared above Paul Okon and planted his header in the corner of the net.
It could have been 2-0 just before the break, Lazaridis short free kick found Simon Colosimo whose long range strike was saved low by Ben Kennedy, but it was 1-0 to the home side at the break.
Glory started the second half as they finished the first; Bertos found Sekulovski whose shot was only inches past the post. The Jets settled and began to get into the game, and it was Carle who was the architect his run and shot from the edge of the box flew over.
Moments later a quick free kick from Carle sent Coveny free into the right hand side of the box but his shot was into the side netting. The Jets were now dominating and Paul Kohler shot wide and after Carle was fouled on the edge of box, Matt Thompson’s strike was well saved by Tommi Tomich.
The Glory crowd were getting a little edgy and their worst fears were realized when the Jets leveled on the 76th minute, Milton Rodriguez was sent clear down the left and his cross found Joel Griffiths who was bundled over in the box by Naum Sekulovski and referee Angelo Nardi pointed to the spot, Carle scored from the spot.
The Jets, unbeaten under Coach Gary Van Egmond, looked to gain all three points in the last fifteen minutes as they dominated as the Glory lacked the forward push. With five minutes remaining Rodriguez was again the provider his header across goal found Carle whose header was well saved by Tomich.
With the clock in the fourth minute of injury time the Glory pressed for one last time, after good work on the right by Bertos his ball found the unmarked Glavas in the box, who finished clinically past Kennedy to send the small crowd into raptures.
The result moves the Glory above the Central Coast Mariners on fourteen points and ends a five game unbeaten run for the Jets. The Glory is at home again next Sunday with bottom of the table New Zealand Knights visiting Western Australia for anther must win game for the home side. The Jets have the huge test with a visit to runaway leaders Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome also on Sunday.