Glory v Mariners

A-League report by Chris Dunkerley
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners

The visiting Central Coast Mariners scored early through a long range Greg Owens strike and then survived a wirlwind second half as the Glory deperately tried to claw back the Mariners one goal lead. Drama in Perth as new coach was sent from the bench after protesting about refereeing and the Mariners going down to ten men late again.

With Perth failing to get their game postponed due to players out for international duty, and the Mariners weakened by the same fate for first choice 'keeper Danny Vukovic and central defender Nigel Boogard, the game may have been expected to be a flat affair. Not so, as both sides came out in attacking order and went at each other throughout the game.

Denied the services of no fewer than eleven players through injury, suspension and international commitments, the coach was full of praise for the Glory's effort. "Tonight's match was a huge ask for the players but they performed very well. "It was a chance for some the lads to show why they should be a regular in the side so I always knew that any team we put out on the park was going to give me 100% commitment and desire and that's what we saw tonight," Mitchell added.

Both sides made their attacking intentions clear right from the off, with Mariners midfielder Tom Pondeljak shooting narrowly wide from range within the opening sixty seconds after latching on to a loose ball in midfield, and Jamie Harnwell forcing a one-handed save from goalkeeper Matthew Trott at the other end moments later.

In the 12th minute with Glory still finding their defensive feet Dean Heffernan sent over a cross to Saso Petrovksi, who being marked tight, slipped the ball out to the right where Greg Owens took a few paces and struck a scorcher past a dumb-founded Tommi Tomich in the Glory goal.

Stung by the goal and marshalled by the experienced Simon Colosimo and Jamie Harnwell the Glory swung back into attack, reminiscent of their Pre-Season Cup pattern of play.

In the 18th minute the South American influence on the Central Coast goalkeepers almost brought second-string Matthew Trott undone, when he raced out to a ball over the top down the middle, tried to kick high to clear but failed. It was clear headed experience by Tony Vidmar that saved the day with his clearance from close attendance.

Six minutes later Trott pulled off the save of the game, a one-handed tough over the bar from a side leap that just anticipated Harnwell's dipping header from Mitchell Prentice's free kick.

In the 29th the Coast had their best chances to add to the tally with Aloisi bringing a parry out of Tomich, and Owens following up couldn't beat the Perth custodian with the second try.

Coach David Mitchell's trek from the bench in the 31st minute seemed to fire his team, and they sent raid after raid against the Mariners central defensive duo.

Coast substitute Adam Kwasnik had chances with the head but couldn't penetrate Tomich's cover.

After the break the Glory put lots of pressure down the flanks as well with speedster Jimmy Downey brought more into the game to terrorise Dean Heffernan and blunt his attacking chances, and James Robinson likewise on the other flank.

Matt Simon, introduced for Petrovksi after half-time, attampted to hodl the ball up field while his beleagured colleagues could get forward and but was able to get more than one shot on target himself.

With the Mariners attampting now to slow the game, Glory continued at pace, creating more chances through Prentice, Colosimo, and Harnwell. Coast captain Alex Wilkinson and Tony Vidmar worked hard in front of Trott to blunt it all.

Under pressure from Glory substitute Jerry Karpeh, Mariners defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak picked up two yellow cards in the space of just five minutes to earn himself an early shower and leave his side to battle out the dying stages of the game with ten men.

A very good game, that deserved a larger Perth crowd. Although the main effect of the result was to move the gritty Mariners clear at the top again after the Roar threatened to catch them, the Glory could blunt the Reds aspirations at Hindmarsh on Friday night with anotehr display like that.