I said I'd eventually get around to doing it!
The Newcastle Breakers recorded what is surely the upset of the season to date when they defeated the hitherto unbeaten Perth Glory 3-2. The Glory fielded a star studded line up, despite missing Trajkovski and Buljabasic through injury, and on paper this was a no contest. However this was one of those instances of tenacity and determination overcoming natural talent (sounds corny I know, but there you go) .
The game opened to script when a 9th minute Halpin free kick was headed in by one of two Perth players left free on the edge of the 6 yard box with Bob Catlin seemingly rooted to his goaline. Despotovski being the lucky recipient of the home town generosity.
However the home team seemed to be spurred into action by this early activity of the scoreboard attendant and started making numerous incursions into the competition leaders third of the field. The Perth defence being caught out several times with the speedy Buonavoglia and even, the not so speedy, Yoon peeling away form their markers to latch onto some clever long balls. (If that phrase 'clever long ball' is not too much of a contradiction)! Perth's burly defenders, Gavin Wilkinson and Danny Hay, did however make their mark on the Newcastle forwards when they finally did catch them with some bruising and physical challenges. The interval, however, had the Glory still hanging onto their 1 goal advantage.
Halftime saw the Rowdies make one of their all too rare on field appearances, this time playing against an enthusiastic but naive Press team. The game was notable only for the spectacular goal that maintained the Rowdies good record in these games and the sight of Steve Bredbury going down injured with a nasty looking knee injury after a heavy collision................with the ground!
Rob Shannon, the Breakers hardworking Scottish import leveled the scores in the 54th minute and in doing so scored his first for the club. Yoon did some excellent work to get a cross in despite the attention of two Perth defenders and Shannon steaming in at the far post volleyed home.
The game was fairly even for much of the second half although as far as getting forward it was Newcastle and not Perth who looked like competition leaders. Perth seeming to be satisfied with the being the stereotypical away team mostly looking to attack on the break. Perth's cause not helped by marker Andy Roberts superb shackling of former hometown hero and Glory playmaker Troy Halpin.
In the 74th minute Lee Sterrey made what will surely be the most inspired substitution of the season when he brought on youngster Greg Owens. Within 2 minutes Owens had capatilised on some slackness in the Perth defence, picking up a loose ball and unleashing an unstoppable drive past Tony Franken who was making a rare NSL appearance.
However, and in typical fashion of the underdog who has just nipped the larger dog's hind leg and then run off gleefully, they were quickly punished. Perth earnt a free kick seconds after the restart and the result was a ball lobbed forward to John Markovski who nodded home. So simple was Markovski's job it was as if the whistle had gone and the play had stopped. Only it seems that Perth didn't hear this imaginary whistle. Not so simple for Markovski was avoiding the half full (?) can that had been hurled from the Rowdy end. Another foot or so was all that would have been needed for a bulls eye. Markovski responded like the true proffessional he is. With a raised fist and some antagonistic body language. Big John later dispensed some summary justice upon Fouad Umlil who rather unwisely retaliated at the first opportunity and got himself booked. Lee Sterrey showing rather more wisdom than his young midfielder by immediately replacing him (with debutant Josh Maguire - a standout with the competition leading Breakers Youth team).
2-2 might have been a good result for the home team but Greg Owens clearly wasn't satisfied. With 2 minutes of injury time already played he latched onto a ball from a corner was only half cleared and volleyed into the top right corner stunning both the Perth team and Breakers fans . If this isn't one of the top couple of goals of the year something is wrong (which it proibably is)!
Referee Greg Leverton was at his idiosyncratic best and Newcastle ran out winners despite and not because of him.