Glory disappointed with draw

Disappointed Glory coach Dave Mitchell said Friday night’s 3-3 draw with North Queensland felt like a loss after Perth again conceded an injury-time goal.

Disappointed Glory coach Dave Mitchell said Friday night’s 3-3 draw with North Queensland felt like a loss after Perth again conceded an injury-time goal.

In a topsy-turvy encounter at nib Stadium, both sides had their chances to open the season with a win as the Glory initially took the lead through Branko Jelic’s clever strike, only for the Fury to hit back through Chris Payne and David Williams.

But having gone behind in the second half, Perth lifted an extra notch as a Scott Neville thunderbolt and glancing header from Mile Sterjovski saw them leading with only moments to go.

That was the cue, however, for livewire Fury midfielder Isaka Cernak to launch a last-ditch attack down the left, drawing a foul from Neville just in from the left-corner flag that resulted in Chris Grossman powering home the resulting free kick with his head.

In the end, it was a result eerily similar to the 3-3 draw the Glory played out with Newcastle two years ago when Jade North produced a late leveller.

Mitchell acknowledged there seemed to be a trend where Perth conceded late in games over the last few years, but the coach was confident his side’s defence would improve once it regained centre-halves Andy Todd (knee) and Josh Mitchell (no international clearance).

“Look, it’s really disappointing, feels like a loss you know,” Mitchell said.

“After going 2-1 down we dug deep and made a couple of changes and got back to a winning position, 3-2, and the last dying seconds we’ve conceded a goal, so very disappointing.”

“When a team’s losing they’ve got nothing to lose, so they keep throwing every man forward and even the goalkeeper went forward (for the late free kick) and you know it’s a quality delivery in … if its a quality ball, it’s very hard to defend against.”

“We’ve got to defend that little bit better probably and that’s disappointing.”

Mitchell refused to point the finger at central defenders Jamie Harnwell and Jamie Coyne, who stepped up to play the role in Todd and Mitchell’s absence, as Jamie Coyne’s brother Chris is also unavailable on-loan in China.

Instead, Mitchell praised the Glory’s veteran duo even if he felt the entire side could have defended better at the death.

“We’ve made some changes and that was always a little bit of a concern,” Mitchell said.

“A lot of people don’t know that Jamie Coyne, I thought was outstanding tonight, he was very sick all day and he wasn’t going to play up until kick-off.”

“He did the warm-up and he felt that he could play, so that’s a credit to him the way he played because I thought he did very well and I thought Jamie (Harnwell) did well being patched together like they were.”

While Mitchell is confident his defence will only get better, he’s also sure star recruit Robbie Fowler will soon stamp his influence on the match as he struggled to find the ball in his Glory debut at this level.

When he had it, the 35-year-old Liverpool legend thrilled the Hyundai A-League record crowd of 16,019 with some very classy passes, but for the most part, the Glory struggled to take advantage of him.

“He (Fowler) did tremendously well to keep pace with the game and we just couldn’t find him,” Mitchell said.

“We wanted to try and find him in certain areas and credit to them, they defended well in those areas and stopped us playing to him and it became pretty frustrating.”

“We did get a bit of joy out wide and it was encouraging, but certainly for Robbie, he wasn’t in the game as much as we would have liked really.”