Glory end Melbourne drought

Perth Glory have captured their first-ever Hyundai A-League win in Melbourne, producing a clinical display to defeat Melbourne Victory 2-0 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Perth Glory have captured their first-ever Hyundai A-League win in Melbourne, producing a clinical display to defeat Melbourne Victory 2-0 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Goals in each half to Jamie Harnwell, who had celebrated the birth of his son Liam earlier in the week, and Mile Sterjovski saw the Glory take all three points from a game where the home side controlled most of the possession, but the visitors profited from their sharper finishing.

It is the first time in eight matches against Victory in Melbourne that Perth have emerged as victors and they move top of the table, at least temporarily, with one match left in Round 2. They are back in Melbourne to play Heart in a fortnight.

Melbourne, who had conjured a point after trailing 2-0 last week against Sydney, could find no miracle this time around as they struggled to create anything in front of goal in the absence of Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson.

A well-organised Perth defence kept things held together at the back and the visitors produced some fine flowing football when required. While they have a plethora of high-profile players, it was the work of the likes of Todd Howarth and Scott Neville which would have pleased Dave Mitchell greatly.

Mitchell said his players had been asked to carry out a plan and did it to perfection.

“It was going to be a tough task for us and the boys executed it brilliantly tonight. WE worked through a lot of things and that paid off,” he said.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick said it was disappointing that his side were unable to convert their dominance on the ball into dominance on the scoreboard.

“I thought we just didn’t covert that quality possession through defence and midfield and you pay the price for that. All credit to Perth, they played a defensive counter attacking game and they got the result.”

It was a first half which was dominated by Melbourne in terms of possession, but by Perth in pure attacking chances. The home side’s chances tended to fall to those not renowned for goal scoring with Surat Sukha firing wide before Adrian Leijer tamely headed the ball to Tando Velaphi.

Perth, in contrast, looked more potent in the box and twice in a minute, Howarth was afforded two excellent chances only to miss the target.

They eventually undid Melbourne from a set piece in the 23rd minute, with Robbie Fowler looping a long corner past Michael Petkovic’s flapping arms. Steven McGarry cleverly cut the ball back across goal where Harnwell was waiting to slot home from close range.

Looking for a quick response, Melbourne went to the wings, in particular to Sukha, who firstly put in a long cross which caused Velaphi some headaches then rounded a prone defender and rifled a low shot which the keeper had to knock away. The half ended with Tom Pondeljak putting a long shot just over the bar.

Perth came out of the break with plenty of attacking intent and were quickly rewarded four minutes in when Howarth capitalised on a Grant Brebner error. While his pass to Robbie Fowler was cut out, Sterjovski latched onto the loose ball just outside the area and produced a stinging low shot which Petkovic had no hope of stopping.

Melbourne mustered plenty of industry in an attempt to get back in the game, but their scoring chances again fell to midfielders with Leigh Broxham shooting wide on 56 minutes, while substitute Billy Celeski barely forced a save from Velaphi.

It was Hernandez who went closest for the home side, curling a free kick which had the Perth stopper at full stretch on 74 minutes, while a long shot from Diogo Ferreira was also kept out athletically.

Despite a couple of late scares, Perth were comfortable in their lead and took the chance to give Howard Fondyke his A-League debut late in the match in what could prove a significant performance from the league’s sleeping giant.

Melbourne Victory 0
Perth Glory 2 (Harnwell 23, Sterjovski 49)
Crowd: 20,358 at AAMI Park