Glory end winless streak

There would always be a day when ‘God’ truly delivered in the Hyundai A-League and for Perth Glory it came when they needed it most, Robbie Fowler’s hat-trick setting up an impressive 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday evening.

There would always be a day when ‘God’ truly delivered in the Hyundai A-League and for Perth Glory it came when they needed it most, Robbie Fowler’s hat-trick setting up an impressive 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday evening.

Following 10 matches without a win for the Glory, just 6217 were on hand at nib Stadium for the clash with a highly-fancied Melbourne Victory side.

But the ones at the venue will have long memories of Fowler delivering the competition’s first hat-trick of the season as he goaled in the 13th, 54th and 61st minutes.

Melbourne pulled one back through Mate Dugandzic with 11 minutes remaining, but Victory never really threatened to score again as Perth interim coach Ian Ferguson notched up his first win since taking over from Dave Mitchell just over a month ago.

“I’m just delighted to get the monkey off the back,” Ferguson said.

“It’s a nice feeling you know, every emotion under the sun was going through me at the moment, (but it was) just nice to hear that whistle and pleased for the boys and pleased for the club as well.”

The result doesn’t alter either club’s position in the standings as Glory remain eighth with Melbourne staying sixth after their third loss from the last four games.

“It was a pretty poor performance all round,” said Victory coach Ernie Merrick.

“Perth Glory to their credit put us under a lot of pressure. We just couldn’t get in the game, it was one of the few games where all round we just didn’t play that well whether it be defence, midfield or attack.”

Despite Perth’s winless run, there had been no shortage of endeavour over the past three games and that was on show once again in the second minute when Jamie Coyne’s through ball released Fowler clear on goal, the striker denied by a brilliant Petkovic reflex save.

Melbourne responded through Archie Thompson in his first start since returning from his knee reconstruction.

The talismanic Victory striker showed he’d lost none of his pace or trickery as he worked his way around Scott Neville on the left, before bearing down on goal, only to be denied by Tando Velaphi at the near post.

It had almost been a month since Perth last scored, through Michael Baird on October 14 against the Fury, but the long-awaited goal finally came via a Fowler spot kick in the 13th minute.

A deft flick from Baird released Fowler who was bowled over in the area by Rody Vargas, with referee Chris Beath immediately pointing to the spot.

The penalty wasn’t without drama, however, as Fowler’s nonchalant spot kick was knocked away by Petkovic, but Fowler held his nerve to fire in the rebound.

Perhaps spurred on by the goal, Perth was producing some of their most fluent forward ball movement in many weeks as Todd Howarth nodded over the bar in the 28th minute.

Melbourne almost drew level again in the 34th minute when a neat lay-off from Thompson allowed the lively Marvin Angulo to fire an angled drive at goal that was denied by a diving Velaphi, who palmed the ball to safety.

Angulo struck another effort wide two minutes later, but it was Perth who finished the half stronger as Jacob Burns shot wide and Petkovic bravely smothered the ball at Neville’s feet.

Glory picked up where they left off after the re-start as Petkovic was forced to save Fowler’s header from a sizzling left-wing cross by Baird.

But Perth didn’t take long to double the lead as Fowler scored his second in the 54th minute following an impressive series of Glory passes, where the hosts patiently worked the ball forward from defence.

The passes finished with Burns, whose cross was blocked but the ball fell perfectly for Neville to send in a cross from the right that Fowler coolly converted.

Victory almost pulled one back just before the hour when a trademark Hernandez free kick flew narrowly over the bar, but the moment Glory fans had been waiting for soon arrived in the 61st minute.

There appeared little danger as Adriano Pellegrino took possession in midfield but his spectacular lofted ball over the top of Melbourne’s defence released an onside Fowler who drilled the first hat-trick of the season.

In the 71st minute, Perth came within inches of adding a fourth as a powerful drive from Neville was deflected over the bar, with Melbourne taking advantage of the let-off to pull one back 11 minutes from time.

An intelligent ball from Angulo released Diogo Ferreira down the right and his low cross was glanced into goal by fellow second-half substitute Dugandzic.

But, despite the Glory, playing their fifth match in 16 days, tiring over the final stages, they held on for a memorable win.

Perth Glory 2 (Fowler 13, 54, 61)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Dugandzic 79)
Crowd: 6217 at nib Stadium, Perth