WATCH: Drama in Perth as 92nd-minute equaliser earns Jets a point against Glory

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets - Highlights | Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 | Round 01

Apostolos Stamatelopoulos marked his return to Newcastle Jets with a 92nd-minute header to take a point off Perth Glory in a 2-2 draw at HBF Park on Sunday evening.

The new man at the Jets, returning to the club in the off-season for the first time since the 2020-21 Isuzu UTE A-League season, found the back of the net via a late Jets free-kick, taking full advantage of a misjudgement by Glory keeper Oliver Sail who was left stranded as Stamatelopoulos looped his header into an open net.

The last-gasp goal was Newcastle’s second equaliser of the night; Adam Taggart’s second-minute finish was cancelled out by a Kosta Grozos rocket, with Glory substitute Stefan Colakovski’s 64th-minute goal off the bench looking like the winner until the death when Stamatelopoulos snatched a point for the Jets.

Glory took the lead with just one minute on the clock after co-captain Adam Taggart’s close-range finish coming off the back of a determined piece of wing play by Luke Ivanovic, who floated a cross to the back post where 17-year-old A-Leagues debutant Daniel Bennie leapt highest to head an attempt toward goal.

Taggart met the loose ball with a first-time volley which was blocked, but he finished on the rebound to put Perth ahead.


WESTERN 2-1 VICTORY: Super sub’s first A-Leagues goal fires Western to dramatic comeback win over Victory
PERTH 1-0 JETS: Phonsongkham strikes again as Glory return to Liberty A-League summit in win over Jets
WANDERERS 0-3 WELLINGTON: Temple era off the mark at Wellington as Phoenix see off Wanderers with second-half flurry

Glory’s advantage was held for just 12 minutes, when Kosta Grozos emphatically levelled the score with a venomous strike that new Glory signing Sail failed to keep off target, despite getting a glove to the ball as it soared toward the top-left corner.

The two sides went into the break on level terms and after a tight start to the second half, it was Stajcic who pulled the trigger on the first substitution of the game, replacing Jarrod Carluccio with Colakovski just before the hour mark.

Minutes later, the decision paid dividends. A careless pass from Jason Hoffman inside his own penalty area was cut out by Taggart on the edge of the box, who found the feet of Giordano Colli in the box. Colli showed strength to shrug off his marker and play the ball out to Colakovski arriving on the scene to bury Glory’s second.

“His first goal for Perth Glory!” Exclaimed commentator Simon Hill as Colakovski rushed to greet the Glory fans.

“He had a horror season last time around, but now he can celebrate in front of The Shed.

“It’s been a while since he’s had that beaming smile on his face, but finally he’s made his mark in WA.”

For Colakovski, it was a goal that marked his return to favour at Perth Glory after a nightmare debut campaign for Glory, with the 23-year-old falling out of favour under former head coach Ruben Zadkovich and making just two Isuzu UTE A-League appearances.

Zadkovich departed the club at the end of the season; in came Alen Stajcic to take the reins, who provided Colakovski with an opportunity to make his mark in the first round of the new campaign that he seized with both hands.

But it wasn’t to be the match-winner. A late free-kick swung into the box by Kosta Grozos was misjudged by Sail who got caught in a sea of bodies as Stamatelopoulos rose to head the equaliser home.

Post-game Colakovski told Paramount+ the deflation of that last-minute equaliser outweighed the personal elation at getting back on the park in purple – and back on an A-Leagues scoresheet for the first time since the 2020-21 finals series at Melbourne City.

“Of course, it’s nice to be back on the pitch and to get a goal was good, but overall I’m disappointed with the result,” he said. “I think all of us will be bleeding in the change rooms.

“Of course there are positives but at the end of the day this is professional football and it’s the result that matters most. It’s a draw now, so we’ve just got to lift our heads up and look towards next week.”

The talking point

A late equaliser for Newcastle Jets produced a moment to forget for Oliver Sail on Sunday night. The new Glory recruit misjudged the flight of Kosta Grozos’ free-kick, and was left stranded as Stamatelopoulos scored a leaping header header that ensured the game finished as a draw.

New Zealand international Sail was a big signing for Perth, coming to the club from Wellington Phoenix to offer young keeper Cameron Cook competition in Glory’s goalkeeper union. But on his A-Leagues debut for his new club came a moment to forget – and a costly one at that.

“He’s all at sea,” said Paramount+ co-commentator Phil Moss. “He never looked like getting to that cross.”

The star

Kosta Grozos emerged from HBF Park as the most influential player on the park, scoring Newcastle’s first-half equaliser before providing the assist for the repeat feat in second-half stoppage time.

The Jets midfielder was everywhere on Sunday night – including right next to Giordano Colli as he played the assist for Colakovski’s goal which, at the time, put Perth back on top and en route to victory.

Colli had shrugged off the challenge of Grozos in the box before setting up Glory’s second – but Grozos made sure that wasn’t his last telling moment of the game, responding in style in stoppage time with a pinpoint cross which left Glory keeper Sail in two minds and Stamatelopoulos in the box seat to score the late equaliser and wrestle a point back for the Jets.

Kosta Grozos.