Glory win again to send Wanderers crashing out of top six
Western Sydney Wanderers are out of the top six after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Perth Glory on a scorching Saturday evening at HBF Park.
The Premiers proved quietly efficient in blistering conditions on their home turf, notching their second straight win courtesy of goals from defenders Gregory Wüthrich and Alex Grant.
The result marked a fifth straight match without a win for Markus Babbel’s Wanderers side as they move outside the finals places for the first time this season.
The team’s exchanged early jabs as Mitch Duke clipped the frame for Wanderers and Glory’s Diego Castro drew a low save from Nick Suman.
However, Glory looked more likely as the contest settled and took the lead on the back of Wüthrich’s maiden Hyundai A-League goal on 18 minutes.
Further chances were scant in the first half with Tomislav Mrcela’s off-target header and Castro’s strike straight at Suman the most promising attempts to close the first stanza.
The second half found a more attacking tone, and the hosts threatened early with Chris Ikonomidis heading wide and Bruno Fornaroli firing high either side of the hour.
Perth's pressure finally told in the 68th minute when Grant revealed his rarely sighted attacking nous, touching down a free-kick in the box and driving the finish home to put his side two to the good.
Keanu Baccus came closest for the Wanderers with a strike that deflected just high of the crossbar, but otherwise Glory’s clean sheet remained rarely troubled.
The win is the Glory’s first at home this season and puts paid to their own form concerns, sending them to fifth on the Hyundai A-League table.
Duke threatens early with curling strike
Mitch Duke almost gave Wanderers’ the perfect start as they looked to arrest their form slump.
After Kwame Yeboah drew an onrushing stop from Liam Reddy, the ball popped out for Duke with a sight on goal with plenty of traffic ahead.
He looked to curl the ball into the top corner, but could only clip the woodwork as the ball drifted out to safety.
Glory get the opener through opportunistic Wüthrich header
It was pinball in the box from a Glory corner and it was ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’ defender Wüthrich with the final touch to claim the credit.
The series of touches started with Kilkenny’s delivery and went through Tomislav Mrcela and Bruno Fornaroli before Chris Ikonomidis’ header bounced off the frame for the Swiss big man to turn the ball in.
The heat dries up the chances
With the high temperatures increasingly coming into play chances proved few and far between for the remainder of the first half.
Even the scheduled drinks break failed to provide the magic elixir as conservation of energy trumped attacking endeavour heading into the break.
Defenders show their wares
Scoring opportunities presented again early in the second stanza at both ends but it was the defenders that earned the replays.
Ivan Franjic delivered a sharp clearance inside the six-yard-box to foil the Wanderers, before Daniel Georgievski’s unleashed a desperate sliding block to close down James Meredith in the penalty area.
Ikonomidis goes close
A big chance at the back stick came about for the Glory after a cross from Meredith just before the hour mark.
Ikonomidis did well to win the aerial battle and made solid contact with his header, but could only watch as it flashed across the face of goal.
Grant doubles the lead
Momentum was with the Glory and they capitalised through another defender via a set piece delivered by Brimmer.
This time Alex Grant claimed the spoils - controlling smartly from substitute Brimmer’s free-kick before drilling a firm finish low past a diving Suman for just his third ever Hyundai A-League goal.
Baccus goes just high
Glory continued to see the best of it, but it was the visitors that next came close to scoring in the closing ten minutes.
A corner variation found Baccus in space on the edge of the box and he sent a dipping effort fizzing just over the bar.
To sum up their evening, a deflection off Castro wasn’t spotted, denying the Wanderers even a conciliatory corner for their efforts.
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