Fowler keeps Glory season alive
A second-half brace from Robbie Fowler has helped re-ignite Perth Glory's faint finals hopes as they posted a 4-2 win over Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Wednesday night.
Two second-half goals from Robbie Fowler have given Perth Glory a much-needed 4-2 win over Adelaide United in a cracking Christmas encounter on Wednesday night at nib Stadium.
In an attacking, end-to-end contest, the Glory took the lead through Jamie Coyne's sixth-minute header before Adelaide equalised when Joe Keenan scored.
Perth restored their lead through Mile Sterjovski nine minutes before the break but Adelaide once again equalised when Sergio van Dijk sent in a half-volley in the 50th minute.
But that was the moment for Fowler to step up, the veteran striker showing off his quality touch as he fired one past Eugene Galekovic from a one-on-one in the 67th minute before confidently dispatching a penalty ten minutes later, his efforts coming either side of a horrible miss from Adelaide's Iain Ramsay.
As North Queensland lost to the Mariners earlier in the evening, the result seem Perth move off the bottom of the table and into ninth as they keep the vague finals' hopes alive, while Adelaide remains in second, 10 points adrift of league leader Brisbane.
Desperate to fire up their season, the hosts enjoyed a livewire start as Fowler and Scott Neville missed early opportunities before the Glory took the lead just six minutes in.
Former skipper Coyne isn't known for his goalscoring exploits, but the Glory veteran showed his strength as he pushed past two opponents and meet Sterjovski's pin-point corner from the left with a glancing header that gave Galekovic no chance.
On a hot, almost breathless evening, the Reds were struggling to gain possession and their cause wasn't helped when key midfielder Paul Reid was forced off in the 10th minute with blurred vision after apparently clashing heads with team-mate Adam Hughes, his place taken by Keenan.
Perth almost extended their lead 18 minutes in when Steven McGarry's looped free kick over Adelaide's defence allowed Adriano Pellegrino, who may have been offside, to meet it with a free header that went centimetres wide of the left upright.
The missed chance came back to haunt the hosts as Adelaide equalised against the run of play four minutes later.
Ramsay delivered a raking cross from the left that caused havoc in the Glory box as Perth defender Josh Mitchell clattered into Velaphi. Velaphi still managed to punch the ball clear but it fell perfectly for Keenan to fire in.
Spurred on by the goal, Adelaide took control and produced some good chances as Mitchell almost put Marcos Flores' cross into his own net in the 35th minute before Jamie Harnwell cleared a Hughes' shot off the line from the resultant corner.
Perth hit back moments later, though, as Mitchell's long-range through-ball exposed some static Adelaide defence, giving Sterjovski a beeline at goal. Eugene Galekovic came off his line to meet Mitchell's pass, but Sterjovski was too fast, nodding the ball to his advantage as he rounded the 'keeper and fired into an empty net.
Glory picked up where they left off after the re-start with more attacking football but were once again caught off guard in the 51st minute.
An off-target clearance from Perth's Naum Sekulovski allowed Flores to drive the ball forward, the ball finding its way to van Dijk as the striker blasted home a half-volley for his 10th goal of another impressive season.
The match became increasingly heated as Sterjovski was brought down on the edge of the 18-yard box by Fabian Barbiero. The former Qantas Socceroo then appeared to lash out at Iain Fyfe, but didn't make contact and was merely cautioned by referee Chris Beath.
With the intensity lifting right across the park, the Glory took the lead once again in the 67th minute when Pellegrino's brilliant through ball from the middle threaded its way past the Reds' defence and allowed Fowler to race into space and drive the ball in with an angled shot across Galekovic.
As both sides threw caution to the wind, Neville's powerful effort was punched away by Galekovic in the 72nd minute just moments before Flores released Ramsay through on goal with hardly a defender in sight.
Unable to get to the ball, Glory stopper Velaphi still did well to force Ramsay wide, the 'keeper's efforts seeing the Adelaide man blast over with the goal at his mercy.
The miss came back to haunt Adelaide in a big way as Fowler released Sterjovski into the box, the Glory marquee man taking slight contact from last defender Cornthwaite as he hit the turf.
Referee Beath immediately pulled out the red on Cornthwaite, before Fowler stepped up to drive the spot kick past Galekovic with 13 minutes remaining.
Adelaide, though, just refused to die and moments later a brilliant chip shot from Travis Dodd was only bettered by Velaphi's acrobatic, finger-tip save as he forced the ball over the bar.
Pellegrino also sent a shot narrowly over down the other end while the frenetic final moments saw van Dijk head over from close range before the striker was denied a shot at goal in the 90th minute by a quality Harnwell tackle, giving the struggling Glory some much-needed Christmas cheer.
Perth Glory 4 (Coyne 6, Sterjovski 36, Fowler 67, 77p) Adelaide United 2 (Keenan 22, van Dijk 51) Crowd: 7193 at nib Stadium, Perth