Fury snatch point in Perth
An own goal from Perth Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has seen a 10-man North Queensland side record a gallant 1-1 draw at ME Bank Stadium on Saturday.
A controversial own goal from Perth Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has seen a 10-man North Queensland record a gallant 1-1 draw at ME Bank Stadium on Saturday.
The Fury were down a man just before the break when Ufuk Tallay was given a second yellow card for a dive and the Glory almost immediately took advantage of the extra man, going ahead through Mile Sterjovski's spot kick in the 49th minute.
But instead of attacking the contest, the Glory opted to sit on their lead and were made to pay 20 minutes from time in contentious circumstances.
Velaphi appeared to have taken the ball from a close-range header by John Tambouras, but the goalkeeper was challenged over the line by Chris Grossman and referee Ben Williams determined the goal counted.
The hosts launched a flurry of attacks at the death but a packed North Queensland defence held firm for the draw as second-placed Perth missed the opportunity to climb on top of the Hyundai A-League table, with the Fury remaining in last position.
"We were down to 10 men and again, the boys showed character which was brilliant," Fury coach Ian Ferguson said.
"I can't fault any of them the effort and the commitment they gave us and then to show the character, especially when 1-0 down with 10 men, speaks volumes about them."
In front of 12,822 people, the second-highest crowd at ME Bank Stadium in five seasons, the Glory started with intent, testing the Fury's defence in the opening few minutes through a series of Adriano Pellegrino corners.
Despite having a tough match last week against Adelaide United, Fury goalkeeper Paul Henderson seemed at the top of his game this time around, doing well to palm a low shot from Jamie Coyne around the post 14 minutes in.
But after the early flurry, Perth dropped its intensity and was outplayed for long periods by a North Queensland side determined to win the ball in the clinches and work it through the middle.
But the Fury were soon behind the eight ball when the solid Shane Stefanutto was stretchered from the field just after the half hour with a knee injury, in what could be a massive blow for the defender's World Cup hopes.
And there was worse to come for North Queensland when key midfielder Talay, just back in the team following a hamstring injury, was given his marching orders a minute before the break.
Talay had already been cautioned for a robust challenge on Pellegrino in the 25th minute and received a second yellow for what appeared an act of simulation as he dived in front of Glory skipper Jacob Burns.
The second half started just as dramatically as the first one ended as Sterjovski glanced a 47th-minute header wide for the Glory before North Queensland's Daniel McBreen sent in a cross that narrowly failed to find a team-mate down the other end.
Perth countered immediately as Sterjovski was released down the left, the marquee man cutting inside and being brought down by Tambouras in the area before converting his spot kick with relish for a third goal this season.
But North Queensland refused to bow, taking the game on by launching wave after wave of attacks as Perth looked to merely defend its lead.
The Glory came close to doubling the advantage in the 69th minute when Sterjovski nodded home Pellegrino's free kick from the right, but the goal was disallowed after Eugene Dadi fouled Jason Spagnuolo in the lead-up.
The Glory were made to pay immediately as Tadrosse took his free kick from 40 metres out, the defender floating his ball in for Tambouras to get his head to it and for Velaphi to take over the line under pressure.
"Rightly or wrongly we've got to cop it," said a philosophical Perth coach Dave Mitchell after the game.
"Yeah, it's disappointing the way the goal happened but then we didn't have that spark to regenerate and create another goal, so that's the annoying part from my point."
Perth Glory 1 (Sterjovski 49p) North Queensland Fury 1 (Velaphi 70og) Crowd: 12,822 at ME Bank Stadium