Gut feeling pays off for Perth

Perth coach Dave Mitchell said he had a 'gut feeling' his new-look strike force of Jamie Harnwell and Nikita Rukavytsya would fire ahead of the Glory beating Sydney 2-1.

Perth coach Dave Mitchell said he had a 'gut feeling' his new-look strike force of Jamie Harnwell and Nikita Rukavytsya would fire ahead of the Glory beating Sydney 2-1.

Mitchell conceded it had been a risk putting the pair together up front, especially as Harnwell, who scored both goals in the club's win, had previously been more valuable attempting to shore up a defence that conceded 20 goals over the first seven rounds.

That poor defensive record and successive thrashings by Central Coast and Melbourne had led to a tumultuous fortnight of soul-searching at the last-placed Western Australian club that had put Mitchell's position under pressure.

But the Glory coach said he was glad his faith in Harnwell and Rukavytsya's partnership had been rewarded, adding that the inclusion of former Socceroos defender Hayden Foxe at centre back gave him the luxury of using Harnwell in a more aggressive fashion.

"That's what you're paid for, to make the tough decisions," said Mitchell.

"And it was a tough decision, but I just had a gut feeling that Mr. Harnwell up front would cause problems."

"Last year, him and Nikita did really well together, they struck up a great partnership (and) he's been the top scorer for the last couple of years in the role."

"They (Sydney) had a couple of chances and we had quite a few chances so I think, overall, we had the better chances and as I said, it was good the way we played as well, so important to have a good performance and getting the win."

Mitchell said it was especially tough consigning current Glory top scorer Eugene Dadi to the bench in order to play Harnwell up front.

Dadi, though, played no role whatsoever after injuring his groin during the warm-up, with Mitchell playing down suggestions the French-Ivorian striker may have been more disaffected with his demotion than injured before the game.

"I know he finished training early yesterday so he had a bit of a niggle, and when he did the warm up he wasn't feeling right," Mitchell said.

"But I don't think there's anything in it, I hope there's not 'cause he's a good player. I hope he hasn't dropped the lid but I'll have a chat with him later in the week."

The Glory opened the scoring in the sixth minute, stunning Sydney side with a team-lifting goal that Harnwell tapped in after Rukavytsya took possession in midfield, burned off Sky Blues defender Tony Popovic and laid the ball on a platter for the Perth veteran.

And, despite Brendon Santalab equalising for Sydney in the 12th minute, the new-look defensive line featuring Foxe and Olyroo Nikolai Topor-Stanley in the middle easily contained Sydney's sporadic attacks during the second half after Harnwell nodded Perth into the lead once again.

"It's probably the most nervous I've been before a game," Harnwell admitted. "Because I knew there was a lot riding on me going back up front."

"I didn't sleep much last night with it, so to come out and (after missing) a half chance early and then obviously, the goal and a nice little tap in from Nikita settled the nerves pretty quickly."