Jelic fires Perth to glory

A fortunate goal to Perth's Branko Jelic on the stroke of half-time proved enough to give the Glory their second win of the new season in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle at nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A fortunate goal to Perth's Branko Jelic on the stroke of half-time proved enough to give the Glory their second win of the new season in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle at nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Jelic had only been on the field seven minutes, brought on as a 38th-minute substitute for the injured Mile Sterjovski, when he found himself in the right spot to open the scoring for Perth in front of 12,031 fans.

It may have been a lacklustre opening by both sides, but as the clock nudged injury time, Adriano Pellegrino sent in a pin-point cross from the right that allowed Todd Howarth to volley at goal with real venom.

Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy did well to punch Howarth's effort clear but there was nothing the stopper could do as his punch flew directly into Jelic's shoulder and ricocheted back into the goal.

The score seemed to fire up the hosts who produced numerous good chances after the break, but when they failed to put any away, the door was left open late on for Newcastle's Jeremy Brockie, although the New Zealand international could only fire wide of the upright.

"Just going on past games, we've lost late goals, so it was a bit nerve wracking," admitted Glory coach Dave Mitchell.

"But I think last week in Melbourne, we were very steely and kept a clean sheet and to keep a clean sheet there, well we've got to be able to do it at home."

"We've not played the best today, but we've still created quite a few chances."

Newcastle coach Branko Culina, meanwhile, felt his side had too many passengers.

"We all need to turn up to play," Culina declared.

"We didn't have enough players today who turned up to play. We defended valiantly, but we really didn't do ourselves justice with the ball because I think we're far better with the ball than way we showed today."

The result sees the unbeaten Perth maintain top spot on the Hyundai A-League table, although they could be overtaken if North Queensland produces a big win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday, while Newcastle stays in sixth.

With the contest being primarily fought in the midfield, it was the hosts who produced better balls for their forwards to work with.

In the fifth minute a series of crosses bobbled around the Jets box while a 17th-minute set piece from a throw in ended with Sterjovski just shooting wide.

However, in the 33rd minute Sterjovski injured his ankle in a tangle with Jets' centre-half Ljubo Milicevic - he could miss two to three weeks according to his coach - and had to be replaced by Jelic.

In the 39th minute, the Jets produced their best chance of the match when Jamie Harnwell's foul on Newcastle skipper Michael Bridges allowed Marko Jesic to take a free kick from the edge of the 18-yard box.

But when Jesic slammed his kick into the crossbar, the scene was set for Jelic to give his side the lead down the other end.

Fans had barely returned to their seats from the break when the Glory almost doubled the advantage through Fowler, the Liverpool legend's crafty header slamming into the crossbar in the 47th minute from a raking Howarth cross.

Just after the hour, Jelic should have done much better than scoop a shot over the bar from 10 metres with Kennedy beaten, although the Serbian striker made up for it seven minutes later with a good cross that allowed Fowler to get in a shot that was deflected wide by the brave Milicevic.

Perth's generosity almost allowed Newcastle to pull one back, when late substitute Andrija Jukic gave the ball away on a break and the Jets attacked quickly with the Glory's defence caught out.

But Brockie could only send an effort wide from 10 metres as the Glory fans celebrated their first win at home for the season.

Perth Glory 1 (Jelic 45) Newcastle Jets 0 Crowd: 12,031 at nib Stadium, Perth