Glory snap losing run to sink Wanderers’ Finals Series hopes
Western Sydney Wanderers’ Finals Series hopes are all but over after slumping to a 3-1 defeat to Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium on Tuesday night.
After a dour first-half where both sides cancelled each other out, the match sprung to life after the break and it was Glory who came out with the priceless win.
Ivan Franjic opened the scoring for Glory on the hour mark with a brave finish, only for the Wanderers to hit back soon after through their inspirational skipper Mitch Duke.
Needing all three points to keep their hopes of playing finals football alive, the Wanderers pushed hard to find a winner but it was the visitors who fired twice late to snatch victory.
Neil Kilkenny restored Glory’s lead from the penalty spot 13 minutes from time before James Meredith scored his first Hyundai A-League goal on 86 minutes to ice the result.
The win snaps Glory’s two-game losing streak and has basically sewn up a top six spot for Tony Popovic’s side.
But the Wanderers’ campaign appears over, sitting in ninth spot and four points outside the finals places with just two games to play.
Bruno batters the post
With so much at stake for both sides, it was a cautious start in the first 25 minutes before Glory were inches away from taking the lead.
Kristian Popovic did well to swing in a cross from the right which was met by a first time bicycle kick by Bruno Fornaroli.
While the Uruguayan didn’t connect cleanly with his volley, the ball bounced towards goal, hit the post and rolled away to safety for the hosts.
Franjic pounces to give Glory the lead
The visitors were beginning to take control and got their reward on the hour mark through Franjic.
Jake Brimmer took aim from distance, with his shot taking a deflection and falling invitingly into the path of the Perth wing-back.
And Franjic got to the ball just before Tristan Prendergast, sliding the ball under the keeper and in. Unfortunately for Franjic, he was injured in the collision with Prendergast and had to be substituted.
Duke delivers again for Wanderers
He’s been their best attacking outlet all season and the Wanderers skipper came up big for his side again just when they needed him.
Daniel Georgievski did well to get the ball to the feet of Duke inside the box, with the striker turning his marker and firing past Liam Reddy.
Kilkenny stays perfect from the spot
Brimmer was again heavily involved as Glory restored their lead, winning a penalty after playing a neat one-two with Nick D’Agostino before his cross was foolishly handled by Dylan McGowan.
Neil Kilkenny took responsibility from the spot, drilling his effort low and hard past Prendergast.
It was Kilkenny’s eighth successful penalty from eight attempts for Glory.
Meredith blasts in the match sealer
What a half-time substitution Brimmer was, with the former Liverpool midfielder against orchestrating Glory’s gol.
Brimmer weaved his way down the right wing and played in a low cross towards Fornaroli just inside the box.
Fornaroli had an air swing but the ball dropped to Meredith who fired home an emphatic finish for his first Hyundai A-League goal in his 20th appearance.
- Western United FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
When: Friday, August 7
Where: Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)
- Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
When: Saturday, August 8
Where: Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 5pm (AEST)
AROUND THE GROUNDS: Family comes first for Jamieson, Glory move on quickly
SIGNING NEWS: Socceroo Legend Mark Milligan signs for Macarthur FC