Serbian playmaker Nebojsa Marinkovic scored two goals in as many minutes to secure a 2-1 win for Perth Glory against Central Coast at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
Irish striker Roy O’Donovan put the Mariners ahead after the 28th minute before Marinkovic scored from a free kick just past the hour mark and then produced the coolest of finishes only two minutes later to secure Glory’s first victory since October 25.
The win lifted Glory off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League table, replaced by the Mariners, but still seven points adrift of the top six.
0-1 Roy O’Donovan (28’) – Storm Roux stripped possession from Diego Castro mid-pitch and sprinted about 35m towards goal before passing off to O’Donovan, who broke a four-game scoring drought by threading the ball perfectly between Glory goalkeeper Ante Covic and the near-post.
1-1 Nebojsa Marinkovic (62’) – Glory’s set-piece specialist snared the equaliser for the home side when he brilliantly curled the ball around the wall on a low trajectory as Mariners goalkeeper Paul Izzo remained motionless.
2-1 Nebojsa Marinkovic (64’) – The Serbian playmaker scored his second goal in as many minutes and put Glory ahead with a cool finish past Izzo after running on to a cleverly directed header from teammate Chris Harold.
Liam Rose will regret his careless challenge on Glory midfielder Gyorgy Sandor in the 62nd minute. The defensive midfielder recklessly stuck a foot out as Sandor moved into his path, earning a yellow card in the process. Perth then quickly took the ball up the pitch for Marinkovic to net his second goal in as many minutes and seal the three points for the home side.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Perth has dominated recent contests between the two teams. The 3-2 win in the opening round of the season is only time Central Coast has tasted victory in the past six against Glory and four of those matches have ended with the three points being awarded to men in purple.
Diego Castro was one of three high-profile international recruits added to Perth’s squad during the off-season, but the Spaniard is yet to live up to the expectations that have come with his signature. Castro regularly turned the ball over against the Mariners, including one dismal attempt to maintain possession that led directly to O’Donovan scoring the opener and Glory falling 1-0 behind. Castro was eventually substituted in the 79th minute.
THE FINAL WORD
Kenny Lowe’s men will attempt to ride the high of their first win seven weeks into Wednesday’s clash with title contenders Melbourne Victory before backing up against league leaders Western Sydney on Saturday.
Expect plenty of soul searching in the Central Coast camp over the next eight days before next Sunday’s clash with Brisbane Roar in Gosford where the Mariners will desperately try to secure their first win since Round 1 and their first points in a month.
Perth Glory: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA (C), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 17.Diego CASTRO (24.Jamal REINERS 79’), 23.Michael THWAITE, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS
Central Coast: 1.Paul IZZO (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN (19.Josh BINGHAM 62’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (C, 20.Anthony KALIK 74’), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD (24.Jake ADELSON 80’), 15.Matthew SIM, 16.Liam ROSE
Scorers: Roy O’Donovan (28’), Nebojsa Marinkovic (62’, 64’)
Yellow cards: Mitch Austin (6’), Alex Grant (19’), Liam Rose (64’), Jamal Reiners (84’), Diogo Ferreira (90’)
Red cards: Nil
Conditions: 21C, overcast
Attendance: 5590 at nib Stadium