Match report - Fury v Perth
The North Queensland Fury were unable to take advantage of a nine-man Glory side at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night and finished the match with a 1-all draw.
Darken skies and very humid conditions met both sets of players as the Fury and the Glory looked to secure maximum points in their week 16 clash at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night.
In oppressive conditions, both sides took their time to get going but it was Isaka Cernak who looked the most dangerous on the park with several penetrating runs into Perth-s final third.
In what seems to be a common trait in recent matches, lady luck wasn-t on Gareth Edds- side in the 17th minute, when he found himself on the end of a lovely by-line pass from Cernak and his glancing shot hit the upright and boggled back in the arms of Glory ‘keeper Tando Velaphi.
Hero turned villain in the 23rd minute of the match, when Robbie Fowler was given too much time to met a lofty cross from Michael Baird and lobbed a pinpoint header over an outstretched Justin Pasfield.
In the 27th minute, Gareth Edds was again denied getting his name on the scoresheet, when his shot was cleared off the line by the head of Joshua Risdon. In fact, a number of Fury players were in the box looking for the equaliser but were unable to bring the ball under control for the sucker punch.
The match started to open up with both teams dancing the ball up and down the field with ease and only a minute later, Pasfield pulled off a stunning reflex save to stop Robbie Fowler scoring one of this trademark goals inside the six-yard area.
David Williams, who was a thorn in the side of Perth Glory all evening took a long-range diagonal shot from about 30-yards out, only to see his shot miss the left upright by millimetres.
Fury physio, Paul Parker was working overtime towards the end of the first half with both Mark Hughes and Osama Malik sustaining cuts to their heads. Malik coming off second best when he tried to get on the end of a cross in front of goal but was clipped on the way through by a Perth player and landed awkwardly, splitting open his lip.
With the clock counting down the half time, Dyron Daal had a fantastic chance to score when he collected a lovely over the top ball by Ufuk Talay but his first-time shot sailed over the bar.
On the stroke of half time, this open ended match nearly saw the Glory stretched their lead even further when Michael Baird shrugged off Mark Hughes and was able to get a shot away which missed the far post by the narrowest of margins.
Both team-s made substitutions are half time with Chris Payne coming on for the injured workhorse, Isaka Cernak and Perth captain, Jacob Burns being replaced by Todd Horwarth.
Within the opening minute of the second half, shouts for a penalty went up from the Glory players when Hughes collided with Robbie Fowler inside the box but the referee played on.
However, in the 53rd minute of the match, Perth were down to ten men when defender, Naum Sekulovski received his marching orders for a second yellow card. The Perth player struggled to keep up with Williams throughout the game and dragged him down from behind when in open space.
One of the Fury-s best players this season, Osama Malik continued to charge forward at every opportunity and in the 60th minute floored ‘keeper Velaphi in a 50/50 challenge as he rose to get on the end of a Talay cross. The 20-year old has been paired with Mark Hughes in central defence for the past few weeks and is growing in confidence with each match.
It was Malik again at the centre of the game-s next talking point, when he was on the Fury goal-line defending a dangerous cross and clashed with Perth youngster Brent Griffiths. Griffiths wasn-t happy with the referees decision to award Malik the free kick and kicked the ball away in anger. That action brought a second yellow from the referee and Griffiths was sent from the field leaving the Glory with nine men.
The predicted heavy rain started to fall at Dairy Farmers in the 65th minute, just as the Fury mounted constant raids on the Perth goal, only to see many chances sailing wide or high. Unfortunately for the Fury, their finishing seemed to be missing the killer edge throughout the night.
But as he has done so many times this season, Englishman Mark Hughes came to the rescue of the Fury when he scored the equaliser in the 80th minute from a set-piece. The 23-year old outjumped Glory defender Jamie Coyne at back-post to thunder home a well-timed header, his fifth goal of this campaign.
The Fury couldn-t find a way through a courageous Glory defence in the final ten minutes and had to settle for a point in front of a crowd of 4,491.
Franz Straka-s men next face Gold Coast United on Wednesday night at Skilled Park before turning to Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday to face the Newcastle Jets.