Slick Glory outclass Wellington in the west
Perth Glory have set a new club record on their way to an emphatic 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at HBF Park on Saturday night.
Tony Popovic’s side controlled the match from the outset and scored twice in the first half through defender Shane Lowry and returning Caltex Socceroos winger Chris Ikonomidis.
Unlike the other two matches on ‘Super Saturday’ in the Hyundai A-League, there would be no second-half from Phoenix, with Andy Keogh icing the result on 64 minutes.
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The goal was Keogh’s 50th in his Hyundai A-League career and ensured Glory would maintain their four-point lead at the top ahead of Melbourne Victory, who they face next weekend.
It was also the fourth game in a row Glory kept a clean sheet, setting a new club record for games without conceding a goal.
For Wellington, they certainly missed experienced defenders Andrew Durante and Steven Taylor, as they lost their first game on the road in their last six matches.
But it was the visitors who almost made the perfect start with David Williams smashing a shot against the crossbar inside the first two minutes.
Glory were soon in control with both Ivan Franjic and Diego Castro denied by brilliant saves from the impressive Filip Kurto in Wellington’s goal.
But there was nothing the Phoenix gloveman could do to deny Lowry on 19 minutes.
The defender managed to wriggle clear of his marker to meet Neil Kilkenny’s corner with a powerful header inside the near post.
With Diego Castro pulling the strings, Glory were playing some sensational football and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break.
Castro’s vicious volley forced a great save out of Kurto but all he could do was palm the ball back to Ikonomidis to head into an open net.
It was the seventh goal from 10 appearances for the Caltex Socceroos winger this season.
Only the woodwork denied Ikonomidis a second goal just after the hour mark, but it took the hosts just three more minutes to make the result safe.
Alex Rufer was dispossessed by Juande deep in his half, with Keogh showing no hesitation to hit the loose ball first time, producing a piercing low drive which Kurto could do nothing about.
Both sides had chances to add to the score late-on but there would be no further scoring as Glory cruised to a 12th win from 17 matches in 2018/19.