Perth ponders possibilities

Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell was left to wonder what might have been after seeing his side fight back from a goal down to defeat Melbourne 3-2 at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday evening.

Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell was left to wonder what might have been after seeing his side fight back from a goal down to defeat Melbourne 3-2 at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday evening.

After a disastrous start to the season that saw the Glory win just one of their first seven matches and concede 20 goals, the club produced a sensational second half to 2008-09, looking more like a top-four team than the perennial struggler it's been for the last two years.

But the campaign's poor beginning ultimately caught up with it as Queensland's win over Central Coast on Saturday night pushed the Glory out of the finals' equation, leaving Mitchell to consider the possibilities.

"It saddens me a little bit but I don't think we got our act together early enough," Mitchell admitted after seeing his team bravely fight back from going a goal down in the first three minutes, as a brace from Eugene Dadi and Nikita Rukavytsya's strike helped Perth gain the points.

"We've played some great games at home, we've been very strong and I think a little bit unfortunate."

"When we played Adelaide here, if we could have got that win, and I thought we deserved something out of that game and a couple of other ones, we'd be right in there."

"A couple of people said to me before the game that we've got nothing to play for and I mentioned that to the players beforehand, for you've still get your pride, your honour and they went out there and put a great performance in."

"It started off badly," Mitchell added. "They came out and scored a good goal and they were causing us all sorts of problems."

"But the drinks break (mandatory due to the heat) probably helped us and we got re-organised a little bit and from there I don't think we had any problems."

One player especially glad to see Dadi volley home the 76th minute winner was retiring goalkeeper Jason Petkovic, who was promoted to the starting line-up for a final bow in front of his home fans, only to see it all go horribly wrong when his error just after half-time allowed Melbourne's Ney Fabiano to equalise.

"I've been in the game a long time and part of being a half-decent keeper is, if you do make a mistake, you've still got to finish off the game regardless." 36-year-old Petkovic said after his 177th Glory appearance.

"It's a sad day. I won't deny that and I s'pose the emotion gets the better of you and rather than thinking with your head, you start to let emotions interfere with your decision making."

"I was disappointed but they (his team-mates) never dropped their heads, they just kept going ... (so) it's a fairytale, you can't ask for anything more."

Other players likely to depart include goal-scorer Rukavytsya, who flies to the Netherlands on Monday to trial with Eredivisie club FC Twente, while defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley signed with Newcastle during the week.

Mitchell also refused to discuss how contract negotiations with Dadi were progressing, although he was more forthcoming when asked about the performance of 19-year-old right back Scott Neville, who produced a composed performance in his first senior start.

"It was great, he's come in and there's no nerves," Mitchell said.

"He was very composed, his body position was fantastic. He was probably our man of the match without a doubt," he said.