The Alistair Edwards era at Perth Glory has started with an unexpected 2-1 win over the table-topping Central Coast Mariners.
The Alistair Edwards era at Perth Glory has started with an unexpected 2-1 win over the table-topping Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
After Bernie Ibini had put the Mariners ahead early on, the Glory rallied and goals from Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz secured a massive three points which keeps their hopes of playing finals football alive.
The home side started brightly and could have been ahead after seven minutes when Chris Harold latched on to a pass from Liam Miller and shot past an onrushing Mat Ryan but his effort from a tight angle went wide of the near post.
At the other end, Ibini fed the league's top goalscorer Daniel McBreen who saw his left-foot shot tipped over the bar by Danny Vukovic.
The Mariners went in front on 13 minutes when McBreen nicked the ball off Steve McGarry, allowing Michael McGlinchey time to play in Ibini and the youngster calmly finished through Vukovic's legs.
The hosts drew level on 27 minutes as Nicky Ward's superb ball over the top landed at the feet of Dodd and the skipper took one touch before slotting the ball past Ryan.
McBreen blew a chance to restore the visitors' lead in the 38th minute when he spooned a shot over from inside the area after being given too much space by the Glory defence.
Chances were few and far between at the beginning of the second half with no real efforts on goal at either end.
Just after the hour mark, Glory full-back Josh Risdon came close to netting his first senior goal but his vicious strike from long distance rattled the woodwork.
Moments later, the Glory did take the lead as Risdon's wonderful right-wing cross was met by Smeltz and the Kiwi's powerful header found the net despite Ryan getting a hand to it.
Their advantage should have been stretched further on 75 minutes but Miller, who was deployed in a more attacking midfield role, headed wide from Dean Heffernan's cross when left unmarked in the area.
Despite trailing, the Mariners rarely threatened Vukovic's goal in the second period and looked a shadow of the side that beat Wellington 5-0 last week.
The win puts the Glory up to eighth spot on the table, although the two teams they climbed above - Wellington and Brisbane - are to play one another on Sunday.
Perth Glory 2 (Dodd 27, Smeltz 64) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Ibini 13)
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Nick Ward Delivered a superb ball to set up Travis Dodd's goal, and put in an energetic 90-minute effort.
Crowd: 5909 @ nib Stadium