Perth Glory have surged into the Hyundai A-League top six with a comfortable 2-0 win over a 10-man Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Monday night.
Andy Keogh sent the hosts on their way with a well-taken header in the opening stanza before Gyorgy Sandor extended the hosts’ advantage less than 60 seconds into the second half.
Newcastle’s Daniel Mullen was dismissed for two bookable offences either side of half-time, effectively ending any hopes of a Jets revival.
1-0 (Andy Keogh 37’) – Diego Castro ripped apart the Jets defence with an incisive ball in behind which was expertly controlled by Aryn Williams under heavy pressure from Nigel Boogaard. The fullback whipped in a teasing ball across the six yard box with Keogh rising highest to nod past the helpless Mark Birighitti.
2-0 (Gyorgy Sandor 46’) - Castro picked up the ball inside the area after a mistake from Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic before showing great composure with Birighitti bearing down on him. The Spaniard calmly turned away from danger before teeing up Sandor who slid the ball into an empty net.
With the game in the balance after a somewhat cagey opening, the Jets had a glorious chance to open the scoring through Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic. Brazilian playmaker Leonardo cut the Glory defence apart with a beautiful through ball but Trifunovic got the ball caught between his feet with only Ante Covic in front of him. Alex Grant did well in cover for the hosts but the Serbian will be disappointed not to have at least fired an effort on goal.
Diego Castro was a maligned figure in the early stages of the season but the former Malaga midfielder has exploded to life in recent months. The 33-year-old was again in scintillating touch against the Jets with his vision, touch and close control causing all sorts of problems for the visitors throughout the contest. Was instrumental in both of Glory’s goals and forced a neat save from Birighitti with a stinging effort in the second stanza.
Down 2-0 and already on a booking, Daniel Mullen clumsily barged into Chris Harold near the halfway line leaving the referee with little choice but to show him a second yellow card. A silly challenge from an experienced player and extinguished any chance of a second half fight back for the visitors.
Jets striker Milos Trifunovic and Glory defender Aryn Williams were involved in a sickening head clash just prior to half time, with the forward coming off second best. The Serbian had blood pouring from his face after suffering a nasty gash which forced him from the field for the remaining five minutes of the opening stanza. Williams was unable to return to the field after the break, replaced by Dino Djulbic.
THE FINAL WORD
Perth have leapfrogged Sydney FC into sixth spot and are now in the box seat to lock up a finals berth after a difficult start to the campaign.
The Glory will fancy their chances of finishing even higher on the ladder with matches against Central Coast, Wellington and Newcastle again in the next three weeks.
The finals are slipping away from the Jets and they will now need to win at least three of their last five to have any chance of featuring in the post-season.
It doesn’t get any easier for Scott Miller’s side with matches against the Wanderers and Victory to come in the next fortnight.
Perth Glory: Covic (gk), Grant, Risdon (c), Lowry, Williams (Djulbic 45’), Marinkovic (Garcia 71’), Sandor, Harold (Petratos 78’), Vadócz, Castro, Keogh
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (gk), Cowburn, Mullen, Hoffman, Boogaard (c), Ugarkovic, Poljak, Nordstrand, Leonardo (Kitto 67’), Alivodic, Trifunovic (Kantarovski 61’)
Scorers: Keogh, Sandor
Red cards: Mullen 58’
Yellow cards: Lowry 21’, Hoffman 27’, Mullen 47, 58’, Nordstrand 78’,Boogaard 94’
Conditions: Warm, 33C