Sydney stay in the hunt

Stand-in skipper Brett Emerton has inspired Sydney FC to a vital 2-1 victory over Perth Glory in a hard-fought Hyundai A-League clash at the SFS.

Stand-in skipper Brett Emerton has inspired Sydney FC to a vital 2-1 victory over Perth Glory in a hard-fought Hyundai A-League clash at the SFS.

In his return match from a hamstring injury, Emerton scored the opening goal in the 54th minute and set up Bruno Cazarine's 72nd-minute effort to give the Sky Blues a two-goal buffer.

Billy Mehmet's 86th-minute reply ensured a nervous finish for the parochial 8,508 crowd, but the home side held their nerve to secure a vital three points and end the Glory's eight-match unbeaten run.

The victory lifts Vitezslav Lavicka's men to the edge of the top-six in seventh spot on equal points with Melbourne Heart, while the Glory remain in fourth place with six matches remaining.

Perth started the contest the stronger of the two sides but the first genuine chance of the contest fell to the Sky Blues when young-gun Joel Chianese delivered a beautiful ball for Bruno Cazarine who was unable to convert under heavy pressure.

Josh Risdon fired Perth's first shot on goal but he miscued to give Ivan Necevski, making a rare start after Liam Reddy was dropped, an easy save.

Cazarine produced an equally meek shot on Danny Vukovic's goal moments later while Necevski made light work of a Liam Miller free-kick soon after.

But things soon got serious for Necevski who was called into action twice in 30 seconds as the Glory went on the attack in the 23rd minute.

The dangerous Shane Smeltz couldn't find a way past the Sky Blues custodian with a header from close range after a beautiful ball from Dean Heffernan.

His next save was of the very highest quality, denying Travis Dodd a certain goal with a diving effort to stop a thunderous strike that looked certain to find the back of the net.

Glory's Steven McGarry threatened to break the deadlock in the 44th minute, but his glancing header from close range travelled just wide of the target as scores remained 0-0 at the interval.

Vukovic and Necevski both made early saves in the second stanza but there was no stopping Emerton's thunderbolt in the 54th minute.

Cazarine released Karol Kisel down the left flank who found Emerton all alone on the edge of the penalty box.

Emerton controlled his first touch and unleashed a powerful strike that whistled into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to give the hosts their first lead in any match at the SFS this season.

The hosts had three giilt-edged chances in as many minutes but were unable to double their advantage due to some desperate Glory defence.

Kisel and Chianese were both denied in the 65th minute while Chianese miscued another shot from close range moments later to give Vukovic an easy save.

Emerton played a major role in his side's second goal, providing a pin-point cross for Bruno Cazarine who produced a powerful header on 72 minutes to set up the win.

Sydney FC 2 (Emerton 54, Cazarine 72) Perth Glory 1 (Mehmet 86) Crowd: 8,508 at the SFS