Perth Glory have recorded a club record sixth straight win after edging out a resurgent Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 courtesy of an early strike from Bruno Fornaroli.
Tony Popovic’s men delivered a largely composed performance to shut-out the under-pressure Wanderers on their home patch - firming the Glory’s hold on third position on the Hyundai A-League table.
The win marks the longest winning streak for the Glory in the Hyundai A-League era, besting their run of five straight wins in last season's run to the Hyundai A-League Premiership title.
The Uruguayan capitalised on a Wanderers error just seven minutes into the see-sawing contest at Bankwest Stadium for his eighth goal of the campaign.
An under-hit pass in his own half from Wanderers defender Dylan McGowan was picked off by Jake Brimmer to then release Fornaroli into space – the Uruguayan converting with the help of a deflection as McGowan sought to make amends for his error.
The Wanderers took time to settle after conceding – Bruce Kamau rushing his side’s first sight on goal wide on 21 minutes – while the Glory remained the steadier threat as Diego Castro’s long-range lob drew a save from Daniel Lopar before the Glory skipper fired over the bar just minutes later.
However, the Wanderers slowly rallied in an increasingly physical contest and fashioned their best chance of the half in the 28th minute when Nicolai Müller’s fierce volley forced a sharp stop from Liam Reddy.
Joel Chianese saw a goal rubbed out for a glaring offside shortly after, however, the Wanderers finished the half strongly as Kwame Yeboah headed across the face of goal and Mitchell Duke saw an effort deflect wide prior to the break.
The Wanderers began the second half in buoyant fashion but were frustrated as Yeboah saw a potential equaliser chalked off by the VAR on 53 minutes – his close-range chested attempt from Daniel Georgievski’s cross touching off his arm before crossing the line.
Further opportunities presented for the hosts but they couldn’t capitalise as Kamau and Muller fired wide as the hour mark approached, before Fornaroli scuffed a shot across the face of goal shortly after for the Glory.
The goal continued to elude both sides as the half drew on – Georgievski pushed a strike wide from the top of the box before Brimmer fired high of the target at the other end for the Glory.
Chianese looked to have settled things as the match entered the final quarter hour after being played in on goal by Fornaroli but against saw his efforts overturned for offside following a VAR review.
However, the Wanderers were unable to take advantage of the let-off as Duke and Russell fired wide in the closing stages of the contest and the Glory defence held on through eight minutes of injury time.
The result moves the Glory just two points adrift of second-placed Melbourne City, with the defending Premiers also holding a game in hand on the Victorian club.
Fornaroli gives Glory the early edge
The Glory were off and running in just the 7th minute as the visitors made the most of a Wanderers turnover in their own half.
Dylan McGowan's pass was picked off by Jake Brimmer, who delivered a first-time touch to Fornaroli to then bear down on goal in broken play.
There was no mistake from the Uruguayan with his ensuing finish, which took a deflection off the hapless McGowan to wrong foot Daniel Lopar in the Wanderers goal.
Reddy denies Wanderers an equaliser
The Wanderers settled as the first half drew on but saw their best chance of the opening stanza denied by the sharp reflexes of Liam Reddy.
Nicolai Müller was picked out in space in the box by Daniel Georgievski and made strong contact with his volleyed strike but the Glory goalkeeper was up to task with a parried save.
Wanderers begin second half bouyantly
The hosts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and continued their search for an equaliser with a number of promising scoring opportunities.
However, they were left frustrated as they struggled to find the target with Bruce Kamau's effort fading wide shortly before Nicolai Müller also pushed a shot across the face of goal.
Brimmer comes close to extending the Glory lead
Sensing the potential importance of a second goal, Jake Brimmer took it upon himself to put the Wanderers strengthening fightback to bed.
After Diego Castro saw his initial shot blocked, the Glory midfielder went in search of the top corner form outside the penalty area but his effort went just high of the target.
Georgievski can't find the equaliser either
The Wanderers were increasingly encouraged as the second half went on but simply could not find the target when the opportunities presented.
Daniel Georgievski's effort midway through the half on the counter attack was symptomatic of the Wanderers rushed approach in front of goal as he pushed this effort wide.
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
Saturday, 25 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT
Western Sydney Wanderers have the bye.