Perth Glory have kept their Premiers' Plate hopes alive with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at a rain-sodden Hunter Stadium on Monday night.
In a match played in driving rain, the Glory were largely second best for much of the contest but took the lead through leading-scorer Andy Keogh just after half-time.
The Jets wasted a host of gilt-edged chances throughout the contest and were made to pay with Glory substitute Nebo Marinkovic sealing the win with a thumping strike in the final 10 minutes.
WHAT THEY SAID
“We created a lot of chances in the game but just failed to capitalize, but that’s football and we got punished for it. We’re playing for pride now, we’re at the bottom of the ladder and that’s all we can do.” - Jets winger Andrew Hoole
“It was a big win for us. Newcastle were on top early but we defended very well and then punished them. It was good, we’re equal top now with [Melbourne] Victory…we just want to win the next three games.” - Glory defender Dino Djulbic
0-1 Keogh (50’) – Sidnei Sciola stung the palms of Jets ‘keeper Ben Kennedy with a long range drive before the ball ricocheted to Glory striker Jamie Maclaren on the edge of the penalty area. The 21-year-old whipped in a delightful cross to the un-marked Andy Keogh who made no mistake with a thumping close-range header past the hapless Ben Kennedy.
0-2 Marinkovic (84’) – A long ball out of defence from Dino Djulbic found the head of Andy Keogh who flicked it into the path of late substitute Marinkovic. The Serbian controlled the ball before unleashing a rasping drive past the despairing Ben Kennedy and into the back of the net.
Sidnei Sciola showed glimpses of class for the Glory but it was Jets youngster Andrew Hoole who consistently threatened in a lively performance. The Olyroo winger was the Jets’ most productive outlet down the left flank with his directness and on another day could have had a hat-trick save for some desperate Glory defending. The 21-year-old’s slick combination with Mitch Cooper cut the Glory defence apart just prior to half-time, only to be denied by a super save from Perth ‘keeper Danny Vukovic.
The result ensured the Glory recorded their fifth consecutive win over the Jets, the first time that has occurred. Kenny Lowe’s men have now gone 11 consecutive matches without defeat against Newcastle.
The Jets settled the quicker in difficult conditions and should have taken the lead inside six minutes through winger Enver Alivodic. The Serbian was played in behind the Glory defence by Edson Montano before controlling the ball on the edge of area with Glory ‘keeper Danny Vukovic caught well off his line. But the 30 year-old badly miscued his shot with the goal gaping and the Glory defence was able to clear the danger.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
The Jets created enough chances to claim the three points but a lack of cutting edge in the final third again cost Phil Stubbins’ side. Edson Montano, Enver Alivodic and Mitch Cooper all butchered clear-cut opportunities for the Jets and ultimately it came back to haunt them. A proven goal-scorer must be the priority looking towards next season for the struggling club.
THE FINAL WORD
The Glory wouldn’t be overly happy with their performance but the win ensures they are still in with a shout for the Premier’s Plate. Andy Keogh’s goal will do him the world of good confidence-wise given his relative barren run in front of goal.
The Jets will be looking towards next season with some positivity after another improved performance despite not getting the three points. With three matches left a host of players will be looking to impress Phil Stubbins as they fight to earn contracts for next season and ensure the club finishes above Western Sydney Wanderers and avoids the wooden spoon.
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy, Mullen, Regan, Ki-Je, Kantarovski, Caravella, Cowburn, Hoole, M. Cooper (Burgess 80’), Alivodic, Montano (Pavicevic 73’)
Perth Glory: Vukovic, Griffiths, Djulbic, Keogh, Garcia (Marinkovic 76’), Maclaren (Ferreira 82’), Sidnei (Harold 78’), Risdon, Jamieson, Thwaite, Paljic
Scorers: Keogh 50’, Marinkovic 84’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: none
Conditions: 17 degrees, heavy rain