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Perth Continue Wellington's Away Day Blues
By Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 5
3pm, Sunday 5 September, 2010 - nib Stadium, East Perth

Perth Glory FC 2
(Mile Sterjovksi 5, Robbie Fowler 61')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 72')

Perth Glory maintained a share of the Hyundai A-League lead at NIB Stadium on September 5, deservedly downing Wellington Phoenix 2-1 in front of 10,844 fans, the biggest attendance in the round.

The home team started like the proverbial house on fire, with Andrew Durante forced to thwart the run of Mile Sterjovski just seventy seconds into the match, as he dashed down the right on receipt of a Jamie Harnwell ball.

Wellington didn?t heed the warning, for in the fifth minute, Perth took the lead with a splendid goal. Steven McGarry's pass to Robbie Fowler was a peach, but the vision and distribution of the Anfield legend was what made the goal.

Before gathering the ball in the centre circle, he had a peek across to see what Todd Howarth was up to, and promptly sent him on his way with an inch-perfect ball into his stride down the left. The flank player carved into the penalty area and lured Mark Paston out of goal before setting up Sterjovski for a tap-in.

Both Scott Neville and Sterjovski - wrongly, in the latter's case - were denied goals by the offside flag in the next twenty minutes as Perth went through the gears against opponents who rarely threatened in the first half.

When Wellington first saw the whites of Tando Velaphi's eyes, it was because the 'keeper had parried a low cross from Daniel straight into the path of Paul Ifill. The striker's seventeenth minute shot was cleared off the line by the retreating Naum Sekulovski.

Fowler spurned a great chance to double Perth's lead seconds later, when the ball got stuck between his feet as he dashed onto McGarry's fine pass - the midfielder's quality distribution was a feature of the game.

Perth?s fluid attacking play meant Wellington were largely feeding off scraps throughout the first half, and they rarely threatened the goal stoutly defended by Jamie Coyne and the evergreen Harnwell.

Ifill, however, is a difficult player to suppress for the duration of a match, and he popped up again with a deflected shot just before the half-hour mark which Velaphi had to punch off the head of Dylan MacAllister.

Eight minutes before the interval, Perth should have been two goals to the good, and would have been had Fowler, the beneficiary of a pull-back by Howarth after he had been released by a fine pass from McGarry, been able to get the better of both Vince Lia and Ben Sigmund.

Wellington responded through Ifill, who was picked out by Daniel's pass five minutes before half-time. His superb cross parted the hair of Tim Brown, which allowed Perth to scramble the ball clear, but only as far as Chris Greenacre.

Velaphi saved his shot well, and after Sekulovski had seen a deflected shot fizz past Paston?s right-hand post, Perth?s custodian was active again, parrying a Brown cross intended for MacAllister into the path of Daniel. The Brazilian, whose first start of the season this was, failed to take full advantage, and shot straight at the recovering ?keeper.

The home team spurned a couple more chances in the shadows of the half-time interval. Sekulovski pulled the ball back behind Fowler after storming to the by-line and luring Paston out of goal, while Sekulovski directed a diving header past the post after McGarry and the increasingly influential Adriano Pellegrino had combined to good effect.

Wellington changed both tactics and personnel at half-time, handing a debut to new recruit Nick Ward in the process. They certainly appeared to be benefiting from the changes until Sterjovski's inswinging corner was missed by all-comers, and required the goal-line intervention of Daniel to prevent the visitors from falling further behind in the 54th minute.

Five minutes later, the home team were denied a penalty by referee Ben Williams when Fowler was clearly tripped by Sigmund as he looked to latch onto a Pellegrino pass. Seconds later, the marksman was central to another Perth move which deserved better fate.

Sekulovski sparked it with a pass which picked out Fowler, whose precise round-the-corner lay-off picked out Sekulovski's angled run through the inside-left channel. Inside him, Sekulovski was steaming up in support, and as the striker checked inside, the fullback took the ball off him and promptly sent it careering over the bar.

The dirty looks exchanged on this occasion were quickly replaced by delighted faces, as Perth doubled their lead in the 61st minute. Howarth sent Sekulovski down the left, and his first-time volleyed lob across goal from the edge of the penalty area found Fowler ghosting into the penalty area, goal-side of the covering defence. From eight yards, he directed a downward header past Paston - 2-0.

Wellington responded to this with their best move of the match six minutes later. The substitutes - Ward, Mirjan Pavlovic and Leo Bertos - were at the heart of the move which culminated in Velaphi saving at the feet of Greenacre.

Nineteen minutes from time, the 'keeper was found wanting in the air, and Sigmund took full advantage to head Wellington back into the match, as Ifill's pinpoint corner picked out the burly central defender towering above all-comers on the edge of the goal area.

2-1 then, and Perth, who had largely dominated proceedings, were now looking a tad shaky. Attempts to restore their two-goal advantage inside the next ten minutes foundered on the figure of Paston.

In the 76th minute, he tipped a shot from substitute Anthony Skorich - his first touch - round the post in a one-on-one situation, after McGarry and Sekulovski had combined to prise open Wellington?s defence. The 'keeper then swatted away an effort from Howarth, after Pellegrino had picked out his team-mate with a cross.

Paston's efforts were matched by Velaphi in the 82nd minute, Perth's goalkeeper producing a super reflex denial to thwart Greenacre as he let fly with a first-time shot on the run across the 'keeper from six yards on receipt of a measured cross from Bertos.

Wellington kept pressing for an equaliser, but only a long-range effort from Ward gave Velaphi any cause for concern in the time remaining, while Perth squandered a chance to win 3-1 when Sekulovski blazed a shot over the bar in stoppage time, after the visitors failed to deal with the threat posed by Skorich.

Perth's fans were more than happy with a 2-1 win, however, seeing as it keeps them in a share of top spot one sixth of the way into the season. One wonders how long it will be before Wellington can shake their away-day blues, however - they're nigh on invincible on home turf, but when it comes to crossing the Tasman Sea ?

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 5
3pm, Sunday 5 September, 2010 - nib Stadium, East Perth

Perth Glory FC 2
(Mile Sterjovksi 5, Robbie Fowler 61')
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 72')

    Crowd: 10,844


    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3. Jamie COYNE, 5. Jamie HARNWELL (4. Andy TODD +86), 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Robbie FOWLER (22. Anthony SKORICH +75), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adriano PELLEGRINO (11. Branko JELIC +88), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 19. Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI
    Substitutes not used: 20. Aleks VRTESKI (rgk)

    Coach: David Mitchell

    Yellow Cards: Mile Sterjovski 25'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN (14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC +46), 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. DANIEL de Costa (7. Leo BERTOS +67), 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER (4. Nick WARD +46) Substitutes not used: 19. Danny VUKOVIC (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Daniel de Costa 44, Ben Sigmund 79, Tory Hearfield 80
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Ben Williams 5/10

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 6/10

    BOTN Player Points:

    3. Steven McGarry (PG)
    2. Adriano Pellegrino (PG)
    1. Nick Ward (WP)

    Match Report by Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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