Ten-man table-toppers topple Wellington

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 7
6:45pm, Friday 21 November 2014 – East Perth Oval (nib Stadium)

Perth Glory FC 3 (De Silva 2′, Keogh 60′)
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (Krishna 84′)


Hyundai A-League table-toppers Perth Glory survived the sending-off of substitute Ruben Zadkovich just seventeen seconds after he entered the fray to see off Wellington Phoenix 2-1 at NIB Stadium and retain their lead in the competition.

Perth got off to a flying start in this November 21 encounter, opening the scoring just 83 seconds into the contest to the delight of the 9,233-strong crowd. Tom Doyle was taken to the cleaners by Youssouf Hersi on the right flank, and the Dutchman’s cross to the near post was bundled home by Daniel De Silva.

Wellington were stunned by this early setback, and struggled to recover from it. Perth, meanwhile, kept the pedal to the metal, forcing errors from Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante as they sought a second goal inside the opening twenty minutes.

Andy Keogh benefited from Sigmund’s stumble, and set up Richard Garcia for a chance which was snuffed out by Doyle, as he attempted to make amends for his early error.

Keogh also exploited Durante’s blunder, and played in Hersi. But Glen Moss raced out to save at the winger’s feet before tipping a twenty-five yarder from Nebosja Marinkovic over the bar in the 27th minute.

Roly Bonevacia had fired Wellington’s first shot in anger in between times, capping off a driving run at goal with a sizzling twenty yard drive which flew just past the right-hand post of Danny Vukovic’s goal.

It was the only time Perth’s ‘keeper was involved in a first half of few chances, the last two of which saw the home team fail to add to their early advantage. Hersi was gifted possession by Doyle – his was a nightmarish display – and raced into the penalty area five minutes before half-time, at which point he got it all wrong, executing the perfect air-shot with just Moss to beat!

Wellington’s ‘keeper then saved at the feet of Keogh in first half stoppage time, and was pleased to wave De Silva’s blazing shot over the bar forty seconds into the second half, after Hersi had once more had the run of Wellington’s left flank.

Ten minutes into the second spell, the visitors were afforded a great chance to equalise. Another driving run through midfield from Bonevacia – why he was later substituted defies logic – culminated in a ball wide to the overlapping figure of Doyle, whose first-time cross found Roy Krishna, who, at full stretch, skied the opportunity.

Perth responded by doubling their lead. After Rostyn Griffiths had sent a thirty yarder sailing over the bar upon being gifted possession by Jeremy Brockie, concerted Perth pressure resulted in De Silva playing the ball wide to the outstanding Joshua Risdon.

The fullback delivered a delightfully angled ball in behind the defence which lit up the eyes of Keogh, who wasted no time in steering it home to leave the league leaders on easy street.

It wouldn’t be that way for too long, however. Zadkovich is an abrasive character at the best of times, the sort who could potentially start a riot in a phone booth. But not even he could have expected to be heading to the dressing rooms just moments after entering the fray as a replacement for Griffiths.

One rash over-the-top lunge at Vince Lia, just seventeen seconds after coming on, however, and referee Lucien Laverdure was in no doubt – red card, Ruben. On yer bike!

That changed the game completely, with Perth largely operating a rearguard action for the remainder of the match as Wellington sought a way back into the contest. Nathan Burns, until now, had been well contained by the home team, but their reduced numbers meant the visitors’ foremost frontrunner became a factor in the match.

His first involvement, in the 67th minute, saw Burns angle in a cross from the right which sought out Brockie, arriving on the far post. Ridson stepped in to clear, moments before Bonevacia forced Vukovic into his first save of the match, twenty minutes from time.

Having weathered Wellington’s initial flurry, the ten men came within inches of netting a third goal in the 75th minute. Risdon’s right-wing raid culminated in a thunderous twenty-yarder from Marinkovic which Moss tipped onto the bar.

Four minutes later, Risdon influenced proceedings once more. Combining with Hersi, he whipped in a wicked cross for Mitch Nichols to exploit, only for Manny Muscat to cut him off at the pass and retrieve the situation for Wellington, who were now getting desperate.

They were handed a lifeline seven minutes from time when Risdon tripped Tyler Boyd in the penalty area. Perth weren’t best pleased, but it was a clear foul which left referee Laverdure in no doubt. And there wasn’t much doubt about Krishna’s penalty, either – an unerring finish past Vukovic six minutes from time which gave Wellington a lifeline at 2-1.

That’s how it finished, but only after Burns had gone desperately close to levelling the scores in stoppage time. Latching onto an Albert Riera pass, the striker fired through the legs of a defender and watched in despair as the ball crept inches past the far post, with Boyd racing in just too late to turn it home for a stoppage time equaliser the visitors wouldn’t really have deserved had it materialised.

Match details:

Perth Glory FC: Vukovic; Risdon, Djulbic, Thwaite, Jamieson; Griffiths (Zadkovich, +61 – sent off, 63), Garcia (booked, 72), Marinkovic (booked, 25) (Ferreira, +88); Hersi, Keogh, De Silva (Nichols, +68)

Wellington Phoenix FC: Moss; Muscat, Sigmund (booked, 31), Durante, Doyle (booked, 21) (Boxall, +82); Bonevacia (Boyd, +77), Riera, Lia (booked, 77); Krishna, Burns, Brockie

Red Card: Zadkovich 63′

Referee: Lucien Laverdure 6/10

Match  5/10
Pitch  9/10

Players –
3.  Risdon (PG)
2. Bonevacia (WP)
1.  Hersi (PG)