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Victory and Glory share the spoils

PERvMELNew signing Darvydas Sernas made an immediate impact on his debut, with a superb long-range effort securing a deserved point for Perth as they came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Melbourne Victory.

Both coaches were looking to turn their fortunes around after poor defeats, but there were few chances in the opening exchanges with the teams lacking fluency. Perth came close in the 10th minute after Smeltz cut the ball back for an open McGarry who could only send a shot tamely over the bar, while Archie Thompson volleyed a Traore cross well wide of the post.

Both sides were turning the ball over in quick succession and resorting to long-range efforts, with neither ‘keeper tested in the opening half an hour.

But Tom Rogic, who showed impressive touch and technique throughout the first half, almost caught out Vukovic in the 33rd minute with a rasping drive after being teed up on the edge of the box by Galloway. Unfortunately, his effort rebounded off the crossbar.

Two minutes later and the midfielder sparked the move that led to Victory’s goal. Rogic found Thompson wide and after the striker made his way into the box, Jack Clisby tugged the Victory player’s shirt, leaving referee Kris Griffiths-Jones no option but to point to the spot. Finkler stepped up to put the penalty away, and hand Melbourne the lead.

It sparked Perth into action and Harold looked to have set up Zahra with a pinpoint cross, but the winger’s shot was blocked by Ansell and the home side finished the half without seriously testing Nathan Coe in the Melbourne goal.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Fri Jan 31, 2014, 9:45 PMStadium HBF ParkAttendance 10,151Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones

Perth

Yellow Card42′ C.HaroldYellow Card46′ S.SmeltzGoal50′ D.SernasYellow Card66′ M.ThwaiteYellow Card69′ J.Burns

Melb. Victory

Penalty37′ G.Finkler (Pen)
Yellow Card90′ P.Contreras

Kenny Lowe was clearly unhappy with his side’s first half efforts and responded by introducing Sernas for Zahra. The substitution paid immediate dividends, as the debutante drew Perth level after just three minutes on the park, with a superb long-range goal.

With the home side breaking down the left wing in the 50th minute, Sernas collected a Clisby pass before moving onto his right foot and powering an effort past Nathan Coe from outside the box.

Steven McGarry should have put Perth ahead just four minutes later when he was picked out unmarked by a brilliant Smeltz cross but his header went inches wide of the post.

Melbourne were being pegged back in their own half as the Glory continued to press, and it looked as though Lowe would see his team capitalise. Thwaite managed to connect with a bicycle kick that went straight into Coe’s arms before the Victory keeper fluffed a cross yet gratefully claimed the follow-up.

Risdon summed up the Glory’s second-half endeavour in the 75th minute, tackling two Victory defenders to take possession in the box. Nevertheless, Marinkovic couldn’t get good connection on the fullback’s layoff and the chance was lost.

Slowly, Melbourne began to come back into the game, and Nabbout had two golden chances in quick succession to give Victory the lead.

The first saw the visitors break in the 78th minute from a Perth corner and the young Victory striker met an Archie Thompson ball before jinking his way past Risdon. With just the goalkeeper to beat, Nabbout inexplicably scuffed his attempted shot well wide.

Two minutes later and Nabbout was put through again, this time by Troisi, but a poor first touch meant he could only send a tame effort straight at Vukovic.

Troisi tested the Perth ‘keeper again from an 83rd minute counter attack, and Thwaite floated a late header wide for Perth as both sides had to settle for a share of the points.

About the author

avatarJulian is a freelance writer and editor, film festival programmer, and serial podcaster.

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