Perth down Phoenix to consolidate finals place
Perth Glory have come one step closer to securing their place in the finals after claiming a 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
Perth scored a goal in each half with Andy Keogh scoring in the 36th minute, while Diego Castro secured the three points with a goal in the 74th minute. The Phoenix’s Tom Doyle grabbed a late goal for his side in the final stages of the game.
After Wellington’s 3-1 triumph over Sydney FC last week, Ernie Merrick deployed an unchanged starting eleven with Vince Lia named on the bench after returning from injury.
The Glory also made no changes to their side as they looked to continue their superb form and lock in their place in the top six.
The game’s first shot on target came in the 4th minute after Perth’s Krisztian Vadocz attempted a spectacular lob from 40 metres out, but Phoenix keeper Glen Moss scrambled back well to parry the shot away.
Wellington began to control play in the centre of the park and created a decent chance to score in the 15th through Michael McGlinchey, but his left-footed strike sailed wide of the target.
The Glory seemed certain to score in the 20th minute after Marc Warren’s excellent cross found Diego Castro at the far post, but the Spaniard’s header flew high over the bar.
However, Perth didn’t miss in the 36th minute as Andy Keogh found the game’s opening goal. The assist came from Richard Garcia who showed superb strength to muscle his way into the box and cross the ball for Keogh who tapped the ball home from close range for his 8th goal of the season.
The first half concluded with Perth leading the Phoenix 1-0 with Keogh’s 36th minute goal proving the difference. Referee Ben Williams also issued a total of six yellow cards, in what was a tightly contested first period.
As Perth dominated the early stages of the second half, Diego Castro attempted a strike on goal from the edge of the box in the 52nd minute, but Moss did well to block the shot at his near post.
Some excellent build up play from the Glory led them to another goal-scoring opportunity in the 68th minute as Castro played in Keogh who squared the ball for Chris Harold inside the box, but the winger’s shot flashed high
Perth finally doubled their lead in the in the 74th minute through Diego Castro. Chris Harold initially broke away on goal and forced not one, but two great saves out of Glen Moss, but Castro swooped in at the right time to tap the ball into an open net.
Despite Perth’s dominant second half display, Wellington managed to find a consolation goal deep into stoppage time through left-back Tom Doyle. Doyle received a pass from Watson after making an overlapping run on the left wing and smashed the ball past Ante Covic to bring the full-time scoreline to 2-1.
As the countdown to the finals continues, Wellington Phoenix face an in-form Melbourne City next week, while Perth Glory have another away fixture against the Newcastle Jets.
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