Glory win Thriller
10:26 PM Mon 8th Oct, 2012 - Admin
A stunning 88th minute goal from substitute Billy Mehmet secured a dramatic victory for Perth Glory in Sunday’s Grand Final re-match with Brisbane Roar at Paterson’s Stadium, Subiaco.
Glory had enjoyed the better of a feisty contest but looked set to have to settle for a share of the spoils until the overlapping Scott Jamieson whipped in a superb cross from the left and Mehmet produced a classic centre-forward’s header to power the ball into the far corner of the net.
Fifteen of the players who started last season’s Suncorp decider backed up at Patersons Stadium and while clear-cut goalscoring opportunities were at a premium throughout, there was no shortage of tension and talking points to keep a vocal home crowd enthralled right to the end.
The drama started as early as the 3rd minute when Shane Smeltz had a strong penalty claim waved away after appearing to have been hauled down by Roar skipper Matt Smith and moments later visiting ‘keeper Michael Theo was called into action to fist away a Liam Miller free-kick that eluded everyone in the box and threatened to flash into the top corner.
Glory continued to look the more likely in the opening exchanges and again came close to breaking the deadlock on 14 minutes when Erik Paartalu’s under-hit back pass fell into the path of Smeltz, but although the Kiwi striker successfully rounded the advancing Theo, Matt Jurman got back in time to cover and the threat was diffused.
While never quite at their fluent best, the visitors started to retain possession a little better and carved out a fine opportunity just short of the break when Nick Fitzgerald burst into the box, only for Vukovic to foil the young prospect’s close-range shot with a spectacular reflex save.
The biggest cheer of the opening period, however, came in stoppage time when Berisha, whose controversial role in last season’s Grand Final dominated the pre-match hype, received a yellow card after tangling with Steven McGarry as Glory prepared to take a corner.
Perth Glory began the second-half as brightly as they had the first and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock within five minutes.
Josh Risdon capped another fine overlapping run down the right flank by bending a teasing ball across the face of goal which eluded the onrushing Smeltz by a matter of centimetres.
Miller and McGarry then both went close with half-chances as Glory maintained their domination into the final quarter, restricting the reigning champions to the occasional breakaway.
Indeed, Roar’s only notable goalscoring chance of the entire second period came on 80 minutes when Thomas Broich tested Vukovic’s reflexes with a well-struck 22m free-kick, but just as a goalless stalemate started to seem inevitable, Mehmet produced the magic required to seal the points for Glory, securing Ian Ferguson’s side both a sweet taste of revenge and the best possible start to the new campaign.
Source: User Submission
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