Perth Glory Youth side ended their Foxtel National Youth League campaign with a stirring 3-1 win against a strong Melbourne City side at a humid Ashfield Reserve on Sunday morning.
The visitors led 1-0 at the break with Steve Kuzmanovski on target, but a stunning second half from the Glory youngsters, saw Daniel Stynes and Joe Knowles, who bagged a brace, to give them the three points.
Glory Coach John Gibson was delighted with the sides’ performance, and said it’s great to see the younger players stepping up. “It is fantastic to see the boys grow up and mature in the last six months,” he said.
“They (Melbourne City) had a strong side on paper today, but that didn’t faze us, it was the same against Brisbane earlier in the season, but we are now rueing our missed opportunities earlier in the season.
“But it’s great to see the young players who have been given the opportunity this season impress, and today’s win is a timely boost for the QBE Night Series which starts in two weeks’ time.”
The win was built on a solid defence performance, and central defender Ross Millard said it was good to end the season with a home win. “A good end to the season for us, and I thought we toughly deserved the win today,” he said.
“Jared (Tyson) gave us a lift today he made some good saves when we needed them and I thought defensively we were strong today, even if we had players playing out of position, but it gives us a good lift with the NPL Night Series just around the corner.”
With both sides having experienced players in their sides it was a lively opening, but it was the visitors who hit the front on 17 minutes.
A ball over the top sent Kuzmanovski clear, and he lobbed the on-coming Tyson to give City the early advantage.
The home side hit their straps and on the half hour Nikola Talimdzioski raced clear down the left, held off his marker, but his shot flashed inches wide of the far post.
Glory were in again moments later, with Talimdzioski sending Knowles clear, but the striker’s powerful shot was superbly saved by Dean Bouzanis.
It was a perfect start to the second half for Gibson’s side and they were level in the opening minute. Knowles burst into the penalty area and fired low past Bouzanis.
City looked to hit back and skipper Mahmut Ali Eyigun’s free kick was well saved by Tyson, before Kuzmanovski’s low cross was inches away from Marc Marino at the back post.
It was end to end football with both sides having good chances. First Glory skipper Calvin Whitney played in Knowles, whose first time shot was well saved by the alert Bouzanis.
Moments later Hernan Espindola got in behind the Glory back four, but Tyson was out bravely to block his shot, and Marino’s follow up shot went wide.
City were pressing and on 80 minutes Matthew Millar’s shot was parried by Tyson, the ball rebounded back off a Glory defender and rolled agonisingly wide of the post.
But two minutes later the Glory hit the front. Knowles, who had caused the City defence all sorts of problems all game, made a darting run down the right and he found Stynes, who finished low past Bouzanis.
The points were wrapped up on 83 minutes, when the Glory added a third. Heny Durr played in Knowles down the right; he outpaced his marker and finished clinically past Bouzanis.
Perth Glory 3 (Knowles 46’, 83’, Stynes 81’)
Melbourne City 1 (Kuzmanovski 17’)
Sunday 17 January
Referee: Tom Dowle
Assistants: Matthew Southern and Josh Nixon
Fourth Official: David Bruce
Perth Glory: GK Jared TYSON, 2 Henry DURR, 3 Hayden STEVENS, 4 Dejan SPASESKI, 5 Ross MILLARD, 6 Calvin WHITNEY (C), 7 Sam MCKEARNEN, 8 Walieldin ISMAIL (14 Jackson MORGAN 92’), 10 Hagi GLIGOR (12 Daniel STYNES 57’), 11 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI (13 Alex TANEVSKI 90’)
Subs not used: RGK Jordan THURTELL
Yellow Cards: Durr 11’
Melbourne City: GK Dean BOUZANIS, 6 Denis GENREAU, 36 Matthew MILLAR, 37 Leo ATHANASIOU, 38 Luke GALLO, 39 Mahmut ALI EYIGUN (C), 43 Tomislav FADLJEVIC (34 Stefan ZINNI 67’), 44 Jordan HALL (45 Andrija KECOJEVIC 81’), 46 Hernan ESPINDOLA, 47 Wade DEKKER (5 Marc MARINO 46’), 48 Steve KUZMANOVSKI
Subs not used: RGK Yaren SOZER
Yellow Cards: Athanasiou 65’, 90’, Marino 76’
Red Cards: Athanasiou 90’