After a hailstorm almost immediately before kickoff delayed the match for almost an hour, a meaningless match was won by Perth Glory as they defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night. Both sides went in to the match with only pride to play for with both their positions being already assured before kickoff.
The result means Perth end their season on a high, with the result meaning Perth Glory would have finished second or third had they not have breached the salary cap. For Western Sydney a horror domestic season ends on a low and surely questions must be coming about Tony Popovic’s future.
As one would expect from the conditions both teams struggled in the early going, with the pitch watered to get rid of the hail. This resulted in a very slow surface, which was uncomfortable and made things hard for the players.
Western Sydney settled to the conditions the quickest but they could not capitalize on their chances. Danny Vukovic, recently nominated for the team of the decade, was looking good in Perth’s goal determined to snuff out any half chances.
Early mistakes at the back were making life difficult for the Wanderers and just eight minutes in Perth nearly had the opener. Andy Keogh crossed in leading to a scramble in the box but Western Sydney just managed to clear the ball, keeping it scoreless.
Perth Glory quickly got control of the match and in the 17th minute they had their lead, thanks to a howler from Dean Bouzanis. Jamie Maclaren was played clean through and shot, seemingly in to the arms of Bouzanis but it burst through his hands and in to the back of the net for the opener.
Bouzanis seemed to be rattled by the miss and in the 22nd minute another handling error could have resulted in another goal. Bouzanis lost possession of a corner but his defenders recovered and were able to clear.
Perth were on top as they continued to attack with Andy Keogh and Richard Garcia looking creative for Glory. But for that attack, the Wanderers defense was determined to keep out a second goal and they were able to get rid of those chances before they became clear cut chances.
In the 36th minute Western Sydney were able to get a great chance and if not for Danny Vukovic could well have been level. Kerem Bulut was able to find space and look up and get a shot away on goal, but Vukovic got down well to make the save.
Western Sydney were pushing in the final ten minutes of the half as they looked to try and get a goal back in to the match. With two minutes to play in the half, a goal mouth scramble looked to give Western Sydney a chance but Perth eventually scrambled it clear, keeping their 1-0 lead at the break.
Right after the half Perth Glory should have doubled their lead after a great opportunity came to Daniel De Silva. The ball bounced off the crossbar and fell to De Silva, now with the goal at his mercy but he somehow launched it over the bar.
That miss proved costly as Western Sydney were able to get an equalizer just six minutes after that miss. Liam Youlley was able to find some space, and somehow it was able to get through the a whole host of Perth Glory defenders and off of Vukovic, in to the back of the net.
After the equalizer Western Sydney really started going for the match as they were able to go on the attack and try and find a goal that would give them a lead. But their efforts were just not clinical enough which kept it level.
Perth Glory started really going after the hour mark as they looked to push and double their lead. And that goal came in the 66th minute as Joshua Risdon sent in a ball for Andy Keogh who curled his shot past Dean Bouzanis.
The Wanderers were handed a chance with 14th minutes to play as they were given a man advantage. _ Kramar’s challenge was too high, bringing down Bulut which saw him handed his second yellow card and getting the Wanderers instantly in to the match.
Western Sydney had plenty of possession in the final stages of the match as they took advantage of the man advantage. Yet for all of that possession they just couldn’t create any clear chances or finish them, giving Perth the 2-1 win, ending a frustrating season for both clubs.