Saturday, August 7, 2010

A-League bursts into life with 3-3 draw between Perth and Fury

After two rather dull matches to open the A-League season, the competition sprang to life at NIB Park in Perth on Friday night when Perth Glory drew 3-3 with wooden spoon favourites North Queensland Fury.

The crowd of 16,019 was a record A-League home attendance for Glory. Their previous highest was in the old NSL against South Melbourne in 1998.

The presence of Perth’s Robbie Fowler, playing against his former club, probably had something to do with the attendance. Fowler had an average game and was substituted 8 minutes from the end. He is currently pursuing a compensation claim in the courts against his former employers.

Branko Jelic put Perth ahead in the 5th minute. Jamie Coyne’s header put Adriano Pellegrino away on the right and his near-post cross was turned in by Jelic.

Fury drew level in the 34th minute after a neat counter-attack. Perth’s Jacob Burns, in trying to cut out a one-two, only succeeded in playing the ball to Chris Payne, who smashed a low shot home from 25 metres.

Eight minutes after the interval, Perth’s Scott Neville struck the crossbar with a shot from 25 metres.

Mile Sterjovski should have put Perth ahead in the 61st minute after a delightful attack. Pellegrino fed Fowler in midfield and he put Sterjovski clear on the left, but the striker shot wide when facing a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Payne turned provider in the 64th minute when he raced down the right and crossed towards the far side of the box, where David Williams volleyed the ball home to put the Fury 2-1 ahead.

Naum Sekulovski almost equalised for the home side in the 69th minute, but his curling chip from the left flashed just wide of the far post.

Fury almost increased their lead in the 72nd minute, but Adam Casey’s header from Eric Akoto’s high ball into the box flew narrowly wide.

Man-of-the-match Neville equalised for Perth in the 74th minute when a corner was only partially cleared and he despatched the ball into the back of the net from 23 metres through a crowded goalmouth.

Sterjovski atoned for his earlier miss when he gave Perth a 3-2 lead 11 minutes from the end. Jamie Harnwell clipped the ball forward for Pellegrino to run onto and his lob from the right found Sterjovski, who netted with a glancing header from 8 metres.

Fury refused to give in, however, and Chris Grossman nodded home the equaliser in the 2nd minute of stoppage time from Isaka Cernak’s free-kick from just outside the box on the left.

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