Perth Glory 2-0 Newcastle Jets: Glory up to third spot
Perth Glory have moved above Wellington into third spot on the A-League ladder after a comfortable home win over Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
By Jacob Kagi
Perth Glory gave their finals hopes a massive boost while dealing the Newcastle Jets a significant blow with a 2-0 win in Saturday's A-League match at nib Stadium.
Substitute Adam Hughes gave Perth the lead after just 16 minutes but his side wasted several other opportunities - while twice hitting the woodwork - to extend their advantage in a first half they controlled.
But the Glory finally got their reward with Billy Mehmet's 59th-minute goal, which ensured Ian Ferguson's side overcame a disappointing Jets side to earn their sixth win from eight matches and climb to third spot.
Victory may have come at a cost for the Glory, as they lost key midfielder Liam Miller to what looked like hamstring injury after just 12 minutes, but it saw them establish a four-point buffer in fourth spot.
The result broke Newcastle's three-game winning streak and saw them blow the opportunity to consolidate their spot in the top six, as they'll find themselves out of a finals spot if Sydney beats Adelaide on Sunday.
The Jets, who struggled to maintain possession in dangerous areas or create chances throughout the match, are now five points outside the top four with just five games to play.
Both teams entered the match without key players, with Shane Smeltz absent for the Glory and captain Jobe Wheelhouse out for Newcastle, but the hosts showed no ill-effects in a strong display.
Miller blew an excellent chance just five minutes and it was to be his only real impact, as he had to be replaced by Hughes after pulling up from a seemingly innocuous run.
Hughes had been on the field for just a few minutes when Josh Risdon delivered a delightful cross which found the midfielder 10 yards out and headed home for his second goal with the club.
Perth then twice came within millimetres of doubling their lead in the 25th minute when Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy deflected Hughes' shot onto the bar and Steven McGarry's follow-up also hit the woodwork.
Newcastle had been pegged back for most of the first half but could have been back level after Ali Abbas, who replaced Taylor Regan in the 43rd minute, had his shot deflected and the ball fell to Francis Jeffers, but the striker fired wide.
Mile Sterjovski's fierce free-kick soon after the restart was impressively tipped over by Kennedy, while Hughes' curling shot cannoned off the crossbar minutes later.
But the hosts finally got their second goal seconds later when Jacob Burns lifted a cross into Mehmet's path and the striker found the net, before Perth comfortably held an uninspiring Newcastle at bay over the final 30 minutes.
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