An injury-time goal from Michael Thwaite has helped keep Perth Glory's finals hopes alive through a dramatic 2-1 win over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium
|By MARK HUGHES
Perth Glory have kept their season alive with a late stoppage-time goal from Michael Thwaite to snatch an unlikely 2-1 win over the Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Friday.
The Jets dominated possession and territory but found themselves trailing after 24 minutes when the Glory scored a well-worked goal on the counter via Matias Cordoba.
Adam Taggart equalised for the Jets with a crisply struck shot just before half-time to see the sides locked at 1-1 at the break.
Newcastle had a plethora of chances to grab the lead in the second half but couldn't convert and just as the match looked headed for a draw Thwaite stole the win when he poked home after a goal-mouth scramble in stoppage time.
The win sees Perth move to 28 points and on the cusp of the six, just two points behind the fifth-placed Jets with the rest of the round to play.
The match started in perfect conditions and the home side went close to opening the scoring in just the third minute when Michael Bridges fed Taggart a lovely ball on the six-yard line. He volleyed toward goal only to see Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic tip it over the crossbar with an amazing reflex save.
Just a few moments later Newcastle had another great chance when an unmarked Connor Chapman got on the end Ruben Zadkovich free kick but sent his header wide of the far post.
The Glory were content to sit back, absorb the pressure and attack on the counter and they did that to great affect when they scored the opening goal in the 24th minute.
A Liam Miller long ball put Chris Harold away down the right wing. He took he ball to the byline before cutting back to Mathias Cordoba on the edge of the area as the Argentine threaded a shot inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
The Jets were still creating chances down he other end, but were unable to convert.
Some clever interaction from Bridges and Taggart put Brown into the box but some neat defending from Glory skipper Thwaite cut out the threat.
A lovely cross from Zadkovich then set up Bridges but he ballooned his shot over the crossbar before Zadkovich fired wide after picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area.
Newcastle eventually drew level right on the stroke of half-time when Marko Jesic took possession of the ball on the halfway line and steamed into Glory territory before feeding a sublime ball for Taggart, who slotted his first-time shot perfectly inside the far post to send the sides to the sheds locked a 1-1.
The Jets continued to look the most likely after the break and they engineered a number of opportunities on goal.
Jesic had his angled shot blocked by Risdon and Vukovic produced a fine reflex save to deny a Dominik Ritter's volley before substitute James Virgili fired over the bar after being put in on goal via a lovely lofted long-ball from Bridges.
Vukovic came to Perth's rescue again when Bridges flicked on a Goodwin corner in the 72nd minute only for the Glory custodian to parry the ball away at the near post.
The Glory almost grabbed the lead against the run of play when Scott Jamieson got into space down the left wing before firing a looping cross into the box for Shane Smeltz to head back towards the near post forcing a Mark Birighitti to swat the goal-bound shot away.
The Jets continued to pour forward with Goodwin and Virgili making inroads down the wing but couldn't get the ideal ball into the box.
Thwaite silenced the Newcastle crowd in stoppage time when a Jamieson corner was not cleared by the Jets and the Glory skipper poked home a deflected ball from six-yards out and right in front of goal to see Perth snatch all three points.