A telling draw retains Wellington in a comfortable fifth spot in the A-League while keeping Perth Glory at the bottom of the standings.
For the third consecutive game, Glory named an unchanged starting line-up. The Wellington Phoenix made just one change, bringing Joshua Laws in for Tim Payne.
Glory’s setup, which maintained a relatively narrow back three, provided ample room for Clisby and Khelifi to operate in, which was a noticeable change from previous weeks. Perth built in 3-2-5 as a result of Zadkovich’s tactical change in an effort to bypass the comparatively sluggish Phoenix front two.
To counter this, Wellington used a high press, which put Liam Reddy’s distributing capabilities to the test.
The first noteworthy moment of the half came after a roaring penalty cry was disregarded, the contact being deemed to be too close and the hand in a natural position.
Not soon after, around the twenty-minute mark, Perth fans visibly started to leave the stadium in a coordinated fashion. However, as broadcast, several spectators appeared to settle back into their seats after merely expressing their disagreement with the APL’s most recent decision rather than acting on their bold gesture.
Glory’s pressure finally spilled over, and David Williams registered his first goal in the A-League since March 2019 with a glancing header from close range to open the scoring. All stemming from Khelifi’s quick feet, which opened up the space for a low, whipped cross.
Phoenix swiftly answered this by capitalising on an erroneous press from Amini, which opened up a tonne of space in the centre for Steven Ugarković, whose pass into Sasse led to a flick to Oskar Zawada, who calmly converted from ten yards out.
Now shooting in front of a spirited number of Glory fans, Ruben Zadkovich’s men should’ve had all the motivation needed to push for a much-needed win. In contrast, Wellington appeared leggy, and the extensive distance travelled proved a problem, as evidenced by the lack of direct openings that ensued in the half.
The best chance of a dull second half coming from Ivanovic’s near-own goal header from a Glory Corner in the latter stages.
Mark Beevers held together a disjointed backline by making numerous tackles and sweeping wherever necessary, as evidenced by his seven clearances.
But more than simply his tackling prowess, he also stood out physically, preventing Wellington from making many crosses or central entries.
In the last moments, after making two consecutive tackles, Beevers did seem to be gripping his hamstring, which is a major concern with Glory’s slim defensive options.
Jelacic Proves Vital
Keegan Jelacic, who regularly used intelligent, precise touches to avoid his pursuers, was a major force in the game. In contrast to past games, he also added positive final actions, shown by taking two slightly off-target efforts that gave Oli Sail a lot of trouble in goal.
Brisbane very well may come to regret losing out on the services of the Kiwi, who has been a star performer and an exceptional talent for Perth Glory this season. Someone who will only get better with more playing time.
Perth Glory 1 (David Williams -22nd minute)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Oskar Zawada -31st minute)