By the time that game is over the WA capital should be out of lockdown and Glory can look forward to a well-earned rest. Whatever happens in South Australia they can take plenty of heart from the way they played in this game, twice taking the lead and surviving plenty of City pressure to hold on.
City began with brio, looking to take advantage of any travel weariness that had set in within the Perth camp.
Craig Noone, their left winger, was to the fore, pushing forward and pressing, setting the speedy tempo that Patrick Kisnorbo has urged his team to play at.
Perth did look rattled in the first few minutes but their nerves steadied when Carlo Armiento had a sighter from a Bruno Fornaroli lay-off, his shot deflected for a corner. From the set piece Dane Ingham went close, his header from Neil Kilkenny’s delivery shaving the bar.
But it didn’t take City long to hit back and Jamie Maclaren went close when he fired just wide from a through ball. Shortly after the Socceroos front man was even more unlucky, his snap shot from a Naoki Tsubaki cross hitting the post and falling into a grateful Tando Velaphi’s arms.
However it was Glory who drew first blood in the 11th minute and there was a fair amount of good fortune about the goal, Daniel Stynes picking up a Diego Castro pass and shooting, his effort taking a big deflection before beating Tom Glover in the City goal.
Stung by Perth’s audacity, City went in immediate search of a leveller. Maclaren again went close, heading just over from Tsubaki’s cross.
City eventually got their reward in the 33rd minute when Noone found space and fired against the post, Maclaren reacting quicker than anyone to slot home the rebound.
At this point it looked as though City would take even more control, but Perth has nothing if not fighting spirit and thanks to the intervention of the VAR Garcia’s men got their noses in front shortly before half-time.
Neil Kilkenny had floated over a free kick which cleared the City defence, Ingham finding just enough space around the back to score past Glover. The linesman’s flag was up and had there not been VAR the goal would have been ruled out – unlike the previous evening at this ground, when Western United felt it was on the wrong end of the technological judgement, Perth got the judgement and VAR over-ruled the official’s call, the goal standing to give them a 2-1 lead.
Fornaroli went close to making it three just after the interval when he slid in but just failed to connect with Castro’s cross. At the other end, Maclaren connected with Tsubaki’s cross but couldn’t find the target.
Velaphi preserved Perth’s lead when he palmed away Adrian Luna’s shot, just one moment of pressure in a series of threatening attacks when the hosts forced several corners in succession.
Castro made way for Nick D’Agostino with 25 minutes remaining but most of the action was at the other end as City camped around the Glory goal, creating a chance for Connor Metcalfe who was unable to get his header on target.
But D’Agostino had the final say, rising high with six minutes remaining to head home another pinpoint Kilkenny free kick
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing