Oh Chris Ikonomidis, you’ve got us on our knees-dis. Is there anything this wonder kid can’t do? Ikon notched up his 5th goal from the opening 7 games of the 18/19 season to gift Perth a 1-0 victory over Melbourne City and to retain top possy on the ladder.
Perth faithful were gloating about how NIB is the best place on earth to watch the Saturday night fixture, and they’re not wrong. The beautiful sunset in the background of the stadium at a respectable hour was much better than the view of me chrome casting the fixture in my trackies near on midnight.
Both teams made changes to their line-ups for the clash, although I don’t think anyone knows what City’s usual starting 11 actually is with Joyce as indecisive with formations and player positions as girls are when you ask them what they want for dinner.
Perth had Spiranovic returning for his first game of football in 12 months following a hip injury, with Capitano Castro also starting for the first time this season.
Fornaroli remains in exile for city with Joyce quoting his poor work ethic at training as the reason for his exclusion. Whilst the absence of De Laet, reportedly to injury, had City fans engaging in the next big conspiracy theory after the JFK assassination, with many claiming that the senior player too had been dropped due to speaking out against Joyce. Hasn’t De Laet learnt that you are not to speak negatively of the Joyce regime after the Fornaroli censorship last week?
The first half remained largely stale, with one of the biggest points of interest being Schenkeveld’s shorts appearing slightly longer than usual, presumably to pay respect to the era as we all travelled back in time for the Perth home game.
Perth appeared to initially come out of the blocks quickly, playing some lovely one touch football, before sitting back and allowing City to move the ball around.
Devastation came for Spiranovic in the 31st. After Spiranovic initially poorly turned over the ball at the top of the box, with City unable to capitalise on the error, we soon saw Spiranovic on the floor. In the same way as when you return to work after a nice refreshing holiday with a new attitude that you’re going to be a valuable member of the team, only to realise 30 minutes later you have instantly reverted back to your old ways, Spira’s day was gone. The loss of Spira saw an early sub for Popa, bringing on Djulbic to combine with Mrcela at the back.
Perth let City believe they had some control over the game until the final 5 minutes of the first half, when Perth stepped up the tempo causing City to instantly buckle. Ikonomidis was able to find the back of the net in the 43rd through his right foot following a scrappy pass around between Castro and Keogh from almost nothing to give the home team the lead going into the break.
The second half saw Perth nearly extend their lead through Castro on the end of a Kilkenny cut back in the 49th, only to be denied by a stretching save by Galekovic.
In the absence of a proven striker, City had players like Brattan and Atkinson attempting speckies all night, and what did this translate into? ZERO SHOTS ON TARGET FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. And in a further interesting move being a goal down, Joyce made a double substitution in the 70th to remove Brattan and Vidosic from play, to bring Caceres and former Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths into the mix to further maintain that zero shot stat.
Things went from bad to not good at all for City in the 80th, going down to ten men with Curtis Good receiving a soft second yellow for an awkward challenge on Franjic. Considering what had been let go by Peter Green earlier in the match *cough Castro’s heavy, no ball challenge in the 54th cough*, this was pretty unlucky. Perhaps the only consolation for City was that Green fell over himself in the 91st.
Although the game was not the most free-flowing football we have seen from Perth in recent weeks, the result means another week at the top of the ladder and a clean sheet for Reddy. In contrast, City maintain the calls for #joyceout and trail closely behind Russia in the ladder of conspiracies and dictatorships.