The A League went out west in the hopes of shining some sunshine on Perth’s recent horrid streak whilst City aimed to keep some (non-existent) pressure on that other blue team. After losing to the Jets, Perth were probably hoping to go from 0 to 100 goals from kick off but City apparently found the good latte joint before everything in Perth closed.
The opening 20 minutes of this game were pretty equal and standard for both teams. Glover pulled off a couple of good saves, Jamieson was getting knocked about and the ref didn’t care, and Meredith was screaming for the ball.
But then the cracks in Perth’s defence appeared as a pretty nothing corner turned into a goal. In the 24th minute, Griffiths did a full 180 not only on Perth as a team but with the ball to score the opening goal. Right in front of The Shed too which in this heat, I am surprised didn’t elicit more plastic cups flying in the air.
It didn’t take long for Fornaroli to run the length of the pitch and also expose some holes in the City defence, but his shot was deflected, and Perth remained behind. Just as the commentators were congratulating City for not playing conservative football, Berenguer did not surrender when shooting a screamer from outside of the penalty box. Tres bien we all screamed like he hadn’t heard that before and sacre bleu what were these blues doing to Perth.
We barely had time to recover from two goals and apparently Perth were still in a state of shock as Reddy and a series of purple defenders stood their whilst Susaeta strolled around the right-hand side and tapped in City’s third goal. Yet another terrible camera angle for the VAR to check for offside but the weak protests were to no avail as the goal stood.
The half time whistle must have come like a gentle harp from the heavens to Perth until of course they saw big Poppa waiting for them at the start of the tunnel. Mombaerts and his gloves however were well prepared to avoid any COVID-19 related germs and shake all his players hands. Controversial opinion, but I really dislike the half time interviews (and do not get me started on the coaches speaking after the second half kick-off) but Jamieson made the valid point that there was still 45 minutes to play but little did we all know what was to come.
Did the Perth boys score some chicken treats in their change rooms because they came out like hormone injected maniacs running circles around Noone and knocking Jamieson to the floor, again. Within 10 minutes the comeback was on as Perth were now the ones to capitalise on defensive faults. Franjic was able to deliver a flat and centred cross that was initially saved by Glover but it was sloppy and bounced to Chianese who was able to bundle it into the back of the net.
The Shed then became the perfect example of how a vocal home crowd and remembering to sing even when you are losing can make such a difference. City were being forced to park every bus they owned in an effort to stop the relentless Perth attack. Meredith, Franjic, and Wuthrich were hoofing that ball into the penalty area and making Glover earn his keep in this heat. Mombaerts ringing his fingerless gloved hands.
With the clear memo that this was to be a high scoring round of the A League, Fornaroli first shanked a shot over the goal only to make up for his mistake what felt like seconds later. A cross from Chianese and a rushed forward touch into the goal now had Perth within one goal of City. It came as no surprise that Delbridge was at fault for keeping Chianese onside in the lead up.
City were clinging onto this lead like a drunk girl to her kebab at 3am. They were desperate and for every beautiful save Glover managed to save, he would then shank the ball immediately out and Perth were back on the attack. The heat was then taking out City like every ‘fun idea’ of tequila and there was some definite time wasting as they tried to slow down the pace.
This was to no avail as once the ball was back in play, Perth were back on the attack. Castro with the best chance for an equaliser in the 74th minute but it grazed the post and was not to be. I am sure there is a saying or proverb for the fact that Castro’s boot came off after a Galloway tackle and his laces were in such a knot that he was off the pitch trying desperately to untie them to get them back on.
Whilst I was distracted by shoeless Castro, Delbridge almost gave away a penalty with a desperate slide across the field that kept the ball away from goal but also might have been a penalty thanks to a handball. I guess he was only brought into this half so thought we were still on the same old programming and needed to pick up a red. City, now with the ball for a brief second, went for the Maccas penny pincher winner but Luna was unable to make a happy meal of it or make up for receiving his 5th yellow card.
Again, we went back to the City goal and the poor ball boy was working overtime to keep play going at Perth’s pace. Daggers then took a stab to the heart of Glover but even that did not produce the blood sacrifice needed to get the equaliser. The dying minutes were filled with some desperate defending as the yellow cheese slices went flying – 7 in total – and the difference between strikers was astounding. Cut to Maclaren who is practically having a holding in mid-field whilst Fornaroli is striking everything he can at the City goal.
6 additional minutes of extra time comes as a blessing for Perth and a death note to City as all their time wasting up to this point proves to be useless. The heat is now getting to everyone as Castro is ready to stab the linesman with his own flag, Daggers throws the ball in frustration, and Galloway kicks the ball further away getting a yellow in the dying seconds. We worry the crowd will riot and the referee must also be wondering when this game is over when finally, the whistle comes.
Somehow, somehow, somehow, City hold onto the win and unfortunately for Perth, it looks like they needed to throw the kitchen sink as well in order to just get a draw. For Perth, the loss is difficult to take. They did A LOT in that second half but miss out on critical points to move away from Brisbane and Western United who are now within striking distance to take their fourth place. For City, they can take solace in the win but are probably still huffing and heaving. They held out which is great but should a second on the table team just be holding out? They maintain their spot but it sure is a long season ahead.
City 3 – Perth 2.