It’s the final game of the final round for season 2018/19 and for Wellington tonight the equation is simple; don’t lose by two goals if they don’t want to drop to sixth. For Perth the equation is even simpler, don’t get injured.
With the Premiers able to celebrate a final round home game without pressure. Wellington can effectively decide where they want to travel to next week. Do they play an in form Adelaide United who have a full squad available and who beat them 3-1 three weeks ago or do they play Melbourne Victory who they have drawn with on all three occasions this season and have been facing ACL game schedule pressures?
The Wellington line up makes it look like they are aiming for the latter with A-League Golden Boot winner for the season Roy Krishna sitting on the bench and inform keeper Filip Kurto also having a rest in favour of Oliver Sail. Perth step up with a near full strength starting eleven making the challenge for Wellington look almost insurmountable.
Perth started strong, as you would expect, forcing Sail to enter the game from the first whistle, including an impressive double save in the ninth minute, denying Ikonomidis and Keogh. The second save sees Sail using balls to get the job done. Then in the fourteenth minute it looked like Wellington might hit the front first when a Glory back pass went through the legs of Reddy but he was able to scramble enough to clear the ball
It is the twenty fourth minute when Perth put away their first goal thanks to Keogh using his head to put away a rebounding ball, after Sail deflected an attempt from Castro. This goal sets a new club record for Glory, the highest number of goals for the club in a season. It’s only eight more minutes before Keogh puts away his second goal for the game, Keogh using his head again, putting away a pass from Davidson at the top of the six yard box.
This second goal places Wellington into sixth and they will play Victory in the first week of finals. Keogh has a seemingly easy chance for his hat trick in the thirty eighth minute when he find the ball at his feet from a deflected Castro ball, but he kicks it straight to Sail. Half time sees the score 2-0, and saw Glory dominate, Wellington having a few shots on target and not giving up but Glory are just too good.
The second half sees Glory continue to dominate, with Castro finds space and curls the ball into the goal. Wellington seemingly becoming frustrated, with Sheridan and Lowry giving away fouls with some poor tackling decisions. Iknomidis not wanting to be left out after missing some earlier chances, puts one away in the sixty fifth minute, but it wouldn’t be an A-league game without at least one referral to VAR, but he is cleared from offside and the goal stands. The seventieth minute sees Keogh subbed off before he can get his hat trick, something he doesn’t seem all that happy about.
Santalab takes his place and finds himself off side in the seventy fifth minute, something Keogh may be inwardly happy about. However, that is not good enough for Santalab who manages to slot one away in the eighty third minute. Glory miss two other chances before the ref calls time on the game, a five nil win to Glory. Wellington can breathe a sigh of relief and know that it all starts again this weekend with finals.
By Michelle Reid