Fan Reaction: Painful end to the season for Glory

Embarrassing and disappointing are apt words to describe how the last two months have gone for the Perth Glory. As for the final match of the season, Sunday’s 7-1 defeat at the hands of Sydney FC, I think the best word to use would be catastrophic.

Effort, desire and intensity were characteristics never questioned of the players at the beginning or during the mid-point of the season. Their execution may not have been the greatest, but at the very least they put in a shift.

In the final four games, I haven’t seen a team who have been willing to put in the work for long enough to keep a lead, regain a lead, fight back from behind or keep the damage to a minimum.

There have been some good patches in there; the first 27 minutes against Adelaide, the start to the second half against Western United and for most of the first half on the weekend against the Sky Blues.

Take away those, and it paints a grim picture. When the going has gotten tough, the Glory have fallen in a heap.

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Four goals conceded in 23 minutes against Sydney, five in 29 minutes against City, three in 16 against Adelaide and three in 27 against Western United.

That’s 15 goals conceded in the space of 95 minutes. 23 in total for the last four games, which made up a third of the goals we conceded for the entire season.

Looking back on the weekend, the opening goal was a sign it was going to be a long day at the office.

Jordan Courtney-Perkins was unmarked and scored a header inside the six-yard box from Robert Mak’s free kick. An example of really poor defending to allow a player a free runto jump uncontested so close to goal.

To their credit, the response after conceding early was good. The Glory should have gotten level through Stef Colakovski, who had a chance one-on-one with Andew Redmayne denied by the experienced shot stopper.

Although that was their most clear-cut chance, Adam Taggart had a few shots blocked at crucial moments and both Gio Colli and Jarrod Carluccio came close with volleys just minutes apart.

It was unusual for Glory not to be clinical, and it cost them when the Sky Blues doubled their lead through Joe Lolley.

Jaiden Kucharski’s shot was initially saved by Oli Sail, but wasn’t cleared away from danger. The Englishman reacted quickest and pounced on the follow up, keeping up his record of scoring in every game he’s played against Perth.

Then right on the stroke of half time, a handball on Colli was reviewed by VAR and a penalty awarded. By the letter of the law it was the right call, but at the same time it was extremely harsh given he had no time to react.

Luke Brattan converted to make it 3-0 at the break. Again to Glory’s credit, the response after the break was solid and saw them rewarded with a goal from Taggart.

Carluccio registered the assist but credit has to go to the play from Daniel Bennie and Josh Rawlins, as well as Taggart for the tremendous finish.

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The late procession of goals was partly down to the inexperienced defence, as Alen Stajcic brought on Adriano Lebib for his debut to partner Kaelan Majekodunmi.

Jacob Muir started at centre back but then transitioned into midfield with Trent Ostler, who was subbed on with Lebib for the starting midfield pairing of Colli and Mustafa Amini.

Robert Mak started the late onslaught with a free header. Lolley breezed past Ostler and Muir, managing to get a shot off which Sail saved but again didn’t get out of danger, falling to Mak who nodded it home with ease.

The Slovakian got his second thanks to a through ball from Corey Hollman. The keeper came out to close down the space but was rounded and left an empty net for Mak to score in.

Joel King should have scored the sixth when he was left open, but was denied at the near post by a brilliant save by Sail.

Not long after, he found himself free again and this time went for the far corner and scored off the post, taking advantage of some more poor defending by the Glory.

Lolley rounded off the misery in stoppage time, receiving a pass from a corner and curling a shot from just outside the box into the bottom corner.

Overall the defence was shocking, but I have mixed feelings regarding the performance of the goalkeeper.

On one hand, seven goals were scored past Oli Sail and there a few which I thought he should have dealt with better.

For the second goal, the initial shot was down the middle and he failed to parry it wide away from danger.

The fourth was similar, I think he could have gotten a stronger hand to the initial save to stop it from looping up for Mak and for the fifth, I don’t understand why he felt the need to come so far off his line when Majekodunmi was in a decent position to make a block if necessary.

On the other hand, he made 15 saves in total and prevented the score from ballooning to double digits. I still think he’s a good keeper and will do better next season if he has a stronger defence in front of him and fewer saves to make.

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The Wrap Up

Speaking of keepers, the outstanding season of Morgan Aquino was recognised with her selection in the PFA ALW Team of the Season.

Her breakout season featured 126 saves with a percentage above 80, which included penalty saves against Brisbane and Sydney.

On the men’s side, the incredible season of Adam Taggart has seen him claim the Golden Boot for the second time in his career.

He finished with 20 goals, the highest scoring of his A-League career. Taggart goals made up 43% of Glory’s total for the season.

Now the attention turns to the off-season, one of the most anticipated in a long time with the new owners set to work their magic.

Stan Lazaridis’ gave us a glimpse into the plans on an interview with Sportsday during the week, outlining some of the work being done to build the squad for next season.

It’s very much watch this space. It didn’t turn out well this season; I’ve got a good feeling 2024/25 will be different, the official dawn of a new era and potentially the return of the Glory days.

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