Western United have got off the mark with their first win of the season over the Perth Glory in Round two, with the hosts leaving it late, with substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls scoring the winner in the 78th minute.
It was a heated contest from the outset with both sides wanting to assert themselves on the contest. Glory defender Aaron Calver received a yellow card in the third minute, with teammate Kosuke Ota going in the book 30th minute. Jack Clisby would also join them in the 40th minute.
United defender Tomoki Imai was also a physical presence having been tasked to shut Bruno Fornaroli out of the game. His man-marking ruffling a few of the Urugyuan forward’s feathers throughout the game.
Both sides would trade blows in the early stages of the first half, and it was United that came closest to opening the scoring.
Ben Garuccio had his shot blocked by Alessandro Diamanti in the 15th minute, with Diamanti going close to scoring himself four minutes later. He’d try his luck from inside his own half catching Glory keeper Brad Jones off his line, though would ultimately have his shot saved.
Glory’s biggest opportunity to break the deadlock came in the 22nd minute when Glory midfielder Daniel Stynes was awarded a free kick in his attacking half. Though it wouldn’t bare fruit for the away side, with Fornaroli’s initial shot and a follow shot blocked.
Both sides would go into half time scoreless, and it was the Glory that had the first big chance of the second half in the 50th minute, with Fornaroli being denied by Jamie Young.
United biggest chance of the half come would come nearly half an hour later, with substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls coming off the bench and coming close to breaking the deadlock in the 78th minute but was denied by Jones. He wouldn’t be denied with his second shot seconds later, scoring his first United goal via a tap-in having been teed up nicely by Connor Pain.
The goal would be enough to seal the victory for United, with John Aloisi’s men securing their first win of the season.
A FIREY CONTEST
With both teams playing in tight and scrappy affairs last week in their respective season openers, it was more of the same in round two.
The Glory in particular showing their physicality with three players getting booked in the first half alone, with Aaron Calver being the first offender, Kosuke Ota and Jack Clisby getting booked later in the half.
United would also have a player of their own end up in referee Jonathan Barreiro’s book, with Diamanti receiving a yellow-card in unusual circumstances while exchanging with the ref while defending a free kick.
UNITED VETERANS SHINE
Despite the defensive and sterile clash, Western United experienced players had impressive performances, with Italian playmaker Diamanti and goalkeeper Young the top performers for their team.
Despite being well into his 30s, Diamanti has shown no signs of letting up in the early rounds of the A-League men’s season. His work rate was high creating an array of chances and was the main threat going forward for United with his shot from beyond halfway a long range passing
Young was solid between the sticks, having looked shaky in the club’s FFA Cup fixture against the Jets, it was a far more composed showing from the shot stopper, coming up with several crucial saves and clearances throughout the night.
WENZEL-HALLS ENDS SCORELESS RUN
Having gone their past A-League Men’s encounters without a goal, the goalless run in the league came to an end in tonight’s clash, with Dylan Wenzel-Halls scoring in the 78th minute.
After coming on in the 70th minute as a substitute, he’d provide a spark off the bench, creating the biggest chance of the second half to break the deadlock in the 78th minute with his shot from close range being denied by Glory keeper Brad Jones.
Though there’d be no denying him moments later, scoring a regulatory tap-in having been set up cleverly by Connor Pain. The ball may have looked to cross the line in the build up but was given the all clear by VAR.
Not only opening his account for the A-League Men’s 2021-22 season, he’d also get United off the mark with their first win of the season.
A-League Men Round Two, AAMI Park
Western United 1 (Dylan Wenzel-Halls 78m)
Perth Glory 0
HOW DID THE MANAGERS REACT?
Western United: John Aloisi
“We knew it was going to be a really difficult game because of the way Perth play and they were going to make it hard for us, and the performance overall performance probably wasn’t as good as it was last week against Victory,” he said.
“What the boys showed, they showed character and resilience, and when you’re not playing that well, you have to stay together and stay focus and they did that.”
Perth Glory: Richard Garcia
“A massive step in the right direction, some very good individual performances, but as a team as well,” he said.
“I thought it was a great team performance especially with some of the young guys coming in and having to fill roles that they’re probably not used to” he said.