An action packed comeback sparked by an inspired Diego Castro has seen the top placed Perth Glory take a 4-3 victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers in Perth tonight.
With visa players Alexander Baumjohann, Patrick Ziegler and Oriol Riera out with injury, Markus Babbel turned to new recruit Kwame Yeboah to lead the line for the Wanderers, and bought in Tass Mourdoukoutas in at central defence. Vedran Janjetovic was punished for his recent adventurous brain fades, and Nick Suman started his second A-League game in goal.
Yeboah rewarded the manager's confidence by securing his debut Wanderers goal in the 38th minute. Nick Fitzgerald whipped in a corner to the 6 yard box, Perth defender Shane Lowry rose to clear but could only flick it on it's way, it struck Yeboah in the head and trickled into the Perth net.
The Wanderers went two goals up after the break. Abraham Majok rolled the ball into the path of Yeboah, he strode into the penalty area before cutting back to set up Roly Bonevacia for a simple finish past Liam Reddy.
Perth scored a controversial goal to make it 2-1 a few minutes after Bonevacia scored. Jake Brimmer lobbed a cross to the far post, Suman knocked the ball away before being clattered into by Jason Davidson, referee Kurt Ams making another of his many mistakes, allowing play to continue. Scott Neville smashed the ball back toward goal, Suman saved well low down to his left, only to see the rebound fall for a Castro header. Suman once again got his hand to the ball, unfortunately it dropped agonisingly into his net. Despite an obvious foul from Davidson, and following the shot by Neville, attempting to play the ball prior to Castro's header, the VAR declined to intervene, leaving the Wanderers furious.
This was just another in a litany of errors from referee Kurt Ams, he spent the entire game watching the Wanderers like a hawk and still made multiple elementary errors, such as killing a Wanderers counter-attack by judging Majok to have handled the ball when replays showed it was clearly off his chest. He has also spent the first half waiting for Baccus to make three fouls to hand out a yellow card that he had clearly decided was required from the opening kick off, and finally got the chance to hand out deep into first half stoppage time.
With 15 minutes per foul now apparently the FFA's instruction for "persistent fouling", we should see teams reduced down to 8 or 9 men repeatedly in the second half of future games. Assuming of course that Ams wasn't just making it up as he went along and that the referees would now consistently enforce that 3 fouls = yellow card mandate. None of the fouls were vicious or even stopped a counter-attack, it appeared that Ams came out onto the pitch with a determined desire to hand out a yellow card to the Wanderers midfielder.
Majok scored his first ever A-League goal to give the Wanderers a 3-1 buffer, once again it was Yeboah setting up the play, he latched onto a ball behind the Perth defence, broke down the right side and found Majok with a neat cutback. With a first time finish required Majok blasted around Reddy.
That was the high point of the game for the away side, as Perth took advantage of the Wanderers frail left side defence to begin their comeback. Castro was left practically unmarked on the right wing, he launched a cross that Grant attacked with a powerful header, Suman managed to turn the ball onto the bar, but the Wanderers defence had completely gone to sleep, allowing a short range diving header from Franjic that Suman couldn't keep out and the Wanderers lead was cut to 3-2.
The comeback was complete when Castro took advantage of Tarek Elrich's non-defense to feed the ball in behind the line to Franjic, the wingback crossing the face of goal to give Keogh a tap-in for a 3-3 scoreline.
Perth took the lead when Hamill gave away a soft, but technically correct foul in the penalty area. With Keogh playing back to goal, Hamill decided that he needed to wrap his arms around the striker, and when Keogh fell over, Kurt Ams couldn't blow the whistle any faster to send Juande to the penalty spot. Suman went the wrong way and Perth had a 4-3 lead. They ran out stoppage time easily to take the 3 points and keep their lead at the top of the table at 6 points.
The Wanderers failed to take the chance to draw level with Newcastle Jets, and now face Adelaide United at 7:50pm, Friday night at Homebush Olympic Stadium.