Perth pull off 1-0 win over Western Sydney

Perth Glory overcame the blow of receiving the second-fastest red card in Isuzu UTE A-League history to pull off a 1-0 win over Western Sydney at HBF Park.

Defender Jordan Elsey was sent off after just 93 seconds in Friday night’s match for his clumsy studs-up challenge that caught Wanderers star Yeni Ngbakoto on his Achilles tendon.

The incident happened just 57 seconds into the clash, and referee Alex King consulted his linesman and assessed Ngbakoto on the turf before deciding to send off Elsey.

It matched the speed of the red card dished out to then-Victory goalkeeper Ante Covic, whose foul after just 57 seconds saw him red carded on 62 seconds.

Glory defended heroically for the entire match after Elsey’s dismissal, and they caught a lucky break in the 84th minute when Wanderers defender Tomislav Mrcela was also shown red.

Mrcela was given his marching orders for a hold on David Williams after the Glory striker had intercepted the ball in mid-pitch with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Perth went on an attacking rampage at the death in a bid to snatch the three points, and midfielder Aaron McEneff popped up five minutes into added time with the winner.

McEneff sent the crowd of 7890 wild when his shot from the edge of the box deflected off Wanderers defender Thomas Beadling and wrong-footed goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

Glory’s sixth win of the season will go down as one of their most famous victories but, more importantly, it lifted them back to within four points of sixth spot.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich said. 

“Those moments – a red card that early in the game – tests the depths of the players’ character and belief.

“Tonight, defensively especially, there was a lot of effort, there was a real togetherness and a real belief, and that’s what makes me the most proud.”

The second-placed Wanderers suffered a huge blow when star import Morgan Schneiderlin limped off with a quad injury after just 25 minutes.

The 33-year-old Frenchman was so frustrated, he angrily kicked an advertising hoarding.

Glory’s second-minute red card had earlier left the crowd stunned, but goalkeeper Cameron Cook pulled off a series of strong saves to keep the Wanderers at bay in the first half.

The Wanderers continued to push in the second half, with both Brandon Borrello and Calem Nieuwenhof hitting the upright among a flurry of chances for the visitors.

Nieuwenhof was denied by the woodwork again in the 78th minute when his close-range shot cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.

“I can’t fault the players, it was just one of those games where it wasn’t your night,” Wanderers coach Marko Rudan said.

“It wasn’t through a lack of trying – we had 30 shots, we hit the post a few times, the keeper makes world-class saves.

“It just didn’t fall for us. I believe that if we had got that first one, it would have been game over.”