Perth Glory reinforced their title credentials on Saturday night, with a thumping 3-0 win in the distance derby.
David Williams rattled the Glory crossbar and the home fans’ nerves in the opening minutes, but from there it was one-way traffic, with goals from Lowry, Ikonomidis, and Keogh sealing a convincing victory.
Wellington, on the other hand, turned in one of their most disappointing displays of the campaign. After giving nearly all the top sides a tough time away from home this season, Mark Rudan’s men rolled over for the Popovic juggernaut all too easily.
The absences of Steven Taylor, Andrew Durante, and Mandi seemed to impact them a great deal.
Liam Reddy – 5.5
Made an awful error in distribution very early on, and Williams thumped the resulting opportunity against the bar. Was rarely tested thereafter, although he very nearly made a mess of a high ball midway through the second half.
Ivan Franjic – 7.5
Very nearly opened the scoring with a back-post header, and was an attacking threat throughout, combining well with Ikonomidis and Castro and putting dangerous balls into the area.
Dino Djulbic - 7
Few would’ve expected big Dino to start in a table-topping team at this stage of his career, but fair play to the veteran – he’s stepped in to cover injuries and the side hasn’t skipped a beat.
Another solid, unspectacular display – all the more impressive considering the pace and trickery in the Wellington attack.
Matt Spiranovic – 7.5
Crucial block on Williams’ first effort to prevent an early goal for the visitors. So calm on the ball and under pressure, distributing into midfield with consummate ease. Great to see the classy operator back to full fitness.
Shane Lowry – 8
Opened the scoring with an absolute thunderbolt of a diving header which arrowed straight into the top corner. Put his body on the line to block what looked a certain goal from Krishna. The yang to Spiranovic’s yin in the heart of the defence.
Jason Davidson – 7
Went down early with a knock, but was able to continue and had the upper hand over Fenton. Heavily involved in the second goal, crossing for Castro before Ikonomidis scored. Curled one just wide in the 48th minute from outside the box. Had a fabulous chance in the 82nd minute but leaned back and fired over.
Juande – 7
Hit a long-range effort clean, true, and inches wide of the post on the half hour. A more languid presence in comparison to the Duracell bunny that is Kilkenny, but his positional intelligence anchors the midfield and is key to Perth’s rest defence.
Neil Kilkenny – 8.5
Lovely flat delivery from a corner to set up the opener. Kept things ticking over in his usual fashion, and did well to snuff out attempted breaks from the likes of Singh and Krishna.
His excellent screening work in front of the backline often goes unnoticed. Earnt a well-deserved rest after 73 stellar minutes.