ALM Match Report: Western United 1-0 Perth Glory

Noah Botic Western United A-League Men

Western United scored a well-deserved 1-0 win over Perth Glory in its final Isuzu UTE A-League Men match at Mars Stadium on Saturday evening.

Noah Botic scored the goal that won the game, taking his tally to five on the season and four in just his last six games.

United created countless chances to add to the scoreboard but despite some late pressure from Perth, there was no need as the Green and Black secured the win in Ballarat.

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John Aloisi welcomed Ben Garuccio straight back into his starting line up at left-back, while Daniel Penha returned to the bench.

Botic returned to the starting XI after scoring off the bench against Brisbane last time out, while Matthew Grimaldi started for the third straight game.

First Half

The game burst into life immediately with both teams having big chances to open the scoring within the opening two minutes.

The first opportunity came Perth’s way almost straight from kick-off as Adam Taggart rose unchallenged from a corner. The Glory captain probably should have scored but powered his header into the ground, sending it bouncing over the crossbar.

Western United raced up the other end and put a super move together down the right wing, allowing Lachie Wales to cut the ball back for Grimaldi in the box. The stadium was waiting to watch the net bulge, but Oli Sail made a superb save to keep it out.

After that action-packed beginning, Western United settled into the game and bossed the possession battle.

Grimaldi was lively coming off the left-hand side and had a few chances to get at Perth’s defence, as did Michael Ruhs who tested Darryl Lachman’s pace on a run into the box.

The more comfort United found on the ball, the deeper Perth dropped in their defensive structure, deploying two narrow banks of four on the top of their box and forcing United to look outside for chance creation.

That allowed Garuccio and Josh Risdon to get involved in the attack but Perth were able to repel any crosses into the box with relative ease, leaving the sides to regroup and look to find the opening goal after the break.

Second Half

United began the second half as it had played out the majority of the first half, looking to get forward and be the side to break the deadlock.

Botic thumped a strike against the crossbar but got his reward just a couple of minutes later as the breakthrough finally arrived.

It was brilliant work from Risdon to set it up as the captain intercepted a pass, drove into midfield and split Perth’s defence open with an excellent through ball on his left foot.

Botic didn’t even have to break stride such was the perfect weight of the pass, as he galloped onto the end of it and buried it with a cool first-timed finish into the bottom corner.

Perth sought an immediate response and very nearly found one as David Williams thumped a half-volley into the net mere moments after coming off the bench. Kane Vidmar was fouled in the build-up, though, and the referee quickly intervened.

United continued to push on in search of more goals and Wales fired one just over the bar after some more lovely interplay up front.

Grimaldi produced an excellent piece of skill to nutmeg one defender and evade a couple of others before firing across the goal, but the ball agonisingly split the gap between the right-hand post and Botic’s lunging attempt.

Western United’s substitutes continued to lift the tempo and the Green and Black had a golden chance to go 2-0 up inside the final 10 minutes.

Khoder Kaddour and Rhys Bozinovski linked up brilliantly on the right flank before the latter teed up Botic for what seemed certain to be his second and the game’s clinching goal.

But the young forward couldn’t get a controlled strike on the ball and while it did end up in the back of the net, it had bounced up and ricocheted of Botic’s hand in the process, so Perth were awarded a free-kick.

Kaddour then had an effort of his own when he was played through in space, but Sail was on hand to make another strong save to deny the youngster a memorable first senior goal.

Having relinquished two leads in injury time within three days last week, Western United sought to manage the remainder of the game and required a slice of luck to get there.

Just as the fourth official’s board went up, Lachman thumped the crossbar with a header and Daniel Bennie somehow sent the rebound over the crossbar from right in front of the goal.

That sparked the beginning of a period of pressure from the visitors, but other than a deep free-kick that Matt Sutton had to help over the crossbar, United’s goal stayed largely untested as the Green and Black held onto the clean sheet and the three points.