Stars align at last for Glory against Phoenix
IT'S WHAT Kenny Lowe has surely been waiting for all season.
Finally, decisively, his big guns all found a way to perform at once.
Best of all, they found a way to do it under pressure, in a game that went against the trend of their season so far.
First, the Glory trailed through an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Liam Reddy, who let a relatively straightforward save from Roy Krishna slide underneath his body for the opening goal.
With their backs to the wall and the Phoenix creating opportunities, Lowe needed his big names to step up and get the Glory back into the game.
Enter Diego Castro.
The Spanish midfield maestro was at his playmaking best, with both his desperation and immense skill on show as he worked the Glory back into the contest.
Though both sides had some opportunities to score, neither team looked set to shift the scoreboard from 0-1 heading into the break.
Then the Glory's captain stepped up.
Seeing a paddock of space between himself and the Wellington defensive line, Rostyn Griffiths confidently took a clever touch then unleashed a scintillating strike that easily beat Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss.
All of a sudden, the game was unexpectedly back on level footing.
Unfortunately for the Phoenix, from there it was all Perth.
In the 51st minute, Castro delivered a clever through-ball to the industrious Andy Keogh, who in turn produced a marvellous cross into the box.
All Adam Taggart had to do was direct his header goal-bound.
He did so with aplomb, making the perfect run off the shoulder and rising highest to put the Glory in front.
With Wellington hindered by the controversial sending-off of Krishna in the 62nd minute, Perth was challenged but ultimately - crucially - able to hang on for a crucial win.
For Wellington, A-League legend Shane Smeltz made his return to the competition in Wellington's starting XI - wearing the immensely distinctive No.99 shirt.
It didn't take him long to have an impact, with the striker feeding through an assist for Krishna's opening goal.