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Glory rebound to thwart Wanderers in A-L

Western Sydney Wanderers’ late-season push for an unlikely A-League semi-final ticket suffered a potentially mortal blow as Perth Glory collected a hard-fought 3-1 victory.

Goals in the dying stages from Neil Kilkenny and substitute James Meredith swung the match the Glory’s way at a sparsely attended Parramatta Stadium on Tuesday Night.

Wanderers captain Mitch Duke had pulled his side level with virtually the home team’s first sight of goal on 63 minutes to cancel out Ivan Franjic’s opener on the hour mark.

The result means the Wanderers trail sixth-placed Adelaide United by four points with only two matches remaining.

The draw keeps Perth in fifth, three points clear of Adelaide, and virtually assured of a semi-final berth.

A match featuring two teams renowned for their defensive structure barely saw either goalkeeper forced into action during the opening hour.

Glory’s Bruno Fornaroli came within inches of a goal worthy of winning any match midway through the first half, but his flying volley bounced off the post and away to safety.

Dead-ball delivery from midfielder Jordan O’Doherty formed the basis for most of the goalscoring opportunities for a largely uninspired Wanderers.

Perth started the second half with renewed intensity and had a strong claim for handball waved away after Patrick Ziegler attempted a sliding block on Alexander Grant’s cross.

They broke the deadlock in some fortuitous circumstances as Jake Brimmer’s deflected shot fell perfectly into the path of Franjic, who put his body on the line to convert from an acute angle.

But the Wanderers drew level almost immediately as Duke displayed his predatory instincts in the penalty area to turn his defender and stab the ball home.

Glory retook the lead on 78 minutes as Kilkenny crashed home from the penalty spot following Dylan McGowan’s handball, while defender Nick Meredith iced the cake with a rare career goal.

The Wanderers had suffered just one defeat in 10 matches under Jean-Paul de Marigny but a litany of draws during that time is likely to cruel their finals’ ambitions.

Kwame Yeboah was the only change for the Wanderers, coming in for concussion victim Nicolai Muller, but the match-winner from last Friday’s victory over Wellington Phoenix was allowed little latitude.

Following a surprise 5-3 loss against Adelaide in their last outing, Glory’s defensive solidity would have been a welcome sight for former Wanderers coach Tony Popovic who had only even conceded five goals in a match once before in his coaching career.

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