Glorious Day in Gosnells
Perth Glory may have cruised to a 9-1 win in their second pre-season hit-out against Gosnells City on Saturday afternoon, but as with last weekend's visit to Kwinana, the on-field action was only part of a hugely-successful community football event.
More than 1500 fans made their way to Gosnells' Walter Padbury Reserve home where Glory players guided local youngsters through short-sided games, joined them on the inflatable pitch and signed autographs and posed for photos both before and after the main game.
For assistant Glory coach Gareth Naven, the afternoon marked a return to his junior club and he was absolutely thrilled with what he saw.
"It's been a fantastic day," he said.
"The memories have certainly come back for me from when I was nine or ten and running around the pitch.
"This place as such hasn't changed a lot and I've met up with a lot of people that are still at the club from when I was a young bloke and it's nice to speak to them and bring Glory here to play.
"Gosnells has done a superb job in hosting our club today and I think it's really positive for the club in so many different areas."
In terms of the game itself, their coaching roles in the small-sided junior games clearly served as a handy warm-up for the Glory players who came flying out of the traps and were 3-0 up within 13 minutes.
Brandon O'Neill got things under way with a sweetly-struck long-range effort before Ryo Nagai added the second and Brazilian midfielder Sidnei Sciola Moraes then got his name on the scoresheet for the second time in as many appearances.
To their credit, however, Gosnells did steady after that initial onslaught and prompted the biggest cheer of the day from a vociferous crowd when they pulled a goal back midway through the opening period.
Michael Logue lofted a free-kick into the box and Darren Francis climbed highest to head past new arrival Jack Duncan who was making his debut in the Glory goal.
A deflected effort from Scott Jamieson swiftly restored the visitors' three-goal advantage, however and an unfortunate own-goal from Logue took the scoreline out to 5-1 at the break.
Glory duly added another four in the second-half, with substitute Ndumba Makeche bagging an impressive brace and Chris Harold and Adrian Zahra also finding the net, but it was O'Neill who took out the man of the match honours.
The Glory youth product followed up his spectacular early strike with an accomplished display at centre-back, frequently surging forward to great effect and winning the praise of assistant coach Naven who was generally satisfied with another solid team run-out.
"I've known Brandon since he was 13 or 14 and I played him a few times at centre- back in the youth team, so it's not a foreign role to him," he said.
"It really comes down to the fact that he's a footballer who can pass, dribble and make decisions, so he's comfortable in most positions.
"He did really well today.
"There wasn't a great focus on tactics for us, but it's about doing things quickly and doing things early and making sure that we respect the game and the opposition and try to get back to the flow and rhythm of A-League level."
Gosnells Deputy-President Ron Costanzo, meanwhile, was delighted that the carefully-planned event had proved to be such a resounding success.
"It's great to see so many people out here," he said.
"It was wonderful to see all the Glory players here and mixing with the kids and the other players as well and hopefully a great time has been had by all.
"I think we've had 1500 people here, but we'll say 1501 because we want to beat the number Kwinana had last week!
"It's a fantastic turnout and I'd like to say a huge thank-you to Glory for coming down for what we hope is going to become a regular event.
"It's the volunteers that make a club like ours and I'm just so chuffed with the effort they put in to help make today such a success.
"I didn't have to go looking for these guys, they were quite willing to step up and help out.
"There are too many to mention by name, but from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to say thank you very much to them all."
Gosnells City 1-9 Perth Glory (Half-time 1-5)
Walter Padbury Reserve
Saturday 13th July 2013
Referee: David Bruce
Assistant Referees: Tom Dowle, Daniel Cole
Attendance: Approximately 1500
Perth Glory: Jack Duncan, Matthew Davies, Jack Clisby, Brandon O'Neill, Scott Jamieson, Cameron Edwards, Steven McGarry, Adrian Zahra, Chris Harold, Sidnei Sciola Moraes, Ryo Nagai
Substitute used: Ndumba Makeche, Riley Woodcock
Scorers: O'Neill 2', Nagai 4', Moraes 13', Jamieson 30', Logue (o.g.) 39', Makeche 48', 65', Zahra 58', Harold 75'
Gosnells City: Struan Herd, Kevin Beattie, Jason Godfrey, Michael Logue, Alan Carroll, Ben Howe, Daniel Paredes, Wade Farmer, Darren Francis, Chris Holland, Aaron Coslani
Substitutes: Trent Blewett, Luke McCord, Feisal Zaw, John Hunter, Michael Ellis, Ryan Benton, Hayden Collett, Tony Ton, Adriano D'Alo
Scorer: Francis 25'