Goals from Travis Dodd, Chris Harold and triallist Tyson Holmes secured a comfortable and well-deserved 3-0 victory for Perth Glory over Platinum Stars in the second game of its South African tour in Nelspruit.
The Premiership side looked bright in the opening exchanges but as the first half wore on, Glory gradually seized control and once Dodd opened the scoring on 37 minutes, it was rarely troubled.
Even the introduction of nine second-half substitutes did not throw Ian Ferguson’s side out of its stride and indeed it was replacement Holmes who grabbed the third goal in the final minutes after Chris Harold had added to Dodd’s opener just before the hour mark.
The fact that Glory looked sharper and outlasted a Platinum Stars side only two weeks out from the start of its league season was a major plus that left Ferguson especially satisfied.
“Obviously I’m pleased with the result and with the way our fitness levels are improving”, he said.
“It’s important that we keep improving and I feel that we are definitely doing that.
“I was happy with some things, but there are also things that we still need to brush up on, like some of our decision-making.
“I was pleased with the way we played out from the back and with our rotations both in midfield and in attack and delighted with the goals from Dodd and Harold in particular.
“All of the young lads we have on this trip have done well and I thought they were excellent again tonight.
“Storm Roux had a great game at right back, Brandon O’Neill came on at half-time and did really well, Harold is looking better every time I see him and Adrian Zahra came on and did some nice things as well.
“Tonight was a great experience for all of them.”
Another of the many positives to come out of the clash at Mbombela Stadium was the return to action of Steven McGarry and Billy Mehmet and the latter was thrilled to be back in the fray.
“I’ve had a disc bulge at the top of my back which caused a problem with the nerve in my neck and had to have three injections to settle it down,” he said.
“I’ve been a bit apprehensive about heading the ball, but I came through tonight ok and obviously it was great to get a 3-0 win.
“If I hadn’t shaved my head before the game, the header I had in the second-half might have gone in, but I was just really pleased to get back out there and get 60 minutes under my belt.”
At the other end of the field, meanwhile, Storm Roux produced an eye-catching display on his starting debut for the club and admitted that his nerves had been jangling in the build-up to the game.
“I was pretty nervous before the game, but once I got a few passes and got into it, I was ok after that,” he said.
“As I’ve been training with the first team, I knew what to expect in terms of the pace and physicality of the game and all the boys were talking to me and helping me out which made it a lot easier.
“It was nice to play a part in the goal as well. I was happy with the touch I took and then saw Doddsy making the run and managed to get the ball to him, he whipped it across goal and Chris Harold came in at the back post and tucked it away.
“I ended up being switched to left back but that wasn’t a problem as I’ve played a few seasons swapping into different positions, so that was nothing new to me.
“I was happy with my game, Fergie said 'well played' to me at the end of the and we won, so it was a good night all round.”
Glory will return to Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday (AEST) to complete its tour by taking on Bidvest Wits.
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