• Danger man ... Perth Glory attacker Ryo Nagai (Getty)
Perth Glory was edged out 1-0 by Mpumalanga Black Aces in the first game of its South Africa tour, but coach Alistair Edwards took plenty of positives from his side's performance at Mbombela Stadium. 
26 Jul 2013 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 26 Jul 2013 - 2:07 PM

Glory looked the brighter of the two sides for much of the first-half, with Ryo Nagai and new Brazilian recruit Sidnei regularly troubling the Black Aces' defence.

The Black Aces remained on the back foot during the early exchanges of the second period, but eventually found their rhythm and bagged what proved to be the only goal of the contest on 69 minutes.

Undaunted, Glory continued to create plenty of chances of its own and came agonisingly close to claiming a deserved share of the spoils with five minutes remaining when Chris Harold rattled the cross bar.

"I’m putting the result aside because it's really totally irrelevant at this stage," Edwards said.

"It was a really good performance from the boys against a team that is just about to start its league season.

"We effectively played two different teams in each half so that everyone got at least 45 minutes.

"Jacob Burns didn't play and neither did Steve Pantelidis and with the likes of Shane Smeltz and Michael Thwaite not here, the young boys had to step up and they definitely did that.

"In the second-half, the next oldest player after Danny Vukovic was Dean Evans, who's 21-years-old, so that shows you how youthful the side was.

"Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards did very well in the nine and ten positions and were a real handful for their defenders, while Steven McGarry was excellent as the seasoned campaigner in central midfield.

"Brandon O'Neill also continued his development as a right centre-back and was absolutely fantastic in that role.

"There were a lot of learning moments this afternoon for everyone in the squad," Edwards said.

"The performance was very pleasing and I can see that the team is developing really nicely on and off the park.

"We were expecting a good hit-out from a top-quality South African side and I was pleasantly surprised how we matched them in every department.

"Their coach was previously in charge of the South Africa national side and he was very complimentary about our team and the way we went about things.

"Now I'm looking forward to getting some more training sessions in, building up the capacity of the players to play at that standard for 60 minutes and then developing further from there."