Despite dominating for long periods, Glory suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of a clinical Wellington Phoenix side in Sunday's clash at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
The men in purple created a string of chances, notably in the first half and yet found themselves trailing 2-0 at the break after Reno Piscopo fired home a fine individual effort and David Ball converted James McGarry's cross.
Another close-range finish, this time from Ben Waine, took Phoenix out to a 3-0 lead just short of the hour-mark and despite continuing to pour forward in the latter stages, Richard Garcia's men could find no way past an inspired Oliver Sail in the home goal.
The result leaves Glory a point outside the top six with two games in hand on five of the teams above them and while naturally disappointed by the result, Garcia was pleased with certain aspects of his side's performance.
"I'm encouraged that we're coming away from home and dominating games and we just have to tighten up going the other way," he said.
"To cop three goals on the counter is a tough one to take, the boys are not happy with that and we can only improve from there.
"It was one of those days when we lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third and anything that we did have didn't seem to go in.
"On another day they all go in and you win comfortably.
"We know where we need to improve and the main thing is that we're coming away from home and putting in these performances where we are being dominant in that front third and we just need to be able to tighten up at the back end.
"The guys kept plugging away, they kept probing and trying to create chances, which they did, but it just wasn't our day."
The visitors all but monopolised possession in the opening 20 minutes, penning Phoenix in their own half for long periods and creating a string of chances.
Daniel Stynes and Bruno Fornaroli both saw goalbound efforts blocked by Louis Fenton and Tim Payne respectively before Brandon Wilson's fierce shot from the edge of the box drew a save from Sail and Andy Keogh fired the rebound over the bar.
The former Ireland international then had the ball in the net after latching on to a superb ball over the top from Neil Kilkenny, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
At that stage, Phoenix had barely mounted a meaningful attack and yet they found themselves in front on the half-hour mark when Piscopo strode forward from the centre circle and capped his strong run by arrowing an unstoppable strike past Tando Velaphi.
Within five minutes, the Kiwi side had doubled their advantage, McGarry making inroads down the left and whipping in a fine low cross which the lurking Ball despatched from close range.
Glory continued to look the more likely once the second half got underway and yet once again, it was Wellington who found a way through, Waine bagging his third goal of the season after Velpahi had done well to block Ball's initial cross-shot.
The men in purple almost mustered an immediate response, Kosuke Ota finding Fornaroli with an inch-perfect cross, but the in-form Uruguayan seeing his header and follow-up effort superbly saved by Sail who also blocked a Stynes shot during the epic goalmouth scramble that ensured.
Substitute Osama Malik was next to try his luck for Glory, the midfielder's deflected bicycle kick forcing another acrobatic save from Sail, but it was the hosts who ultimately came closest to scoring the fourth goal of the afternoon, the impressive Piscopo denied by Velaphi in a one-on-one situation and then firing centimetres wide from the edge of the box.
Sunday, 7 March 2021
Wellington Phoenix 3 (Piscopo 30', Ball 35', Waine 59') Perth Glory 0
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Adam Kersey
Wellington Phoenix: 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 9.David BALL (12.Matthew RIDENTON 90+1'), 10.Ulises DAVILA, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben WAINE (17.Tomer HEMED 77'), 23.Clayton LEWIS (8.Cameron DEVLIN 67')
Substitutes not used: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 13.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 15.Mirza MURATOVIC, 21.Joshua LAWS
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 8.Kosuke OTA (22.Josh RAWLINS 65'), 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH (18.Nick D'AGOSTINO 65'), 15.Brandon WILSON (6.Osama MALIK 57'), 17.Diego CASTRO (C), 23.Dane INGHAM (16.Nick SULLIVAN 57'), 24.Daniel STYNES (20.Carlo ARMIENTO 75'), 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 88.Neil KILKENNY
Substitutes not used: 13.Luke BODNAR, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
Yellow Cards: Castro, Stynes
Red Cards: None