Bobby dazzles in Glory stroll - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bobby dazzles in Glory stroll

By Tim Clarke 23/03/2003 05:51:48 AM Comments (0)

Perth Glory are the early leaders in the race towards the National Soccer League grand final after an emphatic 5-0 win over Northern Spirit at Perth Oval.

Perth skipper Bobby Despotovski scored four times, which included an amazing three goal burst in 12 first half minutes.

The result was the perfect tonic after last week's disastrous loss to lowly Marconi, which cost the west coast club the NSL minor premiership, and guarantees Perth top spot on the finals ladder after round one.

Without the suspended Damian Mori, serving a two match ban, Simon Colosimo was given his first start since joining Perth in January, while veteran Spirit defender Alex Tobin was making a record-breaking 39th NSL finals appearance.

Spirit, playing in their first ever finals game after an amazing surge at the business end of the regular season, started in a determined and muscular fashion while, without Mori, Perth looked devoid of attacking ideas.

With neither team able to retain possession for any length of time it was going to take something brilliant or bizarre to break the deadlock - and the bizarre happened on the half hour.

A speculative cross from Matt Horsley was completely missed by a flying Paul Henderson in the Spirit goal, before cannoning off helpless Spirit player Alex Wilkinson towards the empty net, to leave Despotovski with a simple sliding finish.

Wilkinson almost atoned for his inadvertent assist, when he set up Adam Kwasnik for what seemed a straightforward equaliser, only to see the striker inexplicably blast the ball against the post from six yards.

Moments later, Despotovski was gifted his second goal, when Nick Mrdja latched on to a Scott Miller pass before sliding the ball to his right to present Perth's all-time leading goal scorer with another uncontested tap-in.

Eight minutes later the striker's hat-trick was complete when Henderson spilled Colosimo's long range drive, then failed to hold Mrdja's follow-up before seeing Despotovski clatter the ball home.

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