Runaway Perth on track for premier's plate

Perth Glory lead the A-League by nine points after their 4-0 win over Brisbane Roar.
Perth Glory lead the A-League by nine points after their 4-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

Tony Popovic's chances of finishing with the premier's plate in his first season with Perth have firmed after opening their biggest lead of the summer.

The Glory have shot out to a nine-point advantage after their nearest rivals, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, tallied just one point each over the weekend.

In fact, Perth were the only top-four side to claim all three points after fourth-placed Adelaide United were stunned by stragglers Western Sydney.

But while the Reds were upset on their own turf, there are fresh questions about the Sky Blues after being forced to salvage a point against last-placed Central Coast.

Steve Corica's side quadrupled the Mariners' five shots and sent 54 balls into the box compared to 14, but could only score through via spot kick on Sunday.

The wasteful performance came a week after a similarly cavalier display against another lowly side in Brisbane, leaving them with one point in two weeks.

"It happens sometimes. It happens to the best of us. We just need to keep working hard. There's still eight games to go, and then the finals," Corica said.

"Obviously last week was very disappointing not even getting a point in Brisbane. Similar, I think we had enough chances then as well.

"It just comes down to the finishing touch. We're missing that a little bit.

"It's not that we aren't scoring. I think we're right up there with the leading goalscorers. But at crucial times we're still lacking that finishing that final touch."

With eight games to go in the season, including one against Perth, Corica refused to believe his team had run their race for the plate.

"We're not going to give up. We'll fight till the end," he said.

"Perth are looking good. They keep winning. If they keep winning, we got no chance but you never know what happens.

"We have to play them, I know Melbourne have to play them again. And eight games, there's a lot of points left."

In the other games of round 19, an undermanned Newcastle upset Melbourne City 3-1 to move within six points of sixth-placed Wellington.

The Phoenix looked headed for a deserved win over Melbourne Victory only for Keisuke Honda to come off the bench to salvage a 1-1 draw.

Wanderers attacker Roly Bonevacia continued his rich vein of form by scoring one and playing a role in the other two in their 3-1 road upset of Adelaide.

And in the final match, Perth made short work of battling Brisbane 4-0.

Australian Associated Press