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Late Nathaniel Atkinson goal ensures Melbourne City sink Perth Glory at AAMI Park

A late goal shattered a battered Perth Glory’s hopes of snatching a draw in Wednesday night’s A-League clash with reigning A-League champions Melbourne City at AAMI Park.

Glory scrapped for 88 minutes and looked like grabbing a share of the points against a totally dominant City before substitute Nathaniel Atkinson’s header stole the win.

It was City’s first victory over Glory at AAMI Park in five years but with up to 70 per cent territory and overwhelming possession they should have been easy winners.

City’s much vaunted attack failed to fire and only seven of their 23 shots were on target. They had an astonishing 10 corners to a single Glory set piece.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 08: Aiden O'Neill of Melbourne City is challenged by Bruno Fornaroli of Perth Glory during the A-League match between Melbourne City and Perth Glory at AAMI Park, on December 08, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Camera IconAiden O’Neill is challenged by Perth’s Bruno Fornaroli. Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Glory coach Richard Garcia has vowed to play attacking football but his side showed they can be stubborn and tuck away the flair when needed.

Garcia named an unchanged starting side with midfielder Callum Timmins making his way back from injury from the bench

But there was still no sign of strikers Daniel Sturridge and Andy Keogh or first choice goalkeeper Brad Jones among others in the injury-stretched squad.

Glory’s only real attacking option was to counter-attack but they were forced to play from deep and risked being caught out as City pressed hard, waiting to pounce on an error.

As City enjoyed overwhelming dominance young Glory goalkeeper keeper Cameron Cook needed to pull off a fine save from Connor Metcalfe to keep his side in the game

Scuffles breakout between Melbourne City and Perth Glory players.
Camera IconScuffles breakout between Melbourne City and Perth Glory players. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

At the other end Aaron Calver gave City a warning when he headed across the face of goal, but the visitors came up with little else.

Glory had a let-off after 13 minutes when Andrew Nabbout’s cut back was deflected home by Glory defender Kosuke Ota but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review.

They continued to be under siege with the home side getting into dangerous areas and sending plenty of balls into the box.

It seemed inevitable City would score before the break but it never came.

They wasted a couple of free kicks, Metcalfe fired into the side netting and then straight at Cook while Curtis Good should have done better with a free header from the edge of the six-yard box.

Glory could not register a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes — they only had one in the second-half — as the game became a sloppy affair.

City kept Glory pinned in their end forcing several corners but they hardly tested Cook until Atkinson struck.

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