Final position: 9th (34 points, nine wins, seven draws, 10 losses)
Still in the hunt for finals, and riding high off a 3-0 win against Western United just four days prior, Perth Glory needed to get the ball rolling against the Wanderers.
It didn’t take Andy Keogh long to bring the home crowd to life, scoring his first of four goals in just the fifth minute with a remarkable header.
Keogh would slot another at the 24th minute, taking a penalty in the 66th and completing the quartet in the 72nd off a precision assist from midfielder Chris Ikonomidis.
Glory were deadly in front of the net all night, every shot on target finding its way past Wanderers keeper Daniel Margush through creative and dynamic attacking play.
This dangerous scoring power highlighted Glory at their best, the equal third highest scoring team in the 2020/21 season and scoring three goals or more on four occasions.
Glory started their A-League season nearly a month later than the majority of teams in the league due to border closures in Western Australia across January and last December.
This meant a highly consolidated fixture, and they began their season with four games in 11 days. It should be noted they took the challenge on with both hands, winning two of those four games, but it made it hard for the side to find any consistency.
After the 2-1 win over Adelaide United at the start of February, Glory wouldn’t play another game for nearly a month, then playing a further three games across nine days.
Such a strange and unpredictable fixture left the Glory wading in open water far too many times in 2021.
Performance wise, the lowest point of the season came in March, after the side was flying after beating finalists Melbourne City, Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar three weeks in row, defeating both City and the Roar 3-1.
Glory would win none of their next five games, coming out with three losses and two draws in a period when they could have been pushing to lock up a finals spot.
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On return from an ACL injury, had Ikonomidis played a full season rather than just the nine games that he did, he would have likely been right up there for Most Valuable Player.
He put up four goals of his own in his short season, as well as 12 key passes.
It is hard to look past veteran international Bruno Fornaroli, the Uruguayan matching his successful 2019/20 season with another 13 goals to finish equal third in the Golden Boot.
Fornaroli scored 29.5% of his side’s total goals at an average of 166.3 minutes per goal and a shooting accuracy of 60.3%.
When he wasn’t kicking his own goals he was effectively helping his other offensive weapons, notching up five assists and 16 key passes for the season.
After moving to Australia from England in 2015, 21-year-old midfielder Callum Timmins has been biding his time in the NPL WA.
He’s made 65 appearances across NPL clubs including Glory’s NPL side as well as Balcatta and ECU Joondalup, and appeared three times previously for Glory at A-League level before this season.
Timmins became a main stay of the side this year, making 14 starts off 19 appearances, and even managed to kick his first goal again Wellington, a beautiful strike from distance.
He finished the year with a passing accuracy of 82.2% and eight key passes, finding his strikers nicely in the Glory’s forays forward.
However, Timmins also demonstrated a strong ability to work back and support his defenders too, finishing the year with 13 blocks, 14 clearances and 23 interceptions while also winning 19 tackles at a 61.3% success rate.
A nice balance of aggression and selflessness, Timmins will no doubt hold his spot coming into the 2021/22 season.
While Richard Garcia’s first season at the helm of Perth Glory was a nightmarish one, there’s no doubt it will be a formative experience.
Young players were blooded, challenges were met and they nearly pulled off a miracle run home.
With his full side available next season and (hopefully) no COVID interruptions, this Glory team should be contending for a finals spot again in no time.
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