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Wanderers, Perth fight out A-league draw

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/01/2017 Emma Kemp

Jaushua Sotirio's first goal of the A-League season has secured a valuable point for Western Sydney who have held Perth to a 1-1 New Year's Day draw.

Adam Taggart opened the Glory's account in the 14th minute at ANZ Stadium, before quick-footed substitute Sotirio netted just minutes after his introduction on the hour mark to lift the Wanderers back into sixth spot.

Perth had a golden opportunity to take all three points when captain Rostyn Griffiths missed a 90th-minute sitter, although Kenny Lowe's men still, at least temporarily, climb to fifth.

More concerningly for the Wanderers is their eighth draw this season, with just two wins, and they are yet to taste victory at home.

Sunday night was the first Wanderers game overseen by referee Jarred Gillett since coach Tony Popovic was fined for taking aim at the official following his team's round-six 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.

And Popovic might feel slightly aggrieved at the manner of Perth's opening goal - well executed though it was.

Taggart was marginally offside when Chris Harold slipped him a superb through ball, releasing the Socceroo to outrun Aritz Borda and beat Jerrad Tyson at his near post.

Possession figures said the Wanderers dominated - they had 65 per cent of the ball.

Actual play told another story, one of sluggish transition and final-third extravagance not helped by Popovic's only available striker being the raw 19-year-old Lachlan Scott.

Jumpei Kusukami was the most-frequent offender but he wasn't the one who spurned the biggest chance to equalise.

The Japanese winger's cutback to Nico Martinez just before the half-hour mark was quality but the Argentine skied a point-blank tap-in.

The red and black would certainly have gone into the break with the scores level had Perth's in-form veteran goalkeeper Liam Reddy not parried away Mitch Nichols' on-target stab from distance.

In a dour second half, Perth finally copped a piece of their own medicine as Sotirio beat the offside trap and made a smart angled run onto Kearyn Baccus' ball.

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