For Ian Ferguson, reasons to be cheerful seemed destined to be buried under a pile of bad luck and poor decisions yesterday.
It’s as much as any football fan can ask of their club. It’s certainly what any coach wants to be able to impart to his team.
For Ian Ferguson’s Perth Glory, reasons to be cheerful seemed destined to be buried under a pile of bad luck and poor refereeing decisions against Melbourne Victory yesterday afternoon.
Liam Miller had been given an early shower after bringing down Archie Thompson as the final defender late in the first half.
And if that wasn’t enough of a burden to shoulder, Ferguson’s 10 men were on the wrong end of a controversial penalty call when big defender Bas Van Den Brink was judged to have brought Thompson down in the penalty area.
In fact, his perfectly timed tackle should be on his highlights reel, not his shame file. That Chris Beath didn’t consult his assistants and correct a blatant error is a question for another time.
The goal from the penalty spot from Carlos Hernandez suggested this game was heading along a familiar path for the Glory. When Danny Allsopp swivelled on a bobbling ball on the edge of the six-yard box and drove home Victory’s second, Ferguson’s team seemed destined to stumble to their fourth consecutive defeat.
Except they didn’t.
Somehow, the Glory’s indignation at the cruel fate this game seemed to have preordained for them inspired it to believe in the possibility of defying the footballing Gods.
From that points on Perth Glory climbed out of the grave whilst Melbourne Victory played like the living dead.
The two goals that followed gave the Glory a share of the points, but more than that they demonstrated that this Perth Glory outfit believe in their coach and his vision for this team.
Ferguson has been operating under an intolerable curfew on his coaching ambitions since the start of the season. Glory Chairman and chief benefactor Tony Sage has steadfastly refused to back his coach for the long term.
Initially Ferguson was given a 10-week window to earn his keep.
Following Glory’s early season form where it won their first three games, Sage moved the goalposts saying nothing short of a finals campaign would save Ferguson from the job queue.
This guillotine diplomacy must have taken it’s toll on the big Scot but he has pressed on regardless.
Ferguson’s team may be a meat-and-two-veg meal compared to the fine dining available in Brisbane, but what they lacks in sophistication they trys to bridge with application
Last week’s loss to Sydney was Glory’s third in a row but it didn’t tell the whole story.
Glory’s second-half display against the Sky Blues showed the grit and tenacity of a team with the stomach for a fight. And that same resilience was vital for them yesterday when they found themselves in a hole with a two-goal deficit and seemingly no way out.
And all the while, with his team taking body blow after body blow, Ferguson was on the edge of his technical area, gesticulating and urging his team on. It wasn’t like his life depended on it, but his job certainly did.
He, like his players, was desperate to prove there was a reason to believe.
The contrast was with Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic, who cut an almost bemused figure on the sidelines whilst his assistant Kevin Muscat did the talking.
Sometimes it was hard to know who was coaching the Victory let alone what it is they believe in.
And in that sense there was only one real winner yesterday.