In-form recruit Andy Keogh fired an undermanned Perth Glory into the FFA Cup round of 16 tonight, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win away to Newcastle Jets.
Republic of Ireland striker Keogh pounced on a cross from fellow front man Sidnei Sciola to fire home the opener from the edge of the six-yard box after 20 minutes.
The shot struck the underside of the crossbar and was ruled to have crossed the line despite protests from the Newcastle defenders.
Keogh doubled the advantage in the dying stages, benefitting from the good work of lively midfielder Mitch Nichols.
Keogh’s goals were enough to settle the contest in what marked the maiden appearances for both Glory and Newcastle in the new national knockout competition.
Keogh has now found the net four times in as many appearances for Glory, following his strikes in pre-season matches against local side Inglewood United and Spanish La Liga club Malaga.
Glory assistant coach Andrew Ord said the new-look side was starting to come together and would benefit from having at least one more competitive fixture in the FFA Cup before the A-League season begins in October.
“We’re at the start of the process and we have to be pleased with the improvement,” Ord said.
“We’ve had friendly games and they’ve been mixed performances and results, but in the game where we’ve needed to get a result, we have done.
“That’s probably the most important thing.”
Newcastle had chances to score, with Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic denying Joel Griffiths and Jonny Steele with brilliant saves.
Griffiths’ strike partner Jeronimo Neumann also saw opportunities go begging in the first half.
The Argentinean forward fired one shot against the crossbar and poked another just wide with only Vukovic to beat.
“We didn’t concede and they applied a fair bit of pressure at 1-0,” Ord said.
“I think last year maybe we would’ve crumbled away from home but we weathered the storm.
“Even though we weren’t fluid today, it wasn’t the sort of game where it was going to be little triangles all the time and neat passing.
“We always looked threatening. Even when we were under the pump a little bit, we still had the players that could make the other team think and put them on the back foot.”
Wearing a yellow strip with black trim inspired by the WA State colours, Glory handed competitive debuts five off-season recruits.
Keogh and Nichols were joined by Diogo Ferreira, Richard Garcia and Dino Djulbic in the starting line-up.
Michael Thwaite and Yossouf Hersi were unavailable due to an A-League All Stars camp in Wollongong and Daniel De Silva was with the Young Socceroos.
Injured trio Ruben Zadkovich, Rostyn Griffiths and Matt Davies are all expected to overcome knee complaints in the next month.
WA’s other two FFA Cup representatives will make their first appearances in the competition’s round of 32 over the next fortnight.
Stirling Lions host A-League champions Brisbane Roar at the WA Athletics Stadium on August 19 and Bayswater tackle Melbourne Victory at the same venue the following night.
Stirling and Bayswater qualified for the FFA Cup round of 32 by reaching the local Cool Ridge Cup final.