Mitchell Duke scored deep in injury time to give Central Coast Mariners a 2-1 win over the Glory in the A-League game in Perth on Saturday night.
The home side had an outstanding opening half-hour against the defending champions before losing marquee player William Gallas to injury and playing the last 20 minutes with just ten men.
They went a goal up in the 25th minute thanks to a clever finish from Jamie MacLaren as he ran onto a ball from Scott Jamieson and lobbed it over Mariners’ goalkeeper Liam Reddy.
But in the 32nd minute former English Premier League star Gallas, making his run-on debut, hobbled off with a calf injury and was replaced by Steve Pantelidis.
Three minutes later, Michael McGlinchey equalised for the Mariners with a strike that gave Perth ‘keeper Danny Vukovic no chance.
The Mariners threatened for the rest of the half and a brilliant free-kick taken by McGlinchey hit the upright but the Glory survived.
Then in the 74th minute, after the Glory had just made their third and final substitution, Scott Jamieson went down with a likely ruptured Achilles and left Perth with just 10 men.
They did well to hold out Central Coast and actually look the more likely side to score until the very last break of the game.
The Mariners got out in space, a brilliant ball was delivered into the box where Duke was left completely unchecked and he easily scored with his right boot.
It was an important win for the defending champions, just their second of the campaign, and they moved equal on nine points with the Glory who have played one fewer game.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards later reveal the devastating news that the season was over for defender Jamieson.
“Scott Jamieson has ruptured his achilles and he goes into surgery tomorrow (Sunday) morning. We’ve already organised that,” Edwards said.
“William Gallas has just got a slight injury on his calf and we don’t think it’s too serious.
“He may be available for next week or he might need a week off.”
Mariners coach Phil Moss was delighted to get a win in his first game in charge since Graham Arnold took up a job in Japan, even if the winner did come at the last possible moment.
“I’m full of pride for the way my players fought right to the end and got the winner at the death,” Moss said.
“I’m a perfectionist, though, and there’s lots of positives to take out of the performance but lots of areas that we need to improve in as well.”