There's only one Charlie Miller
SOCCER: Creative attacker Charlie Miller warmed up for next week’s showdown against the club which dumped him with a starring role in the Gold Coast’s 2-0 win over Perth Glory at Skilled Park on Sunday.
In just his second game for the Coast since his acrimonious split with Roar and coach Ange Postecoglou, the 33-year-old Scottish-born Miller set up the first goal for teammate Shane Smeltz and then iced the win with his own in the 75th minute before being given an early finish as a reward by coach Miron Bleiberg as the crowd of just over 4,000 chanted “There’s only one Charlie Miller”.
Miller appreciated the gesture, clapping the small crowd as he left the field.
It was an ominous warning for Postecoglou and Miller’s former teammates that next week’s local derby at Skilled Park will be a “take no prisoners approach”.
“I’ve still got plenty of fans at the Roar,” said Miller, when asked what he was expecting from his old club next weekend.
Smeltz, Perth’s bogeyman, set the tone with his 15th goal of the season to again torment the Glory.
Given Smeltz scored the equaliser to split the points the first time they met this season and then snatched a 2-1 win in round 11, Glory’s defence could have been expected to have been all over him early.
Yet he was able to score almost unchallenged in just the third minute off a delicate and precise right foot chip from Miller which he chested down and drove high and left, leaving Glory `keeper Tando Velaphi no chance of getting even a finger on the shot.
It was classy stuff from new boy Miller.
It took a diving Jess Van Strattan to prevent Glory captain Jacob Burns from equalising in the 37th minute from a free kick following a heavy challenge on Scott Neville.
The second half was all Gold Coast, although referee Chris Beath had a busy time handing out yellow cards to six players, including repeat offender Steve Pantelidis, already walking a tightrope after two suspensions this season.
The win keeps Gold Coast in third place overall with three games at home to make a move on the leaders into the new year.
Gold Coast Miller, who walked out on the Roar this month after Postecoglou could not guarantee him a role next season, did his best to play down any ill-feeling.
“I left on good terms,” he said after the 2-0 win. “I love the (Brisbane) boys and I love the club, it (next week) will a big game, I’m looking forward to it.”
Much will be made of Miller’s split with Postecoglou in the lead-up to the showdown, but Gold Coast boss Miron Bleibergis leaving the talking to Miller, denying he has an agenda against the club he once coached.
“I’ll stay aside, I’m sick and tired of all this,” Bleiberg said. “What I said about the Roar in the past is when the Roar had a few people there I didn’t like and the Roar was coached by Frank Farina, not that I don’t like Frank but it’s all part and parcel of the packaging.”
Glory skipper Jacob Burns was fairly brutal in his assessment of his side’s performance but also positive that they had the personnel and the time to make a run for the finals. “I don’t know to be honest, probably nowhere if we play like that,” said Burns, when asked where the side was heading after successive losses.
“It was below par, unacceptable, but we didn’t sit back, we changed our shape and took it to them. They float around and have a lot of good players. Charlie (Miller) sits in behind and causes a lot of havoc.”