CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS PREVIEW
The Champion of Champions series switches to Sunday from this weekend as Sorrento and Floreat Athena play off for the right to take on Perth in the end-of-season decider on 16th September. Sorrento were comprehensively beaten by Perth 3-0 last Saturday and coach Steve Neville will be looking for a much improved performance from the Premier League champions. Wide players Michael Garcia and Jared Love are the ones Athena will need to watch when the Seagulls go forward. Midfield general Peter Butler has only improved as the season has progressed, while in defence Danny Hill, Scott McLeod and Kevin Murphy are always a tough nut to crack. Athena have been Sorrento's bogey team this season, twice defeating them in the home-and-away series. Robyn Dyers and Ryan Newhill have been lethal in attack and will made sure Sorrento's backline don't have a moment to themselves this weekend. But the biggest threat will come from the central combination of Doug Ithier, Jason Smith and Costa Socratous - if they can get an early hold on the game then Sorrento can kiss their chances goodbye.
SINGAPORE IN TOWN THIS WEEK
The Junior Soccer Association's Under-13 Development Squads will this week play a series of friendlies against the touring Hong Kah Secondary School. The Hong Kah side will be in Perth from 1st September for a cultural and training tour of Western Australia. The matches will allow the two JSA sides to reform for the first time since the Kange Cup tournament in Canberra earlier in the year. Both matches should be fiercely competitive and provide an excellent showcase for junior soccer in Western Australia.
The first game features the Under-13 North team with the game taking place at Coker Park, which can be found on Wharf Street, Cannington, this Wednesday with kick-off scheduled for 6.00pm. The following evening the Under-13 South squad take on the Hong Kah Secondary School at the same venue, kick-off against 6.00pm. The JSA encourage all interested persons to come down and cheer on Perth's soccer stars of the future.
IELATI OUT FOR REST OF SEASON
Perth will go into the Boral Cup Final and Champion of Champions decider without recognised defender Perry Ielati, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. The former State junior representative damaged his left knee in a tackle several weeks ago, and while it didn't look serious at the time, recent tests have revealed substantial damage. MRI scans next week will determine whether or not the defender will require a full reconstruction of his left knee. If surgery is the outcome, it will be the second time the 23-year old Ielati has gone under the knife in the recent times, three years ago he required a reconstruction of his right knee.
SWAN AIM FOR END OF SEASON GLORY
While the 2001 Premier League season was probably one that Swan I.C. would rather forget, the club are hopeful of going out with a bang when they take on NSL side Perth Glory at the Swan Italian Club this Saturday. Although they finished the winter in tenth place and have not played for four weeks, the black and whites are still keyed up for the clash. "We're all pretty excited at the prospect of playing Glory but being realistic we obviously know its going to be a tough battle," said defender Justin Everley.
Coach Paul Wozny will use the friendly as a pointer towards next season and is expected to include guest players Gary Andrews of Sorrento, and Mirco brothers John and Michael who spent the recent season with Fremantle City. And talented goalkeeper Corey Hugo will be out to impress those from the NSL club after spending the past three weeks trialling with them. Unfortunately influential skipper Carlo Scali is unavailable due to travels overseas, while veteran forward Nigel Aubin will also miss the clash.
For Glory it will be the first competitive hit-out of their pre-season campaign, and new coach Mich D'Avray has vowed to give fringe players Todd Harnwell (ex-Sorrento), Nick Mrdja (ex-Perth) and Antonio Naglieri (ex-Cockburn City) an opportunity to show that they can do. However, a couple of other local products will out through injury including captain Gareth Naven and young midfielder Garia Faria. There is also some doubt over Jamie Harnwell who is suffering a hamstring complaint.
SQUADS NAMED FOR NATIONALS
The Junior Soccer Association have announced the State Under-15 and 16 squads that will compete in next months National Talent Identification Championships in New South Wales. Both sides will be aiming to better the achievements of the West Australian teams of 2000 when the 15's finished ninth and the 16's fifth.
Coached by Frank Longstaff, the Under-15's travelling party is Michael Smerilli (Cockburn City), Joshua Kamasz (Fremantle City), Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United), Scott Blackmore, Clive Fondyke, Adam Gangemi, Daniel Hendley, Michael Lawson, Jake Lennox, John Morton, Daryl Platten (ECU Joondalup), Carmelo Genovese (Perth), Benjamin Rogers (Swan I.C.), Alex Crookes (Forrestfield United), Michael Filippou (Stirling Lions) and Jonathan Mathers (Balcatta).
The Under-16's are under the watchful eye of former Chelsea and West Ham United player Ron Tindall whose squad includes no less than 13 players that were part of the side that competed in June's Lion City Cup tournament in Singapore. Heading east are Alan Matteucci (Bassendean Caledonian), Jeffrey Bright (Cockburn City), Dean Apelgren, Matthew Danskin, John Migas, Chris Zarricueta (Fremantle City), Jordan Conti (Inglewood United), Bryan Hedges, Nicholas Ward (ECU Joondalup), Damir Kuduzovic, Scott Royal, Jan Zablocki (Perth), William Greathead (Rockingham City), Paul Oliver (Canning City), Paul Wright (Morley Windmills) and Liam Lilly.
SWC TO CONSIDER GLORY PROPOSAL
Soccer West Coast are reportedly considering a proposal from Perth Glory which would see the NSL club field an Under-19 team in the W.A. Premier League next season. The submission was discussed at a SWC board meeting on Tuesday night and will be put to the clubs shortly. "Our clubs must approve any new member and we want to see what their reactions are to this proposal," SWC president David Schrandt told "West Australian" newspaper reporter Mel Moffat. "We will put certain recommendations to our clubs and, depending on how they react, will then possibly negotiate with Perth Glory, but there's still a long way to go," he added.
Jeff Dennis, acting Chief Executive Officer of Perth Glory, said the move was a positive one. "I am pleased Soccer West Coast is giving the proposal due consideration and trust this is a sign that the soccer community in Western Australia can work together to offer supporters and players the best possible level of soccer to enjoy," he said. "The clubs would certainly benefit because I am sure a large number of our supporters would follow a Perth Glory team in the competition. Glory would be happy to play all its games on opposition grounds meaning each club would get two big pay-days a season. Based on the enormous interest in the friendly match we played at Fremantle last season, and in the excitement generated by our up-coming visit to Swan I.C. this weekend, I would say crowds of at least 1,000 would not be unexpected even for a junior team. The revenue raised at the gate and through sales of food and beverages would be of assistance to clubs in the State League."
CLUB, PLAYERS SUSPENDED
First Division club Dianella White Eagles have been kicked out of the Major Play-off series for their part in the fracas which resulted in their game against Queens Park being abandoned after an hours play. Referee Ray Archibald was assaulted during the incident which lead to a life ban for White Eagles player Predrag Jovanovic. The suspensions of Ranko Cokorac (6 weeks) and Vesko Zmukic (2 weeks) are expected to be carried over into season 2002.
In other news from the tribunal, Western Knights defender Alex Christie has been suspended for four weeks after being found guilty of intimidating referee Derek Minett at the end of his club's Champion of Champions loss to Cockburn City a fortnight ago.
JONES RETURNS FROM U.S. ADVENTURE
Bassendean Caledonian defender Anthony Jones has recently returned from the United States of America where he helped out run a training camp for junior players. "I was in Blacksburg, Virginia, helping Rick Slade coaching on his New River United soccer camp. Rick has been running the camp for the last eleven years and hires coaches for two weeks to teach the local kids the basics as well as developing them into senior players. This year we had 414 kids turn up for two weeks - there were six coaches - which was the highest ever turn-out and shows the growing interest in the sport in America. I personally had a great time coaching the children and found it to be very rewarding work. Hopefully I'll get to go again next year."
2001 was an unsettled year for the talented teenager who started the season with Swan I.C. and made the move to Caledonian mid-year. "The main reason I switched camps was that I was being played in the wrong position at Swan. My performances were getting below par and I felt that if I didn't play where I was best suited I would be letting myself down. The only problem with Swan was that we had numerous centre backs and the chance of me playing there was slim. I also knew Calies assistant coach Terry Goddard and, with the way things were at Swan, I decided to move on."
But Jones' time with Caledonian wasn't entirely a success, especially after the departure of coach Barry Smith and Goddard. "I was disappointed when they left, but they had their reasons so you just have to accept it. When Alan Weir took over the job I found it harder to get in the team, partly through a lack of form but also because Alan's view of the game was different to mine. Personally, this has been the worst season of my life - I'm glad that it's over and feel lucky not to have been in a relegated team. I felt that I wasn't fit or strong enough this year and it showed in my performances."
The former Floreat Athena junior is looking to work on these aspects of his game over the off-season and get his career back on track in 2002. "During the summer I will be doing a lot of gym work and trying to maintain my fitness, as well as doing some extra skill work to prepare me for next year. And as for cementing a regular spot, I hope that wherever I'm at I can show the coach that I always give 100% and I can do the business out on the park. I'm looking to improve my heading and concentration mostly and feel that these will assist me in becoming a more consistent and solid defender."
IT'S NOT LOOKING GOOD FOR THAT SECOND LICENSE
One-time Perth Glory general manager Roger Lefort hopes to present Western Australia's case for a second NSL team to Soccer Australia come mid-October. But Lefort is well aware that he faces a tough task convincing Ian Knop, who was recently appointed chairman of the national body.
Knop has gone on record as saying a second Perth-based team in the national competition is not high on Soccer Australia's list of priorities. "Let's be honest and say "is having a second team in Perth a priority?" The answer is no, emphatically no," Knop said on Monday. "I actually think there are other locations in this country that in my gut feeling have more priority to launch another team than Perth." The chairman added that he was not against a second team from the west entering the NSL, but that the timing had to be right. "In the fullness of time there could well be another team in Perth."
According to Lefort, preliminary research suggests that a second team would help the growth of soccer in this state, but he recognised more investigation is needed. "We don't want to take anything away from Perth Glory but we want to capitalise on the good work the club has done over the years," he said. "We want to help the game grow and I am convinced a second team would help that. There are only 13 games a season in Perth and to take the sport to the next level there has to be more than that."
PHOENIX COACH SAYS FAREWELL
South West Phoenix will see out their debut State League season without coach Joe Kelly who is shortly leave the state due to work commitments. "It is with great regret that I'm leaving Phoenix as I'm sure the club will be a force to be reckoned with next year," Kelly said this week. "With several new players becoming available, coupled with the current crop of youngsters that are getting better with each week, the future augurs well for Phoenix."
The Bunbury-based club surprised many this season, including Kelly, by being a competitive force in the First Division (South) competition where they finished the regular season in fourth place - not a bad effort for a team that had not played together 12 months ago. "I feel that we have built a team to be proud of," Kelly said before praising his players. "The teams that went out on that park fought for themselves, Phoenix and South West Soccer as a whole, and they have done us extremely proud. Next year they will take it that step further. Thanks very much lads for making a very hard job (politically) most enjoyable. Even when we lost we never gave up until the final whistle, don't ever lose that quality, this is what makes you a team."
And it wasn't just the players that Kelly wanted to thank. "To the supporters - thanks very much to you who braved the elements and traveled to support us, we needed it. There is an elderly couple from Perth who watch us in every away game, I don't know their names but they are right behind us all the way and I make sure I speak with them every week. And to all those who thought or hoped we would not make it, I am sorry for spoiling your day," he joked. Kelly's last game in charge will be this Saturday when Phoenix are away to Leeming Strikers at John Connell Reserve.
JUNIOR TOURNAMENT PLANNED FOR NEXT YEAR
The Junior Soccer Association of W.A. are in the process of scheduling next years program for the State junior teams which includes a proposal to stage a mini-tournament in Perth. "Next year we will be looking at holding probably an Under-13's competition, bringing in a couple of teams from Singapore and maybe two teams from South Australia," said JSA vice-president Steve Coppack this week. "Obviously there's a lot of planning and a lot of work to be done, teams always want to come to Australia but the cost is the biggest obstacle because of where we are situated."
THREE INDUCTED BY SOCCER AUSTRALIA
Soccer Australia have added 24 players and administrators to the Soccer Australia Hall of Fame, including three from the west. Former Socceroo Robbie Dunn, who played 38 times for Australia, and awarded the Award of Distinction. The Roll Of Honour (Meritorious) went to Rob McShane whose contribution to the local game spanned over 60 years as a player, referee and administrator. Our third recipient was Patricia O'Connor who received the Medal of Excellence.
Other West Australian's that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the past include former Australian captains Gary Marocchi and Ron Adair, and Soccer Federation of W.A. co-founder Julius Re. The quartet were all part of the inaugural induction in late 1999.
SVIRAC LOOKS TO 2002
Croatian-born Davorin Svirac has settled into life in Perth quickly after immigrating to Australia little over 12 months ago. The solidly built central defender spent the tail end of the 2000 season playing for the Dianella White Eagles and this year transferred to Premier League outfit Cockburn City where he wasted no time in established himself as a regular fixture of Laslo Koroknai's starting eleven. With the club's season coming to an end with last Sunday's Champion of Champions loss to Floreat Athena, the now out-of-contract Svirac is looking forward toward to season 2002.
The 24-year old arrived in Perth last May with considerable European experience under his belt that lead to him trialling with National Soccer League side Perth Glory late last winter. After learning his trade as a junior at FC Borovo in Croatia, Svirac found himself part of the FC Becij that finished mid-table in Yugoslavia's Premier League in 1995/96. Twelve months with First Division FC Solunac followed, after which time he moved back to Croatia to play with FC Sindjelic. It was at Sindjelic that Svirac was talent spotted by Premier League outfit FC Cibalija, who are better known in the west under their former moniker of Dinamo. But the youngster never got to take up their offer due to his migration down under.
CLEARANCE TRIBUNAL MEETS
The Soccer West Coast's tribunal set-up to look into the issue of clubs fielding ineligible players this season sat for the first time last Wednesday evening. With a number of clubs presenting their case to the panel on the night, suggestions are that the process could be a very long one as those given the authority to get to the bottom of the mess sort through the various associated issues.
OLIVIERA STATE'S TOP YOUNGSTER
Perth teenager Andreas Oliviera has taken out "the Sunday Times"-Oceanus Player of the Year award. The attacking midfielder won the award, which was open to players under the age of 21 this season, by picking up three votes in his clubs final Premier League fixture to end the year on 20. By doing so Oliveira overhauled joint-leaders Dale McCulloch (ECU Joondalup) and David Annall (Western Knights), who finished equal second with Scott Campbell of Inglewood United on 19 votes.
A further vote off the pace was Todd Howarth (Perth) and Premier League leading scorer Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City). Daniel Trim (Fremantle City) and Oliver Taseski (Inglewood) ended with 17 votes, while Kevin Murphy (Sorrento) on 16 and Robbie Gaspar (Perth) on 15 made up the front-runners.
COACH PLEASED WITH STATE UNDER-14'S
Speaking on the Junior Soccer Review on Sunday night, Mick Tetlow, coach of the Under-14 South Development Squad, said he was over the moon with his team's performance at last week's international tournament in Singapore. "It was excellent, a really good competition for the boys," he said. "As the week went on we seemed to get better. We were obviously tired at the end of the week because five games in five days is a big ask in the humidity and the heat over there, but we accepted the conditions and just got on with it. In the last game as we needed to win while the Singapore national team only needed a draw, although we were both on the same points they had a superior goal average. And we ended up winning 1-0 by scoring with about three minutes to go, it was really good."
Going on what he witnessed in Singapore, Tetlow has every confidence that W.A. will continue it's fine tradition of producing young players capable of competing on the world stage. "I always hope that there's a couple of them that go on and get a career in football," the State junior coach said. "If I go back to the 1999 State team there's a couple of boys there that have done really well. Clint Davies whose at Birmingham City and Sean Cooney who is still with Coventry City. Antonio Naglieri, who in my opinion was probably the best player in that squad is with Perth Glory. David Tarka has just recently joined Glory, and Johnny Dixon is up at Falkirk in Scotland, and I'm sure there'll be more good players come out of the west over the next five or six years."
LATEST HAPPENINGS FROM JOONDLAUP
ECU Joondalup currently have five players on trial at various ports around the globe. In addition to teenagers Bryan Hedges and Nicholas Ward who are currently with English club Notts County, 15-year old John Higgins is trying his luck with Southampton. And, contrary to last week's report, Chris Hurd has not signed with the Saints although he has spent time trialling with the club. On the local front, talented right wing-back Andre Sarpe has been training with Perth Glory for the past couple of weeks where he has recently been joined by 26-year old Lee Stratford who spent five years in England with Nottingham Forest.
And it's not just the players from the northern suburbs club that have been keeping busy. A regular for Joondalup's amateur side, coach Paul Simmons came off the bench late in their Mitre Cup semi-final clash with Cockburn City on Wednesday night which went into extra-time with the scores tied at one-all after 90 minutes. Six minutes into the golden-goal period the big forward struck, sending a thundering header past the 'keeper to put his side in the decider. According to our source at the game "the crowd of 17 went berserk and Simmons was mobbed" after he scored!
UNDER 18's ROUND-UP
Fremantle City are through to the Final of this season's Under-18's play-off series after a comfortable 3-0 win over Perth at the Kiev Sports Ground on Saturday. The port side dominated the first half and took the lead after 13 minutes when Josh Kamasz' header flew past 'keeper Ivan Ruvinski. Perth conceded a needless penalty 11 minutes after the break, Ruvinski guessing the right way but Simon Eltin-Bott's shot was too close to the up-right for him to get. With City clearly the hungier side on the park, the result was put beyond doubt 14 minutes from full-time when Matt Danskin slotted home from 4-metres after Dean Apelgren hit the post and crossbar with successive shots.
An under-strength ECU Joondalup slugged it out with Cockburn City in Sunday's First Semi-Final which saw neither side find the target during regulation time. Going straight to penalties, Joondalup progressed to the last three courtesy of a 5-4 margin with Tom Jones, John Morton, Craig Simpson, Mark Ristovski and Adam Gangemi converting from the spot.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND TWO
Weekend two of the Champion of Champions series saw Sorrento back in action after an enforced three week lay-off. Coach Steve Neville fielded a full-strength team which included the return of central defenders Scott McLeod and Danny Hill who missed their last League fixture. Today's opponents Perth went into the game with the same line-up that last week defeated Floreat Athena in extra-time. Their only notable absence was defender Perry Ielati who has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
The opening quarter of an hour saw some great end-to-end action in which both sides created, and missed, some good goal-scoring opportunities. Sorrento were the first to have a go, Ryan Jeans darting run after 7 minutes saw him round Perth sweeper Stephen Willey only for Robert Scarparolo to parry his explosive shot, Willey recovering to clear the loose ball.. Two minutes later Boni Botha sent the ball over the crossbar after being afforded time by the Sorrento defence. With Perth beginning to flex their considerable muscle in midfield, Jamie Coyne welcomed the opportunity to push forward and, after 11 minutes, his long-range effort skidded narrowly wide of the up-right.
Perth were showing signs on getting on top via a hard-working midfield who fed the ball into their 18-yard box with regularity. A 19th minute error by McLeod was pounced upon by Andreas Oliveira who needed no second invitation, but he powered it wide from 20-metres. Sorrento's supply through the middle was slowly being eroded and their best chances came through individual efforts. In the 23rd minute Glenn Thomas spotted Scarparolo off his line and clipped a speculative shot over the 'keeper who back-pedalled at pace to keep it out of his net. Sixty seconds later Michael Garcia went on a stirring run from deep in defence only to finish by shooting high from 16-metres.
For the rest of the half it was all one way traffic as Perth stepped up a notch. Going forward in numbers, Mark Pottier and Robbie Gaspar dominated the centre along with Jamie Coyne who chimed in with some inspired breaks down the right. Oliviera stepped past Thomas after 30 minutes to send a blistering shot on target from 17-metres which 'keeper Neil Young saved comfortably. Botha's 41st minute cross fell to Coyne at the far post but the midfielder volleyed the difficult ball wide. The breakthrough came four minutes later. Young hesitated to come for Pottier's curling ball into the box and Botha timed his run to perfection, nodding it past the 'keeper at the far post to give Perth a deserved lead going into the break.
Five minutes after the interval Sorrento had what appeared to be a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down when Thomas' shot cannoned off the hand of Willey. Still smarting from that, the Seagulls suffered a knock out blow just two minutes later. Oliviera's weaving run from midfield saw him draw the defence before slotting wide to the unmarked Botha, his low shot was blocked by Young and Oliviera, who continued his run into the box unchecked, slammed the loose ball beyond the reach of the stranded 'keeper. Two-nil.
Part of Sorrento's problem was a distinct lack of support for their strikers who were often alone in their attacking half. The side pushed into attack with regularity, but once there Jeans and Ross Greer were expected to do too much with too little assistance from those around them. On the few occasions the pair found the sort of support they needed, especially from the wide players, Sorrento did look dangerous. In the 54th minute Greer chased a long ball down the left before looping it into the box, Thomas' solid header from 7-metres being paddled over the bar by Scaraparolo. Unfortunately, such moves were far too rare for the northern suburbs' team.
While the Seagulls struggled to maintain a presence in their attacking half, Perth had no such problems. Coyne tested Young on the hour mark with a scorching grass-cutter that the young 'keeper had to stretch full-length to tip around the post. Shortly after Willey dashed down the right and sent the ball deep to Pottier, his stunning volley whizzing narrowly wide. It seemed only a matter of time before Perth tucked away goal number three, which is exactly what happened in the 73rd minute. Cutting in from the left, Coyne capped a fine move with a low shot from 15-metres that bounced awkwardly in front of Young and snuck in at the far post. If Sorrento thought they were still in with a chance then that hope was well and truly erased now.
Sorrento were sadly mistaken if they thought Perth would be happy with the 3-0 margin. Good lead up work by Coyne saw Botha blaze his shot high after 76 minutes, coach Graham Normanton using the break in play to make a triple substitution with the introduction of attacking players Rhys Graham, Rob Giorgi and David Onoforo. A few minutes later Oliviera forced Young into a sprawling low save as the side went in search of goal number four. And an 84th minute counter-attacking move saw Onoforo's curling shot from 18-metres was destined for the top corner until Young launched himself at the ball. The final chance after the afternoon came the way of Sorrento, Jake Harman slotting into the path of Greer whose explosive shot from 10-metres was parried by Scarparolo and Michael Icanovski ran the ball to safety.
They may have finished the Premier League season as champions, but Sorrento were quite simply out-classed today. With too many players seemingly along for the ride, Thomas worked hard to inspire his teammates along with midfield partner Peter Butler, but other than that pair there were few other contributors for Sorrento. Perth on the other hand had performers all over the park. The backline of Willey, Icanovski and Aaron Cole oozed confidence, Gaspar and Coyne were outstanding in the middle while up-front Botha never gave the Sorrento defence a moments rest. Few would argue that Perth deservedly progressed to the series final which will be played on 16th September.
Perth : Robert Scarparolo, Stephen Willey, Michael Icanovski, Aaron Cole, Vince Tana (Rhys Graham 76),
Todd Howarth, Mark Pottier, Robbie Gaspar (Rob Giorgi 76), Jamie Coyne, Andreas Oliviera, Boni Botha
(David Onoforo 76)
Sorrento : Neil Young, Danny Hill (Richard Turnbull 63), Scott McLeod, Kevin Murphy, Stuart Banks, Jared Love (Jake Harman 45), Michael Garcia, Glenn Butler (David Colegate 82), Glenn Thomas, Ryan Jeans, Ross Greer
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : None
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 400 (approx.)
In Sunday's Champion of Champions fixture, Floreat Athena booked themselves a date in the Preliminary Final with Sorrento next Sunday after defeating Cockburn City in a penalty shoot-out at the Kiev Sports Ground. Against the run of play, an 11th minute penalty awarded against City defender Dusan Macura saw Athena took the lead through Ryan Newhill who made no mistake from the spot. But their lead was short-lived, 13 minutes later young wing-back Gary Numan capped a blistering run by placing his right-footer from 18-metres out of the reach of goalkeeper Anthony Mori. In the 56th minute, Numan's refusal to give up saw State representative Paul Cooke put City in front. Costa Socratous made it 2-2 after 70 minutes with a low shot that deceived 'keeper Dino Pacella and spun into the net off the up-right. Neither side was able to get the required golden-goal, although City did come close a few minutes from the end of the second period when Cooke's curling shot was fingertipped wide by Mori. The Athena custodian was the hero in the resulting shoot-out, saving Boza Erakovic's spot kick to give the game to his side 5-4.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP (Armadale vs Morley Windmills report provided by Michael Di Pietro)
Ashfield stay on top of the First Division Major Play-offs table after defeating strugglers the Leeming Strikers 3-2 on Saturday, Gary Spinks, Karl Atley and Shane Fuhr the scorers for the home side. Keeping pace with them are Perth City who downed Rockingham City 2-1 in a fast and physical game down south, Glen Hallums scoring the lone goal for the home side. Stirling Lions 0-0 home draw with Queens Park sees them slip to third. The fixture between the Dianella White Eagles and South West Phoenix was postponed at late notice.
With four games remaining until the end of the First Division Minor Play-off series, Armadale are still in with a chance to retain their First Division status in season 2002. On Saturday the reds hosted Morley Windmills with a much changed line-up, five regular starters absent either due to injury or suspension. The replacements played adequately and gave an indication that there is some depth in the younger squads coming through. The match was tight with no great chances falling at either end, but either side could have pinched the points at any time. Coach Billy Russell was pleased with the way the team battled for the duration of the match, hoping that this commitment starts to show through more with the remaining games.
Kingsway Olympic continue to lead the way, extending their undefeated run to three games by thumping Balcatta 5-2 at home. Dominant from the opening kick, it was a stroll in the park for Olympic for whom Kevin Morris and Stuart Montgomery bagged a double each with Jason Gull scoring the other. Second-placed Canning City hit four past Bayswater City without reply, and Southside United move into third on goal difference after accounting for Wanneroo City 2-0.
SORRENTO WELCOME BACK DEFENDERS
A month after breaking his left arm against ECU Joondalup, defender Scott McLeod is poised to make his comeback for Premier League champions Sorrento in today's Champion of Champions Second Semi-Final against Perth. "Scotty has been training well lately and he wants to play in this match," coach Steve Neville said yesterday. "The plaster's been removed and he's wearing a wrist support, so there shouldn't be any real problem. But I'll make a late decision." Another defender, Danny Hill, blocked from playing in July because of an international clearance confusion, has now got permanent residency and is also back in the Seagulls squad.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS WEEKEND TWO (IN BRIEF)
Perth gave Sorrento a lesson in how the game is played on Saturday to progress to the Final of this years Champion of Champions series. Dominant over the opening half, Perth had to wait until the stroke of half-time before taking the lead, Boni Botha heading in Mark Pottier's deep cross. Andreas Oliviera made it 2-0 seven minutes after the interval, and Jamie Coyne booked his sides place in the decider in the 73rd minute with a low shot which bounced awkwardly for 'keeper Neil Young.
Sunday's First Semi-Final saw an uninspired affair between Floreat Athena and Cockburn City that was eventually decided on penalties, Athena triumphing 5-4 after the scores were deadlocked at 2-2 after 120 minutes of football.
DUNDEE TO SELL COYNE (by Jeremy Lowe - reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website.)
Dundee and Australian centre-back Chris Coyne is set to sign with English Third Division side Luton Town. Coyne, who moved to Dundee from West Ham in search of first team football, has struggled to cement himself in the starting eleven but a move to the Hatters is a chance to rebuild his career.
Luton Town manager Joe Kinnear is desperate to strengthen his defence and said on Friday, "I have already agreed to buy one player. We shook hands with the club over the phone but he will probably be on the substitutes' bench (for Dundee) against Glasgow Rangers on Saturday. The club need him on Saturday and it's sods law that it is Bank Holiday Monday this weekend so he won't come until Tuesday."
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS PREVIEW
Some of the State's brightest young prospects will be on show at the Kiev Sports Ground on Saturday when Sorrento play Perth in the semi-final of the Champion of Champions series. 180 minutes of Premier League football this season hasn't produced a winner from these sides and, with a place in the Final up for grabs, another tight clash is on the cards. Sorrento goalkeeper Neil Young has been staying sharp by trialling with Perth Glory over the past few weeks, as has influential midfielder Michael Garcia who has enjoyed possibly his best season to date. Skillful teenager Andreas Oliviera has a knack of scoring at just the right time for Perth, while midfielder Robbie Gaspar has been a guiding light in the middle of the park.
It's make or break time for Floreat Athena and Cockburn City when they face off in Sunday's first semi-final. Despite being outclassed last week by the Western Knights, City fell over the line courtesy of an extra-time winner and they might need the same sort of luck to defeat this week's opponents. Just a fortnight ago they bowed out of the Boral Cup at the semi-final stage when Athena dominated all over the park, particularly the central core of Jason Smith, Costa Socratous and Doug Ithier. Youngsters Joshua Pescud and Gary Numan are the ones to watch for City, while the possible return of striker Branimir Mikulic will raise the hopes of their supporters.
PERTH YOUNGSTERS TRY LUCK IN ENGLAND
With the local season coming to a close, several teenagers have headed to the England in the hope of furthering their football careers that might one day see them playing in one of Europe's top leagues. ECU Joondalup junior Chris Hurd is the latest local product to be offered a contract overseas, the 13-year old having recently agreed terms on a 3-year deal with Premier League side Southampton. Hurd is the son of Willie Hurd who spent time on the books of Scottish outfit Kilmarnock.
Also overseas at the current time are two other Joondalup players, Bryan Hedges and Nicholas Ward who are trying their luck with Nott County. The pair were part of the West Australian Under-16 squad that took part in this year's Lion City Cup tournament and both have been named in the State side that will compete in the National Talent Identification Championships in New South Wales next month. Former State Under-16 captain Shaun Kilkelly, who spent the winter with Inglewood United, is at the current time with First Division side Sheffield Wednesday.
Several other players have trialled overseas in recent times. One-time State Under-16 representative and Sorrento midfielder Fred Wilson spent time with London club Chelsea, Joondalup defender John Higgins has been with First Division side Birmingham City, and Swan I.C. defender Kristofer Haxton tried out for Scottish club Heart of Midlothian.
DIANELLA TRIO BANNED
Dianella White Eagles player Predrag Jovanovic has been banned for life after being found guilty of assaulting referee Ray Archibald during last week's First Division play-off fixture with Queens Park. Soccer West Coast have also suspended his teammate Ranko Cokorac for six weeks and first team coach Vesko Zmukic for two. There was a belief that White Eagles may have been expelled from SWC ranks after the game was abandoned at one-all. This weekend clash between the Dianella club and South West Phoenix, which was scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed.
W.A. PAIR CAUGHT UP IN PAYMENT ROW
West Australian's Stan Lazaridis and Shaun Murphy are believed to be among a group of Socceroo's owed up to $50,000 each by governing body Soccer Australia. Lazaridis and Murphy, who play for English First Division rivals Birmingham City and Sheffield United respectively, have reportedly not been paid since the Oceania Nations Cup finals in Tahiti last year and includes June's successful Confederations Cup campaign. Other players at the centre of the allegations include Australian captain Paul Okon (Middlesbrough), Brett Emerton (Feyenoord), Kevin Muscat (Wolverhampton Wanderers) and David Zrillic (Unterhaching).
With the distinct possibility of boycott action being taken by the players, Soccer Australia is confident November's friendly against world champion France and, more importantly, World Cup qualifiers against a South American team will not be affected. Ian Knop, who recently became chairman of the controlling body, has pledged to sort out the mess within two weeks. "It should not occur and will not be occurring in the future to the best of my ability," he said
PREMIER LEAGUE SIDES PART OF GLORY'S PRE-SEASON
Premier League champions Sorrento and their top flight rivals Swan I.C. and Inglewood United will get the opportunity to strut their stuff against Perth Glory in coming weeks the National Soccer League club gears up for the 2001/02 season. Swan are Glory's first cab off the rank when they meet at the Swan Italian Club in Midland on Saturday 1st September, kick-off 3.00pm. The NSL side fly to Adelaide the following weekend to participate in a mini-tournament which will also feature South Australian state league side the Adelaide Blue Eagles and NSL rival Parramatta Power. On Friday 14th September Inglewood are Glory's opponent and the following Wednesday they begin a three-game challenge series with Northern Spirit. Glory's final pre-season hit-out is against Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday 30th September 30 when proceeds will go towards the Asthma Research Foundation.
CLUB GUILTY OF FAILING HEATH ACT
Bunbury United, the first club prosecuted under new W.A. Health Act regulations, has pleaded guilty in Bunbury Magistrate's Court to two counts of allowing people to smoke in an enclosed public area during it's bingo nights. The South-West soccer club were fined $2,500, effectively putting their future in jeopardy. Magistrate Kelvin Fisher said the club had failed to embrace obligations to the regulations, introduced in March 1999, despite receiving several written and verbal warnings from the Health Department.
But Bunbury general manager Ivan Garic said outside the court that the club's weekly bingo nights had been unfairly singled out. He believes they should be entitled to similar exemptions on smoking enjoyed by W.A. hotels, the Burswood Casino and the Royal Institute for the Blind Bingo Centre. Quit W.A. manager Peter Zeroni said ill-effects of passive smoking were well documented and that they had little option but to push for prosecution. This action was taken after the Health Department sent two written warnings to the club in 1999 following a complaint from a bingo player.
JSA TEAMS DO WELL IN SINGAPORE
Last week the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. sent their Under-14 North and South Development Squads to Singapore where they participated in week-long tournament which also featured teams from Singapore and South Australia. Both sides came home with some impressive performances under their belts, JSA North (playing as Perth North) losing just once in five outings to finish a credible fourth, while the team from the South (Perth South) went undefeated and brought home the silverware.
Things kicked-off on Monday with Singapore A and Perth North battling out a tense 1-1 draw. Perth South got their campaign off on the right foot by defeating Adelaide B 2-1, while Adelaide A went down 2-0 to Singapore B. The following day the two J.S.A. sides met with Perth South coming out on top 1-0. Singapore B also maintained their 100% record with a 3-1 triumph over Adelaide B, while Singapore A and Adelaide A drew 1-1.
While Singapore's humidity was a new experience for many of the boys, the sides also had to contend with some playing surfaces that were less than desirable, but full credit to all the Australian sides who adapted well to both. Wednesday saw both J.S.A. teams involved in scoreless draws, Perth North with Adelaide B and Perth South with Adelaide A. In the derby between the hosts, Singapore B came out victors 4-1. Perth South kept alive their hopes of winning the event the following day with a commanding 3-1 win over Singapore A. Perth North ended the perfect record of Singapore B by holding them 2-2, and Adelaide A beat Adelaide B 3-0.
The final day of competition started with two draws, Singapore A and Adelaide B ending 2-2 while it was 0-0 between Perth North and Adelaide A. As it turned out the last scheduled fixture would decide the winner of the mini-tournament, Perth South scoring the only goal of the game - in the final minute of play - to edge in front of Singapore B who finished in second place. For Daniel Simcox, a member of the Perth South squad, the tour was something to cherish. "I hope that I can do it all over again in 2002 and have the same success," the Swan I.C. junior said. "Playing for your State is the greatest honour you could have."
FOUR LOCALS MAKE NATIONAL SQUADS
Congratulations go out to those players named to represent Australian at Schools level after last weeks Australian Schools Championships in New South Wales. Gemma Langley, Lisa DeVanna and Nadia Poulsen were named in the 16-player national Schoolgirls squad, while Stacey Woodfin was included in stand-by squad. Making the cut for the Schoolboys was defender Shane Nunes, who plays locally for Rockingham City.
UNDER 18's ROUND-UP
ECU Joondalup ended Sorrento's season in the Under-18's play-offs with a 2-0 triumph at the Kiev Sports ground on Saturday. After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Joondalup took the lead six minutes into the new half when Mark Ristovski found Tom Jones whose spectacular volley from 12-metres looped over goalkeeper Matthew Pirga and into the top right hand corner of his goal. This spurred Sorrento into life, their midfield seizing control of the game but up front they were unable to find the target. The result was put beyond doubt 11 minutes from full-time, Jones flicking the ball over the defence for Clive Fordyke to run on to and slot past Pirga from a decreasing angle.
In Sunday's Qualifying Final, Cockburn City went down on penalties to Fremantle City. With the scores tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes, the port side fell over the line 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out. Next weekend the Under-18 series will be reduced to three with either Cockburn or Joondalup bowing out, while a place in the decider is up for grabs when regular season champions Perth take on Fremantle.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND ONE
Neither Cockburn City nor the Western Knights had the luxury of taking their strongest possible line-up into Saturday's Elimination Final. Missing for the Knights through illness was no-nonsense defender Leon Russell, while coach Ronnie Campbell gambled on the inclusion of Darren Williams, Carl Medica and Claus Nielsen in the starting line-up, all having come down with the flu during the week. City coach Laslo Koroknai welcomed the return of Davorin Svirac and Dragan Njegic but absent were the skillful Scott Bailey and Premier League leading scorer Branimir Mikulic. Although without this pair, Koroknai opted to name only one out-field player on the City bench in what must rate as one of the strangest coaching decisions in recent years!
Under a sunny, cloudless sky, City may have got the ball rolling but it was their opponents that controlled the opening stages of this match. After four minutes Nielsen created space and sprinted the ball down the right flank before finding Medica just inside the box, he laid it off to Scott Devine whose rising shot deceived Dino Pacella, the City custodian pushing it desperately over the bar. Four minutes later it was Nielsen again that did all the hard work, Medica this time shooting from close-range only to find Pacella up to the task. Shane McNally twice went close after 10 minutes, his initial shot from a tight angle beat the 'keeper but scuttled across the face of goal, Medica collected the loose ball close to the corner flag and sent a superb cross to the midfielder whose glancing header ended just wide of the far post.
The Knights persistence paid off on the quarter hour mark when Aaron Nadine's free-kick saw Pacella misjudge the high ball and Scott Devine was lurking at the far post to nod it between two defenders and the up-right to give his side the lead. With their wide players - McNally on the left and Nielsen on the opposite side - providing much of the impetus to attack, the Knights were not satisfied with a one goal advantage. Three minutes after putting them in front, Devine pumped a free-kick into the box which was poorly dealt with and Eugene Singeorzan half-volleyed the loose ball high. And in the 24th minute John Nicolaou spotted Pacella well off his line, his chip from distance clearing the 'keeper but also the crossbar.
City finally began to show signs of settling and carved out some enterprising passages of play, but generally they were finding the Knights four-man defence too strong to contend with. Their first chance on goal came in the 27th minute, Joshua Pescud making a diagonal run into attack but Williams never looked troubled as the low shot came in from 20-metres. Dusan Macura made a darting run out of defence four minutes later, his explosive long-range effort kissing the wrong side of the bar with Williams in the belief that it was going well high. As the half wore on the southerners made some determined pushes forward but were constantly forced into shooting from outside the 18-yard box by a defence that was quick to shut them down.
If not for the efforts of Pacella, City would have gone into the interval two goals down. Nielsen played a clever one-two with John Nicolaou in the 40th minute which sliced wide open up the defence behind which Pacella was well-positioned to block Nielsen's close-range blast. John Nicolaou followed-up but he too was denied by the 'keeper from close-in, Pacella diving on the loose ball before Nicolaou could rattle off another shot. The one-nil half-time score line didn't do justice to the dominance enjoyed by the Knights. City were rarely in the game and it was difficult to see how they'd find a way back into it.
The pattern of the first half continued after the break, McNally, Devine and Singeorzan all sending half-chances high in the opening few minutes as the Knights searched for the goal that would effectively kill off the game. But ten minutes into the new half a moment of hesitancy at the back cost them dearly. Paul Cooke's cross from wide on the left evaded three Knights players and, from 2-metres, Gary Numan bundled the ball over the line at the far post. There looked to be a touch of handball in the goal, but that didn't worry the City camp who had just revitalised their chances.
A 60th minute free-kick came close to the Knights restoring the lead, Singeorzan sending it in from just outside the area and Medica volleying just inches high. Three minutes later Pacella pulled off a spectacular flying save to keep out McNally's superb drive on the run from 14-metres. Not to be out-done, Dean Gartside met Cooke's ball high into the area but his header was directed narrowly wide. And in the 71st minute McNally swung a corner deep which was not properly dealt with and, from the top corner of the box, Singeorzan half-volleyed it over the top much to his disappointment.
The remainder of the half was dominated by the respective defences who worked hard to restrict the opposition into shooting from distance. Under the hammer for much of the game, Macura, Svirac and second-half replacement Steve Adam were the heart and soul of City's backline, stepping up a gear over the closing stages to dominate their third of the pitch. Down the other end it was central defenders Alex Christie and David Annall that were in charge, ably supported by Gavin Tait and Aaron Nadine.
After leading the way for much of the game, the Knights faded as the clock ticked down. Going forward they were running out of not only ideas but also legs, while at the back they were the ones coming under fire as City's midfield steered the game in their favour. Thirteen minutes from full-time Gartside lobbed the ball over the defence and Mileta Miletic was narrowly beaten to the ball by Williams who was quick off his line. Numan was proving a danger on the right with some jinxing runs, and in the 82nd minute his low drive from 13-metres was kept out by Williams. Not long after Williams was again his sides saviour, keeping out Miletic's low shot after a superb through ball from Pescud.
With little over a minute left in regulation time, Medica surged forward in a last-ditch to settle the game. A one-two with Singeorzan took him past the defence, Pacella raced off his line and dived at the strikers feet, getting enough of a touch on the ball to break Medica's stride and his shot from a very tight angle rocketing into the side netting. Derek Minett's whistle shortly after signaled that the first to score in extra-time would see their season extended by at least one week.
Two minutes into extra-time Numan sent Miletic inside the box, he out-paced the defence only to be denied by the quick-thinking Williams who saved from close-range. Sixty second later Medica pulled his shot wide much to the disapproval of the Knights vocal supporters. In the 95th minute John Nicolaou's shot on the turn from 14-metres flew just wide of Pacella's left up-right. Two minutes later the game came to a controversial end two to game. Williams spectacularly blocked Gartside's close-range shot, the City captain then blatantly pushed Nadine out of the way and blasted the loose ball into the back of the net - and, amazingly, Derek Minett allowed the goal to stand! The ensuing melee threatened to boil over with several spectators jumping the fence to get involved in the shoving match, but thankfully common sense prevailed and calm was restored.
The Knights were left to rue missed first-half chances which should have seen them go into the break a couple of goals in front. Always a player that gives 100%, Devine was an inspiration in midfield while on the right flank Nielsen teased the defence with his silky skills. Out of the game for long periods, City never gave up the chase and had to rely on two dubious goals to progress to the next stage of the play-offs. Between the posts Pacella was a highlight with several crucial saves, the pace and skills of Numan caused the opposition problems and Gartside's performance was somewhat over-shadowed by a dodgy extra-time winner.
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Dusan Macura, Davorin Svirac, Craig Anderson (Mileta Miletic 45), Joshua
Pescud, Gary Numan, Steve Adam, Boza Erakovic, Dean Gartside, Paul Cooke, Dragan Njegic
Western Knights : Darren Williams, Gavin Tait, David Annall, Alex Christie, Aaron Nadine, Shane McNally (Andy Lawson 71), Scott Devine, Claus Nielsen (Dean Nicolaou 82), Eugene Singeorzan, John Nicolaou, Carl Medica
Referee : Derek Minnet
Cautions : Pescud (18), Adam (80), Singeorzan (81)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Perth began the defence of their Champion of Champions crown on Sunday with a seven-goal thriller against local rivals Floreat Athena. Both sides created some good chances in the opening period which saw play alternate from one end of the ground to the other with regularity. Perth opted for the more attractive approach via a creative midfield, while their opponents preferred to play it long over the defence. The pre-match gamble of Athena coach John Hunter to play captain Jason Smith didn't pay off, the midfielder replaced midway through the half suffering the effects of flu. In the 31st minute Perth took the lead when Athena 'keeper Anthony Mori parried a hard shot and Mark Pottier was on hand to knock the loose ball into the net from a narrow angle. Not long after it was 2-0, Robbie Gaspar slotting home. Athena got a much-needed lifeline seconds from the interval when Costa Socratous' speculative shot from 30-metres slipped through the fingers of Perth 'keeper Robert Scarparolo and dropped across the line.
Within three minutes of the resumption of play Athena were back in the game, sweeper Troy Bernard surging forward to hit a superb curling shot from just outside the area which left Scarparolo with no chance. Six minutes later Athena took the lead, Doug Ithier spearing a trademark free-kick home from 20-metres. Perth re-grouped with experienced campaigners Stephen Willey and Pottier leading the way from midfield, and they were deservedly back on level terms after 69 minutes when Boni Botha finished off a fine move to find the bottom corner of Mori's goal. With neither side able to add to their tally in the remaining time, for the second time this weekend a game went into golden-goal extra-time. Andreas Oliviera stepped up six minutes into the first period to make it 4-3 in Perth's favour, the 19-year old breaking from midfield before drilling his long-range effort past Mori to leave Athena shattered. "The lads were very dejected after the game especially because we had come from behind," Athena defender Jamie D'Arcy said post-match. "We felt that we had played very well and that we had done enough to win the game. To their credit Perth are extremely fit and seemed to always have plenty of men going forward. We now have to pick ourselves up for the game against Cockburn, who will be out for revenge after we beat them in the Boral Cup semi-final. We're also looking forward to inflicting our revenge on Perth in the Boral Cup Final."
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP (Kingsway Olympic vs Armadale report provided by Michael Di Pietro)
Three clubs share equal points at the top of the First Division Major Play-off series after two games. Ashfield claim first place with a 6-2 thrashing of Rockingham City, Perth City are second after thumping the Leeming Strikers 3-0, and the Stirling Lions 2-1 win over South West Phoenix keeps them third. Queens Park's home fixture with Dianella White Eagles was abandoned after 60 minutes with the scores ties at one-all after the referee was assaulted.
Armadale travelled to Kingsway Olympic expecting a hard game on Saturday after their opponents finished the season in fifth place on the First Division (North) ladder. Both sides were evenly matched, with both defences working hard throughout the first 30 minutes. Up until then the referee had dished out some five yellow cards, some of those being a little unnecessary. In the 31st minute Kingsway took the lead when a through ball found one of their strikers unmarked. The real fun started six minutes later when Armadale's Steve Cann contested possession with an opponent, both appeared to hold each other back and that was needed was for the referee to decide which way the free-kick was to go. Instead the referee dished out two red cards to two Armadale players not involved in the incident, while the original offenders got a yellow each! It goes without saying that this totally changed the complexion of the game. The second half was an uphill battle for the Reds, who also lost David Twigg through injury, as the game deteriorated into a spiteful clash which saw some unnecessary tackles made by both sides. The final 4-0 score line in Olympic's favour was not a true reflection of what could have been a close game if it had been controlled by a 'stronger' referee.
Olympic's win sees them as the only side with a 100% record after two rounds of the First Division Minor Play-off series. Bayswater City stay second despite losing 0-2 at Wanneroo City who move into third. Morley Windmills needed two late goals to stave off a determined fight-back by Balcatta at Wootton Reserve where the final score was 4-1, while Canning City proved too strong for Southside United 2-1. Stirling Suns have opted not to participate in the play-offs, instead they are believed to be focusing their energies on preparing for season 2002.
ILLNESS A PROBLEM FOR KNIGHTS
The Western Knights go into today's Champion of Champions clash with Cockburn City with the very real possibility that they will be without five key players. Struggling to overcome flu are goalkeeper Darren Williams, defender Leon Russell and midfield trio Claus Nielsen, Dean Nicolaou and Carl Medica who have barely stepped outside their front doors this week. Coach Ronnie Campbell reckons it could be a case of first come, first served when he decides on his line-up for the Elimination Final. "We'll obviously wait until the last possible moment before making a decision, but it's not the ideal way to prepare for such a big game," Campbell said. "Cockburn has already beaten us three times this year, so we're definitely going in as underdogs. But we'll have a go. We've got a proud record to protect, for we've made the final of the last three Champion of Champions events."
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS WEEKEND ONE (IN BRIEF)
Cockburn City are through to the next stage of the Top Five play-off series after captain Dean Gartside scored a controversial extra-time golden goal against the Western Knights on Saturday. The Knights domination of the first half saw Scott Devine head them into the lead after 15 minutes. Young wingback Gary Numan brought City back into the game with a 55th minute equaliser, but neither side was able to find the all important second goal in regulation time.
Perth began their defence of the Champion of Champions trophy on Sunday when the defeated arch-rivals Floreat Athena 4-3. Like the previous days contest, this was also decided in golden-goal extra-time with teenager Andreas Oliviera bagging he winner.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS PREVIEW
The Champion of Champions series kicks-off on Saturday at the Kiev Sports Ground with the with do-or-die Elimination Final between Cockburn City and the Western Knights. City go into the clash as favourites having twice defeated the Knights during the home-and-away season, 2-1 on both occasions. They will be looking for another big effort from captain Dean Gartside, and hoping that striker Branimir Mikulic has brought along his scoring boots. But the Knights are never one to underestimate, Scott Devine has been in sensational form this season while up-front Eugene Singeorzan always poses a threat to opposing defences.
The following afternoon at the same venue Perth and Floreat Athena go at it in the Qualifying Final. Both sides are strong all over the park and this game is expected to be decided in midfield where experienced campaigners Doug Ithier and Jason Smith will battle for control with Perth youngsters Robbie Gaspar and Jamie Coyne. Athena have the wood on their opponents this year, defeating them 3-0 and 4-3 in the regular season, although Perth did pip their long-time rivals in the final of the Night Series. With the winner meeting Sorrento next weekend, this will not be a game for the faint-hearted.
The First Division Major Play-offs continue on Saturday with the pick of the bunch being Ashfield and Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve. In other games, Leeming Strikers are at home to leaders Perth City, Stirling Lions host South West Phoenix, and the Dianella White Eagles are on the road to Queens Park.
PUCA HOPING TO BE FIT FOR TRIALS (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
One-time Perth and Eastern Pride midfielder Robbie Puca is hoping to be fully fit when he turns out in a practice game for South Melbourne this coming Saturday. Puca joined pre-season at South on Tuesday but is yet to fully recover from a winter operation. Puca has been treated by South medico's and is responding well. A talented left winger - a scarce commodity in Australian soccer - even if Puca is unable to play Saturday's game, it is expected that South will give him sufficient time to prove himself.
KILKELLY TRIALS IN ENGLAND
Young Inglewood United defender Shaun Kilkelly is currently in the UK where he has been invited to attend the pre-season with English First Division outfit Sheffield Wednesday. Kilkelly, widely regarded as one of the State's rising stars, spent time in England at the conclusion of last years' W.A. season when he impressed coaching staff at both Barnsley and Wallsall. The State Under-19 representative has been a regular fixture at the back for his club this winter and has been earmarked for bigger things.
MCCALLUM SHINES FOR YOUNG MATILDA'S
One-time Joondalup midfielder Collette McCallum was thrilled to pull on the green and gold of the national women's youth team last week in a four-team tournament held in New South Wales. "It was a good feeling," said the teenager who was rated as one of the stars of the Under-19 side. "I wasn't nervous for the first game against Singapore at Pluim Park, but the game against Vietnam was at North Power Stadium and I felt really nervous at that one, especially when they played the national anthems."
McCallum shone in Australia's opening round 10-0 thrashing of Singapore. "The Young Matilda's destroyed the opposition from out wide with Collette McCallum outstanding up the left flank and providing excellent service to the front line" beemed the match report from the Matilda's official website (www.matilda's.org.au). McCallum came off the bench 58 minutes in the 2-5 loss to the N.S.W. Institute of Sport team, but featured heavily a few days later against Vietnam when the Australian side ran out victors 2-0. Playing her second full game in national colours in the space of five days, the young midfielder provided the cross for Catherine Cannuli to open the scoring after just six minutes. Starting on the bench in Saturday's final, McCallum came on after 69 minutes but was unable to turn things around, the Young Matilda's going down 1-2 to the NSWIS.
"I thought we were the better team overall, but because this was our first games together we made some mistakes which cost us goals," the 15-year old said this week. Pleased with the way the team played, McCallum was also happy with her own performances at the tournament. "I felt I played really well against Singapore and Vietnam but I was on the bench against the N.S.W. Institute of Sport. I got a good report from the lady at the Australian and British Soccer Weekly newspaper so I think I played well!"
After her first taste of football for the national team, McCallum said there were plenty of highlights from the week-long event. "Meeting the rest of the players from the other States, training and playing soccer every day, playing at North Power Stadium, there's probably lots more but I can't think of them at the moment." And the ride doesn't stop there, the talented midfielder has a very busy end of the year lined up. "The National Under-17 Championships are at Coffs Harbour in September then I'm going back to Scotland for a holiday in October. The Women's National League starts in November and I hope to play for the New South Wales Sapphires again in that."
AMERICA CALLS FOR SKENDER
Stirling Lions youngster Roko Skender will head to the United States at the end of the year where he will take up a soccer scholarship with either Harvard or Central University in Kentucky. "Soccer in the U.S. has taken off big time, so you never know what might happen if I do well on a scholarship," Skender told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian" this week. The 21-year old midfielder was initially scheduled to touch-down in the U.S. next month, but he has requested that his arrival be delayed until January to allow him to turn out for Murdoch University at next months the Australian University Games in Sydney.
Murdoch recently announced a 13-man squad - which included Skender - to participate in what has become Australia's biggest annual sporting event. It will be the third time the university has taken part in the games which attracts around 6,500 participants. But it was touch and go whether the students would get the funding required to take part. "The Murdoch Guild and the Vice Chancellor played a big part in getting us get there, paying the entry fee, helping us to get the money for the air fares and assisting with fundraising events," Skender said.
Croatian born, Skender came W.A. at the age of six when his parents emigrated to the north-west town of Newman. A few years later the family moved to Perth and Skender spent several years in the Western Knights fertile youth system where he came to the attention of National Soccer League side Melbourne Knights. But his hopes of a career in the NSL were dashed by a cruciate knee ligament injury and he signed on with the Lions for the 2001 winter.
The Murdoch travelling party of the games is - Neil McClure, Rowan Cross, Tom Kroyer, Dominic Pitt, Kelvin Tan, Clayton Kendall, Sasa Gojic (Murdoch University), Roko Skender (Stirling Lions), Michael Hill, Alan Fitzmaurice, Cory Smits, Jason Auci and Dave Hodgeson.
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING?
With increasing uncertainty over the number of clubs that will make up the W.A. Premier League next season, spare a thought for those in the First Division who are currently involved in a play-off series that could prove a fruitless task. There are currently several theories as to the structure of the State League in 2002 doing the rounds at the moment, some of which are -
* a 10-team Premier League where the First Division Major Series winners replace the lowest ranked Premier League club. This was Soccer West Coast's initial plan as announced mid-season, but which is rumoured to have since gone out the window.
* a 12-team Premier League where the top two Major Series finishers are promoted and no-one relegated. The First Division would consist of the remaining 15 clubs plus one newcomer.
* a 14-team Premier League with the top four Major Series finishers promoted and no-one relegated. The First Division would consist of the remaining 13 clubs plus one newcomer.
* a 10-team Premier League where the Major Series winners replace the lowest ranked Premier League club. The First Division would then be split into two conferences - north and south - of 10-teams each with two additional sides in the south and one in the north.
* a 10-team Premier League where the Major Series winners replace the lowest ranked Premier League club. A First Division made up of the relegated Premier League side, the remaining seven Major Series clubs plus the top two First Division Minor Series finishers for a 10-team First Division. The remaining seven clubs plus three newcomers would make up a new Second Division.
There have also been suggestions that SWC will not admit any new teams for season 2002 so, just to confuse matters even more, figure in those options above that include newcomers only remove the new clubs from the equation. All this has lead one state league coach to remark "I've heard so many stories it makes my head spin."
CLUBS LINE UP FOR PERTH'S COLE
Perth defender Aaron Cole looks likely to break into the ranks of the National Soccer League with several clubs currently courting the talented 20-year old. Cole, who walked out on Perth Glory in March, has reportedly been approached by Canberra Cosmos, Adelaide City and Newcastle United for the up-coming NSL season.
FULL STEAM AHEAD FOR INGLEWOOD
While Inglewood United failed to meet their pre-season goals of making the top five play-offs and the Boral Cup Final, coach Steve Parkinson was impressed by the way his young side performed over the winter months. In his first season as a coach in the State's top flight, Parkinson took the club to eighth in the Premier League, while they were losing semi-finalists in both the Night Series and Boral Cup. Parkinson is confident that this season saw the laying of some strong foundations that will serve the club well in the years to come.
"I consider this season to have been acceptable and it should provide a great launching pad for season 2002," Parkinson said this week. "The year has been one of transition which will continue and be completed by the end of next year's Night Series. Planning for 2002 has already started with three new senior players being targeted to strengthen the existing squad. We've also got additional improvements to the training facilities in the pipeline, and there will be a greater focus on next seasons Under-18 team, all of which will be in place by the time pre-season training commences on the 28th December."
GLORY INVITES HOWARTH TO TRY OUT
Perth Glory have invited Perth teenager Todd Howarth to spend this week trailing with the NSL club. The 18-year old left wing-back, who started out with Bayswater City, has had a rapid rise to the top since turning out for the West Australian Schoolboys in 1999. Later that year he represented Australia in the two-game Schoolboys series with New Zealand, while in May this year Howarth was part of the W.A. Under-19 squad that travelled to France to take part in the prestigious Tournai de Croix. At club level Howarth has been one of Perth's most consistent performers over the past couple of seasons, playing a vital role in the club taking out the Champion of Champions play-offs last year and the 2001 Night Series.
GARCIA TOUTED AS THE NEXT BIG THING
West Ham United youngster Richard Garcia is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as he approaches full fitness. The attacking midfielder missed the second half of last season through injury after an impressive period on loan to Leyton Orient where O's boss Tommy Taylor was singing his praises. And the indications are that Garcia could be the next youngster to break into the senior ranks at Upton Park.
Having spent the English summer regaining his fitness, Garcia last week completed is first full game for the Hammers senior side in the 3-1 friendly win over Rushden and Diamonds. "It was great, my first game in the full squad," he says. "You have to start at the bottom and work your way up and especially after my injury my fitness has not been the best. But the physios have got me back to scratch and hopefully I can keep going."
More recently the former Australian junior representative saw out the full 90 minutes for a West Ham XI who cruised to victory at Farnborough Town. Garcia scored twice in the 3-1 triumph which lead reserves boss Roger Cross to comment: "The performance was very pleasing - there was good passing and movement, and we could have scored a lot more. The goals were good, and Richard's second was fantastic." That goal was a stunning right-foot drive which rocketed into the far corner from Garcia's position wide on the right flank.
SCHOOLS TEAMS PRODUCE THE GOODS
The Central Coast Soccer Association was the host of this year's Australian Schools Championships which took place last week in Pluim Park, Lisarow, and North Power Stadium, Gosford. Once again all states and territories were represented in the championships that featured both Schoolboys and Schoolgirls events over the week commencing Sunday 5th August.
The Schoolboys kicked-off their tournament at Pluim Park with a fighting 1-2 loss to New South Wales on Sunday, Rhys Graham scoring for the team from the west with Shane Nunes voted the sides best player. The Western Australian boys got their campaign back on track the following afternoon when they took maximum points from the clash with Victoria, best on field Graham netted the only goal of the game after 73 minutes.
At the end of Day Three of competition, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales were tied at the top of the ladder, both yet to lose a game. But breathing down their necks were Western Australian who continued to improve, this time too strong for South Australia by a 2-0 margin. With goalkeeper Mitchell Gregory outstanding, Graham bagged his third goal in as many games after just 18 minutes and Damian Catalano sealed the win in the 74th minute.
After a day off, the Schoolboys tournament re-commenced on Thursday at North Power Stadium where Western Australia were held 2-2 by Queensland, effectively ending their slim hopes of taking out the title. Man-of-the-match Catalano pulled one back for Western Australia three minutes after half-time, while defender Dino Djulbic converted from the spot shortly after half-time. The final day of action saw the teams return to Pluim where the Australian Capital Territory wrapped up the trophy with a resounding 4-0 win over Western Australia, James Hesketh named our best player. New South Wales claimed second by defeating South Australia 3-1 and Victoria finished third after a 1-0 win over Queensland.
"This was one of our best teams over the last five years," said happy coach Tony Ratcliffe after the side returned to Perth. "There were high quality performances from everyone and the depth that we had in the squad a outstanding. It was the first time that we have beaten South Australia in at least five years, and the second year in a row that we've beaten Victoria, who are traditionally a strong team. The boys worked hard and were consistent in their dedication throughout the event and that was reflected in us narrowly missing out on the bronze medal." Rockingham City defender Nunes was named in the Australian Schoolboys squad after the final day of activity, with Djulbic, Catalano, Graham and Scott Bulloch in the shadow squad.
The 2001 West Australian Schoolboys squad was Mitchell Gregory, Shane Nunes (Rockingham City), Matt Donlevy, Matt Aitken, Paul Baczynski, Daniel Arias (Inglewood United), Peter Koidis, Damian Catalano, Dario Bukara, Dino Djulic, Rhys Graham, Gianni Papalia (Perth S.C.), Stefan Stolseki (Stirling Suns), Scott Bulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup), Evan Melis (Balcatta) and James Hesketh (Cockburn City). The team official were Tony Ratcliffe (coach), Toby Wright (assistant coach) and Aric Foreman (manager).
The opening match of the Schoolgirls tournament saw Western Australia account for the Northern Territory 3-0 at Pluim Park. Monday was a busy day for the girls from the west, in the morning they accounted for South Australia 3-0, following this with a victory over Queensland by the same margin later in the day. After having Tuesday off, the girls side hammered seven past the Australian Capital Territory without reply to shoot to the top of the table.
Western Australia continued on their winning way on Thursday, thrashing Victoria 6-0. But New South Wales kept the pressure on, downing South Australia 6-0 and Victoria 4-0 to also remain undefeated going into the final day. This set up the trophy deciding showdown between New South Wales and Western Australia in which only one goal separated the side after 90 minutes, that being scored by New South Wales. The girls from the west finished the tournament as runners-up with Queensland coming in third. p> 11.8.2001
BORAL CUP SEMI-FINALS (Inglewood United vs Perth report provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
The weekend saw the semi-finals of the Boral Cup take place, Saturday's game pitting Floreat Athena against Cockburn City at the Kiev Sports Ground. Disappointing in their final three games of the home-and-away season, Athena were looking for a big improvement in form and the return of experienced campaigner Doug Ithier from long-term injury was just the tonic coach John Hunter ordered. But for his counterpart Laslo Koroknai, there was plenty to be concerned about. Key players Dragan Njegic and Davorin Svirac were out, Cup-tied to the Dianella White Eagles and Swan I.C. respectively, while Craig Anderson and Paul Cooke went into the fixture carrying minor injuries.
City started the game with only one thing in mind and that was to grab the lead as early as possible. Inside the opening four minutes they'd won as many corners and it was the second of these, a dipping in-swinger from Joshua Pescud, that the came closest, Athena 'keeper Anthony Mori finger-tipping the attempt over the top. A 6th minute Pescud free-kick was punched clear of Boza Erakovic by Mori, the ball came back to Pescud who again swung into the box and this time the Athena 'keeper took it cleanly as Branimir Mikulic bore down on him. On the left flank Gary Numan was proving a difficult customer with some darting runs, in the 8th minute leaving Hugh Miller for dead before seeing defender Troy Bernard come close to turning his low ball past Mori.
Numan again found himself in space after 10 minutes only for Miller to happily concede a corner. Pescud knocked it high into the dangerzone where Anderson's explosive header flew narrowly the wrong side of the up-right. With their opponents showing obvious signs of being rattled, City were unfortunately unable to maintain their opening onslaught and slowed the pace down. Rather than going hell-for-leather down the flanks, the southerners were now able to control play via intelligent use of the ball coming out of the centre where Pescud and captain Dean Gartside were shaping up as key figures.
Mori came to Athena's rescue in the 19th minute when he made a courageous diving save at the feet of Numan after he pounced on a ball which ricocheted off a defender. Shortly after Athena lost Miller to a thigh injury after he was heavily taken down by Gartside when contesting possession. Dave Evans then clumsily brought down Cooke and was lucky not to be booked. Likewise Costa Socratous who came in very late on Numan. City 'keeper Dino Pacella also escaped unscathed when he was pulled up for handball after 24 minutes, Jason Smith sent his sides clearest shot yet wide of the six-man City wall and the target.
Although much of the play was in their favour, City were finding clear chances on goal hard to come by as the opposing backline stood firm. But their persistence finally paid dividends in the 25th minute. Scott Bailey turned the ball over in midfield and made his way between three defenders before unleashing a powerful drive which Mori could only parry and, never one to need a second invitation, Cooke sprinted in and slotted the loose ball over the line from close-range to make it one-nil.
The effect of going a goal behind was near instantaneous on Athena. Their no-nonsense midfielders stepped up a gear when challenging for possession, and wingbacks Socratous and Miguel Ortin pushed forward with new found determination to provide their attackers with plenty of ammunition. Ortin's looping cross was headed just over by Ryan Newhill. Smith sent a hopeful long-range effort straight onto the chest of Pacella, who was also called upon to keep Ortin's volley from crossing the line. Six minutes from the interval Athena got their result - Socratous' corner saw Ithier denied from close-range by Pacella's sharp reflexes but there was little the 'keeper could do as Dyers tucked away the rebound.
Athena came out after the break a more focused side with Socratous taking up a central midfield position and Ithier replacing him on the wing. Their attacks over the opening 15 minutes relied largely on clipping the ball over the opposing defence for Dyers and Newhill to run on to, but with Pacella quick off his line and an ever alert back-three, there was little for City to be concerned. It was a similar story down the other end where wingers Numan and Pescud sent the ball into the area with frequency only to find an Athena player on almost every occasion.
As the half progressed Athena took hold of the game. In the 58th minute Bernard ran the ball out of defence and, with the defence backing off, his searing drive ended a metre wide of Pacella's left post. Three minutes later there was real panic in the City backline. Smith flicked the ball over the defence to Newhill whose poorly directed shot spilled into the 6-yard box, presenting Dyers with an open goal but his effort was blocked by Anderson, and Pacella dived on the ball as Newhill lined up for a second bite. Not long after Dyers teed-up Newhill, his powerful shot skimming the playing surface and skidding just wide.
The outcome of the game was decided in a four minute spell midway through the half. Anderson was pulled up for obstruction on Socratous in the 73rd minute and Ithier drilled the resulting free-kick from 18-metres against the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. Breaking into the area in the 77th minute, Smith's attempted cross struck Adam on the hand and, somewhat harshly, referee Wayne Oldham pointed to the spot. Ithier confidently stepped up and sent the 'keeper the wrong way for his second goal of the afternoon.
Two goals down, City refused to concede the game and would trade attacks with Athena in the time remaining. Gartside was twice denied from close-range, the midfielders initial shot was blocked by Mori and he couldn't find a way through a sea of legs with the follow-up. Newhill rocketed the ball narrowly high after being released by Socratous in the 82nd minute, and 60-seconds later Adam made a desperate goal line clearance when Dyers' header lobbed over Pacella, bound for the top corner. The ball was quickly relayed to Pescud at the other end, his cross found Simon Henderson whose header flicked inches high. A minute from full-time Henderson knocked the ball into the path of Bailey but he scooped it over the bar from 15-metres. And in the final move of the afternoon Ithier put Newhill through with only the 'keeper to beat, Pacella showing great composure to smother at his feet.
Although they rarely featured in the opening half-hour, the final 3-1 margin in favour of Athena was deserved. They came back into the game through the midfield muscle of Smith, Socratous and Ithier who effectively steered control away from their opponents and pretty much cut City's central players out of the game after the interval. Pescud showed a lot of early promise but was unable to carry that into the second half, and young winger Numan could not have failed to catch the eye Frank Arok, Glory's youth development manager, who was in the crowd.
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Dusan Macura, Steve Adam, Craig Anderson (Jason Faria 81),
Scott Bailey, Gary Numan, Boza Erakovic (Simon Henderson 81), Dean Gartside (Mileta Miletic 81),
Joshua Pescud, Paul Cooke, Branimir Mikulic
Floreat Athena : Anthony Mori, Troy Bernard, Dave Evans, Hugh Miller (Peter Nikoloski 21), Miguel Ortin (Jamie D'Arcy 85), Costa Socratous (Andrew Afkos 85), Adrian Sutton, Jason Smith, Doug Ithier, Robyn Dyers, Ryan Newhill
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : Adam (73)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 450 (approx.)
At the Litis Stadium on Sunday Perth faced local rivals Inglewood United in the other semi-final. It was United's fourth game in eight days, and their task was made all the more difficult with four regulars - Elton Holmes, Sean Kilkelly, Rory Moutett and Daniel Harrop - absent for a variety of reasons. Perth went on the attack from the outset but the best of the early chances came the way of their opponents, a fierce drive by midfielder Scott Campbell forcing goalkeeper Robert Scarporolo to save superbly after 17 minutes. Twelve minutes later Perth took the lead when Boni Botha headed Vince Tana's corner back across goal and defender Aaron Cole nodded it over the line. Robbie Gaspar had a great opportunity to put his side two goal up when he went through with only the 'keeper to beat, Oliver Taseski coming off his line quickly to rescue his team. United suffered a further blow when striker Paul Lincoln didn't return for the second half due to injury.
Perth had the better of play after the interval which saw Taseski by far the busier of the two 'keepers, the teenager producing another great save to deny Jamie Coyne. For their part, United were restricted to only scattered chances in the second half as their opponent's defence stood firm. Their best move of the game saw State Schoolboy representative Daniel Arias's blistering drive whistle past the upright. "Our fourth game in eight days finally caught up with us," United coach Steve Parkinson said at the end of the day. "It was a little disappointing that we just did not play to our potential against Perth, especially after so many good performances over the last couple of months. But, still, to play so poorly against a strong Perth team and only lose one-nil."
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP
The First Division Major Play-off series got underway on Saturday with the ultimate prize a spot in the top flight come season 2002. At Kingsway Sporting Complex, First Divison (North) champions Perth City hosted a South West Phoenix side missing First Division (South) leading scorer Savo Garic who was ruled out through work commitments. Out to show they weren't in the finals just to make up the numbers, Phoenix effectively restricted their opponents over the opening 15 minutes only to go a goal down with City's first push into the 18-yard box. Jason Hope was denied by the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite, but the visiting defence were not quite as quick to the loose ball and Hope quickly found David Fyfe who made it one-nil. Phoenix up the tempo to control play and were back on level terms in the 30th minute. Stephen Waycott knocked it wide to David Suttie whose low ball across the top of the 6-yard box evaded Stephen Suttie but not Greg Hayes who tucked it past Mark Wiseman in the City goal. Ten minutes later Phoenix could have taken the lead, Brett Norrie and David Suttie teeing-up Waycott whose rising shot went over the crossbar.
City started the second half with more aggression but constantly turned back by Phoenix' strong backline. A dubious penalty decision against Damien Trim saw the home side restore their lead, Jamie Hopkis making no mistake from the spot after 50 minutes. The introduction of Jacob Fewster and Adam Spinelli saw the pendulum swing back in favour of the visitors. Mid-way through the half City had a golden opportunity to seal the game only to hit the post when it looked an easier task to find the target. With ten minutes remaining Norrie, who had a great afternoon up-front, sent a blistering long-range free-kick narrowly high. Phoenix had to wait until the 85th minute to get their second equaliser of the day. Substitute Andrew Cowley breaking down the left before crossing to the far post where captain Stephen Rodgers timed his run to perfection and headed it into the back of Wiseman's net. A few minutes later Stephen Suttie latched onto a searching pass and cut the ball inside to Cowley whose first time shot flew straight to the 'keeper. The final two-all score line sounded a clear warning to the rest of the Major Series field that Phoenix will be pushing very hard to spend their second season in Soccer West Coast ranks in the Premier League.
Rockingham City had little trouble in accounting for the Dianella White Eagles 4-0 at home, Graham Matthews bagging a hat-trick and Bryan Hastie completing the route. In other games the Stirling Lions drew 1-1 with the Leeming Strikers, while honours were also shared at Queens Park where they drew 2-2 with Ashfield.
One down, six to go. That's what Armadale should be thinking after defeating Wanneroo City at home in the opening round of the Minor Play-offs on Saturday. It didn't take the reds long to assert their dominance over their opponents from up north and in the 21st minute a great one-two combination between Darren Ingham and Jason Goodwin gave the former the simplest of goals to give the home side the lead. Wanneroo rarely troubled the home defence over the course of the game, while at the other end of the park the visitors were thankful of Armadale's wasteful finishing as they pressed to extend the margin. It was the same story after the break with Armadale laying seige on their opponents goal but unable to get the ball in the net. While the final whistle signaled a home win, the Reds may rue their missed chances should the final standings come down to goal difference.
At Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater City dumped Morley Windmills 5-1 in the local derby. A tense opening half ended with both teams scoring in the dying minutes to go in even at the break. Three minutes into the new half and Bayswater were reduced to ten men which saw Windmills dominate possession for the rest of the game but unable to convert their chances. The home side on the other hand made the most of their limited opportunities to run out victors 5-1, Michael Catalano bagging a double with Paul Da San Martino, Matthew Novatsis and Nick Tartaglia also finding the target. Bayswater Coach Salv Todoro was pleased as punch with his troops after the game. "We had a player sent off early in the second half when the score was still 1-1, so with 10 players we kept to our game plan and everyone pulled together to make it hard for Morley. It was a very pleasing result," Todoro said. "It's good to finally get some reward for all the hard work that the boys put in at training. After a frustrating season we are looking to finish it off with some good results."
In other Minor series results, Canning City lost 1-3 at home to a powerful Kingsway Olympic outfit, Armadale downed Wanneroo City 1-0, and Balcatta drew with Southside United 1-1. Stirling Suns had the bye.
BORAL CUP SEMI-FINALS (IN BRIEF)
Floreat Athena are through to this years Boral Cup Final after defeating Cockburn City 3-1 on Saturday. Paul Cooke gave the southerner's the lead after 25 minutes only for Robyn Dyers to put Athena back on level terms shortly before the interval. Doug Ithier booked Athena's place in the decider when he found the net twice in the space of four minutes midway through the second half.
Their opponents in the 9th September final will be Perth who knocked out Inglewood United in Sunday's other semi-final, 20-year old defender Aaron Cole heading in the only goal of the afternoon after 28 minutes.
DON'T BELIEVE THE TYPE
Despite what you may have read, Sunday's Boral Cup semi-final clash between Inglewood United and Perth SC will take place at Litis Stadium, NOT Kiev Sports Ground as widely publicised. It appears that fixture was switched to Litis Stadium at very late notice, and the powers that be have once again failed to notify the local soccer community of the change.
YOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR IS ...
A big thank you to everyone that cast a vote in the 2001 W.A. Soccer Website Player of the Year. We received an overwhelming response to the poll that opened three weeks ago in which our readers were asked to nominate their top three performers over the recently completed Premier League season. It can now be revealed that the 2001 W.A. Soccer Website Player of the Year - as voted by the players , coaches and supporters of the local game - is Cockburn City striker Branimir Mikulic.
Mikulic, who also ended the season as the Premier League's leading scorer, finished well clear of the rest of the field with 30 votes. In his first season with Floreat Athena, striker Ryan Newhill came in a distant second on 17 and was closely followed by Western Knights skipper Scott Devine on 16 and Sorrento's Michael Garcia with 14 votes. Troy Bernard (Athena) and Andreas Oliviera (Perth) tied for sixth place with 10 votes apiece, while a further vote behind them was Robyn Dyers (Athena) and Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City/Perth Glory).
BORAL CUP SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW
This weekend sees the semi-finals of the Boral Cup. Things get underway on Saturday when Floreat Athena and Cockburn City meet at the Kiev Sports Ground, kick-off at 3.00pm. After strong performances during the winter, both sides dropped off the pace towards the end of the regular season, something they'll be looking to reserve on Saturday. Cockburn go into the clash as favourites having twice defeated their opponents in the League this year, but Athena are never a team to underestimate. The Reserves game pits Fremantle City against ECU Joondalup (kick-off 1.00pm) while the same two clubs meet in the Under-18's which gets underway at 11.15am.
The following afternoon at the Litis Stadium Inglewood United take on against Perth in the local derby. Perth are favoured to progress to the decider having run out victorious twice over United in the Premier League and the club are undefeated over the past month. United last week knocked League champions Sorrento out of the competition and will be hoping to add Perth to their list of scalps. The Reserves game features Sorrento and Perth, while in the Under-18's First Division Perth City take on strong Perth.
SORRY FIRST DIVISIONER'S
We'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for our lack of coverage on the First Division play-off series' which get underway this weekend. Twice in recent weeks we have contacted Soccer West Coast and requested the fixtures for the major and minor finals, as well as details on how they will impact upon next season's competition. Unfortunately, on both occasions our plea for information appears to have fallen on deaf ears. As a consequence we are unable to provide our planned preview of this weekend's First Division play-off games.
SWAN CAPTAIN REFLECTS ON SEASON
After a successful top flight return in 2000, things didn't quite go according to plan this year for Swan I.C, finishing the regular season in tenth place and relegated from the Premier League. A feature of the Swan first team since the age of sixteen, club captain Carlo Scali spoke to us this week about the 2001 campaign. "Obviously the season has been disappointing," Scali told us. "Last year I think we won our first six games and this year we didn't win one until round fourteen. We had a bad start to the season and we just couldn't turn it around. We changed coaches during the year, lost quite a few players from the previous year and we really needed to rebuild all over again."
In reality Swan were never that far off the pace this season, but their stumbling block was a continued inability to punish opponents by tucking the ball into the back of the net. "That has been the case for the whole year," the 30-year midfielder said. "We have played very well at times and not been able to convert that into goals, and you can't win games if you don't score. An example - I had a perfect opportunity to score against Perth when it was nil-all, I missed, Perth went forward, had a half-chance and scored. That happened to us too often this season. We also let ourselves down defensively, when I say defensively I mean the whole team as a defensive unit not our defence. We gave away too many silly goals, you have to make teams earn their goals."
Another obstacle Swan had to overcome was several changes in personnel, not just in terms of players. "Coaching changes obviously effect teams," Scali said in reference to Swan having gone through three coaches in the past ten months. "Coaches have their own styles and also like different types of players. So when a change of coach occurs some players will be brought in by the coach, and other players will leave - some to follow the old coach and others that don't fit in to the new coaches plans. Players then need to adapt to the new coaches techniques, while he needs to become accustomed to the type of players he has available. All this takes time and we ran out of time this year. The number of changes in players we had this year was considerable and directly effected our stability and our squad depth. Without a strong squad - at least 17 players - any team will struggle, especially with injuries and suspensions."
Few would disagree that Scali was one of the stand-out players for Swan in 2001 with a number of man-of-the-match performances, but the midfielder refuses to look at his season through the same rose-tinted glasses. "I certainly was not happy with my season," he said. "I think that a player in my position and with my experience should be able to affect the result of a game. I have played well at times - like the team - but not well enough to turn games and score goals. I scored one goal this year and we did win that game, so had I scored a few more goals I like to think that we would have won more games. Also, due to a lack of personnel, I have played in positions not best suited to my game, it may be time to retire or change."
GLORY TARGET LOCALS
NSL powerhouse Perth Glory this week invited five players from the ranks of the W.A. Premier League to participate in their pre-season activities. The players are Sorrento pair Micheal Garcia and Neil Young, Cockburn City striker Branimir Mikulic, Gareth Deeg (ECU Joondalup and Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.). It is believed that several others will also be invited to try out with the club over coming weeks.
Garcia, who trained with Glory this week, previously spent two years on the books with the club but left at the end of the 1998/99 season to pursue his career in Europe when a series of injuries prevented him from joining English club Barnsley. After a short spell with Marine Castle United in Singapore, was followed by time with ECU Joondalup and Sorrento on the local scene. "I always rated Michael, and if he's hungry this might just be the perfect opportunity for him," new Glory coach Mich D'Avray said early in the week.
20-year old Mikulic, whose club face Floreat Athena in the semi-finals of the Boral Cup on Saturday, also spent time with Glory this week. In his second season with Cockburn, Mikulic has been in inspirational form and ended the home-and-away series in top of the local scoring charts. "Branimir is big, strong, aggressive and young, so we'll have a good look at him," the Glory coach told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian".
Goalkeepers Young, Deeg and Hugo are expected to trial next week. With the possibility that both Jason Petkovic and Tony Franken will be involved with the national team during the season, the NSL side are keen to add to their goalkeeping stocks. 21-year old Young played a key role in Sorrento's first Premier League championship this year, while Deeg and Hugo, who are both 22, have also impressed at their respective clubs. "Whoever does get signed won't just be coming in to make up the numbers - I'll be expecting them to push hard and be competitive for the top job," D'Avray said.
INGLEWOOD-FREMANTLE ENDS EVEN
The honours were shared at the Kiev Sports Ground on Wednesday night when Inglewood United hosted a young Fremantle City outfit in the final game of the 2001 Premier League season. In a game postponed from Round Seven, the home side started the stronger and could have been three goals to the better after creating a string of first half chances. Midfielder Scott Campbell squandered a golden opportunity by missing an open goal from close-range, and not long after Robert Zabica made a world-class save to keep out a superb Andy Cornmell volley. United's Louis Parkinson got his name on the scoresheet for the second time in three weeks, but his effort was canceled out when an error by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski saw Jason Godfrey hook the ball into his own net when attempting a desperate goal line clearance. City had their chances to take the game after the interval but were unable to make the most of their opportunities, and at the end of the night the one-all score line was a fair result for both sides.
CHAMPIONS GO FOR GLORY
Recently crowned Premier League champions Sorrento will play NSL side Perth Glory in a charity match at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday 30th September. It will be Glory's final warm-up game before they commence the 2001/02 NSL season the following week. All proceeds from the day will go towards the Asthma Research Program at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
CLEARANCES COME THROUGH
Those players caught up in the 'clearance scandal' which rocked the local game this season have finally been given the green light to resume playing for their respective clubs. According to several club insiders, Soccer West Coast have now received confirmation from Soccer Australia that the players' international clearances have come through and that their registration will stand for the remainder of the season.
TANA WANTS UNIFIED APPROACH
In the light of Ian Knop's appointment as Soccer Australia chairman on the weekend, Perth Glory co-owner Nick Tana has pleaded for an end to the constant bickering within the game which has held back it's development and called for a unified approach to within the code. "There is so much good in the game that has been buried under political in-fighting," said Tana. "Now it is time to concentrate on the positives. Soccer is the biggest junior code in Australia, it is the biggest sport in the world."
Tana said he was ready to sit down and discuss the game at all levels with the aim being to take soccer to a new level of success. The Glory chairman stated the club is prepared to help Western Australian soccer in any way it could and made it clear that in the right climate a new home for Glory could also be a new home for soccer in the State. "I can say now that if the Leederville Stadium project gets the go-ahead then Perth Glory will offer the facilities for use by local soccer. It will not be just Perth Glory but the code across the State that will reap the benefits."
"The same is true of new Perth Glory Development Program under Frank Arok, where 180 or so young players will get top class skills coaching to complement the existing work they are doing with established clubs. If we produce 180 better players then that raises standards across all competitions in W.A. Perth Glory has shown a real commitment to Western Australian soccer and will continue to do so. Those who share a common vision for the common good of the game will find us willing partners. I am not interested in old grudges. Now is the time to move forward together to the next level."
CARBONE JOINS STRIKERS
Former Perth Glory wing-back John Carbone has joined the Brisbane Strikers on a two-year deal. The recently turned 24-year old was released by Glory at the end of last season after making 49 appearances for the club since his signing in August 1998. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport and member of Australia's 1997 Under-17 World Championship squad, Carbone has played locally for Perth and Floreat Athena.
BALGA CELEBRATE 30 YEARS
Balga Soccer Club are set to celebrate their 30th Anniversary with a big dinner and dance night at the club. Taking place on Friday 24th August, the club extend an invitation to players past and present to join in a night to remember. With tickets priced at just $15.00 each, those interested in attending are asked to book and paid for them by Sunday 19th. More information can be found via Balga's new website - https://balgasc.tripod.com/news.html - or by phoning 9342 9587.
RHODES STARTS IN STYLE
Having spent the off-season staying fit by training with Cambridge Harriers, 15-year old Jordan Rhodes this week goes into his second week of Charlton Athletic's pre-season schedule. Last week Rhodes saw out the full 90 minutes of both the Academy teams friendlies. On Wednesday (01/08) he was part of the side that defeated a touring New South Wales 6-1 team, and two days later was involved in a tight 1-0 win over the American Superclub team.
SPINELLI CLOSE TO ATHENA RETURN
Bunbury-born Adrian Spinelli has not had an up and down debut season for Floreat Athena. A former State junior representative who has spent time with Fiorentina in Italy before spells with Perth and Ashfield/Bunbury locally, Spinelli's season has been interrupted by a series of niggling injuries. "At the moment I'm getting over an ankle injury but I'm hoping to be fully fit within one to two weeks," the young midfielder said. "I'm hoping to get involved in the finals and really looking forward to playing the full season next year."
Athena were at one stage shaping up to challenge for the regular season title after an amazing mid-season run of results, but they dropped off the pace over the final few weeks of the season to finish in third place. "We're satisfied with our position, it's a vast improvement on last season for the club," Spinelli said. "John Hunter is a great coach and, considering the number of injuries that we had throughout the year, to end in third is a fair result. Unfortunately the last three results proved to be the difference between first and third for us."
TWO MAKE JOEYS SQUAD
Perth lads Anthony Danze and Darren Broxton have made the 20-man Australian squad for the up-coming Under-17 World Championship which is being staged in Trinidad and Tobago next month. Danze, who is currently on the books with Perth Glory, has spent much of this year at the Australian Institute of Sport while Broxton is about to enter his second season with English Premier League side Southampton.
THERE'S HOPE FOR US SAYS SCHRANDT
West Australia's bid to get a second team in the National Soccer League is still alive despite the removal of Tony Labbozetta from the board of Soccer Australia on the weekend. In-coming chairman Ian Knop told representatives of the Soccer Administration of W.A. that if it could be shown a second team would succeed in Perth the national body would look carefully at the proposition.
"What's been relayed to us is that he has asked for more market research to be carried out," Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian". "Our own research indicates it can work, so if we can satisfy these new demands maybe there's hope for us. I don't know. I thought at first it was a setback and I'm still stunned. But you've got to be positive and maybe some good will come out of it. I still believe, despite what some people say, there is a good demand for a second team to give our State clubs a direct link to the NSL."
ADELAIDE CITY LINKED WITH MATASSA (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
With first-choice goalkeeper Adrian Cagalj trialling in Europe with Sheffield United, Adelaide City have been linked with former Australia youth international keeper Vince Matassa. The one-time Gippsland Falcons and Perth Glory shot-stopper has been playing in England for the past two years in the competitive Conference League with Basingstoke and more recently Woking. Adelaide media reports suggest City are ready to bring the big West Australian back to the National League. Such was Matassa's form last season that he was considered for the England squad for an international against Holland last March.
TRIBUNAL TO DECIDE SEASON?
The W.A. Premier League season could be thrown into turmoil if current rumblings are any indication. It is believed that Swan I.C., who ended the season in 10th place, have begun proceedings which could force Soccer West Coast into setting-up a tribunal to investigate allegations that several top flight clubs fielded ineligible players during the 2001 campaign. Suggestions are that, based on precedents set in Europe, the four teams the accusations have been levelled at - Sorrento, Western Knights, ECU Joondalup and Bassendean Caledonian - could all be deducted Premiership points if found guilty. Such an outcome would radically change this season's final standings, potentially stripping Sorrento of their first regular season title and turning the Top Five play-offs into little more than an end-of-season farce.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA ELECT NEW CHAIRMAN
In a move that has taken Australia's soccer community by surprise, Tony Labbozzetta has been dumped from the chairman's position on the board of Soccer Australia and replaced by Ian Knop who was previously chairman of Canberra Cosmos and a member of the NSL Executive. The vote to remove Labbozzetta was taken at Saturday's extraordinary general meeting that was recently called by games stakeholders.
It is believed that the vote against Labbozzetta, who was widely favoured to be retained as chairman, was 39 to 20 with one abstention. He lost the majority of support of the New South Wales delegates, along with those from Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory as well as the votes of the referees and West Australian amateurs. Only six of the fourteen NSL clubs were for Labbozzetta. The stakeholders that did remain with him were two delegates from N.S.W., four from W.A. and five Tasmanians, along with the solitary votes of the Northern Territory delegate and the N.S.W. amateurs.
INGLEWOOD MAKE CUP SEMI'S
Inglewood United have progressed to the last four of this season's Boral Cup after defeating Sorrento 3-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday. Just 24 hours earlier, the two clubs fought out an entertaining one-all draw at the ground that saw Sorrento crowned League champions for the first time. Paul Lincoln gave the visitors the lead after 10 minutes with a clever glancing header that caught 'keeper Neil Young by surprise. Six minutes later Kevin Murphy put Sorrento back on level terms when he superbly headed Michael Garcia's cross past Oliver Taseski. The home side struggled to re-discover the drive they showed in the League clash and two converted penalties from midfielder Andy Cornmell - in the 36th and 55th minutes - saw United book a place in the semi-finals next weekend.
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana has lost his seat as the affiliates representative on the Soccer Administration of W.A. board, his place taken by referees' representative Louis Prospero. Glory's continued refusal to pay affiliation fees to the State body is believed to be the reason for his departure.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHTEEN (Perth vs ECU Joondalup report provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
One point was all Sorrento needed from Saturday's final round clash with Inglewood United to win the Premier League championship for the first time in their history. But a Sorrento loss, coupled with a win by Perth, would see all the celebrations take place at Dorrien Gardens. The Seagulls had a couple of notable absentees going into the game, namely key defenders Danny Hill and Scott McLeod, who broke his arm against ECU Joondalup seven days earlier. With the two sides going at it again 24 hours later in the Boral Cup semi-finals, United coach Steve Parkinson opted to leave talented youngsters Ryan Fredericks, Greg Sharland and Louis Parkinson on the bench for this fixture.
Sorrento's nerves were in abundance from the opening kick, permitting United to control the opening stages with wide players John Bartolomei and Andy Cornmell featuring heavily. But for all their possession and enterprise, the visitors never really looked like opening the scoring with their clearest opportunities best described as half-chances. In the 5th minute Rory Mouttet managed to out-muscle an opponent and head the ball weakly into the arms of an expectant Neil Young, and not long after Bartolomei's hopeful long-range effort didn't require a response from the Sorrento custodian.
The home team eventually got over their jitters and began to knock the ball around with growing confidence. Shaun Bowyer and Peter Butler slowly started to assert some authority in the middle as the side went forward via some elegant one- and two-touch moves, and it wasn't long before the United defence found themselves under pressure. Butler fended off an opponent just outside the 18-yard box in the 10th minute and slotted to Ross Greer, the striker finishing poorly by placing his shot wide. Four minutes later Ryan Jeans squared to Greer who this time got it on target only to find Oliver Taseski well-placed to make the save. And on the quarter hour mark two defenders clashed when challenging for a long clearance by Young, Jared Love raced away with only Taseski to beat but the teenage 'kept out Love's low shot with an effective but none to pretty save.
With the pendulum having now swung firmly in Sorrento's favour, the home team would dominate possession for the remainder of the half only to find the United backline, in particular Taseski, on top of their game. After 24 minutes Butler's high ball out of the middle was superbly chested down by Greer just outside the area, his rocketing shot catching Taseski unsighted until the last moment when he pulled out a spectacular diving save. Six minutes later Kevin Murphy was presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but he skied the ball over the bar. Michael Garcia was a key feature for Sorrento on the wing, and in the 33rd minute latched onto a long searching pass which he sent across the face of goal after Jamie Goodman and Jason Godfrey forced him wide.
Although the better chances came the way of the home side, United continued to push forward only to be turned away time and time again by Sorrento's defensive combination of Richard Turnbull, Stuart Banks and Murphy. But in the 40th minute that trio was breached. Breaking on the counter-attack, Elton Holmes low drive was tipped around the post by a diving Young. Scott Campbell floated the resulting corner in and, in a goalmouth scramble, Paul Lincoln was denied by the quick reflexes of the Sorrento 'keeper who was then powerless as Holmes rammed the loose ball over the line. The goal came completely against the flow of play and Sorrento's players were left stunned going into the break.
Steve Neville obviously had some stern words for his side in the changerooms and Sorrento started the second half fired up and in search of an equalising goal. Two minutes into the new half Glenn Thomas was sent down the right by Butler, his mis-hit cross catching Taseski by surprise as it slammed into the base of his near post. Sixty seconds later Murphy rose high above a crowd of players inside the 6-yard box to meet Garcia's free-kick, the defender nodding it past Taseski and inside the far post to bring the home team back into the game.
Being level was not enough for Sorrento and in the 56th minute they had a great chance to take the lead. Jeans rounded teenager Shaun Kilkelly, drew another defender then laid it off to Garcia whose low shot flew past the 'keeper only to rocket back into play off the post. For the next 20 minutes United were forced onto the back foot as the Seagulls searched for the goal that would clinch their first title. However, Goodman, Kilkelly and Jason Godfrey were in no mood to hand the game to their opponents and worked hard to cut Sorrento's forwards out of the game with some timely interceptions, and by limiting manoeuvrability in their third of the pitch.
It wasn't until late in the game that Sorrento were allowed a clear look at goal. Substitute David Foster looked sure to make it 2-1 when he beat Goodman to a long ball played over the defence in the 78th minute, but Taseski again kept his side in the game with another stunning save. A minute later Love evaded a lunging Greg Sharland tackle and looped the ball to the near post where Greer's flying header went narrowly wide. But with it seeming like only a matter of time before they scored, Sorrento backed off and went on the defensive, safe in the knowledge that they didn't need another goal to make the trophy theirs.
This easing off saw United seize the initiative once again. In the 84th minute Goodman made a strong run out of defence only for his drive to be deflected wide for a corner. Four minutes later another United corner caught Sorrento ball-watching but Alex Cummings' free header flew straight to Young. In between, there were several hacking clearances made from inside the 18-yard box by the home side, but the reality is that they were focused 100% on the task at hand and did exactly what needed to be done to see out the game.
After several tense minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle of referee Angelo Nardi was greeted by hysteria. The Sorrento players, who had controlled this game for much of the 90 minutes, danced in joy in front of a jubilant home crowd before club captain Banks was handed the trophy. While the final score suggests an even game, it was largely through the efforts of Taseski that the game ended with points shared. Others that impressed for the visitors were Campbell and Goodman. Sorrento's dominance of the game was down to the hard work of midfielders Butler and Bowyer, while down the right flank Garcia proved much of the ammunition in attack. Today belonged entirely to Sorrento who finish the season one point clear of Perth to lift their first ever regular season trophy.
Sorrento. : Neil Young, Richard Turnbull, Stuart Banks, Kevin Murphy, Jared Love, Michael Garcia,
Peter Butler, Glenn Thomas, Shaun Bowyer, Ross Greer, Ryan Jeans (David Foster 72)
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Jamie Goodman, Jason Godfrey, Shaun Kilkelly, John Bartolomei (Drew Carruthers 63), Andy Cornmell (Greg Sharland 70), Alex Cummings, Scott Campbell, Rory Mouttet, Paul Lincoln, Elton Holmes (Louis Parkinson 70)
Referee : Angelo Nardi
Cautions : Bartolomei (51), Bowyer (54)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
Perth swept aside ECU Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens winning 4-1 in the last round of the Premier League home-and-away season. The first half started tamely enough with neither side very threatening. It was not until the 29th minute that clever play by Oliviera enabled him to slot home and give Perth a 1-0 lead. Jamie Coyne broke through a few minutes later to hit a post before Perth received a setback when able defender Perry Ielati had to be carried off. Perth adjusted well to retain their lead at half-time. Joondalup were able to get back on level terms early in the second half with a disputed penalty, Sandy Robertson making no mistake from the spot. Andy Mason went close but Perth gradually began to assert their authority. The last 15 minutes were all Perth. Rob Giorgi took Steve Willey's pass to go through the centre, round the goalkeeper and tap home to give his side a 2-1 lead. Oliviera then stepped up with cool competency to score twice and only fine work by goalkeeper Gareth Deeg prevented Perth extending their lead beyond 4-1.
At the Italian Club Swan I.C. ended their season in disastrous style with a 6-2 trashing at the hands of Fremantle City. The opening half saw an even contest and things were looking good for Swan when veteran striker Nigel Aubin opened the scoring to give them a 1-0 lead. But poor defending cost the home team and City pounced, Daniel Trim, Joe Liguan and Jamie Jorquerez all finding the net before Damian Scali pulled one back for Swan late in the half. Swan had little to offer after the turnaround as their opponents stepped up the tempo to dominate proceedings. The home team's miserable afternoon was compounded ten minutes from full-time when goalkeeper Corey Hugo was dismissed, City coasting to an easy victory with second half goals coming from Trim, Liguan and Johnny Ferreira. "We have finished off well and a win at Cockburn would have put us into the play-offs," said City coach Stuart Kamasz after the game. "Once again Cisco Jorquerez was outstanding for a 16-year old and Daniel Trim just keeps gets better."
Floreat Athena and the Western Knights fought out a tense nil-all draw at the Litis Stadium, enough to see both sides go through to the finals series. After a disappointing season, Bassendean Caledonian veteran Willie Grubb made sure his club ended the season on a high by netting the only goal of the afternoon against fourth-placed Cockburn City
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP
Perth City managed to claim the First Division (North) title without kicking a ball over the weekend. Second placed Stirling Lions handed City the trophy by going down 1-4 away to Kingsway Olympic, who narrowly failed to make the play-off series. Ashfield took third after thrashing Wanneroo City 7-0, while goals from Zelko Savic and Zoran Barovic weren't enough to prevent fourth-place Dianella White Eagles against Bayswater City, the final score being 4-2 to City. The Stirling Suns won 3-0 at home against bottom team Balcatta.
MCLEOD OUT FOR SORRENTO
Premier League leaders Sorrento will be without key defender Scott McLeod for today's championship decider against Inglewood United at Percy Doyle Reserve after breaking his arm against ECU Joondalup last weekend. "It's a big blow to lose Scott," said coach Steve Neville on the eve of the game. "He showed tremendous courage last week. He thought at first he had broken his wrist, got it strapped up at half-time and went out to play again. It was only when he went for an X-ray that it was discovered his arm was broken. It's that sort of never-say-die attitude we'll need if we are to take the title. I'm sure the lads will be up for it. And they'll want to do it in style with a win."
Bizarrely, Sorrento will also take on Inglewood in a catch-up Boral Cup quarter final fixture at the same venue on Sunday. The tie was postponed two months ago because United had players on State team duty. United are languishing third from bottom of the League and advancement in the Cup is their only hope of taking some glory from the season. But coach Steve Parkinson has pledged his side will be going at full throttle in the League meeting also. "We aren't going to just hand the title to Sorrento," he said. "We'll be at full strength and, if they beat us, they'll have earned the crown. There's a bit of pride at stake. We had a great battle with them a few weeks ago when they just pipped us and we want revenge."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHTEEN (IN BRIEF)
Sorrento have been crowned W.A. Premier League champions for the first time after taking the one point needed from their home clash with Inglewood United. Again the run of play, Elton Holmes put the visitors ahead shortly before half-time to open the game up. The Seagulls came out firing on all cylinders after the break and three minutes in Kevin Murphy nodded in Michael Garcia's corner to make it one-all, which was how it was at the final whistle.
Perth secured the runners-up spot with by defeating ECU Joondalup 4-1 at home. Western Knights and Floreat Athena also booked their places in the play-offs with a nil-all draw. Cockburn City make up the top five despite losing to Bassendean Caledonian for the second time this season. Fremantle City condemned Swan I.C. to the First Division next year with a 6-2 hammering.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
There's a lot riding on the final round of Premier League fixtures with four sides in the running for the three remaining play-off spots, while at the other end both Swan I.C. and Bassendean Caledonian are in need of maximum points to avoid relegation. Bottom-side Swan can overhaul Caledonian should they triumph over the visitors from Fremantle City. But that hinges on Caledonian, who comprehensively defeated Floreat Athena last week, losing away to Cockburn City who are themselves in the running for a place in the finals.
A draw with Inglewood United will be enough for Sorrento to lift the regular season title for the first time at Percy Doyle Reserve. The slim chance of Perth winning the championship rests on them defeating ECU Joondalup at home and Sorrento going down to United, but Joondalup will be no push-over as a result in their favour will put the northerners into the play-off's. Floreat Athena (3rd) take on the Western Knights (5th) at the Litis Stadium and, depending on other results, anything less than three points could see the losers season end.
If that's not enough excitement for you, Sorrento and Inglewood United go at it again on Sunday when they meet in their postponed Boral Cup quarter-final game at Percy Doyle Reserve. Proceedings get underway at 3.00pm.
TOMICH TRIALS WITH KNIGHTS
Bassendean Caledonian will be without former 21-year old goalkeeper Tommi Tomich for their vital Premier League fixture with Cockburn City on Saturday. The former Western Knights and Cockburn City custodian flew east this week where he linked up with NSL side Melbourne Knights for their pre-season, which includes a two week training camp in Vietnam. The Knights recently lost last season's first choice 'keeper Lupce Acevski to Northern Spirit.
FIRST DIVISION TOP FOUR COMES DOWN TO THE WIRE
There's still plenty to play for going into the final round of fixtures in the First Division (North). The most important game takes place at Kingsway Sporting Complex where Kingsway Olympic play Stirling Lions. A home win could see Olympic slip into the top four series depending on other results, while victory to the Lions will see them crowned as regular season champions with current leaders Perth City out of action with the bye. The Dianella White Eagles can sneak into top spot should they be able to overcome Bayswater City by a large enough margin - and if the Lions lose heavily. An Ashfield victory at home over Wanneroo City will book their place in the play-offs. The remaining fixture pits Stirling Suns, who have had a disappointing season, with bottom-side Balcatta.
FUTURE IN THE BALANCE SAYS TANA
Perth Glory majority owner Nick Tana has pleaded with the stakeholders of the game in Australia to carefully consider where they place ther votes at Soccer Australia extraordinary general meeting on Saturday. Tana made the request after chairman Tony Labbozzetta revealed plans to introduce a second Perth team into the National Soccer League in the near future.
"Many people in corporate Australia are watching this weekend's events with great interest. If they see a governing body which makes mature decisions and signals a clear desire to move the sport forward to the next level in Australia then I am confident the world game can attract the support it needs, Tana said via a written press release. "However, if the on-lookers see decisions driven by political expediency and backroom deals and made on the grounds of self-interest then the game will be ignored and will end up nothing but a junior nursery for European clubs."
Turning his attention's to the granting of W.A.'s second N.S.L. licence, Tana said this decision would be a barometer of the decision-making process. "There is simply no logical reason to introduce a second team now," Tana said. "If the second licence is introduced now then the code will go backwards. There is absolutely no credible marketing research which indicates Western Australia is ready for a second team. You also have to wonder how many of the existing teams in the Eastern States, who are already struggling financially, will cope with the impost of the costs of travelling to W.A. twice."
"I would welcome the competition when the time is right. I would love nothing more to see a full stadium cheering on a local derby, but the right time is not now," the Glory chairman said. "For the good of the game I would urge the decision-makers to wait until the time is right before issuing a second licence. A second W.A. side will, in a structure with proper corporate support and exposure through free to air television, be a great thing. If it is introduced now it will become a millstone around soccer's neck."
Tana acknowledged that his comments would be easy pickings for the two local consortiums biding for the license, but added the issue could have grim repercussions for the NSL. "It will be easy for critics to say I have an interest because I do. It is the interests of the code as a whole though that must be put above personal feelings. This decision must be based on sound common sense. If it is not then those who are looking for signs that soccer is the sport in which to invest both dollars and air-time will walk away."
PETKOVIC CALLED UP FOR SOCCEROOS
28-year old goalkeeper Jason Petkovic, who is currently playing for Perth Glory, has been called up for Australia's friendly against Japan to be played in Shizuoka on 15th August. The two times NSL Player of the Year has made 10 appearances for the national team since his debut in 1995, the most recent of those two years ago against Manchester United. Australia will also play the Solomon Islands three days after playing Japan.
CHANGE OF VENUE FOR FINALS
With the Dorrien Gardens pitch being dug up shortly after the final round fixture between Perth and ECU Joondalup, this year's finals series will be staged at the re-vamped Kiev Sports Ground, which will also be the venue for the Boral Cup semi-finals and final. Grounds staff at Dorrien Gardens have struggled all year to overcome a beetle infestation which has caused major damage to the playing surface. The existing grass - and beetles - will be removed next month and the surface re-laid in time for the 2002 season.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA ELECTION COULD HASTEN SECOND TEAM
It's been suggested that the current unrest within the board of Soccer Australia could have a big impact upon the granting of the second NSL out of Perth. According to sources, should current chairman Tony Labbozzetta be able to hold onto power after elections at this weekend's extraordinary general meeting, he will push hard for an expanded 16-team NSL in season 2002/03.
Such a proposal would see two new sides coming into the copetition, and Labbozzetta is in favour of one of those coming from Western Australia. "One of my priorities is to get an extra team in from Perth either next year or the year after, providing it meets the going-concern criteria," he said this week. "I've no doubt it would be good for Perth to have the continuity of a game every week and also good for Australian soccer."
Last weekend Labbozzetta received a vote of no-confidence from the board of Soccer Australia, but he is still expected to win Saturday's election. It is believed that the majority of the games stakeholders, which includes the Soccer Administration of Western Australia, will support the chairman and his proposed team. President of Soccer West Coast, David Schrandt, whose organisation are a member of SAWA, said the organisation would vote for what it considered to be in the best interests of W.A. soccer.
There are currently two consortiums in the running for the NSL licence - SWC's Western Lightning and Premier League side Fremantle City. Schrandt told Moffatt that his organisation was still open to talks with Fremantle syndicate regarding pooling resources. "We're willing to discuss the matter of a possible joint bid," he said. "We feel we've got to do everything possible to make sure our clubs have a direct link into the NSL."
DAVIES' READY FOR NEXT CHALLENGE
Young goalkeeper Clint Davies, who is on the books with English First Division side Birmingham City, has had a hectic couple of weeks. A fortnight ago he was one of 21 players selected for a week-long training camp at Plymouth Naval Base which the youngster found an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The club have since started their 'friendly' schedule and Davies has been right there in the thick of the action. The youngster has been first choice 'keeper for the reserves as the gear up for the start of the new season, and while he hasn't yet made it onto the park for the first team, Davies has been in the playing squad fr each of their pre-season games.
FRANCIS FULL OF PRAISE FOR LAZARIDIS (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
Australia international wing-back Stan Lazaridis has been singled out by his Birmingham City manager Trevor Francis for praise. The left-sided flanker was judged best afield in last Friday's 3-1 defeat by Cheltenham and Francis said: "What you see in Stan is the fitness levels the other players are striving for. He played quite a bit during the summer and against Cheltenham he looked that bit sharper than the rest of the boys. He was outstanding against Cheltenham in the first-half and was way ahead of anyone else on the field."
After 14 rounds, the WAASSA Premier League has a new leader. The only goal of the afternoon from Paul Allen saw Morley Windmills pull off one of the surprises of the season by defeating table-toppers Murdoch University 1-0 at Wotton Reserve. Murdoch, who have lead the way for much of the campaign, slipped to third place after Hamersley Rovers and Mandurah City both recorded victories. Hamersley claimed top spot on difference with a hard fought 2-1 away win over a determined ECU Joondalup outfit, while Mandurah moved into second by accounting for the visitors from Balga 4-2. Spearwood Dalmatinac's 1-0 win over Forrestfield United saw them move into fourth. Elsewhere Perth Azzurri drew 1-1 with Fremantle United, and it was the same score when Kwinana United met Shamrock Rovers.
In the goalscoring stakes, Hamersley's Flavio L'Abbate is way out in front with 16 goals from fourteen outings. James Boag (Joondalup) is a distant second with 10 goals but close behind him are William Lyall (Balga), Steve McCabe (Joondalup) and Christian Paschkewitz (Murdoch) on 9 goals. A further strike off the pace is Richard Fox (Forrestfield), while with 7 goals this season are Damien Pescud (Spearwood), Andrew Willars (Kwinana) and Andrew Rennie (Mandurah).
SOCCEROOS'S COMIG TO PERTH?
If national coach Frank Farina has his way, Perth will host it's first senior international match in over six years come May 2002. In town over the weekend for the official opening of Inglewood United's new stand, Farina said that he'd proposed Australia be the venue for a four-nation tournament in May as part of his side's preparations for the World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea. "If we make it (to the Finals), I will certainly be pushing that one of those games be staged in Perth," Farina said. "The crowds are great here and I'm sure there would be no problems filling Subiaco Oval for a game like that with our strongest team."
While the W.A. State team has played a number of touring sides over the years, Perth has only twice hosted a senior international fixture. The first occasion was in November 1975 when some 4,000 spectators turned up to see Australia carve out a credible 0-0 draw with the USSR at Perry Lakes Stadium. Twenty years later, in June 1995, the Socceroos went down 0-1 to Ghana in front of 11,634 people at the WACA Ground. That three-game series with Ghana was, coincidentally, the last in which Farina represented Australia as a player.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVENTEEN (ECU Joondalup vs Sorrento report provided by Kerry Slater)
After much pomp and ceremony to officially open the new 800 seat stand at Kiev Sports Ground, attentions turned to the clash between Inglewood United and Swan I.C. Although out of the running for a place in the play-offs, United's season is still very much alive with a Boral Cup quarter-final clash away to League leaders Sorrento on the cards for Sunday afternoon. A confident Steve Parkinson continues to built the team that he hopes will land the title in coming years and today he named six teenagers in United's starting line-up. Swan last week got off the bottom of the ladder for the first time since April, and another result in their favour today would secure the club's top flight survival next season.
United kicked-off the on-field proceedings and a tight opening period ensued in which much of the play took place in the middle third of the park. The home side were making good use of their wide players to go on the attack, whereas Swan preferred to get the ball to the feet of their forwards quickly who then held up play until back-up arrived. Either way, it was the respective defences that were the busiest early on, heaving little trouble in turning the ball over before pumping it back into the midfield when the tussle for possession continued.
Damian Scali came close to giving the visitors the lead after 13 minutes when United's defence failed to sufficiently deal with a corner, the ball coming to Damian Scali whose dipping shot from just inside the box was finger-tipped over the bar by an air-borne Oliver Taseski. Christian Marocchi again floated the ball into the area, this time to the far post where Justin Everley steered his header the wrong side of the up-right. Not to be out-done, Unied surged forward through former Swan player Rory Mouttet who found Louis Parkinson lurking on the far side of the area, he quickly laid it off to Greg Sharland but Corey Hugo turned his half-volley around the post.
After a slow opening the pace quickened, the game opened up, and several good chances resulted at both ends. A well-worked free-kick in the 19th minute saw Alex Cummings send Andy Cornmell into the area where the latter's rising shot was knocked into the bar by the Swan 'keeper. Three minutes later a booming clearance by Corey Hugo was controlled by Carlo Scali who, with the assistance of Nigel Aubin, sliced open the defence before Justin Hugo's curling volley went inches over the bar. United looked to have taken the lead after 25 minutes when Shaun Kilkelly went on a long run out of defence before sliding the ball to Sharland who knocked it low past Corey Hugo - but Everley came to Swan's rescue with a lunging goal line clearance.
Using the full width of the park to great effect, United looked far more composed than their opponents but were unable to find the back of the net due largely to some great goalkeeping. In the 33rd minute Ryan Fredericks met Scott Campbell's cross from out wide and nodded it down to Parkinson who was denied by the sharp reflexes of Corey Hugo, and Sharland was unable to capitalise on the loose ball before the danger was cleared. But what Swan lacked in finesse they more than made up for with determination and hard work to keep plugging away at their opponents, only for a lack of sharpness in front of goal to let them down. Eight minutes from half-time Dean Mlinar held off two defenders before playing it into the path of Aubin, he in turn released Ross Holtom who, with only Taseski to beat, took one touch too many and gave Kilkelly time to intervene.
With referee Eddie Lennie leaving the players in doubt as to who was in charge in the middle, the second half started with United Mouttet sending his shot from 16-metres just wide of the target. But fr the 20 minutes that followed all the chances came the way of Swan. Brian Robertson pumped it high into the area high, United were slow to react but Carlo Scali's volley flew straight to Taseski. With United's defence working over-time, Swan finally got the breakthrough in the 58th minute. Everley brought down a free-kick played into the area and held off an opponent only for his shot be to smothered off the boot, the ball fell to Aubin but his shot from close-in was blocked by the 'keeper, and Robertson buried the loose ball from point-blank range to make it one-nil to Swan.
The visitors were unfortunate not to extend their lead five minutes later when Mlinar's long diagonal ball found Aubin, he nodded it down into the path of Marocchi whose bullet-like drive as amazingly tipped onto the bar by Taseski. A goal down and little over 20 minutes remaining, United finally sparked into life and dominated the remainder of this game as Campbell and Mouttet stepped up to meet the challenge. Cummings' in-swinging free-kick saw Kilkelly rise unchallenged at the far post and send Corey Hugo the wrong way with his header, but the 'keeper somehow thrust out a hand to paddle the ball over the bar. In a tense five minute spell Michael Gronnow deflected Mouttet's low shot on the line, then Corey Hugo pulled off another breathtaking save to keep out Parkinson's half-volley.
It was now the visitors that were under immense pressure at the back and in the 74th minute United were back in the game, albeit with a spot of luck. Mouttet sent Parkinson wide down the right and, from close to the by-line, he pulled the ball back into the 6-yard box - a hastily retreating Gronnow attempted to cut out the low cross but unfortunately it spewed off his boot and rocketed past Corey Hugo to level the scores. While the goal was a lucky one, it proved to be just the break United needed. Swan were clearly showing signs of fading and to concede a goal like that really knocked the stuffing out of their game.
Finishingstrongly, United continued to chip away at the Swan defence into the last ten minutes. Darren Freeman's poorly timed tackle on Parkinson saw Campbell clipped the resulting free-kick into the area, but Fredericks directed his header straight to the Swan 'keeper. A sloppily cleared corner fell to Cummings on top of the box but, unaware he had plenty of time, his hurried volley failed to test Corey Hugo. United would be made until the very last minute before netting the winner. In quick succession Cummings and Goodman saw their shots blocked before Campbell unexpectedly found the ball at his feet, he slotted it into space and Parkinson reacted quickly and slotted it under the advancing Corey Hugo from 8-metres. Less than 30-seconds later the referee's whistle signaled the end of a great day of celebrations for United, and for teenager Parkinson who was making his first senior appearance for the club.
After a thoroughly entertaining first half in which neither United nor Swan was able to dominate, both sides enjoyed their time in the sun after the break. And while the visitors would feel disappointed to have let vital Premiership points slip through their fingers, credit must go to United who refused to give up and got their reward with just seconds to spare. The stars of the afternoon were undoubtedly the respective 'keepers, Taseski and Hugo, both whom were on top of their game and pulled off some truly world-class saves. United defender Kilkelly was another stand-out, never neglecting his duties at the back while showing a keen desire to push forward at every opportunity. For Swan it was Holtom that impressed in the field, a key part of their attacks in the first half when playing behind the front two and after the break adopting a more defensive role.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Jamie Goodman, Jason Godfrey, Shaun Kilkelly, Ryan Fredericks,
Andy Cornmell (Paul Lincoln 63), Alex Cummings, Scott Campbell, Rory Mouttet, Louis Parkinson, Greg
Swan I.C. : Corey Hugo, Micael Gronnow, Justin Everley, Darren Freeman, Justin Hugo (Jode Henderson 86), Carlo Scali, Christian Marocchi, Damian Scali (Brian Robertson 38), Ross Holtom, Dean Mlinar, Nigel Aubin
Referee : Eddie Lennie
Cautions : Holtom (77)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 450 (approx.)
ECU Joondalup and Sorrento served up a highly entertaining 1-1 draw for a large crowd at the Joondalup campus. The opening period of the northern derby consisted of fast passages of play, but with players being nervous and losing their footing on the damp surface, ball possession was not retained for long. The competition was intense and the first to receive a referee's caution after 11 minutes was Sorrento's Shaun Bowyer as he battled fiercely in a congested midfield. The first clear opening was on 21 minutes when Michael Garcia played a neat one-two with David Foster to have only Gareth Deeg to beat, the 'keeper doing exceptionally well to block the shot and Gerry McEwan was handily placed to clear the rebound. Joondalup then took control of possession as Sandy Robertson displayed his ability to orchestrate a match. His free kick from an angle on the left on 29 minutes had Neil Young at full stretch to tip over. Referee Angelo Nardi was busy keeping control as he cautioned Joondalup's Garin Collins for swinging an elbow and soon after Sorrento's Peter Butler followed him into the book.
Joondalup were finding room on both flanks, but the numerous crosses couldn't find a telling touch. Dale McCulloch fired in an effort through a crowd of players and Young adjusted well to hold the effort on 40 minutes. Two minutes later, a high ball from the left into the Sorrento penalty area paid dividends when a deflection off Sean Fallon took the ball away from Scott McLeod's head, allowing Scott Broadley to nod it back across the goal for Andy Mason to head home at the left post. Sorrento almost struck back immediately - Foster chased a ball to keep it in play and got it back to Glen Thomas who slipped it to Butler but his first time strike from the edge of the area went wide of Deeg's right post. Jared Love generated the next attack from the left. He beat his marker and his cross was touched out by Deeg straight to Thomas, but his shot struck McEwan on the goal line and rebounded to safety. In the last action of the half Joondalup nearly doubled their lead. Fallon was clear on the left and Young raced out of his area, but missed his tackle - however Sorrento captain Stuart Banks had made up ground to be well positioned to head away the cross for a corner.
At the break Sorrento made changes of Jake Harman and Richard Turnbull for David Foster and Shaun Bowyer. Eleven minutes into the half a late challenge by Collins on Young as he cleared, brought the former Sorrento player his second caution of the afternoon and he was ordered from the field. With the loss of a player Joondalup adjusted and Sorrento struggled to make inroads towards Deeg's goal. On 66 minutes Ross Greer headed the ball down into the path of Harman, but his shot struck Deeg and was cleared. Substitute Scott Bulloch was introduced for goal scorer Mason, whilst Sorrento brought on striker Ryan Jeans for defender Stuart Banks with 15 minutes remaining. Jeans was immediately into the action, but his header from a Love cross was wide of the mark. On 85 minutes Garcia squared the ball to Thomas, but his blast cannoned off the head of Jamie Kuzmonovich. Three minutes later a long ball down the middle by Turnbull was headed on by Greer for Harman to lay back to Thomas who was accurate from the edge of the area. Sorrento rushed the ball back to the center for the restart, but the remaining 2 minutes plus 3 minutes of stoppage time just wasn't enough for Sorrento to get the goal that would have handed them the regular season title.
Fremantle City were unfortunate not to leave Dalmatinac park with all three points rather than the one they took from their clash with Cockburn City. With Daniel Trim shining for the visitors in the cenre of the park, Fremantle controlled play for long periods but, as the final nil-all scoreline shows, they were simply unable to stick the ball in the back of the net. Goalkeeper Dino Pacella came to Cockburn rescue with a brilliant save to deny 16-year old Cisco Jorquerez from point blank, while Will Pryce put the ball past Pacella in the closing minutes only for his shot to come crashing back off the crossbar. Happy with his sides' performance, Fremantle coach Stuart Kamasz heaped praise on his teenage prodigy post-match. "For me Cisco was man-of-the-match," he said. "This kid is going places and has been our silver lining out of the proverbial black cloud that has been around us for the past seven weeks. He was brilliant and ran the show from midfield, he ran himself into the ground today."
Floreat Athena received a sharp wake-up call that the season is not yet over when they traveled to Jubilee Reserve to take on strugglers Bassendean Caledonian. Young defender Luke Croxall gave the home side the lead by nodding in a corner at the near post, but by half-time Athena were back on level terms after Ryan Newhill scored with a header that looped over stand-in 'keeper Steve Grant. Caledonian's Gary James re-stored the lead after a corner was not dealt with properly by the visitors, his low shot somehow rocketing underneath two Athena players en-route to goal. Man-of-the-match Mark Lennon wrapped up three points to the home side when he bent a free-kick around the defensive wall and past the visiting 'keeper. "The end result was deserving. I think we just wanted the game more than them and it showed in the performance," Caledonian defender Anthony Jones said post-match. "Hopefully now that gives us the upper hand in the relegation battle and we can make ourselves safe next week at Cockburn."
The playing surface at Nash Field had seen better days prior to Sunday's important Premier League clash between the Western Knights and Perth. Three points to the home side would see them all ut secure a place in the top five play-offs, leapfrogging over a host a teams into second place in the process. In the blue corner, Perth were wanting to keep their slim championship hopes alive, a scoreline in their favour keeping the pressure on leaders Sorrento going into the final round of the regular season.
With both sides at near full-strength, it was Perth that were the quicker out of the blocks and in the 9th minute teenager Andreas Oliviera gave them a dream start. The rising star collected a superb pass from Robbie Gaspar and, just inside the 18-yard box, was allowed time to control before picking his spot to the right of goalkeeper Darren Williams. But if Perth thought this was going to be a walk-over, the Knights had other ideas. Just a minute after going behind Eugene Singeorzan curled a free-kick from 18-metres around the defensive wall, catching 'keeper Robert Scarparolo by surprise as it crashed into the base of his up-right.
Jamie Coyne was at the heart of Perth's next move, his inch-perfect pass sending Gaspar through the middle, he made his way around an opponent only to finish poorly by putting the ball over Williams' bar. The visitors were by this stage controlling play, stringing together passes coming out of midfield and more urgent to get forward than their opponents. The supply to strikers Oliveria and Boni Botha was in abundance and the pair managed to out-manoeuver the Knights defence with their speed and close control. Perth had a golden opportunity to double the margin in the 16th minute when Williams failed to hold Oliviera's looping cross into the area, Gaspar saw his shot from close-range blocked then Boni Botha lost his footing with an open goal at his mercy.
The Knights were getting forward also but found Perth's defence of Stephen Willey, Perry Ielati and Aaron Cole a difficult nut to crack. Their best chances came via dead ball situations. Dean Nicolaou curled a free-kick past the wall and Alex Christie charged in to head it narrowly wide thank to the close attentions of Mark Pottier. And on the 25 minute mark it was Dean Nicolaou that again sent the ball into the heart of the Perth defence who were caught ball-watching as Scott Devine's flying header flew wide with Scarparolo unfazed.
The final 15 minutes of the half belonged to Perth who were keenest to be first to the ball. Oliviera displayed some nifty footwork to open up a path to goal out of nothing only to hit his shot wide. Todd Howarth began to get more involved and in the 38th minute sent a cross to the far post when Botha's splendid header cannoned off the back of Aaron Nadine and out for a corner. A minute from half-time Howarth and Ielati opened up the defence only for their efforts to amount to nothing when there was no one on hand to put away Ieltai's low ball into the area.
The Knights started the second period determined to get back on level terms but found time and space limited in their attacking third. Their best opportunity came in the 51st minute, Singeorzan retained possession despite challenges from three opponents to go inside the area before knocking the ball past the advancing Scarparolo who was saved by Willey's goal line clearance. And not long after John Nicolaou scuffed his shot from point blank range after Claus Nielsen squared the ball into the 6-yard box. The home side's frustrations were not helped by the falling rain which made conditions on the park increasingly difficult, and the ball all that much harder to control.
While the Knights were dominating play, it was Perth that looked the more likely to score by breaking quickly out of defence. Just after the hour mark Howarth fed the ball to Oliviera who wriggled between a couple of opponents before unleashing a blistering drive from 20-metres that rattled the crossbar. In the 73rd minute Howarth won possession in the middle and quickly released Botha, he turned a defender then forced Williams into making a difficult save down low. Six minutes later the Knights' custodian denied Gasparfrom close-range after the defence failed to deal with a high ball into the box, and Botha was unable to capitalise on the loose ball before David Annall conceded a corner.
The late dismissal of Knights captain Devine saw his side's chances of salvaging this game come to a crashing halt. Perth were happy to play out the remaining time in possession and only really threatened in the 87th minute when Williams made a spectacular save to keep out Gaspar's explosive free-kick. It was a true team effort on Perth's behalf although full marks must go to Gaspar and Coyne who orchestrated the win from midfield. In a Knights side that failed to get out of first gear, Williams was near faultless between the posts and was ably assisted by his defence, but otherwise, it was a very flat performance from the home team.
Western Knights : Darren Wiliams, David Annall, Gavin Tait, Aaron Nadine (Stephen MacDonald 87),
Leon Russell, Alex Christie (Andy Lawson 75), Scott Devine, Claus Neilsen, Dean Nicolaou
(Shane McNally 55), Eugene Singeorzan, John Nicolaou
Perth : Robert Sccarparolo, Stephen Willey, Perry Ielati, Aaron Cole, Vince Tana, Todd Howarth, Mark Pottier, Jamie Coyne, Robbie Gaspar, Andreas Oliviera, Boni Botha (Rhys Graham 87)
Referee : Derek Minett
Cautions : Gaspar (22), Devine (52), McNally (89)
Dismissals : Devine (82)
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP
It was the battle of the cellar dwellers at Graham Burkett Reserve on Saturday when Balcatta hosted Bayswater City in the First Division (North). Things started badly for Bayswater who went a goal down early on, but strikes from Ian Ballantine (2), Michael Catalano, Alex Jankulovski, Ric Fonseca and Nick Stojanovski saw the visitors run out 6-2 victors. Bayswater coach was a happy man post-match with his side not only winning for the first time this season but also lifting themselves off the bottom of the ladder. "I had mixed feelings on Saturday, one of relief to finally get that first win and secondly one of satisfaction in the way that we won, playing some good soccer and creating good scoring opportunities. The team showed great character as we were losing 1-0 after about 20 minutes and they could have thrown in the towel, but they stuck to the game plan and everything turned out well."
Ashfield's enforced break last week served them well, returning to action with a 2-0 home win over League leaders Perth City and moving into fourth with one round remaining. The Stirling Lions stay second having had the bye on Saturday, while goals from Veselin Zmukic and Djukan Tesic saw the Dianella White Eagles consolidate third with a 2-1 win against Kingsway Olympic. Wanneroo City drew 1-1 with the Stirling Suns.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVENTEEN (IN BRIEF)
Louis Parkinson won't forget his Premier League debut for Inglewood United in a hurry after scoring the last minute winner over Swan I.C. at Kiev Sports Ground on Saturday. Brian Robertson put the visitors ahead after 58 minutes but United were back on level terms 16 minutes courtesy of an unfortunate own. With the home team finishing strongly, national Under-17 hopeful Parkinson slid home the winner with just seconds left on the clock.
Swan's miserable afternoon was compounded by dropping into the single relegation spot after Bassendean Caledonian shocked second-placed Floreat Athena 3-1 at home to leapfrog the black and whites. Sorrento moved one step closer to their first regular season title despite being held one-all by arch-rivals ECU Joondalup. Perth kept the pressure on the leaders by defeating the Western Knights 1-0 to move into second, three points behind Sorrento. The derby between Cockburn City and Fremantle City saw honours shared at nil-all.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
There are two big derby games this Saturday. At Dalmatinac Park it's Cockburn City and Fremantle City where both coaches, Laslo Koroknai and Stuart Kamasz, will be looking for nothing less than 100% from their players. North of the river at the Edith Cowan University grounds, League leaders Sorrento can wrap up the title should they be able to overcome ECU Joondalup. Swan I.C. may have surprised many by defeating Joondalup last Saturday, but it's difficult seeing them making it two wins in a row when they play Inglewood United.
Last week Floreat Athena failed to score for the first time in 17 games, but a repeat performance will not be on the cards when they play a Bassendean Caledonian outfit fighting for their top-flight survival. Perth travel to Nash Field on Sunday to take on fellow-finals contenders the Western Knights. The home side appear to have put their erratic form behind them by recording three wins in a row and are the favourites to take out his game and book their place in the play-offs. Their opponents are not the same side without striker Nick Mrdja but will be confident after a big win over Caledonian last week.
MIKULIC IN LINE FOR SCORERS TROPHY
20-year old Cockburn City striker Branimir Mikulic looks to be just two games away from taking out the Premier League Golden Boot award with 16 goals so far this season, four clear of nearest rivals Eugene Singeorzan (Western Knights) and Ryan Newhill (Floreat Athena). Ryan Jeans of Sorrento is on 11 goals, with Robyn Dyers (Floreat Athena) and Ross Greer (Sorrento) two goals behind him. The top five of made up of Andy Mason (ECU Joondalup), John Nicolaou (Knights) and Fremantle City's now departed Trim Morgan who all share 8 goals.
It hardly comes as a surprise that Mikulic is also way out in front when it comes to all competitions this year with 23 goals. Athena duo Newhill (18) and Dyers (16) fill out the top three, while hot on their heals are Jeans and Singeorzan (15). On eleven is Andreas Oliviera (Perth), Morgan, Nick Mrdja (Perth) and Peter Petkovic (Cockburn) make-up the chasing pack.
Note: These figures have been collated using the media releases issued by Soccer West Coast as published in the local newspapers. We would appreciate being notified of any errors they may contain.
HAMMER GARCIA BACK ON TRACK
One-time Australian Under-17 representative Richard Garcia is back into the swing of things after missing much of last season through injury. In his first competitive hit-out in eight months, the former Perth player saw out the full 90 minutes of the Hammers XI 2-1 friendly win over Ryman League side Purfleet on the weekend, Garcia scoring his teams opening goal.
More recently Garcia starred in the reserves 5-1 thumping of non-Leaguers Heybridge Swifts, after which he was singled out for praise by coach Roger Cross. "I was very happy with Richard Garcia, he has been out almost a season and he has now played almost two full games and hasn't missed a day of training. We are just looking forward for him to push on."
Garcia spent the early stages of the 2000/01 campaign playing on loan with Leyton Orient where he made 21 senior appearances, finding the net on 4 occasions. But tragedy struck in November's away clash with Cheltenham Town in which Garcia was stretchered off on the hour mark after falling awkwardly. Scans later revealed damage to cruciate knee ligaments, immediately bringing his season to a premature end.
STADIUM OPENED ON SATURDAY
With construction of the stand at the Kiev Sports Ground now complete, the new facilities will officially be opened this Saturday prior to the Premier League clash between Inglewood United and Swan I.C. Construction of the stand commenced at the end of last season with the removal of the seated area, a structure which had stood since the mid-1970's. Build by BGC Construction at close to $1 million, the new stand includes covered, tiered seating for 800, lift access for those with disabilities, and a corporate function area which overlooks the playing surface. A trip down the players' entrance reveals change rooms for the referees, home and away teams, a treatment room and gymnasium facilities. Coupled with the recent re-surfacing of the pitch area and the up-grading of floodlights, the club are confident they now have a facility which will serve them into the new century.
ACADEMY PLANNED FOR DOWN SOUTH
After eight months of planning, a soccer academy planned for the Mandurah/Rockingham region is coming close to fruition. Shane Baker, academies chairman with the Junior Soccer Association of W.A., meet recently with Peel Junior Soccer Asssociation development officer Neil Darlington and Rockingham City president Steve Duckworth to discuss the program. To be based at either Dowling Street reserve or Lark Hill in Rockingham, it is envisaged the academy will cater to around 100 boys aged between 11 and 15.
SCHOOLBOYS COACH "QUIETLY CONFIDENT"
West Australian Schoolboys coach Tony Ratcliffe is by is own admission quietly confident that his side will leave their mark at this years Australian Schools Soccer Championships which are being held in New South Wales early next month. "I'm very happy with the squad that we've got this year," Ratcliffe said last night. "Last week we played the State amateur B side and we beat them 3-0 which I think just goes to show the quality of the players that we do have."
The Schoolboys squad has played a series of friendlies against local sides since being whittled down to 16-player by Ratcliffe with the aid of team manager Aric Foreman and assistant coach Toby Wright, a member of the 1996 W.A. and Australian teams. In their opening warm-up game they met strong resistance from a Cockburn City youth outfit who thumped them 1-5, followed by a 1-2 loss to ECU Joondalup's Under-18 side. But since then the side have strung together some impressive results, thrashing the State Under-16's 5-1, defeating the Amateur 'B' team 3-0 and on Monday night hammering an Inglewood United youth team 6-1.
The Schoolboys squad for this years' tournament is - James Hesketh (Cockburn City), Daniel Arias, Matt Aitken, Paul Baczynski, Matt Donevy (Inglewood United), Scott Bulloch (ECU Joondalup), Dario Bukara, Damian Catalano, Dino Djulbic, Rhys Graham, Peter Koidis, Gianni Papalia (Perth), Mitchell Gregory, Shane Nunes (Rockingham City), Evan Melis (Balcatta) and Stefan Stolseki (Stirling Suns).
MAY ATTRACTS ATTENTION DESPITE BEING SIDELINED (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
Despite being kept out of the game for the past few weeks due to an administrative mix-up, Western Knights Scottish import Eddie May has come to the attention of NSL club Melbourne Knights whose player-coach Andrew Marth is closely monitoring his progress in the west. The former Dunfermline Athletic and Hibernian midfielder joined the local Knights five weeks ago and it quickly became apparent that he had what it takes to make the grade in the NSL.
STATE 19's TRIUMPH AGAIN
The State Under-19 side have made a clean sweep of their two game friendly international series against the Indonesian Under-23's after recording a 3-2 victory at Litis Stadium last night. Shortly after Oliver Taseski made a stunning save to deny striker Pur Wanto, W.A. seized the lead when Antonio Naglieri whipped home the ball from close-range after goalkeeper Syamsidar failed to hold a vicious Andre Sarpe shot in the 21st minute. Naglieri also featured in the second goal of the night, this time turning provider for striker Andreas Oliviera to steer the ball in after 35 minutes. And six minutes before half-time midfielder Dale McCulloch all but wrapped up the game when he made the most of a loose ball following a corner to make it three-nil.
But, as was the case when the sides meet last Wednesday, Indonesia never gave up the chase and they managed to pull a goal back early in the second half, captain Pamungkas Bambang knocking it in from close-range. Using their speed to great effect to go past the W.A. defence, the visitors then peppered Taseski's goal only to find the 'keeper in great form to turn away their efforts time and time again. A second goal finally came the way of the visitors, but not until the 85th minute when Bambang was in the right place to make it 3-2 and set up a tense finish tot he game. The Indonesian captain came close to levelling the scores, and bagged his hat-trick in the process, in the closing minutes only to be denied by a courageous Taseski who dived at Bambang's feet to smother the shot.
MCCALLUM MAKES NATIONAL UNDER-19 SQUAD
15-year old Collette McCallum, daughter of one-time Ashfield/Bunbury coach Robert, is the only West Australian named in the Australian Women's Under-19 side that will compete an international tournament in New South Wales next month. The Young Matilda's will play off against the senior national teams from Singapore and Vietnam, as well as the N.S.W. Institute of Sport side, in the tournament will kicks-off in Gosford on 5th August and run for six days alongside the Australian Secondary Schools Soccer Championships. National coach Mike Mulvey will use the event as the first step to Australia qualifying for next year's World Youth Championship.
McCallum started out playing for Joondalup at the age of six and later joined the West Ham Academy. After representing W.A. at Under-16 and Schoolgirls levels in 1999, the McCallum family relocated to Sydney where her career has blossomed. At the age of 14 the midfielder took out the N.S.W. Women's Super League Player of the Year, along with the Player of the Year trophy at her club Manly Warringah. With further representative honours for N.S.W. at Under-17 (2000, 2001) and Schoolgirl (2001) levels, McCallum was part of the N.S.W. Sapphires squad which ended the 2000/01 season as runners-up to Queensland Sting in the National Women's Soccer League.
PUCA READY FOR NSL RETURN (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
Former Eastern Pride left winger Robbie Puca is back to fitness after a groin operation and looking forward to resuming his NSL career. He has a number of clubs chasing him while at the same time he has not discounted trialing overseas again. Puca trialed with Italian side Fiorentina a few years ago and enjoyed the experience.
PHOENIX SUCCESS TEMPERED BY OFFICIALS INACTIVITY
South West Phoenix' 2-0 win over Morley Windmills on Saturday secured their place in the First Division's Major finals series - not a bad effort for a club in their first year of competition. But while the club are thrilled at making the play-offs, they are not impressed with the organisation of the catch-up fixture nor the lack of information available regarding the finals.
Last week the Bunbury-based side were informed that the weekend fixture at Wotton Reserve would get underway at 1.00pm, but it seems that same message did not get conveyed to the players of Windmills who were under the impression it was the usual 3.00pm start. With Phoenix finding their opponents nowhere in sight on arrival at the ground, Windmills officials made some frantic phone calls which saw the game kick-off an hour after the scheduled time.
"What I find hard to believe is that the game even went ahead," said Phoenix coach Joe Kelly when we caught up with him on Monday. "The referee was told it was a 1.00pm start, and so were we. And if the official Soccer West Coast web site showed the game as already having been played - as it did - then they sanctioned the first result in my opinion."
There is also some confusion over what format the finals series will take and how they will decide the make-up of next years competition. "None of the coaches I have spoken with have anything in writing yet regarding the play-offs," Kelly added. "We still do not know what is happening. I've heard conflicting reports as to how the play-offs will affect next seasons competition but nothing has been confirmed and our regular season is already over, now we are getting flat with no opposition, waiting on the northern conference to finish. Mystifying stuff."
SORRENTO LOSE COACH
Just a matter of hours after leading Sorrento to a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Inglewood United on Wednesday night, player-coach Trevor Morgan left the country to take up the coaching reigns with Singaporean club Marine Castle United. "I'll be full-time, so it's a step up for me," said Morgan after four successful years with Sorrento.
Morgan, who spent time as a player with a number of English League sides before coming to W.A., will replace Alan Vest who returns to Perth this week to become assistant at Perth Glory to Mich d'Avray. Assistant coach Steve Neville will step up to the senior position for the team's final games of the regular season and looks likely to be at the helm when they lift the Premier League trophy for the first time. With two games left Sorrento sit four points clear at the top of the ladder.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIXTEEN (Sorrento vs Western Knights report provided by Kerry Slater; Perth vs Bassendean Caledonian and ECU Joondalup vs Swan I.C. reports provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
The opening quarter of an hour of Saturday's Premier League clash between Floreat Athena and Cockburn City at Litis Stadium was a dull affair in which neither side were able to rattle off anything resembling a shot on goal. Much of the play was bottled up in the middle third of the park, and while Athena crafted their moves with thought they found the opposition defence equal to everything thrown at them. City themselves broke only occasionally, mostly on the counter-attack, and were restricted to shooting from beyond the 18-yard box.
It wasn't until the 16th minute that the crowd had anything to get excited about, and then it was only a string of half-chances which came the way of the home team. Jason Smith's long range effort sailed high over the bar after he was allowed space to run with the ball. Three minutes later Ryan Newhill and Adrian Sutton combined for Costa Socratous whose shot went wide. And Socratous' waist-high half-volley was easily held by 'keeper Dino Pacella in the 20th minute.
With coach Laslo Koroknai doing his best to inspire his side from the sidelines, City eventually settled and began to find their rhythm via some fluid passing of their own. A throw-in after 31 minutes found it's way to Dragan Njegic who held off an opponent before knocking the ball into the path of Boza Erakovic, but his drive rose high. Both sides were getting the ball into attack with frequency only for some sloppy delivery to see the opposition turn it over with ease. Of the scattered chances, Pacella showed great agility to tip Socratous' volley around the post in the 42nd minute. Three minutes later, and at the other end, Paul Cooke's deep cross was spilt by Anthony Mori at the far post and Dave Evans deflected Simon Henderson's shot onto the top netting.
Both sides came out after the interval a little more fired up. Within two minutes of the re-start City almost broke the deadlock, Cooke's cross picking out Craig Anderson but his solid header found Mori well-placed to save. In the 53rd minute Pacella was City's hero when his reflexes were tested by Robyn Dyers, the striker flicking Ryan Newhill's low ball on target and Pacella turned it away with a superb close-range block. Then Smith lobbed the ball over the defence and into the path of Dyers, he nodded it over Pacella from out wide only to find no one in the 6-yard box to finish the move. And not long after Adrian Sutton brought out the best in Pacella who produced a diving save to his right to keep out the shot from 18-metres.
Athena were the ones doing all the attacking, but it was their opponents that found the net in the 60th minute via a quick counter-attacking move. Winger Gary Numan raced the ball away down the right, beating one man before playing it low in the penalty area where Mori parried Gartside's close-range attempt, and Cooke was on hand to tap the loose ball into an empty net. While the goal may have come completely against the run of play but it did have the effect of finally sparking this match into life. Not long after Numan should have extended the margin. Jamie D'Arcy and Peter Nikoloski collided just outside the area, allowing the winger to go it alone with only Mori to beat but Numan pulled his shot across the face of goal to earn the ire of the vocal City supporters.
With no option but to attack, Athena pressed hard to get back on a level footing. Dyers clipped the ball over heads from close to the by-line but Newhill's powerful header grazed the wrong side of the bar. As the clock ticked down frustrations started to get the better of the home players. Newhill was lucky not to be carded for a sloppy attempt to tackle Dusan Macura after the sweeper beat him to the ball. D'Arcy was booked when referee Angelo Nardi didn't like his turn of phrase, and Smith and Hugh Miller were also spoken to at length by Nardi over separate incidents.
Twelve minutes from full-time Pescud sent a well-worked free-kick rocketing narrowly wide of the up-right with Mori unsighted until the very last moment. Shortly after the visitors had a lucky escape when Erakovic was slow to clear inside his own area and Peter Coci robbed him of possession, only to find the side netting with his low shot. There were plenty more anxious moments to come for the City backline. Smith and Sutton saw good shots blocked in quick succession, while three corners were desperately hacked to safety as Athena piled on the pressure well into the three minutes of stoppage time that were added.
Ever-reliable in his role as sweeper, City's Dusan Macura was the stand-out player while Smith ran him a close second in a game that saw too many players flit in and out of the action with regularity. After a sluggish opening half, things picked up after the break but at the end of the day this game failed to live up to pre-match expectations. Good goal scoring chances went begging at both ends of the park as the two sides struggled to get out of first gear in the afternoon sun. In the end you were left pondering whether - going on this performance alone - Athena and City might be more pretenders than contenders come finals time.
Floreat Athena : Anthony Mori, Jamie D'Arcy, Dave Evans, Hugh Miller, Adrian Sutton, Costa Socratous
(Andrew Afkos 74), Peter Nikoloski, Jason Smith, Peter Coci, Robyn Dyers, Ryan Newhill
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Dusan Macura, Davorin Svirac, Craig Anderson, Boza Erakovic, Joshua Pescud, Simon Henderson (Branimir Mikulic 67), Paul Cooke, Dean Gartside, Gary Numan, Dragan Njegic (Scott Bailey 74)
Referee : Angelo Nardi
Cautions : Gartside (35), Anderson (42), D'Arcy (87)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
Sorrento stay at the top of the Premier League despite a 1-2 loss to the battling Western Knights at Percy Doyle Reserve. The home side were straight into full gear, creating several opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes. On the quarter hour mark Ryan Jeans crossed from the left but Ross Greer put his header was just wide of the left post with Darren Williams beaten. Four minutes later the pressure paid dividends and it was the young brigade that punctured the Knights defense when David Foster chased a ball down the left to swing it to the far post where Jared Love leapt to head home. The visitors were limited to efforts from distance that Neil Young handled comfortably. On 31 minutes, Foster worked clear but pulled his shot wide of the right post with Williams stranded. Four minutes later Sorrento's driving force, Michael Garcia, tried his luck from 20-metres, but his swerving effort was wide of the left post. The break came as welcomed relief for the Knights.
Twelve minutes into the second half the visitors were level. Young came a long way to gather a high lob and under pressure lost the ball, and Eugene Singeorzan did well to hook it back into the unguarded net. Four minutes later Kevin Murphy won Sorrento a free kick on the edge when Gavin Tait unceremoniously halted his run, but Garcia couldn't do better than striking the defensive wall. On 66 minutes a free kick to the Knights didn't look dangerous until too late - substitute Shane McNally slipping the ball through to captain Scott Devine who pivoted and slid the ball in at the far left post. Sorrento struggled to lift the tempo to their first half effort and with the Knights defending their lead the match stretched out for the spectators.
Perth re-ignited their title hopes by convincingly defeating Bassendean Caledonian 4-0 at Dorrien Gardens, moving them into third place on the Premier League table. The home team opened the scoring in the 8th minute when a high cross was back-headed on by Boni Botha to Vince Tana on the right who rifled it into the top corner. One-nil in front, Perth dominated the game but it was not until the 29th minute that they went further ahead. Robbie Gasper's darting run into the penalty area ended when he was brought down and Mark Pottier made no mistake from the spot. Caledonian did come back just before half-time but found goalkeeper Robert Scarporolo in good form to ensure Perth went into the half-time interval with their lead intact. The second half saw Perth again with much of the possession. A fine move in the 61st minute ended with Gaspar coolly slotting the ball past Tommi Tomich in the Bassendean goal to put the result beyond doubt. Perth continued to spread the ball around. They split Bassendean wide open to allow Pottier to tap home his second goal and his club's fourth. Bassendean tried hard to the end and might have reduced the arrears but for several fine saves by Scarporolo and a clearance off the line by Aaron Cole that left them scoreless. Caledonian now slip into the relegation spot at the bottom of the league table.
An elated Swan I.C. have lifted themselves off the bottom spot on the table by defeating ECU Joondalup 2-1 away from home. Swan dominated much of the first half going into half-time with a 2-0 lead. The first goal came in the 20th minute when good work by Christian Marocchi enabled Paul Borg to slid the ball past a helpless Gareth Deeg. The second goal came 10 minutes later when Nigel Aubin set-up a chance for Carlo Scali to slot the ball home. The second half was a grim struggle as Joondalup fought to get back on level terms and maintain their leadership challenge. For Swan it was a half of guts and determination from all players in which the last 15 minutes were made particularly difficult by the sending off of Borg. The home side did manage to reduce the arrears to 2-1 when young Garin Collins scored, but they were unable to penetrate a solid defence further. The win, coupled with Perth's 4-0 drubbing of Caledonian, puts Swan one point ahead of their relegation rivals and with a superior goal difference.
In the rounds other fixture, goals from Daniel trim and Dale Wingell saw Fremantle City defeat Inglewood United 2-0 at Ken Allen Field as the port side recorded just their second win since mid-May.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP
Saturday saw the First Division (South) catch-up game between Morley Windmills and South West Phoenix, the winner taking the fourth play-off spot while the loser facing the possibility of a season in the new Second Division in 2002. It was evident this was not going to be a game for the faint-hearted when inside the opening minute Phoenix' Savo Garic was taken down in a heavy tackle. The first 15 minutes belonged to the side from Bunbury. Greg Hayes twice headed wide in the space of four minutes and Garic scraped the post with a blistering free-kick from 16-metres. In the 12th minute Windmills were reduced to 10 men when their midfielder was dismissed for dissent. A minute later Brett Norrie went close after a delicate cross from David Suttie.
Phoenix got the breakthrough they were after in the 15th minute, Norrie getting on the end of another David Suttie cross before drawing the 'keeper and slotting it home from close-range. Youngsters Jacob Fewster and Adam Spinelli caused the Windmills side all manner of problems with showings well beyond their tender years. Phoenix goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite steadied the ship at the back and kept the side on track as nervousness began to creep into the visitors game. Windmills season was effectively over after 30 minutes when Garic released Stephen Suttie with a defence-splitting pass before finding the target from the top of the 18-yard box.
Playing a man down and needing a five goal second half to keep their season alive, the home side valiantly sought a way back into the game after the break but without luck. Phoenix controlled the period and went close to extending their lead on several occasions, but the visitors were content to play out the time without the need to push forward and score more goals. It was a disciplined performance by Phoenix which saw them deservedly take fourth place and earn their right for a shot at the Premier League via the finals series.
The Stirling Lions have tumbled from the top of the First Division (North) ladder after going down to the Dianella White Eagles in a seven-goal thriller at Macedonia Park. Two goals from leading scorer Keegan Ashley gave the home side a 2-1 lead going into the break, but the White Eagles fought back after the interval with three goals of their own before Toby Wright netted late to give the scoreline some respectability from the home sides point of view. Replacing the Lions in first place are Perth City who defeated Stirling Suns 4-1 away from home. The White Eagles stay third while Kingsway Olympic's 2-0 defeat of Balcatta keeps them one point behind. Still without a win this season, Bayswater City lost 2-5 at home to Wanneroo City.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN (IN BRIEF)
It was a Saturday chock full of surprises with the top three clubs all losing. After taking the early lead, Sorrento folded to the Western Knights to end up on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline. Second-placed Floreat Athena missed their chance to make up ground on the leaders, going down 1-0 at home to Cockburn City for who Paul Cooke scored on the hour.
Swan I.C. produced something of a Houdini trick to lift them out of the single relegation spot, shocking ECU Joondalup on home turf 2-1. Perth thumped four past Bassendean Caledonian without reply, Calies replacing Swan in the drop-zone. And Fremantle City downed Inglewood United 2-0 at Nash Field.
EDDIE MAY OR MAY NOT PLAY IN W.A. (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
Former Dunfermline Athletic midfielder Eddie May is experiencing first hand frustration at the administration of soccer in Australia. May arrived five weeks ago and was going to play in the W.A. state league until the NSL resumed. After playing one solitary game for the Western Knights league officials have prevented May playing any further games for some inexplicable reason. Yet the latest ruling is that May cannot play the last three games of the regular season but is eligible to play for the Western Knights in the W.A. play-offs!
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
At the Litis Stadium it's second meets fifth when Floreat Athena take on Cockburn City. The home side are in fire at the moment, taking taken maximum points from each of their past five outings. Their opponents ability to run hot one week and cold the next has hampered their campaign, and with one win in past month it's time to show if they'll be real contenders come the play-offs.
Sorrento should go some way to securing their first Premier League championship when they host the Western Knights. ECU Joondalup snuck into third place last Saturday and it's difficult to see Swan I.C. knocking them off at home. Perth will be looking to get over a disappointing three-game spell when they play Bassendean Caledonian at Dorrien Gardens. And the future of Fremantle City's players will be on the line when they host a constantly improving Inglewood United side.
STATE UNDER-14'S VICTORIOUS IN SINGAPORE
The Junior Soccer Association of W.A. sent their Under-14 North and South Development Squads to Singapore mid-August where they participated in week-long tournament which also featured teams from Singapore and South Australia. Both sides came home with some impressive performances under their belts, JSA North (playing as Perth North) losing just once in five outings to finish a credible fourth, while the team from the South (Perth South) went undefeated and brought home the silverware.
Things kicked-off on Monday with Singapore A and Perth North battling out a tense 1-1 draw. Perth South got their campaign off on the right foot by defeating Adelaide B 2-1, while Adelaide A went down 2-0 to Singapore B. The following day the two J.S.A. sides met with Perth South coming out on top 1-0. Singapore B also maintained their 100% record with a 3-1 triumph over Adelaide B, while Singapore A and Adelaide A drew 1-1.
While Singapore's humidity was a new experience for many of the boys, the sides also had to contend with some playing surfaces that were less than desirable, but full credit to all the Australian sides who adapted well to both. Wednesday saw both J.S.A. teams involved in scoreless draws, Perth North with Adelaide B and Perth South with Adelaide A. In the derby between the hosts, Singapore B came out victors 4-1. Perth South kept alive their hopes of winning the event the following day with a commanding 3-1 win over Singapore A. Perth North ended the perfect record of Singapore B by holding them 2-2, and Adelaide A beat Adelaide B 3-0.
The final day of competition started with two draws, Singapore A and Adelaide B ending 2-2 while it was 0-0 between Perth North and Adelaide A. As it turned out the last scheduled fixture would decide the winner of the mini-tournament, Perth South scoring the only goal of the game - in the final minute of play - to edge in front of Singapore B who finished in second place. For Daniel Simcox, a member of the Perth South squad, the tour was something to cherish. "I hope that I can do it all over again in 2002 and have the same success," the Swan I.C. junior said. "Playing for your State is the greatest honour you could have."
Mick Tetlow, coach of the Under-14 South Development Squad, said he was over the moon with his team's performance in Singapore. "It was excellent, a really good competition for the boys," he said. "As the week went on we seemed to get better. We were obviously tired at the end of the week because five games in five days is a big ask in the humidity and the heat over there, but we accepted the conditions and just got on with it. In the last game as we needed to win while the Singapore national team only needed a draw, although we were both on the same points they had a superior goal average. And we ended up winning 1-0 by scoring with about three minutes to go, it was really good."
P W D L FOR AGST GD PTS 1 Perth South (JSA) 5 4 1 0 7 2 +5 13 2 Singapore B 5 3 1 1 11 5 +6 10 3 Adelaide A 5 1 3 1 6 6 +0 6 4 Perth North (JSA) 5 0 4 1 3 4 -1 4 5 Singapore A 5 0 3 2 6 11 -5 3 6 Adelaide B 5 0 2 4 4 10 -6 2
TARKA JOINS GLORY
One-time Cockburn City defender David Tarka has this week agreed terms with NSL side Perth Glory. The now 18-year old made his State League debut at the age of 16 for Cockburn and shortly after took up a two-year scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. "David's a good long-term prospect," said Glory coach Mich d'Avray on Tarka's signing. "I don't see him coming into the team straight away, but you never know. We thought the same about Ivan Ergic and Gary Faria, and they quickly established themselves."
PLAY-OFF SPOT DECIDED THIS WEEKEND
For much of the season there has been little dispute over who would finish in the top three spots of the First Division (South) competition, Rockingham City, Queens Park and the Leeming Strikers well clear of the chasing pack. But the remaining play-off spot has never been so clear-cut with, until recently, three clubs - South West Phoenix, Morley Windmills and Armadale - vying for fourth place. The latter dropped off the pace as the regular season came to an end and this Saturday the final make-up of the top four will be decided when Phoenix play Windmills at Wotton Reserve from 1.00pm.
The original mid-May meeting was called off after 30 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch, the scores locked at one-all when the referee decided enough was enough. And with just three points separating the clubs after 13 games, it has been decided to replay the fixture. Currently in fourth, Phoenix go into the game as favourites having won both the League (2-1) and Cup (3-0) games between the sides this winter, and with a superior goal difference over their rivals. Fifth-placed Windmills must win the game by three or more goals to leapfrog Phoenix and make the finals series which gets underway in little under a month.
SORRENTO CLOSE-IN ON CHAMPIONSHIP
Sorrento have moved one step closer to collecting their first ever Premier League crown after twice coming from behind to defeat Inglewood United 4-3 at Kiev Sports Ground in the mid-week Round Nine catch-up fixture. Going into this game the visiting side had taken 19 points from a possible 24 over the past nine weeks, including a resounding 4-1 triumph over Bassendean Caledonian just five days earlier. United were full of confidence themselves having downed high-flying Cockburn City 3-1 at home on Saturday, extending their run to four games without defeat as they continue their late charge for a place in the finals.
United silenced the large contingent of travelling supporters in the by taking the lead in the 4th minute. Sorrento's defence were slow to react when Greg Sharland's free-kick floated into the heart of the 18-yard box, and before they knew it Elton Holmes had slammed the ball past Neil Young from close-range. Not to be out-done, Sorrento struck back four minutes later, Michael Garcia breaking down the left and his low centring ball found David Foster streaming into the box, the teenager side-footing it past Oliver Taseski to put things back on an even keel.
The two teams had a riding on this game as they traded attacks, and on the quarter hour mark United re-claimed the lead. A cross by skilful midfielder Scott Campbell evaded the pack of players gathered in the middle of the area and fell to the unmarked Holmes at the far post, half-volleying it into the roof of Young's net with his second touch. But their lead was again short-lived. A probing ball from Garcia across the top of the penalty area in the 20th minute was cut out by Shaun Kilkelly, the young defender having the misfortune of re-directing it over his own 'keeper and making it two-all.
United were almost back in front after 25 minutes when Paul Lincoln raced onto a long ball and squared it to Campbell, he turned an opponent but pulled the shot wide. Two minutes later the visitors went ahead with a controversial goal. Garcia played a free-kick from 25-metres into the 6-yard box which Taseski plucked from the air, only to be bundled over the line by a Sorrento player as loud protests erupted from the home bench. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred the referee would have protected the 'keeper and whistled in his favour, but that wasn't the case tonight and referee Jeremy Oliphant allowed it to stand.
Played at a cracking pace and with five goals scored in under half an hour, it was no big surprise that the remainder of the half petered out with a smattering of half-chances. In the 35th minute Jared Love's cross from the right was spilt by Taseski, but before Jake Harman could take full advantage of the situation the young 'keeper regained possession. Shortly after Ross Greer flashed his volley from 16-metres over the bar after United's defence failed to deal sufficiently with a corner. But there was little that came the way of the home whose forward thrusts were efficiently dealt with by the visiting back-three of Scott McLeod, Stuart Banks and Kevin Murphy.
The second half started at with both sides instantly at full-speed. Inside the opening minute Murphy's clip over the defence saw Foster run the ball into the area and slide it just wide of Taseski's near post. The ball was immediately raced to the other end where Sharland created room out of nothing only to rifle the ball high from 16-metres. Three minutes into the half and United drew level with an opportunistic goal from Lincoln - Sharland pulling it back from the by-line to the stocky striker who, surrounded by opponents, slammed it low into Young's net.
United continued to create good scoring opportunities early in the half but were unable to convert. In the 54th minute Holmes latched onto Andy Cornmell's searching cross-field ball only to stab it wide from 14-metres. Seven minutes later, and with a move reminiscent of the game's opening goal, Holmes drifted in unchecked behind the defence to meet Sharland's free-kick but directed his shot wide of the far post with Young and his teammates again caught ball-watching.
Sorrento made their opponents pay dearly for these misses in the 64th minute with a lovely flowing exchange of passes that lead up to tonight's winner. From the centre circle, Garcia feed it to Love who somehow managed to retain possession despite loosing his footing on the top corner of the box. The young striker threw off the challenge of an opponent before centring into the path of Glenn Thomas whose low first time from 20-metres rocketed beyond Taseski's reach, making it four-three to the visitors.
The pattern of the match continued into the final 20 minutes - neither side able to get on top yet both providing plenty for the crowd to get excited about. Sorrento's leading scorer Ryan Jeans should have done better than pull his shot across goal after Greer brought a high ball to feet. Campbell and Mouttet had several promising runs brought to an abrupt end by Sorrento's defence. Another long-range effort by Thomas in the 77th minute saw Taseski produce a stunning diving save to tip the ball around the post.
Six minutes from full-time Lincoln skinned Stuart Banks and crossed into the box where Sharland's header thundered back off the bar with Young beaten, and Mouttet slammed the follow-up high. In a goalmouth scramble, Jeans got the ball into the net for a fifth time for the visitors but had it ruled out for off-side. And in the 89th minute Lincoln made a last-ditch run into the area, avoiding the legs of three defenders only to have his explosive shot courageously blocked by Murphy.
Sorrento may have taken home the points tonight but the real winner were the fans that were entertained by two sides at the top of their form. Garcia was the visitors key player in midfield and was involved in the majority of their attacking forays, while Murphy was solid at the back. For United Campbell chimed in with another sterling, tireless performance. The win opens up a four point gap between Sorrento and second-placed Floreat Athena at the top of the table with just three rounds remaining in the home-and-away season. Should Sorrento be able to go on with the job - which is likely seeing they have only lost twice in fifteen games this season - they will lift silverware for the first time since 1999 when they won the Top Five play-off and Night Series tournaments.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Jamie Goodman, Shaun Kilkelly, Jason Godfrey, Greg Sharland,
Rory Mouttet, Alex Cummings, Scott Campbell, Andy Cornmell (Drew Carruthers 77), Elton Holmes
(John Bartolomei 69), Paul Lincoln
Sorrento : Neil Young, Glenn Thomas, Stuart Banks, Kevin Murphy, Michael Garcia, Jared Love (David Colegate 88), Peter Butler, Scott McLeod, David Foster, Ross Greer, Jake Harman (Ryan Jeans 65)
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Cautions : Murphy (56), Mouttet (58)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 350 (approx.)
UNDER-19's HOLD OFF GALLANT INDONESIANS
Going into Wednesday night's friendly, State Under-19 coach Eric Williams was confident his youngsters would be able to put up a strong fight against an Indonesian Under-23 outfit that is gearing up for the South Pacific Games. With seven players absent due to club duties, Williams filled the gaps be calling up four over-age players in goalkeeper Corey Hugo, defenders David Annall and Aaron Cole and midfielder Robbie Gaspar. Coming off wins in their homeland over the Jakarta State University (11-0) and club side Karno (6-0), Indonesia too had every right to expect an outcome in their favour from a game played in chilly conditions at the Kiev Sports Ground.
The opening period of this clash, witnessed by a big crowd, was played at a pace which resulted in both sides conceding possession with regularity due to some elemental mistakes. With things getting very physical at times, it wasn't until the 19th minute that either team managed so much as a shot on goal, Indonesian captain Pamungkas Bambang forcing Corey Hugo into making a superb reflex save from 12-metres. W.A. responded by breaking quickly, Robbie Gaspar sending a searching ball in the direction of Derek Cooke whose speculative long-range effort dipped just the wrong side of the bar.
A very fast Indonesian side enjoyed the better of possession over the half but found chances scattered thanks largely to W.A.'s well-organised defence. Encang Rohiman's deep cross into the area after 25 minutes was met by Bambang, his thumping header coming back into play off the up-right with Hugo flat-footed. Fifteen minutes later midfielder Eiboy Elie left Daniel Stoitis in his wake but finished poorly by sending his shot from a tight angle straight to the State 'keeper. And three minutes before half-time a speculative lob from inside the centre circle by Firman Syah caught Hugo in no-man's land, the 'keeper breathing a sight of relief when the ball landed on the top netting. Cooke had the home side's only chance of the half, seizing upon some sloppy defending in the 33rd minute but finding goalkeeper Christian Yendri Pitoy well placed to stop the shot.
W.A. came out after the break a re-vitalised team, stepping up a gear to dominate play. Five minutes into the half, Andreas Oliviera's curling shot from just inside the 18-yard box was spectacularly tipped around the post by Pitoy. Four minutes later Oliviera won a penalty after having his shirt pulled as he weaved his way inside the area, the young striker sending the 'keeper the wrong way to break the deadlock. Andre Sarpe was judged to have been impeded by the 'keeper - in what way is still up for debate - in the 63rd and again a penalty was given. Pitoy saved the first attempt but referee Angelo Nardi ordered a re-take, the 'keeper diving the right way to keep out the shot but this time Sarpe slammed home the rebound. The game looked to be over as a contest two minutes later when Oliviera put the ball away to make it three-nil.
But to their credit Indonesia never gave and clawed their way back into the match in the final 20 minutes as W.A. tired noticeably. After some good lead-up work, recently introduced substitute Budi Sudersono shot narrowly wide in the 75th minute. Two minutes later Pur Wanto did what his teammate couldn't when he met Ali Isnan's cross from close to the by-line, glancing his header past Hugo as the visitors came back into the contest. With most of the play taking place in Indonesia's attacking half, W.A. work hard to defend en masse, breaking only on the counter-attack. A minute from full-time Wanto pulled another goal back, the striker's superb header making the final 3-2 scoreline a little more representative of the game.
Despite a largely unconvincing performance, Williams would have been happy with his sides' efforts considering their limited preparation for this game. In the end a draw would have been a much fairer result, W.A. only getting over the line with the aid of two very soft penalties, one of which needed to be retaken. The two sides meet again on Monday (23rd July) night at the Litis Stadium when the curtain-raiser will be the clash between the W.A. Schoolboys and an Inglewood United youth side, kick-off for the early game being around 5.30pm.
Western Australia : Corey Hugo, Daniel Stoitis, Ivan Zuelva, David Annall (Aaron Cole 50), Derek Cooke
(Louis Parkinson 70), Todd Howarth, Dale McCulloch, Robbie Gaspar, Antonio Naglieri, Andre Sarpe
(Phillip Smiljanic 86), Andreas Oliviera
Indonesia : Christian Yendri Pitoy (Samsidar 73), Firman Syah, Warsidi, Baa Faried Dullah, Ali Isnan, Sofyan Ismed (Budi Sudersono 68), Juanda Edu, Encang Rohiman (Astaman Ponaryo 58), Eiboy Elie (Firman Utina 58), Pamungkas Bambang, Pur Wanto
Referee : Angelo Nardi
Cautions : None
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 500 (approx.)
FIXTURE DATE SET
The postponed Round 7 clash between Inglewood United and Fremantle City has been set down to take place at the Kiev Sports Ground on Friday 10th August, the weekend after the final round of Premier League fixtures. But for United it could spell a very busy period that might see them play four games in the space of nine days.
They are away to Sorrento in their last League game on Saturday 4th, and the following day the two sides do it all again at the same venue in their postponed Boral Cup clash. The following Friday they host Fremantle, and two days later could see further Boral Cup action when the semi-finals are held.
KNIGHTS STATE THEIR CASE
With the issue of eligibility clouding the immediate futures of several players in Soccer West Coast's ranks, Western Knights vice-president Basil Zuvela has spoken publicly for the first time about the situation surrounding Danish import Claus Nielsen, who has been kept out of action for the past fortnight. "Claus is on a three-year student visa and we did not bring him out here to play soccer. He has come out here with his wife to study and is playing soccer in addition to that," Zuvela said this week.
"Eddy Bulic, the coach of Gwelup Croatia who are one our associated amateur teams, works with Claus' wife via whom we found out that he had previously played in Denmark," the club spokesman explained. "He was having a friendly kick around with the University of W.A. side when Eddy approached him to play amateurs, but after one training session it was clear Claus was of a higher standard and so he brought him down to the Knights. This was in January."
"We queried Soccer West Coast on the visa situation and opted not to play Claus during the Night Series as we were awaiting a ruling from SWC. We knew we had to obtain a clearance for Claus, he rang his club in Denmark who sent over the documents clearing him to play for any other club. We followed FIFA guidelines that state a player is free to move to any club when he becomes a free agent (ie. contract expires). Claus was cleared by his club, and we sent the clearance papers to SWC. As an added precaution we registered Claus with Fremantle Croatia, another of our associated amateur teams from who he has since been de-registered, and also with SWC who gave us the go-ahead for him to play, which we have done since."
Zuvela stresses the Knights have done everything by the book, including repeated confirmation of Nielsen's eligibility from the local controlling body. "As far as the Knights are concerned, we went about things the right way and followed the advice given by SWC. We have been up-front about it, and have nothing to hide. We have sought and received the reassurance of SWC that we were not doing anything wrong."
KALOGERCAOS NOW A KING
26-year old former Floreat Athena striker Vas Kalogeracos has become the seventh player to depart NSL minor premiers South Melbourne in the off-season, joining the New Zealand side Kingz FC as a free agent. It will be the tenth club for the one-time Australian junior representative who, since 1992, has spent time with Athena, Sydney Olympic, Birmingham City (England), Stevenage Town (England), Kuala Lumpar (Malayasia), Perth Glory, Stockport County (England), Hamkam (Norway) and South Melbourne.
MID-WEEK FIXTURE CRUCIAL FOR BOTH CLUBS
Five Inglewood United teenagers have opted to take part in their club's vital Premier League clash with Sorrento tomorrow night at the Kiev Sports Ground after turning out in the State Under-19's friendly with the visiting Indonesian Under-23 side. "The league game is more important, I don't think the players will argue with that," United coach Steve Parkinson said of Oliver Taseski, Shaun Kilkelly, Ryan Fredericks, Jason Godfrey and Greg Sharland. Coming off a resounding 3-1 win over Cockburn City, United must win four of their last five games to have a chance of figuring in the end of season play-off series.
Sorrento were also big winners on the weekend, thumping Bassendean Caledonian 4-1. Player-coach Trevor Morgan will draw upon much the same squad for the mid-week fixture, including youngsters David Foster and Jared Love who have temporarily withdrawn from the Under-19 squad. Still unavailable are defender Danny Hill and midfielder Mark Saunders who are awaiting clearances from the UK. Morgan is well aware that victory over United would extend their lead over second-placed Floreat Athena to four points. "It would give us a bit of breathing space with only three games to play after that," the coach told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian".
2001 KANGA CUP RESULTS
The five West Australian teams which participated in the 2001 Kanga Cup tournament in Canberra last week are now all back home safe and sound having experienced varying degrees of success. The Junior Soccer Association of W.A. send three country representative teams to this year's event along with two development squads from the metropolitan area.
The Country Under-17 side started their Group B campaign with a 1-1 draw against Soccer Canberra on Monday, only to follow it up with successive losses at the hands of Griffith (0-1) and eventual group winners Avoca Sharks (0-2). Already out of the running for a finals berth, the Country lads picked up the pace for their last two games which saw them end the event on a high with convincing victories over Woden Valley (3-0) and Southwell Park (5-1).
Drawn in Group B, the Country Under-15's started the tournament in blistering style by recording four consecutive wins. Monday saw triumphs over Fairfield Patrician Brothers (2-1) and Gunners (3-2), the following day a 6-1 thumping of Wallabies and that form was continued in Wednesday morning's 5-0 hammering of Belnorth Soccer Club. But later that day, in their fifth game in three days, the Country lads suffered a crushing 1-5 loss to eventual group winners Survivors. Their final match ended in a 1-1 draw with Sydney Grammar, the Under-15's claiming second place in their group.
The Under-14 North team took part in Group B of their age group, finishing mid-table in the group of seven. On day one of competition the development squad loss to Sunshine Coast Churches (1-3) before drawing 2-2 with Southern Tablelands. After a 3-1 win over Belnorth Soccer Club Gold on Tuesday, losses over the next two days to Belwest Soccer Club (0-5) and East Timor (0-2) put the side out of the running for the play-offs. But the Under-14's ended their tournament on a high, defeating bottom side Galaxy 3-1 to take fourth place. East Timor took out the group without dropping a point, amassing 33 goals while conceding just once over six games.
Group C was where the Under-14 South team was drawn and, while the experience the gleamed will prove unforgettable it won't be for the results. The development squad finished on the bottom of the ladder, suffering losses to Albion Park (1-2), Pumas (0-2), Belnorth Soccer Club Blue (1-3), Majura (1-2) and, in a high scoring affair, St George Police Youth (3-5). They ended the group stage with a fighting 2-2 against the side from South West Queensland. St George Police Youth topped the table with six wins from as many outings.
The Country Under-13 boys were the highest scoring of any of the W.A. sides at this year's Kanga Cup, hitting 23 goals in four games as they claimed second place. They started Group C fixtures with a 2-3 loss to eventual winners Tuggeranong United before really hitting their straps on Tuesday against Belnorth Soccer Club Legends (9-1) and Deakin (2-1). In their final hit-out the Under-13's thumped ten past Belsouth Soccer Club without reply before enjoying a well earnt rest on Friday. The only W.A. side to reach the play-offs, the Under-13's bowed out at the quarter-finals stage, losing 1-2 to Tuggeranong United.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN (Bassendean Caledonian vs Sorrento report provided by Kerry Slater; Western Knights vs Swan I.C. report based on information provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
It was a much changed Fremantle City outfit that made the journey north to play ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University grounds on Saturday. The port side were rocked by the mid-week departure of striker Trim Morgan who has decided to return to England. Injuries continue to sideline captain Paul McVittie and midfielder Anthony Pereira, brothers John and Michael Mirco were late withdrawals, while Daniel Trim and Scott Clissold were feeling the effects of illness. Their opponents on the other hand went into the game at near full-strength, only winger Mark Benbow out with a cloud hanging over his clearance from overseas in a scandal which is effecting more players each week.
Kicking-off in near-perfect playing conditions, City started the better of the two sides and it wasn't long before they created the first chance of the afternoon. Johnny Ferriera was presented with a perfect opportunity to give the visitors the lead after 6 minutes when he ran onto a long, diagonal ball from Scott Clissold which took him past the defence only for the right winger to blast wide with Gareth Deeg to beat. Shortly after Joondalup suffered a blow when the influential Steve White limped from the park with a back complaint, his place on the right being taken by teenager Scott Bulloch. Although there were some anxious moments in both 18-yard boxes, the opening half was a tight affair with genuine goal scoring opportunities few and far between.
On the quarter hour mark Craig Surtees turned the ball over on the half-way line and sent Ferriera down the right, his centring ball finding Will Pryce who really should have done better than see his weak shot from 9-metres bounce to Deeg. The visitors were reliant on hitting the ball long for their forward players to run onto, but they were consistently thwarted by a well-organised home defence. In the 22nd minute two Joondalup players collided in the middle of the park and Ferriera was off like a shot into attack. He expertly drew the defence before finding the feet of Joe Liguan, he flicked it wide to Pryce who took too long to shoot and Jamie Kuzmanovich desperately blocked the shot. Pryce recovered but was unable to convert at the second attempt.
Joondalup took a lot time to find their rhythm and it wasn't until close to the 30 minute mark that they started to string together their passes. Until now the supply line through the middle was virtually non-existent, having the effect of drawing forwards Carl McDarby and Andy Mason well out of position just to get involved in the game. What presence Joondalup did have in their attacking half was largely down to teenager wingers Bulloch and Andre Sarpe who welcomed the opportunity to run with the ball at their feet.
Sarpe created what could be termed Joondalup's first chance in the 29th minute, receiving a wide pass from Sandy Robertson and sending a low cross to the near post which was fumbled by Robert Zabica, the 'keeper re-gaining possession as Mason raced in for the crumbs. Three minutes later Robertson fed the ball to Sarpe who hit a stunning volley on the turn that whizzed just over the crossbar with Zabica flat- footed. The remainder of the half petered out as both teams sprung the off-side trap with frequency to stifle their opponents creativity. At half-time you had the impression that it would take an almighty turnaround in either sides fortunes before the deadlock was broken.
The second half saw Joondalup come out with all guns firing and go straight into attack. Within a minute of the re-start Zabica turned away a fierce Sarpe shot after he was released by Robertson. Just 30 seconds later the City custodian scooped up McDarby's close-range effort with the visiting defence all at sea. In the 52nd minute Sean Fallon's shot deflected off the shin of a defender, catching Zabica off-guard as it went narrowly wide of the far post. Joondalup should have scored from the resulting corner, played in by Sarpe and flicked on by Fallon only for Mason to scoop it high over the bar from point-blank range.
City faded as the half progressed and Joondalup's central midfielders Robertson and Dale McCulloch made the most of the situation by taking control of the middle. Speaking generally, referee Angelo Nardi had a good afternoon although on occasions he did leave you wondering if he was in fact watching the game. In the 58th minute Clissold brought down Sarpe with a savage two-footed tackle from behind that was deserving of, at minimum, a yellow card. Instead he awarded the home team a free-kick which Robertson quickly sent to the far post and Kuzmanovich's bullet-like headed flew just over.
Robertson drilled a low shot at the base of Zabica's near post in the 61st minute, the veteran 'keeper responding with a classy save to show that he can still produce the goods. City managed a rare foray into attack two minutes later when Daniel Trim skilfully made his way past three defenders to go inside the area, only to spray his shot well wide of the target. And in the 66th minute Sarpe made space for himself out wide and sent a looping cross into the box which amazingly evaded four teammates.
In a devastating ten minute Joondalup killed off the game with two well-taken goals. The breakthrough came with in the 69th minute courtesy of 16-year old Bulloch. Collecting the ball wide on the left, he dribbled it along the top of the 18-yard box, dancing past three defenders before turning towards goal, rounded two more opponents then crashed the ball into the roof of Zabica's net from 12-metres. It was a lovely piece of individual play and without a shadow of a doubt one of the goals of the season. Ten minutes later a City corner was cleared long, McDarby racing clear on the counter-attack and unselfishly centring to Mason who made no mistake with only Zabica to beat.
Joondalup eased off in the time remaining, their opponents coming back into the game but wasteful in their final third. Lacking any degree of penetration for much of the half, City made a desperate push to take something home from this fixture. In the 83rd minute young substitute Jordan Andrews did the hard work to release Liguan who placed his low shot inches wide of the bottom right corner. Three minutes later Liguan and Simon Jonas combined to set-up Dale Wingell, but his rising shot didn't call Deeg into action. The final chance went to Joondalup when, two minutes into stoppage time, Zabica released the ball straight to Sarpe whose low drive forced the experienced 'keeper into a sharp response.
After an even opening half Joondalup ran away with the game after the interval and deserved the three points today. Robertson took some time to get into the swing of things but once he hit his straps proved again how valuable a player he can be. Teenage winger Sarpe showed that he is one to watch, while at the back Scott Broadley, Richard Watson and Kuzmanovich limited City's strikers to just a handful of chances. For the visitors it was Evan Wallace and Cesare De Bartolo who stood out in the heart of City's defence, and Ferriera looked good early on but faded after the break.
Post-match, City coach Stuart Kamasz was left wondering what else he can do to turn around his sides' poor form. "We had two one-on-ones with their 'keeper in the first half and, as usual, we missed them both on a day that the first goal was always going to decide the game. We never got going in the second half. Daniel Trim and Scott Clissold died as the game went on and under better circumstances I would not have played either, but today I really had little choice with so many players unavailable. And some of our younger players have not been able to cope with the step up this season, but I will continue to give them a go as we finish the season. We now have to dig deep and play for our pride."
ECU Joondalup : Gareth Deeg, Scott Broadley, Richard Watson, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Steve White
(Scott Bulloch 7), Andre Sarpe, Dale McCulloch (Dwayne Sadja 88), Sandy Robertson, Sean Fallon,
Carl McDarby (Garin Collins 83), Andy Mason
Fremantle City : Robert Zabica, Craig Surtees, Cesare De Bartolo, Dulio Xavier (Cisco Jorqueira 72), Evan Wallace, Johnny Ferriera, Dale Wingell, Daniel Trim (Jordan Andrews 76), Scott Clissold, Will Pryce (Simon Jonas 76), Joe Liguan
Referee : Frank Moretti
Cautions : Wingell (67), Andrews (81)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Sorrento stay at the top of the Premier League after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over second last placed Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve. The home side unexpectedly took the lead on 14 minutes when Derek Cooke improvised to back heel a Kevin Griffiths shot pass Neil Young in the Sorrento goal. Their lead was almost taken away within four minutes when Sorrento captain Stuart Banks swung in a cross from the left and Ross Greer's challenge on George Ramm deflected the ball to Michael Garcia, but his shot sped across the face of Tommi Tomich's goal and narrowly missed the right post. It was from a Garcia corner on 21 minutes that was the build-up to Sorrento's equaliser - the ball coming to the far post from the left and Greer headed back across goal for Kevin Murphy to head in the top left corner of the goal. Sorrento were on top and punished Caledonian again within a minute of the restart, Ryan Jeans' pass inside to Glen Thomas who broke from midfield and firing his shot wide of the diving Tomich to put Sorrento in command. State Under-19 representative David Foster was getting into the right positions to hurt the ome side, but he couldn't get his shots on target. The young striker fired wide of the right post after 34 minutes and on 42 minutes he was too high with his effort after Jared Love had squared the ball. Love crossed for Garcia to power in his header, but Tomich reacted to batter the ball away to save Caledonian from any further damage before the break.
Two minutes into the new half, an unfortunate hand ball gave Sorrento a penalty which leading scorer Ryan Jeans stepped up to blast in his twelfth of season off the crossbar. The Seagulls were now in control and dominating possession. Foster was still having trouble hitting the target as he mis-hit his shot following a Greer header after 56 minutes. Six minutes later Jeans headed wide as he met a Foster cross from the left wing. Scott McLeod and Murphy contained any hint of a Bassendean attack, whilst Love was at his best creating opportunities in attack. In the 78th minute he sped down the right before passing inside to Greer who had time to pick his spot into the bottom left corner for Sorrento's fourth and final goal of the afternoon. It was an impressive display by the league leaders who remained one point ahead of Floreat Athena at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the round. Sorrento now turn their attention to Wednesday night's catch-up game against Inglewood United when another three points will give the Seagulls some much needed breathing space going into the final three game of the regular season.
Floreat Athena came from behind to defeat a determined Perth outfit in a seven-goal thriller at the Litis Stadium in a match that had a dash of everything - a spectacular hat-trick, fight-backs by both sides, two red cards and a winner four minutes in stoppage time. Wanting to put last week's disappointing loss behind them, the visitors came out of the blocks with a bluster and dominated early on. But Athena grabbed the lead in the 31st minute when Robin Dyers put Peter Coci through to slot the ball past goalkeeper Robert Scarporolo amidst some convincing cries for off-side from the Perth backline. Athena might well have increased their lead if not for the heroics of Scarparolo who made two flying saves to keep his side in the hunt. The visitors drew level four minutes before the interval when Mark Pottier's overhead came back off the up-right and Botha was on hand to hit home the follow-up.
Athena started the second half the more purposeful and within three minutes Dyers restored their the lead with a hard, low shot into the bottom corner of Scarparolo's goal. Not long after Dyers found the net again only to have his effort ruled out for an illegal challenge on the Perth 'keeper. Both side were reduced to ten men in the 70th minute when Michael Icanovski (Perth) and Miguel Ortin (Athena) were involved in an unsavoury incident. Six minutes later Perth drew level for the second time today, a defensive error allowing Botha to hammer home his second goal. And in the 78th minute Botha bagged the goal of the afternoon with a sizzling long-range drive which rocketed into the top corner. Dyers made it 3-3 in the 88th minute when he capitalised on Perth's failure to deal with a corner, ramming it over the line in a crowded goalmouth. With the visitors under all the pressure, a cleared Athena corner came back into the area in the 94th minute when 37-year old defender Dave Evans met it perfectly at the far post, placing it across Scarporolo and inside the opposite up-right to make the final score 4-3.
The Western Knights made it two wins on the run when they defeated Swan I.C. 4-2 in a scrappy encounter at Nash Field. The visitors shocked the home crowd when they took an early lead, Ross Holtom giving Knights goalkeeper Darren Williams no chance. With their opponents stunned to be a goal down so early, Swan dominated proceedings for much of the half but found the Knights backline to difficult a nut to crack. The home side eventually re-discovered their rhythm and in a punishing three minute spell just before the interval they shattered Swan's confidence. In the 42nd minute Eugene Singeorzan produced some nifty footwork before crossing to John Nicolaou who steered the ball into the net. And on the stroke of half time a corner was only half cleared by the Swan defence and Gavin Tait's shot from the edge of the box deflected off Dean Nicolaou and past visiting 'keeper Corey Hugo. After the break the Knights controlled play with midfielder Dean Nicolaou pivotal in the centre. Singeorzan set-up John Nicolaou for his second of the afternoon, and midway through the half the striker could have had a hat-trick had he been able to finish off a fine move involving Carl Medica and Singeorzan. When Medica added his side's fourth the game was well and truly out of Swan's reach. The home side fell off the pace during the last 15 minutes during which time Swan pulled a goal back, Damian Scali slotting home in a goalmouth scramble to bring some respectability back into the final margin.
The game between a young Inglewood United and third-placed Cockburn City at the Kiev Sports Ground got underway with both sides making some basic errors to concede possession. In the 17th minute, the visitors turned the ball over in midfield and raced into attack where Joshua Pescud unleashed an unstoppable shot from 30-metres which rose into the top right hand corner of Oliver Taseski's goal. United pressed forward from the re-start to win themselves a corner from which Dino Pacella was adjudged to have held back an opponent and receiving a yellow card for his indiscretion and midfielder Andy Cornmell stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick. Ten minutes from the interval an Alex Cummings through ball found Paul Lincoln who sent a spectacular dipping shot from 25-metres into the top corner to give the home team the lead. The second half was very much a case of one way traffic with United having the better of the play but unable to convert their many chances. Finally, in the 70th minute, the margin was extended when Ryan Fredricks' throw-in was flicked on by Rory Moutett and Lincoln finished the well-rehearsed move with a clinical strike.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP (Armadale vs Leeming Strikers report provided by Michael Di Pietro)
Queens Park gave South West Phoenix a lesson in experience, how to make the most of your chances and how to play the game to win when they meet in Bunbury for their First Division (South) fixture on Saturday. With both sides taking their time settle, Queens Parks' John Foley had a 25-metre stunner tipped over the bar by Reece Braithwaite after 25 minutes, and two minutes later Glen Noblet sent the ball narrowly wide of up-right. It was a clear sign of things to come as the home midfield struggled to contain their more mobile counterparts. On the hour mark Tony Pritchard was allowed to run half the length of the field unchallenged to score with a long-range effort which went in off the post. Phoenix had a great chance to equalise shortly after when Brett Norrie released David Suttie who beat his man before crossing to Greg Hayes, but 'keeper Adam Ashford made a great save to deny the striker from the top of the 18-yard box. Both side had good opportunities to add tot he tally before the break, Noblet's header coming back off the post for the visitors while Sasa Garic's free-kick flew just over the bar on the stroke of half-time.
Queens Park sealed the game two minutes after the interval when the referee awarded a penalty against Damien Trim which left even the visitors confused, Pritchard making no mistake from the spot. Two goals up, the visitors now took control of the game and forced their opponents into playing the chasing game. The introduction of Jacob Fewster in the 56th minute injected some life into Phoenix's game and with 62 minutes gone Garic and Stephen Suttie combined to sent Norrie through with only the 'keeper to beat but the Phoenix striker was unable to make the most of the opportunity. Queens Park killed the game off once and for all when John Foley was allowed room fire fire home from 14-metres and make it 3-0. The home side came close to grabbing a late consolation, Garic's side-foot going just wide after some good lead-up work from Norrie and Stephen Suttie.
With the home-and-away season now at a close, Armadale must now turn their attentions to remaining in the First Division. Their final match of the regular season against the Leeming Strikers was a mere formality, with the result not baring on the final make-up of the ladder. For the first thirty minutes everything was in the balance, but a defensive error in the 33rd minute gave the Strikers an opportunity to open the scoring and they didn't miss. Seven minutes later they doubled that lead, and four minutes after that Dennis Lee gave the home crowd some voice, setting up what was hoped to be an interesting second half. Unfortunately, the Reds missed their opportunities and the visitors rounded off their goal tally in the 67th and 76th minutes, the 4-1 scoreline completing a miserable afternoon for Armadale. Now, the southern league teams have to wait three weeks until the northern league finish their home-and-away season before commencing the major and minor series play-offs. This wait could have been averted if Soccer West Coast had commenced the northern league three weeks before the southern league, making them finish at the same time, so the finals could follow on immediately. So, Armadale have to regroup and try to be one of the top two finishers in the minor finals series to retain their place in the First division for season 2002.
In other final round games, goals from Graham Matthews (2) and Stewart Francis saw Rockingham City over the line against Morley Windmills 3-1 to collect the First Division (South) championship. It is Rockingham's first trophy since they lifted the Second Division title in 1983. While bottom side Canning City ended 2001 on a high note when they defeated Southside United 3-2 in their second win of the winter.
The Stirling Lions continue to look the goods to take out the regular season First Division (North) trophy, this week hitting six past Balcatta without reply. Two points adrift, Perth City kept up the pressure with a 7-3 home thrashing of Bayswater City, and third-placed Ashfield slipped up when they lost 1-2 at Stirling Suns. Kingsway Olympic made up valuable ground on the Dianella White Eagles, who had the bye, recording a 3-2 away win over Wanneroo City.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA BAN FOUR
The nation's controlling body, Soccer Australia, have stepped into the controversy surrounding the eligibility of several Premier League players by banning them until the matter of their international clearances is resolved. The players effected by this ruling include Sorrento's big centre-half Danny Hill, Claus Nielson (Western Knights), Mark Benbow (ECU Joondalup) and Lee Burns (Bassendean Caledonian), all of whom were hoping to line-up this afternoon for their respective clubs.
Soccer Australia are reportedly concerned that a number of players may not have been cleared properly from their previous clubs in Europe. Speaking to Mel Moffat of the "West Australian", Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides said his organisation was doing everything in their power to get the players back on the park. "We've had a directive that they can't play until it's sorted out, but we're aggressively pursuing the matter."
PETKOVIC JOINS LILLESTROM
South Melbourne goalkeeper Michael Petkovic has agreed to join top flight Norwegian club Lillestrom on a three month, with an option for the side to secure his services on a permanent basis after two months. The one-time NSL Player of the Year will join fellow Socceroo Clayton Zane at Lillestrom who, at the half way stage in the League, are the current leaders.
"It's great to get an opportunity to play overseas," the West Australian born Petkovic said about the deal. "I'll spend two months on loan and there's the prospect of a full contract at the end of that time or they let me leave after another month. It will make it a bit easier to settle in knowing a fellow Aussie in Clayton Zane is at the club."
It will be Petkovic's second attempt at cracking into the European market. Two years ago the goalkeeper spent 10 frustrating months with French side Strasbourg during which time he never played a League game for the club due to work permit problems. After that deal fell apart Petkovic returned to Perth where he made a number of appearances for Cockburn City in the Premier League.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN (IN BRIEF)
The regular season title may be just a little out of their reach, but ECU Joondalup sounded a warning not to discount them once the play-offs arrive with a convincing 2-0 win over Fremantle City on Saturday. After an even fist half, the Saints ran away with the game after the break. 16-year old Scott Bulloch broke the deadlock with one of the goals of the season in the 69th minute, and ten minutes later Andy Mason put the outcome beyond doubt.
Floreat Athena won a seven-goal thriller with Perth 4-3 to consolidate second place on the Premier League ladder. Inglewood United continued their late charge for the play-offs with a resounding 3-1 triumph over Cockburn City. Leaders Sorrento had not trouble against home Bassendean Caledonian, the final margin being 4-1, and the Western Knights defeated Swan I.C. 4-2.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The game of Round Fifteen is undoubtedly the local derby at the Litis Stadium where it's second verses third as Floreat Athena take on Perth. The home side are on a high at the moment having defeated leaders Sorrento 2-1 last Saturday, while Perth will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Cockburn City. Many of the competition's top youngsters will be on show at the Kiev Sports Ground where Inglewood United, who just get better with each passing week, host fourth-placed Cockburn.
Up north, ECU Joondalup are at home to Fremantle City and visitors will be determined to go home with maximum points from this clash. Bassendean Caledonian are really struggling for form at the moment, having now gone five weeks without picking up a single point, and it's difficult see them getting up over Sorrento. Every game for bottom side Swan I.C. from now on is a "six pointer" and the wise money is on the Western Knights to come out on top at Nash Field.
HAXTON TRIALS IN SCOTLAND
Young Swan I.C. defender Kristofer Haxton is currently in Scotland where he is trying his luck with Premier League side Heart of Midlothian. The 16-year old was invited back for the pre-season after impressing in trials earlier in the year and is hopeful of joining the clubs youth academy.
SCOT MAY MAKES AUSSIE DEBUT FOR KNIGHTS (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
Former Dunfermline midfielder Eddie May made his Australian debut last weekend when he turned out in the Premier League for Western Knights. May had a distinguished career in the UK with Dunfermline, Motherwell, Falkirk, Brentford and Hibernian where he scored 80 goals in close to 500 senior games. Said to be the target of several N.S.L. and S-League clubs, the 33-year old midfielder will play a handful of games for the Knights to keep himself match fit before looking to break into the ranks of the NSL.
MORE ACTION FOR UNDER-19's
State Under-19 coach Eric Williams will retain the squad he took to France recently for the up-coming two-game friendly series with the Indonesian Under-23 team. In addition tho those who made the France visit, Williams has added goalkeepers Corey Hugo and Gianni Papalia, Louis Parkinson, who was this week included in the Australian Under-17's training squad, one-time Sydney Olympic junior Robbie Gaspar and Western Knights defender David Annall. Inglewood United defender Ryan Fredericks, who dropped out of the France squad at the last moment due to visa problems, is also included.
The first game takes place at the Kiev Sports ground, Inglewood, on Wednesday 18th July, kicking-off at 6.00pm and will be a curtain-raiser to the important Premier League clash between Inglewood United and Sorrento which gets underway at 8.15pm. The return game will most likely be played at the Litis Stadium on Monday 23rd July. In between the Indonesian side will play the W.A. Amateur team at Ashfield Reserve on Saturday 21st July.
The full squad named for the up-coming friendlies is - Derek Cooke (Bassendean Caledonian), Ryan Fredericks, Jason Godfrey, Sean Kilkelly, Louis Parkinson, Beni Pietropiccolo, Greg Sharland, Phil Smiljanic, Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Dale McCulloch, Andre Sarpe (ECU Joondalup), Robbie Gaspar, Todd Howarth, Gianni Papalia, Andreas Oliviera (Perth), David Foster, Jared Love (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.), David Annall, Michael Vaz, Ivan Zuvela (Western Knights), Daniel Stoitis (Kingsway Olympic) and Antonio Naglieri (Perth Glory/Cockburn City.
MORI SHOWS COURAGE UNDER FIRE
In just his third start for the season, goalkeeper Anthony Mori was undoubtedly Floreat Athena's hero in Saturday's bruising top-of-the-table clash with Sorrento. With long-serving custodian John Xigas out of action due to injury Mori has proved a worthy replacement for coach John Hunter, turning in some outstanding performances between the posts as Athena stake their claim to the regular season crown. Having seen out the 2-1 victory at Percy Doyle Reserve with mild concussion after receiving a blow to the side of the head, Mori was hospitalised post-match where he received a brain scan and 14 stitches inside his ear for his troubles.
FRIEDMAN GETS INTERNATIONAL CALL-UP
Young Inglewood United midfielder Gary Friedman is currently in Israel with the Australian contingent at the 16th World Maccabiah Games which run for ten days starting 16th July. Representing his country in football, Friedman will be one of an estimated 6,000 athletes from five continents competing at the games.
2002 TAKING SHAPE
While this season is by no means over, Soccer West Coast are already planning for 2002 with the introduction of a Second Division. The controlling body invited expressions of interest last month from new or existing clubs to join their ranks next season when they hope to expand to three divisions of ten.
At seasons' end, the bottom side in the Premier League will be relegated and replaced with the winner of the First Division Major Finals series winner. This will see the top four finishers from the North and South regions compete on a home-and-away basis, the side sitting on top of that ladder at the completion of the series winning promotion to the top flight.
The Minor Finals series will see the bottom four teams from the South and the bottom five from the North play-off, with only the top two finishers retaining their First Division status in 2002. The remaining seven clubs will make up the new Second Division which, it is hoped, will include three new sides. One of the candidates for entry is believed to be Mandurah City, although this has not been confirmed.
THREE NAMED IN JOEYS TRAINING SQUAD
National youth coach Ange Postecoglou has named three Perth lads in his 29-man training squad for the up-coming Under-17 World Championship which is being held in Trinidad and Tobago this September. The trio - Darren Broxton, Anthony Danze and Louis Parkinson - have been monitored by national selectors since coming to their attention at last years' National Talent Identification Championships and will go into camp with the Joeys from 23rd July.
It has been a busy twelve months for Broxton, Danze and Parkinson who, little over twelve months ago, were playing in the Premier League with ECU Joondalup. Broxton has since joined English club Southampton where he has firmly established himself in their youth system, last season an integral part of the Under-17 side. Having recently taken up residence at the Australian Institute of Sport, Danze became the youngest player to sign with Perth Glory when he agreed terms last September. Now with Inglewood United, Parkinson is expected to leave W.A. in the not too distant future with offers from interstate and abroad currently on the table.
PAPERWORK LEADS TO PLAYER CONFUSION
Three Premier League clubs were caught up in a minor controversy this week when questions were raised over the eligibility of several players. But recent relevations tend to suggest the matter is more one of sloppy administration anything else.
The issue centred around four players - Danny Hill, Mark Saunders (both Sorrento), Claus Neilson (Western Knights) and Lee Burns (Bassendean Caledonian) - who joined their respective clubs as amateurs after being de-registered by the West Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association. This step was taken by the amateur body after they learned Soccer Australia had not received international clearances for the quartet from their overseas clubs. It appears this issue is also at the heart of the recent allegations.
But according to sources close to two of the clubs, the problem is not so much that they have fielded ineligible players but more that the associated paperwork did not reach the appropriate authorities in a timely manner. It has been claimed that the clearances, which were submitted as far back as March, were held up somewhere between the Soccer Association of W.A., Soccer West Coast and Soccer Australia, hence the delay in getting the quartet sanctioned. We have been informed that it has been SWC policy to for clubs to field players from abroad until such time they are told otherwise.
It is understood that the matter was resolved this week when the players concerned signed declarations stating they were not under contract or obligation to any club anywhere in the world, other than their Premier League side.
MIKULIC BEING WATCHED
Cockburn City goal-scoring machine, Branimir Mikulic, is believed to be under the watchful eye of NSL side Perth Glory. The strongly built striker, who took his season tally to 23 goal in all competitions last Saturday, has come a long way since joining the club last year after spells with the Western Knights and Fremantle City. Mikulic's coach, Laslo Koroknai, said he was not at all surprised Glory was monitoring the progress of the Premier League's leading scorer. "He has a huge future," Koroknai told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian".
WOLVES LOOK WEST
National Soccer League champions Wollongong Wolves are making moves on some of this state's best young talents. The regional New South Wales club have signed an agreement with Perth-based Sports Group Australia which will see them offered the cream of the group's training academy. It is believed that three Perth-based players will trial with the club when they commence their pre-season next month.
"With only one NSL club in Perth, youngsters don't have too many options if they're not signed by Perth Glory, so we're happy to give those boys a chance to move to a high level," Wolves general manager Graeme Haney said recently. "We're not trying to jump into Glory's market, but obviously talented youngsters should get every opportunity that's going."
"We're all about improving the standards, giving opportunities and increasing the participation in the sport," Danny Kuzmanovich said Sports Group Australia spokesperson. Glory have dipped into the local ranks this year from which they've signed Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City), Anthony Danze (ECU Joondalup), Nick Mrdja (Perth) and Todd Harnwell (Sorrento). The NSL side are also hopeful of securing the services of 18-year old defender David Tarka, formerly with Cockburn.
COACHING CHANGES AT CALIES
There has been a changing of the guard at Bassendean Caledonian where senior coach Barry Smith and assistant Terry Goddard have recently vacated their respective positions. It is believed that the clubs current Premier League standing - ninth in the ten team competition - was a contributing factor in Smith's departure while a recent run of poor results also played it's part. Goddard was offered the job as coach but declined for reasons of his own.
Taking over the helm of the ailing club is reserves coach Jerry Wardle who will have Alan Weir by his side. Both have been long-time servants of the club. Wardle's association stems back to the early 1980's as a player, while since his debut in 1974 Weir has racked up over 500 appearances in the cherished navy blue shirt.
In his first full season in charge of the club, Smith took Caledonian to their first major trophy in recent times when they won the First Division double, not toe mention a place in the top flight. They won the home-and-away championship in 2000 courtesy of a convincing 4-1, final round victory to overhaul then-leaders Stirling Lions. Only a matter of weeks later they claimed their second trophy of the campaign, crushing the Lions 5-0 in the First Division top five series.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOURTEEN (Sorrento vs Floreat Athena report provided by Kerry Slater; Perth vs Cockburn City and Swan I.C. vs Bassendean Caledonian reports provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
Saturday's Premier League clash at the Kiev Sports Ground between Inglewood United and ECU Joondalup was one that both sides needed to win to stay in the hunt for a top five finish. The home side were coming off successive victories over Bassendean Caledonian and Western Knights and three points today would put their pre-season aim of making the play-offs firmly back on track. But not helping their cause was the absence due to injury of Daniel Harrop (hand) and Elton Holmes (foot). Joondalup were also missing some important players with Abdul Kamara and Gerry McEwan out of action, while striker Carl McDarby had to be content with a spot on the bench.
Joondalup kicked-off proceedings and it didn't take long before a pattern was established which saw the ball raced from one end of the park to the other as both sides pressed to get the early jump on the opposition. With much of the pressure on the home defence, Joondalup took the lead in the 7th minute from their first corner. Captain Sandy Robertson played it short to the on-coming Sean Fallon who knocked it back to the midfielder. And from a tight angle Robertson drilled a low shot under goalkeeper Oliver Taseski, who was caught unsighted in a congested area, to give the visitors the kind of start coach Geordie Simmons was looking for.
The goal spurred the home team into action, United controlling the minutes that followed and deservedly got back on a level footing after 14 minutes. A superb cross from the right by Paul Lincoln found midfielder Scott Campbell in the heart of the 18-yard box, Gareth Deeg showed great commitment to smother his initial shot but there was very little he could do when Campbell's second attempt clipped Mark Benbow and looped high over the 'keeper before dropping under the crossbar.
The remainder of the opening half saw very few opportunities with the respective defences standing stubbornly in the way of further goals. United were led by ever-reliable Jamie Goodman who had teenagers Jason Godfrey and Shaun Kilkelly by his side, the trio efficiently dealing with anything that came into their 18-yard box before sending the side forward via their wide players. Richard Watson was in control of proceedings for the visitors and was ably assisted by Jamie Kuzmanovich and Andy Brown who forced their opponents into shooting from long range for much of the game.
With neither side giving an inch without a fight, there wasn't a lot in the way of goalmouth action until late in the half when both sides had a chance to go into the break a goal the better. Andy Mason showed great skill in the 36th minute to cut between two opponents and inside the area, his fierce low drive from a narrow angle bringing out a stunning save from Taseski. Four minutes later Campbell's corner was cleared of the 18-yard box as far as Cornmell whose long-range flew wide of Deeg's left post.
After a see-sawing first half in which the two teams enjoyed periods in control, United came out after the interval fired up but unable to make much of their possession. Five minutes into the half the home side looked to have taken the lead when Rory Mouttet met Alex Cummings free-kick to the far post and headed the ball across Deeg's and into the far top corner of his net. But referee Wayne Oldham rightfully disallowed the goal, ruling striker Paul Lincoln to have pulled down Kuzmanovich when the kick was taken.
Like the first 45 minutes, there were not a lot of chances that presented themselves to either side over the course of the second half. With the classy Robertson a dominant force in the centre of the park, Joondalup carved out the better opportunities as the period wore on. Mason did all the hard work before teeing-up Robertson in the 54th minute, but the Scot found Taseski in fine form to deny him from close-range. Nine minutes later White's corner went to feet just outside the 6-yard box and in an instant Mason whipped past the United 'keeper but into the body of Lincoln who cleared on the line.
In an attempt to swing the game in their favour, both coaches made some shrewd substitutions late in the game but none would have the desired affect. United got more involved in the final 25 minutes but all too often fell victim to their opponents off-side trap. On the occasions the Joondalup defence was breached, the home side themselves thwarted their chances. In the 73rd minute United broke on the counter-attack only to find no one willing to take responsibility - Greg Sharland crossed rather than shoot from the top of the area, Campbell took too long to unload, then Lincoln was unwilling to shoot before he was swamped by Joondalup players. Five minutes later Deeg spilt Ryan Fredericks' long throw-in at the feet of Lincoln and Drew Carruthers who got in each others way with the 'keeper stranded as Watson raced in to clear the danger.
The introduction of teenager Andre Sarpe added some urgency to Joondalup's game with a display that highlighted just why he is rated so highly. Ten minutes from full-time United's backline survived a terrifying 30-second spell during which Sarpe's cracking volley was blocked a metre from the line, Mason was then denied after busseling his way past two defenders, and Scott Broadley's header was spectacularly kept out by Taseski. It was real hearts-in-mouths stuff as Joondalup finished the stronger but were unable to find the target due to some desperate defending and pure bad luck.
In an evenly balanced game Scottish import Robertson was a commanding presence in the centre of midfield for Joondalup where he simply oozed class. United's stand-out player was Mouttet who put in a non-stop performance that eventually saw him replaced four minutes from full-time having given his all, be it out wide in the first half or in creative central role after the break. Others that impressed included United's veteran midfielder Cummings and Fallon up-front for the visitors. Full marks also go to both defences who worked hard all day to keep the scores locked for much of the game.
Joondalup's Geordie Simmons was disappointed after the game that his side couldn't go on with the job and take home the three points on offer. "I thought we had to many under achievers. I thought our defense - Watson, Kuzmanovich and Brown - were outstanding and Robertson in midfield was sheer class, but apart from those the rest were passenger's. However, saying that, on the chances created I did think we deserved to pinch the points. Mason had a thunderous volley that hit their defender on the line, either side of him and it was in. Also we had two opportunities to clear the ball before United scored and we didn't take them, then Deegsy had the shot covered before it hit the shoulder of young Benbow and spooned over him and into the net."
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Jamie Goodman, Jason Godfrey, Shaun Kilkelly, Andy Cornmell,
Rory Mouttet (Daniel Arias 86), Alex Cummings, Scott Campbell, John Bartolomei (Ryan Fredericks 64),
Paul Lincoln, Greg Sharland (Drew Carruthers 77)
ECU Joondalup : Gareth Deeg, Richard Watson, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Andy Brown, Steve White (Carl McDarby 80), Mark Benbow (Andre Sarpe 69), Dale McCulloch, Sandy Robertson, Sean Fallon, Andy Mason, Scott Broadley
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : Brown (66)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 125 (approx.)
Sorrento knew the going would be tough when they hosted Floreat Athena, the only team to have beaten the seagulls this season, on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve. Jared Love made a welcomed return to the starting side and was involved early on, breaking as he accepted a pass from Ryan Jeans but his shot was across goal and wide of the left post in the 2nd minute. Four minutes later Neil Young was brilliant to stop Robin Dyers as he attempted to go round the Sorrento 'keeper after he had beaten the off side trap. Shortly afterwards, Dyers was very lucky to not receive a caution for a crude challenge on Scott McLeod at an Athena corner. On 12 minutes a flowing move by Sorrento involving Stuart Banks, Kevin Corriea and Ryan Jeans in the build-up ended with Michael Garcia squaring the ball for Jeans to blast in from outside the area. Nine minutes later the home team almost doubled their lead following a Peter Butler free-kick, Jeans' effort came back off the bar only for Kevin Murphy to suffer the same fate with the rebound. Ryan Newhill was the focal point for any Athena attack and on 28 minutes Young was well positioned to stop his effort. Bulter had to leave the field for a treatment for an open wound following another crude tackle that went unpunished. Murphy was pushing forward and his shot on 31 minutes was straight to Anthony Mori. Newhill's next opportunity was from a corner on 36 minutes, but his header clipped Young's bar.
For the start of the second half, Athena coach John Hunter rearranged his defensive line-up with his tall timber, Dave Evans and Hugh Miller, being introduced. On 54 minutes Young was again brave, diving at the feet of Newhill to gather. Four minutes later Newhill stabbed the ball off the body of Young for the visitor's equaliser as the tall striker took full advantage of slackness in man marking. Three minutes later Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan brought on David Colegate and David Foster for Corriea and Glen Thomas. Foster immediately set up Jeans with his header across goal, but Sorrento's leading scorer hesitated and Mori swooped on the ball. On 66 minutes Newhill was unmarked at the back post as the ball came from the left and he dispatched it pass the diving Young to put Athena in front. The introduction of striker Morgan for defender McLeod on 71 minutes added intensity to the home attack, however, clear chances to Jeans and Murphy were snuffed on the line by Mori. Athena held out to claim all three points and cement their reputation as Sorrento's bogey side.
Another side with a tough away trip was Perth who were without star striker Nick Mrdja (returned to Perth Glory) and dependable defender Perry Ielati (knee injury) for their visit to Dalmatinac Park. Even so, it was the visitors that had the first chance to score against Cockburn City in the third minute, but the home side cleared and were seldom threatened from then on. City were comfortable in sitting back and waiting for their opponents to give the ball away before attacking with speed and purpose. Only a great save by goalkeeper Rob Scarporolo prevented Joshua Pescud from opening the score. Moments later he failed to clear a high ball and Boza Erakovic was on hand to prod the ball home. One-nil down, Perth did show a little more endeavour with Robbie Gaspar and Jamie Coyne going just wide with good efforts. City, however, deserved their half-time lead. Second half substitutions and positional changes did little to lift Perth. Only a flying save by Scarparolo, again from Pescud, prevented the home side from going further ahead. But there was nothing he could do to stop Dragan Njegic's hard, low shot into the bottom corner that put City into a 2-0 lead. A frustrated Perth then conceded several unnecessary fouls before Branimir Mikulic fired home to give City a comfortable win.
Swan I.C. defeated Bassendean Caledonians 2-1 to give themselves some hope of escaping from the relegation spot at the bottom of the league table. As is so often the case relegation battles are nervous, tense affairs. This game was no exception and was scrappy as a result. Caledonian took the lead through Mark Lennon and went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. The home team battled hard in the second half, and an ever-alert Nigel Aubin pounced on a goalkeeping error to slot home the equaliser. Tensions rose as the game neared its end. With four minutes left on the clock a cracking left-footed drive by Damian Scali from just outside the penalty area rocketed into the net to the jubilation of home fans - and the dismay of the visitors'. It was Swan's moment of the season to date as they held on to claim three much needed Premiership points. But they will need a repeat performance this Saturday when they play the Western Knights at Nash Field to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop at seasons' end.
At Ken Allen Reserve, a mid-table finish loomed one step nearer for reigning champions Fremantle City who lost 0-1 to the Western Knights, the eleventh goal of the season for big striker Eugene Singeorzan getting the visitors over the line.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP (Bayswater Panthers vs Ashfield details provided by Craig Culverwell of the Ashfield website ; Southside United vs Armadale report provided by Michael Di Pietro)
First Division (South) leaders Rockingham City were very lucky to go home with maximum points after travelling to Bunbury on Saturday for the fixture with South West Phoenix. The home side started the better and rightfully claimed the lead after 6 minutes when Chris Gaynor, Steve Rodgers and Steve Suttie combined with the latter lobbing over the 'keeper from 22-metres to find the net. Things were going smoothly for Phoenix until the 21 minute mark when midfielder Rodgers succumbed to a recurring knee problem, replaced by classy youngster Steven Waycott. The change unsettled Phoenix and City took the opportunity to threaten for the first time, goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite called into action twice but never really troubled. Damien Trim hauled down an opponent down after 34 minutes, and Paul Cokin's found the target from the resulting direct free-kick, albeit with a deflection which caught Braithwaite. Luke Morris had a great chance to give the visitors the lead two minutes later but he headed over from inside the 6-yard box.
The home team should scored shortly after the interval - Stephen Suttie releasing Sasa Garic who beat two opponents to tee-up Greg Hayes but his effort from 16-metres went high. City took the lead with 20 minutes remaining via a free-kick won close to the by-line which was floated into the area and club leading scorer Graham Matthews drifted in behind the defence to make it 2-1. Seven minutes later Phoenix went down to ten men when Gaynor received his second yellow card of the afternoon. Gaynor's dismissal only spurred Phoenix into action and Garic saw his thumping shot saved by Adrian Rawlings in the 80th minute. Shortly after Brett Norrie's close-range effort was knocked over the bar, and Rawlings was again his sides saviour when in the 87th minute he prevented Waycott's header from 7-metres from crossing the line. At the end of the day Phoenix would pay dearly for their missed chances in a game they dominated for long periods but threw away by conceding free-kicks on dangerous positions.
With one more round to play in the home and away season, pride was all that was left to play for when Armadale met Southside United in the local derby on Saturday. Armadale made the journey to Walter Padbury Reserve and within 9 minutes of the kick-off managed to silence the home crowd when Nick Twyman gave them the lead. But the home supporters hadn't even had time to down their first beer when goals from Brian Carney and Aaron Ballantyne, in the 11th and 14th minutes respectively, gave United the lead. Both coaches must have aged considerably as their sides missed good scoring opportunities in front of goal, but Armadale's coach, Billy Russell would have registered the higher blood pressure as he saw firstly Darren Ingham and then Dennis Lee miss easy chances with only the 'keeper to beat. In the 33rd minute, some amazing bad luck for the visitors saw Emlyn Whetnall then Gary Murdoch hit the cross bar with successive shots. The second half saw United increase their lead in the 61st minute when Lee McEvoy converted from the penalty spot. It was an amazing turnaround from last week's match when the Reds held the then-League Queens Park to a 3-3 draw, but, at the end of the day one needs to convert it's chances in front of goal.
Elsewhere, Morley Windmills kept their chances of making the play-offs on track with a 2-1 victory over third-placed Leeming Strikers. But Windmills will have their work cut out for them this weekend when they must defeat leaders Rockingham City by a hefty margin, while hoping that Phoenix lose at home to Queens Park, in order to make the finals. Queens Park defeated Canning City 1-0 in the other game.
North of the river, the Stirling Lions thumped three past Wanneroo City without reply to retain their spot at the head of the ladder. Perth City dented the finals aspirations of Kingsway Olympic by triumphing 4-1 away from home, and Ashfield defeated Bayswater City 2-0 to stay third. The Dianella White Eagles appear to be coming good at the right time, making it five wins on the run when they thrashed Balcatta 7-2 at home. A hat-trick from Zoran Barovic, who leaps into contention for the League's golden boot award, two from Scott Halpin, one from Zelko Savic and an own goal earning the points for the White Eagles.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOURTEEN (IN BRIEF)
Things have tightened up considerably at both ends of the W.A. Premier League ladder after Round Fourteen of fixtures. For the second time this season, leaders Sorrento lost to Floreat Athena who leapfrog into second as a result. Perth dropped a place after being thumped 3-0 by Cockburn City for whom Branimir Mikulic scored his 16th goal of the winter. Just two points separate these four clubs.
The battle for fifth also hots up after ECU Joondalup were held to a 1-1 draw by Inglewood United, Sandy Robertson scoring his third goal in eight days before Scott Campbell replied for United. Western Knights 1-0 win over Fremantle City keeps the pressure on their rivals from way up north. Swan I.C. recorded their first win of the season by defeating fellow strugglers Bassendean Caledonian 2-1, narrowing the gap between the teams to two points with four games remaining.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
All five Premier League fixtures this weekend will have a bearing on the fortunes of the respective sides.
Leaders Sorrento host the only side to have defeated them this season in Floreat Athena, who have not conceded a goal in over 360 minutes of football. Dalmatinac Park is the venue for the other top-of-the-table contest where Cockburn City take on a Perth outfit that has not lost since mid-May. After recording their first win in five weeks last Saturday, Fremantle City will be hoping to make it two in a row when they take on the Western Knights. The two teams have struggled for consistency this season and both are now facing an up-hill battle to make the finals.
Steve Parkinson's young Inglewood United outfit continue to improve but will find the going tough when they play ECU Joondalup at Kiev Sports Ground. The mid-week departure of Bassendean Caledonian's coaching staff could not have been timed much worse, coming just days before their vital away relegation-zone fixture with Swan I.C. A win to the visitors will ensure their survival in the top flight for next season, while Swan must take maximum points to keep alive their slim hopes of avoiding the drop.
MURDOCH UNIVERSITY BOUND FOR SYDNEY
The folks from Murdoch University (right) are getting together a team to compete at this year's Australian University Games which will be held in Sydney between 23rd and 28th September. With training having only recently commenced, team management are currently looking to enhance their playing stocks and wish to invite interested players down for try-outs. To meet tournament rules players must have been a registered student of Murdoch University at anytime this year, and you must be willing to help in the fundraising for the trip. If you meet these simple conditions and are interested, please contact Tom Kroyer (Ph: 0418 288 069) for further information. Some of the players that have graced the event in the past include W.A. State captain Trim Morgan, 1997 Premier League leading scorer Scott Halpin, and Perth Glory pair Todd and Jamie Harnwell.
A NEW ERA FOR INGLEWOOD
2001 has been a season of re-birth for Inglewood United. The summer months saw a major overhaul of the club's playing roster as new coach Steve Parkinson shaped his squad for the up-coming winter, a new 800 seat stand was built, and in the junior ranks the long-held plans for a youth academy finally came to fruition. But in their 50th anniversary year United have spent much of the campaign languishing towards the tail end of the Premier League ladder. Parkinson is unfazed by this and believes his side can still achieve the goals they set pre-season.
"Our short term goal at the start of the season was to be in the top five play-offs and to reach the Boral Cup Final," said the coach. "But more important is the three-year plan to win the championship. With that in mind, it was important for me to bring in players this season that I thought could develop into good players over the next season or two given the opportunity to play games and gain Soccer West Coast experience. I expect to be in a position at the end of season 2001 where I am looking to recruit one or two players that will take us from a mid-table team this year to a top two prospect next."
With numerous changes in playing personnel over the off-season, it has come as no surprise to many that United have struggled this year, taking just seven points from their opening nine games. But in recent weeks they've turned that around with successive victories over Bassendean Caledonian and the Western Knights to put the season back on course. "We always believed that it was going to take one good result to kick-start the results and I thought that we did more than enough in the previous weeks game against Floreat to have won," Parkinson said. "But that result came just seven days later against Calies, which was one game we had to win or we were in a relegation battle. And against the Knights it was about keeping our top five ambition on track."
"We are starting to play with greater consistency, the players are now taking responsibility for their performances and the understanding between the younger and more experienced ones is starting to gel. As a club we are very much on track. On the playing side we have a very good coaching line-up consisting of Bob Braid and Tommy Reddy, backed by an experienced team manager and sports trainer in Zac Greenaway. We have just moved into the new stand and now have great training and playing facilities, but most importantly the clubs board and its active sponsors has a true commitment and a solid direction for the club into the future."
Parkinson says there were a number of reasons behind his sides poor start to the season, but added that he was always confident that they would come good and prove to be the equal of any other Premier League side. "Playing all our games away, a lack of adequate training facilities, the blooding of younger players as well as trying to bond a new young team with some older experienced players have all been factors. But none of them had me overly concerned as I could see that we were moving in the right direction as a club both on and off the park. Some of our performances have been very good and really have deserved more points, but the main problem has been a lack of consistency in our games which I do expect to continue to the end of this season for the previously stated reasons."
The Inglewood United Soccer Academy was established over the off-season under the watchful eye of Eddie Zabrowski, the juniors Director of Coaching. The club presently fields teams in four age groups - Under-11's, 12's, 13's and 15's - with plans to add to these next year in an effort to ensure the continued success of the club. "The long term aim is to have seamless continuity from Roo-ball all the way through to the Soccer West Coast teams and providing players with a career path," Parkinson said.
"From my experience it will take three to four years for the junior structure to be really effective. However, we already have a couple of players from the juniors starting to make an impact, namely Matt Aitken and the Baczynski brothers Michael and Paul." And it's not just at club level that these players are impressing, Aitken and Paul Baczynski recently named in the W.A. Schoolboys squad that will head east later in the year. In addition, United had a bunch of players in the State squad that recently played in the Tournai De Croix in France. "It was great that we had seven players selected into the State Under-19's, it shows that we do have a good base of players at the club and hopefully a message to other players that Inglewood will give younger players an opportunity."
NEW SEASON KICKS-OFF FOR ERGIC
Ivan Ergic's second season in Switzerland with FC Basel could not have started much worse, his side crashing 8-1 away from home at the hands of FC Sion on Wednesday. It was the third game in the space of ten days for the 20-year old who won the NSL Player of the Year award in his debut season with Perth Glory. The midfielder saw out the full 90 minutes of Basel's final pre-season friendly last week against Yverdon Sports which ended in a 1-0 victory to Ergic's side. And he was in the starting eleven again on Saturday for Basel's 3-0 Intertoto Cup win over FC Grindavik of Iceland, Ergic replaced after 63 minutes.
Speaking to the official Basel website, Ergic said recently that his first 12 months in Europe was a tough time. "The first year was not simple. It is quite a different culture here and also the language I couldn't get at first. In the second half of the season things went better for me." After spending the early part of the campaign coming off the bench, the talented midfielder established himself in time for the end-of-season top eight play-off series which decides the championship in Switzerland. By seasons' end Ergic was a regular feature of the starting line-up with 23 appearances to his credit.
MURPHY A LATE STARTER
Sheffield United defender Shaun Murphy was the only notable absentee when his club commenced their pre-season schedule today. The commanding centre-back has been given extended leave by senior coach Neil Warnock after his involvement in Australia's successful Confederations Cup and World Cup matches. Murphy, the Blades' 2000/01 Player of the Year, has been told to rest before returning to the training track for the new campaign. United commence their season with the away game fixture at Nottingham Forest on 11th August.
TARKA TARGETED BY GLORY
Perth Glory are reportedly close to beating off a number of NSL sides by signing one-time Cockburn City defender David Tarka. Chairman Nick Tana indicated this week that talks with the 18-year old had been in process for several weeks and that things were progressing smoothly. Tarka was identified as one of the State's hottest young talents when he made his State League debut at 16 for Cockburn. Shortly after he accepted a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport where he captained the side in the NSL Youth League. The defender sparked the interested of Glory after spending a week training with the club in April.
2001 IN THE BALANCE FOR SWAN
It could be a premature end to Swan I.C.'s season come 4.45pm this Saturday with the club facing the very real possibility of spending 2002 in the ranks of the First Division. After storming their way back into the top flight last season, when they made the top five play-offs at the first attempt, the club has struggled this term with a larger turnover of playing staff and three changes of coach in the space of eleven weeks amongst their problems. But the biggest hurdle they have to overcome is finding the back of the net, something they have done only ten times in thirteen outings.
Currently five points adrift of nearest rivals Bassendean Caledonian, it will be make or break time for the black and whites this Saturday when they host ninth-placed Caledonian at the Swan Italian Club. Swan must take maximum points from the game in order to keep alive their hopes of staying in the Premier League, but beating Caledonian will achieve only half the job. In the remaining games they will looking to take valuable points from their games with the Western Knights (away), ECU Joondalup (away), Inglewood United (away) and Fremantle City (home).
DEANS STAYING PUT
Craig Deans' dream of an overseas career have once again been put on hold. The Perth-born defender spent several weeks playing for the Western Knights in the Premier League after being invited to join Scottish side Livingstone on their pre-season tour of the Netherlands. But Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana this week quashed those plans after the club failed to meet the NSL teams requirements. "There was an inquiry from an agent in Scotland, but it's not in my interest to promote players to go overseas," Tana told Mel Moffat of the "West Australian". "I told the agent to come up with a formal offer, but we haven't heard anything since, so we're happy that Craig will be staying with us."
OPENING DATE SET NEW STAND AT INGLEWOOD
Come rain, hail or shine, Inglewood United will officially open their brand spanking new 800 seat stand (right) at the Kiev Sports Ground prior to the home fixture with Swan I.C. on Saturday 28th July. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the club, the stand was built with the assistance of club sponsors BGC (Australia) and National Homes, along with the City of Stirling and the W.A. State Government. There was an interesting piece in United's match day program on the weekend suggesting that the club have been approached by one of the two bidders for the second NSL licence to use the Kiev Sports Ground as their home base.
OLYMPIAKOS INTERESTED IN PETKOVIC (Reproduced with permission from the tribalfootball.com website)
South Melbourne's talks with Olympiakos is likely to lead to goalkeeper Michael Petkovic winning a move to the Greek giants. South Melbourne president George Vasilopoulos and his team of club delegates returned to Melbourne late last week delighted with the outcome of their meeting in Athens with one of Europe's most powerful football clubs, Olympiakos. Vasilopoulos, who was joined by chairman Peter Mitrakas, player agent George Christopoulos and Greek Counsel General Dimitris Anninos, said the meeting was extremely positive, as was indicated by its lengthy six-hour duration.
The meeting, which was lead story on all Greek television networks as well as front page of all major Athens newspapers, covered a large range of issues including the set-up of a specialist football academy, cross-marketing and merchandise initiatives, and the prospect of Olympiakos exhibition matches in Australia. Olympiakos were very enthusiastic regarding player-exchanges and expressed a keen interest in last season's NSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Petkovic.
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This page was last updated on the 31st August, 2001