YOUNG MATILDAS' SINGAPORE GOALFEST
The Australian women's youth team commenced their final preparations for the upcoming Under-19 Women's World Championship with a 10-0 mauling of the Singapore senior national side in Singapore last night. Australia completely outclassed the host nation and if not for the heroics of their goalkeeper and the help of the woodwork the final margin would have been much greater. The goals were shared between seven players with Leena Khamis, Selin Kuralay and Collette McCallum each netting twice along with singles from Briony Holcombe, Kim Carroll, Catherine Cannuli and Alannah Reed. McCallum, the wests sole representative in the Young Matilda's squad, played a full game on the left side of midfield.
GLORY LURES DESPOTOVSKI OUT OF RETIREMENT
Bobby Despotovski will lead Perth Glory's attack when the new national league commences next year. The former Australian international was convinced to postponed his retirement plans after attending a meeting last week between the clubs locally based talent, chairman Nick Tana and chief executive Jeff Dennis. "It's a new era for Australian soccer and I want to be a part of it," Despotovski said. "I had a good think about it and, whether it's for one year or three years, I will be back playing with the Glory." Despotovski will use a two-month stint with New South Wales Premier League club Bonnyrigg White Eagles, which starts in a fortnight, as preparation for the new league.
The signing of Despotovski, a veteran of 236 National Soccer League games and scorer of 112 goals, is a welcome boost for the Glory who have lost over half their playing roster since the previous competition came to an end. "Clearly, Bobby has always been an intricate part of the club," commented Dennis on the strikers decision to play on. "He's always been on our hit list and he adds weight to the new era that we're about to embark on. Finally soccer in this country has come of age and we can now fulfil the potential that we have shown. Bobby will be a big part of that." The new season expected to begin in August 2005 and will be preceded by a month-long warm-up tournament.
While Glory were yet to re-negotiated any player contracts, Dennis said the club were hoping of tempting back to Perth a number of former players. "The wages will come down, but there will be other benefits of playing in this competition," he added. "We believe the lifestyle that Australia has to offer, the fact it is home to so many overseas-based players, and the prospect of being part of a better competition will draw some players back, not all of them." Of last seasons championship winning squad Anthony Danze, Adrian Caceres (England), Mark Byrnes (Finland), Jamie Coyne (the Netherlands), Wayne Srhoj (Romania), Nick Mrdja (Sweden) and Jason Petkovic (Turkey) are currently playing abroad.
WARD TAKES OUT SECOND TROPHY
Talented teenager Nick Ward has taken out the "Sunday Times" Player of the Year award. The Stirling Lions midfielder ended the regular season top of the pile by three votes over Gary Faria and Antonio Naglieri of Fremantle City and Cockburn City respectively. It's the second award this season for Ward who was voted the www.soccerwa.com Premier League Player of the Year at the start of the month. Ward, rated as one of the local scenes brighter young stars, settled quickly into his role as the Lions playmaker and was a key reason in the club's first finals appearance in seven years. The 19-year old's efforts at club level have also earned him a place in the Australian Under-20 side who leave tomorrow for a tour of South America where they'll come up the national teams of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
In winning the award Ward accumulated 24 votes to edge out Faria and Naglieri on 21 votes. E.C.U. Joondalup defender Jamie Kuzmanovich was next on 19 votes, one more than Ross Barnes (Bayswater City) and Aaron Cole (Perth S.C.) and two ahead of David Foster (Swan I.C.) and Simon Harland (Sorrento). Another Joondalup player, John Higgins, came in sixth place on 16 votes and was trailed by one by Greg Sharland (Inglewood United) and Mark Lee (Western Knights). Cockburn City duo John Mirco and Jason Dos Santos polled 14 votes each with Kevin Correia of Fremantle City close behind on 13 votes. In joint tenth place and with 12 votes were Andreas Oliveria (Floreat Athena), Robbie Puca (Perth), Andrija Jukic (Knights), and Dale McCulloch (Joondalup).
ATHENA FAREWELL BERNARD
Floreat Athena have defeated a Soccer West Coast President's XI in an entertaining match honouring the late Troy Bernard. The friendly was in tribute to Bernard, an Athena regular for close to a decade, who passed away earlier this year in tragic circumstances. Played at Litis Stadium, the match started at a brisk pace as the teams traded attacks. The Presidents XI were the first to strike with Antonio Naglieri netting the opener and John Mirco doubling their lead. Athena, whose side featured both current and former players, went into the break a single goal down after a blistering shot from Jason Smith found the target.
The pace dropped off in the second half as both teams enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. In keeping with the fun aspect of the occasion Athena pushed goalkeepers Anthony Mori and Vas Vujacic into attack where they were marked by Golden Boot winner David Foster who showed remarkable skill as a centre back. The Presidents XI looked set for victory when Greg Sharland made it 3-1, but Athena had another plans and shortly after Bobby Despotovski reduced the gap. The home team then equalised and with only minutes to play Robin Dyers bagged the deciding goal of the 4-3 win.
Following the game Bernard's family were presented with his old playing shirts in the Athena clubhouse, and the sweeper's cherished No.7 officially retired. "The day was a fitting tribute to a wonderful player and I thank everyone involved in the day, from players, referees, spectators, administrators and volunteers," said Athena captain Adrian Sutton. "Full credit to the young lads who made up the Presidents' team and who showed great respect in providing a terrific spectacle. We will never forget Bernie and may we all go forward living life to the fullest like he did."
WOMEN'S SOCCER SALUTES THEIR BEST
Women's Soccer Western Australia brought the curtain down on season 2004 last weekend with their annual presentation evening. The full house signs went up early at Members Equity Stadium as the past, present and future of women's soccer in this state came together for the gala ceremony. Along with the presentation of the annual awards and trophies, the association bestowed long service medals on 29 individuals for their playing, coaching and administrative contributions to the women's game.
19-year old Queens Park defender Stacey Woodfin was the recipient of the Premier League's highest individual award, the Fairest and Best player. The honour of the competition's Leading Goalscorer went to Australian international Lisa DeVanna who joined Northern Redbacks mid-season after completing her commitments with the Australian Olympic team. It capped a remarkable year for the Redbacks who made a clean sweep of the trophies on offer. Their success began with victory over Queens Park in the Night Series Final, and an undefeated regular season campaign saw the club take out the championship. Redbacks then made it three from three with a 2-1 defeat of Balcatta in the Premier League Grand Final.
Northern Redbacks' Monica De Bono was named the Premier League Reserves Fairest and Best player for 2004. Kamila Ambrozewicz of East Fremantle collected the trophy as the Leading Goalscorer. Subiaco United were crowned Premier League Reserves champions ahead of runner-up East Fremantle. It was a night to remember for Murdoch University attacker Joanne Steer who went home with the First Division Fairest and Best and Leading Goalscorer awards. Noranda lifted the regular season title by going undefeated over the winter months. Murdoch University beat Beckenham Angels 3-0 in the First Division Grand Final.
Top honours in the Second Division went to Kristina Antonic whose teammate at Fremantle United, Sarah Franco, won the Leading Goalscorer award. Bassendean ended the regular season level on points with Balga but ahead on goal difference to be crowned champions. The Second Division Grand Final was taken out by Fremantle United by 3-1 over Northern Redbacks D. In the Third Division, Clair Dickson (Wembley Downs) was recipient of the Fairest and Best player with the honour of Leading Goalscorer going to Bethanie Melis (Ballajura). Ballajura claimed the regular season title by going the winter undefeated. Kwinana United lifted silverware in the Third Division Grand Final by fending off Armadale 3-1.
CN Canning International striker Carol Howes will long remember the awards night after taking out the trophies for Fairest and Best player and Leading Goalscorer in the Fourth Division. Gosnells City edged out North Beach to top the regular season standings. The roles were reversed in the Grand Final which saw North Beach emerged victorious 2-1 over Gosnells. Jennifer Homes, of Melville, also did the double when named the Fifth Division's Fairest and Best player and Leading Goalscorer. Melville City lifted the home-and-away season title when they finished well clear of North Beach. The Fifth Division Grand Final was won 4-2 by Subiaco United against Melville.
Five players were the proud recipients of Gold medals for twenty plus years service to the women's game. 2004 was the 29th season as a player for former Australian international Jude Pettitt and her Subiaco United teammate Sandra Szopski. Penelope Tanner-Hoath has been playing for 22 years during which time she's represented Australia and been a regular fixture of the State squad. Rita Berry first played at senior level in 1982 in a career that includes spells with Curtin University, Sorrento and Northern Redbacks. And Jill Mateljan's chalked up her 20th season as a player when she pulled on Subiaco United colours this winter.
Recipients of Silver medals for between fifteen and nineteen years service to women's soccer were Luciana Colangelo, Kerrie Corbett, Melissa Dewson, Ann Lehane, Tom Plesa, Lee Tarrant and Lynda Woodfin. Bronze medals (ten to fourteen years service) were awarded to Jessine Bonzas, Lynette Dunbar-Golder, John Francis, Lesley Francis, Eileen Hadida, Belinda Hayward, Peta Hayward, Louise Hinchcliffe, Debbie Larson, Vicky Richards, Sylvia Robins, Sally Sanigar, Niamh Scull, Kylie Thomas, Jackie Wheeler, Tracey Wheeler, and Michelle Whitney.
TECHNICAL ROLE FOR D'AVRAY?
Mich d'Avray looks set to have a new with Perth Glory when the new national competition kicks off next year. D'Avray has been in discussion with Glory chairman Nick Tana as to his future with both a coaching and technical director position in the offering. "I'd like to remain at the club," said d'Avray. "We've just got to make sure we're on the same wavelength. It's something that may take a little while because we've got to thrash a few things out." Early indications are the former Ipswich Town striker will turn down the coaching role in favour of the newly created position of technical director.
Jeff Dennis, Glory's chief executive officer, hopes d'Avray's role can be finalised next week. "We are very confident Mich will stay on board," he commented. "He is an accomplished coach and has offered us great benefit in the past and we are obviously keen to retain his services." D'Avray spent three seasons with Glory as assistant to Bernd Stage before being appointed coach in 2001. Under d'Avray Glory topped the National Soccer League table in 2001/02 and 2003/04, won back-to-back Grand Finals in 2002/03 and 2003/04. Should d'Avray turn down the coaching position Glory are expected to appoint a high profile coach from overseas.
MCCALLUM IN WORLD CUP SQUAD
Western Waves' Collette McCallum will be aiming for World Cup glory following selection in the Young Matilda's squad for the upcoming Under-19 World Championship in Thailand. The call-up is a fitting reward for the creative midfielder who worked her way back to full fitness following a second knee reconstruction to spent the winter wearing Northern Redbacks colours. Selected in the inaugural Waves squad, McCallum emphasised her importance at both club and national levels with some sparkling performances in the recent three-game series with China.
Australia have been drawn in Group A alongside Canada, Germany and Thailand in the preliminary stage of the tournament which kicks-off on 10th November. The complete Australian Under-19 squad is Nicole Somi (Canberra Eclipse), Julia Bazi, Leah Blayney, Danielle Brogan, Catherine Cannuli, Caitlin Coooper, Briony Holcombe, Monique Jackson, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook, Sally Shiphard (New South Wales Sapphires), Lauren Colthorpe, Alison Logue, Jenna Tristham (Northern New South Wales Pride), Ellen Beaumont, Kim Carroll, Emma Davidson, Selin Kuralay, Alannah Reed (Queensland Sting), Collette McCallum (Western Waves) and Yasmin Favretti.
SOCCER PAYS TRIBUTE TO ATHENA GREAT
The West Australian soccer community will pay its respects to one of the local scenes favourite sons, Floreat Athena sweeper Troy Bernard, with a memorial match this weekend. Bernard's life was tragically cut short in late August when electrocuted while working on downed power lines for Western Power. In honour of the popular 25-year old, Athena take on the Soccer West Coast President's XI at Litis Stadium on Sunday afternoon from 3.30pm.
Bernard was a key component of the Athena team which claimed the Night Series, Premier League and Boral Cup treble in 1997. Senior State honours came the following year, and a man-of-the-match performance in the 1999 Boral Cup Final further enhances his already glowing reputation. Another Night Series title started 2000 and at the other end of the season he was named the "Sunday Times" Player of the Year.
At the age of 22 Bernard became one of the youngest ever State team captains when he lead the side out against South Australia in early 2002. Although he missed the final weeks of the season, the hard-working midfielder was posthumously named Athena's Best and Fairest player for season 2003 at his clubs annual awards night. In honouring his passing Athena have retired Bernard's cherished No.7 shirt which will now form a permanent memorial in the Litis Stadium clubroom.
Confirmed as turning out for the President's XI are Liam Lilly, John Mirco, Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City), Michael Baczyncki, Greg Sharland (Inglewood United), Daryl Platten (E.C.U. Joondalup), David Micevski, Robert Puca (Perth S.C.), Shaun Murphy (Perth Glory), Brodie Martin, Glen Thomas (Sorrento), Danyal Bennett, David Foster, Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.) and John Thornley (Western Knights). Entry is by donation with all monies raised going to the Bernard family.
COACHING IN WA - IT IS 'A FORGOTTEN ART'?
If our game is to continue to evolve then support is urgently needed to improve the situation for local coaches. Concern is already echoing around West Australia that we are lagging behind the rest of the nation and no one seems willing to address a problem which will certainly impact upon future player development and the credibility of the league's in this state.
For the game to progress we need to produce better players and teams who have been taught the basic skills in a club environment, and the people tasked with this are the coaches. But first coaches must be provided with the opportunity to develop and enhance their own skills which will allow them to build coaching capability and keep up-to-date with coaching developments and techniques from around the globe.
In the past five years there have been numerous youth academies spring up in Perth which have produced players thanks to better than average training and coaching. The high number of players who are under the age of twenty and which are now progressing to the next level, which includes first team football in the local Premier League, is evidence enough of this.
But what sort of continuous learning do players receive when they move from junior to senior level? This question may best be answered when selection processes commence for players and coaches in the new Australian national league. How many players under the age of twenty-three currently playing in the State League will be selected? And of the eight teams it's looking as though only two will have a coach that holds an Australian licence.
It is interesting to note that many local coaches wanting to develop their skills and knowledge are forced to head abroad to maintain their qualifications rather than pursue an Australian licence. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that there currently exists no such course in Australia. The second half of the equation harks back to previous coaching courses which were of poor quality with the content of little relevance or currency.
Locally, the facts speaks for themselves and raise a number of pertinent questions. The average age of coaches working in the semi-professional (ie Soccer West coast) ranks is 46 - where is the young coaching talent hiding in WA? And only three of twelve Premier League coaches hold a Level Three qualification - so when was the last senior coaching licence course conducted in WA?
When the new structure hits the local scene the coaches need to be recognised as playing an integral role in the 'Learning and Development' process. There are numerous initiatives which could be undertaken to help bring coach education back into focus. Of the utmost importance is the appointment of a full-time State director of coaching whose task it would be to oversee all aspects of coaching and coach development. There is also clearly a need to fast-track a coaching education program which would go some way to filling the current void.
It would also be appropriate to align the local coaching programs with an association whose programs are already held in high regard. There is the need for all team and academy coaches to hold appropriate coaching qualifications. The perhaps the time has come for local administrators to consider running the State League season parallel to the new national competition, thus giving Perth Glory better opportunity to draw upon and enhance local resources.
There is no doubt that plenty of coaching experience exists in West Australia. And many local coaches would be more than happy to throw their hats into the ring to assist in putting together an action plan on behalf of the new structure. While various groups and committee's have been formed to look into at particular aspects of our game there still has been little movement on the coaching front.
YOUTH TEAM COACH WANTED BY BAYSWATER
Premier League outfit Bayswater City invite applications for the position of Under-18's coach for season 2005. Bayswater, last years' First Division champions, have a proud tradition as one of the state's oldest clubs and are in the process of revamping their youth structure to ensure their continued success. Interested coaches are asked to submit their application and resume to Bayswater City S.C., Under-18's Coach, 74B Riseley Street, Ardross WA 6153. Applications for the position of Under-18 coach close Friday 12th November, 2004.
A-LEAGUE SET FOR LAUNCH
Australia's new national league will be called the A-League and not the Australian Premier League as had been widely expected. The APL was registered by the Professional Footballer's Association, however, the Australian Soccer Association is understood to have been unwilling to pay for the right to use that name. The A-League was the ASA's preferred name of thirteen alternatives. The league will be officially named the eight successful teams - Queensland Lions, Central Coast Mariners, Newcastle United, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United, Perth Glory, NZ Kingz - and also announce sponsorship and television deals early next week.
WARD AND DANSKIN CALLED UP FOR SOUTH AMERICAN ADVENTURE
Australia will take an impressive Under-20 squad on tour to South America next month. The Young Soceroo's will play five matches over the course of the 19-day trip which includes international fixtures with Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. Named in the twenty player travelling party are local midfielder Nick Ward and Matt Danskin who spend the winter months with Stirling Lions and Fremantle City respectively. In addition to the three international matches, Australia will take on the Under-20 teams of leading Chilean clubs Colo Colo and Universidad Catolica. The trip has been organised as part of Australia's preparation to qualify for next year's Under-20 World Youth Championships.
The 20-player squad heading to South America is Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Belconnen), Mark Milligan, Chris Tadrosse (Blacktown City), Justin Pasfield (Bray Wanderers), Billy Celeski (Bulleen Zebras), Aaron Downes (Chesterfield), Matt Danskin (Fremantle City), Mark Bridge (Parramatta Eagles), Nick Ward (Stirling Lions), Nick Stavroulakis (Sydney Olympic), Spase Dilevski (Tottenham Hotspur), Adrian Leijer, Kristian Sarkies (Victorian Institute of Sport), Trent McClenahan (West Ham United), Stuart Musialik (Weston Bears) and out of contract quintet Adam Federeci, Frank Lagana, Vince Lia, Jay Lucas and Jacob Timpano.
THE SOUTH RISES
Season 2004 will go down as the year the south became the dominant force in First Division football. Of this seasons' seven top ranked sides six were drawn from south of the Swan River - Armadale, Canning City, Mandurah City, South West Phoenix, Gosnells City and Queens Park - with the only team from the north being Wanneroo City. By contrast, six of the eight teams who made up the bottom half of the table are based north of the divide. This is a marked difference on final standings of previous seasons when the top half of the table has been evenly populated by clubs from both north and south of the divide.
Armadale set the pace from early on and come seasons' end were deservedly promoted to the top flight having finished eleven points ahead of their nearest rival, Wanneroo. The Reds were one of three teams from the south-east corridor to make their mark this year. Written off in pre-season, Gosnells proved they are back in business with a solid home record that allowed them to take sixth on the final table - the club's best finish in seven years. Brian Robertson lead the way in attack for seventh-placed Queens Park who continue to be one of the competitions most consistent performers.
In his first year at the helm Frank Longstaff worked wonders with a young Canning squad who surpassed pre-season expectations by finishing the campaign in third place. Mandurah and Phoenix, two of the league's newest clubs and it's only regional representatives, claimed fourth and fifth respectively. Mandurah recovered from an indifferent start and an early change of coach start to motor their way up the standings over the second half of the year. Phoenix' number includes the First Division's leading goalscorer, David Rodgers, and although they performed better than expected there will be some disappoint with the way they dropped off the pace over the final weeks.
STRIKERS GO UNDEFEATED
It's not often that a team goes an entire season undefeated but that is exactly what Leeming Strikers youth squad achieved this year to be crowned First Division Under-18's champions. In establishing themselves as the team by which all others are measured by, the Strikers romped their way to the title with twenty-four wins and four draws to take home the silverware sixteen points ahead of second-placed Mandurah City. It's now been sixteen months and 41 games since the Strikers Under-18's last lost a league match.
Between them Simon Versaico, Daniel Capperllaro and Daniale U'Lisse accounted for over half their teams 133 goals, and defensively the side were as tight as they come with just 15 goals conceded. The 2004 Strikers Under-18 squad consists of Iman Ali, Adrian Brown, Daniel Capperllaro, Byron Castel, Adam Comty, Lee Glieford, Simon Halliwell, Adam Horsley, Josh Italiano, Garth Lecky, Kyle Mitsopoulos, Gavin Oakes, Aaron Oxenham, Tae Phillips, Ciaran Summerton, Jarryd Thraves, Daniale U'Lisse and Simon Versaico.
It is the second time in three years that the First Division Under-18 champions have ended the winter without loss. In 2002 South West Phoenix' youth team won twenty-three of twenty-four games to finish well ahead of southern rival and runner-up Rockingham City. An undefeated season has only been attained on five occasions in the state's top flight with Tricolore (1964), Azzurri (1967, 1981), Spearwood Dalmatinac (1982) and Floreat Athena (1990) the proud achievers.
SCOUTS TRACK DANZE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Crystal Palace midfielder Anthony Danze is attracting interest from a number of clubs from England's Football League. The 21-year-old Australian youth international has impressed in Palace's reserves since his international clearance came through last month and several clubs want to take him on-loan. Palace boss Iain Dowie has confirmed he will be seeking to loan out several of his reserve players, though may want to hold onto Danze to bed him down at Selhurst Park before sending him to another club. The former Perth Glory midfielder played in last week's 1-0 win at Norwich City in front of scouts from Sheffield United, Ipswich Town and Colchester United.
LAZARIDIS CLOSE TO COMEBACK
Birmingham City's Stan Lazardis has returned to the training track following a two month spell on the sidelines nursing a thigh injury. "Stan has trained the last two or three days," said Blues manager Steve Bruce. "This weekend just gone was too early for him as he has been eight weeks out. We need for him to be possibly involved at the end of this week. Ideally it would be nice for him to get a couple of games under his belt to see if he is okay - he might have a game behind closed doors." Birmingham will find themselves flush with options in midfield when Lazaridis, who has also performed well at left-back, and Muzzy Izzet return from injury.
RECORD WIN FOR STRIKERS
Leeming Strikers have ended their season by setting a new record for the greatest winning margin in a State League match at senior level. The Strikers 17-0 mauling of Stirling Suns at Robinson Reserve on Saturday eclipses by one goal the previous record margin set in 1992 by Ferndale United over Western Yugal.
Phil Bell found the net on eight occasions, Craig Ruthven bagged a hat-trick, Jarryd Thraves and Daniel Capperllaro each got two and Kyle Mitsopoulos and Simon Versaico one in the Strikers final round thrashing which arrived just seven days after First Division champions Armadale put fourteen goals without reply past the Suns.
WAVES RECORD FIRST WIN
Western Waves celebrated their debut home appearance in the Women's Nationals Soccer League by taking maximum points over Canberra Eclipse at Members Equity Stadium this afternoon. The win was the Waves first in the competition and elevates the side to fourth on the table. A vocal crowd of just under 1,000 turned out to cheer on the local side who made a tentative start. The best opportunity of the half had Nicola Williams one-on-one with goalkeeper Amy Beattie but the Waves player shot wide of the target. Eight minutes from the break Eclipse went close to going ahead via a blistering strike from Gill Foster which cannoned back off the upright.
The complexion of the match was altered nine minutes into the second half with the addition of Lisa De Vanna to the Waves attack. The Australian international wasted no time in getting involved and proved to be a constant headache for the opposition each time she gained possession. The deadlock was broken on 63 minutes when Tal Karp's caused confusion in the visiting defence which 19-year old Stacey Woodfin capitalised on to walk the loose ball into an empty goal. Further chances came the Waves way but some tame shooting prevented them from increasing the margin, while at the opposite end Eclipse struggled to break down a well organised defence.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, GRAND FINAL
Western Knights completed the Premier League and Champion of Champions double by defeating Sorrento 1-0 at Litis Stadium this afternoon. Going into the match as the red hot favourite, coach Ronnie Campbell had a full squad of players to choose from which meant Paul Cooke and teenage sensation Andrija Jukic had to be content with spots on the bench. It was a much different story for Gulls' boss Trevor Morgan who was minus several of this stars, namely Jamie Harnwell and Neil Young (suspended), Danny Hill (work commitments) and Brad Hassell (injury), while James Morgan, Andrew Bowyer and Simon Harland were included the matchday squad although less than fully fit. Even so, the Sorrento coach was confident as the two teams made their way out onto a pitch bathed in sunshine.
Much of the early running came from the Gulls who made good use of both flanks to throw the pressure on their opponent. Glen Thomas adapted best to the bouncy surface by displaying some neat touches as he and James Morgan established control on the centre of midfield over the experienced duo of Alex Christie and Scott Devine. The first genuine opportunity of the day came via a 13th minute free-kick from just outside the area which Thomas rocketed past the defensive wall and just to the right of the target. Although enjoying the better of possession, Sorrento were finding it difficult to break down the Knights defence and shots on goal were accordingly scarce. Chris Smith played a terrific diagonal ball into the path of Thomas but Tommi Tomich spotted the move early and was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger.
For their part of the Knights spent much of the opening half hour on the back foot with only the occasion foray into attack. But as the period came to a close the Knights suddenly sparked into life and began to menace the Gulls rearguard. Goalkeeper Phil Straker had to be on guard in the 33rd minute to pluck the ball off the head of Evan Wallace who rose highest in a crowded 6-yard box following an in-swinging Mark Lee corner. Shortly after Carl Medica showed terrific skill in throwing off his marker to cross into the dangerzone where Daniel Cain edged in ahead of Stuart Montgomery to nod it to safety. Three minutes from the break Chris Smith put his body on the line to block an explosive close-range strike by Medica following a surging run down the right by David Annall.
Sorrento began the second half positively with Thomas' low cross into the area that caught the opposing defence ball-watching, but with no-one on hand to convert the opportunity went begging. Montgomery should have put his side ahead in the 58th minute when he was sent through with only the 'keeper to beat but Straker produced a marvelous reflex save to deny. By this stage the pendulum had swung in the Knights favour and it seemed only a matter of time before they claimed the lead. From just outside the area Ivan Zuvela rolled a free-kick to Montgomery whose blistering strike was deflected wide by a defender. With 67 minutes gone Montgomery turned provider with a fine cross to the top of the 6-yard box where Daniel Trim snuck in front of his marker to put his downward header past Straker and break the deadlock. Eight minutes later Trim very nearly increased the gap with a rasping shot that cleared the crossbar.
With nothing to lose and time running out, Sorrento threw caution to the wind by adopting a four-man forward line and a more physical approach in an effort to squeeze their way back into the match. Having created space for himself Todd Harnwell laid the ball at the feet of Steve MacDonald who scooped his shot from 20-metres into the awaiting arms of Tomich. The Gulls were earned themselves a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box and while Thomas did find a hole in the wall Tomich was again well placed to prevent the shot from going in. Just minutes after coming off the bench Carlos Vega turned sharply inside the box to rifle off a shot but he too was unable to beat the Knights 'keeper. Sorrento's frustrations were none more evident than when Morgan became the only player booked following a late tackle from behind on Christie close to the end of regulation time.
Following a couple of tense minutes of stoppage time referee Angelo Nardi sent the Knights faithful into riotous celebration in honour of their team completing a much sought after double. Trim, the hero of the hour, said the Knights considered their recent League championship success as the pinnacle achievement but that they had been determined to end the season with another trophy. "As far as we were concerned the League it is - that's the one you want," said the 24-year old. "But there was no way we were going to lose this today." Campbell said the Knights' decision to push Trim into a more attacking role had paid off handsomely. "We wanted to put him on the right and give him the licence to become a third attacker. That was the game plan today and we've obviously got the result. We've shown a lot of character to win the Grand Final, having only played two games in six weeks and the credit has to go to the players."
Sorrento: Phil Straker, Daniel Cain, Richard Watson, Andrew Bowyer, Chris
Smith, Brodie Martin (Simon Harland 52 (Carlos Vega 79)), Glen Thomas,
James Morgan, Todd Harnwell, Steve MacDonald, Jared Love
Western Knights: Tommi Tomich, David Annall, Jason Williams, Evan Wallace, Ivan Zuvela, Daniel Trim, Alex Christie, Scott Devine, Mark Lee, Carl Medica (John Thornley 79), Stuart Montgomery
Bookings: Morgan (88)
Referee: Angelo Nardi
Attendance: 1,800 (approx.)
Under-18 Champion of Champions, Sorrento (photograph by Brett Klucznik)
The Under-18 Grand final was taken out by Sorrento who required penalties to claim the trophy over Swan I.C. Both teams were eager to impress early but the energy sapping conditions combined with a poor standard pitch soon influenced the match tempo. A great run after 8 minutes by Stephen Bettella brought about the games first opportunity but Gulls goalkeeper Aleksander Vrteski dived to deflect the low shot to safety. Sorrento went close a few minutes later when Andrew Brand's free-kick picked out Dejan Gurovski who showed skill in hooking it goalward only to clear the crossbar. Midway through the half Steven Worthy was brought down inside the 18-yard box for what seemed a clear penalty but referee Vince Trimboli waived away appeals for a spot kick and allowed play to continue. As the half came to a close the Gulls carved out several good chances but were unable to find a way past goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo who reacted smartly to keep out a fine volley at the far post by Worthy. Ben Coppack beat two defenders but was also thwarted by the Swan 'keeper, and in stoppage time Lewis Flatt opened up the defence by threading the ball to David Wimbridge whose shot curled wide of the right.
There were some good chances at both ends of the ground at the start of the second half. Gurovski headed the ball goalward only to find Agudelo well positioned to make the save, and shortly after David Perich beat the 'keeper but his header sailed over the crossbar. Perich played in substitute Jay Bunton who looked set to score before Vrteski came to the Gulls rescue by narrowing the angle and bravely dived at his opponents feet to smother. Despite tiring legs, both sides upped their workrate as the minutes slowly ticked by. On 64 minute Dennis Galan unleashed a terrific shot from outside the area which was destined for the top corner until Agudelo produced the save of the match by tipping the ball over the bar. Agudelo produced the good a few minutes later when he somehow kept out an in-swinging corner from the left by Worthy. The end to end action continued right up to the final whistle, Sorrento showing great composure in putting together their attacks while Swan displayed the greater desire to win possession put quickly forward. But by the end of regulation time neither side was able to find a passage to goal and so it was to the lottery which is the penalty shoot-out.
The best of five sequence began with Liam McCallum converting to put Sorrento in the box seat. Wacey Brown found out just why Vrteski is rated as the State best young shot-stopper by keeping out Swan's opening spot-kick. Andrew Brand slotted home the Gulls second before David Perich's effort crossed the line via Vrteski's glove and the upright. Worthy made it three-one, and Ben Anderton sent Vrteski the wrong to score with Swan's third penalty. Ozren Galan was next up and maintained Sorrento's perfect conversion rate, then with Swan's next effort Agudelo fired wide of the target to give the Gulls victory by 4-2. The win completed a remarkable turnaround in the season of Sorrento who timed their run to perfection by winning each of the last eleven games to lift silverware.
Sorrento: Aleksander Vrteski, Paul Box, Liam McCallum, Stephen McLaughlin,
Andrew Brand, Lewis Flatt, Ben Coppack (Matthew Libardi 79), Michael Galan,
Steven Worthy, David Wimbridge (Ozren Kotur 63), Dejan Gurovski.
Swan I.C.: Daniel Agudelo, Glen Bennett (Jay Bunton 52 (Wacey Brown 80)), Radivoja Pelemis, Ben Anderton (Jovo Pavlovic 73), Phillip Arnold, David Perich, David Paone, Stephen Hanley, Scott Lewry, Conor Mahady, Stephen Bettella
Bookings: Worthy, Gurovski
Referee: Vince Trimboli
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTY (Canning City vs Morley Windmills by Phil Unsworth; Rockingham City vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; Queens Park vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Dianella White Eagles)
Canning City completed their 2004 campaign with a hard-fought and at times acrimonious 1-0 win over Morley Windmills at Weir Park. Playing for the third time in seven days and at the end of a long twenty-eight game season, Canning had good reason to look a little flat as they attempted to secure third spot on the final First Division table ahead of rivals Mandurah City, South West Phoenix and Gosnells City. The match looked destined to end scoreless until, with seventeen minutes remaining, Mick Van Dongen's corner from the right was met solidly at the near post by Paul Oliver whose header flashed past goalkeeper Matt Darling who barely had time to react before the ball hit the net. "Everyone at the club is ecstatic with how our season panned out," said first team coach Frank Longstaff. "Our aim was to establish ourselves mid-table then gradually improve next season but we had to re-assess our goals mid-season as we where more than competitive than expected. The goal for next season is it to retain this years squad and added a couple of experienced players." Earlier in the day Canning's Reserves ground out a 4-2 win to end the season in second place, while the clubs Under-18's took fifth courtesy of a 3-0 forfeit win.
Gosnells City claimed sixth on the final standings after accounting for Rockingham City 3-1 at Dowling Street Reserve. Both sides worked hard to break down the opposing defence during the opening exchanges using a variety of options, but it took a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock midway through the period. Having collected the ball outside the 18-yard box, Andy Daffin embarked on a mazey run which ended with the attacker slotting it by the Rockingham goalkeeper after his initial shot was blocked by a defender. The second half was 17 minutes old when Adam Bremner put away Gosnells second goal by converting from the penalty spot after he was fouled inside the area. And minutes later Bremner made it three-nil with a fantastic free-kick that gave the goalkeeper no chance as it soared into the top corner. Rockingham were then reduced to ten men when a player was red carded for a late tackle from behind on Mark Ronald. However, the hosts refused to take a backwards step and where rewarded for their endeavour when Gavin McIlveen finished clinically with a minute remaining. The closing stages saw several minor scuffles break out before Alex Grindley and a second Rockingham player were both sent off following an off the ball incident in the final minute.
Dianella White Eagles ended their season by thumping long-time rival Queens Park 4-0 at Coker Park. In a physical match there were chances at both ends during the first half but neither side looked like breaking through thanks largely to some fine goalkeeping. But five minutes from the break the visitors broke through via Dragan Njegic who tapped in from close-range in an over-crowded goalmouth. Dianella extended their advantage in the 72nd minute when 16-year old Slobodan Blagojevic met a diagonal cross from Miladin Guroski which he knocked past goalkeeper Phil Chapman. Ten minutes later Blagojevic turned provider with a smart flick on for Robert Cibesku who raced through on goal and sent the ball past Chapman after the 'keeper had twice blocked previous efforts. Only a few more minutes had elapsed when Cibesku advanced on goal again and this time hit a superb shot from 16-metres to snare his sides fourth and final goal. In all honesty Queens Park had their fair share of chances but with their strikers unable to convert it simply wasn't the hosts day. Shiraz Sasikuar worked tirelessly for the hosts without success but it was talented teenager Blagojevic who determined the outcome with a strong 90 minute performance.
Mandurah City rebounded from going behind early to take the points over Balcatta by 2-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Mark Gentile gave the hosts the advantage after 8 minutes only to have Christian Paschewicz equalise within six minutes. Paschewicz was on target again three minutes from the break to give the visitors the lead. And shortly after Balcatta's chances of a comeback were dented with the dismissal of Joe Cinquina. Despite some good opportunities there was not addition to the score in the second half. For the second successive week Stirling Suns have been thrashed, this time 17-0 by Leeming Strikers. Hard-working Phil Bell found the target times time for the Strikers, Craig Ruthven snared a hat-trick, Jarryd Thraves and Daniel Capperllaro each bagged two and Kyle Mitsopoulos and Simon Versaico one each in the State League's biggest ever win. South West Phoenix were surprised on home soil by Kingsway Olympic by triumphed 3-2 at Bunbury's Soccerdrome.
WASA APPOINTS EXECUTIVE
The Western Australian Soccer Association, the state's new governing body, has appointed Michelle Phillips as its inaugural chief executive officer. Michelle Phillips has been handed the responsibility of leading the association during the process of unification. WASA chairman Kevin Campbell said Phillips, one of over fifty applicants for the position, was ideally suited to the position and had been the unanimous choice of the interview panel. Phillips has an accountancy background and worked in business development for Sport England before accepting the post with WASA which commences next month.
Campbell admits the pace of reform had not progressed as quickly as he had hoped since he was named WASA chairman in June, but that he hoped with Phillips' appointment the process would be accelerated. "It's probably taken a month longer than I hoped but we had to go through the processes," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". In related news, WASA has invited the boards of the existing soccer bodies, including Soccer West Coast and WAASSA, to act as interim standing committees in the new structure for the next twelve months.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Western Knights completed the Premier League and Champions of Champions double by defeating a determined Sorrento 1-0 in this afternoon's Grand Final at Litis Stadium. The game's only goal was a well directed header by man-of-the-match Daniel Trim from a Stuart Montgomery cross after 67 minutes. Sorrento took out the Under-18's Grand Final 5-2 on penalties over Swan I.C. after the game was locked at nil-all at the end of regulation time.
Leeming Strikers have made West Australian soccer history by thrashing Stirling Suns 17-0 and registering the greatest winning margin at senior level in the final game of the First Division season. Canning City's 1-0 win over Morley Windmills ensures they'll end the season in third place which is the club's best ever placing. It was a good day for the visiting teams as Mandurah won 2-1 at Balcatta, and Kingsway Olympic triumphed 3-2 at South West Phoenix. Rockingham City went down 1-3 on home soil to Gosnells City, and Queens Park crashed 0-4 to Dianella White Eagles at Coker Park.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The season comes to a close on Sunday with the playing of the Champion of Champions series Grand Final. Fighting it out for the last piece of silverware on offer are regular season champion Western Knights and northern suburbs outfit Sorrento. The clubs have already met on three occasions this year, the Knights winning twice and the remaining game ending level. the most recent encounter was a fortnight ago when Sorrento surrendered a two-goal lead and were forced to take the long route to the season finale. The Knights have been installed as the pre-match favourite but, as anyone will tell you, it all comes down to what happens on the day.
Competition for places in Sunday's matchday squad is red-hot at Nash Field where Ronnie Campbell has a full complement of players at his disposal. However, the long-serving coach is sure to have some concerns over the Knights lack of serious match practice with the team having played just once in six weeks. Sorrento have a long list of players unavailable for selection, amongst them Jamie Harnwell, Neil Young (both suspended), Danny Hill (work commitments), Brad Hassell and James Morgan (injured). Even so, there is a quiet confidence amongst the Gulls ranks that they can upset their more fancied opponent to claim the clubs first trophy in three years. The action gets underway from 3.00pm at Litis Stadium.
Preceding the main game is the decider of the Under-18's Champion of Champions series that sees Sorrento come up against Swan I.C. The Gulls are pre-match favourite having already twice defeated Swan during a regular season in which they ended runner-up to E.C.U. Joondalup. But the black-and-whites aren't to be taken lightly as in the past three weeks they've claimed the scalps of Joondalup, Perth S.C. and Fremantle City to qualify for the Grand Final. Rising stars Aleksander Vrtski (Sorrento) and Daniel Agudelo (Swan) will feature prominently between the posts for their teams in what is expected to be a very close encounter. The Under-18 Grand Final kicks-off at 1.00pm.
Armadale may have won the title and Wanneroo City installed as runner-up, but places three through six are up for grabs in Saturday's final round of First Division fixtures. Dependent upon how the final round of games pan out - South West Phoenix, Mandurah City, Canning City or Gosnells City - could end the winter in third place. South West Phoenix are home to Kingsway Olympic, and Mandurah City make the journey to Balcatta. Canning City should prove too strong for Morley Windmills, while Gosnells City are expected to triumph at Rockingham City. Queens Park are home to Dianella White Eagles, and Stirling Suns take on the visitors from Leeming Strikers.
WAVES ROLL IN TO PERTH
The stateís newest national league team, the Western Waves, make their historic home debut this weekend. After three outings on the eastern seaboard the Women's National Soccer League newcomers are anxious to show off their skills in front of an appreciative home crowd. Unfortunately the Waves without some of its star players. Hayley Crawford is out for the season due to a knee injury, Collette McCallum is on international duty with the Australian Under-19 team, and there's also doubt Lisa De Vanna and Ciara Conway who are struggling to overcome minor injuries. Boasting numerous Australian internationals amongst their number, Eclipse have made a positive start to the season which has them looking for their second win in three outings. Watch history in the making and - more importantly - to cheer on the Waves, make sure you are at Memberís Equity Stadium on Sunday for the 4.00pm kick-off.
ON THIS DAY ... 1967
In a match widely regarded as the best ever local Cup final, Cracovia came from three goals down to claim victory over East Fremantle Tricolore in the decider of the 1967 D'Orsogna Cup on Saturday 21st October. Having won the prestigous knock-out competition twelve months earlier by thumping Cracovia 4-1, Tricolore looked set to make it back-to-back Cup successes courtesy of a classy first half performance. State striker John Montagu gave Tricolore the lead before, Alex Napier added a second goal and rising star Nick Pelliciotti made it three-nil as half-time approached to put Tricolore in the box seat.
Three minutes into the second half Cracovia reduced the gap through veteran coach Ziggy Pieda when he scored from the penalty spot. Within seven minutes the match was back on level terms as George Cairns and Henry Lukoszek found the back of the net in quick succession. Stunned by events Tricolore's players lost their composure and rhythm to surrender the initiative to a Cracovia side that now sensed victory. As Tricolore began to lose focus and arguments broke out amongst their players, Pieda, a former Poland international, seized control of midfield to carve open Tricolore with an display of exquisite skill.
In the 69th minute Cracovia were awarded a second penalty after Cairns was fouled by Malcolm Bancroft. Referee Roy Stedman pointed to the spot immediately and Pieda made no mistake in blasting his shot low past goalkeeper Kevin Hills, who had replaced the injured Pipo Crifo at the start of the second half. Now in full cry Cracovia continued to press forward and the outcome was sealed eleven minutes from regulation time when Frank Alberts surged into attack to combine with Lukoszek before hitting a stinging drive from 25-yards beyond the reach of the Tricolore 'keeper.
As reward for his inspirational performance Pieda was named winner of the D'Orsogna Medal as the best on ground in the Cup Final. Lukoszek, Gil Nobbs and Richard Kuzimski were also singled out for praise from the winning side, while for Tricolore the plaudits went to Napier, Pelliciotti, Gary Taylor, Montagu. Cracovia's win ended something of a hoodoo for the club who had been beaten in the decider of the two previous D'Orsogna Cups by Azzurri (1965) and Tricolore (1966). It was the clubs second trophy of the season, the other being the summer Night Series competition.
KNIGHTS TIPPED FOR GRAND FINAL SUCCESS
It seems there'll be no stopping the Western Knights from adding the Champion of Champions trophy to the Premier League crown they already have in residence at Nash Field. The Knights take on Sorrento in the Grand Final of the play-off series this weekend and have deservedly been installed as firm favourite to emerge victorious. In fact it's been difficult to find someone, anyone, willing to predict an upset and hedge their bets in Sorrento's favour.
Fremantle City coach Steve Parkinson expects Sunday's match to be a close encounter. "The Knights will open strongly and if they can get a goal in the first twenty minutes they will be very hard to beat. They have too many players capable of winning the game, and having already won the League it would be a fitting outcome if they went on to win the Grand Final. Sorrento have a great fighting spirit and sometimes the team that want it most win on the day, but I think they have too many key players unavailable to beat the Knights who will win 2-1."
One of the Grand Final's key match-ups will take place in the middle of the park according to Floreat Athena and State defender Adrian Sutton. "Daniel Trim and Glen Thomas are the players to watch," said Sutton. "Trim is the most underestimated player in the league and he'll be hugely influential on the outcome if Sorrento don't control him. It's a similar story for Thomas whose the driving force for Sorrento and their pivotal player ... it should be a good battle in midfield. The Knights are a bit short on game time of late but I'm going for them to win 2-1 in extra-time."
Swan I.C. midfielder Miki Vujacic, scorer of the deciding goal in last months Boral Cup Final, is tipping the Knights to win by 2-1. "The Knights have got great depth all the way down the park and their defensive capabilities are second to none. They'll have to deal with the direct brand of football played by Sorrento play and limit the effectiveness of Sorrento's aerial ability by winning key defensive battles against the likes of Steve MacDonald and Jared Love. But for me Sorrento's game is too one dimensional, and with Carl Medica and Stuart Montgomery firing in attack the Knights will be the better team."
Paul Simmons, coach of E.C.U. Joondalup, is also going for a Knights victory. "I feel the Knights ability to play as a team and work hard for each other will get them over the line. They use the ball well on the ground and create a lot of chances by getting it wide and using the finishing skills of Stuart Montgomery and Carl Medica. Sorrento's strength is that their team is big and physical, and it has been by playing to these strengths with the long ball game that they have done so well this year. The Knights must defend well against their opponents height and my tip is the Knights by 3-1."
CANNING TAKE THIRD (by Phil Unsworth)
Canning City moved into outright third on the First Division table with a 5-0 demolition of Dianella White Eagles 5-0 under lights this evening at Alfred Skeet Oval. Dianella were quick to apply pressure to a Canning defence which was well marshaled by Chris Atkins and debutant goalkeeper Alex MacLean-Black. As the minutes ticked Canning found their feet and on the quarter hour took the lead when Daniel Trevisiol brought down a deep corner before squeezing it through a gaggle of legs to Alex Seed who made no mistake from close-range. The visitors had barely recovered from this setback when Canning launched a swift counter attack that saw Mick Van Dongen play a superb pass to Trevisiol who drilled it past 'keeper Drazon Zaric. The second half had barely began when Canning put the match result beyond doubt as Mick Van Dongen glided past the defence and shot the ball past the advancing 'keeper to make it three-nil. To the Dianella never gave up and for the next half hour put Canning under a lot of pressure at the back. Another counter-attack lead to Canning's four goal scored by 16-year old Trevisiol with seven minutes to go. Right on the stroke of full time Patrick Fitzgerald met a precisely angled free-kick from Paul Oliver which he nodded into the roof of the net to complete the scoring. Dianella proved no match in the Reserves clash which ended in a 10-0 walkover to Canning.
GLORY NOT YET SIGNED UP
Perth Glory are yet to confirm their place in the new national competition because of concerns over aspects of the model proposed by the Australian Soccer Association. Glory, the country's benchmark team for close to a decade, remain in discussion with the national body and are generally in agreeance as to the new league's structure. "We haven't signed at this point in time," Jeff Dennis, the clubs chief executive officer, told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "There are some outstanding issues and we are working through those with the ASA. We believe the issues are not insurmountable and we trust they will be resolved shortly." While Glory is unwilling to publicly reveal their concerns, it is understood the club want the new league to be run autonomously of the ASA as recommended by the Crawford Report of last year.
RECORD WIN CLOSES REDS YEAR
You've got to hand it to them - Armadale know how to celebrate in style. Seven days after securing their place in next seasons' top flight and the Reds ended an already memorable year by chalking up the second largest State League victory ever! Alfred Skeet Oval was the venue as Greg Newcombe bagged four goals, Gary Murdoch hit a hat-trick, Dean Gartside, Frazer Brown and Dennis Lee each netted twice and Jason Goodwin once to help Armadale to a thrashing of Stirling Suns. The fourteen-goal divide was just two short of the biggest ever winning margin which was achieved by Ferndale United in mid-1992 over Western Yugal. The result brought to a close an amazing few years for Armadale who were clearly always destined to gain promotion.
There is little doubt that the Reds have been the First Division's most consistent performer over the past three seasons. During that period Armadale have played 81 games from which they've taken maximum points on 53 occasions with 21 draws and just 7 losses. It's no surprise that their rise to power coincided with the appointment of Billy Russell as first team coach. The club lost just a single game in 2002 but were amazingly pipped at the post for a place in the top flight on goal difference by Stirling Lions. Last year Armadale kept pace with the leading pack for much of the campaign only to come in third behind champion Bayswater City and runner-up Mandurah City.
It was clear from the ending weeks of 2004 that Armadale were going to be the benchmark team. They started the winter with five successive wins before suffering their seasons' only blemish, a 1-2 loss to Leeming Strikers in mid-May. From this they rebounded in style with another eight runs on the trot to top the standings at the seasons half way point by seven points. The second half of their campaign was equally as impressive as Armadale's unbeaten run blew out to 22 games as the eastern corridor club secured the first major trophy in their 32 year history. Armadale's season was littered with big wins, none more so that Saturday's 14-0 thrashing of the Suns. In addition to this the Reds thumped Queens Park 8-2, brushed aside Morley Windmills 7-1, and registered five goal margins over Balcatta and the Suns.
There were heroes the full length and breadth of the park for Armadale this year. Ken Fytnogiannis, a season-long loan from Stirling Lions, rarely put a foot wrong all winter and his consistency between the posts is borne out by the nine clean sheets he kept. Youngster Matthew Bennion and veteran Nick Twyman worked hard to ensure things were kept tight at the back, while in the centre of the park Paul Colkin has been a tower of strength. The way in attack was lead by Greg Newcombe who netted 24 times over the winter and formed an impressive free-scoring partnership with versatile veteran Dean Gartside, who contributed 18 goals, and Jason Goodwin whose end of season tally was 14 goals.
Providing Armadale with twice the reason to celebrate was the runaway success of their Reserve team who also took topped the regular season standings with a team whose average age was nineteen. Underpinning the Reserves championship was an amazing defensive record which saw Armadale keep eleven clean sheets and concede just 26 goal in 28 games. This was down to the solid performances of stalwart goalkeeper Gavin Goodwin and defensive partners Luke Wood, Adam Hatton and Troy Clarke. At the opposite end of the park Darren Kingston's 34 goals gave him the competitions leading goalscorer award with fantastic support provided by exciting prospect Peter Taylor who contributed 22 goals. The Reserves made sure they'd be the ones lifting silverware at seasons end by going unbeaten in their last 18 games .
BONNYRIGG LURES DESPOTOVSKI
Bobby Despotovski has joined New South Wales club Bonnyrigg White Eagles. The 33-year old striker has signed on for the 2004/05 Premier League season with the end goal of turning out for Perth Glory when the new national competition gets underway next year. "I'll see how I go when the season gets going," said Despotovski who announced his retirement following Glory's Grand Final win in April. "But if I feel okay it is most likely that I will try to get back in the new league with Glory."
Having spent the winter playing locally for Inglewood United, scoring fourteen goals in nine games, the offer for Despotovski to join Bonnyrigg came out of the blue. The striker will contiue to live in Perth with Bonnyrigg agreeing to fly Despotovski to Sydney each weekend for the 22-game season. "The plan is for me to train here in Perth from Monday to Wednesday, then fly over on Thursday, train with the team that night and Friday, play Saturday and fly home on Sunday morning."
GAME ON THE RISE IN SWAN VALLEY (by Peter Simcox)
As season 2004 comes to an end Swan I.C. can look back at a successful season both on and off the field of play. "For the club this season has been excellent and, in fact, it has been the most successful year in Swan's short history," explained president John Muriale. "Not only because the first team has won the Boral Cup back-to-back but also as Under-18 side coached by Mauro Marchione have shown that we are on the right track to having depth at the club. The Under-21's have also shown a great deal of improvement, considering the amount of injuries we have had for most of the year. The juniors performed better than last season with Sue Howard and the committee working hard, and the inaugural season for our women's team was a success with them finishing second in the league."
First team coach Gary Marocchi said that while the club had improved greatly in 2004, they weren't about to rest on their laurels. "A thank you to all the coaches and players this year for their contributions in improving the club's overall standing in the league. Our Under-18 team were big improvers in 2004, making the top five Grand Final under the direction of Mauro Marchione and we wish them good luck for the game this weekend. The aims of the club for next season are to defend our Boral Cup title and to ensure that all three senior grades make the top five. Injuries to senior players allowed youngsters like Danyal Bennett, Brendan Knox, Matt Ullbricht, Scott Lewry and David Perich to play in the first team which definitely augers well for next year."
"The major plus for the club this year was the signing of David Foster," commented Marocchi. "David became the youngest ever winner of the Golden Boot award and his success this year resulted in increased media attention for Swan leading up to the Boral Cup semi-final and final. We are always on the lookout for more players like David, young players with technical ability but who are not given an opportunity to play regularly at their current club." In his first season at the Swan Valley club Foster won the leading goalscorer award with a 16 goal haul to which he added another 9 goals in the Boral Cup. The 21-year old joined the black-and-whites last summer from Sorrento and became only the second Swan player to win the Golden Boot after Peter Murphy who collected the award in 1995 when he also netted 16 times.
Seven Swan youngster gained State representative honours in season 2004. Danyal Bennett featured for the West Australian Under-19 side which twice defeated the Victorian Institute of Sport, and Daniel Simcox captained the Schoolboys team who claimed the silver medal at the annual national championship in Adelaide. The trio of Daniel Agudelo, Scott Lewry and Stephen Bettella played their part in the Under-16's taking out silver medal at the National Talent Identification Championships at which Jovo Pavolvic and Phillip Arnold were part of the Under-15 squad. "It's great that these players have been selected to play for the State teams", said Muriale. "It shows that the quality of players at Swan has improved and this is due to greatly to the coach's ability to identify and harness these players talent."
"It's these players who are the future of the club and we hope that the juniors of our local area will strive to follow in their footsteps," added the Swan president. In planning for next year, Swan are moving towards the appointment of a new director of football for their Junior Champions League teams ahead of the opening round of trials early next month. Sessions for the Under-11, Under-12 and Under-13 squads are being held on 1st, 3rd, 8th and 10th November at Swan's home ground of Francis Street, Middle Swan, starting at 6.30pm. Under-14 and Under-15 trials will be conducted on 2nd, 4th, 9th and 11th November at the same venue and time. For further details on the JCL trials contact the club via 043 1886 065 or log on to the Swan I.C. website.
STUFF-UP CATCHES PHOENIX OUT
South West Phoenix were not impressed about being given the run around prior to Saturday's First Division match with Leeming Strikers. With the Strikers regular ground unavailable the fixture was switched to Watson Reserve, but somewhere along the way Phoenix weren't informed of the change. "It's tough taking three teams to Perth every second week against one trip to Bunbury a season nu the oposition, but when they pull this on you it's just not cricket," said Phoenix coach Jimmy Mayers. "We arrived at Leeming's home ground, John Connell Reserve, and there was a cricket match in progress. We were diverted to a Fremantle venue and so the phones started ringing hot to divert people who travelled up from Bunbury in private transport to the new venue." It all ended well enough for a committed Phoenix side who returned home with maximum points courtesy of a 4-2 scoreline.
SUPER-SUB MRDJA EARNS SOLNA VALUABLE POINT
Nick Mrdja was AIK Solna's saviour yesterday when he scored three minutes after coming off the bench to earn his side a 1-1 draw with Hammarby. The powerfully built striker replaced Benjamin Kibebe in the 74th minute and made an impression near instantly by putting the ball away from close range. It was Mrdja's second goal in ten appearances for Solna who are currently battling to avoid relegation from Sweden's top flight. Winless since August, Solna are three points adrift of Orgryte IS, Orebro SK and Landskrona BoIS with four games remaining.
TABLE TOPPERS ARE NUMBER ONE
The West Australian soccer community rank the teams who top the home-and-away table as the State's best. That is the outcome of last week's www.soccerwa.com poll which queried 'Who should be considered WA's number one team?' 87.1% of respondants cast their vote in favour of the Premier League champion in contrast to just 12.9% who opted for the winner of the Top Five play-offs. In light of this result, perhaps the time has come for local authorities to seriously consider the relevance and role played by the finals series.
DELAY TO LAUNCH OF NEW NATIONAL LEAGUE
The Australian Soccer Association have scrapped plans to unveil the clubs in its new eight-team national competition later this week. The association had hoped to reveal the names of the teams, the people behind them and flesh out full details of the new competition's sponsors and structure on Friday. But concerns over the Melbourne bid's funding, as well as issues in Sydney and Perth, have lead to the ASA's postponing what it had hoped would be an attention-grabbing event.
The chief worries stem from Victoria where the Melbourne Victory consortium has been given preferred bidder status in an effort to raise sufficient funds to take part in the league. The other Victorian group vying for the state's licence - Melbourne United - is also believed to fall short of financial requirements. There are some corporate structure and governance issues to be resolved in Sydney, while Perth Glory is fully expected to sign on for the new league once some of its 'low-level' worries are addressed.
Three former National Soccer League teams, Adelaide United, Newcastle United and the Auckland Kingz, are already set to take part in the new competition. It is understood they'll be joined by a New South Wales Central Coast side, tentatively named the Mariners, and Brisbane-based Queensland Lions while Glory will take the number of clubs to six once their concerns have been ironed out with the ASA. The new league is scheduled to kick-off in around ten months time.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND THREE
A big crowd was on hand at Litis Stadium to witness Sorrento book their place in the top five series final with a convincing 2-0 win over northern rival E.C.U. Joondalup. The two previous meetings between these sides produced plenty of excitement and a bucketload of goals. But the warm conditions, an unpredictable playing surface, and some controversial decisions by the referee meant this afternoon's clash failed to reach the dizzying heights of the earlier encounters. The match started pretty much as expected with both teams keen not to concede an early goal. However, with only 5 minutes gone Tom Klaver bizarrely awarded the Gulls a penalty, the referee seeing a foul by Daryl Platten on Glen Thomas where no one else could and from the spot Steve MacDonald stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner. It was expected Joondalup would hit back with a vengeance but a combination of poor final passes and some solid defending by the Gulls prevented their rival from getting back on level terms. In fact, Sorrento should have increased their lead five minutes from the break when Todd Harnwell sped away down the right to cross to Glen Thomas who, after beating one defender, was thwarted by goalkeeper Peter Stewart.
The second half began much in the same fashion with Sorrento in control. In the 51st minute the Gulls squandered a great chance to add to their tally following a slick move featuring Todd Harnwell, MacDonald and Danny Hill who laid the ball at the feet of Brodie Martin but the teenager shot wide from close-range. Joondalup were lucky to escape again a few minutes later when Danny Hill unleashed a ferocious drive that beat Stewart but crashed into the upright before rebounding to safety. A neat exchange of passes saw Andy Mason draw the defence in the 61st minute before slipping the ball to Dale McCulloch who'd drifted into attack unmarked, but the Joondalup captain played his shot over the crossbar as Phil Straker close the angle. The result was put beyond doubt in the 78th minute with one of the goals of the season from MacDonald who showed terrific control in flicking the ball over the head of Andy Brown before smacking the sweetest of left footed strikes into the roof of the net. But the drama was not yet over and eight minutes from the end Sorrento were reduced to ten men with the contentious dismissal of Jamie Harnwell for a foul on Andy Mason as the two contested a loose ball.
Swan I.C. qualified for their first major youth final by out-shooting E.C.U. Joondalaup 4-2 on penalties in this afternoon's Under-18 Preliminary Final of the Champion of Champions series. Both sides were missing key players for the game with Rhys Williams (trials in England) and David Paone (illness) absent for Joondlaup and Swan respectively. Chances on goal were hard to come by in an even game which was dominated by the defences. The best chance for Joondalup resulted from a Phil White corner which John Aitken headed goalward and for which Daniel Agudelo moved sharply to keep out. Unable to force their way past the Joondalup rearguard, Swan were forced into scattered shots from distance with David Perich and Stephen Bettella both unlucky not to break the deadlock. With the score tied at nil-all after regulation time, penalties were required to separate the teams. Agudelo emerged as the hero for Swan by saving the third and fourth attempts from Joondalup and send his team into the Grand Final. "I believed as a team we were close to Joondalup," said a delighted Mauro Marchione, coach of Swan, after the game. "We played some great football today. Joondalup are a quality side and it wasn't until the last fifteen minutes that they got on top. But we held on, kept out nerves and deserved our win."
SAPPHIRES DOWN TIRED WAVES
Western Waves ended their week-long sojourn down the eastern seaboard with a 0-3 loss to New South Wales Sapphires at Marconi Stadium this afternoon. The Waves found their depth severely tested for their third game in six days which saw them without Sarah Cunningham (suspension) and Ciara Conway (injury), while Hayley Crawford was replaced late in the first half due to injury. The opening half was evenly contested with neither side able to gain the upper hand. Stephanie Grant went close to breaking the deadlock on the half hour for the Waves, with the Sapphires best chance falling to Lisa Gilbert whose header was well saved by Ashley Bennett.
Within three minutes of the restart the Sapphires had found a way through as Gilbert she rose high in a crowded goal area to convert a Taryn Rockall corner. Two minutes later Servet Uzunlar scored her first ever league goal with a superb drive from distance which found the target through a crowded 18-yard box to double the hosts lead. From then on the Sapphires were in complete control with the Waves struggling to make much headway against as well drilled defence. Bennett produced a series of great saves to keep the scoreline down before being breached for a third time when substitute Aysha Adalis unleashed a powerful drive from outside the box with two minutes remaining..
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-NINE (Wanneroo City vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Leeming Strikers vs South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix; Canning City vs Queens Park by Phil Unsworth; Kingsway Olympic vs Balcatta courtesy Balcatta)
Armadale ended their championship winning season by registering the years biggest winning margin, the Reds thrashing Stirling Suns 14-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval in sunny conditions this afternoon. The deluge started early with Jason Goodwin netting after only a couple of minutes and Dean Gartside doubling the gap with 6 minutes gone. Any vague hopes the Suns held of getting back in the game were laid to rest midway through the half as Gartside and Gary Murdoch each netted to extend the Reds lead to four goals. To their credit the Suns regrouped and through some stubborn defending prevented the margin from blowing out any further before the break. Ten minutes into the second half Greg Newcombe hit the first of a rapid fire hat-trick which the striker completed inside three minutes. Murdoch took it to eight-nil, Frazer Brown found the target with the very next play, and Dennis Lee netted in the 74th and 75th minutes. Newcombe's fourth arrived shortly after, Brown chalked up another goal and Murdoch completed his hat-trick five minutes from the end. The fourteen-goal margin was just two short of the greatest ever winning margin which achieved in 1992 by Ferndale United against Western Yugal.
Dianella White Eagles pulled off a major surprise by taking the points over second placed Wanneroo City by 3-1 at Ashfield Reserve. It was a great start for Dianella who only days earlier had re-appointed Vesko Zmukic as first team coach. Dianella made a positive start, quickly shutting down their more fancied opponent and allowing them little time or space to maneuver when in possession. With 17 minutes elapsed the 'visitors' were rewarded as Robert Cibesku's through ball found Miladin Guroski who made no mistake with a clinical finish. However, the teams were soon back on level terms with Scott Bulloch scoring from the penalty spot following a foul on Stuart Collins. Wanneroo were unlucky not to head into the break with the lead as Oliver Hilton sent a free-kick just wide while Chris Currie headed a corner narrowly over the crossbar. The second half was all one-way traffic with Dianella the dominant force. Dragan Njegic's cross found Guroski who tapped the ball past goalkeeper Gary Kent to give Dianella the lead after 54 minutes. And six minutes later Guroski was once again in the right place at the right time to knock in his third goal of the afternoon and secure victory.
A David Rodgers hat-trick inspired South West Phoenix to a 4-2 away win over Leeming Strikers. Despite playing against a stiff breeze in the first half, it was Phoenix to went into the break with the advantage via a cracking free-kick from 20-metres by Rodgers which beat the goalkeeper in the 42nd minute. The visitors emerge for the second half determined to go on with the job and two minutes after the re-start extended their lead when Gary Mayers stole possession from John Sherrington before placing his shot into the net. Desperate defending kept Phoenix at bay until the 70th minute when Rodgers latched onto a long ball floated over the defence which he then knocked past an exposed 'keeper. With the game seemingly out of their reach, the Strikers roared back into content with two quick goals from midfielder Phil Bell. But Phoenix maintained their focus and secured victory in the 81st minute as Gino Comito and Patrick Roberts combined for Rodgers to complete his three-goal haul. The result lifts Phoenix into third place and on track for their best ever finish to a season.
Gosnells City stretched their unbeaten run to eight games by triumphing 1-0 over Mandurah City at Peelwood Parade. Full credit must go to the players of both teams for their fantastic work rate throughout the afternoon, it be when getting behind the ball when defending or at the opposite end of the park where they continually provided options and support in attack. Mandurah had a number of good opportunities to open the scoring but found on loan goalkeeper Adam Ashforth in top form between the posts for the visiting side. Gosnells worked tirelessly to prise open the home defence who thwarted their opponents through some well-timed challenges. The games only goal arrived shortly before the break when Sean Cowman popped up at the back post to volley past goalkeeper Mike Green for his second goal in as many weeks. It was more of the same after the break with both teams displaying some great pace, movement, hard tackling and slick passing as they sought the points. But with no further addition to the scoreline it was Gosnells who ended the day the happier with coach Alex Grindley commenting "A great win against a very good team" shortly after the final whistle.
Canning City scored their seventh win in eight outings with a comprehensive 4-0 triumph over Queens Park at Weir Park in Cannington. Settling the better, Queens Park pressed for the early breakthrough but were denied a goal by the excellent skills of 'home' goalkeeper Robby Meyer. It was somewhat against the flow of play that Canning went ahead after opposing 'keeper Phil Chapman picked up a backpass, and from the resulting free-kick Paul Oliver drove the ball high into the roof of the net. Canning's second goal also came via a set piece in which Chris Atkins and Oliver combined to tee-up Daniel Trevisiol who made no mistake from 6-metres. The game was ended as a contest ten minutes into the second half when Paul Van Dongen outpaced the defence and clinically placed his shot past Chapman and inside the far post. The final goal arrived in the 83rd minute when Julio Barrendilla slotted home to finished off a neat counter-attack. The final four-goal margin flattered Canning on a day when they difference between the two teams was in the quality of goalkeeping and the hosts incisive finishing.
Despite playing the majority of the match with an extra man, Balcatta had to settle for shared points with home team Kingsway Olympic. The visitors got off to a flying start with Adrian Caliero opening the scoring in the 3rd minute. But within five minutes Olympic were back on level terms when Steve Bretti make the most of some poor marking to find the target following a free-kick. Olympic's chances of going on with the job received a major blow late in the half with the red carding of Stephen Beasley for a crude challenge on opposing midfielder Alley Di Nuzzo. As so often happens in this instances, Olympic pulled together and played the better football after the break, creating several goal-scoring opportunities but unable to take the lead thanks to goalkeeper Tony Aleksovski who made a string of excellent saves to keep his side in the contest. Balcatta steadied the ship midway through the period and looked to have gone ahead on 70 minutes Mark Gentile slotted through to Di Nuzzo whose shot trickled over the line only for the 'keeper to pull it back into play much to the dismay of the visiting team.
The points were also shared at Wotton Reserve where Morley Windmills and Ashfield drew 1-1. There were some good chances at both ends during a first half in which possession was evenly distributed between the two teams. The best chances of the period came the way of Ashfield who were unlucky not to go into the break with the lead but Alex Crookes and Craig Culverwell were each unable to put the ball away. Ashfield stepped up a gear after the break, continually applying the pressure by winning three corners in succession before Joe Kendall volleyed in with 54 minutes gone. Following the goal the two sides settled and carved out numerous promising attacks without being able to beat the opposing goalkeeper. With ten minutes left on the clock Windmills finally got back on a level footing through Rydeen Botha who expertly flicked the ball over goalkeeper Michael Taseski and into the corner of the net. The final one-all scoreline was a fair reflection of an entertaining game between two competitive and evenly matched teams.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento booked their place in the Champion of Champions series decider with a 2-0 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup in today's Preliminary Final at Litis Stadium. Steven MacDonald was the scorer of both goals for the Gulls who worked hard all day to overcome their northern neighbour. Sorrento face Premier League champion Western Knights in the season finale next Sunday. The Under-18 Grand Final will feature Sorrento against Swan I.C., the latter booking their place by out-shooting Joondalup 4-2 on penalties.
Armadale ended their championship winning season with a massive 14-0 thrashing of Stirling Suns on home soil. Dianella White Eagles defeated Wanneroo City 3-1 in the surprise of the round. South West Phoenix return to Bunbury with all three points courtesy of a 4-2 win over Leeming Strikers, while Gosnells City toppled Mandurah City 1-0. Canning City rarely looked troubled as they brushed aside Queens Park 4-0. Kingsway Olympic and Balcatta shared the points at 1-1, the same scoreline as the Morley Windmills home clash with Ashfield.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Sunday's Preliminary Final of the Champion of Champions series sees E.C.U. Joondalup square off with Sorrento at Litis Stadium. Both regular season meetings between the northern neighbours have been highest scoring affairs this year with Joondalup having the wood over their long-time rival by the slightest of margins. Despite this it is Sorrento who've been tipped to triumph thanks largely to just a single loss in their past fourteen outings. The clubs lock horns from 3.00pm at Litis Stadium. The match is preceded by the Under-18's clash which involves Joondalup and Swan I.C.
Gulls boss Trevor Morgan accused his side in mid-week of switching off at crucial times, a case in point being last weekend's loss to Western Knights. "We were 2-0 up with 35 minutes to go and we gave away three goals from set pieces. It was always drilled into me 'When the ball goes dead we come alive'. But I think we switch off sometimes." Due to injury Brad Hassell, Simon Harland and James Morgan will be watching from the sidelines while doubt surrounds the availability of midfielder Danny Hill and key defender Richard Watson.
Heading into the match as underdog, coach Paul Simmons says he's proud of what Joondalup have already achieved this year. "We are happy to be at this stage of the competition with the young side that we've got. They can hold their heads up high." Versatile English import Keith Brown will be Joondalup's only major absentee although there's the slightest of chances promising young defender Jon Higgins may also miss the game due to a minor groin complaint.
There'll be plenty of celebrating going on at Alfred Skeet Oval where recently crowned First Division champion Armadale take on cellar dweller Stirling Suns on Saturday. Wanneroo City meet Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve, Mandurah City are home to Gosnells City, and South West Phoenix are away to Leeming Strikers. Canning City take on Queens Park at Weir Park (Kent Street, Wilson), while Kingsway Olympic and Balcatta meet at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Morley Windmills welcome Ashfield to Wotton Reserve, and out of action with the bye are Rockingham City.
WARD AND BULLOCH YOUR PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
The West Australian soccer community have elected Nick Ward and Scott Bulloch as winners of the www.soccerwa.com 2004 Premier League and First Division Player of the Year awards respectively. The pair were named as the best players in their league's by the players, officials and supporters of the game in this state. Ward joins an exclusive group of players, consisting of Branimir Mikulic (2001), Jamie Coyne (2002) and Shane Crampton (2003), who've won the Premier League award. Bulloch becomes only the second winner of the First Division award which was take out in it's inaugural year by Boima Karpeh. The West Australian Soccer Website would like to thank all players, coaches and supporters of the local game who voted in the awards over the past month.
It came down to the wire in the www.soccerwa.com Premier League Player of the Year with Ward taking out the award by just three votes. The Stirling Lions midfielder accumulated 48 votes to come from behind in the last week of polling and edge out Swan I.C. striker David Foster who ended with 45 votes. In third place with 27 votes was Western Knights goalkeeper Tommi Tomich who ended two votes ahead of Antonio Naglieri of Cockburn City. 18 votes earned Jason Williams, the Knights summer recruit from South Australia, fifth place from Cockburn attacker John Mirco who polled 16 votes. Perth S.C. midfielder Robbie Puca was next with 12 votes, two more than Daniel Trim of the Knights. Stuart Montgomery (Knights) and Greg Sharland (Inglewood United) ended level with 9 votes each.
Wanneroo City's Bulloch was by far the popular choice for the www.soccerwa.com First Division Player of the Year. Having topped the leaderboard from early on, Bulloch ended with 48 votes to take out the award from Christian Pascherwitz (Mandurah City) on 30 votes and David Moschilla (Balcatta) who tallied 29 votes. Armadale goalkeeper Ken Fytengionous picked up 27 votes to take out fourth place, two ahead of David Rodgers of South West Phoenix. Matt Bennion, also of Armadale was next with 20 votes followed by veteran defender Gerry McEwan (Wanneroo) on 18 votes. Another Wanneroo player, teenager Chris Currie, was locked on 14 votes with Leeming Strikers' Phil Bell.
TOP FLIGHT BECKONS FOR ARMADALE
Celebrations will carry well into Saturday night for Armadale whose long wait to be crown First Division champions for 2004 is finally over. The Reds first major trophy success was wrapped up with victory over South West Phoenix last weekend, meaning there'll be plenty of reasons to party after this week's final home game against bottom of the table Stirling Suns. "This has been the single most important moment in the Armadale's history and it can only bring more success to all parts of the club," commented president Bill Easton this week. "Our aim from here will be to consolidate a place in the Premier League and we are already taking steps to ensure that becomes a reality."
It was a case of third time lucky for Armadale. In 2002 they were pipped on goal difference for the title by Stirling Lions, and twelve months later finished third behind champion Bayswater City and runner-up Mandurah City. "It's been a tremendous three seasons for our club, and this year really has been the icing on the cake for all involved," added Easton. "I have to congratulate our immediate past president, John Anderson, for having the foresight to seek out Billy Russell and appoint him as coach of the first team. Billy's record speaks for itself - in three years he has only lost seven games, and five of those were last year."
"This years team has had the benefit of playing together almost unchanged for three years, and the addition of a couple of more experienced campaigners gave us that extra bit of depth," continued Easton. "The backbone of our success this year has been our defence which includes Matthew Bennion and Nick Twyman as well as goalkeeper Kenny Fythogiannis. Our reserve team also played a vital role in our success, when we had a horror run of injuries all of the youngsters who stepped up to first team duty didn't let the coach or their teammates down." It'll be double the celebrations for Armadale on Saturday with their Reserve team also claiming silverware as Leeming Strikers and Canning City scramble for the runners-up spot, some ten points behind the champions.
WAVES HOLD ON FOR HISTORIC DRAW
Despite having a player sent off in the first half, the Western Waves secured their first ever point in the Women's National Soccer League with a 1-1 draw against Northern New South Wales Pride in Newcastle this afternoon. The Waves put their more favoured opponent on the back foot by taking a 3rd minute lead when captain Tanya Oxtoby poked a long free-kick past goalkeeper Erin Herd for her first ever goal in the competition. The home side soon settled into the game and created several chances but were unable to find the back of the net. With 31 minutes gone the Waves were reduced to ten players when midfielder Sarah Cunningham was red carded for violent conduct following a foul on Cheryl Salisbury. Nine minutes later, Pride equalised, Meegan Shepherd's through-ball putting Kate Gill in behind the defence to calmly slot past Bennett. The second half saw the Waves perform mostly defensive duties as Pride took control of proceedings but were unable to produce a second deciding goal.
LUTON BOSS PRAISES COYNE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Luton Town boss Mike Newell is singing the praises of West Australian defender Chris Coyne. Coyne and Curtis Davies have been in superb form over the opening weeks of the English season in which they've been Newell's preferred central defensive combination. "Chris Coyne and Curtis Davies have formed a good partnership at the back - they are doing very well," Newell told the Hatters' official website. Luton currently occupy first place on the League One table, undefeated after twelve games and nine points ahead of nearest rival Brentford.
LAZARIDIS FEELS INJURY GUILT (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Stan Lazaridis admits feeling some guilt over the thigh injury which has sidelined him for the past seven weeks. "I've never been out this long with a muscle injury. At first I thought I'd be two weeks off but when I got close I pushed myself too hard and irritated it - I was too eager to get back," the Socceroo told the "Evening Mail". "It's very frustrating and I've bumped into so many fans who have asked when will I be back and people have been calling me up from Australia saying 'Lazza, what's going on?' Next week's a big week for me, I'll know towards the end of it if I'm somewhere near and in contention for Manchester United, but ultimately that would be the manager's decision. I think because we've not started the season as we would have liked, it's made it even worse for me. I've felt guilty. Sometimes I've thought that If I was out there I might be able to make a difference, put the odd cross in here and there to create some chances."
SOCCEROO'S UNTROUBLED BY SOLOMAN ISLANDS
The Socceroos have seen off the Soloman Islands to take out the 2004 Oceania Nations Cup Final. Played in stifling heat and in front of a boisterous crowd of 21,000 at the Lawson Tama Stadium, Australia cruised to a 5-1 victory in the opening leg of the decider on Saturday. And in this evenings' return match the Socceroos registered a comfortable 6-0 winning margin to make a clean sweep of the qualifiers. The two-match series doubles as the qualifier for the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup to be played in Germany next June.
Australia secured victory by 5-1 in the first leg played in Honiara on Saturday. Josip Skoko got the ball rolling in the 5th minute following some fine lead-up play by Brett Emerton. The margin was increased after 19 minutes when Ante Milicic put the ball away, and the game was effectively over nine minutes later when Skoko doubled his tally. Having played a role in each of the previous goals Emerton got himself on the scorers list a minute before half-time. Solomon Islands' captain Batram Suri pulled one back for the home side in the 59th minute. Eleven minutes from the end Ahmad Elrich was rewarded for a tireless display with Australia's fifth goal after a superb build-up involving several players.
This evening's second leg was witnessed by a crowd of 19,208 at Aussie Stadium in Sydney. Ante Milicic started the deluge of goals in the 5th minute who poked the ball home following a neat chipover the defence by Josip Skoko. Harry Kewell was on hand to double Australia's advantage just four minutes later by stabbing home from a corner. Fifteen minutes into the second half Tony Vidmar made it three-nil, and Archie Thompson calmly slotted in a precise through ball from Brett Emerton on 79 minutes. Thompson turned provider for Ahmad Elrich minutes later, with Emerton scoring a richly deserved sixth goal for the Socceroo's in the dying minutes.
WAVES STUNG ON WNSL DEBUT
Western Waves commenced their debut season in the Women's National Soccer League within a 1-2 loss to an experienced Queensland Sting line-up at Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre this evening. With no less than eight former or current senior internationals in their line-up, Sting dominated first half possession and would have taken an early lead if not for Ashley Bennett produced a top class save to deny Sasha McDonnell. Sting took the lead in the 22nd minute with a top effort from Lana Harch who beat two defenders before unleashing a cracking shot from 25-metres which gave the Waves goalkeeper no chance.
The honour of the Waves first WNSL goal went to striker Hayley Crawford who headed in a superb cross at the back post after 67 minutes. Eleven minutes later, Sting reclaimed the lead when substitute Krystina Walker charged down a hopeful ball played into attack and rob Bennett of possession before sliding her shot into an empty net. The Waves were not about to give up and, after several promising moves, were awarded a free-kick which Crawford sent goalward from 25-metres only to have goalkeeper Claire Nichols turn it around the post.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND TWO (Cockburn City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Lennie Bavich)
E.C.U. Joondalup moved into the last four of the Champion of Champions series after defeating Cockburn City 2-1 at Litis Stadium in Saturday's Minor Semi-Final. It took the northern suburbs side just seven minutes to go ahead when a mix-up in the Cockburn defence left Dale McCulloch unmarked to slot the ball under advancing goalkeeper Alan Dunlop, who was signed in mid-week from Bassendean Caledonian. A blistering shot from Martin Ashworth in the 13th minute grazed the crossbar sas Joondalup went in search of a second goal. Cockburn immediately pressed forward down the right flank where Peter Petkovich touched the ball on to Roberto Colalillo whose superb centring pass was into the path of Antonio Naglieri and he made no mistake in slamming the equaliser in from close-range. The game quickly flowed to the other end upon the restart where Dunlop dived at the feet of Ashworth to prevent the midfielder from rifling off a shot. Midway through the half John Mirco earned his team a free-kick following a clash with Jamie Kuzmanovich just outside the penalty area, but the opportunity was wasted by Cockburn was the ball crashed into the defensive wall before being cleared. The only other chance came five minutes from the break when Peter Petkovich's shot was blocked by Stewart and in the ensuing scramble for possession the Cockburn striker sustained an ankle injury which forced him to watch the rest of the match from the sidelines.
The second half started with Joondalup in an attacking frame of mind and twice Ashworth squandered chances from close-range. Nine minutes into the period Dunlop earned the applause of the big crowd with an inspired doubled save, first keeping out Alan Henderson's header then preventing Andy Mason with the follow up. The action was quickly transferred tot he opposite end where Stewart was called into action as Dean Wallace darted down the right and threaded a pass to Naglieri whose effort was well saved by the 'keeper. John Mirco teamed up with Marko Aleksic down the left flank to deliver the ball to the feet of Naglieri and this time the midfielder's shot sailed over the crossbar. Stewart showed his class in the 68th minute by blocked Mirco's powerful strike from 7 metres, then recovering in time to push the attacker's follow-up around the post. Six minutes later Jamie Kuzmanovich's goalbound header was handled by Domenic De Felice, referee Eddie Lennie left with little choice but to send off the Cockburn player and from the spot McCulloch sent Dunlop the wrong way to put Joondalup ahead. With their season on the line Cockburn pushed forward at every opportunity over the closing stages in search of an equaliser. Mirco failed to call the 'keeper into action with a low strike, while four minutes from full-time Simon Jonas teed-up Naglieri who touched the ball over Stewart but also the bar.
Western Knights continued their march towards their second major piece of silverware for 2004 with a come from behind victory over Sorrento in Sunday's Major Semi-Final. With their side trailing by two-goals at the break, Paul Cooke and Daniel Trim inspired the Knights second half revival which resulted in a 3-2 win and a place in the Champion of Champions Grand Final. Although playing into a strong wind and missing six first team regulars, the Gulls found their rhythm quickly to dominate the first half. So it came as no surprise when Sorrento got the breakthrough on 23 minutes with an absolute gem of a goal, Jared Love and playing a neat one-two with Steve MacDonald to open up the defence before sending an inch-perfect cross to the back post where Todd Harnwell nodded in at close-range. The Gulls were well on top when, with 36 minutes gone, Brodie Martin's swerving shot was parried blocked by goalkeeper Tommi Tomich and MacDonald reacted quickest to the loose ball by tapping it into an empty net. In a desperate effort to reduce the margin before half-time the Knights pushed forward at every opportunity, however, Sorrento stood firm at the back and repelled their opponents best attacking moves. The only moment of concern for the Gulls rearguard came just before the interval when Ivan Zuvela connected with Stuart Montgomery's corner but his header flashed over the crossbar.
It looked as though Sorrento would go on with the job upon the re-start, but the northern suburbs side squandered several chances to add a third goal to their tally while appeals for a penalty were dismissed by the referee. With the half-time dressing down from coaches Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly still ringing in their ears, the Knights slowly got their show on the road. Eleven minutes in Daniel Cain was judged to have handed the ball as Cooke brought under control a cross from Scott Devine, leading referee Angelo Nardi to awarded a penalty which was duly converted by Carl Medica. This boosted the Knights confidence and with 63 minutes gone they were back on level terms after a cross from the left resulted in a goalmouth scramble that ended with Trim pushing the ball into the net. Cooke was proving a handful for the opposing defence with a series of penetrating runs down the left, and in the 69th minute won his side a free-kick some 22-metres from goal. A well worked free-kick was rolled to Zuvela whose brilliant left-footer gave goalkeeper Phil Straker absolutely no chance as it soared into the top corner to put the Knights in front for the first time. It was now Sorrento's turn to play catch up football but some resilient Knights defending prevented them from forcing the game into extra-time.
Sorrento booked their place in the Under-18's Grand Final by toppling E.C.U. Joondalup 2-0 in Sunday's Major Semi-Final. Joondalup started brightly and would have taken an early lead if not for a goalline clearance by Liam McCallum after Sam Cooligan squeezed a shot from a narrow angle past Aleksander Vrteski. The Gulls wasted little time in hitting back and with 18 minutes gone bagged their first goal as Dejan Gurovski's low cross from the right was put away at close-range by Steven Worthy. Six minutes later Ben Coppack doubled his sides advantage with a blistering shot that gave Joondalup goalkeeper Jakub Chudy. The second half saw several good opportunities created at either end of the park the combination of great goalkeeping by Chudy and Vrteski and pure bad luck prevented any addition to the scoreline. The best chance came on 73 minutes when Worthy somehow missed an open goal but recovered to set-up Dennis Galan whose curling shot skimmed the frame of the goal. Swan I.C. took out Saturday's Minor Semi-Final 1-0 in a tense encounter with Perth S.C. who ended the day with ten men.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-EIGHT (South West Phoenix vs Armadale by Lee Anderson; Canning City vs Wanneroo City by Phil Unsworth; Rockingham City vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; Kingsway Olympic vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; Balcatta vs Leeming Strikers courtesy Balcatta)
Armadale clinched the First Division title by coming from behind to record a 3-2 victory over South West Phoenix at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. Phoenix made the best possible start as Gary Mayers made the most of a defensive blunder to score after 2 minutes. With both teams wrestling for control of the game Armadale drew level twelve minutes from the break when Paul Caulkin's free-kick was turned into the net by a Phoenix defender. David Rodgers regained the lead for Phoenix early in the second half to turn the screws on the visitors. But Armadale have made an art-form of overturning deficits this season, and in the 65th minute a cracking strike by Dennis Lee put the sides back on a level footing. The decider arrived five minutes when Gary Murdoch hit the crossbar with a free-kick and Dean Gartside was on hand to put away the rebound. "This whole team has been great all season, and to only lose one game is a fantastic achievement," said Reds coach Billy Russell after the game. The celebrations will continue for Armadale this weekend when they are presented with the First Division trophy at their final game of the 2004 against Stirling Suns at Alfred Skeet Oval.
Wanneroo City came from behind to beat home team Canning City 4-2 and make safe second place on the table. The match was only 13 minutes old when Alex Seed threaded a pass to Paul Van Dongen who angled the ball between goalkeeper and post from 5-metres. The lead lasted all of a minute before Scott Bulloch's cross was gleefully put away by Oliver Hilton to put the teams back on level terms. The end-to-end action continued with Canning again finding the net on 30 minutes as Jix Loong made his way down the left before unleashing a fierce right footer which deflected off veteran defender Gerry McEwan on its way into the net. Just before the break Wanneroo drew level for the second time as Phil O'Callaghan drove the ball beyond Robby Meyer after the home defence failed to bring a halt to the attackers surging run. Wanneroo came out for the second half with more focus and six minutes in took the lead when Stuart Collins converted a deep cross from the left by Bulloch. Canning from this point seemed to lack their earlier drive and, with 69 minutes gone, Bulloch put the result beyond doubt by netting his sides fourth and final goal.
Mandurah City proved too strong for southern neighbour Rockingham City whom they defeated 3-1 at Dowling Street Reserve. It was clear from the opening exchanges that the visiting side were primed for action and with less than a minute gone they'd gone ahead through Andrew Rennie who rifled the ball into the top corner from the top of the 18-yard box. With Rockingham shell-shocked, Mandurah in for the kill as Christian Paschewicz and Jake Loreto went close to doubling their sides advantage. It was left to young midfielder Jordan Rhodes to bag the visitors second of the day with a spectacular curling shot from long-range after 25 minutes. Rockingham clawed their way back into the match when Stephen Stewart reduced the margin in the 29th minute, and the dismissal of Paschewicz seven minutes later increased the hosts chances of pulling off an upset. Mandaurah made sure that wasn't to be the case with a strong start to the second half which had the opposing side doing all the defending. A deserved away win for Mandurah was finally secured in the 63rd minute when Rhodes netted his second and the teams third goal.
Kingsway Olympic shared the points with Gosnells City in a 1-1 draw at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Steve Bretti raced on to a pass clipped over the visiting defence which he then slotted past goalkeeper Jason Menhert to give Olympic the lead after 10 minutes. However, any hopes the home team had of running away with the game were quickly laid to rest as Gosnells carved out numerous good chances on goal, the best of which were kept out by the Olympic goalkeeper. Although Gosnells created the better of chances they were be no means the dominant side with much of play taking place between in the middle third of the park. The games' turning point arrived on 65 minutes when Olympic youngster Jesse Higgins was dismissed for his second yellow card offence. Gosnells immediately made a couple of tactical changes which includes the addition of Jason Jones to forma three-pronged attack. Even so Olympic defended well and clung to their lead until two minutes from full-time when Sean Cowman poked in the equaliser following a corner by Adam Bremner. Olympic went down to nine men before the restart with Liam Moorhouse issued his marching orders for taking his protests over the goal too far with the referee.
Led by star striker David Moschilla, Balcatta trounced Leeming Strikers 5-2 at Graham Burkett Reserve. The visitors were quickly into stride and with 10 minutes expired took a deserved lead when Simon Versaico found the back of the net. The margin would have been increased midway through the half if not for the quick thinking of Balcatta goalkeeper Tony Aleksovski who made a good save at close-range. Moschilla opened his account on the half hour, converting the loose ball after goalkeeper Tae Phillips parried a dipping free-kick from Antoine Aquilia. Three minutes later Balcatta gained the upper hand as Joe Cinquina headed in an excellent cross from the right by Alley Di Nuzzo. Moschilla then scored the goal of the match just before the half-time whistle, the striker brilliantly half-volleying past the 'keeper following a neat flick on by Adrian Caliero. The Strikers got back into the contest through Versaico who netted on the hour after some poor defending by the home side. Upping their workrate, Balcatta made the points safe when Moschilla completed his hat-trick after 77 minutes, and deep in stoppage time the striker added a fifth to his sides' tally to cap a memorable afternoon.
Queens Park registered a 2-1 victory over Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve. Following a first half which ended scoreless, the deadlock was finally broken five minutes after the break when Ray Rose gave the visitors the upper hand. The points were made safe for Queens Park by Matt Tilbury who netted in the 84th minute. Ashfield scored a late consolation goal through Alex Novatsis. Morley Windmills picked up just their seventh win of the winter when they defeated home team Stirling Suns by 3-1. The Suns started brightly with Bobby Ristevski finding the target after just 4 minutes. It was a barnstorming sixteen minute spell in the second half that turned the game around for Windmills, Rydeen Botha equalising in the 62nd minute before Justy Jensen put away two chances to complete the scoreline.
CHINA CLAIM THIRD WIN OVER YOUNG MATILDA'S
The Australian Women's Under-19 team completed their friendly series against China with a third successive 1-2 loss in Mandurah this afternoon. The Young Matilda's shaded their opponents during the first half which saw some flowing football played at both ends. The deadlock wasn't broken until the ten minutes into the second half through Sally Shipard. But China responded quickly and were back on level terms in the 65th minute when Wang Dandan found the net. Eleven minutes later Wang Dandan hit her second of the day to snatch the advantage from the home side.
COCKBURN CAUGHT ON HOP BY SUSPENSION
Cockburn City coach Kevin Elliott was left fuming yesterday when informed that he'd be without Scott Miller and Michael Mirco for this afternoon's top five clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. The star duo were sent off a fortnight ago against Sorrento and, in the absence of communication, assumed they were eligible to play in this weekend's Minor Semi-Final. "We had four or five training sessions with the boys and now find we have lost a large chunk of our team," Elliott said. "It really is time to get our act together in the sport."
Elliott was told of his players' suspension on the eve of the match by Paul Tombides, general manager of Soccer West Coast. Tombides was quick to point the finger of blame at the match officials. "When the referee's report came in (two days after the match) it stated further clarification would come from the assistant referee's report," he told Len Findlay of the "West Australian" newspaper. "They didn't come in until Thursday night."
Also with line-up problems is Joondalup coach Paul Simmons. "I had fourteen players at this week and only six of them could take part," Simmons explained. Injury has claimed team captain Dale McCulloch along with defenders Peter Roberts and Jon Higgins, while versatile midfielder Keith Brown will be absent due to suspension. Also out of contention are the teenagers Shane Lowey and Reece Williams who are trialling with English club Aston Villa.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Two goals from Dale McCulloch has put E.C.U. Joondalup into the last three of the Champion of Champions series. The northern suburbs side defeated Cockburn City 2-1 in Saturday's Minor Semi-Final to keep themselves in the hunt for silverware. In Sunday's Major Semi-Final, the Western Knights came from two goals behind at the break to defeat Sorrento 3-2 and book their place in the series decider. Sorrento will take on northern rival Joondalup next weekend for the right to challenge the Knights in the season finale.
A place in the next season's top flight is Armadale's following their 3-2 away win over South West Phoenix in Saturday's round of First Division fixtures. Canning City battled bravely before going down 2-4 to Wanneroo City who'll end the season as runner-up. Mandurah City moved to third with two games remaining courtesy of a 3-1 defeat of Rockingham City. Kingsway Olympic held the visiting Gosnells City to a 1-1 draw, Queens Park beat Ashfield 2-1, and Morley Windmills accounted for Stirling Suns 3-1. David Moschilla scored four times to lead Balcatta to a 5-2 win over Leeming Strikers.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Champion of Champions series continues this weekend with two big games. On Saturday its the make or break Minor Semi-Final clash between Cockburn City and E.C.U. Joondalup. Cockburn won both regular season meetings by comfortable margins and are favoured to make it three from three over their northern opponent. The following afternoon Premier League champion Western Knights and Sorrento, who are unbeaten in thirteen games, vie to become the first team to qualify for the season finale. Games between the two have been close this year and it's going to come down to which team have the greater desire on the day.
The third last round of First Division fixtures sees leader Armadale made the long trip to Bunbury where they meet third placed South West Phoenix. And it's second verses fifth as Wanneroo City met Canning City at Weir Park (Kent Street, Wilson). Rockingham City come up against Mandurah City, and Kingsway Olympic have a difficult home date with Gosnells City. Balcatta take on Leeming Strikers at Graham Burkett Reserve, and Queens Park travel to Ashfield. Stirling Suns play their "home" game at Wotton Reserve against Morley Windmills, while Dianella White Eagles have the weekend off due to the bye.
WAVES HIT THE EAST
The Western Waves commence their first season in the Women's National Soccer League this week with three games in the space of six days. The team take on Queensland Sting in Brisbane on Tuesday evening, and two days later come up against Northern New South Wales Pride. The Waves end their whirlwind trip of the east coast against reigning champion New South Wales Sapphires on Sunday afternoon at Marconi Stadium. Australian international Lisa DeVanna will not take part in the tour due to family reasons.
PHOENIX STRIKER TIPPED FOR GOALS AWARD
Things are getting very interesting on the goalscoring front as the First Division season comes to a close. With 30 goals in 24 games for South West Phoenix, attacking midfielder David Rodgers is the clear favourite to claim the First Division's leading goalscorer award with just a handful of games to be played. Ray Rose of Queens Park is second with 24 goals and is placed two ahead of Mandurah City sharpshooter Christian Paschewicz. Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Steven Suttie (Phoenix) are level with 18 goals each, followed by Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City), David Moschilla (Balcatta), Jake Loreto (Mandurah) and Glen Noblet (Queens Park) on 16 goals.
Locked on 27 goals at the top of the Reserves field with three games remaining are Carlos Almeida (Rockingham City) and Darren Kingston (Armadale). It's just as hot for the minor places which has Joseph Tomancak (Leeming Strikers) and Peter Taylor (Armadale) sharing 20 goals, South West Phoenix attacker Gino Comito is two behind with Harin Raseswaran (Canning City) and Anthony Macri (Balcatta) ready to pounce on 17 goals. Strikers player Paul Gibson has found the net on 15 occasions so far this winter, followed by Adam Windley (Wanneroo City) with 13 goals. Luke Woodfin (Queens Park) sits one behind with Gary Attrill (Mandurah City) on 11 goals.
Simon Versaico, who has recently been involved for Leeming Strikers' first team, leads the way with 30 goals in the Under-18 competition. However, Anthony Di Lorito of Balcatta is close behind on 27 goals and Daniel Trevisiol (Canning City) looks set to capture third place with 21 goals to date. Daniale Ulisse (Strikers) is next with 16 goals followed by teammate Daniel Capperllaro and Brendan Loiacono (Canning City) who've each netted 14 times so far this winter. Wanneroo City striker Austin Watkins has 13 goals to his credit and leads South West Phoenix pair James Monks and Drasko Jankovic by two goals.
SOCCEROO'S MAKE CHANGES AHEAD OF QUALIFIERS
Australia have added six players to the squad for tomorrow's opening Confederations Cup qualifier against the Soloman Islands. Drafted into the squad are forwards Archie Thompson, Ante Milicic and Max Vieri along with defenders Steve Laybutt, Jon McKain and Luke Wilkshire. They take the place of Marco Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Craig Moore, Danny Tiatto and Mark Viduka who were all late withdrawals due to injury. In the absence of Moore, the captains armband is expected to be worn by either veteran defender Tony Vidmar, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer or midfielder Josip Skoko.
The 20-player Australian squad consists of Mile Sterjovski (Basel), Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City), Ahmad Elrich (Busan I Cons), Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Steve Laybutt (Ghent), Archie Thompson (Lierse), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Kevin Muscat (Millwall), Jon McKain (National Bucuresti), John Aloisi (Osasuna), Simon Colosimo, Ante Milicic (Pahang), Vince Grella (Parma), Zeljko Kalac (Perugia) and Max Vieri (Ternana).
NATIONAL LEAGUE BACK ON COURSE
Adelaide United have rejoined the groups wanting a spot in the new Australian national league. The club today signed a participation agreement with the Australian Soccer Association to be part of the new national competition. "It's a terrific result," said ASA chief executive officer John O'Neill. "Adelaide United and the Pickard Group have signed up to be the representative of Adelaide and South Australia in the new national league to start next year."
The news was exactly what Perth Glory chairman wanted to hear. "That is good news. It would be unthinkable (to have a national league) without Adelaide," he said. "I am extremely optimistic about the future of the new league - more than I was six month ago." In August the ASA agreed a three-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports who'll screen up to four games each round, a weekly highlights package and live coverage of all Finals. A naming right sponsor for the league is expected to be announced shortly.
SWAN YOUNGSTERS GO THROUGH
Swan I.C. are through to the last four of the Under-18's play-off series after defeating Fremantle City 1-0 in last night's Elimination Final. There were chances at both ends in an even contest with the games only goal arriving on the half hour when Stephen Hanley played in Matt Ullbricht who finished with a powerful shot to the right of goalkeeper Robert Figg. Fremantle went close to leveling late in the piece through Ben Howe shot cannoned back of the bar following a driving run into attack. Swan will next play on Saturday when they take on Perth S.C. in the Minor Semi-Final.
AMERICA LURES PETTERSON
Former East Fremantle Tricolore goalkeeper Andrew Petterson has headed to the United States in an effort to extend his playing career. The 35-year old shot-stopper is chasing a contract in the Major League Soccer where he has reportedly attracted the interest of several clubs. Petterson's career in England spanned sixteen years during which he turned out for the likes of Luton Town, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth amongst others.
IMPROVED WAVES DOWNED BY CHINA
The Western Waves turned in an impressive performance only to go down 0-3 to the highly rated Chinese Under-19 team in front of 1,200 people at Members Equity Stadium last night. Although missing star trio Collette McCallum, Lisa DeVanna and Hayley Crawford, the Waves showed great composure and desire than in their friendly against the Young Matildas a couple of weeks earlier. China settled the better of the teams and had all the early momentum which resulted in them taking the lead via a stinging shot. The margin would have been doubled midway through the half when the visiting nation were awarded a contentious penalty, but goalkeeper Ashley Bennett seemingly changed direction to palm the spot kick wide.
After the break, the Waves were desperate for their first goal and they began to search for the equaliser. Kylie Chatto, playing as the lone striker, battled hard but was offered little support in attack from her teammates. Despite applying the pressure the Waves were unable to break through and China all but secured victory after a great through ball which split open the defence. Sara Gawned created a great opportunity for the Waves by clipping the ball over the defence which Chatto rolled agonisingly wide of the upright. After a never-ending supply of crisp passes the Chinese struck again on the stroke of full-time with lead up play of pure class to make it 3-0.
PERTH TRIO HITTING THE HEIGHTS
It's been an exciting start to the English season for three West Australians. Chris Coyne, Richard Garcia and Adrian Caceras have made significant contributions for Luton Town, Colchester United and Yeovil Town respectively. The three clubs are currently placed in the upper reaches of English League tables and, although the season but young, all are expected to be contesting for silverware come the end of the campaign.
Coyne has been a key member of the Luton side which are undefeated after eleven games and have opened up a considerable lead in League One. The 25-year old defender has been in the first eleven for each of the Hatters League and Cup outings this season and on Saturday found the net for the first time late to ear his side a 1-1 draw with Tramnere Rovers. Now in his fourth season with Luton, Coyne has established himself as mainstay on the back four and a favourite with the fans at Kenilworth Road.
Following a number of years honing his skills at West Ham United, Garcia decided it was time for a fresh start and joined Colchester at the start of September. The 23-year old striker found himself immediately added to the U's starting line-up and has proved a worthy acquisition for the League One club who are currently placed fourth. In the space of four weeks Garcia's made eight League and Cup appearances his new club and in mid-week bagged his first goal in the mid-week LDV Vans Trophy draw with Southend United.
Former Perth Glory player Caceras has quickly settled in life at Yeovil who are top the League Two standings after eleven games. Having joined the Glovers in July the attack-minded 22-year old wasted no time in making an impression at this new club by scoring on debut in the 1-3 loss to Bury on the opening weekend of the season. Caceras, who doubled his goal tally in mid-week by netting against Torquay United, has made fourteen League and Cup appearances for Yeovil.
BIG CROWDS ENJOY KARADJORDJE CUP
Organisers of the Karadjordje Cup have been blown away by the massive support for the two-day carnival held at Dianella Reserve and Macedonia Park over the weekend. Held in a different state each year, the event pitted the skills of twelve teams of Serbian origin from Australia and South Africa against each other with ultimate glory going to Victorian club Springvale White Eagles. In total almost 5,000 people attended the tournament with Sunday afternoon's final between Springvale and Westgate Sindjelic watched by a crowd of around 3,000.
Host club Dianella White Eagles opened their campaign by thrashing Norlane West Serbia 4-0, and a 1-1 draw with White City Cabramatta was enough to put them see them into the knock-out phase. Dianella White Eagles 2 went down 1-4 to Springvale in their first group match but bounced back to beat Berwick City Kings Krajina 2-0 and progress to the next round. Things weren't so rosy for the state's third entry, Western Border Krajina, who crashed 1-4 to Westgate which was followed by a 3-0 loss to South African team White Eagles Johannesburg.
In the quarter-finals guest player David Micevski gave Dianella 1 the lead against Westgate who equalised shortly after. With neither side able to add to their tally the match was decided in a penalty shoot-out which saw the Victorians win 4-2. Dianella 2 also bowed out in the round of eight on penalties, losing 4-5 to Cabramatta. Penalties were needed to separate the teams in both semi-finals as well as the final. Westgate edge out Johannesburg 5-4, while Springvale squeezed past Cabramatta 5-3. Neither sides was able to find the target in the Karadjordje Cup decider which saw Springvale eventually emerge victorious by 4-2. The play-off for third and fourth was won 4-2 on penalties by Johannesburg over Cabramatta.
WORLD CUP PLANS TAKE SHAPE
Australia's campaign for the upcoming FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship commenced in earnest with games against China in Bunbury and Perth over the weekend. The friendlies, the first in a three-match series, provided the Young Matilda's with their first serious hit-out since the national squad was named late last week. China are poised to make a clean sweep of the series after claiming victory by 2-1 in Friday's opening game, with the return fixture this evening ending in the same result. The series concludes this Saturday when the two teams lock horns Peelwood Parade in Mandurah from 3.00pm.
China started the opening match, played at Bunbury's Superdrome, strongly and in the 11th minute went ahead through a Sun Yongxia header. Midway through the first half the margin was doubled by Zhang Ying who nodded a free-kick into the net. West Australian midfielder Collette McCallum, who'd be replaced with twenty minutes to go, lead the Young Matildas second half fightback with a string of attacking raids down the left flank. Their reply came just before the hour as Jenna Tristram chipped to the area where Leena Khamis finished at close-range.
A late penalty in this evening's game at Members Equity Stadium gave China their second win in four days. Making a great start, Australia went ahead on 17 minutes when Collette McCallum delivered a perfect cross into the path of Jenna Tristram who gave the goalkeeper no chance. China lifted following the goal and eleven minutes from half-time equalised through Xu Yuan. The Young Matilda's went close to reclaiming the lead four times in the second half before their opponents worked their way back into the game. In the final minute Xu Yuan earned her side a penalty which the lively attacker then converted.
TANA CALLS FOR CALM
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana has called for patience as Australian soccer continues its rebirth. The continued uncertainty surrounding the new Australian national league has heightened concerns over the viability of the competition. But Tana remains confident the new league will kick-off as planned in the middle of next year. "From our point of view, there's plenty of time to put everything together," said the Glory chairman over the weekend. "I'd like to think by Christmas everything will be well and truly in-train for the competition to go ahead."
Last week's withdraw of Adelaide United from the league unsettled the Australian soccer community. For Tana it is imperative that South Australia be represented for the new league to succeed. "A league without Adelaide is unthinkable," commented Tana. "Adelaide United were very successful last year and need to be included if this is to be a truly national competition. My understanding is the door is not closed. There are some issues they need to resolve and I think that can happen."
Since winning the final National Soccer League Grand Final five months ago Glory's playing stock have slowly been eroded with no less than nine players signing with clubs in Europe and Asia. However, Tana isn't concerned by the perceived player drain. "There's a new crop of players coming through," said the chairman. "Granted, there is some loss and fallout with key players. An opportunity opened, they have taken it and good luck to them. But the majority of them I believe twill come home if they've got something to come home to."
NATIONAL HONOURS FOR MCCALLUM
Collette McCallum has been named in the 21-member Young Matilda's squad for the FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand this November. The midfielder's return to the national picture is reward for two years of hard work by McCallum whose chances of playing at 2002 tournament were ended by a knee reconstruction. And having recovered from that set-back, McCallum suffered a second knee injury last year which kept her out of action until the middle of this year.
DOUBLE CUP GLORY FOR SWAN!
Swan I.C. became the first club in a decade to win back-to-back Cup Finals when they defeated Fremantle City 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens this afternoon. Two goals in the opening twenty minutes set the black and whites on the road to victory, but it was a gritty second half performance in which they found themselves increasingly under the pump that decided the outcome. It was a cracker-jack start by Swan who took a 6th minute lead through David Foster who snuck away from his marker to glance in Miki Vujacic's near post free-kick. A few minutes later Peter Lord and Gary Faria combined down the right to set up Tyrone Fenwick but the Fremantle youngster was thwarted by the quick-thinking of Damien Scali. The port side were making good use of both flanks and in the 18th minute Anthony Pereira played through to Jeff Bright who cut past an opponent but failed to force a response from goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Two minutes later Damien Scali's long pass down the right set the wheels in motion for Swan's second as a cross by Paul Lincoln caught Fremantle ball watching and Vujacic nipped in to put it past Bobson Koroma from close-range.
Again Fremantle came back strongly, this time Bright rising high inside a crowded 18-yard box to head Lord's free-kick just over the top. Making the most of the perfect conditions, both teams produced some exquisite passages of play in a free-flowing match played in good spirits. The port side were fortunate not to be three down in the 28th minute when Damien Scali sent Koroma the wrong way with a header which then deflected off Foster and over the crossbar. The introduction of Branimir Mikulic four minutes later added extra bite to Fremantle's attack as they pushed forward in search of reducing the gap. Kevin Correia went close with a spectacular bicycle kick which was marginally high after Shane Nunes' diagonal cross was spilled by Cory Hugo. Shortly before the break Brendan Knox came to Swan's rescue with a perfectly timed tackle to dispossess Mikulic when he seemed destined to net from close-range. The final action of the half was a Swan free-kick which Vujacic rocketed past the defensive wall only top find Koroma well placed on the line.
Fremantle made their intentions clear before the second half had even begun with the replacement of Dean Apelgren with attack-minded Matt Danskin. Lead by the midfield pairing of Faria and Lord, the port side dominated possession but could few ways past a well-drilled Swan rearguard. Half chances came the way of Lord and Corriea but neither called the Swan 'keeper into action. That changed in the 58th minute when Cory Hugo was unable to hold Corriea's searing free-kick that went through the wall and Bright reacted quickest by nodding in the loose ball. By this stage Fremantle were dictating play across the centre of the park with Swan relying on the occasional counter-attack. From such a move the black and whites were awarded a free-kick wide on the left which Damien Scali played low into the 6-yard box where it was amazingly allowed to drift past the far post without attack nor defence responding. Fremantle almost conjured up a 69th minute equaliser via an unlikely source as Danyal Bennett sliced an attempted clearance just over the bar following Bright's looping cross into the dangerzone from the left flank.
Although the pressure was beginning to show, Swan pulled together and through the combined efforts of Trevor Hatton, Danien Scali and Bennett continually repelled their opponents attacks. In fact such was their success that Fremantle rarely ventured inside the penalty box. There were a few moments, however, including another miscued clearance, this time by Damien Scali, which flashed just wide of the upright. As the clock ticked down Swan found more opportunity to get forward themselves and with 76 minutes gone Elton Holmes, who'll long remember his final appearance for the club, centred to Vujacic whose low drive skidded just beyond the far post. Six minutes later came Fremantle's last genuine chance on goal as Pereira tried his luck with a powerful shot from the top of the box which require a response from Cory Hugo. Swan endured three minutes of stoppage time before the final whistle signaled the beginning of celebrations in earnest for a club who just twelve months ago had never played in a Cup Final and have not won two in as many years..
Fremantle City : Bobson Koroma, Jason Godfrey, Dean Apelgren (Matt Danskin
45), Shane Nunes, Jeff Bright, Anthony Pereira, Simon Elton-Bott (Craig
Surtees 81), Gary Faria, Peter Lord, Kevin Correia, Tyrone Fenwick
(Branimir Mikulic 32)
Swan I.C. : Corey Hugo, Trevor Hatton, Danyal Bennett, Damien Scali, Brendan Knox (Renato Rechichi 45), Justin Hugo (Daniel Webb 75), Carlo Scali (Tom Shepheard 50), Miki Vujacic, Elton Holmes, Paul Lincoln, David Foster
Bookings : D.Scali (49), Shepheard (59), Mikulic (77)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Eddie Lennie
Attendance : 1,500 (approx.)
A John Thornley hat-trick inspired Western Knights' to a 4-1 Reserves Boral Cup Final defeat of regular season champion Perth S.C. The match was 9 minutes old when the Knights shocked the favourites into submission through Josh Kamasz who glanced in a cross from the left by Paul Byrne. The Knights capatilised on their good opening as Thornley raced through to beat the goalkeeper and double the lead midway through the half. Moments later Thornley added his second to give the Knights a three-goal buffer which they took into the break. Perth came out for the new half looking to get back into the game, however, despite their dominance of possession they were unable to break down a stubborn Knights backline. The result was put beyond doubt in the 67th minute when Thornley netted for a third time. Four minutes later Christian Debarro pulled one back for Perth but it was a case of too little too late as the Knights ran out comfortable winners.
Penalties were needed in the Under-18's Boral Cup Final which saw E.C.U. Joondalup triumph over Perth S.C. With the match scoreless at the end of regulation time, Joondalup made the most of their opportunities from the spot to claim silverware by 4-3. The win completed the League and Cup double for Joondalup's youth side whose focus will now turn towards making a clean sweep of the trophies by taking out the Champions of Champions series.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-SEVEN (Armadale vs Balcatta by Lee Anderson; Wanneroo City vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield ; Kingsway Olympic vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City)
It may just be nerves but Armadale seem determined to win the First Division championship the hard way. The Reds were far from impressive in this afternoon's home clash with Balcatta who threw away a two-goal lead to share the points at 3-3. The visitors started positively and on the half hour Danny Carlino ceased upon some sloppy defending to put the ball past goalkeeper Ken Ftynohiannis and open Balcatta's account. Their lead was doubled five minutes into the second half when Mark gentile's rasping free-kick rocketed into the net. Armadale hit back three minutes later as Michael Bushy set-up Gary Murdoch who calmly chipped the advancing goalkeeper. Balcatta were quick to apply the pressure to their opponents defence and in the 70th minute Carlino intercepted a goal kick to shoot past Ftynohiannis and make it three-one. With twelve minutes to go Dennis Lee produced something special to reduce the margin, and Darren Kingston brought the sides level when he got the final touch in a goalmouth scramble with 88 minutes gone. Armadale now require just a single point from their final two games - against South West Phoenix and Stirling Suns - to secure a place in the top flight for next season.
Wanneroo City took the points over a young Ashfield line-up courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline at Kingsway Sporting Complex. It's been a season of contrasting fortunes for the two clubs, Wanneroo riding high in second place on the standings while Ashfield's lack of consistency has seen them spend much of the year in the bottom half of the table. Fears of a dull, one-sided match were quickly laid to rest as both teams produced some entertaining football played on a pitch showing the effects of a long season. The opening half saw each side carve out a handful of good chances to open their account without success. Craig Cheesman got the break through goal on 35 minutes when he expertly slotted a half chance past the goalkeeper. It was a similar story after the break as the teams traded attacks but unable to trouble the scorer thanks to some solidly defensive work and fine goalkeeping. The win keeps Wanneroo in with an outside chance of robbing Armadale of the title, but for that to happen the northern suburbs side will have to win each of their three remaining games while hoping the Reds lose in their final two outings.
Queens Park romped their way past Stirling Suns 11-3 to record the biggest win of the season in glorious conditions at Coker Park. The home side started early as Ray Rose put away the days opening goal with just 6 gone. Rose then doubled the margin in the 24th minute only to have Bobby Risteski pull one back for the Suns two minutes later. Queens Park increased their stranglehold on the match leading into the break as Glen Noblet slotted in their third goal before Rose completed his hat-trick. The result was put beyond a shadow of a doubt in a devastating twenty minute spell which produced five goal for the hosts after the break. It began in the 46th minute with Rose netting his fourth of the day before the gap really blew out courtesy of goals in quick succession from Noblet and Leith Hinds. Noblet brought up his hat-trick in the 61st minute, and shortly after Rose made it nine-one. The flow of goals was stemmed somewhat by Risteski who found the back of the net in the 71st and 75th minutes. But Queens Park were far from done as Rose bagged his sixth, and two minutes from full-time Noblet completed the rampage.
South West Phoenix went home from Wotton Reserve with maximum points courtesy of a 4-1 win over Morley Windills. The Bunbury-based club were in control from the outset, stringing together a number of promising moves before breaking through in the 13th minute via Trent Hathaway. And just another two minutes had elapsed before the difference was increased by David Rodgers. At two goals down Windmills clawed their way back into the match but despite creating several good opportunities on goal were unable to reel in the gap before the interval. Four minutes into the second half Rodgers appeared to have put the game beyond the hosts' reach. But Windmills were having none of it and shortly after T.Evensen gave his side a glimmer of hope when he made it three-one. Phoenix though weren't about to let the game slip and they responded by increasing the pressure on the home defence who, to their credit, held firm. But with fourteen minutes remaining Rodgers completed his hat-trick and made safe Phoenix' fifteenth win of the winter.
Gosnells City look set for a top six finish after comfortably accounting for Leeming City 5-2 at John Connell Reserve this afternoon. Gosnells were largely written off in pre-season but continually proved their detractors wrong with some workmanlike performances that have them placed near the top of the First Division table.
Rockingham City picked up maximum points for the fifth time this season by defeating home side Kingsway Olympic 3-2. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm during the opening exchanges which resulted in a scrappy match as the ball was turned over regularity. As the half progressed the match became more physical and Olympic gained the upper hand through Jimmy Vassiliou who headed in a cross played to the far post. This had the effect of opening up play with both sides string together their passes and creating several promising passages. Just before the break Rockingham equalised when Jay Carmichael found the target following good work in the lead-up by Luke Collins. Not long after the referee signalled the start of the second half Carmichael put the hosts in front with a curling free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. With fifteen minutes to go Olympic were brought back on level terms as Steve Bretti converted from the penalty spot to set up a grand stand finish. There were chances at either end of the ground in the closing stages before Jon Crawford beat the off-side trap and slotted in the winner following a well-weighted through ball from Gary Cowan in the last minute.
SCHOOLBOYS TAKE OUT TRANS-TASMAN SERIES
The Australian Schoolboys completed a clean sweep of their two-match series against New Zealand to retain the Trans-Tasman Cup. A looping header by captain Chris Camilleri decided the opening game on Wednesday evening. And two days later Australia cruised to victory by 7-1 with goals from Dario Vidosic (3), Nigel Boogaard, Tarek Elrich, Tony Dulevski and Camilleri. West Australia was represented in the series by E.C.U. Joondalup midfielder Scott Patterson.
GLORY BACK NEW LEAGUE
The new national league received a much needed boost today with reigning champions Perth Glory revealing their confidence in the competition which will be run under the guidance of the Australian Soccer Association. The news come just 24-hours hours after the withdrawal of Adelaide United and rumours of further pull-outs around the nation. Glory, though, remain firmly committed to the league and have every faith in the new competition starting as scheduled next July.
As the club the new franchises have been modelling their future on, Glory are ensuring their own success by going ahead with plans to become listed on the stock exchange. "We believe that, that [privatisation] will help us re-capitalise the club and give it additional investment in order to increase our operational budgets to take the club forward," said chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "We believe we enjoyed an enormous amount in the last eight years in this market place but there's so much more we can achieve."
CONTRASTING FORTUNES AT NATIONALS
It's been a mixed bag for West Australia at the annual National Talent Identification Championships being contested at Valentine Park in New South Wales during the week. The State Under-16's, who've showed improvement with each outing, booked themselves a place Saturday's final against New South Wales Metro. But the Under-15's medal chances were all but snuffed out by a nasty stomach virus which swept through the camp. Things got so bad that several players were given antibiotics by a doctor and confined to their rooms, leading to the team to forfeit one match due to having insufficient fit players to field a team.
The Under-15's started their campaign with a 9.30am kick-off against perennially strong New South Wales on Saturday. The first half was an even affair with neither side able to make the most of the chances. The deadlock was broken five minutes after the break as Daniel King found the target for New South Wales, and just eight minutes later that lead was doubled as Sean Rooney shot truly. The days other games saw Victoria draw 3-3 with Country Queensland, and Tasmania thrash Country New South Wales 4-0. Day Two of competition started with New South Wales edging their way past Country Queensland 1-0. The mid-morning match featured Country New South Wales and West Australia who played out a tight, scoreless draw. The points were also shared between Victoria and Tasmania who drew 1-1.
West Australia's campaign continued on Monday when they went down 0-2 to Country Queensland. Ike Glover put the northerners ahead midway through the first half with a penalty converted by Jack Keating on the hour securing victory. Victoria ran out 4-1 winner against Country New South Wales, and New South Wales swept aside Tasmania 3-0. By the following morning the West Australian Under-15 side had been decimated by illness, leaving coach Mike Tetlow with only five fit players and no option but to forfeit their match with Victoria who were awarded a 3-0 win. In other Day Four games, Tasmania drew 2-2 with Country Queensland, and New South Wales thumped Country New South Wales 4-1.
Wednesday's rest day was welcomed by all in the west camp ahead of the final day of group action. Although still far from full strength, West Australia's Under-15's picked up maximum points for the first time by accounting for Tasmania 1-0 thanks to an 8th minute goal from Jerome Vallet. In other games Country New South Wales went down to Country Queensland 1-3, and New South Wales drew 2-2 with Victoria. West Australia ended the group stage in fifth place to set up 9th/10th play-off against South Australia on Friday morning. Unfortunately that game, along with other minor place fixtures, was abandoned due to poor weather. The Under-15's final was taken out by Queensland Metro who beat New South Wales 2-0.
New South Wales Metro provided the opposition in the opening match for the West Australian Under-16 side last Saturday. The host state claimed the lead after 18 minutes when Ben Vidaic slotting in, but within nine minutes the west were back on level terms via a goal from Stephen Betella. There was little between the sides after the break and the game looked destined to end level until Brendan Maroney popped up to net the decider in the final minute. In other Day One action Tasmania and Northern Territory played out a 1-1 draw, and Country New South Wales registered a 3-1 win over Northern New South Wales. A goal after 47 minute by Yannis Cotis gave the Northern Territory a 1-0 win over Western Australia the following afternoon. New South Wales Metro defeated Northern New South Wales 3-0, and Tasmania drew 0-0 with Country New South Wales.
A Rhys Williams goal after 18 was enough to give West Australia their fist win of the Under-16 tournament late on Monday afternoon. Country New South Wales were their victims by a 1-0 scoreline. Northern New South Wales were held 1-1 by Tasmania, and Northern Territory were humbled 0-6 by New South Wales Metro. Tuesday's action kicked off with New South Wales taking the points over Tasmania by 2-0, followed by a 3-1 victory by Country New South Wales against the Northern Territory. West Australia remained in the hunt for a semi-final berth by defeating Northern New South Wales 2-0 in the twilight match. A goal two minutes from half time by Chris Parfitt set the ball in motion with Rhys Williams securing maximum points in the 58th minute.
West Australia qualified for the semi-finals despite being held to a scoreless draw by Tasmania in the final day of group games. The single point was enough to move the west level on points but ahead on goal difference of Counrty New South Wales who crashed 0-3 to New South Wales Metro. Northern New South Wales drew 1-1 with the Northern Territory in the other game. West Australia produced one of the upsets of the tournament in thrashing Group A winner Queensland in Friday afternoon's semi-finals. Rhys Williams got things in motion with the only goal of the first half, then added another two after the break with Daniel Agudelo also finding the target for a 4-0 scoreline. The other semi-final saw New South Wales Metro required penalties to edge out Victoria after the match had ended 2-2 after extra time.
Top honours in the Under-16's went to New South Wales Metro who swept aside West Australia 3-0. Torrential rain forced the abandonment of all play-off matches and for the Final to be moved to Hammondville Oval. Tayfun Buyukkopru got the show on the road by netting after 18 minutes, and two minutes later Daniel Miller doubled the hosts lead. The match was over as a contest by the break thanks to Miller's second of the day which arrived right on the stroke of half-time. It was a deserved victory for New South Wales Metro who won each of their games at the week-long event.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Swan I.C. have retained the Boral Cup by defeating Fremantle City 2-1 in picture perfect conditions at Dorrien Gardens. David Foster gave the black and whites a perfect start by netting after 6 minutes, and midway through the first half Miki Vujacic doubled their lead. Fremantle reduced the margin through Jeff Bright in the 58th minute but were unable to convert their second half dominance into an equaliser. Western Knights took out the Reserves Cup by thumping Perth S.C. 4-1, and E.C.U. Joondalup won the Under-18's in a penalty shoot-out over Perth.
Armadale's 3-3 draw with Balcatta all but wrapped up the First Division championship for the eastern suburbs club. Wanneroo City look likely to end the season in second place following a 1-0 win over Ashfield 1-0. South West Phoenix cruised to a 4-1 away win over Morley Windmills, and Leeming City provided little resistance for Gosnells City who took out the points by 5-2. There were an amazing fourteen goals scored at Coker Park where Queens Park humbled Stirling Suns 11-3, while in the northern suburbs Kingsway Olympic succumbed 2-3 to the visitors from Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Arguably the biggest event on the local soccer calendar - the Boral Cup Final - takes place this Sunday at Dorrien Gardens. Pitted against eachother in the decider of the state's most prestigious knock-out competition are Cup Swan I.C. and top flight rival Fremantle City. Preceding this is the Reserves Cup Final which pits regular season champion Perth S.C. against Western Knights (kick-off 12.30pm). Perth also feature in the Under-18's Cup Final where they take on E.C.U. Joondalup, who claimed silverware in the regular season, from 10.45am.
First Division leader Armadale can secure the title on home soil with victory over Balcatta on Saturday. Wanneroo City take on Ashfield, and South West Phoenix are on the road to Morley Windmills. Leeming Strikers have a tough home clash against a Gosnells City side which is undefeated in five outings. Rockingham City travel to the northern suburbs where they meet Kingsway Olympic, while Queens Park are home to bottom side Stirling Suns. Canning City's home meeting with Dianella White Eagles has been postponed, and out of action due to the bye are Mandurah City.
CUP FINAL EXTRA
Swan I.C. and Fremantle City get one last chance at glory this weekend when they meet in the Final of the 2004 Boral Cup. It was a disappointing year for both clubs who ended the winter season in the bottom half of the Premier League table, and you can bet your bottom dollar that both the Swan and Fremantle players will give their all to be the ones lifting silverware late on Sunday afternoon. There's been very little between the sides in the two previous meetings this year, Swan taking out the early season clash by 2-1 with Fremantle victorious by the same scoreline in August.
Possessing a good balance of youth and experience, Swan have understandably been installed as favourite to lift the Cup for the second time in as many years. Golden Boot winner David Foster leads the way for the black and whites in attack, his 24-goal season including eight in Swan's four previous Cup outings. Providing the drive from midfield are Elton Holmes and Miki Vujacic, while defensively they are underpinned by goalkeeper Cory Hugo who always seems to save his best for big game occasions.
It'll be a young Fremantle which takes to the field for the clubs first ever Cup Final appearance. But what the port side are lacking in experience they more than make up for with a very talented squad that is brimming with enthusiasm. In Jason Godfrey and Dean Apegren Fremantle have two of the local scenes best up-and-coming defenders. Gary Faria never gives anything less than 100% in the center of the park, and up front Kevin Corriea will be keen to add a few more goals to the 23 he has already scored this year.
In this week's www.soccerwa.com poll, Swan were nominated as the popular choice for Cup glory. In excess of half of the votes cast in response to the question "What will be the outcome of the Boral Cup Final?" pointed towards victory for the Swan Valley club. In total 59% of respondents tipped Swan to win, with the most popular scoreline being by a single goal (29%). Although they drew only 31% of the overall vote, the second most popular outcome was in favour of a Fremantle win by one-goal (24%).
PROBLEMS FOR ASA ON NATIONAL FRONT
The new national competition is in danger of falling apart before a ball has been kicked following the surprise withdrawal of Adelaide United last night. The clubs owner, Gordon Pickard, notified the Australian Soccer Association of his decision to withdraw because of a breakdown in negotiations with the head body. It is understood Pickard has been at loggerheads with the ASA over signage rights as well as the format of the competition with Adelaide favouring a 28 game season over the proposed 21 game version. There are unconfirmed reports that Nick Politis has withdraw the Sydney Blues' application, while Perth Glory owner Nick Tana is also believed to be unhappy with certain conditions. There are now fears Adelaide's withdrawal could have a domino effect with the possibility some of the other bidders getting cold feet if the ASA could not find a replacement team in South Australia.
SWAN WITH MANY REASONS TO WIN
Swan I.C. can become the first club in close to a decade to win back-to-back Cup Final with victory over Fremantle City this weekend. But if that's not enough to inspire the Swan Valley club to greatness, then perhaps the farewell of several first team regulars can get the black and whites over the line. "There are a few players who'll have the added incentive this weekend of finishing their time with Swan with a Cup winners medal," said coach Gary Marocchi this week. With plans to move to England before the year is out, it will be the last time Elton Holmes pulls on the clubs familiar black and white shirt. And there are also suggestions that Swan legend Carlo Scali and veteran striker Paul Lincoln may choose to hang up their playing boots following Sunday's game.
It's been a tough year for Swan and Fremantle. Both were being talked up in pre-season as top five material but inconsistent results resulted in the pair ending the Premier League season in the bottom half of the table. And when it comes to meetings between the two honours have been shared with one win apiece. No surprisingly, Marocchi expects there to be little between the sides this weekend. "Both teams will be going out there seeking to make up for what was a disappointing league season," he said. "Fremantle are a very young side and their enthusiasm and fitness could be a problem for us. Strikers Kevin Correia and Branimir Mikulic are the players we'll have to watch closest along with the midfield promptings of former Perth Glory player Gary Faria. We'll also need to negate the overlapping runs of Jeff Bright who can be very dangerous when coming forward down the left."
"Swan will be adopting an attacking approach to the game," added Marocchi. "If we can provide good service to David Foster and Paul Lincoln and maintain the pressure on Fremantle's defence then we will win the game. Our defensive record this year is not very flash and we'll have to be on top of things in that department on Sunday, but we've been able to put the ball away with regularity in attack and at the end of the day it's goals that wins games. Foster has been the season's best signing, he's found the net 24 times for us so far and if he can fire against Fremantle then we'll be part of the way there. We're extremely happy to have the opportunity to retain the Boral Cup and our plans are to bring the trophy back to the Swan Valley for a second year."
Although Swan failed to qualify for the top five series, Marocchi says there have already been plenty of positives from season 2004. "We're disappointed with our overall performance during the season, especially in the second half of the year when injuries and suspensions saw us slide down the table," said Marocchi. "However, at the start of the year the club's aim was to improve the playing strength across all three senior squads and I believe we have achieved that goal. We've been fortunate to have some very fine young players at the club and over the course of the season have introduced Danyal Bennett, Brendan Knox and David Perich to the first eleven. In addition Swan had five players selected for the State Under-15 and Under-16 squads, and our Under-18 squad has made the top five. Overall, this indicates a strong future for the club which lies in our youth."
BOOK NOW FOR KINGS SUMMER CLINICS
If you're aged between seven and twelve, and are keen to learn soccer skills, have fun, stay fit and take part in one of Western Australia's leading soccer academy programs - then join the Kings Summer clinics. These very popular sessions are designed for players of all skill levels and available to both male and female players. Clinics are run by qualified coaches, under the management of academy's director of coaching and English FA qualified coach Mitch Doherty. The summer clinics run from November 2004 through to January 2005 with a break over the Christmas period.
During the three month course participants will learn fast feet exercises and ball techniques including dribbling, passing, running with the ball, shooting and heading. Goalkeepers will also catered for by the Kings own specialised coach, Paul Turvill. Up and coming shot-stoper are encouraged to take the opportunity to learn some of the latest techniques required to become a top-class goalkeeper. Places in both courses are limited so download the application form and secure your place as soon as possible.
There is a choice of two venues - at the Beaumaris Sporting Complex in the northern suburb of Iluka, and at Rickman Delawany Reserve in Balcatta. This is your chance to learn some great soccer skills in a fun environment and to meet new friends over the summer. All participants in the clinics will recieve a Kings Academy training shirt, learn new skills and drills and will have a chance to develop not only your skills but your appreciation for the worlds favorite game. To book in download the form from www.kingsacademy.com.au, or contact Mitch Doherty via 9300 8654 or email@example.com
BRIGHT HEADS ABROAD IN PURSUIT OF DREAM
If things go according to plan, Sunday's Boral Cup Final will be the last time local audiences get to watch Jeff Bright in action first hand. The skillful 19-year old Fremantle City player, rated by many as one of the best young prospects in the state, heads to England in little over a week in the hope of taking his game to the next level. "I'm going to England for trials," explained Bright this week. "I leave on October 11th and my first stop is a week with Stanley Accrington who are in the Conference League and are doing reasonably well. From there I have trials lined-up with Darlington Town, they are looking for someone in my position and sounded really interested. There are about four other clubs that have offered me trials but those won't be confirmed until I step off the plane in England."
A regular first team player at Cockburn City and Fremantle over the past few years, Bright says the time is ripe for him to try his luck abroad. "I've played for the past three years in the Premier League and I want to take the next step," he said. "So many very talented players have stayed in WA and slowly faded away over the years, but I want to keep playing football and hopefully make a career out of it. Fremantle haven't done as well as we expected this year and I personally haven't had a great season, but hopefully I can peak at the right time and catch the eye of someone in England. And if it doesn't pan out then at least I've got that experience to look back on and say that I gave it my best shot."
Before heading overseas, however, Bright has one more club commitment - this weekend's Boral Cup showdown with Swan I.C. "I really think this is going to be a great game," said the teenager. "The last time we played Swan we snuck away with a 2-1 win thanks to Gary Faria's goal in the final minute. Fremantle has underachieved this year and our whole team is working really hard to make sure we end the year with something to show for our efforts. Golden Boot winner David Foster is going to be the danger man for Swan along with Cory Hugo who always makes great saves at crucial times of the game. As I said, it's going to be a big game and hopefully we'll be the ones lifting the trophy at the end of the day."
LUTON FAVOURITE IGNORED BY AUSTRALIA (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Luton Town defender Chris Coyne has a good argument for being regarded as Australia's in-form centre-half. The 25 year-old is marshalling the Hatters' defence this season and winning many plaudits along the way with Luton now a massive nine points clear at the top of the League One table. Although capped at Under-17 and Under-23 levels by Australia, Coyne has never had a look-in while Frank Farina has been in charge of the senior national team. Regarded as one of the best defenders in the Football League, Coyne was linked with Sunderland and Reading over the summer. But his decision to stay with Luton has paid off with the Kenilworth Road favourite now plying his trade for one of the most exciting teams in England.
CACERES CAPTURES HIERRO'S SHIRT (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Yeovil Town winger Adrian Caceres says he has already won his first trophy of the season - the Bolton Wanderers shirt of Fernando Hierro. The Spanish legend gave Caceres his shirt at the final whistle of last week's Carling Cup tie at Huish Park. Caceres was outstanding in Yeovil's defeat, which was suffered after two late goals from the Premiership high-flyers. "I had come off with about 20 minutes to go and then the two goals went in," Caceres told www.tribalfootball.com. "At the time, I didn't really think about who I was playing against - Hierro, Julio Cesar, Diouf, Ferdinand - it was just bodies in front of me I wanted to beat."
Even when I came off, I was so consumed by the game that it didn't strike me who I'd been playing until the final whistle. I walked onto the pitch to shake hands with the Bolton players and Hierro actually made the effort to come across to me and swap shirts," continued Caceres. "We were able to speak in Spanish and he told me I gave his defence a fair few problems. He said well done and wished me all the best this season. It was a lovely touch from someone who really didn't have to do that. For a young Aussie like myself, his actions can go a long way to helping me this season."
LAZARIDIS RULED OUT OF SOLOMONS CAMPAIGN
Stan Lazardis has been omitted from Australia's 20-player squad for the Confederations Cup qualifiers with the Solomon Islands. An automatic selection for the Socceroo's starting first eleven in recent years, Lazaridis has been forced out of the upcoming series by a thigh injury picked up while playing for Birmingham City last month against Manchester City. National coach Frank Farina cited concerns over Lazaridis' lack of match fitness as the reason for his omission.
FREMANTLE TO MAKE CUP HISTORY
History will be created on Sunday when Fremantle City make their first ever Cup Final appearance. The port side will be out to wrestle the Boral Cup away from holder Swan I.C. when the two sides go head-to-head at Dorrien Gardens from 3.00pm. "Fremantle has a very proud tradition," commented coach Steve Parkinson this week. "The club celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary last year and the current player group have a great opportunity to write themselves into the record books. Just imagine being at the club's fiftieth anniversary celebration and the current squad being remembered as the first Cup winners for Fremantle City."
Parkinson took up the coaching reigns in June with the club languishing near the foot of the table. Under Parkinson's watch the Fremantle ship steadied and slowly pulled away from the relegation zone as the season came to a close by producing the sort of football that had them installed as top five material in pre-season. "When I took over we set ourselves two objectives which I can proudly say we have now achieved," said the coach. "The first was to gain sufficient points to ensure our Premier League status, and the second was to reach the Boral Cup Final. We've now got a great chance to end the year on a high and victory this weekend will provide compensation for a year when Fremantle by and large underachieved."
"Swan's greatest attribute is their coach Gary Marocchi and a workman-like approach to the game that needs to be matched for the full ninety minutes," commented the Fremantle coach. "In terms of individual players, Elton Holmes is always a tough customer and when he's on form is a class act. David Foster has had a great season, I'm pleased for him that he won the Golden Boot and now hopefully he can establish himself as a top player in the future - although I'd rather he did that after this game! Goalkeeper Cory Hugo is another potential match winner for Swan, likewise Paul Lincoln who always causes havoc for our defence and on his day can be more than a handful."
Both regular season clashes between Fremantle and Swan produced three goals, with each club claiming victory over the other by a 2-1 scoreline. "Cup Finals are all about what happens on the day and past results count for nothing," added Parkinson. "Swan are the Cup holder and finished above us in the League so we're happy with the underdogs tag. Both teams have plenty of attacking flair so I think it'll come down to how tight it can be kept defensively. We kept a clean sheet against Cockburn, who are one of the League's best attacking sides, in the semi-finals and if we can maintain that same intensity then I think we'll be in a good position to really challenge Swan ... but it's a Cup Final and they have a habit of producing an unexpected hero and villain."
WASA GO LIVE!
The Western Australia Soccer Association now have an online presence with the launching of www.wasa.org.au. WASA was founded in July of this year with the expressed aim of unifying the various associations in this state by creating a single organisation that administers the game across all levels including semi-professional, women's, amateurs, juniors, Futsal, referees, and coaches. Through their affiliated with the Australian Soccer Association, WASA will work to establish soccer as the number one sport in WA, providing a clear pathway from grassroots soccer through to FIFA accredited national and international competitions.
WAVES ROLL ON
Western Waves made their first official appearance witnessed by a crowd numbering close to 1,200 at Member Equity Stadium this afternoon. The Women's National Soccer League team produced a good first up effort against the Young Matildas who ran out winners by 2-0. The national Under-19 side dominated the early proceedings with West Australian midfielder Collette McCallum twice firing past goalkeeper Ashley Bennett only to have Stacey Woodfin clear each off the line. Six minutes had gone by when Leena Kahmis and Bennett contested possession on top of the box, the loose ball squirting to Jenna Tristram who made no mistake from 10-metres to give the national team the lead. Through some neat movement of the ball the Young Matildas were able to maintain possession and constantly put the Waves on the backfoot. But, to their credit, the hosts performed exceptionally well under the pressure with captain Tanya Oxtoby leading by example. In the 29th minute McCallum rattled the crossbar with a tremendous effort from 20-metres, and a few minutes later Lauren Colthorpe's shot swung just wide to the target.
The second half saw the Waves press early on and, following a mix up in the Matildas defence, Oxtoby curled the ball just wide from 16-metres after Australia failed to deal with a Tal Karp corner. Breaking immediately on the counterattack, Catherine Cannuli's dipping strike drifted over Bennett only to land on the top netting. Ciara Conway intercepted a defensive pass midway through the half but her shot was easily saved by Young Matildas goalkeeper Yasmin Favretti. Briony Holcombe was causing problems down the right and on 70 minutes she sent a delightful low cross to the far post where Bennett smothered at the feet of Cannuli. Seven minutes from the end the tiring Waves defence was finally breached as Colthorpe played a superb pass through to Alannah Reed who, spotting replacement goalkeeper Renee Perica off her line, sent a delicate chip into the back of the net to complete the scoreline. Although the result wasn't in their favour the Waves certainly showed that they certainly will be competitive when the new season kicks-off next month.
ON THIS DAY ... 1982
A man-of-the-match performance by Alan Pottier inspired underdogs Gosnells City to a brilliant 2-1 victory over East Fremantle Trilcolore in the Final of the 1982 D'Orsogna Cup. It completed a season of mixed fortunes for Pottier who controversially transferred to Gosnells from Stirling Cracovia at the start of the season. His form over the opening half of the winter was superb but as the year progressed Pottier faded and three before the Cup Final the best he could manage was a spot on the Gosnells bench. The decision of coach Mike Leigh to recall Pottier to the starting eleven for the season finale would prove a masterstroke with the attacking midfielder turning in a inspirational performane that landed him the D'Orsogna Cup Gold Medal as the fairest and best player on the day.
Tricolore started the match brightly and could have twice scored inside the opening 10 minutes. Mike Smith received a superb pass from Frank McKay but hurried his shot that beat goalkeeper Malcolm Vickery as well as the far post. And short after McKay should have done much better when presented a free header which he nodded weakly at Vickery. Having found their rhythm, Gosnells started to create chances as Jamie McGettrick's intelligent chip forced a magnificent diving save from Dave Roxby. With 16 minutes gone the Blues went ahead when Micky Galpin's angled pass into the area caught Roxby and Tricolore captain John Malcolm ball watching and Alan Pottier raced in to smartly tap the ball into the far corner of the net.
Tragedy struck Tricolore midway through the half when Roxby was forced to leave the field with a broken finger, his place between the posts taken by youngster Denis Ivanac. In the minutes before the break the game was almost put back on level terms when Paul McKenna burst through only to hit a shot straight at Vickery. Any thoughts Tricolore, who played the second half with the aid of a strong breeze, may have had of a comeback were laid to rest nine minutes into the period. Galpin played a corner short to Pottier who beat Tony Pragnall near the byline before firing in a cross that evaded Ivanac and the rest of the Tricolore defence but not Stephen Green who was placed well to head in from close-range.
With Mike Fenton marking dangerman Graham Cramphorn out of the game, and Mike McKinlay and McGettrick cutting the supply line from midfield, Gosnells completely controlled the half. Across the centre of the park it was the combination of Terry Wheatley, Galpin and Pottier which provided constant headaches for the opposing defence. It wasn't until the 74th minute that Tricolore were able to reduce the deficit through Aldo Trinca whose shot from the edge of the box went beyond the reach of Vickery and into the roof of the net. But Gosnells had done their work and remained focused for the club to capture their first major trophy.
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND ONE
Sorrento scored twice in the closing stages to come from behind and claim victory by 2-1 over Cockburn City in the Champion of Champions Qualifying Final at Litis Stadium this afternoon. However, the win came at a price for the Gulls with star midfielder Brad Hassell stretchered off in the second half with a serious knee injury. Although stretched by injury and suspension by no less than five first team regulars, Cockburn enjoyed the better of first half play with Antonio Naglieri, Scott Miller and John Mirco the architects of some enterprising moves. It was John Mirco who created the first chance of the game by cutting in from the left before sending an explosive shot on target which goalkeeper Phil Straker did well to push around the post. As the half progressed there were further chances for Peter Petkovich and Simon El Chami to break the deadlock but neither player was able to convert opportunities into goals. For much of the half Sorrento were restricted to only scattered shots from distance as Cockburn's makeshift backline worked hard to limit the supply to Danny Hill, Steve MacDonald and Todd Harnwell. The Gulls only genuine chance of the period came the way of Hill who should have done much better when left unmarked at a corner but his far post header didn't cause concern for Cockburn custodian Dino Pacella.
Nine minutes into the second half John Mirco's rasping shot crashed into the hand of James Morgan and referee Michael Klaver instantly pointed to the penalty spot from where Naglieri blasted low and to the left of Straker to make it one-nil. Sorrento's day worsened when Hassell when down in the 66th minute clutching his left knee after contesting possession with Dom De Felice. As has been the case on numerous occasions this season, it was once the chips were down that Sorrento lifted their game and began to apply pressure to their opponents defence. With four minutes to go Sorrento were awarded a penalty of their own when Todd Harnwell's shot struck the hand of an unsuspecting Scott Miller, who was then sent off for the offence, and from the spot Jared Love stroked the ball into the top corner to bring the teams level. By this stage all the momentum was with the Gulls and in the final minutes of regulation time Love made his way down the left before centring to MacDonald whose shot was well saved by Pacella who could only watch on as Hill raced in to smash the rebound into the back of the net. Cockburn's misery was completed deep into stoppage time when Michael Mirco was red carded for dissent.
Stirling Lions' first finals appearance in eight years is over after the club bowed out of the Champions of Champions series on penalties to E.C.U. Joondalup in the Elimination Final. Both camps were minus key players for the match, Joondalup without talented young defender Jon Higgins while missing from the Lions line-up was influential midfielder Nick Ward. Joondalup started strongly and put their opponent under pressure from the outset with the best of the early chances coming the way of Garin Collins who rushed his shot wide. This scenario would become par for the course throughout the half with both teams displaying plenty of enterprise in the build-up only to be let down by their finishing touch. As the half progressed the Lions began to negotiate their way into attack with more frequency where they met with strong resistance from a Joondalup defence anchored by Peter Roberts and Keith Brown. It wasn't until the 35th minute that the Lions penetrated their opponents 18-yard box but Dennis McRoberts attempt didnt cause any problems for goalkeeper Peter Stewart. In fact the two 'keeper's, Stewart and Vince Matassa, were little more than spectators for much of the half with some solid defensive performances keeping genuine goalscoring chances to a minimum.
The game's changed complexion after the break with the Lions quick to seize the initiative. First it was teenager McRoberts who went close to breaking the deadlock, then a matter of minutes later Mohamed Komaderic almost snuck the ball past the 'keeper. The Lions persistence was rewarded on the hour when awarded a disputed free-kick after Stewart picked up a dubious back-pass and, with the entire Joondalup team on the goalline, Darko Ilomanoski blasted high into the roof of the net from 7-metres. The margin was almost doubled shortly after but Leo Harman was thwarted by the 'keeper in a one-on-one situation. With their season on the line Joondalup had no option but to throw everything forward as the Lions held desperately to their slender lead. Nine minutes from the end of regulation time Joondalup were brought back on level terms by Dale McCulloch who scored from the penalty spot after a harsh handball given decision against Leo Harman. This breathed new life into the match with the teams trading attacks in a frantic search for the winning goal with Joondalup coming closest in final minute as Collin's free-kick beat Matassa only to cannon back off the crossbar.
The Lions threw away a golden opportunity to win the game in the first period of extra-time with Jake Harman beating the offside trap to go one-on-one with Stewart but unfortunately the attacker sent his shot wide of the target. With the sun going down the Litis Stadium floodlights were switched on for the second half of extra-time. The drama was far from over with several half chances going begging at either end of the ground. In the closing stages Matassa came to the Lions rescue after his defence failed to sufficiently deal with a corner and in the goalmouth scramble that ensued he pounced to smother at the feet of Andy Brown. And with no addition to the score the match would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Matassa hit the post with the Lions first spot kick, then Stewart kept out successive efforts by Crerar and Toby Wright as Daniel Waind and Roberts successfully found the net for Joondalup. Garin Collins missed Joondalup's third to give the opposition a slim chance, but the damage had already been done as Leo Harman converted the Lions fourth penalty before captain McCulloch booked his sides place in the minor semi-final courtesy of a 3-1 penalty scoreline.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-SIX (Gosnells City vs Armadale courtesy Gosnells City; Balcatta vs Morley Windmills courtesy Balcatta; Ashfield vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Ashfield)
It was a big day at Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City held runaway First Division leader and southern rival Armadale 1-1 in front of a sizable crowd. In a first half dominated by hard tackles neither team was able to gain the upper hand as the respective defences kept shots on goal to a minimum. It was a different story after the break with Gosnells drawing first blood after the visitors failed to effectively deal with the danger posed by a cross from the right which Adam Bremner thumped past goalkeeper Ken Ftynohiannis. And when Greg Newcombe was red carded ten minutes later for lashing out at Sean Cowman it looked as though Armadale were dead and buried. But with ten men the Reds lifted their game before Dean Gartside squeezed in between two defenders in the 76th minute to prod the ball over the line from Paul Caulkin's cross. Gosnells tried desperately to add another to their tally but were prevented from doing so by Ftynohiannis who made a fantastic save to keep Darren Ingham's looping header out of the top corner.
Two injury time goals earned Morley Windmills a share of the points with Balcatta in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Graham Burkett Reserve. Scott Broadley opened the scoring for Balcatta in the 7th minute by rising high to head home a Mark Gentile corner. It was a Broadley cross after 32 minutes which lead to the hosts second goal which was turned in by an unfortunate Windmills defender. The visitors got themselves back in the contest with a goal against the run of play scored by Rydeen Botha on the hour. David Moschilla restored Balcatta's two-goal buffer shortly after when he finished off a neat move involving Gentile and Victor Bogos. Windmills responded through Sam Danesh with fifteen minutes to go, only to have young substitute Daniel Causerano scored what most thought was the sealer eight minutes later. But Windmills had other ideas and early in stoppage time Botha found the target after Balcatta failed to clear the danger inside their 18-yard area. The home crowd were left stunned when Botha comlpeted his hat-trick and brought Windmills' level with a simple header from close-range four minutes into stoppage time.
Leeming Strikers came home from Dowling Street Reserve with maximum points thanks to a 2-1 win over First Division strugglers Rockingham City. Lucas Whitehouse gave the visitors a perfect start by scoring one of the quickest goals of the season, the young attack ramming the ball over the line with just 13 second gone! The effect of such an early goal was to immediately settle both teams who strung together some great moves in a free-flowing game. Midway through the first half Rockingham drew level as Jason Carmichael found the back of the net following some sloppy defending at a free-kick by the Strikers. The second half was a typically rough and tumble affair with the two combatants focussed on finding the next goal. With Phil Bell and Craig Ruthven running the midfield, it was the Strikers that got the crucial goal as Whitehouse steered the ball for a second time past goalkeeper Michael Kelly in the 54th minute. Rockingham threw everything at their opponent over the remaining time buyt could find no way through and the Strikers held on to register their seventh away win of the campaign.
Ashfield picked up maximum points for just the sixth time this season by knocking off Dianella White Eagles 3-0 at Ashfield Reserve. The opening half endless scoreless despite the best efforts of both sides who had equal share of posession. Ashfield came out firing on all cylinders after the break and within three minutes had claimed the lead as Chris Williams' delightful pass sent Wayne Culverwell through on goal to place his shot past the advancing goalkeeper. Ten minutes later Dion Florias played a corner to the near post where Chris Williams somehow managed to tee-up Joe Kendall who blasted it into the net from close-range. Dianella started to find a bit more rhythm and tested Ashfield's Michael Taseski on the odd occession but the goalkeeper proved up to the task. The win was assured with fifteen minutes to go when a Florias free-kick landed on the head of Williams who powered it into the roof of the net. The result enables Ashfield in jump over Kingsway Olympic and into twelfth place with four games remaining.
Wanneroo City ended up 5-0 winners over Stirling Suns who ended the match with ten players following the dismissal of Hurkon Tekel. The opening half with tight with the only goal coming after 34 minutes via Oliver Hilton. The match was effectively decided in a devastating six minute spell midway through the second half in which Chris Currie, John Dixon and Scott Bulloch netted for Wanneroo. Ben Yates completed the scoreline in the final minute. Christian Paschewicz and Jake Loreto were on target for Mandurah City in their 2-1 defeat of Olympic Kingsway whose goal came from Liam Moorhouse. And South West Phoenix came from behind to beat Queens Park 2-1 in Bunbury. Daniel Evans put the visitors in front after 6 minutes only for that goal to be canceled out by second half strikes from David Rodgers and Steve Suttie.
YOUNG SOCCEROO'S WIN SPITEFUL CLASH
Australia's Under-20's kept their focus to take out an ill-tempered clash with Chile by 3-1 at Edensor Park in Sydney this evening. Chile went ahead on 22 minutes when Juan Lorca was presented with a simple tap-in following a fine counter-attack. The Young Socceroo equaliser arrived just before the break when Kristian Sarkies converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Chris Tadrosse. The second half started positively for Australia as Mark Bridge slotted home at close-range following a tidy cross by Vince Lia. Shortly after Chile were reduced to ten men after Ricardo Parada earned two bookings in quick succession. Australia's third goal was a fantastic individual effort by Stuart Musialik which took him past several defenders before calmly placing his shot past goalkeeper Jose Rosales in the 67th minute. Eduardo Salanzar received a straight red card a minute later, and the South America's saw out the game with just eight players following the last minute dismissal of Gonzalo Jara for a second yellow card offence. Nick Ward and Matt Danskin both came off the bench in the 71st minute, while Jon Higgins was an unused substitute.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento are one game away from the place in the Champion of Champions series Grand Final after coming from behind to defeat Cockburn City 2-1 at Litis Stadium on Sunday. The Gulls looked dead and buried before Jared Love and Danny Hill each found the net in the final few minutes. E.C.U. Joondalup kept their season alive by downing Stirling Lions in a tight Elimination Final. Penalties were needed to separate the two sides who remained locked at one-all after 120 minutes of football.
Armadale will have to wait another week before wrapping up the First Division championship after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Gosnells City on Saturday. Wanneroo City made light of work brushing aside Stirling Suns 5-0, while Canning stay third despite being not featuring in weekend action. Mandurah City worked hard before taking the points over Olympic Kingsway by 2-1, and it was the same scoreline in Bunbury where South West Phoenix defeated Queens Park. Balcatta and Morley Windmills shared eight goals and ended level, Rockingham City went down to Leeming Strikers by 1-2, and Ashfield triumphed over Dianella White Eagles 3-0.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Champion of Champions series gets underway on Sunday with a double header at Litis Stadium. The action opens with the Qualifying Final between Cockburn City and Sorrento at 1.45pm. The Gulls are coming off a twelve game unbeaten run but will find the going tough against a Cockburn side for whom goals have flowed this year. The day concludes with E.C.U. Joondalup against Stirling Lions in the do-or-die Elimination Final which kicks-off at 3.30pm.
Armadale will wrap up the First Division title should they defeat Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve on Saturday. Bottom team Stirling Suns are expected to prove little resistance to a high-scoring Wanneroo City outfit. With Canning City out of action due to the bye, Mandurah City can close the gap on third place with a home defeat of Kingsway Olympic. South West Phoenix are tipped to pickup another home win over Queens Park, likewise Balcatta who host Morley Windmills. Rockingham City have a difficult home date with Leeming Strikers, and Ashfield are pitted against Dianella White Eagles.
WAVES FACE NATIONAL TEAM
Western Australia's newest national league side, the Western Waves, have their first serious hit-out on Sunday afternoon. The Women's National Soccer League outfit take on the Australian Under-19 squad from 3.00pm at Members Equity Stadium. The match is the first of four fixtures for the Young Matilda's during a week-log training camp on the west coast which includes friendlies against China in Bunbury (1st October), Perth (4th October) and Mandurah (9th October). The Australian squad for November's Under-19 World Championship in Thailand will be named at the conclusion of the camp with four Perth girls - Laura Turnbull, Ciara Conway, Stacey Woodfin and Collette McCallum - in contention.
STATES BEST YOUNGSTERS HEAD TO SYDNEY
The cream of Australia's teenage soccer talent gathers this weekend at Valentine Park in New South Wales for the annual National Talent Identification Championship. The tournament pits players in the Under-15 and Under-16 age groups against the best young talents each of the states' has to offer. The inital phase of the week long event, which commences tomorrow, splits the twelve teams in each age group into two groups before the knock-out finals stage.
The West Australian Under-15 side is under the guidance of respected coach Mike Tetlow with Paul Wozny as the team manager. "I'm looking forward to seeing the Nationals first hand," commented Wozny. "I've never been before and I hope the boys perform to their ability. We've got a good squad with a lot of versatility." The Under-15 squad will spend the preliminary round competing in Group B with New South Wales, Victoria, Country Queensland, Tasmania and Country New South Wales.
The 2004 West Australian Under-15 squad is Aaron Dos Santos, Corey Shotter (Cockburn City), Robbie Figg, Andrew Morrow, Stephen Skilandis (Fremantle City), John Di Marco (Inglewood United), Jason Trpevski (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jesse Bridgeman, Jack Rocchi (Sorrento), Damian Houston, Patrick Quinn, Jerome Vallet (Stirling Lions), Phillip Arnold, Jovo Pavlovic (Swan I.C.), Anthony Cochrane and Rick Filicamo (clubs unknown). The team officials are Mick Tetlow (coach), Paul Wozney (manager) and Chris Hutchinson (physiotherapist).
The Under-16's are coached by Peter Bliss who was in charge of last years side that claimed the bronze medal. "As last year, it was difficult to select the final squad but I'm pleased with the depth that we have," said Bliss. "We have players who can play in a number of positions which helps at a tournament like this when you are playing a game each day." The Under-16's have been drawn in Group B alongside New South Wales Metro, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Country New South Wales and Northern New South Wales.
Under 16's squad consists of Matthew Wardle (Bassendean Caledonian), Marc Bent (Bayswater City), Steven Hesketh, Mark Rotondella (Fremantle City), Stuart Hartmann, Phillip White, Rhys Williams (E.C.U. Joondalup), Christopher Parfitt, Robert Sciascia (Perth S.C.), Aleksandar Vrteski (Sorrento), Cameron Carruthers (Stirling Lions), Daniel Agudelo, Stephen Bettella and Scott Lewry (Swan I.C.) and Luke Eoannidis (club unknown). The team officials are Mike Tetlow (coach), Steve Coppack (manager) and Chris Hutchinson (physiotherapist).
SCHOOLBOYS ADD PATERSON TO SQUAD (by Peter Simcox)
E.C.U. Joondalup's Scott Paterson is a late addition to the Australian Schoolboys squad which heads off on a nine-day tour of New Zealand this weekend. The talented midfielder received the news on from national team coach John Romeo. "I was sitting in class when I got the call," said the Perth Modern Senior High School student. "The coach said a player from New South Wales had damaged his ankle and they were missing a tall, aggressive ball winner in midfield and told me that I was selected and was given the No.7 shirt. It's a bit hectic at the moment, I fly to Sydney on Friday when I meet up with the rest of the squad before traveling to New Zealand on Saturday."
Damon Atthowe, who coached West Australian at the Australian Secondary Schools Soccer Championships which was held in Adelaide during August, was pleased Paterson had been added to the national squad. "It's fantastic news for Scott, he deserves it," commented Atthowe. "He had a very consistent tournament and was very unlucky not to be selected in the squad in the first place. The national coach told me he has a role for Scott in the centre of midfield and I wish him all the very best of luck." WA ended the championship runner-up to New South Wales with Paterson sharing the honour of WA's Player of the Tournament with Jesse Higgins of Kingsway Olympic.
PALACE SNAP UP DANZE
English club Crystal Palace have added out-of-contract midfielder Anthony Danze to their playing stocks. The 20-year-old Australian youth international has signed a two-year contract with the London side following a month long trial at Selhurst Park. "He's a young midfield player with good size, great energy, and good mobility, so we'll see," said Palace manager Ian Dowie. "It is important to give him the opportunity to develop, we haven't had to pay any money for him." Danze turned down the chance to join Southampton three years ago in preference for honing his skills in the national league with Perth Glory.
FOSTER THE BEST RECRUIT
Swan I.C. made the most astute signing of the off-season by capturing striker David Foster. That is the outcome of the latest www.soccerwa.com poll in which well over 300 votes were received in response to the question "Who was last summers best signing?" Foster, who ended the regular season as the Premier Leagues leading goalscorer, registered 35.7% of the vote to edge out Stirling Lions and Australian Under-20 midfielder Nick Ward (31.4%). Western Knights defender Jason Williams (12.0%) was a distant second followed by Liam Lilly (9.0%) of Cockburn City. Brining up the rear of the field were Bassendean Caledonian midfielder Daniel Harrop (4.6%), E.C.U. Joondalup's Mr Versatile Keith Brown (4.3%) and Wes Mitchell (2.6%) of Bayswater City.
KARP HAPPY TO BE HOME
Five years ago Tal Karp was forced to move to the eastern states in pursuit of her soccer dream. But with the establishment of the Western Waves the skillful midfielder is thrilled to be returning home following a lengthy spell with Canberra Eclipse. "I have always considered myself Western Australian and I only went to the Australian Capital Territory because soccer required me to do that," Karp told Emma George of the "West Australian" this week. "I'm really excited to be back here finally. WA is in a great position - they are the complete underdogs but I am sure that they are going to go out and put on a really good show. They have got some great talent and a lot of belief in themselves."
The Waves will contest only the opening half of the 2004/05 Women's National Soccer League season due to travel costs. However, they will be included in the full schedule for next summers competition. The side have two warm-up games confirmed prior to their debut national league outing. This Sunday the Waves take on the Australian Under-19 side from 3.00pm at Members Equity Stadium, and on 6th October they meet the Chinese Under-19 national team under lights at the same venue from 7.00pm. The teams domestic season starts away at Queensland Sting (12th October) followed by additional away clashes with Northern New South Wales Pride (14th October) and New South Wales Sapphires (17th October). Their remaining three matches - verses Canberra Eclipse (24th October), Victoria Vision (7th November) and Adelaide Sensation (12th November) - are at Member Equity Stadium.
The season enters its final phase this weekend as the Premier League's top five clubs vie for the mantle of Champion of Champions. Western Knights, Cockburn City, Sorrento, E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions will each attempt to navigate their way through a series of elimination games and earn their place in the season finale. The only thing assured series is that come the end of next month the Champion of Champions trophy will have a new home having spent the past four years in the possession of Perth S.C. This years play-offs are to be held at Litis Stadium with the Final scheduled for Sunday 24th October.
Runaway Premier League champions Western Knights are making their seventh successive finals appearance under respected coach Ronnie Campbell. The teams key attribute this year has been a watertight defence marshaled by goalkeeper Tommi Tomich and anchored by Jason Williams. The non-stop efforts in midfield of Daniel Trim are often overlooked when the plaudits are being handed out, while in Stuart Montgomery they have a striker that creates as well as scores goals. Although they have a squad brimming with talent, the Knights will need to be on top of their game in order to fulfill their dreams of 'doing the double.'
Cockburn City have been installed as one of the play-off favourites thanks to a superior record against their fellow finalists. Their season has been underpinned by the solid defensive partnership of Australian youth international Liam Lilly and seasoned campaigner Dusan Macura. Antonio Naglieri pulls the strings in midfield for the league's highest scoring team, while the ball control and explosive pace of striker John Mirco has kept opposing teams on high alert all year. First year coach Kevin Elliott has already taken Cockburn to second spot in the Premier League and a semi-final berth in the Boral Cup, and they is no doubting that his players will give their all to end the season with the Champion of Champions trophy.
Sorrento are without a shadow of a doubt the form team leading into the final series. The Gulls last loss was in mid-June since when they've stung together ten wins and two draws to storm their way to third on the final table. Although they have an over-reliance on the long ball game, the key to their success has been a hard-working and creative midfield which includes State representative Glen Thomas, former Perth Glory player Brad Hassell and English import Danny Hill. When they get into stride Sorrento are a very difficult team to stop so don't be surprised to see them lining up on Grand Final day.
Midway through the year Joondalup were challenging for top honours, only for a succession of injuries to key players to lead to a dramatic slide down the table and almost miss the play-offs altogether. English import Keith Brown has been an superb acquisition and has formed a sound understanding with Peter Roberts at the back. Captain Dale McCulloch never fails to give anything less than 100%, while on his day lively attacker Garin Collins is a very difficult man to stop. There's no doubting the ability of the Joondalup side and coach Paul Simmons will have them fired up, but at the end of the day this just isn't going to be their year.
Stirling Lions' goal at the start of the year was to simply make the play-offs and anything from here will be considered a bonus for first year coach Tom Leeman and his squad. The loss of midfielder Nick Ward to the Australian Under-20 side is a severe blow to their chances and it'll be interesting to see how they adapt without their playmaker. In Vince Matassa the Lions have one of the local scenes best shot-stoppers, and marshalling the defence is Riste Stefoski. At the opposite end of the park the likes of Jake Harman and teenage striker Dennis McRoberts are sure to keep opposing defences busy. The Lions just scrapped into the play-offs and their poor record against the other finalists suggests an early exit.
WEST GETS NEW NATIONAL PRESENCE
Perth Glory may not be playing this summer but West Australian soccer fans have a new national team to cheer for. The Western Waves are the state's first team in the Women's National Soccer League and, like Glory, are expected to give the domestic competition a major shake up. Featuring the talents of Olympic squad members Lisa De Vanna and Tal Karp along with Australian youth international Collette McCallum and Australian Schoolgirls representative Ciara Conway, the Waves promise a dynamic and exciting inaugural season in the competition.
The Waves will be coached by one-time Australian international Alistair Edwards with assistance provided by his former Glory teammate Scott Miller and ex-Matilda's goalkeeper Tracey Wheeler. Edwards is delighted that the west coast are finally represented in the Women's N.S.L. "It's been a real challenge to get a WA team into the national league, but thanks to the efforts of Women's Soccer WA and in particular president Janette Spencer, we've finally made it," he said. The team's branding and name were inspired by the healthy, beach-orientated lifestyle of Western Australia.
22-year old Tanya Oxtoby has been named captain of the Waves for season 2004 with Luciana Colangelo and Collette McCallum installed as vice-captains. The full 21-player squad Sarah Cunningham, Lindsay Jobling (Balcatta), Tal Karp (Canberra Eclipse), Nadia Perica, Laura Turnbull, Kylie Woodhouse (East Fremantle), Ashley Bennett, Ciara Conway, Kylie Chatto, Luciana Colangelo, Lisa De Vanna, Hayley Crawford, Sara Gawned, Stephanie Grant, Collette McCallum, Tanya Oxtoby, Kylie Thomas, Nicola Williams (Northern Redbacks), Nadia Poulsen, Stacey Woodfin (Queens Park Thunder) and Kerry McGawley (Subiaco United).
GARCIA STARS IN UPSET WIN
Former Australian youth international Richard Garcia played a major role in the biggest upset of second round of the English League Cup which was played overnight. Garcia was at the forefront of Colchester United's two goals as sent Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion toppling out of the knock-out competition in extra time. Garcia sent in a terrific cross for Craig Fagan to put away Colchester's first goal, and in the 118th minute of extra-time his shot at goal forced a scramble in the box which ended with Ben May poking in the match decider.
UNDER-20'S HIT VIS FOR SIX
The Australian Under-20 squad continued its preparations for the second international match against Chile with a 6-1 thrashing of the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne last night. The Young Socceroos recovered after going behind to an 8th minute penalty by Evan Karavitis, to lead 2-1 at half time before hitting four unanswered goals after the break. Brett Studman and Tim Smits netted in the opening half with Nick Ward scoring twice and Adrian Leijer and Kristian Sarkies once each in the second half. Ward played a full game in the centre of the park for the national youth team, Matt Danskin was repalced at half-time and Jon Higgins was an unused substitute. The team now travels to Sydney where they meet Chile at the Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday.
DIANELLA TO HOST KARADJORDJE CUP
The 2004 Karadjordje Cup will be played out over the weekend of 2nd/3rd October at Dianella Reserve. An annual event, the Karadjordje Cup brings together teams of Serbian origin from all across Australia in two days of non-stop football action. This years tournament takes on an international flavour with the inclusion of South African club White Eagles Johannesburg. Also heading to Perth are Norlane West Geelong Serbia, Noble Park Drina, Berwick Kings Krajina, Westgate Sindjelic and Springvale White Eagles (all from Victoria), White City Cabramatta (New South Wales), Woodville White City (South Australian), Canberra White Eagles (Australian Capital Territory) along with local outfit Western Border Krajina and hosts Dianella White Eagles. The preliminary rounds of the tournament take place on Saturday with the play-offs scheduled for the following day. For more information on the 2004 Karadjordje Cup visit www.sccwa.org
SHAMROCK WIN TEMPERED BY WASSAA DECISION
Shamrock Rovers won the WAASSA Premier League title for the second time in as many months on Sunday. The club looked to have secured the championship weeks ago only have WAASSA deduct them eighteen points for fielding an ineligible player, Irish import Donal O Brien, who made six appearances in mid-season. "Donal came to us after playing for Cockhill Celtic in the the Ireland's amatuer Inoishowen League," explained first team coach Nik Silsby. "He had previously played professionally for Finn Harps amongst others but retired at the end of last year."
In pleading their case to WAASSA Shamrock provided numerous documents which showed Donal was in fact an amatuer. "We had letters from the Football Association of Ireland and the Inishowen League both stating Donal was registered as an amateur player and played in an amateur league. There was also a letter from Finn Harps stating he was released in December 2003. All we are guilty of is not completing the back of Donal's registration card - an oversight on our behalf. However, after checking with other clubs it's clear that the back of this card is often not filled in."
"One WAASSA official claims to have asked Donal if he'd ever played in Ireland to which the answer was apparently "No" - but at the time this conversation supposedly took place Donal was working and nowhere near the WAASSA offices. Another WAASSA official stated he'd approached the FAI seeking details on Donal's International Clearance, meaning that official stepped outside his authority as only Soccer Australia are permitted to make lodge such a request. And prior to our recent match against Murdoch University a third WAASSA official told the referee that he needed to be careful because Shamrock were going to get nasty on the field - this was said within earshot me."
"The club has had a superb season," added Silsby. "The first team won twenty out of twenty-two games with one draw and just a single loss. Amazingly, the reserves have better this by going the season undefeated, winning twenty-one games and drawing once. A lot of people have put in a lot of work to make the club a success this year and to win the league is a just reward. Unfortunately WAASSA's decision to deduct us eighteen points has taken the shine off what is a record breaking season and, as a club, we are somewhat disillusioned with WAASSA at the moment."
LAZARIDIS INJURY WORSE THAN THOUGHT (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce admits the thigh injury that is currently sidelining Australian international Stan Lazaridis is worse than was first thought. Lazaridis was injured during the 1-0 win against Manchester City in mid-August but was expected to be back in action within a few days. "Stan's injury is worse than we first thought and a scan has revealed he has a torn thigh muscle," said Bruce. "He has been out for four weeks and could be another week before he is fit."
ON THIS DAY ... 1997
|*Up to 31/08/2004|
Picking up on the lack of publicity afforded to the local game, Aufdemkampe established the website with the aim of raising the profile of WA soccer through the then new media of on-line technology. Through word of mouth alone, the local community embraced the website which has become the most comprehensive single source of on-line information on the game available. In early 2000 the website 'staff' was doubled with the addition of Brett Klucznik whose focus has been the provision of weekly news updates, interviews and photographs.
A key ingredient in the success of the WA Soccer Website is a dedicated 'team' of volunteers who contribute many hours each week compiling match reports and the like for publication. "Our volunteers are our lifeblood," added Aufdemkampe. "I would like to thank all those that contribute items for the website, and thanks also go to our loyal readers whose continued support keeps us going. Plus a big thanks to Brett who compiles the match reports and sources the news for our homepage, there's no doubt that without Brett's hard work the website would not be as successful as it is today."
The primary focus of the WA Soccer Website are the various competitions run under the guidance of Soccer West Coast, Womens' Soccer WA, WAASSA, the Junior Soccer Association and others. In addition to providing local soccer news, discussing relevant issues and reporting on matches played, the website's scope extends to cover Perth Glory along with the many West Australians plying their trade professionally overseas.
WINDMILLS SEEK AMATEURS COACH
Morley Windmills invite applications for the position of Amateurs coach for the 2005 WAASSA First Division season. Interested parties can submit their resume to Karl Hofstee, Morley Windmills S.C., PO Box 1177, Morley WA 6943. The club are also on the lookout for players to strengthen their amateur squad for next season, for more information contact the club on 9272 1109.
HESKETH LANDS DUTCH DEAL
Dutch outfit FC Hilversum have secured the services of former Fremantle City midfielder James Hesketh. "I've signed non-contracts papers with Hilversum," explained the 20-year old this week. "They play in the Klasse A Zondag League which is the national semi-professional league in Holland. The standard here is very technical and the level of competition is high with it being three leagues below the top flight which features the likes of Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and so forth."
Having capturing the attention of coach Karel Bonsink in three recent Reserve team outings, Hesketh made his senior debut last weekend in Hilversum's 3-1 win over Holandia against whom he came off the bench on the hour. On Wednesday evening the talented left-sided player saw out the full ninety minutes in the Reserves 2-1 defeat of Argon, while on the weekend Hesketh played another full game for the Reserves, and scored their first goal, in the 3-4 loss to ADO'20.
UWA defeated Forrestfield United 1-0 at McGillivray Oval in the WAASSA Autostrada Premier Division fixture on Sunday to claim the runners up position on the league table behind champions Shamrock Rovers. UWA did not start particularly well and in the first minute Forrestfield were unfortunate to hit the post. Forrestfield's Roger Miron then drilled a good shot at UWA's goal only for UWA's goalkeeper Josh Davenport to push the ball over the bar for a corner. At the other end UWA finally woke up when Tony Odundo had a shot blocked by a defender and another shot saved by Forrestfield's goalkeeper Scott Keggner to his right. UWA's David Berg had a good chance to score from 3 meters but a Forrestfield defender blocked that effort very well. The second half saw Forrestfield's Roger Miron have another good shot a goal and UWA's goalkeeper Josh Davenport again pushed the ball over the bar. After 35 minutes UWA's Marc D'Ascanio had a 25 meter shot which went inches over the right hand post. Then in a dramatic finish with 2 minutes to go UWA's skilful forward Tony Odundo found Gareth Briggs who turned and passed the ball to Max Percy who superbly drilled the ball into the goal off the right hand post from just inside the penalty box. At the start of play UWA could still have won the title if Shamrock had failed to beat Hamersley Rovers but Shamrock won that encounter 3-2 and that meant UWA settled for second place. Coach Kevin Burton said: "Today we won a game in which Forrestfield were a little hard done by not to have come away with at least a point. However, we have played very well in the second half of the season and for both firsts and reserves to finish as runners up is an outstanding achievement for the club. Clearly Shamrock were the best side in the league but it was still fun to have a chance to pressurise them on the last game of the season." UWA Reserves also clinched their runners up spot with a character building 4-2 win over Forrestfield Reserves and can now look forward to playing in the Reserves Amateur Cup final against Lynwood.
Shamrock Rovers bounced back recent tribulations to claim silverware in the WAASSA Premier League by overcoming Hamersley Rovers 3-2 this afternoon. The title success comes days after the Hoops were deducted 18 points by WAASSA. Just 2 minutes had gone when Flavio L'Abbate drew a penalty but teammate Neil Burkinshaw's spot kick was kept out by Shamrock captain Ed Schuller. Hamersley were far better composed over the opening stages and it came as no surprise when Flavio L'Abbate netted after 15 minutes. The margin was increased not long after as a great cross from the left was superbly volleyed in by Daniel Scudder. Shamrock came back into the game after John McCarthy earned his side a penalty which Pat O' Boyle smashed into the bottom corner. Five minutes later Wayne Brooks brought to teams level with a marvellous header from 11-metres. Another three minutes went by before Kelly turned sharply inside the box to sweep in his sides third goal. It was more of the same after the break with thw two sides trading attacks. As the half progressed Hamersley gained the initiative. L'Abbate blasted over from close-range and Icke hit the crossbar with a solid header, but it was Shamrock and their loyal supporters who were celebrating when the final whistle sounded. "I cannot praise the thirty players for both squads enough," said Shamrock caoch Nik Silsby after the game. "They deserve all the plaudits. For the first team to get 61 points out of 66 and the Reserves 64 out of 66 takes some doing. It's been a great day for the club." Shamrock Reserves ended their season without defeat after the match with Hamersley was ludicrously abandoned after 57 minutes with the score at 3-1 through goals from Jamie Silsby (2) and Mattie Webb.
In other games, Fremantle United ensured that Kwinana United would follow them into the WAASSA First Division next season after they won only their thid game of the season in a 4-2 victory. Spearwood Dalmatinac and Murdoch University fought out a tight 2-2 draw. Perth Azzurri run out 2-0 winners away to CN Canning International, while it was goals galore as Colo Colo clinched thid sport to win 6-4 against Stirling Panthers.
BORAL CUP SEMI-FINALS (Swan I.C. vs Wanneroo City by Peter Simcox)
Swan I.C. reached their second consecutive Boral Cup Final courtesy of a pulsating 4-3 victory over First Division side Wanneroo City. It was a lovely sunny spring day at Dorrien Gardens and Swan got off to a flying start as Elton Holmes played in Paul Lincoln only to be thwarted by a great tackle from veteran defender Gerry McEwen. However, on 8 minutes Swan did claim the lead after Brendan Knox' goalbound shot was handled on the line by Scott Wyeth and referee Michael Klaver waited not a moment in pointing to the penalty from where David Foster slotted past Mark Wiseman. Swans doubled their lead two minutes later with another goal from the spot, this time Paul Lincoln was brought down from behind by Barry McLeod and up stepped Foster to again convert. At two-goals down Wanneroo suddenly sparked into life as Stuart Collins tested goalkeeper Cory Hugo with a great strike from distance, and Jarred Smith played though to the lively John Dixon who was thwarted by a superbly timed tackle by Trevor Hatton. The northern suburbs side were back in the game on 28 minutes when a clumsy challenge from Danyal Bennett brought down Dixon for the games third penalty which was put away by Dixon. The goal lifted Wanneroo who enjoyed the better of the remaining time. The best opportunity came just before the break as Chris Currie sliced open the defence with a fantastic diagonal ball into attack which found Collins in space down the right but unfortunately the pace on the ball was a little too much and the move amounted to nothing.
The second half got off to an eventful start with Elton Holmes setting up Foster whose long-range shot was only inches wide of the target. Minutes later Wanneroo got the equaliser they were after when Bulloch's corner was only partially cleared and as the ball was returned to the dangerzone Sam Miller finished off the move much to the delight of his sides' large contingent of fans. Moments later Wanneroo went close to gaining the upper hand as Oliver Hilton played in Dixon whose vicious shot was brilliantly saved by Cory Hugo. In the 58th minute Foster completed his hat-trick by meeting a free-kick by Miki Vujacic which he cleverly looped over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Immediately from the re-start Bulloch took Wanneroo into attack where he sent a delightful pass to substitute Phil O'Callaghan who neatly tapped it into the bottom corner of the Swan net. The end-to-end continued as Swan reclaimed the lead after 62 minutes through man of the match Foster who was this time the recipient of a perfect delivery from Vujacic which he clipped over the advancing 'keeper. Holmes came close to sealing victory with a good shot on the run which was tipped onto the crossbar by Wiseman. Wanneroo threw everything forard in their search for a fourth goal as Dixon went past four players only to find the side netting, then a fine effort by O'Callaghan was tipped around the post by Hugo. Having been under the greater pressure Swan welcomed the final whistle which signaled their safe passage into the Cup Final.
The sun was shining on Fremantle City who overcame the odds to beat Cockburn City 2-0 in Sunday's semi-final at Dorrien Gardens. It was clear from the opening exchanges that there would belittle between the two sides with competition for possession fierce. Dom De Felice went with inches of giving Cockburn the lead on 10 minutes with a superb drive from just outside the box which flashed just beyond the frame of the goal. Six minutes later Fremantle went one better as Peter Lord transferred possession to Jeff Bright who, spotting Dino Pacella off his line, scooped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the top corner from 15-metres. The port side squandered a golden opportunity to double the margin in the 20th minute after Gary Faria went down inside the box to earn his side a penalty, by Pacella was up to the task and brilliantly kept out Lord's spot kick. With Antonio Naglieri and De Felice running the midfield Cockburn continually went into attack but could find no way past a defence anchored by teenager Dean Apelgren. On the half hour Milieta Miletic raced on to a hopeful ball pumped down the right which took him past goalkeeper Bobson Koroma but for Apelgren to intercept his pass intended for Peter Petkovich. Miletic and Marko Aleksic combined with great effect on the right flank only for Naglieri to shoot tamely and at Bobson Koroma. Apelgren again came to Fremantle's rescue just before the half-time by holding his ground and robbing Michael Mirco of possession as he attempted to jinx his way into the area.
The momentum was with Cockburn at the start of the second half which started with a speculative strike from 22-metres by Michael Mirco whistling over the crossbar. But that was one of very few genuine chances Cockburn created as the defensive trio of Apelgren, Jason Godfrey and Shane Nunes showed a maturity beyond their tender years in soaking up the pressure and forcing the opposing side into chancing their luck from distance. In the 57th minute Tyrone Fenwick went close to adding to Fremantle's tally when he got on the end of a quick counter-attacking move in which he poked the ball past the advancing 'keeper but wide of the upright. As the half progressed holes were beginning to appear in the Cockburn rearguard. Kevin Corriea made the most of a back-tracking defence with a great shot from 20-metres which beat Pacella only to strike the base of the post. With twenty minutes to go Cockburn's chances suffered a savage blow as Dean Wallace was harshly dismissed for a very soft second yellow card. Just moments after coming off the bench Branimir Mikulic stretched Pacella who paddled the striker's neat flick over the bar. The outcome was assured seven minutes from the end by Mikulic who received the ball from Bright before stepping past Scott Miller and unleashing a fierce low shot which tucked inside the far post. Cockburn weren't about to give up the chase and threw everything into clawing back a goal, but it wasn't to be as De Felice placed the ball high and John Mirco fired weakly at Koroma over the closing stages.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-FIVE (Armadale vs Rockingham City by Lee Anderson; Canning City vs Ashfield by Phil Unsworth; Morley Windmills vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; Queens Park vs Balcatta courtesy Balcatta)
Armadale moved to within one win from clinching promotion after romping their way to a 4-0 home win over Rockingham City. A strong wind blowing across the pitch made for difficult playing conditions which Armadale mastered to register a comprehensive victory. A low drive by Gary Murdoch after 15 minutes gave the Reds a perfect start, and when Paul Caulkin slotted in from close-range the margin had become two goals with 33 minutes expired. Five minutes from the break the match was effectively ended as a contest as Greg Newcombe ducked low to head in a Caulkin free-kick. Although the sting had been taken out of the game Armadale continued to dominate after the break as Murdoch, Newcombe and Jason Goodwin all went close to adding to the tally following some great approach play. The fourth and final goal arrived on 72 minutes when Dennis Lee whipped in a perfect low ball from the right which Michael Bushby put away. It was a solid overall team display from the Reds in which Murdoch, Billy Kirkpatrick, Lee and Caulkin were the standout performers. An Armadale victory next weekend at Gosnells City will give the club their first major trophy.
Canning City extended their winning run to six games by blasting five goals without reply past Ashfield at Willetton Sports Club. For much of the opening quarter hour Ashfield were forced into their own half with only the occasion venture into attack. The only surprise was that it took Canning 26 minutes to break through as Stephen Cole flicked a long throw-in by Mick Van Dongen over Ashfield goalkeeper Peter Treeby and inside the far post. Five minutes later the margin was doubled by Ross Posthuma who combined brilliantly with Jix Loong before slotting past Treeby from a narrow angle. A third member of Canning defence, Dave Mahon, added the teams third in the 37th minute by forcing his way between two opponents and hooking into the net from close-range. Daniel Trevisiol ghosted in behind the defence in the 58th minute to meet a perfectly angled pass from Jix Loong which he drilled into the back of the net. The final goal arrived in the 90th minute and via Mick Van Dongen who won the ball inside the area before sending it past Treeby from 10-metres.
Gosnells City came home from Wotton Reserve with maximum points courtesy of a 3-2 scoreline over Morley Windmills. The hosts settled the quicker and with just 5 minutes gone Mark Adam found the target with a lopping shot over goalkeeper Massimo D'Alo from the edge of the 18-yard box. Within five minutes Gosnells were back on level terms as Andrew Daffin, one of the smallest players on the park, was allowed to head in a corner unchallenged. Windmills reclaimed the lead after 21 minutes with a pacey attack straight at the heart of the opposing defence in which Rydeen Botha slotted calmly past the 'keeper. Darren Ingham should have equalised seven minutes from the break but was guilty of missing a simple tap-in from 5-metres, and shortly after Daffin was thwarted from the penalty spot by Windmills custodian Matt Darling. Tony Lang achieved where his teammates had failed by heading in a Daffin free-kick right on the stroke of half-time. The second half belonged to Gosnells who forced the hosts onto the defensive for long periods. The deciding goal came in the 66th minute when Daffin popped up to score his team third headed goal.
Balcatta paid the ultimate price for failing to convert possession into goals by going down 0-1 to Queens Park at Coker Park. The visitors controlled the tempo for most of the match but struggled to make an impact in their attacking third of the field. Queens Park custodian Phil Champman played his part in the victory with a series of splendid saves that started in the 23rd minute when he twice denied David Moschilla in quick succession. Ten minutes later Joe Cinquina went close to opening Balcatta's account but his free header from a corner skimmed the top of the crossbar. The second half was five minutes old when a quick ball out of midfield caught Balcatta unawares and Glen Noblett raced through to place his shot past the goalkeeper from just outside the 18-yard box. Late in the match Victor Bogos had a fantastic opportunity to steal an equaliser in a goalmouth scramble but he couldn't push the ball into the back of the net. The result means Queens Park leapfrog over Balcatta and into seventh spot on the First Division table with just games remaining.
Mandurah City registered a hard-fought 3-2 win over home team Leeming Strikers. Simon Versaico gave the Strikers the lead after 9 minutes only for the visitors to gain control of the match in a devastating twelve minute spell late in the half. Jake Loreto restored parity on 31 minutes then put his team in front seven minutes later and shortly before the break Chris Paschewitz was able to extend Mandurah's lead. Phil Bell pulled one back for the Striker midway through the second half by which time the damage had already been done and Mandurah claimed the points. Stirling Suns proved no match for Dianella White Eagles who ran out victors by 4-0. Amazingly, all four goals came in the opening half. Dragan Njegic got the ball rolling on 19 minutes and Miladin Gugoroski doubled the lead with half an hour played. Seven minutes from the break David Mrdja make the gap three goals with Dragan Radojevic netted Dianella's final goal in the 43rd minute.
CHILEANS OUTCLASS YOUNG SOCCEROOS
Three second-half goals helped Chile overcome the Young Socceroos in the first game of their two-match series at Bob Jane Stadium in Melbourne today. The momentum was with Chile from the outset and on 27 minutes a powerful header from Edson Rigueleme gave the South Americans the lead. Another header five minutes into the second half by Pablo Gilabert doubled the visitors' advantage, which was further extended shortly after as Ricardo Parads slotted past goalkeeper Nick Crossley. Australia opened their account on the hour when awarded a penalty, Mark Bridges's spot kick was blocked by goalkeeper Jose Rosales but the attacker recovered to put away the rebound. A goal to Nick Ward in the 82nd minute following a goalmouth scramble put the national Under-20 side back in the contest at 3-2. But Australia's hopes of escaping with a draw were crushed when Parads capitalised on a defensive error to score his second of the match in the first minute of injury time.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Swan I.C. will meet Fremantle City in the 2004 Boral Cup Final on Sunday 3rd October at Dorrien Gardens. Swan progressed to the decider of the prestigious knock-out competition courtesy of a four goal haul by start striker David Foster who lead them to a 4-3 victory over Wanneroo City. Goals in each half from Jeff Bright and Branimir Mikulic ensured Fremantle's safe passage to the Final courtesy of a 2-0 win over southern neighbour Cockburn City in Sunday's second semi-final.
Armadale continued their charge towards the First Division title with a 4-0 thumping of lowly Rockingham City on Saturday afternoon. With Wanneroo City's match against South West Phoenix postponed, Canning City were able to close the gap on second by thrashing Ashfield 5-0 at Willetton Sports Club. Leeming Strikers went down 2-3 at home to Mandurah City who move up to fourth place. Gosnells City were pushed all the way by Morley Windmills before going home with the points courtesy a 3-2 scoreline. Queens Park edged out Balcatta 1-0, and Dianella White Eagles mauled Stirling Suns 4-0.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
All eyes will be on Dorrien Gardens this weekend for the semi-finals of the 2004 Boral Cup. The action gets underway on Saturday when trophy holder Swan I.C. take on First Division challenger Wanneroo City. Swan's recent form has been far from inspirational and they'll have to be on top of their game in order to beat one of the second tiers strongest teams. On Sunday southern rivals Cockburn City and Fremantle City go head-to-head in what promises to be a cracking match. Fremantle have been a different side since Steve Parkinson took over the coaching reigns and his young charges will be out to upset a Cockburn side which has goalscorers all over the park.
Armadale are expected to stretch their undefeated run to seventeen games when they host Rockingham City in this Saturday's round of First Division games. Canning City's recent form has resulted in maximum points from their past five outings, a record they'll out to extend when Ashfield visit Willetton Sports Club. Leeming Strikers have a tough home match with Mandurah City, likewise Queens Park who welcome Balcatta to Coker Park. Morley Windmills will have their backs to the wall against Gosnells City, and Dianella White Eagles should prove too strong for Stirling Suns. Wanneroo City's home clash with South West Phoenix has been postponed due to the former's involvement in the Boral Cup, while Kingsway Olympic are out of action bye to the bye.
HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE SEASON'S BEST
With the Premier League season over and the First Division just weeks from completion, voting has opened on the W.A. Soccer Website's 2004 Player of the Year. Like last year, there are two awards up for grabs - the Premier League Player of the Year and the First Division Player of the Year - with website readers encouraged to vote in either or both categories.
On a 3-2-1 basis - where three is your preferred player of the season - we invite all website readers to submit their votes in either, or both, categories as soon as possible. These will be tallied off-line with the winner and minor place getters revealed on Friday 15th October. With just under a months time to have your say, send your votes as soon as possible to Brett via firstname.lastname@example.org
SWAN AND COCKBURN TIPPED FOR FINAL
Swan I.C. will meet Cockburn City in the 2004 Boral Cup Final - at least that is the outcome of the two www.soccerwa.com poll's run over the past ten days. 57% of respondents to our poll which asked "Who will win Saturday's Boral Cup semi-final?" expected Swan to get over the line against First Division opponent Wanneroo City. With 79% of the vote Cockburn are clearly favoured to claim victory over Fremantle City in Sunday's fixture.
LAZARIDIS STRUGGLES WITH INJURY
Stan Lazaridis is losing his battle to be fit for Birmingham City's weekend fixture Charlton Athletic. The Australian international has not featured for the Blues since coming off with an injured thigh against Manchester City on 24th August. It's a tough blow for Lazaridis who was recently named in the Socceroo's provisional squad to play the Soloman Islands next month. The winner of the two-legged Australia verses Soloman Islands series will represent Oceania at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany.
WINDMILLS SEEK YOUTH COACH
Morley Windmills invite applications for the position of Under-18's coach for the 2005 First Division season. In recognising the need to develop young players and add depth to their playing stocks, the club have set themselves the goal of fielding a youth team in next seasons competition. Interested parties can submit their resume to Karl Hofstee, Morley Windmills S.C., PO Box 1177, Morley WA 6943. Applications close on Sunday 31st October, 2004.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS IMPRESS AHEAD OF CHILE SERIES
Matt Danskin looks likely to feature prominently when the Australian Under-20 side commence a two-game series against Chile this weekend. The Fremantle City midfielder put himself at the front of the line for national selection by scoring three times in the Young Socceroo's two practice games against Victorian club sides this week. Also in camp with the national youth team are E.C.U. Joondalup defender Jon Higgins and Stirling Lions creative midfielder Nick Ward. The Chile series starts on Saturday, 18th September, at Bob Jane Stadium with the concluding fixture taking place at the Sydney United Sports Centre seven days later.
Danskin played a starring role in the Young Socceroos 5-1 friendly win over Victorian Premier League champions Green Gully Cavaliers at Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday. The Australian youth team were quickly into stride and by half-time had opened up a five-goal buffer through an early goal by Billy Celeski and two apiece from Mark Bridge and Danskin. Green Gully's solitary goal came via Andy Vargas who've converted from the penalty spot late in the game. Danskin, Ward and Higgins each played 45 minutes of the practice match.
The Young Socceroos continued on their winning way with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat of Heidelberg United this afternoon. Following a scoreless first half, the deadlock was broken after 58 minutes when Heidelberg edged in front to put to the test the character of the national youth team. Shortly after being introduced off the bench, Danskin sped down the right to fire in a 70th minute equaliser. And four minutes later Vince Lia combined with Bridge who made no mistake from close-range. Ward played the opening 70 minutes before being replaced by Danskin, while Higgins was replaced five minutes from full-time.
GARCIA TIPS COLCHESTER TO GO UP
Richard Garcia has only been at Colchester United a matter of weeks but he's already seen enough to predict the club can win promotion to the English League Championship. "That, and the fact Colchester play good football, is one of the reasons why I left West Ham," said the Perth born attacker. "Put it down to the Aussie winning attitude if you want, but if I didn't believe that [we'd be in the hunt for promotion then] I wouldn't have dropped down a division to play for Colchester." With games against Swindon Town and Bournemouth under his belt, Garcia will be aiming to open his Colchester account in this weekend's home clash with Milton Keynes Dons.
LITTLE REST FOR TOWNSEND
It's been a busy start to the month for Burnley's Ryan Townsend. The 19-year old's fortnight began with a full game for the Clarets Reserve team which were held to a scoreless draw on home soil by Carlisle United. Townsend then featured for the duration of the Youth teams' 1-1 draw with Bury, and that was followed a few days later by another ninety minute run as the Reserves went down 0-1 to Chester City. The promising young defender finally got a rest on the weekend when he was an unused substitute for the Burnley first team who registered a 3-0 home defeat of Crewe Alexandra.
SOCCER ON THE SEAFRONT
Following the success of their inaugural beach soccer tournament 0f 2000, Soccer On The Seafront, in conjunction with Rugby On the Reefbreak and Frisbee On The Foreshore, bring you the 2005 Summer Beach Games. The three-sport event will be staged at Brighton Beach in Stirling over the weekend's of 8th/9th and 15th/16th January 2005. Competition is open to all ages, from under-8's through to men's and women's senior divisions, with games being modified versions of each sport and catering to all levels of skill and fitness. Team entry costs $160.00 for either the soccer, rugby or frisbee competitions with each team to consist of between five and eight players. Entry guarantees participants at least three games in addition to a variety of sponsors specials. For more details about the tournament, including a downloadable entry form, visit the Summer Beach Games website.
GOLDEN BOOT TO FOSTER
David Foster completed a dream debut season with Swan I.C. by taking out the Golden Boot as the Premier League leading goalscorer. The exciting 20-year old joined the black and whites over the off-season and clearly relished the opportunity of playing regular first team football. Foster ensured he wouldn't be overhauled as the season came to a close by scoring in each of Swan's final four fixtures to end the season with sixteen goals. Foster arrived in the Swan Valley after six years with Sorrento for whom he represented the State at Schoolboys and Under-19 levels. "I really enjoyed my time at Sorrento but wasn't playing regularly in the first team," he explained. "It was a bit of a gamble joining the Swans but it's been great here. The coaching staff and players made me feel welcome and I hope I've repaid their faith they put in me."
Fremantle City's Kevin Correia marked his return from long-term injury by finding the back of the net on fourteen occasions to come in as runner-up to Foster. Antonio Naglieri scored thirteen times from midfield for Cockburn City to finish joint third along with Western Knights captain Carl Medica and Inglewood United's Bobby Despotovski. Stuart Montgomery's (Knights) chances of taking out the award were ended by seven week absence due to a groin injury but even so he tallied twelve goals along with the ever-alert John Mirco (Cockburn). With ten goals each were Andy Brown (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Andreas Oliveira (Floreat Athena), while Peter Petkovich (Cockburn) ended the year with nine goals. A further goal off the pace were Peter Coci (Athena) and Simon Harland (Sorrento).
Teenager Nikita Ruravytsya was the runaway winner of the Reserves leading goalscorer award. The Perth S.C. sharpshooter finished the year with 26 goals to be well ahead of runner-up Luke Myburg (Fremantle City) who netted 14 times over the winter. With 13 goals was Jonathon Greenwood (E.C.U. Joondalup) followed by David Houston (Sorrento) and Simon El Chami (Cockburn City) who had 11 goals each. Matt Ullbricht of Swan I.C. was a further goal behind. Josh Kamasz (Western Knights) and Peter Petkov (Inglewood United) came in level with 9 goals each, and hot on their heals with 8 goals were Michael Fillippou (Stirling Lions) and Luke Eoanidis (Fremantle).
The honour of Under-18's leading goalscorer for 2004 went to Sorrento's Michael Johnson who completed the regular season with 23 goals to his name. Radivoje Pelemis (Swan I.C.) and Kevin Coroma (E.C.U. Joondalup) were a distant second with 12 goals apiece, one more than Chris Socratous (Floreat Athena), John Aitken (Joondalup) and Dragan Milankovic (Perth S.C.). Dean Turner (Perth) and Rhys Williams (Joondalup) came in with 10 goals each and were followed closely by Steven Worthy (Sorrento) and Tom Amphlett (Joondalup). A large group of players finished the season level on 8 goals, namely Ben Howe (Fremantle), Jason Chatzopoulos (Athena), Sam Coolican (Joondalup), David Araya (Cockburn), Luke O'Neill (Bayswater City) and James Warner (Bassendean Caledonian).
WEBSITE RECORD TUMBLES ... AGAIN!
The final day of August saw a new record established by the West Australian Soccer Website. With the continued support of the local soccer community, 2004 has become our most successful year to date with a grand total of 160,744 hits being registered as of the end of last month. This betters our previous twelve month record of 160,055 hits that were recorded for the period commencing 1st January 2003. And with another four months of this year to go, we are hopeful of cracking the 200,000 mark for the first time! We would like to thank all readers of, and visitors to www.soccerwa.com for making 2004 a smashing success.
UWA defeated Fremantle United 2-1 at Hilton Park in the WAASSA Autostrada Premier League soccer fixture on Sunday to move into second place on the league table. UWA had the best early chance when Robert Benkovic passed to Marc D'Ascanio on the edge of the penalty box and he shot towards the left hand corner only for goalkeeper R.Benn to save well to his right. Then disaster struck for UWA when sweeper Shin Kuruma gave the ball away to Fremantle striker Joshua Sithole and his bobbling shot somehow found itself in the left hand corner to put Fremantle 1-0 up. UWA responded after 25 minutes when a strong run by Paul Dimmock into the penalty box caused a Fremantle player to take him down and the referee awarded a penalty. Marc D'Ascanio stepped up for UWA to take the penalty and he hit the ball low into the corner to make it 1-1. The second half saw UWA take the lead after 61 minutes when a Robert Benkovic pass found David Berg who skipped past a defender and hit the ball cleverly past the Fremantle goalkeeper to put UWA 2-1 up. UWA dominated most of the remaining play and Fremantle's goalkeeper R.Benn made two good saves from a David Berg header and an excellent Tony Odundo volley. Then with 2 minutes left UWA hearts almost stopped when a Fremantle player hit a cross in from the right which went agonisingly close to the far post and to the boot of a striker. Coach Kevin Burton said: "After losing 1-0 to Spearwood Dalmatinac in a very tight semi final match on Wednesday it was important that we bounced straight back. The 3 points here gives us a chance of finishing runners up if we can defeat Forrestfield at home in the last home game of the season so we have a good incentive to perform." UWA Reserves defeated Fremantle United Reserves 4-0 to remain in second place on the league table. This followed on from the excitement of reaching the Reserve Amateur Cup Final on Wednesday after a well deserved victory over Perth Azzurri at Litis Stadium.
Shamrock Rovers won their 19th league game of the season on Sunday after what has been a turbulent week for the club. The hoops beat Murdoch University 3-1 on Sunday. Shamrock went 1-0 up after 12 minutes when John McCarthy lobbed the keeper from 20 yards after a good move. Soon after Wayne Brooks scored the second with a terrific header after a great cross from Cathal Lennon. The lead increased further when a terrific shot from Rod McMullan found the bottom corner of the net to take Shamrock to a 3-0 lead after thirty minutes. Murdoch had several good chances but wasteful finishing let them down. In the second half Murdoch had the majority of the possession but could not find a way past the Shamrock defence in which Keith and Stephen Roche were outstanding. Shamrock also had chances with a couple of long range specials from Pat O'Boyle which sailed just wide. Coach Nik Silsby said, "We were very flat today, which was predictable after this last week. We have won the league once and now have to do it again. We were good for thirty minutes and some great finishing sealed the victory for us and was the difference between the two sides." Shamrock reserves made it 61 points out of a possible 63 when they beat Murdoch 5-0 with goals from Matt Webb (2), Mickie Murray (2) and Jamie Silsby.
In other games, Colo Colo's great season continued when they easily defeated Kwinana United 3-0. CN Canning International upset Hamersley Rovers in a 4-1 win. Perth Azzurri ran out winners over Stirling Panthers in a 4-0 thrashing, while Forrestfield United and Spearwood Dalmatinac fought out a 3-3 draw.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (Bassendean Caledonian vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Swan I.C. vs Stirling Lions by Peter Simcox; Western Knights vs Fremantle City courtesy Western Knights)
E.C.U. Joondalup ensured their participation in the Champion of Champions series with a 2-0 win over Bassendean Caledonian in the final round of the Premier League for 2004. The northern suburbs headed to Jubilee Reserve coming off three successive losses and well aware that anything less than victory could spell the end of their year. Joondalup were quickly into stride with some slick exchanges and good movement off the ball which forced the home team on to the back foot. Despite the near-constant pressure Caledonian stood tall at the back where they were well served by the central pairing of Craig Naven and Kevin Smith who ensured strikers Andy Mason and Garin Collins would have to work hard for every ball. The games opening goal arrived on 19 minutes when Alan Henderson turned the ball over in midfield and played it down the right to 15-year old Rhys Williams who, spotting the goalkeeper off his line, chanced his luck from the 30-metres with a shot that was paddled onto the crossbar by Steve Grant who could do little as the ever alert Mason raced in to put the rebound into the back of the net. This sparked the home side into a flurry of activity and for the next quarter hour Caledonian dictated terms with Paul Hickey, Kevin Griffiths and Ian Griffiths the architects of their best moves. But for all their creativity Caledonian were unable to find many ways past an opposing backline which was marshalled by Keith Brown and Peter Roberts. Caledonian continued to attack after the break when they forced three very good saves from Peter Stewart in quick succession. A tremendous through ball from Williams on the hour put Mason one-on-one with Grant and the Joondalup player made no mistake in stroking the ball home despite offside cries from the home defence. From here Joondalup never looked back as they edged into their first finals campaign in five years.
Two goals in the final nine minutes of play enabled Stirling Lions to beat home side Swan I.C. and take their place in the top five play-offs. Knowing they needed maximum points to keep alive their finals dream, it was a nervous opening by the Lions for whom Dennis McRoberts headed wide early on. It was the visitors again after 15 minutes when Leo Harman played through to McRoberts whose effort was again wide of the mark. Although slow to get going, Swan were the dominant side by the time Miki Vujacic flashed his shot narrowly high following a surging run into attack. David Foster went close with a header and Elton Holmes was thwarted by a superbly timed tackle from Luke Pavlos as the home side upped the tempo. It was in stoppage time that Swan opened their account via a great run down the left by Daniel Webb which took him past three opponents before crossing to Foster who stooped low to head it wide of goalkeeper Vince Matassa. The visitors came out for the second half with extra string in their step as Alen Zilic forced a fine save from Cory Hugo following a corner. But as the minutes ticked by the momentum swung back in Swan's favour. Foster headed high another cross from Webb, a defensive mix-up allowed Brendan Knox in but his shot was straight at the 'keeper, then Matassa pushed Foster's shot around the post after he latched onto a booming clearance from Hugo. Against the run of play the Lions snared an equaliser when Rob Monterosso's corner wasn't dealt with by the home defence and Leo Harman pushed the ball over the line from close-range after 88 minutes. The visitors were now pushing forward at every opportunity and deep into stoppage time Muhamed Komadaric's delightful shot on the turn from 17-metres flew into the top corner of the net much to the delight of the Lions faithful.
Sorrento scored three times in the final few minutes to come from behind and take the points over Perth S.C. at Percy Doyle Reserve where it ended 4-2. The warm conditions assured a big turnout for what was to be a pulsating game. After a fast and furious opening period Perth took the lead on 14 minutes when Todd Howarth rose unmarked on the top of the 6-yard box to head in a corner from the left. Within four minute Sorrento had forced an equaliser through Richard Watson who stooped to nod in at the far post from a Glen Thomas corner. The remainder of the half belonged to Perth who continually stretched the home defence but couldn't find the back of the net. From wide on the left Howarth was creating plenty of room for himself and causing Sorrento no end of trouble. Chances came and went at both ends in a free flowing second half. It took until the 80th that either defence was again breached as Howarth combined with youngster James Isaia who showed a great first touch to deliver the ball to Nikita Ruravytsya and the Perth substitute finished the move with a crisp finish. Sorento's fightback started with three minutes to go when the hosts were awarded a controversial penalty after Todd Harnwell went down inside the box, and from the spot Jared Love made no mistake in leveling hte game. Two minutes later Brad Hassell produced some great individual skill in going past goalkeeper Alan Matteccucci before rolling the ball into the path of Harland who gleefully converted the opportunity. The win was sealed right on the stroke of full-time via another Love penalty after he'd been hauled down by Dino Djulbic, who was duly sent off for his second bookable offence.
Inglewood United's season came to an abrupt end as a consequence of their 2-3 loss to Cockburn City at the National Stadium. Although play flowed freely from end to end it was the visitors who made more of their early possession as Antonio Naglieri, Dean Wallace and John Mirco all went close to breaking through. But the best chance came at the opposite end where Greg Sharland's deep cross found an unmarked Bobby Despotovski who somehow headed it back across the face of goal. Despotovski made amends on 24 minutes by drilling a low shot past Dino Pacella following a fantastic interplay on top of the box between Michael Baczynski and Sharland. However, the lead was to last just five minutes before Naglieri arrowed a great free-kick into the far bottom corner from 20-metres. Sharland went agonisingly close to restoring his teams lead in the 37th minute when he swept the ball under Pacella only to have it hit the post. Peter Petkovich was twice denied by Taseski early in the second half while Naglieri's rising shot kissed the top of the crossbar. With twenty minutes to go Alan MacKenzie lead an Inglewood uprising. Despotovski glanced wide a free-kick, Daniel Kovacevic's blistering volley met with the same fate, and Pacella produced a world-class effort to deny MacKenzie at close-range. With 83 minutes gone Naglieri needed a lucky bounce to go past last defender Jamie Goodman before crashing the ball into the roof of Taseski's net to stun the hosts. The result beyond doubt two minutes later by john Mirco who skinned two opponents before slamming his shot across Taseski and into the far top corner. There was life still in Inglewood and two minutes into stoppage time Shaun Kilkelly reduced the margin by bundling the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. But time was not on their side and shortly after the referee's final whistle brought down the curtain on Inglewood's year.
Western Knights completed their winter campaign with a convincing 3-1 defeat of Fremantle City at Ken Allen Field. Already crowned champions, the Knights fielded a youthful team that included Seb Trim, Andrija Jukic and John Thornley in its starting line-up. The teenage trio combined early on to open up a passage to goal which the home defence was quick to snuff out. However, only a few minutes later the Knights got the breakthrough they were after when Paul Byrnes blasted his shot past young goalkeeper Michael Cross and into the roof of the net. With a goal under their belt the visitors now sat back as Fremantle, who were undefeated in their previous five games, went in search of an equaliser. Tommi Tomich in the Knights goal was called into action on several occasions and it was the efforts of the Knights goalkeeper along with defenders Alex Christie and David Annall that maintained their sides slender lead at the break. The second half began with the Knights searching for goals against the only team they were yet to beat this season. In the 48th minute their hard work paid off as Cross muffed an attempt to clear a backpass and turned in time to watch the ball roll into an empty net. Despite their disappointment, Fremantle maintained their focus and in the 76th minute Kevin Correia bagged his fourteenth of the season with a well placed shot. Not to be outdone, Stuart Montgomery produced a sparkling run in which he beat several defenders before shooting past the outstretched 'keeper to complete the scoreline after 84 minutes. The Knights will now have to wait a month before their next outing in the semi-finals appearance in the Champion of Champions series.
Floreat Athena produced probably their best performance of the year to beat Bayswater City 3-0 at Litis Stadium. With nothing riding on the game apart from pride, both teams enjoyed a leisurely match played in good spirit and glorious sunshine. Athena took charge from the opening kick and in all honesty rarely looked in danger against a flat Bayswater side. Dejan Djukanovic broke the deadlock with a piece of pure brilliance on 12 minutes, with his back to the goal the young attacker looped the ball over goalkeeper Gianni Papalia following a scramble in the box. Thirteen minutes later the margin was doubled when Andreas Oliveira's corner was meet at the near post by Adrian Sutton who angled it past his marker and the 'keeper. Good chances to further add to the tally came the way of Costa Socratous and Adam Bachiller whose attempts were blocked on the goalline. Bayswater's only genuine opportunity of the half fell to Daniel Arias whose tame shot went straight into the hands of Vas Vujacic. The second half was a repeat of the first with Athena enjoying the bulk of possession and creating plenty of plays on goal. Oliveira again turned provider on the hour when his cross to Jamie Trandos was calmly slotted in from a tight angle to increase the margin to three goals. Not long after Athena were awarded a free-kick just outside the box which Oliveira sent past the defensive wall and the 'keeper only to have it cannon back off the crossbar. Bayswater continued to plug away but with Ross Barnes and Andrew O'Neill receiving little support they didn't look like scoring. Such was the quality of Athena's play that players and supporters alike were left pondering what might have been had the side produced this sort of form earlier in the year.
RESERVES TITLE TO PERTH
Perth S.C. have take out their second successive Premier League Reserves title. It's the four time Perth have claimed silverware since the appointment of John Coyne as Reserve team coach at the start of 2001. With back-to-back championships under their belt, the Blues youngsters have now set their sights on earning their club a third successive Reserves Boral Cup. The backbone of this years championship success was Perth's perfect record on home soil in which they scored 42 goals and conceded only six to claim maximum points from all eleven games played at Dorrien Gardens.
"To win the championship is always great, and this years it was all the more satisfying because we achieved it with a new group of kids,' said Coyne. "Twelve players in our squad were eligible to play Under-18's with some of them aged sixteen and seventeen which should leave the club in good position for a couple of years to come. I was delighted with the way all the boys played throughout the season, which isn't over for us yet. We still have a Boral Cup semi-final to play this weekend against Sorrento who pushed us all the way in the League."
Perth, having already secured the silverware, went down 1-2 in their final game of the regular season to runner-up Sorrento. Fremantle City, who came in third, ended their year with a 4-0 hiding of Western Knights. Five clubs were vying for the places in the top five ahead of the final round of competition. Floreat Athena took out fourth after thrashing Bayswater City 9-0, and Stirling Lions made up the top five courtesy of a 3-0 win over Swan I.C. Cockburn City and Inglewood United drew 1-1 with eachother, and honours were also shared between Bassendean Caledonian and E.C.U. Joondalup who played out a 3-3 draw at Jubilee Reserve.
JOONDALUP GO BACK-TO-BACK IN UNDER-18'S
It was a remarkable season for E.C.U. Joondalup's Under-18 side who won their second Premier League championship in as many years. Having topped the table from the opening round of fixtures, the youngsters from the northern suburbs completed the home and away campaign with just a single loss to claim the silverware. Along the way Joondalup took maximum points from nineteen of their twenty-two games, amassing 75 goals while conceding just ten. Six successive wins at the start of the year laid the foundation for Joondalup's success, while their undefeated status at home was maintained this afternoon with a 9-1 thrashing of visiting Bassendean Caledonian.
Joondalup finished the regular season with 59 points (out of a possible 66) to be well ahead of northern neighbour and runner-up Sorrento. The Gulls ended their campaign with a 2-1 home win over Perth S.C. who were a distant third. In fourth place were Fremantle City who suffered a 1-2 loss to Western Knights in their last game of the regular season. Swan I.C. secured fifth place and a spot in the finals by defeating Stirling Lions 3-0 this afternoon. Cockburn City, who this afternoon beat Inglewood United 3-0, were a point behind Swan on the final standings. The round was completed on Tuesday evening when Floreat Athena defeated Bayswater City 2-0.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-FOUR (Balcatta vs Wanneroo City courtesy Balcatta; Stirling Suns vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Mandurah City came close to inflicting only the second defeat of the season on runaway First Division leader Armadale when the teams met at Peelwood Parade. Armadale were quickest of the starting blocks and caused the home defence all manner of difficulties during the opening stages, but once Mandurah settled it was game on. In a fairly even and hard fought match Armadale took the lead after 33 minutes when a shot by Dennis Lee from outside the box deflected off a defender and past goalkeeper Michael Green. Four minutes later Mandurah were back in the hunt after a good passage of play ended with Christian Paschewitz slamming the ball into the roof of the net. Midway through the second half Paschewitz was upended on the edge of the 18-yard box, and from the resultant free-kick Mo Atak found the target to put the hosts in the box seat. With victory within reach Mandurah let slip maximum points when an elementary defensive blunder allowed Paul Colkin to put Armadale back on level terms. The 2-2 scoreline was a fair reflection ona day when there was little between the sides who both gave their all right up to the final whistle.
It was a case of the one that got away for Balcatta who drew 2-2 with Wanneroo City at Graham Burkett Reserve. The home side started lively and were rewarded for their effort when striker David Moschilla put them ahead in the 20th minute. Moschilla found the back of the net again two minutes later but on this occasion the assistant referee disallowed the goal for offside. The diminutive striker was causing all sorts of problems for the Wanneroo defence and midway through the half Balcatta were denied a penalty after Moschilla was hacked inside the area. The second half was seven minutes old when Balcatta doubled their lead through Joe Cinquina who slammed home a shot after Wanneroo failed to clear a corner. Balcatta continually frustrated their more fancied opponents by winning the loose ball and applying great pressure across the middle of the park. But a speculative strike by Jarrad Smith from 20-metres caught goalkeeper Colin Lees off his line and brought Wanneroo back into the game with 76 minutes gone. Wanneroo dominated the remainder of the game as Simon Woodward and Scott Bulloch went close before, in the final minute of play, Gerry McEwan stole the equaliser by pushing the ball in from close-range after a corner.
Canning City completed their away schedule by registering maximum points over Stirling Suns at Robinson Reserve. Only two minutes had elapsed when Mick Van Dongen's perfectly weighted cross from the right landed on the head of Alex Seed who placed it expertly beyond the reach of goalkeeper Alex Jadatovski. Against the run of play the Suns equalised on on 18 minutes when Paul Oliver conceeded possession to Henry Freeman whose angled pass found Michael Unzi who drove a fierce shot into the top corner of the Canning net. Goalkeeper Robby Meyer showed great agility in tipping a long-range free-kick from the Suns' Billy Ristevski's over the crossbar. With the interval looming, Canning re-established their lead when Meyer's long clearance was headed on by Seed to teenager Daniel Trevisiol who cleverly flicked the ball over the replacement 'keeper John Gamma before tapping in from 6-metres. Canning continued to apply the pressure after half-time and 13 minutes in Trevisiol completed the scoreline when he put away a penalty after being brought down from behind inside the area. Canning's win keeps them in third position and narrows the gap between themselves and Wanneroo to five points.
In a proverbial game "of two halves", Gosnells City and Queens Park each enjoyed forty-five minutes in control but had to be content with a share of the points and a 2-2 draw at Walter Padbury Reserve. Queens Park pushed hard over the opening half, crisp ball movement and strong teamwork resulting in an endless string of goalscoring opportunities. After a long period in possession it came as no surprise when the visitors broke through via Daniel Evans in the 10th minute. Run ragged at the back, Gosnells had Jason Maynert to thank that the half-time margin wasn't greater with the goalkeeper making numerous important saves that included stopping a penalty by Adrian McBride. The game looked over as a contest five minutes into the new half when Ray Rose doubled the visitors lead. But as the minutes ticked and Queens Park began to tire, Gosnells came back into the match. Darren Ingham pulled a goal back on 69 minutes by tapping on a low cross from debutante Grant Williamson, and when Jamie Carruthers headed in the equaliser Gosnells could sense victory. It was all one-way traffic over the final fifteen minutes, Gosnells laucnhing an endless series of attacks to which Queens Park responded with some rock solid defending to ensure the game ended on a level footing.
South West Phoenix swept aside Dianella White Eagles 3-0 when they visited Bunbury's Soccerdrome. The only goal of the opening half arrived on 35 minutes via David Rodgers, while after the break Patrick Roberts and Trent Hathaway added to the hosts tally. Leeming Strikers came home with the points courtesy of a 3-1 scoreline at Kingsway Olympic. Simon Versaico got the ball rolling after 8 minutes, and the margin was doubled by Phil Bell midway through the half. Olympic hit back five minutes from the break. The result was put beyond doubt midway through a tight second half when Versaico netted his second of the day. A goal by Rydeen Botha right on the stroke of half-time gave Morley Windmills a 1-0 win over home side Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions secured play-off berths in a dramatic final round of Premier League fixtures. Two goals from Andy Mason enabled Joondalup to ease their way past Bassendean Caledonian, while the Lions scored twice in the last few minutes to register a 2-1 win at Swan I.C. Inglewood United's season came to a sudden end when they went down 2-3 at home to Cockburn City for whom Antonio John Mirco scored one of the goals of the year. With the final while beckoning, Perth S.C. let slip the lead as Sorrento scored three times in quick succession to run out victors by 4-2. Fremantle City were out-muscled 3-1 by Western Knights, and Floreat Athena ended their campaign on a high by dumping Bayswater City 3-0.
Mandurah City and First Division leader Armadale played out a tight, physical 2-2 draw in sunny conditions at Peelwood Parade. It also ended 2-2 between Balcatta and Wanneroo City, a result which allowed Canning City to move to within five points of second place after their 3-1 away win over Stirling Suns. South West Phoenix remain fourth following a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Dianella White Eagles. Honours were shared between Gosnells City and Queens Park at 2-2, Kingsway Olympic went down 1-3 to Leeming Strikers, and Morley Windmills came home from Rockingham City with maximum points courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's make or break time for Inglewood United, E.C.U. Joondalup, Stirling Lions and Perth S.C. Going into the final round of Premier League fixtures the four clubs are separated by just two points with each requiring victory to secure one of the two remaining finals berths. Inglewood take on second-placed Cockburn City at the National Stadium, while the Lions are on the road to Swan I.C. Bassendean Caledonian provide the opposition for Joondalup. The biggest ask is of Perth who head to Percy Doyle Reserve where they face an in-form Sorrento. Elsewhere, Fremantle City host Western Knights, and Floreat Athena are pitted against Bayswater City.
Mandurah City will be disappointed with their lack of consistency this season and on Saturday host First Division leader Armadale. Balcatta's recent form has been good and they'll provide Wanneroo City with a solid workout at Graham Burkett Reserve. Bottom side Stirling Suns are expected to provide little resistance for Canning City despite having home ground advantage. Gosnells City and Queens Park square off in the derby match at Walter Padbury Reserve, Dianella White Eagles head to Bunbury where they take on South West Phoenix. Kingsway Olympic will be put to the test by Leeming Strikers, and Rockingham City play Morley Windmills. Ashfield are out of action due to the bye.
ENGLISH CLUBS LINE UP FOR MADASCHI
Partick Thistle defender Adrian Madaschi could find himself moving to England when the transfer window next opens in January. Impressive performances at the Athens Olympic Games brought Madaschi to the attention of Sunderland, Reading and West Ham United who've sent scouts north of the border in recent weeks to watch the talented 21-year old in action. "There has been interest from English clubs, but that is understandable, especially after Adrian's performances at the Olympics," said Jags co-boss Derek Whyte. "At the end of the day we are a selling club, but at the moment there is nothing more than interest."
SWAN AIM TO STRENGTHEN (courtesy Swan I.C.)
With the regular season nearing an end, Swan I.C. have begun the search to strengthen their numbers for season 2005. "As a club we are always looking for players who would improve our playing stocks," commented coach Gary Marocchi this week. "There's a great team spirit about the club and all the players under contract this season have been looked after. We're pleased to announce that David Foster will play for Swan next season, if we can keep players of the caliber of David then it will only attract more quality players to the Swan Valley." Swan will end the Premier League mid-table and next weekend will be seeking to defend the Boral Cup when they take on Wanneroo City in the semi-finals.
With a strong belief in youth development, Marocchi has laid the foundations for a successful future for Swan. "Gary's vast coaching experience has brought on many youngsters from the reserves and under-18's who've made their league debuts this season," commented Swan committee member Darren Blankley. "He's unearthed a number of players in the past couple of years that hopefully will be the future of our club." Amongst those to benefit from Marocchi's experience are the clubs' Under-18 side who, under the guidance of coach Mauro Marchione, are on the verge of a place in the end of season finals. "Mauro has made a great contribution with the under-18 players and all his hard work will hopefully be paid off with a spot in the play-offs," added Blankley.
With the senior side in the last four of the Boral Cup and the Under-18's one game from a finals berth, it's been a successful year for Swan. In addition their Junior Champions League teams have come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months and in looking to continue that pattern the club will be conducting trials for the 2005 squads in November. Opportunities also exist for coaching roles at Swan next year and the club would like to hear from anyone interested in taking on the Director of Football role, or coaching any of the JCL teams. For more details contact the club via 043 1886 065, or log on to the Swan I.C. website.
KNIGHTS TRIO PAY TRIBUTE TO INSPIRATIONAL COACHES
Western Knights capture of the Premier League title brought to fruition a plan hatched some eight months ago. And it couldn't have been achieved without the unwavering commitment of coaches Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly according to some of the clubs senior players. Confidence was sky high in pre-season at Nash Field where the consensus amongst players and coaches alike was that the club had a squad capable of going all the way. "We knew we had a strong squad and that it wasn't good enough to simply win the top five series - for us the main prize was the championship," explained Knights captain Carl Medica.
"Ronnie and Willie have been fantastic for the Western Knights since they were appointed in 1998," added Medica, now in his eleventh season with the club. "Both have played at the highest level in Scotland and with this they have been able to introduce a professional and winning attitude to the Knights. They are held in high regard at the club as under them we have now won two Premier League titles and every other trophy which has been on offer. With the players, Ronnie and Willie instill a lot of self confidence and self belief to try to raise their performance to the next level. One thing that will always stand out for me, and which they have said from day dot, is 'come to training, listen to what's being told and do your best.' Team spirit is also high on their agendas and both like to have a bit of a laugh with the players after training and match day."
Midfielder Mark Lee also offered up the Knights coaching staff as a major contributing factor in a successful winter campaign. "Ronnie is an excellent motivater and fills you with confidence. He's always positive in his comments, is a great organiser and each player knows exactly what is expected of them before a match. Willie is the complete opposite - his passion for the game is always on show and from the sidelines he kicks and heads every ball. Willie has a wealth of experience under his belt and all of the players have benefited from it this season. He is always there to give you advice and has provided the Knights with many an inspirational pre-match speech this year."
"The real credit has to go to Ronnie and Willie," said star striker Stuart Montgomery. "We had a terrible run of injuries this season and that made things tough for the coaches who weren't able to put out on the park the same team two weeks in a row. What got us through was the immense belief Ronnie and Willie have in each and every player that played for the club this year. And we repaid their belief in us with a total commitment to going out and winning the League. At times we didn't play the best but our desire and spirit is second to none, and knowing the coaches were behind us all the way makes you perform to your best week in week out."
KWINANA CELEBRATE MILESTONE
This year marks the fiftieth birthday of WAASSA Premier League club Kwinana United. In honour of the occasion the club would like to hear from people who were involved either in it's formative years, when known as Medina, or since changing their name to the present moniker. Coinciding with Kwinana's end of year wind-up on 25th September, the club will be hosting celebratory at the Reaquatic Centre in Kwinana. For just $30.00 a head you'll enjoy a three course meal and entertainment while alcohol will be on sale at club prices. Contact either Glenn Moodie (ph 0419 868 198) or John Moodie (ph 9592 6147 or email email@example.com) for more details.
Formed as Medina in 1954, the club flitted between the First and Second Division's before changing their name to Kwinana United for the 1971 season. This heralded their most successful period in which the club twice they made the D'Orsogna Cup Final only to go home as runners-up to Tricolore (1972) and Windmills (1975), while their best ever league season took them to fourth place in 1974. Amongst the players that started their careers with Kwinana are Dave Jones and Alistair Edwards who both went on to represent Australia. Kwinana joined the amateur ranks in 1991 and for the past nine years have competed strongly in the Premier Division.
JUKIC THE POPULAR CHOICE
Western Knights attacker Andrija Jukic has been voted as the local youngster with the brighter future. Last week's www.soccerwa.com poll asked "Which young player shows the greatest potential?" with the 16-year old emerging by far the most popular choice. Jukic amassed 36.3% of the votes cast to end well ahead of Fremantle City's Andy Pomfret on 16%. Dennis McRoberts (Stirling Lions) tallied 13.5% to edge Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United) on 13.2% for third place. Swan I.C. defender Danyal Bennett (11.9%) was next with Cormac Dawson (Bayswater City) 8.6% completing the field.
The make-up of this years Champion of Champions series hinges on Saturday's final round of Premier League fixtures. Already assured of finals football are Western Knights, Cockburn City and Sorrento. But the picture is not so clear for Inglewood United, E.C.U. Joondalup, Stirling Lions and Perth S.C. who are separated by just two points. Each of those four clubs will be gunning for victory on the weekend with the aim of extending their season into the finals, but even maximum points for some may not be enough depending upon the outcome of other games.
Inglewood are best placed to make the play-offs, possessing a goal difference far superior to their opponents and requiring just a single point from the home clash against Cockburn City. Although coming off three successive loss, an away draw with Bassendean Caledonian will be enough for Joondalup to scrape through. However, should either Inglewood or Joondalup fail to win then the Lions and Perth are ready to pounce. The Lions will have nothing other than victory at Swan I.C. on their mind. Undoubtedly the toughest route to the finals belongs to Perth, they require maximum points at Sorrento, who are themselves undefeated in eleven games, while hoping other results go their way.
FORRESTFIELD ADMITTED TO SWC
The semi-professional ranks will be swelled next season following Forrestfield United's entry into Soccer West Coast. A motion to admit Forrestfield at a meeting of SWC clubs last week was passed unanimously, taking the total number of semi-professional clubs to twenty eight. Although the competition format for 2005 is yet to be finalised it is understood a proposal has been made to split the First Division into two leagues.
It was during the 1980's that Forrestfield experienced their glory days with a squad that included Ray Ilott, Paul Middleton, Gordon Todd, Malcolm Cole and 1983 Gold Medal winner Brent Atherton. Arguably their most successful year was 1981 when they ended the regular season in second place before defeating Azzurri 2-1 to claim the Top Four play-off trophy. For the past seven years Forrestfield have been a mainstay of the WAASSA Premier League.
FOCUSED CACERAS BIDES TIME (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Caceres admits he faces a battle to reclaim his starting place at Yeovil Town following the recent signing of Latvian ace Andrejs Stolcers. "He's a fantastic player," said Caceres who was left on the bench for the first time this season in Saturday's victory over Swansea City. "The gaffer has told me not to worry, he just wants me to get used to the pace of the game. We're going for the championship, so everyone has to be on their toes. I do feel I'm getting used to the speed of the game now. I aim to show the boss that I can play alongside Andrejs in the team." Caceres has a big Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers to aim for later this month but insists he's got something more immediate on his mind. "It's an exciting draw, particularly with them having so many stars. But we're chasing promotion this season and that's the priority for Yeovil. Of course I'd love to play against Bolton but this week is about showing the gaffer that I should be in his starting eleven."
GARCIA JOINS COLCHESTER
Colchester United have snapped up highly-rated striker Richard Garcia on a two-year contract. The former Australian youth international made the move to Layer Road late last week, bringing to an end a lengthy association with West Ham United. "It is sad to see the back of West Ham but it will be exciting to have a new start - and Colchester is where I am going to get that," he said. ""It got to the stage where I wasn't making any progress so you do get disheartened - but you just have to keep going and hopefully you can get somewhere. Things were just getting a bit stale for me at West Ham and I really needed to move on to start my career."
Garcia had his first training session with the U's on Friday and has already been impressed by boss Phil Parkinson. "There were other clubs sniffing around but Phil Parkinson made it really easy for me. He spoke to me and I liked what he had to say - it is a good club and there are some good players there. Hopefully I can get Colchester promoted this season. It is down to me now so we will see how things go." Garcia made his debut for Colchester when named in the starting line-up for the weekend's 0-1 loss to Swindon Town.
Northern Redbacks completed a memorable season by taking out the Women's Soccer WA Premier League Grand Final with a 2-1 win over Balcatta under lights at Coulston Road this evening. It was evident from the opening minutes that this was going to be a cracking game with both sides turning on the style and eagerly pushing forward in their quest to gain the early advantage. Thirteen minutes from the break tragedy struck Balcatta when goalkeeper Lisa Tana was stretchered off with a knee injury following a clash with Ciara Conway. Shortly after the Redbacks opened their account as Nicola Williams showed great skill by flicking the ball past replacement goalkeeper Jennifer Jobling following Collette McCallum's corner.
The second half produced more great free-flowing football. Balcatta went close via a free-kick from Ashley Kane that skidded just wide. But when Williams headed in her second of the day via another McCallum corner the Redbacks had one hand on the trophy. Balcatta weren't about to give up without a fight and with fifteen minutes remaining reduced the margin with Lylie Chatto going past several defenders before tucking the ball past Ashley Bennett. This set up a tense finish to the season finale which saw some fantastic counterattacking play that was in turn met by no-nonsense defending. The pressure was relieved by the sounding of the final whistle which signalled the start of wild celebrations in the Redbacks camp. The win adds the Top Four trophy to the Night Series and Premier League crowns which are already in the Redbacks possession.
Murdoch University claimed silverware in the First Division Grand Final by defeating Beckenham Angels 3-0 at Hossack Reserve. Much of the opening exchanges of what would be a physical contest belonged to the Angels who went agonisingly close to going ahead after 5 minutes only to see the ball cleared off the line following a goalmouth scramble. Midway through the half, and completely against the run of play, Jo Steer received a pass from Steph Battista and made her way past two defenders before driving the ball over the goalkeeper from 18-metres to put Murdoch in the lead. The Angels responded with a barrage of attacks but few shots on goal was Murdoch's defence, which was marshalled superbly by Helene Aarstad, held firm.
The second half began with the two teams wrestling for control of midfield with the Angels just shading their opponent. The introduction of Tash Darlow added muscle to the Murdoch attack and on the hour she was well placed to blast a loose ball into the roof of the net after Steer was denied at close-range by the 'keeper. Ten minutes later a crude tackle on Battista drew a penalty which Steer drilled to the 'keeper's right to put the result beyond doubt. To their credit the Angels refused to give up the chase and over the closing stages threw everything at the Murdoch rearguard but could find no way past goalkeeper Donna Symes.
Fremantle United lifted the Second Division Grand Final trophy after scrapping past Northern Redbacks D 1-0. The Third Division Grand Final was won by Kwinana United who triumphed 3-1 over Armadale. North Beach worked hard to defeat Gosnells City 2-1 and take out the Fourth Division Grand Final. The Fifth Division Grand Final was a high-scoring affair with Subiaco E getting over the line by 4-2 against Melville City.
WAASSA, ROUND TWENTY
UWA secured a comfortable 6-0 victory over Kwinana at McGillivray Oval in the WAASSA Autostrada Premier League soccer fixture on Sunday. The opening play was fairly subdued with both sides testing each other out without threatening to score. After 25 minutes that changed when UWA's Bryn Giffiths hit a free kick to the head of David Berg who beat Kwinana goalkeeper Scott Brenzi to the ball and headed into the roof of the net for 1-0. UWA went 2-0 ahead when Bryn Giffiths made a challenge in midfield which led to Tony Odundo sprinting from the half way line with the ball and going around Kwinana goalkeeper Scott Brenzi and finishing with ease. In the second half Kwinana's Andrew Drury had a shot on the near post but UWA keeper Josh Davenport blocked the effort for a corner. UWA substitute Robert Benkovic then made it 3-0 when he headed home after a throw in from Declan Sharp. Another throw from Declan Sharp then fell at the feet of substitute Gareth Briggs and he scored inside the left had post off the hands of Kwinana goalkeeper Scott Brenzi to make it 4-0. In a flowing move from UWA Gareth Briggs then found Robert Benkovic who turned well and his shot was well saved by Kwinana goalkeeper Scott Brenzi only for Tony Odundo to poke the rebound in for 5-0. UWA's Marc D'Ascanio then made a good run down the right flank and found Max Percy who drilled the ball into the right hand side of the goal to make the score 6-0. UWA should have gone further ahead when Tony Odundo was upended for a penalty but Robert Benkovic hit the ball over the bar. Coach Kevin Burton said: "We played simple patient football and got the result we deserved. We can now look forward to both firsts and reserves playing in the semi finals of the Amateur Cup on Wednesday at Litis Stadium." UWA Reserves won 9-0 against Kwinana Reserves.
Shamrock Rovers continued their remarkable season on Sunday when they beat Forrestfield United 3-1 at Harold Rossiter Reserve. In what was a tough and uncompromising game with little given between the two sides Shamrock imposed their dominance early on when John McCarthys superb turn and run to the byline and as inch perfect cross to Cathal Lennon saw the little Irishman drill in a superb shot into the top corner from 18 yards despite the best efforts of keeper Scott Kessner. Forrestfield relied on the long ball from the keeper but once again, the defence of the Roche boys and Jon Craik withstood the long ball bombardment. Shamrock increased their lead just before half time when John McCarthy poked in from close range after good work by Mark Kelly and Dylan Browne. The second half continued in a similar vein with Rovers soaking up the pressure and playing some good one touch football and then going long to cause confusion in the Forrestfield defence. From one of these long balls Shamrock went three nil up when Keith Roche knocked the ball some sixty yards onto the toes of Cathal Lennon and he skipped past a challenge and rounded the keeper and hammered the ball into the net. Few chances followed for the remainder of the game but Forrestfield equalised with 10 minutes to go when Keith Roche passed the ball back to Ed Schuller and the keeper let the ball run under his foot and into the net. Overall it was a comprehensive performance from the hoops and the three points stretched their lead to an amazing 22 points. The reserves also won 1-0 with the goals only game coming from Man of the Match Matt Webb and was memorable for the goal celebrations that followed.
In other games, Fremantle United won only their second game of the season when they beat Spearwood Dalmatinac 2-0 away from home. CN Canning International moved away from the relegation zone after their 3-2 win over Murdoch University. Hamersley Rovers were too good for Stirling Panthers, running out 4-0 winners, while Colo Colo and Perth Azzurri fought out a goal-less draw.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Perth S.C. vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Mike Hennessey; Bayswater City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
A ten man Western Knights recovered from being a goal down to share the points 1-1 with Sorrento in wintry conditions at Nash Field. Injury and suspension forced the Knights to go without Stuart Montgomery, Evan Wallace, Mark Lee and Daniel Trim, so it came as no surprise that the Gulls enjoyed the better of first half play. Brad Hassell should have given the northerners an early lead after latching on to a long clearance from Phil Straker but the midfielder pulled his shot across the face of goal with only Tommi Tomich to beat. It was a wake up call the Knights failed to heed and on 23 minutes Glen Thomas clipped the ball into the heart of the box where Danny Hill nodded down to an unmarked Simon Harland who swept it into the net from 10-metres. Sorrento went in search of a second goal only to be foiled by Tomich who blocked Todd Harnwell's close-range and, on 36 minutes, turned wide Richard Watson's powerful header. An uneventful start to the second half was interrupted by the dismissal of Carl Medica for a late challenge on Watson after 58 minutes. This sparked the Knights into life and three minutes later Andrija Jukic stretched Straker full-length with a rasping shot from 15-metres. Some poor defending in the 63rd minute lead to the Knights equaliser as John Thornley's smashing the ball through a crowded goal area where it was deflected in by an unsuspecting Scott Devine. Shortly after Harnwell should have restored the Gulls lead but he twice failed to connect with a bouncing ball thanks to sustained pressure from Jason Williams. Referee Jeremy Oliphant came under fire from both benches in quick succession as a couple of crunching late tackles were allowed to go unpunished. Chances came at either end of the park in an action packed final few minutes. Thornley beat Straker to a high ball and looped his header over the 'keeper only to see Andrew Bowyer clear it off the line. And Jared Love rose high to meet Harnwell's cross from the left but nodded it disappointingly high from 6-metres.
Stirling Lions chances of finals football were given a massive boost after a hard fought 1-0 win over fourth placed Inglewood United at Macedonia Park. Both teams took the entire first half to find their rhythm with very little in the way of goalscoring chances partly due to the wet and cold conditions. The Lions best chance fell to Alen Zilic whose shot was tipped over by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. At the other end Jason Colli forced Vince Matassa into a world-class save, and Michael Baczynski crashed the ball into the crossbar. The match came to life after the break with Muhamed Komaderic having a goal correctly disallowed for offside shortly after the re-start. The deadlock was broken on 55 minutes by Dennis McRoberts who scrambled the ball past Taseski in a crowded goalmouth. Having gone behind, Inglewood responded by taking a firm control of the match with a strong team performance that was lacking only on the goalscoring front. Greg Sharland and Baczynski were lively in attack for Inglewood but simply could not put the ball away as the visitors went in search of an equaliser. Against the run of play Komaderic skipped past two defenders to set-up McRoberts who struck the bar from 10-metres. Further opportunities came the way of Sharland, Baczynski and substitute Louis Parkinson but lady luck wasn't smiling on Inglewood this afternoon. However, credit must go to the Lions defence who held firm over the closing stages despite the near constant pressure of the visiting team who increased the tempo and laid seige on Matassa's goal. The win keeps alive the Lions chances of making the top five play-offs, while Inglewood are forced to wait another week before confirming whether or not they'll take part in the finals.
Cockburn City and Fremantle City played out a tight 2-2 draw in the big south of the river derby at Dalmatinac Park. The opening exchanges were evenly shared with both sides prodding forward cautiously as they looked for an opening in their opponents armour. The breakthrough came on 23 minutes when a long through ball caught the Cockburn defence flat footed but not Kevin Correia who raced through and drew goalkeeper Dino Pacella off his line before deftly placing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Seven minutes from half-time the visitors were able to extend their lead as the hard-working Tyrone Fenwick chased a pass down the left and despite pressure from a defender retained possession before squaring into the box where Correia was placed to head past Pacella who'd been left badly exposed by his teammates. Cockburn hit back six minutes into the second half when Simon Jonas was put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Bobson Koroma who managed to take the pace off the shot which then looped goalward and, with several defenders giving chase, crossed the line. Parity was restored after 56 minutes as John Mirco embarked on a weaving run from the left which took his past several opponents before crashing a thunderbolt through a crowded goalmouth. Both teams created some good opportunities over the remaining time with Cockburn shading the port side in terms of possession. But neither defence was breached and shared points was a far reflection of the game. Cockburn to remain in second place as a result of the draw, two points ahead of Sorrento with one game remaining, while Fremantle extended their unbeaten run to five games.
Perth S.C. delighted their fans with a 1-0 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens which keeps alive their hopes of a top five play-off spot. A youthful Joondalup side opened well and created the games first real chance after 10 minutes when Garin Collins burst through with only Alan Mattcucci to beat but the Perth goalkeeper was up to the task. The home team came back strongly and were unlucky just three minutes later as David Onoforo drove Todd Howarth's cross goalward only to see it hit the underside of the crossbar and rebound away from the net. Onoforo had another chance not long after but poor control let the striker down. Both sides were showing skillful, open play in midfield. Joondalup had their chances but also found luck not on their side as Rhys Williams' shot came back off the bar to leave the game scoreless after the break. Perth enjoyed the better of possession early in the second half. Onoforo brought a fine save out of goalkeeper Peter Steward and, a minute later, Michael Icanovski's piledriver crashed against a post and ricocheted clear. Joondalup then squandered a couple of chances and a scoreless draw looked likely. Sensing a chance was needed to shake up the game, Perth coach Graham Normanton introduced Shane Crampton in what would prove an astute move. Within minutes of coming off the bench Crampton met a cross from Robbie Puca which he expertly hammered into the far corner to give Perth the lead. But the hosts jubilation was cut short by the referee who red carded Crampton for verbally abusing an opponent. In the remaining five or so minute Perth dug deep to hold on to their lead and hopes of finals football.
Swan I.C. ended a seven game period without victory by taking the points by a 3-1 scoreline over Bayswater City at Frank Dorigo Reserve. It was a great start from the home team with Ross Barnes putting Andy O'Neill through one-on-one with Cory Hugo who came out on top of the one-on-one situation. Swan didn't learn their lesson and in the 10 minute Barnes split open the defence with a superb pass which found Cormac Dawson who was also thwarted by the visiting 'keeper. Having found their rhythm Swan began to threatened with David Foster's header well saved by Gianni Papalia. Barnes was causing opposing defence no end of trouble and on the half hour his perfectly weighted pass set up O'Neill but, like earlier, Hugo proved to be his foil. In the lead-up to the break Barnes has a shot cleared off the line by Trevor Hatton, while down the opposite end Carlo Scali's effort was kept out by Papalia to keep the game scoreless. Swan came out for the new half determined to get the breakthrough. A surging run by Danyal Bennett teed up Elton Holmes who was denied by the 'keeper, and David Foster worked hard before crossing to Miki Vujacic whose header was tipped wide by Papalia. Cory Hugo made good save to thwart Damir Kudvzovic and Ross Barnes, but there was nothing he could do after 62 minutes when Michael Kovacevic headed in a deep corner from Barnes to make it one-nil to Bayswater. The introduction of Daniel Webb paid almost immediate dividends for Swan as the youngster combined with Carlo Scali whose cross was headed in by Vujacic at the back post after 68 minutes. Swan were by this stage on top and in the 80th minute Vujacic's corner was punched clear as far as Bennett who nodded it back into the dangerzone and Damian Scali placed his header high into the net. The result was put beyond doubt two minutes from the end when Foster rose to head in another dangerous free-kick from Vujacic.
Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian played out a lifeless scoreless draw in chilly conditions at Litis Stadium. Chances on goal were few and far between in a match dominated by the respective defences. The highlight of an uneventful match arrived midway through the second half when Jamie Trandos' header from 7-metres beat the 'keeper only to come back into play via the base of the upright.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-THREE (Wanneroo City vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; Canning City vs South West Phoenix by Phil Unsworth; Dianella White Eagles vs Balcatta courtesy Balcatta)
Wanneroo City's chances of catching Armadale now look all but over following a 0-2 home loss to Gosnells City. The better of the early exchanges was in favour of Wanneroo who were denied the games first goal through a combination of sloppy finishing and the agility of Jason Meynert in the Gosnells goal. Following a number of early scares Gosnells worked their way into the game which became a battle of individual match-ups all over the ground. Play see-sawed from end to tend until the 40th minute when Tony Lang was brought down for a penalty and Jonathon Cook powered the ball home from the spot to open Gosnells' account. Minutes later the visiting side were celebrating again as Jason Jones slid the ball through the defence for Darren Ingham who chipped the goalkeeper from 22-metres to double the difference. The second half produced more free-flowing football which lead to chances at either end. With twenty minutes to go Wanneroo were resented with a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit but Scott Wyeth's penalty kick was blocked by Meynert and Scott Bulloch blazed the follow-up high. The visitors worked hard over the closing stages to deny Wanneroo with what really as a fantastic team effort.
In one of their best performances of the year, Canning City comprehensively defeated South West Phoenix. Phoenix 4-0 to move into third place on the First Division table. Teenager Daniel Trevisiol was at the sharp end of Canning's attack and on 20 minutes took his tally to four goals in as many games since debuting by charging down a kick from Phoenix goalkeeper Duncan Min which he then ran into the goal. It wasn't until the half hour mark that Phoenix posed any real danger as James Bergen floated a cross over opposing 'keeper Robby Meyer only to find no one on hand to put the ball away. Ross Posthuma's free-kick from the left found the head of Stephen Cole who nodded in Canning's second goal shortly after the interval. Midway through the second half Posthuma added the hosts third with a superb free-kick which curled around the defence wall and beat Min at his near post. Phoenix were twice foiled in their attempts to get back in the game with Meyer denying Steve Suttie and Bergin unable to convert a cross from David Rodgers. Four minutes from the end Trevisiol pounced on a loose ball which he poked over the line from close-range to complete the scoring.
Balcatta came away from Dianella Reserve with maximum points courtesy of a 7-4 defeat of Dianella White Eagles. The first half saw the two teams go goal for goal with David Moschilla opening the scoring in the 8th minute only to have Danco Jovanoski put Dianella back on level terms a minute later. Moschilla netted for a second time after 14 minutes, however, the lead was surrendered almost immediately as Miladin Gugoroski found the target. Dianella went ahead on the hour through Gugoroski, and Balcatta restored parity two minutes later via a brilliant long-range strike by Alley Di Nuzzi. Victor Bogos was the next to score as Balcatta headed into the break with a 4-3 advantage. Two goals early in the second half from Moschilla in and another by Danny Carlino saw the gap increase to three goals with half an hour still to play. Balcatta could have added o their tally but Moschilla, Di Nuzzo, Carlino and Anthony Di Loretto were unable to convert good opportunities on goal. Gugoroski completed his hat-trick sixteen minutes from the end with an excellent bicycle kick.
First Division leader Armadale scored a 2-0 home defeat of Kingsway Olympic. The breakthrough came via an own goal after 53 minutes which Jason Goodwin added to eight minutes later. With second-placed Wanneroo City losing, the win increases the Reds lead to ten points. Morley Windmills worked tirelessly but were unable to prevent Mandurah City from taking out the points by a 2-0 scoreline at Wotton Reserve. Both goals arrived in the second half and via star striker Christian Paschewitz who found the net after 48 and 83 minutes. Windmills were reduced to ten men three minutes from the end when Chris Khalil was sent off, and a minute later Mandurah had youngster Neil Connor red carded. Queens Park had little trouble in defeating Rockingham City 4-0 at Coker Park. And despite taking an early lead through Danny Ristevski, Stirling Suns went down 1-2 away at Ashfield whose goals came from Wayne Culverwell and David Gordon.
DANZE SCORES FOR PALACE
Anthony Danze is on the cusp of a dream move abroad. Just weeks after representing Australia at the Athens Olympic Games, the former Perth Glory midfielder got on the scoresheet for top flight English side Crystal Palace in a friendly with Arsenal. "I've been here about a week and I think they've been reasonably happy but I haven't had much feedback," the midfielder told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. Danze did his chances of securing a professional contract the world of good by netting Palace's opening goal in the 3-0 friendly defeat of Arsenal. "It was good to get a chance to play against a quality team and I think I did reasonably well so I'll just have to wait and see," he added.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Inglewood United, E.C.U. Joondalup, Stirling Lions and Perth S.C. will compete for the two remaining play-off berths with just a single round of Premier League fixtures to go. The Lions kept alive their chances by accounting for Inglewood 1-0, likewise Perth who defeated Joondalup by the same scoreline at Dorrien Gardens. Champions Western Knights came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home with Sorrento, while Cockburn City were held 2-2 by Fremantle City for whom Kevin Corriea scored twice. David Foster took his season tally to fifteen goals by netting in Swan I.C.'s 3-1 defeat of Bayswater City. Floreat Athena played out a scoreless draw with Bassendean Caledonian.
There were contrasting fortunes for the top two teams in the First Division where Armadale have opened up a ten point lead. While the Reds were defeating Kingsway Olympic 2-0, nearest rival Wanneroo City were crashing at home to Gosnells City who ran out 0-2 victors. Canning City thumped South West Phoenix 4-0 to move into third place, and Morley Windmills worked hard only to go down 0-2 to Mandurah City. It was goals galore at Dianella Reserve where Balcatta triumphed 7-4 over Dianella White Eagles. Queens Park eased their way past Rockingham City 4-0, and Ashfield accounted for Stirling Suns 2-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Premier League champions Western Knights face a Sorrento side which is undefeated in ten outings in the pick of Saturday's Premier League action. Needing maximum points to keep alive their play-off dream, Perth S.C. have difficult home encounter with E.C.U. Joondalup. Stirling Lions are also in the hunt for finals football but will have to be on top of their game when they host an in form Inglewood United. Cockburn City take on Fremantle City at Dalmatinac Park in the southern derby. Floreat Athena have home ground advantage over bottom team Bassendean Caledonian who are now playing for pride. And there's little on the line when Bayswater City meet Swan I.C. at Frank Drago Reserve.
Runaway First Division Armadale should comfortably account for Kingsway Olympic who've run hot and cold this year. Wanneroo City have a tough home date with Gosnells City, while it's third against fourth as South West Phoenix lock horns with Canning City at Willetton Sports Club. Dianella White Eagles have home ground advantage over Balcatta, and Morley Windmills will have their backs to the wall when Mandurah City visit Wotton Reserve. Queens Park take on Rockingham City, and Ashfield are home to Stirling Suns in the battle of the cellar dwellars. Out of action with the bye are Leeming Strikers.
FOSTER DEAL FINALISED (courtesy Swan I.C.)
The long running saga of David Foster's transfer to Swan I.C. has finally come to a close. Last week the Soccer West Coast tribunal handed down it's ruling which will see Swan pay Foster's former club, Sorrento, a undisclosed development fee for the 20-year old striker. "The figure they were asking was excessive, but David and ourselves are happy now it's been completed," commented Swan coach Gary Marocchi. Foster left Sorrento at the end of last season due to a lack of first team opportunities and, having previously worked with Marocchi in his capacity of State Under-19 coach, the young striker was lured to Swan Valley. Foster has been a regular starter for the black and whites this year and his fourteen goals have him on top of the leading goalscorer charts with two games remaining in the regular season. "The season started off a bit shaky, but then we started getting a few results and the confidence grew," commented Foster. "At the moment we have a lot of injuries, which always makes it hard, but the lads here are great and they really made me feel welcome."
KNIGHTS DESERVING OF CHAMPIONS TAG
The proudest man in West Australian soccer come 5.00pm last Saturday was Western Knights president Basil Zuvela. The smile on Zuvela's face said it all following his clubs 2-1 win at E.C.U. Joondalup which clinched them the Premier League crown with two games still to be played. "What a fantastic day," commented a beaming Zuvela. "The team fully deserves the recognition of being the best in the League this year. We have a big squad of boys, and it was a full team effort over the whole season. The experienced guys did the business when needed, the younger boys really stepped up and the coaches were positive all the way through."
"Winning the Premier League title justifies all the time and effort put in by all the hard working people at our club," commented Zuvela. "Congratulations to coaches Ronnie Campbell, Willie Kelly and Miso Bunic, our physio's Sania Musulin and Kenny Tang and of course all the players. Many thanks also to all who helped keep the club going during the year including committee members, volunteer helpers, sponsors, and supporters. The Knights have a loyal following and I'm sure these people are thrilled for the players and coaches who've shown so much this year. All our supporters are invited to Nash Field on Saturday for our last home game and to celebrate the championship success, and view the presentation of the Premier League trophy."
It was a tough year for the Knights who had to contend with a lengthy injury toll. Claus Nielsen was ruled out five games into the campaign requiring a knee reconstruction, Luka Jukic (osteitits pubis) and Paul Cooke (hamstring) were each restricted to just four appearances and a hamstring/back complaint meant Scott Devine didn't feature until the second half of the year. The clubs leading goalscorer Stuart Montgomery was absent for seven weeks due to a groin injury, while Jason Williams, Ivan Zuvela and Robert Pedri also missed games because of injury. Work and other commitments left the side without the services of Alex Christie, Evan Wallace and Leon Russell at various stages of the year.
With their depth tested, the Knights looked to their youth ranks and were pleasantly surprised by what they found. "Several members of our under-21 squad made the most of their opportunities in the first team during the course of the year," explained Zuvela. "Andrija Jukic, who is only sixteen, stepped up to senior ranks early on and become a regular starter for the club. Seb Trim, Josh Kamasz, John Thornley and Ante Ramic, amongst others, have also appeared for the first team and done a fine job for us when called into action. One of the most pleasing things is that many of the young players who came through this year were developed by the club, and now they're all smiling as they'll be collecting a Premiership medal."
CONTI GOES CONTINENTAL (by Joel Powell)
Jordan Conti dreams of what every young footballer dreams of - making it professionally. However he is a step closer than most, having been invited to train with English Football Second Division Club Bristol City where he has been able to hone his goalkeeping skills. Goalkeeping was obviously in the genes for 19-year-old Conti. His father, Paul, represented Western Australia as a keeper junior levels and also played a handful of State League games with Perth Azzuri. Conti remembers growing up as an aspiring goalkeeper fondly. "My dad always wanted to go to the park with me, no matter what time it was. The best thing he did was make sure I always pulled out a 'worldly' save before we went home!"
In fact his dad was his coach when Conti started playing football for his local club Inglewood at the age of seven. Inglewood currently have three of Conti's childhood teammates on their books - Michael Baczynski, Paul Baczynski, who is currently on loan at Queens Park, and Colin Gilchrist. However there was one lad at Inglewood that really caught a young Jordan's eye. "When I was young, I used to admire a player a bit older than me by the name of Scott Campbell," commented Conti. The pair are still mates and Conti added "back then I never thought I'd ever be having a beer with him at the pub!"
At the age of ten Conti's career began to take definition with his decision to become a goalkeeper. "I was just playing at school one day at lunch time in one of those twenty versus twenty games, and something just clicked in my head saying that I liked being a 'keeper." His first representative honors came for Eastern and North Eastern districts at the age of eleven. From there his love for football dramatically increased. The following year he was selected in the State Under-12 squad which went on tour to Adelaide with the Under-13 and 14 teams. It is here he first met and became mates with burgeoning young goalkeepers' Oliver Taseski and Clint Davis.
At the age of fifteen Conti started playing senior football for E.C.U. Joondalup. "I loved it there," he said. "I played under probably one of the best coaches I have ever had in Mike Lyons. I was only fifteen and I played 18's and reserves and got a league winners medal with them." Conti reflects glowingly on that Joondalup team. "What a team we had by the way, Louis Parkinson up front, Scott Bulloch on the left, Ryan Fredericks on the right, Sean Kilkelly at sweeper and Anthony Danze in the middle with Greg Sharland!"
Two seasons with Inglewood United preceded Conti spending season 2002 with Future Glory. Under the guidance of former Australian coach Frank Arok, Conti made his Premier League debut with a man-of-the-match display against Western Knights. Coming on the eve of the annual Australian Secondary Schools Soccer Championships, Conti was confident he could impress at the tournament. However, his luck was about to run out. "Unfortunately I dislocated my elbow a week before the tournament - a definite low point in my career," Conti said. "But in hindsight I feel that it occurred for a reason so that I was able to concentrate solely on my TEE exams. The fact that I did well in my exams sort of eased the pain a bit."
This disbandment of Future Glory after just a single season in the State League left Conti on the lookout for a new club. The teenager chose to sign for the newly promoted Stirling Lions, a move he definitely doesn't regret. "It is the best club I've been to as far as togetherness and atmosphere around the dressing room is concerned," he commented. "Despite the fact that we finished bottom that season, I was personally satisfied with my performances. One moment that sticks in my mind is the first game of the season when we played Dianella White Eagles. We went 1-0 down but I luckily saved two penalties and we came back to win 2-1 with Rob Milevski scoring in the last minute of extra-time." In the end of the season Gold Medal count Conti came twelfth while at club level he was named the Lions runner-up Fairest and Best.
It was during this season that the goalkeeper was spotted playing by Steve Stacey against his former club, Inglewood. Stacey, a former Bristol City player who also spent time playing in Perth, was impressed with that he saw and asked Conti if he'd was interested in trialing with Bristol City. It was an offer Conti jumped at. "It is every boys dream to make a living out of playing football every day," he said. "For me it is more about improving and proving something to myself and hopefully to outside observers. Training mostly consists of solid goalkeeping work for an hour and a half with goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell (former Everton and Wolves goalkeeper). Then we get involved in patterns of play, working on our teams shape, and in small sided games which sharpens skills and quickness under tight pressure."
"Being involved with the first team at Bristol is such an unbelievable experience, and I learn something new everyday," Conti added. The young goalkeeper has found the most rewarding aspect of his time in England being the respect he's earned from the playing and coaching staff at Bristol. "Of course when you first come in, no one will talk to you and being relatively small for a goalkeeper, people disregard you straight away. However just training solidly day in day out reaps the rewards. In the end I did get recognized by Weston Super Mare, a Conference side, and by Team Bath, a Doc Martens league side. It was just brilliant to be noticed, and I owe it a lot to Mike Stowell who saw potential in me which I never saw."
One thing interesting about Conti is who he names as the people he most admires. Well-known sportsman Michael Jordan and Peter Schmeichel were at the top of the list but he also included the Western Australian trio of Scott Campbell, Oliver Taseski, and Clint Davis. "I first met Ollie and Clint, who are both brilliant 'keepers and two good mates, when I went away in the Under-12 State team and they were in the Under-14's. I admired Ollie and thought he would definitely be in Europe by now." Amazingly the paths of Davies and Conti recently crossed once again when the former signed a one-year contract with Bristol City.
After being in England since January, bar a month holiday back in Perth over the English off season, Conti says homesickness is beginning to take its toll. We may see him back here in Perth in the not too distant future, after all, he has plenty to come back to. Conti is currently enrolled at the University of Western Australia where he is studying Sports Science. He still has his family as well as many, many friends here and would be a welcomed return to the local football community. It is obvious that his time at Bristol has simply whet the appetite for more. Conti's future ambitions include going to Bath University, for whom he hopes to play, and maybe even a stint in Asia at some stage. With age on his side, talent to burn and a terrific attitude, Conti has every chance of being a success wherever his future lies.
DANSKIN, HIGGINS AND WARD IN NATIONAL FRAME
The locally based trio of Matt Danskin, Jonathon Higgins and Nick Ward have been included in the Australian Under-20 squad to face Chile later this month. The two-match series against the South American's is part of a twenty-day training camp for the Young Socceroos. The squad assembles in Melbourne next Wednesday, 8th September, and have their first hit out against Chile at Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday 18th September. The return match takes place a week later, Saturday 25th September, at the Sydney United Sports Centre.
The 20-man Australian squad for the camp is Nick Crossley, Matthew Deegan, Brett Studman (Australian Institute of Sport), Mark Milligan (Blacktown City), Matthew Gordon (Balgownie Rangers), Billy Celeski (Bulleen Zebras), Mark Bridge (Cringila Lions), Matt Danskin (Fremantle City), Jonathan Higgins (E.C.U. Joondalup), Tim Smits (Pine Rivers), Ben Griffin (Queensland Lions), Keegan Wolfenden (South Cardiff), Nick Ward (Stirling Lions), Adrian Leijer, Kristian Sarkies (Victorian Insitute of Sport), Stuart Musialik (Weston Bears), Tom Arcaba (Wollongong Wolves) and uncontracted trio Vince Lia, Chris Tadrosse and Jacob Timpano.
WASA COMMUNICATION #4
Monday 30th August 2004 will go down in history as the date of the first board meeting for the Western Australian Soccer Association. The meeting signals the start of a new era for the round ball game in this state as WASA set about bringing together all aspects of soccer under one unifying association and administration. The inaugural WASA board consists of Kevin Campbell, Steve Coppack, Russell Goodrick, Paul Kelly, Jane King, Marcello Cardaci and Linda Wayman. For more information on these individuals read the fourth WASA Communication.
WASA COMMUNICATION #5
Following the naming of their new board, the Western Australian Soccer Association are pleased to commence work in earnest towards the unification of the code in this state. In response to the support received from clubs and the overwhelming message to 'get on with it', the WASA board have endorsed the need to deliver a unified competition structure as a priority. For the latest information on the competition review read the fifth WASA Communication.
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2004