YOUR UNWANTED GEAR CAN HELP IN THE PHILIPPINES
If you have any unwanted football equipment then Dave Whiteside wants to hear from you. For the past couple of years Whiteside has done his bit to aid the development of the game in the Philippines by providing boots, shinguards, coaching cones and the like to teams in the City of Cebu. "I'm looking for equipment that is still in good condition but no longer used," Whiteside said. "In the Philippines football is seen as a way of improving kids' social wellbeing but most of the parents are not in a position to buy proper gear, and the clubs have very limited resources as they are all run by volunteers. The more equipment I can supply the more teams they can put on the park, from under-6's up through to adults." For further information on how you can donate equipment for use in the Phillipines contact Dave on 9343 5171 (home) or 9381 3444 (work).
COLOSIMO STANDS BY HIS WORDS
Captain Simon Colosimo stands by his honest assessment of Perth Glory’s efforts against Queensland Roar. Interviewed shortly after the final whistle on Sunday, Colosimo rated Glory as “crap” after surrendering a two-goal lead then coming from behind to salvage a 3-3 draw. “I am proud of the boys, they did a great job to get back into the game, but the frustrating thing is that we put ourselves in a position where we had to get ourselves back into the game,” he said.
Anything less than three points this weekend against Wellington Phoenix will effectively end the teams’ finals dream. “We all want to play finals football bottom line, the boys are determined to play finals football, and I think we have just lost sight of that,” said Colosimo. It becomes a culture, you win games and you continue winning, you start getting draws and getting back into games and you start to think ‘okay, we have got ourselves back in’. We have put ourselves under a lot more pressure now by having to definitely need three points this weekend.”
Without a win in seventeen games, Glory are stumping up the A-League table and need no reminding that their last encounter with Phoenix ended in a 4-1 drubbing. “The season has not gone, finals football is still a priority (and) we have got to claw our way back, game by game,” said Colosimo. “We are playing some nice stuff, but if we can stop maybe playing the too nice stuff and not concede silly goals I think we will be back on the right track.”
MCEWAN TO COACH ROOS IN 2008
Wanneroo City have confirmed the coaching appointment of Gerry McEwan for 2008. McEwan, assistant coach at E.C.U. Joondalup last season, will be assisted next year by another former Wanneroo player in Nick Edwards. “Gerry and Nick bring to the club with a wealth of experience and will be actively recruiting over the summer months for what we all hope will be a much improved squad for the new season,” said club president Steve Hallum. “Further to this, the club thanks Mike Brazil, who resigned at the close of the season, all the best for the future after what proved to be an extremely difficult year at Wanneroo.”
DRAGICEVIC ON THE MOVE
Croatian striker Mate Dragicevic could be on his way out of Perth Glory as early as this week after a disappointing six game spell with the club. Dragicevic, who coach Ron Smith signed this season in the hope of solving the club’s scoring problems, failed to find the back of the net in 400 minutes of A-League football and has not featured in Glory’s last four games. Co-owner Tony Sage confirmed that negotiations are taking place between the club and Dragicevic’s management on his future.
MORI PINGED FOR GLORY TOP JOB
One-time Australian international Damian Mori is being linked to take over the reigns at Perth Glory. It's understood Mori, fresh from leading Adelaide City to a hat-trick of South Australian State League championships, is being targeted to replace besieged boss Ron Smith. The veteran striker is believed to be in the box seat to lead Glory from its darkest days since being formed in 1996.
Mori is no stranger to Perth having played 129 games and scored 84 goals over five seasons with Glory. His strike partnership with Bobby Despotovski is considered to be one of the most lethal the national league has ever seen and returned two championships and two premierships to the club. Mori topped the national league goalscoring tables on five occasions and is a two time winner of the Johnny Warren Medal.
WORLD CUP DREAM ALIVE FOR WA JOEYS
The State’s brightest young stars have taken the first steps towards a World Cup spot by helping Australia qualify for next year’s Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championship. Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury were part of the Joeys squad which qualified for the AFC tournament, much to the delight of national youth coach Martyn Crook. “It’s great to have qualified - it’s a whole different ball game in Asia and there are no easy games,” said Crook.
Australia defeated Malaysia 2-0 and were held to a scoreless draw by DPR (North) Korea in the recent qualifying tournament in Singapore. Crook was happy with the contributions of the West Australian quartet throughout the campaign. “It’s an individual thing for the boys but they all played their roles within the squad,” commented Crook. “Some of them got game time and others not, but everyone worked hard and played their part on the tour.”
Crook was particularly impressed with the efforts of Babalj and Sainsbury while aborad. “Eli scored in the opening game and looked dangerous, we isolated him a bit in the Korea game but he still did his job,” commented Crook. “Trent is a really good player and adapted well to playing in the centre of defence. He didn’t have the best game against Malaysia, but bounced back to have a great game against Korea by dominating in the air and on the ground against a tough opponent.”
Crook could not be happier that West Australia have finally stepped into line with the rest of the nation by introducing a National Training Centre program. “It’s about time it happened, we’ve had a NTC squad for fourteen years in South Australia and the rest of the country has too,” he said. “WA have a great number of talented kids and always have so it’s great to see four boys selected in this squad. Now it’s in-line with the national programme there will be a few more knocking on the door for selection in the future.”
LAZARIDIS RELIEVED AFTER FLAWED DRUGS RULE CHANGED
Stan Lazaridis is relieved for the next innocent who beats a drugs charge, having learnt they'll escape with a warning for testing positive to Finasteride. The World Anti-Doping Agency's revised laws will see Finasteride, a masking agent, downgraded from prohibited to a specified substance from the beginning of next year, which will result in a warning for anyone who tests positive. Lazaridis was slapped with a twelve-month ban for taking the prescribed medicine to treat a chronic skin condition and is eligible to resume his career later this month.
The Australian players' association explored legal avenues to see whether immediate advantages could be taken of the law change, but Lazaridis opted not to pursue that option. "I'm not upset, in some ways I'm kind of happy because it will save someone else," Lazaridis said. "It took something like this for the authorities to say, 'Hang on, we got an innocent guy here, we can't pin these people, and when Marion Jones and these types are clearly cheating and getting away with it'. It just further highlights there was a slight flaw and they've changed it."
GLORY SALVAGE POINT IN QUEENSLAND
A stoppage time by Jamie Coyne snatched Perth Glory a share of the points from Queensland Roar, and saved the job of coach Ron Smith for at least another week. The defender’s first goal of the season earned Glory a deserved 3-3 draw after the visitors squandered a two-goal first-half lead to trail with just minutes remaining. It was a fitting end to an exhilarating game in which Glory dominated most of the first half and showed great spirit in the second. Smith said the prospect of a possible sacking was not weighing on his mind. “That’s out of my control, so I don’t worry too much about that,” he said after the match. “Draws are no good to us, we have got to chase every game now and try and win matches.”
Much of the early running came from the visitors as Liam Reddy thwarted James Robinson and Jamie Harnwell, while the former also had a shot cleared off the line by Craig Moore. Glory grabbed a deserved lead after 18 minutes when Anthony Danze played down the right for Billy Celeski whose low delivery across the top of the 6-yard box was turned past Reddy by team mate Moore. The hosts first shot on goal saw Danny Tiatto fire over the crossbar from distance, then in the space of a few minutes Reinaldo headed high at dead ball situations. The margin was doubled on 42 minutes when Nikolai Topor-Stanley sent in an inch-perfect cross to an unmarked Harnwell who powerfully headed into the net. Roar were back in the game moments out from the break as Robbie Kruse laid the ball off for Marcinho to rifle beyond the reach of Tando Velaphi from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Marcinho curled a free-kick just past the post, and Velaphi kept out shots from Mitch Nichols and Michael Zullo as Roar began the new half positively. The sides were back on level terms after 68 minutes when Simon Lynch converted from the spot following James Downey’s foul on Josh McCloughan. The sides traded attacks in search of a go-ahead goal which saw Reddy save from Simon Colosimo, and Lynch headed just wide for the hosts. Roar hit the front on 86 minutes when Nichols cut past Topor-Stanley to deliver a cross to an unmarked Lynch who across Velaphi and inside the far post. However, the game was far from over and three minutes into stoppage time Jamie Coyne drove forward before unleashing a fierce shot that flew past Reddy from 14-metres. There was still time for one more drama as Celeski sent the ball past Reddy only to have a desperate Josh McCloughan clear the danger.
WINGELL AIMS TO WIN SILVERWARE WITH FREMANTLE
Dale Wingell capped a stunning season by winning the Gold Medal as the Premier League’s best player on Friday night, and immediately set his sights on helping Fremantle Spirit get their hands on a trophy next season. The former Perth Glory player edged out team mate Jason ‘Chilli’ Barrera by just three votes to claim the local games’ highest individual honour. “As a player you dream of one day winning an award like this,” said the 32-year old. “It’s good to win the Gold Medal at this stage of my career and I couldn’t have asked for anymore from the season.”
Wingell formed a lethal midfield partnership with Barrera as a youthful Fremantle side made their mark on their return to top flight football. Part of Glory’s inaugural national league squad, Wingell curbed his own attacking instincts this year to play the anchoring role as Barrera provided the side its’ cutting edge going forward. “It’s great to have me and Jason, two centre midfielders, in the top two positions from the same club,” said Wingell. “Chilli is a great talent and I hope to see him up on stage at a later date to win the Gold Medal.”
In the past couple of years Fremantle have gone from strength to strength under Marc Wingell who has assembled a quality squad capable of challenging for top honours in years to come. “Marc’s developed a good young side,” said Wingell, younger brother of Marc. “We’ve got myself and Alex Christie in there for the experience, but the rest of the players are under twenty-one and most of them were in their first year (playing in the first team). There’s a lot of talent in the Fremantle ranks and next year we need to get in the top five and, hopefully, we can win some silverware in the not too distant future.”
COACHES RESIGN EN MASSE AT ARMADALE
Armadale have been rocked by the sudden departure of coaches Billy Russell and Tom Kilkelly. The experienced pair tendered their resignation this week in response to ‘outside interference’ which came to a head after Reserve team coach Byron Wood was asked to leave. Russell handpicked Wood for the position felt and, clearly irate with the club’s decision, felt this only option was to resign. Neither Russell, Kilkelly nor club president Bill Easton were available for comment. It is understood Armadale has already begun the search for a new coaching team to lead them into 2008.
HARNWELL CONFIDENT OF BREAKING GLORY DUCK
Jamie Harnwell is encouraged by Perth Glory's recent on-field form and is targeting Saturday's away game at Queensland Roar as a great opportunity to kick-start their season. "We've been unlucky in a lot of games this season and at some stage the flood gates are going to open," said Harnwell, who's in line for his 50th A-League appearance this weekend. "Sometimes it just happens that you score three or four and can win some games quite comfortably, hopefully that happens this weekend."
A veteran of 195 game in purple and orange, Harnwell has made his presence felt up front this season with three goals to be Glory's highest goalscorer after nine games. "I'm just going out to do my best and hopefully score some goals. I've managed to get a couple at the moment and if I get a chance to play then I try and make sure I'm there the next week by putting in a good performance," Harnwell commented.
Harnwell dispelled rumours of unrest in the Glory camp by confirming the players are behind coach Ron Smith. "If that wasn't the case then you wouldn't have got a performance like the second half against Melbourne where we outplayed them comprehensively," he said. "Ron wants to win just as much as we do and he is putting every effort into winning each game, it's just not happening for us at the moment. We need to start letting the performances and hopefully the results speak for themselves."
SHAMROCK TO REMAIN IN AMATEURS
Amateur champions Shamrock Rovers have declined the opportunity to join the State League next season. Shamrock was eligible to move into Saturday football after defeating Fremantle United 4-3 in last month’s Amateur Championship Final at Dorrien Gardens. The club recently notified Football West of their decision to remain in the Amateur Premier League for 2008. As a consequence of this, Rockingham City will retain their place in next seasons’ State League First Division.
DRAGICEVIC ON THE OUTER
The days of Croatian import Mate Dragicevic at Perth Glory appear to be numbered after coach Ron Smith refused to rule out off-loading the striker in the near future. The misfiring forward was omitted from the starting line-up a fortnight ago after failing to score in six appearances and is unlikely to be restored to the squad for Saturday's clash with Queensland Roar. "That's just how things pan out. You sign players and if they don't produce the goods, you can't keep playing them," Smith said. While Glory's owners will not interfere with match selections, they are known to be disappointed with the contributions of Dragicevic, one of the club's highest paid players.
GOLD MEDAL IS ICING ON THE CAKE FOR WINGELL
The State League season came to a climax on Friday night with the 46th annual Gold Medal Awards ceremony at the Burswood Intercontinental Resort and Casino. In excess of 650 members of the football family attended the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of 2007, and honour past and present players, officials and administrators as part of the ‘Football through the ages’ theme.
The evening’s centrepiece award, the Gold Medal, was taken out by Fremantle Spirit veteran Dale Wingell. “It’s good to get awards like this at this stage of my career and I couldn’t have asked for anymore from the season, although a bit of silverware in the trophy cabinet would have been nice,” said the 32-year old midfielder. “It’s the icing on the cake for me, but I won’t be retiring from the game anytime soon, I believe I’ve got three to five years in my legs and winning this award really inspires you to keep going.”
Michael Roki was the obvious choice for the Coach of the Year after taking Floreat Athena to first title in a decade. What made Floreat’s season all the more spectacular was that they finished the 22-game home and away series without defeat. The First Division Coach of the Year went to Mandurah City boss Stuart Currie. Mandurah sat atop the table for all 22-games of Currie’s first season at the helm.
The Goalkeeper of the Year was taken out by Stirling Lions shot-stopper Phil Straker. “I’m stoked with the award, words can’t describe it,” said Stirling’s Cup Final penalty shoot-out hero. “I was quite surprised as there have been a number of outstanding ‘keepers this season, but to see my name on the screen was amazing, it caps of a good season for me.”
Ton Klaver went home with the referee’s top honour, the Golden Whistle Award. Klaver turned his hand to officiating late in life and, at the age of 50, has earned the respect of peers and players alike over the past ten years. “In anything in life you try to do your best, and at the end of the day when you’re awarded by your peers it’s a great feeling which I’m really grateful for,” said a clearly delighted Klaver.
The First Division Player of the Year ended in a tie between Ashfield midfielder Igor Novakovic and Steve Suttie of South West Phoenix. “It’s been another good season for Ashfield, we finished second in the League for the second year running and we won the Night Series, so it’s great to cap it off by being nominated the League’s Player of the Year,” said Novakovic, who was still coming to terms with his win.
Suttie said winning the First Division Player of the Year was a testament to the talent coming out of the state’s South West. “I’m delighted to win this award as any individual award is something special,” he said. “But the club blooded a number of youngsters last season and we benefited from that this campaign by finishing third in the League which we hope to continue next season.”
Football West, in conjunction with the Football Hall of Fame, tipped their hat to some of the local games all-time greats as part of the festivities. Those honoured were four time Gold Medalist Theo Papp, seven time leading goalscorer Len Dundo, inaugural captain of Perth Glory Gareth Naven, Australian internationals Gary Marocchi, John Davidson, Sandra Brentall and Bobby Despotovski. Referees Eddie Lennie and Bob Watson, and administrators Julius Re and Barbara Gibson were also saluted.
SAGE KEEPS FAITH IN EMBATTLED COACH
Perth Glory co-owner Tony Sage has confirmed the club’s directors will continue to support coach Ron Smith beyond a planned mid-season review. Sage feels Glory have shown enough improvement in the past few weeks, despite being winless in sixteen starts, to suggest the coach was already starting to turn things around. “We’ll stick by Ron until it’s mathematically impossible (to make the finals),” Sage said. “Then we’ll see what type of football we are playing. If it’s entertaining and the crowd’s happy, then we’ll stay with it.”
Across the country, though, it was a different matter as Sydney F.C. officials axed Branko Culina nine games into the season. Glory assistant coach David Mitchell is believed to have been in consideration for the position, although reports in Sydney suggest former Adelaide United boss John Kosmina is the frontrunner. Culina is the third Sydney coach to depart in just over two seasons following the departures of Germany World Cup winner Pierre Littbarski and former England defender Terry Butcher.
JOEYS QUALIFY FOR ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Australia have secured a spot at next year’s AFC Under-16 Championship after manoeuvring their way past Malaysia and DPR (North) Korea late last week. The next generation of Joeys defeated Malaysia and drew with DPR Korea in an abbreviated qualifying tournament following the late withdrawal of East Timor. The venue for the 2008 AFC Under-16 Championship is yet to be determined with the top-ranked teams to go on and represent Asia at the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Flying the flag for Western Australia in Singapore were Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury.
The Joeys opened their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Malaysia on Wednesday. First half goals from Marc Warren and Babalj secured victory in the first competitive international outing for the current generation of Joeys. Warren, captaining the side in he absence of injured skipper Brendan Hamill, got the ball rolling with a speculative shot from the left which deceived the goalkeeper after 14 minutes. Babalj doubled the margin on the half-hour when he swooped on a loose ball after the ‘keeper spilt a shot on goal. Sainsbury and Babalj played the full game, with Butshiire and Edwards unused substitutes.
Australia’s place at the AFC Under-16 Championship was secured with a scoreless draw against DPR Korea on Friday. The Joeys best opportunity came seven minutes after the interval when Kamal Ibrahim was hauled back in the penalty area, however, Ben Kantarovski sent the spot kick wide of the post. The miss was almost punished by the Koreans who had the ball in the back of the net in the 74th minute but had the effort disallowed for offside after the initial shot had hit the post. Babalj played the opening 71 minutes, Sainsbury was replaced in stoppage time, Butshiire came off the bench after 73 minutes and Edwards was an unused substitute. DPR Korea booked the second group berth by Malaysia in the final group match on Sunday.
The Australian squad for the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers was Chris Bush (Australin Capital Territory), Nick Fitzgerald, Brendan Hamill, Ben Kantarovski, George Klappas, Robert Kolak, Jared Lum, Mitchell Mallia, Nikola Stanojevic, Marc Warren (New South Wales), Nick Tubbs (Queensland), Petar Franjic, Kamal Ibrahim, Tedros Yabio (Victoria), Joel Miller, Chahine Noujaim (South Australia), Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury (Western Australia).
WINGELL WRITES HIS OWN HISTORY
Dale Wingell wrote himself into West Australian football history on Friday evening by becoming the first Fremantle Spirit player to win the Gold Medal. The experienced midfielder edged out team mate Jason Barerra to be named the Premier League’s best and fairest player for 2007. It was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Burswood Intercontinental Resort Casino where in excess of 650 people celebrated the achievements of the recently completely State League season.
Over half a dozen players were within touching distance of the Gold Medal with two rounds of voting to count. Topping the leader board on 18 votes was Wingell, but in hot pursuit were Andrija Jukic (Western Knights), Marc Anthony (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Darryl Platten (Armadale). Perth S.C. playmaker Robbie Puca was third with 16 votes, followed closely by Barerra and Jon Higgins (Joondalup). With 14 votes were Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City), Craig Cheeseman (Wanneroo City) and Floreat Athena pair Josip Magdic and Boima Kareph.
The stage was set for a tense finale. Wingell upped his tally to 20 votes courtesy of a classy Round 21 display against of Stirling, however, Barerra’s best on ground performance in that same match put him just two behind. Magdic and Ante Kovacevic both polled in Floreat’s home defeat of the Knights to move to 15 votes. Wingell secured the Gold Medal by collecting one more vote in Fremantle’s final day win against Perth, while a Magdic hat-trick against Armadale jumped him to the top three.
In winning the 2007 Gold Medal polled Wingell 21 votes to finish just three ahead of his Fremantle midfield partner Barerra. Jukic, Magdic, Anthony and Platten shared third place with 17 votes, which was one more than Puca. In joint fifth were defenders Kovacevic and Higgins with 15 votes. One more off the pace were Johnny Mirco, Cheeseman and Karpeh, followed on 13 votes by Kevin Henderson (Stirling Lions) and Shane Pryce (Inglewood United). Download all the Premier League Gold Medal votes (pdf, 26kb).
Phil Straker was the recipient of the Goalkeeper of the Year award. The Stirling custodian figured prominently throughout the season and played a vital role in their Cup Final victory against Cockburn. A remarkable 25 goals from just 20 outings for Floreat earned Liberian-born Boima Karpeh the Golden Boot. The 23-year olds season tally included hat-trick’s against Wanneroo (twice), the Knights and Stirling.
Guiding Floreat Athena to the championship without defeat earned Michael Roki the Premier League Coach of the Year. The inaugural State League Goal of the Season went to John Migas (Floreat) for his Round 18 strike against E.C.U. Joondalup. Experienced referee Ton Klaver was the deserved recipient of the Golden Whistle Award. No one way more surprised than Canning City president Malcolm Watson when his name was announced for the David Schrandt Memorial Award, which recognises club volunteers.
The Youth Best and Fairest trophy was collected by Knights playmaker Matt Allen, who ended on 26 votes. The highlight of Allen’s sparkling year was a mid-season purple patch in which he polled three best on grounds in four weeks. Perth captain Simon Wilson ended the year strongly to finish runner-up with 22 votes. Michael Black (Perth) was third on 20 votes, one more than Knights sharp-shooter Anthony Fearon (Knights) and Patrick Le (Stirling). The Youth Golden Boot award went home with Fearon whose winter tally stood at 21 goals. Download all the Premier League Youth Best and Fairest votes (pdf, 24kb).
The First Division Fairest and Best award was shared between South West Phoenix striker Steve Suttie and Igor Novakovic of Ashfield who each polled 23 votes. Second place was also split with Andy Brown (Mandurah City) and Andy O’Neill (Ashfield) who collected 21 votes apiece to finish two ahead of Phoenix veteran Gary Mayers. Jon Greenwood (Dianella White Eagles) was fourth with 18 votes, one more than Adrian Sutton (Bayswater City) 17. Download all the First Division Player of the Year votes (pdf, 24kb).
A 31-goal winter earned Greenwood the First Division Golden Boot. Amongst the 25-year olds season highlights were a five-goal haul against Queens Park, four verses both Rockingham City and Morley Windmills, and a mid-season hat-trick at Balcatta. Stuart Currie was named the inaugural First Division Coach of the Year after steering Mandurah City into the top flight for the first time in their history.
Rockingham City’s David Clarke will also look back on 2007 with great fondness after taking home the First Division Youth Fairest and Best trophy. Clarke’s tally to 22 votes had him five clear of Andrew Harold (Forrestfield United) and Samuel Ainscough (Canning). In third place with 16 votes was Jacob Whiteaker (Phoenix) who was one ahead of Bayswater’s Trent Jones. The First Division Youth Golden Boot was split between Forrestfield team mates Andrew Harold and Jamie Burns who each netted 23 times during the winter months. Download all the First Division Youth Best and Fairest votes (pdf, 24kb).
SMITH CONSIDERS CHANGES
Ron Smith admits he may have to reconsider his team's game plan as Perth Glory continue to search for their first win of the 2007/08 A-League season. Glory were gallant in defeat against Melbourne Victory on Sunday but the coach admits frustration is growing after five draws and four losses to start the season. "It's not good. We've been talking about playing ugly, and forgetting about playing football, and that might be the way now," he said. "But you've still got to be putting balls into areas and getting people to challenge for it and so on."
Smith said he was confident he had the on-field talent to get a result away at Queensland Roar this weekend. "I'll have to have a think about it this week and look at the team selection. We've got a short turnaround, we've got some players who we didn't use this weekend who will be chomping at the bit for a game. That might be something to consider that I've got a few freshies," he said. "To be honest, whichever team I've put out on the park, we've had a decent performance from, so I'm not afraid to use some of the lads who were on international duty, who missed out this week."
Glory's winless spell in the Hyundai A-League now extends to sixteen matches in total, including the final seven matches of last year. Their last league win was against New Zealand Knights last November. However, that record is somewhat deceiving with Glory securing eight losses and eight draws in that time. Smith said it would only take two good weeks to get Perth back in touch with the rest of the competition. "In a way, you can't focus on the points, you have to focus on what can we do to get some," Smith said. "We need to win to have a chance of keeping in touch, we need to get a win or two under our belt."
FINALS HOPES ALL BUT OVER FOR GLORY
Melbourne Victory bounced back from a week of controversy to reassert their title claims and defeat a gallant Perth Glory 2-1 in front of 25,598 spectators at Telstra Dome. The loss leaves Glory nine points adrift of the top four and with their play-off aspirations seemingly all but lost. It was a game of two contrasting halves with Victory opening up a two-goal buffer courtesy of a blistering start in which Costa Rican international Carlos Hernandez and Socceroo striker Archie Thompson found the net. Jamie Harnwell gave Glory hope of a comeback minutes from half-time, but Victory closed the game down in the second period to move back into top four contention after nine games.
The mercury was touching 33 degrees when Thompson set the tone by testing Tando Velaphi after only a couple of minutes. The home crowd was up as one in the 11th minute when Thompson went down under the challenge of Jamie Coyne, however, referee Simon Przydacz dismissed what was a legitimate penalty claim. Velaphi denied Thompson and Danny Allsopp in quick succession before Victory broke through on 26 minutes as Hernandez angled a fierce shot past the Glory custodian. And nine minutes later Thompson tucked in goal number two from close-range after Matthew Kemp’s corner was headed back across goal by Roddy Vargas. Glory re-grouped and Naum Sekulovski's header forced a good save from Michael Theoklitos. The visitors were rewarded two minutes from the break when Nikolai Topor-Stanley's cross from the left was nodded in by Harnwell.
Some tactical and positional changes during the break resulted in a more composed Glory side emerge for the second half. But while they increased their share of possession, Glory found it difficult to open up the Victory defence. Mitchell Prentice’s free-kicks kept the home side on high alert and Theoklitos picked the ball off the head of an opponent on more than one occasion. Naum Sekulovski fired high and wide on 57 minutes, and substitute Nick Rizzo should have done better than fire straight at the ‘keeper after being played through by Harnwell. The game was almost killed off on 71 minutes when, in a rare counterattack, Kemp lifted his shot over the crossbar. Glory continued to fight but Prentice rifled wide, substitute Nikita Rukavytsya hit the ball too close to Theoklitos, and Harnwell headed past the post.
GREEN AND GOLD BUTSHIIRE
Million Butshiire has put behind him civil war and conflict to mark himself as a future Socceroo. Born in the Congo, Butshiire is one of three African refugees currently in Singapore with the Australian Under-17 squad under the guidance of coach Martyn Crook. Butshiire, along with Ethiopian-born Kamal Ibrahim and Tedros Yabio, are delighted to be playing football for their adopted home and dreams of one day turning out for the senior national team.
Butshiire has come on in leaps and bounds since taking up the world game little over twelve months go. "Last year was my first season (playing organised football). It's interesting because usually I only play for fun. Everybody was so serious, they all wanted to win the league, it was a good challenge," he added. "It's all happened pretty fast, but it's good … I'm pretty proud of myself. Hopefully I'll get a professional contract, see how things go."
It's only been three years since Butshiire escaped the chaos of the Congo and began the long journey in search of a new life. "When I left my country we hardly took anything, I only brought my school reports, so I don't have a birth certificate," he explained. "I left Congo and went to Uganda for about eleven months, then went to South Africa on the way here. I've settled pretty well in Perth."
Crook says the emergence of players such as Butshiire heralds a previously untapped stream of players for Australia. "They're very motivated kids. They've earned what they've got and I'm very confident that in the future there'll be a lot more of them," said the coach. "We're starting to get more and more refugee kids coming through … we've got some programs in place to help these kids integrate into clubs and we're starting to see the fruits of that come through."
HEAT ON WINLESS COACH
Perth Glory must beat Melbourne Victory on Sunday to take the heat off embattled coach Ron Smith. Fans have blamed the coach for a disastrous start to the season which has Glory propping up the A-League table without a win after eight rounds. Smith has the backing of the club's new owners, but knows he is an easy target. "Speculation is always going to happen," Smith said. "I can't do anything about that. I don't lose sleep over it. I spend too much time trying to get things right on the park with the players."
Perth has been strengthened for the match at Telstra Dome by the return of Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Billy Celeski, Jordan Simpson and Tando Velaphi from Olyrtoos duty and New Zealand international Leo Bertos. "We've got a good atmosphere in the camp and it is a positive outlook among the players because the performances have been good, even though we didn't get the results," Smith added. "We've not been on the back foot or battered by people. We've been in every game and had opportunities - we've just struggled to put the ball in the back of the net."
YEARS’ BEST HONOURED ON FOOTBALL'S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
The 2007 State League season officially comes to a close this evening when over 650 people will attend the 46th annual Gold Medal Awards ceremony at the Burswood Intercontinental Resort Casino. Early indications are there’ll be a bumper turnout for the gala event which is being held in the Grand Ballroom of the Burswood International Resort Casino. The centrepiece of the evening will be the local games’ top individual honour, the Gold Medal.
Amongst the favourites for top honours are Floreat Athena playmaker Josip Magdic, Fremantle Spirit captain Dale Wingell, Darryl Platten of Armadale and English import Marc Anthony from E.C.U. Joondalup. Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City), Robbie Puca (Perth S.C.) and former national league defender Ante Kovacevic (Floreat) are also tipped to finish high on the leader board. Aaron Cole, winner of the 1999 Gold Medal, should poll strongly in his first season at Swan I.C. along with Kevin Henderson (Stirling Lions) and Andrija Jukic (Western Knights).
Michael Roki (Floreat), Graham Normanton (Perth), Scott Miller (Cockburn) and Mick Lyons (Stirling) are in the running for the inaugural Premier League Coach of the Year. Dino Pacella (Cockburn), Vas Vujacic (Floreat), Gareth Deeg (Perth), Phil Straker (Stirling) and Kevin Miller (Western Knights) are in the running for the Goalkeeper of the Year. The Youth Best and Fairest will be fought out by Knights team mates Anthony Fearon and Matt Allen, Patrick Le (Stirling) and Perth pair Simon Wilson and Michael Black.
There’ll be little separating the leaders when the final rounds of votes are counted in the First Division Best and Fairest award. Ashfield pair Andy O’Neill and Igor Novakovic will figure strongly alongside Mandurah City captain Andy Brown and Steve Suttie of South West Phoenix. Jon Greenwood (Dianella White Eagles), Mark Edwards (Gosnells City), Adrian Sutton (Bayswater City) and Paul Van Dongen (Canning City) are also expected to finish high on the leader board.
Vying for the First Division Coach of the Year are Stuart Currie (Mandurah), Salv Todaro (Ashfield), Micky Cairns (Phoenix) and Jimmy Pearson (Dianella). The winner of the Youth Best and Fairest will come from Andrew Harold of champions Forrestfield United, Samuel Ainscough from runners-up Canning, David Clark (Rockingham City), Trent Jones (Bayswater) or Jacob Whiteaker (Phoenix).
SCALI TO PLAY KEY ROLE IN SWAN’S FUTURE
Swan I.C. legend Carlo Scali feels he still has plenty to offer the club despite stepping down as first team coach last week. Speaking for the first time since vacating the position he’s held for the past three years, Scali cited a combination of work and personal reason for his decision. “As much as I would like to have stayed on as coach, I could not give the position the commitment it deserves,” Scali said. “That said, I’ve put my hand up to help out anyway I can, dependant upon availability, and at this stage will be assisting Paul Lincoln with the first team. Should the club appoint a full-time assistant to Paul then I am happy to help out any of the other teams should they need it.”
Scali experienced all the highs and low the game has to offer during a seventeen-year career in which he only wore black and white stripes. The journey included back-to-back First Division Player of the Year awards in 1998 and 1999, the 2001 Gold Medal as the Premier League’s best player, and Cup Final glory in 2002 and 2003. Scali is eager to see Swan build on their strengths and to meet that end has put himself forward to help chart the clubs’ future. “I will be putting ideas forward to the board and helping out where I can,” he commented. “I believe we have a lot of work to do as a club and we need to start structuring the club as a whole to be able to move forward successfully.”
PETKOVIC BACK IN ACTION
Perth Glory received a welcome boost this week with the long-awaited return of Jason Petkovic. The experienced goalkeeper joined team mates in full training for the first time since breaking his leg last October and quickly made his presence felt between the posts with some terrific reflex saves. “It’s pretty much like pre-season for me now,” Petkovic said after a searching training session. “I’ve done a lot of hard work to get back to this stage and hopefully in three or four weeks I’ll be fit enough to start pushing for selection again.”
The one-time Socceroo has endured a long road back to the football pitch after snapping his leg in two places against the Central Coast Mariners almost twelve months ago. After months on the bike and in the pool, Petkovic progressed to walking, then jogging and more recently running. “I was probably a bit over ambitious in hoping for ten months but I had to set some sort of target,” he said. “While I didn’t achieve my time frame exactly, in terms of what the doctors said I’m pretty much on track. It definitely helped me to have that goal and I think I’m further along because of it.”
Held in regard by both his peers and Glory fans, Petkovic’s leadership on the last line of defence helped propel Glory to back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. The 34-year old admits it’s been difficult watching from the stands as the club goes through some tough times. “I can’t really put it into words, you just want to get out there and help but realistically you know you can’t get out there,” said the veteran of 325 national league games. “The only thing you can do is support the team and that’s my role really at the moment.”
Glory are yet to register a win this season, however, Petkovic believes there aren’t that far away. “I think things are starting to turn around, we had a much more promising game on the weekend. We were probably a bit naive I think and gave away some chances there towards the end when we should have closed them out,” Petkovic said. “We’re fortunate that the league is very close and we are in touch and can still make our move, but that’ll have to be soon.”
SAINSBURY OVER THE MOON WITH JOEYS CALL-UP
Young centre back Trent Sainsbury was over the moon when he found out he’d been selected to represent Australia. Sainsbury caught the eye of selectors at the recent National Youth Championship and can’t wait to get the green and gold on his back. “It’s a great opportunity for me and it’s a big step from club football, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m very anxious to play,” said Sainsbury. The teenager is joined in the Joeys squad by fellow sandgropers Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire and Cameron Edwards for the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championship.
Sainsbury was a key component of the State Under-15 side which finished fourth at the annual championship in Coffs Harbour. “We did very well and were considered a strong State for playing and passing the ball. Injuries started to happen but the boys still finished a very respectable fourth,” he said. “The Football West National Training Centre has allowed us to work with the elite coaches in the state. This has given me and the other squad members a better opportunity to improve our skills, and in turn gives you an edge over your competition that you wouldn’t learn at club level.”
Sainsbury says the greater impact on his development has been his father Scott, a former first team coach of Armadale, and mother Kerry. “My dad has been the biggest influence on my career - he was always kicking the ball with me when I was young and he and mum have been behind me all the way,” commented Sainsbury. “They were both amazed when I told them that I had been accepted into the squad but unfortunately they are unable to fly over to watch me play.”
Despite stepping on to the international stage, Sainsbury’s feet remain firmly on the ground. “I’m just looking to my first game for Australia, and take it one game at a time,” he said. “My future will sort itself out - I just want to play as much as I can for my country and just enjoy playing, and if I get spotted by scouts along the way that will be a bonus. I love to watch attractive football, and Carvalho, J.T (John Terry) and Messi are the players I most enjoy watching. If I can emulate them then I’ll be heading in the right direction.”
The Australian Under-17 squad for the up-coming games against Malaysia, North Korea and East Timor is Chris Bush (Australin Capital Territory), Nick Fitzgerald, Brendan Hamill, Ben Kantarovski, George Klappas, Robert Kolak, Jared Lum, Mitchell Mallia, Nikola Stanojevic, Marc Warren (New South Wales), Nick Tubbs (Queensland), Petar Franjic, Kamal Ibrahim, Tedros Yabio (Victoria), Joel Miller, Chahine Noujaim (South Australia), Eli Babalj, Million Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury (Western Australia).
OLYROOS HELD BY LEBANON
Australia have spoilt a golden opportunity to put themselves in pole position to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Game after being held to a 0-0 draw by Lebanon. The result leaves the Olyroos needing to beat Group A leader Iraq at home next month to have any chance of qualifying for the Beijing Games. Despite dominating the game, Australia found it difficult to breach the Lebanese defence. Goalkeeper Hassan Mogneigh denied Nick Ward and Mark Bridge, while James Troisi fired high late in the first period. Lebanon's best chances came through Akram Moghrabi who twice fired just past the post. The second half was much the same with Mark Bridge, Troisi and Kristian Sarkies all failing to convert when the opportunity arose. Ward played a full game with Tando Velaphi an unused substitute.
STATE’S BEST TO FACE MALAYSIAN POWERHOUSE
A Football West Select XI will face Malaysian Super League outfit Selangor FA in a series of exhibition games during the coming week. Experienced coaches Kenny Lowe and Peter Murphy along with Andrew Bettell have selected a thirty-four player squad for the three game series which commences on Sunday, 21 October, at Litis Stadium. “Whilst the time of the year and the fairly short notice in organising the games has meant that a few players are unavailable, we have managed to put together a quality group of players and are looking forward to the challenge of playing one of Malaysia’s premier sides,” said Bettell, Football Wests’ State Education and Development Manager.
Selangor are the powerhouse club of Malaysian football. Founded in 1936, the Red Giants have won the Malaysia Cup a record 30 times along with four Malaysian league titles, four Malaysian FA Cups and six Charity Shields. Down through the years Western Australia has developed strong ties with the club with the likes of Robbie Dunn, Ross Greer and Alistair Edwards all wearing Selangor colours. Other former players of note include Perth Glory assistant coach David Mitchell and Floreat Athena defender Ante Kovacevic.
The thirty-four players selected have been split into two preliminary squads. ‘Selection One’ will take on Selangor this Sunday with ‘Selection Two’ pitting their skills next Thursday evening. The highlight of Selangor’s visit takes place on Saturday 27th October when they meet a Combined Selection under lights at Litis Stadium (7.00pm). Selangor will also face Premier league champions Floreat Athena on Tuesday, 23rd October, at Litis Stadium (7.00pm). Entry to all games is free.
The ‘Selection One’ squad to play Selangor on Sunday, 21st October, at Litis Stadium (3.00pm) is Cyril Sharrock (Armadale), Liam Lilly, Shane Nunes (Cockburn City), Adam Bachiller, Garin Collins, Boima Karpeh, Josip Magdic, John Migas (Floreat Athena), Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts (Fremantle Spirit), Marc Anthony, Steven Baines (E.C.U. Joondalup), Corey Hugo, Tom Shepheard (Swan I.C.), Cormac Dawson, Andrija Jukic and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights).
The ‘Selection Two’ squad which meets Selangor on Thursday, 25th October, at Litis Stadium (7.00pm) is Dean Aplegren, Daniel Neiderberger, Greg Sharland (Inglewood United), John Higgins, Mark Lee, Ian McMurray, Andy Petterson (E.C.U. Joondalup), Scott Bulloch, Gianfranco Circati, Matt Danskin, Todd Howarth, Michael Icanovski, Antonio Naglieri, Andreas Oliveira (Perth S.C.), Glen Thomas, Neil Young (Sorrento) and Keith Brown (Stirling Lions).
BAYSWATER HAND REIGNS TO DI FULVIO
Michael Di Fulvio will lead Bayswater City into the 2008 First Division season. The one-time Inglewood United and Swan I.C. defender feels ready for the challenge after cutting his teeth as Carlo Scali’s assistant at Swan. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge at Bayswater,” said Di Fulvio. “I played there as junior for over ten years and it was comforting to see some familiar faces down there. They have an ambitious board and are keen for the club to move forward through all levels in a positive manner.” Di Fulvio will be assisted in his first senior coaching role by former Wanneroo City boss Jamie Goodman.
LAST MINUTE DECISION PAYS OFF FOR STIRLING’S PORTER
Steve Porter’s last minute decision to stay in Perth paid off for Stirling Lions when the midfield dynamo proved crucial in their Cup Final triumph over Cockburn City. Porter earned the man of the match award after a tireless display during a thrilling season finale that was eventually decided 4-3 on penalties after both teams failed to break the 1-1 deadlock during extra time.
Porter, whose deft touches and strong work-rate lit up the final, revealed that he had been cleared to take part in the season finale only six days earlier. The former Liverpool trainee had booked a flight back to England and said goodbye to friends and team mates before deciding against the move. “I was going home and two hours before I got on the flight I changed my mind,” said the 25-year old. “I wanted to play in the Cup Final but (the main reason was) I just love my life over here.”
The drama didn’t end with the cancellation of his flight. Porter’s player registration had been transferred to England and he spent a nervous few days waiting to be cleared to play in Saturday’s game. “I found out on Monday,” Porter said. “I’d been panicking for ages.” While he might have had doubts about his own selection, Porter said he had always been confident Stirling would win the Cup. “I didn’t have any doubts because all the lads were so determined,” he added.
DJULBIC HUNGIER THAN EVER FOR GLORY
Dino Djulbic believes more of the same fighting spirit shown by Perth Glory during the team’s latest gut-wrenching setback can inspire a first win of the season away to A-League champions Melbourne Victory this weekend. The big defender epitomised a collective Glory character on Friday when he sprinted down the players race to receive treatment on a nasty head wound just four minutes into the 3-3 draw with Sydney F.C. “I was just worried about what would happen with a man down,” he said. “I was telling the doctor to hurry up. I was just thinking about the boys.”
After temporary staples and a heavy bandage were applied to the gash, Djulbic returned to the fray with little regard for the seeping wound, which would need further attention during the second half. And immediately after the game the club doctor applied 16 stitches to the cut that had been opened up by a clash of heads with Brazilian import Patrick. Despite Djulbic’s desperation to brighten Glory’s dim finals hopes, there was a bitter sting in the tail of an otherwise gritty performance. Glory were only seconds from their first win of the season when Alex Brosque levelled the game with the last meaningful action of the night.
Djulbic revealed the performance against Sydney, while disappointing in its conclusion, had actually led to improved confidence in the camp ahead of Glory’s trip to Melbourne. “For me, personally, it gives me confidence because we are now scoring goals,’ he said. “We copped some silly goals but that happens sometimes. I tell you, we’re going to Melbourne to win. I don’t think anyone will be satisfied with anything less than three points. We’ve dropped points at home so we have to make up for that. I think Melbourne is the place to start.”
KLAVER HONOURED WITH GOLDEN WHISTLE
An outstanding season has paid off for Ton Klaver in the form of the 2007 Golden Whistle Award which goes to the State League referee of the year. “I’m delighted Ton has won this award,” said State Referees Coach Eddie Lennie. “He has put in a lot of hard work over the years and it just goes to show that time and age are no barriers to winning this prestigious award.”
Klaver took up the whistle late in life, commencing his refereeing career in 1997 at the age of 40. He attained his Class One qualification in 2002 and since this time has been refereeing in the Premier League. This season Klaver officiated in 21 home and away games as well as three Cup fixtures. Prior to becoming a referee Klaver played for East Fremantle Tricolore and Canning Corinthian, and coached at Canning and Olympic Kingsway.
Retiring referee Angelo Nardi was presented with a Special Achievement Award. “It is sad to see Angelo hang up his whistle and he will be sorely missed on the field by refereeing colleagues, clubs and players alike,” said Matthew Cheeseman, Football West Referees Coordinator. In a 22-year career, Nardi was awarded five Golden Whistle Awards, officiated at national league level for seven seasons and was awarded the prestigious prize of inclusion on the FIFA Referees’ Panel in 2006.
A host of additional awards were presented on Saturday evening at Maurizio Restaurant in North Perth. Josh Mihevc collected the Assistant Referee of the Year. Michael Tolmie was recipient of the Panel B Referee of the Year, David Costello the Panel C Referee of the Year and Damien Ethell the Panel D Referee of the Year. The Youth Referee of the Year award went home with Jarrad Kennington.
COLOSIMO URGES FOR PLAYER RESPONSIBILITY
Perth Glory captain Simon Colosimo has called on the team to lift and take responsibility for its own actions following their thrilling 3-3 draw with Sydney F.C. Glory looked to be cruising when Sydney struck a couple of late goal to share the spoils. “We can’t go out there and be leading 3-1 and throw it away, and that’s what we did,” Colosimo said after the match. “It was a very empty feeling, quite disappointing. There’s been a lot of pressure on Ron (Perth coach Ron Smith) and (assistant) David Mitchell but to be quite honest I think the players have to take some responsibility, and I think they should.”
Colosimo was at a loss to explain how the Glory blew a two-goal lead. “I think we got a little bit deep. We haven’t been in that situation yet this season … we got a bit naive and deep,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve forgotten how to win, we just make silly mistakes. The game was enjoyable, it was end to end. We didn’t stop playing. Maybe we overplayed - maybe we should have got ten players behind the ball and sat inside the box and sort of prayed they didn’t create too many chances, but the best form of defence is attack.”
STIRLING TAKE CUP WITH SPOT ON PERFORMANCE
Stirling Lions have successfully retained the association Cup by out-shooting a gallant Cockburn City on penalties. Played in energy sapping and witnessed by a big crowd at Litis Stadium, Johnny Mirco gave Cockburn the upper hand after 36 minutes only for Andy Brown to level the game midway through the second period. The game was sent to a penalty shoot-out after ending deadlocked at one-all following 120 minutes of pulsating football. Long-serving defender Darko Ilomanoski had the honour of converting the decisive penalty to clinch Stirling Cup glory by 4-3.
The two combatants made a tentative start to the game, giving little away without a fight across the middle of the park and prodding forward with caution. It took until the 14th minute for the fist chance on goal to arrive as Steve Porter gained possession just outside the 18-yard box and lashing a low shot through a sea of legs which slammed into the outside of the post. Slow to get into gear, Cockburn spent much of the early exchanges on the backfoot with the defensive wall marshalled by Jason Godfrey, Shane Nunes and Dino Pacella holding firm.
Stirling suffered a body blow when creative teenager Ludovic Boi limped out of the game after 34 minutes, his place taken by Dannie Richman. Within two minutes Cockburn had the lead as Johnny Mirco’s long-range free-kick took a deflection off the defensive wall to loop over stranded goalkeeper Phil Straker and into the net. Mike Lyons’ side immediately attempted to level but Andy Brown sent his header straight at Dino Pacella. However, it was Cockburn that ended the period the stronger with Josh Kamasz’ low shot held by Straker who, minutes later, came to the rescue again after Michael Mirco’s cross caused panic amongst the Stirling rearguard.
The second half began with Stirling showing renewed vigour as Richmond’s shot was blocked by Paul Natale and Andy Brown’s follow-up effort deflected wide off Godfrey. Richman was making a menace of himself down the right and on the hour stormed forward to unleash a vicious shot which was halted by a desperate Godfrey. The pressure paid off two minutes later when Keith Brown won possession in midfield and relayed the ball to Steve Hesketh who laid it off for Leo Harman to charge down the left and fire in a deep cross which an unmarked Andy Brown headed in at close-range.
Heading into the closes Cockburn showed the greater desire to end the game as Stirling started to wilt in the warm and sunny conditions. Great work on the right by Giovanni De Bartolo allowed him to deliver a dangerous cross into the area where Dean Evans cleared the danger. Substitute Aaron Dos Santos played though to Michael Mirco whose goalbound shot was unfortunately blocked by a teammate. In the final minute Michael Mirco shrugged off his marker only to have Kevin Henderson deflect his shot wide. Liam Lilly headed the resulting corner high before referee Steven Gregory signalled the end of regulation time.
Extra-time opened with Johnny Mirco clipping high of the crossbar after being played down the right by Dos Santos. Straker then came to his sides’ rescue with a superb save that thwarted De Bartolo. Stirling’s battle to stay in the game was made all the more difficult when Andy Brown was issued a straight red card following an off the ball incident with Dos Santos in the 104th minute. Despite throwing everything at a fatigued and under-manned opponent, Cockburn opened up very few avenues to goal over the final quarter hour. Their best chance opportunity came the way of Dean Wallace who headed high from close-range after meeting a Johnny Mirco free-kick.
The penalty shoot-out swung in Stirling’s favour when Straker saved from Dom De Felice, however, things soon back on an even keel as Alan Muir was denied by Pacella. With the score at 3-3 after four spot kicks each, Straker made himself a hero by keeping out Godfrey’s effort. Up stepped Ilmanoski who clinically despatched his shot past Pacella to send the Stirling into party mode. “Cockburn pressed us late in extra time and with ten minutes to go I was hoping we’d take it to penalties as I knew we had Phil Straker who is great at penalty saves,” said Stirling coach Lyons. “Darko and Hendo showed great character, and Steve Porter was a worthy winner of the man of the match award.”
Cockburn coach Scott Miller was philosophical after the heartbreaking loss. “Someone’s got to win it and a penalty shoot-out is a raffle,” he said. “We did have an extra man for fifteen minutes but we had two blokes who couldn’t run so that’s the way it goes. The Lions gave us a good hiding at Macie Park in the League and I thought the whole side worked really hard today. We had one lapse of concentration for them to score but I couldn’t have asked for any more from all the players.”
Cockburn City - Dino Pacella, Paul Natale
(Mario De Felice 98), Shane Nunes, Jason Godfrey,
Liam Lilly, Johnny Mirco, Dom De Felice, Michael
Mirco, Dean Wallace, Giovanni De Bartolo, Josh
Kamasz (Adam Surjan 45 (Aaron Dos Santos 69))
Stirling Lions - Phil Straker, Darko Ilmanoski, Kevin Henderson, Steven Hesketh, Dean Evans, Keith Brown, Steve Porter, Leo Harman (Alan Muir 76), Ludovic Boi (Dannie Richman 34), Phil Arnold (Matt Italiano 107), Andy Brown
Bookings - P.Arnold (21), J.Mirco (24), S.Porter (29),K.Henderson (109), K.Brown (117)
Dismissals - A.Brown (104)
Referee - Steven Gregory
COCKBURN CLAIM RESERVES TROPHY
Cockburn City has lifted the Reserve Cup Final by defeating Mandurah City in a physical encounter at Litis Stadium. There were few highlights of note in a tight opening spell that had both midfields working overtime to try and assert some control over the game. A positive outlook from Mandurah resulted in the games first opening for Sean Dash whose low strike forced Louis Lopresti into a smart save. Cockburn settled the better and through good movement of the ball began creating chances with Mileta Miletic shooting wide and Marko Aleksic heading high. A Mandurah counterattack almost produced the goods as Damien Condo lifted the ball over the defence to release Alex Darby whose stinging shot from 7-metres was palmed away by Lopresti. But by far the majority of play was with Cockburn for whom Jamie De Abreu rifled just the wrong side of the post. Their persistence was rewarded on the stroke of half-time when Luke Woodward’s defence splitting pass sent Mileta Miletic through to cleverly touch his shot past on-coming goalkeeper Ross Clayton.
Matt McDonald should have strengthened Cockburn’s grip on the trophy shortly after the re-start but placed high from 7-metres following a superb cross by Jamie de Abreu. Lopresti was called into action not long after to keep out Dash’s low strike from just inside the area as Mandurah attempted to get back on level terms. In the 62nd minute Jamie De Abreu’s shot from 14-metres was spectacularly tipped away by a diving Ross Clayton. With play streaming from one end to the other Dash lifted his long-range effort over the crossbar, and substitute Josh Findlater glanced wide from McDonald’s delivery. Mandurah threw everything they had left at Cockburn as the clock ticked down but it clearly was not going to be their day when Kevin Morris’ lobbed Lopresti only to have the ball land on the top netting with just minutes remaining. “Mandurah fought it to the end and put us under pressure late,” said Cockburn coach John Loreto. “Fortunately we had a bit of luck today, but you need that sometimes to win games.”
Cockburn City - Louis Lopresti, Luke
Woodard, Jamie De Abreu, Steve Cramphorn (Josh
Findlater 61), Aaron De Abreu, Joseph Brunetto,
Paul Underwood, Scott Daley, Matt McDonald (Bobby
Golub 86), Marko Aleskic, Mileta Miletic (Pavle Beserko 79)
Mandurah City - Ross Clayton, Neil Connor, Stuart McCall, David Dawson, Alex Darby, Sean Dash, Mikel Sesma, Kevin Morris, Gary Attrill (Kevin Morris 46), Damien Condo, Karl Doogan (Adam Parmenter 68)
Bookings - M.Sesma (14), D.Condo (27), S.Cramphorn (52)
Dismissals - Nil
Referee - Michael Tolmie
FEARON LEADS KNIGHTS TO YOUTH CUP GLORY
A stunning hat-trick by Anthony Fearon has guided Western Knights to a 4-2 victory against Stirling Lions in the Youth Cup Final at Litis Stadium. Lifting the Cup puts the icing on the cake of a memorable season for the Knights youngsters who only last month were award the League trophy. Chances presented at both ends of the park as Rory Feely stung the gloves of Beau Geerlings, and Alex Sutton was put to the test by Michael De Souza. Stirling got the go-ahead goal midway through the half when Patrick Le sent Feely clear to stroke a shot past the advancing goalkeeper. This sparked the Knights into life and shortly after De Souza was denied for the second time by Sutton. Fearon should have equalised after latching on to a speculative cross field ball by Matthew Allen but, with only the ‘keeper to beat, the striker skewed his shot past the post. Sutton was having an inspired half between the sticks and leading into the break thwarted strike partners Anthony Skorich and Fearon.
The Knights started the second half at full pace and inside a minute drew level when Fearon angled a terrific shot past Sutton from the edge of the 18-yard box. Skorich had a shot blocked on the line by a defender, then Jack Rocchi was frustrated by Sutton’s courageous smothering save. The pay-off came in the 66th minute when De Souza’s quickly taken free-kick put Fearon clear to fire the Knights into the lead. It was all one-way traffic with the Knights charging into attack at every opportunity and Stirling doing what they could to weather the storm. In a rare counterattacking move, Stirling substitute Mitchell Wishnowsky’s first time strike called Geerlings into action. Fearon completed his hat-trick by getting on the end of Geerlings’ long clearance which he whipped past Sutton after 85 minutes. Stirling refused to concede and shortly after Dennis Divjakovski heading in a Del Billson corner to give them a glimmer of hope. However, the result was soon enough out beyond doubt by Skorich who rounded Sutton to tuck away his teams’ fourth goal.
Paul Price, coach of the Knights, was thrilled by the way his side refused to drop their heads after going behind early. “We started brightly but still conceded a goal, but I thought on the day we were much the better side. The Lions battled well and credit to them but when we scored in the first minute of the second half I knew we’d go on and win it,” he said. A lack of experience on Stirling’s behalf cost them the game according to coach Doug Hesketh. “I thought we played pretty well in the first but we made too many mistakes. They had a few players who have played at a higher level and it showed and they punished us. We’ve had a good season and we had six 15-year olds out there today and it all bodes well for the club’s future.”
Western Knights Beau Geerlings, David
Price, Josip Peran, Jack Rocchi, Anthony Skorich,
Michael De Souza (Ivan Gavranich 69), Anthony
Fearon, Josip Vuletich, Ryan Shackleton, Neil Wallace, Matt Allen
Stirling Lions - Alex Sutton, Zoran Vrteski (Del Billson 85), Cameron Sutton, Keith Clevenger, Rory Feely, Patrick Le (Mitchell Wishnowsky 57), Dennis Divjakovski, Dave Sasay, Francios Sneeden (Ndumba Makeche 70), Tom Senior, Ben Senior
Bookings - Sasay (1), Sneedon (5)
Dismissals - Nil
Referee - Tony Chorley
MRDJA FEARS LOSING ANOTHER SEASON
Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja fears his chronic knee problem could send another season in an already injury-plagued career down the drain. The A-League leaders are riding high, three points clear atop the competition, but Mrdja says he's endured the darkest days of his career since a recurring knee injury flared up and sidelined him month ago.
A recent trip to the specialist proved inconclusive and Mrdja said if the pain didn't go away soon, he may have no choice but to undergo season-ending surgery. "We're still not sure (what it is) at the moment, but if it's not going to improve and get any better and basically be comfortable for me to run around on, well then the next step would be surgery," Mrdja said. "That would be another season gone down the drain and it's very disappointing."
Mrdja has had a horrid couple of years battling the injury. He missed the entire inaugural A-League season and featured in just six of the Mariners' games during 2006/07. Adding to his frustration this season has been Mrdja's impressive start in which he netted in the Mariners first three games to spark up a promising strike partnership with new signing Sasho Petrovski. His early-season form even lead Mrdja to making his Socceroo debut in the friendly with Argentina.
The 28-year old is rated an outside chance of a return in tomorrow's match against Queensland Roar, but admits he would be playing through the pain barrier and with concerns over the long-term health of the knee in the back of his mind. "To play again is all I really want to do and it's quite gut wrenching not being able to run around with the boys," he said. "I want to get back out there and play and keep playing and it's disappointing not to be out there - it is pretty upsetting to be honest."
HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY AS SYDNEY STEAL A POINT
A goal in stoppage time has robbed Perth Glory would have been a deserved first win of 2007/08 campaign. With ten minute remaining Sydney F.C. looked dead and buried at two goals down before a late surge snatched a 3-3 draw with Glory in this evening’s A-League match at Members Equity Stadium. “The boys put everything in that and I think it’s maybe a little bit of inexperience or maybe it’s just not our season,” said a devastated Glory captain Simon Colosimo. “We thoroughly deserved three points there and we just didn’t get it. Sydney aren’t an easy team to shut out especially with (Alex) Brosque and Juninho in the form that they’re in. I don’t think we got caught out, I think it was just a couple of silly mistakes.”
Glory ran amok down the right wing throughout the first half, capitalising on Sydney’s well-advertised weakness but, as has been the case so far this season, they lacked the finishing touch. James Robinson shot wide after good lead-up work from Tyler Simpson, Robinson turned provider for Colosimo whose shot was also past the post, then Jamie Harnwell headed wide from Nick Rizzo’s delivery. Colosimo came closest with a powerful long-range snapshot which forced an excellent save from goalkeeper Clint Bolton. All too often though, their hosts shots were wide and wasted. Despite Glory’s domination, it was Brosque who got the breakthrough five minutes from half-time by muscling his way through the defence to get on the end of a Brendan Santalab pass which he slotted into the net.
The second half was eight minutes old when Glory drew level as Mitchell Prentice floated the ball into the 18-yard box where Dino Djulbic knocked it back for Harnwell to blast in from 8-metres. A few minutes later Jamie Coyne drove down the centre to feed Harnwell whose gave the slightest of touches to push the ball on to Robinson who fired under a diving ‘keeper. The margin was further increased on 69 minutes when Prentice’s free-kick deflected off the six-man defensive wall and beat an unsighted Bolton. Sydney hit back twelve minutes later through Patrick who slammed the ball past Tommi Tomich after his initial shot had been blocked by the Glory custodian.
The remaining minutes were totally dominated by Sydney as David Zdrilic and Patrick placed wide of the target. Glory substitute Nikita Rukavytsya should have made safe the points on the counterattack when teed-up by Robinson but dragged the shot narrowly wide with only Bolton to beat. A sparkling Juninho free-kick dipped after beating the ball only to crash into the crossbar, and Tomich held Patricks’ follow-up. Sydney equalised with effectively the last play of the game as Mark Rudan’s far post cross was nodded down by Patrick for Brosque to fire in from close-range. It may have been a thrilling end to the match but Glory fans trudged home heartbroken after watching their side come within seconds of three very much needed points.
YOUNG MATILDA'S CUP HOPES DASHED
Australia is out of the running for a place at next years Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Losses to Japan and DPR (North) Korea in their opening fixtures at the AFC Under-19 Women’s Qualifying tournament in China brought the Young Matilda’s campaign to an early halt during the week. The only saving grace for Australia was a 2-1 win over Myanmar in the final game which secure them third place on the Group A table. Katanning-born goalkeeper Lydia Williams captained Australia in all three games, while midfielder Ella Mastrantonio played a full game against Myanmar.
The Young Matildas suffered a 0-1 loss to Japan in the opening qualifier. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams was in the thick of the action with a couple of good early saves as Japan came out firing to dominate possession. Japan found a way through on 21 minutes when Chinatsu Kira netted at close-range from Michi Goto’s delivery. The second half started much like the first and Williams again kept Australia in the game with a series of saves. It was only in the latter stages that Australia was able to put any significant pressure on the Japanese goal with Elise Kellond-Knight and Caitlin Cooper going close without success.
A controversial late penalty earned DPR (North) Korea victory by 2-1, and killed off Australia’s chances of playing at next years’ finals tournament. The Young Matildas started brightly and were rewarded after 13 minutes when Tameka Butt converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Kyah Simon. The Koreans equalised four minutes from half time through a stunning shot from 16-metres by Cha Hu Nam. Both sides had their chances in a nail-biting second half which was in the 83rd minute when Ra Un Sim scored from the penalty spot.
Australia concluded the qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win against Myanmar. The Young Matildas worked hard against a defensive Myanmar who took the lead against the run of play after 32 minutes through Mu Lwin Mu. Parity was restored a minute later when Ashleigh Connor fired in from 10-metres. Australia started the second half strongly and nine minutes in Kyah Simon smashed a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box inside the left post. The remainder of the game was controlled by the Young Matildas who created numerous chances but were unable to add to their tally.
The Australian squad for the AFC Under-19 Women’s Qualifying tournament was Victoria Balomenos, Tameka Butt, Ashleigh Connor, Caitlin Cooper, Rachel Cooper, Stacey Day, Rachel Doyle, Casey Dumont, Grace Gill-McGrath, Lyndsay Glohe, Elise Kellond-Knight, Olivia Kennedy, Jenna Kinglsey , Ella Mastrantonio, Ellyse Perry, Teresa Polias, Clare Polkinghorne, Renee Rollason, Kyah Simon, Servet Uzunlar and Lydia Williams.
KARPEH IS YOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hot-shot striker Boima ‘Jerry’ Karpeh is the footballwa.net 2007 Premier League Player of the Year. A late run of votes took the 23-year old clear of E.C.U. Joondalup midfielder Marc Anthony and Floreat Athena team mate Ante Kovacevic to win the award which is voted for by the players, coaches and supporters of the local game. Taking out the footballwa.net 2007 Premier League Player of the Year is the perfect way for Karpeh to end a memorable year in which he spearheaded Floreat to their first League championship in a decade.
Michael Roki, coach of Floreat, said Karpeh’s contributions were invaluable throughout the clubs’ championship season. “Jerry has been the perfect target man for us and the twenty-five goals he scored, along with countless assists, only underlines his importance,” Roki commented. “He constantly harasses opposition defences and can influence a game with his pace, strength and skill. His confidence and willingness to try almost anything around the penalty area makes him a player that most would prefer to be playing with - not against.”
Karpeh tallied 66 votes to finish a clear winner of the footballwa.net 2007 Premier League Player of the Year. Scottish import Anthony, who played the starring role at Joondalup this winter, came in as runner-up on 57 votes. A pillar of strength at the back for Floreat, former national league player Kovacevic came in third with 54 votes. Floreat’s creative midfielder Josip Madgic completed his clubs’ dominance of our annual award by polling 39 votes to finish a distant fourth.
Western Knights livewire Andrija Jukic and one-time State defender Aaron Cole (Swan I.C.) ended level with 25 votes. Just three behind in sixth place was Perth S.C. stalwart Michael Icanovski. Branimir Mikulic (Floreat) and Dale Wingell (Fremantle Spirit) were level with 19 votes each. And gathered together on 16 votes were Cormac Dawson (Western Knights), Shane Nunes (Cockburn City), veteran defender Alex Christie (Fremantle) and Perth team mates Nikita Rukvysta and Robbie Puca.
Karpeh is the first player to win both the footballwa.net Premier League and First Division Player of the Year awards. In 2003 he was named the First Division Player of the Year while playing at Bayswater City. Karpeh is the seventh player to be named the footballwa.net Premier League Player of the Year. Previous winners are Simon Harland (2006), Antonio Naglieri (2005), Australian international Nick Ward (2004), Shane Crampton (2003), Jamie Coyne (2002) and Branimir Mikulic (2001). The footballwa.net ‘staff’ would like to thank everyone who voted in year’s award.
BROWN TOPS THE POPS
Mandurah City captain Andy Brown has been voted the footballwa.net 2007 First Division Player of the Year. Not a lot separated the leaders going into the final week of counting when Brown broke away from the rest of the field to claim the award. Steve Suttie, loyal servant of South West Phoenix, came in as runner-up with Dianella White Eagles’ striker Jon Greenwood close behind in third place. Brown’s strong work ethic and ability to influence games were what, ultimately, tipped the scales in his favour.
Mandurah coach Stuart Currie has nothing but praise for his championship winning captain. “Andy is a class act and really leads by example,” said Currie. “He’s very committed on the pitch, is a terrific motivator and all the boys know he’s always there when the going gets tough. His greatest assets are a tireless work-rate and his aerial strength. I really don’t think anybody enjoyed playing against Andy this season.”
Brown ended the five-week polling period with 39 votes to take out the footballwa.net 2007 First Division Player of the Year. Suttie tallied 32 votes to finish in second place, while hot on his heels was Greenwood with 29 votes. Christian Paschewitz of Mandurah was next with 27 votes. Ashfield attacker Andy O’Neill (Ashfield) polled 24 votes to end level with veteran Adrian Sutton who spent the winter months with Bayswater City.
Exciting Phoenix midfielder Patrick Quinn picked up 22 votes to claim sixth spot. 19 votes went to Remo McCann (Morley Windmills), Daniel Webb (Ashfield) and Mandurah team mates Graeme Matthews and Jordan Rhodes. Two behind that group were Jeff Bright (Mandurah), Paul Hickey (Dianella), Dave Mickler (Canning City), John Nicolaou (Balcatta) and Michael Vaz (Rockingham City).
Brown is the fifth recipient of the footballwa.net First Division Player of the Year. Previous winners of our award have been David Rodgers (2006), Adam Raines (2005), former State player Scott Bulloch (2004) and Boima Karpeh (2003). The footballwa.net ‘staff’ would like to thank everyone who tok the time to cast a vote in our annual award.
STIRLING LOCK HORNS WITH COCKBURN
The season comes to a close tomorrow with Stirling Lions pitting skills against Cockburn City in the 2007 Cup Final at Litis Stadium (kick-off 3.00pm). Stirling know what it takes to win the Cup and, having defeated Swan I.C. in last years decider, their focus is very much on going back-to-back. Cockburn are trophyless since 1993 but should debutant coach Scott Miller have his way all that will end this weekend.
The Macedonia Park outfit has come a long way since former Everton player Mike Lyons and one-time State boss Paul ‘Geordie’ Simmons took up the coaching reigns. The pair guided Stirling to Cup glory last year, their first at the club, and have continued to develop and enhance the line-up by infusing youthful enthusiasm with some experienced heads.
Darko Ilmanoski and team captain Kevin Henderson form the foundations of a solid defensive unit and provide guidance for talented youngsters Michael Pugliese and Steven Hesketh. Occupying the position between the posts is Phil Straker who has established himself as one of the local games premier goalkeepers since arriving at Macedonia Park two years ago.
Imports Keith Brown, Steve Porter and Allan Muir pull the strings in the centre of the park with teenagers Danny Richman, Ludovic Boi and Matt Italiano just as capable of influencing the game from out wide. Goals haven’t flowed as freely as Stirling would have liked this year but in Andy Brown and Phil Arnold they still possess plenty of firepower.
It’s been a long time between drinks for the club from Dalmatinac Park. Miller took up the challenge following his retirement last summer and along with Peter Petkovich has assembled a squad bristling with talent. Like their opponent, Cockburn have struck a fine balance between experience and youth that is sure to take them on to even greater heights in the not too distant future.
Underpinning the side is highly rated goalkeeper Dino Pacella who has been outstanding on his return to football. Former State Schoolboy representatives Jason Godfrey and Shane Nunes, one-time Australian youth international Liam Lilly and much-underrated Paul Natale make up a formidable defensive wall that is always difficult to unlock.
The club’s youth development policy is certainly paying off with youngsters Aaron Dos Santos and Giovanni De Bartolo competing for spots up front with Dean Wallace and Josh Kamasz. The drive across the middle of the park comes from seasoned campaigners Dom De Felice, Michael Mirco and Johnny Mirco along with exciting teenager Adam Surjan.
The sides have already met twice this year with the ledger balanced in Stirling’s favour. The early season clash at Dalmatinac Park finished level at 1-1 after Kevin Henderson converted a controversial late penalty to cancel out Jason Dos Santos’ earlier strike. Stirling dominated the return fixture in August 4-1. Keith Brown, Steve Porter, Andy Brown and Kevin Henderson got the goals for the hosts with Aaron Dos Santos hitting Cockburn’s response.
GLORY REVIVAL TOPS DJULBIC PRIORITIES
Defender Dino Djulbic has been too busy trying to engineer Perth Glory’s A-League revival to spend time contemplating his international prospects. Djulbic, who is expected to return to the line-up for tomorrow night’s clash with Sydney F.C. after serving a one-match ban, is aware of speculation linking him to the Bosnian national team. “I’ve heard the rumours but I haven’t had any phone calls,” said Djulbic. “I’m just concentrating on Perth Glory - that’s my priority.”
Should Bosnia coach Fuad Muzurovic eventually come calling 24-year old Djulbic will be faced with a familiar dilemma. Former Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic chose to play for Serbia after being overlooked for the Australian Olympic team, while Josip Simunic, Ante Seric and Joe Didulica all went on to play for Croatia after developing their skills in Australia.
Djulbic was born in Bosnia and raised in Germany before he moved to WA at the age of 16 where made a swift progression to first team football with Perth S.C. Last year he helped South Melbourne win the Victorian State League title. The transition to the national league has been a relatively smooth one for Djulbic, who started Glory’s first six games of the season before being sent off in the recent loss to Wellington Phoenix.
Although Glory are under-strength and under-siege, Djulbic believes they can get a result against a Sydney side that, like Glory, will be without several key players. “It’s just a matter of time before we win a game,” he said. “It’s just that little bit of luck is missing. It’s going to come eventually, possibly against Sydney.” Brazilian World Cup winner Juninho has made the trip to Perth despite doubts over his participation because of should and ankle problems.
COCKBURN SEEK SEASONS’ REWARD
Victory in this weekend’s Cup Final would be the perfect way for local legend Scott Miller to end his first season as coach of Cockburn City. Miller, a veteran of 276 national league games for Perth Glory and Morwell Falcons, says winning the seasons’ final piece of silverware would be a just reward for his teams’ efforts this season. “They’ve been great and the players would love to lift the Cup on Saturday,” said Miller. “It’s been a hard season but they have given everything so it would be nice for them to have a bit of a pay-off at the end of it.”
Miller has the luxury of selecting from a near full squad for Saturday’s season finale. “We’ve been fairly fortunate with injuries this term, and the niggling injuries have all cleared up,” he explained. “The only exception is Jason Dos Santos, whose influence will be missed, but we’ve covered his loss and the boys that have come in have done really well. We have a full squad so there really will be no excuses for us come Cup Final day.”
The Cockburn coach has done his homework and is well aware of the dangers Stirling possess. “The barometer for the Lions are the two Brown brothers,” he said. “Andy a is very underrated, he seems to cruise through games but he is a huge influence on Stirling as he scores goals and also brings other players into the game. Keith is a quality midfielder, he’s consistent week after week and that makes him a dangerous player. But saying that, the Lions have got a lot of young boys pushing for a spot in the side so we’ll have to watch the youth and the enthusiasm too.”
STIRLING AIM TO GO BACK-TO-BACK
Winning the Cup for the second time in as many years would be the ideal way for Stirling Lions to end 2007. Coach Mike Lyons, who played 460 games for English side Everton, is looking forward to the prospect of meeting Cockburn City in the final game of the year. “It would be great for the players too lift the Cup again after experiencing the delight of winning it last season,” he said. “It will be a warm day on Saturday so it will be difficult conditions but the lads are looking forward to a tough challenge against a good Cockburn side.”
The last time the teams met Stirling tore Cockburn apart, but Lyons says that round fourteen mauling is now just a memory and doesn’t factor into his plans for Saturday’s game at Dorrien Gardens. “We beat them quite convincingly at our place, but I think on that day we played really well and would have beaten anyone,” commented the Stirling coach. “We’ve the utmost respect for Cockburn and under Scotty, in his first season as a coach, they have done ever so well in the League.”
Lyons has introduced a number of teenagers to senior football over past months and admits he has some difficult decisions to make as match day approaches. “We’ve been really happy with the performances and energy the younger guys have shown this season … they’ve been given an opportunity and they haven’t let me or the team down,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of them will miss out this weekend but they can hold their heads up high for their contributions this season.”
RESERVES CUP FINAL A TRUE ‘DAVID AND GOLIATH’ BATTLE
Mandurah City will be flying the First Division flag when they take on top flight outfit Cockburn City in the Reserve Cup Final on Saturday at Litis Stadium (kick-off 12.30pm). The game has all the hallmarks of being a classic Cup tie with table-toppers Mandurah looking to pick up their second trophy of the year whereas Cockburn have their sights set on ending an otherwise disappointing season on a high.
A final day win at South West Phoenix secured Mandurah the First Division Reserves championship on goal difference from Ashfield. Goalkeeper Ross Clayton is not averse to putting his body on the line and will play a key defensive role along with Alex Darby. Mikel Sesma, Fraser Marr, Gary Attrill and captain Neil Connor have figured prominently through the year in providing the ammunition for goal sneak Sean Dash.
Mandurah are full of confidence heading into Saturday’s game having already accounted for three top flight opponents. Allocated a bye in round one, their Cup campaign opened with a 2-1 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup. Round three took Mandurah to Clipsal Stadium where their next victim was Inglewood United who were on the receiving end of a 4-1thumping. Goals either side of the break by Gary Attrill and Mikel Sesma enabled Mandurah to come from behind and eliminate Sorrento 2-1 in the semi-finals.
Cockburn won’t be upset with the underdog tag after ending the regular season in mid-table. One-time State Schoolboys goalkeeper Louis Lopresti has been in fine form this winter behind a defence marshalled by Peter Kuzet and Luke Woodward. Josh Findlater, Mileta Miletic and Marko Aleksic provide the drive going forward while in the final third it’s leading goalscorer Joseph Brunetto who poses the greatest danger.
In comparison to their opponent, Cockburn have enjoyed a relatively easy passage into the Cup Final. They headed to Walter Padbury Reserve in round one and returned home with an 11-1 thrashing of Gosnells City. Next up was Queens Park who fought hard before going down 3-1, and in the quarter-finals they got the better of Floreat Athena by 3-1. The round of four pitted Cockburn against Forrestfield United with first half strikes from Scott Daley and Jason Dos Santos booking their place in the trophy decider.
LINCOLN TAKES CHARGE OF SWAN
There’s been a changing of the guard at Swan I.C. where Paul Lincoln has been appointed senior coach for next season. Lincoln, winner of the 1997 Gold Medal, takes over from club legend Carlo Scali who relinquished his position due to work commitments. “It’s a big challenge in front of me but I believe we can push on from this season and improve in 2008,” said Lincoln. “I’ve a few players in mind that I’d like to bring down to the club next season and I’ll be talking to them in the pre-season.’
Swan are planning a major redevelopment of facilities at Francis Street during the summer which has Lincoln excited. “There will be a great deal of work done on the playing surface, which was a big disappointment last season,” the newly appointed coach commented. “The club have also got planning permission to refurbish the changing rooms and build a gymnasium, and also starting next week is the new training pitches at the back of the club. These are big plans but it show’s the commitment of the clubs committee and I’m delighted to be part of their plans for 2008.”
THE ROAD TO THE CUP FINAL
The biggest game on the local football calendar - the association Cup Final - takes place this weekend to officially bring to a close the on-field activities for 2007. Stirling Lions have been installed as favourite to lift the seasons’ final piece of silverware, however, first they must first find a way past a Cockburn City side looking for their first trophy in well over a decade. Both clubs worked hard in negotiating their way through to the Final and who goes that one step further will be decided tomorrow at Litis Stadium.
Granted a bye in round one, Stirling opened the defence of their Cup title by mauling South West Phoenix 11-1 at Macedonia Park. Captain Kevin Henderson lead the way with a rare hat-trick, David Dugdale, Ludovic Boi and Danny Richman got two apiece with Phil Arnold and Daniel Micevski completing the scoring. A pulsating match at Dorrien Gardens produced some terrific football before substitute Alan Muir stepped up with a long-range bomb late in the extra-time to earn Stirling victory by 1-0.
Stirling secured a Cup Final appearance by coming from behind to defeat Inglewood United 2-1 at Macedonia Park in the semi-finals. Goalkeeper Phil Straker was fortunate to remain on the park after lashing out Kevin Griffiths late in the first half, instead referee Steve Muldoon awarded a penalty that was converted by Michael Baczynski. Matt Italiano equalised just moments before the break to set up an exciting second half. The game was settled on 82 minutes when Andy Brown guided a close-range header past Jason Razmovski.
A 6-2 away thrashing of Gosnells City got Cockburn’s campaign off to a flying start. Giovannia Di Bartolo and Johnny Mirco both scored twice with Josh Kamasz and Mileta Miletic also finding the net. In round two they thrashed Queens Park 7-0 with De Bartolo again getting a double with Michael Mirco, Aaron Dos Santos, Jason Dos Santos and a couple of own goal rounding out the scoreline. Floreat Athena provided stiffer opposition in the third round but there was no stopping Johnny Mirco whose double guided Cockburn to a 2-1 victory.
Cockburn kept their Cup dream alive with a hard-fought 1-0 semi-final defeat of Swan I.C at Dalmatinac Park. The match flowed freely from end to end with both sides creating several good chances in a lively first half in which possession was evenly split. Cockburn seized the initiative midway through the second period and with just twelve minutes left on the clock veteran Dean Wallace headed in Dom De Felice’s far post corner to book the Cockerels spot in the Cup Final.
HARNWELL KEEPS THE FAITH
It's been a frustrating start to the new season for Perth Glory's longest serving player Jamie Harnwell. The 30-year old defender-come-striker, last seasons' leading goalscorer, has been used sparingly off the bench this term despite Glory netting just twice in over 600 minutes of A-League football. "It's very painful. It's been the toughest time of my career, without a shadow of doubt," he said. "When you come off the bench you are always trying to prove something. I've scored and helped create chances for others. All you can do is keep performing when you do get your chances and I believe I have done that, and hopefully I'll get a chance on Friday night against Sydney."
Harnwell's dedication to Glory is recognised by their loyal supporters who join together calling for his introduction when they feel the time is right for coach Ron Smith to make a change. "It's a fantastic feeling," Harnwell said of the crowd support. "The fans recognise the work I put in ... and sort of recognise I've got the club at heart and I want to do everything I can to see this club successful again. The first time it happened I had a smile underneath and it's great to know I've got that support out there. If I get given a chance I know I can score goals."
Glory are bottom of the table with just four points to their name, making Friday's meeting with Sydney F.C. a must-win affair. "It's quite scary that we are seven games without a win and only four points off fourth spot, so if we get two or three wins on the trot we are back in there," Harnwell said. "We saw with Newcastle last year they were dead last coming up to the mid-point of the season and they crept into the top-four, so there's still plenty to play for. It's been a long time since we got our last victory so we are desperate for a win. It's not quite all over yet if we don't but it’s rapidly approaching."
FUTURE STARS SET TO SHINE IN YOUTH CUP FINAL
The stars of tomorrow will be on display when regular season champion Western Knights take on underdogs Stirling Lions in Saturday’s Youth Cup Final at Litis Stadium (kick off 10.00am). This promises to be a cracking encounter with the Knights gunning to complete the League and Cup double while Stirling are out to make amends for last years shock Cup final loss to Armadale. Honours between the teams during the regular season were even at one win apiece, the Knights triumphing 3-1 in April at Macedonia Park with Stirling taking the points by 3-2 in the late season clash at Nash Field.
The Knights dominated the home and away series to claim silverware by an incredible fourteen points, and coach Paul Price will hardly need to motivate his side as they attempt to add the Cup to their trophy cabinet. Goalkeeper Beau Geerlings made his first team debut earlier in the year and is bound to play a big role along with State Schoolboys sextet Matthew Allen, Michael De Souza, Anthony Fearon, Josip Peran, Anthony Skorich and Craig Thompson.
The Knights Cup campaign opened with a 7-2 thrashing of Swan I.C. They were pushed all the way by a dogged Forrestfield United before triumphing 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out. Goals flowed freely in the 6-2 quarter-final mauling of Balcatta. The Knights place in the trophy decider came courtesy of goals by Matt De Souza, Ivan Gavranich, Anthony Fearon and R.Rocci who saw them account for Cockburn City 4-1 in the round of four.
Stirling are seeking to avenge last years Youth Cup Final loss to Armadale and, although Doug Hesketh’s side ended the regular season in seventh place, they are definitely not be underestimated. Goalkeeper Alex Sutton anchors a formidable backline which includes State junior representatives Dennis Divjakovski and Zoran Vrteski. Patrick Le and Keith Clevenger provide the midfield drive and ammunition for lethal finishers Rory Feely and David Sasay.
Stirling were granted a bye into the second round where they ran out 4-1 winners against First Division opponent South West Phoenix. A quarter-final trip to Percy Doyle Reserve saw Stirling edge past Sorrento 3-2 in a tight encounter. Two goals in three minutes later in the second half by Rory Feely secured Stirling victory by 2-0 against the National Training Centre in a thrilling semi-final contest at Macedonia Park.
ON THIS DAY … 1988
Floreat Athena not only defeated Bayswater City to win the D’Orsogna Cup on the afternoon of Sunday 9th October, 1988, but they also wrote themselves in the history books. For Athena it completed a remarkable season in which they made a clean sweep of local honours, the D’Orsogna Cup joining the Super League championship and Top Four play-off crown in residence at the Velodrome. In addition the club dominated the individual awards ceremony two nights prior to the Cup Final. Jeff Curran was named Gold Medal winner as the state’s best and fairest player, Paul Wormley went home with the Golden Boot, and Ken Worden was awarded Coach of the Year.
Athena made their way to the decider thanks to a John Hunter double which gave them narrow victory over Spearwood Dalmatinac. Bayswater edged past Stirling Macedonia in their semi-final with Tommy Leeman scoring the games only goal. Starting as red-hot favourite Athena asserted their authority early on with a series of raids that had Inter back peddling. It was an opening that set the tone for the remainder of the match and one that kept the 4000-strong crowd at Macedonia Park on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. Having gone close on several occasions Athena got the breakthrough on 19 minutes when Paul Farmer clipped a neat pass between two defenders to youngster Taki Nicolaides who confidently angled his header past goalkeeper Steve Martin.
But just two minutes later Inter were back on level terms. A quick move down the right involving David Lee and Eddie Sinclair ended with State representative Frank Smerilli cleverly flicking the ball over goalkeeper Alan Davidson and inside the far post. The atmosphere was electric as two sides traded shots on goal in a thrilling tussle. With neither side able to make the most of their chances the match looked destined for extra-time before Athena dealt the fatal knock-out blow two minutes into stoppage time. Showing tremendous skill Wormley waltzed past two defenders as he made his into attack down the right before hitting a high cross to the far post where Hunter’s powerful header from close-range gave Martin absolutely no chance.
Floreat Athena: Alan Davidson, Micky Cairns, Steve Hazebroek, Jeff Curran, J.Lewis, Ross Greer, Norrie Sutton, Paul Wormley, John Hunter, Paul Farmer, Taki Nicolaides, G.Doropoulos, H.Katsamakis
Bayswater Inter: Steve Martin, C.McLaughlin, Tommy Leeman, P.Connell, Rene DeKoning, T.Byrnes, Eddie Sinclair, S.Whitehead, G.Lee, Frank Smerilli, David Lee, F.Malone, R.Matthews
INTERNATIONAL CALL-UPS LEAVE GLORY THREADBARE
Coach under fire Ron Smith will have just fifteen players to select from when Perth Glory takes on Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium on Friday evening. International duties will deprive Glory of goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley and midfielders Billy Celeski and Jordan Simpson who’ve been called into camp with the Australian Olympic team for next weeks qualifier with Lebanon. Midfielder David Micevski has withdrawn from the squad due to injury, while Leo Bertos will be away with the New Zealand national team.
Smith, who has weathered a barrage of criticism after the team’s failure to win any of their seven games this season, flagged registering at least one local player to provide cover for this weekend’s encounter. “There are a few boys who’ve been training with us and we could bring in one or two as a precaution,” said the Glory boss. Liam Lilly (Cockburn City), John Migas, Rafeal Insaurralde (both Floreat Athena) and Callum Roberts (Fremantle Spirit) have spent time training with Glory recently.
The absence of Micevski, Celeski, and Simpson will leave a gap in Glory’s engineroom which could be filled by captain Simon Colosimo, who played at the back against Adelaide United on the weekend. Also in contention for the central role are Anthony Danze, who’s returning from injury, and out of favour midfielder Nick Rizzo. Experienced defenders David Tarka and Hayden Foxe remain sidelined by injury, while Stan Lazaridis is banned until late November.
MANDURAH IGNITE YOUNGS’ PASSION FOR THE GAME
Former national league striker Stuart Young could be tempted to pull on his playing boots again as Mandurah City prepare for life in the Premier League. Young brought the curtain down on a long and successive playing career last year after 151 games and 65 goals for Wollongong Wolves and Perth Glory. He continued his involvement from the sidelines after an offer from Mandurah coach Stuart Currie to take on an assistant role at the club.
Young is now contemplating a return to action after watching Mandurah storm their way to the 2007 First Division championship, and promotion to next years’ top flight. “I’ll give I a couple of months and see how it goes,” said the 34-year old, who played professionally in England and Singapore before moving to Australia in 1999. “My groin has been pretty stuffed and I’ve enjoyed the coaching; it’s been good. They’ve really looked after me … I’ll be at Mandurah next season, one way or another.”
Currie took over the coaching job at Mandurah last year and wasted little time turning an already competitive outfit into a table-topping side. The likes of striker Christian Paschewitz, and midfielders Andy Brown, Jordan Rhodes and Jeff Bright were instrumental in leading the club to the top of the pile. Staying there won’t be easy but Young believes a handful of new players will be enough to ensure Premier League survival in 2008. “If we get four or five players, with the quality we’ve got in the current crop, we’ll give it a shake,” he said.
FLOREAT KEEN TO DO IT AGAIN
Floreat Athena coach Michael Roki has started planning for next season just a week after the club completed an undefeated campaign, which was rewarded with its first Premier League title in a decade. Roki, whose team came from behind to beat Armadale 5-3 in their final game of the season, said he has already identified potential recruits and received commitments from at least four key players at remain at the club. Former Perth Glory defender Ante Kovacevic will continue for another season, while John Migas, Adam Bachiller and star striker Boima Karpeh are also committed to Floreat’s title defence.
Roki is confident of keeping together the majority of Floreat’s championship winning squad, though he is looking for at least one midfielder with captain Bajo Savic expected to miss much of the campaign due to a knee reconstruction. Former Glory player Josip Magdic could also be missing if his hopes of progressing to a higher level come to fruition. “He has what it takes to make it at the next level,” said Roki. “He needed to be a bit more consistent and to stop getting dirty on himself when things didn’t go right. Some of his performances have been exceptional. He’s a bit unfortunate that Glory haven’t looked at him and he’s desperate to get out there and give it a crack.”
The biggest challenge facing Roki and a Floreat committee presided over by Peter Koulizos will be ensuring this year’s incredible string of results does not lead to complacency next season. “We’ve got to be realistic. We’ve played 31 games (in all competitions) and lost three times, but you’re only as good as your last game,” said Roki. Floreat piled on 70 goals to complete the 22-game home and away series without defeat, winning 18 times and drawing on four occasions. They made it to the last four of the pre-season Night Series where beaten by eventual winner Perth S.C., and made their Cup exit at the quarter-final stage to finalists Cockburn City.
LOCAL QUARTET NAMED IN AUSTRALIAN SQUAD
West Australia’s success at last weeks National Youth Championships has been underlined by the selection of four players in the Australian Under-17 squad. Eli Babalj, Milljon Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury, all members of the State Under-15 squad, will wear the green and gold in Australia’s upcoming qualifiers for the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championship. “To have Trent, Eli, Milljon and Cameron selected in the one squad is phenomenal and a great reward for their hard work this year,” said Garry Chandler, chief executive of Football West. The quartet departs next week for Singapore where Martyn Crook will prepare his side for games against Malaysia, North Korea and East Timor.
BLORY RUE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Perth Glory remains at the bottom of the A-League table after their failure to score produced a 0-0 draw with Adelaide United this evening at Members Equity Stadium. The home side created by far the better of goalscoring opportunities but had little show for their efforts as Adelaide rode their luck to snatch a share of the points. Ron Smith was disappointed not to pick up all three points but felt it was an improved effort from his side. "Today I felt we got the balance right. We did take the game to them, we tried hard to win the game and I hope the fans out there can appreciate that," said the Glory coach. "The pleasing thing was we stuck to a bit of a game plan today ... we were a bit unfortunate not to score a goal."
Glory started with more purpose than had been shown in recent games but poor delivery and wayward finishing denied them the lead. Simon Colosimo pumped a long ball into the 18-yard box where Tyler Simpson’s header looped off Cassio and landed on the top netting. Angelo Costanzo blocked close-range strike from Tyler Simpson after Leo Bertos delivered a cross into the area, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley blasted the follow-wide. An unmarked Bertos should have registered the hosts opener after 29 minutes but volleyed wide following a fine move down the right involving James Downey and Tyler Simpson. A long throw into the area by Tyler Simpson was flicked on by Nikita Rukavytsya to Bertos who nodded straight at goalkeeper Daniel Beltrame.
The small crowd of just 6,252 was on their feet four minutes after the break when Topor-Stanley’s header crashed off the underside of the crossbar following a corner by Rukavytsya. Adelaide steadied the ship and Nathan Burns’ curling shot from the edge of the area flashed past the post. In the 56th minute Deigo Walsh found the net only for referee Peter Green to disallow his effort for Bruce Djite’s foul on ‘keeper Tando Velaphi. Burns wasted perhaps the best chance of the afternoon when a moments hesitation sw him place wide from only a few metres. The introduction of Jamie Harnwell on 73 minutes gave Glory they lift they needed but James Robinson’s low strike was deflected away by Beltrame. Both sides had opportunities to steal a late win but Bertos was thwarted by Costanzo, and Lucas Pantelis fired wide after a poor clearance from Velaphi.
SHAMROCK VICTORIOUS IN PULSATING AMATEUR FINAL
A sensational hat-trick from Sean Brooks orchestrated Shamrock Rovers to victory by 4-3 against Fremantle United in the Amateur Championship Final at Dorrien Gardens this evening. Sean Brooks made his presence known only minutes after kick-off by ghosting in at the back post to head in Stephen Guest’s well flighted free-kick. Fremantle fashioned a number of good chances to draw level of which the best came to Jason Smith whose strike from 15-metres was just off-target. The crowd was kept on the edge of their seats by some slick passing that underlined why Shamrock and Fremantle topped their respective conferences. Fremantle got the equaliser they so deserved courtesy of Michael Hoenselaars’ exquisite pass to Daniel D’Ulisse who showed great composure to head into the net. But within minutes the port side had handed the initiative straight back to Shamrock with some calamitous defending allowing Guest to fire in from 16-metres.
Goalkeeper Ed Shuller maintained Shamrock’s lead after the break by parrying a shot from Smith and Felim Rugel slammed the follow-up into the frame of the goal. A terrific curling free-kick from Guest in the 68th minute almost caught out young ‘keeper Greg Sheldon who immediately launched a speedy counterattack that ended with Rugel bringing the teams level. The remainder of regulation time was dominated by Fremantle who drove forward at every opportunity in search of a late winner. Rugel’s pace was again causing the opposing backline a lot of problems and his angled shot from the right flashed across the face of the goal and narrowly wide of the far post. Substitute Josh Sithole went within inches of stealing victory in the 85th minute, and shortly after Rugel’s shot on the run was brilliantly saved by Schuller and Joe Fusari crashed the loose ball into the crossbar.
An excellent turn inside the area allowed Sithole to stroke Fremantle into the lead midway through the first period of extra-time. Shamrock hit back through a good move down the left presented Guest with space to send in a cross that Fusari almost turned into his own net. In the 103rd minute Lachlan Conboy’s low strike was turned out at the near post. But Irish eyes were soon smiling as Sean Brooks made it three-all with a neat back header from John Craic’s delivery. The game looked like being decided by a penalty shoot-out when Sean Brooks received possession on the top edge of the area to rifle an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Shamrock defended staunchly over the final few minutes to secure the Championship trophy along with the right to qualify for next years’ State League First Division.
PACELLA VOTED THE BEST GOALKEEPER
The local football community has nominated Cockburn City’s Dino Pacella as the best shot-stopper in the top flight. Only a handful of votes separated Pacella from Vas Vujacic and Gareth Deeg in our recent football.net poll which asked ‘Who was the Premier Leagues’ best goalkeeper in 2007?’ Pacella finished on top of the leaderboard with 25% of the vote to pip Vujacic (23%), of champions Floreat Athena, and Perth S.C. ‘keeper Deeg (22%). Stirling Lions’ Phil Straker (14%) was a distant third followed by Steve Grant (Fremantle Spirit) and Kevin Miller (Western Knights) who ended level with 8% of the count. 288 votes were cast in the six-day polling period.
CLOCK IS TICKING FOR SMITH
Coach Ron Smith admitted yesterday that the clock was ticking on his Perth Glory future after a dismal string of results left the club bottom of the A-League table six games in the new season. And Smith could be prepared to turn to previously out-of-favour Jamie Harnwell to help secure a desperately needed win against Adelaide United at Members Equity Stadium tomorrow. The coach has come under intense fire this week with former Glory great Bobby Despotovski calling for his axing as a group of fans prepare to protest against Smith’s continued tenure by wearing ‘Sack Smith’ t-shirts and unfurling banners at tomorrow’s game.
Smith, who has received the backing of the Glory board, brushed off the criticism but admitted time was running out for results to turn in his favour if he was to stay in the job. “There’s only so long the owners can be supportive before they say that’s it,” he said. But despite his side kicking off the season with three goalless draws before three successive defeats, Smith remains optimistic that Glory are closing to producing their first win since November last year. “Ultimately, we need to win some games,” he said. “If we can do that in the short term, the whole situation with change in the league.”
Smith believes the players’ application in recent outings proved he still had their support. “If the players didn’t try then I’d say they’ve give up and maybe they’ve lost confidence in what we are trying to achieve, but I haven’t seen that,” he said. The coach confirmed Harnwell, a defender who has been used sparingly as a striker this season, would return to the squad after being dropped for last weekend’s mauling at Wellington. But he would not comment on the possibility that disappointing import Mate Dragicevic would be dropped from the match day list.
10TH BIRTHDAY ALL-STARS ANNOUNCED
Last month footballwa.net invited the West Australian football community to select a ‘team of the decade’ as part of celebrations honouring our 10th birthday. A grand total of 647 people took the time to select their preferred starting eleven from the 45 players we short-listed, and it’s from those that the footballwa.net 10th Birthday All-Stars has been compiled.
AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Sunday football heavyweights Shamrock Rovers and Fremantle United meet in the 2007 Amateur Championship Final this weekend. The two teams have dominated the top flight of amateur competition this year and with the opportunity to gain promotion to next years State League up for grabs this promises to be a cracking game. Entry is free to the amateur season finale which takes place under lights at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.30pm).
Shamrock put behind them a turbulent start to the year that saw the three coaching changes in quick succession, to storm their way into the Championship Final. A mid-season of nine successive wins enabled Shamrock to open up a sizeable gap at the top of Group B which they won by 18 points. Coach Paul McCue expects a very difficult Saturday afternoon for his troops. “It’s going to be a tough,” he said. “Fremantle haven’t lost a game all year and they’ve got quality players all over the park.”
The key to Shamrock’s season has been a watertight backline that has conceded just twelve times in 22 outings. Goalkeeper Ed Schuller has been in tremendous form with able support provided by the likes of Jon Craic and Aaron Cowdrey. Keith Roche, Paddy O’Boyle and captain Wayne Brooks form the nucleus of a midfield that’s hard to stop once it kicks into top gear. Impressive youngsters James Kilbee and Sean Brookes spearhead the Shamrock attack.
Fremantle started the season with a blaze of glory and victory in the inaugural Football West Shield. They never once looked back from that moment on, winning their opening eight games and going on to top Group A by a massive 19 points. Even so, captain Matt Favazzo is tipping a tight game on Sunday. “The season has gone well as we haven’t lost a League game to date, however, we expect a tough battle on Saturday,” he commented.
The black and whites are lead from the front by David Onoforo and Felim Rugel who contributed a staggering 55 goals to the 82 scored during the home and away series. Michael Hoenselaars has had an impressive season in the middle of the park where he’s partnered by seasoned campaigner Jason Smith and Jon De Felice. Defensively, Fremantle have been well served by Matt Favazzo and young goalkeeper Greg Sheldon, while the return of Mal Bosco is a major boost for the side.
Shamrock Rovers and University of WA meet in prior to the main game in the Reserves Championship Final (kick-off 5.00pm). Shamrock ended the regular season 20 points clear of their nearest rival to take out Group B, and last weekend lifted the Soccer Pools Reserve Cup Final courtesy of goals from Justin Lupini and Nik Silsby. University will be happy with the underdog tag and confident of their chances after completing the regular season with a nine game unbeaten run that secured top spot in Group A.
PRESSURE ON SMITH INTENSIFIES
Perth Glory's greatest player has called for coach Ron Smith to be sacked as disgruntled fans prepare to take their protest to Sunday's home meeting with Adelaide United. Bobby Despotovski, who starred for the club for more than a decade before retiring last season, said yesterday Glory should wield the axe and appoint a new boss to resurrect the ailing team. "It's time for something to be done because if it continues for much longer we are not going to be able to catch the teams in front of us and get into the finals," said Despotovski. "If they decide to do something now it may wake up some of the players because some of them are in cruise control. As much as winning is a habit, so is losing."
Glory have not won since November last year when a Jamie Harnwell hat-trick was behind their 4-1 defeat of the now defunct New Zealand Knights. But Smith has been backed by the club owners at least until a mid-season review, while captain Simon Colosimo said the players were right behind the embattled coach. "By round 11 there will be that much damage done to the club that it won't be repaired in time for the finals," said Despotovski. "But not only that, I'm concerned about the attendances to the games. It hurts me because I played for the club for twelve years." Glory have averaged just 7908 to their three home games this season.
One group of fans is preparing to wear T-shirts and unfurl banners at Sunday's game calling for Smith to be sacked. But Smith remains defiant, confirming he would not walk away from the job regardless of the outcome of the Adelaide match. "I'm totally committed to doing the best I can in every job I've had and I'll do everything I can to be successful because that's what I want to be," he said. "If I believed it couldn't (be turned around) I wouldn't be here. In any job, you face tough times and you have obstacles to overcome and you have problems, some are in your control and some aren't. But generally you've got to have a positive outlook."
Glory chief executive Scott Gooch said he understood Despotovski's and the fans' frustrations. "From what I understand there is a small minority of people who are a little bit disgruntled and that's understandable. But we'd want them to be supportive of the direction the club is heading in," Gooch said. "Bobby is a champion of the club and he's obviously disappointed that we haven't been winning. But the club, team and coaching staff are working tirelessly to turn things around." Glory have won only five of 27 games played under Smith.
MRDJA INJURY ROCKS MARINERS
Central Coast Mariners have been thrown into disarray with injury-prone striker Nik Mrdja aggravating a knee problem in the lead-up to this weekend's derby with Newcastle United. Mrdja was due to return for Sunday's blockbuster, however, coach Lawrie McKinna will be without the 28-year old who is likely to miss at least the next two games. Mrdja has been absence from the Mariners line-up since his injury flared up while in camp with the Socceroos last month.
"Nik went for a run earlier this week and he felt it again," McKinna said. "In the games he played there is no way we saw the best of him. It's a shame for him because he's been out for so long, but hopefully he'll get the best possible news now. We can't afford to rush him back. Because he's been out for so long, physically and mentally he needs to be right within himself. All of a sudden we go from having a lot of depth up front to being skinny."
GLORY OWNERS BACK EMBATTLED COACH
Ron Smith will be given time to revive Perth Glory’s already ailing finals prospects in spite of a miserable start to the campaign. Glory rooted to the bottom of the A-League table and without a win in six starts, but co-owner Tony Sage believes Smith is on the right track. Sage said the team’s progress would be assessed after Glory’s home clash with Phoenix in early November, although informal reviews were conducted regularly. “We are pretty unwavering in our support of Ron and what he’s trying to do,” said Sage
Sage, who in partnership with John Spence and Brett McKeon took on the challenge of revitalising the club in April, indicated changes could be made if Glory continued to misfire. “At the mid-point of the season we’ll see how Ron’s vision is going,” Sage said. “We said at the beginning of the year if we don’t make the finals we’ll be very disappointed. At the moment, we’ve got absolute faith in Ron to turn it around … This club is going to be very, very strong, but we need time.”
The immediate forecast, though, is for more turbulent times as Glory try to cope with an increasing number of absentees. Experienced defenders David Tarka and Hayden Foxe are sidelined through injury, former Socceroo Stan Lazaridis is banned until late November, and Dino Djulbic will miss this week’s game after being sent off against Phoenix. Glory have not won since November last year and have scored just two goals in six games. They are the only team yet to win a game and, after three goalless draws and three successive defeats, sit five points adrift of fourth place.
DE VANNA NAMED AMONGST WORLD’S ELITE
Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna has been rewarded for her part in Australia’s breakthrough Women’s World Cup showing by being named in FIFA’s all-star team. The 22-year old is one of sixteen players named by the FIFA Technical Study Group based on performances throughout the tournament. De Vanna joins an elite list of four attackers which also comprises Brazilian duo Marta and Cristiane, plus German World Cup winning captain Birgit Prinz.
Australia made it all the way through to the last eight where they went down 3-2 to eventual finalists Brazil. Although used off the bench in three of Australia’s four games, De Vanna scored four times in the Matilda’s historic run. Australia finished the tournament ranked sixth - behind Germany, Brazil, the United States, Norway and host nation China - and were voted into fifth place on fifa.com as the tournament’s ‘Most Entertaining Team’.
SMITH LOST FOR ANSWERS
Perth Glory coach Ron Smith conceded Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix was ‘a tough day at the office’ as his otherwise water-tight defence leaked soft goals. The loss keeps Glory winless six games into the season, but prior to Sunday the side had conceded just three goals. “It was a tough day at the office,” Smith said. “We need to have a good look at the game, and a good look at ourselves at times, in what we’re trying to do. We got off to a pretty good start, (but) we conceded what I would call two really soft goals. The second and fourth were very poor defending on our part and that’s (defending) been one of our strengths.”
The sending off of Dino Djulbic in the 54th minute for two yellow card offences forced Smith to change tact mid-game. “I think we conceded the third goal fairly quickly after the send-off, so the plans that we had at halftime to change things around a little bit because we were 2-1 down kind of went out the window,” he explained. “I put two fresh people on up front and the unfortunate thing was we didn’t change the way we played. We should have started hitting the ball into spaces and getting these guys on the move. The effort in the second half, from all the lads that were on the field, was good. It was just the way we played; we did some dumb things out there. It’s back to square one during the week.”
FEARON READY FOR BRITAIN’S BEST
Anthony Fearon may have arrived late in but he hopes to make a lasting impression on the football scene. The John Curtin College of the Arts student has played the game for only five years but is now preparing to represent his country. Fearon, 17, was the only West Australian player selected in the Australian Schoolboys team which travels to the United Kingdom and Ireland next year after impressing at the national championships in Darwin.
Fearon, who plays locally for Western Knights, scored a goal in each of his two appearances at the championship before suffering a groin injury. “I thought I’d ruined my chances because I got injured, so I’m pretty happy,” he said of being selected to play for Australia. Ryan Pretorius, Michael De Souza, James Sammut and Kynon Melling were all selected in the shadow squad but will only make the trip if other players withdraw.
Peter Rickers, coordinator of the John Curtin program and manager of the State Schoolboys, said Fearon had beaten the odds when he landed a place at the school despite having never played for a club. “It’s exceptionally unusual,” said Rickers. “He’s always been a fantastic player but he was very raw and technically he struggled a bit. He was good enough to get in the 17 or 18 players in his year group but certainly wasn’t a stand out player at that point. But in every year that’s gone past his technique has improved.”
The trip will cost Fearon’s mother, Rose McKinnon, almost $7000 but the teenager expects to get value for money from the experience. Scouts from some of Britain’s biggest clubs are expected to be watching when Australia takes on schoolboy teams from England, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as English college sides, in January.
MATILDAS WON’T WALTZ WITH ARSENAL
Women’s World Cup stars Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum have turned down offers to play for Arsenal after a series of outstanding performances in China. The locally duo lit up the international stage as Australia reached the quarter-finals, but are now preparing for new and different challenges. De Vanna, who considered not making the trip to China following the death of her father just months before the tournament, has spent the past few days in Sydney planning her next move with confidante Rose Krauksts. McCallum, who had to overcome two knee reconstructions just to get to her first senior World Cup, is looking forward to taking a break and concentrate on completing a fitness instructors course.
De Vanna, scorer of four goals in as many games for the Matilda’s, has already had offer from Arsenal as well as clubs from China and the United States. But the 23-yeard old said she wanted to play in Sweden, which is currently considered to have one of the best women’s leagues in the world. “I’ve had offers from Arsenal. They keep ringing up Rose but I’ve been to England (with Doncaster Belles) and it’s not something I want to do again,” the striker explained. “If it’s a good offer and I feel like IO can do it I might take the chance, but it’s not what I want at the moment. We’re working out the next step – I wouldn’t mind going to Sweden, a lot of the best players are there.”
McCallum, whose curling free-kick against Canada drew comparisons with David Beckham’s dead-ball ability, has also knocked back the chance to join Arsenal along with a club from the United States, but for a very different reason. “I’ve had a lot of major injuries and I think my legs need the rest,” commented the 21-year old. “And we’ve done so much travelling that going away again would be too much for me.” But McCallum is keen to explore the chance to play in America where plans are afoot to launch a women’s league next year. “There’s not a lot of money (in the women’s game) but you can make a career out of it,” she said. “The money wil never be as good as the men’s but that’s life.”
PHOENIX TAKE THE GLORY
The pressure on coach Ron Smith is mounting following Perth Glory’s 4-1 drubbing by Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium. The loss, Glory’s third in a row and heaviest of the season, extended to thirteen games the team’s winless streak under Smith and leaves the once benchmark club of Australian football rooted to the bottom of the A-League table. “Everyone in the team is extremely dissatisfied with our performance and I can assure you that we won’t leave a stone unturned to find the right combination that can get the job done,” said Smith after the loss. “We are already looking forward to getting back onto the pitch next weekend to quickly put this game behind us and show everyone what Perth Glory can really produce.”
The home side, cheered on by 10,127-strong crowd, adapted better to the windy and slippery conditions by putting Glory’s backline under plenty of early pressure. So it was against the run of play that Glory went ahead after 10 minutes when Jordan Simpson’s inch perfect through ball was finished nicely by Billy Celeski. Phoenix’ response was swift as three minutes later Ross Aloisi capitalised on poor defending at an in-swinging corner by Brazilian import Daniel to equalise at close-range. Glory were enjoying a lot of possession but a lack of quality delivery kept chances to a minimum. The hosts had no such problem and four minutes from the break Daniel’s cross was flicked on by Vaughan Coveny to Shane Smeltz who rifled past an exposed goalkeeper.
Phoenix flew out of the blocks after the interval with a last gasp tackle by Dino Djulbic halting Coveny’s charge into attack, and Tomich saved smartly from Felipe after his free-kick beat the defensive wall. Glory’s day took a turn for the worse in the 54th minute when Djulbic received his marching orders for a needless second yellow card. Within two minutes Phoenix made their most of their numerical advantage with Tony Lochhead delivering an inch perfect cross to Coveny who volleyed crisply into the net. Glory continued to fight but the nearest they came was a Jordan Simpson header that went wide. In chasing the game Glory were always susceptible to being caught short at the back and with seven minutes remaining Tony Lochhead made the points safe by converting a Daniel cross.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO
A stunning hat-trick by Josip Magdic orchestrated Floreat Athena’s 5-3, come-from-behind victory against Armadale in Friday evenings game at Alfred Skeet Oval. The win was the icing on the cake of a remarkable season by Floreat who became the first team in a decade to complete the home and away series without loss. It was a nervous opening by Floreat who went a goal down on 8 minutes through a cracking strike from 22-metres by Graham Herd that was simply too good for goalkeeper Alex Dunn. Things only got better for the home side as, two minutes later, Jason Goodwin provided the ball to Herd whose speculative shot from the left found the top corner. But the home fans fell silent within four minutes as Miki Vujacic’s cross from the right found Magdic whose crisp volley from the edge of the area reduced the gap. Dunn came up trumps in a one-on-one with Goodwin to prevent Armadale from regaining their two-goal advantage. Parity was restored ten minutes from half-time when a Mikulic cross caused panic in the home defence and allowed Garin Collins to nip in an had past Cyril Sharrock. Floreat picked up where they left after the break with Magdic forcing a good save from Sharrock. Armadale’s failure to clear a 55th minute cross was punished by Magdic who bravely headed past Sharrock to put the visitors in front. A charging run from the halfway line on 77 minutes took Magdic past the defence before unleashing a stunning strike from 15-metres to which Sharrock had no response. Three minutes later and Armadale were back in the game as Stephen Skilandis sent Darryl Platten down the right to rifle past Dunn. The points were made safe in the 85th minute as Mikulic threaded a pass to Rafael Insurralde who cut inside the box before slamming his shot into roof of the net.
Western Knights and Cockburn City saw out the regular season with a tense 2-2 draw at Nash Field. The visitors started like a house on fire and within 2 minutes had snatched the lead via a fantastic move in which Marko Aleksic switched play to the right where Johnny Mirco darted past three opponents before angling his shot between the goalkeeper and his near post. Just three more minutes elapsed when Adam Surjan sprinted down the right to play a low ball into a crowded 6-yard box where Giovanni De Bartolo somehow put the ball in the back of the net. Cockburn were unfortunate not to add a few more to their tally as they completely dominated the home team with some terrific exchanges and off the ball movement. It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that the Knights truly threatened through Paul Cooke whose cross was headed into the crossbar by Stuart Montgomery at close range. A foul on Andrija Jukic seven minutes later produced a home free-kick just outside the 18-yard box from where Montgomery drilled past the defensive wall and into the net to register the Knights 1,000th goal in top flight football. All of the momentum was with the Knights after the break as they continually pushed the visitors onto the defensive. Their persistence paid off in the 71st minute when Scott Bushby was allowed to advance out of midfield and unleash a blistering shot from 20-metres which gave debutant goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic no chance. A combination of resilient defending and a fantastic display by Aleksic prevented the Knights from increasing their margin. Montgomery was provided a great chance to steal a late winner when put through with only the ‘keeper to beat right but Aleskic rose to the occasion by blocking the initial shot as well as the strikers’ follow-up.
E.C.U. Joondalup’s hopes of completing the season without loss on home soil were dashed by Stirling Lions who triumphed 2-1 in an entertaining encounter at the Edith Cowan University ground in Joondalup. All the early running came from Stirling as captain Kevin Henderson headed high at close range from a long throw into the area. Four minutes later Ludovic Boi’s shot was blocked by a defender, and Matt Italiano lashed the rebound wide of the upright. A neat lead-up in the 18th minute put the ball with Andy Brown whose scorching volley whistled past the post. The visitors got their just reward six minutes later when Andy Brown’s low centre made its’ way to Boi who was again thwarted by a defender, only this time the loose ball sat nicely for Leo Harman to slot into the net from 7-metres. Ten minutes later Harman got past his marker with a sublime flick but faced with Andy Petterson he scooped the shot into the ‘keepers arms. The home side were struggling to assert themselves in attack but just moments from half-time, and completely against the run of play, they drew level courtesy of a searching cross field pass by Tommy Amphlett which picked out Howard Fondyke who kept his nerve to lob the advancing ‘keeper. The second period followed the already familiar pattern of the first with Phil Arnold blazing high, and Keith Brown volleying narrowly wide as Stirling displayed the greater desire. Keith Brown seemed to feature every time the visitors went forward and it was his dangerous corner that lead to a goalmouth scramble which Joondalup somehow managed to prevent from crossing the line before scrambling the ball to safety. Stirling got the goal they were when Steve Hesketh delivered a long throw in to Andy Brown who glance past Petterson and into the net.
Swan I.C. ended their campaign on a positive with Dejan Djukanovic securing a 1-0 win against Sorrento at the Swan Italian Club. There was no shortage of early chances as both teams came out with only one thing on their mind. A quick Damien Catalano free-kick caught Sorrento napping at the back but David Perich placed wide, and two minutes later Scott Neville cut in from the left but his low shot was kept out by Cory Hugo. A driving run by Lewis Flat forced a fine save from Hugo, and the end to end nature continued with a long range strike by Damien Scali that was saved by Neil Young. Sorrento were creating by greater chances as Jason Trpevski headed narrowly wide from a Glen Thomas corner, while Jared Love’s first time shot was superbly blocked by Hugo. The breakthrough arrived six minutes from half-time when Hugo’s long ball was helped on by Tom Shepheard for Djukanovic to fire past Young. Shepheard should have doubled the hosts lead by headed wide at close range from a Brendan Knox corner. Sorrento were fast out of the blocks after the break as Thomas threaded the ball through to Love whose low shot had Hugo at full-stretch. Djuknaovic could have wrapped up the game in the 67th minute when found by Shepheard but his shot from 8-metres was instinctively saved by Young. Much of the Gulls attacking play stemmed from Thomas who, in the 76th minute, sent Boyle through for Hugo to spoil the opportunity. Neville thought he’d brought the team by finding the net a minute later but referee Troy Miller disallowed the youngsters’ effort for offside. With four minutes remaining Swan brought veteran defender Trevor Hatton off the bench for his final appearance in the clubs’ famous black and white stripes.
Fremantle Spirit celebrated the end of a successful season by toppling high-flying Perth S.C. 2-1 in Sunday’s fixture at the WA Spanish Club. The game started pretty much as expected with Perth on top early and asserting much of the pressure. Matt Danskin and Todd Howarth caused the hosts more than a few problems with their pace down the flanks to keep the Fremantle defence on high alert. Brendan Ross was unlucky not to put Perth ahead with a spectacular bicycle kick which bounced to safety off the crossbar. It wasn’t until midway through the half that Fremantle hit their straps and began to carve out some chances of their own. In the best opening of the period, Callum Roberts out-paced the defence and made his way around goalkeeper Gareth Deeg but could only find the side netting from a narrow angle. There as a great deal of enterprise shown by both teams following the turn around but resilient defending kept genuine shots to a minimum. The deadlock was eventually broken when Todd Howarth’s cross was poorly dealt with by the home defence and Costas Socratous’ low shot was too hot for Steve Grant to handle. Disaster struck Perth only a few minutes later as Trent Kay was red carded for bringing Roberts down inside the 18-yard box, and Dale Wingell kept his cool to convert from the penalty spot and bring the teams level. Roberts was rewarded for an afternoon of hard graft by sneaking a low shot under Deeg with only ten minutes left on the clock. Perth threw everything into earning themselves a late point but it was Fremantle that went closest to adding to their tally through Jason Pottier whose shot was parried by Deeg onto the bar before bouncing away to safety.
Inglewood United ran out 4-1 winners against Wanneroo City when they met at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Albert Osei-Tutu ended his season on a high by bagging a hat-trick with Inglewood’s remainder coming via Michael Baczynski. Morgan Dendle was the scorer of Wanneroo’s solitary goal. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (South West Phoenix v Mandurah City courtesy South West Phoenix)
The final round of the First Division season commenced with Morley Windmills’ 1-0 defeat of Ashfield on Friday night at Wotton Reserve. Ashfield were by far the dominant side throughout the first half but were denied the opening goal on several occasions. Julian Piromali’s header from point blank range was miraculously kept out by Morley goalkeeper Chris Ramsey, and minutes later Piromalli was through with the goal at his mercy before Bobby Irving and Alan Nanini combined to deny the attacker. Morley had very few opportunities by contrast, however, a swift counterattack produced the goods as Remo McCann sliced open the defence with a terrific pass which Seita Hamamoto slotted past Kenny Ftynohiannis in a one-on-one. The pace quickened for a second half that produced good chances for both teams. Andy O’Neill and Rydeen Botha went close for Ashfield but their shots were either wide of the mark or scrambled clear by the defence. For the hosts it was Scott McIlroy, Remo McCann and Hamamoto that provided the danger but were unable to find the finish they sought. As the minutes ticked down Morley found themselves under increasing pressure as Ashfield pressed forward in a desperate, but ultimately fruitless, attempt to steal a point.
South West Phoenix secured third place by defeating champions Mandurah City 2-1 in a tight encounter at Bunbury’s Soccerdrome. Despite the warm conditions, the match started at a cracking pace with both midfields playing some quality, attacking football. The opening goal arrived when Seb Trim and David Murphy combined to send Andy Cowley in behind the centre and his shot from a tight angle screwed across goal for Greg Hayes to tap in from 7-metres. This had an energising effect on Phoenix and Murphy twice went close to extending their advantage. Mandurah weren’t without their chances and just minutes from the break Michael Bobridge brought the sides level with a close-range conversion after Christian Paschewitz’ header from a Jake Loreto cross came back off the crossbar. Phoenix continued to apply the pressure after a well-earned break and on the hour found a way through as Hayes slid a pass to Steve Suttie who squared for an unmarked Patrick Quinn to convert at the far post. Mandurah hit back with a series of attacking raids in which Paschewitz and Bobridge found the net only for both efforts to be disallowed for offside. Although Phoenix rode their luck at times, they did hang on to take all three points to achieve their highest ever placing.
Dianella White Eagles edged out Canning City 3-2 in a feisty contest at Willetton Sportsman Club. The game started positively for both teams who made their way forward with intent and each going to taking the lead. But the dynamics changed with the 24th minute dismissal of Michael Van Dongen who was issued a controversial straight red card for a late challenge on Dragan Njegic. Paul Hickey made the most of his sides’ extra man twelve minutes later by rifling a cutback from Njegic past goalkeeper Keegan Savage. Canning continued to press into attack but despite their best efforts went into the break a goal down. The second half was peppered by a number of crunching tackles as the teams wrestled for control. The gap was widened on the hour with a angled drive from 15-metres by Ray Rose. Canning were in no mood to go down without a fight and Daniel Trevisiol breathed new life into the game by converting a penalty. With eight minutes remaining David Mahon played a long cross-field pass on to the head of Dave Mickler whose clinical finish was into the bottom corner. The closing stages were played at a frantic pace and it was Dianella that got the decider when Vlad Naumovski broke down the right and delivered a cross to the back post where Miladin Gligoroski headed past the goalkeeper.
Queens Park out-shot Balcatta 2-0 at Coker Park to end their season on a high. The first chance of a frenetic opening came on 8 minutes when young goalkeeper Brendan Symonds reacted sharply to deny Ben Rogers in a one-on-one situation. This set the pattern for a first half dominated by the home team but who were thwarted in their attempts to score by a well-organised defence. Jimmy Taneski was featuring prominently for the home side with his pace causing plenty of concerned for the Balcatta rearguard. Two minutes from half-time the home team grabbed the lead through Grant Learmont whose free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box crashed into the net. Balcatta emerged from the break fired up and determined to get back in the game. Openings came the way of Toby Wright, Christian Debarro and Peter Koidis but stubborn defending and the reflexes of Symonds prevented the visitors from drawing level. Queens Park delivered a knock-out in the 66th minute when Mal Mackie combined with Learmont whose cross to the far post was expertly volleyed in by captain Ian McKean.
Forrestfield United thumped Rockingham City 4-1 in the final game at Dowling Street Reserve. Jordan Hart snared a hat-trick for the visitors with Phil Bell getting the remainder. D.Mathurine was the solitary goals for Rockingham who has R.Clackett sent off midway through the second half. Gosnells City defeated Bayswater City 5-1 a fortnight ago at Walter Padbury Reserve. Darren Francis (2), Mark Edwards, Steve Gillibrand and Jonathon Cook got the goals for Gosnells with Bayswater’s response coming from Sal Marrapodi. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Most teams will be playing for pride when the 2007 home and away series draws to a close this weekend. The only real interest is whether Premier League champion Floreat Athena can hold out against Armadale and complete the season without defeat. Perth S.C. will end the winter in second place regardless of the outcome of their trip to Fremantle Spirit. Cockburn City are away to Western Knights knowing victory will secure them third on the final table. However, should they slip up it'll be the winner of the northern suburbs game between E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions that sneaks into the minor placing. Wanneroo City are home to Inglewood United, while Sorrento travel to Swan I.C.
The final round of First Division games starts on Friday evening with Morley Windmills up against neighbouring Ashfield at Wotton Reserve. On Saturday, South West Phoenix head into their home clash with champion Mandurah City knowing another three points will make 2007 the most successful season in the clubs short history. Canning City have home ground advantage against Dianella White Eagles. Queens Park go in search of just their third home win of the year when Balcatta swing by Coker Park. Only Forrestfield United stands in the way of Rockingham City ending their time at Dowling Street Reserve on a high. Gosnells City defeated Bayswater City 5-1 in the remaining match, which was played a fortnight ago.
SMITH DUMPS HARNWELL AND MICEVSKI
Jamie Harnwell and David Micevski have controversially been dumped from the Perth Glory squad for Sunday's crunch fixture with Wellington Phoenix. The pair have been jettisoned despite solid performances in last weekend's narrow loss to Central Coast Mariners. New Zealand international Leo Bertos has been included for the trip to his home town along with Jimmy Downey and Billy Celeski.
Coach Ron Smith cited tactical reasons as the reason behind the omission of Harnwell and Micevski. "It's mainly to go for a win and to give us a little bit more depth in the attacking midfield department," Smith said. "Jamie has had a couple of goes and he's not done badly, but I want to see how Mate (Dragicevic) combines with some other attacking midfielders around him. I'm looking for ways to increase goal-scoring possibilities."
The decision to drop Harnwell is difficult to fathom given the 30-year old is the scorer of Glory's only goal of the season to date. "I've got no idea what he wants me to do. I've started two games and scored one goal," Harnwell said. "I've tried to hold the ball up, get flick-ons when I can. There's nothing more I can do really." Glory are winless in their past twelve A-League outings and failure to collect maximum points this weekend may cut them adrift at the foot of the table.
NATIONALS AWAIT WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S BEST
The cream of Australia's footballing talent gathers in Coffs Harbour this weekend for the 2007 National Youth Championship. The week-long tournament is a key part of Football Federation Australia's junior development program and provides players the opportunity to showcase their wares to scouts from Australia and overseas. Amongst the State Under-15 squad are Eli Babalj, Milljon Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury who were called into camp with the Australian Under-17's earlier this month.
"Given the recent success of our WA players in achieving selection for national trials, I am confident the boys will represent the state and themselves very well this year," said Garry Chandler, Football West's chief executive. "The nationals are a useful opportunity to benchmark where we are against the traditional heavyweights of Australian soccer and I am sure all the WA football community joins me in wishing both squads the very best for the championships."
The State Under-14 squad is Terrance Connor, Hanafi Ghazali, Scott Mellish, Francis Soale, Blake Sokolowski (Cockburn City), Samuel Sonpon (Dianella White Eagles), Bao Nguen (Inglewood United), Yosef Sisay Asefa (Maylands United), Rafael Accruso, Matthew Izzo, Jason Marsden (Perth S.C.), Storm Roux, Michael Stuart (Sorrento), Dylan Filcamo, Steven Walmsley (Stirling Lions) and Duncan Lissiman (Subiaco). Team officials are Chris Ola (coach), David Butterfield (assistant coach), Andy Ross (physiotherapist) and Tony Campbell (manager).
The State Under-15 squad consists of Cameron Edwards, Ryan Edwards, Samuel Mitchinson, Alexander Pearson (Cockburn City), Julius Davies (Dianella White Eagles), Clayton Arnez, Eli Babalj, Milljon Butshiire, Jack Clisby, Emmanuel Linga, Joshua Risdon, Trent Sainsbury (National Training Centre), Sean Browne (Sorrento), Gratias Matunda, Zoran Vrteski (Stirling Lions) and Adam Bowers (Wanneroo City). Team officials are Kenny Lowe (coach), Darren Young (assistant coach), Andy Ross (physiotherapist) and Mitch Doherty (manager).
ROCKINGHAM SAY GOODBYE TO DOWLING STREET
Rockingham City farewell, Dowling Street Reserve, on Saturday when they hosts Forrestfield United in the final game of the 2007 First Division season. The club are expecting a large crowd to say goodbye to the ground which has been home for the past thirty years and have abolished the usual entrance fee in an effort to welcome as many people from the clubs past for this historic event. Free entry will extend throughout the day and into the night as farewell celebrations steps up with live entertainment and a DJ providing the music. The Rockingham-Forrestfield game kicks off at 3.00pm with the party commencing shortly after the final whistle!
INGLEWOOD ON THEIR WAY UP ACCORDING TO STOITIS
A golden run of form has taken Inglewood United into the top half of the table for the first time this year - and if Daniel Stoitis has anything to do with it that’s where they’ll stay. Unbeaten in five games, Inglewood this weekend travel to Wanneroo City where victory will not only extend that run but continue their target of challenging for top honours in the not too distant future. “It’s not been the best of seasons for us so to think we can still finish in the top six is a good sign,” said Stoitis. “A lot has happened at Inglewood this year which will make the club much stronger in 2008.”
The future indeed looks bright for Inglewood who have adapted well to the approach and attitude of new coaches Bobby Despotovski and Lee Bamber. “Once we really grasped where they were coming from and what they expected from us the results started to go our way,” Stoitis explained. “One of the biggest improvements in the team has been our high fitness levels and ability to finish games strongly. I’m a big admirer of Stirling Lions because of their strong work ethic and organisation and these are areas Bobby has worked hard on to improve our game.”
The trigger for Inglewood’s late season charge up the table was an early June win at Fremantle Spirit. “Our form reversal began in that Cup fixture,” said Stoitis. “It was a hard fought win away from home and that gave us the confidence and believe that we could win games and perform well as a team. We’ve played really well since then - with the exception of against Perth S.C. - and have been a difficult team to play against. Our fitness levels have helped us win the tight games, as evident against Armadale where our strong finish is what separated the sides.”
Stoitis admits to being a little frustrated that it’s taken so long for Inglewood to find top gear. “It has taken the team a little while to get going but there are a number of factors which contributed to our slow start,” explained the 24-year old. “Bobby and Lee introduced a lot of young players to the side throughout the year and with that has come some inconsistency. But when you sit back and look at the bigger picture I think the club will benefit from exposing so many youngsters to first team football as they’ll come back better players in 2008.”
One of keys strengths in Inglewood’s season has been the rock-solid understanding between defensive partners Stoitis, Danny Kovacevic and former national league player Shane Pryce. “Playing alongside Danny and Shane is a real pleasure,” Stoitis commented. “Danny’s work-rate and commitment is up there with the best of them, he makes sure the opposition are aware he’s out there. Shane Pryce is one of the best defenders I’ve played with - he’s helped me with my game this season and is has always been a consistent performer for us.”
On a personal level, Stoitis has been happy with what he has contributed to Inglewood’s season. “I’ve been really pleased with my performances,” said Stoitis, who admits to struggling for consistency last year after recovering from a knee reconstruction and breaking his leg. “I worked hard on getting fit before pre-season and that allowed me to train harder and not pick up muscle injuries which have held me back in the past. Bobby has also been a big help as he always keeps you own your toes in training and gets you out of your comfort zone.”
Inglewood faces an already relegated Wanneroo in Saturday’s final round of the home and away series. Stoitis is expecting a difficult time again a Wanneroo side wanting to end their time in the top flight on a high. “Compared to previous years, the league this season has been incredibly even with no easy games, and Saturday will be no different,” he said. “We won’t be taking the game lightly as another three points will put us in the top six and extend our unbeaten run to six games. It also gives our young boys another opportunity to continue their development and stamp a claim to a first team spot for next year.”
TARKA STARTS GLORY TURF WAR
David Tarka has been told to apologise after writing a website article that blamed the Members Equity Stadium surface for "contributing to the severity" of the hamstring injury that cut short his season. Tarka, who has a history of hamstring problems, was scathing in his assessment by claiming "the pitch is the worst in the competition and a liability. Those in charge of the playing surface at Members Equity should be working overtime preparing it for our next home game" in his column for the perthnow.com.au
Tarka lasted just fifteen minutes of the season-opener against Newcastle Jets before collapsing in agony after tearing his hamstring from the bone. "I have no doubt that the poor surface contributed to the severity of my injury," Tarka wrote. "One would think there is a duty of care to provide a safe environment for professional athletes to perform." The defender would not comment as to how the surface contributed to his injury, but several players have privately expressed their concerns that it is often slippery and uneven.
Peter Bauchop of Allia Venue Management, the company which looks after the ground, called for a correction, retraction and an apology from Tarka because the surface was in good condition. "If we get what we've asked for, it's the end of the matter," Bauchop said. "Things are moving in the right direction." The Members Equity Stadium pitch has taken a battering in recent weeks with a series of rugby union games held on the day prior to Glory matches against Sydney and Queensland. Bauchop said he was unaware of comments made by other A-League players regarding the state of the pitch.
Glory chief executive Scott Gooch said he would discuss the matter with Tarka. "It's something I'll address with David. But in terms of the surface, it complies with A-League standards," Gooch commented. "It's his personal opinion and obviously he's disappointed he's missing out on playing the season ahead and that's equally disappointing for the club and the fans. But it's not fair to be blaming the surface for that because accidents happen."
PERICH SHINES AT SWAN
Young midfielder David Perich has been one of the few highlights in a disappointing season for Swan I.C. The talented playmaker struggled to cement a starting spot last year but has turned things around with a sparkling season that's made him one of the first names on the Swan teamsheet. "Obviously I'm a bit more mature and experienced then previous seasons which means I am more composed on the pitch," said Perich. "I've also worked really hard on my fitness and I'm running more on the pitch ... I've played some below average games but people still say it was decent."
It's been a year to forget for Swan who, with one game to play, will end the season amongst the bottom four. Perich believes a number of contributing factors have hindered the clubs success in 2007. "What cost us the most was injury and a less than favourable red card record at the beginning of the year," he said. "Playing with ten men for a large proportion of the first half of the season was tough. But we also missed chances we would normally have scored which made it difficult for us as we were ahead so many times only to lose or draw the game."
Perich has benefited from the experience and patience of coach Carlo Scali and his assistant Michael Di Fulvio since emerging from the clubs' youth ranks. "I'd like to thank them both for having confidence in me," commented Perich. "I haven't been consistent quality-wise week in week out, certainly to a standard that I would like or they would like. In previous seasons, if I had a couple bad games I would be on the bench. But this year they gave me a chance to prove myself which does give a young player confidence, and I hope I've re-paid their faith."
WARD HOPEFUL DESPITE SETBACKS
Forgotten Queens Park Rangers midfielder Nick Ward believes he can still carve out a career at Loftus Road - but admits he is open to offers elsewhere. Three goals in the last six games says plenty about the Rangers' lack of creative output this season, yet the former Perth Glory playmaker remains a long way from the first-team reckoning. Ward has very much been on the outer since John Gregory took over as manager and is keeping his options open. "I think it can still work out for me at QPR," the 22-year old midfielder. "But, if not, I want to stay in Europe. If an opportunity comes up in January I'll look at it.
Ward is completely in the dark as to whether or not he has a future with Rangers. "I haven't had a good chat with the gaffer yet - when I have spoken to him I don't get a lot out of him and I really don't know whether I'm in his plans or not," he said. "Since John Gregory's been at the club, he's never played me in central midfield, not once. People can say what they like about me as a player but the fact is I've never played in my preferred position."
When an off-season move to Italian club Brescia collapsed at the last moment Ward headed back to London with a prove a point. "I'd have liked to go to Italy - I went there for a couple of weeks and the football side of things went well, but there were issues with money and stuff like that and the move fell through," he admitted. "I came back a lot sharper and feeling more positive, then I played in a couple of games for QPR and felt I did well ... but that was it."
The silver lining for Ward during his struggle to catch Gregory's eye is that he has retained his place in the Australian under-23 squad as they bid to qualify for next year's Olympic Games. "I think my form has been good with the Australian team," he said. "The coach - Graham Arnold - was very happy with me and said I was looking back to my best after losing my way a bit last year. But I'm not planning to go back to the A-League at this stage. It's just a matter of getting my head down and making the most of my chance when it comes."
LONG TRIP IN SEARCH OF GLORY
It's the second-longest road trip in world football, but A-League struggler Perth Glory are hoping that the distance will ultimately produce a first win of the season against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. The distance between Perth and the New Zealand capital is a staggering 5248 kilometres - the only longer away trip is made by Zenit St Petersburg who travel a 6551 kilometres to play Luch Vladivostock in the Russian Premier League.
Following last Sunday's loss to table-topping Central Coast Mariners, Glory remained in Sydney to aid in player recovery and allow for maximum preparation time for the game in Wellington. Training has been upbeat and competition for places in the line-up is high with Smith having, for the first time this season, a near full squad to select from.
New Zealand international Leo Bertos has trained well and has shown no signs of the hip injury that kept him out of the club's last two matches. Billy Celeski, Jimmy Downey, Anthony Danze and Nick Rizzo have also joined team mates in Sydney to push their claim for a spot against the competition newcomers. Glory will depart their training base in Sydney on Thursday night and spend two days in Wellington ahead of their first match at Westpac Stadium.
MASTRANTONIO A MATILDA IN THE MAKING
Ella Mastrantonio is well on the path to realising her dream of one day representing Australia at the World Cup. 15-year old Mastrantonio has been called into camp by the Young Matildas in preparation for next month’s Asian Football Confederation under-19 championships in China, where she’ll be one of the youngest players. “It would be good to play for the Matildas one day,” said the teenage midfielder, who attributes her selection to former Socceroo Alistair Edwards. “I wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Alistair and the coaching.”
According to Edwards, Mastrantonio can emulate the feats of local products Collette McCallum and Lisa De Vanna in the not too distant future. Edwards, coach of the Young Matildas at the under-20 World Cup in Russia last year, has been the driving force behind the coaching of WA women for five years and is well placed to make an accurate assessment of the Beaconsfield teenager. “Lisa and Collette have shown they are world class in China,” said Edwards “I think with Ella we’ve got another star in the making. It’s remarkable that at 15 she’s made the Young Matildas.”
Mastrantonio started playing football when she was “four or five” after being influenced by her older brother Elias. By the time she was seven, she was playing for Phoenix Park where she stayed until progressing to Fremantle City under-12s. “Even then, she could play,” said Edwards, who is head coach of the women’s National Training Centre program. “She’s got great technique and her passing ability is brilliant. And she’s so enthusiastic you’ve got to stop her from training sometimes … she loves the game.”
The Matildas’ progression at the World Cup has given Mastrantonio, who along with Marianna Tabain and Danielle Calautti has already represented Australia at under-17 level, with further inspiration to shoot for the top. If all goes to plan, Mastrantonio could be playing at the women’s under-20 World Cup in New Zealand next year with three qualifying places up for grabs at next month’s AFC tournament.
CUP FINAL MOVES … AGAIN!
Football West have switched the Soccer Pools Cup Final to Litis Stadium on the afternoon of Saturday 13th October. It’s the fourth time the centrepiece event of the 2007 season has been moved this year. “Although the late change isn’t ideal, having received feedback from all clubs concerned we have now reached an amicable solution in terms of the date and venue that will result in a terrific day of football in front of what I hope will be a bumper crowd at the home of Floreat Athena,” said Garry Chandler, chief executive of Football West.
The season planner issued by Football West at the beginning of the year fixtured the Cup Finals for Saturday 13th October at a venue to be decided. The association switched the Cup Final to Members Equity Stadium on Sunday 7th October, however, when that fell through last week for “operational and logistics issues” the knock-out competitions’ decider was moved to Dorrien Gardens on the same date. But that created a problem for some of the Cup finalists who’d planned their end of season functions in accordance with the season planner, necessitating the fourth change of date/venue.
BRAZILIAN HEARTBREAK FOR MATILDAS
Australia has been knocked out of the Women's World Cup at the quarter final stage by South American heavyweights Brazil. The Matildas came back from two goals down to level the score but Cristiane grabbed the winner with fifteen minutes left. Lisa De Vanna, who netted the opener against Brazil, said Australia's performance in China has announced their arrival on the world stage. "We showed just how much spirit there is in our team and, although we lost, we've already proved in our last few matches that we're a force to be reckoned with," she said. The victory means Brazil will meet the United States in the semi-finals.
Brazil had made the ideal start as Formiga's shot from the edge of the 18-yard box cleared goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and went in via the underside of the crossbar after just 4 minutes. Australia were dealt a further blow in the 20th minute when captain Cheryl Salisbury was forced out of the game by injury. Things took a turn for the worse three minutes later when Marta converted from the penalty spot to increase the Brazilians lead. Australia were back in the hunt nine minutes before the break when a defensive error allowed Lisa De Vanna to skip past 'keeper Andreia and slide the ball into the empty net.
The South Americans came out strong in the second period but were finding chances limited against a well-organised Australian defence. The teams were brought level in the 68th minute when Lauren Colthorpe's glancing header from a Heather Garriock free-kick was beyond the reach of Andreia. But Brazil restored their lead just seven minutes later when Cristiane, surrounded by three defenders, turned sharply to launch an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. Cristiane could have had another shortly after but hammered a superb free-kick against the bar. The Matilda's last roll of the dice came in stoppage time as Di Alagich volleyed high a cross from substitute Jo Burgess.
WINLESS GLORY SLIP TO LAST PLACE
Perth Glory slumped to the foot of the A-League table as a result of today's 0-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. The game looked set to end scoreless when Sasho Petrovski netted just ten minutes from full-time to extend the Mariners winning start to the season to five games. Although disappointed with the result, coach Ron Smith saw plenty of positives in Glory's performance. "We were able to control good portions of the game and were desperately unlucky not to score on numerous occasions," he said. "You have to take your chances and we unfortunately didn't do that tonight and have paid the price."
Jamie Harnwell and debutant James Robinson were partnered in attack as Glory created the better early chances. A golden opportunity to go ahead after 8 minutes went begging as Mitchell Prentice swung in a free-kick which an unmarked Jordan Simpson volleyed high of the crossbar from 6-metres. A couple of minutes later Robinson latched onto a great through ball from David Micevski but his shot from the top of the 18-yard box was deflected wide. The Mariners first decent chance arrived after 18 minutes when Nigel Boogard lobbed just over Tommi Tomich's bar. Shortly after, Petrovski turned his man inside out before squaring to Damien Mori who placed wide at close range. The home side wrestled their way back into the game late in the half but Tomich kept the score level with a fine save from Adam Kwasnik's explosive drive.
The Mariners hit the ground running upon the re-start as Petrovski wriggled free only to have Tomich tip his curling shot around the post. Petrovski went close again a minute later with a fantastic shot from 30-metres which flashed just wide. Next to threaten was Dean Heffernan who rifled narrowly wide from John Hutchinson's quickly taken free-kick. Glory went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 67th minute when Robinson's header from a pin-point Micevski cross rattled the bar. Play was end to end as a full-stretch Tomich keeping out Damien Brown's strike, then Tyler Simpson wasted a one-on-one with Vukovic. The game was settled by a terrific flowing move in which Andre Gumprecht centred to Petrovski who side-footed past Tomich on 80 minutes.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO
University of WA escaped relegation from the Amateur Premier League with a final round 2-0 win against Subiaco United at McGillivray Oval. The news, unfortunately, was not so good for Subiaco who slipped to twelfth place and in the process drop down to the First Division. After a tight start it was the hosts that created the first genuine opportunity but Chris Stone drilled his free-kick from the top of the 18-yard box into the defensive wall. The deadlock was broken midway through the half when Subiaco goalkeeper Tony Reilly failed to take cleanly a corner from the left and in an instant Declan Sharp whipped the loose ball over the line, albeit via a deflection off a defender.
Liam Sharp should have doubled University’s lead twelve minutes after the restart but shot high from close-range after Stone’s cutback. Fourteen minutes later the hosts’ secured their place in next years’ top flight as Neil Hookway helped on a near post corner to Stu Preston who headed into a virtually unguarded net from 5-metres. With their season slipping away, Subiaco worked tirelessly to conjure a goal of their own but were unable to penetrate their opponents defence. Seconds from the end the visitors went down to ten players when midfielder Harry Johnson was booked for the second time in as many minutes.
Shamrock Rovers celebrated their regular season success with a 2-0 home win over Southern Spirit. Stephen Roche and James Kilbee got the goals for the hosts who finished five points clear at the top of the table. Fremantle United’s 6-2 smashing of Lynwood Colts underlined their claim as the competitions’ second best team in 2007. Murdoch University edged out Stirling Panthers 1-0 to end the year a distant third. Kingsway Olympic were surprise 5-3 winners against Hamersley Rovers. Spearwood Dalmatinac and Perth Azzurri ended level at 1-1, and the points were also shared between WA Maccabi and Suburbs United who finished 2-2. CN Canning International saw out the season with a 2-1 defeat of South Perth United.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE
Paul Vatistas scored one of the goals of the season to lead Floreat Athena to a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Western Knights under lights at Litis Stadium. Floreat are now just 90 minutes away from completing the home and away series without defeat and, with their final game of the year against eighth-placed Armadale, on the verge of creating history. The home side started their search for goals early as Garin Collins rifled high of the crossbar after being sent clear by Adam Bachiller. Their positive approach was rewarded after 9 minutes when Julian Madaschi’s long ball found Collins whose cross from the right was put away at close-range by Josip Magdic. Stuart Montgomery brought the team’s level five minutes later by sending Alex Dunn the wrong way from the penalty spot following Branimir Mikulic’s infringement on John Thornley. Floreat were clearly in no mood to share and with 20 minutes gone reclaimed the upper hand as Miki Vujacic delivered the ball in from the left to Madgic who made no mistake in firing past Kevin Miller. Collins should have add the hosts third when found by a Magdic cross but the striker fired high from close-range. The second half was less than a minute old when Michael Johnson’s cross from the right was met by an unmarked Montgomery whose powered back post header hit the net before Dunn could react. However, the visitors joy was short-lived as in the 52nd minute Aaron Bahadori was issued his marching orders by referee Troy Miller for a second bookable offence. Vatistas struck within five minutes by waltzing past four defenders to go inside the 18-yard box before drilling his shot past an exposed goalkeeper. A couple of stunning late saves by Miller denied Madgic and Mikulic from adding to the hosts tally, and prevented the final margin from blowing out.
Perth S.C. were rarely troubled in strolling to a 4-1 victory when Wanneroo City visited Dorrien Gardens. The Blues dominated the game from the outset and if not for the frame of the goal and the terrific work of Jordan Conti the margin would have much greater at the final whistle. Brendan Ross was provided a golden opportunity to open Perth’s account on 11 minutes but scuffed penalty kick at the goalkeeper. Conti courageously dived at the feet of Matt Danskin nine minutes later to thwart his opponent, and moments later acrobatically tipped a Todd Howarth corner onto the crossbar. A terrific chip from Peter Lord set up Howarth whose cracking volley crashed into the underside of the bar. Next to go close was Andreas Oliveira with a stunning shot from distance that smacked into the base of the post. The goal Perth craved finally arrived on 34 minutes after Gianfranco Circati cleverly stepped over a Howarth corner and Ross forced the ball over the line from a point blank range. Conti was in the thick of the action shortly after the interval by denying Michael Icanovski. But there was little he could do in the 57th minute when Simon Trinca fed possession to Howarth whose curling strike from the edge of the 18-yard box found the far top corner. Perth’s third came four minutes later as Howarth skipped past one opponent before delivering a low centre which Oliviera steered in from 5-metres. Wanneroo shocked the small crowd with a goal of their own when Ben Yates’ stunning bicycle kick found the back of the net. It took less than a minute for Perth to hit back through Howarth who slotted past the ‘keeper after being played through by Conti. There was still time for one final drama as Conti pushed a neat flick by Naglieri onto the bar.
Swan I.C. won just their second away game of the year by downing Cockburn City 4-3 in a thrilling encounter at Dalmatinac Park. The home side were out of the blocks quick and hit the front inside a minute when Johnny Mirco’s in-swinging corner was headed in at the near post by Josh Kamasz. Parity was restored on 14 minutes through Damien Scali who converted from the penalty spot after Joseph Brunetto was judged by referee Hugh Best to have handled a David Perich shot. Within five minutes Cockburn were back in front as Johnny Mirco provided the ball to Brunetto whose low finish beat Cory Hugo. The seesawing nature of the game continued with Anthony McStea bringing Swan level from the spot for a second time after a handball decision against Michael Mirco. The black and whites snuck ahead just before the break when Brendan Knox’ corner found Scali who powerfully headed past goalkeeper Louis Lopresti from 6-metres. Fired up by the words of Scott Miller, Cockburn were back on level terms five minutes after the re-start as Kamasz played in Johnny Mirco who made no mistake in rifling past Hugo. Cockburn were taken by surprise when Perich sent a quickly free-kick to Damien Catalano who was thwarted by Lopresti. Hugo then came to Swans rescue with a stunning save that denied Johnny Mirco. Lopresti pulled off a remarkable double save as Scali and Shepheard attempted to put the visitors ahead. That wish came true on 72 minutes when substitute Dejan Djukanovic set up Knox who fired past an exposed ‘keeper. Hugo ensured Swan would go home with the points by blocking Kamasz’ powerful shot, then brilliantly keeping out Aaron Dos Santos’ shot late in the game.
Callum Roberts scored twice to orchestrate Fremantle Spirit’s shock 2-1 defeat of Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Played in perfect conditions, Roberts’ first half double was enough to see off a Stirling outfit that was left to rue some wasteful and, time times, sloppy finishing. The hosts came out firing on all cylinders as Matthew Italiano rifled high and Andy Brown headed early on. Fremantle were not about to make the same mistakes and on the quarter hour Roberts forced his way through the defence and fired past Phil Straker to make it one-nil. However, the visitors’ celebrations were cut short when debutant Luke Doyle was forced from the field suffering concussion after falling heavily when contesting a header with Steve Hesketh. The game resumed after a lengthy delay and soon enough slipped back into its’ earlier pattern. Keith Brown, Italiano and Ludovic Boi combined to set up Phil Arnold whose shot on the run whizzed past the post. Goalkeeper Dane McBride did well keeping out a half volley by Tom Jones, and Arnold mesmerised the defence before unleashing a blistering long-range shot that kissed out outside of the post. But it all counted for little when Roberts slammed in his second of the afternoon a minute out from half-time when indecision between Darko Ilmanoski and Straker left the young attack with an open goal. A lacklustre and largely forgettable second half followed much the same pattern of the first. Stirling reduced the deficit on the hour when Hesketh’s corner found the head of Andy Brown who guided the ball into the net. The final thirty minutes belonged to the hosts who tried everything in an effort to get back on level terms but managed to open up very few holes in a defence under the command of Alex Christie and Mark Darby.
A goal in stoppage time by Scott Neville has given Sorrento a 2-1 win over E.C.U. Joondalup in the northern suburbs derby at Percy Doyle Reserve. Glorious sunshine greeted the players as they emerged for their second to last game of the year. Veteran goalkeeper Andy Petterson was called upon early to save from Jared Love and Glen Thomas within minutes of eachother. Marc Anthony put the visitors ahead in the 7th minute when his speculative shot from 25-metres bounced awkwardly for Neil Young and slipped through his gloves and into the net. Joondalup looked likely to add to their tally as Anthony asserted his control over midfield, and Mark Lee and Tommy Amphlett tormented the defence out wide. However, Sorrento weren’t about to let their neighbour run away with the game and on 31 minutes Thomas delivered a corner to the far post where Jason Trpevski dispatched a powerful header into the top corner. The second half opened with Ian McMurray being thwarted by a quick thinking ‘keeper, and Petterson was in the right place at the right time to deflect wide Neville’s close-range effort. The dismissal of Craig Young for a second yellow card just after the hour swung the game in favour of Sorrento, who were determined to capitalise. Chris Boyle should have done better than lift his shot high after latching on to a terrific long ball over the defence by Stuart Banks. James Morgan dragged his powerful low strike the wrong side of the post, Love headed weakly at Petterson, and Neville was thwarted by Amphlett’s desperate blocking tackle as Joondalup rode their luck. The game was well into stoppage time when Love’s angled shot across the ‘keeper rebounded off the far post and into Neville who chested in the winning goal from only a couple of metres.
Inglewood United moved into the top half of the table for the first time this year after snatching a dramatic 2-1 win from Armadale at Clipsal Stadium. Shaun Kilkelly, Jason Colli and Michael Baczynski figured prominently as Inglewood seized the early initiative and pressured the visiting defence. This almost produced the lead through Kilkelly whose powerful header at point blank range was instinctively tipped over the crossbar by Cyril Sharrock. So it was against the run of play that Armadale went ahead on 32 minutes when Jason Goodwin met the ball ahead of goalkeeper Oliver Taseski to finish a well crafted move involving Steven Skilandis and Shannon Dally down the right. The momentum was now with the visitors for whom midfielders Scott Devine and Marlon Ramirez worked tirelessly, however, chances on goal remained few and far between against a well-organised backline. As half time approached Inglewood came back into the game and in stoppage time Kilkelly rifled in the equaliser at close range after receiving possession from Kevin Griffiths. The second period started flatly with neither team able to influence the game as passes were all too often intercepted or simply failed to find their target. It wasn’t until midway through the half that the game sparked back into life after Albert Osei-Tutu surged clear of the defence only to send his shot into the body of the advancing ‘keeper. After this play streamed from end to end as both teams buckled down to getting the all important go-ahead goal. Taseski was called upon to keep out a goalbound shot from Goodwin, and at the opposite end it was Brendan Craig forced Sharrock into a response. With the teams seemingly destined to end level, Shaun Kilkelly launched a long throw into the area where Baczynski’s flick on sat up nicely for Griffiths to chest over the line at the far post.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Balcatta v Rockingham City courtesy Balcatta)
Mandurah City finally got their hands on the First Division trophy after dispatching Gosnells City 2-0 in the final game at Peelwood Parade for 2007. Several good chances on goal were created by both teams in an all-action start which was highlighted by some terrific movement of the ball. Mandurah’s best openings lead to Shane Crampton and Christian Paschewitz firing past the target, while for the visitors it was Darren Francis and Brian Cairney that kept the opposing defence on their toes. The breakthrough came after 33 minutes when Gary Atrill fired past goalkeeper Jade Thorpe after receiving a neat pass from Paschewitz. The high intensity contest continued unabated but there’d be no addition to the scoreline as the two defences stood their ground. Gosnells came out for the second period focused on equalising as Cairney and Ian Maguire forced Mike Green into some top shelf saves. However, the game was effectively settled on 72 minutes by Mandurah captain Andy Brown who unleashed a fierce shot from 25-metres which flashed past a stunned ‘keeper. Even so, there was still plenty of life in the visiting team who pushed forward tirelessly in search of a consolation goal. The final whistle triggered wild celebrations for Mandurah in recognition of their promotion to the top flight.
Ashfield will end the season as runner-up for the second successive time after accounting for South West Phoenix 4-0 at Ashfield Reserve. Superb work by Andy O’Neill lead to an early opening for the hosts when his far post cross found Damien Todorovic whose shot was well saved by Ryan Montgomery. The same two players combined again in the 17th minute with Todorovic this time the provider for O’Neill whose miscued shot was put away by Rydeen Botha at close-range. Todorovic was denied the hosts second by a terrific fingertip save from Montgomery shortly before half-time. Phoenix gave a much stronger account of themselves after the break but still found it difficult to break down a well-organised home defence. The margin was doubled seventeen minutes after the re-start when O’Neill darted down the left to deliver an inch-perfect cross which Todorovic converted from the edge of the 6-yard box. Four minutes later the game was effectively ended as a contest as a Botha shot fell to Todorovic who was presented with a simple tap in from a few metres. O’Neill got his reward for a superb performance by angling a firm shot past Montgomery with twelve minutes to play.
Jon Greenwood bagged all four goals in Dianella White Eagles’ 4-2 trouncing of Morley Windmills 4-2 at Dianella Reserve. A quick opening was interrupted on 27 minutes when an error by Pavle Kuvelakovic presented visiting striker Seita Hamamoto with a simple tap in from 4-metres. Parity was restored four minutes later as Greenwood converted from the penalty spot following Wayne Culverwell’s foul on Miladin Gligoroski. Despite a concerted effort to attack there was no further addition to the scoreline and the teams went into half-time on level terms. Dianella flexed their attacking muscle upon the resumption of play and took a deserved lead when Paul Hickey beat two opponents on the right before cutting the ball back for Greenwood to slam into the roof of the net. Fifteen minutes later Hickey flicked a throw in on to Greenwood who headed in his third of the day from 5-metres. Greenwood then took his season tally to 31 goals by latching on to a Gligoroski through ball and exquisitely chipping the ‘keeper. Joe Woodin reduced the difference late in the piece with a crisp volley from Scott McIlroy’s delivery.
Balcatta returned to the winners circle for the first time in two months by accounting for Rockingham City 3-1 in a drama-filled encounter at Graham Burkett Reserve. The early pace was frantic with the teams engaging in open, attack-focused football. Young goalkeeper Daniel Riccardello prevented Rockingham from grabbing an 8th minute lead by responding sharply to a one-on-one with Darren Mathurine. Balcatta posted the games’ first score fourteen minutes later via a quick counterattack in which Peter Koidis threaded the ball to Ben Rogers who turned his marker before firing in from 20-metres. The margin was increased a couple of minutes out from the break when Christian Debarro’s corner was headed across the face of goal by Sean Bowyer to an unmarked Vic Bogas who nodded in from inside 6-metres. Shots from Rob Clackett and Richard Lacey early in the second half made Riccardello the busier of the ‘keepers. Koidis capped an excellent performance by slotting in Balcatta’s third goal following Ben Rogers’ good lead-up work. A charging run into attack by Andrew Keary resulted in defender Jason Healy turning the ball into his own net to give Rockingham a late consolation. The referee had no option but to abandon the game two minutes from full-time following an all-in melee which resulted from an unseen off the ball incident.
Forrestfield United registered maximum points by upsetting Canning City 2-0 at Hartfield Park. John Hunter put the hosts ahead after only a couple of minutes with Roger Miron doubling the margin early in the second half. Bayswater City moved up to sixth place after defeating Queens Park 4-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. Bobby Klenkoski (2), Ryan Frisina and Rory Grant found the target for the home team, while for Queens Park it was Ian McKean and C.Jogee that got the goals. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
MICEVSKI STARTS SEASON LATE
Australian youth international David Micevski will make his first appearance of the A-League season when Perth Glory meet Central Coast Mariners on Sunday. Micevski comes into the side at the expense of fellow Olyroo midfielder Billy Celeski who has been dropped for disciplinary action. “I’m going to put Dave in there to give us a little bit more stability in the middle of the park,” said Smith. “Dave has been patient, I know he’s been away for nearly four weeks with the Olympic team, which hasn’t helped his chances, but he’s done well in training so we’ll give him a go.” Glory go into this weekend’s fixture without the services of Anthony Danze (neck), Leo Bertos (hip), David Tarka (hamstring), Hayden Foxe (knee) and Stan Lazaridis (suspension).
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
We go to the northern suburbs for the footballwa.net Match of the Week for the derby clash of Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve. It’s certainly been a year to forget for Sorrento with injury and absenteeism holding them to only a handful of victories. A home win over their neighbours would be the perfect way to end an otherwise disappointing campaign and the contributions of Stuart Banks, Chris Boyle, Glen Thomas, Brodie Martin and Todd Harnwell will go a long way to making that reality.
Joondalup claimed the corresponding Round Eleven fixture 1-0 and another three points on Saturday can all but assure them of a top five finish. English import Marc Anthony has been a revelation in the middle of the park and has been mentioned as a potential Gold Medal winner. However, Joondalup are far from a one-man show and Andy Petterson, David Able, Tommy Amphlett and Ian McMurray have all been key figures in a fine debut coaching season for Willie McNally.
The weekend’s action kicks off this evening when 2007 champion Floreat Athena come face to face with Western Knights at Litis Stadium. A win at home tomorrow for Perth S.C. against Wanneroo City will secure second place on the table for Graham Normanton’s team. Swan I.C. will be looking to avenge their Cup semi-final loss to Cockburn City when they venture to Dalmatinac Park for the second time in seven days. A young and enthusiastic Fremantle Spirit journey to Macedonia Park where Cup finalists Stirling Lions have hosting rights. Inglewood United welcome Armadale to Clipsal Stadium.
Ashfield Reserve is the venue for the second verses third meeting of Ashfield and South West Phoenix in the First Division. Daniel Webb, Julian Piromalli, Igor Novakovic, Andy O’Neill and Rydeen Botha have been in sensational form this season for Ashfield who look set to end as bridesmaids for the second successive year. The improvement of South West Phoenix in the space of just one year under Mickie Cairns has been astonishing. Goals have flowed freely for Steve Suttie and Gary Mayers thanks largely to the terrific supply of Greg Hayes, David Murphy and Patrick Quinn.
Mandurah City will be presented with the First Division trophy following the home clash with Gosnells City. Forrestfield United have a difficult home game with fourth-placed Canning City. Dianella White Eagles have home ground advantage against neighbouring Morley Windmills. Bayswater City welcome Queens Park to Frank Drago Reseerve. Not a lot has gone right this year at Balcatta who’ll be determined to collect three points from their clash with Rockingham City at Graham Burkett Reserve.
AND THE WINNER IS …
Footballwa.net is proud to announce Michael Di Fulvio as the winner of a $200 voucher from Sportz29 as part of our tenth birthday celebrations. Sportz29 managing director Dino Pacella yesterday drew Michael Di Fulvio out of the hat from the numerous entrants who correctly nominated Perth as the club to have won the most Premier League titles since 1997.
"Congratulations to Michael for winning the competition," said Pacella. "Sportz 29 is a huge supporter of the world game, and especially football in WA, and is delighted to be able to offer the prize to a loyal supporter of the local game. A big congratulations also to Brett and the footballwa.net team for their outstanding service to WA football during the past ten years."
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MATILDAS WALTZ INTO QUARTER-FINALS
Australia is through to the last eight of the Women's World Cup after snatching a dramatic 2-2 draw with Canada from their final group fixture. A goal two minutes into stoppage time from Captain Cheryl Salisbury booked the Matildas' historic quarter-final showdown with world number eight Brazil. "The ball was just sitting in front of me and everything went in slow motion when I slotted it in," said Salisbury. "It was an awesome feeling when the place erupted and I realised what had just happened. We couldn't even hear each other out there - the fans were so loud and lively the whole game long."
After waiting 24 hours to get their postponed fixture under way, Canada started with a bang as Melissa Tancredi looped her shot from the edge of the 18-yard box over goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri inside a minute. Canada almost went two up when Kara Lang's cross hit the top of the crossbar, and Tancredi snapped her volley high. Australia finished the first half the stronger with Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum forcing fingertip saves from Erin McLeod, while Jo Peters' long-range shot flashed narrowly wide of the far post.
Australia got the equaliser they deserved eight minutes after the restart when McCallum struck a superb free-kick over the defensive wall and beyond the 'keeper's reach. Substitute Jodi-Ann Robinson headed against the upright as Canada sought to regain the lead. Their perseverance paid off when captain Christine Sinclair made the most of poor marking at a corner to head in at the back post with just five minutes remaining. But the drama not over yet as Lisa De Vanna jinked her way into the area and forced the ball to Salisbury whose scuffed shot made its way into the net.
DANZE DISPLAYS WINNING ATTITUDE
Anthony Danze is confident Perth Glory can secure their first win of the season when they take on A-League leader Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Sunday. Glory may have just three points after the first four games but Danze believes better things are just around the corner. "I don't think we're that far off," Danze said after just completing a rigorous mid-week training session. "We're looking forward to the challenge and as a team we're confident we can get a result - we're going there to win, no question."
Danze feels Glory will soon start hitting the back of the net on a regular basis after Jamie Harnwell opened their season account last weekend. "There are just little instances in the games where the final ball doesn't arrive or the understanding isn't quite there but the signs are promising and it doesn't take much at all to turn it around," Danze said. "We needed to break that duck and now that it's out of the way hopefully there is plenty more to come."
The tough midfielder has enjoyed a bright start to the season, and after spending considerable time on the sidelines through injury in recent seasons, he is determined to make up for lost time. "Every game we're playing I'm starting to feel a bit better," he said. "Without being totally satisfied with my performance last weekend I felt it was a step forward for me personally and I'm looking to definitely better that against the Mariners this weekend."
TOP FLIGHT BECKONS FOR MANDURAH
Mandurah City have realised their dream of playing top flight State League football by gaining promotion to the Premier League for 2008. The Dolphins saw off strong challenges from Dianella White Eagles, Canning City and Ashfield to secure the First Division trophy which will be presented following Saturday's home clash with Gosnells City. "This was always going to be a difficult season as most people had tipped us to win the title and usually when this happens teams raise there own performance against the favourites," said coach Stuart Currie.
Appointed late last year, Currie wasted no time assembling a squad with the talent and depth of going all the way. "We made a few good playing acquisitions at the start of the season and after an up and down pre-season the boys started to gel together and showed great attributes when the points were at stake in the League," explained Currie. Amongst the key recruits were Jeff Bright, Jordan Rhodes and Scott Halpin who added strength and flexibility to an already impressive core group that included goalkeeper Mike Green, Andy Brown, Christian Paschkewitz and Graeme Matthews.
It didn't take Currie long to realise he had the mix right and accordingly set the bar high for his troops. "We set a target of winning the first five games and we achieved this quite comfortably, so this gave us a great springboard to carry on from," explained the Mandurah coach. "The rest as we know is now history and I am sure will be etched in the memory of all the local people in Mandurah who have worked so hard to get the club into the Premier League."
It's been a meteoric rise to the top for Mandurah who were playing in the second tier of amateur competition as recently as 2000. But since stepping up to semi-professional ranks in 2002 Mandurah haven't once looked back. In six seasons as a State League First Division club the Dolphins claimed a top five placing on each occasion, finishing as runners-up in 2003 and 2005, and progressing to the last four of the Cup in 2005. Mandurah have become a model club both on and off the field with a highly talented playing list complimented by the hard-work of a superb committee.
The Soccer Pools Cup Final between Stirling Lions and Cockburn City on Sunday 7th October has been moved to Dorrien Gardens. The centrepiece event of the 2007 season was originally scheduled for Members Equity Stadium but has been switched by Football West for operational and logistical reasons. Cup Final day opens with the Under-18 meeting of Stirling and Western Knights (9.30am). Cockburn and Mandurah City meet in the Reserves (11.45am), with the feature game pitting Cockburn against Stirling (2.00pm).
The Malaysian national team will be in Perth from early next week as part of preparations for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain. Friendlies with Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens on 2nd October, Ashfield at Ashfield Reserve on 5th October and Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium on 9th October have been confirmed. It is understood Malaysia is negotiating to also play a representative State team and Perth Glory during their time in Perth.
A second string Perth Glory defeated Floreat Athena 4-3 under lights on Monday evening at Litis Stadium. Nikita Rukavytsya scored twice and Leo Bertos and Nick Rizzo once each for the A-League side who opened up a three goal gap before Floreat fought back late in the game. Boima Karpeh bagged a double for the local champions for whom former Glory defender Ante Kovacevic was also on the scoresheet.
Influential midfielder Steve Porter has left Stirling Lions just days after helping the book qualify for the the 2007 Cup Final. Citing a combination of family and work reasons, Porter returns to England this week where he hopes to re-sign with non-League outfit Leigh RMI. Porter’s departure is a blow for Stirling as they prepare to take on take on Cockburn City and defend their Cup crown.
Rockingham City may receive a stay of execution despite completing the First Division season in last place. There are unconfirmed rumours Shamrock Rovers, who’ll finish on top of the Amateur Premier League table, will decline the opportunity to move into semi-professional ranks should they win the championship play-off. It’s unclear whether their opponent in that game, Fremantle United, will accept promotion.
Please contact ‘The Insider’ via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any club news or gossip, transfer rumours or general scuttlebutt for inclusion in future editions of Short Passes.
WARD CONSIDERS LEAVING QPR
One-time Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward may be forced to leave London outfit Queens Park Rangers when the transfer window next opens in January. Ward was one of the first players signed by Gary Waddock following his coaching appointment in mid-2006. And while he initially featured regularly for the first team, Ward found himself on the outer when Waddock was replaced by John Gregory just a few months later. In an effort to get more game time the 22-year old agreed to spend the tail end of last season on loan to Brighton and Hove Albion.
While keen to fight for a place in the line-up, Ward says he's considering his options in a bid to secure first team football. "The last year was a tough one for me," he commented. "This year I got my head right again and I knuckled down and got fit and I've been performing really well in the pre-season games. I played one of the Cup games but it's just a battle. If you're not one of the managers signings it's an uphill battle but I'll just keep going and if it means I have to move in January then maybe I'll move."
NOMINATIONS CALLED FOR TRIP TO CHINA
The Associated and Catholic Colleges of Western Australia is calling for player nominations for representative girls and boys teams to participate in the China Stars International Friendship Games (pdf, 84kb) next year. The annual under-18 tournament is held in Beijing and has been created to broaden the educational and sporting experiences of players from around the world.
In addition to the on-field competition, China Stars International Friendship Games participants get the chance to saviour the culture of China with visits to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Tiannanmen Square and the unique "Hutong". Time is also scheduled for visits to the shopping meccas of Wangfujing Street and the Silk Market.
Trials for the girls and boys State representative teams commence mid-October at Sacred Heart College in Sorrento. Training proper starts next April with coaches Alf Do Bono (boys) and Toby Wright (girls) ahead of the tournament in September and October, 2008. With nominations closing this coming Thursday - 27th September - players interested in being part of the historic trip to China are encouraged to nominate with their school sports coordinator now.
GOLDEN BOOT A PERFECT FIT FOR KARPEH
A rich vein of form in front of goal has singled out Boima Karpeh as the years’ premier striker. The Floreat Athena attacker wrapped up the Golden Boot a long time ago and with a couple games still to be played has the opportunity to add to his already impressive 25-goal winter. Karpeh, 23, started the year slowly before reigniting his season with a hat-trick at Wanneroo City in Round Nine. An eight game spree produced an astonishing sixteen goals as Karpeh surged to the top of the leaderboard and well beyond the reach of his contempories.
Nikita Rukavytsya may have played only the opening nine games of the season for Perth S.C. but his 11 goals still have him sitting in second place. Injury ruined the trophy aspirations of Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) and Barry Wood (Perth) who have both netted on 10 occasions along with Branimir Mikulic (Floreat), Daniel Neiderberger (Inglewood United) and Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City). Lively Perth forward Andreas Oliveira has 9 goals to his credit which is one more than Stirling Lions captain Kevin Henderson, Anthony Skorich (Knights) and of E.C.U. Joondalup team mates Marc Anthony and Ian McMurray.
With two rounds of play the award as the First Division leading goalscorer is far from settled. Despite missing a substantial part of the season through injury, Jon Greenwood (Dianella White Eagles) and Steve Suttie (South West Phoenix) top the leaderboard with 27 goals each. A distant third is Rydeen Botha (Ashfield/Dianella) who has so netted on 15 occasions. Lurking just a goal behind him are Christian Paschewitz of champions Mandurah City and South West veteran Gary Mayers. Farrell Hedges (Morley Windmills) has 12 goals to his credit followed by Canning City’s Dave Mickler and Sal Marrapodi of Bayswater City with 10 goals.
GOAL MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT POINTS : HARNWELL
He may have broken Perth Glory's goal-scoring drought but Jamie Harnwell would trade it all for precious three points. Glory finally opened their new season account when Harnwell, in his first start of the season, calmly slotted in 15 minutes into Sunday's round four fixture with Queensland Roar. However, that goal was cancelled out by later strikes from Josh McCloughan and Matt McKay to send Roar home with the points. "We lost the game so there's not too much happiness about it. Fair enough I scored but it doesn't count for a huge amount," Harnwell said after the match.
However, the former Glory skipper did admit to feeling a sense of relief after scoring the goal. "It's been pretty frustrating and a pretty tough time for me in the last few months," he said. "I sort of looked over to my family and friends who have been supporting me over the last couple of months, and to see them was fantastic. I just went out to play my game and put myself about. But that's not just what I'm there for ... I think I showed that with the finish tonight. It wasn't a long ball with me heading the ball into the back of the net - it was a nice little ball in, touch and finish. There's more to my game than just getting on the end of long balls."
FOOTBALLS ‘NIGHT OF NIGHTS’ DRAWS EVER NEARER
The 2007 State League season comes to a close on Friday 19th October when the Burswood International Resort Casino hosts the Football West Gold Medal Dinner. The night celebrates the achievements of Football West's flagship competition, the State League, in which over 1,500 players participate from clubs ranging from Bunbury to Joondalup.
The awards ceremony provides the local football community to recognise the outstanding contributions of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers throughout the 2007 season. The highlight of the night is the prestigious McInerney Ford Gold Medal which goes to the top flights' best player. Also high on the list are the First Division Best and Fairest trophy, and the Golden Whistle Award for the years' best referee.
Three new awards will be introduced at this year's black-tie affair - the Premier League Goal of the Season, the Coach of the Year and the David Schrandt Memorial Award which recognises club volunteers. They join the Golden Boot, Goalkeeper of the Year, and divisional Fairest and Best Awards along with the presentation of the League and Cup trophies.
"The evening is a great opportunity for supporters of the game to come together and celebrate individual and club achievements for season 2007," said Football West chief executive Garry Chandler. "This year we expect our biggest attendance ever and I am sure it will be a fitting tribute to all those who take part in Football West's Premier competition."
With rumours already rife about who will take out this year's trophies, over 600 of football A-listers' are expected to attend the night which has become a favourite on the Football West calendar. Members of the football community are welcome to attend. Tickets are $85.00 (all inclusive) and can be purchased by calling Football West on 9422 6900 or by emailing email@example.com by Friday, 21st September.
MCKAY’S LATE STRIKE SINKS GLORY
A goal five minutes from full-time by Matt McKay inspired Queensland Roar to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Perth Glory in an entertaining tussle at Members Equity Stadium. Jamie Harnwell broke Glory's goal drought by putting the hosts ahead early in the first half, but that lead was short lived as Joshua McCloughan equalised just minutes later. Ron Smith admitted he probably misjudged Roar in pushing for a late winner rather than settling for another draw. "It always hurts when you lose," said the Glory boss. "But it won't be the first time that you try to win the game and end up losing."
Roar were quick to find their feet with Danny Tiatto's shot from the edge of the 18-yard box forcing a brilliant saved by Tommi Tomich. The Glory custodian was at full-stretch again in keeping out an Ante Milicic shot, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley denied Reinaldo at the follow-up. Glory went ahead totally against the run of play on 14 minutes when Anthony Danze shrugged off a couple of challenges and dinked the ball into the path of Harnwell who drilled an unstoppable drive past Liam Reddy.
Harnwell turned provider four minutes later by teeing up Billy Celeski whose fierce strike from 20-metres was spectacularly tipped around the post by Reddy. However, the home crowd was silenced on 22 minutes when poor defending at a Matt McKay corner ended with McCloughan forcing the ball over the line. The visitors finished the half the better and McCloughan should have done better from close-range when he found unmarked by Marcinho's corner which the defender headed high.
The second half started much like the first as Tiatto unleashed a scorching shot from distance that beat Tomich but crashed into the post. Glory was struggling in the final third of the park and the crowd of 7,203 were growing increasingly frustrated. Jamie Coyne's long throw-in caused confusion in the visiting defence and fell kindly for Danze whose first time shot was well saved by Reddy. Roar looked by far the more dangerous and in quick succession Tomich kept out another long-range bomb from Tiatto as well as Reinaldo's shot from the right.
A Glory counterattack in the 79th almost produced the goods as substitute Nikita Rukavytsya raced clear of the defence before playing in James Downey whose first touch put the ball too close to the advancing 'keeper. It would prove a costly miss as in the 85th minute Marcinho set up McKay who swept the ball past Tomich from the edge of the area. Glory weren't without their chances to snatch a late point but Harnwell headed high from a Coyne cross, and Simon Colosimo's shot from 22-metres flashed past Reddy only to come back off the post.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE
WA Maccabi bounced back into form with a 2-1 victory against Perth Azzurri in Amateur Premier League clash at Dorrien Gardens. The first chance of the afternoon came after only 6 minutes when Shaun Sane’s shot from 18-metres flash past goalkeeper Charlie Jensen but hit the post after being allowed to advance on goal by the defence. The visitors went ahead in the 19th minute through Tino Bruzeese who made no mistake after benefiting from a dreadful defensive error. Maccabi lost the influential Johnny Hesselberg to an apparent dislocated shoulder not long after but showed they are not a one-man show by increasing their lead through a deflected shot from teenager Same.
Perth came out from the break determined to equalise and Hawks fired narrowly wide from distance while Jim McLaughlin’s shot from 7-metres was brilliantly saved by Luke Melia. The decision to push Jensen into attack midway through the half almost paid off for Perth in the 78th minute when McLaughlin’s corner found Jensen whose firm header was kept out by Melia, who then denied Alex Hughes a minute later. The hosts consolation goal came in stoppage time when Melia failed to collect a corner and Hughes headed in from a couple of metres.
Shamrock Rovers secured the regular season title by thumping CN Canning International 5-0 at Wilson Park. D.Browne scored twice on a day when J.Kilbee, C.Lennon and P.O'Boyle also netted for the visitors. Suburbs United didn’t trouble Fremantle United who emerged 6-0 winners at Centenary Park. Murdoch University edged past South Perth United 3-2 to ensure they’ll complete the season in third place. University of WA were surprise 2-0 winners against Lynwood Colts, while Hamersley Rovers out-classed Stirling Panthers 5-1. Subiaco United gained maximum points by 3-0 at home to Spearwood Dalmatinac.
DE VANNA DENIES NORWAY
A sensational late strike from Lisa De Vanna has earned Australia a deserved 1-1 draw with group favourites Norway at the FIFA Women's World Cup in China. Norway appeared on course to secure a quarter-finals berth after taking an early lead through Ragnhild Gulbrandsen, however, the Matildas refused to buckle after a number of close calls De Vanna put away one of the goals of the tournament so far by smashing a superb drive into the top corner from from just outside the 18-yard box. Australia go into the final group match against Canada needing only a point to go through to the second round.
The game could not have started much worse for Australia who went behind after 5 minutes as Gulbrandsen shrugged off Thea Slatyer and calmly stroked her shot home past Melissa Barbieri. But the Matildas slowly worked their way back into the match, with Collette McCallum and Heather Garriock in particular combining to great effect. Joanne Burgess pounced on a poor back header but her attempted lob over advancing 'keeper Bente Nordby was superbly blocked. McCallum and Garriock both tested Nordby as the half came to a close to give the Matildas hope for the second period.
Norway were inches from making it two-nil in the 52nd minute when Lene Mykjaaland cut inside and struck a superb shot that hit the far post. A minute later, De Vanna hit the outside of the post after outpacing the defence. Cheryl Salisbury then had two headers in quick succession saved by the 'keeper as Australia started to dominate. The Matildas deserved equaliser came in the 83rd minute when Caitlin Munoz threaded the ball to De Vanna who outwitted the defence before sending an unstoppable shot past the 'keeper. Salisbury almost grabbed a late winner but her header flew just wide of the target.
ASSOCIATION CUP SEMI-FINALS
Stirling Lions will get to defend their Cup crown after coming from behind to beat Inglewood United 2-1 at Macedonia Park. A late headed goal by Andy Brown secured Stirling’s place in the decider after Matt Italiano’s first half strike cancelled out a penalty converted by Michael Baczynski. The poor surface was hardly conducive to flowing football and as a result neither team was willing concede much space. Inglewood controlled the early exchanges and on 20 minutes Daniel Niederberger should have done better than lift his shot over the crossbar after running onto a delightful pass by Baczynski. Stirling were largely non-existent as an attacking force and were turned away time and time again by the visiting side who played ten minutes a man down while Shane Pryce received treatment to a cut on the face. Controversy erupted two minutes before half-time when Phil Straker inexplicably lashed out at Kevin Griffiths while gathering possession, referee Steve Muldoon awarded a penalty after consulting his assistant and issued Straker a yellow card before Baczynski fired into the net. However, the lead was short lived as Tom Jones’ stoppage time cross dribbled across the 6-yard box where Italiano got enough on the ball to bobble it past the wrong footed ‘keeper.
Clearly fired up by the words of their coaching staff, Stirling emerged for the second half a much stronger proposition and immediately set about throwing the pressure on their opponent. Five minutes in Andy Brown delivered a cross to the top of the 6-yeard box where Steve Porter’s header drifted just wide, much to the relief of the Inglewood defence. The next to threaten was captain Kevin Henderson who headed high of the crossbar, then Steve Hesketh clipped the ball high after a corner dropped to his feet just 9-metres out. The poor condition of the pitch came to Inglewood’s aid shortly after as Porter’s corner went to feet and rattled around in a sandy 6-yard box before eventually being cleared by Pryce. The deciding goal arrived in the 82nd minutes when Italiano made his way deep down the left before curling a precise cross onto the head of Andy Brown who guided the ball past Jason Razmovski from 5-metres. Inglewood threw everything forward in a desperate bid to send the game into extra time but Stirling were having none of it and defending staunchly for the final few minutes to secure their place in the season finale.
Scott Miller’s dream of returning silverware to Cockburn City in his first season as coach is alive and well following their 1-0 Cup semi-final win against Swan I.C at Dalmatinac Park. A goal twelve minutes from the end by Dean Wallace is all that separated the teams and extinguished Swan’s hopes of a fourth Cup final appearance in five years. The ball had been in motion just a couple of minutes when a mix-up in the visiting defence presented Josh Kamasz with a great opportunity which he pulled wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. Dino Pacella came to the hosts rescue with a fine save which thwarted Brendan Knox as the team began to find their rhythm. Swan thought they had the lad on 17 minutes when Pacella, under pressure from Tom Shepheard, spilled a high ball which rolled into the net, however, after consultng with his assistant referee Mathew Cheeseman disallowed the goal for a foul on the ‘keeper. Scrappy play dominated the remainder of the half with Cockburn creating the better chances. Michael Mirco tested Cory Hugo with a long-range strike, and shortly before the interval Liam Lilly headed wide from Paul Natale’s delivery.
The second half burst into life in the 67th minute when Pacella kept out a Knox header. Cockburn immediately hit back through substitute Marko Aleksic whose powerful header hit the upright before being cleared by David McNally. The home team was by this stage starting to get on top and Hugo bravely saved at the feet of Giovanni De Bartolo after being played in by Michael Mirco. Next it was Michael Mirco’s turn with a crisp long-range effort that had Hugo at full stretch to tip wide. Their persistence was rewarded when Dom De Felice’s corner from the right made its way to the far post where Wallace rose above Aaron Cole to head in after 78 minutes. Swan worked hard to conjure an equaliser but Jason Godfrey deflected wide a goal bound effort by Cole, and Pacella saved well from Damien Scali. The visitors desire to push forward left them exposed at the back and only McNally’s last gasp tackle prevented Aleksic from wrapping the game up with three minutes of regulation time left. Swan refused to concede and in stoppage time both David Perich and Cole headed wide before the referee’s whistle triggered wild celebrations amongst the Cockburn supporters.
TOMICH CONFIDENT GOALS ARE ON THE HORIZON
Goalkeeeper has conceded time is running out for Perth Glory to break its scoring drought if it wants to take part in the A-League finals. But after three successive scoreless draws the in-form shot-stopper believes the club is only one goal away from replicating the form that took them all the way to the pre-season Cup final. “I know all the boys up-front are all frustrated,” said Tomich. “It doesn’t feel like we’ve been dominated in games - we’ve probably been the better side for a lot of it. But these things happen in football and it’s a confidence game. All the boys are banging goals away at training and the pressure is building on us but once we score that first one we’ll be fine.”
Coach Ron Smith has already come up fire from fans as Glory face the prospect of a third season without finals football. However, Tomich defended Smith saying the responsibility to put the ball in the back of the net rested with the players. “It’s something the coach can’t really control. Once he puts a team on the park it’s up to the boys to start banging away the goals,” he said. “Football is a funny game - we’ve just got to get through it and, to be fair, we’ve haven’t had a full team to pick from yet with injuries and national commitments. So I think we’ve done okay with what we’ve had. We’ve had to bring in a lot of replacement players and that’s not ideal for any coach.”
Glory go into tomorrow’s home fixture with Queensland Roar in sixth place but can leapfrog their way into fourth by claiming all three points on offer. Tomich, although pleased by his efforts so far, said he had yet to be fully tested and heaped praise on his defensive wall. He said the addition of Australian youth international Tando Velaphi had raised the keeping stakes in the off-season and pushed his game to a new level. “You can’t get complacent or take your spot for granted,” commented Tomich. “I’ve dropped kilograms and am sharper probably than I ever have been.”
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The glitz and glamour that is knock-out football takes centre stage this weekend in the form of the 2007 association Cup semi-finals. Inglewood United makes the trip to Macedonia Park where they face holders Stirling Lions. Keith Brown and Darko Ilmanovski are set to return to the Stirling line-up and, along with Kevin Henderson and Phil Arnold, will be keen to end an indifferent run of results. Inglewood have done well to turn their season around but won't be content with only a mid-table placing. Daniel Niederberger has been in superb form in front of goal and benefited greatly from the service of Jason Colli, Kevin Griffiths and Dean Apelgren.
Cockburn City's sights are trained on ending the year with a trophy and will need to be in tip-top form to get past Swan I.C. at Dalmatinac Park. Goalkeeper Dino Pacella has been one of the top flights' stand-out players on his return to football and underpins a terrific defensive line which includes Shane Nunes and Liam Lilly. Attack-wise, it's the Mirco boys Michael and Johnny that pose the greatest threat along with Josh Kamasz. Swan really has flattered to deceive this year and a place in the last four of the Cup is their only highlight to date. Captain Cory Hugo will play a key role along with Aaron Cole, Robert Monterosso and David McNally. Tom Shepheard leads the way forward and his partnership with Damien Catalano is crucial to their chances of qualifying for the season finale.
PROGRAMME AND MEMORABILIA FAIR THIS SUNDAY
Fans of the world game are in for a rare treat when the Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair (pdf, 66kb) heads to Kiev Sports Ground this weekend. Bob Brown, who organised two similar events last year, is looking forward to another successful gathering. "We had a lot of people attend the two fairs last year and I'm fairly confident we'll get a similar response this time around," said Brown. "Programmes, books and other publications as well as other football memorabilia will be available on the day."
The third Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair takes place this Sunday, 16th September, between 10.30am and 1.00pm at Kiev Sport Ground, home of Inglewood United (Hamer Parade, Inglewood). The fair brings together WA's biggest range of local, national and international programmes, books, videos, DVDs, framed photographs, badges, trading cards and a variety of other football-related memorabilia. And entry is totally free!
Brown has been involved with local football since arriving in Perth from the United Kingdom in 1959. As a player he wore North Perth and Perth City colours before injury forced his retirement. For close to two decades Brown performed a variety of coaching and administrative roles with Perth City and the West Australian Soccer Federation, and was a key figure in the establishment of the state coaching body. Between 1976 and 1998 he managed 'Sports Forum' which was Perth's leading outlet for all things football during that period.
LOCAL QUARTET SELECTED FOR JOEYS CAMP
Four of the State’s brightest young talents have been invited into camp with the Australian Under-17 squad. New national youth team coach Martyn Crook named Trent Sainsbury, Milljon Butshiire, Eli Babalj and Cameron Edwards, all 15, amongst the twenty-two players who’ll assemble in Sydney this weekend. The training camp will be used to select Australia’s squad for the first stage of qualifiers for the AFC Youth Championships against North Korea, Malaysia and East Timor in Singapore this October.
Football West chief executive Garry Chandler is thrilled with the local lads selection. “It’s a fantastic reward for their hard work, dedication and talent. Having four players from WA represented in the 22 strong squad is a significant achievement and indicates we are certainly on the right track in terms of our talent identification pathways,” said Chandler. “I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire footballing community in WA in wishing them the very best for the camp.”
‘THE FAME GAME’ GOLDEN MOMENTS : WESTERN AUSTRALIA V WERDER BREMAN
‘The Fame Game’ is the official newsletter of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. With moves afoot to revive the State men’s and women’s senior teams, ‘The Fame Game’ Issue Four (pdf, 1160kb) begins to look at some of the great achievements of West Australian representative teams in the 20th century, beginning with the 1992 defeat of German club Werder Bremen.
It’s fifteen years since WA recorded one of their most satisfactory wins at international challenge level - a stunning 3-2 victory over European Cup Winners Cup holders Werder Bremen at the WACA Ground on 6th June, 1992. The Germans had won the European trophy two weeks before and were expected to blitz the West Australian part-timers coached by Gary Marocchi, who went on to lead the Perth Kangeroos and Perth Glory.
A large crowd of 13,000 cheered superb goals from youngsters Stan Lazaridis and Tony Carbone - and fine replies from Manfred Brokenfeld and Frank Neubarth. The contest was headed for a draw until powerful flank man Carl McDarby crashed home a breathtaking winner within seconds of the final whistle. McDarby recalls the goal like it was yesterday - “You don’t forget one as important as that,” he said.
“It came from a free-kick by Stan and we had only practiced the move that morning,” McDarby continued. “It involved Marc Wingell making a dummy run as though he were going to strike the ball, then stopping. The Germans were a bit confused and then Stan stepped up and drove the ball to the near post. I had started my run from the back post, evaded my marker and clipped the ball first time with the outside of my right foot. It was really flying and actually went through the back of the net.”
McDarby, who played twelves times for WA, reckons that squad which defeated Werder Breman was the best of his time. “We would have given any side in the N.S.L. a run for their money,” he commented. “We had Stan and Shaun Murphy, who both went on to big things in England, and the cream of the local talent.” For the record, that State squad was Willie McNally, Murphy, Brian Sweeney, Craig Naven, Wingell, Carbone, Gareth Naven, McDarby, Lazaridis, Trim Morgan, Brian Roberts and Frank Bate.
The Irishman was 25 by the time of the Werder Breman game and was being courted by both Melbourne side Heidelberg and Malaysian giants Selangor, but he was married with young children and was a serving policeman. “I thought about taking a year off from my police duties but then I did my cruciate ligament at the end of that year and that ended my football for a while.”
He also had a chance to join Glory in 1996, but again police work took precedence - and he was approached again by Glory in 2000 when Bernd Stange was coach, but broke his ankle when playing for E.C.U. Joondalup. In a playing career which included time with Stirling Macedonia and Joondalup, McDarby won four League championships and three D’Orsogna Cups before hanging his boots up in 2002.
Now 40, he recently left the police service after 17 years and now runs a property development and investment company. He still plays five-a-side football and occasionally does a bit of coaching. He has high hopes that his 17-year old son Brian, who plays for Joondalup, will soon get a chance to make a mark at senior level.
TOMICH WOULD SWAP CLEAN SHEETS FOR GOALS
It doesn’t get much better than a clean sheet for a goalkeeper, but Perth Glory custodian Tommi Tomich says he would trade it all for a precious win. Tomich is happy with his return of three successive clean sheets but knows his excellent work between the posts will count for little if the goals don’t start coming for the club. “For me personally I can’t be any happier than keeping three clean sheets but obviously I’d trade them all in for a few goals and three points. But that’s just the way it's going at the moment,” he said.
Tomich has kept the likes of Archie Thompson, David Zdrilic and Danny Allsopp scoreless to go 270 minutes of A-League football with conceding a goal. And while he’s proud to have the best record of any ‘keeper in the competition Tomich attributes a large slice of this early season success to some rock-solid defensive performances. “To be fair I haven’t been put under the pump too much, so defensively we’re good,” Tomich commented. “We’ve been creating a lot of chances [and] with a bit of patience we will get there, and then once we get our first goal others will come.”
It was little under twelve months ago that Tomich was plucked from State League ranks with Western Knights and promoted to national league ranks following injury to Glory’s regular ‘keeper Jason Petkovic. “Last year I was watching it on TV and then the funniest thing is seeing yourself on TV afterwards, I mean that’s how football is at times,” he said. “One day you’re playing in the State League, the next you are playing in the Hyundai A-League and Europe. The key is just to be patient and believe in yourself.”
Tomich says he’s feeling more confident than ever before in between the posts having honed his skills under the careful guidance of Glory’s coaching staff. “I’m very comfortable in my position and the more games I play the more confidence I grow,” he said. “Full-time football means you are getting better every day. You are training with quality players, quality coaches. We have Tony Franken as a keeper coach - he’s our national ‘keeper coach so you can’t ask for much more there.”
Perth Glory have gone down 2-3 to Floreat Athena in this evenings’ training match at Litis Stadium. The game, played over 70 minutes, was a valuable opportunity to bring together a Glory squad that’s been hampered by injury and absenteeism in the past month. It also gave coach Ron Smith a first hand look at Liam Lilly and John Migas who have been touted as possible replacements for injured defender Tarka. Branimir Mikulic, Josip Magdic and Boima Karpeh got the goals for Floreat with Glory’s responses coming via Robinson and Mate Dragicevic.
Boima Karpeh is on the radar of A-League outfit Newcastle United Jets. Newcastle officials visited Perth late last month and were impressed with Karpeh’s performance in Floreat Athena’s away defeat of Cockburn City. Karpeh’s sparkling form in front of goal has produced a remarkable 25 regular season goals, plus another eight in Cup and Night Series competition, to return the Premier league trophy to Litis Stadium for the first time in a decade.
Graham Normanton has been confirmed to lead Perth S.C. into season 2008. Next year will mark Normanton’s tenth year at Dorrien Gardens and he’s just as eager as ever to add to his already impressive trophy haul. Since being appointed in 1999 Normanton has guided Perth to silverware on fifteen occasions – three Premier League titles, four play-off crowns, five Night Series’, two association Cups and the 2002 E.C.U. Centenary Challenge Cup.
Sydney FC are keeping a close eye on a couple of youngsters from Nash Field. Midfield pair Andrija Jukic and David Price have come to the attention of Sydney coach Branko Culina who is understood to have asked Western Knights officials to keep him abreast of their development. Jukic, who burst onto the local scene in 2004, and Price, in his second season of first team football, have been in terrific form for their club this year.
Please contact ‘The Insider’ via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any club news or gossip, transfer rumours or general scuttlebutt for inclusion in future editions of Short Passes.
MCCALLUM STARS AS MATILDAS CREATE HISTORY
A best on ground performance by Collette McCallum was at the heart of Australia's 4-1 win against Ghana at the Women's World Cup in China. McCallum's distribution from the middle provided plenty of ammunition for strikers Lisa De Vanna and Sarah Walsh. "That was my first match at a senior World Cup and it's a great feeling, I'm delighted for the whole team," she said. "I'm fortunate to have some great strikers who make excellent runs into space for me to pass to, and I'm also lucky to have a pretty good left foot."
Australia's next match is on Saturday evening when they face group favourite Norway in Hangzhou. McCallum has never played against Norway, currently ranked number four in the world, but is confident Australia will match them in every department. "I don't know much about Norway but we've played some very strong teams in the AFC over the past year or so and I'm confident that we'll be able to beat them," she commented. "I'm sure we'll be watching some videos over the next couple of days."
MATILDAS OPEN WORLD CUP WITH VICTORY
Australia have claimed a historic first ever win at a FIFA Women's World Cup by trouncing Ghana 4-1 at the Hangzhou Dragon Stadium in China. In their fourth appearance at the World Cup, and in their tenth finals game, the Matildas long wait was ended by two goals from Lisa De Vanna and singles by Kate Walsh and Heather Garriock. The win puts Australia on top of the Group C standings, level on points but with a superior goal difference to world number four Norway.
The match started positively for Australia with Garriock menacing down the left, however, the first chance on goal came at the opposite end where Yaa Avoe placed across the face of goal after pouncing on some hesitant defending. Walsh then broke clear of the defence only to have her shot saved by goalkeeper Memunatu Sulemana. Australia's dominance paid off in the 15th minute when Sally Shipard's cross was laid off by Caitlin Munoz to Walsh who slammed the ball in from 9-metres. Munoz squandered a golden chance to increase the margin by slicing wide at close-range just after the half hour.
Tom Sermanni unleashed De Vanna on the tiring Ghanaian defence for the second half and twelve minutes in she threaded in goal number two after good lead-up work from player of the match Collette McCallum and Walsh. Garriock capped a terrific performance with a magnificent header from a Di Alagich cross in the 69th minute. Ghana hit back inside a minute Anita Amankwa beat Kate McShea and blasted past Melissa Barbieri. Stung by the goal, Australia regrouped and with nine minutes to go Garriock released De Vanna to slip her second of the game into the net.
OLYROOS STEP CLOSER TO BEIJING
Australian are on track to secure a berth at the 2008 Olympic Games after accounting for Group A rivals DPR Korea and Lebanon in the space of four days. The Olyroos picked up a vital 1-0 win against DPR Korea on Saturday through a second half goal from Mark Milligan. That was followed-up this evening with a convincing 3-0 win against Lebanon courtesy of strikes by Nick Ward, Mark Bridge and David Williams. Back-to-back wins and four successive clean sheets have Australia ideally positioned alongside Iran at the top of the group table with three qualifying fixtures remaining.
EnergyAustralia Stadium was the venue for Saturday’s 1-0 win over DPR Korea. Australia dominated the first half but the closest they came to scoring was a long-range effort by Ruben Zadkovich which drifted wide. The deciding goal arrived minutes into the second half when Milligan evaded the attention of the defence to head in a Kristian Sarkies corner at the back post. West Australian midfielder Nick Ward was replaced in the 64th minute, David Micevski came on after 74 minutes and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi was an unused substitute. Perth Glory defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley also played a full game while team mate Billy Celeski came off with a minute to play.
Australia were rarely troubled in sweeping aside Lebanon 3-0 at Bluetongue Stadium this evening. Spearheaded by an affluent midfield featuring Nick Ward, Billy Celeski, Stuart Musialik and Kristian Sarkies, the Olyroos were a class above their opponent. The highlight of the opening half was a cracking strike by Ward from a Nikolai Topor-Stanley cross after 6 minutes. Mark Bridge doubled Australia’s advantage midway through the first period, and substitute David Williams completed the route in stoppage time. Nick Ward played a full game, David Micevski was on with ten minutes to play and Tando Velaphi was an unused substitute. Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Billy Celeski also played full games.
ON THIS DAY … 1990
Perth Italia star striker Peter Murphy crashed the ball past Kwinana United goalkeeper Adrian Rawlings nines times on the afternoon of Saturday 11th September, 1990. Murphy’s nine goals in the 10-1 victory set a record for the number of goals scored since the Soccer Federation of WA assumed control of the State League some thirty years earlier. Glasgow-born Murphy’s haul equalled the all-time record of nine scored by another Scotsman, Johnny McInroy, for Tricolore in 1959 when the code was run by the old Soccer Association.
After the game Murphy had all the Italia players autographed the ball before giving it to the club to display at Dorrien Gardens. “It belongs as much to my teammates as it does to me,” Murphy said at the time. “It was a great team performance, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of their work.” What made Murphy’s achievement all the more remarkable was that his goals were scored consecutively. Unbelievably, it is not the most goals he has scored in one match - as an 11-year old he hit the back of the net eleven times while playing for Harmony Row in the Govan area of Glasgow.
ARGENTINA A CLASS ABOVE SOCCEROOS
World powerhouse Argentina proved too much for an under-strength Australia who suffered a 1-0 defeat in an entertaining soccer friendly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In what was almost certainly the last game in charge for Socceroos interim coach Graham Arnold, and the final international outing for midfielder Josip Skoko, the Australians had their chances, particularly in a action-packed yet scoreless first half. However, Argentina looked the classier side and eventually made that advantage tell on the scoreboard with midfielder Martin Demichelis heading in the games solitary goal early in the second half. The game marked the international debut for West Australian striker Nik Mrdja who came on late in the second half.
There were plenty of close shaves in an entertaining, attacking first forty-five minutes. Marco Bresciano had a shot blocked on the line by Demichelis, and Josh Kennedy’s diving header was high of the crossbar as Australia opened positively. Argentina then seized control of the game with Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Jonas Guttierez putting Socceroo nerves on edge. In the 17th minute Messi went around two defenders before unleashing a bullet-like shot from 20-metres which cannoned off the inside of the left post and across the face of goal. Australia were even more unlucky not to go ahead eight minutes later when goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri somehow deflected a wonderful Bresciano free-kick onto the crossbar, the ball rebounded onto the keeper’s head and hit the crossbar again before bounced off the keeper’s back without crossing the line.
Argentina broke the deadlock four minutes into the second period when Messi curled a free-kick from wide on the left into the heart of the 18-yard box where an unmarked Demichelis glanced his header in off the post. Skoko left the international arena for the last time shortly after to the loud applause of the 70,171-strong crowd. David Carney almost levelled the scores with a mistimed long-range cross which Abbondanzieri acrobatically tipped over the bar. Two minutes later the ‘keeper was again made to pull off a good save when Bresciano fired in a strong free-kick which Abbondanzieri again pushed high. From that point Argentina played it safe by sitting back and soaking up the pressure while launching the occasional counter-attack. For their part the Socceroos rarely looking like breaching their opponents defence.
SAGE SHOWS FAITH IN NO-GOALS GLORY
Perth Glory co-owner Tony Sage remains optimistic the club will shake off their goalless start to the season and go on to qualify for the A-League finals for the first time. An under-strength Glory registered their third successive draw when held by Sydney FC on Sunday. But Sage believes the return from international duty of Simon Colosimo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Billy Celeski, David Micevski and Tando Velaphi will produce an improved performance next weekend against Queensland Roar. “We expect a win this week with everyone back and firing,” said Sage. “I think there’ll be a lot of improvement this week with five players back.”
Despite the teams failure to score in more than four and a half hours of football, Sage is content with Glory’s start to the season. “If we’d had three losses it would be a different story,” he commented. Glory have been rock solid defensively and goalkeeper Tommi Tomich was barely required to make a save against Sydney. But the absence of goals has highlighted the teams glaring weakness. “If we still haven’t out the ball in the net in two or three weeks time then we might worry,” said Sage, who ruled out the transfer market to improve the attack. “What we want to be able to do is get the best players on the park every week and create an environment where Glory are winning and in the finals. We are on track.”
KNIGHTS COACH UNDECIDED ON FUTURE
Ronnie Campbell is contemplating his coaching future as a disappointing winter with Western Knights comes to a close. 2007 started full of hope and promise for the Knights who were talked up in pre-season as potential title material. However, with just a couple of games remaining the Mosman Park outfit are playing for pride as a second successive mid-table finish stares them in the face.
Campbell guided the Knights to championship success in 1998 and 2004 but has not been happy with their performances of the past two years. "I've got to decide whether to do it again next season to be honest with you. I suppose I will decide what I'm doing and take it from there," he said. "We haven't won anything in the past two years and I like to win things ... and I want the players to win things."
Since their title win two years ago the Knights have struggled for consistency with a talented, young squad. "This season and last season has been disappointing because we have had a lot of success at the club, including Paul Cooke winning last years McInerney Ford Gold Medal," said Campbell. "On the bright side, the Under-18's have won the League this season and hopefully will win the Cup so there is a bright future at the club."
Although he has been offered another year by the Knights board Campbell says he's yet to reach a decision. "The club asked me to do it again next season," he said. "They asked me about one month ago and I'm really happy to be asked. I think that this year as a coach I maybe have not done as well as I should have done and I always look at myself before the players and sixth in the League is not good enough - we want to finish first and not sixth."
ANOTHER SCORELESS DRAW FOR GLORY
A depleted Perth Glory failed to end their goal drought by drawing 0-0 with Sydney FC at a sun-soaked Members Equity Stadium. A bumpy pitch made for an uneventful start that produced a handful of half chances but little to get the small crowd of 7,907 excited. The first genuine opening came the way of the visitors after 17 minutes when Ufuk Talay’s long-range free-kick was parried by Tommi Tomich. A few minutes later Steve Corica sent in a cross from the left that picked out David Zdrilic who rose unchallenged but his glancing header was beyond the far post.
Glory threatened not long after as Nikita Rukavytsya and Leo Bertos linked up cleverly to provide an opportunity for Anthony Danze whose well-struck shot from 22-metres whistled just wide with Matthew Nash well beaten. The home side continued to prod and probe their way forward for the rest of the half but too often ran out of ideas in the final third. Late chances fell to both sides with Mate Dragicevic firing wide for the hosts, and a long-range effort by Adam Casey failed to elicit a response from Tomich.
Sydney showed a lot more purpose after the break and Tomich was called up to keep out a shot from Steve Corica. Next it was David Zdrilic who threatened with a fine strike on the turn which flashed narrowly wide. By contrast, Glory seemed to lose their way and were at times guilty of over-elaborating their approach work rather than rattling off a shot. The introduction of Jamie Harnwell breathed new life into the home team and in the 74th minute his looping header was just high of the crossbar.
Zdrilic, meanwhile, was continuing to menace at the other end and twice went close to breaking the deadlock after linking up well with the impressive Corica. The rhythm and shape drifted out of the game as the final whistle approached, but there was still time for Glory to almost snatch a late winner when Naum Sekulovski’s cross from the left was met by substitute Jordan Simpson who scuffed his volley disappointingly wide to ensure another stalemate.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY
Shamrock Rovers defeated Murdoch University 2-0 in an entertaining match at Harold Rossiter Park. The home team were on the attack early and Steven Guest created the first opening by squaring to James Kilbee whose half-volley from 13-metres flashed wide. Murdoch should have gone ahead when Ed Schuller punched the ball straight to Kedzi Chigwanda who fired wide with the goalkeeper well out of position. Shamrock got the all-important breakthrough on 18 minutes when Sean Brooks won possession and threaded a pass to Kilbee whose superb shot from 14-metres gave ‘keeper Andrew Barrett no chance. Just before half-time Mark Walsh intercepted a Guest back-pass to go one-on-one with Shuller who brilliantly denied the attacker to keep Shamrock in the lead.
Kilbee doubled Shamrock’s lead thirteen minutes after the restart by cutting in from the right and beating his marker before unleashing a powerful shot that took a deflection to wrong-foot the ‘keeper. Kilbee could have completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute when he got to a long ball ahead of Barrett only to shoot wide from just outside the 18-yard box. Murdoch’s best chance of the period came close to the end when Chigwanda got to the by-line but over-hit his cross with a free team mate in the middle of the area. The visitors lost Barrett to a shoulder injury shortly after, and within a minute then went down to ten men after the red carding of star striker Flavio L’Abbate.
Fremantle United defeated Perth Azzurri 1-0 in the Amateur Premier League meeting at Hilton Reserve. CN Canning International caused an upset by out-shooting Southern Spirit 1-0, while Spearwood Dalmatinac drew 3-3 with University of WA. Challenger Oval was the venue for the rounds other surprise result in which South Perth United thumped Hamersley Rovers 4-0. WA Maccabi were spanked 6-0 by Subiaco United on home soil, and Stirling Panthers downed Kingsway Oympic 1-0 at Yuluma Park.
DREAM COMES TRUE FOR MRDJA
Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja has been rewarded for his excellent start to the A-League season with a late call-up to the Socceroos squad that will face Argentina on Tuesday night. The former Perth S.C. player takes the place of Scott McDonald who was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury. Representing Australia is the realisation of a life-long dream for Mrdja, and the culmination of a two year battle to reignite a career ravaged by injury.
Amazingly, for a player of immense talent in front of goal Mrdja has never represented Australia at any level - youth or senior. The 28-year old admitted he was staggered at being included in Graham Arnold's squad. "It was a bit of a surprise, but at the same time I was excited. It's definitely an exciting time for me and a dream come true from childhood," he said. "Every little kid thinks about representing their country and it has finally happened. I've just got to take it all in."
Mrdja missed the entire first season of A-League football due to a devastating knee injury, and although he made a handful of appearances late last season it's taken almost a year for him to return to full fitness and form. But Mrdja doesn't necessarily believe the call-up is a recompense for completing his injury rehabilitation. "You can see it as a reward, but you can say that I've worked hard to get here at the same time," he said. "I've had a hard couple of season, and to be back playing and scoring goals is fantastic."
Despite only arriving in Melbourne on Friday morning, Mrdja said he has had no trouble settling in with the squad but acknowledged the leap in intensity that comes with national training. "Of course the intensity is going to be higher," he said. "It is all a bit relaxed at the moment but things are starting to get a bit tough although it has got to be expected as the boys have to get themselves ready for the game on Tuesday."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY (Sorrento v Cockburn City by Kerry Slater)
A ten man Inglewood United emerged triumphant by 3-1 against Western Knights at Nash Field. It was a gutsy performance by the visiting team who controlled the game despite playing much of the second half a man down after the dismissal of goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. The game kicked into life after 11 minutes when Daniel Neiderberger tapped into an empty net from close-range after Knights custodian Kevin Miller spilled a lopping ball played into the 18-yard box by Michael Baczynski. A last ditch tackle by Jon Mathers on Dean Apelgren prevented the midfielder from increasing Inglewood's lead after he skipped through the defence and inside the box. The second half was barely four minutes old when Taseski was shown a straight red card after bringing down Scott Bushby while attempting to intercept possession just outside his area. A corner routine put the ball at the feet of Andrija Jukic who turned his marker but dragged his shot from 14-metres just wide of Jason Razmovski's post. Inglewood increased their stranglehold over the game through young defender James Duncan who helped home a delightful low curling free-kick from Apelgren in the 56th minute. It should have been three-nil when Niederberger released Baczynski who was disappointed to stroke the ball the wrong side of the upright. Within three minutes the Knights were back in the hunt as Bushby smashed the ball into a crowded area where it rebounded kindly for Cormac Dawson to stab in at close-range. The Knights search for an equaliser left them exposed at the back and allowed Jason Colli to drive forward and deliver a cross to the far post where Baczynski headed just wide. The points were made safe on the stroke of full-time when Apelgren muscled his way to the top of the box where he turned his marker and slotted under the advancing goalkeeper.
Floreat Athena preserved their unbeaten season by scoring twice in the final minutes to beat Swan I.C. 3-2 at the Swan Italian Club. The home side settled the better and had appeals for an early penalty dismissed by Ton Klaver after Brendan Knox' superb first time strike deflected wide off James Isaia. Hesitant defending proved costly for Floreat in the 23rd minute when Michael Tronchin and Tom Shepheard linked to set-up Damien Catalano whose explosive drive from 15-metres came to rest in the back of the net. The visitors search for a quick response was fruitless as Rafael Insurralde rifled high from distance, and Boima Karpeh volleyed wide from Garin Collins' cross. The margin became two goals in the 29th minute when Damien Scali converted from the penalty spot after Shepheard had been bundled over by Isaia. Leading into the break Floreat twice went close to reducing the deficit but neither Collins nor Isaia found a way past Cory Hugo. The second half opening in dramatic fashion as Catalano's shot was blocked by Vas Vujacic who thrust out a leg to deflect Shepherd's follow-up on to the crossbar. In the 61st minute Insurralde charged into the area where he was illegally halted by Scali, and Karpeh made no mistake from the spot. Swan could have added to their tally through Knox whose powerful shot cannoned off the bar to be cleared by John Migas. As the game came to a close it was Floreat that had more left in the tank and on 85 minutes Paul Vatistas sent Karpeh clear to rifle into the top corner. The visitors' comeback was made complete three minutes later when a long clearance fell kindly for Collins to clinically send past Hugo and decide the game.
A Todd Howarth goal with only minutes remaining earned Perth S.C. a 1-0 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Some commanding defensive displays kept chances on goal to a minimum in a free-flowing first half. Howarth and Matt Danskin were in full swing down the flanks for the visitors, continually sending the ball into the 18-yard box only to have Lee Hallams and Adam Galvin comfortably deal with the danger. At the opposite end of the park Michael Icanovski and Trent Kay were in an uncompromising mood as Jason Goodwin and Michael Bushby speared Armadale forward time and time again. The best opening of the period came through Danskin who charged past several defenders to go one-on-one with goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock when he scuffed the shot wide. The words of Graham Normaton had the desired effect as Perth took the intensity up a notch for the second half. Andreas Oliveira had the ball in the back of the net just before the hour mark only for his effort to be disallowed by an offside flag. This served to only fire Perth up even further and Antonio Naglieri crashed a stunning shot into the upright soon after. Danskin was presented with a great chance but shot wide, then Naglieri should have at least tested the ‘keeper when permitted to advance on goal. For their part Armadale were playing chiefly on the counter attack and Goodwin fired wide after being played through by Scott Devine. The game looked destined to end scoreless when Icanovski surged down the right and swung a cross in behind the defence to Howarth who tamed the ball before sticking it past the ‘keeper. Armadale were denied a share of the points within seconds of the re-start when Galvin launched a long ball to the top of the 18-yard box where Hallums’ glancing header forced a brilliant diving save from Gareth Deeg.
Cockburn City etched out a 3-3 draw with Sorrento despite playing the second half with only ten men at Percy Doyle Reserve. The home side were quick to get into gear and in the 12th minute went ahead as Glen Thomas headed the ball down for Jared Love to fired past Dino Pacella. The home supporters were given further reason to celebrate seven minutes later when Thomas clipped a neat shot over the goalkeeper from a slight angle after receiving Gurovski’s centring pass. Cockburn hit back immediate with Johnny Mirco curled a free-kick in from the left which Dean Wallace headed unchallenged into the top corner. The sides were brought level after 31 minutes by an in-swinging Johnny Mirco corner from the right that came to rest in the back of the net. Michael Mirco squandered a golden opportunity to put the visitors ahead but scuffed his shot wide when faced only by ‘keeper Anthony Cochrane. Cockburn were reduced to ten men moments before the interval when Aaron Dos Santos’ foul on Brodie Martin earned the young attacker his booking of the day. Sorrento started the second period just like the first and reclaimed the lead in the 52nd minute via Gary Lynn who drilled a partially cleared corner through a crowded 18-yard box. That lead would last just fourteen minutes before Wallace raced down the right before crossing to substitute Giovanni De Bartolo to steer the ball past an exposed ‘keeper. Love should have put the home side back in front but slammed the ball narrowly high after expertly taming Cameron Yorke’s pinpoint pass. The final quarter hour was all-action as the sides fought desperately to snatch a late winner but had to be content with a point apiece.
Stirling Lions came from behind to defeat Wanneroo City 5-4 in a scrappy encounter at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The scoring began in the 19th minute when Matt Italiano’s cross from the left was poorly defended by Wanneroo and Phil Arnold eventually fired low past Jordan Conti who kept out the strikers’ initial effort. The home teams’ search for an equaliser was rewarded eight minutes later when Morgan Dendle slipped away from his marker to powerfully head in cross beyond the reach of Phil Straker. With nothing to lose Wanneroo continued to press forward and shortly before the interval they snatched the lead through Craig Cheeseman who converted a penalty awarded for handball against Michael Pugliese. The second half began much like the first had ended and just a couple of minutes had gone by when Ben Yates was found unmarked inside the area to increase the difference. A rare Stirling foray into the 18-yard box saw Danny Richman go down under the challenge of Mark Donnelly for a penalty which captain Kevin Henderson tucked away with 57 minutes played. The turning point came when Mike Lyons went to his bench and brought on Andy Brown and Tom Jones. Parity was restored on 71 minutes when Arnold outpaced his marked to fire in a low cross that Brown slipped past Conti. However, there was still plenty of life in Wanneroo’s legs and minutes later Carl Harrison latched on to a long clearance and restored the hosts lead with a neatly placed strike. Superb movement lead to Stirling’s fourth goal in which Brown flicked the ball out wide to Arnold who delivered a pinpoint cross to the back post where Italiano gave Conti no chance with a powerful header. The decider came with six minutes to go as Brown received possession from a throw-in and expertly turned inside onto his left foot to drill a sensational shot into the top corner.
E.C.U. Joondalup extended their unbeaten run to ten games by inflicting a 2-0 defeat on Fremantle Spirit at the WA Spanish Club. Goals either side of the break by Marc Anthony and Howard Fondyke secured the points on a day when the northerners dominated from the opening whistle. Joondalup announced their intentions through Fondyke who stung the gloves of Steve Grant with only a few minutes gone. Some terrific distribution by the likes of Anthony, Mark Lee and Jon Higgins ensured the home side were under all the pressure. Ian McMurray had a great opportunity to put away the opening goal but Grant was again up to the task and palmed away the strikers' long-range strike. Fremantle were slow to get into gear and going forward relied chiefly on the pace of Callum Roberts and Vas Kalogeracos to open up the visiting defence. The breakthrough arrived in the 29th minute when Lee's shot ricocheted off an opponent to Marc Anthony who controlled the ball magnificently before poking into the net from close-range. The second half had Fremantle more involved, however, veteran goalkeeper Any Petterson was still to be troubled as his defence repelled everything that came their way. Joondalup increased their lead in the 62nd minute through Fondyke who headed in a delightful cross by substitute Jason Mirco. The home side piled on the pressure as the clock ticked down and twice Roberts was sent through one-on-one with Petterson who came out on top on both occasions. Steven Baines and Darren Quinncroft stood firm against the late onslaught to keep Joondalup on course for a top five finish to the season.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY (Queens Park v Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; South West Phoenix v Dianella White Eagles courtesy South West Phoenix)
Mandurah City secured the First Division championship, as well as promotion to the Premier League, by thrashing Queens Park 8-1 at Coker Park. Playing with the aid of a strong breeze, Queens Park took a surprise lead after just 10 minutes when Jordan Rhodes crashed the ball past his own goalkeeper while attempting to clear a corner. Mandurah showed no signs of panic and drew level soon after as Rhodes sent a short free-kick to Jeff Bright whose powerful drive was parried by the ‘keeper and in a flash Michael Bobridge had the follow-up in the net. A Bright long ball produced their second goal as Christian Paschkewitz rose above the defence to create an opportunity for Jake Loreto who netted with his second attempt. Graham Matthews snuck ahead of his marker to angle a shot across the ‘keeper and give the visitors a comfortable two-goal buffer at the break. Rhodes delivered a free-kick to the far post where Loreto made no mistake, and a neat Paschkewitz back heel set up Bobridge for his second of the afternoon. Loreto completed his hat-trick from a well-worked corner routine which involved Rhodes, Shane Crampton and Bobridge. Andy Brown put away their seventh from close-range, and close to the end Bobridge scored his third from a Crampton cross.
Ashfield's unbeaten run was extended to nine games when they edged past Gosnells City 2-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The home side were coming off a a rich vein of form but it was Ashfield who had the better of the early exchanges. A long clearance on the quarter hour by goalkeeper Kenny Ftynogiannis was flicked on by Damien Todorovic to Andy O'Neill who arrowed his shot from a tight angle between Jade Thorpe and his near post. Gosnells had their chances to draw level but neither Steve Gillibrand nor Brian Cairney could capitalise. The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Andy O'Neill pulled the ball back to Rydeen Botha who bundled it over the line in a goalmouth scramble. The home side worked tirelessly to get back in the game and on 78 minutes Gillibrand's cross from the left was nodded in by Cairney to set up a grandstand finish. Todorovic could have wrapped up the game after rounding the 'keeper but shot wide from an acute angle. With nothing to lose, Gosnells pushed forward in search of an equaliser only to come close to conceding in injury time when Martin Kelly intercepted a poor back pass but was unable to capitalise.
Steve Suttie was the hat-trick hero as South West Phoenix triumphed 3-1 against Dianella White Eagles at Bunbury’s Soccerdrome. The win ensures Phoenix will complete the season no lower than fourth place, while another three goals to Suttie continues his late charge for the First Division’s leading goalscorer award. Phoenix registered their first of the afternoon when Greg Hayes crossed from deep on the right to the far post where Suttie angled a brilliant header across the goalkeeper with 23 minutes played. The gap was increased twelve minutes later by Suttie who tucked the ball inside the near post from 7-metres following a fine centred by Andy Cowley. Dianella began the second period strongly an deservedly pulled a goal back on 50 minutes through Paul Hickey whose powerful header at a set-piece gave Ryan Montgomery no hope. The momentum was now with the visitors’ and if not for some terrific goalkeeping they could have gone in front as shots by Dragan Njegic and Miladin Gligoroski were saved by Montgomery. Phoenix made the points safe with a counterattacking play in which Hayes and Gary Mayers combined for Suttie to convert at the back post.
Canning City made light work of Morley Windmills to run out 6-2 winners at Wotton Reserve. It took only 9 minutes for the visitors to strike as Mitsopoulos’ cross found Dave Mickler whose shot from 9-metres bounced awkwardly in front of the goalkeeper Russell Denholm and skipped into the net. Four minutes later it became two-nil with Simon Versaico heading in a close-range after Morley failed to deal with a Ryan Allomes’ corner. The onslaught continued in the 26th minute when Paul Oliver’s speculative shot deflected into the path of Mickler who calmly finished. Morley got on the scoreboard just before the break through Seita Hamamoto who charged between two defenders to rifle in from just outside the 18-yard box. Any chance of a second half revival from Morley was killed off eleven minutes after the re-start by Daniel Trevisol who, spotting the ‘keeper off his line, delightfully lobbed in from 17-metres. Scott McIlroy did pull a goal back by tapping in a cross from Hamamoto, however, it was Canning that were in control. The visitors regained their three-goal buffer in the 59th minute after Trevisol was felled inside the area, and Oliver sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot. Mitsopoulos scored their sixth goal with ten minutes remaining by heading in a cross from Versaico.
Forrestfield United claimed maximum points by a 1-0 scoreline against Balcatta at Hartfield Park. The only goal of the afternoon came via Jason Jingdon in the 66th minute. Rockingham City were no match for Bayswater City who returned from Dowling Street Reserve 5-1 winners. Sal Marrapodi, Wes Ryder, Jamie Kumkar, Ryan Frisina and Bobby Klenkoski found the net for Bayswater who had R.Grant sent off midway through the second half. Rockingham’s goal was scored by J.McCreary. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
SOCCEROOS RULES ANGER GLORY BOSS
Perth Glory co-owner Tony Sage has blasted Football Federation Australia for refusing to allow Australian internationals to play in Sunday’s match against Sydney FC at Members Equity Stadium. Glory captain Simon Colosimo and Sydney pair Clint Bolton and Alex Brosque are in camp with the Socceroos for Tuesday’s game against Argentina in Melbourne and will play no part in domestic action this weekend.
Sage is furious the high-profile trio will be absent from the fixture, despite it being held 48 hours before the international friendly. “We don’t want to hold Simon back ... but surely he could’ve flown back there (to Melbourne) after the game,” Sage said. “If he was a front-line player for Australia, it would be different, but he’ll start on the bench. It’s very disappointing when we are trying to put on an entertainment package as well as a football game and we can’t do that because of restrictive rules that are put in place.”
FFA were also in Sage’s sights over Australia’s Olympic Games qualifiers which have denied Glory the use of Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Billy Celeski, Tando Velaphi and David Micevski. “Two of our players probably won’t even get a game for the Olyroos,” Sage said, in reference to Micevski’s late call-up and Velaphi’s role as second choice goalkeeper. “We think all A-League games where three or more players are required for international duty should be postponed — at any club, not just ours.”
The A-League’s head of operations, Rob Abernethy, defended the association’s decision. Players selected for the Socceroos have been prevented from playing club football to allow consistent preparation for the Argentina game. “This is really the first step in a long preparation for qualification to the 2010 World Cup,” he said. Abernethy cited ground availability, television commitments and the need to have the season completed before the start of the Asian Champions League in March as further reasons why it’s difficult to postpone matches.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Nash Field is the venue for the footballwa.net Match of the Week between Western Knights and Inglewood United. Only four points separate the sides going into the third to last game of the season and with both eyeing a top six finish this promises to be a cracker. Youth development has been high on the agenda for Ronnie Campbell this year with Cormac Dawson, Jon Mathers, David Price, Andrija Jukic and Anthony Skorich all marking themselves as future stars. You can't help but wonder if there'll be major summer shake-up at Inglewood where Shane Pryce, Danny Kovacevic, Dean Aplegren, Kevin Griffiths and Daniel Niederberger have formed this years' backbone.
Recently crowned champions Floreat Athena head east to play Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. Perth S.C. can remain in second place by claiming victory against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Cockburn City are tipped to take the points from their away clash with Sorrento. The same goes for Stirling Lions who make the trip to Kingsway Sporting Complex where they meet a Wanneroo City side who'll play next year in the First Division. Fremantle Spirit welcomes E.C.U. Joondalup to the WA Spanish Club.
Mandurah City can seal promotion of the top flight by defeating Queens Park at Coker Park. Gosnells City have been in fine form of late and this weekend host an Ashfield line-up which are on an eight game unbeaten streak. It's third verses fifth in Bunbury where South West Phoenix take on Dianella White Eagles. Morley Windmills and Canning City will both be looking to restore some pride when they meet at Wotton Reserve. Balcatta head to Hartfield Park to play Forrestfield United, and bottom of the table Rockingham City has home ground advantage against Bayswater City.
VOTE FOR THE FOOTBALLWA.NET PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
With the Premier League and First Division seasons drawing to a close voting has opened in the footballwa.net 2007 Player of the Year awards. As in previous years, there are two awards up for grabs - the Premier League Player of the Year and the First Division Player of the Year - with website visitors encouraged to vote in either, or both, categories.
The footballwa.net Player of the Year is the only award voted for by the players, coaches, administrators and supporters of the local game. Some notable players have taken out the Premier League award, amongst them Gold Medalists Nick Ward and Jamie Coyne. Other previous winners are Simon Harland, Antonio Naglieri, Shane Crampton and Branimir Mikulic. The First Division Player of the Year has been running four years with David Rodgers, Adam Raines, Scott Bulloch and Boima Karpeh the recipients.
On a 3-2-1 basis - where three is your preferred player of the season - we invite all our readers to submit their votes in either category as soon as possible. These will be tallied off-line with the winner and minor place getters revealed on Friday 12th October. Don't miss out on having your voice heard by sending your votes as soon as possible to Brett via email@example.com.
FLOREAT AIM TO GO WITHOUT DEFEAT!
With the Premier League trophy safely in their possession Floreat Athena have set themselves the target of completing the season without loss. Michael Roki’s side are yet to be beaten in nineteen home and away starts and with just three game to play are confident of carrying that form through to the end of the campaign. “That is now the top priority for us and it would be a sensational achievement for the squad should they complete it,” said Roki. “We have some tricky games coming up with Swan and Armadale away, while the Knights are always a difficult proposition. But on form we must have a chance of getting there.”
One of Floreat’s stated objectives for 2007 was to challenge for top honours, but Roki admits the fashion in which the side has stormed to their first league title in a decade has been a pleasant surprise. “Our long-term plans were to have us pressing for titles from this year, so there was certainly some hope that we would be seriously challenging,” commented Roki, who took up the Floreat coaching reigns in early 2004 with assistant Taki Nicolaides. “But I don’t think anyone would have anticipated that we would have run away with the premiership by such a big margin.”
Roki was a member of the last Floreat team to win the championship in 1997 when his 21 goals were an integral part in them pipping Fremantle City for top honours. “Winning the league a decade ago and this year are both special in their own ways,” said Roki, who becomes first Floreat player to also coach the club to regular season glory. “It’s a terrific feeling to win the league and something that you always savour as a player. This years win has been a longer term journey with respect to the younger players who have worked through the early development phases at the club to finally prove themselves champions.”
One of the first things Roki did when appointed coach was to action a plan that would lead Floreat back to the top of the table. “We had a three-tiered approach in which to restore the club’s profile and get us where we are today,” he said. “There were quite a few young players on the fringes of senior selection and we wanted to continue their development and at the same time work closely with players from the youth team who had the potential to step up. The other ingredient was the addition of several experienced players in key position who would prepare us for a genuine title challenge.”
The past few years have been quite the learning curve for Roki who feels a new era of success is on the horizon. “Hopefully the players now at the club can form the backbone for several years to come,” he said. “We’ve got a very stable player group which has shown a terrific team spirit this year, and with the players fully committed to each other as well as the club things do look good for Floreat. And the tireless work and support of team manager Peter Vatistas and assistant coach Taki Nicolaidis has also been a contributing factor in a truly memorable year.”
Does returning the Premier League title to Litis Stadium complete Roki’s plans for Floreat? “Not at all - the process is and should be on-going and this success is hopefully just a reward along the way,” the coach commented, before pondering what next season may hold. “I do have to devote some time to family commitments in 2008. But it would be difficult to walk away from a squad that we’ve invested so much time and energy into, and that has so much potential more success in future years. It’s not been discussed yet but I’ll be hoping I can wrangle another season with the mob at Floreat!”
“GOALS WILL COME” SAYS BERTOS
Perth Glory winger Leo Bertos is confident the club can find the back of the net on a regular basis starting at home this Sunday against Sydney FC. The club found the net regularly in pre-season with eight goals from five outings, but a couple of scoreless draws have them searching for their first goal of the new A-League season. Glory are one of five sides grouped together with two points and with consecutive games at Members Equity Stadium in the next fortnight, securing maximum points will be a priority.
Bertos says the club has continued to create good opportunities in the regular season and the short dry spell will be broken sooner rather than later. “The goals will come,” Bertos said. “We showed pre-season that we can put the ball into the back of the net and did so on more than one occasion in most of those games. I’m not sure what sort of formation we’ll play this weekend but Mate and Nikita might have a go up front together and I think that’ll cause some problems for the opposition and hopefully result in some goals.”
Having made a strong start to the season Bertos, a New Zealand international, is determined to add his name on the scoresheet. “I have been able to score goals in each team that I’ve played with uring my career and I’ve been working hard to ensure it is part of my game this season. That was one thing I have really worked on to improve from last season. When that first one comes I think it will be a relief but I’m not too worried as long as I can supply the other guys and they’re scoring for the team,” he said.
The door has been opened to several of the clubs fringe players this weekend with five Glory players absent on international duty. “It showed pre-season when we had a few boys missing that we could cover and we managed to get to the final,” commented Bertos. “While it does upset the team as far as continuity goes, it gives the other guys in the squad a chance and everyone is buzzing from what I have seen at training … we’ll have a very competitive side on the pitch this week and have every confidence we’ll do well.”
The presentation of the Premier League trophy to Floreat Athena on the weekend surprised many observers of the local game. It's tradition the world over to award the league champions their prize at the club's final home game of the season. However, the state's most sought after trophy was presented following Floreat's win against Sorrento on Saturday - some three weeks ahead of the champions' last game at Litis Stadium for 2007.
Football West's inaugural Beach Football Competition kicks-off next week. The mixed gender competition commences on Wednesday 14th November at Cottesloe Beach and is based on some of the most spectacular aspects of football - skill, agility and goals. All players interested in participating as well as those wanting to get involved in other ways are invited to join the exciting new competition that is tipped to be this summers beach craze. For more information visit the from Football West website.
Frank Drago Reserve will undergo significant change during the next few years. Bayswater City recently signed a new 35-year lease on the ground and, in conjunction with the City of Bayswater, have committed to a major redevelopment of facilities. Plans include moving the main pitch closer to the existing grandstand and using adjoining vacant land for new junior pitches. Upgraded lighting is to installed and new change rooms, a gymnasium, office space, club rooms and a sponsors lounge will be constructed.
Rumour has it there'll be a changing of the guard in time for next season at Gosnells City. Alex Grindley is said to be stepping down after four years as first team coach with Scottish-born Peter Murphy tipped to be his replacement. Murphy, who represented the State in the early 1990's, played locally for Floreat Athena, Perth Azzurri and Swan I.C., amongst others, and had coaching spells with Canning City and Armadale.
Planning for next season has already begun at Queens Park where Glynn Shaw has been confirmed as senior coach, and Ljupco 'Bobbie' Taneski his assistant, for 2008. Shaw turned the First Division clubs season around following his mid-season appointment by steering them clear of the relegation zone. As many as eight new recruits will assemble when Queens Park's commence their pre-season in early December.
Please contact 'The Insider' via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any club news or gossip, transfer rumours or general scuttlebutt for inclusion in future editions of Short Passes.
FANS FAR FROM CONVINCED BY GLORY REVIVAL
The local football community expects Perth Glory to qualify for the new seasons play-off series. At least that’s according to last week’s footballwa.net poll which asked ‘How will Perth Glory fare in the 2007/08 A-League season?’ The most popular option was as ‘Top four finish’ which collected 26% of the vote. The second most popular prediction was ‘Wooden spoon’ (22%) followed hotly by ‘Fifth, and just missing out on the play-offs’ and ‘Sixth or seventh’ (both 21%). In the minority was ‘Regular season champions’ (7%) with ‘Runners-up’ (2%) being the least popular choice. Just under 300 votes were received on the week-long poll.
Football West will take greater responsibility and control of refereeing from next season following a meeting last week of the Perth and Metro West Referee Associations. As of next season Football West will take on the roles of referee registration and match allocation along with the marketing, recruitment, development and retention of match officials in the metropolitan area.
Garry Chandler, chief executive of Football West, is delighted with the outcome. “It marks another significant milestone in the unification of the game in the state, and is indicative of the positive relationship between the governing body and our match officials,” he said. “I firmly believe that it will be of great benefit to the game moving forwards and will enable us to focus on the critical areas of recruitment, development and retention of referees in the state.”
RACE ON FOR GLORY TO PLUG GAPS
Perth Glory are racing the clock to register three players in time for Sunday's game against Sydney F.C. Ron Smith will be without captain Simon Colosimo, who'll be in camp with the Socceroos ahead of next week's friendly with Argentina, while Tando Velaphi, David Micevski, Billy Celeski and Nikolai Topor-Stanley will be on duty for the Olympic qualifiers against North Korea and Lebanon. Glory officials are desperately trying to rush through the paperwork to register former goalkeeper Danny Milosevic aslong with Jordan and Tyler Simpson as emergency replacements for this week's game at Members Equity Stadium.
Under A-League regulations, clubs are entitled to bring in replacements when players are on international duty. Milosevic is registered to Premier League side Inglewood United but is yet to play a game for the club. Smith opted to pursue the Simpson twins rather than draw upon players from the local competition, which is coming to a close. Defence-minded Tyler recently played for Sydney Olympic in the New South Wales State League. Jordan, a midfielder, has not played since returning to Australia in July after a stint with Swiss club Young Boys.
A-League coaches around the country will have their juggling skills tested this weekend with Sydney losing four players, Central Coast Mariners three, and Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets two each. "The scheduling will change in the future, in fact, I think it's got to," Smith said. "It all comes down to planning and scheduling, I know these Olympic qualifiers only come around once every four years but it's something that has to be looked at. I'd prefer we postpone the games, but (the FFA's) not done that so we've got to get on with it. That's the bottom line."
KOVACEVIC COMMITS TO FLOREAT!
Former national league defender Ante Kovacevic has declared his desire to help build on Floreat Athena’s championship success. Kovacevic was thrilled to play his role and help Floreat capture their first Premier League crown in a decade during his debut season in the local competition. “We’ve had a great year on and off the field. There’s a lot of ambition to sustain what we’ve achieved this year,” said Kovacevic. “A lot of the boys have been together for the last three or four years and it’s paid off.”
Michael Roki’s side moved twelve points clear at the top of the table following the weekend defeat of Sorrento and have now set their sights on maintaining their unbeaten form in remaining matches against Swan I.C., Western Knights and Armadale. “It’s a strange one for me in that every other championship I’ve been involved in has been in finals,” Kovacevic commented. “I’m a fan of finals football and winning a grand final os a different feeling. But it’s great to win a championship and hopefully we can go right through undefeated.”
Kovacevic is surprised Perth Glory have not come calling for striker Boima Karpeh who took his season tally to 23 goals with a double against Sorrento. “I think he’s got the attributes - He’s got good touch, skill, pace and he’s a decent finisher,” Kovacevic said of Karpeh, who has been sounded out by Newcastle United Jets. “He’s not going to be in the fist eleven straight away but he’s something to work with. He’s the sort of player you can take a punt on and the rewards will be great.” Kovacevic said the only the unknown is whether the 23-year old could cope with the pressure of fewer goalscoring opportunities at the next level.
BILLSON BOUND FOR LONDON
Lillie Bilson headed to London on the weekend in pursuit of fulfilling the dream of a lifetime. A four-year stay with the Arsenal Ladies Academy awaits the 16-year old who is determined to extend her time with the English giants by gaining a professional contract. The opportunity to join Arsenal came about last year when Bilson was invited to be part of the squad at the 'Football Festival' youth event in Denmark.
Bilson, who took up the game just four years ago, impressed the Gunners coaching staff during trials and is looking forward to the challenge. "I can't wait to get there and get straight into training; it should be a great experience for me," she said. "I went over earlier in the year and played in a few games and they were impressed with me and I'm delighted to get a chance to play in one of the best leagues in the world."
While Bilson will start out playing youth team football her sights are already set on breaking into senior ranks. "The standard is very high in England but I'm confident I'll be able to push for a first team spot if I work hard and show them what I'm capable of," she said. "One thing I'll have to get used to is the weather, the season will be played through their winter and it will be very cold, but that's something I'll have overcome."
Prior to heading overseas Bilson turned out for the boys under-15 team at Stirling Lions which she feels has helped her prepare for what lies ahead. "It's great for me to participate with the lads here at the Lions," Bilson commented. "With the boys game being a lot more physical, it will help me when I get over to England. The boys have been great since I joined and I'd like to thank them and coach Alex Olejnik for all their help this season."
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINETEEN (Hamersley Rovers v Shamrock Rovers courtesy Football West)
Shamrock Rovers picked up a valuable 1-0 win against Hamersley Rovers in the Amateur Premier League clash at Carine Open Space. Hamersley took control of the game early but it was Shamrock who had the first good opening on 14 minutes when Wayne Brooks’ free-kick was parried by the goalkeeper who did well to block Paddy O’Boyle’s follow-up effort. The home side threatened not long after when an attempted clearance by goakeeper Ed Schuller fell to Paul Deeham who shot high at an empty net from 25-metres. The Hoops took the lead in the 32nd minute when Dylan Browne’s searching pass found James Kilbee who touched the ball past the advancing ‘keeper before arrowing in from a tight angle.
Kilbee had a good chance to double Shamrock’s lead five minutes after the break but this time couldn’t get his shot on target. Hamersley almost equalised through substitute Adam Crepse who latched on to a through pass only to be thwarted by the quick thinking Schuller. The home team had one final opportunity to salvage something from the match when Crepse was played through but the attackers attempt to chip the oncoming ‘keeper appeared to be blocked by the hand of a defender who was fortunate not to be penalised. Brooks could have sealed victory when clean through in stoppage time but the midfielder butchered his chance.
Subiaco United held second-placed Fremantle United to a surprise draw 2-2 draw at Rosalie Park. Murdoch University crushed CN Canning International 4-0, and Spearwood Dalmatinac edged past Lynwood Colts 3-2. Southern Spirit accounted for home team Stirling Panthers 4-2, while the points were shared at Dorrien Gardens where Perth Azzurri drew 1-1 with Suburbs United. Chris Stone scored a rapid fire hat-trick, Neil Hookway got two and Gareth Briggs one in University of WA’s 6-0 mauling of WA Maccabi 0. Kingsway Olympic knocked off South Perth United 3-2.
GLORY DRAW IN MELBOURNE
A reworked Perth Glory defence has held reigning champions Melbourne Victory to a scoreless draw in front of a bumper 31,545 crowd at the Telstra Dome. The home team may have created the better of chances on goal but Tommi Tomich remained unbeaten thanks largely to the contributions of captain Simon Colosimo, Dino Djulbic, Jamie Coyne and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
All the early running came from the home team with Joseph Keenan almost giving them a dream start by bursting into the penalty area only to fire straight at Tomich. Grant Brebner and Matthew Kemp both chanced their luck from distance without success, and Archie Thompson had a penalty appeal turn down as Victory looked to capitalise on their increased possession. Steve Pantelidis was lucky to stay on the park after kicking Naum Sekulovski in the head when attempting to clear a bouncing ball on 25 minutes. Thompson did well on the half hour to shrug off Colosimo but lifted his shot from the edge of the area high. Glory began to open up the home defence late in the half and Michael Theoklitos was at full-stretch to keep out Leo Bertos' long-range shot.
Glory started the second half confidently as Coyne and Bertos made their presence felt down the right, and Mitchell Prentice did likewise in the middle of the park. Billy Celeski found space inside the area but couldn't keep his shot down after going around Kevin Muscat. Nikita Rukavytsya headed wide from Bertos' cross, and Theoklitos made an impressive save to deny Mate Dragicevic in a one-on-one. Just minutes after coming off the bench Jamie Harnwell's deft touch set-up Dragicevic who slammed his shot into the advancing goalkeeper. The evenings' best chance came with five minutes remaining when Thompson surged into the box only to be thwarted by Djulbic's superb sliding tackle.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINETEEN (Floreat Athena v Sorrento courtesy Floreat Athena; Stirling Lions v Armadale by Don Evans)
Floreat Athena survived a late Sorrento fightback to secure the 2007 Premier League championship a 3-2 win at Litis Stadium. Floreat headed on to the park determined to end the title race and wasted no time in making their point as Branimir Mikulic’s spectacular volley from 13-metres crept under the crossbar on the quarter-hour. Cheered on by an appreciative home crowd, Floreat would go on to control the half through the tireless efforts of Mikulic and Paul Vatistas. Defensively, John Migas and Julian Madaschi ran a tight ship to ensure Sorrento were limited to only scattered openings. A vicious left-footer by Gary Lynn grazed the crossbar, and late in the half Todd Harnwell volleyed high from Stuart Banks’ cross. The second half was six minutes old when Boima Karpeh’s explosive drive crashed into the junction of crossbar and upright. Karpeh increased the margin in the 56th minute by converting from the spot after some tricky footwork took him inside the 18-yard box where he was brought down by Daniel Cagorski. Garin Collins elegantly went past debutant Nick Trajkoski to thread a brilliant through ball to Karpeh who netted at the second opportunity after his initial shot came back off the post. There was still plenty of fight left in Sorrento who pulled a goal back in the 68th minutes when Brodie Martin turned in a low cross from Jared Love. With Neil Young succumbing to a hamstring injury shortly after, replacement goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane found himself the centre of attention when his reflexes were tested by Collins’ close-range strike. Martin put away his second by angling a shot across Vas Vujacic and into the bottom corner in the 81st minute. However, the Gulls late charge by the dismissal of Harnwell a couple of minutes later for a second bookable offence.
A goal at the death by Michael Ord earned Perth S.C. a 1-1 draw from a physical encounter with Western Knights at Dorrien Gardens. Perth got into rhythm quickly and Todd Howarth’s rasping drive after 2 minutes stung the gloves of Kevin Miller. The Knights goalkeeper was lucky to escape a couple of minutes later when he came well off his line but failed to claim possession as Matt Danskin closed him down, the loose ball squirted out to Andreas Oliveira whose shot drifted wide. Stuart Montgomery created the visitors first chance by slicing his way past two defenders and flicking through to Andrija Jukic who rifled high. The Knights should have had a penalty in the 32nd minute when Danskin appeared to handle a Paul Cooke cross, but referee Hugh Best thought otherwise and signalled for play to continue. With half-time approaching Howarth nodded just high from an Antonio Naglieri free-kick, and a minute later the Perth midfielder again provided the ammunition for Michael Ord to loop a header over Miller only to have it come back off the upright. Openings were a lot more scarce after the break although Danskin and Scott Bushby did go close for their respective teams. The game sparked back into life with a triple substitution by Ronnie Campbell that saw Aaron Badahori, Andrew Jennings and John Thornley enter the fray. Jennings slipped past Michael Icanovski to set up Thornley whose shot on the turn flashed past the post. The breakthrough arrived in the 78th minute when Anthony Skorich rammed the ball over the line in a goal line scramble after Gareth Deeg spilled a Jukic free-kick. Thornley and Bushby could have each made the points safe but couldn’t capitalise when the opportunity arose. They’d be misses the visitors would rue as in stoppage time Howarth whipped a free-kick to the far post where an unchallenged Ord angled his header past Miller from close-range to send the Perth faithful into a frenzy.
A moment of individual brilliance by Jason Goodwin enabled Armadale to shock high-flying Stirling Lions 1-0 at Macedonia Park. Although the dominant team, Stirling were left to wonder what might have been as chance after chance failed to produce a goal whereas Armadale made the most of their solitary opening. The home teams' intention were made clear from the outset with Phil Arnold stinging the gloves of Cyril Sharrock after 2 minutes. This set the tone for a half in which Armadale were forced on the back foot as Keith Brown and Steve Porter continually got the better of their counterparts in central midfield. An in-swinging corner by Steve Porter was cleared off the line by the defence on the quarter-hour, and another Stirling attack amounted to nil when Keith Brown and then Arnold had successive shots blocked after an Alan Muir corner went to feet. The final action of the half was a nonchalant header by Andy Brown that Sharrock finger tipped away to safety. This same pattern continued after the turnaround as Steven Hesketh's inch-perfect cross was glanced against the post by Porter. A long throw-in from Arnold narrowly escaped the out-stretched legs of Andy Brown and Keith Brown who only needed a touch to have scored. Armadale delivered their knock-out blow in the 67th minute when Scott Devine and Steve Skilandis orchestrated a counterattack which released Goodwin who waltzed past a couple of defenders before rifling past Phil Straker. Another Stirling chance went begging when Andy Brown headed wide from a tantalising cross by Arnold. The late introduction of Ludovic Boi almost produced an equaliser but the teenager's powerful drive whistled the wrong side of the post.
E.C.U. Joondalup and Cockburn City collected a point apiece from an uninspiring 0-0 draw at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. The game belonged to the home side who denied themselves what would been a deserved victory by a lack of quality in front of goal. Early chances were plentiful with Aaron Dos Santos and Tommy Amphlett each placing high as the teams traded attacks. Good lead-up play presented Dos Santos with another opening which the young striker curled narrowly over the crossbar, while Amphlett shrugged off one challenge as he ventured into the 18-yard box only to float his shot over the bar under pressure from goalkeeper Dino Pacella. But once the sides settle it was Joondalup who emerged displaying the greater composure and desire to score. Matt Donlevy’s long-range strike flew just wide, and not long after Ian McMurray grazed the bar from a Jon Higgins corner. Pacella almost gifted the hosts the lead by spilling a cross to Amphlett whose angled flick cleared what was effectively an open goal. Amphlett should have done much better five minutes from the break than to shoot straight at Pacella in a one-on-one that came about after Shane Nunes lost his footing. Cockburn were relieved to head into the change rooms on level terms and set about fighting their way back into the game upon the resumption of play. Dom De Felice blazed over the bar from the top of the 18-yard box, and Johnny Mirco sliced his way into the area but couldn’t keep his shot down. The home side slowly regained the ascendancy as the half progressed and Mark Lee fired wide after Higgins’ corner was only partially cleared. Pacella kept Cockburn in the game by pushing Nunes’ misdirected header on to the post. Jason Mirco provided he games final opportunity by delivering a deep cross to an unmarked Amphlett whose header cleared the bar, much to the disappointment of the home supporters.
Fremantle Spirit showed no mercy in spanking a depleted Wanneroo City 9-1 at the WA Spanish Club. Wanneroo headed south without the services of Craig Cheeseman, Carl Harrison, Brad McDonald and David Houston and soon found themselves on the back foot. The game had been going just 4 minutes when lively attacker Callum Roberts out-paced the defence and coolly slotted beyond the reach of the advancing goalkeeper. The margin was doubled within a couple of minutes by Adrian McBride who made his way into the 18-yard box by waltzing around three challenges before drilling in a low, hard shot that gave Jordan Conti no chance. Vas Kalogeracos was involved almost every time Fremantle went forward and in the 25th minute he played a clever through ball into the path of Roberts who added goal number three. Wanneroo had little in the way of a response as they struggled to get a foothold on the game. Just before half-time Dale Wingell converted from the penalty spot to all but secure a home win. The second period could not have started much worse for the away team as Roberts charged down the right straight from the re-start to cross into the area where a defender had the misfortune of turning the ball into his own ‘keeper. Wanneroo’s day then took a turn for the worse with youngster Callum Ainsley taking over between the posts for an injured Conti. Consolation came shortly after when Mark Donnelly’s header found the net after being pushed onto the crossbar by Steve Grant and ricocheting into the net off the head of the Fremantle ‘keeper. However, the port side was far from finished and Roberts completed his hat-trick with an easy tap-in from close-range. Jason Pottier put away his first Premier League goal in the 70th minute before Kalogeracos got one of his own. Roberts capped a memorable four-goal performance by converting a one-on-one with Ainsley with only minutes to play.
A goal in each half earned Inglewood United a comfortable 2-0 win against Swan I.C. at Clipsal Stadium. David Foster got on the end of a Michael Tronchin cross to force a good save from Oliver Taseski as the visitors started positively. Inglewood suffered a setback in the 5th minute when experienced sweeper Danny Stoitis left the field injured to be replaced by James Duncan. Swan kept pressing as Taseski moved sharply to kept out a Damian Scali header, then David Perich chanced his luck from distance with a shot that was narrowly wide. The hosts first opening came shortly after and Daniel Neiderberger should have done better than shoot well over the crossbar. As play see-sawed from one end to the other it was the defences who stood out, in particular Daniel Kovacevic and Shane Pyrce for the hosts, and Aaron Cole and David McNally for Swan. With the half drawing to a close Dean Aplegren played a superb through ball for Niederberger whose first time shot flew just the wrong side of the post. Referee Ton Klaver pointed to the spot in the 43rd minute after ruling Brendan Knox handled the ball, and although Cory Hugo guessed the right way he was unable to prevent Niederberger from putting Inglewood ahead. The second half opened with chances at both ends of the park but Knox shot high and Kevin Griffiths wide. Albert Osei-Tutu shot weakly at Hugo as Inglewood attempted to make the points safe, then Aaron Cole denied Griffiths with a goal line clearance. Their reward came minutes later when Shaun Kilkelly netted at close-range after Hugo parried Niederberger’s header from a Griffiths cross. Colli went close to adding a third to Inglewood’s tally late in the piece, while the closest Swan came to getting a consolation was Tom Shepheard’s effort that flew wide.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINETEEN (Mandurah City v Rockingham City courtesy Mandurah City; Queens Park v Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Canning City v Balcatta by Phil Unsworth)
Mandurah City satisfied their supporter base with a 2-0 win against local rival Rockingham City 2-0 at Peelwood Parade. The referee was all over this much-hyped dual, continually interrupting the flow of play by pulling up every and any infringement much to the frustration to both teams. Lively midfielder Jake Loreto put the home side on the board by rising highest in a congested 18-yard box and heading inside the far post from a James Hesketh flick. Mandurah working every ball that came their way with Jordan Rhodes, Jeff Bright and captain Andy Brown tearing up the park. Scott Halpin marshalled a watertight defence that dealt comfortably with whatever Rockingham threw at them. The game was effectively ended fifteen minutes early when Rockingham had Richard Lacey sent off for a second yellow card. Cheered on by a vocal home crowd, Mandurah drove forward in search of a second goal which eventually arrived through Loreto who slotted past the goalkeeper after Rhodes’ attempt came back off the crossbar. The final whistle was greeted by raucous cheers from the Mandurah faithful whose team inched another stepped closer to promotion.
Ashfield remain in second place after accounting for Queens Park 3-0 at Coker Park. The flow of goals began early for the visitors as Rydeen Botha headed in at close-range after some stylish lead-up play from Andy O’Neill. After this the game became a scrappy affair with Queens Park desperately hanging on as Ashfield sought to increase their advantage. The closest the home team came to registering a goal of their own was a couple of half chances that were stubbed out by a resolute defence lead by Zac Jones. The margin became two goals late in the half when Igor Novakovic’s shot was parried into the path of Andy O’Neill who converted from six yards with a composed opportunistic finish. Ashfield took the game by the scruff of the neck after the break and only brave goalkeeping and the frame of the goal prevented the margin from really blowing out. Damien Todorovic secured victory for the visitors by firing past an exposed ‘keeper after being played through by Jason Van Rooy. Late in the game Queens Park enjoyed a brief spell of dominance which produced a couple of openings but ‘keeper Kenny Ftynogiannis ended the day with a clean sheet.
South West Phoenix consolidated third position in the table by casting aside Morley Windmills 4-1 at Wotton Reserve. The ball had been in motion just 2 minutes when veteran striker Gary Mayers tapped past goalkeeper Chris Ramsey after receiving a cross from Steve Suttie. Morley didn’t look like drawing level until the 37th minute when Seita Hamamoto squared to Scott McIlroy whose weak shot was held by Ryan Montgomery. With the very next play Phoenix doubled their advantage Greg Hayes’ crossed to the top of the 18-yard box where Suttie headed square to Mayers who laid the ball back to his strike partner to rifle into the net. Hamamoto and McIlory linked well in the 65th minute but the latters curving effort was high. Phoenix responded with a third goal through Suttie whose shot from an acute angle snuck between the ‘keeper and his near post. Morley finally pulled a goal back in the 76th minute when Paul Dundo took full advantage of poor defending to convert from 7-metres. David Murphy added his name to the scoresheet in the final minute by calmly knocking his shot past Ramsey after Suttie crossed from the left wing.
A couple of late goals got Canning City over the line 3-1 against Balcatta at John Connell Reserve. The home team posed the greater threat from the outset as Dave Mickler struck the goal frame after just 6 minutes, and shortly after an offside flag cancelled out a Mickler header that found the net. Paul Van Dongen eventually opened the scoring in the 26th minute by driving past Tony Aleksovski from 12-metres from a Jix Loong cross. Balcatta held out Canning until the half time break without further change to the score-line. The second period saw Balcatta venture into their attacking half more often only to be let down by poor finishing. The visitors’ persistence was rewarded with ten minutes to go when awarded a penalty for a handball decision against Loong and from the spot John Nicolaou made no mistake. Five minutes later Mick Van Dongen crossed from deep on the right to Mickler who worked the ball across the 18-yard box for Paul Van Dongen to cleverly dispatch his shot past Aleksovski. The result was oput beyond doubt in the 87th minute when Garth Lecky’s ball into the penalty area was spilled by Aleksovski and was left helpless as Simon Versiaco drilled in a slow shot.
Gosnells City continued their late season charge up the table by surprising Dianella White Eagles 1-0 at Dianella Reserve. Bayswater City accounted for Forrestfield United 2-1 at Frank Drago Reserve. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2007