BOLTON CONFIRM INTEREST IN SAINSBURY
Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman is contemplating making an offer for Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury when the transfer window next opens. Sainsbury was one of the A-League’s star performers this summer, the 21-year old helping his club to Grand Final victory and earning himself a spot in the competition’s Team of the Year. “He’s finished his season and there’s an enquiry with my contacts over in Australia,” said Freedman. “Is he going to go lie on the beach or does he want to a fly over and have a look around the training ground, maybe have a fitness test and see if he’s the kind of guy I would find in my program.”
KERR ON TARGET IN NWSL
Samantha Kerr has made a flying start to the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season. Kerr, 19, bounced straight from leading Sydney FC to Grand Final glory to scoring twice in eight days for Western New York Flash. The former Perth Glory Women striker had the honour of putting away the first ever competitive goal for Western New York in a 1-1 draw with Washington Spirit the weekend before last. She followed that on Saturday with a goal after 7 minutes against Boston Breakers, who responded with two of their own to run out 2-1 winners. Kerr is joined in the newly-formed American league by fellow Matildas Caitlin Foord, Lisa De Vanna (Sky Blue FC) and Kyah Simon (Boston Breakers).
FIRST STEPS ARE ENCOURAGING ON COYNE’S COACHING JOURNEY
Chris Coyne says the sky is the limit for what he hopes will be a long and successful coaching career. The former Socceroos defender has taken the reigns at Bayswater City this year and, after collecting the Night Series trophy in pre-season, has guided the club to the top of the Premier Division with six straight wins. Coyne chalked up close to 400 senior appearances in a lengthy professional career that included spells with West Ham United, Luton Town, Colchester United (England), Dundee (Scotland), Perth Glory (Australia) and Liaoning Hongyun (China). Along the way he made seven appearances for the Socceroos, five of which were in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup tournament.
Coyne hung up hi splaying boots last year to turn his hand to coaching, where his competitive nature should serve him well. “Obviously I’d love to go into the A-League and hopefully higher. Maybe one day I’d like have a crack in Europe as well,” Coyne told Shayne Hope of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “I’ve got high aspirations and I’d really like to push myself and see how high I can take it. Football’s a funny game and it’s very fickle as well. You could get the sack in three weeks if you don’t keep winning. I’d like to think that I’ve got a lot to offer the game and I’ve played for some good coaches over the years as well.”
Although Bayswater hold a perfect win record in the league, where they’ve opened up a six-point lead over nearest rivals Sorrento, Coyne there is still room for improvement in his team’s performances. “I’ve been a bit grumpy most weeks because I still feel we’ve got an extra 20-25 per cent in us,” Coyne commented. “We just can’t seem to play for 90 minutes. We’re doing it for 60 minutes and 45 minutes and 20-minute spells, but we haven’t really played for 90 minutes well. We’re threatening to do it but we just haven’t got the consistency of performance yet.” Coyne is hopeful his players are on top of their game for the duration on Saturday when they travel to Cockburn City.
SAINSBURY SELECTED IN A-LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Former Armadale defender Trent Sainsbury is one of three Central Coast Mariners players to be selected in the 2012/13 Professional Footballers Australia Team of the Season. 21-year old Sainsbury, who has been linked with English clubs Bolton Wanderers and Southampton in recent days, was selected in the 16-player squad alongside team mates Michael McGlinchey and Daniel McBreen. “Being selected into the PFA Team of the Season by your peers is one of the top accolades you can have as a player,” commented PFA president Simon Colosimo.
The 2012/13 PFA Team of the Season featured Ante Covic (Western Sydney), Jerome Polenz (Western Sydney), Sainsbury (Central Coast), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Western Sydney), Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory), Shinji Ono (Western Sydney), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast), Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix), Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC) and Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory). The substitutes bench was filled by Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory), Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory) and Daniel McBreen (Central Coast).
MCGARRY HONOURED TO BE THE MOST GLORIOUS
Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry has crowned a stellar summer by winning three awards, including the prestigious Most Glorious Player, at his club’s annual presentation night. McGarry polled 22 votes to win the MGP by just 3 votes from left full-back Scott Jamieson after earlier collecting the Players’ Player of the Year and the Goal of the Year trophies. “It’s pretty unbelievable, I honestly didn’t expect it,” said McGarry. “It’s a career highlight to win the most valued player award especially with Perth Glory because it’s a club I’m pretty fond of.”
Coach Alistair Edwards was full of praise for McGarry, who missed just one game across the 2013/13 season. “In the short time I have been at the club, Steve’s contribution to the team’s playing performance has been immense, his versatility is a major plus for the club,” commented Edwards. “Steve is highly respected by the playing group and everyone associated with the club. He also has a highly infectious jovial attitude which alongside his outstanding playing performances and winner mentality provides the club and football in Western Australia with a valuable asset moving forward.”
Homegrown defender Josh Risdon claimed the Supporters’ Player of the Year and recently departed midfielder Liam Miller was voted the Volunteers’ Player of the Year. Shane Smeltz picked up his second successive Golden Boot award while Travis Dodd’s efforts were recognised with Clubman of the Year. Teenager Riley Woodcock, who signed a professional contract with Glory in the season was named the Most Glorious Youth Player while Matilda’s midfielder Aivi Luik was awarded the W-League Player of the Year.
CRAIG, CAINE SPEARHEAD KNIGHTS CHARGE
Western Knights showed no mercy to ancestral brothers Fremantle Croatia by running out 10-1 victors from the first competitive meeting of the clubs at Nash Field. Brendan Craig and David Caine helped themselves to a hat-trick each, Ryan Shackleton grabbed a brace with debutant Steve Purton and Julian Teles also on the scoresheet. It took only 14 minutes for Purton to make his mark with a stunning 18-metre strike, and four minutes later the midfielder laid on the first of Caine’s haul. Any hopes Fremantle had of clawing their way back into the game vanished the space of eight minutes during which Craig netted from close-in before Shackleton put away his double.
The pick of the goal arrived after 37 minutes, a thunderous 35-metre drive from Craig which soared into the top corner of the Fremantle net. Craig completed his hat-trick shortly after, this time placing in the bottom corner following a quality ball out of midfield, before Caine made it eight-nil Fremantle pulled one back through Stipan Majic just before the break from the spot. The Knights eased off in the second half and it wasn’t until the 77th minute that Julian Teles finished calmly into the net on the end of a tidy exchange of passes. Caine rounded out the day with his third goal, and his teams’ tenth, just a couple of minutes before the final whistle.
CANNING OUT AS JOONDALUP MAKE MOST OF THEIR CHANCES
Joondalup United remain as the only Sunday League in the State Cup after grinding out a 2-0 win over a ten-man Canning City at Hossack Reserve. “It was a great game of Cup football, real end-to-end stuff with both sides creating a lot of chances,” commented Joondalup coach Rudy Proctor. “Five-all would probably have been a fair result, but I thought the commitment and work rate from my players deserved the luck we had in getting the win. Hopefully we did the amateur league proud, and we are looking forward to getting one of the ‘big boys’ in the next round.”
The afternoon started out positively for Canning with Daniel Neiderberger’s long-range attempt smacking against the crossbar. Appeals for a home penalty were dismissed soon amid claims Adam Rogers handled the ball in blocking a goalbound shot from Josh Findlater. A similar situation at the other end was punished by the referee who issued Sam Carrello a straight red card for handball, and from the spot 38-year old Graeme Reid send the goalkeeper the wrong way. Canning returned to the attack soon enough but despite good openings for Findlate and Laurence Cheyne they entered the break a goal down.
Cheyne, Findlater and Gerardo Soto were instrumental as Canning launched wave after wave of attack in the second half. Joondalup’s backline of Reid, Steve Mills and Adam Rogers found themselves under some red-hot pressure but responded with numerous black and interceptions. Even so, Niederberger, Findlater, Pravishash Guasagaran, Rory Moutett and Simon Corriea all found themselves within range of goal but each was unable to capitalise. Those misses would come back to haunt Canning when, with fifteen minutes to go, Lee Jones prodded in at the far post after the ‘keeper failed to connect with a Dan Merrie corner.
STIRLING PROGRESS ON DAY OF HIGH DRAMA
Stirling Lions twice came from behind to prevail 4-3 over a luckless Bunbury Forum Force in this afternoon’s State Cup meeting at Macedonia Park. Referee Hugh Best was never far from the drama, awarding no fewer than five penalties, as goals from Anthony Lyons (3) and John McGlynn overruled those from Bright Ababio, Matt Lock and Jon Brooks. “The character we saw today is what wanted to see from our side … the team as a whole contributed,” said Stirling assistant coach Gary Williams. “Bunbury may feel they were harshly treated having given away three penalties but we also gave two away, which I believe were questionable.”
Bunbury came out firing with Ryan Francis placing wide after 5 minutes. Dean Evans, McGlynn and Andy Brown replied with an endless supply from the middle of the park but the home side were denied a go-ahead goal by wayward finishing. Aleks Vrteski came to the rescue at the other end with a spectacular flying save to tip Ababio’s long-range strike over the top. Bunbury were beginning to get a foothold on the game and some desperate defending twice thwarted Francis, whose shot on the turn just before the break crashed into the upright.
The second half opened with a couple of shots in quick succession from Prosser and Mark Osmond but on both occasions Vrteski came up trumps. Bunbury got the inevitable breakthrough after 56 minutes, substitute Jamie Tandy and Francis combining brilliantly for Ababio to drive into the bottom corner. That lead would last just ten minutes before Lyons beat Ryan Montgomery from the penalty spot following a foul on McGlynn by Ryan Risdon. McGlynn was through again in the 75th minute, judging a Clayton Arnez long ball best to sneak in and nod past Montgomery from close-range to make it advantage hosts.
Supporters of both teams were left bewildered five minutes later when Jason Gavin’s innocuous challenge on Francis prompted referee Best to award Bunbury a penalty, which Lock duly despatched into the net to level things up. A seesawing game was swinging back in the visitor’s favour and in the 81st minute they wrestled back control, Prosser delivering an inch-perfect cross crossed for Brooks to tap in. The ride was far from over as shortly after Gavin copped an elbow to the head from McGee, the referee again pointed to the spot from where Lyons sent Montgomery the wrong way to make it three-all.
Best awarded the games’ fourth spot kick ten minutes into extra-time for McGee’s trip on Matt Harold, up stepped Lyons to complete his hat-trick with a shot that caught the fingertips of Montgomery on its way into the net. Teenage debutant Ben Meredith could have put the result beyond doubt but his attempted chip was captured by Montgomery. The final drama was played out in the 117th minute when Brown’s foul on Francis led to yet another penalty, this time was Lock who took the honours but his powerful attempt slammed into the outside of the post and ricocheted away from the net.
PERTH KNOCKED OUT BY AMPHLETT
Livewire attacker Tommy Amphlett played the starring role in ECU Joondalup’s 3-1 victory over Perth SC in the State Cup fixture at Dorrien Gardens. Amphlett helped himself to a memorable double with Tony Taylor netting Joondalup’s remainder from the spot before Daniel Micevski grabbed the home side a consolation goal. “Tommy was very good, he was very busy today and his second goal was fantastic,” coach Salv Todaro told footballwest.com.au “We had a game plan and the boys took it quite well and I thought we stretched them at times. To be perfectly honest I think we should have scored more.”
The visitors were on top early and took an 18th minute lead through Amphlett, who netted at close-range following good work in the lead-up by Jon Stynes and John Monterosso. An inadvertent handball to a Taylor cross on 33 minutes prompted referee Mathew Cheeseman to point to the spot from where the Joondalup midfielder made no mistake beating Jason Saldaris. Micevski and Kris Gate were doing all they could to kick Perth into gear but despite their best efforts the hosts remained idling. Amphlett came within inches of making it three-nil just before the break when his miscued cross thundered against the crossbar.
The second half had barely started when Amphlett raced onto a Joe Smith pass and to unleash a blistering shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which flew past Saldaris, effectively securing Joondalup’s progression to the next round. A couple of tactical changes had the desired effect on Perth, who were given a glimmer of hope on 67 minutes when Micevski skipped clear to tuck into Andy Banks’ net. Still there was no let up from the visitors with Stynes heading straight at Saldaris and substitute Joe Knowles placing just wide. Perth, too, had their chances but late strikes from Mundy Toure and Ayodeji Omoboye were into the frame of the goal.
SALTER SENDS ARMADALE THROUGH
A depleted Armadale booked their place in the next round of the State Cup by fending off a fast-fending Balcatta 1-0 on a tense afternoon at Grindleford Reserve. With close to a dozen players unavailable, Reds coach Lee Bamber was grateful for Jack Salter’s goal midway through the first half as he was to the debutant goalkeeper Ellis Hawksworth, whose late heroics secured the win. “The fact we only had a nervy last five minutes shows how well we played,” Bamber told footballwest.com.au “We probably had about eleven different players out for different reasons so to come here and get a result is fantastic for us and testament to all the boys at the club.”
The early exchanges produced a few scattered half-chances but nothing which required a serious response from either ‘keeper. The first real chance of the day came on 20 minutes when Callum Potton’s free-kick was flicked on by Darren Francis for Salter whose first touch took him clear of the defence before sliding the ball past Alex Dunn from 6-metres. With Bajo Savic and John Migas pulling the strings, Balcatta had their chances to equalise but Simon Versaico and Rosindale failed to trouble Hawksworth. It was a similar story at the other end of the park where a long-range attempt by Louie Bake was deflected wide and Ravi Kuppusamy flashed past the post.
Balcatta continued to prod and probe for openings after the turnaround but could find few ways past the makeshift central defensive pairing of Darren Francis and Ian Maguire. As the clock ticked down the pressure was ramped up on the host. Substitute Moe Atak had a goalbound effort deflected away after being played through by Rosindale on 75 minutes. Mike Aspin picked out an unmarked Rosindale but he was thwarted by Hawksworth, who shortly after came out trumps from a one-on-one with Olari Perlin. The game was deep in stoppage time when, with Balcatta’s last roll of the die, Rosindale finally sent the ball beyond Hawksworth only to have Francis hack away his header from on the line.
FLOREAT TURN THE TABLES ON COCKBURN (with George Tsadilas, Football West)
Benny Kouakou struck twice to guide Floreat Athena to their first win in two months, a 3-0 defeat of Cockburn City at Litis Stadium. A goal midway through each half by Kouakou was complimented by Ludovic Boi’s cheeky late finish which ensured Floreat’s progression into the next stage of the State Cup. “Last time we played Cockburn we all just had a really bad day, and we all wanted to turn that around,” said Kouakou, reflecting on his teams’ five-goal loss to Cockburn of only a few weeks ago. “I’m happy that I was able to get a couple for the team today and help the win, but really I should have had four.”
Cockburn attacked relentlessly from the outset, winning no fewer than a dozen corners in the opening quarter hour with Paul Lloyd teasing the opposing defence with a lively display down the left channel. But despite having territorial advantage the visitors fashioned only a single clear cut opportunity which ended with Matt Salmon’s close-range shot smothered off the boot. So it was very much against the run of play that Kouakou stole Floreat the lead on 27 minutes, the attacker jinxing his way inside the 18-yard box before driving into the top corner of Dejan Aleksic’s net. With this the wind was taken out of Cockburn’s sails and the remainder of the half passed pretty much without incident.
John Thornley and Salmon went going agonisingly in the minutes after the restart as Cockburn rediscovered their momentum. Kouakou didn’t need much invitation to extend Floreat’s lead on 64 minutes, the attacker showing great composure in chesting down Ian McMurray’s looping ball to the back past before side-footing past Aleksic. Cockburn tried to get back into the match but their delivery into the final third was too often astray. An 81st minute Floreat counterattack ended the game as a contest, Kouakou threading a pass in to Boi who, with his second touch, lifted into the net with Aleksic expecting a low shot.
NINE-MAN MADDINGTON TOO GOOD FOR JOONDALUP
A goal in each half has allowed Maddington White City, who ended the afternoon with nine man, to see off Joondalup City 2-0 at Iluka Sports Complex. The home side were on the front foot early but the balance started to tilt in Maddington’s favour following an enforced reshuffle brought about by injury to Michael Coyle. Even so, genuine chances on goal were scarce and it looked as through the half would end without score when Scott Ryan broke through with a dead ball. Chris O’Donnell became the first Maddington to be sent from the field midway through the second period, and when he was joined by Stephen Fox the door was open for a Joondalup comeback. However, a muscular defensive performance was rewarded close to the end when Paulo Pacitti latched onto a long ball to put away Maddington’s second goal.
GOSNELLS MAKE THEIR QUALITY COUNT
A strong second half performance has seen Gosnells City through to the next phase of the State Cup courtesy of a 4-2 defeat of Kingsway Olympic at Kingsway Reserve. A couple of quick goals by Sean Taylor had Gosnells in the ascendancy but the teams would go into the break level through Josh Rolls and Kevin White. A goalkeeping error allowed Damien Smyth to restore the hosts lead with substitute Ian O’Donohue sealing victory soon after. “There wasn’t a lot to separate the teams, although I feel we had that little bit of extra quality in certain areas,” said Gosnells coach Mike Brazil.
Both teams had their chances before Gosnells went ahead on 25 minutes via Ben Howe’s delivery from the right which Taylor swept into Michael Brand’s net. The lead was added to a minute later when Taylor punished a defensive lapse to net his second goal of the afternoon. Kingsway continued to drive forward and on 35 minutes White made no mistake from the penalty sport after Alistair Blair was felled inside the 18-yard box. White then turned provider with a deft chip over the defence which allowed Rolls to run through and volley over Struan Herd.
The second half commenced with some all-out attack in both directions. Gosnells were looking the more likely to score, however, attempts on goal by Liam Cave and Ben Howe were turned away. The goal they sought arrived with twenty minutes to go when Smyth rammed in at close-range after Brand spilt a high ball in from the right. Newly introduced substitute O’Donohue made the game safe not too long after by putting in the net Gosnells’ fourth goal. Injury to Taylor forced the visitors to play the closing stages a man down, but the closest Kingsway would come to scoring again was a Abel Mpande effort which skimmed the crossbar.
SWAN TAKES “A STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION”
Swan United moved into the next stage of the State Cup with a resounding 5-3 defeat of Melville City at Len Shearer Reserve. Mark Miraudo and substitute Thomas Black grabbed a brace each for the visitors but it was Trent Wood’s late long-range strike that was the pick of the goals. “It was a step in the right direction given the short preparation time,” said caretaker coach Matt Debarro, who was assisted from the bench by Swan legend Damien Scali. “I was happy with the boy’s efforts to play good passing football, but we leaked a few goals due to a lack of fitness in getting behind the ball quickly after losing possession.”
The black and whites were on the offensive early with wide pair Geneveo Human and Mark Miraudo causing a good few problems with their pace. Unfortunately Human was forced out after 12 minutes with a hamstring strain, however, Swan were not to be thrown off course. Within minutes of entering the action Black lashed into the net after receiving a cutback from Justin Skowron. One became two shortly after as Justin Skowron cut the ball across the 18-yard box for Miraudo to send past the goalkeeper. And the game looked to be over when Miraudo’s crisp strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area made for a three-nil lead at the break.
Melville needed a goal as soon as possible after the turnaround and David Palin delivered with a deflected strike that beat Jordan Howell. Black was having none of it and after latching on to Luke Colli’s through ball restored Swan’s two-goal advantage. A stunning volley by Palin kept the hosts faint comeback hop alive, and when Blake Readwin tapped in a few minutes later after Ashley Savage’s drive came back off the crossbar Melville were back in the hunt. But a sublime piece of skill in the 85th minute by Wood secured Swan’s place in the next round, the livewire attacker slicing his way between four opponents before blasting into the net from 25-metres .
MAPLESTONE INSPIRES QUINNS
Quinns recovered from going a goal down, and survived being reduced to ten-men to triumph 3-2 over Subiaco AFC at Gumblossom Park. Captain Arran Maplestone provided the much of the drive behind his teams’ remarkable revival by laying on two goals for Brian Cairney before netting what would turn out to be the deciding goal himself. “The boy is class. He’s running people ragged (and) as captain he is leading by example,” Quinns coach John Evans said of Maplestone. “It was a good performance again as a squad. The boys knuckled down (and we’re) getting into a good habit of winning. The guys are in good spirit and we’ll go strength to strength hopefully.”
Subiaco controlled the first half but it wasn’t until the opening minutes of the second period that Scott Wrightson put them ahead. And when David Irwin was issued a straight red card for a high tackle it looked as through the game was over for Quinns. However, the hosts got back on level terms after 73 minutes with Cairney heading in after Maplestone nodded a corner back across goal. Cairney was on hand again ten minutes later to tap in following a flowing attacking move, and soon after Maplestone outpaced the defence to tuck goal number three through goalkeeper Tom Barrett’s legs. Nick Harris pulled a goal back in stoppage time but it was too little too late for Subiaco.
ONE IS ENOUGH FOR INGLEWOOD
A Michael Baczynski goal midway through the first half was all Inglewood United needed to sneak past Division One side Dianella White Eagles at Intiga Stadium. The home side could have opened up a sizeable lead had they been able to make more of a host of early chances. Andrija Jukic twice failed to capitalise on defensive lapses while Ryan Clarke shot directly at goalkeeper Tom Dixon after beating two defenders. Clarke made amends by crossing to the far post where Alex Caniglia’s knock down was despatched into the net by Baczynski. It was only now that Dianella started to seriously threaten with Abdul Sesay and Dhamon Kalamaris forcing good saves from Francis Soale leading into the break.
Inglewood continued to dictate play and create the better chances into the second half. Jukic should have doubled their lead after good lead-up work down the right by Clarke and Jason Colli, while Greg Sharland also failed to convert after getting into a good position. Dianella were hitting on the counterattack and, with Kalamaras and Andreas Theodosiades full of running there was every chance they would equalise. But the closest they’d come was on 78 minutes when Theodosiades’ explosive finish from 9-metres produced a brilliant save from a full-stretch Soale. The final whistle was just minutes away when another ball in from Clarke found Sharland but, like earlier, the big striker was unable to find the target.
SORRENTO GLIDE INTO SECOND ROUND
Gavin Knight hit the back of the net on four occasions to lead Sorrento to an 8-1 victory over Sunday League side Gwelup Croatia at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento’s monopolisation of possession from kick-off reaped rewarded in the 18th minute when Knight drilled in from the penalty spot after being clipped by Ian O’Sullivan. Only five more minutes passed before Gwelup were again opened up and Ryan Pearson tapped in goal number two. And when Knight beat goalkeeper Filip Kelava for the second time after 29 minutes it became crystal clear there would be no way back for the visiting side.
The flow of goal continued twelve minutes into the second half with Knight completing his hat-trick. Shortly after referee Stuart Muldoon whistled for a trip by Brodie Martin on substitute Nikola Kalic, who stepped up to beat Curtis Aspden from the penalty spot. However, it was soon business as usual for the team in sky blue with Knights tucking in his fourth of the afternoon. Aspden was little more than an interested spectator as Jesse Fuller netted twice in ten minutes with Liam Hunt coming off the bench to score his first senior goal deep in stoppage time.
STATE CUP PREVIEW
The glitz and glamour that is the State Cup steps into the spotlight this weekend with 32 clubs doing battle in the first round proper. The pick of the action brings together Premier Division heavyweights Inglewood United with joint Division One leaders Dianella White Eagles at Intiga Stadium. “Dianella are a great opposition who play good football,” Inglewood’s Alex Caniglia commented. “We have been playing really good football this season without reaping the rewards, so we’re looking forward to the Cup and, hopefully, spark us into winning form for the rest of the season.”
Win, lose or draw, Dianella intend enjoying the occasion. “I am very much looking forward to playing Inglewood,” said coach Vesko Zmukic. “I’ll be using the game as a test of depth within our squad and to give some players who have not played much so far a chance to show what they can do. I’ll be telling the boys to enjoy themselves, to respect their opponents but to also have the confidence and belief that we can win this game. Inglewood are the favourites, we are a Division One side and have nothing to lose.”
Canning City, who sits alongside Dianella in the league, are expected to progress their meeting with Joondalup United at Hossack Reserve. Bunbury Forum Force will need to find something special if they are to get the better of Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Balcatta will be seeking to avenge a four-goal loss in the opening round of the league to Armadale when they come face-to-face at Grindleford Reserve. The other two all-Premier Division games have Perth SC on home soil to ECU Joondalup, while Cockburn City visits Floreat Athena.
Sorrento commences their quest for a third straight State Cup crown with a home tie against Sunday League outfit Gwelup Croatia. “A difficult assignment is an understatement, more like climbing Mount Evert,” Gwelup coach Dejan Vilic joked. “It will be great experience for my boys to see what it takes to play against a Premier Division side. They are a well-drilled team under the guidance of Paul Price, but we were going into the game as underdogs and with no pressure on us. Cup games can be unpredictable so you never know.”
Division One side Shamrock Rovers face the none too pleasant task of tackling a very much in-form Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. “We’re under no illusions - Saturday’s game will be a big challenge. To play the Premier Division leaders on their own turf is daunting but it’s also one we are all looking forward too,” said Shamrock coach John O’Reilly, whose team are coming off a confidence-boosting 5-1 thrashing of Swan United. “The guys have trained well this week and being the underdogs we are looking to cause an upset.”
Swan United will have a new coach on board when they travel to Len Shearer Reserve to face Melville City. Ashfield have been drawn at home to BB United, Mandurah City lock horns with UWA-Nedlands at Hyundai Stadium and Gosnells City are on the road to Kingsway Olympic. Sunday League outfit Southern Spirit welcome Rockingham City to Watsons Reserve, Quinns have a home date with Subiaco AFC, while at Ilkuka Sports Complex its Joondalup City verses Maddington White City. Sunday’s solitary fixture is the Western Knights-Fremantle Croatia derby at Nash Field. All games across the weekend kick-off at 3.00pm.
SKOWRON SACKED BECAUSE “EVERYTHING” WAS WRONG
Division One club Swan United have taken the surprise step of sacking coach Mick Skowron just three rounds into the new league season. Appointed to the head coach role last August after two years in charge of the Reserves side, Skowron learnt his tenure with Swan was at an end after taking a phone call from club president Cos Coniglio this morning. “I put a lot of effort into the squad since November so for it to end so quickly is disappointing,” commented Skowron, who used the summer to set the wheels in motion for a refocus on promoting players from within the Swan club and youth development.
The reasons for Swan’s decision to cut Skowron loose were many and varied. “We were playing the wrong system, we weren’t scoring enough goals, training was no good and there were also social and cultural issues … as Cos summed up, it was everything,” said Skowron, who hasn’t truly felt at ease for the best part of a month. “I’ve been receiving negative criticism since our win against Wanneroo City in the Preliminary Round of the Cup. To be totally honest, it feels as though we lost our first three games (against Wanneroo plus league outings with UWA-Nedlands and Morley Windmills) and not won them.”
There are suggestions Skowron may have been the victim of internal politics. “After previously agreeing 100% with what I was doing, my assistant coach began questioning everything and arguing with me in front of the players. And last week the players called a meeting where some expressed their concerns about the way we were playing,” he commented. “All this negativity coupled with Football West’s decision to have us replay our game against Morley really had an effect on the way the team performed on the weekend and led to a heavy defeat to team which was no better than the three teams we beat in previous weeks.”
Skowron feels he achieved some significant positives during his short time as first team coach. “I made a lot of the players better players, and made them more aware of their responsibilities on the pitch. I also showed a lot of faith in them and this increased their confidence,” he said. “But as you can appreciate when only one player is retained from the previous season’s squad it is going to be very difficult to put together a competitive team from scratch, especially when the average age of the players is around 22. Unfortunately, suspension and injury meant I still hadn’t put my preferred line-up on the pitch.”
GARCIA SCOOPS MELBOURNE ACCOLADES
Socceroos attacker Richard Garcia has capped his first A-League season by taking home all the major trophies from Melbourne Heart’s annual awards night. Garcia, 31, picked up the Player of the Year and the Supporters’ Player of the Year double for his energetic presence either in a wide or central midfield role for Melbourne. The attacking outlet he provided throughout the recently completed season reaped six goals in 24 appearances, a tally which saw the veteran also share the Golden Boot award with Croatian striker Josip Tadic.
Heart coach John Aloisi said Garcia was a deserved recipient of the Player of the Year award, which seeks to recognise consistency and excellence throughout the A-League season. “Richie demonstrated his key qualities on the pitch this season through a number of notable performances,” Aloisi said. “His experience at an elite level was evident and he provided an important impetus from midfield. On behalf of everyone at the Club, we congratulate Richie on his achievement.” Garcia is currently in contracts talks for a second season with Melbourne.
MILLER JOINS GLORY’S PUSH FOR SUCCESS
Perth Glory legend Scott Miller has joined former teammates Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven on the club’s coaching staff for next season. Edwards has had a strong focus on reconnecting with the local soccer community since taking the coaching reins in February. He has made no secret of his desire to rebuild Glory’s culture after feeling the club had lost its soul in recent years. The appointments of Naven, as assistant coach, and Miller, to a youth development role, are viewed as being significant steps towards Edwards’ end goal.
By appointing Miller and Naven to key roles Edwards has fulfilled his promise to involve some of the club’s most successful figures in shaping its future. “It’s a really positive coup for us because they fit everything that we said we were going to do in terms of bringing in former champion players,” said Edwards, who shared the vice-captaincy with Miller during Glory’s National Soccer League days. “We’ve known each other for years and years and Scotty’s an impeccable character.” Miller will part company with Cockburn in July to take up his new post with Glory in July.
INSPIRATIONAL WILLIAMS TAKES ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has taken a big step towards representing Australia at the 2015 Women’s World Cup with her first club outing since tearing knee ligaments almost twelve months ago. This time last year Williams was riding the crest of wave after her heroics in Canberra United’s W-League championship success rewarded with the competition’s Goalkeeper of the Year award. She seemed set for a long spell as the Matildas first choice ‘keeper when she was struck down by injury in just her second game for Swedish side Pitea IF.
Never one to choose the easy path, 24-year old Williams elected to forego the comforts of doing her rehabilitation at home to remain in Sweden. “I needed to be around a team, otherwise I would struggle for motivation,” commented Williams, who is hoping her decision will reap rewards, to fifa.com. “A team pushes you and you have that extra layer of support (and) I didn’t feel I could progress mentally with Canberra United’s season only three months long. Mentally it has taken a lot out of me, but physically I have improved a lot.”
Williams rose to prominence as a teenager with Canberra Eclipse in the Women's National Soccer League and within a year had made her Matilda’s debut against South Korea. She stood between the posts throughout Canberra’s first four W-League campaigns before the opportunity to play in Sweden came about. “Some of the other Aussie girls told me only good things about Sweden,” Williams said. “Pitea’s support has been amazing. They have encouraged me every step of the way and haven’t stopped backing me. I have made some great friends here and been made very welcome.”
With her career back on tracks, Williams has made it her goal to don national team colours at the next Women’s World Cup, and possibly better the quarter-final appearance the Matilda’s gained at the tournament in 2007 and 2011. “We are have a lot of young players coming through which is great, though we still need some experience of course … hopefully we can really be in medals contention,” she said. “The atmosphere in Germany (in 2011) was different, and I’m glad I had that experience. It sparked a little fire in me and it is definitely something I want to experience again.”
INVINCIBLE CENTRAL COAST READY FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CHALLENGE: SAINSBURY
Newly-crowned A-League champions Central Coast Mariners feel invincible heading into this week’s Asian Champions League clash with South Korean side Suwon Bluewings. Perth-born defender Trent Sainsbury played a pivotal role in Central Coast’s 2-0 Grand Final win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, a result which has put the entire squad on top of the world. “The way we’re feeling right now, we feel invincible,” Sainsbury said prior to flying out of Sydney Airport. “So we feel we can go and give things a real shake in Korea. We’re going there for the three points and we go there with all the confidence in the world.”
Patrick Zwaanswijk opened the scoring on Grand Final day just before half-time with fellow veteran Daniel McBreen securing victory from the penalty midway through the second stanza. Sainsbury, who has a number of European club knocking on his door, says Central Coast have re-focused on their crucial pouting in Suwon. “We all were celebrating last night but in the back of everyone’s mind we all knew we’d still had a job to do in Korea,” Sainsbury said. “It took a bit of the shine away from it but the boys have all managed to get their minds focused on Tuesday’s match.”
Central Coast enter tonight’s game third in Group H and needing at least a point to keep their hopes of qualifying to the knockout stages alive. That could be easier said than done for Central Coast, who are yet to win an ACL match on the road and with Suwon in blistering form domestically. “Last time we played them, I thought we played them off the park and deserved to win,” Sainsbury said of February’s 0-0 draw. “This time if we go over there and stick to our game plan, I’m sure Arnie (coach Graham Arnold) has something in store for us, we’ll come away with a win.”
AKLMAAR SNAP UP BABALJ
Melbourne Heart striker Eli Babalj has signed a four-year deal with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. Babalj, 21, travelled to the Netherlands earlier in the season to undergo a medical after AZ Alkmaar scouts visited Melbourne to see him in action. The talented striker has attracted interest from European since his breakthrough 2011/12 campaign when he put away nine goals in 22 appearances for Melbourne. His potential was recognised last year with a move to Red Star Belgrade, however, the Serbian clubs failure to deliver the final portion of Babalj’s transfer fee saw the striker return to Melbourne six months later.
Melbourne chief executive Scott Munn admits he was aware from the outset that Babalj’s stay in Australia would be short. “When Eli returned, we sat down and agreed that he could explore his options in Europe with the view to sign with a club if the opportunity presented itself,” Munn said. “We didn’t want either Eli’s or the club’s pre-season to be disrupted so we allowed him to travel during the off-season. Eli has attracted attention from Europe which is testament to his calibre and character and we wish him all the best at AZ.”
FULHAM TRIALS FOR GLORY’S VUKOVIC
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been granted the opportunity to trial with English club Fulham. Vukovic, 28, flew out of Perth yesterday to link up with the west London club, which sits in the top half of the English Premier League table. “It’s a great opportunity for Danny to play in the Premier League if it all works out,” said Glory coach Alistair Edwards. “But if not, he’ll come back with the experience of training with a Premier League club.” Vukovic is under contract until the end of next season and Glory would command a transfer fee should he leave.
BAYSWATER NICK POINTS AS BARBAS CRIES FOUL
Floreat Athena coach Chris Barbas found it hard to contain his frustration after Bayswater City came from behind to steal a 4-3 victory from a pulsating encounter at Frank Drago Reserve. Barbas was incensed by referee Joe Fusari’s decision to deny Floreat a clear first half penalty while awarded Bayswater a soft spot kick which inspired their late revival. “It was a game full of entertainment, controversy and a result that probably wasn’t justified,” Barbas told footballwest.com.au. “When you’re top of the ladder you get dubious penalties like they did and when you’re on the bottom you don’t get clear handballs when the guy has got both hands above his head.”
The big crowd were set on the edge of their seats from the outset. A rasping shot on the run by Ludovic Boi rose just high of the crossbar before Gustavo Catarcione found a way around Brad Eiffe only to have Callum Fransz hoof the ball clear on the line. A tidy of exchange of passes down Bayswater’s left produced the breakthrough on 14 minutes, Brian Farrell linking to terrific effect with Catarcione before threading low into the corner of Brad Eiffe’s net. It took only a couple of minutes for Ian McMurray to restore parity by rising majestically to glance in from David Heagney’s well-flighted corner.
With Patrick Quinn and Larry Miller providing plenty of width, Bayswater responded with a barrage of attacks orchestrated by Todd Howarth. So it was against the run of play that McMurray applied a delicate touch to Heagney’s long diagonal ball to put Floreat in front with 27 minutes gone. The hosts quickly returned to the attack but Andy Reale sprayed wide when it seemed easier to hit the target and Farrell’s low strike produced a great reflex save from Eiffe. Referee Fusari stepped into the spotlight just before the break by denying Floreat what appeared a clear penalty after David Stokoe’s goalbound effort struck the hands of Quinn.
Boi was at it again shortly after the interval, pouncing when Howarth lost his footing only to have Miller head his shot out of the top corner. With this Bayswater swung back into action and it seemed only a matter of time before the game would again be levelled. However, some sublime skill led Heagney to doubling the visitors lead on 64 minutes, the striker receiving possession from Boi and brilliantly turning Trent Kay to lash into the roof of the net from 12-metres. Bayswater appeared unphased and when Gustavo Giron-Marulanda stung the gloves of Eiffe it was evident there was still plenty of life in the game.
Fusari was again the centre of attention on 73 minutes when Stokoe’s clumsy challenge on Steve Burton prompted the referee to point straight to the spot, from where Giron-Maralunda’s explosive finish brought the difference back to a single strike. Nine minutes later Catarcione conjured a goal out of nothing, the striker’s superb shot on the turn flashing across the ‘keeper to enter the far top corner of the net. Bayswater’s comeback was made complete in the second to last minute of regulation time when Damien Catalano played through Giron-Maralunda who, with the defence calling for offside, raced away and side-stepped Eiffe before tucking into an empty net.
GULLS STRIKE LATE TO NICK A POINT
Ryan Pearson scored late as Sorrento overturned a two-goal deficit to take a 2-2 draw from their home date with Inglewood United. Alex Caniglia and Matt Danskin had the visitors in a seemingly comfortable position before Todd Harnwell cut the deficit just before the break, with Pearson salvaging a point just minutes before the final whistle. “Conceding goals in the last minute of each half obviously isn’t good enough from our point of view,” said Danskin. “Sorrento would have been happier with the point than we were. We have been there or thereabouts with our performances over the last few weeks, however, our lack of ruthlessness has cost us valuable points.”
Sorrento settled the better and on the quarter hour Gavin Knight would have had them in front if not for a stunning save by Luke Martino. Six minutes later and against the run of play Caniglia put Inglewood one-goal the better by nodding in a deep cross by Danskin. Falling behind didn’t have a noticeable effect on the home side but while Knight’s free-kick beat Martino it crashed into the crossbar. A tidy exchange heading in the other direction between Danskin and Ryan Clarke ended with Greg Sharland flashing a volley wide. With 44 minutes on the clock Danskin spotted Curtis Apsden off his line and with a deft chip doubled the visitor’s advantage. Sorrento hit back immediately, Jesse Fuller crossing for Todd Harnwell to head just beyond Martino‘s fingertips.
The second half opened with Inglewood out to restore their two-goal buffer. It looked if Clarke would do just that but Aspden’s response kept the home team in the game, while attempts on goal by David Perich and Sharland went past the target. Sorrento were making very few inroads against a defensive line under the command of Shaun Kilkelly and Craig Simpson, while the battle in the middle of the park between Danny Thomson and David Price was intense. Pearson eventually took it upon himself to salvage Sorrento’s afternoon, the defender surging onto a Chris Lynch pass to finish low past Martino with 89 minutes gone. Appeals for a late Sorrento penalty after Martino clattered into substitute Darius Crisan were waved away by referee Tim Mihevc, who soon after whistled for final time.
NEIGHBOURS DEADLOCKED (with James Mooney, Football West)
Honours were shared at Grindleford Reserve where Balcatta derby meeting with Stirling Lions finished in a 0-0 draw. Although the game was littered with chances neither team was able to capitalise so at the end of 90 minutes each had to be content with a single point. “I’m happy with the clean sheet. It’s our first clean sheet of the season,” said coach Doug Hesketh, who was happy with Stirling’s defensive efforts. “(Balcatta) had some good chances but I thought we had more, so I think we were the most likely to win the game. All in all we’re on double points, we kept a clean sheet and I can accept that.”
The tone was set early with Stirling custodian Aleks Vrteski pulling off a world-class save to deny Mikey Aspen’s volley. It was to be a frustrating first half for both sides whose chances on goal were either sent past the target, met by resilient defending or the gloves of Vrteski and his opposite number, Alex Dunn. Stirling’s best opportunity came the way of Gareth McGlynn whose chipped effort floated wide. McGlynn had a chance to make amends after the break but this time the midfielder flashed across the face of goal. Clever interplay in the other direction between Ashley Rosindale and Chris Thackray ended with the former lifting high.
Balcatta boss Saul Contera applauded Vrteski’s outstanding contribution along with that of Dunn. “Aleks Vrteski made a world-class save off an Aspen volley (and) our ‘keeper had to make two crucial saves in the game. Apart from that there was a lot of aerial threats and corners but we dealt with it,” said Contera. “They had the better of the second half but our defence capability shone through yet again. We have been working on our defensive positioning, everyone is starting to know their roles (but we) need to improve big time on our attacking game play.”
BUNBURY OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT
Bunbury Forum Force chalked up three points for the first time this winter by comprehensively accounting for a ten-man Armadale 2-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval. The dismissal of Armadale defender Billy Quinncroft early in the second half proved pivoted with Ryan Francis netting soon after and Chris Blackburn sealing victory late on. “We’ve only got one point from our first five games but in four of the five (games) we’ve performed well, just luck hasn’t been with us,” Bunbury midfielder Jon Brooks said. “It looked like it was going to be the same today but in the end the performance deserved the three points.”
Bunbury’s dominance of the first half was absolute and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock then the outcome would have been far worse for Armadale. The first opening came after 12 minutes when Francis’ ball in from the left found Bright Ababio whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was tipped around the post by Sharrock. A few minutes later the Reds custodian again came up with the goods when his smart response at the near post denied Francis. Clearly in no mood to be beaten, Sharrock was at full-stretch to turn away a Francis shot with the resulting corner headed high by Oliver McGee.
This same pattern flowed through into the second half, and when Quinncroft’s rash tackle on Blackburn drew a red card from referee David Bruce the writing really was on the wall. Bunbury waited only until the 61st minute before capitalising, Francis bundling the ball in at close-range after Sharrock blocked a McGee header. Armadale’s only chance of the day was sent just wide by Dannie Richman midway through the half. Otherwise it was all one-way traffic and with a little more luck Brooks would have had the goal his performance deserved. The sealer finally arrived with five minutes to go, Blackburn heading in from a Liam Hutchinson free-kick.
WIN TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF UNDER-PERFORMING PERTH
Perth SC put aside off-field distractions to grind out a hard-fought 2-1 win over Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens. Matthew Izzo and Liam Boland set the Blues down the road to victory before Matt Salmon pulled a goal back to set up a tense finish. “It was a great win for everyone involved with club,” said Perth midfielder Kris Gate. “(Coach) Mauro Marchione and his staff as well as the players have been under pressure. We demand high standards from each other and when you’re not winning the pressure builds. Hopefully this win can silence the rumours, Mauro knows he has the backing from everyone at the club and that’s all that matters.”
Although slow to get into gear, Perth edged in front after 10 minutes with Izzo tapping past past Dejan Aleksic at close-range after meeting Gate’s cutback into the 18-yard box which the visitors failed to deal with. Cockburn wanted an immediate reply and very nearly got one via Paul Lloyd whose delicate lob from a long ball into the area bounced off the crossbar. Perth were also in the mood for goals but it was the away team that was creating by far the better chances thanks in no small part to the creativity of Lloyd and Antonio Naglieri. Their best chance came shortly before half-time when Kieran Stallard’s shot on the turn whistled just wide after Paul Natale returned a partially cleared corner back into the area.
Perth could not have wished for a better start to the second half, Boland heading in their second goal from a deep cross by Izzo. The action swung straight to the other end where Jack Eades blasted into the side netting on the run, and a few minute later the midfielder again placed just wide of the mark. Cockburn got the goal they sought in the 73rd minute with newly introduced substitute Salmon converting Lloyd’s good work in the lead-up. Jason Saldaris ensured it would be Perth who took out all three points by pushing over Conor Kavanagh’s close-range header from a Lloyd cross. The dismissal of Stallard two minutes into stoppage time for a second yellow card further compounded Cockburn’s woes.
Despite the result, Scott Miller said his Cockburn players could hold their heads high after dominating the game for lengthy spells. “We’ve come and been the better team and we’ve lost and that shows great character for Perth. They were under the pump for 90 minutes and scored two goals when they got their chances,” Miller told footballwest.com.au. “We missed a number of chances. But you’ve got to be good enough to put them away and good enough to defend. It could have gone differently if we had of taken our chances.” Perth’s second win of the campaign moves them to eighth spot, level on points with sixth-placed Cockburn on a congested table.
AMPHLETT PROVIDES JOONDALUP WITH INSPIRATION
ECU Joondalup stepped into the winners circle for this first time in over a month with a resounding 4-2 defeat of the National Training Centre. Tommy Amphlett played the starring role by having a hand in all four of the host’s goals scored by Tony Taylor (2), Joe Smith and John Monterosso. “They’ve worked their socks off with and without the ball,” coach Salv Todaro told footballwest.com.au. “I’ve kept saying we need to get consistency in our game and we’ve finally had it over 90 minutes and got the rewards … now we need to keep momentum and aim for a decent run of results.”
The NTC were on the defensive from early with Amphlett the instigator behind a series of Joondalup raids. It took only 13 minutes for that positive approach to reap dividends with Taylor converting from the penalty spot after a defender used his hands to halt Amphlett’s centring ball. Joondalup’s lead was increased just three minutes later, Amphlett again the provider with an inviting cross which headed powerfully into the top corner. Luck was certainly on the NTC’s side in the 32nd minute when Borbor Sambindi cross was caught by the wind and drifted over goalkeeper Andy Banks, who had been caught by surprise.
Monterosso, who replaced an injury Tanner Selyer in the first half, added himself to the scoresheet after 67 minutes but tucking in at close-range after ‘keeper Jordan Franken denied Amphlett in a one-on-one situation. A defensive mix-up allowed the NTC to pull a goal back two minutes later with Darcy Cosgrove nipping in between Banks and Shaun Timmins to put away what was otherwise a fairly innocuous ball in by Sambindi. The result was put beyond doubt in the 72nd minute when Storm Roux’s heavy touch was punished by Taylor’s fine first time finish to the left of Franken.
SIX IS ENOUGH FOR DIANELLA
Dianella White Eagles maintained their winning start to the season by thrashing Rockingham City 6-1 at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Robbie Phelan led the way with a double on a day Ibrahim Hamad, Bojan Radinovic, Andreas Theodosiades and Vlad Naumovski also found the net to extend Dianella’s winning run to three games. “Our approach and the way we executed our game plan was excellent. Despite being favourites, we did not underestimate Rockingham,” said Dianella coach Vesko Zmukic, who is not surprised by his team’s perfect win record. “We know the quality of our team and have been preparing for this since last year. We respect everybody but we are not afraid of anybody and are confident that we can beat anybody.”
The Rockingham goalkeeper picked the ball out of his net for the first time after only 5 minutes but an offside call meant Phelan’s effort counted for nothing. Phelan took this setback in his stride and in the 20th minute again beat the ‘keeper to make it one-nil. Dianella were in control both possession-wide and territorially, and as half-time approached Hamad and Phelan converted this into goals. There was little change for the second half as the midfield strings being pulled Theodosiades and Milan Vulin as Abdul Sesay ceaselessly probing for opening out wide on the left. Radinovic’s penalty conversion was followed by goals from Theodosiades and Naumovski amongst which Rockingham got their solitary reply.
NEIDERBERGER KEEPS CANNING ON TOP
Some late Daniel Neiderberger magic has given Canning City their third straight win, a 2-1 defeat of Mandurah City at Burrendah Reserve. Canning maintained their place at the top of Division One thanks to Neiderberger’s rapid fire double, which were separated by Craig Tone’s penalty conversion. “Daniel was outstanding, he’s been a massive addition to our squad. Today his class shone through as he stood up when we needed him too,” said Canning coach Paul Van Dongen. “We’ve shown an amazing resolve in all three games to date. Our composure has been great, we’ve stuck to our game plan and managed to get the results. But we know we’ve got plenty of tough assignments ahead, and certainly are not getting ahead of ourselves.”
Neither team was able to assert much control over a scrappy first half in which genuine openings on goal were scarce. The second stanza followed much the same pattern with attacks in both directions nullified by two well-organised defensive units. Canning eventually found a way through with only a few minutes to go when Niederberger expertly tamed Sam Carrello’s lofted pass, cut inside his marker and with his third touch slot under the advancing goalkeeper. That lead lasted just a minute before Tone makde no mistake from the penalty spot after a dubious handball decision against Carrello. With a minute left Michael Van Dongen’s long throw in the 18-yard box came off several heads before making its way to Niederberger, who coolly slid in the deciding goal.
BYRNE STARS AS SHAMROCK FLEX THEIR MUSCLE
Shamrock Rovers responded to questions over their depth by thrashing a previously undefeated Swan United side 5-1 at the Swan Italian Club. Injury and suspension forced coach John O’Reilly into making four changes to his line-up but that mattered little as Ciaran Byrne netted three times with Shaun Gibbons and Alan O’Mahoney also hitting the net. It didn’t take long at all for the Hoops to open the scoring with Gibbons heading in from a Barry Mulligan corner. Some clever work down the right soon after by Gibbons was finished into the net at the far post by Byrne. Although on the back foot, Swan managed to pull a goal back just before the break through a deflected shot.
There was no let up from Shamrock after the break, O’Mahoney applying a smart finish following a corner to make it three-one. Not even the dismissal of Ciaran Hoey, who was red carded for his push on an opponent, could temper the visitor’s momentum. Lone striker Byrne’s continued tormenting of the Swan backline was rewarded with a second goal, lashing in from 15-metres after some good midfield play, to effectively put the result beyond doubt. There was better to come from Byrne who bent a quality shot around the goalkeeper from 20-metres after he’d sped clear of the last defender. The win, Shamrocks second in three weeks, put them in second and only three points behind the early pacesetters.
MIKULIC SCORES THREE AS WANNEROO IMPLODE
Wanneroo City paid a hefty price for two minutes of madness as Ashfield came from behind to score a 4-2 win from a drama-filled game at Ashfield Reserve. Branimir Mikulic scored three times off the bench with Steve O’Mahoney grabbing the remainder but only after Wanneroo threw away a two-goal lead when reduced to nine men. Chances flowed freely in both directions before Garin Collins broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a long-range drive which beat a stretched Alex Sutton. Ashfield’s patient build-up contrasted sharply with Wanneroo’s counter attacking game, and it was through such a move that an unmarked Josh Boysen hammered goal number two past Sutton.
Mikulic had been on the park only a few minutes when he cut the gap from the penalty spot after David Calder inadvertently handled. Then in the space of a few minutes the game was turned on its head with Craig Bowman red carded for pushing Ryan Frisina, and Glen Thomas followed him to the changerooms after a high tackle on Jamie Burns. O’Mahoney rubbed salt into the wound not too long after by bringing the sides level with an in-swinging corner. Ashfield continued to press and Mikulic sealed Wanneroo’s fate by forcing the ball in during a goalmouth scramble. The final goal of an eventful afternoon was a diving header by Mikulic after Frisina’s shot came back off the post.
SUPER SUB BRADY GETS MORLEY THE POINTS
Substitute Gavin Brady netted deep in stoppage time to steal all the points for Morley Windmills by 2-1 over a luckless Western Knights at Nash Field. The home side’s dominance wasn’t rewarded until David Caine scored late in the piece, however, Andy Griffiths equalised a few minutes later before Brady decided the outcome with 96 minutes on the clock. “It was certainly a day to remember for Morley Windmills,” said coach Jason Van Rooy, who dedicated to win to former club president Karel Hofstee, who passed away during the week. “Gavin scored with literally the last kick of the game to win it for us … someone was definitely looking down on us.”
The Knights control of the opening stanza may have been absolute but an inability to finish their chances meant the teams entered the break as they started. Caine eventually got the goal the hosts deserved by driving into an open net after meeting Brendan Craig’s centring ball in the 79th minute. Morley hit back soon after on the counterattack, Griffiths side-footing in from just a after metres after receiving the ball deep inside the 18-yard box and shrugging off his marker. Another sweeping move by the visitors brought similar rewards just moments before the final whistle, Brady blasting into the roof of the net after cutting in from the right.
UWA SOAK UP PRESSURE TO SEE OFF GOSNELLS
Two goals in each half have given UWA-Nedlands their first win of the winter, a 4-1 triumph over Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. Aaron Barnett and Rory Feely were on target in the opening stanza with the points wrapped up by Chris Yates and substitute Kyle King following the turnaround. “We’re very happy to finally get some points on the board,” commented UWA captain Steve Purton. “We had a four new players come into the side so confidence was high. A big shout out to the defence – Lee McKay, Dan Wolfe, Tom Sellers and Marco Murray-Warmt – for handling the pressure and getting us the win.”
UWA hit the ground running to take a 7th minute lead through Aaron Barnett, tucking into the net in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Struan Herd. It took just a few minutes for Gosnells to find a response, Aaron Coslani darting down the right, taking aim and firing beyond the reach of the ‘keeper. A Roberto Lujan cross created an opening for Steve Purton, who round his man only to fire into the upright. UWA were not to be denied and in the 35th minute Lujan delivered a pinpoint ball which Rory Feely sent into the net. Unfortunately, Feely would exit the action soon after on a stretcher after suffering what looked to be a torn hamstring.
Kyle King would have extended UWA’s lead soon after the restart if not for a one-handed save by Herd. This was enough to spark Gosnells into action, the home side enjoying the bulk of play for the remainder of the half but unable to open too many holes in their opponents defences. The closing they came to equalising was a fine effort by Coslani which the ‘keeper tipped over. UWA were always threatening on the counterattack and via such a move Chris Yates got the goal his performance warranted to make the game safe. With six minutes left King tapped in goal number four after Purton worked his way past two defenders to lay the ball off to his team mate.
MONAGHAN WONDER STRIKE HIGHLIGHTS FREMANTLE WIN
Division Two title favourites Fremantle United extended their unbeaten start to the season by dumping Melville City 4-2 at Len Shearer Reserve. A stunning strike by Darren Monaghan sealed the win late after a rampant first half in which Andrew Morrow, Andrew Ambrogio and Angus Vos found the back of the net. The opening goal arrived via Morrow whose close-range finish was the perfect accompaniment to Joe Middleton’s fine work down the left in the lead-up. Ambrogio increased the gap with a terrific in-swinging corner which evaded the goalkeeper’s out-stretched arms before entering the net via the back post. Half-time was just a few minutes away when Middleton and Vos combined with the latter dancing three challenges to drill into the bottom corner for a three-nil lead.
With coach Danny Evans words still ringing in their ears, Melville returned to the park determined to gain a foothold on the game. Fremantle’s 16-year old goalkeeper Harry McCann pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Sasa Slavujevic’s fierce drive but was helped as Blake Readwin slotted in the loose ball. Melville were in the midst of their best spell of the afternoon as Sasa Gojic and Ashley Savage probed for opening in the visitors defences. The goal they sought arrived through a Slavujevic corner which drifted into the net after eluding McCann. Monaghan then killed off the hosts comeback hopes with a goal of the season contender, the attacker’s exquisite curling effort from 25-metres giving the ‘keeper absolutely no chance.
TOP SPOT WITHIN QUINNS REACH
Quinns’ continued their fairy tale start to the new Division Two season by beating Kingsway Olympic 3-2 at Kingsway Reserve. Goal from Brian Cairney, Arran Maplestone and John McNeil had the northern suburbs club on course for victory before Kevin White and substitute Lee Thomas brought the hosts back into the game late. “It was a great win for the lads, we were very happy to come away with maximum points,” commented Cairney. “We deserved the win and it should have been more but their ‘keeper pulled off a few good saves. Credit to the Kingsway boys for getting themselves back in and making it a nervous last ten minutes for us.” Quinns’ second win in three weeks elevates them to third spot, just one point from the top.
Cairney grabbed the solitary goal of the first half by neatly side-footing in from 7-metres after meeting Gareth Davies ball in from the right. Quinns doubled their lead after the turnaround through a curling Aaron Maplestone free-kick which snuck between the goalkeeper and his near post. It soon became three-nil thanks to McNeil, who reacted quickest when Maplestone’s shot was blocked by the ‘keeper. Davies should have added another but blasted against the crossbar after Cairney pressured the ‘keeper into spilling a cross. It was only now that Kingsway sparked into life with White finding the net after his initial shot was blocked by the ‘keeper. Thomas set-up a tense finish with a sweet finish into the bottom corner, however, despite controlling the closing stages Kingsway could not find an equaliser.
SUBIACO GET OFF THE MARK
Subiaco AFC collected their first points of the season with a classy 4-0 win over Joondalup City at Iluka Sports Ground. Christoph Noehring and John Molloy opened up a handy two-goal buffer before a couple of tidy finishes by Ger Fitzgerald out the result beyond a shadow of a doubt. Subiaco found their rhythm early but despite enjoying the better of possession there was little in the way of genuine goalscoring opportunities. That changed midway through the first half when a crisp exchange of passes ended with a Noehring thunderbolt from 25-metres that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
A foul on Scott Wrightson just outside the 18-yard box was enough invitation for Molloy to hit a swerving free-kick that passed underneath the ‘keeper and doubled the difference. Subiaco wanted more and this time it was Fitzgerald that delivered by sliding the ball past an advancing ‘keeper after being played through by Joe Dixon. Joondalup came out for the second half determined to get back in the game but it wasn’t to be. The hour had just passed when great work by Wrightson released Fitzgerald who netted his second – and Subiaco’s fourth – in a one-on-one with the ‘keeper.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Balcatta’s first home game of the year is the local derby showdown with Stirling Lions at Grindleford Reserve. Saul Contera’s team are unbeaten in four game and with Callum Roberts back from injury and Olari Perlin pushing to start after scoring off the bench last time out the Balcatta coach has some tough decisions to make. “The boys will want to put in a much better performance for our first home game of the season, so it means a lot to get off to a great start against a very difficult and strong Stirling side,” commented Contera.
Stirling have lost their last two games but assistant coach Gary Williams is sure they’ll get back on track sooner rather than later. “After a good start to the season and some promising performances, it was disappointing to lose to the National Training Centre,” said Williams, who will not be underestimating this weekend’s opponent. “Balcatta had a poor start but are now unbeaten in four games, which no doubt has given them a great deal of confidence. Doug (Hesketh) and I have a great deal of faith in our players and we both firmly believe we can get a positive result.”
Defender Ryan Pearson is expecting a difficult time when Sorrento hosts Inglewood United, who won just once from five starts. “Even though their results don’t show it right now Inglewood are a top side and play good football,” said Pearson. “We are in good form at the moment and scoring plenty of goals. It will be a tight contest but, hopefully, we can get the three points to keep in touch with leaders Bayswater City.” Recent arrival Chris Lynch, formerly of English club Ashton United, is pushing for a starting berth for the Gulls who remain without Jason Mirco (groin) and James Morgan (overseas).
Back-to-back wins means spirits are high in the National Training Centre camp ahead of their trip to ECU Joondalup. “The boys have a lot of confidence going into the game against Joondalup. They are a physical side and are a tough to break down,” said NTC goalkeeper Jordan Franken. “The team focus is always on the process and development. But we also want to be competitive and getting a few wins is a nice reward for our hard work.” Riley Woodcock returns from injury for the visiting team while Joondalup are without Andy Higgins, Jon Higgins, Dejan Spaseski and Tony Taylor, all due to injury.
Top-of-the-table Bayswater City has home ground advantage over a Floreat Athena outfit which is winless after five games. Floreat coach Chris Barbas is hoping Brad Eiffe, Mark Walsh and Ludovic Boi are back to full fitness and ready to take their places in the line-up. Bunbury Forum Force are also yet to register a win but the return of Danny Kane and arrival of Kenny Taylor has given them reason for hope away at Armadale. Perth SC have a couple of new signings on board – they refuse to tell us who – for their home game with Cockburn City. All six games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers is expecting a much improved display from his players when they welcome Division One title favourite Wanneroo City to Ashfield Reserve. “We played a poor half of football last Saturday our boys have responded well at training and I’m sure there will be a real commitment by everyone to play for 90 minutes on the weekend,” said Carruthers. “Wanneroo are a quality side and no game in this league is easy.” Where Ashfield have a full compliment of players available the same can’t be said for Wanneroo whose absence list includes Stuart Montgomery, Scott Bushby, Anthony Jones, Brad McDonald and Nathan Diaz.
The Canning City and Mandurah City coaching staff have contrasting problems leading onto the game at Burrendah Reserve. Emlyn Whetnall, Gerardo Soto, Alistair Campbell and Pravinash Guanasagaran are knocking on the selection door for Canning whereas Mandurah’s depth is being tested with Monty Grigo (suspended), Jeff Bright (injury), Robbie Hamm (holiday) and Darren Clarke (work) unavailable. Resources will also be stretched when Shamrock Rovers, who’ll be without Dan Corbett (knee), goalkeeper Pat White (hamstring), Will Pender (wrist) and Jeff Flood (suspension), make the journey to Swan United.
Morley Windmills are planning to honour former president Karel Hofstee, who passed away during the week, by taking home all the points from Western Knights. David McNally and Chris Bradley are back in for the visitors while the only change to the Knights line-up is the return of Johny Mirco. Dianella White Eagles will be largely unchanged for their visit to Rockingham City. But the same can’t be said for the hosts with Bobson Koroma, Connor Price and Sean Brady coming in as Daniel Macklin (suspended) and Oscar Thompson (overseas) go in the other direction.
Gosnells City coach Mike Brazil is confident his team will build on last week’s big win over Wanneroo when they host UWA-Nedlands at Walter Padbury Reserve. “Winning gives you confidence as a group and as a group it’s important to keep winning to create good habits,” Brazil commented. “The win against Wanneroo was the result of extremely hard work from day one of pre-season from a group of players who are hungry individually, and as a group, for success. If we can maintain this same mindset we will do okay.” All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
All eyes will be on Kingsway Olympic’s mid-table contest with a revitalised Quinns when round three of Division Two kicks into life on Saturday afternoon. Confidence is sky high in the Kingsway camp following last week’s demolition of Subiaco AFC, and with home ground advantage and Alistair Blair, Josh Rolls and Brian White firing on all cylinders the home side are tipped to take the points. However, Quinns have dismissed the notion that they are the competition’s easy-beats and should Brian Cairney, Arran Maplestone and Gareth Davies assert their authority then the State League’s youngest club will the ones celebrating at the end of 90 minutes.
Division Two pace-setters Maddington White City welcome neighbouring Forrestfield United to Nikola Tesla Reserve. Maddington captain Ty Fenwick is champing at the bit to get going after missing last week’s game while Michael Coyle is expected to line-up having recovered from a hamstring twinge. Melville City will be without Danny Brown (injury), Jack Mawdsley (injury) and Gary McVicker (suspension) when they attempt to open their season account against an undefeated Fremantle United at Len Shearer Reserve. Joondalup City are back on home turf for their outing with Subiaco AFC, who are coming off back-to-back losses. All four Division Two games commence at 3.00pm on Saturday.
BURGESS GETS SCOTLAND CALL-UP
Former ECU Joondalup player Cameron Burgess is on the cusp of an international debut for Scotland. Burgess, a youth team regular at English club Fulham, has been named in coach Ricky Sbragia’s 18-man squad for next week’s two-game under-18 friendly series with Israel. “It’s great to get selected and I’m looking forward to it,” commented Burgess, who played a full game when Fulham’s Under-18 side defeated Bolton Wanderers 4-1 on the weekend. “To be honest I’ve been trying not to think about it (playing for Scotland) too much, I just want to focus on each day at training and games when they come.”
Burgess got his first taste of international football last month as part of the Fulham squad which won the Dallas Cup. “The standard was top drawer, it was good to be a part of it all and I was delighted we came away as Champions,” enthused Burgess. “There are some superstars like Wayne Rooney, Clint Dempsey and Hernandez who have played in the tournament before.” Fulham lifted the trophy by thumping Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol 5-1 in the final, but only after seeing off the challenges of Los Angeles Galaxy (United States of America), Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) plus Brazilian pair Coritiba and Fluminense in the qualification rounds.
Born in Scotland, Burgess moved to Australia at a young age and following time with the National Training Centre broke into Joondalup’s first team last year. He took up a three-year scholarship with Fulham in June and has since featured regularly in defence for his clubs’ Under-18 Premier League table-topping side. “I love it here at the moment, all is good,” Burgess said. “The experience is unbelievable, the club are sitting top of the league at the moment before the semi-final split.” Burgess, who recently stepped out for Fulham’s under-21 team, is hoping to wear the navy of Scotland when they travel to Israel next week.
EUROPE COMES CALLING FOR SAINSBURY
A breakthrough summer with Central Coast Mariners has put young defender Trent Sainsbury well and truly on the radar of several European clubs. It’s no secret English side Southampton have been keeping a close eye on Sainsbury for some time, while Central Coast are understood to have received trial offers for the 21-year old from FC Basel (Switzerland), Roda JC (the Netherlands) and Bolton Wanderers (England). Sainsbury is delaying any decision on his playing future until after this weekend’s A-League Grand Final, and has no intention of trialling until after the Asian Champions League group stage.
A JOONDALUP WIN IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER SAYS SMITH
English midfielder Joe Smith says it will only be a matter of time before ECU Joondalup start hitting their straps. Few would argue that the going has been tough for Joondalup so far this season but Smith, fresh from a spell with Boldmere St Michaels, has no doubt his club are far better than the eighth place they currently occupy. “It’s not been the best start, however, I don’t believe there is anything to worry about,” he said. “A win is just around the corner and when we get some rhythm into our game we will hopefully go on a roll.”
Smith, along with a number of other new faces in the squad, feels he is still finding his feet at Joondalup. “It’s always hard when new players come to a club, like this season, as it takes time to settle and adapt to new team philosophies. But the squad is gelling, the attitude at training and in the dressing room is good,” commented the midfielder, who recognises where Salv Todaro is taking the side. “You can see the way he wants us to play and he works very hard on the training ground to get this across.”
A chance meeting last year with Gary Williams, who association with Joondalup stretches back well over a decade, led 22-year old Smith to join the northern suburbs club. “Me and my partner were always coming over to Perth, whether I was playing football or not. Shortly before we came over I met Gary and he mentioned Joondalup … and here I am,” explained Smith. “We’ve settled in really well in Western Australia, luckily we managed to get a rental within two weeks of being here. Things are going well but we are still getting used to the weather though, 30 degrees in April, what’s that all about?”
Smith, who turned out for Coleshill Town and Boldmere in his homeland, admits he was unsure how things would go in the State League. “When I got to Joondalup training for the first time I was unsure what to expect, but I soon got into it,” commented Smith, who gained his first outing against Stirling Lions last month. “After my first game I found it a very good standard of football and every game is a challenge, and if you’re not on your game you will get beat.” A win at home this Saturday over the National Training Centre could just prove the catalyst for Joondalup to turn things around.
DE SILVA, GALLOWAY INVITED TO FIRST CAMP
Two of the rising stars of the domestic scene, Perth Glory attacker Daniel De Silva and Melbourne Victory defender Scott Galloway, have taken another step towards representing Australia. De Silva, 16, and Galloway, 18, were today called into camp with the national team for the first time as Young Socceroos coach Paul Okon considers his options ahead of the Under-20 World Cup. Fellow West Australians Jesse Makarounas (Melbourne Victory) and Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets) also gained selection in the 24-player squad for next week’s training camp on the Central Coast. The Under-20 World Cup will be hosted by Turkey this June and July.
MILLER WALKS OUT ON GLORY
Perth Glory will be without Liam Miller next season after the influential playmaker opted not to renew his contract with the club. Miller, a former Republic of Ireland international, was offered a new contract but turned it down today. “Unfortunately, it’s part and parcel of football,” coach Alistair Edwards said. “Players come and go. Liam has played an important role over the last two years but has decided to move on. We’d like to thank him for his commitment and professionalism at Perth Glory and we wish him well in his future endeavours.” Miller made 50 appearances and scored two goals in two seasons at Glory, playing a key role in the club’s run to the finals in both seasons.
VALE KAREL HOFSTEE
The West Australian football community is in mourning following the passing of long-time Morley Windmills officials Karel Hofstee on Tuesday afternoon. Hofstee joined Morley as a player in 1955 and over the past 58 years was a loyal servant to the club through a variety of roles, including three separate spells as president. His passion in life remained football right up to the end with Hofstee, still recovering from a stroke, cheering Morley on only a few weeks ago in the final of the pre-season Karel Hofstee Cup.
MORLEY-SWAN TO BE REPLAYED
Last weekend’s Division One game between Morley Windmills and Swan United is to be replayed at the request of Football West. An investigation by the peak body revealed referee Trent Fleskens made a technical error in the application of the Laws of the Game, which may have affected the outcome of the fixture. The error centres on the second half dismissal of Swan player Simon Falcone, who was in the process of being substituted when issued his red card. However, as his replacement had not entered the field of play before the card was issued, the substitution should not have been allowed as per Law 3 of the FIFA Laws of the Game. The score was 1-1 at the time of the incident with Swan going on to win 2-1 on the day, a result which has subsequently been voided.
I’M ENJOYING MY FOOTBALL AGAIN SAYS TODD
One-time Blackburn Rovers and Perth Glory defender Andy Todd say life with Armadale is good. Todd, 38, played over 400 games during a 19-year professional career, the majority of which was spent in the top two tiers of the English game. The veteran hung up his boots late in 2011 but a move to Perth has coincided with him coming out of retirement to lend his vast experience to a young Armadale outfit under the tutelage of friend Lee Bamber. “Everything is good at the club at the moment,” Todd commented. “I’ve been made to feel very welcome, and I’m enjoying my coaching and playing again.”
Todd and Bamber struck up friendship while the pair worked together at Glory between 2009 and 2011, one as a player with the other on the coaching staff. Upon being released by Glory Todd returned to England where he turned out for Oldham Athletic and Hereford United before calling time on his playing days, at least that was the plan. “The move (to Armadale) came about after I spoke to Lee,” explained Todd, who wore Glory colours on 41 occasions across two seasons. “I got in touch to see if there were any coaching possibilities at the club. He said there were and the move was organized.”
The wealth of knowledge Todd has gleamed from his time in the game will be shared with the next generation of stars through the inaugural ‘Andy Todd Soccer Academy’, a course for players aged 10-15 being held in July. “I’ve been fortunate to play football as a living for many years, and this is my time to give a bit back to the game,” he said. “We will us the great facilities at Alfred Skeet Oval and run professional sessions with quality coaches, but one the kids can enjoy and benefit from. The times, dates and pricing will be out soon, but we then want to take it to an elite level and bring in older ages.”
When asked for the one piece of advice he would give to any young player whose desire to to play the game professionally, Todd was quick to answer. “It’s a question I get asked a lot but it’s really simple,” said Todd, who started out as a trainee at Middlesbrough and went on to play for Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Blackburn, Derby County and Glory, amongst others. “Enjoy your football. Practice to master the football, have a good attitude and be dedicated – these attributes are paramount along with the natural ability you have. If you focus on these things you have a very good chance to become a decent footballer.”
Todd has been outstanding in the middle of an Armadale backline which hasn’t conceded in the last two games, most recent a scoreless draw at Inglewood United. “It was a very good point away from home last week. The game could have gone either way, both sides had chances but failed to convert,” said Todd, who will miss the Reds trip south this weekend. “Bunbury Forum Force will be a very tough game but we will probably go into game as favourites. If we have the same desire and honesty as we have had, and just take a little bit more care with the ball we should go okay.”
TOMBIDES IN HOSPITAL FOR LIVER OPERATION
West Ham United youngster Dylan Tombides has revealed he is in hospital having a liver operation. The Australian youth international made his Hammers first team debut in September after being given the all-clear following a battle with testicular cancer. But speaking via twitter this week 19-year old Tombides revealed his latest setback. “Sorry haven’t been able to reply to posts and tweets this week have been in hospital having an operation on my liver,” he said. “I will remain in hospital till Wednesday recovering and they should let me out Wednesday night or Thursday morning.”
WILLIAMS RUES PAINFUL, HORRIBLE SEASON
Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams is coming to terms with another ‘horrible’ season in the English Championship. Any lingering hopes Williams held of a revived play-off push ended with Middlesbrough weekend loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, a result which left the defender pondering the ruins of season of early promise. “It been a painful season,” Williams told the ‘Evening Gazette’. “It’s disappointing to say but it is just horrible that we are destined for another year in this horrible league next season. Personally I am angry, upset, and disappointed with this team, this manager, this ground... we shouldn’t be in this league.”
Williams is lost for reasons behind Middlesbrough’s nightmare run over the second half of the season which took them from an automatic play-off spot to the middle of the table. “We train hard. We work hard. We are a tight group. We have spells in games where we play well. We just can’t get over the line and win games,” said William, who has made 24 appearances this season. “It’s incredible the talent we’ve got in this team. The gaffer has given everyone a fair chance but it is disappointing we haven’t quite found the right mixture to kick on.”
Middlesbrough has won just two of 17 league games this year to be positioned tenth heading into the closing stages of the season. Williams insists his team are determined to end with a flourish, and carry that over into next season. “There are four games left and we need to finish on a high and then take that into the new season,” said the defender, who missed the first part of the campaign with an ankle ligament injury. “We don’t want to end on a sour run like this. We need to finish the season as strong as we can then have a break and regroup and go again next season.”
ROJAS VOTED A-LEAGUE’S TOP PLAYER
Melbourne Victory dynamo Marco Rojas has claimed the prestigious Johnny Warren Medal as well as the Young Footballer of the Year Award the annual A-League Awards ceremony. Rojas, 21, was a runaway winner in the competitions player of the year award, the Johnny Warren Medal, polling 908 votes to finish well ahead of Sydney FC marquee Alessandro Del Piero (449 votes). Central Coast Mariners veteran Daniel McBreen (280) was a distant third and followed by teammate Michael McGlinchey (239) and Adelaide United playmaker Dario Vidosic (222).
Western Sydney Wanderers custodian Ante Covic capped a stellar season by taking out the Goalkeeper of the Year award. Evergreen striker McBreen collected the Golden Boot for his 17 regular season finishes, and Tony Popovic (Western Sydney) picked up the Coach of the Year in his rookie season. Peter Green received his first Referee of the Year trophy whilst Awer Mabil (Adelaide) picked up the National Youth League Player of the Year.
Brisbane Roar’s Clare Polkinghorne received the Julie Dolan Medal (W-League Player of the Year) with teammate Tameka Butt picking up the Player’s Player of the Year. Mackenzie Arnold (Canberra United) was named Goalkeeper of the year, the Golden Boot was taken home by Katie Gill of Perth Glory while Mike Mulvey’s efforts with Melbourne Victory were rewarded with the Coach of the Year. Kate Jacewicz was named the league’s Referee of the Year for the fourth consecutive season.
WIGAN WERE WORTHY WINNERS: LOWRY
Millwall defender Shane Lowry says he will cherish the memory of playing in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium. Wigan Athletic booked their place in the centrepiece event of the English season by downing Millwall 2-0 on Saturday, and while Lowry would have loved the result to be the other way around he has absolutely no complaints. “We’re proud as a team and a club to get this far but sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and say you lost to the better team,” Lowry told newsatden.co.uk. “Wigan deserved to go through so congratulations to them. But this was a great achievement for a club of our size to reach the semis and I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life.”
Lowry admits it will take a while for the full semi-final experience to soak in. “On the day, when you’re involved in it and playing, it kind of passes you by. You’re too focussed on the game and can’t really take things in. I think a few years down the line I will look back on this is a good achievement for me - 23-years-old and playing in a semi-final at Wembley,” added Lowry, who was tasked with keeping tabs on Wigan striker Arouna Kone. “Kone’s a strong boy – a real targetman up front – and then you have got Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney and Jordi Gomez going pretty much where they want … it was tough trying to stop them.”
There’ll be little time for reflection at Millwall who return to the field tomorrow for a vital Championship clash with third-from-top Watford. “We have got pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and crack on,” said Lowry, keen to ensure there is no Wembley hangover. “We need to get some more points on the board. Our home form has been horrible recently. I do not know what’s been going on – it just has not clicked like when we play away. We are back in training on Monday and we’ll be hoping to catch Watford cold.” Millwall, who have two games in hang over those around them, hover three points above the relegation zone heading into the final month of the season.
SAINSBURY UP FOR YOUNG FOOTBALLER AWARD
Central Coast Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury has been nominated for the 2012/13 Young Footballer of the Year. Sainsbury was voted the A-League’s most outstanding under-21 player for the month of March following dominant displays in his team’s last season wins over Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Melbourne Heart. Craig Goodwin (Newcastle Jets), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC) plus Central Coast trio Tom Rogic, Bernie Ibini and Sainsbury are in the running for the Young Footballer of the Year which will be announced this week.
BAYSWATER MAKE IT FIVE FROM FIVE BUT COYNE IS STILL NOT HAPPY
A trio of first half goals paved the way for Bayswater City to extend their winning run to five games with a 3-1 defeat of home team ECU Joondalup. But although Gustavo Catarcione, Todd Howarth and Steve Burton ensured a comfortable win for the league leaders, coach Chris Coyne lamented his team’s inability to turn in a full 90 minute performance. “We have a philosophy and a discipline we are working towards and in the first half some of our football was outstanding,” Coyne told footballwest.com.au. “At half-time I made the boys aware that (Joondalup) won’t give up and they have that mentality that they will try for 90 minutes. We made it hard for ourselves ... we were very sloppy in the second half.”
A strong start by the home team paid dividends in the 18th minute with Catarcione steering his header from an Andy Reale cross past Andy Banks in the Joondalup goal. The gap widened just five minutes later, Howarth elegantly gliding a free-kick past the defensive wall and beyond the reach of the goalkeeper. Burton celebrated his first start of the league campaign by putting goal number three on the board in the 37th minute, the striker finishing at close-range by sliding in to meet Reale’s low delivery. And the situation could have been a lot more dire for the home side had Banks not come out trumps from a one-on-one with John Kearney in the shadows of half-time.
Fired up by coach Salv Todaro, Joondalup returned to the park with intent. Igor Novakovic’s first time strike rocketed over the crossbar after a poor defensive pass was seized upon by Tommy Amphlett, who not too long after flashed a dead ball high of the target. The goal they sought finally arrived on 66 minutes, Selyer sliding past Devon Spence from 14-metres after being played through by Amphlett. Joondalup worked hard to pull back another goal and on 80 minutes Spence was at full-stretch in tipping an Amphlett shot onto the bar. The closing stages were end-to-end, Joondalup searching desperately for a way to salvage their afternoon as Bayswater threatened to post another goal on the break.
Todaro took plenty of positives from Joondalup’s second 45 minutes. “We showed more endeavour, more passion and more desire in the second half. We stuck to our game plan and started to pass the ball, which meant we were able to play to our structure and started to get in behind the Bayswater defence,” said Todaro, who has juggled an ever-changing line-up this season. “I’ve been forced to make changes every week either due to injuries or player unavailability – last week I had six first team players watching training instead of actually training. We put in a very solid 45 minutes today, which is a good start, and will continue to work hard at training and bring this attitude into games.”
KNIGHT LEADS SORRENTO’S CHARGE
State champions Sorrento stretched their unbeaten run to five games by humbling Perth SC 4-0 under leaden skies at Dorrien Gardens. The home team were out-played in every department as Gavin Knight struck twice – the latter a stunning free-kick – either side of goals by Anthony Skorich and Darius Crisan to jump the Gulls into second spot. “We did play very well and I was delighted with the performance,” victorious coach Paul Price told footballwest.com.au. “Maybe we could have scored more but I was delighted with four-nil.” The magnitude of the loss revealed just how great a gulf Perth need must bridge if they are to be a competitive force this season.
Sorrento was on the front foot from the outset with Jesse Fuller and Skorich sending a couple of explosive finishes just past the target. Skorich got the goal his team sought on 12 minutes after a defensive lapse gifted the ball to Fuller, who duly laid it off for his free team mate to tuck neatly into the bottom corner. The visitors quickly returned to the attack where Fuller’s goalbound effort slammed into a defender, and with the follow-up Ryan Pearson tested Luke Martino’s reflexes. In response Perth offered little, the host’s struggling for cohesion in their attacking zone where Daryl Platten was the dominant force. There were no such problems at the other end as Todd Harnwell and Pearson shots were sent off-target by defenders, while substitute Crisan fired powerfully but straight at Martino.
The second half opened with Fuller wasting a couple of guilt-edged opportunities after the Perth defence coughed up possession. The host’s failure to learn from these mistakes was punished on 49 minutes with Knight stroking into the bottom corner after another defensive mishap. Curtis Aspden wasn’t tested until Milan Mirkovic got off a low shot on the hour which the Gulls custodian tipped wide. The pick of the goals arrived on 69 minutes when Knight sweetly struck a dead ball inside the junction of upright and crossbar. Five minutes later Sorrento had their fourth goal with Crisan sweeping in at close-range after Perth failed to respond to Pearson’s centre. The onslaught continued right up to the final whistle as with Brodie Martin, Jamie Harnwell, Craig Robson and Fuller each going close to further extending the gap.
BALCATTA’S PERLIN HAS DEBUT TO REMEMBER
Bunbury Forum Force remains rooted to the foot of the Premier Division following this afternoon’s dramatic 1-0 loss to Balcatta at Payne Park. Balcatta’s new Estonian striker Olari Perlin needed just ten minutes to find the back of the net and condemn Bunbury to their fourth successive loss. However, home coach Matt Lock was far from disheartened by his team’s performance which included having a goal controversially chalked off. “We played well, it was a huge improvement from last week both individually and collectively,” Lock told footballwest.com.au. “Quite often in football you get the results you deserve. I’m trying to think what more to do, but we’ll stick together … we’re not a million miles away though.”
There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in a lively and open first half with the home team creating the better chances on goal. The first of these arrived after 17 minutes when defender Oliver McGee had his goalbound header cleared off the line from Liam Hutchinson’s well-flighted corner. Balcatta returned fire six minutes later through Moe Atak whose powerful shot was superbly saved by Ryan Montgomery. A clipped ball to the far post by Ryan Francis presented an opening for Jon Brooks but the presences of a couple of defender prevented him from steering into net. Unfortunately, the hosts lost their best avenue to attack just before half-time when winger Jayden Prosser exited the action through injury.
It appeared the deadlock had been broken ten minutes after the restart when Francis hooked the ball over goalkeeper Alex Dunn with Brooks ramming the ball in at close-range, however, Bunbury celebrations were quickly terminated by an offside flag. Chances came and went at both ends of the park with McGee and Brooks bringing good saves from Dunn while Ryan Montgomery was called upon to deny Ashley Rosindale. Balcatta went forward again on 74 minutes when Perlin’s sweet half-volley was pushed away by Montgomery. Rosindale swung the resulting corner in quickly and Perlin did the rest, the striker allowed to ghost in unmarked and head past Montgomery at close-range.
FIVE-STAR COCKBURN MAKE LIGHT WORK OF FLOREAT
John Thornley scored a hat-trick off the bench to lead Cockburn City to a resounding 5-0 win over an injury and illness depleted Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park. Midfield pair Paul Lloyd and Jack Eades had Cockburn on their way before Thornley struck three times in fifteen minutes. “It was a great performance from the lads today,” said Cockburn captain Paul Natale. “We really dominated the first half and knew they would come out second half hard and they did. But we defended really well and thoroughly deserved the win. It shows the depth we have in the squad when John (Thornley) can come off the bench and score a hat-trick late in the game.”
Floreat had their backs to the wall as early as the 2nd minute when Blair Govan brought down Matt Salmon inside the 18-yard box, and while Lloyd’s spot kick hit the post the rebound entered the net after striking goalkeeper Jordan Barbas. The game would have been over as a contest if not for a couple of quality saves by Barbas which left Eades frustrated. It was a case of third time lucky for Eades when he doubled Cockburn’s lead on 23 minutes, the attacker turning the ball in from 7-metres after meeting Lloyd’s low cross. With a host of regulars absent, Floreat were really struggling with their only chance on goal being a David Heagney effort which was tipped over by Dejan Aleksic.
The second half opened positively enough for Floreat, Benny Kovadio forcing a superb save out of Aleksic before strong shouts for a penalty were dismissed after Cisco Jorquera was bundled over. A Jorquera shot rolled agonisingly wide then substitute Joe Moffat headed high from a Heagney corner. Floreat were denied a penalty for a second time by referee Hugh Best when Jorquera was taken down by Keiron Stallard. Cockburn were playing on the counterattack and on 78 minutes Thornley finished such a move by stroking past Barbas as the visiting defence stood appealing for offside. Thornley struck again a minutes into stoppage time by converting an inch-perfect through ball from Antonio Naglieri. And shortly before the final whistle Lloyd cut the ball back for Thornley to complete his haul from close-range.
WASTEFUL INGLEWOOD SPLIT THE POINTS WITH ARMADALE (with Kelechi Osunwa, Football West)
Inglewood United had to be content with a single point after playing out a 0-0 draw with Armadale at Intiga Stadium. The home side monopolised possession and fashioned by far the better goal scoring opportunities but their failure to convert meant it was a case of two points dropped rather than one gained. “Funny game football sometimes … we absolutely battered them and came away with a nil-nil result,” said Normanton, who chose to focus on the positives of his team’s performance. “The pleasing part was we played a lot of good football and we created a lot of good chances, unfortunately we didn’t put them away.”
It took Inglewood only 6 minutes to carve out their first opening but goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock denied Ryan Clarke, who menaced the visiting defence all afternoon. This set the tone for a first half controlled by Inglewood’s central team of Andrija Jukic, David Perich and Daniel Thomson. It seemed only a matter of time before Inglewood would sneak a goal but a combination of poor finishing, Sharrock’s cat-like reflexes and resolute defending conspired to keep the teams level. Greg Sharland should have done better than head high from inside the 6-year box, while a late chance for Nathan Costello to steal victory for Armadale was tipped over by ‘keeper Luke Martino.
NTC MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW
The National Training Centre strung together back-to-back Premier Division wins for the first time by downing Stirling Lions 4-3 in a seesawing encounter at Macedonia Park. Lawrence Shuruma struck the decisive goal with ten minutes remaining to add to first half finishes by Borbor Sambindi, Blamo Quaqua and Sahr Musa. “The boys worked ever so hard once again and they ground out a really good result,” said NTC coach John Gibson, whose side bettered Bunbury Forum Force only seven days earlier. “It’s good to be consistent and back it up from last week, so that was the task that we had.”
Only a couple of minutes had elapsed when Stirling edged in front via Dean Evans, who slotted past the advancing goalkeeper after Phil Arnold turned the ball over. But the NTC hit back three minutes later when Sambindi sliced his way past three defenders to fire into Aleks Vrteski’s net from 18-metres. Scott Bulloch put the hosts back in front by finishing into the top corner. Again the NTC replied swiftly, Quaqua converting a 14th minute penalty awarded for Michael Pugliese’s miss-timed tackle. Musa snuck in front of Jason Gavin to tuck in a low cross after 34 minutes, but the teams entered half-time level courtesy of a tidy Moses Kalau free-kick.
The second half followed much the same pattern, only this time neither side was able to capitalise on their chances. Rory Grant went close to gained the lead back for Stirling when his vicious shot smashed into the crossbar. Play swung to the opposite end where Shuruma ran onto a pass out of the middle and slid his shot under an on-coming ‘keeper to give the NTC the upper hand with ten minutes to go. Stung into action, Stirling pretty much set up camp in their opponent’s defensive zone for the remaining time. Their best opening came with the last play but Grant’s chip drifted just over the top after being played through with only Franken to beat.
Stirling boss Doug Hesketh was quick to shoulder responsibility for the loss. “I put the team out there, it’s my fault we lost. I thought we absolutely planned for the game and I think they gave us exactly what we expected, and I thought we were better prepared than that,” said Hesketh, who questioned his players decision-making. “The players who were on the pitch made the decisions to pass back when we could’ve just played down the line, we gave away a penalty (and from) some poor marking they scored a nice goal. It was just decisions on the day, but I put the team out there and I take responsibility for that.”
LUCK DESERTS SHAMROCK IN FAVOUR OF CANNING
Canning City scored twice in the second half to see off a luckless Shamrock Rovers outfit 2-0 at Harold Rossiter Reserve. It was clear that it was not going to be Shamrock’s day when striker Dan Corbett (knee) and goalkeeper Pat White (hamstring) were forced out of the game by injury inside 15 minutes. To their credit the visitors wasted no time in regrouping and for the remainder of the afternoon matched their opponents in every department. Daniel Neiderberger was unlucky not to give Canning the lead with a long-range strike that cannoned off the crossbar. Ciaran Byrne went one better at the other end only to have a marginal offside call rule out his effort.
The end-to-end nature of play continued into the second half. The breakthrough eventually arrived via a Josh Findlater cross into the 6-year box where Neiderberger was allowed to rise unchallenged and glance past a flat-footed ‘keeper. Shamrock responded by stepping up the tempo but found genuine chances on goal hard to come by against a well-organised backline. Unfortunately, home fan hopes of a comeback were snuffed out with the dismissal of central defender Jeff Flood, who copped a couple of soft yellow cards in the space of a few minutes. Neiderberger put the result beyond doubt by netting from the penalty spot after Steve Kane was clumsily felled by John McElwee.
COLLI PLAYS THROUGH TO PAIN TO NET SWAN’S WINNER
Luke Colli ignored the pain of a broken nose to lead Swan United to a 2-1 victory over Morley Windmills. The win keeps the black and whites alongside Canning City and Dianella White Eagles on top of the table as the only teams with a perfect win record from two games. “The game was a real battle. Morley threw everything they had at us,” said Swan coach Mick Skowron. “We were in control for a lot of the first half but Morley lifted once they equalised. It was a terrific effort by Luke to score the equaliser, he shook of being elbowed in the face and having his nose broken (to score the winner).”
Morley were slow to get going but once Andy O’Neill and Scott Campbell got into stride it seemed only a matter of time before team in orange would go ahead. But it was home custodian Daniel Agudelo that was picking the ball out of his net after 27 minutes when Mark Miraudo’s ball in from the left released Simon Falcone who tucked in after neatly rounding the goalkeeper. Morley, however, were not be denied and two minutes O’Neill finished low past Mat Battigelli after latching onto a pass out of the middle. Both teams had chances to go in front but at the break it was all-square and with all to play for.
An explosive start to the second half had Falcone collect two quick yellow cards from the referee. Moments later Battigelli collided with the post in making a low save and, after receiving treatment, the concussed ‘keeper was replaced by Jordan Howell. Not surprisingly, Morley was now growing in stature but found it difficult to pick holes in a defence marshalled by Chris Marshall and Justin Skowron. A quick counterattack restored Swan’s lead with fifteen minutes to go, Howell’s long clearance making its way to Colli who fended off the last defender and side-stepped Agudelo to fire into an empty net.
RADINOVIC SPOT ON FOR DIANELLA
The stands were full at Dianella Reserve where Dianella White Eagles triumphed 2-1 over Ashfield in a game of two very different halves. The first 45 minutes was controlled by the away side, who went in front after 13 minutes when Ryan Frisina made space and lifted the ball for an unmarked Jamie Burns to head in from 5-metres. There would be no letting up from the team in red with wave after wave of attack producing countless corners but no further goals. As the half came to a close Ashfield seemed content to sit on their lead and in the process allowed Dianella back into the game.
Dianella started the second half at full pace but they were almost undone on the counterattack by Branimir Mikulic, who put his shot over the crossbar. That miss would prove costly in the 55 minutes when Andreas Theosdosiades danced past several players before having his shot blocked with Robbie Phelan reacting quickest to the loose ball which he lashed in at close-range. The momentum remained with the hosts but it took until the 88th minute for the game to be decided by Bojan Radinovic, who made no mistake from the spot after the referee controversially ruled a handball against Ian McKean to have taken place inside the area.
WANNEROO SPANKED BY GOSNELLS
Gosnells City showed they should not be taken lightly after whipping Division One title favourites Wanneroo City 4-0 at Kingsway Reserve. Ian O’Donoghue made an early statement of intent by finding the back of the net only to have his effort disallowed. Wanneroo countered through Jordan Dodd and Josh Booysen but on both occasions Struan Herd proved up to the challenge. The breakthrough came via the penalty spot from where David Murphy, who had earlier hit the crossbar, made no mistake. Ben Howe doubled his teams lead on 25 minutes with a cool finish after Wanneroo failed to clear their lines. Gosnells had the ball in the net a third time but an offside flag meant it counted for nothing.
Aaron Coslani shot over the crossbar as Gosnells set about finding a third goal after the interval. Wanneroo’s day took a turn for the worse with the 57th minute dismissal of Anthony Jones for a second bookable offence. It didn’t take Gosnells long to capitalise, Wade Farmer taking possession from a throw-in and threading through a crowded goalmouth to end once and for all any hopes Wanneroo held of a comeback. Coslani, Farmer, Damien Smythe, Brian Patterson and Ali Paredes all had opportunities to increase the gap while Wanneroo’s only chance was sent high by Scott Bushby. The game was in stoppage time when Howe sent the ball past the ‘keeper for the fourth time.
KNIGHTS GIVE UWA A LESSON IN FINISHING
A commanding performance by Western Knights has been rewarded with a 6-2 victory over UWA-Nedlands from this afternoon’s Division One encounter at Nash Field. Two goals from each Brendan Craig and David Caine were complimented by finishes by Dean Thurston and Luka Jukic to give the home team their first win of the campaign. “The guys were brilliant today,” Knights coach Robbie Dunn enthused. “The lads are staring to believe in themselves and they can only get better. The end score didn’t reflect it but UWA did really well out there today, they are a very competitive unit and will definitely cause some surprises this year.”
After watching a trio of early chances go begging, Thurston showed his team mates how it’s done by side-footing into the net from 10-metres in the 12th minute. Going ahead had a calmly effect on the Knights whose central unit of Jukic, Ivan Zuvela and Ryan Shackleton dictated the flow of play for the remainder of the afternoon. It didn’t take long for Craig to double the hosts lead by finishing clinically on the end of a neat move. Caine then got in on the act by putting away two goals in relatively quick succession, the second of which rocketed past the UWA goalkeeper. Half-time was on the horizon when the visitors grabbed a goal of their own on the counterattack.
UWA were back on the ropes straight after the re-start, Caine twice being played through with only the ‘keeper to beat but unable to capitalise. A mystifying decision by the referee robbed Craig of another goal, the defender firing into the top corner from 30-metres only to be pulled up for offside. Craig wasn’t going to let that ruin his afternoon and soon after he curled into the top corner to make it five-one. The Knights were by no means finished and with the clock ticking down Jukic waltzed around the ‘keeper and calmly stroked in amid pressure from a couple defenders. A stoppage time penalty converted by Steve Purton restored a little respectability to UWA’s afternoon.
PEEL DERBY GOES TO ROCKINGHAM
Rockingham City kick-started their season by defeating a Mandurah City 2-0 in a fiercely contested derby under lights at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Coach Charlie Smith was understandably thrilled with his player’s efforts that were rewarded with the Liam Dixon Memorial Cup, formerly the Peel Cup. “This was an excellent performance from a young team that we’re still developing,” said Smith before praising the effort of stand-in goalkeeper Richard Lacey. “We’ve got injuries to our two ‘keeper’s and at the last minute I’ve asked Lacey to jump in goal …. he’s given me something to think about because he’s the first to get a clean sheet this season!”
A fairly lacklustre first half was punctuated on 27 minutes when Darren Lawler surged inside the 18-yard box and let fly with a shot that deflected into the net via a Mandurah defender. Tempers reached boiling point seven minutes into the second half when Daniel Maklin’s late challenge led the referee to issue a straight red card, and before play resumed Monty Grigo had also received his marching orders for retaliation. Liam Bowden sealed victory deep into stoppage time by bursting past two defenders to get on the end of Rafael Insaurralde’s delightful ball which he chipped over advancing goalkeeper Martin Hamnett.
Speaking after the game, Mandurah boss Billy Russell said he was questioning his future at the club. “The biggest thing for me is that it’s been two weeks without a goal and it didn’t look like they wanted it enough today,” Russell told footballwest.com.au. “They’ve been looking great in training but when we come to the important moments something’s not clicking. To be honest this performance has got me questioning my future with the club, because maybe something drastic like that needs to happen for the penny to drop with these players.”
MADDINGTON GO CLEAR IN DIVISION TWO
Danny Clapham played the starring role when Maddington White City returned from Gumblossom Park with a 3-2 victory over Quinns. Clapham scored once and played a hand in goals by Scott Ryan and Sean Treacey to send Maddington two points clear at the top of Division Two. The visiting side opened their account early with Shaun Illet lofting over the defence to Clapham, who lost possession after being tackle with the ball spilling for Ryan to sweep in from an acute angle. Clapham increased his teams lead by latching onto another long ball and rounding the goalkeeper to stroke in.
Quinns came out for the second half determined to make a statement, and that is exactly what they did. Arran Maplestone showed some sublime skill in evading no fewer than five challenges before firing past Peter Wile in the Maddington goal. Clapham played through the defence for Lee Hayward but goalkeeper was alert to the drama and saved well. Parity was restored when Brian Cairney applied a clinical finish after getting to the ball ahead of Liam McLaughlin. The winning goal came via a short free-kick which Clapham pulled back for Treacey whose weak shot from distance found the bottom corner after passing through Ryan’s legs.
STALEMATE IN FREMANTLE
Joondalup City continued their strong start to the new season by holding Division Two title favourites Fremantle United to a 0-0 draw on a gloomy afternoon at Hilton Reserve. The early pace was slow with the attacking desires of both teams dulled by two very solid defensive units. Fremantle’s main threat came via set pieces and while the hosts put the ball in their 18-yard box on several occasions no genuine shots on goal resulted. Joondalup clearest chance had Lucais King’s shot on the turn flash just wide after some neat lead-up play by Jody Thomson through the middle.
The game started to open up after the interval with Fremantle asserting control in midfield. Joe Middleton got within sight of goal but Adam Miller moved swiftly to prevent him from getting off a shot. Joondalup’s task became that little bit harder when Miller and fellow defender Bobby Melia exited the action through injury. A hurriedly clearance presented another opening for King but his rushed attempt from long-range drifted past the target. As the clock ticked down Fremantle threw caution to the wind but other than a handful of free-kicks on the outskirts of the penalty box there was little to show for their efforts when the final whistle sounded.
KINGSWAY ON A ROLLS
Josh Rolls helped himself to a hat-trick as Kingsway Olympic collected their first win of the new season, downing Subiaco AFC 6-2 at Rosalie Park. With Kevin White, Alistair Blair and Abel Mpande also finding the back of the net, coach Ian Cowan was prompted to tip big things from Kingsway this season. “If we can stay injury-free and maybe add a couple more players then we will go close (to winning Division Two),” he said. “It was great to see Josh get a hat-trick and Ali was superb down the right side, in fact it was a super effort by all the lads.”
The game started with Subiaco on the attack, however, by the quarter hour it was the home side which was in the ascendency. Blair left his man chasing shadows down the right before centring for White to strike past Tom Barratt for the opening goal. Josh Rolls doubled Kingsway’s advantage by forcing his way inside the 18-yard box and arrowing in from a tight angle after Blair again used his pace to open up the defence. Ivan Lee gave Subiaco hope of a second half revival by cutting the deficit just minutes before the referee blew for half-time.
Blair opened the second half by going past one defender and whipping the ball in for Rolls to return the difference to two goals. Rolls completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after having his jinxing run into the area illegally halted. Subiaco were exposed again when Blair evaded several challenges and slammed into the corner of the net. Mpande had been on the park only a few minutes when he stole the ball from the ‘keeper and strolled into an empty net. Although the game was now well out of their reach, Subiaco refused to give up the chase and just before the end Leo Barry grabbed a consolation goal.
MELVILLE DUMPED BY FORRESTFIELD
Coach Danny Evans is searching for answers after Melville City stumbled to their second loss in eight days, 4-2 to Forrestfield United at Len Shearer Reserve. The loss puts Melville alongside Subiaco AFC at the bottom of Division Two and Evans with a massive task ahead if his team is to challenge to top honours, as was expected in pre-season. “I don’t think our performances have been good enough. We’ve had two poor results, it’s obviously the worst possible start,” Evans told footballwest.com.au. “I thought Forrestfield could have could have put us away in the first half to be honest, we conceded in the first ten seconds and that really set the tone.”
The crowd were still settling into their seats when Forrestfield’s Abraham Cheng tucked in the rebound from a Jordan Hart shot which hit the upright. Melville’s response was swift, Aaron Bahadori slotting coolly into the bottom corner on the break barely a minute later. The next goal didn’t arrive until just the second half when Hart angled low across goalkeeper Mark Bentley. Ben Fraser added himself to the scoresheet on the hour by waltzing around Bentley to score into an open net. Substitute Steve Forde replied on 78 minutes by beating several defenders to lash in from 22-metres. Forrestfield were having none of it and a minute later Hart chipped over the ‘keeper for his second goal of the afternoon.
GALLOWAY CONFIDENT OF A MELBOURNE VICTORY
Melbourne Victory’s youngest player, Scott Galloway, has every confidence his team will buck the odds and defeat Central Coast Mariners in tomorrow’s A-League semi-final at Bluetongue Stadium. Central Coast are being heavily backed to qualify for next weekend’s season finale but 17-year old Galloway has boldly declared the visitors will prevail. “We’ll beat them. We’ll be up for it on the day and we’re hoping a few people lose their money if they bet on Central Coast,” Galloway said. “Last time we went there it wasn’t a result you want to remember (6-2 loss) … it hurt everyone deeply. Now it’s time to make up for it. We haven’t beaten them this season and this will be the game we beat them.”
Galloway hasn’t skipped a beat since debuting in the early February derby with Melbourne Heart, starting the past ten games to be coach Ange Postecoglou’s first-choice full back. “When I signed it was my dream to play, but I honestly never even expected to play this season,” he said. “But getting the time that I have I’ve been over the moon about it; it’s been unreal, especially my first finals experience. The derby was different to anything I’ve ever experienced. Still, for me it was the best atmosphere so far.” Galloway, a graduate of the National Training Centre program, was snapped up by Postecoglou after a series of eye-catching display as captain of the Australian Institute of Sport’s National Youth League team.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Round five of the Premier League is highlighted by Cockburn City’s meeting with Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park. The Cockerels have taken points from their last two outings, the most recent a draw with State Champions Sorrento, and goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic acknowledges they’ll need to again be on top of their game to continue that momentum. “Floreat are a well drilled side who are edging for their first win of the season,” Aleksic said. “I’m sure our boys will be up to the task and will want to improve on the draw we got last week.”
Floreat are also coming off a hard-fought draw thanks to Mark Pritchard’s late finish against ECU Joondalup. “We were disappointed to drop points at home and so are still chasing that elusive first win of the season,” Pritchard commented. “Cockburn will be difficult, they didn’t get to the Night Series final being a bad side. Like us they will be hoping to pick up maximum points. If we show the fight we did last round we will have enough quality to get all three points.” Spencer Harris misses the game through suspension while injury clouds hang over Ludovic Boi, Callum Franz and Bobby Wilson.
ECU Joondalup welcome an as yet unbeaten Bayswater City to the northern suburbs. “It’ll be a great test for us,” said Joondalup midfielder Shaun Timmins. “We don’t mind who we play, it’s just a game of football and anything can happen.” Home coach Salv Todaro could be tempted to bring new recruits Jonathon Stynes and Steven Kidd into the match day squad, especially in light of injuries to Tommy Jones, Matt Italiano and Andy Higgins. Steve Burton is champing at the bit for a starting role after coming off the bench last week for Bayswater.
English attacker Kris Gate makes a timely return from injury as Perth SC prepares to go into battle with Sorrento, whose only absence is James Morgan (overseas). Balcatta have Ashley Rosindale, Julian Madaschi and new Estonian striker Olari Perlin available for their visit to Bunbury Forum Force, where player/coach Matt Lock in doubt with a hamstring problem. A rare win last time out has boosted spirits within the National Training Centre camp, however, they’ll need to produce something truly special to back that up against second-from-top Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park.
Armadale midfielder Dannie Richman returns to Intiga Stadium for the first time since parting company with Inglewood United a few weeks ago. “There has already been a bit of banter from some of the boys,” said Richman. “Inglewood aren’t in the best form at the moment but everyone knows the quality of their squad and it will only be a matter of time before they start putting the results on the board. We head there confident we can secure a result if we stick to our game plan.” All six games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The time is right for Morley Windmills to open their season according to coach Jason Van Rooy, whose team host Swan United in tomorrow’s second round of Division One. “With all the work done off the field to get the club into a great position, it’s now important we get our season going on the pitch,” Van Rooy commented. “We let last week’s game slip against Canning City and we can’t afford to do the same against Swan. The lads have been working hard on the type of football we want to play and I believe we have a great opportunity to secure our first win for the season.”
David Tough has a few selection dilemmas ahead of Wanneroo City’s home clash with Gosnells City. Striker Stuart Montgomery is unavailable and late fitness tests await Chris Pugh, Garin Collins and Glen Thomas, however, not all the news is bad with Callum Trayner back from suspension. Competition for spots is red-hot at both Dianella White Eagles and Ashfield ahead of their game at Dianella Reserve. Dhamon Kalamaris and Tom Dixon are pushing to start for the home team whereas Ashfield have Steve O’Mahoney and new signing Aaron Colli coming into their squad.
The ranks of Shamrock Rovers and Canning City, who meet at Harold Rossiter Reserve, have also been swelled. Will Pender and Dan Corbett are in contention for the home side while for Canning it’s Pravishash Guasagaran and Paul Van Dongen who have put their hands up for selection. Jeff Bright and Robbie Hamm will miss Mandurah City’s visit to neighbouring Rockingham City, who have Marco Dos Santos and Rafael Insaurralde back from injury. Western Knights will be minus Johny Mirco and Ben Coulter when UWA-Nedlands drops in at Nash Field. All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
Maddington White City have put aside off-field distractions to focus on picking up another three points from their visit to Quinns. “Mark Wood joined us a coach a few weeks before the season. Every one of the lads is behind him and we are starting to show what we are capable of,” explained Lee Hayward. “Quinns had a great result last week and will be hard to break down on their own patch, so we know we will have to bring our ‘A’ game.” Michael Coyle comes back into the Maddington squad following suspension, however, team captain Ty Fenwick and Stevan Sibincic will be absent..
Fremantle United are tipped to make it back-to-back wins when they welcome Joondalup City to Hilton Reserve. Andrew Morrow and Cameron Hayes come into the Fremantle squad with Connor Shaw and Kurt De Souza heading in the other direction, both due to suspension. Melville City coach Danny Evans is without Will Kinsey, Matt Donlevy and goalkeeper Elliot Duncan for their home game against Forrestfield United. Subiaco AFC take much the same squad as last week into their clash with Kingsway Olympic at Rosalie Park. All four Division Two games commence at 3.00pm on Saturday.
LOWRY ONE STEP FROM FA CUP HISTORY
Millwall defender Shane Lowry is 90 minutes away from a dream outing in England’s centrepiece event, the FA Cup final. The Lions face Wigan in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium and Lowry is planning to follow in the footsteps of Joe Marston, Craig Johnston, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill by becoming only the fifth Australian – and the first West Australian – to compete in the final of the prestigious knock-out competition. The 23-year is also hoping the exposure gained from his club’s fairytale run can help ignite his Socceroos career.
Lowry was called into camp with the Socceroos on several occasions under former coach Pim Verbeek but never made an appearance. After a breakthrough season at club level, the defender is out to convince Holger Osieck he has something to offer on the road to Brazil 2014. “Games like these are shown worldwide so hopefully it might get me some recognition,” Lowry told AAP. “I am definitely ambitious and I want to play for Australia. Hopefully people will be watching (on Saturday) but if not I’ll just keep going and hopefully in the future I can be part of it.”
After spending five years in Aston Villa's youth squad, Lowry spent time on loan at a handful of clubs before last year signing with Millwall. Lowry has since nailed down a regular starting spot, playing in 36 of the club’s 40 league games this season. “It was the best decision for me to come to Millwall,” said Lowry, who is looking forward to toppling Wigan this weekend. “They have an eye on staying in the Premier League, so we might be able to catch them off guard,” Lowry said. “It’s a one-off game, so anything’s possible.”
INGLEWOOD’S THOMSON IS READY TO STRIKE
Scotsman Daniel Thomson is looking forward to a big year with Inglewood United. Thomson linked up with his new team mates during pre-season and, although Inglewood has started the home and away series flatly, the 22-year old midfielder is adamant they are on the rise. “The results haven't gone the way we would have liked in the first four games but we have a good team spirit and I am sure things will turn around for us,” said Thomson, a former Scotland Under-17 international. “Graham (Normanton) is great to work with, he is so passionate about the game and you can tell his heart lies with the club.”
Inglewood’s earlier form has been a little wobbly to say the least. Thomson made his State League debut in the opening round home draw with Floreat Athena and was impressed with what he saw of Bayswater City, where Inglewood suffered a narrow loss, a week later. “I thought Bayswater were a very good team, but I believe there are a number of good teams in this league,” commented Thomson, whose team thrashed the National Training Centre by four goals before going down last week to Balcatta. “From what the boys are saying we should have more points on the board than we do, but if we continue to work hard the results our football deserves will come.”
Thomson’s career began with Heart of Midlothian, who he joined as a junior and rose up to sign professional papers with in early 2010. “I had been at the club since I was ten and went into full-time football at 16,” said Thomson. “The highlight of my time with Hearts was winning the Under-19’s player of the year, which was a great achievement because ten months previous I had been out for a year with a cruciate knee ligament injury.” With first team opportunities at Hearts were hard to come by, Thomson went on loan to Clyde and Raith Rovers for whom he made a combination total of 21 appearances, scoring once.
Upon being released by Hearts in January, Thomson looked to continue his career abroad. “It was a big decision to leave Hearts to come over here after being there for so long,” he said. “We had a few Australian players who had been on loan back and forth and were always talking about how good it was over here. So I asked me agent to see if he could get me a club and we discussed moves to Melbourne, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Perth. I had a few family friends who had lived in Perth and had heard a lot of good things, so I chose to come to Perth.”
Adjusting to the late summer weather has certainly been a challenge for Thomson but otherwise he is happy with how things are going. “I’m feeling settled now after a couple of months of being here. There is a lot to take in – the lifestyle is so different – and there is still a lot I want to see and do while I’m here,” he said. “I’ve been very welcomed at Inglewood, all the guys are great and very laid back. The first month I was here I was living with Matt Danskin which was a real help for me but I’m sure he’s glad I’m not still there to be asking a thousand questions.”
Inglewood can get their season back on track this weekend by claiming victory over Armadale. In previous seasons that would have been the expectation, however, the Reds have started 2013 with two wins and a draw from their opening four fixtures. “Saturday’s game will be tough,” recognised Thomson. “Armadale have had a good start to the season and have added some quality players like ex-Blackburn Rovers captain Andy Todd and our former Inglewood team mate Dannie Richman. Hopefully, we can get back to winning ways and gave a good performance.” Inglewood and Armadale will match skills from 3.00pm on Saturday afternoon at Intiga Stadium.
HIGGINS HAPPY ON HOME TURF
Teenage midfielder Andy Higgins is back on the familiar turf of ECU Joondalup following a three-year spell at Portsmouth. Higgins, 19, thoroughly enjoyed his time with the English League One club but admits there is no place like home. “It’s great to be back at the club I started out as a junior,” said Higgins, who joins elder sibling Jon in the Joondalup squad. “All the players get along really well on and off the pitch, which is why it’s so good to go to training and playing. When you get along with all your team mates the club has great camaraderie on the pitch.”
Higgins headed to England in mid-2010 to take up a scholarship offer with Portsmouth. He featured regularly for the youth side but gained only a single first team outing, that being against Plymouth Argyle last August. “I was at Portsmouth for three years and in the end I decided it wasn’t the path for me and came back home,” said Higgins, who sought release from his Portsmouth contract to return home in order to search for first team football. “It was a great opportunity and one I really enjoyed. But it’s doubtful that I’ll be going back anytime soon, my aim now is helping Joondalup move up the table.”
Unfortunately, Higgins has been limited to just 72 minutes of football of far this league season. “I strained my hamstring against Bunbury Forum Force in the season opener, but after treatment I’m hoping to be back in the next few weeks,” said Higgins, who is champing at the bit to help his team get their season back on track. “It’s been frustrating to watch from the sidelines as we’ve been competitive in all the games but haven’t taken our chances. The club gets this a lot. We find it hard to find form but with the players we have we will come good I’m sure.”
Higgins will by a spectator again on Saturday when Joondalup hosts Premier Division pacesetters Bayswater City. The midfielder has absolute confidence that his team mates are capable of causing an upset, especially if they heed the advice coach Salv Todaro. “I’d not played under Salv previously but I’ve seen enough to know he gets the player group working as a team and that he has belief in us,” he said. “We usually do well against Bayswater and the team will be really up for this game, we need a win to kick-start our season and beating the leaders would be the perfect way to do it.”
GLORY REMODELLING BEGINS WITH AXING OF FOUR
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has taken the first steps towards shaping his squad for next season by axing four players. Attacking midfielder Nick Ward, versatile veteran Dean Heffernan, long-time injured defender Evan Berger and young goalkeeper Lewis Italiano were told today they were not required for the 2013/14 season. “It was a tough decision because all four players are quality people and good professionals,” said Edwards. “Unfortunately though, we need to make the necessary changes as we continue to implement our long-term plan. I wish Nick, Dean, Evan and Lewis all the best for their future endeavours and thank them for their contribution.”
Fourteen players are currently contracted to Glory for next season, with the club engaged in contract talks with regulars Liam Miller, Matias Cordoba, Steven McGarry and Ryo Nagai. Edwards has had his eye on a host of local products who are eager to return to represent their hometown club, amongst them recently released Melbourne Heart midfielder Cameron Edwards and his out-of-contract club mate Richard Garcia. “The simple fact is there’s quite a few players that want to stay and there’s also quite a few players that want to come and play for Perth Glory,” Edwards commented. “We’ve only got a 23-player squad so we’ve got to sift through that.”
INAUGURAL FFA CUP TO BEGIN IN TWELVE MONTHS
An Australia Day final will be the showpiece of the inaugural Football Federation Australia Cup, which will finally kick-off this time next year. The much-anticipated knockout tournament, based on the English FA Cup, will feature around 700 teams from across Australia with the A-League clubs entering the competition in September/October. “We will move to an FFA Cup and I would expect it to start in 2014,” said David Gallop, who has fast-tracked planning of the tournament since taking over as FFA chief executive late last year. “There is a lot of work being done on it and there are some challenges involved, but when we do it we want to do it right.”
KERR WINS W-LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Teenage sensation Samantha Kerr was last night named the Football Media Association female player of the year after a standout season with Sydney FC. Kerr, 19, tore an anterior cruciate ligament while training in late 2011 and on returning from injury left Perth Glory Women for Sydney in search of a fresh start. The livewire attacker was a regular fixture of her team’s starting line-up and found the back of the net on nine occasions, including a goal in Sydney’s 3-1 Grand Final win over Melbourne Victory. Kerr’s FMA award completed a double for Sydney, whose marquee striker Alessandro Del Piero took home the men’s player of the year trophy.
COYNE, EDWARDS RELEASED BY MELBOURNE
John Aloisi has wasted little time in swinging the axe in a postscript to Melbourne Heart's dismal season with the dumping of seven players. Topping the list of outs are Simon Colosimo, Matt Thompson and goalkeeper Clint Bolton along with Brazilian import Fred. West Australian pair Jamie Coyne and Cameron Edwards, who joined Melbourne mid-season, plus Marcel Meeuwis have also been told their contracts will not be renewed. Striker Eli Babalj remains with the club but is understood to be keen on returning to Europe, while Richard Garcia is in talks regarding a new deal although money is the sticking point.
MELBOURNE VISIT WILL BE SPECIAL SAYS LIVERPOOL’S JONES
Brad Jones predicts Liverpool’s upcoming trip to Australia will live long in the memory of everyone fortunate enough to be in attendance. Liverpool have been confirmed to play Melbourne Victory on 24 July as part of their off-season tour of Asia and Australia. “It’ll be massive. It’s been a while since Australia has had a big English team go over,” Perth-born Jones told Liverpoolfc.com. “I can remember as a kid the likes of Nottingham Forest and teams like that coming over – that was amazing. For Liverpool to be going out there will definitely be something special. The Australian public will make it a great spectacle and I am sure we can expect a good attendance.”
Jones admits he has been desperate for the game in Melbourne to be made official ever since he heard a rumour Liverpool could visit his home country. “I’m really looking forward to it,” said Jones, who played locally for Sutherlands Park, Lynwood and Bayswater City. “I heard a sneaky rumour a few months ago that there was a chance it could happen – and I’ve tried every day to make sure it did! I was in the offices telling everyone how good it was going to be! It’ll certainly be good to go over, but also to have that type of game to play in and have my family there will be something special.”
Play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with a capacity of close to 100,000, is something Jones is particularly looking forward to. “I’ve played there for Australia, which was something special,” said Jones, reflecting on his mid-2010 friendly outing against New Zealand. “The stadium is amazing – it’s massive - and I think the boys will enjoy playing there. It’s the biggest stadium in Australia and I am pretty sure it’ll be not far off full, so it’ll certainly be a good atmosphere and something for the boys to remember. We’ve had some good trips over the past couple of years but I’m sure this one will definitely stick in the mind.”
WILLIAMS TO FOCUS ON DEFENSIVE ROLE
Middlesbrough captain Rhys Williams intends on becoming the best centre-back he can. Williams has been used in a variety of positions this season by manager Tony Mowbray but the Socceroo says it is time for him to master the role which suits him best. “I’ve been in with the manager a few times and we’ve talked about a few things. He’s always said I’m a centre-back, so instead of being a Jack of all trades I want to be a master of one,” Williams told gazettelive.co.uk. “I want to focus my attention on being the best I can be at centre-half … I’ve struggled for form and I need to put my stamp on things again and get back to where I was.”
Williams is at a loss to explain his form dip but is determined to finish the English Championship season on a high. “It’s plain to see I haven’t hit my performance levels and the gaffer knows that and that’s why I’ve been in to see him. We’ve been trying to work out why,” he commented. “It’s been a difficult couple of months for the team and me and it’s difficult to get your form back when the whole team is lacking a bit of confidence and it certainly rubs off, especially as I’m the captain. I’ve been trying to do what I can to get back to where I was because I know I haven’t been good enough.”
There is certainly no doubt that Williams shuffling from central midfield to right-back to centre-back since his return from injury has contributed to his inconsistency. Mowbray admits that, with hindsight, Williams’s return in late December could have been handled better. “Possibly we brought him back too soon,” said the Boro boss. “He had five months out and had just a couple of weeks’ training and when he came back into the team he didn’t hit the ground running. But the other night (against Peterborough United) he looked assured, mobile, confident – all the attributes we know he offers and hopefully he can finish the season strongly for us.”
EDWARDS URGES GLORY TO LOOK FORWARD
Coach Alistair Edwards has promised Perth Glory’s loyal supporters that the team will shatter their A-League finals curse next season. Glory bowed out of the play-offs on the weekend empty-handed after a contentious penalty decision went against them for the second time in 12 months. Edwards’ players vented their fury post-game at referee Jarred Gillett, who was at the centre of last seasons’ Grand Final penalty decision which handed the trophy to Brisbane Roar victory as well as Friday elimination at the hands of Melbourne Victory in eerily similar circumstances.
Although disappointed with the loss, Edwards says there are brighter days ahead for Glory. “The fans are looking forward to moving forward, because they can see the progress that’s been made over the last couple of months,” Edwards said, who felt for his players following Friday’s game. “I spoke to every one individually and told them I was proud of them. Football has so many ups and downs, and this is a downer, but it’s not about just one game. It’s about how they’ve conducted themselves over the last eight games ... I’m immensely proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Edwards is confident the Glory can build on their past couple of months next season and become an A-League force. “We came in at bottom of the table, we climbed into the top six, and I think it’s plain to see we play some decent football,” said Edwards, who has a three-year tenure as coach of Glory. “I think everyone went away from the stadium thinking Melbourne Victory were probably lucky to go forward, and everyone knows the work ethic and style of football that Perth Glory is all about. Everyone will be looking forward to watching us next year.”
BAYSWATER JUMP CLEAR AT THE TOP (with Chris Andrawes, Football West)
Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne says his team still has room for improvement after grinding out a 1-0 win over Stirling Lions in warm conditions at Frank Drago Reserve. The only goal of the afternoon arrived just before half-time with Brian Farrell heading in from a Todd Howarth corner. “I still feel there’s a lot to work on, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist in a lot of things I do,” said Coyne, who team jump three points clear of Stirling as a result of the win. “It is warm (but) credit to the boys as there were a few of them who weren’t well today and they rolled their sleeves up in quite difficult conditions. They’re a bit knackered now, but they ground out a good result and I’m happy with the way the boys went about their business.”
Stirling assistant coach Gary Williams felt his team was unlucky not to score after Phil Arnold was sent through one-on-one with the goalkeeper shortly before Farrell netted. “Dean Evans played a great ball into Phil Arnold and I think Trent Kay put him under a bit of pressure and he’s put it wide. It was always going to be one goal in it and unfortunately they got the break right on half time,” Williams commented. “We’re feeling good, we’ve won our first three games and this is our first loss, but it’s a very hot day and the boys have worked very hard … We’ve assembled a good squad of players (so) I see no reason why we can’t stay in and around the top five. That’s our target, anything in addition to the top five is a bonus for us.”
IRATE BURNS LASHES OUT AT REFEREE
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns has slammed referee Jarred Gillett following his teams elimination from the A-League finals race. Glory’s championship push ended in controversial circumstances under Gillett’s watch for the second successive season after Melbourne Victory fought back to steal a dramatic 2-1 win in extra-time. The manner of the defeat was eerily similar to that of last year’s Grand Final, when Gillett awarded Brisbane Roar a dubious last-minute penalty that decided the championship. Last night Andrew Nabbout appeared to have handled the ball but Gillett instead awarded a penalty against Glory defender Steve Pantelidis.
Burns was incensed by Gillett’s performance, especially the decision to award Melbourne a last gasp lifeline. ”Last year I held my tongue when decisions went the wrong way that were clearly wrong,” Burns said. “It’s happened again. It’s a case of déjà vu. I don’t understand how a referee like Jarred Gillett gets our game again and how he can make such poor judgment once again. It’s ended our finals campaign and I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, but he’s got to hold up his hand and be accountable for some very, very poor decisions out there for both teams.”
Burns said the general standard of refereeing had to be improved if the A-League was to move forward. “It can happen once, shame on us, but it’s happened twice,” Burns said. “Two years in a row in finals football. If this league wants to get better they’re going to have to start with the refereeing. It’s going the other way for me. That’s my personal opinion. It’s left a lot to be desired.” Glory looked headed for victory courtesy of Ryo Nagai’s first half finish but the intervention of Gillett allowed Mark Milligan to equalise with Archie Thompson grabbing an extra-time winner.
HONOURS EVEN IN BATTLE OF THE BIRDS
Cockburn City overturned a two-goal deficit to claim a 2-2 with Sorrento from this afternoon’s Premier Division encounter at Percy Doyle Reserve. Ryan Pearson and Anthony Skorich had the Gulls in a seemingly comfortable position only to have English midfielder Jack Eades half the gap with a second half Daryl Platten own goal seeing the Cockerels grab a point. “The own goal we got was a little bit of luck but the football we played today I was very happy with and we deserved nothing less than that,” Cockburn coach Scott Miller told footballwest.com.au. “Last time we were two-two we lost it in the last minute, I was a bit worried we hadn’t learnt, (but) we didn’t cop a goal in the last minute so we’ll take that.”
Sorrento sat back and allowed their visitors to dictate the early play before slowing coming into the game. This patient approach paid off on 28 minutes, Jesse Fuller crossing to the far post where an unmarked Pearson headed back across goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic for one-nil lead. Six minutes Sorrento had another in the bag, this time it was Brodie Martin whose pin-point delivery found Pearson to nod down for Skorich, who volleyed in from 7-metres. It took Cockburn only three minutes to reply through a quick counter attack, Eades taming the ball and drilling into the bottom corner. The desire for further goals was evident in both teams but there’d be no addition to the scoreline before referee David Costello whistled for half-time.
The introduction of John Thornley for the second period saw Cockburn continue where they’d left off, however, luck was certainly on their side when the next goal went in. The hour had just ticked by when Curtis Aspden’s attempted clearance from within a crowded 18-yard box slammed into the back of Platten and ricocheted into the net. David Onoforo’s first action after coming off the bench was to strike into the upright as Cockburn went looking for a third goal. A delightful Conor Kavangh’s through ball out Onoforo through but the veterans low shot was saved by Aspden. Eades also had a chance to secure all three points for Cockburn, the midfielder cutting in from the right to unleash a goalbound shot which Aspden pushed around the post.
STALEMATE AT ARMADALE (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Armadale assistant coach Kevin Brophy bemoaned his side’s wastefulness after scrapping out a 0-0 draw with Perth SC this afternoon at Alfred Skeet Reserve. There the enough changes created over the 90 minutes for either team to claim the win but the inability of each to convert meant they’d have to be content with a single point. “We’re a little bit disappointed we haven’t got the three points as we had enough chances,” Brophy commented. “Certainly in the last fifteen minutes or so it became pretty end-to-end with us trying to go and get the three points and (Perth) trying to get us on the counter attack. But it just shows how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed not to have beaten Perth.”
Perth were quickest out of the blocks and only Nathan’s Costello’s last-gasp challenge prevented Daniel Micevski from getting away the game’s first real shot. Led by English veteran Andy Todd, the home side responded by tightening things up at the back so much so that by midway through the half the pendulum was beginning to swing in favour of the Reds. On the half hour a miss-cued Sam Loveless cross was tipped onto the crossbar by a back-pedalling Jason Saldaris before the danger was cleared by a defender. And just before the interval Lance Louvie combined with Dannie Richman to set up Jack Salter, who wasted a great opportunity by placing wide.
There was a bit more purpose to Perth following the turnaround. Logan Crawford and Adam Luca both went close to finding a breakthrough goal but neither was able to find the target. Armadale thought they’d hit the front with 18 minutes remaining when Salter’s header crashed down off the bar but assistant referee Stuart Muldoon ruled that the ball did not completely cross the line. With this the intensity kicked up a notch. Perth almost snatched the lead but neither Liam Boland nor Chris Saldaris were able to force the ball in at a corner. There were also dramas at the opposite end where substitute Mark Peers curled beyond the target from long-range.
BALCATTA PUNISH SLOPPY FINISHING
An undermanned Balcatta made it back-to-back wins by seeing off a strong finishing Inglewood United outfit 1-0 in sunny conditions at Intiga Stadium. The only goal of an entertaining encounter arrived midway through the first half with Shane Pickering turning into his own net. “Today we had to absorb a lot of pressure,” coach Saul Contera commented in reference to Inglewood’s late revival. “The boys dug deep, they put everything into the game and sometimes you get a bit of luck you deserve. It’s our fourth game away from home so to come away with seven points is not too bad.”
Balcatta put aside the absence of six first team players with a lively start. Just 5 minutes were on the clock when Adam Tong rattled the crossbar with a towering header from a corner. The pace of Moe Atak and Simon Versaico was causing a good number of problems for the home defence which did well to limit their opponents to shots from distance, none of which seriously troubled goalkeeper Luke Martino . They were eventually unlocked on 26 minutes when Pickering stabbed the ball in as he attempted to cut out Versaico’s square to Atak. Inglewood’s best opening of the period came shortly before the break, a Danny Thomson screamer which Alex Dunn tipped onto the bar.
With the half-time address of coach Bobby Despotovski ringing in their ears, Inglewood emerged from the tunnel determined to level things up. However, Balcatta were prepared and responded by playing to their strengths while stifling their host’s creativity. It was only following the introduction of Alex Caniglia just after the hour that Inglewood started to make any inroads. Sharland, Thomson, Ryan Clarke and Andrija Jukic rained shots down on goal but desperate defending and the safe hands of Dunn conspired to keep the team in yellow scoreless. Chris Thackray could have sealed the win late on but after being played clear of the last defender he was foiled by a clumsy touch that put the ball too close to Martino.
JOONDALUP TAKE A POINT AFTER FAILING TO CAPITALISE AT FLOREAT
ECU Joondalup have thrown away a great chance to jump-start their season by being held to a 2-2 draw by a ten-man Floreat Athena. Dale McCulloch and Jon Higgins twice put the visitors but on both occasions parity was restored, initially by Benny Kovadio and later Mark Pritchard, as Floreat rode their luck following the early second half dismissal of Spencer Harris. “We’ve been making the same kind of mistakes and it’s something we need to stamp out quickly,” Joondalup assistant coach Steve Amphlett commented to footballwest.com.au. “We’ve got a strong squad that has been working hard and looking great in training, we just really need to convert that into matches.”
Genuine chances on goal were thin on the ground in a tight first half. Cameron Yorke’s under-hit back pass presented an opening for Tommy Amphlett who fired disappointingly wide after making his way around goalkeeper Brad Eiffe. Kovadio’s pace was causing problems for the visiting side but otherwise the hosts were struggling to have an impact in open play. The closest they’d come to scoring in the first 45 minutes was when Pritchard seized on a partial clearance but McCulloch smothered the shot from 16-metres. A fairly uneventful period closed out with a Joondalup corner which Jon Higgins swung in to be met by the McCulloch whose header flashed narrowly high.
Joondalup could not have wished for a better start to the second stanza, McCulloch’s glancing header from a Higgins’ free-kick bursting the back of the net. And when referee David Bruce issued Harris his marching orders just before the hour after tussling with Higgins it looked as though the writing was on the wall for the home team. Floreat needed just a couple of minutes to show there was still life in the game with Kovadio rounding ‘keeper Andy Banks to finish into an empty net. On 73 minutes Higgins restored his teams lead with a tidy finish past Eiffe from the edge of the 18-yard box. Pritchard ensued the points would be shared six minutes later by netting from the penalty spot after substitute Allesandro Vitelli was bundled over by Scott Blackmore.
INSPIRED NTC STUN BUNBURY (with Lincoln Bertelli, Football West)
The National Training Centre have pulled off an early season surprise in the form of a 3-1 victory over home team Bunbury Forum Force. Goals by Riley Woodcock, Borbor Sambindi and substitute Matt McRoberts sealed a rare win for the development squad, and in the process condemned Bunbury to their third loss in four matches. “The group effort was magnificent,” said NTC coach John Gibson before stressing winning is not his teams’ primary focus. “It’s about the processes and the development of these boys. We’re pretty confident (going into games) all the time, but all we’re concerned about is developing footballers.”
The afternoon began positively enough for Bunbury whose midfield dominance led to Jon Brooks stretching goalkeeper Jordan Franken after 21 minutes. But it would be at the opposite end that the deadlock would be broken with Woodcock converting a soft penalty awarded after 32 minutes. Only a few more minutes passed before Bunbury conceded for a second time, Sambindi tucking in at close-range amid appeals for offside after his initial shot came back off the crossbar. Matt Lock gained the hosts a lifeline by scoring from the penalty spot just before the break after a handball call went against an NTC defender.
The addition of Bright Ababio and Jayden Prosser further heightened hopes of a second half revival by Bunbury. And it seemed only a matter of time before the teams would be level. Oliver McGee rose strongly to head against the crossbar and Aaron Brittain denied by Jeremy Tshongo’s remarkable goal line clearance. But as the hosts pursued an equaliser they were regularly exposed on the counterattack, the NTC using their pace to get in behind the defence. This ploy was rewarded with a third goal in the 88th minute when McRoberts finally converted a simple opportunity to be secure the three points.
ASHFIELD IN A SHOW OF FIREPOWER
Ashfield reconfirmed their status as one of Division One’s teams to beat with a 5-2 humbling of Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve. In a show of firepower Jamie Burns, Karl O’Reilly, Branimir Mikulic, Mladen Kovacevic and Ryan Frisina each found the back of the net to ensure Ashfield’s new campaign got off to the best possible start. “It was pleasing to get off the mark in the new campaign, three points was the most important aim of the afternoon,” said Ashfield coach Matt Carruthers. “I was just equally pleased with our performance, highlighted by a couple of cracking goals from Mlads and Ryan.”
It took Ashfield just 4 minutes to open their account, young goalkeeper Weyell relaying a quick throw to David Gordon who in turn picked out Burns, the attacker turning his marker and carrying the ball 25-metres before firing past the goalkeeper. The margin was doubled twenty minutes later when O’Reilly stabbed in after the ‘keeper did well to parry Alex Stamatiadis’ shot. A handball decision against defender Graham Tough prompted the referee to point to the penalty from where Roy Hissey cut the deficit just after the half hour. However, five minutes later Mikulic tucked in from the spot at the other end following a trip on Stamatiadis.
The teams returned from the break to put on a thrilling display of end-to-end football with each pushing hard for the next goal. It arrived on 65 minutes when substitute Kovacevic drove forward from the halfway line to rocket into the top corner from 35-metres. Rockingham’s refusal to give up the chase eventually saw them rewarded with a second goal, Thabiso Ncube knocking the ball in at close-range after Weyell failed to hold a swinging shot by Liam Bowden. It was left to Frisina, another of Ashfield’s substitutes, to have the final say with the attacker unleashing a stunning shot from distance which curled inside the junction of post and crossbar.
SHAMROCK PICK THEIR TIME
Shamrock Rovers made a strong opening day statement by banishing Mandurah City 3-0 in sunny conditions at Hyundai Stadium. The early pace was slow with the teams focused on retaining possession. Eventually it was Mandurah that started to assert themselves with Liam Hurst and Graeme Matthews hitting the frame of the goal while an unmarked Jeff Bright headed across the face of goal after being found by Monty Grigo. Having weathered the storm, Shamrock finally began to spark and on the half hour captain Paul Concannon drove into the top corner to send the Hoops into the break one-nil up.
The second half commenced with Mandurah stretching their opponents’ defences in search of an equaliser. Then on the hour Barry Mulligan doubled Shamrock’s advantage by tucking in loose ball at close-range after meeting a corner to the far post which eluded all inside a crowded 18-yard box. With this the wind went out of Mandurah’s sails and it would be only a matter of time before they conceded again. Ciaran Byrne got the reward his efforts deserved with eight minutes left on the clock, the striker putting the icing on the cake with a head header.
WANNEROO GET THE JUMP ON KNIGHTS
Stuart Montgomery orchestrated the downfall of his former club by leading Wanneroo City to a 2-0 victory over Western Knights at Nash Field. It took until the opening stages of the second half for Montgomery to break through but when Garin Collins added a second goal on 68 minutes it was clear the points were going home with the away team. “it didn’t feel the best (to score) as I had a number of great years at this club, but I’m a Wanneroo player now and I was happy to play my part in a good victory,” Montgomery told footballwest.com.au. “We really didn’t test their keeper in the first half, but all that changed in the second half and we took two … I thought we were well worth the win.”
Wanneroo looked the more threatening across the opening exchanges. A deflected Guy McDonald effort whizzed just wide, and from the resulting corner Scott Bushby volleyed straight at goalkeeper Ashley Crosthwaite. Rowdy Yates’s curling free-kick on 20 minutes brought the first serious save from either ‘keeper with Crosthwaite tipping the ball over his crossbar. The Knights began to get involved midway through the period, their first chance on goal being Luka Jukic’s long-range free-kick what drifted the wrong side of the target. Kevin Miller came to Wanneroo’s rescue twice in quick succession to thwart Johny Mirco after being played in by Brendan Craig. David Caine teed-up Mirco but his shot was high and shortly before the break Jukic flash over after Wanneroo failed to properly deal with a corner.
The second half was just a few minutes old when Montgomery struck, latching onto a ball from Bushby and fending off David Annall to send in a slow shot from 10-metres. This stung the Knights into a flurry of activity. Craig was twice thwarted by deflections to goalbound shots, while Caine’s low attempt was scooped up by Miller. Play returned to the opposite end on 68 minutes when Bushby and Glenn Thomas combined to put the ball with Collins whose searing shot from 8-metre burst the roof of the net. The Knights continued to press for ways back into the game and Craig was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when another of his shots was deflected onto the bar.
FINDLATER ROCKETS CANNING TO VICTORY
Canning City eventually came out on top 3-2 from a seesawing encounter with Morley Windmills at Willetton Sports Club. Both teams were quickly into stride and on 10 minutes Sam Carello bent a superb free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner with Morley custodian Daniel Agudelo rooted to his line. The visitors hit back fifteen minutes later with Andy O’Neill convincing Steve Grant to dive right before placing to his left from penalty spot. Half-time was only a few minutes away when poor defending allowed Morley to gain the lead, O’Neill launching a long thrown which Brian McDonald bundled in at the near post.
An end-to-end second half was littered with chances for both teams to post a few more goals. But it took until the 75th minute for that to happen with Neiderberger sending the ‘keeper the wrong way with a penalty kick awarded for a crunching late challenge on Canning substitute Laurence Cheyne. Sensing the game was now theirs for the taking, Canning stepped up the intensity and threw men forward in search of a deciding goal. And they didnlt have to wait long for it to arrive, Josh Findlater going past a couple of defender as he drove down the left and cut in to unleash a rocket of a shot into the top corner. There was still time for Morley to be reduced to ten men with Blaz Radonovic sent off for showing dissent towards the referee.
MIRAUDO STRIKES EARLY TO GET SWAN HOME
Two goals in the first ten minutes paved the way for Swan United’s 3-2 defeat of Division One newcomers UWA-Nedlands at the Swan Italian club. The ball hadn’t been in motion long when Luke Colli played in Mark Mirauado to drive into the far corner of the net. UWA were still coming to terms with being one-goal down when Miraudo struck again, the attacker shooting across the goalkeeper after meeting a Colli cutback. With this the tone was set for a first half totally dominated by the black and whites with Colli and Miraudo their main avenue to attack down the left. There was very little cause for concern for Swan’s defensive line with goalkeeper Mat Battigelli called into action just once.
UWA emerged for the second half with renewed vigour and within five minutes Steve Purton had punished a stray clearance by burying his shot into Battigelli’s bottom corner. Swan resisted attempted to be opened up again and on the counterattack struck for a third time, Justin Skowron slotting into an empty net after UWA’s ‘keeper failed to clear a ball over the top by Trent Wood. Rory Feely showed there was still plenty of life in the game by putting away the visitors’ second goal after Battigelli parried a shot from the edge of the area. The closing stages was all one-way traffic with UWA applying some red-hot, however, Swan did what was required to hold on for the three points.
EASY WIN FOR TEN-MAN FREMANTLE
Division Two favourites Fremantle United got their season to a flying start by getting the better of Kingsway Olympic 3-1 at Kingsway Reserve. A Sam Smith brace and a goal on league debut by Joe Middleton earned the port side a deserved victory, however, the win came at a cost with defender Connor Shaw issued his marching orders midway through the second period. “We had to hang on and dig deep, it was hard for the boys,” Fremantle coach Jason Smith told footballwest.com.au. “They (Kingsway) came at us but we held out. It’s a win, we’ve still got three players out who normally play in the first team so it’s a good result … it’s been a long pre-season, so we’re glad the season is finally here.”
Fremantle hit the ground running with an early chip by Andrew Ambrogio tipped over the crossbar by Anthony Salpietro. Alastair Blair wasted the first opening at the opposite end by blasting wide when found unmarked. The visitors’ greater desire was handsomely rewarded after 25 minutes, Marc Sim sending a neat through ball in for Smith to calmly slot past the ‘keeper. The lead was held for only four minutes, Blair dancing down the left to cross for White to nod in. Half-time was on the horizon when Fremantle regained the upper hand, Angelo Canzurlo threading a pass in for Middleton to beat the offside trap and stroke the ball in after rounding the ‘keeper.
The second period began with Kingsway asserting all the pressure but creating little in the way of genuine chances on goal. A quick break just before the hour resulted in a third goal to Fremantle, ‘keeper Carlos Bervenotti releasing a long throw to Middleton who beat a couple of defenders cutting the ball back for Smith to drive into the bottom corner. Smith would have had his hat-trick shortly after if not for a defender’s hook off the line with the ‘keeper well beaten. Fremantle went down a man after 68 minutes when referee Ammar Timour flashed Shaw a straight red card for abusive language towards the match official. Middleton should have scored another but placed wide after going past four opponents.
KING OF AN EFFORT BY JOONDALUP
Joondalup City sounded an ominous warning to all by coming from behind to defeat Melville City 2-1 in this afternoon’s Division Two meeting at Iluka Sports Complex. All three goals arrived in the second half with David Palin’s finish counting for nothing after Lucais King struck twice in quick succession. The first half was a particularly cagey affair with neither team fashioning a great deal in the way of goalscoring opportunities. The only clear cut chance came via some quick play down the right by the home side in which Elliot Rose’s cross found King but the striker scuffed wide at close-range.
The game began to open up in the second half, which was ten minutes old when Palin stabbed in at close-range after a free-kick was flicked into the 18-yard box. Joondalup’s response was swift, Bobby Melia getting down the left and delivering the ball into the area where King’s header struck a defender before entering the net. Two minutes later 2 minutes later Adam Miller sent an inviting long ball to King, who controlled, turned and slotted in from the edge of the box to put the home side in front. Melville worked tirelessly to find a way back in but were met with stiff resistance from a backline led by captain Sam Hall.
MADDINGTON MAKE MOST OF THEIR CHANCES
Subiaco AFC were left to rue missed opportunities as State League debutants Maddington White City ran out victors by 2-1 at Nikola Tesla Reserve. All the early running came from the away team and had it not been for a heavy touch then Alan Belitic would have opened the scoring. As it was the first goal arrived down the opposite end, Sean Treacey playing through for Lee Hayward to clip neatly over the goalkeeper. Subiaco returned to the attack swiftly, Frank Galvin finding Ger Fitzgerald whose header came back off the crossbar and with the rebound Belitic skewed wide. It seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would score, however, as the half drew to a close Maddington hit on the counterattack and after Hayward had a shot blocked Danny Clapham clashed in the follow-up.
This same pattern spilled over into the second half with goalkeeper Peter Wile called upon several times to maintain Maddington’s two-goal buffer. The visitors had good reason to feel aggrieved after the referee signalled for play to continue when Belitic was felled inside the 18-yard box. Maddington threatened to add further goals to their tally as Paolo Pacitti blasted just high of the bar before Clapham hit the post with the ‘keeper caught of his line. The goals Subiaco sought eventually arrived seven minutes from the end when James Day released Belitic and while he again shot into the upright this time Scott Wrightson was on hand to tuck in from a metre. The pressure on Maddington was intense over the final few minutes before the final whistle brought relief.
CONTROVERSY ENDS GLORY’S SEASON… AGAIN
Perth Glory bowed out of the A-League finals race with last night’s controversial 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium. It appeared Ryo Nagai’s first half finished would send Glory into next week’s semi-finals when two minutes of mayhem turned the game on its head. A missed penalty by Shane Smeltz was punished when Mark Milligan converted a dubious spot kick and following the dismissal of Glory defender Steve Pantelidis. A shell-shocked visiting side went behind in extra-time when Archie Thompson bundled the ball in, but there was still time for further drama with a penalty claim by Nagai was waived away by the referee.
Nagai and Adrian Zahra regularly stretched an inexperienced the home defence throughout the opening exchanges. The goal Glory was after arrived on the quarter hour when Scott Jamieson’s pin-point cross from the left caught goalkeeper Nathan Coe in no man’s land, allowing Nagai to chest the ball into the empty net. From then on Melbourne poked and prodded for ways through but by and large found it difficult to get past the midfield combination of Jacob Burns, Liam Miller and Matias Cordoba. It wasn;t until the 35th minute that Melbourne threatened, Marco Rojos going on a mazy run before teeing-up Leigh Broxham whose shot was deflected wide.
Smeltz twice squandered chances to double Glory’s lead after the break while Melbourne’s Marco Flores put a looping header high. The game sparked into life on 87 minutes when Milligan’s foul on Scott Jamieson gave Glory a penalty, however, Smeltz crashed his shot against into the crossbar. Andrew Nabbout then appeared to handle inside the 18-yard box but referee Jarred Gillett instead whistled for an infringement against Pantelidis, who was sent from field before Milligan slotted in the equaliser. Melbourne went ahead early in extra-time to Thompson’s stooped close-range header from a Rojas cross. Appeals for a Glory penalty were ignored in the second period of extra-time after Nagai went down inside box.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL, THE 2013 DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
There’ll be plenty of thrills and spills in the eight-team Division Two. Fremantle United have been installed as red-hot favourites to win promotion but should they falter then Melville City and Maddington White City are ready to pounce. footballwa.net takes a close look at each of the teams, assessing the strengths and weakness of each and summarising all the off-season player movements before offering their thoughts on how season 2013 will pan out...
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
All roads lead to Frank Drago Reserve on Sunday for the top-of-the-table blockbuster between Bayswater City and Stirling Lions. Home captain John Kearney is under no illusions as to the challenge facing his team. “It’s going to be our toughest game so far,” said Kearney. “Stirling has brought in some quality players and looks a very good outfit, but if we play to our maximum then I feel we should win the game with the amount of talent we have in our squad.” Injury forced striker Steve Burton to miss last weeks’ game and a late fitness will determine what role he has to play this time around.
Stirling have made a dream start to the new season but coach Doug Hesketh acknowledges they’ll have their work cut out making it four straight wins. “Bayswater were excellent last year and made some quality additions over the off-season,” Hesketh commented. “Chris Coyne knows what he is doing and the feeling is they are the benchmark for the league, so (assistant coach) Gary Williams and I are looking forward to seeing where we are at this early stage of the season.” Defender Kyran Nunes has been ruled out by a knee injury but otherwise Stirling are at full strength for the occasion.
The remaining five games are staged on Saturday with Sorrento on home soil to Cockburn City, who’ll be looking to make it back-to-back wins. Floreat Athena are expected to collect maximum points when they host ECU Joondalup where captain Jon Higgins, Andy Higgins and Matt Italiano are in doubt. Ashley Rosindale, Callum Roberts and Bajo Savic will be absent when Balcatta head out on the road for the fourth time in row, this time to visit Inglewood United. Bunbury Forum Force should claim their first win of the campaign when the National Training Centre makes the long journey south to Payne Park.
Perth SC goalkeeper Jason Saldaris is backing his team to return into the winners circle when they visit Armadale. “It was a disappointing result last week (against Balcatta), we missed our chances after controlling the game for long periods,” Saldaris said. “This week is a must-win game for us, and it doesn’t get any tougher than away to Armadale. They have played well this season and added Andy Todd, which gives them some experience. It should be a close game but we are playing for maximum points and nothing less.” All six games – be they Saturday or Sunday – kick-off at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The smoke and mirrors of pre-season football have been put away as the 2013 Division One season bursts into life this weekend. The pick of the action has a new-look Shamrock Rovers on the road to Mandurah City. “We have a new group of players that are learning to play as a team,” Shamrock coach John O’Reilly commented. “So far we have improved every week so I’m confident my team will give me their best and from we will get the result we deserve.” Mandurah’s stocks have been bolstered in recent weeks with attacking trio Jeff Bright, Craig Tone and Monty Grigo back with the club.
There’s also been some good news in the Western Knights camp where midfield maestro Luka Jukic and new signing Johny Mirco are in contention to start against Wanneroo City at Nash Field. A youthful Swan United has home ground advantage over UWA-Nedlands, who return to the second tier for the first time in 16 years. A Cup win couple with Darren Lawler’s return from suspension has Rockingham City in a buoyant mood for their trip to Ashfield. Andreas Theosiades will be partnered in the middle of the park by new signing Thomas Gooding when Dianella White Eagles take on Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve.
Canning City coach Paul Van Dongen is targeting three points from his teams encounter with Morley Windmills. “We’re back at Willetton Sports Club this year and we want to make the spiritual home of Canning City somewhere other teams fear to visit,” he said. “Morley appears to be a well-drilled outfit, so I’m sure we’ll be in for a tough game. Hopefully all our hard work over the pre-season along with our new additions – Daniel Niederberger and Rory Mouttet – will be the catalyst for three points.” All six Division One games kick-off at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION TWO PREVIEW
The new Division Two season commences with a full round of fixtures on Saturday, highlighted by Melville City’s visit to Joondalup City. “It would be nice to win at Joondalup and clearly that’s our goal, but the season won’t be decided in round one,” said Melville’s philosophical coach Dan Evans. “When you travel away to Joondalup you know it’s for a very competitive game, but we are more than ready for the contest. I have every confidence in our playing group, we’ve a squad that is capable of being highly competitive in this league but the proof will be in the pudding.”
Kingsway Olympic coach Ian Cowan has welcomed the return of defender Aaron Lickiss for their home encounter with Division One favourites Fremantle United. It’ll be a youthful Fremantle side that steps onto the park with teenager quartet Robert Mariano, Angus Vos, Maddy Holman and Harry McCann pushing for selection. Maddington White City’s first assignment brings them up against Subiaco AFC at Nikola Tesla Reserve, while Forrestfield United are on home soil to Quinns. All four Division Two games commence at 3.00pm on Saturday.
EADES CHOSE COCKBURN OVER CAMBRIDGE
English midfielder Jack Eades turned his back on Cambridge United in preference of wearing Cockburn City this year. Eades was convinced to end his time with Cambridge, who he joined as a scholar in July 2008, after visiting the south west town of Dunsborough to coach youngsters with U’s first team regular Rory McAuley. “I travelled over in 2011 and met Tony Plumb, who was from Cambridge and is a sponsor of Cockburn,” explained Eades. “It emerged Cockburn would be interested in signing me and, as I had only a year remaining on my Cambridge contract, I sorted out my visa and work plans then made the move.”
Eades, 21, has absolutely no regrets about leaving England for the sun and surf of Western Australia. “I have settled really well with my partner and we are really enjoying life in Perth,” he said. “I’ve been made to feel at home at Cockburn. The boys all get on really well and we are capable of having an excellent season. I feel that I’m in some of the best form of my life and have already three goals to my name after just three games. Scotty (Miller) is great to work with, he is getting the best out of me and I hope that continues, not only for this season but for many more to come.”
A trainee with Derby County and Nottingham Forest, Eades joined Cambridge as a 16-year old and progressed up through the ranks to a first team debut in April 2011. He went on to gain a dozen outings with the U’s, scoring once, and also spent part of last season on loan to Ilkeston Town. While his State League career is still in its infancy, the midfielder has already picked up on a few differences between the game here and his experiences in England. “It’s always hard to compare standards when the type of football is so different,” he said. “The tempo, style and dynamics of football here differ a lot.”
“The emphasis is more on possession and technique here, whereas back in the UK a lot of teams have a bulldog-like mentality where they go long for 90 minutes relentlessly, try to turn your back four around all game and press very high when the ball is lost,” Eades added. “Here a lot of teams are more patient in their approach to the game, both in and out of possession. There are a lot of factors that cause this but one has to be the heat, it’s impossible to press a team for 90 minutes and chase all game when it’s 35-plus degrees.”
Cockburn chalked up their first win of the new season by turning over ECU Joondalup, and Eades is quietly confident of making it two in a row when he travels to Sorrento this weekend. “It was good to get the first win of the season and the team has been playing well,” commented Eades, who scored the opening goal in last week’s 2-1 win. “Hopefully that result puts some confidence back into the side for our trip to Sorrento.” Cockburn come up against an as yet undefeated Sorrento at 3.00pm on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
SMELTZ AIMS FOR FINALS GLORY
New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz has declared himself fit to start Perth Glory’s elimination final against Melbourne Victory tomorrow night. Smeltz missed last week’s thrilling draw with Adelaide United due to a head gash which required 15 stitches suffered while on international duty a fortnight ago. And while the scar remains, Smeltz is adamant he is ready to start in Glory’s biggest game of the season. “I’m right to go and I’m looking forward to it,” Smeltz said. “This week we’ve had two or three sessions and I haven’t had to tape it up or anything like that. We haven’t done a lot of heading but it’s been fine.”
Glory coach Alistair Edwards faces a selection dilemma as to whether he brings Smeltz back into the eleven or keeps faith with veteran Dean Heffernan following his man of the match performance as striker last week. “Shane’s a big-game player, there’s no doubt about that. But in saying that, we know that the likes of Dean Heffernan are more versatile than they ever were before … whether the team includes Shane or whether it includes Dean, we’ll have to wait until the team runs out on Friday.” Glory departed for Melbourne today with a 16-man squad that included Smeltz, Liam Miller and young gun Daniel De Silva.
NEWCASTLE SALUTE BIRIGHITTI
Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has capped a stellar season by being named Newcastle Jet’s Player of the Year. Ever-reliable Birighitti made 22 appearances in his first season with Newcastle, keeping five clean sheets and making numerous important saves at crucial moments throughout his clubs campaign. Sent off against his former club Adelaide United on the opening day of the season, the 21-year old showed tremendous strength of character to regain the number one spot and make it his own for the remainder of the summer. He also overcame a fractured cheekbone, an injury that forced him to miss four games, to finish ahead of former England striker Emile Heskey and Newcastle captain Ruben Zadkovich to win their clubs’ top prize.
Newcastle coach Gary Van Egmond said Birighitti was a thoroughly deserving recipient of the Player of the Year accolade. “Mark has had a standout year and was excellent for us all season, which is a testament to his attitude and work ethic,” Van Egmond told footballaustralia.com.au “He continued to grow and develop as the season went on and it was fantastic to see the way he asserted himself in his position. Not only have his performances this season been very impressive, but the character he showed to come back from that shocking injury he suffered ahead of schedule shows how passionate he is about playing for the Jets.”
RISDON SIGNS NEW LONG TERM DEAL
Defender Josh Risdon has committed his long-term future to Perth Glory by signing a two-year extension on his existing contract. Risdon said the opportunity to wear Glory colours until the end of the 2015/16 season was simply too good to refuse. “I’m very excited to stay at the club for another three years,” Risdon said. “As a West Australian you always want to play in front of your home town when you first start out your career. It’s an exciting time to be involved with Perth Glory and Alistair Edwards is doing a great job bringing youth into the first team.”
Risdon, 20, joins fellow local products Daniel De Silva, Riley Woodcock and Matt Davies in committing his future to the club. “It’s a brilliant signing for Perth Glory,” commented Edwards, who outlined a three to five-year plan with a focus on developing local talent on accepting the coaching role last month. “Signing players like Josh is the future and the direction of the club and it’s also part of our strategy moving forward. It’s important we secure the services of key players like Josh, who just happen to be WA born and bred.”
Born and raised in Bunbury, Risdon is a product of the National Training Centre program and Glory’s Youth team set-up. “First and foremost he’s got great character, he’s been through all the development pathways here, he’s a shining example to everyone in the State that through continuous hard work you can reach the top,” added Edwards. “He’s one of the first names on the team sheet now and he epitomises what Perth Glory is all about. Not only because of his football ability but it’s also his “never say die” attitude and wanting success for the club.”
OUT-OF-CONTRACT GARCIA WANTS TO STAY OUT
Melbourne Heart attacker Richard Garcia is hopeful of hearing within the next fortnight whether or not he’ll be with the club next season. Garcia, 32, is one of a host of Melbourne players coming out of contract and on whom the clubs’ football department is yet to make a decision on for the summer of 2013/14. Fresh from scoring his sixth goal of the season in Melbourne weekend loss to Central Coast Mariners, Garcia expects to hear from the club when they are ready. “I’m happy here and I want to stay but under the right circumstances,” he said. “It’s still up in the air and we’ll see what happens.”
Garcia, who made 25 appearances for Melbourne in his A-League debut, admits his disappointment at not being offered a new deal already. “Ideally I would’ve liked to have done it around Christmas time. That’s what I was used to in Europe so you can plan ahead,” he explained. “I would prefer something more long term. That way I can settle. Throughout my career I’ve stuck around most places for a while and I think you’re happier when you’re settled and that reflects on the park. We’ve lost the last five and it’s disappointing to go out on that losing streak. It’s plagued us all season and we wanted to rectify it.”
JAMIESON PLOTS TO BRING ABOUT MELBOURNE’S DOWNFALL
Defender Scott Jamieson says Perth Glory have no intention of just making up the numbers when the A-League finals series commences with this weekend’s elimination final against Melbourne Victory. The home team are heavily favoured to get the better of a Glory side which squeezed into the top six on goal-difference, and Jamieson is planning for his teams late season revival to continue on Friday night at Etihad Stadium. “If you look at where we were six weeks ago, to get where we are now was unexpected,” Jamieson said. “But now we’re not going to rest and take it easy.”
As far as Jamieson is concerned, all the pressure will be on Melbourne to perform. “We want to play as many games as we can starting with this week against a side that was pretty much everyone’s favourite to win the competition at the start of the season,” Jamieson added. “They (Melbourne) are in the finals and have had a good season and have some real standout players, so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be favourites. But we’re out west and we’re just going to do our thing and hopefully we’ll come through and they won’t.”
Jamieson believes Glory will benefit from having already come through a series of must-win games during their dramatic late surge up the A-League ladder. “We’ve effectively been playing finals football for the last six weeks and that’s the biggest advantage for us, because they haven’t,” 23-year old Jamieson commented. “I don’t think we’ll get carried away or anything because we’ve lived with that level of pressure and learned from it, so we have that in our locker. We’ve got to draw on that and hopefully use that to our advantage.”
LIVERPOOL’S JONES ACCEPTS INTERNATIONAL EXILE
Goalkeeper Brad Jones accepts his international career has been hampered by remaining at English Premier League club Liverpool. However, the 31-year old says he would rather stay at Anfield Park and provide competition for first-choice Jose Reina than leave and play more matches elsewhere. “I have kind of been in and out (of the international team) recently but there is not a lot I can do really, it is up to the manager to pick me,” said Jones, who has three caps for Australia to his credit with the most recent coming in January 2011. “The manager (Holger Osieck) wants people who are playing fairly regularly, which is obviously going to be difficult for me here.”
Nonetheless, Jones has taken the gloves on 15 occasions this season but lost his place in the weekend line-up with Reina’s return from injury. “I have probably played more games than I thought I might have this year but just the way it has worked out it is going to be difficult,” commented Jones, who made a combined total of four appearances during his previous two seasons with Liverpool. “It’s a tough one because I would probably rather play 15 games for Liverpool than 30 for someone else. It is Catch 22 but I think if I am playing for Liverpool and performing then I should be in contention (for Australia).”
PANTELIDIS EYES VICTORY
Perth Glory will draw confidence from their win at Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago when the sides meet on Friday according to defender Steve Pantelidis. The away team have lost twice to Melbourne this season but it’s the stoppage time triumph that kept their finals hopes alive that matters most. “We had a great performance down there,” Pantelidis told the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “They had three players missing but in saying that we had two internationals missing as well in Michael Thwaite and Shane Smeltz. It will be a great atmosphere. The Melbourne supporters are some of the best in the league with the crowd numbers they get there.”
Steve Pantelidis, who was part of Melbourne’s premiership-championship doubles of 2006/07 and 2008/09, recognises he’ll be in for a tough time against his former club. “We know we’re going to have to be on our toes because Melbourne’s got a pretty good attack with Marco Rojas, Archie Thompson and the likes,” said Pantelidis, who feels Glory have what it takes to nullify the A-League’s most lethal attacking combination. “But I think our tactics worked pretty well against Victory last time.” Glory will be boosted by the return of Liam Miller from suspension and striker Shane Smeltz from injury for Friday’s blockbuster.
KNIGHTS CAINE NORTH PERTH
Western Knights progressed to the first round Proper of the State Cup with a hard-fought 4-1 defeat of Sunday League side North Perth United at Nash Field. David Caine provided much of the inspiration by laying on the first of Brendan Craig’s two goals along with those scored by Stuart Siddell and substitute Julian Teles. “It was your typical rough and tumble Cup encounter,” said Knights coach Robbie Dunn. “We knew we were in a game right from the start and quite a few players were sorrily licking their wounds at the end of 90 minutes. North Perth were totally fired up and committed and the end score really didn’t reflect their efforts.”
The early pace was frenetic with play swinging from one end to the other as the two set of players sought the opening goal. The Knights would have opened up a comfortable buffer had Craig and Cain been able to make more of their chances. In response North Perth hit back with a couple of good openings of their own, captain Stephen Henry bringing a good save from Ashley Crosthwaite after which Darragh Cullen sprayed past the target. Caine had seen enough and stepped up to the challenge by delivering a cross onto the head of Craig, who duly made it one-nil. Siddell double the hosts’ lead before the break by also heading past goalkeeper Kevin Flavin, with Caine again the supplier.
The Knights emerged from half-time determined to kill off the game. However, the next goal came the way of the visiting team with a well-worked counterattack move seeing Paddy Montgomery sliding the ball through for Cullen to net. A few tactical and positional changes by Dunn steadied the Knights, and when North Perth lost centre back Alex Brain to a straight red card for his foul on Luke Woodard the writing was on the wall. Caine sliced his way down the right and cut inside before teeing up Teles to finish high into the net. The Knights fourth goal came when Craig skipped past three defenders to unleash a grass-cutter from 18-metres into the bottom corner.
TEN-MAN WANNEROO UNDONE AT SWAN
Swan United coach Mick Skowron was delighted with his team’s 3-1 State Cup preliminary round defeat of Wanneroo City at the Swan Italian Club. Michael Italiano, Spiro Nenadic and Thomas Black found the back of the net for the home side but only after Wanneroo were reduced to ten men early in the second half with defender Callum Trayner issued his marching order. “We had a game plan and credit to the lads as they stuck to it and we got the win,” Swan coach Mike Skowron said. “It was hot conditions but we ran the game out well, and the players that came on played there part too.”
Trent Wood put the first shot on goal high before Wanneroo began to assert control across the middle of the park. Stuart Montgomery forced a good save from goalkeeper Mat Battigelli before Scott Bushby fired wide from 10-metres after meeting Josh Boysen’s centre. Guy McDonald placed wide of the post and Garin Collins should have done better than head high from close-range. Montgomery and Bushby combined but Battigelli was quick to shut down the latter. Battigelli came to the rescue again just before the break by thwarting Booysen, who looked certain to break the deadlock.
Wanneroo suffered a setback soon after the interval with Trayner copping a straight red card for his last man foul on Mark Miraudo. Salt was rubbed into the wound on 49 minutes when Italiano fired in after Chris Marshall headed on a cross from the left by Wood. However, the visitors weren’t about to give up and three minutes later Bushby’s sensation volley from 35-metres flew into the net. Swan hit back on the hour, Nenadic converting at close-range after Italiano’s header came back off the crossbar. A home team win was assured when Colli outmuscled Collins to cross for substitute Black to net with eleven minutes remaining.
OLYMPIC EFFORT BY KINGSWAY’S WHITE
Summer signing Kevin White scored four times to guide Kingsway Olympic to a 6-3 come-from-behind victory over Forrestfield United in this afternoon’s State Cup encounter at Hartfield Park. Alistair Blair and Abel Mwpande were also on target for Kingsway but coach Ian Cowan spied room for improvement. “I was very happy the way we played in the first 20 minutes and the last 20, but we need to play that type of football for 90 minutes,” said Cowan, who is confident his team will be a force to be reckoned with this coming league season. “Nine of our fifteen players today are new to the club, once we get a few games under our belt then team’s better watch out.”
The game was only a couple of minutes old when White struck his first goal on the end of a flowing move. Kingsway’s lead was double just two minutes later, Blair using his pace to get down the right and cross into the 18-yard box where White again shot past the goalkeeper. The game would have been over inside 20 minutes but White slammed into the upright after getting in behind the defence while a couple of quality saves kept Josh Rolls scoreless. Forrestfield didn’t wake up until midway through the half and via a dubiously awarded free-kick Joshua Barnes reduced the gap. Unperturbed, Kingsway continued their onslaught only to have Robert Perrott balance the leger on 31 minutes.
Forrestfield claimed the lead for the first time five minutes after the restart when Abraham Cheng capitalised on some sloppy defending. Galvanised into action, Kingsway stepped up to the challenge by hitting another four goals without reply. Sota Iwasaki was unceremoniously bundled over after making his way inside the 18-yard box, and with the resultant spot kick White completed his hat-trick. Team captain David Ashworth combined with Blair to set-up White’s fourth goal of the afternoon. Ashworth played another quality ball into the path of Blair who finished with style. Mwpande celebrated the newest addition to his family by coming off the bench to slot in Kingsway’s sixth and final goal.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL, THE 2013 DIVISION ONE PREVIEW
The 2013 Division One season swings into action next weekend with several clubs staking an early claim on top honours. Wanneroo City, Ashfield and a revitalised Western Knights are in the mix but lining up behind them are a host of champions-in-waiting. There’ll also be plenty of interest at the other end of the table where Dianella White Eagles, Morley Windmills and Rockingham City are expected to slug it out to avoid relegation. footballwa.net takes a close look at the twelve clubs, assessing the strengths and weakness of each and summarising all the off-season player movements before offering their thoughts on how season 2013 will pan out...
WE’LL GIVE IT OUR BEST SHOT SAYS EDWARDS OF GLORY FINALS HOPES
Coach Alistair Edwards says Perth Glory have the potential to go all in the A-League finals series. Last night’s home draw with Adelaide United was enough to pip Sydney FC into sixth spot and tee-up a sudden death showdown with Melbourne Victory next weekend. “We’ve got a bit of momentum going forward, there’s a bit of a swagger about the way the boys are playing at the moment, they’re playing with a smile on their face so why not?” said Edwards of their chances of going all the way. “We’re going to be out there giving it our best shot.”
With strikers Shane Smeltz, Chris Harold and Travis Dodd all absent through injury, Dean Heffernan was the surprise choice to lead the line for Glory against Adelaide. “I was actually thinking about playing Heff on the left and playing Ryo (Nagai) in the middle but then I sat down and talked to him and he wanted to play as a number nine,” Edwards said. “He thought that the way that we play and with the structure we’ve got he could do a very, very good job.” Adrian Zahra gave Glory the lead on 58 minutes but they were pegged back late on by Jake Barker-Daish.
Edwards, whose position as manager for the next three years was confirmed last week, is pleased with how the side has developed during his two months in charge. “The goal is to play as many games as possible this season,” said Edwards when asked about his target for the rest of the campaign. “I thought that we could make the finals and we’ve beaten most of the teams in the top six or so. We don’t hold any fears, we respect them because there’s some very good teams and very well coached teams in this competition but we’re a very, very good team.”
GLORY THOUGH TO FINALS
Perth Glory clinched their spot in the A-League finals with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United in front of 16,707 fans this evening at Perth Oval. The home side dominated the first half but had to wait until just before the hour for Adrian Zahra to convert that onto the scoreboard. Jake Barker-Daish netted in the final minute of regulation time to ensure things remained interesting right up to the final whistle. The result capped a remarkable turnaround for Glory, who occupied last place when Alistair Edwards took over as coach last month. Four wins and a draw from seven games saw Glory sneak into sixth position and tee-up a sudden death showdown third-placed Melbourne Victory next weekend.
The opening exchanges were nervous and littered with half chances. Eugene Galekovic denied Ryo Nagai with a smart save at one end while Bruce Djite headed over from an Adelaide corner at the other. Glory should have gone ahead after 25 minutes when Cameron Watson’s trip on Nagai was punished by a penalty kick, however the Japanese winger failed to beat Galekovic from the spot. Nagai was heavily involved again soon after, sending one shot high and another wide as the home team sought to make the most of their territorial advantage. Adelaide, by contrast, struggled to get out of first gear with Glory’s trio of Jacob Burns, Matias Cordoba and Steve McGarry nullifying their best moves.
The second period followed much the same pattern, Adrian Zahra placing wide at close-range after taming a Dean Heffernan cross. Glory got the goal they were after in the 58th minute when McGarry’s low cross was met by Zahra whose shot bounced over the line after being palmed onto the crossbar by Galekovic. Both McGarry and substitute Daniel De Silva could have put the result beyond doubt in the closing stages but neither were able to capitalise at close-range. As the game headed towards stoppage time Barker-Daish levelled things up with a low drive from 10-metres. Dario Vidosic could have spoiled the party with the very last kick of the game but Vukovic was equal to his opponents efforts.
STIRLING HIT FOUR TO EXTEND PERFECT START
Any lingering doubts over Stirling Lions’ title credentials have been dispelled once and for all by this afternoon’s 4-1 dismantling of Floreat Athena. The Macedonia Park faithful could not have asked for more as goals from Rory Grant, Jason Gavin, Phil Arnold and substitute Anthony Lyons propelled Stirling to their third straight win and top spot in the Premier Division. “We thoroughly deserved to win and we played some excellent football,” Stirling coach Doug Hesketh told footballwest.com.au. “We have a young but experienced squad, but I really think we are still very much a work in progress … it’s only three games into a long season, but so far we have shown great character and great skill.”
A cagey opening had chances at both ends of the park, Arnold blasting past the post and Ian McMurray dragging wide at close-range. The breakthrough came on 21 minutes when Bobby Wilson’s trip on Andy Brown resulted in a penalty with which Grant sent Brad Eiffe the wrong way. Five minutes later Dean Evans floated a corner to the far post where Gavin rose majestically to nod inside the upright. And it would have been three-nil had Brad Eiffe not stood tall to block Arnold’s close-range effort on the end of a counterattack. Floreat gained themselves a lifeline just before the break with Mark Pritchard converting a penalty awarded for handball against James Cogley.
Benny Kovadio was unlucky not to equalise a minute into the second half when his close-range effort deflected wide off a defender. A superb move in to the opposite direction saw Stirling’s lead increase on 53 minutes, Scott Bulloch delivering a tantalising low ball which Arnold nonchalantly side-footed in. Floreat responded by throwing everything they had at their hosts but a terrific defensive display by Gavin and Michael Pugliese kept genuine chances to a minimum. Bulloch was positioned to halt Callum Fransz’ glancing effort on the line and a full-stretch Vrteski tipped over a Pritchard attempt. Lyons sealed the win in stoppage time with a text book downward header after being picked out unmarked at the far post by Arnold.
CONTROVERSY REINS AS BAYSWATER ESCAPE WITH THE POINTS
Two goals in the closing stages have seen Bayswater City come from behind to prevail 3-2 over Bunbury Forum Force in a controversial encounter at Payne Park. The home team were left fuming Gustavo Giron-Marulanda converted a couple of contentious penalties which bookended a lovely curling goal by Todd Howarth. “It was a disgustingly ugly win,” admitted Bayswater coach Chris Coyne to footballwest.com.au. “They’re the ones you want, when you don’t play well but you win, then you’re happy. I was disappointed with the performance but happy with the result.”
The ball had been in motion just 8 minutes when referee David Bruce whistled for a soft foul against Chris Blackburn and promptly awarded Bayswater a penalty, which Giron-Marulanda despatched past Ryan Montgomery. Bunbury regrouped quickly to take the game up to their more fancied opponents, and while genuine chances were scare both teams remained focus on attack. The equaliser came on 29 minutes when Jon Brooks’ free-kick into the 18-yard box was spilled by goalkeeper Gianni Papalia under pressure from Oliver McGee, with Ryan Francis on hand to tuck into the net.
The referee took centre stage again in the 51st minute by awarding another soft penalty, this time for handball to the home side, and from the spot Lock no mistake. Bayswater wanted a quick reply and Todd Howarth almost provided it with a well-struck free-kick that crashed into the upright. Bunbury failed to heed that warning and on 73 minutes Howarth again stepped up to a dead ball but this time curled just beyond the despairing reach of the ‘keeper. The game was decided six minutes later, Giron-Marulanda beating Montgomery from the spot after the referee pulled up McGee for what appeared a legitimate challenge on Gustavo Catarcione.
KNIGHT SHOCKS ARMADALE (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
Gavin Knight has kept Sorrento within touching distance of top spot by scoring all three goals in his teams’ 3-1 defeat of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. The hosts were first on the board through Jack Salter but the teams entered the break on level terms courtesy of Knight, who scored two more later in the second period to seal victory. “For ten minutes they were on top of us (before) we created a few chances then Gavin Knight scored a wonderful free-kick,” said Sorrento boss Paul Price. “I told the boys at half time we need to start the second half the way we finished the first and we did … we totally dominated the second half.”
Armadale made a dream start with New Zealand import Jack Salter ghosting in to slot past Curtis Aspden after motoring onto a lofted ball over the a defence. It took Sorrento until midway through the half for Sorrento to hit back with Anthony Skorich netting in a goalmouth scramble, however, referee Hugh Best spotted a handball by Steve McDonald and correctly awarded a free-kick to Armadale. Parity was eventually restored four minutes from the break via a stunning Knight dead ball from 18-metres which curled away from Cyril Sharrock on its way into the top corner.
Sorrento picked up the second half where they’d left off but found the going tough against a solid defensive line under the command of Andy Todd. The visitors’ best chance came the way of Skorich but he was unable to capitalise. Knight showed his team mates how it’s done in the 75th minute by placing another free-kick into the top corner. And three minutes later Knight completed his hat-trick, albeit with a fair dose of luck when his free-kick from distance somehow evaded everyone inside a crowded 18-yard box and snuck in at the back post.
Armadale assistant coach Kevin Brophy felt his side weren’t quite up to the standard of previous weeks, but still some positives in his teams’ performance. “We’ve been done by three set pieces so we can’t be too hard on the guys because we’ve not been outplayed which is a good thing, it’s part of our development,” he said. “Because Sorrento rose their intensity, our passing was a more hurried and a little bit off, so was our touch. We’ve got to recognise and learn from that when you’re in a battle you have to stay in the battle and we didn’t do that.”
DERBY DELIGHT FOR BALCATTA
Balcatta collected the maximum points for the first time this season by out-gunning Perth SC 2-0 in the traditional derby at Dorrien Gardens. It took until just after the hour for defender Adam Tong to break the deadlock and when Ashley Rosindale put away the visitors’ second goal Balcatta knew they have the game in the bag. “It was a fantastic first win for us, especially against our rivals Perth,” goalkeeper Alex Dunn said. “We defended solidly and only allowed them to have the ball in area’s that weren’t goal scoring chances … we frustrated them and they ran out of ideas in the end. We have been working on making sure we are clinical in front of goal when we get our chances, and we did that today.”
Perth opened well to fashion the first chance on goal after 10 minutes, Daniel Micevski played through one-on-one with Dunn but the midfielder’s chip drifted the wrong side of the upright. The momentum would remain with the home team for much of the half, however, few genuine opportunities on goal resulted against a well-organised Balcatta outfit. The home side were also getting forward and on the half hour Rosindale had his shot cleared off the line following a mix-up in the Perth defence. Shortly after Callum Roberts created space down the right to thread a pass in to Rosindale, who was thwarted by Jason Saldaris’s smart save.
The second half opened much like the first, Daniel Micevski getting within sight of goal but lifting high of the target before Liam Boland sent a free-kick just past the upright. The mood in the stands changed dramatically on 63 minutes when Tong’s stunning free-kick curled into the bottom corner of Saldaris’ net to make it one-nil Balcatta. Thirteen minutes later Moe Atak released Rosindale and while his initial shot was scuffed the Balcatta captain recovered to blast goal number two into the top corner. Balcatta almost helped themselves to another late on, Rosindale flicking on for Chris Thackray whose volley forced a superb save from Saldaris.
COCKBURN GET OFF THE MARK
Cockburn City opened their account for the new season with a 2-1 defeat of ECU Joondalup at Dalmatinac Park. Jack Eades and John Thornley has the Cockerels in a comfortable position before Tommy Amphlett struck late to ensure a tense finish. “I thought it was our best performance of the season so far,” Cockburn captain Paul Lloyd commented. “We controlled the game and with the amount of possession we had in the first half we should have killed the game off. The whole team played well and played some good football … hopefully the win will kick-start our season.”
Lloyd was unlucky not to post the opening goal after quarter of an hour, the midfielder working his way inside the 18-yard box and firing past goalkeeper Andy Banks only for his shot to cannon back off the upright. Cockburn continued to dictate terms and on 39 minutes Eades made the most of space afforded to him by unleashing a powerful shot from 15-metres which flashed across Banks and inside the far post. Joondalup were fortunate not to concede again after Lloyd’s volley from the top of the 18-yard box smashed against the crossbar.
Scott Miller brought Thornley off the bench just after the hour to devastating effect, the former Joondalup player slamming into the net via the underside of the bar after meeting a 71st minute cross by Ian Stack. With time fast running out for Joondalup, Amphlett gave his team a glimmer of hope by firing in from 10-metres after playing a tidy one-two with Tony Taylor in the 78th minute. Amphlett was released again soon after but his chip over Dejan Aleksic drifted agonisingly wide, then close to the final whistle the Cockburn custodian brilliantly kept out a free-kick by Taylor.
Joondalup coach Salv Todaro found it hard to contain his frustration with how long it took his players to get into the game. “For 70 minutes we weren’t in it and then all of a sudden we get a bit of a spark and we start playing the way we can play,” Todaro told footballwest.com.au. “It could have been anyone’s game at the end (but) some of the boys did not put in the performance that we wanted from them and changes have to be made … We need to get our first eleven on the park and stop gifting the opposition goals.”
INGLEWOOD IN SEVENTH HEAVEN
Striker Greg Sharland grabbed himself a hat-trick to inspire Inglewood United to a 7-3 victory over the National Training Centre this afternoon at Intiga Stadium. Ryan Clarke and Scottish import Daniel Thomson complimented Sharland match-winning haul with the remaining two goals coming from NTC defenders. “It’s great for the club to get on the board and it’s nice to score a few goals,” Sharland commented. “We are starting to get it together, the service I was provided with today was great. Ryan Clarke outstanding, the areas he gets in are first class and I’m reaping the rewards from it.”
The NTC could not have wished for a better start, Borbor Sambindi gliding past a couple of defenders to net with only 7 minutes on the clock. Sharland responded with two goals in as many minutes, the striker converting at close-range thanks to the fine delivery of Thomson and Clarke. Sahr Musa put the game back on level terms just after the hour half only for Thomson to finish low into Jordan Franken’s net a minute later. Inglewood extended their lead just before the break via a short corner move, Thomson finding Sharland whose powerful shot deflected off a defender and over Franken.
The result was made safe just before the hour, Andrija Jukic teeing up Clarke whose long-range drive gave Franken no chance. Clarke’s low delivery on 73 minutes allowed Sharland to turn in his third goal of the afternoon. Only a few more minutes passed before Clarke centred again, this time to Alex Caniglia whose shot deflected off a defender to give Franken no chance. The NTC’s refusal to let their heads drop was rewarded with a third goal close to the end, albeit with a touch of good fortune as referee Matt Southern inadvertently broke down an Inglewood attack and in quick time Musa released Sambini to beat Luke Martino.
EDWARDS HAS FAITH IN YOUTH
Alistair Edwards is considering turning to youth as Perth Glory prepares to go without some of their most experienced players in tomorrow’s make-or-break clash with Adelaide United. Glory needs to take just a single point against Adelaide United to qualify for their third A-League finals in four seasons, however, the equation is not as simple as it appears with injured attackers Travis Dodd, Chris Harold and Shane Smeltz, along with suspended midfielder Liam Miller out of action. Edwards is toying with the idea of filling those gaps by handing young guns Ndumba Makeche and Daniel De Silva their first starts. “We’ve still got a lot of experience in the side,” assured Edwards.
Edwards has no doubt Makeche and Da Silva are ready to step up after a handful of outings off the bench. “We are not afraid to throw the young, inexperienced lads in … we’re confident that whoever we put on the park will play really well for this great club,” said the coach. “There’s a good chance that Daniel and Ndumba will start, (assistant coach) Gareth Naven and myself will have a long chat about that. We’ve seen what Danny can do. He’s not a baby anymore, he’s an old 16-year old with two games under his belt and he’s the kind of guy that thrives on the kind of atmosphere that we’re going to have at nib Stadium on Saturday.”
Glory need only one point against Adelaide but Edwards insists his charges will go all out for the win. “We’re not good enough as a structure or as a team to go out and play for a draw,” he said. “That would be suicide for us. Our best form of defence is to go out and attack. We did that against (Melbourne) Victory last weekend and we’re going to do that again. Adelaide are a very good team and it’s going to be a very entertaining game because they will come to play. But we are in pretty good form and we were missing three (players) last week against Victory and put in a splendid performance, so I’m confident we can do the same this weekend.”
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Armadale go shooting for a hat-trick of wins when they welcome Sorrento to Alfred Skeet Oval in Saturday’s third round of the new league season. “It’s been a great start for our club but we’re keeping the lid on it, we know your only one defeat away from a form slump,” said Reds coach Lee Bamber. “We’ve worked really well on the track and the young lads have lifted their intensity after Andy Todd has arrived. A few players, including new signing Dannie Richman, are pushing for a starting role so Kevin Brophy and I will have a few selection headaches to prior to kick-off.”
Sorrento boss Paul Price will be looking for a response after his team stole a late point against Balcatta last week. “Things were looking grim when we went down to ten men and were a goal behind, however, we showed our fighting spirit again with Macca (Steve McDonald) grabbing a late equaliser,” said Price, who has a fair idea of what to expect on Saturday. “I watched Armadale last week and they played very well and have some quick players in the team. We certainly have a tough game on our hands as they look a good bet on that performance to make the top five.”
A strong second half last week has given Bunbury Forum Force coach Matt Lock confidence ahead of their home meeting with joint leaders Bayswater City. “It’s a massive game for our club as it will give us a great indication of where we are at,” commented Lock, who has been experimenting little in training this week. “We’ve been having a look at formations and styles of play. Personnel-wise, there are no injuries and we’ve had a good look at the lads in training and might have a new signing on board for the weekend.”
Floreat Athena midfielder Ludovic Boi returns to Macedonia Park to play his former club Stirling Lions. “It should be very interesting game for the spectators, and more for myself against some old team mates,” commented Boi. “They have a good squad with some new signings and players returning to the club but, hopefully, we can get our first win with me with putting a goal or two away.” Floreat captain Mark Pritchard picked up a knock last time out but should be available while defender Michael Pugliese comes back in from suspension for the hosts.
Dorrien Gardens hosts the traditional derby between Perth SC and Balcatta. Injury has sidelines players in both camps, for the home team it’s English attacker Kris Gate whereas Moe Atak and Julian Madaschi remain unavailable for Balcatta. ECU Joondalup have Andy Higgins and Matty Italiano back for the trip to Cockburn City, who are still on the lookout for their first point of the campaign. The final fixture pits an as yet winless Inglewood United against the National Training Centre youngsters at Intiga Stadium. All games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
STATE LEAGUE CUP PREVIEW
Early Division One title favourites Wanneroo City take on a much-changed Swan United in the preliminary round of the State Cup on Monday. “I don’t think we could have drawn a harder assignment that Swan United away,” said David Tough, coach of away team Wanneroo. “It will be the tie of the round and we’re very excited to get the real season started. There has been a longer break between the Night Series and the season for real this year, and while that has been hard to manage it has given us more time to work with our new players.”
The only other all-Division One fixture brings together Morley Windmills and Rockingham City at Wotton Reserve. Sunday League side Hamersley Rovers will be out to upset Gosnells City at Hartfield Park, likewise North Perth United who are away to Western Knights. Mandurah City has a tricky home game against Fremantle United, while Ashfield are expected to get the better of South Perth United. Division Two rivals Forrestfield United and Kingsway Olympic meet at Hartfield Park. Kingsley welcomes Maddington White City to Chichester Park, and Subiaco AFC journey north to Whitford City. All games start at 3.00pm on Monday.
“I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO PLAY” EXPLAINS ARMADALE MATCH-WINNER RICHMAN
Dannie Richman wasn’t expecting to line-up for Armadale on the weekend, let alone score the goal which sent his new club to the top of the Premier Division. The midfielder transferred into the Reds camp late last week from Inglewood United and was content with his contribution in the Reserves when assistant coach Kevin Brophy tapped him on the shoulder. “My registration only went through on Friday to I wasn’t even supposed to play for the first team,” Richman commented. “To score the winner was definitely a great start, but to make it even better my best mate Mitch Castrilli played the ball through, so we were well chuffed at putting Armadale top of the league.”
With a dream debut for the Reds under his belt, Richman is looking forward to working under the tutelage of Lee Bamber. “Lee originally signed me for Inglewood after my knee surgery. He has definitely changed the fortunes of the Armadale club and long may it continue, they have big plans in the pipeline so there is a lot to look forward,” said the midfielder, who is still finding his feet at Armadale. “I’ve only had a couple of sessions with the squad and played on the weekend, but they have a good bunch of lads and it helps that I know a few of the boys already.”
Armadale recruited well over the summer with the addition of former Blackburn Rovers captain Andy Todd bringing a whole new level of professionalism to the club. “Toddy is in a different class and will be a huge asset to the club, not only on the pitch but also his affect off the pitch,” commented Richman, whose immediate goal is to establish himself in the Reds first eleven. “I hope I can come in and offer the coaches something a little bit different than what they have at the moment. The squad harmony is definitely the biggest asset we have so let’s hope it continues and we can keep surprising people.”
Richman, a State junior representative, spoke at length with Inglewood coach Graham Normanton before deciding to move on. “I was making an hour and a half round trip for training so playing at Inglewood was a big commitment,” he explained. “I spoke to Normo and he was really considerate, but I decided that work was probably more important at this stage. It was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make – and the worst part was telling the boys I was leaving. I loved my time at Inglewood. In the first few seasons we narrowly avoided relegation but since then the club has gone from strength to strength.”
Richman is grateful to have had the opportunity to play under Normanton, arguably the most successful coach in State League history. “Normo is a great coach, and a top bloke,” Richman said. “He is a real father figure to all the players and is highly respected by the squad. He is adamant in the way he wants his team to play and his training reflects that. He puts on some of the most demanding an intense sessions I’ve ever been involved in and his pre-seasons are something else. It was a real pleasure to work with him and I feel like I’ve grown, not only as a player, but also as a person under his guidance.”
With a game and a goal to his name at Armadale, Richman says Saturday’s home clash with State champions Sorrento is a must-win for the Reds. “No one would have predicted that Armadale would be top of the league after two games, and everyone will be expecting us to drop down again fairly quickly,” Richman explained. “It is games against the top teams we will need to win to gain the respect of the footballing community. No one is kidding themselves, we need to be at the top of our game every week otherwise we could find ourselves at the wrong end of the table.” Armadale and Sorrento kick-off of at 3.00pm on Saturday at Alfred Skeet Oval.
THURSTON’S STAR IS ON THE RISE
Teenager Connor Thurston is one step closer to playing professionally after signing for English side Blackpool. Thurston, the latest in a long line of Perth SC players to turn professional, put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Championship club just hours before the close of January’s transfer window. “It’s an absolutely fantastic feeling,” commented Thurston on his move. “Waking up every day in the cold and trying to impress the coaching staff at Blackpool was a challenge, but after five hard weeks of trailing it all paid off. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to ring up my family back in Perth and tell them the news.”
Thurston, 17, headed to England for trials shortly after helping Perth’s under-18 team to Grand Final victory last October. “I contacted a number of clubs and Blackpool offered me a half day trial – the coaches must have liked what they saw as they kept asking me back day-after-day for five weeks,” explained the defender. “I’ll keep on working hard to improve my fitness and ball skills, and do my best to keep impressing the coaches at Blackpool. My immediate goal is to be playing first team football as soon as possible, and eventually to play for my country, Australia.”
VUKOVIC STEPS UP
Last month’s arrival of coach Alistair Edwards has inspired goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to step his game up a notch. Vukovic has been in tremendous form of late with his starring role on the weekend against Melbourne Victory highlighted by a gravity-defying save on the hour to deny a long-range Connor Pain shot that seemed destined for the top corner. This season hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Glory shot-stopper but the change of coach, which saw Edwards replace Ian Ferguson, has coincided with Vukovic rekindling the form that has made him one of the A-League’s top ‘keepers.
Vukovic has been working on his distribution on the training pitch of later and says the hard work was starting to pay dividends. “It’s getting there. I just want to be consistent and I think again on the weekend I put in a good performance,” Vukovic said. “Distribution is something that we work hard on as goalkeepers here at Perth Glory and it’s nice to get credited with that. But I just try to give it to the creative boys up-field who can do the damage in the front third.” Vukovic boasts an impressive record of 51 clean sheets in 177 starts for Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Glory.
MITCHINSON MAKES MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES
Melbourne Heart’s final hopes are well and truly but there has been a silver lining for a number of the clubs’ youngsters, amongst them full-back Sam Mitchinson. A graduate of the National Training Centre, Mitchinson began the season playing for the youth team but the mid-season departure of Aziz Behich opened the door for his promotion to the senior set-up. “It’s been enjoyable,” Mitchinson told footballaustralia.com.au of his first season with Melbourne. “I didn’t expect to play eight or nine games, I just tried to work hard in the National Youth League side and I was just fortunate enough to get the opportunity and it has been good.”
Mitchinson has benefitted greatly from Melbourne’s strong focus on youth which has seen teenagers David Vrankovic, Ben Garuccio, Stefan Mauk and Jeremy Walker handed their A-League debuts. “Davey, Benny, Stef, Jezza obviously have received game time so it’s good that the club promotes youth,” said 20-year old Mitchinson. “When Jezza and Redders (Andrew Redmayne) are playing well it gives you confidence and you all work together and it breeds confidence. Playing against Del Piero was a highlight for me and I think playing against Perth Glory my old team was definitely a highlight, especially because we beat them in the last minute.”
Not everything has gone according to plan for Mitchinson, who rates Sunday’s heart-breaking loss to Brisbane Roar as one of his season lowlights. “It was very disappointing on the weekend, obviously we go into every game trying to win and we haven’t been able to make finals, but I think we’ll go into the game hoping to win and get three points,” Mitchinson said. “We learn a lot from losing and when we go over the game, we see what we’ve done wrong, especially away from home when our performances aren’t the best, we can take that into the next game and work on it in training the next week."
SOCCEROOS SCRAPE A POINT FROM OMAN
Australia’s World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread following this evening’s 2-2 draw with Oman at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Oman, ranked 105th in the world, stunned the Socceroos with Abdul Aziz netting early, while disaster struck right after the break with Mile Jedinak turning into his own net. But a trademark Tim Cahill header soon after and a late Brett Holman missile spared the home team’s blushes. Australia remain second in their group on level points with Oman but seven points behind runaway leaders Japan, with only the top two teams securing an automatic berth to next year’s tournament in Brazil.
A square Socceroos defence was caught out after only 7 minutes by a harmless lofted ball which allowed Abdul Aziz to out-pace Michael Thwaite and from an acute angle poke through the legs of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. The 34,600-strong crowd may have been happy with Australia enjoying large chunks of possession, but sloppy passing and an inability to penetrate a well-organised Oman defence was cause for concern. The host’s best chances came via set pieces but Jedinak nodded across face of goal from a Luke Wilkshire free-kick. It wasn’t until late in the half that Al Habsi was called into action, the ‘keeper saving well from Holman.
Jedinak’s woeful night continued three minutes after the break, the defender deflecting a Raed Saleh shot past Schwarzer to put Oman two-nil up. Cahill cut the deficit within minutes by leaping highest to meet a superb Wilkshire corner which he steered into the top corner, well out of Al Habsi’s reach. With this Australia finally came to life. Al Habsi was forcing to move sharply in keeping out another Cahill header and not long after Wilkshire’s long-range strike hitting the bar after looping up off a defender. Just when it looked like Australia was out of ideas, substitute Tommy Oar released Holman whose shot from 25-metres flew past an unsighted ‘keeper.
GLORY VETERANS STRUCK DOWN BY INJURY
Injury to attack-minded pair Shane Smeltz and Travis Dodd is threatening to derail Perth Glory’s push towards the A-League play-offs. Glory kept their finals hopes alive with a dramatic 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory on the weekend, but will enter Saturday’s make-or-break home game with Adelaide United undermanned. Smeltz is unlikely to play after copping a high boot to the face while on international duty for New Zealand, while Dodd requires a knee construction after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Smeltz was injured while contesting a header late in the All Whites’ World Cup qualifier with New Caledonia. The 31-year old striker required 15 stitches to repair a gashed forehead after contact with an errant high boot from a New Caledonia defender. Edwards is resigned to being without his marquee man for the final round meeting with Adelaide, however, Smeltz is holding onto hope he will take to the field. “The surgeon has ruled him out,” Edwards said. “He wants to play but the fact is we’ve got to follow medical advice.”
Dodd, 33, was replaced late in the game with Melbourne after injuring his knee with scans yesterday revealing a torn ACL. “It looks like he’s going to be out for a very long time …he definitely needs to go under the knife,” Edwards commented. “It’s not good because he played exceptionally well on the weekend and he’s an important player for us, not only for this year but for next year. It’s a real disappointment because he's such a great clubman as well. He’s obviously devastated because it’s such a long-term injury.”
Edwards will also be minus creative midfielder Liam Miller this weekend due to suspension with young gun Chris Harold in doubt with a calf injury. But not all the news from the Glory camp is bad, captain Jacob Burns comes back in following suspension and defender Michael Thwaite returns from Socceroos duty. A win over Adelaide will guarantee Glory a top six place for the third time in four seasons, while a draw may be enough dependent upon the outcome of the Brisbane Roar-Sydney FC match on Thursday and Newcastle United’s clash with Western Sydney on Friday.
HAMMERS’ TOMBIDES DELIGHTED TO BE BACK
Dylan Tombides is thrilled to have pulled on a West Ham United shirt in last week’s friendly with Queens Park Rangers. The outing, Tombides’ first since making his senior debut last October, indicates the teenage striker has got his career back on course after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 2011. “It had been months since I last played when I made my first team debut against Wigan Athletic, so it was a great feeling to get back out there,” Tombides told whufc.com. “I was more interested in seeing how I would get on fitness-wise than how I performed, to be honest, and I was really pleased because I felt I could have lasted a lot longer.”
Tombides was deployed in an unfamiliar wide midfield role against QPR and, while he may not have had a sniff of goal during his 15-minute run out, the youngster was pleased to play a part in the 3-1 win. “I played wide on the left, which is a bit more of a defensive role than I’m used to, but it was great for my fitness so I’ve got no complaints,” he commented. “When I first got the ball, I tried to nutmeg someone on the edge of my own penalty area and lost the ball, so my first contribution wasn’t the best. Luckily, I got a few more opportunities to show what I could do.”
Although back on the park, Tombides is still undergoing treatment for cancer. “I train every day with the Development Squad or, when required, with the first-team squad, apart from Fridays, when I have two hours of treatment at the hospital,” he explained. “I have two hours of intravenous chemotherapy in total every week. I go into the hospital and have one bag of chemo that lasts one hour, then they take it off and clean out all the tubes. I then have a second bag that lasts half an hour, so it takes about two hours in total. It makes me feel terrible but it is something that I have got to do.”
Having returned to action against QPR, the former Stirling Lions junior is targeting more game time between now and the end of the current campaign. “I’m now in the final week of a 12-week training programme to get me ready to play again, so I am actually a week ahead of schedule,” commented Tombides, who joined West Ham in 2009 at the age of 15. “I have missed playing and everything else around it - the banter in the dressing room, getting nervous before kick-off, scoring and celebrating goals - so to get back on the pitch was brilliant. Now, I’m hoping to be available for every game, as long as I’m selected by the manager!”
LIVERPOOL’S JONES AIMING FOR 40
Liverpool shot-stopper Brad Jones plans to continue playing for almost another decade before hanging up his gloves. Jones, 31, is looking to follow in the footsteps of long-serving goalkeepers Mark Schwarzer and Brad Friedel by reaching the age of 40 while still playing at a high level. “There are plenty of ‘keepers about that are in and around that age and if you can do it, you’ve got to make the most of it because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Jones told Liverpoolfc.com. “You might as well play for as long as you can, so if I can get to 40 and still be playing then brilliant.”
Jones, who has made 14 appearances for Liverpool this season, admits he must do all he can to ensure he’s able to reach his 40th birthday while still playing professionally. “I’ve got a few years to catch up to the likes of Friedel, Schwarzer and the like (but) I don’t see why I can’t as long as I keep myself in shape and, touch wood, there are no injuries,” Jones commented. “If your body is in good shape, then you’ve got more chance of not being injured. As a goalkeeper, you’re taking a lot of knocks every day and the floor doesn’t get any softer! A lot of strength work and good luck is the key, I think.”
Next season will be Jones’ fifteenth in professional football. A junior with Bayswater City, he moved to England in 1998 to join Middlesbrough where he managed 74 appearances as second choice behind Schwarzer. “I had a long time at Middlesbrough and learnt a lot,” he reflects. “I had to wait for my chance, I had to be patient and was probably a bit of a late bloomer physically. I had to work at that and it probably wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I started to fill out a little bit. It’s good from a coaching point of view that they looked at me with that in mind.”
Jones made the switch to Anfield in the summer of 2010 and rates last season’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton as the highlight of his 19 appearances to date. “Playing-wise, I don’t think you can beat playing against Everton at Wembley – I just wish that had been the final, to be honest,” he said. “It was unbelievable and probably beats the Europa League semi-final with Middlesbrough, which was amazing. It was an unbelievable atmosphere, probably the best Middlesbrough has ever had, but playing at Wembley against Everton for Liverpool ... if it was the final, I probably would have retired!”
WE’VE GOT IT ALL TO PLAY FOR: EDWARDS
Perth Glory are 90 minutes away from a fairy tale transformation under Alistair Edwards. In the six weeks since Edwards took up the reins Glory has gone from A-League cellar-dwellers to finals contender, and a home victory over Adelaide United next weekend could secure the club a spot in the end of season play-offs. “We were rock-bottom when I came in, and now we’re still in there (finals contention),” said Edwards following yesterday’s last gaps win at Melbourne Victory. “We’ve got it all to play for next week against Adelaide. There’s a genuine belief – you can see that from some of the individual performances.”
RICHMAN SENDS ARMADALE TO THE TOP
Armadale surged to the top of the Premier Division following this evening’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. New signing Dannie Richman honoured his first outing for the Reds by grabbing a stoppage time winner after goals by Ravi Kuppusamy and Mark Peers were cancelled out by Jack Eades’ first half double. “It’s a great result, it was a good game, entertaining for the spectators and (we’re) happy to get three points,” said winning coach Lee Bamber, who isn’t about to get carried away by his teams’ undefeated start to the season. “If we’re going to be top of the league I’d rather it was in September, not in March.”
Cyril Sharrock provided the impetus for Armadale to go ahead on 19 minutes, the goalkeeper’s booming clearance flicked on by Louie Bake for Kuppusamy to race away and tuck past Dejan Aleksic. Four minutes later Kuppusamy threaded a pass into the path of Peers who made no mistake doubling the visitors’ advantage. Cockburn pulled one back via a hopeful ball over the top which caught Nathan Costello and Sharrock in two minds but not Eades, who punished his opponents’ indecision. Shortly after Paul Lloyd stole possession in midfield and out-paced the defence to cross for Eades to put the game back on level terms.
An entertaining second half had chances at both ends of the park with Armadale fashioning the better of those. Kuppusamy looked destined to put the visitors back in front after getting on the end of a Peers cut back but shot tamely and straight at Aleksic. It was a similar story later in the half with Peers crossing for Kuppusamy who, with the goal at his mercy, managed to head over the crossbar. 93 minutes were on the clock when Richman stole in between a couple of defenders to reach Mitch Castrilli’s through ball which the midfielder then finished into the net with style.
Scott Miller said post-game his players had learnt a valuable lesson about what it takes to be competitive in the top flight. “In Division One you can give chances up and get away with it – here you give chances up and they’re going to score,” the Cockburn coach commented to footballwest.com.au. “Every game is hard in the Premier League, we knew that coming in and it’s taken us a little bit longer to find our feet. There’s different ways to play football and Armadale know how they have to play to win games and they did it very well.” The loss leaves Cockburn as the competition’s only pointless side after two games.
RISDON KEEPS GLORY IN FINALS CONTENTION
Stirling Lions recovered from conceding early to run out 4-2 winners over ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus. It looked like being a good day for the home side after Tony Taylor and Andy Higgins put them two-up inside 20 minutes, however, quick goals from Gareth McGlynn and Dean Evans brought the sides level before Matt Harold and Rory Grant settled things after the turnaround. “I’m only happy when we’re competing all over the pitch and after the first 20 minutes we did that,” Stirling coach Doug Hesketh told footballwest.com.au. “Fair play to the boys, they brought it back through their own persistence and hard work and over the course of the game I felt we thoroughly deserved the win.”
The day got off to a terrific start for the home team, Taylor’s vicious shot through a crowded 18-yard box giving Aleks Vrteski no chance after only 3 minutes. That lead was doubled fifteen minutes later courtesy of a tidy exchange that Higgins finished by sliding past the advancing goalkeeper. Stirling then turned the game on its head with a couple of rapid fire goals, Grant teeing up McGlynn to curl inside the far post from 16-metres. McGlynn was provider two minutes later by squaring to Evans whose shot into the top corner had ‘keeper Andy Banks motionless. The hosts did get the ball in the net again just before the break but an offside flag discounted Higgins’ deflected effort.
Next it was Stirling’s turn to be denied a goal for offside with Scott Bulloch netting early in the second stanza. With the game in the balance, the teams traded attacks with Joondalup fashioning the better openings but unable to get the better of Vrteski. So it was against the run of play that Stirling went ahead on 62 minutes, Harrold going inside the 18-yard box after exchanging passes with Grant to apply an exquisite curling finish across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. The game was made safe in the 77th minute when Grant stooped at the far post to head in Arnold’s low, hard centre from the left.
Salv Todaro could not hide his disappointment after watching Joondalup side thrown away a two-goal cushion. “We started off like a house on fire and should have finished the half with at least a couple more goals. Stirling did well to bring it back to 2-2 before half-time (but) we had a claim for a couple of penalties and the disallowed goal was harsh,” he said. “Vrteski has made three or four great saves in the second half while, aside from their two goals, our keeper’s only touched it once. We need to expand on our passages of passing and high-pressure play, because when it comes off other teams can’t handle us.”
“PERSISTENCE AND HARD WORK” GET STIRLING THE WIN
Stirling Lions recovered from conceding early to run out 4-2 winners over ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus. It looked like being a good day for the home side after Tony Taylor and Andy Higgins put them two-up inside 20 minutes, however, quick goals from Gareth McGlynn and Dean Evans brought the sides level before Matt Harold and Rory Grant settled things after the turnaround. “I’m only happy when we’re competing all over the pitch and after the first 20 minutes we did that,” said Stirling coach Doug Hesketh. “Fair play to the boys, they brought it back through their own persistence and hard work and over the course of the game I felt we thoroughly deserved the win.”
The day got off to a terrific start for the home team, Taylor’s vicious shot through a crowded 18-yard box giving Aleks Vrteski no chance after only 3 minutes. That lead was doubled fifteen minutes later courtesy of a tidy exchange that Higgins finished by sliding past the advancing goalkeeper. Stirling then turned the game on its head with a couple of rapid fire goals, Grant teeing up McGlynn to curl inside the far post from 16-metres. McGlynn was provider two minutes later by squaring to Evans whose shot into the top corner had ‘keeper Andy Banks motionless. The hosts did get the ball in the net again just before the break but an offside flag discounted Tanner Selyer’s deflected effort.
Next it was Stirling’s turn to be denied a goal for offside with Scott Bulloch netting early in the second stanza. With the game in the balance, the teams traded attacks with Joondalup fashioning the better openings but unable to get the better of Vrteski. So it was against the run of play that Stirling went ahead on 62 minutes, Harrold going inside the 18-yard box after exchanging passes with Grant to apply an exquisite curling finish across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. The game was made safe in the 77th minute when Grant stooped at the far post to head in Arnold’s low, hard centre from the left.
Salv Todaro could not hide his disappointment after watching Joondalup side thrown away a two-goal cushion. “We started off like a house on fire and should have finished the half with at least a couple more goals. Stirling did well to bring it back to 2-2 before half-time (but) we had a claim for a couple of penalties and the disallowed goal was harsh,” he said. “Vrteski has made three or four great saves in the second half while, aside from their two goals, our keeper’s only touched it once. We need to expand on our passages of passing and high-pressure play, because when it comes off other teams can’t handle us.”
BAYSWATER ROLL ON
James Isaia continued Bayswater City’s perfect start to the new season by scoring late to secure a 2-1 win over Inglewood United in picturesque conditions at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Giron-Marulanda converted the opened goal from the penalty spot only for Greg Sharland to send the teams into the break on level terms. It looked as though that would be the end of the scoring when substitute Isaia popped up just minutes from the final whistle. “It was a bit frustrating at half-time, we thought we should have been a few goals up,” Bayswater midfielder Todd Howarth commented. “We played some good football and fought it out till the end to get the three points.”
A positive start by Inglewood was rewarded with an early shot on goal but Daniel Thomson’s effort was blocked by John Kearney. After that Bayswater slowly began to gain the ascendance, Giron-Marulanda striking against an upright before Luke Martino kept out efforts by Steve Burton and Howarth. A rare Inglewood attacking foray ended with Matt Danskin putting wide the following from a Sharland shot whch hit the crossbar. Bayswater finally got the goal they sought on 24 minutes with Giron-Marulanda tucking in from the penalty spot after Burton was felled by Rikki Smith. It took only Sharland only nine minutes to restore parity, the attacker’s shot from 18-metres having too much power on it for goalkeeper Gianni Papalia.
Martino single-handedly kept Inglewood in the game after the break, saving superbly from Brian Farrell and on the hour tipping over a long-range attempt by Larry Miller. Farrell was presented another opportunity soon after when found unmarked by Howarth, however, the attacker headed wide from 5-metres. All the momentum was with Bayswater as Inglewood battened down the hatches. Howarth was the provider again after 77 minutes by finding Burton but his header was brilliantly kept out by Martino. Four minutes later Howarth sent a free-kick into the underside of the bar and John Kearney’s follow-up shot was halted on the line. The host’s pressure eventually paid off with 83 minutes gone, Isaia finishing tidily past Martin after being picked put by man of the match Howarth.
While delighted to get the three points, Chris Coyne admitted post-game he was wondering where the deciding goal would come from. “I think someone put glad wrap over the goals, it was just one of those days. We could have had another four or five, but great credit goes to Inglewood who gave it everything, and their ‘keeper pulled off some superb saves,” said the winning coach. “I’ve told the boys when we do click and move the ball quickly, we’re going to give someone a walloping. Today we had to be patient and we got our rewards … I was delighted the football we played and even the players who came off the bench contributed.”
MCDONALD STRIKES AGAIN
A late goal by Steve McDonald has seen a ten-man Sorrento salvage a 1-1 draw from their home encounter with Balcatta. McDonald made it five goals in eight days by netting just minutes from the end to cancel out Mikey Aspin’s stunning strike midway through the second period, which came not long after Razack Geloo was issued his marching orders. “The result feels like a loss,” Balcatta coach Saul Contera told footballwest.com.au. “I feel we had the better part of that game and the majority of the chances, the boys put in a good shift today. I can’t ask for more in terms of effort, we just need to get a little bit of luck going our way.”
First half chances were few and far between on a typically breezy afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. The first opening came the way of visiting striker Ashley Rosindale who, after bring found inside the 18-yard box by Callum Roberts, rushed his shot and blazed wide. McDonald went close at the opposite end of the park but headed over the top after getting on the end of a Ryan Pearson cross. As half-time approached the game started to open up. Simon Versacio and Roberts were each denied in one-on-one situations by Curtis Aspden, while the hosts’ Gavin Knight flashed not too far wide from distance.
The tempo lifted for the second half which was ten minutes in when Geloo’s dangerous challenge on Rosindale drew a straight red card from referee Tim Mihevc. Rosindale stepped up to the spot but placed his penalty kick too close to Aspden. That miss was forgotten when Aspin seized upon a partially cleared corner and from 23-metres lashed into the bottom corner with 70 minutes on the clock. Balcatta went for the kill but Adam Tong headed into the upright after which Aspden saved from Rosindale and Versaico in quick succession. There was another goal in the game but it came at the other end, McDonald tucking the ball away at close-range following Tong’s challenge on McDonald.
BRITTAIN FORCES A POINT
Bunbury Forum Force picked up their first point of the season by stealing a 2-2 draw from Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. The only goal of an entertaining first half arrived via home captain Mark Pritchard and it looked to be ‘game over’ when Benny Kovadio doubled the difference just minutes into the second half. English import Chris Blackburn cut that deficit but it wasn’t until deep in stoppage time that Aaron Brittain restored parity. “We dug in today and proved that we are not the league’s whipping boys,” Bunbury coach Matt Lock told footballwest.com.au. “To go two-nil down against any team and come back is a major achievement.”
Floreat opened well to take a 17th minute lead courtesy of good lead-up work which allowed captain Pritchard to curl into the corner of Ryan Montgomery’s net from the edge of the 18-yard box. Montgomery remained in the thick of the action with a succession of saves to prevent Ian McMurray, Ludovic Boi and Matt Spurling from doubling the hosts’ advantage. But there was little the Bunbury custodian could do a minutes into the second half when Kovadio touched into the net after getting on the end of a booming Brad Eiffe clearance which caught flat the visiting defence.
Bunbury really didn’t get into gear until after the hour. Jon Brooks created some space for himself on the left to deliver into the area where Bobby Wilson turned the ball wide off the boot of Ryan Francis. The resulting corner was played by Brooks to the back post where Blackburn halved the deficit by heading past Eiffe. Bunbury were still playing chiefly the counterattack and through such a move Jamie Tandy crossed for substitute Ryan Stewart whose header was cleared off the line. The game had ticked into 93 minutes when Brittain bundled in the equaliser from Bright Ababio’s nod down to a Tandy cross.
Floreat coach Chris Barbas found it hard to contain his disappointment as the final whistle sounded. “This is a good time to give a few players a wake-up call,” said Barbas, suggesting there will be a few changes next time Floreat step out. “This is the second game in a row where we’ve made the goalkeeper look good because we couldn’t put the ball away. Every game is now a big game. The league has become so competitive, teams have recruited well and there are no easy games. We’ve got to be switched on for the whole 90 minutes and if we’re not, then we just keep putting pressure on ourselves.”
MICEVSKI SPELLS DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR NTC (with Kalon Harrison, Football West)
Perth SC scored their first win of the new season by downing the National Training Centre 4-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Daniel Micevski and David Micevski scored twice but coach Mauro Marchione clearly was not happy with his teams’ performance on the day. “The mentality is wrong, and we won’t go very far with this mentality,” said Marchione, who was disappointed with his teams’ fade-out after hitting their fourth goal early in the second period. “I expected a change from the team in the second half, but it didn’t happen, so I’m not happy. The only thing I’m happy with is the three points, that’s it.”
Daniel Micevski needed just 11 minutes to post the game’s first goal, the attacker slamming into the roof of the net after being played in by Kris Gate. The NTC responded twelve minutes later via Steve Sokol’s curling effort which was too good for goalkeeper Jason Saldaris. But the result was put beyond the youngsters reach leading into the break. On 37 minutes Gate played through for Daniel Micevski to convert at close-range, and shortly after David Micevski tapped in after Liam Boland’s shot came back off the post. David Micevski grabbed another a minute after the interval at which point Perth eased off the pace, allowing the NTC to control the remainder of the afternoon.
NTC coach John Gibson says his young side’s style of play will see them rise above the physical approach employed by opposing teams. “Getting done by what we like to call dumb stuff and cheat stuff ... that’s what’s going to assist us in getting in trouble most of the time,” he commented to footballwest.com.au. “We focus a lot on our processes and obviously we play a possession-based game. The boys, to be honest with you were just magnificent today. We understand we play a certain way, and if we don’t do certain things, which we call our rules, we are going to get done in transition and that’s what happened today because we are so expansive.”
footballwa.net wishes to make clear the comments published as part of the article ‘Premier Division Preview’ earlier today on this website, comments which have subsequently been removed, are not those held by footballwa.net nor the Inglewood United Soccer Club.
PREMIER DIVISION PREVIEW
Back-to-back wins is the reward for ECU Joondalup and Stirling Lions when they face off at the Edith Cowan University campus. “We played well last weekend and want to continue to embed and improve our structure and grow as team,” home coach Salv Todaro said. “I’ve not had the chance to watch Stirling this year but with Doug Hesketh as coach they will be well-drilled and full of confidence. As with all the teams this year, Stirling are full of very good players and we will need to be mindful of their ability to play good football.”
Assistant coach Gary Williams has every confidence Stirling can replicate the success they savoured last season in the north. “Joondalup is always a tough place to go, they make it very hard for you and up until our win last season our record there was terrible,” said Williams, reflecting on the 4-2 win of almost 12 months ago. “Our players will take confidence from last week (a 2-1 win over Cockburn City) and are really looking forward to the match.” Gareth McGlynn and Moses Kalou picked up minor injuries last week but each is expected to be fit come kick-off, however, Clayton Arnez remains absent.
Sorrento goalkeeper Curtis Aspden is well aware Balcatta will want to make a statement when the teams meet at Percy Doyle Reserve. “It should be a big game, we put a few goals past them in the Charity Shield and they’re coming off a bad result against Armadale so I’m expecting a reaction,” said Aspden, whose team came through the opening round relatively unscathed. “We’ve got no injuries although Macca’s (Steve McDonald’s) ego is very swollen from the four goals he got.” Todd Harnwell is likely to be Sorrento’s only absence, however, defender Daryl Platten has put his hand up for a spot in the line-up.
Armadale welcomes Andy Todd and Dannie Richman into the squad for their night clash with Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park (7.00pm). “Cockburn had a good Night Series and will be looking to get points on the board, they are well-organised so Saturday will be a great game,” said Reds goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock, whose team trumped Balcatta by four goals last time out. “The boys worked hard and pressed all game, and that meant Balcatta found it hard to get in any kind of rhythm.” Cockburn will be sweating on the fitness of midfielder Marc Anthony.
Perth SC are expected to collect their first win of the campaign when they host the National Training Centre in Saturday’s other fixture. The following afternoon has Floreat Athena on home soil to Bunbury Forum Force, whose coach Matt Lock will be looking for a bit of spark following a lacklustre performance on game day one. But with Ludovic Boi, Cisco Jorquera and one-time Wales youth international Mark Pritchard on patrol in the middle of the park it’s the hosts who are tipped to take out the points. All games start at 3.00pm unless stated otherwise.
SELYER OFF THE MARK
Young striker Tanner Selyer could not happier about opening his account on day one of the new Premier Division season. New Zealand-born Selyer struck the opening goal in the weekend’s win at Bunbury Forum Force and is adamant that, with a little more luck, the two-goal margin would have been greater. “I was happy to start the season with a goal, and most important we won our opening game which is really important,” said Selyer. “We scored a couple of goals early and should have added some more, but the three points made the long trip well worth it.”
Selyer, 20, says the key to Joondalup’s success in Bunbury was preparation. “We’ve a number of new faces so it was great to get down to Bunbury as a team and focus on Saturday’s game together,” explained Selyer, who had been impressed by the way coach Salv Todaro has set up the team. “Salv organised us to all go down as a team on Friday afternoon and it paid off. He’s really well prepared for every game we play and if we go out and play to the best of our ability, we shouldn’t fear anyone this season.”
Todaro has been delighted with Selyer’s early form and is confident he can carry it across the season. “Tanner is settling in well at the club. He is an integral part of what we are trying to achieve and is learning and improving all the time,” Todaro commented. “He’s a quite lad off the field, but he lets his football do the talking. I’m looking forward to seeing him pit his skills against the Premier League defenders, he’s strong and quick with a good eye for goal and I’m sure he will cause a few sleepless nights for some of them.”
Selyer played for Waitakere City before heading to Australia in 2010. After a brief stay in Brisbane he headed west and one night lobbed up on Joondalup’s doorstep. “I just wanted to play football and the closest club to my home in WA was Joondalup … I turned up looking for a game and the rest is history,” said Selyer, who put away nine goals in last year’s injury interrupted State League debut. “They have really made me welcome and I hope to re-pay their faith in me and help them to the finals this season.”
Joondalup’s next assignment has them on home soil to Stirling Lions. “It’s an interesting game on Saturday as they have some quality players, with the likes of Dean Evans, Scott Bulloch and Aleks Vrteski in the squad,” said Selyer, who recalls Stirling taking home all three points from their last visit to Joondalup. “We were beaten last time we played here but the lads have told me they have a good record against Stirling over the years. We’ll be out to continue that on Saturday – and hopefully I can score a couple.”
GLORY HAND OVER TO EDWARDS
Alistair Edwards’ desire to return Perth Glory to the pinnacle of Australian football has been rewarded with a three-year contract. Edwards, who played 93 games for Glory, becomes only the second West Australian after Gary Marocchi to be handed the coaching reins in the clubs 16-year history. “The first thing I would like to say it’s a huge privilege and honour to be given the opportunity to manage this great club,” Edwards said. “I am very happy with the future direction of the club and there is a really strong, vision and philosophy for the next three to five years.”
Edwards made it clear one his priorities is to give young, local players a pathway to the national league stage. “There are far too many players that have left the State over the last three to five years,” he commented. “What we want to do, is to provide an opportunity and a platform for players from within this State, so the fans can be excited. We have got some great experienced players in the club, that we will always have, but there needs to be a viable pathway for our young, developing players so that our WA public can identify with WA players.”
Glory deputy chairman Lui Giuliani said once Edwards was the automatic selection for the role once he signalled his desire to stay on at Glory. “Alistair’s clear football philosophy and direction is perfectly aligned to the club’s long term plan. This is a plan to build sustained success over a long period of time and providing a development pathway for young West Australian players,” Giuliani said. “We firmly believe that Edward’s appointment represents not only the appointment of a head coach but a new direction that will lead to a healthy and exciting future for Perth Glory and Western Australian football.”
BALCATTA’S TARGET IS FINALS SAYS ROSINDALE
Striker Ashley Rosindale has warned against reading too much into Balcatta’s opening round capitulation at Armadale. Balcatta had very few reasons to smile after copping a 5-1 hiding from Armadale on day one of the new league campaign but Rosindale, who bagged his teams’ solitary goal from the penalty spot, says there was little real cause for concern. “We’re currently a work in progress and will get stronger as the season develops,” Rosindale commented. “As a club we have set ourselves the target of a top five finish and to carry some momentum into the finals where anything can happen in one-off games.”
The focus at Balcatta is very much on bedding down the new season squad and getting the player group to function as a cohesive unit. “Half the squad is made up of new players – there were seven league debuts for Balcatta on the weekend – and it’s going to take time for us to gel,” Rosindale explained. “We have made some great defensive signings bringing in an experienced goalkeeper in Alex Dunn, and a couple of fullbacks who I rate as the best in the league in Mikey Aspin and Adam Bachellor as well as defensive midfielder Baju Savic, who brings in a wealth of experience and leadership.”
A four-goal loss is hard to swallow at the best of times but it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Balcatta. “Our performance wasn’t good enough, no one is disputing that,” said Rosindale. “However, in hindsight we can take some positives. We came out for the second half 2-1 down and were the better team until an error cost us a goal. From there it spiralled out of control with a sending off (of Ben Say) and giving away two penalties … we can’t gift goals to the other teams, we have to become more difficult to breakdown, more disciplined and work harder as a unit.”
Balcatta head north to Sorrento this weekend determined to kick-start their season. “We have to bounce back and show a reaction,” said Rosindale, who missed Balcatta’s Charity Shield loss to the Gulls a fortnight ago. “Sorrento are an organised, physical, direct team who are difficult to play against. We have to match these aspects and keep possession of the ball when we get it, and take our chances when they arrive. Everyone has to focus on their responsibility of doing their own job to the best of their ability and working hard for the team.” Balcatta and Sorrento locked horns from 3.00pm on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
TOMBIDES MAKES WEST HAM RETURN
Teenager Dylan Tombides has got his career back on course with his first outing for West Ham United in six months. Although still undergoing treatment for cancer, Tombides gained a late appearance off the bench in yesterday’s 3-1 reserve team win over Queens Park Rangers. “It was a great feeling having been out for so long since my debut,” said 19-year old Tombides, who made his first team debut against Wigan Athletic last September. Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer while on international duty with Australia at the Under-17 Youth World Cup in 2011. Cleared of the disease last June, he returned to full training but manager Sam Allardyce has refused to risk him this season.
DEFENSIVE CONCERN FOR GLORY
The absence of Michael Thwaite and Jacob Burns means Perth Glory will take a makeshift central defensive paring into this weekend’s game at Melbourne Victory. Thwaite has been called into camp with the Socceroos ahead of next week’s World Cup qualifier against Oman, while Burns is suspended for the second time this campaign for an accumulation of yellow cards. Burns partnered Thwaite at centre-back on the weekend in place of the injured Steve Pantelidis, who faces a race against time to recover from a bruised heel in time Saturday’s game.
Local product Jack Clisby and veteran defender Dean Heffernan will be in contention for a return to the starting line-up after being omitted last time out. “Clisby has done really well since he made his debut this year and there’s no problems with him playing,” left-back Scott Jamieson said. “But Thwaitey’s a massive loss because he is a key figure at the back for us with a lot of experience. He just brings a calming effect to us.” Glory are three points behind the sixth-placed Newcastle with two games to play, and a draw in Melbourne may prove fatal to their play-off hopes.
JACKETT APPRECIATES LOWRY’S TALENT
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett praised Shane Lowry for the Gareth Bale-style free-kick that clinched a 2-0 victory over London rivals Charlton on the weekend. Jermaine Easter marked his first Lions game by scoring with his first touch before Lowry beat goalkeeper David Button from 30-metres out. “I can’t say he’s been practising that but he showed fantastic confidence,” Jackett said. “It was a fantastic free-kick - the ‘keeper had no chance. If I sit here and compare Shane to Gareth Bale people would have a field day but it’s one thing doing it on the training ground and (something else) taking one in front of a crowd.” The win lifts Millwall, who last week qualified for the FA Cup semi-finals, to 14th in England’s second tier.
EDWARDS POSITIVE DESPITE DISAPPOINTING LOSS
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards remains upbeat about his side’s chances of claiming a finals spot despite going down to Wellington Phoenix yesterday. The teams in purple fashioned by far the better opportunities but were undone twice at the back as Jeremy Brockie and Stein Huysegems netted for the visitors. “Obviously a bit disappointed that we didn’t get the three points because we would have been in the six,” said Edwards, who felt Glory deserved to get something out of the game. “We’ve started a process so we’re starting to play a brand of football and the players are doing it quite well.”
Glory’s next assignment brings them up against a Melbourne Victory outfit which will be missing Archie Thompson, Marco Rojas and Mark Milligan due to international commitments. Even so, Edwards disagrees with suggestions that it’s a good time to play Ange Postecoglou’s side. “Victory are a very, very good team, well coached and well drilled so it’s going to be another massive challenge for us,” Edwards said. “Not having those three players in the team helps a little bit but they’ve got a really good squad and, like I said, are well coached and have some really good young players coming in so it's going to be a tough one.”
BAYSWATER REVIVAL CATCHES PERTH FLAT
Two goals in the closing stages have seen Bayswater City take out the points 2-1 from this afternoon’s derby with Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. A Daniel Micevski goal midway through the first half looked like deciding the game before Gustavo Giron-Marulanda and Brian Farrell netted in quick succession to give the away team a deserved victory. “I’m happy with the result but I won’t accept the first half performance. Everything we wanted to work on in the game, we didn’t get,” commented Bayswater coach Chris Coyne. “Then in the second half you see what this team is all about and we could have had another two or three, so obviously that’s pleasing. But I won’t tolerate luxury players or passengers.”
Perth settled into the game quickly and through tidy movement of the ball began asserting some pressure on the visiting backline. Adam Luca appeared destined to open the hosts’ account from a dead ball when Gianni Papalia tipped it away from the top corner. Perth’s increased possession was rewarded in the 20th minute when David Micevski’s powerful shot from 17-metres was blocked by Papalia and in a flash Daniel Micevski volleyed in the loose ball. Bayswater almost had an immediate response but Paul McCarthy placed straight at Jason Saldaris after being found unmarked by Damien Catalano. Liam Boland went close to extending Perth’s lead with a back post header which forced a sharp response from Papalia.
Bayswater seized control after the turnaround as Perth resorted to hitting on the counterattack. And it was through such a move that Kris Gate was sent clear one-on-one with Papalia, who deflected the shot out for a corner. At the opposite end Farrell was denied an equaliser when his shot cannoned back off the post. However, Bayswater were now running hot and on 71 minutes Catalano whipped in a cross from the right which Giron-Maralunda headed beyond Saldaris. The outcome was decided six minutes later when McCarthy’s incisive ball released Farrell who chipped the advancing ‘keeper, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. Giron-Maralunda was presented a chance to add another late on but Saldaris smothered courageously at his opponents’ feet.
WELLINGTON PUNISH WASTEFUL GLORY
Perth Glory’s finals chances are hanging by a thread after today’s shock 2-1 loss to A-League cellar dwellers Wellington Phoenix at Perth Oval. Goals to Paul Ifill and Stein Huysegems condemned Glory to just their second loss under caretaker coach Alistair Edwards and robbed the home side of fifth spot on the ladder. “The other results this weekend went our way but we couldn’t capitalise on the fact we had a chance to get into the six, which is disappointing,” Edwards said. Glory must take maximum points from their last two games of the regular season – Melbourne Victory (away) and Adelaide United (home) – if they are to leapfrog sixth-placed Newcastle Jets and sneak into the playoff series.
A disjointed start to the game saw the ball turned over with regularity and neither team looking particularly dangerous when going forward. Glory started to assert some pressure but Ryo Nagai’s curling shot was straight at goalkeeper Glen Moss, who on the half hour had to be on his toes just to push away Matias Cordoba fierce drive. The opening goal came after 35 minutes when Jeremy Brockie’s angled strike deflected off Danny Vukovic and Ifill was on hand to tuck in the rebound. Unperturbed, Glory continue at attack but Moss moved smartly to keep out Shane Smeltz’s drive. And moments later the visiting ‘keeper had his palms stung by Liam Miller’s strike from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Glory came out from the break determined to draw level, however, some last ditch defending by Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund prevented Smeltz from getting clear sight of goal. Wellington struck for a second time in the 67th minute when Brockie whipped in a teasing cross which Huysegems headed powerfully past Vukovic. The lead could have been further increased but Vukovic did well to get a hand to an Ifill effort, while Durante headed high from a corner. Glory got themselves back in the game after 75 minutes when Nagai rose well to head Steven McGarry’s cross over Moss and into the net. Substitute Travis Dodd almost snatched a dramatic stoppage time equaliser but Moss used his feet to keep out the shot.
ARMADALE OFF TO A FLYING START
Andy Todd may not have taken to the field but the veteran defender’s influence was all over Armadale’s 5-1 home thrashing of Balcatta. Reds coach Lee Bamber said the arrival of Todd, who is awaiting his international clearance, was a major factor in his teams’ performance which was highlighted by two goals from each Jack Salter and Ravi Kuppusamy plus another by Darren Francis. “Just having him around (made the team) look like they matured ten years. He is a massive asset for the club, his experience is just invaluable,” commented Bamber. “We’re not going to get carried away but it’s a fantastic start.”
The opening passages were scattered with half-chances as the two sets of players sounded each other out. The deadlock was eventually broken on the half hour when Kuppusamy played through for Mark Peers whose cutback from the by-line was slotted in by Salter. Kuppusamy doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 42nd minute by finishing into the bottom corner after Salter pressured Adam Bachiller into a poor defensive pass. Balcatta hit back a minute later with Ashley Rosindale converting a penalty awarded for Sam Loveless’ push on Chris Thackray just inside the 18-yard box.
Armadale strengthened their hold over the game nine minutes into the second half, Mark Peers racing past the defence to get on the end of a through ball before delivering an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Salter, who picked his spot in Alex Dunn’s net. Any hopes Balcatta had of a comeback evaporated with the red carding of Ben Say for kicking out at an opponent, and with the resultant penalty Kuppusamy made it four-one. Bajo Savic was pulled for his 81st minute shirt pull on Salter which prompted the referee to award Armadale a second penalty, and while Dunn blocked Salter’s spot kick he was unable to keep out Francis’ follow-up.
EARLY DOUBLE GETS JOONDALUP THE POINTS (with Lincoln Bertelli, Football West)
Bunbury Forum Force coach Matt Lock was scathing of his teams’ performance in today’s 2-0 home loss to ECU Joondalup. Tanner Selyer and Tommy Amphlett struck inside the opening ten minutes to pave the way for an away team victory against an opponent which rarely looked like pulling a goal back. “There’s no hiding that in the final third we need to create more, and if you don’t keep a clean sheet you always make the job more difficult,” Lock said post-game. “There’s probably only two or three players who can hold their heads high. The young players did a job for us, so when I sit down with the team manager (Matt Holland) there will be positives hidden in there.”
The game started positively enough for the home side with Aaron Brittain heading beyond goalkeeper Andy Banks after 4 minutes, however, a raised flag for offside meant it counted for nothing. Selyer rubbed salt into the wound two minutes later with a close-range tap in after Ryan Montgomery blocked his initial shot on goal. Andy Higgins was inspired and soon after unleashed a vicious strike from 26-metres which cannoned down off the crossbar but didn’t cross the line. With 10 minutes on the clock Amphlett embarked on a mazy run which took him inside the 18-yard box before angling into the far corner for a two-nil lead. After that genuine chances on goal pretty much dried up with both teams guilty of not making more of their possession.
STIRLING HOLD OUT TO STRONG-FINISHING COCKBURN
Stirling Lions opened the new season with a hard-fought 2-1 win over newly promoted Cockburn City on a warm afternoon at Macedonia Park. A smart finish by Anthony Lyons had the home side in front at the break and when Scott Bulloch doubled their lead just after the restart it appeared the result was safe. But Cockburn had other ideas as substitute Nick Carroll cut the deficit midway through the second period to set up a tense finish. “It’s a good start to the season and to get on the score sheet too is pleasing,” Scott Bulloch said. “We sat back a little bit in the second half when we went two-nil up. They came back into the game, and we nearly paid for it in the end.”
Much of the early play was in favour of the home team who would have gone in front had Phil Arnold angled his header from a Gareth McGlynn cross a little further away from goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. Cockburn responded with their best opening of the first half, Paul Lloyd cutting in from the left and going past Mathew Harold only for his low shot to be taken by Aleks Vrteski. It didn’t take long for Stirling to regain control, McGlynn again the architect with a quick free-kick to release Bulloch whose low strike from 16-metres was saved by Aleksic. Their persistence paid off on 32 minutes when Dean Evans played wide to the left from where Moses Kalou’s centring ball was fired in at close-range by Lyons.
Stirling could not have wished for a better start to the second half, Bulloch keeping his composure to beat Aleksic from 6-metres after meeting Evans’ superb ball out of midfield. And they almost had another on the hour with Harold releasing Lyons only to be thwarted by Aleksic. The difference was halved on 68 minutes when Stirling failed to deal with an in-swinging Lloyd corner which Carroll headed in from close-range. With this the pace quickened. Rory Grant had two shots blocked in quick succession before Euan Grant netted only to have it disallowed for offside. Cockburn were again denied an equaliser in stoppage time when Carroll’s shot on the turn beat Vrteski as the assistant referee flagged for offside.
SUPER-SUB DANSKIN GRABS INGLEWOOD A SHARE (with Ilija Mihalj, Football West)
Matt Danskin came off the bench to earn Inglewood United a 1-1 draw from this afternoon’s opening round Premier Division encounter with Floreat Athena at Intiga Stadium. Floreat went ahead early in the second half via new signing Ian McMurray only to have Danskin bring the team level just a minute after entering the action. “It was a fair result. Floreat had a few chances early and we managed to repel them but I thought for the most part of the second half we controlled the game,” said Inglewood coach Graham Normanton. “We showed how good we could be, but we now need to do that for a major part of the game and not just a small part of it.”
Floreat stamped their authority across the opening exchanges with Ludovic Boi unleashing the first in anger the wrong side of the near post after 4 minutes. Shortly after Boi forced a brilliant save from home custodian Luke Martino, who later was again at his best in keeping out a Benny Kovadio shot. It took until the quarter hour for Inglewood to must their first chance on goal, a long-range Ryan Clarke effort which strike failed to trouble Brad Eiffe. Floreat should have been awarded a penalty after 24 minutes but referee Paul Anderson waved for play to continue after Jason Colli handled the ball. Greg Sharland wasted a golden opportunity just before the break by volleying high at close-range after meeting the follow-up from a Clarke shot which Eiffe parried.
The second half commenced with Floreat again on the attack in search of the breakthrough. Their positive approach paid off in the 54th minute when Boi and Kavadio combined to set-up McMurray, who made no mistake with the tap-in. Spurred back in to action, Inglewood heaped pressure on their opponent’s defences which stood firm to every challenge. That was until the 76th minute when Danskin ghosted in at the back post to head past Eiffe from a superb cross from the right by Clarke. The home side continued to press and on 85 minutes Daniel Thomson’s low drive brought a smart reaction from Eiffe. Floreat captain Mark Pritchard also went close to snatching victory with a low strike which Martino turned away with his boot.
MCDONALD SHINES AS SORRENTO HIT SEVEN (with Ryan Platten, Football West)
State League champions Sorrento sounded an ominous warning to their rivals in the form of a 7-0 demolition of the National Training Centre at Percy Doyle Reserve. Steve McDonald led the way with four goals off the bench on after afternoon David Price, Gavin Knight and Craig Robson also found the back of the net. McDonald, who replaced the injured Todd Harnwell after 20 minutes, downplayed his contribution to issue a word of warning to opposition teams. “Never count us out,” McDonald warned. “It doesn’t matter who we’ve got in the team, we’ll keep fighting to the end. You’re not going to get an easy game against us.”
Sorrento were out of the blocks fast with Price opening their account just after the quarter hour. McDonald entered the action after 20 minutes and with is first touch doubled the home teams lead. Knight punished a wayward pass from Ali Gholami but tucking away goal number in the 24th minute. Sorrento had to wait until the 58th minute for their next, a Robson header from a corner. Five minutes later an unmarked McDonald stroked low into the corner of the net from the edge of the 18-yard box. McDonald completed his hat-trick by tapping in a Knight cross, then close to the final whistle lobbed over on-coming goalkeeper Ryan Barker for Sorrento’s seventh of the afternoon.
NTC coach John Gibson was unconcerned with the seven-goal scoreline, saying it was the way his team played that was more important. “For us it’s all about the process,” Gibson said. “It’s great to see our boys trying to stick to what we’re trying to do, and now they’ve seen what they are up against. We had five players away today with the Australian under-20s team, so some of our younger boys had to step up and they did well. Fair play to Sorrento, they recognise what we are trying to do, and they played (that physical style) to try and combat that.”
EDWARDS PREPARED TO WALK
Caretaker coach Alistair Edwards has confirmed his Perth Glory future hinges on the clubs’ willingness to commit to a three-year plan that will re-establish them at the top of Australian football’s pecking order. Edwards, 44, says replicating the great success Glory enjoyed during the latter stages of the National Soccer League is possible, providing the club is behind him. “There is so much potential with this club,” Edwards told sportal.com.au. “We are the benchmark club in the competition, we always have been. The A-League modelled everything on what Glory used to be when it started up and the plan we’ve got in place is to bring that back to Perth Glory. It’s up to us now to make sure that it’s a unanimous plan.”
Edwards, who sought leave from his dual Football Federation Australia role as technical director and coach of the national under-17 team to take up the Glory post on a temporary basis, believes the foundations are already in place for success. “I’ve looked at the plan that has been with the club since 2011, but there’s no point having a plan if it just sits in a cupboard and gathers dust,” he commented. “It’s a three-year plan and it’s a very good plan by the way. My whole focus is to make sure that everyone is fully behind it and that we can all move forward together, because it needs to be resourced properly and it needs to be communicated properly.”
Edwards made clear he won’t be staying with Glory if the commitment he’s seeking is not forthcoming. “If the club is moving forward in a certain way, everyone has to be on board and that’s been my focus for the last month,” he said. “If it doesn’t get sorted, there’s no way I’ll be leaving my role with FFA and even then, it all depends. I’m a coach, not a cleaner. I’m not here to clean some dust off a cupboard. I’m here to try and make sure that we have a sustainable plan moving forward and for that to happen, we need everyone to buy in, from the players to the fans, to the hierarchy and if that happens, who knows?”
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL, THE 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The 2013 Premier Division season is sure to be a cracker, with a revamped Perth SC and defending champions Sorrento predicted to lead the charge. However, it would take a brave man to write off Balcatta, Night Series winners Bayswater City or newly promoted Cockburn City. The battle at the other end of the table will be just as hard-fought with Bunbury Forum Force, Armadale and ECU Joondalup amongst the early candidates for relegation.
The Top Five finals series, which kicks in upon the conclusion of home and away series, will once again determine who is crowned State Champions at the start of October. footballwa.net’s newest recruit Anthony Harris takes a close look at the twelve clubs – in alphabetic order – making an assessment of each teams strengths and weakness, and summarising all the off-season player movements. The footballwa.net team then offer up their thoughts on how season 2013 will pan out...
THE SEASON STARTS NOW!
What better way to start the 2013 Premier Division season than with a Sunday blockbuster between Bayswater City and Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens (3.00pm). It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between these traditional rivals and a number of swaps between the clubs over the summer will no doubt add a little extra spice to the mix. “I’m pumped to finally get out there and play some football for points, and having it against Bayswater just adds to my excitement,” commented Perth signing Luka Njegich. “We have a very young, skilful team and still have a lot to learn, but three points would make a lovely start.”
Bayswater recruit Todd Howarth may have been struggling with illness this week but the midfielder is backing himself to turn out against his former club. “I have a lot of friends down at Perth and it will be great to see them all again,” he said. “It’s a massive game for us and our fans. There are quite a few players involved who have been at both clubs at some stage in their careers and there’s obviously a huge rivalry between us, so hopefully the game lives up to expectations.” Suspension will prevent Steve Burton from taking to the field while Andy Reale will also be watching from the sidelines.
The season commences on Saturday afternoon when ECU Joondalup makes the long trip south to play Bunbury Forum Force. It’s shaping to be a long and difficult winter for both clubs so three points here could prove crucial in the final mix. “We’ve had a good pre-season and have got better with each game we have played,” said Joondalup custodian Andy Banks. “The lads are looking forward to the trip to Bunbury and can’t wait to get the season started. We’ve added a number of players to the squad and they have settled in well, there’s some good competition for places which bodes well for coming season.”
Floreat Athena’s first outing of the season has them away to Inglewood United, whose ranks have been bolstered considerably in recent months. “It will be a tough game as Inglewood has added some quality to an already decent squad,” said Floreat custodian Brad Eiffe. “If we stick to our game plan and play to our strengths we are confident we can come away with three points.” A cloud of doubt over striker David Heagney could open the door for new signing Ian McMurray to make his Floreat debut, while opposition coach Graham Normanton’s biggest dilemma is who to leave out.
Stirling Lions intend reversing the 3-0 pre-season loss they suffered at the hands of Cockburn City. “It’s going to be a really tough game as Cockburn is a well-organised team under Scott Miller,” commented Dean Evans, who is back with Stirling after a stint in Hong Kong. “We played some good football in pre-season but we know the hard work starts now. Our boys are up for it and hopefully we can come away with a positive result. We have a lot of depth in the squad so if everyone stays fit we will have a successful season.”
Veteran English defender Andy Todd is expected to make his first appearance for Armadale when Balcatta drops in at Alfred Skeet Oval. Visiting coach Saul Contera is sweating on the fitness of attackers Callum Roberts and Simon Versaico whereas Julian Madaschi and Shaun Gibbons will definitely missing from his line-up. Reining State League champions Sorrento will be minus Jason Mirco and Daryl Platten when their title defence commences on home soil to the National Training Centre. All five Saturday games kick-off at 3.00pm – get out there and support local football!
EX-BLACKBURN CAPTAIN TODD JOINS ARMADALE
Armadale have pulled off one of the coups of the season by signing former Blackburn Rovers captain Andy Todd. A veteran with in excess of 400 games experience in England and Australia, 38-year old Todd put pen to paper during the week and will line-up for his new club in Saturday’s opening round Premier Division clash with Balcatta at Alfred Skeet Oval. “It is a huge coup for the club and the league, and obviously lifts the profile of our club,” Armadale coach Lee Bamber said. “Andy brings a wealth of experience, which we felt we lacked last year as we have a very young squad. He’s also a player that understands what is needed at certain times in the game.”
The opportunity for Todd to join Armadale for the 2013 State League season came about through the defender’s friendship with Bamber. “We’d kept in touch following our time at Perth Glory and he’d expressed his desire to move back to Perth and to get involved in coaching,” explained Bamber, who was goalkeeper coach at Glory when Todd played for the club between 2009 and 2011. “We had a position within the club that we felt would suit him and if he was fit he might be able to enhance our playing squad. It also makes a statement of our intent to be more proactive in moving the club forward and dismissing some of the stigma perceived by others who are not associated with the club.”
Todd started out as a trainee with Middlesbrough, where he earned a first team debut at the age of 18. He joined Bolton Wanderers in mid-1995 and across four and a half seasons made over 100 appearances, helping the club to the 1996/97 Division One championship. A switch to Charlton Athletic saw Todd collect a second Division One champions medal, this one in 1999/2000, and made a further 51 appearances. By mid-2002 he was on the move again, this to Blackburn where over the course of five seasons he played 113 times. Along the way Todd was twice voted the clubs’ player of the year and between 2004 and 2006 wore the captain’s armband, including in European competition.
The next port of call for Todd was Derby County, however, not all went according to plan and after making only scattered appearances across two campaigns he was released. In search of a fresh challenge, he signed on with Glory for the 2009/10 summer. Todd was an instant success in Perth, winning the Most Glorious Player and Player's Player of the Year awards at the end of his first season and gaining a total of 41 outings. On returning to England he turned out for Oldham Athletic and Hereford United before hanging up his playing boots. In total Todd played 404 games in a 19-year professional career, the majority of which was spent in the top two tiers of English football.
FLOREAT “WILL BE UP THERE AGAIN” SAYS PRITCHARD
Floreat Athena will enter the new season all the better for last years’ Grand Final loss according to captain Mark Pritchard. The Welsh midfielder was voted best on ground in the 2012 season decider but that meant little in light of his teams’ extra-time defeat at the hands of Sorrento. On the eve of the new season Pritchard says Floreat will build on the experiences of last seasons’ as they attempt to go one step further. “We were a new and very young side, and had to gel very quickly,” he said. “This year we will build on that (and) I’m optimistic we will be up there again.”
There were plenty of positives to come from Floreat’s pre-season. They finished on top of their Night Series group by hitting 20 goals in just three games, six of which came against Premier Division rivals ECU Joondalup, only to be tipped out of the tournament by Bayswater City in a penalty shoot-out. “We performed well in the Night Series but were unlucky against Bayswater,” said Pritchard. “We had a few young lads involved and they performed brilliantly in their first big game of that type. To lose on penalties was sickening but we held our own in the game and probably edged it against the eventual winners.”
Pritchard expects his third Premier Division campaign to be a closely run affair. “There are a few clubs who will be competing for the title this season, including us,” he said. “Inglewood has added experience to a quality, young side and they will be up there. Sorrento again, defending their title, and Balcatta has brought in some quality players. But Bayswater are the one to watch, they have added some big names to an already quality squad … on paper they look like the team to beat.” The opening round of the season has Floreat on the road to Inglewood this Saturday afternoon, kick-off at 3.00pm.
LOWRY ECSTATIC ABOUT REACHING WEMBLEY
Shane Lowry is on course for a date at Wembley Stadium following Millwall’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat of Blackburn Rovers. Danny Shittu grabbed the solitary goal in the overnight game at Ewood Park where Millwall turned in a “a great all-round performance” according to Lowry. “Unbelievable – we’re through to Wembley. We’re just buzzing for the club and the fans,” the defender told BBC Sport. “I cleared one off the line that was going in, that’s why I’m there, but it was a great all-round performance and to get through to Wembley, I’m just ecstatic.” Millwall will take on Wigan Athletic, who ousted Everton on the weekend, in next month’s FA Cup semi-finals.
SOCCEROOS NAMED FOR CRUCIAL QUALIFIER AGAINST OMAN
Dino Djulbic and Rhys Williams have been selected in Holger Osieck’s 23-player Socceroos squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Oman. The game is a must-win for Australia who sit second in Group B but a massive eight points behind runaway leader Japan, who have played one game more. Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will captain the side in the absence of Lucas Neill, who was ruled out by suspension, while another long-time Socceroo in Brett Emerton was omitted. For Djulbic it’s his second call-up after debuting in the East Asian Cup qualifiers late last year, while Williams selection comes on the back of a string standout performances for Middlesbrough.
The Australia squad to play Oman on 26 March is Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Alex Brosque (Al-Ain Club), Dino Djulbic (Al Wahda Club), Brett Holman (Aston Villa), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Jade North (Brisbane Roar), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Mathew Ryan (Central Coast Mariners), Matt McKay (Changchun Yatai), Robert Cornthwaite (Chunnam Dragons), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham),
Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan FC), Tommy Oar and Michael Zullo (Utrecht).
EDWARDS TO PRESENT HIS VISION FOR GLORY
Caretaker coach Alistair Edwards is yet to be convinced a permanent role at Perth Glory is the right move for him. Edwards, who played 93 games for Glory between 1998 and 2004, is currently employed by Football Federation Australia as assistant technical director and head coach of the national under-17 team. He was granted leave from those roles to fill in at Glory last month but before deciding whether to make the more permanent the former Socceroo needs to know he had the full support of the Glory hierarchy. Edwards took over with Glory last on the table but his four-game tenure has yielded three wins to push the club to the verge of a finals appearance.
It is understood Edwards will present his vision for Glory to the board this week. His three to five-year plan includes a number of ‘non- negotiable’ elements relating to the running of the football department. If convinced he would have the freedom to run things his way, Edwards would likely sign his first A-League coaching contract. Glory owner Tony Sage flagged a “worldwide search” for a new coach last month but many believe Edwards is the man to take the club forward with a focus on local talent pathways and youth development. He has already signed three young locals – Daniel De Silva, Riley Woodcock and Matthew Davies – on two-year contracts.
INJURY FORCES HERD OUT FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY
Chris Herd will miss Aston Villa’s battle to stay in the English Premier League after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a foot injury. The 23-year old utility player has not played since fracturing his foot at training in late December and, with surgery now required to correct the problem, he will watch from the sidelines for both club and country. “It’s pretty disappointing,” said Herd. “I was looking forward to playing a part in trying to help us stay in the Premier League and also hoping that I might have been called into the Australia squad to face Oman (in next month’s World Cup qualifier). It’s pretty gutting, but these things happen in football.”
Herd, who has made just 13 first appearances for Villa this season, admits it has been tough taking no part in his clubs’ battle for top flight survival. Capable of playing in midfield, central defence or right-back, Herd looked to set make his return to action last week before suffering a fresh setback. “I was really hoping to be involved against Manchester City the other week but the foot just got sore again and it’s a blow which I will just have to deal with,” he said. ”I’d love to be out there trying to do my bit for the club. But the boys are showing great fight and have given themselves a huge chance of staying up.”
The injury will also keep on hold Herd’s international career, which has been stalled by injury on three previous occasions. “I am totally committed to hopefully one day playing for Australia,” said Herd, whose only outings to date for Australia were at under-20 level three years ago. “Injuries haven’t helped me when I have been named in squads and I’ll be cheering the boys on against Oman in what is a very important game. Hopefully I will get my chance at some stage because it’s a huge ambition of mine to play for my country … Luck has been against me a little bit and I’ve had to pull out of squads.”
FINALS ARE IN GLORY’S SIGHTS: VUKOVIC
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is confident Perth Glory can use last week’s win in Newcastle as a springboard to the A-League finals. Vukovic, 27, played the starring role as Glory snatched victory late against Newcastle Jets to chalk up their third win from four games. That result moves Glory just two points outside the top six with three regular season rounds to be played. “The positive for us is that we’ve put ourselves in a good position now,” he said. “We’re two points off Newcastle with a game in hand, but we need to get maximum points from our remaining three games.”
Wellington Phoenix may be out of the finals race but Vukovic says doesn’t mean Glory will be taking them lightly when the sides meet at Perth Oval on the weekend. “We know it’s going to be a tough game and if we don’t turn up and perform to our potential, it’s going to be a battle for us,” said the ‘keeper. “We’re confident that if we set into practice what Alistair (Edwards) wants us to do, then we can get the three points. If we get a win on the weekend and a few results elsewhere go our way, we could be sitting fifth.”
Vukovic says Alistair Edwards’s recent coaching appointment has been the catalyst for Glory’s return to form. “When a new coach comes in all the players are on a level playing field again and everyone’s trying to impress the new coach,” explained Vukovic, who backed the former Socceroo for the coaching gig on a permanent basis. “Alistair is all about his philosophy and the way he wants us to play and you can see that he truly believes in it. When you see someone so passionate about what they believe in, I guess it’s infectious and the boys have really taken it on board and tried to put it into practice.”
WALES DEBUT FOR HAWKINS
Perth Glory Women defender Carys Hawkins has made her international debut for Wales at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Hawkins, who is currently plying her trade with Swedish side Sunnana SK, came off the bench in Friday’s outing with Mexico and three days later gained her first start against Hungary. “I feel very lucky to have an opportunity like this in front of me,” 24-year old Hawkins told footballwest.com.au. “I am obviously really excited about the games ahead and how I can fit into the squad.”
Hawkins inclusion in the Wales squad came about after Glory Women goalkeeper Carly Telford, an England international, contacted Wales captain Jess Fishlock. “Jess passed on my details to the coach,” added Hawkins, who was born in Cardiff but moved to Perth when she was just four years old. “He got in contact with me and I was able to send some footage to him and he invited me to the Algarve for this camp.” Wales Algarve Cup campaign concludes tomorrow with an 11th place play-off game against Portugal.
JONES SAYS MANAGER’S FAITH WAS WELL-PLACED
The faith manager Brendan Rodgers has shown in his Liverpool squad has been rewarded according to goalkeeper Bad Jones. Liverpool started the season poorly but the weekend victory over third-placed Tottenham Hotspur lifted the Reds to sixth in the English Premier League table. “The gaffer always said at the start that the end of the season would be where we’re at our strongest - maybe he’s had his mystic ball out because that’s the way things are going at the moment,” said Jones after Liverpool’s first win over a top six side this season.
Jones was between the posts when Liverpool came from behind to record their dramatic 3-2 victory over Tottenham. “It was great character to come back and even better to get the win,” said the 30-year old shot-stopper. “There’s a real focus, we want to win every game at the moment. We’re on a good run and we want to continue that. We’re taking every game as it comes - the old cliche, but it’s true. You have to win against the team that’s put in front of you. As long as we do that and keep that mentality, we keep ourselves in with a chance (of qualifying for Europe).”
EDWARDS MUST APPLY FOR COACHING JOB: GIULIANO
Perth Glory deputy chairman Lui Giuliani has hosed down speculation the club is on the verge of offering caretaker coach Alistair Edwards the role on a permanent basis. Edwards’ brief tenure has reignited Glory’s late surge towards a second successive A-League finals berth, the former Socceroos striker guiding the club to three wins in four games. Giuliani, who is also acting chief executive, said Glory had received more than 20 applications from Australia and overseas for the coaching position, which came up for grabs following last month’s departure of Ian Ferguson. Edwards has the support of influential figures inside the club but is yet to hand in a formal application.
Giuliani rejected a ‘Sunday Times’ report claiming the club would offer Edwards a two-year contract this week. “We’re running a process and obviously Alistair’s in contention,” Giuliani told the ‘West Australian’. “You’d like to have someone like Alistair in the role but we are committed to the process. At the same time, we’ve obviously been watching Alistair and he’s had the benefit of us being able to look at him closely. But he hasn’t made any sort of commitment himself.” Edwards took leave from his dual role with Football Federation Australia, where he’s assistant technical director and head coach of the national under-17s team, to join Glory until the end of the season.
MELBOURNE’S GARCIA SAYS WINNING IS NON-NEGOTIABLE
Melbourne Heart’s season goes on the line when they host Adelaide United tonight according to midfielder Richard Garcia. With only four regular season games remaining Melbourne are in very real danger of missing the play-offs and anything less than victory over fourth-placed Adelaide could spell the end of their campaign. “We need a win – that’s the only thing on our minds and it’s non-negotiable,” Garcia said. “We need to start on the front foot. We need to do that in every game and we need to play the best stuff we’ve played all season … these are our four most important games of the season."
Garcia has filled a number of positions for Melbourne this year, switching from a holding midfielder to an attacking midfield role before recently moving to the right wing. “I enjoy playing everywhere,” he commented. “I got a taste of playing behind the striker and playing in midfield and really enjoyed it and felt like it came really naturally. I would’ve liked to have chipped in with a few more goals but it’s different to playing out wide than behind the striker, you can get more involved. But I’ve enjoyed playing out wide and if that’s what JA (coach John Aloisi) wants me to do, I’ll do it.”
SORRENTO FLY OFF WITH THE SHIELD
Sorrento are on the lookout for a new trophy cabinet after capturing the Charity Shield by downing Balcatta 4-2 this afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve. A couple of goals from man of the match Ryan Pearson bookended finishes by Todd Harnwell and Gavin Knight to secure silverware for the Gulls, who already have the State League and Cup trophies in residence. “We’ve had a very slow start to the season so it was good to see these guys step up today,” said winning coach Paul Price. “We are looking good for the start of the season. We maybe need to sign one or two more players, but other than that I think we will be up there.”
Balcatta hit the ground running and had they packed their shooting boots the final outcome could have been very different. Moe Atak angled one shot narrowly wide and lifted another high from close-range after being picked out by Bajo Savic. Atak then turned provider by his cross was just out of Jackson Turner’s reach. With 22 minutes on the clock Sorrento showed them how it’s done, albeit with a fair dose of luck with Pearson’s shot coming to rest in the back of the net after deflecting off defender John Migas. Sorrento tightened their grip on the game five minutes from the break when Harnwell steered the ball in after goalkeeper Alex Dunn blocked a Knight shot.
The second half opened with Balcatta on the attack and three minutes in Atak broke the offside trap and coolly lifted over advancing ‘keeper Curtis Aspden to half the deficit. Substitute Jason Barrera squandered a great chance to equalise by slotting side after Aspden accidentally passed the ball to his opponent. Knight restored his teams’ two-goal buffer by converting from the penalty spot on 58 minutes following Adam Tong’s foul on James Morgan. The game was made safe nine minutes later when Jesse Fuller returned the ball to Pearson, who picked his spot in the Balcatta net. Tong pulled a goal back four minutes later by outmuscling the defence to tuck away Chris Thackray’s clever ball over the top.
Balcatta coach Saul Contera was quick to acknowledge post-game that his teams’ defensive efforts will need some attention leading into the start of the regular season. “We still have a lot of tightening up to do on that backline, although it didn’t help when our centre back (Simon Elton-Bott) pulled out sick just before the game,” said Contera, before adding he wasn’t overly concerned by the outcome with the home and away series just around the corner. “Our main focus is to win next week against Armadale and start the season properly.”
Sorrento: Curtis Aspden, Brodie Martin, Razack Geloo, Craig Robson, Danny Cain, Jesse Fuller, David Price, James Morgan (Brad Burgess 78), Ryan Pearson, Gavin Knight, Todd Harnwell
Balcatta: Alex Dunn, Mike Aspin, Adam Tong, John Migas, Jarad Smith (Anton De Franesch 45), Adam Bachiller, Ben Say, Bajo Savic, Chris Thackray, Moe Atak, Jackson Turner (Jason Barrera 45)
Bookings: Robson (62), Morgan (69)
Referee: Hugh Best
GLORY DIDN’T DESERVE TO WIN SAYS EDWARDS
Alistair Edwards readily admits Perth Glory did not deserve to take home all the points from Friday’s game at Newcastle Jets. Glory were outplayed by the home team for the majority of the 90 minutes but dogged defending and a last gasp Michael Thwaite strike snatched the team in purple a 2-1 victory. “We deserved to get something out of the game but I don’t think we deserved to win, but the fact is we have the three points and that is life,” Edwards commented. “The way the game was going I thought if we get something out of the game it would be great.”
Glory were first on the scoreboard through Matias Cordoba before Newcastle’s increased possession was rewarded on the strike of half-time in the form of an Adam Taggart equaliser. “Newcastle played very well tonight and dominated certain aspects of the game but we displayed classic away-game form. There were times there when we were under the pump (but) we said ‘just stay in the game’,” said Edwards, who was thrilled when Thwaite threaded in the late winner from a poorly defended corner. “There was a situation where Michael (Thwaite) asked, ‘Should I go up for the corner?’ – we said, ‘Yes get up there’. He did and he was rewarded with the goal.”
Edwards praised the defensive efforts of Thwaite as well as goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who pulled off a string of fine reflex saves to keep his side in the contest. “He (Vukovic) has been really good the last few games and today he stopped the ball going in the back of the net,” the coach said. “And I thought Michael Thwaite was excellent as well with his defensive work and that probably shows you how the game was going. I know Gary van Egmond will be unhappy not to come away with anything from the game but I can’t say I am overly disappointed with getting three points.”
The win pushes Glory into seventh position, trailing fifth-placed Newcastle by two points. “It is very pleasing and to come away at this stage of the season from such a crucial game with the three points puts us right in the mix for that top six spot,” Edwards said. “It has been a while since Perth Glory has won an away game so that is the monkey off the back so to speak. The boys were pretty happy in the change rooms. We have made that long trip back to Perth with sombre looks on our faces but this time they will go home much happier.”
THWAITE STEALS GLORY VICTORY
Perth Glory have kept their season alive with a dramatic stoppage-time Michael Thwaite goal stealing a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets last night at Hunter Stadium. Argentine import Matias Cordoba put the visitors in front midway through the first half only to have Adam Taggart equalise on the stroke of half-time. Newcastle’s failure to convert their second half dominance was punished by Thwaite who poked in the deciding goal after 92 minutes. “We deserved to come away with something but we didn’t deserve to win,” admitted Glory coach Alistair Edwards, whose team remain just outside the top six. “Newcastle were playing well so our whole thing was to just stay in the game and it worked a treat.”
The ball had been in motioned just 3 minutes when Taggart’s close-range volley forced a terrific reflex save from goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. A few minutes later an unmarked Connor Chapman headed wide from a Ruben Zadkovich as the home side continued to press. Glory came up with the good with their first attack, Chris Harold cutting the ball back for Cordoba to spear low and inside the post from 16-metres. Newcastle returned to the attack soon enough but James Brown was thwarted by Thwaite, Bridges lifted high of the target and Zadkovich fired wide. They were eventually rewarded on 45 minutes when Marko Jesic played a sublime ball for Taggart to apply a precision finish across Vukovic and inside the far post.
Newcastle engineered a number of opportunities on goal after the turnaround with success. Jesic’s angled shot was blocked by Risdon and Vukovic produced a fine reflex save to keep out a Dominik Ritter. Substitute James Virgili fired over the crossbar before Bridges’ flick from a Craig Goodwin corner was turned away at the near post by Vukovic. Glory almost grabbed the lead against the run of play when Scott Jamieson delivered a looping cross to the far post where Shane Smeltz’s header was battered away by Mark Birighitti. The home crowd was silenced in stoppage time when Scott Jamieson’s corner wasn’t dealt with the home defence with Thwaite steering in the rebound from Travis Dodd’s blocked shot.
CHARITY SHIELD PREVIEW
The annual Charity Shield match takes centre stages this weekend with 2012 State League and Cup winners Sorrento up against Cup runners-up Balcatta. If previous meetings are anything to go by then those who head to Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday (3.00pm) are in for a real treat with the teams splitting seven goals in each of their last two gatherings. Sorrento triumphed 4-3 in August’s thrilling Cup Final only to have Balcatta turn the tables on the final day of the regular season by the same scoreline.
Sorrento striker Gavin Knight is hoping to add another winner’s medal to the League and Cup ones he collected last year. “Winning silverware on Sunday will be a great start to the season for us and carry on from last season’s double,” he commented. “We are not taking the game as a friendly – this is a trophy and we want it at our club.” It’ll be touch and go as to whether Curtis Aspden takes his place between the posts but definitely watching from the sidelines for the Gulls will be Daryl Platten (ankle), Steve McDonald (knee) and Jason Mirco (groin).
The Charity Shield will be Mikey Aspin’s first trip back to Sorrento since his off-season switch to Balcatta. “I have a lot of respect for my former team mates, the management team and the president Derek Harnwell, but all that will be put aside come kick-off,” Aspin said. “I’m taking the game as more a Cup final than a pre-season friendly. I was in the Sorrento team that lost last year’s Charity Shield so I’m eager to add this medal to my collection.” Ashley Rosindale (away) and Julian Madaschi (toe) are unavailable whereas livewire attacker Callum Roberts is battling a knee problem.
BELIEF THE KEY TO THE FINALS RACE: EDWARDS
Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards has praised his side’s self-belief ahead of this evening’s vital away game with Newcastle Jets. Although second from bottom, Glory sit only three points outside the top six making victory at Hunter Stadium crucial to their hopes of qualifying for the play-offs. “The finals race is really exciting because every team still has a mathematical chance of going through,” said Edwards. “When (assistant coach) Gareth Naven and myself came in, we were rock-bottom and no-one was giving us a chance, but we’ve had a couple of decent results. The boys are doing extremely well and they have a genuine belief that we have a big shot of making finals football.”
The return of captain Jacob Burns, Travis Dodd and Dean Heffernan from injury has given Edwards a few welcome selection headaches. “It’s good to have Burns back but no-one in our squad is an automatic choice,” the coach stated. “We’ve now got a squad of 26 players and last week we were missing three very influential players, but the guys who came in did exceptionally well and having done exceptionally well, they’ll start again this week. “The challenge now is who is going to come in on the bench. We’ve discussed it as a group and we’re going to make sure we have the best available players playing every week."
As a personal aside, Edwards is looking forward to locking horns with opposite number Gary Van Egmond who will be demanding a major improvement from his side following last week’s 5-0 loss to Melbourne Victory. “Gary and I know each other very well from our time with the national teams,” he said. “He’s a good guy and we’ve had a couple of discussions this week about pleasantries. They (Newcastle) are looking to make the finals as well … we’re going to give it our best shot.” Glory defender Steve Pantelidis has been ruled of the game with a bruised heel while Newcastle’s marquee man Emile Heskey will also miss the clash because of a calf problem.
BAYSWATER ARE THE REALE DEAL
Bayswater City stalwart Andy Reale is thrilled to have helped write a new chapter in his clubs’ history. Bayswater snapped a 26-year drought between major trophies last weekend by defeating Cockburn City to be crowned Night Series champions, and standing firm in the centre of defence was Reale. “It’s great to be creating history for the club. After losing the final last year it was nice to go one better,” commented Reale, now in his sixth season with Bayswater. “We played well but failed to take our chances in the first half. Thankfully we made amends in the second half with Steve Burton and Trent Kay scoring.”
Big things are expected of Bayswater this year and Reale says everything is tracking well under new coach Chris Coyne. “Chris has been great, you know exactly what he expects and you have just got to go out on the pitch and get the job done. There is a great atmosphere around the club and the boys have gelled really well under the new coach,” commented Reale, who was stunned when Mauro Marchione split with the club soon after guiding them to the top of the Premier Division last year. “It was disappointing to see Mauro leave as I learnt a great deal from him and he made me more of a complete player.”
The new league season commences next weekend and Reale knows he’ll need to be performing week in week out to hold onto his place in the Bayswater line-up. “We’ve got a big squad with everyone fighting for spots. We have added some quality players, and we all know you really have got to work hard at training each week to earn your spot,” said Reale, before singling out a couple of the teams to beat. “The league is going to be tight and without seeing everyone play it’s hard to say who will be fighting it for top honours, but I would say Floreat Athena and Inglewood United will be right up there.”
TAGGART HEARTENED BY GLORY’S FOCUS ON LOCALS
Twelve months ago Adam Taggart headed to Newcastle Jets in search of regular A-League game time. The young striker would have few complaints with how his first season on the eastern seaboard has gone, Taggart featuring 16 times for his club to date and late last year gained a Socceroos debut at the East Asian Cup. Taggart is one of a plethora of young West Australian’s who’ve been forced to seek playing opportunities outside their home state in recent years. But the 19-year old feels there are brighter days ahead for the state’s home grown talent following last month’s appointment of Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven to the helm of Perth Glory.
Taggart, a product of the National Training Centre and Perth Glory Youth programs, says the recent signing of Daniel De Silva (15), Riley Woodock (17) and Matthew Davies (18) shows just how fertile the grounds are in Western Australia. “There is countless numbers of players coming out of Perth,” Taggart told footballaustralia.com.au. “The youth system with Kenny Lowe and the younger players, and having Gareth Naven with the youth team, has combined to produce a lot of players. Gareth will probably look to keep a lot of the players coming through, which is a real positive for the club … it is important to have your local talent staying in their home town.”
Newcastle hosts Glory tomorrow evening and Taggart expects he’ll come up against a couple of his closest mates, defender Josh Risdon and Jack Clisby. “Us three were pretty close back in Perth and I grew up knowing Jack who lived around the corner from me,” said Taggart, who is joined in the Newcastle squad by fellow West Australian’s Mark Birighitti, Scott Neville and Mitch Oxborrow. “With them being defenders and me being an attacker, and being an interesting time to come up against each other, I’m sure it will be a good battle … obviously you want to get a little one-up on all your mates back home who support Perth so it adds a little extra spice.”
Confidence is high in the Newcastle camp leading into tomorrow’s game according to Taggart, despite coming off a 5-0 hiding at the hands of Melbourne Victory. “It is a big test of character so everyone really wants to bounce back with a positive result,” said Taggart, whose team only a few days earlier picked up a rare 2-1 win in New Zealand. “I don’t think our confidence is dented. It was more disappointment last week. We were positive going into that, so that was a massive disappointment. We had a really good game in Wellington (Phoenix) so it is just a case of focussing on what we did wrong and what we can do better.”
LOWRY DARES TO DREAM
Millwall defender Shane Lowry has his sights set on an appearance in the centrepiece to the English season, the FA Cup Final. Victory over fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers this weekend will take Millwall through to the tournaments’ last four, and one step closer to a Wembley Stadium visit come May. “It’s the dream of most players to play at Wembley in a final and the FA Cup is one of the big ones. I’ve never played there and it’s great to be in with a chance this season,” Lowry told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “Playing Blackburn at home is a massive opportunity for us to get to the semis, and if you do that then anything is possible.”
The only previous FA Cup Final outing in Millwall’s 120-year history came in 2004 when Socceroos striker Tim Cahill was part of the side which went down 3-0 to Manchester United. “I remember watching that final and I have followed Millwall ever since,” explained Lowry, who has 18 months remaining on his Lions deal. “What Tim Cahill accomplished is quite legendary at Millwall and people still talk about him at the club. It would be incredible to go all the way with Millwall. I certainly fancy us to reach the semis because we have home advantage against a team from our own division, and that's a huge plus.”
Lowry believes the intimidating atmosphere at The Den will be crucial in bringing about the downfall of Blackburn. “It will be a hostile environment for them and they could certainly crumble under the pressure,” he said. “While our league form hasn’t been great at home of late (four straight losses) the Cup is always something different and it’s going to be big occasion. We’re one of those clubs that doesn't get a lot of good press and it would be great to get noticed for all the right reasons for a change … our fans are great and are some of the most passionate in England.”
TEENAGERS WOODCOCK AND DAVIES INK GLORY DEALS
A renewed focus on youth development has led Perth Glory to sign local teenagers Riley Woodcock and Matthew Davies on two-year contracts. Woodock, 17, and Davies, 18, were invited to train with the first team last month and follow in the footsteps of fellow young gun Daniel De Silva, who today celebrated his 16th birthday just days after making his A-League debut for Glory. The promotion of local youngsters is part of the bigger plan under caretaker coach Alistair Edwards and assistant Gareth Naven, who both specialise in talent development.
Woodcock, an attacking left full-back, says he had already learnt a lot since joining the first team. “It’s a big opportunity so hopefully it’s a good two years at the club,” said Woodcock, an Australian youth international. “I’ve always been a Perth boy and I grew up watching Gareth. I’ve always been a fan so it’s good to get in here now. Coming into the first team now it takes a bit of time to get up to standard, but being in here full-time you start to pick up a bit. I’m feeling comfortable now and hopefully can only move forward.”
Signing for Glory is a dream come true for Davies. “I’m ecstatic. It’s something I’ve been working towards for a long time,” said Davies, who plays on the right side of defence. “To finally sign and ink the paper is a good feeling. The emphasis for me and Riley is development and continuing to improve so we can play the role the club wants us to moving forward. There are a lot of senior players that we can learn off so that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re going to come in here and learn as much as we can and improve as much as we can.”
BURNS BACK FROM INJURY
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns has put his hand up for selection in Friday’s vital outing at Newcastle Jets. Burns has missed the last six games due to a back complaint but after moving freely at training yesterday the 34-year old has declared himself fit and ready for duty. “I’m really happy to be back,” Burns said. “It’s been a long time out for me and I felt good out there. No-one likes to miss any football and I’ve missed a good few weeks with the back injury, so it’s great to be back out there and moving freely again.”
With fellow midfielders Travis Dodd (calf) and Nick Ward (quad) also hopeful of returning from injury this week, it seems coach Alistair Edwards has a few selection decisions to make. “The manager has a good headache this week,” said Burns, well aware he faces a battle to reclaim a starting spot. “The more fit players he has to pick from, the better the club is, so I’m well aware that I’ve got to be patient and it’s their call. But if I get the nod I’ll be grabbing it with both hands, that’s for sure."
Burns is adamant that if Glory can return from Newcastle with all three points then a top six finish will be very much in their sights. “Reaching the finals is a very real possibility,” he said. “It’s an extremely important game against Newcastle and we’re not going over there expecting it to be easy. If we can get a result in Newcastle, we’ve got two more home games against Wellington (Phoenix) and Adelaide (United), as well as (Melbourne) Victory away which will be a tough one. But if we can get three points from this one, we’ll be a real chance.”
WILLIAMS RETURNS TO FULHAM
Teenager Ryan Williams loan spell with Gillingham has been cut short after being recalled by Fulham. Williams, 19, headed to Gillingham only three weeks ago in search of first team football but despite making the bench four times remained unused by manager Martin Allen. It appears Fulham have decided Williams would be better off with them if he’s not going to see game time with Gillingham. An Australian under-20 international, Williams played locally with ECU Joondalup and gained six outings with Portsmouth last season prior to moving to Fulham in January 2012.
GLORY’S ‘BACK TO ROOTS’ APPROACH GETS THUMBS UP FROM CLUB LEGENDS
Three of the all-time greats of West Australian football, Jamie Harnwell, Jason Petkovic and Scott Miller, have voiced their support for Perth Glory’s ‘back to roots’ approach. Last months’ coaching appointments of Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven have led Glory to take a much closer look at the talent available in their own back yard. Exciting 15-year old Daniel De Silva was snapped up on a two-year deal and rumour has it Riley Woodock, 17, and Matthews Davies, 18, will follow suit in coming days. With in excess of 650 Glory appearances between them, Harnwell, Petkovic and Miller know better than most the importance of the state’s rising stars continuing their development at their hometown club.
Harnwell, who made a club record 256 appearances between 1998 and 2011, has no doubt this greater focus on local talent will pay off for Glory. “If you look back to when we were a successful team we had a core within that team that were Perth-based players who wanted to play well because they’d either grown up supporting the club or it was the first professional club that they’d had a chance to play for,” said Harnwell. “I don’t think you’re ever going to have a team with eleven Perth-born players in it, you’re always going to have to look for players from overseas or over east to fill the gaps and bring in that bit of quality.”
Petkovic, who kept goal for Australia as well as Glory, echoed Harnwell’s sentiments. “I definitely believe we need to have a WA focus,” said Petkovic, who for Glory played 177 times between 1999 and 2009. “The WA crowd really got behind us when we had more local players in the side. The local football community could identify with the WA players having played against them or with them, so there was that association there. Hopefully Alistair and Gareth can help start to bring that feeling back. We are a WA team, that’s a really important part of our identity and I’d like to think we could make up the majority of our team with locally-based players.”
Miller has no doubt Edwards and Naven are the right men to restore pride and passion to the Glory short. “It’s a great combination … they’ve got a bit of the ying and yang going on there,” said Miller, a veteran of 227 games for Glory. “Alistair’s a great person to learn from and there aren’t many coaches more qualified. I’ve known Gareth for twenty-odd years as well and he was a skipper, a leader, a very disciplined and focused player. They’re both really professional and their personalities come through in the way that they coach. With them both being WA legends, it’s great for the local young lads coming into the set-up.”
THWAITE TO CONSIDER OPTIONS TO STAY IN SOCCEROOS CONTENTION
Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite will consider loan and transfer options at the end of the season in a bid to stay in the frame for Socceroos selection. Australia face a series of crucial World Cup qualifiers along with the East Asian Cup tournament in coming months and Thwaite is keen to be involved. However, Socceroos coach Holger Osieck had made it clear the defender needs to be playing regularly at club level in order to be considered for the mid-year games. “Having a five or six-month break is definitely not ideal for me personally with the Socceroos set-up,” said Thwaite, whose club have only four regular season to play. “It’s something that I’ll be really discussing internally with the club and they’re very open with suggesting loan or transfer options.”
Although he’s looking at his options, Thwaite says he remains committed to Glory. “I feel loyal to the club and I want to give something to this club,” he added. “But I definitely need to be playing during that period, otherwise I will not be available for those (Socceroos) games in June and July. It’s something that Holger has made (clear) to me.” Thwaite is understood to have knocked back several offers from overseas in recent times and has stated his commitment to seeing out the final year of his Glory contract. The defender is confident the club’s focus on promoting young, local talent – teenagers Matt Davies and Riley Woodcock are understood to be close to signing professional papers – is a step in the right direction.
LONG WAIT IS OVER AS BAYSWATER CROWNED NIGHT SERIES CHAMPIONS
Bayswater City lifted the first silverware of the new season by out-gunning Cockburn City 2-1 in this evening’s Night Series Final at Macedonia Park. Summer signings Steve Burton and Trent Kay hit the back of the net in the second half to have Bayswater in a comfortable position before Eamon McNelis grabbed a late consolation for Cockburn. “We made it hard for ourselves near the end,” commented Burton, who broke the deadlock soon after the interval. “It was nice to score early in the second half, it settled us down as we were a little bit nervous after missing a few chances in the first half. It’s been 26-years (since Bayswater’s last major trophy win) so it’s nice to make a bit of history.”
A lively start by Bayswater had Gustavo Catarcione twice go close to breaking through inside the opening few minutes, the striker heading just over from Todd Howarth’s delivery before McNelis deflected wide his goalbound shot. After taking their time to settle, Cockburn threatened for the first time on the quarter hour when McNelis flashed just wide after john Thornley flicked on a long thrown by Alex Castiello. Paul Lloyd was allowed far too much space on top of the 18-yard box but his low strike was kept out by Gianni Papalia, who soon after blocked Castiello’s close-range shot from a corner. Bayswater reasserted themselves leading into the break with Catarcione firing just past the post and Burton thwarted twice in quick succession by Aleksic.
The second half was barely a minute old when Bayswater broke through, Howarth cutting in from the left before crossing for Burton to side-foot neatly n from 7-metres. Four minutes later Catarcione’s shot was brilliantly turned away by Aleksic and from the resulting corner Burton had his header blocked on the line by McNelis as Bayswater pressed to make the game safe. Another chance came the way of Burton who should have done than fire wide after being found by Catarcione. Then finally in the 83rd minute Howarth’s quickly taken free-kick caught out the opposing defence but not Kay, who blasted in from 9-metres. Cockburn’s solitary goal came four minutes with McNelis placing low past Papalia after being teed-up by substitute Ian McMurray.
Coach Chris Coyne was thrilled to get his hands on the Night Series trophy only four months into his tenure with Bayswater. “I’m delighted but I’ve got a few more grey hairs,” said Coyne, who admits he was disappointed with his teams’ first half display. “We had three or four clear cut chances but we failed to take our opportunities. Our final pass let us down, we got into some good areas but made some bad decisions. No disrespect to Cockburn but I thought we should have scored few more. I was disappointed to concede a goal late but they never stopped, and Scotty (Miller) has them well drilled and they will be tough to beat in the league this season.”
Bayswater City: Gianni Papalia, Patrick Quinn, John Kearney, Andy Reale, Todd Howarth, Brian Farrell, Paul McCarthy, Gustavo Catarcione (Damien Catalano 75), Steven Burton, Trent Kay (Daniel Kovacevic 87), James Isaia (David Sesay 54)
Cockburn City: Dejan Aleksic, Keiron Stallard, Evan Grant, Ian Stack, Eamon McNelis, Paul Lloyd, Alex Castello, Conor Kavagh, John Thornley (Ian Mcmurray 62), Aiden Da Luz (Matt Salmon 67), Paul Natale
Bookings: Keiron Stallard (34), Grant (37), Burton (90)
Referee: Paul Anderson
PATIENT PERTH SNEAK INTO THIRD
A goal in each half was enough to give an experimental Perth SC outfit a 2-0 win over Armadale 2-0 in the Night Series’ play-off for third and fourth this afternoon at Macedonia Park. Josh Wilkins struck shortly before half-time with Stefano Valentini sealing victory for the team in blue midway through the second period of a very tactical encounter. “It was a good workout for the season ahead and it’s always pleasing to win,” said Wilkins after the game. “Fair play to Armadale, we struggled to get through their defences and they were pushing high. But we were patient and got the two goals.”
Armadale may have controlled the bulk of early possession but their failure to penetrate a well-organised defence meant Jason Saldaris remained untested in the Perth goal. It was a similar story going in the other direction, although that was until the 36th minute when Wilkins curled into the net from 16-metres. Mark peers fashioned an opportunity for Darren Francis to equalise before the break but his shot was straight at Saldaris. Armadale searched tirelessly for a way back in after the turnaround before a 74th minute collision between Reds goalkeeper Tom Allan and teammate Andrew Bowyer allowed Valentini to walk Perth’s second goal into an empty net.
Speaking post-game, Armadale coach Lee Bamber felt his team’s performance was not truly reflected in the final two-goal margin. “I thought we created a lot more chances than they did, unfortunately we handed them the second goal,” commented Bamber, who has seen enough in pre-season to know Armadale are tracking well for the coming league campaign. “It’s been great for us to play two of the best sides in the league (Bayswater last week, Perth this week) in the lead-up to the new season, and it’s given us some confidence going forward.”
Armadale: Tom Allan, Jackson Bealey, Andrew Bowyer, Sam Loveless, Mitch Castrilli, Louie Bake, Craig Robson, Mark Peers (Jack Salter 65), Darren Francis, Rhys Loxley (Ravi Kuppusamy 18), Callum Barry
Perth SC: Jason Saldaris, Friday Zico (David Micevski 82), Chris Saldaris, Josh Wilkins, James Marocchi (Daniel Micevski 82), Nathan De Abreu, Liam Boland (Adam Luca 82), Josh Pereira, Yoann Claudot, Matt Izzo, Stefano Valentini
Bookings: Chris Saldaris (39), Boland (65)
Referee: Mark Williams
MILLER PRAISES NEW BOY DE SILVA
Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller has given his young Perth Glory teammate Daniel De Silva a big tick of approval. 15-year old De Silva became the second younger player in A-League history when came off the bench for the final half hour of Glory’s win over Sydney FC last night. Miller believes De Silva has a very big future in the game going on what he has seen of the teenage sensation. “He was brilliant when he came on,” Miller said. “I’ve seen him the last week or two in training and he’s 15-years old. There’s certainly great potential there. You see it and training and he came on last night and did very, very well.”
De Silva, an Australia Under-17 international, will go a long way according to Miller, whose career began as a 16-year old with Scottish giants Celtic. “I’m sure the future’s going to be great for him,” Miller commented. “He can learn off the older senior players because there are a number of players with a lot of experience in the club. He’s a good kid and fairly quiet to be honest, but you see the ability he has last night, flying around winning tackles and breaking up the play. We’re delighted for him, it was a very good debut.” De Silva, a former Kingsway Olympic and Stirling Lions junior, recently signed a two-year contract with Glory.
GLORY KEEP FINALS DREAM ALIVE
A spirited Perth Glory has kept their slim finals hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over Sydney FC under lights at Perth Oval. First half strikes from Chris Harold and Shane Smeltz either side of a long-range wonder goals by Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero were enough to give Glory the win, a result which pushes them to within three points of the top six. “This game was crucial in terms of getting the three points,” said coach Alistair Edwards. “We’ve got some tough games coming through but if we continue to improve like we are doing, then we’ll be in there with a shout. That’s all were going to try and do for the next four games.”
Chances on goal flowed freely across the first half. Glory custodian Danny Vukovic moved sharply to keep out a Lucas Neill header before Liam Miller’s well-struck effort was blocked by Vedran Janjetovic. It would be the home side which drew first blood on 19 minutes, Miller making an incisive run through the middle of the Sydney defence to lay the ball off for Harold to blast past Janjetovic. A menace from the outset, Del Piero equalised nine minutes later with a superb swerving shot into the top corner from 27-metres after being gifted time and space. Glory went back on front on 34 minutes Smeltz side-footed in from the top of the 6-year box from a Scott Jamieson cross.
The game took another twist in the 56th minute when Sydney defender Fabio received his second yellow card after bringing down Smeltz. Six minutes 15-year old Daniel De Silva entered the action, making the Glory midfielder the second youngest debutant in A-League history. Del Piero attempted to put Sydney back in the game via a couple of free-kicks, both of which sailed beyond the frame of the goal. Scott Jamieson could have sealed victory but pulled across the face of goal after a driving run down the left, while a fierce strike by Sydney substitute Terry Antonis stung the gloves of Vukovic. Smeltz should have had his second goal of the night but his close-range attempt in the 88th minute smacked into Janjetovic.
NIGHT SERIES PREVIEW
The first silverware of the new season goes up for grabs on Sunday with Bayswater City and Cockburn City meeting in the Night Series Final at Macedonia Park (7.45pm). Bayswater coach Chris Coyne is understandably pleased to have made the tournament decider where he expects a tough game. “I’ve watched Cockburn a few times now and we’ve had reports come back from other people, they are well drilled, have a great coach in Scotty Miller and they are going to be very hard to beat,” Coyne said. “They are a big strong physical side with some quality footballer … it’s going to be a real good game.”
Scott Miller, who guided Cockburn to the Division One crown last year, is looking forward to testing his players against one of the top flight’s best teams. “It’s a great test for us against a team that was top of the Premier League last year, it’s an ideal preparation for the season ahead,” commented Miller, who recognises Cockburn will have produce something special if they’re to lift the Night Series crown for the first time since 1993. “Bayswater are a good team with class individuals and Chris (Coyne) is a professional, and with them losing last season’s final against Perth SC they will be out to make amends.”
Coyne is the first to admit Bayswater took the circuitous route to the final, seeing off both Floreat Athena and Armadale in tense penalty shoot-out’s. “It’s a a great achievement to reach the final but we had to do it the hard way,” the coach said. “We should have been 3-0 up against Floreat but in this game if you don’t take your chances it’s ‘Good night Vienna’. It took a few home truths at half-time against Armadale. I was pleased with the response from the players but we have to learn you have to play for 90 minutes in all games or you will be punished.”
Cockburn enjoyed a couple of solid workouts on their way to the final, defeating Stirling Lions and Perth SC. “It’s great that we can play quality teams to test ourselves before the real stuff starts,” said Miller, who is pleased with how his team have developed their game over the past month . “We improved from our group games when we beat Stirling and took another pleasing step forward against Perth. Both games we tried to play our style of football and defended really well, especially when they put us under pressure late on, which was really pleasing going forward.”
TEENAGE DE SILVA TO DEBUT FOR GLORY
Midfield starlet Daniel De Silva will become the second-youngest player in A-League history when he lines up for Perth Glory against Sydney FC tomorrow. De Silva, who turns 16 next week, will start on the bench but should play a role in the second half of what shapes as a must-win clash for Glory. Despite his age, De Silva is an automatic starter of Australia’s under-17 team and recently spent a month trialling with English Premier League club Everton. He was offered a contract with the Toffees but problem obtaining a visa led him to signing a two-year deal with his hometown club last week.
De Silva, who grew up watching Glory from the grandstands, was excited about the prospect of making his debut. “I feel really good, I’m buzzing for the game and it should be good,” said De Silva, who was presented his playing shirt by club legend Bobby Despotovski after training this morning. “Sometimes when I think about it I’m still like ‘oh my goodness’ but it’s going to be a great career for me as a footballer and Perth Glory’s a great club, so I’m really looking forward to it … I’ll put my effort in for the team and help them out.”
De Silva is relishing the opportunity to play against Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero and Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, who will both line-up for Sydney. “They’re quality players, you know, it’s going to be amazing to play against them and just to be on the same pitch as them,” he said. “They’re World Cup players and the captain of the Socceroos, it’s going to be absolutely fantastic and I’m definitely looking forward to it.” Midfield pair Travis Dodd and Nick Ward have been battling injury and were restricted to light duties at training today, both are unlikely to play against Sydney.
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This page was last updated on the 7th May, 2013