NPL-WA ROUND SEVEN PREVIEW
Football is back after last week’s fixtures were postponed due to the Covid 19 lockdown, and in our Week Seven NPLWA ‘Match of the Round’ we head to Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento host Balcatta. (3.00pm) The Gulls sit in fourth spot on the ladder, and are coming off a 2-1 win at Inglewood in Week Five, while a ten men Balcatta fought out a 1-1 draw at Armadale to keep them in seventh place, and with only five points separating the two sides this one should be another good game. The last time they met was in round seven last season. The visitors led 2-0 at the break with Michael Zimarino and Henry Durr scoring, but the Gulls hit back on the hour with Clark Keltie pulling one back and they were level on 73 minutes with Ollie Annis scoring. Both sides pressed for the winner but the points were shared.
Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said last week's win at Inglewood was important, after their first loss of the season against Joondalup, and he said it was good performance. “I thought we played very well and I'd say it was our most complete team performance of the season,” he said. “We felt we dominated from start to finish, and it was good to get back in the winner’s circle.”
Hill has been an ever-present in the side this season, and he said the new look side is working well together, and that makes them hard to beat. “We're not getting carried away yet but we're proving to be a bit of a handful for teams and I don't think anyone will be looking forward to playing us this year and that’s how we like it,” he explained. “We’ve added some quality to the side, the latest striker Chris Jackson, so now we just want to see how high we can push up the table and keep going.”
The midfielder knows Balcatta have added some good players to their squad in the transfer window too, and said Saturday will be a tough game. “We played them a couple times in pre-season this year and both of our teams have changed drastically since then,” Hill said. “We want to focus on doing what we do well rather than them or where they are on the ladder, and if we do that, we will win.”
Balcatta skipper Calum O’Connell said last week at Armadale they deserved more, despite going down to ten men. “We are disappointed at the end of the day as we knew how Armadale is a tough place to go and we really needed to be on our game,” he explained. “We started very well in the first half and conceded a goal from our own mistakes. But even with 10 men we showed great character and were unlucky not to sneak another goal.”
O’Connell said all their games this season have been close, the only two games they have lost was by the odd goal, and with the new faces in their side, they will be looking to change them score lines in their favour. “We haven’t been unlucky I think we just haven’t been clinical enough,” he said. “We create a lot of chances but we don’t convert enough, but we show great character to stay in games which is a good sign. Hopefully some fresh faces can’t bring depth and more options throughout the season.”
The defender knows Sorrento away is a tough assignment, but they are going there to get a result, and he is confident they can. “It’s always an unpredictable place to go that’s for sure,” O’Connell said. “We have played them a few times this year in pre-season so we expect a certain style, but they are in form and always find a way. So, if we focus on what qualities we have and match their physicality, then I think we a very good chance up there.”
In other games this weekend, Gwelup Croatia play their first game since the sacking of Taki Nicolaidis when they host league leaders Floreat Athena at Wishart Street. The decision has many in the game scratching their heads, Nicolaidis had guided the club into the NPL for the first time in their history, and they sit fifth on the table his season, losing only once. But the decision has been made and Richard Abrams takes control on Saturday as interim coach, while Gustavo Giron Marulanda will be in the squad after his move from Bayswater.
ECU Joondalup new signings Riley Woodcock makes his debut for the club when they host Perth Glory at the ECU Football Stadium, while his former club Cockburn City welcome Bayswater City to Dalmatinac Park. Meanwhile Perth SC will look to continue their good form when they travel to Alfred Sleet Reserve to meet Armadale, while in the final game both Inglewood United and Rockingham City will look to get back into the winner’s circle when they meet at Inglewood Stadium.
United lost at home last week against Sorrento, after taking the lead, while Rockingham lost at ECU, but Rockingham Head Coach Goran Stajic said the performance from his side was positive. “These are the games we needed to step up in and become better and we did. We came with a plan but left without the points even though the plan worked,” he explained. “Overall, I was extremely pleased with the way we pushed a very good side the entire 90+ minutes, and the growth in so many players is a win itself."
Stajic said Saturday’s opponents are having a tough start to the season, but he knows the quality they have in their side so he knows they will need to be at their best to get a positive result on Saturday. “Inglewood are made of experienced and high-quality players, however like every team, it also has its flaws, and we will prepare ourselves to expose them,” the coach said. “On the flip side we will need to eliminate our shortcomings that we identified in previous games and to take our chances. What we must ensure is to show a reaction, energy and desire to win. My players know that every ball is important and that every second counts. We also understand the significance of this match, but also of all the matches that follow. Our focus is certainly on Inglewood and to do everything in our power to win, which I believe we can do."
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND FIVE – PREVIEW
We head into week five of the State League Division One and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Crazy Domains Stadium at Hartfield Park on Saturday evening, where Forrestfield United entertain Quinns (7.00pm) It’s not been the best of starts for the hosts and they sit bottom of the table and are still searching for their first win, and they are coming off a narrow loss against Fremantle last week. Quinns on the other hand sit third after a good start under new Head Coach Glenn Grostate, but they did lose their first game of the season last week in a seven-goal thriller at UWA.
The last time the sides met at the venue was in round three last season when the hosts ran out 4-2 winners. Dan Corbett opened the scoring for the hosts, before Ben Wantee added a second moments later. Corbett added his second to make it 3-0, before Vlad Naumovski added a fourth before half time. Joe Tweats and Sam Wynne pulled a couple back for but it was too little too late and Graham Normanton’s side took all three points.
Quinns striker Ben Hinshelwood was on target last week, and he said the loss was hard to take. “It was disappointing not to come away with any points. We didn’t really play as well as we can and we got punished for a few mistakes,” he said. “UWA were organised and won a lot of second balls and were determined not to lose three games in a row. We did well to go in at half-time at 2-2. But after they scored again early in the second half were chasing the game which they exploited. It was good that we fought to the end and after Tongy scored to make it 4-3, I think if there had been a little bit more time we would have scored again. It was certainly a game with lots of incidents.”
Hinshelwood, who joined the club from NPL side ECU Joondalup, said they are working hard to improve, and knows the new look side will get better once they play more games together. “It’s still early days for us as a team. The squad only really came together after the night series and have only played four games so we maybe haven’t gelled as a unit yet,” the striker explained. “There is a good mix of experience in the squad and lots of good competitive players at the club so with a bit more time we can definitely keep improving, and everyone is just happy training and playing so Quinn’s is a good place to be right now.”
On Saturday Hinshelwood said Forrestfield will be desperate to kick start their season after not picking up a win so far this season, so he is expecting them to out of the blocks early and they need to match them. “We are all looking forward to playing after last week’s cancellation, and it’s always been tough to get a result when I have played down at Forrestfield before,’ he said. “They will want to get their first win especially at home so we will need to be at our best to come away with a win. Think everyone is realising that there are no easy games in the state league this year. Hopefully the 7pm kick off will make sure a good crowd comes down to watch.”
Forrestfield skipper Rhys Loxley said last week was disappointing result, but the performance was a lot better and he thought they deserved something from the game. “The result was disappointing and the boys were quite flat afterwards, but the performance was very good,” he said. “We played well enough to get something out of the game, and that is a positive. But Fremantle are a strong team and will be challenging for the title this year so it was always going to be a difficult game.”
Loxley said things haven’t gone there way so far this season, but he is confident they will start to get results sooner rather than later. “The results haven’t been there, but our performances are improving week by week, and there is a long way to go in the season and I’m still confident that we can be a top four team and even challenging for the title if we can get moving,” the skipper explained. “If I think back to our promotion winning season, we were also winless after three rounds and managed to turn things around. This important thing for us is to trust to process and results will follow.”
The winger knows Quinns have picked up some quality players and are playing well at the moment, and is expecting another tough game on Saturday evening. “Quinn’s seem to be the big improvers from pre-season and will be a challenging fixture for us,” Loxley said. “Glenn (Grostate) has built a young side but with real quality too. They will bring a lot of energy to the match but with our steady improvement over the past few weeks, I am confident that we can kickstart our season with a win on Saturday evening.”
In other games this weekend, new Olympic Kingsway coach David Tough has a difficult first up game when they travel to Macedonia Park to take on Stirling Macedonia, while UWA Nedlands will look to build and last week’s first win of the season when they welcome Subiaco to the UWA Sports Park. Ashfield make the trip to Forrest Park to take on Joondalup United, while league leaders Western Knights will look to maintain their perfect start to the season when they head down the Kwinana Freeway to take on Mandurah City at Securitas Protect Stadium. Likewise, Fremantle City who head to the Swan Valley in the final game to meet Swan United at Francis Street.
Swan were humbled 0-6 at home last time out by the Knights, while Fremantle edged out Forrestfield, and Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens said it was a good three points. “Some could say professional performance, others would say lucky, but at the end of the day we got three points and we look forward to this week,” he said. “I thought it was a tail of two halves in the first we were dominant and didn’t capitalise and similar with them in the second half, but funny enough they scored their goal in the first against the run of play and similar with our two goals, they were also against the run of play. We certainly have strung a full performance together yet, but the positive thing is we’re grinding out results.”
Stevens said the ground at Swan is small and narrow, but he said they go there full of confidence that they can continued their unbeaten start. “The pitch will be the same for both teams and it will be whoever is able to play the way that they want to will get the result. If it is small and narrow, then it’s slightly different to our home ground but we have full confidence in the squad we have and the way we’re playing to hopefully come away with the points,” the defender explained. “Confidence is a big thing and at the moment we have a whole squad who are full of confidence in not only themselves, but each other and more importantly have brought into what the coaches are trying to implement. I think Swan will be another tough test for us, but if we play the way we want and take our chances, hopefully the result goes our way.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND FIVE – PREVIEW
It’s week five of the State League Division Two and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees second placed Morley Windmills hosting seventh placed Wanneroo City at Wotton Reserve. City won for the first time this season against Gosnells last week, while Morley dropped their first points of the season after being held to a draw by Balga. The last time they met at the venue was in round 21 in 2017, when they shared the points in a 1-1 draw. Wanneroo youngster Nolan Flynn gave them the lead before Dion Berman missed a penalty for the hosts. But Berman made up for his miss to score after half time to give both sides a point.
Morley skipper Leigh Morgan said it was definitely two points dropped. “Yes, we were disappointed with the result last week, as we led 2-0 going into half time, which probably should have been a bigger lead seeing as we played some of our best football to date in that half,” he said. “But I think Balga just came out wanting it more than us in the second half and that’s what made us drop our heads. So, it was disappointing that we couldn’t get the win seeing as Dianella dropped points and gave us a good chance to go top with three wins.
Morgan is glad football is back this weekend after the lockdown last week, and he is expecting Wanneroo to come out firing after their first win of the season against Gosnells. “Disappointing to miss the game last week as all the boys were looking to play this weekend after a good week of training and the result against Balga pushed us to train well in preparation for the game to ensure we got the three points,” he explained. “They (Wanneroo) haven’t had the greatest start to the season by the looks of things, but doesn’t matter where they sit on the ladder the team that wants it more on the day will be the ones who win the game. I have faith after the result last week that the boys will be ready to face Wanneroo this weekend and get a win.”
Winger Josh Booysen scored the winner last week against Gosnells and he said it was the kick start their season needed. “It was a great win to get the ball rolling on our season, and it had been coming for some weeks,” he said. “Always nice to get on the scoresheet, and hopefully we can pick up momentum and really challenge for the title this season.”
Booysen said Morley are the form team of the competition so it will be a great test for them after last week's postponement. “It was disappointing for everyone to miss out last week but again grateful to be back so soon if all goes to plan,” he said. “Morley are a strong side and have made some good signings. It’s still early days in the league but every week is a new challenge. We’re getting more and more confident as a playing group each week, so we’re looking forward to the game.”
In other game this weekend Canning City will be hoping in-form Kingsley Westside bring their away kit when they meet at Burrendah Reserve, while Balga travel to Edinburgh Oval to take on Curtin University. Kelmscott Roos will go on search of their first points of the season when they visit the Iluka Sports Complex to take on Joondalup City, while Murdoch University Melville welcome Carramar Shamrock Rovers to The Wormall Civil Stadium at the Murdoch Uni Campus. In the final game league leaders Dianella White Eagles entertain Gosnells City in the late game at Dianella Reserve (5.00pm)
Gosnells were beaten at Wanneroo last week, while Dianella were held at home by Carramar Shamrock Rovers. Dianella coach Stewart Moses said it was a good game, but they should have taken all three points. “We thought we had the better chances, but failed to take them,” he said. “They (Rovers) are the benchmark after winning the title last season, but we were disappointed and it was two points lost.”
Moses said Marc Anthony’s side will be tough to beat, but they are determined to get back to winning ways. “We’re looking forward to playing in front of our supporters again this week, and hopefully we can send them home happy with three points on the board,” he said. “But any side coached by Marc will make it tough, and we will have to be at our best to get the right result.”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND THREE PREVIEW
It’s week three of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Kelly Park where Kwinana United entertain North Perth United. Kwinana were beaten last round by Wembley, while North Perth won for the first time this season after a 3-0 win against Hamersley to kick start their title defence.
The last time they met at the venue was in round seven last season, when the hosts won 2-1. Kwinana raced to a two-goal lead after only 18 minutes, with goals from Tom Ryan and Morgan Walters. North Perth hit back two minutes later with Lewis Robinson volleying home from the edge of the penalty area. Both sides went close for the rest of the game but there were no further goals.
Kwinana Head Coach Mark Purvis said it wasn’t a good day at the office for his side last week, but he knows it’s still early days. “Certainly not the result we were looking for last time out at Wembley,” he said. “After a good performance in the first game against Jaguar, it was disappointing not to be able to get something from that game.”
Purvis said North Perth are the reigning Champions, so it will be a challenge for his side but he said they will be up for it. “However, there is no better way to try and bounce back than playing the reigning champions,” he said. “We are certainly looking forward to the challenge, and we know it’s not going to be easy, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
North Perth Head Coach said it was good to get back to winning ways, but they were made to work for it. “It was important to bounce back after the opening game of the season, Hamersley made it tough for us, but we were happy to get the 3-0 result.” he said. “We started the game slow and finally got the breakthrough late in the second half, also pleasing to get the clean sheet and more importantly the three points.”
O’Neill said Kwinana were impressive in the Night Series and Sunday will be another tough assignment. “This game against Kwinana is going to be another tough one, they will be right up there challenging, they have some quality players,” he explained. “We will need to be ready for a high intensity game, the lads have put in the effort this week on the training pitch and are looking forward to getting back to playing some football.”
In other games league leaders Maddington White City make the trip to Carine Open space to take on Hamersley Rovers looking to maintain their perfect start to the season, likewise second placed Quinns, who welcome Leeming Strikers to Gumblossom Park. Queens Park will go on search of their first points of the season when they host UWA Nedlands at Coker Park, the same goes for Joondalup United who take on Jaguar at Beldon Park.
The round starts on Saturday evening, when South West Phoenix entertain Wembley Downs at Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury. The visitors will look to continue where they left off last week after a win against Kwinana, while the Phoenix need to bounce back after their loss at Jaguar. Phoenix coach Nick Carter said it was a good lesson learnt last week. “Yes, not the best start, it probably didn’t help that we hadn’t played in a week, then to travel up and play a quality side like Jaguars was a lesson for us,” he explained. “They surprised us from last time we played them and we were beaten by a good side.”
Carter said they need to be on their toes on Saturday against a good Wembley side. “We haven’t played in two weeks so the lads are itching to get back on the pitch, and we have finally got a game at home after so many weeks being on the road,” he said. “Any team that beats Kwinana are going to be tough, and I’m hoping they have one eye on the night out in Bunbury after the game. But either way, it’s going to be a good football match.”
WOODCOCK HEADS TO ECU
ECU Joondalup have signed former Australian under-23 international, Perth Glory and Sydney FC defender Riley Woodcock for the 2021 NPLWA season from Cockburn City. The talented defender put pen to paper on his contract on Tuesday evening, before getting on the track for training with his new team mates, as they prepare for Saturday’s game against Perth Glory and Saturday afternoon at the ECU Football Stadium.
Woodcock said he is happy to join the Champions, and can’t wait to get started. “Obviously I’m very happy, ECU is a great club and seem to be doing really good things around the place,” he explained. “Kenny and I have been in contact a few times since I returned back to Perth, so after a few conversations recently I felt the time was right to make the move.”
The 25-year-old said it was a tough decision to leave team mates and friends at Dalmatinac Park, but he is looking forward to the new challenge at ECU. “Yes of course, Cockburn was one of my junior clubs and I have had a good relationship with President Heidi Lazzaro for many, many years,” Woodcock explained. “I also have a great relationship with Scotty (Miller) and Dale (Wingell) and have the upmost respect for them both, so that made things tough. But as I said I felt the time was right and I was really drawn to how ECU are going about their business at the club at the moment.”
Woodcock will reunite with Kenny Lowe, who coached the defender at the NTC and Glory, and he said he is looking forward to the season ahead, and helping the club to regain their NPLWA title. “Yes definitely, I didn’t actually have Kenny for too long at the Glory as I left quite early into his stint as manager and went to Sydney,” he explained.
“But I had Kenny as a junior in the NTC for quite a few years and share some great memories from national competitions etc, where I felt he got the best out of me, so I’m excited to see what we can do. Obviously, the team is off to another great start this season, and other then the Armadale slip up have won every game, so I think with the current squad we’re in good stead to have another successful year and hopefully I can be a big part of that.”
Lowe said he had been looking to sign the defender all last season, and he is happy to have finally got his man, and he’s looking forward to working with him again. “We’re delighted to have signed Riley,” he said. “He has been outstanding for Cockburn and has great experience in this competition and at a higher level with Perth Glory and Sydney FC, and has also represented Australia at U18 U20 & U23 level, so he will give our squad a real boost.
“I worked with him at the NTC and also at Perth Glory, and he can play a few positions, which will give us options, but he is one of the best players in the league. He is a player who I’ve wanted to sign for a while, and when the opportunity came, I jumped at the chance to bring him to the Campus.
“I tried to sign him when I first came here, but he was heavily invested in Cockburn, who are a very good and well coached team, so actually this is the fourth or fifth time I have tried, which shows you always got to keep trying. We have started the season really well with four clean sheets and sitting second in League, but there is still room for improvement and the signing of Riley will only help that.”
KERR NOMINATED FOR PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Samantha Kerr is in the running to be named the English FA Women's Super League's best after being nominated for the Player of the Season Award. The Matilda's captain has been in impeccable form this season for Chelsea, helping the London side lead the competition with only two games to play.
Kerr shares the lead in the Golden Boot rankings with 18 goals from 20 matches alongside Arsenal's Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema. Now in her second season at Chelsea, the 27-year old is a key part of their attack, forming a brilliant combination with Fran Kirby which has been likened to the famous Manchester United strike partnership of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.
Kerr will be hoping for big performances to close out the season and hopefully provide her with the final push to take out the WSL Player of the Season title. Other nominees for the award include Chloe Kelly, Sam Mewis (both Manchester City), Izzy Christiansen (Everton), Kirby (Chelsea) and Miedema (Arsenal).
TIMMINS' UNIQUE PATH TO THE A-LEAGUE
While many young Australian footballers dream of moving to England, Perth Glory midfielder Callum Timmins has done things in reverse. The 21-year old, who was born and raised in England, moved to Perth with his family in 2015 and continued to chase his round ball dreams.
Timmins has never been short of talent and spent six years in Birmingham City's academy, where he even crossed paths with current Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham. "I spent time there when I was young. My brother was a professional with the club at the time too. It was a good experience," Timmins told Sporting News.
"At youth team level, England is much more competitive, when you take that step up to the first-team it becomes even more competitive. I was there for about six years so I progressed a lot during that time. He (Bellingham) was actually three years younger than me. Never played with him but I used to see him around the training ground."
While Bellingham is currently starring in Germany, Timmins is looking to make his name in the A-League and his breakout season this year has been far from straight forward. The promising midfielder
Timmons spent four years in Glory's youth ranks only to be released by the club in 2019. He credits foremr coach Kenny Lowe for helping him bounce back from that setback. "My old manager Kenny Lowe got a job at ECU (Joondalup) and wanted to sign me. He helped me progress to where I am now," Timmins said.
"He helped me a lot that year in bringing out the best of me at a semi-professional level. He helped pick me back up and his previous job was at Glory so he knew what it would take to get me back to that next level. The change from full-time to part-time was difficult ... so when Garce (Richard Garcia) offered me another opportunity I was very grateful."
Timmins has shown signs of his potential this season across his 11 appearances and has found a trusting coach in Garcia, who brought him back into the Glory fold late last year. "I think I’m getting some momentum. It’s good to get that experience and get used to that level," he said.
"It’s a lot faster than what you normally play in the NPL so it’s good to get a feel for it and hopefully do well when you get opportunities. It’s been a great experience in the process. "I knew Garce when I was in the youth team. He’s a brilliant coach and he makes it enjoyable. He’s one those managers if you ever need anything he’s always there to help and guide you through it."
Despite his English roots, Timmins now considers himself an Australian and harbours no regrets over his family's decision to leave England behind. "My brother moved here when he was 19 and my family wanted to be with him, support him and keep the family together," Timmins said. "It’s a better way of life. There’s a lot more opportunities here in Australia too."
GWELUP SNAP UP MARULANDA
It’s been a turbulent week for Columbian striker Gustavo Giron Marulanda, after leaving his beloved Bayswater City after 12-years at the club. The 34-year-old said it was a tough decision to move on but he is looking forward to the new challenge at Gwelup Croatia. “Moving from Baysie was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in my life, the time spent at the club has been phenomenal and full of happy memories,” he explained.
“The hardest part of the move was explaining to my kids their daddy will no longer play for the club that they love however I believe the time was right to move on and try a new challenge in my football journey. Gwelup contacted me as soon as it was official, I was leaving Bayswater, and I’ve always had a good relationship with the club’s chairman (Jure Denona) and some of the senior players, so It wasn’t really hard to decide to move there, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead, as expectations are high at the club.”
He has many memories in his time at Frank Drago Reserve, and when asked his fondest, the striker was quick to respond. “I’ve had many highlights at the club, but the one that stands out for me was the time we won the league in the last match in 2017, after Inglewood had led the whole competition and dropped to second in the last minute at Floreat’s ground,” he explained. “The thrill of all the players waiting on the phone for the last whistle to go to confirm our title win was a great experience, and one I will never forget.”
Marulanda said Bayswater have been great to him since he joined and he had a special thanks to the staff who made him so welcome. “I would like to thank everyone at Bayswater for making my spell at the club, a great time of my life,” he said. “From Gerry to Ori, and everyone who has work their socks off to maintain and run the club year after year, they will always have a special place in my heart.”
But the striker can’t wait to get started at his new club, and he trained for the first time at Wishart Street last night ahead of Saturday’s home game against league leaders Floreat Athena. He is determined to thank the club for giving him another opportunity in the NPLWA again. “The club has a very high expectation this year, they take things seriously and definitely have the squad to achieve all their goals," Marulanda said. “They are ambitious and have built a great team to bring silverware to the cabinet. I hope I can contribute as much as possible to make it happen and I look forward to get rolling and scoring some goals. We are definitely a team that will be up there challenging for the league, bring it on.”
INJURY PUTS RISDON A-LEAGUE SEASON ON LINE
Josh Risdon's A-League season may well be over with Western United coach Mark Rudan confirming initial scans on the fringe Socceroos' latest injury are concerning. Risdon was making just his third appearance of the season in Monday's 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets when he limped off after 21 minutes following a challenge with Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.
Rudan said 28-year old Risdon is now facing at least a month on the sidelines. "First set of scans, not looking good ... there's a second set of scans he needs to do now but it's not looking good initially," Rudan said. "Best-case scenario is two-to-three weeks. Worst-case scenario is a lot worse than that. Season-ending."
The news is devastating for Risdon who had been sidelined since late December with a tibia injury. "It's been a tough one for Josh," Rudan said. "We all know just how important he is to our football club and our team. Finally gets himself back in there and an innocuous challenge by his good friend Stammo puts him out now for at least a month, maybe longer."
LYDEN REFLECTS ON VILLA GLORY DAYS
Nine years ago, a squad of Aston Villa academy players were crowned champions of the short-lived NextGen Series, an elite Under-19s European club competition. The Villa youngsters lifted the trophy after defeating Chelsea in the final and having knocked out Ajax, Olympiacos and Sporting Lisbon along the way.
One of those Villa youngster was West Australian Jordan Lyden. Now 25, he moved to England to fulfil his dream of playing in the Premier League and made his way into the Villa academy in 2012. He broke into the first team during the 2015/16 season, only for his excitement at getting senior football to be dampened by Villa's relegation from the top flight.
Lyden had terrible luck with injuries and it was to be the 2017/18 season before he was fit enough to be considered again for first team duty, making two League Cup cameos under Steve Bruce. He was loaned out to Oldham Athletic in 2018/19 and the following July moved to Swindon Town where he currently plays. Once again he has suffered the disappointment of relegation with the Robins dropping out of League One.
Lyden retains fond memories of Villa's NextGen Series success. “I still look back at that as one of my best achievements in football along with winning the League Two title here at Swindon last year," he said. "It was a great experience. At such a young age to play against the best teams across Europe and then to win it was obviously an amazing feeling."
"The best game was the semi-final against Sporting Lisbon. They had some very good players, the game went to extra-time and then Jack (Grealish) scored to put us 2-1. But we had a very good team all the way from the keeper to the top of the pitch. I think a lot of the players that were a part of that squad are still playing professional football now, so it just shows, how good of a team we actually had."
"We had a very good squad we worked hard and knew what we had to do and how to play as a team and I think that’s what got us over the line in the end. We were quite a close-knit group. Chelsea had some quality footballers as well, but we came out 2-0 on top in the final so that was obviously great for us. It was a great experience for all involved and put us in good stead to becoming professional footballers on the big stage."
Regardless of the frustrating nature of Jordan’s senior career and facing relegation at a young age he still saw his time at Villa as a great achievement. "I was lucky to make the grade at Villa to a certain extent," he reflected. "It was my dream to play in the Premier League since I was a young kid, so the fact I was able to achieve that, no one can take that away from me.”
"The atmosphere isn’t great when you’re in a losing side, but I was lucky enough to have players like Gabby Agbonlahor and Micah Richards help me get through that. At the end of the day I was just a youngster coming into that environment, but they spoke to me and sat me down a few times after training and helped me, so I thank them for what they’ve done in my career as well."
TAGGART DIGGING DEEP TO GRAB SOCCEROOS SPOT
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart hasn’t given up hope of landing a FIFA World Cup call-up for next month’s Kuwait World Cup hub, despite not playing a competitive match since October. The 27-year old finisher underlined his importance to the national team with Australia’s winner against Jordan in their last qualifier 17 months ago.
But Taggart is now racing to clock to prove his match readiness for June’s Kuwait-based hub, where Australia face Nepal, the hosts, Taiwan and Jordan. The Cerezo Osaka forward has been out of COVID-19 quarantine for less than two weeks and is digging deep to get up to speed with his new J-League teammates.
Although Arnold is planning to bring an extended squad to the Middle East, Taggart isn’t sure what’s going through the mind of Australia’s head coach. “It’s hard to say,” declared Taggart. “I haven’t played a competitive game for a while but I’ve kept myself fit and I’m back training for my new club now.”
“Whether I’m selected or not it’s one of those things where I’ll be as ready as I can be. It’s a matter of ripping in as hard as I can hear in Japan. The decisions, of course, are out of my hands but I’ll do everything I can to be up to speed as much as possible.”
Cerezo sit fifth after 12 and Taggart knows that breaking through will be no mean feat. “It’s been frustrating to miss the start of the season - but I’m really happy to finally be here,” he added. “It’s a great club with a great staff and now I’m planning to ramp things up as quickly as possible.
“Realistically, it might take a little time to get there but I’m feeling fit and strong. The team’s doing well and there are lots of good players around which will help me. I’ve got all the tools to get me to where I need to be.”
Cerezo’s top scorer is the ageless Yoshito Okubo, 38, with five goals in 11 games. “There are quality players up front and that’s what you want, good competition,” added Taggart. “You don’t necessarily want to be at a club where you’re guaranteed to play every week. You need that healthy competition to keep pushing you up.”
No matter the extent of his national team involvement, Taggart sees Australia completing the job of reaching the final phase of qualifying for Qatar 2022. “We’ve got ourselves in a good position - but there’s a lot of room to keep pushing even harder,” he added.
“I thought we were getting to a good place before international football was frozen for us. Everyone will be hungry and excited to get back into camp. There is competition upfront with the national team as well with Jamie Maclaren doing great things for Melbourne City ... it’s all about the national team and working together because we all want the same thing.”
HAROLD FINDING PEACE AWAY FROM THE A-LEAGUE
At an age when most footballers are entering their prime, Chris Harold decided to walk away from the professional game. Perth Glory's most capped player of the A-League era took many by surprise when, at the age of 28, he revealed he wouldn't be returning to the competition in late 2020.
Six months on, Harold is now working full-time as a solicitor in Perth and he's found some much-needed peace away from the constant demands of professional football. It was during the A-League's enforced break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that he realised it was the right time to transition away from the rigours of the round ball.
"I just kind of fully switched off and relaxed and it felt really good because as a professional athlete you have to be on all the time," said Harold, who was at the time playing for Central Coast Mariners. "I was used to being very anxious about injuries and performance and stuff like that."
"So for the first time in my life, I never had that in the back of my mind - it was kind of mentally invigorating. Because I felt so relaxed, I felt like I was able to be more present in my life. I'm lucky that I'm able to start a career as sort of a more mature person and having a family already so I kind of know what my boundaries are."
With a young daughter to look after, Harold is enjoying a new found balance in his life but admits the initial transition to traditional full-time work wasn't without its challenges. Having made his A-League debut with Gold Coast United in 2010, the former Young Socceroo always knew adjusting to life off the pitch would take time and a degree of perseverance.
"I’ve had my moments, it’s such a huge thing to make the decision to do," he said. "I guess that's the thing with professional sport. You have to make that decision sooner or later, whether you're like me in your early 20s or whether you're in your mid 30s. It's still the same things that you have to encounter psychologically."
"It's hard growing up in a footballing environment to understand what it's like to work a normal job kind of thing and everything that goes with that ... I think the first six weeks, starting full-time work was very challenging because it's just that constant mental stimulation. I think in corporate law environments as well it's pretty demanding - there's no hiding."
While exposed to the inevitable difficulties that come with any major career transition, Harold was able to prepare himself for what would come once he decided to hang up the boots. The break from football that COVID-19 provided also gave him the time to properly consider his options and where his priorities truly lay.
"So I was lucky from the point of view that I was able to have that time and didn't have external pressures kind of forcing me to make a decision quicker than I wanted to," Harold said. "That kind of allowed me and my family to mentally prepare and also just set up our life in a way to be able to transition as well as I could."
"It's always been something that interests me, athlete transition, because nothing replicates playing professional sport. And that's why you see so many amazing athletes just really struggle once they retire ... Football was the main part of my life but I had a lot of other things that interested me and a lot of other things that I was putting my energy and attention into."
"I actually benefited in my football when I was able to kind of switch off and channel my energy into other things because most of the time football is really challenging and you go through ups and downs. So when you when you're going through those hard patches, it's important to be able to separate yourself from the game."
After giving up football cold turkey for nearly 12 months, Harold is now back playing for National Premier Leagues side ECU Joondalup under the guidance of former Glory coach Kenny Lowe. But unlike the past decade, the round ball is now a part-time passion rather than a full-time demand.
"The reason that I stopped playing wasn't because I'd fallen out of love with the game," he said. "It felt nice after having nearly 12 months of not playing any football and I definitely had a desire to come back and play again. There are days when I have training, and I get to the end of the working day, and, you know, it's hard to muster the motivation."
"But I must say that once I'm actually on the pitch, and I'm training again and moving around it's really good. It was a big change for me going from having a career where I'm outside all the time, and exercising constantly, then, you know, now I'm sitting down, spending the majority of my day in an office - so it's a really nice outlet."
GWELUP PART COMPANY WITH NICOLAIDIS
There may have been no football this weekend, but NPLWA side Gwelup Croatia has parted company with Taki Nicolaidis, after three and half years at the club. Nicolaidis took the club into the NPL for the first time in their history, and helped the club into the national stage of the FFA Cup in 2018. The club sent out the flowing statement.
Gwelup Croatia Soccer Club has today parted company with First Team head coach, Taki Nicolaidis. First Team assistant coaches Callum Salmon and Matt Andrews have also departed their roles at the club, effective immediately. In what has been a very difficult decision, the club thanks Taki for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. Under 20s coach, Richard Abrams, will take up the role of interim head coach of the First Team squad until further notice. The Club will be making no further comment until such time as a new Head Coach is officially appointed.’
FOOTBALL LOCKED DOWN IN PERTH
After Premier Mark McGowen announced a Covid-19 lockdown on Friday afternoon all football activity in the Perth and Peel districts have been cancelled. Football West are working on rescheduling, dependant on when clubs can get back to training, and the governing body gave out this update on Friday.
As per the Premier’s announcement at 2.40pm on Friday 23 April 2021, all football activity, including but not limited to games and training, will be suspended immediately until 12.00am Tuesday 27 April 2021, pending further government advice.
Football West staff will immediately begin fixturing scenarios that effect Football West competitions.
As per government advice, football activity outside of the Perth metropolitan and Peel regions remains unaffected. Football West is contactable via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and direct phone (between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm) 6181 0700.
Football West will update our COVID19 landing page in the coming hours. All general enquiries regarding the lockdown should be direct to https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus.
Regards, Ryan Lenegan General Manager – Participation, Community and Clubs
KERR ON TARGET AGAIN FOR THE BLUES
Matildas skipper Sam Kerr has starred again for Chelsea, scoring one and creating the other as the Women's Super League leaders earned a crucial 2-2 draw at title rivals Manchester City to keep themselves in pole position to retain their crown. The former Perth Glory striker scored with a bullet header, and was later brought down for a penalty which was converted by Pernille Harder as Chelsea maintained their two-point lead at the top with just two more games to be played.
But City also kept their hopes of a first title since 2016 alive after Lauren Hemp struck a 74th-minute equaliser as they came from behind for a second time to secure the vital point. Kerr had given the visitors the lead with a terrific header on 25 minutes, getting on the end of Erin Cuthbert's free-kick to put her outright top of the WSL scoring charts with her 18th goal of the season, one clear of Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema.
Her strike was soon cancelled out by a strike from Chloe Kelly, but then she was adjudged to have been brought down by Ellie Roebuck as she surged into the box on 34 minutes after attempting to round the keeper, and it allowed Harder to step up and slot home the resulting spot kick.
The Blues, who pipped City to the title last season, although it was awarded on a slightly controversial points-per-game basis, with Chelsea behind but, having played one less game, being awarded the trophy. But City fought back at the start of the second half and created a few opportunities. Kelly fired over the crossbar and Lucy Bronze tried to bundle the ball forwards before a foul in the box.
After Chelsea were unable to clear, City levelled for the second time. Hemp fired home after a misjudged back-pass from Fran Kirby was not cleared by stand-in captain Millie Bright. Blues goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger made a superb late save to tip behind a header from Hemp that was heading into the top corner.
NPL-WA ROUND SIX PREVIEW
The NPLWA ladder is taking shape after five weeks with the top four getting a mini break on the others, but it’s still early days and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees two sides looking to push up the table, when Perth Glory entertain Armadale at Hartfield Park. Both sides are coming off 1-1 draws last week, the Reds at home against Balcatta, while Glory scored late to draw at Gwelup, so three points are a must if they are to keep in contact with the top four.
The draw for Glory at Gwelup felt like a loss, after dominating for long periods of the game, but skipper Giordano Colli said the side showed great resilience to fight back and get the equaliser so late. “It was a very good game and I think if we’d took our chances in the first half, we could have been a couple ahead going into the break,” explained. “But after going down 1-0 we battled well and got the point we deserved in the end, even if we left it late.”
Colli said it’s not been the start to the season they would have liked but being unbeaten in the last two games gives them confidence going forward. “It has been a tough start but we as a team feel like we could have got more out of a couple of the games with missed opportunities,” he said. “We do take confidence with the win against Cockburn, and a good performance on the weekend and look forward to keep moving in the right direction. So, we go into the Armadale game with confidence, but we know it will be another tough game, but we are looking for all three points.”
Armadale are yet to lose on the road, which included a 4-0 win at ECU Joondalup, but their home form is a different matter, and defender Friday Zico said last week was a missed opportunity to change that after Balcatta were reduced to 10 men, but they didn’t take their chances. “It’s one of those game both teams wanted to win, hard fought game between both teams, but credit to Balcatta who played nearly half of the match with 10 men,” he said. “We were really disappointed we couldn’t capitalise on the extra player. We needed to be more clinical in front of goal but a draw was a fair result in the end.”
It’s a busy weekend for the Reds, with a FFA Cup game on Monday at North Perth United, but Zico they are up for the challenge. “Yes, it’s going to be a busy weekend for us, but I think it’s important to take it one game at a time, I know all the boys are looking forward to playing Glory then in the FFA Cup,” the defender explained. “We need to managed ourselves well as players and be ready to take on the responsibility ourselves to make sure we are ready for the challenge of playing two games in three days.
The former South Sudan international defender said Glory are a talented team and will be a test, but he said they head away from home confident they can get a result. “Saturday is a massive game for us, I know both teams want to do well and get the three points, and they (Glory) have signed some good young players in their squad this year who will all want to do well,” Zico said. “But we want to go there and play well ourselves and come away with the three points, and as a team will have to be at our best in order to achieve that objective because Glory can be a dangerous side with lot of goal scorers who can put away half chances.”
The round starts tonight when league leaders Floreat Athena will look to extend their perfect start to the season when they host Cockburn City at E&D Litis Stadium. The Cockerels sit bottom of the table, but they do have happy memories of the ground after beating Floreat in the final game of last season to deny them the title. On Saturday, second placed ECU Joondalup make the trip to Grindleford Reserve to take on Balcatta, while Perth SC entertain Gwelup Croatia at Dorrien Gardens. Sorrento Head south to take on Rockingham City at SafeRad Stadium.
In the final game both Bayswater City and Inglewood United will look to kick start their seasons when they meet at Frank Drago Reserve. City were beaten at home by Floreat last week, a game they conceded three penalties, and striker Gordon Smith said they need to be better. “Disappointing result for us against Floreat, but we didn’t play with the intensity we can and they punished us,” he said. “Not many teams will have three penalties against them this season, but the decisions were out of our hand and the penalties defiantly killed any momentum.”
It’s not been a good week for the club with midfielder Steven Walmsley badly damaging his knee, while striker Gustavo Giron Marulanda has left the club, Smith said both will be missed, but it will give other players an opportunity. “Disappointing to see Steve do his knee, it didn’t look good when he went down with no contact, we all wish him a speedy recovery and his energy will be sorely missed,” Smith explained. “Gustavo is a true legend of the club and of course everyone was gutted to see him leave and we wish him all the best wherever he decided to go. It’s now a good opportunity for some of the young players at the club to step up and claim a spot in the first team.”
Smith said Saturday is huge for both sides, but they will be doing all they can to kick start their season with a win. “We know three points will push us back up in touch with the top four, so it’s a huge game, and we are ready for a big game in front of our supporters,” he said. “We’ve dusted ourselves down and had a good week's training and look forward to the challenge against a good Inglewood side.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND FOUR – PREVIEW
It’s week four of the State League Division One, and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees third placed Quinns hosting fourth placed Stirling Macedonia at Gumblossom Park on Saturday evening (7.00) It’s a first return to Quinns for former coach Ian Ferguson, who along with a number of players joined Stirling this season, and both will be looking to get back into the winner’s circle this week.
Quinns were beaten for the first time this season at UWA last week, while Stirling concede late to draw with Ashfield. The last time the sides met at the venue was in round 15 last season with Quinns running out 3-0 winners. Jamie Stewart opened the scoring, with Matt Corrigan adding a second 15 minutes from time, before Sam Rawlings sealed the win in the final minute.
Quinns skipper Adam Buckingham said it was a disappointing result last week at UWA, but they failed to take their chances when they were on top. “We did have some good chances mainly in the first half but to be fair mistakes cost us the lead going into half time,” he said. “In the second half UWA were definitely the better side and deservedly went on to win the game.”
Buckingham said they have a new look squad this season and new coach Glenn Grostate has the young side playing well and he knows Saturday is a huge game, especially with Stirling adding some quality players. But he said they are ready for it and hopes they can make their home ground advantage count. “Our squad is great, the younger players like Matthew Grostate, Ben Hinshelwood and Liam Hudson mixed with a few lads like Adam Tong and Cian Hirrell, makes a great mix," he said. "It definitely has the potential to be successful this season, and push for the NPL, but this is a tough league and we know Stirling will be a tough game as they have some decent players. If we play well there’s no reason why we shouldn’t get the win, especially being at home.”
Last week's draw wasn’t what Stirling were looking for but skipper Dejan Spaseski said they learnt a good lesson. “We had lots of new faces on the park against Ashfield thanks to our long list of injuries and suspensions,” he said. “In saying this, we were very pleased with the number of chances we created and know we deserved better from the way we controlled the game. We have learnt from our mistakes and look to put it right this week.”
It’s a new look coaching staff and squad this season at Macedonia Park, and Spaseski believes they will get better. “Fergie, John and Dave have come in and created a professional environment and instilled a winning mentality within the playing group. They have brought in players of great quality who have gelled with the squad very quickly, and we’re very confident as a squad that we can pick up three points in any fixture,” he explained. “We know the challenge ahead, especially with playing Quinns at their home ground. Our preparation does not change and we head there accepting nothing but three points.”
In other games this week league leaders Western Knights will look to maintain their perfect start to the season when they entertain Subiaco at Nash Field, likewise Fremantle City who welcome Joondalup United to Hilton Park. it’s not been the start Forrestfield United were looking for and they sit bottom of the table and still searching for their first win of the season, and his week they travel to the Acclaimed Catering Arena to take on Ashfield, while Mandurah City are also looking for their first win and they go on search of it when they host Swan United at Securitas Protect Stadium.
In the final game Olympic Kingsway welcome UWA Nedlands to Kingsway Reserve. It will be the first time former UWA coach Michael Janssen will take on his former club in the league, and both sides won for the first time this season in week three, Olympic stunning Subiaco on the road, while UWA beat Quinns in a seven-goal thriller. UWA midfielder Luke Randazzo said it was important win for the club. “It was a really good win for our group and much needed given our 0-2 start,” he said. “The boys really believe in each other and what we have been building so it was nice to see some reward for effort.”
Last week was the final game for coach Dom Gangemi and Randazzo said it was a fitting way to send him off. “He’s been a great coach and mentor to the group so I’m pleased we could finish with him on a high. Business commitments meant his time as coach has come to an end but I’m grateful to have worked with him and rate him highly as a coach,” he said. “Alessandro Carciotto has taken over who was Dom’s assistant last year. Another fantastic person at the club who is well placed to lead us forward. A great communicator and big opportunity for him to lead the side which I’m sure he will deliver.”
Carciotto’s first game in charge is a tough one at Olympic, and Randazzo said both sides have quality players and it will be another tough game. “It’s a huge game this weekend at Kingsway, they’ve obviously lost a few boys lately but I have no doubt the two sides of 11 that take to the park will be desperate to secure the three points,” he explained. “They are a quality outfit and we’ll certainly need to bring our best if we are going to get a result, but we’re looking forward to it.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND FOUR – PREVIEW
We head into week four of the State League Division Two with only three points separating the top seven teams, and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees third placed Kingsley Westside host Joondalup City at Chichester Park on Saturday evening (5.00pm) Kingsley won at Murdoch University Melville last week to make it back-to-back wins, while Joondalup’s game at Canning was postponed, leaving them still searching for their first points of the season.
The win at MUM was a huge confidence boost for Kingsley and skipper Jayden Drummond said it was well deserved. “It was an Important win against Murdoch, I don’t think many teams will take points off them on their pitch,” he explained. “We started really well, then they made their way into the game, some really good football played by both teams as you would expect on that pitch but the difference was, we took our chances and they didn’t.”
Drummond said Saturday’s opponents have recruited well for the season, and knows his side needs to perform well to keep their winning run going. “We certainly are well aware of Joondalup City’s signings, they’ve strengthened a lot since last year, although they’ve had a tough start to the season,” he said. “But we all know teams with their backs to the walls are the most dangerous, so we will have to be at our best to get a result against them come Saturday.”
Joondalup’s Callum Speed said the start to the season wasn’t what they were hoping for, but he said they had chances to win both games. “Last week was disappointing but that’s in Football West’s hands now,” he said. “The defeats we had in round one and two was very much undeserved, as I thought we were the better team in both games and deserved far more from both games, but it’s still early days and the more our new look squad play together the better we will be.”
Speed, who joined City from neighbours Joondalup United this season, said Kingsley have been impressive this season and will be a difficult opponent, but he is confident they can get a results and kick start their season. “Kingsley have won a couple of games and will be a good test for us,” he said. “I’ve played them a few times in friendlies when I was at Joondalup United and they’re a well organised and structured side. But we know if we play at our best with the players we’ve got, we should win most games I believe.”
In other games in week four, Dianella White Eagles will look to maintain top spot when they travel to Princess Road Reserve to take on Balga, while second placed Morley Windmills head to Walter Padbury Reserve to meet Gosnells City. Kelmscott Roos sit bottom of the table after three straight defeats, and they will be hoping for some home comforts when they host Murdoch University Melville at Frye Park, while Carramar Shamrock Rovers entertain Curtin University at Grandis Park, with fourth placed Curtin looking to continue their good form. In the final game Canning City head north to take on Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve.
Wanneroo won for the first time this season against Gosnells last week, while Canning’s game was postponed due to a clash of kits. Canning Head Coach Chris Finlayson said it was a disappointing day for all involved, and is still waiting for answers. “We’ve trained well this week and have moved on from it,” he explained. “The only unfortunate thing is we still haven’t heard back from Football West as yet, so that’s probably the disappointing thing at the moment.”
Finlayson said Wanneroo were impressive in the Night Series and are a good outfit, but he said it’s business as usual for his team. “We are expecting a very tough match at Wanneroo, but it’s one we are looking forward too,” he said. “Our approach is no different to any other week we travel up there with the intent to play good football and get the points. We have a few players coming back in this week, that we haven’t had the opportunity to play so far, so that’s exciting as well.”
FFA CUP - ROUND FIVE – PREVIEW
It’s FFA Cup (WA) round five on Monday and there some intriguing ties with a number of NPLWA sides taking on lower opposition (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless stated). The biggest test will go to Belt-Up Amateur Premier League side Kwinana United, who visit Dorrien Gardens to take on 11 times State Cup winners Perth SC. Perth beat Murdoch University Melville 2-0 in the last round, while Kwinana ended the fairy tale run of Busselton City. United Head Coach Mark Purvis said it’s a game the club are really looking forward too.
“We are very excited for the challenge this week, it’s the biggest game the club has had for many years,” he said. “Perth are obviously are top side and we excited to see how we measure up against them. We’ve worked extremely hard to get to this round and the boys deserve the chance to test themselves. We are certainly the underdogs but we will be looking to try and give them a few problems and you just never know, maybe we can cause a huge upset.”
Another Belt-Up Amateur Premier League side, North Perth United have home ground advantage when they entertain Armadale at Woodville Reserve. Armadale beat fellow NPL side Inglewood United in the last round on penalties, while North Perth ended Northern City cup run. North Perth Head Coach Luke O’Neill said Saturday is huge and it should be a big day at Woodville. “Everyone involved at the club are looking forward to Monday’s game against Armadale, we are hoping for a good atmosphere down at Woodville,” he said.
“It’s the furthest the club has been in the competition so we are raring to go. It’s not every day you get to come up against one of the NPL sides and we will make sure we give it a good shot. We have told the players and the club to enjoy the day and to support each other to the final whistle. We are fully aware of how hard the game is going to be, John O’Reilly is a great coach and has a quality squad who are always well organised. The message to the lads will be simple enjoy the game, work hard and stick together.”
Cockburn City have struggled so far in the league and they face a tricky tie at Securitas Protect Stadium against Mandurah City. Mandurah moved through on penalties against Quinns, while Cockburn edged out Western Knights. “Games have been coming thick and fast and this is another tough fixture,” Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said. “We’re looking forward to the occasion and testing ourselves against seasoned NPL regulars. I think it has all the makings of a fantastic game.”
In other games there are two all NPLWA ties, with Gwelup Croatia hosting Floreat Athena at Wishart Street, while Bayswater City welcome Balcatta to Frank Drago Reserve. NPLWA Champions ECU Joondalup travel to Kingsway Reserve to take on Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway, while Gosnells City travel to SafeRad Stadium to take on Rockingham City, a game Gosnells skipper Scott Pereira is looking forward too. “We all can’t wait for the cup game on Monday after another disappointing result last week, we look to get back in form and try cause an upset,” he said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of good games against Rockingham over the years, so will be a good test to see where we are at as a team.”
In the final game last season’s Division Two Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers meet the 2015 Cup winners Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento edged past Subiaco in the last round, while Rovers beat Forrestfield United. “We're all looking forward to the challenge of facing Sorrento, especially when they're in such good league form,” Rovers Head Coach Gerry McEwan said. “Work commitments and injuries mean we'll be missing some influential players, but we're aware Sorrento could be in a similar position, so we'll be looking to be as competitive as possible, and who knows what can happen in the cup.”
FLOREAT TOO STRONG FOR COCKBURN
The Covid-19 lockdown has hit the football in the state, with no games this weekend. The only game played was on Thursday evening when Floreat Athena maintained their perfect start to the NPLWA season with a 2-0 win against Cockburn City in Week Six at E&D Litis Stadium. It’s been a difficult week at Floreat, with the clubs committee being dissolved on Tuesday evening, but it didn’t affect Vas Vujicic’s side, with goals from George Festa and Jawad Rezai either side of half time giving them the points.
“I wouldn’t say it was a convincing 90minute display but we took our chances when they came and defended well when we had our backs to the wall,” Floreat skipper Dean Evans explained. “We were under no illusion about Cockburn and we know they are a strong side and with a bit of luck could have had a goal or two but we still created enough chances and again capitalised when they were presented.
“We are finding different ways to win at the moment which is a great sign, but also understanding we won’t always be controlling games with possession but we feel we aren’t giving too many good chances away to other teams which has been great in showing how desperate we are as a team not to concede goals.”
The home side were first to go close in this one after only seven minutes, Kyle Murray’s cross picking out Chris Saldaris, but he couldn’t keep his header down. But it was Cockburn with the best chance early, Anthony Skorich’s shot from distance was heading for the bottom corner of the net, but Jason Saldaris got down well to push it around the post. The lively Rezai was then denied by a smart save from Luke Radonich.
Cockburn were having plenty of possession but were struggling in the final third, but it was Floreat who opened the scoring, six minutes from half time. Murray’s deep corner from the right, was headed back across goal by Dean Evans and Festa got in front of his marker to head home, his first goal of the season, to send the hosts into the break with the lead.
Scott Miller’s side opened the second half well, and went close to the equaliser three minutes in. Sebastian Da Silva was sent down the right and raced into the box, his shot was saved low by Jason Saldaris, and hacked away by Marco Santalucia. But on 53 minutes it was Floreat who doubled their advantage. Nicholas Ambrogio found space down the right and his cross to the back post found Rezai, whose header beat Luke Radonich at his near post.
Cockburn weren’t finished and Jesse Lazzaro’s first time shot was deflected over the top by Chris Saldaris, before second half substitute Adam Anfuso headed over the top when well place. The visitors were ending the game well and Riley Woodcock’s low cross into the penalty area was only inches away from sliding Lazzaro, the ball flashing inches wide of the far post. But they couldn’t find a way through and Floreat kicked off the season with six straight wins to move six points clear at the top of the table.
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO (4 Ben STEELE 87’), 11 Dennis GALAN, 12 Jawad REZAI, 13 George FESTA, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Kyle MURRAY (20 Andrew PALMER 59’), 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER, 22 Ismail HAJI, 40 Wesley CASIMIR
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 5 Julian TELES, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 9 Anthony SKORICH (18 Adam ANFUSO 64’), 11 Harry O’BRIEN (22 Daniel ROBINSON 64’), 12 Sebastian DA SILVA, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Ali GHOLAMI, 21 Jesse LAZZARO, 23 Riley WOODCOCK, 25 Breckan BAKER – Subs not used: RGK Ben RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS - Referee: Tom GLAVOVIC
NOVELLO MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF IN SERIE B
Teenager Jahce Novello is out to make his mark in Italian football with Serie B side U.S. Cremonese. The 17-year old West Australian made a move to Italy in August 2019 to chase his football dreams.
After several trials, he was offered a deal with Cremonese in Italy’s north and is now working his way up the club’s youth ranks. “I’ve been here for about a year and a half,” the striker told The World Game.
“I came over for trials with another club Genoa, and then I played a tournament with them, and Cremonese was there, and they offered me to trial here. And I did and ended up signing for Cremonese.
“I had offers, so I was testing the waters to see which club I wanted to go to, and I ended up choosing Cremonese. It’s a beautiful club. The facilities are amazing, that’s one of the reasons we chose to come here. It’s a very nice club.”
Novello has endured a difficult time for the past 13 months, with COVID-19 gripping Europe and, in particular, Italy. The country has had 3.87 million total Coronavirus cases with 117,000 deaths.
There have been several lockdowns nationwide and with the football season interrupted. But the youth and Primavera campaigns restarted earlier this month, and the centre forward is excited to be back on the pitch and continuing his development.
“It’s going well,” he said. “This season, we only ended up playing two games, and then the season got cancelled again because of Covid. But we’ve started the new season again, AC Milan. It’s been good to get that going again.”
“It’s exciting. I’ve been with Under-17s, but I’ve been training with the Primavera, the reserves. The standard (compared to in Australia) is very, very different. It’s a lot more technical.”
Originally from Bunbury, Novello started his footballing journey at Dynamos before moving to Armadale. He then had a spell at South West Phoenix before heading to Italy. “I was born in WA, in a city called Bunbury,” he explained.
“My dad used to play in Italy when he was younger. From a young age he got me kicking a ball in the backyard. I play as a striker at Cremonese. We play a 5-3-2 with two strikers, so I play as one of the strikers up top.”
Novello is learning his trade at I Grigiorossi, in Italy’s Lombardy region. He believes his skills are sharpening at the Serie B outfit, where former Socceroo John Aloisi had two seasons and made 48 appearances between 1995 and 1997.
“I’ve definitely improved here,” Novello said. “The style of football is a lot different to what I played in Australia, so I’ve definitely improved a lot. But I’ve focused on my improvements off the pitch, which has helped me a lot.”
“My goal is to hopefully do my best and make it pro, see what goes from there. Hopefully, one day play for Australia - that would be nice.”
KERR BRUSHES OFF MATILDAS CRITICISM
Samanatha Kerr has dismissed criticism after the Matildas suffered heavy defeats to Germany and the Netherlands, saying the Australian team are remaining confident ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The Matildas went down 5-2 to the Germans and 5-0 to the Dutch last week in a pair of international friendlies.
The five-goal loss to the Netherlands was Australia’s biggest loss in 13 years. But captain Kerr insists concern over the results is unwarranted considering the circumstances and the fact the team were weakened by injuries and player unavailability through COVID-19.
“People that are concerned don’t know anything about football to be honest because if you look that its 400 days apart from games, nine key players missing,” Kerr said. “We feel confident, we believe in the coach and in what we’re doing and we’ll be fine come the Olympics.”
“Obviously it was difficult, we got beat by a considerable amount. But I think people forget we haven’t been together for 400 days. We’ve had no camps, we had no players from our Australian leagues, we had players out with COVID, players out with injury.”
“It was a really big learning week for us - new coach (as well). We’re not making excuses for ourselves, as we need to be better for sure. But there’s also a lot of factors that go into those results – new coach, new staff. Yeah, it was a difficult week.”
The 23-player squad chosen for the two friendlies did not feature a single player from the W-League and was without injured stars such as Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight and Kyah Simon, along with pregnant midfielder Katrina Gorry.
Kerr admitted it was difficult for new coach Tony Gustavsson to make his stamp on the team in the short time available considering the unusual conditions. “It was hard for Tony to implement what he wanted to do in a few days, and we had people coming in later, people coming off games,” she said.
“It’s not as simple as when we all used to be in the W-League and people just used to be able to come in whenever they wanted. It was difficult but it was good to get back together after over a year and play some games and get some training in.” The delayed 2020 Olympic Games kick-off on 21 July in Japan.
GLORY FINALS HOPES TAKE A HIT
Perth Glory’s final hopes took a hit after a disappointing 1-3 loss against Wellington Phoenix at HBF Park on Sunday evening. In front of a season-high crowd of 9229, the hosts dominated the first half but were unable to take their chances, and Phoenix duly made them pay after the break. Ben Waine put Ufuk Talay's side 1-0 up just short of the hour-mark before Joel Chianese levelled with a long-range shot. Louis Fenton restored Phoenix's lead, before Jaushua Sotirio wrapped up the win for the Nix 15 minutes from time.
Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia was disappointed by his side's failure to take their chances. "It was very similar to the game we played against them away," he said. "We dominated possession and then got caught on the counter. We were very positive in the first half, we had lots of entries into their box and chances. We spoke at half time about being secure when we didn't have the possession and not getting caught on the counter-attack... and we got caught on the counter-attack. That's something we need to continue to learn and grow on.
"There's still plenty of football to be played, albeit in a condensed period and it's about us now brushing this off, growing another leg and finding that confidence. At the moment, we're dominating games but not getting results through a lack of concentration and that's something we have to learn from and help the guys come to the party with."
It was Chris Ikonomidis, making his first start for the club in over 14 months, who created Glory's opening chance in the sixth minute, delivering a deep cross which Carlo Armiento volleyed narrowly wide, moments after Phoenix dangerman Ulises Davila had sent a cheeky chipped effort just off target at the other end. Glory threatened again, this time via an intricate passing move started by Neil Kilkenny which culminated in Armiento forcing a smart save from Sail.
A similarly flowing attack midway through the half saw Armiento create a chance for Bruno Fornaroli and only the outstretched leg of Sail prevented the Uruguayan from opening the scoring. Davila and Sotirio then both went close for Phoenix as the chances continued to flow, with the final action of the first half a fizzing shot from Fornaroli which was deflected centimetres wide of the post. Having finished the first half on the back foot, Wellington began the second firmly on the front, Cameron Devlin striking the post before Waine went one better.
Sotirio was sent clear on goal and although Liam Reddy did well to block the midfielder's initial effort with his legs, Waine followed up to sweep the loose ball into an unguarded net. Glory's response was instant, Chianese picking up possession just outside the box, showing quick feet to wriggle past Davila and Clayton Lewis and then thumping an unstoppable drive past Sail. That was as good as it got for the hosts, however, as Fenton soon restored his side's lead by ramming home the loose ball after Reddy had parried Davila's low shot and the lively Sotirio then burst through on goal and found the roof of the net.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Jason GERIA, 6 Osama MALIK (19 Callum TIMMINS 60'), 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (11 Joel CHIANESE 46'), 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 74'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (17 Diego CASTRO 60'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 37 Riley WARLAND, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 22 Josh RAWLINS
Wellington Phoenix: GK Oliver SAIL, 6 Tim PAYNE, 8 Cameron DEVLIN, 9 David BALL, 10 Ulises DAVILA (14 Alex RUFER 90+2'), 11 Jaushua SOTIRIO (21 Joshua LAWS 90+4'), 16 Louis FENTON, 18 Ben WAINE (5 James MCGARRY 89'), 19 Sam SUTTON, 23 Clayton LEWIS, 27 Steven TAYLOR - Subs not used: GK Stefan MARINOVIC, 12 Matthew RIDENTON, 13 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 15 Mirza MURATOVIC - Referee: Daniel Elder
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWO REVIEW
Maddington White City remain top of the Belt Up Amateur Premier League ladder after a hard fought 4-2 win against Queens Park in our ‘Match of the Round’ at Coker Park. Samir Ramos gave the visitors the lead after only 12 minutes, and he doubled their advantage five minutes before half time. It was 3-0 in the shadows of half time with Gaston Bazet on target. But it was different after the break and the Park hit back with Hakim Rezaie pulling one back fifteen minutes from time with a superb long-range effort, and when Wesley Britz added a second and it was game on.
But with the hosts chasing the game Maddington sealed the points five minutes later with Ramos adding a fourth, rounding the keeper and completing his hat trick. “Two wins from two games is exactly what we wanted, our coaches are doing an excellent job,’ Maddington’s Petar Mrdja said. “Queens Park are a decent team and have the potential to do well this season, not everyone will go there and pick up three points so we are happy with the result as well as our performance.”
Quinns are level on points with the leaders, after seven-goal thriller against UWA Nedlands, eventually running out 4-3 winners at the UWA Sports Park. Ryan McCready gave the visitors the lead early, but Walter Torres levelled for the host. UWA then hit the front with Blair Harding scoring, but in a see sawing game late goals from Kieran Friett and David Long put the visitors in control at the break. The first on 38 minutes saw Friett latching onto a great through ball and converting into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Moments later Long pounced onto a ball in the box following a corner, and finished was aplomb. Although Torres scored another late for the hosts, it was Quinns leaving with the points. “A very entertaining game to be involved in, with both sides going out with the intent of scoring goals,” Quinns coach Vinny McMillan said. “All credit goes to UWA who turned up and played very well, however our boys really knuckled down and ground a win out which is great to see.”
Jaguar won for the first time this season after a 2-0 win against Night Series winners South West Phoenix at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre. The home side made a dream start and were ahead after only three minutes, good approach work from Cyrille Isambert, saw him send Mabor Thomas in on goal, and he squared the ball to Conor O’Driscoll who scored from close-range. It was 2-0 seven minutes later, Malak Domkoc found space out wide, and cut into the box before cutting the ball back to Thomas for an easy finish. Both sides had chances thereafter, but poor finishing and good goalkeeping made sure there was no further scoring.
"It’s good to be on the scoring sheet after missing the pre-season through injury, and to get our first win of the season,” O'Driscoll said. “The last couple of games haven't been kind for us, but once we get our fitness to standard and start to gel more as a squad, hopefully we can kill off more games early. Our short game through the middle set the pace of the game which Phoenix struggled to catch. The connection from our midfield to the forwards and wingers was their final undoing. With few players back and our captain Juma Wade commanding the back line, Jags showed some of our best defensive ability. Covering the offensive long balls and shutting down wide runs from the wingers with certainty, a good win for us."
Last season’s Champions North Perth United are on the board this season, but they left it late to beat Hamersley Rovers 3-0 at Woodville Reserve. The game was a tight encounter with the visitors settling the better and Cosimo Figliomeni was causing problems, and he had the best chance, well saved from Todd Ross. But all the goals came late, and the hosts found the opener 11 minutes from time. James Mcphail found Andy O’Neill who played it to Javier Pineres Mestre who finished clinically.
There was ten minutes of added time after an injury, and the host added a second in the seventh minute, Kody Dvauz slid O’Neill in who lashed home from inside the box. Rob Faulkner made it three with the last kick of the game, after good work from Pineres Mestre, to seal the win. “We needed to bounce back after last week’s performance, so three goals, a clean sheet and three points were the positives,” United’s Head Coach Luke O’Neill explained. “We are still a work in progress and will continue to develop as a group each week, but we are all looking forward to the cup game Wednesday night and then the FFA cup against Armadale in the next seven days.”
Wembley Downs also won for the first time this season after a 3-1 win against Kwinana United at Butlers Reserve. The home side were ahead against the run of play on 22 minutes, a quick counterattack saw Lachie Chamberlain getting on the end of the pass from Dairmaid Ryng before slotting home to open the scoring. But the visitors hit back and were level three minutes later, with Sean Troup scoring. But Wembley regained the lead on the half hour, Chamberlain regained possession after applying pressure to the Kwinana defender, and he combined with midfielder Ryan Morris, before calmly slotting home from close range for his and Wembley’s second.
Both sides had chances in the second half, but it was Wembley who sealed the points late. With Kwinana chasing the equaliser Wembley caught them on the counter attack with a well-timed pass through to substitute, Cameron Davies, who expertly finished. “Really proud of the group. We set up today to be competitive and catch Kwinana on the counter,” Wembley Head Coach Anthony Cochane said. “Kwinana had a lot of the game however we defended well and took our chances. We had three or four players missing through injury/work or quarantine, which just makes the performance even better.”
In the final game Leeming Strikers and Joondalup United have fought out a 1-1 draw at John Connell Reserve. “The week off didn’t really help us we were a bit slow off the blocks and we were a bit sloppy first half, second half we had a lot more control in our play but just lacked that cutting pass or cross to get the winner,” Leeming player/coach David Palin said. “The draw was a fair result, both sides had limited clear cut chances, we dealt with their direct style from set pieces, long throws really well but our one lapse in play was punished by a clinical Buckley. It's a point on the board and we now move onto a cup game v Canning this week.”
United opened the scoring on 24 minutes when Declan Kerrigan and Blaine Slater combined from a throw in to feed Max Van Ravensteyn in the Leeming half. His through ball released Adam Buckley and the striker finished calmly past the onrushing keeper. But the Strikers were level six minutes before half time, Leandro Da Silva and Mike Correia linked up down the right with Da Silva playing Correia through one on one with the keeper, and he rounded him and finished into an empty net.
United Head Coach Neil Sherwin said they still have room for improvement. "Like the recent Night Series meeting between the teams, it was a tight game and both sides had chances to win it. There was also a couple of very questionable refereeing decisions but you come to expect that in Sunday football,” he explained. “We defended well for the most part and overall, our performance was better than Round One but we still have work to do ahead of a local derby in the cup next Monday."
ZIMARINO LEAVES IT LATE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory striker Adam Zimarino has scored late to give Ruben Zadkovich’s side a 1-1 draw against Gwelup Croatia at Wishart Street in our NPLWA ‘Match of the Round’. Former Glory Youth winger Ethan Brooks had given the home side the lead early in the second half and it looked like that would be the winner, but in stoppage time Zimarino popped up with the equaliser to give both sides a share of the spoils.
“I thought it was a well-deserved point, and credit to the boys for not giving up and lucky enough to get an equaliser in stoppage time,” Zimarino said. “We were unlucky not to score one earlier after hitting the post and crossbar but I was happy to get on the score sheet again.”
It was the visitors who had the best chances early in this one, skipper Giordano Colli’s free kick beating Stefan King, but the woodwork came to the rescue of the Gwelup custodian. Former Floreat striker Josh Anasmo then sending a diving header wide, before the lively Charlie Leech failed to find the target after being sent one-on-one with King. Leech fired inches wide four minutes before the break, but it was the host who should have taken the lead to the break. Declan Hargreaves corner picked out Ciaran Salinger at the back post, but his header crashed off the upright.
Whatever Gwelup Head Coach Taki Nicolaidis said at half time worked, as they were ahead in the first sixty seconds with a fantastic individual goal. Gwelup skipper Blair Govan found Brooks, who picked the ball up inside his own half and drove at the Glory defence, before cutting inside the area and finishing with aplomb past Sam Reilly. Ruben Zadkovich's side pressed late for an equaliser and they were finally rewarded in stoppage time. Colli found Zimarino who found space in the box, and he finished low past King to give his side a point.
“Pretty disappointing that for the second week in a row we dropped another two points from a stoppage time equaliser,” Gwelup Head Coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “Fair play to Glory who kept pushing and pushing for that goal, but we need to dust ourselves off and prepare for a big weekend against Perth then Athena in the FFA Cup.”
Gwelup Croatia: GK Stefan KING, 2 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Thomas SOUTHGATE, 5 Blair GOVAN, 8 Jon STYNES (6 Declan HARGREAVES 61’), 11 Ethan BROOKS, 12 Hasani SINCLAIR, 13 Rocco PIZZATA (19 Lucas TRIGLAVCANIN 43’), 14 Shubham MOKALA, 15 Blamo QUAQUA (7 Brent GRIFFITHS 68’), 22 Joshua SAMSON (9 Paul ZIMARINO 61’) – Subs not used: - RGK Benjamin RATAJCZAK
Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Nick SULLIVAN (15 Lewis TUCKER 71’), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Riley WARLAND, 6 Chris DONNELL, 7 Joseph FORDE, 8 Charlie LEECH, 9 Joshua ANASMO (17 Bryce BAFFORD 67’), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (12 Matthew GEORGE 82’) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 13 William FORMSTON - Referee: Tom GLAVOVIC
FLOREAT CONTINUE PERFECT START
Floreat Athena maintained their two-point lead at the top of the NPLWA table, after an impressive 4-1 win against Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Dean Evans gave the visitors the lead and moments later the Floreat skipper saw his penalty saved by Liam Driscoll. But second half goals from Chris Saldaris and a double from new signing Jawad Razai secured the win. City striker Gordon Smith scored City’s consolation goal in stoppage time.
“It was a good game, and we had to fight hard for the result,” Floreat’s Sean McManus said. “I thought we were very organised from back to front and were clinical in the final third, so delighted to keep our winning run going.” Rezai, who signed from Balcatta in the week, was in the action early, finding Nicholas Ambrogio, whose effort was dealt with by Driscoll, while Floreat custodian Jason Saldaris had to be alert moments later to deny Jason Mirco. The game ebbed and flowed with both sides creating chances, the best fell to Floreat after Driscoll could only parry Evans’ shot, and with the goal at his mercy Rezai missed the target.
But that miss was forgotten five minutes from half time when Floreat hit the front. Evans found space in the middle of the park and surged forward before finding the bottom corner of the net with a low drive. It should have been 2-0 in stoppage time when referee Steven Gregory spotted a handball by City defender Fraser Dunlop and pointed to the spot. Evans stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Driscoll guessed the right way to save.
Bayswater needed a good start to the second half to get back into the game, but it was Floreat who doubled their lead after only three minutes. Rezai raced into the box and was clipped by Jordan Abrahams, and Gregory pointed to the spot for a second time, and Rezai picked himself up and fired home. It was 3-0 just before the hour mark, Evans’ corner was headed home by Chris Saldaris.
Floreat continued to press and Ben Steele’s shot was cleared off the line by Zayd Farah on 78 minutes, but two minutes later they found a fourth. Evans’ ball into the box hit the arm of Adam Fullard and once again the referee gave a penalty, and Rezai stepped up again and converted. City grabbed a consolation goal four minutes into stoppage time, Ndumba Makeche sent Smith in on goal, and the Scottish striker finished clinically, but it was too little too late.
Floreat Head Coach Vas Vujacic was a happy man post game. “Really happy with our fifth straight win, but despite the score line it was a hard game, Bayswater play without fear and were constantly looking to attack us right till the very end,” he explained. “However, with the game being so open we were able to create many chances on goal and played some nice football. Again, defensively we have been superb and we also have the quality to punish teams and it’s great for our new recruit Jawad, who had a very good debut and managed to score twice.”
Bayswater City: GK Liam DRISCOLL, 4 Jacob TURNER (23 Daniel KATZ 54’), 5 Albert FULLARD, 7 Ndumba MAKECHE, 8 Gordon SMITH, 10 Jason MIRCO, 12 Steven HESKETH, 13 Jordan ABRAHAMS, 17 Steven WALMSLEY (26 Zayd FARAH 37’), 18 Fraser DUNLOP, 29 Tyler GARNER (15 Leonard GAMA 74’) - Subs not used: RGK Riccardo MAZZOLENI, 9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 8 Sean MCMANUS (5 Elijah HAAS 87’), 9 Robert HARDING (4 Ben STEELE 72’), 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 12 Jawad REZAI (40 Wesley CASIMIR 83’), 13 George FESTA, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD (16 Kyle MURRAY 83’) – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER - Referee: Steven GREGORY
JACKS EDGE OUT ROCKINGHAM
ECU Joondalup extended their winning streak to three games, and won for the first time at home this season after a 2-0 win against Rockingham City at the ECU Football Stadium. Danny Hodgson bagged his fourth goal of the season to give the Jacks the lead at half time, before Andy Higgins sealed the win late in the game. “We knew they were going sit back and play the long ball so we had to be patient,” Hodgson explained. “Obviously we hit the post twice, sometimes they go in sometimes they don’t, but it wasn’t a pretty game but a win’s a win. Glad to score, I’m popping up with a few headers recently, but as long as the team is winning that’s what it’s all about. We are still a new team and gelling well, and we know there is more to come.”
The Jacks made a positive start and went close after only two minutes. Harold sent Nicol down the left, he outpaced his marker and cut the ball back from the bye-line to Higgins, but his shot was well saved by Rockingham keeper Brad Stout. But Rockingham went close themselves on 23 minutes, they won a free kick 20 meters from goal and Feisal Zaw’s curling effort beat everyone in the box and was heading for the bottom corner of the net, but Johnny Perkins produced a smart save to tip the ball around the post.
But it was the Jacks who opened the scoring on 38 minutes. Nicol’s corner from the left was headed back across goal by Tom Hough and Hodgson placed his header clinically into the corner of the net. The Jacks then went within inches of a second in the shadows of the break. Hodgson was brought down in the middle of the park, but referee Julian Serra played a good advantage, Jakub Prajza raced down the right and whipped in a deep cross to Nicol at the back post, who controlled the ball first time and he beat Stout with a low shot, but the ball hit the post and bounced back into the grateful arms of the Rockingham custodian.
Rockingham went close to the equaliser on 53 minutes, a long ball over the top by Hamish Van Dieken picked out Shane Boyle, whose first time shot whistled just wide of the far post. They went close again ten minutes later, Van Dieken’s cross from the right found substitute Robert Duckmanton, whose glancing header went agonisingly wide. The Jacks hit back and almost grabbed a second on 70 minutes. Hodgson was brought down in the middle of the park and his quick free kick caught Rockingham napping and he sent Nicol in on goal, he lobbed the oncoming Stout, but once again his effort hit the woodwork and was put behind for a corner by Harry Bolan.
They were in again moments later, Hodgson free kick found Higgins on the top of the penalty area and his low shot looked destined for the bottom corner of the net, but Stout got down well to turn the ball around the post. Rockingham were still in the game and Van Dieken’s free kick deflected just past the post, while Stout again got down well to deny Higgins at the other end. But the three points were wrapped up in the final minute, when the Jacks added a second. Harold and Hodgson combined on the edge of the box, the latter picking out Higgins, who curled the ball home superbly to seal the win.
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 3 Nelson TSHONGO, 4 Declan HUGHES (14 Sonny O’SHEA 90’), 7 Danny HODGSON (7 Sebastian GOMEZ 90’), 8 Tom HOUGH (15 Danny DOUGLAS 90’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Chris HAROLD, 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 16 Shane CASSIDY (18 Luke PALMATEER 52’) – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD
Rockingham City: GK Brad STOUT, 3 Denaudo MURRAY (4 Dieudonne SUMAIL 77’), 5 Afian GIYANTO, 6 Harry BOLAN, 7 Feisal ZAW, 8 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 10 Shane BOYLE, 11 Luke COLLINS (47 Robert DUCKMANTON 57’), 19 Noah WITTSTROM-LEA, 21 Joseph MOSS, 23 Ryan KENNEDY (14 Jethro YUMANGE 62’) – Subs: RGK Cyril SHARROCK, 15 Declan COLLINS - Referee: Julian SERRA
PERTH TOO STRONG FOR COCKBURN
Perth SC maintained third place on the NPLWA table with a comfortable 3-0 win against bottom of the table Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Former Cockburn midfielder Kristian Santich opened the scoring midway through the first half, before City defender Breckan Baker scored an own goal to double their lead. The points were wrapped up early in the second half with Michael Domfeh heading home his second goal of the season to continue Ramon Falzon’s sides good form. “I thought we dominated the game from start to finish and were clinical in front of goal,” Perth striker Cameron Teece said. “We were also very solid at the back, so it was a great team performance.”
The visitors were on the front foot from the get go and it wasn’t a surprise they went ahead on 10 minutes. Cockburn turned the ball over in the middle of the park and Teece fed Domfeh who sent Santich clear and he made no mistake from the edge of the box. The hosts, who were yet to win at home this season, looked to level quickly and Jesse Lazzaro's cross was inches away from Harry O'Brien in the area, before Riley Woodcock effort was well saved by the alert Ryan Montgomery.
They had a penalty shout turned down by referee Michal Jasinski after Cameron Edwards ball into the box seemed to hit the arm of Perth defender Kiran Colwell, but he waved away their appeals. Their frustration grew two minutes later when Perth doubled their advantage. Colwell sent Domfeh down the left, he out muscled his marker, before his low cross went in off the unfortunate Baker.
Cockburn were again denied by Montgomery before the break, the keeper getting down well to thwart Jesse Lazzaro. But five minutes into the second half, the Azzurri added a third, and what a goal it was. Santich found Teece on the right, and the striker’s curling cross was met by Domfeh at the back post and he powered his header home, giving Luke Radonich no chance.
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 5 Julian TELES (3 Daniel DOLS 69’), 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 11 Harry O’BRIEN (9 Anthony SKORICH 71’), 12 Sebastian DA SILVA, 15 Daniel SANTICH, 16 Ali GHOLAMI (24 Daniel DOS SANTOS 71’), 18 Adam ANFUSO (22 Daniel ROBINSON 62’), 21 Jesse LAZZARO, 23 Riley WOODCOCK, 25 Breckan BAKER – Subs not used: RGK Ben RADONICH
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA, 6 Nic MCDONALD, 7 Alex JOVIC, 9 Cameron TEECE, 10 Michael DOMFEH (20 Gustavo CATARACIONE 69’), 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 14 Lachlan BYRD, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH (12 Sam FLORES 85’) - Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 17 Aiden FORMSTON, 15 Will GORDON - Referee: Michal JASINSKI
GULLS BACK IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Sorrento bounced back from last week’s first defeat of the season to beat Inglewood United 2-1 at Inglewood Stadium. The host took the lead through Roberto Soares free kick, but the Gulls hit back with two quick goals just before half time with Dean Cummings and Billy Quinncroft on target. Inglewood pressed after the break but couldn’t find the equaliser, the loss leaving United second bottom and still looking for their first home win of the season, while the win lifts Sorrento to fourth on the NPLWA table.
“The boys work rate over the 90 minutes was brilliant so it was good to take three points away from home in the end,” goalscorer Cummings said. “It’s nice to get back in the winner’s circle, but we will take nothing for granted going into this week’s game away to Rockingham.” It was the hosts on the front foot early, and new Sorrento keeper Connor Campbell pushed Robert Petkov’s shot around the post after only eight minutes, before Anthony Bafobusha long-range effort whistled wide.
Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn then saved bravely from Quinncroft on 18 minutes, after good work down the right by Tim Hill. But Inglewood’s early pressure was rewarded with the lead on 26 minutes. Roberto Soares was brought down by Scott Robertson just outside the penalty area, and he picked himself up and curled the ball around the wall and into the net, despite Campbell getting a hand to it.
The hosts looked good, but all their good work was undone just before half time. First on 41 minutes a quick free kick from Hill sent Jordan Brown down the right, and his deep cross to the back post picked out Cummings who lost his marker to score. It got better for Jamie Harnwell’s side and two minutes later they were in front, Quinncroft heading home Hill’s corner to send the Gulls into the break with the lead.
Inglewood looked for a quick response after the break, and Petkov headed narrowly wide from Roberto del Borrello’s corner, before Shaun Kilkelly got back to clear Ajax Riak chip off the line. Next it was substitute Jason Barrera to go close, but his effort went wide. The Gulls were defending in numbers and Inglewood couldn’t break them down, and at the final whistle it was Sorrento celebrating the three points. “Really pleased with the effort and application of the players throughout the game,” Sorrento Head Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “Inglewood had some good spells of possession but the players were resilient and defended well.”
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 4 Scott BLACKMORE (18 Andreas THEODOSIADES 46’), 7 Ajak RIAK (8 Jason BARRERA 73’), 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 12 Roberto DEL BORRELLO, 14 Steve SOKOL, 15 Roberto SOARES (5 Thiak KUEL 46’), 17 Mark BARNETT – Sub not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 6 Adam FALCONE, 13 Brodie LANGAN
Sorrento: GK Connor CAMPBELL, 3 Daniel FAICHNEY (19 Jaxon TEMATA 81’), 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 5 Scott ROBERTSON, 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (2 David STOKOE 81’), 11 Tim HILL, 12 Joe TWEATS, 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN – Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI, 23 Neil GILLIES, 27 Jamie SWAN – Referee: Joshua NIXON
ALL-SQUARE AT ALFRED SKEET
Armadale and Balcatta have fought out a tight 1-1 draw in the NPLWA round five clash at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Michael Zimarino gave Bobby Taneski’s side the lead early, but Spanish striker Angel Andres levelled just before half time for John O’Reilly’s side. Balcatta had to play the final 25 minutes of the game with ten men after Anthony Topini was sent off, the draw leaving both clubs in seventh and eighth place respectively on the NPLWA ladder.
“We’re disappointed about the result because I felt we were good value for the three points even after going down to ten men,” Balcatta midfielder Jon Corness said. “I thought we created some real clear-cut chances but unfortunately couldn't take advantage of the chances, but after going down to 10 men we defended well to take the draw.”
It was a cagy opening to this one with clear cut chances few and far between, but it was the visitors who were ahead on 16 minutes. Topini found skipper Calum O’Connell on the left, his cross into the box was superbly brought down by Zimarino, before the striker found the bottom corner of the net from six meters. The goal did wonders for the game and chances came at both ends. First the Reds had the ball in the net, but Chad Nilson’s celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside.
Moments later Amir Ajan thought he had doubled Balcatta’s lead, but Reds’ keeper Yousri Gharsallah produced a stunning save to deny him. Then the home side went close, with Kevin Ashfield volleying over the top from long-range, but three minutes before half time the hosts did find the equaliser. Balcatta defender Hristijan Jankuloski was caught in possession by Isaac Koomson, who raced into the box and unselfishly squared the ball to Andres, who finished low past Sebastian Medica.
Balcatta continued to create chances after the break, and Ajan was again denied by the alert Gharsallah, before Hamza Hina sliced over as they searched for the winner. But their chances took a hit 64 minutes when Topini was shown a second yellow card by referee David Bruce for a poor challenge on Friday Zico. Armadale pressed late but couldn’t break down a tight Balcatta defence, and both sides had to do with a share of the spoils. “I felt we should have won the game,” a disappointed Armadale coach John O’Reilly said. “When they went down to 10-men we had the space and chances but unfortunately not the finish.”
Armadale: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 3 Harry QUIGLEY (2 Matthew WORTON 57’), 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 8 Brian PATTERSON, 9 Angel ANDRES, 10 Isaac KOOMSON, 18 Kevin ASHWOOD, 11 Chad NILSON (7 Josh CORTES 70’), 21 Manase ABANDELWA, 22 Ryan MCEVOY, 23 Friday ZICO – Subs not used: RGK Michael CRAGGS, 15 Cherno BAH, 17 Pieter JACOBSZ
Balcatta Squad: GK Sebastian MEDICA, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 6 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 7 Amir AJAN, 8 Jack LEECH, 9 Hamza HINA, 10 Jon CORNESS, 11 Michael ZIMARINO, 12 David PERICH, 13 Anthony TOPINI, 14 Nicholas MESSINA, 17 Nicholas BURMEJ, 21 Cameron MCLEAN, 22 Michael SCAFETTA, 23 Coby SUTTON - Referee: David BRUCE
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND THREE – REVIEW
It was week three in the State League Division One, and in our ‘Match of the Round’ Olympic Kingsway have kicked started their season with a 4-0 win against Subiaco at Rosalie Park. The Champions had lost their first two games in their title defence and this one was a tight first half, but eight minutes before half time they hit the front, with Elliot Tattersall firing home from distance. It got better three minutes later, when they doubled their advantage, with new signing Alex Sippits given too much room on the edge of the box to score.
It was again tight after the break, but with Subiaco pushing men forward they were caught out again in the final minutes with Tattersall adding his second. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time when Luke Rhodes added a fourth, and the defender hopes it’s the start of a good run of form for the ‘Green Machine’ “It’s good to get some points on the board,” he said. “Hopefully we can push on now for the rest of the season and really go after our targets we’ve set as a club and as a team.”
Western Knights moved clear at the top of the table after a convincing 6-0 win against Swan United at Francis Street. Both sides went into the game unbeaten this season, but it was the visitors who were ahead on six minutes with Jake Sardelic scoring, before Ciaran Byrne made it 2-0 with a shot on the turn. Byrne added his second and the Knights third on the half hour, before last season's top scorer Alex Kretowicz bagged a fourth just before half time. The home side tightened up at the back after the break, and went close themselves, but it was the Knights who added a fifth, with Dean Hurley scoring three minutes from time. The icing was put on the cake in the final minute with Byrne scoring his hat-trick, his seventh of the year to complete the 6-0 win. “It was a really good win for us,” Knights Head coach Ivan Zuvela said. “It was a complete team performance and even the subs who came on for us played very well. It was also nice to get our first clean sheet for the season too.”
Fremantle City are second, only on goal difference after a 2-1 win against Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. Both sides wasted good chances in an entertaining game, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring. A quick counter attack ended with Rhys Loxley, and the skipper finished low past Oliver Rigler, to give Forrestfield the lead at the break. But on the hour Fremantle were level, a ball over the top saw Noah Shamaki win a duel with Trent Kay, but with the Forrestfield players waiting for the foul to be called, the striker finished at the near post.
Then nine minutes later Fremantle won it, Sam McKearnen curling the ball home from the edge of the box. Fremantle skipper Hayden Stevens said it was tough game, and keeps them in touch with the Knights. “I thought it was a battle, both teams had chances and both failed to take them,” he said. “Overall, it’s another three points and we get back on the track this week to try and improve again before we play next Joondalup on Saturday.”
Stirling Macedonia hopes of bouncing back from defeat last week was quashed deep into stoppage time when Abdul Abdella gave Ashfield a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw at Macedonia Park. It was Ian Ferguson’s side who found themselves behind after only nine minutes, with Zakir Hussain converting from the spot. Ashfield doubled their lead moments later, James Sammut sent Abdul Abdella clear and he lobbed Stirling keeper James Bosdet. Stirling hit back after half time and a ball into the box was misjudged by Ashfield keeper Jamie Serra and Alex Taneski fired home. The host were level on the hour, Ashfield failed to clear a cross and in the goalmouth scramble Gavin Knight scored.
There was a few more twists in this one, and first Stirling were reduced to ten men two minutes from time, when Luke Garas was shown a second yellow card by referee Peter Kaiser and sent off. But the ten men hit the front three minutes later, Knights scoring his second from the spot to give Stirling a 3-2 lead. It looked like the points would go to the home side, but in the eighth minute of stoppage time Ashfield found the equaliser Abdella thunderbolt from the edge of the box giving Bosdet no chance. “We were disappointed to go behind after going into the break 2-0 up,” Sammut explained. “But the lads never stopped fighting and a bit of class from Ab’s in the last minute of the game got us a well-earned point against a good Stirling side.”
Quinns were beaten for the first time this season, as UWA Nedlands won 4-3 at UWA Sports Park. In Head coach Dom Gangemi’s last game at UWA, this one was a thriller from the start, and the hosts were ahead on six minutes, Bryce Conway’s corner was headed home by Rhys Williams from close range. But Quinns were level six minutes later, Ben Hinshelwood continuing his good goalscorer touch. The visitors then hit the front with Liam Hudson on target, but UWA were soon level. Conway nicking the ball off the centre back on the edge of the penalty area and he finished clinically past Caelan Cooper.
UWA hit the front early in the second half, Godfrey Asimwe’s pass found Adam Carlino who finished with aplomb. It was 4-2 on 81 minutes Dhamon Kalamaras found Sam Kent on a quick counter attack, and he raced away to score. Adam Tong pulled one back for Quinns in stoppage time, but UWA held firm to take the points. “After a tough start to the season the lads all lifted and showed what we’re capable of,” Conway explained. “It was a gutsy performance, but we showed great composure and control to close out a well-deserved win. Hopefully this is the start of a strong run for us.”
In the final game Joondalup United have scored two late goals to beat Mandurah City 2-1 at Forrest Park. It looked like Mandurah would leave with all three points when Silas Becsi gave them the lead with only 16 minutes remaining. But five minutes from time Joondalup levelled, a mazy run by Jamie Gardiner ended with a foul by keeper Dylan Wilson, and referee Troy Malatesta pointed to the spot. Jay Lang stepped up and converted the resulting penalty.
It looked like the points would be sharded but deep into stoppage time Joondalup won it, with substitute Nathan Hibbert scoring from an acute angle, his first goal for the club to seal the three points. Joondalup coach Nick Jennings, was once against honest in his comments. “The first half was amongst the worst 45 minutes from both sides that I’ve seen at this level,” he explained. “We addressed things at half time and our quality improved and despite falling behind we were rewarded for the better football with the deserved very late winner.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND THREE – REVIEW
Our State League Division Two’ week three ‘Match of the Round’ was a tight affair, with hosts Wanneroo City come from behind to beat Gosnells City 2-1 at Wanneroo Reserve. The visitors hit the front after only 17 minutes, with Wade Farmer on target. They held that lead until 71 minutes when Kye Douglas levelled, finding the net from a corner. Then five minutes later the home side won it, Joshua Booysen picking the loose ball up on the edge of the penalty area, and he curled the ball into the top corner of the net. “I was happy with the boy’s reaction after going into the break 1-0 down,” Wanneroo Head coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “They were all confident of turning it around and everyone put the shift in that they needed to do so and came out with the three points.”
Dianella White Eagles maintained their lead at the top of the table despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening. “Coming into the game we knew it would be tough, as they beat us three times last season and won the league,” Kristian Despotovski said. “We missed a couple of fantastic opportunities but it wasn’t our day and it was a game we should have won but it wasn’t to be.”
Kian McGuigan gave the hosts the lead on the half hour, Kristian Despotovski sent Sasa Njegic down the flank, and his cross was turned home by the midfielder. But four minutes before half time Rovers levelled, a ball to the back post found Rhodes Boyce who made no mistake. “I thought we showed great character to get the result and defended tremendously,” Rovers’ defender Nathan Diaz said. “I think we just lacked composure at times and didn’t really play the way we are good at, but can’t argue with the effort all the boys put in, they worked tirelessly.”
Morley Windmills are joint leaders, but they were also held to a draw, sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Balga at Wotton Reserve. It looked good for Antony Benetti’s side as they raced to a 2-0 lead in the first half. First on 25 minutes Danny O'Shea was on target, before skipper Leigh Morgan added a second from the spot just before half time. But the visitors hit back after the break and scored two quick goals to level. First on 70 minutes, Farruh Mavlonov's shot from outside the box found the bottom corner giving keeper Luke Hutcheson no chance. Balga equalised five minutes later, Kuol Riak making no mistake after a scramble inside the box. Balga searched for a winner, and nearly won it in stoppage time, Julius Bosco only having the keeper to beat, but Hutcheson stood tall to save.
“The first half was a dominant display and as a group we probably felt we should have come into the break with a bigger advantage,” Morley Head coach Antony Benetti said. “Credit to Balga who went more direct in the second half and the boys probably dropped their intensity for a 20-minute period that cost us the three points we feel we deserved. Ultimately though we have to respect the league and the opposition so to be undefeated after three rounds is a fantastic start to the season. The boys were honest after the game in their disappointment which I think shows the desire of the group. We now look ahead to a big game vs Gosnells next week.”
Balga skipper Emmanuel Kankpeyeng was delighted with his side’s performance. “A good game, and our coach's tactics worked perfectly,” said. “Despite a tough first half, we still had good chances to take the lead but did not take them and Morley did. We approached the second half with a completely different game plan and dominated which pushed us into 2-2 score and we missed a couple of good chances at the end that would have given us the victory for the day. In all a fair score for the work input by both sides.”
Kingsley Westside are up to third after a come-from-behind 3-1 win against Murdoch University Melville at the Murdoch Uni Stadium. The home side were ahead five minutes into the second half, with Thomas Pellizzari on target. But Kingsley responded six minutes later, Adam O’Neill scoring a bullet of a header from a Joel Gillespie corner. The visitors made it 2-1 when Gillespie converted a penalty after Jayden Drummond 50-meter run was ended in the box by Ben Howe’s tackle, who was sent off by referee Walter Ciotti.
The points were wrapped up on 75 minutes, Simone Sichel was on hand to tap in after Cameron Bishop stinging shot was parried back into play by Murdoch keeper Tom Allan. “All week we spoke about winning at teams that we think will be around the top end of the table and to walk away with three points was a great feeling,” Kingsley Head coach Steven Dimitrovich explained. “To be honest the boys deserved the win especially after the emotional week we had with one of our players’ dad passing away on Tuesday so really proud of this group and what they did on Saturday.”
The round kicked off on Friday evening with Curtin University thrashing Kelmscott Roos 5-0 at Edinburgh Oval. Curtin were ahead after only six minutes, when a pass from the right by skipper Jeff Ledwith found Daniel Nocciolino on the edge of the box, and he finished clinically through a crowded area. It was 2-0 moments later the ball was won in the middle of the park before finding Tiago de Souza, who beat his man to get into the box and finish well. It was 3-0 in the shadows of half time, when a corner was only cleared to Niko Burns on the edge of the penalty area, who finished into the bottom corner.
De Souza added his second and Curtin’s fourth on 75 minutes, racing clear and finishing low past the keeper. Curtin added their fifth late, good work from Nocciolino to find de Souza, who unselfishly squared the ball to Ali Gomes to score. “Really happy with the response after a poor performance last week,” Curtin Head coach Troy Reid said. “The boys put in a lot of work this week at training and got the rewards on Friday night. Tiago de Souza was exceptional leading the line and should have completed his hattrick after rounding the keeper, only to be denied by a superb last-ditch effort on the goal line.’
The game between Canning City and Joondalup City was postponed after a clash of kits. Both sides had very similar blue and white shirts, but Joondalup failed to bring their away kit, and after discussion between Football West and referee Liam Barclay, he had no other choice but to call the game off. The hosts did find an alternative shirt for their visitors, but the club were told, as kick off needs to happen 15 minutes after the due 3pm KO time, the game was called off. Over to you Football West, who will look at the incident and rearrange the fixture at a later date.
NPL-WA ROUND FIVE PREVIEW
We head into Week Five of the NPLWA this weekend, and the ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Wishart Street, where Gwelup Croatia entertain Perth Glory. (3.00pm) The hosts conceded late to draw at Balcatta last week, while Glory won for the first time this season against Cockburn City last week, so a win for both sides in this one is huge going forward.
The last time they met at the venue was in round three last season, when Taki Nicolaidis’ side ran out 4-1 winners. It was the visitors who were ahead after only four minutes with Charlie Leech continuing his goalscoring form. But a brace from former Glory striker Ndumba Makeche and former Glory midfielder Daniel Stynes and another from his brother Jon, gave Gwelup a comprehensive win.
Glory striker Adam Zimarino bagged a hat-trick last week against the Cockerels to see Ruben Zadkovich’s side home, and he said it was important to get their first three points of the season. “We’re delighted to get the win, and the whole side played their part,” Zimarino said. “On a personal note, I was happy to finally get on the score sheet, now hopefully we can build from that and get another win on Saturday.”
It’s a new squad, and coaching staff at the club this season, and it does take time for teams to gel, but Zimarino said they are improving with each game and are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday, against a good Gwelup side. “Yes, we have a few new faces and coaches, but I think the results will start to change quickly with a lot of talent in the team,” he explained.
“If we trust in the staff and keep working hard, I’m sure the results will start to go our way. We know Saturday will be tough, especially at Gwelup’s home ground, and they got a few new signings and big names, but is also a must win for us, and we’re ready for the challenge, and I’m sure it will be an exciting game.”
Gwelup were left frustrated last week after conceding the equaliser in stoppage time at Balcatta, and defender Ciaran Salinger said that is in the past. “It was a disappointing result against Balcatta, but ultimately missed opportunities cost us the game,” the defender explained. “It is a result that we will definitely regret as the season goes on, however the boys have reacted well on Tuesday and a ready for our next opportunity.”
Salinger believes they are not far away from getting a good run of form, and he hopes it starts on Saturday against Glory. “As a team we are a tight unit. We bounce well off each other in training and the cohesion on and off the park is good,” he said. “We understand our recent results haven’t reflected that, but we have a solid run of five games against top quality opposition over the next four weeks (including FFA Cup), so we see it as a perfect opportunity to get some sort of run together results wise and start working our way towards to top four.
“The boys are always buzzing to play Glory, we enjoy the physical challenge of playing them, particularly at home. Granted, they got a great win on Saturday night and have some decent players in form. However, we understand that we need to get the three points and start getting some momentum going heading into the next five games.”
In other games in week five, league leaders Floreat Athena make the trip to Frank Drago Reserve, to take on Bayswater City, who will be looking to bounce back after defeat at Perth SC last week. Ramon Falzon’s Perth SC, also hit the road, with a visit to Dalmatinac Park to take on bottom of the table Cockburn City, ECU Joondalup welcome Rockingham City to the ECU Football Stadium, while Inglewood United and Sorrento look to bounce back from defeat in week four, when they meet at Inglewood Stadium.
The final game takes us to Alfred Skeet Reserve, where Armadale host Balcatta. Both these sides scored late to earn a point last week, Armadale at Rockingham, while Hamza Hina scored late to seal a draw with Gwelup. Balcatta defender Joe Marino said the performance showed the great character they have in the side. “Last week was a great team performance, despite missing a few players and a draw against Gwelup is never a bad result,” he explained. “However, I thought we should’ve capitalised during the periods of the game where we were more dominant, especially in the second half, and come away with more than a last-minute goal to rescue a point although it was a great display of character from the team”
Marino said Armadale away is never easy, and their Night Series form was good, but is hoping to bounce back into the winners’ circle on Saturday. “Armadale were strong in the night series and we didn’t put in our best performance against them previously, so this will be a good chance to make amends and get some valuable points away from home,” the defender said. “Dramatic games like last week are good, but going forward we’d like to take control of the game on the scoreboard as early as possible and be more clinical at both ends of the pitch.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND THREE – PREVIEW
We head into week three of the State League Division One, and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees Subiaco hosting Olympic Kingsway at Rosalie Park. Both sides are coming off defeats in the last round, Subiaco losing at Quinns, while Olympic were edged out against Western Knights, so both will be looking for three points to move them up the table. The last time the sides met at the venue was in round 12, 2019, when the visitors ran out 2-0 winners. Alex Randell had given Olympic the lead, against his former club, before Jakub Sklenar sealed the win with a second.
Subiaco assistant Coach Gary Colliver said last week’s game was disappointing, but they have moved on. “Last week we never really got going and although we conceded very early in the game and just couldn't get any momentum,” he explained. “Quinns were deserved winners on the day picking up goals just before the half time break and a third in the closing minutes.”
Colliver is well aware all the teams in the league have added quality players to their squads and all games will be tough, and he expecting the same on Saturday against the Champions, if other results so far are anything to go by. “It is early in the season and we have seen some surprising results already, so the next few weeks are going to be very interesting,” he said.
“We think it is going to be a very exciting league for lots of reasons and urge supporters to get along and watch their local sides do battle. But for us we really need to focus on our game and not worry about the how the Champions have started their season. They will still be favourites to take the three points and we must be fully prepared to dig in and work hard to get a positive result.”
Olympic have started their title defence with back-to-back defeats, but defender Luke Rhodes said the signs were good despite the narrow loss at Nash Field last week. “Our performance against the Knights was better throughout and all over the park,” he said. “We started the game well going 1-0 up, but unfortunately couldn’t hold on, although we take the positives from that and look to put it right vs Subiaco.”
Rhodes, who headed to the club from ECU Joondalup this season said Saturday is a huge game and they will be doing everything to get the three points. “We’re all really looking forward to Saturday’s game, where we’ll look to put things right and get our first three points on the board,” he explained. “We’re a brand-new team since last year so week by week we’re improving, we need big performances all over the park on Saturday and we’ll be flying.”
In other games on Saturday Fremantle City will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they visit Hartfield Park to take on Forrestfield United, who are still searching for their first win. Joondalup United welcome Mandurah City to Forrest Park, Swan United entertain second placed Western Knights at Francis Street, while UWA Nedlands go in search of their first point of the season when they host league leaders Quinns at the UWA Sports Park.
In the final game Ashfield take on Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park, with both sides coming off different results. Stirling were beaten at Fremantle City, while Ashfield won for the first time this season, after a win against UWA Nedlands. Ashfield skipper James Sammut said it was good to get the first win of the season. “It was a good win for the lads and a much needed three points for the club,” he said. “We knew going into the game that UWA are a well organised side, so was fantastic that we got maximum points and kept a clean sheet.”
Sammut said a trip to Macedonia Park is never easy, but they will go there with a game plan and hope to get a positive result. “It doesn’t get an easier this week travelling to Macedonia Park, and they (Stirling) are a well-coached side who have a number of players that can change the game at any time,” he explained. “So, we need to make sure we prepare well to give ourselves the best opportunity to come away with points.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND THRE – PREVIEW
It’s week three of the State League Division Two and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees Gosnells City make the trip to Wanneroo Reserve to take on Wanneroo City. The hosts were held to a scoreless draw at Balga last week, while Gosnells were beaten in the local derby by Canning City, so both sides will be looking to get in the winners’ circle on Saturday. The last time the two sides met at the venue was in round nine last season when Gosnells won a nine-goal thriller.
The hosts raced to a two-goal lead after only 26 minutes, with Flynn Nolan and Simon Burt scoring. But Gosnells hit back with Feisal Zaw converted from the spot. Gosnells levelled just before half time through Jordan Parfitt. Wanneroo regained the lead on the hour, but Zaw brought the visitors level 20 minutes later with another penalty. Then in the final minute a great cross picked out Alan Carroll, and his glancing header won it for Marc Anthony’s side.
Wanneroo’s Luke Serra said the players fought to the 90th minute to get a point at Balga, and he said the league is so tight this season. “All the boys showed good character for 90 minutes in our battle against Balga and we’ll take this into our next game against Gosnells this weekend,” he said. “It’s going to be a league where anyone can beat anyone in each given week. We just need to focus on our plan in getting three points for every game and we know others will drops points along the way.”
Serra believes they have a squad who can compete with the best teams in the league, they need to show it on Saturday. “We demonstrated what we are capable of in the night series competing with Division One sides, sometimes even playing better football,” he said. “If we can match that energy at our home game this weekend against Gosnells, I have every confidence we can get our first win on the board.”
Gosnells’ skipper Scott Pereira said missed chances cost them last week against Canning. “Not the start to the season we wanted after losing to Canning last week, but I thought we were the better team and deserved to win but didn’t take our chances and some costly mistakes for both goals we conceded,” he said. “It will be another tough year in what looks like a very tough league again this season which seems to get stronger each season but we will look to just take each game as it comes to try and secure a top four place come the end of the season.”
Pereira knows the quality Wanneroo have, but he is aware they haven’t started the season well, so they head north confident they can get a result. “Wanneroo haven’t had the best start to the season either and I’m sure they will be looking to change that this week,” he said. “I know our boys are looking to set things right again and get back to winning ways, and with the quality we have in the squad and if we play like I know we can, I think we can match any team in this league.”
The round kicks off on Friday evening when Curtin University entertain Kelmscott Roos at Edinburgh Oval, and the rest of the games are on Saturday. Canning City welcome Joondalup City to Burrendah Reserve, Morley Windmills host Balga at Wotton Reserve, while Murdoch University Melville will have a quick turn around after their FFA Cup tie against Perth, when the entertain Kingsley Westside at the Murdoch Uni Stadium. The final game sees Dianella White Eagles taking on Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening (5.00pm)
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWO PREVIEW
It’s week two of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division on Sunday and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Coker Park were Queens Park host Maddington White City. The visitors started their season well with a win against last season’s Champions North Perth United, while Queens Park lost narrowly at Quinns.
The last time the sides met at the venue was in round six last season when City left with all three points after a 4-0 win. Cesar Orozco gave the visitors the lead and Jose Zuniga doubled their lead before the break. Further goals from David Sarria and Chris Sparks gave them a comprehensive win.
Queens Park Head Coach Ricardo Flynn said they need to be better this week against Maddington. “Last week we came up against a very well organised and disciplined Quinn's outfit, and we conceded two poor goals from our perspective but we couldn’t compete with the physical threat of Quinn's,” he explained.
“Offensively we were poor and didn't do enough to get anything out of the opener. This week Maddington will offer a slightly different test. We know the quality that they possess so we expect a very tough Sunday but hopefully we show a little bit more than we done in the opener.” Unfortunately, no one from Maddington was available for a comment.
In other games Wembley Downs play their first game, after their opener against Hamersley Rovers was postponed, when they host Kwinana United at Butlers Reserve, likewise South West Phoenix, whose game against Leeming was called off, they travel to the Herb Graham Recreation Centre to take on Jaguar. Leeming Strikers will look to start their season with a win when they host Joondalup United at John Connell Reserve, while UWA Nedlands entertain Quinns at the UWA Sports Park.
In the final game Hamersley Rovers make the trip to Woodville Reserve to take on North Perth United. The hosts were beaten in the opener last week, while Rovers’ game was called off. Rovers Head Coach Howard Tweats said it wasn’t the start they were after but that’s football. “Yes, it was a false start for us last week,” he said. “With the pitch and facility behind schedule on upgrades which changed focus a little in the light of who and where our next opponent falls.”
Tweats said they are looking forward to the game on Sunday, but it will be a different Rovers’ side taking the park this season. “Now comes a tough opener against North Perth, we have had to overhaul the squad during the pre-season as a number of our younger talents have been drawn to Saturday football,” he explained.
“Disappointingly our squad came together after the night series, so we’re definitely behind schedule. In the night series we faced NPU but understand even their squad has changed since, one thing for sure they’ll be smarting after last week’s result and eager to make amends. So, this could prove to be our toughest game of the season bearing in mind we have to settle players and gel the team together.”
EPAKIS STARTS PLANNING FOR SEASON 2021/22
Perth Glory Women have re-signed coach Alex Epakis, captain Natasha Rigby and rising stars Hana Lowry and Tijan McKenna for next season. Epakis said he is pleased to have Rigby back for her sixth year at the club and third as captain with teenagers and junior Matildas Lowry and McKenna.
“I am pleased and proud that three of our core players have committed to the club,” said Epakis as he sets about planning for this second season in charge of the W-League side. “It sets a fantastic foundation and direction for the squad and all three players have great value within the team.
“Tash proved to be a strong leader throughout adverse times this past season. Her commitment to the team and club on and off the field is priceless and she is one of the fiercest competitors I have come across in my coaching career to date. I look forward to working with her to continue to guide and set the direction for the team.”
“Hana is an outstanding talent. She was immense in her efforts and performances throughout the whole season when she certainly took the opportunity to step up and be a key player for the team. Hana has the potential and mindset to develop into a top-level player and I look forward to playing a part in that process.”
“Tijan is another key long-term signing who proved last season that she is able to go toe-to-toe with all players. She certainly stood out to me early in my time here and developed considerably over the course of the season. All three women are local WA players who embody the values and commitment that we are seeking to form the cornerstone of our team direction.”
Defender Rigby is also backing the youthful playing group to drive the club forward. “I am both humbled and elated to have signed on for my sixth season,” Rigby said. “More than ever, we are focused on building a successful and sustainable W-League team.”
“Last season we witnessed a multitude of young, local players step onto the big stage. It is really special to be able to watch the team develop and grow and to assist, where I can, in laying the foundations and paving the way for this amazing future generation.”
That confidence in the future development of the squad is very much shared by Lowry who established herself as a midfield mainstay for Glory last term. “Although the results didn’t go our way last season,” Lowry said, “I really enjoyed the environment within the team and the vision the club has moving forward.
“I really liked Alex as a coach and his vision for future seasons is super-exciting and something I really want to be a part of. “Representing my home city is something that makes me feel very honoured and I believe it’s the right place for me to improve as a player and help me grow.”
McKenna, too, feels that Glory is very much moving in the right direction. “It’s great to re-sign with the club which is building a special long term environment,” McKenna said. “I’m excited about achieving what’s to come in the future and developing on my form from last season.”
PERTH THROUGH TO FFA CUP FIFTH ROUND
Perth SC are the final team to reach the FFA Cup (WA) fifth round after a 2-0 win against Murdoch University Melville on Tuesday evening. The NPL side made a perfect start with Lachlan Byrd opening the scoring after only seven minutes. The visitors doubled their lead on 20 minutes, with Riley van Dieken on target, and they held that lead until 20 minutes from time when the lights went out at the Murdoch Uni Stadium, and after a while referee David Bruce called the game off and awarded the tie to Perth.
“I thought we had the upper hand early in the game and capitalised twice in the initial 20 minutes, and we then shifted to managing the tempo of the game since we played a considerable number of midweek games this season so far, however we could not find the third goal before half time,” Perth Head Coach Ramon Falcon explained. “In the second half Murdoch showed incredible fighting spirit as they came out wanting to get themselves back in the game, however the game was halted around the 70th minute since the lights went out.”
GLORY RUSH NEW SIGNING CHIANESE INTO SQUAD
Perth Glory have strengthened their squad with the return of forward Joel Chianese as they battle to stop the form slump that has left them struggling to make an A-League finals spot. The 31-year old goes straight into the squad for today’s must-win clash with fellow strugglers Newcastle Jets.
Chianese, who has returned from a season with Indian Premier League club Hyderabad, made 87 A-League appearances during his previous four-season stint at Glory. “I’m really excited to be able to finish the season with Glory,” he said. “I’ve had a great history at this club and I’m looking forward to help us push towards the finals again.”
Coach Richard Garcia said Chianese’s signing was a major boost in a tough schedule. “We know all about Joel’s ability and what he brings to the side on and off the field,” Garcia said. “His return increases the strength in depth and level of experience which will be a major boost as our hectic schedule, including the five home games in 16 days, continues.”
Chianese became a fan favourite after scoring the winning penalty in the 2019 semi-final shoot-out against Adelaide United that sent Glory to their first A-League championship final in seven years. It was only the second penalty he had taken - the first was 16 years earlier for the Blacktown City under-13s - and that time he hit the post.
IKONOMIDIS BACK AFTER 14-MONTH ABSENCE
Perth Glory have received a huge boost with the return of Socceroos star Chris Ikonomidis ahead of Tuesday’s crucial fixture at Newcastle Jets. The striker has been sidelined for 14 months, needing a knee reconstruction after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Melbourne Victory.
Coach Richard Garcia confirmed Ikonomidis will travel for the match against Newcastle in Coffs Harbour. “Chris is in the squad to travel. Hopefully we can give him some minutes,” Garcia said. “We are going to have to try and find his fitness in games. There’s no real possibility of doing it in training. With the games coming thick and fast we’ll have to work him in there slowly.”
The return of Ikonomidis eases some pressure on Garcia whose injury list includes Diego Castro (knee), Nick D’Agostino (hamstring) and Sebastian Langkamp (groin). “It’s very much how the season has gone all year for us,” Garcia said. “We are going to have make sure the younger guys stand up to the challenge and the older guys guide them through it.”
Ninth-placed Glory are desperate for a win to stay in touch of a finals spot. They are eight points behind sixth placed Western Sydney Wanders but have three games in hand. After Newcastle, Glory are at home to Wellington Phoenix and travel to Brisbane Roar before a run of five home games - against Macarthur, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory, Western United and Western Sydney - in 16 days.
Tenth-placed Newcastle are on a seven-game losing streak but Garcia did not think it made them any more dangerous despite having little to lose. “We know what Newcastle have to offer. It’s about us outplaying them,” Garcia said. “We’ve just got to know what we can do against them and how we can affect them. They will approach the game like they approach every other game, wanting to win.”
DE VANNA PRAISES VICTORY TEAMMATES
Lisa De Vanna praised Melbourne Victory's belief and persistence after winning the W-League championship on Sunday. Kyra Cooney-Cross' 120th minute winner saw Victory past Sydney FC 1-0, as it won its second championship and first since 2013/14.
De Vanna and Cooney-Cross hit the crossbar in the first half and Jada Whyman repeatedly denied Victory before it found its winner. "Something I've never experienced before. The ball just wouldn't go in the back of the net," De Vanna told Fox Sports following the game.
"It's one of those games where you're thinking, 'Is it going to go into a penalty shoot-out and are we going to lose in a penalty shoot-out after having that many chances?' We were persistent and we believed and it took the last kick of the game to win it and you can't put a feeling to that."
De Vanna won her fifth W-League title and was a constant threat against Sydney. The 36-year old Matildas great said she had enjoyed teaching her younger team-mates throughout the season. "I actually feel like I've grown as a person and a player playing for Victory this year," De Vanna said.
"It was definitely a different role, I had to lead and teach them about what it takes to be the best and what it takes to be a Matilda at that level and every game, every week, every day was a challenge and look at the rewards.
"This is just a true reflection of what we had achieved by having a good culture and believe in yourself. This is, probably out of my whole career, one of the most exciting feelings I've ever experienced because you just learn from everything that you achieved from the processes."
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND ONE REVIEW
The 2021 Belt-Up Amateur Premier League kicked off this weekend, and unfortunately our ‘Match of the Round’ between South West Phoenix and Leeming Strikers was called off by Football West, after the Strikers forfeited the game and the points went to the home side. We are seeking clarification from Football West if this is the case, we will keep you informed. There was also another game postponed, with Hamersley Rovers and Wembley Downs being called off, and will be played at a later date.
There was some football played, and the biggest shock of the opening round saw Champions North Perth United beat 3-2 at Nikola Tesla Reserve by Maddington White City. It was the hosts who were ahead early, with Andres Gonzalez finding the net, after some neat build up play by Yahan Crampon. But North Perth, who played their FFA Cup fourth round tie, on Friday evening, hit back with Scott Wrightson scoring from the spot. It was a tight game but City regained the lead on the hour, with Samir Ramos pouncing on a poor back pass and rounding the keeper to score. Ramos then added a third on 71 minutes, nicking the ball of a United defender before finidinh the target, to put Cesar Gonzales’ side in control.
But North Perth weren’t finished and pulled one back three minutes later, Jean-Marc D'Avray cross was hammered home by Wrightson. Ramos should have had his hat-trick late, but couldn’t turn the ball into an empty net. North Perth pressed for the equaliser, but the host held out to take the points. “We are satisfied with the win after a difficult pre-season and night series. It’s nice to start the season with three points, especially against last year’s champions and the team everyone is tipping to win the league again this year,” Maddington’s Petar Mrdja explained.
“It was a tough game with both sides giving it their all but I thought we were clearly the better team and deserved the win. North Perth have recruited some older boys into their team who we thought were there for the taking and I thought we exposed them well with our pace in the attacking third. The most important thing for Maddington is to back this win up against Queens Park in our next game, if we can do that then we will be really happy.” New North Perth Head coach Luke O’Neill said it wasn’t the start to the season we’re looking for. “We’re Disappointed to start the season with a loss, but we will move on and start focusing on the next game,” he said. “Maddington is a tough place to go, we will use it as a learning curve and get back to working hard on the training ground and go again.”
Kwinana United were the big winners in opening round, after a 4-0 win against Jaguars at Kelly Park. United were ahead after only nine minutes, Jake Daley’s cross finished clinically by Lee Bates. It was 2-0 on the half hour, Daley this time sending Bates in on goal and he finished well. They added a third in the shadows of half time, with Neil Beveridge getting in on the act. But the icing was put on the cake six minutes from time when Bates completed his trick from the penalty spot to seal a comprehensive win for Mark Purvis’ side.
“We started the game really well and we managed to get a couple of goals in that period. Jags then started to cause us a few problems but we weathered that and managed to grab a third before the break,” Purvis said. “Even though we were 3-0 up we had to work extremely hard to keep them out. Even when we got the fourth Jaguars kept coming so get the win and a clean sheet was a terrific start to the year.”
UWA Nedlands have started life under their new coach Claudio Mastinu with hard fought 3-2 win on the road at Beldon Park against Joondalup United. The hosts were ahead after Adam Buckley pounced on a short back pass and shot past the UWA keeper. Kyall Osborne then hit the post as the home side went in search of second. But two minutes into the second half UWA levelled with Walter Torres scoring, and seven minutes later Abel Thomas-Hy added second. With 12 minutes remaining, Adam Rogers scored the equaliser with a 25-yard free kick into the bottom corner. But less than five minutes later though a poor touch inside the 18-yard box gifted the ball to UWA and Manuel Arapis scored the winner.
“We are very happy to start the season with a win at Joondalup,” Mastinu said. “We were behind at half time but our chat at the break worked, and we scored two quick goals to take the lead. We let them back into the game and a 2-2 it could have gone either way, but the lads showed great character, and Manuel getting the winner capped a good day for us.” It wasn’t the start United coach Neil Sherwin was looking for. “The game could’ve gone either way but ultimately we were punished for errors that you won’t get away with in a very good league. Our defending isn’t good enough at the moment and we’re leaking too many goals so that is something we will look to address in training. It’s a disappointing start to the season and we’ll look to improve against Leeming next Sunday.”
In the final game Quinns beat Queens Park 2-0 at Gumblossom Park. The hosts hit the front on 20 minutes, Ryan McCready heading home from a corner. It was McCready who doubled Quinns lead on 65 minutes, heading home at the back post to seal the win. “It was a very tough game played in good spirits,” Quinns Coach Vinny McMillan said. “Queens Park pushed us for 90 minutes, although we lacked a little bit of composure in front of goals.”
WILLIAMS BECOMES MATILDAS' LONGEST-SERVING PLAYER
Lydia Williams has risen from the dusty town of Katanning and the frosty fields of Tuggeranong to become the Matildas' longest serving player. The Australia goalkeeper is poised for her 16th year with the national team after being selected for internationals against Germany and the Netherlands over coming days.
Williams earned her first call-up as a 17-year old in 2005 and has gone on to tally up 88 appearances for the national team. With Australia facing Germany tomorrow and the Netherlands on Wednesday, the 32-year old shot-stopper says consistency will be the key to a positive outcome for the Matildas.
"The advantage that we have is that we've known each other for such a long time and played together," Williams said. "Gaining that knowledge back and playing together will be pretty quick. But it's how quickly can we transfer the information that we learn in meetings onto the pitch."
"It's been something that we've done before. I mean, we're all transient, playing all over the world so we have to do it. The most important thing is to go out there and play the style of football that we want to and be proud of our performance."
JACKS TAKE OUT THE DERBY
ECU Joondalup have taken out the ‘City of Joondalup’ Derby, beating Sorrento 3-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve in our NPLWA round four ‘Match of the Round’. A first half strike from Daryl Nicol gave the Jacks the lead at the break. Andy Higgins doubled their advantage on 71 minutes, before Danny Hodgson added the third late on to seal the win. Sorrento ended the game with ten men after Alex Morgan was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, the win moving Kenny Lowe’s side up to second on the ladder.
“They made it hard for us today, but we know it was going to be a scrappy and they are a physical side, but we matched them,” Jacks’ skipper Johnny Perkins said post-match. “We had a few chances in the first fifteen minutes, and we were disappointed not to be rewarded, but we kept it tight at the back and we knew we would create chances with the quality we have, and thankfully the lads took them. The wind made it difficult, it seemed to change direction every ten minutes, but to come here in the derby and leave with three points and a clean sheet is always nice.”
The host went into the game unbeaten, but it was the Jacks who opened the brighter and they went close to the opener after only three minutes. Former Gulls defender Jakub Prajza raced down the right, his shot was parried by keeper Matthew Giudicatti the rebound falling to Nicol, whose first-time shot was cleared off the line by Ryan McLaughlin. The host went close themselves moments later, a corner wasn’t dealt with and former Jacks’ defender Billy Quinncroft’s shot was blocked, and after a goalmouth scramble the ball was cleared.
But the Jacks continued to dominate and Declan Hughes long-range shot beat Giudicatti, but crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. The Jacks dominance was rewarded with the lead on 29 minutes. Nicol’s free kick from the edge of box was deflected off the wall wrong footing the unfortunate Giudicatti and rolling into the net. It was nearly two moments later, Higgins’ snap shot was straight at the keeper, but Sorrento almost levelled on the stroke of half time. Morgan cut in from the left, his curling effort saved low by Perkins.
Sorrento should have levelled early in the second half, Scott Witschge was sent clear, one-on-one with Perkins, but the Jacks custodian stood tall to save. Nicol was denied by the alert Giudicatti on the hour, the Sorrento gloveman getting down well to push his free kick around the post. But the visitors doubled their lead on 71 minutes. Higgins’ found space down the right, and he curled his shot into net, giving Giudicatti no chance.
Sorrento weren’t finished and they almost pulled one back six minutes later, substitute Jaxon Temata’s curling shot looked destined for the top corner of the net, but Perkins produced a stunning one-handed save at full stretch to deny him. But deep into stoppage time the Jacks did add a third. Higgins’ free kick from the right of the penalty area, picked out Hodgson, whose glancing header found the bottom corner of the net, to seal the derby win.
Sorrento: GK Matthew GIUDICATTI, 3 Daniel FAICHNEY, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 5 Scott ROBERTSON (23 Neil GILLIES 90+3’), 7 Alex MORGAN, 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (19 Jaxon TEMATA 74’), 11 Tim HILL (12 Joe TWEATS 90+3’), 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS (15 Tristian STEVENS 90+3’), 18 Jordan BROWN – Subs not used: RGK Patrick HUGHES – Red Card: Morgan 80’
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 3 Nelson TSHONGO (15 Luke DAVIS 80’), 4 Declan HUGHES, 6 Sami RIAK (13 Jason PETRIE 90+3’), 7 Danny HODGSON, 8 Tom HOUGH, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 16 Shane CASSIDY – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 17 Sonny O’SHEA, 18 Danny DOUGLAS - Referee: Michal JASINSKI
ATHENA HIT BACK TO BEAT INGLEWOOD
Floreat Athena maintained their spot at the top of the NPLWA ladder, and maintain their 100% start to the season, after a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Inglewood United at E&D Litis Stadium. Steve Sokol gave the visitors the lead at the break, but Robert Harding levelled early in the second half. An own goal from Jamie Murphy then gave Vas Vujacic’s side the lead but Giovanni Soares levelled just after the hour. But it was second half substitute Wesley Casimir who won it for the hosts, moments after coming off the bench.
“The win against was huge as it kept our winning streak going,” youngster Casimir said. “I was also happy to score and help the team come from behind to get the three points against Inglewood.” It was a tight game, with both sides’ defences on top, but that all changed on 35 minutes, with the visitors opening the scoring. Ajak Riak raced down the left, and cut the ball back to Roberto del Borrello, who slipped a superb through ball to Sokol, who raced into goal and finished clinically past Jason Saldaris, and they lead by that goal at the break.
But the hosts were level eight minutes into the second half. Dean Evans first time ball sent Sean McManus down the left, he raced to the bye-line and crossed to Robert Harding who poked the ball home from close-range. It got better for the home side three minutes later, when they hit the front. A quick free kick by Evans caught Inglewood napping, he sent Harding racing into the area, and his cross was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Murphy.
Inglewood wasn’t finished, and they restored parity on 67 minutes. They won a free kick 20 meters from goal, and Soares curled it up and over the wall and past the keeper and defender Dennis Galen who had raced back to the post to try and block it. The game was up for grabs now, but it was the home side who won it two minutes later. McManus picked out Evans in the middle of the park, who fed Nick Ambrogio, who in turn tied up Casimir, who finished clinically from the edge of the box.
“It was a tough game, and our first half performance was poor in many areas which allowed them to take the lead,” Floreat Head Coach Vas Vujacic said. “After half time we made some changes and were more aggressive which enabled us to turn the game around and take the lead twice, and young Wes Casimir scored the winner which was very pleasing.”
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 13 George FESTA, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Kyle MURRAY (40 Wesley CASIMIR 62’), 12 Robert HARDING (4 Ben STEELE 72’), 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER, 5 Elijah HAAS, 21 Ismail HAJIMOHAMED,
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 5 Thiak KUEL, 7 Ajak RIAK, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 15 Roberto DEL BORRELLO, 14 Steve SOKOL, 15 Roberto SOARES, 16 Jamie MURPHY – Sub not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 4 Scott BLACKMORE, 6 Adam FALCONE, 8 Jason BARRERA, 13 Brodie LANGAN – Referee: Shane SKINNER
PERTH WIN THE ITALIAN DERBY
Perth SC have moved up to fourth on the NPLWA table, after a 2-1 win against traditional Italian rivals Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens. Calvin Whitney gave Ramon Falzon’s side the lead on the half hour, and Cameron Teece bagged his fifth goal of the season to doubled their advantage. But Baywater hit back with Fraser Dunlop reducing the margin soon after, but they couldn’t find the equaliser, the loss leaving City in fifth spot.
“It was a much-needed win for us after a disappointing result against Floreat in the last round,” Perth defender Alex Silla said. “Bayswater are a well drilled side and to create as many chances as we did was really positive, but like the Inglewood game, we had to dig deep in the dying stages and defend well to take all three points. The Azzurri fighting spirit and resilience was on show and hopefully this win can boost our confidence for a busy period of games coming up.”
It was the hosts who were on the front foot early, and they went close to the opener on ten minutes, Kristian Santich’s in-swinging corner was only just kept out by the back-pedalling Liam Driscoll, before Michael Domfeh headed over from close-range. But on the half hour Perth’s early dominance was rewarded with the lead. Teece made space down the left, he cut the ball back to Whitney on the edge of the box and his first time shot beat Liam Driscoll low to his right. Bayswater went close just before the break, but Konstantinos Sparta free kick on the edge of the box flashed over the top.
There were chances at both ends early in the second half, first Teece was denied by the alert Driscoll, before Ryan Montgomery got down well to save Sparta’s long-range effort moments later. But on 54 minutes the hosts doubled their advantage, Whitney returned the favour to Teece, his ball over the top sent the striker racing down the left, he cut inside Jack Allen and finished powerfully past Driscoll. Domfeh headed over the top moments later, before Gordon Smith slipped the ball into the path of Ndumba Makeche, but his shot whistled wide of the target.
But it was Perth’s best spell of the game and on 62 minutes they pulled one back. Makeche and Smith combined in the middle of the park, the later sending Dunlop clear and he finished clinically past Montgomery. They went close to the equaliser two minutes later, Smith sent Makeche in again, but Montgomery was out bravely to deny the striker. Teece went close again on 76 minutes, but Driscoll produces a great save to deny him.
Bayswater were pressing, and five minutes from time Smith found substitute Luke Salmon on the right of the penalty area, but the striker scuffs his shot straight at Montgomery. Moments later Makeche and Albert Fullard combine down the right, but Fullard’s low shot was well claimed by Montgomery. Then deep into stoppage time City had one last chance to get something from the game, Makeche raced down the right, he picked out Smith on the edge of the box, but he fired over the top.
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA, 6 Nic MCDONALD, 8 Riley VAN DIEKEN, 9 Cameron TEECE, 10 Michael DOMFEH (20 Gustavo CATARACIONE 76’), 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 14 Lachlan BYRD, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH (7 Alex JOVIC 69’) - Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 12 Sam FLORES, 17 Aiden FORMSTON, 15 Will GORDON, ,
Bayswater City: GK Liam DRISCOLL, 3 Jack ALLEN (4 Jacob TURNER 71’), 4 Albert FULLARD, 7 Ndumba MAKECHE, 8 Gordon SMITH, 10 Jason MIRCO, 12 Steven HESKETH, 17 Steven WALMSLEY, 18 Fraser DUNLOP (9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA 65’), 28 Konstantinos SPARTA, 29 Tyler GARNER (22 Luke SALMON 80’) - Subs not used: RGK Riccardo MAZZOLENI, 15 Leonard GAMA - Referee: Tom GLAVOVIC
ZIMARINO HAT-TRICK GIVES GLORY THE POINTS
Perth Glory have won for the first time this season after a 5-3 win against Cockburn City on Saturday evening at Hartfield Park. Glory raced a two-goal lead early, with Charlie Leech and Adam Zimarino on target, but Jesse Lazzaro reduced the margin from the spot. Late goals from Zimarino and new signing Joshua Anasmo gave Ruben Zadkovich’s side a handy lead at the break. Former Glory defender Riley Woodcock pulled one back for Scott Miller’s side, but Zimarino completed his trick to seal the win. Anthony Skorich pulled another one back for Cockburn in the final minute, but it was too little too late.
“It was nice for the boys to get the win, and some reward for their recent efforts,” Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich said. “We have missed some decent chances in previous weeks, so it was nice for the boys to find the back of the net. I thought we created plenty of chances, and controlled the game well both with, and especially without the ball. So, there were some definite positives out of the performance. Even with the positive result; we are still really growing as a group. We have a lot of hard work to get to the level we want to be at, but we will keep building and stick to our processes.”
Glory made a perfect start and were ahead on seven minutes, Riley Warland slipped a great through ball to Leech, who finished with aplomb past Luke Radonich. It was 2-0 on ten minutes, Zimarino scoring to put Glory in command. But on 32 minutes Cockburn pulled one back. A cross into the Glory box from the right by Daniel Dols, caused panic, and referee Joshua Nixon spotted a push on Daniel Robinson by Nick Sullivan and pointed straight to the spot. Lazzaro stepped up and sent Cameron Cook the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
But five minutes before half time, Glory re-established their two-goal lead. Zimarino firing home from the edge of the penalty area. It was soon 4-1, a defensive error let Glory in again two minutes later. Giordano Colli pouncing on the error to cross to former Floreat Athena striker Anasmo, to score on his debut for the club.
Cockburn coach Scott Miller made a double change at the break with Daniel Santich and Breckan Baker coming on, and they reduced the deficit on 78 minutes, Woodcock drifting in from the left and finding the top corner of the net. But two minutes later Glory sealed the win, skipper Colli was involved again, this time finding the lively Zimarino who, skipper past two Cockburn defenders before finish well past Radonich. Cockburn did pull back late, good work on the right by Sebastian de Silva, who crossed into the penalty area and Anthony Skorich headed home, but it was too little to late.
Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Nick SULLIVAN (15 Lewis TUCKER 71’), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Riley WARLAND, 6 Chris DONNELL, 7 Joseph FORDE, 8 Charlie LEECH, 9 Joshua ANASMO (17 Bryce BAFFORD 67’), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (12 Matthew GEORGE 82’) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 13 William FORMSTON
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS (15 Daniel SANTICH 46’), 4 Euen GRANT (25 Breckan BAKER 46’), 5 Julian TELES, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 11 Harry O’BRIEN, 12 Sebastian DA SILVA, 16 Ali GHOLAMI (9 Anthony SKORICH 74’), 22 Daniel ROBINSON, 21 Jesse LAZZARO (17 Fanuel DAWIT 67’), 23 Riley WOODCOCK – Subs: RGK Ben RADONICH - Referee: Joshua NIXON
REDS NICK A POINT LATE
A goal deep into stoppage time from Armadale skipper Brian Patterson has given his side a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Rockingham City at SafeRad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Rockingham captain Ryan Kennedy had given Goran Stajic’s side the lead early in the second half from the spot, but missed chances cost them the win, with Patterson scoring late to give both sides a share of the spoils.
“We went into the game hoping to get a positive result, unfortunately we didn’t play too well, it was a very disappointing performance from us and the result showed for itself,” Red’s defender Friday Zico explained. “We’ve missed a few chances in the first half and had a couple in the second half but credit to Rockingham who got their chance took, we were lucky to come away with a draw in the end, probably the last kick of the game.”
It was a first half with plenty of half chances. First Reds Spanish striker Angel Andres was denied by former Armadale custodian Cyril Sharrock from an early free-kick, before Shane Boyle was thwarted by smart one-on-one save from Yousri Gharsallah. But it was the hosts who opened the scoring, after Boyle was brought down in the box on 51 minutes, and referee Stewart Beattie pointed straight to the spot. Kennedy stepped up and sent Gharsallah the wrong way from the resulting penalty.
Armadale pressed looking for the equaliser, but they failed to breach a tight Rockingham defence, and it looked like they would leave empty-handed, but deep into stoppage time John O’Reilly’s side found the equaliser. Kevin Ashwood found Pieter Jacobsz down the left, his cross took a deflection of Afian Giyanto, the ball looped up to the back post and Paterson bundled the ball home.
“For most of the game I thought we were in complete control, created the better chances we just couldn’t kill the game off,” Rockingham striker Shane Boyle said. “To be fair Armadale battled till the end which led to them scoring last minute and deservingly walking away with a point.”
Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 3 Denaudo MURRAY, 4 Dieudonne SUMAIL, 5 Afian GIYANTO, 6 Harry BOLAN, 8 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 10 Shane BOYLE, 11 Luke COLLINS (13 Michael LINO 77’) (2 Ian NG 90’), 14 Jethro YUMANGE (18 Axel RICHARDSON 77’), 19 Noah WITTSTROM-LEA, 23 Ryan KENNEDY (9 Christos VAENAS 88’) – Subs: RGK Brad STOUT
Armadale: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 2 Matthew WORTON (17 Pieter JACOBSZ 77’), 3 Harry QUIGLEY, 8 Brian PATTERSON, 9 Angel ANDRES, 11 Isaac KOOMSON (20 Rene KISESA 59’), 13 Filippo GIOFFRE (18 Kevin ASHWOOD 66’), 14 Cherno BAH (11 Chad NILSON 59’), 21 Manase ABANDELWA, 22 Ryan MCEVOY, 23 Friday ZICO – Subs not used: RGK Michael CRAGGS - Referee: Stewart BEATTIE
HINA AT IT AGAIN LATE TO GIVE BALCATTA A POINT
Balcatta striker Hamza Hina has continued his late shows, scoring another stoppage time goal to earn his side a 1-1 draw against Gwelup Croatia at Grindleford Reserve. Shubham Mokala had given Taki Nicolaidis’ side the lead on the stroke of half time, and it looked like that would be the winner, especially when Balcatta keeper Riley Stephenson was sent off late, but Hina had other ideas, his late goal sealing a dramatic draw.
“Unfortunately, we did not get the result we desired,” Gwelup defender Ciaran Salinger said. “I thought we played some good football in the first half, and created a few good chances. We absorbed a lot of long balls and set-pieces in the second half in which we defended quite well. Unfortunately, we conceded late on and came away with a draw. A result that I’m sure Balcatta are delighted with however we need to regroup and reassess and come back stronger next week against Glory.”
It was Gwelup who opened the scoring in first half stoppage time. Hasani Sinclair found Mokala in the middle of the park, and he was given far too much room and drove forward before finding the bottom corner of the net. Balcatta prodded a poked after the break, but couldn’t find the elusive equaliser, and their chances took another blow on 91 minutes when they were reduced to ten men.
Declan Hargreaves sent Paul Zimarino racing down the left, and keeper Stephenson raced out of box and brought the striker down, and referee Matthew Southern had no hesitation in sending the keeper off. It looked all over for Bobby Taneski’s side but in the third minute of stoppage time Balcatta found the equaliser. Calum O’Connell’s free kick picked out Hina, who got between two Gwelup defenders to head home via the post, which salvaged a point and set off wild celebrations on the pitch.
“We came into this game knowing that it's our chance to once again beat a team that's meant to be one of the best, therefore sending a message that Balcatta won't be satisfied with mid table positioning this year,” Hina explained. “I think anyone in attendance including the other team can testify that we outplayed a strong Gwelup team everywhere on the park for 90 minutes so being 1-0 down in the 90th minute just wasn't befitting. As for me personally I embrace the extra responsibility Balcatta has put onto me this year by having me step up into a leading role as opposed to being the youngster in previous years, so what better moment to prove that this season I'm aiming to be the best than when your team needs you the most.”
Balcatta: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Joseph MARINO (16 Jawad REZAI 26’), 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 7 Amir AJAN, 8 Jack LEECH, 9 Hamza HINA, 10 Jon CORNESS, 11 Michael ZIMARINO (12 David PERICH 70’), 13 Anthony TOPINI, 21 Cameron MCLEAN (RGK Sebastian MEDICA 90+1’) - Subs not used: 15 Nicholas MESSINA, 22 Michael SCAFETTA – Red Card: Stephenson 90’)
Gwelup Croatia: GK Stefan KING, 2 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Thomas SOUTHGATE, 5 Blair GOVAN, 8 Jon STYNES (6 Declan HARGREAVES 61’), 11 Ethan BROOKS, 12 Hasani SINCLAIR, 13 Rocco PIZZATA (19 Lucas TRIGLAVCANIN 43’), 14 Shubham MOKALA, 15 Blamo QUAQUA (7 Brent GRIFFITHS 68’), 22 Joshua SAMSON (9 Paul ZIMARINO 61’) – Subs not used: - RGK Benjamin RATAJCZAK – Referee: Matthew SOUTHERN
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND TWO – REVIEW
It was another exciting round of football in the State League Division One and in our ‘Match of the Round’ Mandurah City and Forrestfield United have fought out a 1-1 draw at Peelwood Parade. “We created a lot of chances to be two or three ahead in the first half, but second half we came out a bit less energetic and as the game went on Forrestfield grabbed the equaliser,” Mandurah Coach Kris Donnell said. “Overall, we’re unhappy not to take the full three points, but Pete Taylor and I will review the game and see where we can improve for next week’s game.”
Both sides went into this one looking for their first points of the season and it was the Dolphins who opened the scoring on 13 minutes. A well worked move ended with a ball into Harry Collins, and he placed it into the corner from just inside the box. But the visitors were level on the hour mark, when Trent Kay rose highest to head home from a corner. Both sides pressed for the winner, but both had to settled for a share of the spoils. “The performance was a much improved one from last week’s game against Swan, so we’re happy to pick up our first point for the season,” Forrestfield skipper Rhys Loxley explained. “Both teams probably had chances to win, it but overall, I think a draw was a fair result. We will continue working on improving and hopefully get a good result against Fremantle next week.”
Western Knights continued their unbeaten start to the new season after a 2-1 against Olympic Kingsway at Nash Field. The hosts stunned the home supporters after only nine minutes, with Elliot Tattersall finding the net. But the Knights were level late in the first half, Alek Kretowicz made space down the flank and crossed to Ciaran Byrne who scored from close range. The Knights hit the front early in the second half, when Dean Hurley raced past two Olympic players, and cut the ball back to Byrne who finished clinically, to make it four goals for the season. Both sides had chances for the rest of the game, but it was the Knights celebrating back-to-back wins to start the season. “It was such an intense game against an impressive Kingsway team,” Knights Head coach Ivan Zuvela said. “But we kept playing to our strengths and didn’t stop trying to play the game we wanted to. I’m proud of the players for their effort throughout the whole game.”
Quinns consolidated top spot after a 3-0 win against Subiaco at Gumblossom Park. The hosts, who surprised Olympic Kingsway last week, were ahead early, Adam Tong finding the net from a free kick. They doubled their lead midway through the first half, with Henri Mulwila finding the net. The points were wrapped up after the break with Ben Hinshelwood making it three goals from two games. “It was a great showing on our first home game of the season against Subiaco from all the boys,” striker Ben Hinshelwood said. “I thought we put out another statement to the league, that we are not going to be written off like it was predicted.”
Fremantle City also maintained their perfect start to the season with a hard fought 2-1 win against Stirling Macedonia at Hilton Park. The visitors were reduced to ten men on 40 minutes when Dhuors Chol was shown a straight red card by referee David Avison. The hosts made their numerical advantage count in first half stoppage time, Noah Shamaki won the ball back and played Sam McKearnen through on goal and he finished well. They increased their lead on the hour, Adriano Jelenovic played Shamaki through on goal who made no mistake against the onrushing goal keeper. Stirling were then reduced to nine men when Ryan Malton was also sent off. But Alexander Tanevski pulled one back for the nine men, but they couldn’t find an equaliser. “It was an important three points against a potential title contender,” Fremantle Head Coach Cameron Lord said.
Ashfield have won for the first time this season, with a 1-0 win against UWA Nedlands at Ashfield Reserve. The only goal of the game came on 62 minutes. UWA turned the ball over in the Ashfield half and Emmanuel Langoya cut in from the left and finished clinically past Peter Pilkadaris. “It was good to finally get our season going and build momentum. We’ve been setting a good pace each game but have struggled to see them out in the second half,” Ashfield keeper Jamie Serra said. “We will take a lot of confidence from Saturday and continue to build from there.”
In the final game Swan United and Joondalup United have fought out a 1-1 draw at Francis Street. It was the hosts who opened the scoring after only 14 minutes, good work from Jamie Gardiner down the left, ended with a superb cross, which was met by Jamie Gibson at the neat post who flicked it into the far corner of the net. Swan levelled on the hour Gabriel Soares was brought down in the box and referee Julian Serra pointed to the spot, and John Monterosso scored from the penalty. Both coaches were happy with a point on the day. “We struggled on a difficult surface to get any real flow and continuity to our game, however we created more than enough opportunities to put the game to bed, before a soft penalty brought them level,” Joondalup Head Coach Nick Jennings said.
“All credit to the commitment and work rate of both sides who had a real go for 90 minutes, and it was good to see a referee who recognised football is a contact sport and who didn’t go waving yellow cards for every free kick given.” Swan Head Coach Dan Evans agreed with his counterpart. “We started the game slowly and went a goal down early on. After that we managed to work our way back into the game and were very unlucky with a goal that on replay was incorrectly ruled out for offside,” he explained. “Joondalup competed for 90 minutes as we knew they would and to be fair a couple of close referee decisions could have gone either way. It wasn’t our best performance, so in the end we had to settle for a point.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND TWO – REVIEW
It was week two of the State League Division Two, and in our ‘Match of the Round’ Canning City have won the local derby against Gosnells City 2-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The game was the first leg of the ‘Frank Longstaff Trophy’ and it was the visitors who were ahead on the half hour mark. A free kick wasn’t dealt with and when Ryan Moran put the ball back into the danger area it caused a goalmouth scramble, and the Gosnells keeper Duncan Lennon-Black palmed the ball into the net. But early in the second half Gosnells were level, with Darren Francis on target.
But it was Canning who won it on 69 minutes, a cross into the box by Zibu Moyo was fumbled by the keeper and Moran was on hand to fire home from a tight angle. “The game was typical derby game, everyone was up for it and became a battle - physical and fast moving right up to the end final whistle,” Canning skipper James Atkins said. “We all played for one another and left it all out on the field, could have had a few more but the win at the end of the day is rewarding for the hard work we have put in through pre-season and last week against Melville in developing our system and player links between our new and old team mates and this will help us gain momentum into the upcoming game against Joondalup. “
Morley Windmills resurgence continues after a 3-2 win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Grandis Park. The hosts had a great chance to take the lead early when referee Walter Ciotti pointed to the spot, but Luke Hutcheson guessed the right way to save Wayne Guest’s penalty. But that miss was forgotten when Nathan Diaz opened the scoring for Rovers. Morley then lost midfielder Lucas de Lima with a suspected broken leg, but at the break it was the hosts holding a narrow lead.
But five minutes into the second half the visitors levelled, Mitch Castrilli finding the net from a set-piece. Morley then hit the front when Jonah Vozzo’s through ball sent Adu Dulleh in on goal, and he held off his marker and fired home. It was 3-1 on 76 minutes, Castrilli powering home from close-range after a scramble in the box. Rovers reduced the margin late through Ger Fitzgerald’s close-range header, but it was too little to late. “It was a very big win in the context of what we are trying to build this season. Carramar have significant strengths and in the first half they were able to affect the way we play,” Morley Head Coach Antony Benetti explained.
“We were very composed at the half time break and highlighted the desire to get back to playing our brand of football and we dominated the second half with great interconnecting play and moving the ball quickly finding success in our middle and front thirds. For these boys to come back from 1-0 down and team mate out and put on three goals shows the immense character of the group, especially considering the quality of the opposition.”
Dianella White Eagles continued their good start to the season, thrashing Kelmscott Roos 7-2 at Frye Park. The Eagles were ahead early, David Heagney crossing to Daniel Mackenzie to head home. It was soon 2-0, Kristian Despotovski getting on the end of Heagney’s cross to score from close-range. Mackenzie added the third on the half hour, finishing low past Ercole Cutri. Heagney then got into the scoring act converting from the penalty spot to make it 4-0 at the break. Heagney added the fifth on the hour, before the striker completed his hat-trick with a diving header moments later. Lochlan Cameron pulled one back for the hosts, but Heagney added his fifth and Dianella’s seventh with a half volley nine minutes from time.
Amos Doegolia Junior pulled one back for Kelmscott in stoppage time, but it was Dianella celebrating a big win. “Really pleased with the all-round performance of the team,” a delighted coach Stewart Moses said. “David (Heagney) will take the plaudits with his four goals, but it was a team effort and Bobby and I are pleased with the progression the side is making. To start the season with two wins is huge, and we move on to a tough game against the Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers next Saturday night at our place.”
Murdoch University Melville have also started the season with two wins, after a 2-1 success against Joondalup City at the Iluka Sports Complex. The visitors were ahead on 14 minutes, good combination play between Mark Lucas and Pat Sara, saw Lucas play Ben Pellizzari in on goal and he finished between the keepers’ legs from a tight angle. But Joondalup were level on 26 minutes, with Luke Doyle scoring. But it was MUM who took the lead to the break, with Adrian Ciampini playing Eddie Wynne-Willson in on goal and he finished clinically. Both sides had chances after the break but it was Matt Wardle’s side claiming all three points.
“It was a very tough game for us against a good Joondalup City team who are always hard to play against on their pitch with the slope and the wind,” Murdoch University Melville skipper Mark Lucas explained. “We didn’t play our best by any means but pleased to get the win and as Joondalup will win a lot of games at Iluka, so definitely happy with three points away from home on a day where we didn’t play well.”
Kingsley Westside have won for the first time this season after a stunning 6-0 win against Curtin University at Chichester Park on Saturday evening. The hosts were ahead on 13 minutes, a corner found Adam O’Neill at the back post and he cut the ball back to Kieron Salmon to score from close-range. Then in the shadows of half time they added a second, Joel Gillespie finding the top corner with an indirect free kick inside the box. It was 3-0 early in the second half, Salmon picking out Jayden Drummond who volleyed home at the back post. It soon became 4-0, Simone Sichel holding off his marker to score.
It was 5-0 on 76 minutes, Joe Allsopp sending Cameron Bishop into goal to finish clinically. Drummond added his second six minutes from time to wrap up the scoring, getting on the end of pinpoint Josh Waldock cross. “It was an important three points to get, after last week’s tough tussle with dianella,” Drummond said. “But the boys were superb from the first minute to the last, everything we trained on we executed, so was pleasing for the players and the coaching staff. But credit to their goalkeeper Daniel Marques, he pulled off some unbelievable saves.”
In the final game there was a hard-fought 0-0 draw, as Balga hosted Wanneroo City at Princess Road Reserve. It was an end to end game, with both teams having their chances to win the match. “The 0-0 draw was a frustrating game, but both sides battled out the whole 90 minutes,” Wanneroo Coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “We created a fair few very good chances but failed to take them which ended up costing us all three points.”
NORTHERN CITY CUP RUN COMES TO AN END
The FFA Cup run of Northern City has come to an end after 3-1 loss at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. After a win against State League Division Two side Balga in the last round City went into this one full of confidence, but found themselves behind on 16 minutes, Andy O’Neill’s corner found Jean-Marc D'Avray who made no mistake with his header. But the host responded well and levelled on 37 minutes, when referee Simon Hicks pointed to the spot and Syakir Shariff converted from the resulting penalty. But four minutes later the hosts were reduced to ten men after Lucas Kemboi was sent off.
After the break the North Perth took control and they made their numerical advantage count on 73 minutes. O’Neill’s corner picking out striker Kyran Broadhurst to head home. The tie was wrapped up five minutes from time, Alex Corner found O’Neill who slipped past his marker and finished into the bottom corner.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, but we got the job done that was the important thing,” United’s Head Coach Luke O’Neill said. “But full credit to Northern City they were amazing all night and never gave up, they had a fantastic following at the game, what made it a great atmosphere.” The final game of the round takes place tomorrow night when Murdoch University Melville take on Perth SC at the Murdoch Uni Campus.
NPL-WA ROUND FOUR PREVIEW
We head into week four of the NPLWA and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Percy Doyle Reserve for the ‘Joondalup City Derby’ between second placed Sorrento and fourth placed ECU Joondalup. (All games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated) Both these sides are coming off big wins on the road, the Jacks beating Inglewood and Sorrento winning convincingly at Armadale, so this one should be a cracker. Last time they met at the venue was back in round 13 in 2019 when the Jacks won 2-1. Sorrento skipper Reece Vittiglia had given the host the lead early, before Bayley Brown-Montgomery levelled just before half time. Brown-Montgomery, who wasn’t in the starting side until an injury to Tommy Amphlett, sealed the win twenty minutes from time.
Saturday will be the first time Jakub Prajza will play against his former club, after making the move to ECU in preseason, and the Czech defender has started life well at the Campus, and he said the win at Inglewood was well deserved and put the loss against Armadale out of their mind. “It was a big win and very important win too, as we needed that win to forget about Armadale game,” he said. “We played very well, we kept the ball the whole game, we played the way we want to play every game. Defensively zero at the back and offensively scored two goals against the Night Series winner, which is satisfying.”
Prajza said Sorrento have started the season well and is looking forward to catching up with his old teammates who will be tough opponents. “I am so looking forward to it. Playing Sorrento away at the ‘Windy Hill’ is going be a fun as always,” the defender said. “It will definitely be a great game, hopefully with a win for us at the end of the game. They have started really good, and haven't lost a game yet. But I believe we have the abilities and skills to beat them.”
Gulls’ striker Billy Quinncroft, who scored the only goal on Monday as Sorrento moved in to next round of the FFA Cup, said the win at Armadale in the league was huge and he said was a battle. “They certainly gave us what they had, but the boys got the job done,” he said. “Everyone did their job and a bit more, and we took our chances and didn’t let the pedal slip. The result puts us where we want to be coming the end of the season so hopefully the results keep continuing.”
Quinncroft, who played at ECU in 2019, said Saturday will be another tight game like all derby games are, but he said they are ready for a big game. “I had a brief spell at ECU after leaving Armadale, before COVID hit and having to work away, it wasn’t meant to be with me in Kenny’s plans but of course it will be nice bragging rights of the north, and the boys will be up for it as it is another test to see where we are at,” he explained. “Saturday is defiantly going to be one to watch, both sets of teams are going to be up for it. There will be some good football to be played and entertainment for the fans to watch. I always love a derby as there is always extra in it than a normal game. I know myself and the boys are up for it, let’s hope Sorrento walk away with the bragging rights.”
In other games on Saturday, Perth SC will look to bounce back after a narrow loss to Floreat, when they host Bayswater City in the Italian Derby at Dorrien Gardens, likewise Inglewood United who make the trip to E&D Litis Stadium to take on league leaders Floreat Athena. Gwelup Croatia won for the first time this season last week against Rockingham, and they hit the road this week to take on Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve, while at Hartfield Park, Perth Glory entertain Cockburn City, who also won for the first-time last week at Balcatta, on Saturday evening (7.00pm)
The final game sees Rockingham City host Armadale at SafeRad Stadium. Both sides will look to bounce back after heavy defeats in the last round. City keeper Cyril Sharrock said the loss at Gwelup was disappointing especially after the win at Cockburn the week before. “It was a great win against Cockburn in round two and it was unfortunate that we couldn't back it up against Gwelup,” he said. “In all honest, Gwelup have a lot of quality with their team this season and capitalised on minor mistakes we made on the day. We have reviewed the game and sure to make positive changes to are style of play for a big game this week.”
The Rockingham custodian will come up against his former club on Saturday, and knows they will face another tough game against John O’Reilly’s side. “I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to the SafeRad Stadium on Saturday in front of what should be a good crowd to get behind the team,” Sharrock said. “As always Armadale will be hard to beat, but I feel that Goran has prepared us well for the game with players responding well in Monday's FFA cup game and on the training ground to take the points. We’re really looking forward to play in front of not only the home crowd, but also the army faithful in what should be a great game.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND TWO – PREVIEW
It’s week two of the State League Division One and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees Mandurah City host Fremantle City at Peelwood Parade. (Note all games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated) Both sides were beaten in the opening round, City losing at Stirling, while United were beaten at home by Swan, so it’s important to get points on the board in this one. Last time they met was in round four last season when they fought out a 2-2 draw. The hosts were ahead early, with John Baird scoring from close-range, but Forrestfield went ahead before half time with a brace from Trek Atta. But deep in stoppage time at the end of the match Lee Stewart levelled.
Mandurah coach Pete Taylor had no excuses after last weeks loss, but knows it’s only round one. “Stirling were worthy winners on the day, they took their chances and punished our mistakes,” he explained. “As we well know though, one game doesn’t define a season and it certainly doesn’t define this team. We’ll bounce back as we have done before, Kris and I have a great deal of confidence in our players.”
Taylor said Saturday’s opponents haven’t had the best of starts, losing against Swan and being knocked out of the FFA Cup, but he knows it will be another tough encounter, but he’s looking forward to play in front of their passionate supporters. “Forrestfield is always a tough game and I don’t envisage any games this season being anything other than competitive,” he said. “We’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to another test, it’s our first league home game so I’m sure the place will be bouncing.”
Forrestfield midfielder Mitch Crocker said last weeks loss against Swan wasn’t how they wanted to start the season, but like Taylor knows its only round one. “The game against Swan wasn’t good enough from our point of view,” he said. “You get games like that through the season we could have been out of sight if we had taken our chances, but as they say that’s football.”
Crocker, who was outstanding last season, said it’s been a hectic start to the season, but he is confident they can go to Mandurah and get a result. “Mandurah will be a big test of where we are at, and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “Going down there is never easy obviously and they already have silverware in the bag so we expect a tough one.”
In other games on Saturday, Quinns and Subiaco will look to continue their winning starts when they meet at Gumblossom Park, likewise Western Knights who welcome last year’s Champions to Olympic Kingsway to Nash Field. Ashfield host UWA Nedlands at Ashfield Reserve, with both sides searching for their first wins, while Swan United will search for back-to-back wins when they entertain Joondalup United at Francis Street. The final game is at Hilton Park where Fremantle City host Stirling Macedonia. Both sides started the season with big wins, City beating UWA, while Macedonia hit five past Mandurah.
Stirling new defender Ryan Malton said the win against Mandurah showed the quality they have at the club under the guidance of new head coach Ian Ferguson. “I thought we outplayed Mandurah all over the park, playing really good football for majority of the game,” he said. “They were physical but we I thought we matched them and showed the league we mean business this season.”
Malton, who has played for ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena in the NPL, said the trip to Fremantle will be another difficult game, but they are ready for it. “Fremantle also have a good side this season, with a number of NPL players signing for them,” he explained. “I think it will be another good match, but if we just play our game, we should be able to get another three points which would be a great start to the season for us.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND TWO – PREVIEW
We head to Grandis Park on Saturday in week two of the State League Division Two for our ‘Match of the Round’ between Carramar Shamrock Rovers and Morley Windmills (Note all games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated) Both sides made a winning start to the season last week, Rovers started their title defence with a big win against Wanneroo City, while Morley started the tenure of Antony Benetti off well, with a come from behind win against Kelmscott. The last time they met at the home of the then Shamrock Rovers was in round 16 2017, when Morley came home with a 3-2 win.
Morley skipper Leigh Morgan was on target in last weeks win and he said it was just the start they were looking for. “It was a great start to our 2021 season the way we wanted it to go, but it was a tough game against Kelmscott who put up a very good fight until the final whistle,” he said. “We didn’t play our best football on the day and made the game very difficult for ourselves not finishing in front of goal which let us down when they took a 1-0 advantage in the second half, but our character and work rate didn’t let us down and the boys fought until the final whistle which helped us snag three goals in the last ten minutes.”
Morgan said the trip to Rovers will be a difficult one, but he said they are looking forward to it. “We know Shamrock will be a tough encounter as they won the league last year, and are looking to have another strong season starting off their 2021 campaign with a win they will be on the hunt for yet another one this weekend,” he explained. “It’s always a big game coming up against a side like them who possess more of a physical game than other sides, but the boys will be up for it this weekend.”
In other games on Saturday Kelmscott Roos welcome Dianella White Eagles to Frye Park, while Balga entertain Wanneroo City at Princess Road Reserve. Murdoch University Melville make the trip to the Iluka Sports Complex to take on Joondalup City, while Kingsley Westside host Curtin University in the late game at Chichester Park (5.00pm). The final game is the local derby at Walter Padbury Reserve, where Gosnells City host a Canning City in the ‘Frank Longstaff Trophy’, the cup is played for every year in memory of coach Frank Longstaff who worked at both clubs.
Gosnells opened the season with a 1-0 win against Balga, while Canning went down to the same scoreline to MUM, and Head Coach Chris Finlayson thought a draw would have been a fair result. “We are extremely disappointed in the result but not the performance we definitely had the opportunities to get the three points and at the end of the day a draw would have been a fair result,” he said. “Especially conceding in the last-minute hurts, no hiding away from that I can see a real termination in the lads this week - we are definitely looking forward to seeing them at Burrendah next time around.”
Finlayson said his players are looking forward to the derby, but knows it will be another tough game. “We travel again this week to Marc Anthony’s side which doesn’t get any easier, and you add the Frank Longstaff trophy in the mix it and no doubt it will be a tough match,” he explained. “I can’t see any of the matches this season being anything but a tough battle we need the three points to keep in the mix, and that’s the aim this weekend."
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND ONE PREVIEW
The 2021 Belt up Amateur Premier League kicks off this weekend, and we head down south for our ‘Match of the Round’ which sees South West Phoenix host Leeming Strikers at the Onside Sports Stadium. (7.00pm) The Bunbury based club have started the season well after taking out he Night Series, while Leeming also had a good preseason, just missing out on a semi-final spot on goal difference. The Night Series success was a great start to the tenure of new Phoenix Head coach Nick Carter, but he is hoping that is only the start.
“Things are positive, we’ve got a great group of players but it’s important we don’t underestimate who we play,” he said. “There are some great teams in this league and we had a big reality check against a great Forrestfield side in the cup. Yes, promotion is in our sights certainly, we want to get this club back to where it should be. It’s one of the reasons a lot of players have come back, we are all on the same path, we want to win.”
Carter said Sunday’s opponents have been up there in the league for the last couple of seasons, so he is expecting a challenge game. “Leeming is always a tough test, they have some good players in their squad and are always there or thereabouts,” he said. “I know David Palin well, he’s been trying to tell me they are the underdogs in this game, but I don’t believe that for a second, but one thing for sure is they’ll push us to the end.”
For Leeming they went through the Night Series undefeated, but missed a spot in the knock out stage on goal difference, but player/coach David Palin said they got plenty of positives out of it. “It was unfortunate to miss out on goal difference, but we haven't lost in the Night Series for four years now, so that's a positive,” he explained. “But this year a lot of the old guard have either retired or stopped playing so we had to bleed in a lot of new guys, who showed us a lot and it gave us new options leading into season.”
Palin is hoping the difficult 2020 season is behind them, and he is looking for a positive start to 2021. “It was difficult on and off the pitch for everyone last year, given what has happened over the past year in the world the fact we got 16 games in of a season we should feel really lucky,” he said. “Hopefully we can get a full season this year the boys just want to play and if the last year can teach us anything we shouldn't take any game or season for granted and hopefully 2021 will be a good year for all.
“Sunday is a tough start, South West Phoenix have recovered well after folding in 2019 from the state league, but they have some really good players down there and a team that is more than capable. It's clear they have the region pulling in their direction a lot of old faces from their state league years reappearing, they have a good NPL junior setup and its very clear Football West want South West Phoenix to be a success and having them in the league definitely adds a different dynamic. It's arguably the toughest away game teams will have to encounter given the way the fixture is setup, but in my time with the team we've always approached every game to win and Sunday night won't be any different, the players that are available for Sunday 7pm are ready and looking forward to the game.”
In other games in the opening round Joondalup United host UWA Nedlands at Beldon Park, while Wembley Downs make the trip to Carine Open Space to take on Hamersley Rovers. Quinns welcome Queens Park to Gumblossom Park, while Jaguar travel to Kelly Park to meet Kwinana United. In the final game last season’s champions North Perth United begin the defence of their title with a trip to Nikola Tesla Reserve, to take on Maddington. New North Perth head coach Luke O’Neill said despite the loss in the Night Series Final, the preseason has gone well at Woodville Reserve.
“The night series allowed the club to see where we are as a group, it’s been a very different preseason with the overhaul of players leaving and coming into the club. It’s always a good feeling to get to a final, but we were disappointed not to finish the job on the night,” he explained. “It’s been a positive start and we will look to keep developing as a club on and off the pitch. It’s great to see everything pretty much back to normal, for us at North Perth promotion and retaining the title are something we haven’t talked about. it’s a brand-new squad so our only aim is to be competitive and grow as a group and as a club, we have had 20 debutants in the preseason competitions. However, Kevin Mulgrew and I are fully aware with what this club has achieved in the last few years and will be working hard to continue to bring success to the club.”
O’Neill side play two games this weekend, with an FFA Cup tie against Northern City on Friday, before Sunday’s game, but he said they are looking forward to it. “Maddington at their ground is always a tough place to go they have a quality team and will want to continue where they left off in season 2020, but we are looking forward to starting the season,” he said. “It’s been a difficult week in preparation for round one, finding out on Wednesday that the FFA cup game being scheduled for Friday night wasn’t ideal, but we will get on with it and hopefully start the season on a positive note.”
ROVERS STUN FORRESTFIELD IN FFA CUP
The upsets continued in the FFA Cup on Wednesday evening with Division Two side Carramar Shamrock Rovers beating Division One side Forrestfield United 4-3 after extra time at Hartfield Park. The win gives Gerry McEwan’s side a trip to NPL side Sorrento in the next round. Rovers were ahead in this one after only nine minutes, with Ger Fitzgerald on target, but goals from Ollie Parry and Tarek Atta gave Graham Normanton’s side the lead at the break.
Rovers levelled, with Wayne Guest scoring from the penalty spot on the hour, and Rhodes Boyce gave them the lead with eight minutes remaining. But Forrestfield restored parity two minutes later, with Tyron Pottier scoring, but the visitors won it on 97 minutes with James Curren firing home the winner. “It’s was a great win and great to get to the next round of the cup. We knew Forrestfield would be a decent team but also confident in the group of players we have in the squad and it showed,” Ger Fitzgerald said.
“Everyone gave it their all and most were running on empty by the end of extra time. Our substitute keeper on the night Dan Holgate even came on for 10 minutes up front to help out. We deserved to win and a great result going into this weekend against Morley.” Fitzgerald said the trip to Sorrento is one they are looking forward to. “We wanted an NPL team if we qualified and delighted, we got one,” he said. “We are in good form at the moment and have something to look forward to in a few weeks. Sorrento will be the team under pressure to win when we play them as they are NPL and we are Division Two, but we will keep playing the way we are and hopefully get a result.”
There are still two games to be played in round four, Northern City host North Perth United on Friday evening with Armadale awaiting the winner, while Murdoch University Melville host Perth SC on April 13 at the Murdoch Uni Campus, the winner to host Kwinana United. The draw for Round Five was made at Football West HQ on Wednesday and it has set up some intriguing ties. Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway host NPL Champions ECU Joondalup at Kingsway Reserve, while Cockburn City travel to Peelwood Parade to take on Mandurah City. There is two all NPL ties, with Bayswater City hosting Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve and Gwelup Croatia entertain Floreat Athena at Wishart Street, while in the final game Gosnells City make the trip to SafeRad Stadium to take on Rockingham City – All games to be played week of 26 April.
GARCIA FUMING AFTER SYDNEY DEFEAT
Perth Glory Head Coach was left fuming post-match after their A-League game was halting five minutes early with a lightning strike knocking the floodlights out at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah, but referee Adam Kersey sent the players to the changing rooms and as he left the pitch, he blew full time, with Kosta Barbarouses’ goal sealing the 1-0 win for Sydney FC. It didn’t go down well and Garcia’s press conference wasn’t for the faint hearted. “We can call off the game, but the players are still doing interviews on the pitch,” he said. “I’m all for player welfare [but] we are still doing interviews on the pitch [after the match], so why does the game get called off. Baffled to say the least. You can’t ask a question [to the referees] because you don’t get the response. They don’t speak to us.”
Garcia was also at a loss with some of the decision that went against them on the night, especially the clear foul on Carlo Armiento in the box, which was thrown out by VAR. “Stonewall penalty, in every league in the world, including this one, that is a penalty,” Garcia said. “It changed the whole game. VAR, say they checked it, who is running VAR? It is a penalty every day of the week. No explanation for the decisions. This is a tough place to come, it’s hard enough coming here against a good team, let alone when there’s conflicts of interest all throughout the league. It is what it is.”
Despite everything Garcia was full of praise for his side on the night. “I think the whole team's performance tonight was positive," he said. "Liam [Reddy] was exceptional, but there were a lot of exceptional performances tonight. When things go against us, they really do go against us and they definitely did go against us tonight in every sense of the word." The game was delayed for 45 minutes with an electrical storm in the area, and Garcia made three changes to the starting line-up, from the side that lost to Macarthur FC, with Diego Castro missing with knee soreness, while Neil Kilkenny and Dane Ingram dropped to the bench. In came Andy Keogh, Callum Timmins and Armiento.
It was an even opening to the game, with plenty of yellow card’s handout by the referee, but he missed a blatant penalty on 24 minutes, Armiento wriggled past two Sydney defenders, but was clearly brought down by Paulo Retre, but somehow the referee and most importantly VAR turned down the Glory’s penalty shout. Both sides had half chances early, Ciaran Bramwell fired straight at Andrew Redmayne, while Reedy saved low from Bobo. The Glory custodian then produced a brilliant save low to his right to deny Bobo’s header on the stroke of half time.
Reedy was at it again after the break saving well to deny Luke Brattan, and then following up to keep the rebound out. Glory suffered a huge blow on 52 minutes, with German defender Sebastian Langkamp limping off with what looked a groin injury. Brattan fired inches over the top moments later as Sydney upped the tempo and two minutes later their pressure was rewarded with the lead. Barbarouses’ shot from the right took a deflection of Glory skipper Kosuke Ota, the ball going under the body of the Glory keeper.
The home side went close to a second three minutes later, but Reddy reacted well to push Bobo’s downward header over the top. Glory emptied the bench and were giving a good as they got and it looked like Armiento was brought down on the edge of the box, and it could have been a red card for the Sydney defender, but the referee thought different and booked the Glory striker for simulation, but replays showed he was brought down, it definitely wasn’t Glory’s night.
Glory was on top and Bruno Fornaroli stung the palms of Redmayne on 70 minutes, but the Sky Blues were also dangerous, and Anthony Caceres shot straight at Reddy when well placed, moments after coming off the bench. Glory substitute Josh Rawlins’ cross five minutes from time was spilled by Redmayne, but the luck was on his side, the ball fell to a defender, with Keogh ready to pounce. Glory piled on the pressure late but Sydney kept them at bay, and when the floodlights went out due to lightning, the referee called an end to proceedings. “We were in control of that game, obviously they were chasing it at the end there,” Sydney coach Steve Corica said. “I thought we were very good; we created a lot of chances and Liam Reddy was very good for them again tonight. We were always going to do it [put together a winning run], we have the players to do it, so it is just about cutting out the silly mistakes we were making.”
Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 5 Alex BAUMJOHANN (21 Harry VAN der SAAG 86'), 6 Ryan MCGOWAN, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 BOBÔ (18 Luke IVANOVIC 71'), 10 Milos NINKOVIC (17 Anthony CACERES 71'), 11 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 16 Joel KING, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 26 Luke BRATTAN - Subs not used: RGK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 3 Ben WARLAND, 27 Jordi SWIBEL, 33 Pat WOOD
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Jason GERIA (22 Josh RAWLINS 81'), 4 Sebastian LANGKAMP (13 Luke BODNAR 52'), 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 19 Callum TIMMINS (88 Neil KILKENNY 81'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL (23 Dane INGHAM 58') - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 15 Brandon WILSON - Referee: Adam Kersey
BENGALURU SET TO SIGN MRCELA
Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC are poised to secure defender Tomislav Mrcela ahead of their AFC Cup campaign. The towering centre-back most recently played for Perth Glory, making 30 appearances across two seasons before parting company with the A-League club in September.
Mrcela, 30, has played much of his senior career in Croatia for the likes of NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac and NK Lokomotiva. He also enjoyed a two-season stint with South Korean side Jeonnam Dragons before making the switch to A-League.
Mrcela will join Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu at Bengaluru. The club placed seventh in the 12-team Indian Super League this season and are now in preparation for the AFC Cup second preliminary round fixture with Nepal Army on 14th April.
MATILDAS TO EMBRACE UNDERDOG STATUS: KERR
Star striker Sam Kerr says the Matildas will embrace their underdog status when they take on powerhouses Germany and the Netherlands over the next week. Australia's squad has assembled in the Netherlands under new coach Tony Gustavsson to prepare for their first games in more than a year.
The Matildas, ranked seventh in the world, will take on world number two Germany on Saturday before facing off against 2019 World Cup finalists the Netherlands next Wednesday. The two games will be a crucial part of the Matildas' preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin in July.
Kerr knows the odds will be stacked against Australia in the friendlies, and it's a situation she's embracing. "All those teams have been playing multiple games ... and they've got some of the best players in the world," Kerr said.
"That's what we want - we want to see where we're at, it's a good benchmark for us. There's a lot of new faces (in our camp), so it is going to be a challenge, but Aussies love that underdog mentality, so I'm sure we'll roll with it."
Kerr has had only one training session under Gustavsson, but the early impressions have been good. "He seems like a really positive guy, seems like he knows his stuff and it seems like he's very to the point," she said. "I think he's going to fit in well with the team not only off the field, but definitely on the field."
Kerr enters the friendlies in the hottest of form after producing a series of stunning displays for her club team Chelsea. The 27-year old scored a hat-trick last week to lift Chelsea to a 6-0 victory over Birmingham City, taking her Women's Super League season tally to 17 goals.
As much as she's enjoying her time in England, Kerr has been waiting patiently to link with the Matildas. "We all stayed in touch (during the 12 months apart), but it was just different not being able to meet up every month and get a bit of a break from your club team," she said.
"Sometimes those environments can be really intense, and coming into the Matildas feels like a real family feel. So it was tough, especially with everything going on around the world, but it's great to be back now."
PORTSMOUTH'S WILLIAMS EYES CHAMPIONSHIP RETURN, WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
In-form Socceroo Ryan Williams is hoping for a massive next three months by helping Portsmouth secure promotion back into the Championship and winning selection in Australia’s squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Portsmouth are riding high in League One with a four-game winning streak taking them to fourth on the ladder with 64 points. The south coast club have enjoyed an upturn in form since Danny Cowley was appointed manager in mid-March and Williams, who joined Pompey in 2019, believes promotion through the playoffs is their best chance.
"I don’t think we can get automatic (promotion) now as Sunderland and Peterborough are 11 points ahead of us," Williams said. "Top spot is definitely out of it, second spot equally too far away, we’ve given ourselves too much to do, but I mean everybody knows that the form team going into the playoffs kind of has the best chance. If that’s us, then that’s great."
"There’s a lot of attention to detail (under Cowley), which is good because it kind of takes your eye off the ladder as well. We’re working more towards performing well and playing well rather than looking just to win the game. We’re looking to dominate the game how we want and then the result kind of follows it."
"It’s been challenging for the first three games because we’ve been against three really different teams, who play very difficult shapes, so we’ve had to adapt and adjust. And with the manager only being here two weeks for everyone to have taken in as much as what they’ve given out so far is really, really good."
Williams, who made his Socceroos debut against South Korea nearly two years ago, admits it has been a rollercoaster season at Fratton Park. The 27-year old has made 38 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and notching eight assists, while playing everywhere from left midfield, right midfield, as a makeshift striker and as a number 10.
It's a far cry from the start of the campaign when Williams contemplated leaving Portsmouth after being overlooked early in the season. "It’s been a strange one," Williams said. "At the start for about 10 games I couldn’t get a look in. I was training well, had a good pre-season but I just couldn’t get a look in, I wasn’t playing at all."
"Me and my agent had a conversation and I said I need to leave here, I need to be going out and playing. And I spoke to the manager at the time Kenny Jacket and he said you’re going to be a part of it, and then luckily enough I ended up playing and keeping my place and that was it."
"I’ve played pretty much up until now, it’s been alright. The team’s started to do well again, we got up to Christmas and when we were top at Christmas. We didn’t really have a style of play, we were just knocking it up but it was working."
"And then teams started working us out, we lost confidence and we had a bad run. From Christmas onwards we couldn’t pick up any points. Now with the new manager coming in everything’s a lot more positive. Things are looking up. My family are loving it down here."
Williams has been happy with his own form, with club manager Cowley describing him as “incredible”. "I’ve been a lot more consistent this season," Williams said. "I wanted to score more goals this season, I’ve only got four but it’s more than I had last season. So I’ll take that as a bonus. I’ve wanted to be more consistent in how I play, which always helps."
"Especially under this manager, it’s a lot about pressing, which is something I’m absolutely more than capable of doing with energy. He said to me before the game on Friday you’ll score a tap in today, and I scored a tap in just from using my energy more efficiently, making runs into the box rather than running back. So I’m probably doing more running but it’s more high-speed running."
Williams has been in contact with the national team during the past year and is after a spot in Australia’s squad that will attempt to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The Socceroos will play four qualifiers in June in Kuwait with an extended 34-man squad to be named.
"Yeah I don’t see why not, I’ve played well this season," the former Barnsley, Oxford United and Rotherham United midfielder said. "We’ve had some Skype calls with the European-based players. It’s been good as they’ve always kept us in the loop every step of the way, making sure we know what the plan is."
CASTRO CUT DOWN BY KNEE INJURY
Perth Glory's A-League finals hopes have been dealt a huge blow after captain Diego Castro was ruled out for up to four weeks with a knee injury. The Spainish midfielder copped a knock to his knee during Friday's 2-0 loss to Macarthur FC and is expected to miss between two to four weeks of action.
"At the moment it just seems like the capsule inside his knee has produced swelling," Glory coach Richard Garcia said. "But there's no real signs of anything major to be concerned about. It's about trying to get that swelling down. It's nothing too bad at the moment."
If Castro misses four weeks, he will miss crunch games against Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets, Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar and Macarthur. A best-case scenario of two weeks will still see him miss three games. Castro's absence will leave a huge void in the midfield, with his experience and talent irreplaceable.
Garcia is nonetheless confident his team will be able to perform strongly even without Castro. "We're not about one person, we're about the whole squad," Garcia said. "It's about everyone stepping up. That sometimes gets lost in translation, where people think it's about one or two."
"He's an important part of the team, but so is everyone. The guys that come in and play need to come in and add their talent to the game." Glory are still without winger Chris Ikonomidis (knee) and striker Nicholas D'Agostino (hamstring) while Andy Keogh is close to returning from injury.
FFA CUP - ROUND FOUR – REVIEW
It was FFA cup fourth round action on Easter Monday and the fairy tale run of Busselton City has come to an end after they were beaten 3-0 by Kwinana United at Churchill Park. Jake Daley opened the scoring, pouncing on a defensive mix-up, before Morgan Walters added a second from a neat set-piece. Daley added the third after a quick counter attack, but Kwinana Head Coach Mark Purvis said it was a tough game. “Busselton were well organised and we had to be patient to be able to get the opening goal, but they had some good opportunities to,” he said. “However, after a long travel I couldn’t be happier with the players attitude in difficult circumstances to come away with the win.”
The NPLWA sides all came through unscathed against lower opposition, with only Inglewood United being eliminated, going out 3-0 on penalties against fellow NPL club Armadale at Inglewood Stadium. The hosts were ahead on 10 minutes through Steve Sokol, but on the stroke of half time Armadale levelled, with Josh Cortes getting on the end of Chad Nilson’s cross. It was 1-1 at full time, but in second period of extra time it looked like the hosts had won it when Robert Petkov scored. But in the first minute of stoppage time Inglewood defender Mark Barnett was sent off after a second yellow card from referee Tom Glavovic.
Then four minutes later the Reds found the equaliser, the lively Manase Abandelwa cut into the penalty area and was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot. Ryan McEvoy stepped up to score, to take the tie to a penalty shootout. Both sides hit the crossbar with their first attempts, before McEvoy converted. Then Reds keeper Yousri Gharsallah saved the next two Inglewood penalties and it left Pieter Jacobsz to fire home the winner. “The lads didn't play great today but worked hard enough to earn the right to go to penalties, and held their nerve to finish the job,” Armadale coach John O’Reilly said.
Bayswater City edged out Division Two side Dianella White Eagles 1-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. The only goal of a tight game came on 74 minutes, a ball over the top sent the speedy Ndumba Makeche clear and he finished clinically. “It was a tough game Dianella made it very hard for us and battled all the way till the final whistle,” Bayswater striker Gordon Smith said. “But the most important thing is we are in the draw for the next round.” Doubles from Robert Harding and Nick Ambrogio, and singles from Sean McManus and Ben Steele gave Floreat Athena a comfortable 6-1 win against Ashfield, Athena coach Vas Vujacic said it was a good game. “Happy with our performance in what was a competitive game. After taking an early lead Ashfield fought back and scored a good goal to show us that it wasn’t a formality,” he explained. “However, we were able to take control again and regain the lead before half time. In the second half we were able to overrun them as I think the short turn around for them made it difficult.”
Cockburn City had a narrow 1-0 win against Western Knights at Dalmatinac Park. The winner came when Sebastian Da Silva played in Jesse Lazzaro, who rounded the keeper to score. ECU Joondalup scored three second half goals to beat Fremantle City 3-0 at the ECU Football Stadium. Daryl Nicol scored a brace, with Danny Hodgson’s long-range goal sealing the tie. “It was a very good win against a side who were more than capable of causing an upset,” Nicol said. “But I thought our attitude and performance was top class and we look forward to the draw for the next round.” Balcatta eased through 6-2 against Joondalup United at Forrest Park, likewise Gwelup Croatia who beat Swan United 3-0 at Francis Street.
Hasani Sinclair headed home the opener for Taki Nicolaidis’ from a corner on the half hour, before Jon Stynes converted from the spot seven minutes later to double their lead. Stynes added the third early in the second half to seal the tie, but Gwelup could have added more but wasteful finishing cost them. A Billy Quinncroft goal was enough for Sorrento to beat Subiaco at Percy Doyle Reserve, the striker racing onto a long throw before finishing low past the keeper. “It was a really scrappy game and, in the end, we felt fortunate to move on to the next round as Subiaco gave us a real battle,” Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said. “But in the end, we move on and hopefully perform better in the next round.”
Rockingham City also only needed one goal to beat Joondalup City at SafeRad Stadium. Skipper Ryan Kennedy scored the important goal just after the hour, and Head Coach Goran Stajic said Joondalup made them work for it. "We lacked concentration, but it was difficult to play at a high level today after the game with Gwelup. In addition, we had a lot of rotations in the squad today,” he explained. “I don't like that we made a lot of unforced mistakes and that we didn't break the game, one mistake could have cost us. Congratulations to Joondalup City for bravely coming out to Lark Hill, but I still think we had control and I would like to congratulate my players on the hard-fought win and another clean sheet.”
In other games, four goals from Jack Richard and a hat-trick from Harry Evans has helped Olympic Kingsway to a 9-1 win against Riverside Christian FC at Kingsway Reserve. Defender Luke Rhodes said it was tough conditions. “A good convincing win on a very hot day,” he said. “We started the game slow, but managed to come in at the break leading 3-1. A comfortable second half seeing us finish up big winners, and we’re looking forward to next week’s league game.” In the final game Mandurah City beat Quinns 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 after extra time.
The visitors were ahead at the break with Ben Hinshelwood scoring, but Jamie Burns levelled, and in the shootout Mandurah keeper Dylan White saved two penalties to see Mandurah through. “We started off the game with a few players missing and it gave us a chance to put a few of the young boys out, but first half we couldn’t find our usual rhythm but in the second half we changed the shape a little and brought on some fresh legs,” Mandurah Coach Kris Donnell said. “The team worked really hard throughout the 90 and extra time, so overall we are pleased to go through and especially happy to see young James Campbell come on and perform so well on his debut at such a young age.”
DE VANNA BRACE SENDS VICTORY INTO W-LEAGUE DECIDER
Veteran striker Lisa De Vanna has fired Melbourne Victory into the W-League Grand Final by inspiring a 6-2 semi-final triumph of Brisbane Roar. De Vanna scored two and set-up another in an attacking masterclass today, while Melina Ayres notched a second-half hat-trick to put Victory in their first W-League decider since 2014.
"She was absolutely amazing, just the intensity she plays the game, to play at that intensity with the quality she's got is just inspiration to the rest of the team," Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said of De Vanna. "When you see a player out there playing like that, you can't help raise your own game."
De Vanna and Catherine Zimmerman gave the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead despite a wonder strike by Brisbane's Olivia Chance. Four-time W-League championship winner De Vanna then turned the game on its head, setting up Ayres for her first in the 48th minute before scoring her second on 61 minutes.
Yallop got one back for the hosts to make it 4-2 only to have Ayres notch two more to complete her hat-trick and Victory's place in the season finale. Victory will play either Sydney FC or Canberra United in the 2020/21 W-League Grand Final next Sunday.
FOUR WEST AUSTRALIANS SELECTED AS MATILDA'S START WORLD CUP JOURNEY
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has named Samantha Kerr, Aivi Luik, Ella Mastranonio and Lydia Williams in his squad for this months international friendlies with Germany and the Netherlands. The 23-player party includes 13 players that helped Australia qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The player group will assemble in the Netherlands on April 5 for their first games since March 2020. Australia will face two of world football's heavyweights in reigning Olympic gold medallists Germany (April 11) and Women's World Cup 2019 finalists the Netherlands (April 14).
"With this camp and international matches, the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games take a signficant step forward and I am eager to see what the players will bring to the environment," said Gustavsson. "This camp will be good for morale as we assemble for the first time in almost 400 days."
"The coaching staff and I have been watching them closely but coming together in person will bring a completely different dynamic. Even with all the challenges that have been presented, including the decision to exclude selection of Australian based players, I believe this is a great chance to learn about the qualities of all the players; on and off the pitch."
Australia's squad to play Germany (April 11) and the Netherlands (April 14) is Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham), Laura Brock (Avant de Guingamp), Ellie Carpenter (Lyon), Emma Checker (UMF Selfoss), Caitlin Foord (Arsenal), Mary Fowler (Montpellier), Emily Gielnik (Vittsjo GIK), Beatrice Goad (SV Meppen), Amy Harrison (PSV), Dylan Holmes (BK Hachen), Alexandra Huynh (Napoli), Alanna Kennedy (Tottenham Hotspur), Samantha Kerr (Chelsea), Chloe Logarzo (Kansas City), Aivi Luik (Sevilla), Ella Mastranonio (Bristol City), Clare Polkinghorne (Vittsjo GIK), Hayley Raso (Everton), Indiah-Paige Riley (Fortuna Hjorring), Karly Roestbakken (LSK Kvinner), Amy Sayer (Stanford University), Emily Van Egmond (West Ham United) and Lydia Williams (Arsenal).
DE VANNA A FINALS X-FACTOR FOR VICTORY
Melbourne Victory captain Angie Beard believes her team have a W-League finals X-factor in veteran forward Lisa De Vanna. Victory head into Sunday's semi-final clash against Brisbane aiming to avenge January's 6-0 thumping suffered the last time they played Brisbane.
De Vanna didn't play in that mauling and Beard says the 36-year old's experience and big-game mentality will be pivotal as Victory chase their first W-League finals win since 2014. "We've got a couple of older players, more experienced players but having a Lisa De Vanna, that presence, that experience, that motivational and inspirational player in our team. That's second to none," Beard said.
"Her as a performance player and showing up in big games - that's something that could really turn in our favour for finals. Not only is her playing style and her performance, something that's key, but with the young girls looking up to her, we also rise and kind of take her energy and use it to prop ourselves up for the game." 3.4.2021
GWELUP OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT FOR THE SEASON
Gwelup Croatia have claimed their first win of the new NPLWA season, after a 4-0 win against Rockingham City at Wishart Street on Saturday afternoon. Two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half from Hasani Sinclair and Shubham Mokala got Taki Nicolaidis’ side on their way. Mitch Oxborrow added aa third midway into the second half, before the points were wrapped up two minutes from time with Jon Stynes adding a fourth.
“The boys played some really attractive football, and I feel we dominated the game, in all aspects on the pitch,” Gwelup keeper Stefan King said. “It’s good to finally get a win under our belts after a poor start to the season for us, full credit to the boys and their performance.” Gwelup started brightly and veteran keeper Cyril Sharrock was called into action, saving well to deny Sinclair and Josh Samson early. Rockingham hit back and Ian Ng fired over the top after being given far too much room on the middle of the park.
But on 22 minutes it was the hosts who opened the scoring. Oxborrow found Sinclair just outside the area, he turned past his marker and his shot on the turn flew into the bottom corner of the net. It was 2-0 sixty seconds later, Ethan Brooks made space down the right, his cross finding the unmarked Mokala who made no mistake. It could have been worse for the visitors, but Sharrock produced a stunning save to deny Oxborrow on the stroke of half time.
It was more of the same after the break, Sharrock getting down well to turn Mokala’s effort wide. Rockingham went close themselves with Shane Boyle’s long-range effort dipping over the top as they looked for a foot hold on the game. Sharrock then saved low from Oxborrow’s free kick, but Gwelup’s pressure was rewarded with a third on 69 minutes Samson sent Brooks down the right, the former Perth Glory youth winger squaring the ball to Oxborrow to score from close-range. The hosts wrapped up the points two minutes from time, Oxborrow sending Brooks down the left, his low cross was finished by the unmarked Stynes at the back post.
Gwelup Croatia: GK Stefan KING (RGK Benjamin RATAJCZAK 90+1’), 2 Ciaran SALINGER (13 Rocco PIZZATA 73’) 4 Thomas SOUTHGATE, 5 Blair GOVAN (7 Brent GRIFFITHS 73’), 6 Declan HARGREAVES (8 Jon STYNES 70’), 10 Mitch OXBORROW, 11 Ethan BROOKS (14 Shubham MOKALA 71’), (20 Sam MITCHINSON 68’), 12 Hasani SINCLAIR (15 Blamo QUAQUA (70’), 22 Joshua SAMSON – Subs not used: - Nil
Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 2 Ian NG, 3 Denaudo MURRAY (12 Jethro YUMANGE 47’), 4 Dieudonne SUMAIL, 5 Afian GIYANTO, 6 Harry BOLAN, 7 Feisal ZAW (18 Axel RICHARDSON 46’), 8 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 10 Shane BOYLE, 11 Luke COLLINS (9 Christos VAENAS 56’), 23 Ryan KENNEDY – Subs: RGK Brad STOUT, 16 Mali-Jose BOUQUEY DE ARAUJO – Referee: David BRUCE
JOK AT THE DOUBLE FOR COCKERELS
Cockburn City striker Dor Jok has scored his first goal for his new club, as the Cockerels won their first game of the season with a 2-1 win against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The former ECU Joondalup striker gave Scott Miller’s side the lead midway through the first half, before adding his and Cockburn’s second on the hour. Balcatta substitute Hamza Hina pulled one back three minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish, but the home side couldn’t find the equaliser.
“It was really a great way to kick start our season as we didn’t have the start to the season that we wanted so was a very solid performance from the whole team,” Jok said. “On a personal note, I was really happy to get my first goals for Cockburn and get us the win that we deserved. Hopefully this form continues for the rest of the season.” Cockburn went into this game bottom of the table and they were on the back foot early, with Balcatta skipper Calum O’Connell curling a free kick inches over the top.
Moments later the home side were in again, this time Amor Ajan’s shot was saved by Luke Radonich. Balcatta striker Jawad Rezai was them denied by Radonich as the home side pushed for the opener. But on 24 minutes it was the visitors who found it. Cameron Edwards sent Jesse Lazzaro down the right, he crossed to Jok, who found the net at the second attempt. They went close to a second before the break, Lazzaro’s shot was tipped over the top by Riley Stephenson
Cockburn continued to press after the break and Sebastian da Silva fired wide, before Ali Gholami’s long range shot fizzed wide. Them on the hour the Cockerels found the vital second. Gholami switch of play found Riley Woodcock down the left, his deep cross picked out Jok, who lost his marker to head home. Balcatta looked for an immediate response, but couldn’t find a break through.
They did go close on 85 minutes, Henry Durr sending Jon Corness in on goal, but his shot was well saved by Radonich. But from the resulting corner they did find a goal. O’Connell’s set-piece wasn’t dealt with and Hina bundled the ball home from close range to set up a frantic finale, but Balcatta couldn’t find the equaliser, giving Cockburn their first points of the season.
Balcatta: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Joseph MARINO (21 Cameron MCLEAN 79’), 3 David CYRUS (11 Michael ZIMARINO 10’), 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 6 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 7 Amir AJAN, 8 Jack LEECH (13 Anthony TOPINI 79’), 10 Jon CORNESS, 16 Jawad REZAI (9 Hamza HINA 66’), 17 Henry DURR– Subs not used: RGK Sebastian MEDICA
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS (11 Harry O’BRIEN 75’), 4 Euen GRANT, 5 Julian TELES (25 Breckan BAKER 79’), 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 10 David ARAYA (14 Alessandro BASTO 82’), 12 Sebastian DA SILVA (22 Daniel ROBINSON 75’), 16 Ali GHOLAMI, 20 Dor JOK, 21 Jesse LAZZARO, 23 Riley WOODCOCK – Subs: RGK Ben RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS, 9 Anthony SKORICH, 24 David DOS SANTOS - Referee: Arvin SHANMUGANATHAN
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND ONE – REVIEW
Western Knights have started the season off well, with a 5-1 win against Joondalup United at Forrest Park in our State League Division One ‘Match of the Round’. Irish striker Dean Hurley gave them the perfect start, with a goal after only nine minutes, Jack Rycroft’s cross picked out the striker who made no mistake. He added a second from the spot five minutes later, after referee Steven Gregory had spotted a handball in the penalty area. Ciaran Byrne made it 3-0 two minutes into the second half, getting on the end of a cross to head home at the back post and it looked game over. But Joondalup pulled one back just before the hour, with substitute Joel Sollitt scoring moments after coming on. But their comeback didn’t eventuate and Cameron Yorke headed a fourth late, before Byrne sealed the solid win for Ivan Zuvela’s side in the final minute. “It was a complete team performance from us,” a delighted Zuvela said. “It’s also a relief to get a really good win in the first game of the season.”
Stirling Macedonia also started off the new era at the club with a superb 5-3 win against Night Series winners Mandurah City at Macedonia Park. The club reverted back to their original name for this season and they opened the scoring on 26 minutes, with new recruit Richard Howles scoring. Alex Taneski beat his man and whipped in a cross to Howles whose header found the top corner. They doubled their advantage just before half time with Howles bagging his second, Mandurah lost possession in their final third and Taneski fed Howles, who curled his shot home. But it got better in stoppage time, when another new recruit Gyles Davies added a third. Dhours Chol was picked out a great ball from Dejan Spaseski, and he released Davies in behind the defence and he finished clinically.
Mandurah needed a good start to the second half and they were back in the game on 69 minutes with Jamie Burns scoring, but it was just a slight blip for Ian Ferguson’s side, with Gavin Knight adding a fourth two minutes later, the clubs top goalscorer from last season getting on the end of Howles’ cross and his diving header gave the Mandurah keeper Alfie Brincat no chance. Howles then completed his hat-trick on 79 minutes, converting from the spot after a foul on Shay Donavan. The visitors continued to press forward and substitute Rory McGrath and Joe O’Brien pulled goals back, but it was the Lions taking the honours in this one. “We played very well in first half and dominated most of the game,” Stirling striker Knight said. “A little disappointed that we switched off in second half and lost out structure and that why we conceded three goals.”
Fremantle City has convincingly beaten UWA Nedlands 4-0 in the local derby at the UWA Sports Park. Skipper James Harmer opened the scoring after only 13 minutes, converting from the penalty spot after Adriano Jelenovic was fouled in the box. Cameron Lord’s side doubled their lead on the half hour with the unfortunate Thomas Moroney turning the ball into his own net after Noah Shamaki’s cross from the left. Fremantle went in search of a third after the break and it came on 68 minutes, Todd Howarth’s free kick was driven across the box for Matty Sparrow to flick on toward goal and Mitch Firth turned home from close-range. Harmer put the icing on the cake late adding his second from the spot after Firth was brought down, to secure a big win. “A professional win in a game we expected to win,” Lord explained. “We will take all of the positives from this game into next week’s game against Stirling.”
It wasn’t the start defending league champions Olympic Kingsway were looking for, losing 1-4 against Quinns at Kingsway Reserve. The visitors made the perfect start with new signing Cian Hirrell scoring after only nine minutes. Quinns doubled their lead on the half hour, with Reece Abrams scoring to send them into the break with a handy lead. It got better for Glen Grostate’s side on 52 minutes when referee Michal Jasinski pointed to the spot and new striker Ben Hinshelwood converted the resulting penalty. The home side hit back sixty seconds later when Quinns skipper Adam Buckingham turned the ball into his own net. But Quinns sealed the win 13 minutes from time and what a goal it was. A cross into the box found Hinshelwood, and the former ECU Joondalup striker produced a spectacular overhead kick, that flew past Dave Keenan to seal a comprehensive win for the visitors. “It was something that we knew would come, as we we'd watched Kingsway in pre-season and knew the quality we'd signed since the Night Series,” Quinns Nicholas Cooper said. “We just can't fly under the radar with it now.”
Subiaco have come from behind late to beat a 10-man Ashfield 2-1 at Ashfield Reserve. New signing James Sammut put the hosts in front on 39 minutes, his curling free kick went up and over the wall and gave Ashfield keeper Teo Brown no chance. Subiaco drew level three minutes into the second half when Jamie Serra misjudged a cross from the left and Ben Wantee was on hand to bundle the ball home. Ashfield were reduced 10 men barely a minute later as Abdul Abdella saw a straight red card by referee Julian Serra for a push on Tim Page. Subiaco capitalised late on to secure all three points when Nathan Smith arrived on the edge of the area to side foot the winner in stoppage time. “We’re very happy to secure an away win. It was a typical opening game which could have gone either way,” Subiaco assistant coach Gary Colliver said. “I thought Ashfield dominated a first half and deserved their lead and the break. But we came out with more intent in the second and got the leveller early into the second half. Both teams had opportunities to win the game but managed to seal the win in stoppage time.”
In the final game on Saturday evening Swan United new coach Dan Evans has made a great start to his tenure at the club, after they beat Forrestfield United 3-1 at Hartfield Park. It was a tense game and all the action came late, and it was the hosts who opened the scoring on 62 minutes, skipper Rhys Loxley on target. But the Black and Whites hit back ten minutes later, good link up play down the right with Boas Mtwale and Adrian Koios, Mtwale cut the ball back to John Monterosso at the back post who made no mistake. The visitors then hit the front two minutes from time, Mtwale found Jimmy Shamim whose long-range volley gave Luke Martino no chance. Forrestfield pushed men forward looking for the equaliser and they were caught out again in stoppage time, Shamim finding Monterosso, who cut inside the box and finished low past Martino. “We knew it was integral to get a good start in the league so obviously I’m pleased with the result but we still have a long way to go,” Evans said. “Forrestfield had the better chances but we had our moments and I certainly can’t fault the endeavour of my players. To come from a goal down away from home and score two late goals shows some character but we still have plenty to work on so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND ONE – REVIEW
Our State League Division Two ‘Match of the Round’ didn’t disappoint with Dianella White Eagles edging out Kingsley Westside 1-0 under lights at Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening. “It was a very intense game, we knew Kingsley were going to be tough and fit, and they started the game well and created a couple of half chances,” Eagle’s striker Kristian Despotovski said. “The rest of the game was very intense with Kingsley coming at us with all they had, but Dejan made some great saves to keep us in it but we held it together with a great defensive performance and we got we win.”
In front of a big crowd Dianella opened the scoring on 22 minutes. Despotovski found David Heagney, whose cross was turned into his own net by Kingsley’s Adam O’Neill. Kingsley looked to hit back and O’Neill got on the end of Joel Gillespie corner, only for the ball to be cleared off the line, before Joe Allsopp forced Aleksic into an outstanding one handed save from a powerful header. O’Neill was denied again by Aleksic, the Dianella keeper saving well from his free kick
Both sides had chances after the break in an entertaining game, but both keepers Aleksic and Paul Rainford produced some great saves. “It was a very intense end to end game from both sides on Saturday, and I thought a draw would’ve been a fair result but that’s football for you,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “But one side takes a half chance like Dianella did, and one side didn’t convert the chances we created but we move on and look forward to Curtain this week.”
The round begun on Thursday evening with Curtin University beating Joondalup City 3-2 at Edinburgh Oval. The hosts were ahead on 10 minutes, a long free kick was knocked down by Liam Goerke for Daniel Nocciolino to tuck away in the bottom corner from inside the box. The visitors levelled when a free kick from out wide found Nick Koefler who headed home. But Curtin regained the lead five minutes later, Nocciolino found space in the middle of the park before finding Tiago De Souza on the edge of the penalty area, he cut onto his left and finished clinically past Jack Nunn into the bottom left-hand corner. But Joondalup restored parity again on 73 minutes, Curtin turned the ball over and it found Callum Speed, who finished well from the edge of the box. But it was the home side that won it seven minutes from time, a short free kick found Callum McCaskie down the right, who crossed into the box and the unmarked Craig Kamocha finished to seal the win. “The boys showed a great character and fight to respond to Joondalup City equalising twice,” Curtin coach Troy Reid said. “Really happy to get the season underway with three points and hoping to keep the momentum rolling away to Kingsley next week.”
Last season’s champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers began their defence with a solid 5-1 win against Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve on Saturday afternoon. The visitors were ahead after only four minutes, Ger Fitzgerald finding Owen Coates, who squared the ball to Pat Morrison to score from close-range. It was 2-0 on 24 minutes, a quick free kick caught Wanneroo napping and Jack Bardsley finished well. It was 3-0 on the half hour, Fitzgerald shot crashed off the crossbar and Bardsley was quickest to react to score from the rebound. Wanneroo pulled one back ten minutes into the second half, with Luke Serra scoring, but Rovers added a fourth two minutes later, Fitzgerald finishing well with a curling effort from outside the box. The icing was put on the cake on 67 minutes when Bardsley completed his hat-trick to seal a comprehensive win. “The boys put in a phenomenal effort all over the pitch and Jack Bardsley scored a hat trick and was different class,” Fitzgearald said. “We had a game plan and stuck to it and Gerry (McEwen) had us very well prepared and had put in a massive effort with Adam over the last few weeks. Great start to the season and well-deserved win, and we look forward to a very tough game against Morley next week.”
Morley Windmills have come from behind to beat Kelmscott Roos 3-1 at Wotton Reserve. It was the first game for new Morley coach Antony Benetti, and he found his side one down on 57 minutes with Francisco Jorquera scoring. The home side left it late, but nine minutes from time they found the equaliser. Leigh Morgan’s free kick was headed home by Gustav Persson. Then five minutes later Morley hit the front, Abu Dulleh shot was well saved by the Roos keeper, but defender Alex Galipo fired home the rebound. Morley made sure of the points in stoppage time, when skipper Morgan scored from the spot to make it 3-1. “The win was an important way to start the league campaign especially at home and with a great crowd in support. We were wasteful in the first half which wasn't helped by an early injury to Flynn Nolan,” Morley coach Benetti said. “I was very pleased however to see the grit and determination of the group to come back and get the much-deserved win. The character these boys showed gives me great pride moving forward and allows us to focus on the next game in a positive mindset.”
In other games Gosnells City have edged out Balga 1-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The only goal of the game came seven minutes from time, with a great finish from Scott Pereira. “It was important win on a tough week with our FFA cup game played on the Tuesday,” Gosnells Coach Marc Anthony said. “So really happy keeping a clean sheet and off to a winning start.” In the final game Murdoch University Melville have also started the season with a narrow 1-0 win against Canning City at the Murdoch Uni Campus. The only goal of the game came one minute from time, with former Gosnells City striker Eddie Wynne-Willson scoring.
FFA CUP - ROUND FOUR – PREVIEW
It’s FFA Cup round for in WA on Easter Monday, with games across the metropolitan area (Games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated). There were two games last week in round three and there was a huge upset at Princess Road Reserve on Saturday, where Northern City beat State League side Balga 4-3 in a pulsating game. The home raced to a two-goal lead after only 30 minutes with Bleron Mamudi and William Kessel scoring. Balga hit the wood work twice, and missed a host of opportunities to increase their lead. But Northern City hit back with Syakir Shariff scoring three minutes later, before Rafiq Shariff levelled from the spot just before half time.
Balga missed an opportunity to regain the lead ten minutes into the second half, when Karl Maluga missed from the spot, but he made emends five minutes later making it 3-2 to the hosts. But Northern weren’t to be denied and late goals from Lukas Kemboi and Mohamed Ali sealed a memorable win for the club. Carramar Shamrock Rovers also moved through after goals from Ger Fitzgerald, Josh Anderson, Pat Morrison, Nathan Diaz, Wayne Guest and Kieran Harrison sealed a 6-0 win against Hamersley Rovers at E&D Litis stadium on Friday evening.
The fourth round started on Tuesday evening, when Gosnells City upset UWA Nedlands 5-2 at the UWA Sports Park. Bryce Rae and Miguel Oliveira both scored doubles, with Scott Pereira added the other. In other games on Monday Northern City’s prize for their win at Balga was a home tie against Premier League Amateur Champions North Perth United, a date for the game is still to be arranged. NPL sides come into this round and Rockingham City host Joondalup City at SafeRad Stadium (1.00pm), while Floreat Athena make the trip to Ashfield Reserve to take on Ashfield.
Busselton City welcome Kwinana United to Churchill Park, Cockburn City host Western Knights to Dalmatinac Park, while ECU Joondalup entertain Fremantle City at the ECU Football Stadium. while Dianella White Eagles coach Stewart Moses returns to his former club when they visit Frank Drago Reserve to play Bayswater City. “I’m looking forward to testing our side out against one of the best sides in the state,” Moses said. “It’s a busy time for all clubs over Easter, and we have a big season opener against Kingsley on Saturday evening and then we will think about the Bayswater game. The lads have been practicing the ‘Adele’ song all week like Chorley in the FA Cup in the UK, but personally I’ll look forward to catching up with some old friends at Bayswater. But when the whistle goes, we’ll be doing all we can to get a result and move into the next round. We all know football is a funny old game, we have no pressure on us, they do.”
There is an all NPL clash at the Inglewood Stadium, with Armadale taking on Inglewood United, Olympic Kingsway host Riverside Christian FC at Kingsway Reserve, while Sorrento host Subiaco at Percy Doyle Reserve. Subiaco assistant coach Gary Colliver said it’s a tough challenge but one they are looking forward too. “Sorrento are flying high in the NPL at the moment and we have just had a tough opening game with some injury concerns to an already depleted squad,” he said. “The game comes just 48 hours after our game with Ashfield whilst Sorrento have had extra time to recover from their convincing win on Thursday night. There is always a chance and this would be a big upset in the scheme of things. It is a cup game and anything can happen, which is the reason we all love the game. We have quality within our squad and the game comes a little too soon for us however we are looking forward to the test.”
Swan United welcome NPL side Gwelup to Francis Street, Mandurah City play Quinns at Peelwood Parade, while in the final game on Monday Balcatta face a tricky trip to Forrest Park to take on Joondalup United, and United midfielder Jay Lang said it’s a tough challenge for both sides backing up from Saturday, but they will give it a good go. “Monday will be a tough game especially with such a short turnaround from league game on Saturday,” he said. “But we’re looking forward to it and we’ll give it everything to progress through to the next round.” The final two games have been rearranged. First on Wednesday evening Forrestfield United host Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Hartfield Park, while Murdoch University Melville face 11-times state cup winners Perth SC at the Murdoch Uni Campus on Tuesday April 13.
GLORY WELL BEATEN BY MACARTHUR
Perth Glory’s woes on the road continued after a 2-0 loss against new kids on the block Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium. It was the first ever A-League meeting between the two sides and former Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Derbyshire was the difference bagging a brace. The in-form Englishman opened the scoring after ten minutes with a close-range finish and then drilled home from the spot after Glory debutant Sebastian Langkamp tripped Markel Susaeta. Glory did threaten late, but home 'keeper Adam Federici was equal to efforts from both Diego Castro and substitute Carlo Armiento.
Head Coach Richard Garcia said his side had not been at their best. "Certain sections of the game were disappointing," he said. "We lacked discipline at times and that gave them [Macarthur FC] the openings to get the goals. It's about learning from that, improving and making sure that come Wednesday and our next game (away at Sydney FC), we're ready for it.
“To concede just before the half is always hard, because if you're [only] 1-0 down, you've got it all to play for. At 2-0 down, we still came out pretty strong and they were on the back foot for a while, but you could tell they were sitting in and protecting their lead. It's now about getting the boys back up and approaching Sydney with a different level of enthusiasm and a different level of mentality."
Macarthur were rewarded for their fast start when Benat's searching ball was headed across the face of goal by former Glory man Ivan Franjic and Derbyshire nipped in front of some static Glory defending to finish into the roof of the net. Susaeta then came close to doubling the hosts' lead when he flashed a shot across the face of goal having capitalised upon a defensive error and six minutes later, the Spaniard saw another effort parried by Liam Reddy.
Glory's most threatening moment of the opening half-hour, meanwhile, came when Jason Geria delivered a teasing cross from the right and the sliding Castro was just unable to get a meaningful touch before the ball was gratefully gathered by Federici. With the Bulls continuing to look the more threatening, the first half ended in controversy when Langkamp was adjudged to have impeded Susaeta in the box, despite their appearing to be little if any contact and Derbyshire calmly converted the resulting penalty. Loic Puyo wasted a great opportunity to put the home side all but out of sight two minutes after the restart. He blazed over the top from close-range, before Glory were grateful to Darryl Lachman on the hour-mark as the Curacao international cleared an Ivan Franjic header off the line.
To their credit, Glory pressed hard in the final quarter and came close to halving the arrears when Castro latched on to a half-cleared corner and sent in a low shot which took a couple of deflections before Federici managed to claim it. The Bulls, meanwhile, almost exploited the fact that Glory were throwing numbers forward, Benat twice denied by Reddy in quick succession, before the lively Armiento forced Federici to make a smart stop at the near post with what proved to be the visitors' last chance of the game. Glory have the opportunity to bounce back when they take on Sydney FC on Wednesday.
Macarthur FC: GK Adam FEDERICI, 4 Benat ETXEBARRIA (21 Jake HOLLMAN 90'), 5 Mark MILLIGAN, 6 Aleksandar JOVANOVIC, 7 Ivan FRANJIC (31 Lachlan ROSE 79'), 8 Denis GENREAU, 10 Loic PUYO (29 Antonis MARTIS 70'), 11 Tommy OAR, 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 27 Matt DERBYSHIRE (9 Milislav POPOVIC 89'), 33 Markel SUSAETA – Subs not used: RGK Nick SUMAN, 3 Antony GOLEC, 12 James MEREDITH
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Jason GERIA, 4 Sebastian LANGKAMP (3 Luke BODNAR 74'), 6 Osama MALIK (19 Callum TIMMINS 58'), 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO, 23 Dane INGHAM (24 Daniel STYNES 74'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 58'), 88 Neil KILKENNY (15 Brandon WILSON 74') – Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 22 Josh RAWLINS - Referee: Kurt Ams
GULLS FLY HOME WITH ALL THREE POINTS
Sorrento maintained their unbeaten start to the NPLWA season with a stunning 4-1 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Thursday evening. Alex Morgan gave the visitors the lead early, before Jordan Brown doubled their advantage on 20 minutes. Armadale substitute Angel Andres pulled one back for the hosts two minutes after coming off the bench, but two quick goals from Ryan McLaughlin and Scott Witschge sealed the three points for Jamie Harnwell’s side.
“It was a great win away at Armadale, as every team knows going to Armadale is never easy. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we stuck to our game and got the job done,” Sorrento striker Billy Quinncroft said. “Armadale gave us a good test and made things difficult with the home crowd adding to that being vocal as ever but we took our chances and got the job done. That win keeps us in the right direction of where we want to end up at the end of the season.”
The home went into this one in a buoyant mood after a 4-0 win on the road at Champions ECU Joondalup last week, but it was Jamie Harnwell’s side who started the brighter and former Sorrento keeper Yousri Gharsallah had to be alert to save Scott Witschge’s close range effort. But on seven minutes the visitors hit the front, a long throw by Brown was flicked on by Quinncroft and Morgan fired home at the back post, much to the displeasure of Armadale coach John O’Reilly who was adamant the throw-in was theirs.
Sorrento made it 2-0 on 19 minutes, Tim Hill’s corner picked out Brown, who rose above his marker to head home. Moments late former Red’s skipper Quinncroft almost added a third, but his chip flicked the crossbar on the way over. Armadale needed a lift before the break but they found Gulls’ custodian Joel Driscoll in fine form, the keeper tipping over Friday Zico’s shot a full stretch.
Sorrento had two great chances early in the second half, Hill’s snap shot flew over the top before Witschge was denied by a great save by Gharsallah. Armadale turned to their 2020 leading goal scorer Angel Andres, who came off the bench on the hour, and the Spanish striker, who became an Australian citizen in midweek, had an immediate impact, reducing the margin two minutes later. Rene Kisesa made space down the right, his cross found Andres, whose header found the corner of the net.
Armadale pushes players forward looking for the equaliser, but Sorrento defended stoutly, well led by skipper Shaun Kilkelly. But with Armadale pushing men forward they were caught out at the back and Sorrento added a third on 76 minutes, McLaughlin heading home Hill’s corner. Jamie Harnwell’s side wrapped up the points two minutes later. Witschge started the move sending substitute Joe Tweats down the right, the midfielder continued his run and was in the right place when Tweats squared the ball to score from close range.
Armadale: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 3 Harry QUIGLEY, 6 Joel SANDERSON, 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 13 Filippo GIOFFRE (9 Angel ANDRES 61’), 14 Cherno BAH, 17 Pieter JACOBSZ (7 Joshua CORTES 67’), 20 Rene KISESA (11 Chad NILSON 73’), 21 Manase ABANDELWA, 22 Ryan MCEVOY, 23 Friday ZICO – Subs not used: RGK Michael CRAGGS, 2 Matthew WORTON
Sorrento: GK Joel DRISCOLL, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 7 Alex MORGAN (12 Joe TWEATS 65’), 8 Scott WITSCHGE (15 Tristian STEVENS 78’), 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (3 Daniel FAICHNEY 72’), 11 Tim HILL, 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 19 Jaxon TEMATA (5 Scott ROBERTSON 78’), 23 Neil GILLIES– Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI - Referee: Shane SKINNER
SPARTA SCORES LATE TO TAKE ALL THE GLORY
A goal eight minutes from time from Bayswater City midfielder Konstantinos Sparta has given them a hard fought 1-0 win against Perth Glory at Frank Drago Reserve on Thursday evening. It was a tight encounter with chances at both ends, but the win made sure City bounced back from defeat last week at Balcatta, while the loss leaves the Glory youngsters on the bottom of the NPL ladder still searching for their first win of the season.
“The game against Glory was a huge match for us, they are a very good outfit and we were looking to make amends of our result last weekend,” Jason Mirco explained. “We have a style of play we’re building towards and I think we showed a bit of what we’re about and who we want to be this season. The boys all fought hard for each other and it paid dividends late on. Kosta who’s having a great year was in the right spot at the right time and finished with quality.”
Bayswater City: GK Liam DRISCOLL, 3 Jack ALLEN, 4 Albert FULLARD (21 Igor CVIJANOVIC 88’), 7 Ndumba MAKECHE, 8 Gordon SMITH, 10 Jason MIRCO (2 Alex PIETRONIRO 73’), 12 Steven HESKETH, 17 Steven WALMSLEY, 22 Luke SALMON (18 Fraser DUNLOP 46’), 29 Tyler GARNER, 28 Konstantinos SPARTA - Subs not used: RGK Riccardo MAZZOLENI, 15 Leonard GAMA,
Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Aidan COYNE (15 Shade STEWART 77’), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Nick WALSH, 6 Joseph FORDE, 8 Lewis TUCKER (18 Chris DONNELL 57’), 9 Charlie LEECH, 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 17 Bryce BAFFORD (19 Lucas ROSSI 70’) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 18 Christian BELLADONNA – Referee: Josh MANNELLA
FLOREAT MAKE IT THREE FROM THREE TO START THE SEASON
Floreat Athena have continued their unbeaten start to the NPLWA season, after a 2-1 win against Perth SC on Thursday evening at E&D Litis Stadium. A goal in first half stoppage time from striker Josh Anasmo, his fifth goal of the season, gave the home side the advantage at the break, before Chris Saldaris doubled their lead early in the second half. Cameron Teece pulled one back for Perth 13 minutes from time, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
“Personally, I love playing against Perth, I’m always revved up for that game as they are always recognised as one of the best teams in the state, but also for the fact that it’s my former team so that’s what makes the win taste that little bit better too,” Floreat’s George Festa said. “Being top of the table it gives teams that extra motivation to knock us off, so we knew this was going to be a tough game. All the boys dug deep though and played their roles amazingly which showed at the final whistle as we held on for the win. Good performances from front to back, and we couldn’t be prouder at the moment now being three wins from three.”
It was the visitors who had the first opportunity, former Perth Glory youth midfielder Calvin Whitney seeing his volley well saved by the alert Jason Saldaris in the first minute. Perth continued to press and they thought they had the lead on the quarter hour, but Michael Domfeh’s effort was ruled out for offside. The home side were on the back foot as Perth looked for the opener and Domfeh saw a header flash wide moments later, before Riley Van Dieken failed to find the target when well placed.
Floreat settled and started to get into the game and started to create chances of their own, with Nick Ambrogio’s shot well saved by Ryan Montgomery. Then Phil Arnold’s header was deflected wide after Dean Evans’ free kick and from the resulting corner they found the opener. Kyle Murray’s set piece was only cleared to Evans on the edge of the box, his ball back into the penalty area was flicked into the net by Anasmo. The goal came at the right time for Vas Vujacic’s side and it got better early on the second half when they added a second.
Evans’ corner wasn’t dealt with and Arnold’s ball across goal found Chris Saldaris, who looked offside, but the flag never came and he finished low past Montgomery. It looked like Floreat would continue their good home form of late, but Perth had other ideas and reduced the margin on 77 minutes. Montgomery’s long clearance was flicked on by Gustavo Catarcione, and Teece raced to the edge of the box before chipping Jason Saldaris.
Perth pressed for the equaliser and Teece headed over the top late, but Floreat also had their chances, the best falling to Anasmo but he couldn’t find the target with the last kick of the match. “It was a hard-fought game. I thought they were the better side in the first half but we managed to score off a set piece just before the break,” Floreat skipper Evans said. “We scored again early after the second half which I then felt we controlled the rest of the half even though they scored, to maintain our perfect start to the year.”
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 13 George FESTA, 14 Ludovic BOI (8 Sean MCMANUS 58’), 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Kyle MURRAY (12 Robert HARDING 80’)), 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 22 Joshua ANASMO– Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER, 5 Elijah HAAS, 40 Wesley CASIMIR
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA, 6 Nic MCDONALD, 8 Riley VAN DIEKEN, 9 Cameron TEECE, 10 Michael DOMFEH (20 Gustavo CATARACIONE 63’), 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 14 Lachlan BYRD 15 Will GORDON, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH - Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 4 Aiden FORMSTON, 7 Alex JOVIC, 12 Sam FLORES, – Referee: Matthew SOUTHERN
ECU BOUNCE BACK TO BEAT INGLEWOOD
ECU Joondalup have bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing NPLWA loss against Armadale, with a 2-0 win against Inglewood United at Inglewood Stadium on Thursday evening. Danny Hodgson gave the Jacks the lead with a twice taken penalty on 32 minutes, before Daryl Nicol scored his first NPL goal since his return to the campus early in the second half to seal the win. “It was a fantastic performance from the team to get us back to winning ways, and I thought we controlled the game for 90 minutes and the score line probably flattered Inglewood,” Nicol said. “I’m delighted to finally get off the mark for my club, and hope we can put a run of results together now.”
It was a bright opening from the visitors, and they went close in the first sixty seconds. Jakub Prajza’s ball sent Nicol racing into the penalty area, his shot beat keeper Alex Dunn, but Giovanni Soares got back to clear the ball off the line. The hosts had a penalty shout moments later, Robert Petkov sent Steve Sokol racing clear, Nelson Tshongo got back to delay his run, but the winger played the ball back to Petkov who fell under a challenge from Sami Riak, but referee Stewart Beattie was well placed to wave away the home sides penalty claims.
The hosts thought they had taken the lead on 17 minutes, when Roberto del Borrello cross into the box was superbly volleyed home by Petkov, but the flag was up for offside. It was the period of the game for United, and when the Jacks lost possession in the middle of the park Petkov sent Jason Barrera racing clear, but his shot drifted inches past the far post. But on 31 minutes the Jacks hit the front. Declan Hughes found Chris Harold, and his defence splitting through ball sent Nicol in on goal, he raced into the box and was brought down by Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn, and referee Stewart Beattie pointed straight to the spot.
Hodgson stepped up and converted from the resulting penalty, but the referee spotted some encroachment in the box and the penalty had to be retaken. Hodgson stepped again, and found the opposite corner of the net to give the Jacks the lead. They almost doubled their lead moments later, Hughes’ thunderbolt crashed off the woodwork and away to safety.
But eight minutes into the second half it was 2-0. Prajza’s ball was misjudged by Giovanni Soares and Nicol pounced, beating him to the ball and clearly lobbing the oncoming keeper. Inglewood looked for an immediate response, Mark Barnett headed over the top on the hour, before Chris Harold’s lob was saved by Dunn at the other end. The Jacks had led by two against Inglewood in the Night series, only to be pegged back late, but the Jacks sipper Perkins was in no mood to let that happen again.
First on 69 minutes he superbly tipped over Roberto Soares long-range shot over the top, before getting down smartly to save Jamie Murphy’s long-range effort moments later. He was at it again on 73 minutes, producing another fine save to thwart Murphy again. He was beaten moments later, Murphy getting on the end of a Del Borrello deep cross, but the post came to the rescue of the Jacks custodian, but at the final whistle it was Kenny Lowe’s side celebrating three points.
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 5 Thiak KUEL, 7 Ajak RIAK (16 Jamie MURPHY 67’), 8 Jason BARRERA (12 Roberto SOARES 58’), 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA (4 Scott BLACKMORE 76’), 12 Roberto DEL BORRELLO, 14 Steve SOKOL, 17 Mark BARNETT – Sub not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 13 Brodie LANGAN
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 3 Nelson TSHONGO (15 Luke DAVIS 56’), 4 Declan HUGHES, 6 Sami RIAK, 7 Danny HODGSON (8 Tom HOUGH 86’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Chris HAROLD, 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 16 Shane CASSIDY – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 14 Ben RUTTER, 17 Sebastian GOMEZ - Referee: Stewart BEATTIE
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AND TWO PREVIEW
The State League Divison One and Two season preview is now updated with a full run down on the teams, see how season 2021 will pan out... which is located below the NPL-WA season preview. Included are tips on how the Amateur League might unfold.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND ONE – PREVIEW
The State League Division One kicks off this weekend and our ‘Match of the Round’ is the clash between Joondalup United and Western Knights at Forrest Park. The last time the teams met at the venue in the regular season was last in round eight in 2019, when the Knights won 2-1. Andrija Jukic gave the Knights the lead in the first half, but the home side were level early in the second half, Jamie Gardiner finishing with aplomb. But the visitors won it when Dean Hurley converted from the spot.
United Head Coach Nick Jennings said their Night Series campaign has set them up nicely for the season ahead. “We’ve had a well-structured pre-season and in the main, and I’ve been pleased with how things have mapped out,” he said. “There was obviously the disappointment of not making the knockout stages of the night series despite remaining unbeaten, but we move into the league season upbeat.”
Jennings believes the Knights will be there or thereabouts come season end, and his players are looking forward to the challenge on home soil. “Kicking the season off against the favourites to win the league will be a massive challenge to our boys,” he said. “But we have nothing to lose, all the pressure will be on them and their galaxy of stars, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Knights were knocked out of the Night Series by eventual winners Mandurah City in the Quarter-Finals, but Head Coach Ivan Zuvela said they got what they wanted from the pre-season competition. “Our pre-season started in January and I’m so pleased with how the players have applied themselves at training,” he explained. “We had a good night series but unfortunately lost to a very good Mandurah side in the quarter finals.”
Zuvela said Joondalup are always competitive, especially at their home ground and is expecting a tight first up trip. “We are prepared well for our first league game against Joondalup United who are always tough,” he said. “They are very well coached and disciplined in how they play, but we have set a high standard in the lead up to the season and now it’s up to us to continue that momentum into our first game.”
In other games in the opening round last season’s Champions Olympic Kingsway welcome Quinns to Kingsway Reserve, while Ashfield welcome Subiaco AFC to Ashfield Reserve. It’s a new era at Macedonia Park for Stirling, the club reverting back to their name Stirling Macedonia, but they face a tough opening game when they host Night series winners Mandurah City. There is a local derby at the UWA Sports Park where Fremantle City visit near neighbours UWA Nedlands.
In the final game on Saturday evening Forrestfield United entertain Swan United under lights at Hartfield Park. It’s a first game for new Swan Head coach Dan Evans and he’s relishing the opportunity to coach the club, but knows it’s a tough first up game. “I’m privileged to be in the technical area at Swan and I’ve been looking forward to the first league game since accepting the job in October,” he explained.
“We have a big job ahead but I’m confident that if we continue to work hard, we are going to surprise some people. We know Forrestfield will be a tricky test first up but we are coming in well prepared. The depth of our squad will be tested with two games in under 48 hours, but those that get the opportunity Saturday night will be ready to go.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND ONE – PREVIEW
It’s the first week of the State League Division Two this weekend, and our ‘Match of the Round’ sees Kingsley Westside make the trip to Dianella Reserve on Saturday evening to take on Dianella White Eagles (5.00pm) It will be the first meeting between the two sides at the venue, and after last seasons shortened season it will be the first full season in State League football for Kingsley, and Head coach Steven Dimitrovich said the club is ticking along nicely after a good preseason. “We’ve been really happy with our preseason,” he said. “The boys have really put the hard yards in and we were very happy with our night series in a really tough group.”
Dimitrovich said Saturday will be a tough challenge for his side against a Dianella side who have recruited well. “What a game to start the season with going to Dianella who have recruited some very good experienced players so you can obviously see what their intentions are for the season,” he explained. “We will work on a few areas at training this week and see if we can exploit them in certain areas and see if we can come away with a result after 90 minutes on Saturday.”
Eagles Technical Director Bobby Despotovski has welcomed Stewart Moses as coach at the club and has added some NPL experienced players, and he said their preseason was good to get his new look side gelling. “Pre-season was very good for us we had three good games in the night series for us was just that to see who can do what and to get some fitness,” he said. “Like we always said to the players you always take something out of the game and we certainly did.”
Despotovski knows Saturday is a huge occasion at the club and is expecting a big crowd, but is weary of a good Kingsley side. “The opening game against Kingsley is going to be very tough, as they have some great players, they are ambitious and well-disciplined team,” he said. “We would need to be on our best if we are to get anything out of the game, but we all looking forward to the game and season to start.”
The round starts on Thursday evening when Curtin University host Joondalup City at Edinburgh Oval, kick off 8.30pm, while on Saturday Gosnells City’s new President Peter Koulizos sees his first game in the role when they host Balga at Walter Padbury Reserve. Murdoch University welcome Canning City to the Murdoch Uni Campus, and Morley Windmills start life under new coach Antony Benetti when they host Kelmscott Ross at Wotton Reserve.
In the final game last season’s Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers start their defence with a trip to Wanneroo Reserve to take on Wanneroo City. New City keeper Joey Smith said it’s a tough opening game but they have prepared well and ready for the challenge. “I think it will be a tough game and probably not the prettiest game either. Shamrock are a tough team to beat but it’s a good first test for us to make a statement by beating last year’s league winners,” he said. “It’s really nice to be back at Wanneroo after 3 years away as they’ve always made me feel welcome and it’s a very tight knit club and also means a lot to me and my wife, as her dad Neil used to coach the women’s team here.”
MACARTHUR NEXT FOR GLORY IN A-LEAGUE
Perth Glory will look to build on last week's win against Newcastle Jets when they meet A-League newcomers Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday afternoon (kick-off at 3.05pm WST). It will be Glory’s first ever meeting with the Bulls, and win would see them climb back into the top six. Head Coach Richard Garcia said they are looking forward to Friday’s game and ready for the challenge.
"It's going to be a tough challenge away from home, but the boys are building quite nicely and I see the look in their eyes and their determination," he said. "Hopefully they've been a little bit refreshed after a bit of a busier period. It's been nice to have a couple of days to let the players rest up and refresh. Another three games away from home... the lads are used to it now, but it's still tough going away and spending Easter away from family and friends. But that's neither here nor there, it's about us now building from the last two performances and going to get some points away from home."
Glory squad includes German defender Sebastian Langkamp who has now recovered after breaking a bone in his wrist, and the coach said he could make his debut in purple on Friday. "Sebastian is going on the road, " he said. "His wrist has had time to heal now and we're not taking any risks with it. He'll still wear a guard and things like that, but we're comfortable that the bone has healed sufficiently."
Macarthur import Matt Derbyshire is a rich vein of form in front of goal, bagging eight goals this season, and Garcia said they will need to keep a close eye on the Englishman. "We've focused on defending the last few weeks and this week will be no different," he said.
"We've got to make sure that we stop the supply of service to him [Derbyshire]. He's played at a very good level and is a dangerous player, but they have dangerous players everywhere. We'll concentrate on what we do and how we go about stopping them and then figuring out and exploiting their weaknesses."
In terms of squad news, Nick D'Agostino (hamstring) and Nick Sullivan (calf) won't be involved for Glory and Jonathan Aspropotamitis will also miss out as he serves a one-match suspension having seen red against the Jets, while Garcia has added youngsters Bryce Bafford and Luke Bodnar to the travelling squad. There will be a few familiar faces in the Macarthur side, with former Glory players Antony Golec, Ivan Franjic, James Meredith, Aleksander Susnjar and Walter Scott in their squad, as well as former Socceroos Mark Milligan and Tommy Oar.
Macarthur FC squad: GK Adam FEDERICI, GK Nick SUMAN, 3 Antony GOLEC, 4 Benat ETXEBARRIA, 5 Mark MILLIGAN, 6 Aleksandar JOVANOVIC, 7 Ivan FRANJIC, 8 Denis GENREAU, 9 Milislav POPOVIC, 10 Loic PUYO, 11 Tommy OAR, 12 James MEREDITH, 15 Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 21 Jake HOLLMAN, 22 Liam ROSE, 23 Walter SCOTT 27 Matt DERBYSHIRE, 29 Antonis MARTIS, 31 Lachlan ROSE, 33 Markel SUSAETA -*2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: ROSE (promoted), SCOTT (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: Nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Jason GERIA, 4 Sebastian LANGKAMP, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: LANGKAMP (new signing), BODNAR (promoted), BAFFORD (promoted) - Outs: 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (suspended – 1 week) - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 1-2 weeks), 16 Nick SULLIVAN (calf – 1 week), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (hamstring - 1 week) - Referee: Kurt Ams
PERTH SELECTED AS WOMEN’S WORLD CUP CITY
Perth has been named amongst nine host cities for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. With the finals tournament little over two years away, FIFA today made the announcement that five Australian cities and four in New Zealand will host games at the 32-team event which is set to attract a worldwide audience of over one billion people.
The five-week tournament will kick-off in July 2023 at Eden Park in Auckland and conclude at Sydney’s Olympic stadium in August 2023. The other cities which will host games are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in Australia along with Auckland, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington in New Zealand.
Football West chief executive James Curtis said the decision to play part of the Women’s World Cup at Perth Rectangular Stadium (aka HBF Park) was momentous for football in the state. “This is a special day and a significant milestone for football in Western Australia,” Curtis said.
“We saw last year how big a deal the Women’s World Cup was when Australia and New Zealand were announced as the host countries, and we were desperate for Perth to be included. Western Australia has missed out in the past, and we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out again.”
“This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and it will showcase the city of Perth like nothing else. We want this to inspire the next generation of female and male players. They can now get to see superstars like our own Sam Kerr playing on the biggest stage right here.”
The Women’s World Cup, the ninth edition of the tournament, will be the first to feature 32 teams nations. Both the Matildas and Football Ferns will qualify automatically, representing the host nations. The full match schedule will be announced later this year with Australia and New Zealand each hosting one semi-final.
The host cities and stadiums for the 2023 Women’s World Cup are –
Adelaide – Hindmarsh Stadium
Auckland – Eden Park
Brisbane – Brisbane Stadium
Dunedin – Dunedin Stadium
Hamilton – Waikato Stadium
Melbourne – Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Perth – Perth Rectangular Stadium
Sydney – Stadium Australia and Sydney Football Stadium
Wellington – Wellington Stadium
AUSTRALIA CAN WIN A MEDAL IN TOKYO, SAYS MATILDAS STAR WILLIAMS
Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams is confident the Matildas can win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but first she has her eyes on securing a Women's Champions League spot for Arsenal. With only a handful of games left in the Women’s Super League, the Gunners sit in fourth place with 35 points, 12 behind league leaders Chelsea.
Williams, who signed for the Gunners in July, has endured a rollercoaster debut campaign in England but knows her London club will give it everything over the next few weeks. “It’s going to be a hard one, but that’s why you play the game,” said Williams, whose team are battling it out with Arsenal and Manchester United, who have 38 points each, for the third and final spot in Europe next season.
“It’s a little bit different as well, in America and Australia you have finals, but here no - it’s the league. So you have to have a really good, consistent season throughout the entire season. We’ve had a few injury plagues throughout but we’ve had a pretty big squad depth so it actually hasn’t affected us that much. It’s going to be neck and neck for that final Champions League spot.”
Williams joined Arsenal last year from Melbourne City but a pre-season ankle injury which required surgery kept her sidelined until November. “You go into it thinking you’re ready for it, but with COVID and being injured and having to get surgery, it was kind of thrown at me all at once that the season wasn’t going to be as normal as you’d hope or thought with previous experiences,” she said.
“It’s definitely something that I wasn’t really foreseeing how it was going to turn out, but it’s definitely been a good experience over there, playing with and against some of the best players in the world. It’s an up-and-coming league, in terms of the investment and the teams and the quality of players, so it’s definitely where you want to be in that development.”
“I’m fully fit now, obviously we’re looked after quite well. I’m feeling fit coming into what is going to be a really exciting time with the Olympics and everything like that. The club’s been really supportive, it’s been really cool to be part of the team. Obviously it’s not the same with COVID, there’s a lot of restrictions, but just to see the facilities that Arsenal have - it is a world-class facility.”
Williams has had a long career in both the W-League and in America, along with a season in Sweden. She has won a championship and two premierships with Canberra United, has twice been named the PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year and three times received the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year award.
The Matildas goalkeeper is enjoying the challenge of English football and rates the standard of the Women’s Super League highly. “It’s different, there’s a few different elements of what is and was the other best league, which is the NWSL,” commented the veteran of 88 games for Australia.
“Here, it really focuses on the technical side of things - formation and tactics - whereas in America, it’s more athleticism and that American kind of will just to win. That’s what really drives that league. So it’s really difficult to say if one is better than the other, I think they’re both completely different but they’re both where you want to be playing as a female professional footballer.”
The Tokyo Games kick off in July and anticipation is growing in how Australia might perform in the women’s tournament. “We all want to go to the Olympics, it’s a dream,” she said. “Most of us grew up watching Cathy Freeman run before we had any international football dream, so the Olympics has a special spot in our hearts. To have it come in finally is exciting.”
With the Matildas boasting stars like Samantha Kerr, Steph Catley, Emily van Egmond and Kyah Simon, Williams feels this Australian team can bring a medal home from Japan. “Yeah, definitely. I think the advantage that we have over a lot of teams is that we’ve played together for so long now,” she said.
“The core squad has been together for at least six years, which I don’t think a lot of other players and teams have that. We’ve grown up together, we know each other’s families and, (with) that kind of relationship throughout a team, you only need a couple of days to get back into the swing of things where you know how people work and how they play.”
“So that should be a pretty easy adjustment once we get back into camp. It’s exciting having a new coach (Tony Gustavsson) and going out there and doing the best that we can. But at the end of the day, we’re just excited to see each other again.”
NPL-WA ROUND THREE PREVIEW
It’s week three of the NPLWA and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Frank Drago Reserve on Thursday evening when Bayswater City host Perth Glory. (7.15pm) There are four games on Thursday evening, as NPL clubs get games in early as they prepare for FFA Cup games on Monday. In this one both sides will be looking to bounce back after defeats last week, City losing late at Balcatta, while Glory were well beaten at home by ladder leaders Floreat Athena. Last time they met at the venue in the regular season was in round five last season when Daryl Nicol’s goal gave City a 1-0 win.
Bayswater striker Gordon Smith said it was a disappointing result at Balcatta, but they did create some good chances to go on and win it, but got caught out late. “It was disappointing to lose the game, as I felt we showed great character to come back from 2-0 down after a slow start,” the Scottish striker explained. “We pushed and pressed for a third to win it, but unfortunately we switched off in the dying moments and were punished.”
Smith, who goes into his third season at the club, said Glory will be a tough opposition, but they are determined to get back into the winner’s circle. “Thursday can’t come quick enough, we are looking to get back to winning ways against a really good Glory side,” he said. “It will be nice to see Coyney again, but in the other dugout this time. We know what to expect from them, they will be full of energy and have some talented young players, but three points are a must and that’s what we are aiming for.”
Glory skipper Giordano Colli said Saturdays was not the result they were after, especially after a hard-fought draw at Perth SC in the opening round. “Last week was a game in which we didn’t play well and didn’t have the right mentality,” he said. “We went away from the way in which we have previously been playing and it’s something in which as a group have reflected on and will learn and build together from it.”
Colli will come up against his former club on Saturday, but he said he only has one thing on his mind, and that’s securing their first win of the season. “It’s always good to play at Bayswater as I had many tremendous seasons there, but the group want to get back out there and bounce back straight away after a performance that was way off our standards against Floreat,” the skipper explained. “It will be good to be back at Frank Drago, but my only focus heading into the game will be to win and get the three points for my team.”
In other games on Thursday evening Armadale will look to continue on from their impressive win at Joondalup last week when they host the unbeaten Sorrento at Alfred Skeet Reserve, 7.00pm, Floreat Athena will be going for three wins to start the season, when they entertain Perth SC at E&D Litis Stadium, 7.30pm, while Inglewood United and ECU Joondalup will both hoping to return to winning form when they meet at Inglewood Stadium.
There are two games on Saturday afternoon, and first up Gwelup Croatia welcome Rockingham City to Wishart Street. Rockingham kick started their season last week with a hard-fought win at Cockburn City, while Taki Nicolaidis’ side are still searching for their first win after a draw at Sorrento last week. Gwelup skipper Blair Govan said missed chances cost them. “We were all disappointed to only come away with one point with some of the chances we had,” the defender said. “But you have to give credit to Sorrento they battled hard and I thought they deserved a share of the points.”
Govan said Saturday’s opponents looked good in the Night Series and he is expecting another tight game on Saturday. “Rockingham will be a tough game they have improved a great deal over the last year and as they proved last weekend, they can get results,” he explained. “But I’m hoping we can be ruthless in front of goal and tighten things up all over the pitch and I think if we can do that it will really kick start things for us.” In Saturday’s other game Balcatta will be looking for back-to-back wins when they host Cockburn City at Grindleford Reserve. (Saturday’s game kick off at 3.00pm)
KERR SHOOTS CHELSEA INTO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS
Samantha Kerr demonstrated once more why she may be the deadliest striker in the women's game as she scored one of the best goals of her prolific season to ease Chelsea's path into the women's Champions League semi-finals. The Matildas' captain produced a classic centre forward's finish of Chelsea's quarter-final second leg in Budapest where the Blues beat German champions Wolfsburg 3-0.
The combination of Kerr and English international Fran Kirby once again lay at the heart of the triumph, with both again on the scoresheet along with Pernille Harder. Kerr's brilliance shone through in the 32nd minutes when, with back to goal, she evaded Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh with two neat touches before swivelling to fire into the corner for her 20th goal of the season.
"Sam Kerr today, the second goal - that was world-class," said Wolfsburg coach Stephan Lerch. "In defence we didn't do as well, but that is world-class." It is likely Chelsea will meet Bayern Munich, who play Rosengard on Thursday with a 3-0 first-leg advantage, in the semi-finals.
WILL ARNOLD RECALL WILLIAMS AND RUKAVYTSYA?
The Socceroos will end an 18-month exile in June when World Cup qualifying resumes in the heat of Kuwait. With Australia set to play four games in the space of two weeks, coach Graham Arnold is expected to name an extended squad which may well include West Australian pair Rhys Williams and Nikita Rukavytsya.
Williams last played for Australia in 2013 and six years later announced his retirement from international football. Currently starring in Saudi Arabia for Al-Qadsiah, the 32-year old may find himself in the right place at the right time should he be open to returning for the Socceroos.
Having played in the Middle East for the past three years, Williams will be able to cope best with a difficult climate and is capable of filling in where needed in Arnold's back-line. Though no certainty of playing, the former Middlesbrough captain might be asked to officially come out of international retirement just in case he is needed.
For a variety of reasons, Rukavytsya has never really gotten the chance to show what he can do for the green and gold. While he's now 33 and in the twilight of his career, the attacker who has played professionally in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Israel looks more than ready to step up for the Socceroos in front of goal.
Rukavytsya has been on fire in Israel over the past 18 months and this season alone he has 21 goals from 25 appearances. Having often been used sparingly off the bench in years gone by for the Socceroos, the attacker will certainly have a point to prove if given a start by Arnold and it’ll be a surprise if he doesn’t make the most of it.
GLORY END W-LEAGUE SEASON WITH BACK-TO-BACK DEFEATS IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory’s disappointing Westfield W-League season came to an end last week with back-to-back defeats against Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory last week. First on Thursday afternoon they were narrowly beaten by City, when second-half goals from Rhali Dobson and Alex Chidiac put City in control before substitute Patricia Charalambous scored her first ever Westfield W-League goal clinically finished in a one-on-one situation right at the death to halve the arrears.
Then on Sunday at Epping Stadium they were well beaten 6-0 by a rampant Victory side. Melina Ayres scored two before the break, before second half goals from Claudia Bunge, Catherine Zimmerman and a brace from Kyra Cooney-Cross saw the scoreline blew out in the latter stages. Glory coach Alex Epakis said it was a difficult season on and off the pitch.
“The season presented undeniable challenges, but also a unique opportunity to begin the project of rebuilding a squad and a team identity. We had the opportunity to hand nine players their debut, with five of those being local WA players,” he told the Glory website. “The group showed unbreakable resilience and character and stayed firm during the most testing of times. While we acknowledge our results were not what we had hoped, the level of commitment and individual progress cannot be overshadowed.
“Moreover, despite being the youngest group in the competition, I believe that at times, our positive style of play and competitiveness could be seen. Ultimately, we just couldn’t maintain the appropriate level of performance for long enough periods throughout matches. With the season now complete, I have a strong belief that the experiences and growth from this season will be the catalyst for future improvement and success.”
In his first season at the club Epakis said it has made him determined to continue with this group of youngsters to bring success to the club. “It has been the biggest test in my professional coaching career to date. However, the difficulties of this season have given me further oxygen and energy to work even harder in ensuring that this project is a positive and special one,” he said. In a season where no wins are achieved, it is impossible not to self-reflect and introspectively be self-critical of my own leadership and coaching.
“The results certainly don’t reflect how I wanted the season to play out and it also didn’t align with the ongoing sustained success I had achieved in the women’s game prior to my appointment. But I am proud of the way I was able to build a set of standards and values and maintain these values and standards during difficult moments.”
TEN-MAN GLORY HOLD OFF JETS
A ten-man Perth Glory ended a five-game run without a win, hanging on for a 2-1 win against Newcastle Jets at HBF Park on Saturday evening. Richard Garcia’s side looked on course for a big win, with Ciaran Bramwell and Darryl Lachman scoring there first A-League goals for the club after only 24 minutes, but the sending off of Jonathan Aspropotamitis on 35 minutes changed all that and the Jets pulled one back on the hour through Roy O’Donovan to set up a frantic finale. It was backs to the wall stuff for Glory, but they somehow managed to hang on, and Head coach Garcia was quick to praise his players on the gutsy win.
"It was a very brave performance and I hope for more of those brave performances," he said. "The courage they showed to defend for 70 minutes was fantastic. The spirit of the team and the willingness to work hard for each other was exactly what we're after and they showed that as a team tonight. The whole squad has been in good mood this week, they've been very positive around the place and it was fantastic to see a bunch of guys really work hard for each other and dig deep in those final minutes and really push each other along."
Garcia gave a debut to new signing Jason Geria, the former Melbourne Victory defender in at right back. It was the visitors who went close early in this one, with Connor O'Toole firing over the top on seven minutes, this moments after O'Donovan's effort had been ruled out for offside. But the hosts responded well to the early scare, taking the lead on 17 minutes. Diego Castro sent Bruno Fornaroli down the right, his low cross was dummied by Osama Malik, leaving Bramwell to finish clinically past former Glory keeper Lewis Italiano.
Glory went close to doubling their lead moments later, Malik’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Italiano, but the Jets custodian could do little when Glory doubled their lead on 24 minutes, Neil Kilkenny’s corner picked out Lachman, the Curacao international losing his marker and heading home, much to the delight of the Glory faithful.
It looked how many as Glory continued to dictate terms, but that all changed on 35 minutes when Aspropotamitis was shown a second yellow card by referee Daniel Elder and was sent off. Garcia shuffled the pack bringing off Dane Ingram for Brandon Wilson, but the Jets could sniff a comeback and they almost found it before the break. Connor O’Toole saw his cross flicked goal wards by O’Donovan, but the woodwork came to Glory’s rescue, the ball bouncing off the crossbar into the arms of a grateful Liam Reedy.
Craig Dean’s side were on the front foot after the break and Valentino Yuel's effort was well saved by the alert Reddy. But on the hour mark the Jets did find a goal. Former Glory defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s ball into the penalty area found Donovan, who superbly volleyed home to set up a frantic half hour. Glory was defending in numbers as the Jets laid siege to their goal.
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos fired wastefully over from close range before Malik produced a superb last-ditch block to prevent O'Donovan from tapping in Yuel's cross. O’Donovan was in again late on, the Irish striker looked like he had found the equaliser, but his low shot flashed inches wide of the post. But Glory hung on to seal the win to secure their fifth win of the season which lifts them to within one point of the top six.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Jason GERIA (22 Josh RAWLINS 46'), 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO, 23 Dane INGHAM (15 Brandon WILSON 41'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL (10 Andy KEOGH 46'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 24 Daniel STYNES - Red Cards: Aspropotamitis
Newcastle Jets: GK Lewis ITALIANO, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 9 Roy O’DONOVAN, 11 Ramy NAJJARINE (32 Angus THURGATE 70'), 16 Matt MILLAR, 17 Valentino YUEL, 21 Luka PRŠO (8 Liridon KRASNIQI 59'), 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 24 Connor O’TOOLE, 33 Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS (3 Jason HOFFMAN 83'), 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - Subs not used: RGK Jack DUNCAN, 14 Ali ABBAS, 51 Jordan LENNON - Attendance: 5,715 - Referee: Daniel Elder
ARMADALE STUN CHAMPIONS
Armadale produced a great team performance to beat last season’s NPLWA Champions ECU Joondalup 4-0 at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday afternoon. First half goals from Cherno Bah and Pieter Jacobsz had the visitors in control, and it could have been worse but Johnny Perkins saved Friday Zico’s penalty. But the home side couldn’t muster a second half fight back and the visitors added two more with second half substitutes Joshua Cortes and Chad Nilson finding the net to give the Reds a comfortable win. “We worked on a few key areas during the week and things really clicked for us today,” a delighted Armadale Head coach John O’Reilly said post-match. “Really pleased it was a solid performance all round.”
Armadale arrived on the back of a heavy defeat last week and it was the Jacks on the front foot early, and Daryl Nicol was sent down the left by Jakub Prajza on three minutes, but his shot from the angle was saved by Armadale keeper Yousri Gharsallah. But three minutes later, and with their first attack, Armadale hit the front. Jacobsz sent former Jacks’ striker Manase Abandelwa down the right and his cross was turned home by former Swan United striker Cherno Bah. The Jacks looked for a quick response and Andy Higgins’ shot from the edge of the box was saved low by Gharsallah, before Higgins’ free kick was headed wide by Danny Hodgson.
But on 37 minutes Armadale were awarded a penalty, after the lively Bah was brought down in the area by Nelson Tshongo, and referee Joshua Nixon pointed straight to the spot. South Sudan international defender Friday Zico stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, but Johnny Perkins guessed the right way to save. But four minutes later the Reds did double their advantage. The Jacks gave the ball away at the back, and Bah slipped Jacobsz in on goal and he fired low past Perkins.
The home side went close to getting back into the game after the break, Chris Harold sent Prajza down the right on 72 minutes, his cross found Higgins in the six-yard-box, his shot looked destined for the net, but Harry Quigley was in the way, the ball bouncing off the defender and out for a corner. It wasn’t the home sides day and it got worse six minutes later, when Armadale added a third, Abandelwa’s spectacular long-range shot crashed off the crossbar, but Cortes was on hand to head the ball into an empty net.
The icing was put on the cake for the visitors in the final minute, when they added a fourth, Jacobsz finding Nilson, who held off his marker and finished clinically past Perkins. “I thought we started really well and had a few decent chances, but we gave away two sloppy goals and were on the back foot from there,” ECU Head Coach Kenny Lowe said. “We struggled to get our game going throughout the game, and fair play to Armadale they took their chances well and deserved the win.”
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 3 Nelson TSHONGO (15 Luke DAVIS 46’), 4 Declan HUGHES (8 Tom HOUGH 57’), 6 Sami RIAK, 7 Danny HODGSON (14 Ben HINSHELWOOD 80’), 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Chris HAROLD (17 Sebastian GOMEZ 80’), 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 16 Shane CASSIDY – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD
Armadale: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 3 Harry QUIGLEY, 6 Joel SANDERSON (11 Chad NILSON 75’), 10 Rene KISESA (7 Joshua CORTES 57’), 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 13 Filippo GIOFFRE, 14 Cherno BAH (9 Angel Andres DIAZ 90+1’), 16 Ryan MCEVOY, 21 Manase ABANDELWA, 23 Friday ZICO, 35 Pieter JACOBSZ – Subs not used: RGK Michael CRAGGS, 2 Matthew WORTON - Referee: Joshua Nixon
FLOREAT GO TOP AFTER A BIG WIN AGAINST GLORY
Floreat Athena moved clear at the top of the NPLWA table after an emphatic 4-0 win against Perth Glory at Hartfield Park. New striker Joshua Anasmo opening the scoring early, giving the visitors the lead at the break. Nick Ambrogio added a second five minutes into the second half, but two goals in the space of two minutes on the hour mark from Anasmo saw him complete his hat-trick, and make Floreat the only team to win their opening two games of the season. “I thought we controlled the game from start to finish,” Floreat skipper Dean Evans said.
“Although they had majority of possession, I think we controlled what they did with the ball which ultimately led to forcing them into errors and us capitalising on them in what was a convincing performance against a good Glory side.” Coming off a hard-fought draw with Perth SC last week Ruben Zadkovich’s side looked lively early, and top scorer from last season Bryce Bafford, saw and early effort saved by the alert Jason Saldaris. But Floreat hit back and were ahead on 22 minutes. Ludovic Boi won possession off a Glory defender, and he found Anasmo who made no mistake from inside the box.
Floreat doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half, Evans found Boi, who combined with Anasmo to set up Ben Steele down the right, and he crossed into the box, where Ambrogio lost his marker to head home. Floreat sat back and let Glory have the ball but defended well to keep the lively Glory youngsters at bay, and on 62 minutes they added a third. Steele picking out Boi down the right, and his cross picked out the unmarked Anasmo who headed home powerfully.
It has been and impressive start to NPLWA life for the former Stirling Lions youngster, and it got better two minutes later when the big striker scored Floreat’s fourth, and completed his hat-trick. Ambrogio won possession in the middle of the park and his pass sent Anasmo racing clear of the last defender and he kept his composure and finished clinically past Cameron Cook to seal a big win for Vas Vujacic’s side.
Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Nick SULLIVAN (12 Lewis TUCKER), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Nick WALSH, 6 Joseph FORDE, 8 Chris DONNELL (15 Lucas ROSSI), 9 Charlie LEECH, 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 17 Bryce BAFFORD (13 Aidan COYNE) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 18 Christian BELLADONNA
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA (40 Wesley CASIMIR), 4 Ben STEELE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 14 Ludovic BOI (16 Kyle MURRAY), 15 Chris SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD (3 Cameron MURRAY), 19 Liam MURRAY, 22 Joshua ANASMO (12 Robert HARDING) – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER – Referee: Julian SERRA
GWELUP AND SORRENTO SHARE THE SPOILS
Sorrento and Gwelup Croatia have fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Gulls fresh of a big win at Cockburn last week, were ahead on 23 minutes, with Scott Witschge on target, but new signing Mitch Oxborrow levelled for the visitors. Jon Stynes put Taki Nicolaidis’ side ahead in first half stoppage time from the spot, but Witschge drew Jamie Harnwell’s side level moments later. Both sides had chances in the second half to take all three points, but neither to take them.
Harnwell was pleased with his sides’ battling performance. “I was really pleased with our performance, the first half in particular was excellent and we really should have been in front at half time,” he explained. “The second half could’ve gone either way but was happy with the effort and commitment shown.” It was the hosts who were created the better chances in a quick tempo game, and Witschge raced clear early, but his effort flashed wide, before Billy Quinncroft shot straight at Gwelup custodian Stefan King when well placed.
But Witschge’s early miss was forgotten on 22 minutes when the Gulls hit the front. A long clearance sent the winger away down the left, he cut inside Thomas Southgate and fired across King and into the corner of the net, much to the delight of the home faithful. But ten minutes later Gwelup levelled, skipper Blair Govan’s deep cross found Jon Stynes at the back post, his first-time shot was well saved by Joel Driscoll, but former Perth Glory midfielder Oxborrow was quickest to react firing home from close-range in his first start for the club.
Then in the second minute of stoppage time Gwelup hit the front, in controversial circumstances. A ball into the box saw a clash of heads, and Neil Gillies was down with a head injury, but Gwelup played on and with Tim Hill appealing for the game to be stopped Oxborrow’s shot hit the arm of the Sorrento midfielder and referee Steven Gregory pointed to the spot. The hand ball was there, but should the game have been halted for a head injury. It didn’t matter to Stynes who stepped up and scored past Driscoll to give the visitors the lead.
It looked like Gwelup would take the lead into the break, but they say you are always vulnerable after scoring, and it turned out that way for visitors as Sorrento restored parity two minutes later. A long throw wasn’t cleared and it was headed back into the box by Quinncroft and Witschge’s volley on the turn flew past King, to send the sides into the break all square.
Gwelup went to the bench at the break with Hasani Sinclair replacing Blamo Qua-Qua, and the American striker thought he but his side in front again, but the flag was up for offside, while Gulls new midfielder Dean Cummings saw an effort deflected inches wide at the other end. The Gulls pressed late looking for another late winner and Witschge went close to a hat-trick, but on two occasions, but King stood tall to deny him, and both sides had to settle for a point. “I was very disappointed with our team’s performance and output,” Gwelup coach Nicolaidis said. “Sorrento were more determined, and unlucky not to take all three points.”
Sorrento: GK Joel DRISCOLL, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 7 Alex MORGAN, 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (12 Joe TWEATS 63’), 11 Tim HILL, 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 19 Jaxon TEMATA (3 Daniel FAICHNEY 63’), 23 Neil GILLIES (5 Scott ROBERTSON 76’) – Subs not used: RGK Patrick HUGHES, 15 Tristian STEVENS
Gwelup Croatia: GK Stefan KING, 2 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Thomas SOUTHGATE, 5 Blair GOVAN, 6 Declan HARGREAVES (7 Brent GRIFFITHS 80’), 8 Jon STYNES, 10 Mitch OXBORROW, 11 Ethan BROOKS (14 Shubham MOKALA 71’), 13 Rocco PIZZATA (20 Sam MITCHINSON 68’), 15 Blamo QUA QUA (12 Hasani SINCLAIR 46’), 22 Joshua SAMSON – Subs not used: RGK Benjamin RATAJCZAK - Referee: Steven GREGORY
LATE HINA GOAL GIVES BALCATTA THE POINTS
A goal in the final minute from new signing Hamza Hina has given Balcatta a 3-2 win against Italian rivals Bayswater City at Grindleford Reserve. The hosts raced to a two-goal lead after only 25 minutes, with Jon Corness and Calum O’Connell on target. But Gareth Naven’s side hit back with new striker Ndumba Makeche scoring before half time, before half time substitute Luke Salmon restored parity three minutes into the second half.
It looked like the points would be shared, but Hina had other ideas, the substitute giving Bobby Taneski’s side their first win of 2021. “It was a great win against one of our rivals, being 2-0 up and squandering the lead, the players defended well the remainder of the game and got their reward at the end,” Taneski said. “Considering last week, we were on top of Floreat and coming away with no points, it’s rewarding when the tables are turned.”
The hosts, who were unlucky to lose at Floreat in the opening round, made a great start in this one, and they were ahead after only ten minutes. A long clearance was headed out wide by Jawad Rezai to Michael Zimarino on the right, and his through ball found Corness, who raced into the area and finishing with aplomb past Liam Driscoll. It got better for the hosts, as they doubled their advantage on 25 minutes. Zimarino was brought down on the right side of the penalty area by Steven Hesketh, and O’Connell curled the ball into the net, beating Driscoll at his near post.
Bayswater hit back seven minutes before half time. Jason Mirco, who had only come off the bench five minutes prior, sent Gordon Smith racing down the right, his low cross was clearly backheeled home by Makeche. They went close to equalising before the break, Mirco seeing his shot whistle over the top, but at the break Balcatta lead 2-1.
That lead didn’t last long, with City restoring parity three minutes into the second half. Half time substitute Salmon raced into the box and was brought down by Jack Leech, and referee Michal Jasinski pointed straight to the spot. Salmon picked himself up and sent Riley Stephenson the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Both sides pushed for the winner and Smith came closest for the visitors, the Scottish striker seeing his effort crash off the post, before he saw a close-range header flash inches wide.
But on 89 minutes it was the hosts who sealed the three points. Leech won the ball in the middle of the park and found the overlapping Amir Ajan down the right, his low cross picked out Hina, who finished clinically past Driscoll, which set off wild celebrations and on off the park. “To me these are the situations where I thrive, to which I took the chance to open up my goal tally in Balcatta colours and securing all three points,” Hina said. “A great ball on by Amir, and I managed to chip the keeper to seal the win for my team.”
Balcatta: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Joseph MARINO, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 6 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 7 Amir AJAN, 8 Jack LEECH, 10 Jon CORNESS, 11 Michael ZIMARINO (3 David CYRUS 52’), 16 Jawad REZAI (9 Hamza HINA 61’), 17 Henry DURR (13 Anthony TOPINI 84’) – Subs not used: RGK Sebastian MEDICA, 21 Cameron MCLEAN
Bayswater City: GK Liam DRISCOLL, 3 Jack ALLEN, 4 Albert FULLARD (9 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA 78’), 7 Ndumba MAKECHE, 8 Gordon SMITH, 12 Steven HESKETH, 15 Leonard GAMA (29 Tyler GARNER 46’), 17 Steven WALMSLEY, 18 Fraser DUNLOP (22 Luke SALMON 46’), 26 Zayd FARAH (10 Jason MIRCO 33’), 28 Konstantinos SPARTA - Subs not used: RGK Riccardo MAZZOLENI – Referee: Michal JASINSKI
TEECE AT THE DOUBLE AS PERTH BEAT INGLEWOOD
New Perth SC striker Cameron Teece, has put the nightmare of getting sent off in the clubs’ loss to Inglewood United in the Night Series Final behind him, bagging a brace in their 2-1 win at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. Teece opened the scoring on 52 minutes, and doubled their advantage five minutes later. Giovanni Kachan De Freitas Soares pulled one back for Inglewood 14 minutes from time, and despite Perth going down to ten men late, with Kieron Colwell being sent off, they hung on.
“We were pleased with the overall performance and the result against a tough Inglewood side,” Perth Head Coach Ramon Falzon said. “It is great to see the players being rewarded with the three points after a solid performance, during which we were very organised and disciplined defensively and we created a substantial amount of goal scoring chances especially in the second half. Getting the lead and doubling the score early in the second half was very important because we could manage the tempo of the game. Inglewood's goal got them back in the game, however our players remained calm and disciplined to come away with the three points.”
Inglewood arrived at the Gardens top of the table after an impressive win at Armadale last week and they went close to the opener early. Robert Petkov was sent clear, and raced towards goal, his shot beat Ryan Montgomery, but the post came to the rescue of the Perth custodian. Moments later former Perth midfielder Andreas Theodosiades fired over the top when well placed, as United looked for the opener. Perth had their chances too, first former Perth Glory Youth midfielder Calvin Whitney was denied by Alex Dunn, before a dipping volley late was well saved by Dunn.
But seven minutes into the second half it was Perth who hit the front. Whitney’s corner from the left was headed goalward by Kristian Santich, and Dunn failed to claim the ball and Teece was on hand to ram the ball home from close-range. It was 2-0 five minutes later, Whitney’s cross found the unmarked Teece, who finished well, his third goal of the season. Inglewood went close to halving the deficit soon after, but the lively Steve Sokol’s effort flashed the wrong side of the post.
But they were back in the game 14 minutes from time. Petkov was fouled on the edge of the penalty area, and Giovanni Soares curled his free kick over the wall and in off the far post. United pressed for the equaliser, and throw everything at Perth who held firm, but they did have Colwell sent off in stoppage time, after receiving a second yellow card by referee David Bruce, but the ten held firm to take the points.
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA, 3 Jordan DE LEO (16 Kieran COLWELL 16’), 4 Lachlan BYRD, 6 Nic MCDONALD, 8 Riley VAN DIEKEN, 10 Michael DOMFEH, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 17 Cameron TEECE, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH - Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 7 Alex JOVIC, 15 Will GORDON, 20 Gustavo CATARACIONE
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 5 Thiak KUEL (4 Scott BLACKMORE 76’), 7 Ajak RIAK, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 14 Steve SOKOL (3 Abdul SESAY 62’), 15 Roberto DEL BORRELLO (13 Brodie LANGAN 78’), 17 Mark BARNETT, 18 Andreas THEODOSIADES – Sub not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 12 Roberto SOARES – Referee: David BRUCE
GIYANTO GIVES ROCKINGHAM THE WIN AT COCKBURN
Rockingham City have kick started their 2021 NPLWA season, with a 1-0 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday afternoon. Afian Giyanto scored the vital goal on 35 minutes for Goran Stajic’s side, while the loss leaves Scott Miller’s side sitting bottom of the table, and still looking for their first point of the season.
"I think that tactically we did well, we closed all avenues to our goal, preventing Cockburn a clear 100% chance,” Rockingham Head coach Stajic said. “I’m super impressed that we managed to create great clear chances of our own, and the one we scored ended up being the decisive goal. It is not easy to beat Cockburn especially at their ground, they are a team that is dangerous if you let them play on their terms.” The visitors started confidently with former Cockburn midfielder Feisal Zaw firing over before Hamish Van Dieken's volley was blocked by the alert Luke Radonich.
At the other end, a combination of goalpost and Cyril Sharrock prevented Sebastian Da Silva from scoring the opener, while former ECU Joondalup striker Dor Jok fired wide moments later. Cockburn winger Jesse Lazzaro was then denied by Sharrock, as Cockburn looked for the opener, but it was the visitors that found it on 35 minutes, with a great team goal. Some neat lead up play by Denaudo Murray and Luke Collins, ended with a neat one-two with Zaw and Giyanto the latter finished low past Radonich, via the post.
Jok was causing Rockingham problems and his curling effort just before half time hit the bar, but at the break the Cockerels had all to do after the break. The home side continued their search for the equaliser after the break, Da Silva fired wide of the post, before Lazzaro was denied by Sharrock at the near post. Rockingham had their chances too, and the Lively Zaw saw his effort drift wide of the target. Cockburn were throwing everything at Rockingham, and Daniel Robinson almost found it late, but his shot was deflected the wrong side of the upright.
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 2 Julian TELES, 4 Euen GRANT, 8 Cameron EDWARDS, 12 Sebastian DA SILVA, 15 David SANTICH, 16 Ali GHOLAMI, 20 Dor JOK, 21 Jesse LAZZARO, 22 Daniel ROBINSON, 25 Breckan BAKER – Subs: RGK Ben RADONICH, 3 Daniel DOLS, 9 Anthony SKORICH, 10 David ARAYA 24 David DOS SANTOS
Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 5 Afian GIYANTO, 7 Feisal ZAW, 8 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 10 Shane BOYLE, 11 Luke COLLINS, 12 Jethro YUMANGE, 13 Ian NG, 18 Harry BOLAN, 22 Denaudo MURRAY, 23 Ryan KENNEDY – Subs: RGK Brad STOUT, 3 Axel RICHARDSON, 4 Dieudonne SUMAIL, 9 Christos VAENAS, 16 Mali-Jose BOUQUEY DE ARAUJO – Referee: Tom GLAVOVIC
DOLPHINS TAKE NIGHT SERIES TROPHY BACK TO MANDURAH
Mandurah City are the 2021 State League Night Series Cup Final winners, after a hard fought 1-0 win against Olympic Kingsway at Macedonia Park on Saturday evening. The only goal of the game came on 69 minutes from Joe O’Brien, the win giving the Dolphins an unbeaten preseason competition, and their first piece of silverware since 2015. “We’re all absolutely buzzing with the result, we battled hard and fully deserved the win,” O’Brien said. “It feels amazing to bring some silverware home, and we’re out to do business this year.”
The Mandurah supporters had made the trip down the Kwinana Freeway in mass and they were on their feet after only six minutes, but Henry Collins’ volley flashed just wide of the target. Olympic hit back and Chris Rizidis saw his effort drift wide moments later. Olympic keeper Dave Kennan saved well to thwart O’Brien, but the Olympic custodian almost handed the lead to Mandurah before the break. It looked like little danger when a cross came into the box, but Keenan fumbled the ball and the ball bounced up for O’Brien, but his header hit the post and away to safety.
The Olympic fans thought they had the lead early in the second half, Elliot Tattersall raced clear, his first shot beat Mandurah keeper Dylan Wilson, but the ball bounced off the post, but he fired home the rebound and went off to celebrate, but his celebrations were cut short, with the flag was up for offside. It was the best period of the game for Olympic and Tattersall found Otto Van der Poel on the hour, but his flick was thwarted the alert Wilson.
Mandurah weren’t finished and Scottish striker John Baird was a constant threat, and on 69 minutes it was Mandurah who found the break through. Substitute Alex Grayson made space down the left and whipped in a teasing cross from the bye-line and O’Brien headed home, much to the delight of the large contingent from Mandurah.
Olympic pressed late and Tattersall shot was saved by Wilson, before skipper Luke Palmateer headed wide from the resultant corner, but Mandurah held on to win the game. “A brilliant result to cap off a really impressive pre-season,” Coach Pete Taylor said post-match. “Kris and I set our sights on winning the night series from the start and the boys delivered in style. Everyone involved is over the moon. We’ve set the standard now and we need to carry this momentum into the league opener.”
Mandurah City: GK Dylan WILSON, Jake SHAKED, Graham TOUGH, Sillis BESCI, James PAYLOR, Jeff BRIGHT, Harry COLLINS, Craig BARKER, John BAIRD, Joey O’BRIEN, James BURNS – Subs: Lachlan WILSON, Andy BROWN, Rory MCGRATH, Alex GRAYSON, Grayson David CLARK
Olympic Kingsway: GK Dave KEENAN, 2 Harry EDWARDS, 4 Joel PROUT, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 6 Andrew SCALFADERRO, 7 Brody KENNEDY, 9 Chris RIZIDIS, 11 Eliot TATTERSALL, 14 Daragh KAVANAGH, 17 Luke RHODES, 20 Michael GAMA – Subs: 10 Darus FLAMO, 12 Matt CHERRIE, 18 Sean CRONIN, 22 Nathan DOBRA, 13 Oto Van DER POEL – Referee: Ammar Timour
THE PHOENIX RISES TO TAKE OUT THE AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES FINAL
South West Phoenix have won their first piece of silverware in four years after knocking off North Perth United 3-1 in Saturday's Belt Up Amateur Night Series Final at Macedonia Park. Lee Stewart opened the scoring, but Alex Corner levelled for United just before half time. Stewart added his second after half time, before Ryan Risdon sealed the victory. “I’m very proud of the lads for what they've achieved, they deserve so much, not only the players, but the staff and the club as well,” Phoenix Coach Nick Carter said. “It’s a step in the right direction and we are hoping this will be one of many over the next few years.”
It was United who had the best opportunity early, Scott Wrightson finding space and Phoenix keeper Jamie Oakley was equal to his effort. North Perth had to reshuffle at the back when Thierry Bernard was taken off injured, and they missed his presence on 26 minutes when Phoenix opened the scoring. Corey Barclay’s pass sent Stewart in on goal, and the striker made no mistake past Kody Dvauz. They went close to a second on the half hour, when Risdon’s header was cleared off the line by the alert Chris Bradley, but in the shadows of half time United where level. A neat one-two between Corner and Wrightson saw the latter finishing neatly past Oakley.
The Phoenix were out of the blocks after half time, and they regained their lead three minutes in. Barclay’s shot was only parried by Dvauz, and Stewart was quickest to react finishing from close-range. Both sides had chances as the game opened up. First Kieran Quinn fired wide for Phoenix, before James McPhail headed inches wide down the other end. United went within inches of the equaliser on the hour, a quick break caught Phoenix napping, but with players around him Wrightson went for goal, but his lob drifted wide.
That miss came back to haunt North Perth, as Phoenix won it on 67 minutes. A corner was missed by Dvauz the ball falling to Risdon who scrambled the ball home. United continued to push forward, the best chance fell to David Houston, but the big striker’s effort hit the crossbar, but at the final whistle it was South West Phoenix celebrating the win.
South West Phoenix: GK Jamie OAKEY, 2 Corey BARCLAY, 3 Jarrod MORT, 6 Franco VAN ZYL, 7 Kieran QUINN, 8 Rory BINNIE, 9 Lee STEWART, 15 Zach VAN OOSTEN, 16 Lochie VAN OOSTEN, 17 Ryan RISDON – Subs: RGK Tyson PATERSON, 5 Craig ALDRIDGE, 10 Matt CURTIS, 13 Tom STEELE, 14 Luke MONKS
North Perth United: GK Kody DVAUZ, 2 Kelechi OSUNWA, 3 Trent MEYERS, 5 James MCPHAIL, 6 Mark DONNELLY, 8 Chris BRADLEY, 9 Robert FAULKNER, 10 Scott WRIGHTSON, 12 Alex CORNER, 13 David HOUSTON, 15 Thierry BERARD – Subs: 4 Phil LAZENBY, 7 Ben COOPER, 11 Daniel CONWAY, 14 Adam PYGRUM, 18 Simon EL CHAMI – Referee: Albert Muyembe
FOOTBALL WEST HONOURS RICHARD KREIDER (courtesy footballhalloffamewa.com.au)
Richard Kreider, Western Australia’s leading football historian and author of three books on the evolution of the game in the West, has been elected as a Life Member of Football West. He joins an elite band of some of the most influential figures in football in WA when chosen by Football West at their Annual General Meeting on March 24.
Richard, who has worn the hat of player, broadcaster, journalist, author, historian, statistician and photographer across close to 50 years in the game, said: “I’m genuinely stunned by the honour. I’ve been too busy reviewing others worthy of recognition without thinking someone could be looking at me. When I first heard, it felt like a Danny Green combination to the head. I consider the honour very special and will always treat it as such.”
Richard is the fifth current or former member of the Football Hall of Fame WA Committee to to be granted Life Membership of Football West; the others being Julius Re, Bob Brown, John O’Connell and Penny Tanner-Hoath. Back in 2011 Football West also formally recognised former Hall of Fame committee members Alan Beale, Roger Males, Peter Dimopoulos and Barbara Gibson, who had been inducted as Life Members of either semi-pro, amateurs, juniors, women or referees bodies.
Born in France but raised in the United Kingdom, Richard arrived in WA as a teenager in 1972 and joined an Italian migrant football team called UMAI in the lower ranks of the Amateur Association. After time with Saturday side Lathlain Meazza (1973-75) he remained in the amateur ranks for 17 more years, picking up the Amateur Cup with Morley Windmills in 1977 and later turned out for North Perth United.
Richard represented the State Amateur team as a goalkeeper between 1981-91 and was chosen for an Australian Select out of the 1982 Adelaide National Championships. He also represented WA at the senior National Futsal Indoor Championships in Moe, Victoria (1989).
After five knee operations he quit playing but was still keen to stay in touch with the game in some capacity. He had two spells as an administrator with the Amateur Association (1983-84 and 1992-95) while broadcasting on Radio 6NR (1981-95) and writing for the Sunday Times (1984-1988).
From there, it escalated to many commitments, including writing for the Sydney-based Australian & British Soccer Weekly (1994-96). When Perth Glory arrived, he contributed to their first match day programmes and season Annuals, followed by ten years (2008-2018) working with FoxSports.
He contributed 18 years to the Committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA (2002-2020) and was heavily involved with the National Panel of Football Historians. He also represented football on the Sports Memorabilia Reference Group which developed the history wall displays at Optus Stadium.
Richard said: “I was hit with an acoustic neuroma in my right ear in 1992 and throat cancer (1999) but I managed to beat them and continue working in the game until resigning from the Football Hall of Fame at the end of 2020.”
“On a personal level, my football commitments have been supported by my amazing wife Elaine. Being a football fan herself has helped tremendously in that respect, especially when I was writing ‘Paddocks to Pitches’.”
Published in 2012, “Paddocks to Pitches : the Definitive History of Western Australian Football” is an almost 800-page tome full of facts, figures, fascinating history and anecdotes. It is regarded one of the premier publications of the games’ history in Australia.
Richard also authored “A Soccer Century : a Chronicle of Western Australian Soccer from 1896 to 1996” (1996) and “The Soccerites” (2005), the latter detailing the State teams’ 49-day, 10-game tour of the eastern seaboard in 1909.
NPL-WA ROUND TWO PREVIEW
It’s week two of the NPLWA and our ‘Match of the Week’ takes us to Dorrien Gardens where Perth SC host Inglewood United in a replay of the recent Night Series Final. (3.00pm) Inglewood won that game and started the season with a big win at Armadale, while Perth was held to a draw by Perth Glory, but with two talented sides this one should be another tight contest. The last time they played at the venue in a league game was round 17 in 2019 where Perth ran out 4-0 winners. Perth striker Gustavo Catarcione opened the scoring, before Perth added a second with a Harley Orr penalty. Nicolo Sabatini scored the third, before Michael Domfeh rounded off the scoring.
Inglewood new striker Ajak Riak was on target in his NPLWA debut last week at Armadale, and he said it was a good team performance. “It’s always good to start the season off well individually with a goal and collectively with a solid team victory,” he said. “I think in the Night Series semi we didn’t showcase our best football against Armadale, so it was good we got to display our football against them again in round one.” Riak, who bagged 11 goals last season to help Olympic Kingsway win the Division One title, said Saturday will be a huge test but they head into the game full of confidence. “We know it’s going to be a challenging one, especially off the back of a 2-0 win against them in the Night Series,” he said “But in saying that, I do believe the boys are up for it.”
Cameron Teece was also on target in last week's draw against Glory his debut for the Azzurri, but he said conceding late made it feel more like a defeat. “It was good to get my first competitive goal for the club but like you said the mood was dampened as the team didn’t take all three points,” he said. “Especially when we deserved it, and I thought we played them off the park in the second half and probably could have put away another couple of chances but it is what it is.”
Teece, who joined Perth from Sorrento in the preseason, said last week is in the past and they will be looking to bounce back on Saturday. “We are all definitely looking forward to the game against Inglewood, as we have a bit of a bone to pick with them,” he said. “Considering we didn’t play anywhere near up to our standard in the final and lost, so we will be coming out very eager to win and get our first three points of the season.”
In other games on Saturday, Cockburn City host Rockingham City with both sides looking to bounce back after first round defeats, while Balcatta will also be looking for a first win of the season when they host Bayswater City in the Italian Derby at Grindleford Reserve. Sorrento will look for back-to-back wins when they host Gwelup Croatia at Percy Doyle Reserve, likewise ECU Joondalup who welcome Armadale to the ECU Football Stadium (All games kick off at 3.00pm)
The final game of the round is on Saturday evening when Perth Glory host Floreat Athena at Hartfield Park. (7.00pm) Floreat opened their season with a win against Balcatta, while Glory fought back to learn a 2-2 draw against Perth SC. Glory defender Nick Walsh said it was a well-earned point. “I thought overall a draw was a fair result in the end in what was a tough game with two good teams,” he explained. “Our mentality was strong and we always believed as a team that we could score an equaliser and possibly go on and win the game but unfortunately we had to settle with the draw.”
Walsh said the players are looking forward to Saturday night’s game and starting their home games with a win. “For sure we are looking forward to another opportunity to have a good performance and hopefully come away with the three points on this occasion,” he said. “We know Floreat are always strong but if we play the way we are capable of we will always give ourselves a good chance to win in any game.”
MANDURAH TO MEET OLYMPIC IN STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES FINAL
Olympic Kingsway and Mandurah City will meet in the State League Night Series Final after both won entertaining semi-finals on Wednesday evening at Macedonia Park. In the early game Olympic took on UWA Nedlands, and they were ahead on the half hour mark. Daragh Kavanagh played a neat give and go with Eliot Tattersall, before turning his marker and finishing clinically. They doubled their advantage midway through the second half, a quick counter attack saw Matt Cherrie race down the flank, his cross was turned home by Jack Lavis. With Subiaco pushing men forward they were caught out against five minutes from as Olympic sealed the tie, Darus Flomo easing past two defenders before finishing low past the keeper. “We needed the first 20 minutes to get into the game but took control from then,” Olympic Head Coach Michael Janssen said.
“We applied the right intensity to UWA to get on top of them and scored some nice goals. We are traveling good towards the league season, where it counts and we know where we have to improve and work on. Now we are looking forward to playing the final on Saturday vs Mandurah. That will give us another different challenge we are excited to manage. They are a well drilled and defensively organized side. We need to bring everything to the table to win the game. I hope that we get again so many people down to support the Green Machine in the final as in the semis.”
Olympic keeper said they took their chances on the night and he can’t wait for the Final. “It was a pretty cagey game first half, UWA had more of the ball but didn’t threaten us,” he explained. “I didn’t have to make a save until just before halftime, but in the second half they had to come at us a bit more which left them exposed and we punished them on the break, we’re all looking forward to the final.”
In the late game Mandurah City and Subiaco met, and it was a tight first half with both sides creating good chances but failing to convert them. That all changed nine minutes into the second half with Mandurah edging in front. They had a corner which was only cleared to Silas Becsi who took it down on the edge of the box, and was brought down and referee Peter Kaiser pointed straight to the spot. Scottish striker John Baird stepped up and slotted the resulting penalty, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. The Dolphins extended their lead on 66 minutes, some neat build up play ended with a cut back to Baird and the former Raith Rovers striker found the bottom corner after a deflection off a Subiaco defender.
Subiaco found a lifeline five minutes from time with Tim Page scoring, but try as they might they couldn’t find the equaliser. “Delighted for the lads and the club they have been great throughout the whole of the pre-season and deserve to be in the final,” Coach Kris Donnell said. “We didn’t come out the traps in the first half but in the second we were more energetic and quicker with our movement of the ball, but Subiaco fought all the way it was a great game.” Midfielder Joe O’Brien said it was a tough battle. “It was a very hard-fought win in a tough game shows we’re capable of grinding out results,” he said. “We’re all buzzing to get the job done in the final.”
REDDY TO THE RESCUE FOR GLORY
Veteran keeper Liam Reddy produced a Man of the Match performance in Wednesday’s A-League game against Sydney FC at HBF Park, but his heroics couldn’t lead Glory to a win, with both sides sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw in front of a small crowd of only 4,273. Bruno Fornaroli had given Glory the lead just before half time, but not before Reddy produced a number of fine saves to keep the Sky Blues at bay. Bobo did eventually beat Reddy just after the hour mark to equalise, but Reddy made a couple more saves late to keep them level.
Glory could have won it late with Andy Keogh’s deflected shot rolling inches wide of far post. Head Coach Richard Garcia was positive after the game. "Of course, I would have liked the win, and I think we can improve on conceding the goal that we conceded, but it's a fantastic stepping stone in the right direction,” he said post-match. "It's a platform, something we can improve upon on Saturday [against Newcastle Jets].
"We worked well and were nice and compact and didn't really give much away. There were chances here and there, but it was the same at the other end. It was a little bit more structured our defensive effort today and the players really had that in their mind, which was pleasing."
In a lively opening it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous, Reddy forced to make a stunning save to tip Joel King's header on to the bar and then reacting smartly to block a low shot from Bobo who had raced clear of his marker. The Sky Blues continued to dictate terms and Luke Ivanovic was the next to be denied by Reddy before Milos Ninkovic fizzed a shot wide of the target from just inside the box.
But Glory weathered that storm, and they began to gain a foothold in the game and Fornaroli’s snap shot was saved low by Andrew Redmayne, before debutant Ciaran Bramwell’s long-rage shot was straight at the Sydney custodian. But on 44 minutes the Glory opened the scoring, Diego was sent down the left by Kosuke Ota, and his low cross picked out Fornaroli at the back post and the Uruguayan made no mistake from close-range. But his celebrations were cut short with assistant Josh Mannella’s flag up for offside. But after a VAR check referee Alireza Faghani awarded the goal and send Glory in with the lead at the break.
Glory opened brightly after the break, and Bramwell sent Fornaroli clear, but Redmayne was out quick to snuff out the danger, before the Sydney keeper pushed away Josh Rawlins cross moments later, with Castro ready to pounce. Sydney then won a penalty after Osama Malik brought down Bobo, but after another VAR check there was an offside in the build-up. Reddy then denied Bobo’s header on the hour as Sydney went in search of the equaliser, and it eventually came on 63 minutes.
Glory failed to clear their lines and when the ball was put back into the box Alex Wilkinson’s flick found Bobo and the Brazilian finished well. Reddy came to the rescue again on 71 minutes, adjusting quickly to push Milos Ninkovic's deflected shot around the post and Andrew Redmayne then responded in kind at the other end to block a Darryl Lachman’s effort. It was Glory who looked the most likely in the dying minutes, Castro’s curling effort from the edge of the box flashed inches wide, before Rawlins cross hit Andy Keogh and rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.
Perth Glory 1 (Fornaroli 43') Sydney FC 1 (Bobo 63')
Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK (19 Callum TIMMINS 89'), 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO, 22 Josh RAWLINS (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 89'), 24 Daniel STYNES (23 Dane INGHAM 60'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL (10 Andy KEOGH 74'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 13 Luke BODNAR, 21 Bryce BAFFORD
Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Ryan McGOWAN, 8 Paulo RETRE (5 Alex BAUMJOHANN 77'), 9 BOBÔ, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 16 Joel KING, 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Luke IVANOVIC (33 Pat WOOD 60'), 23 Rhyan GRANT, 26 Luke BRATTAN - Subs not used: RGK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 3 Ben WARLAND, 21 Harry VAN der SAAG, 27 Jordan SWIBEL, 28 Calem NIEUWENHOF - Referee: Alireza Faghani
THWAITE CALLS TIME ON FOOTBALL
Former Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite has called time on his long career after playing 19-years as a professional footballer. The 37-year-old played scored twice in 93 games in west between 2012-2016, joining from Gold Coast United, the club he still plays for. He had stints in Romania with National Bucuresti, Poland with Wisla Krakow and SK Brann in Norway. He left Glory in 2016 and signed for Chinese side Liaining Whowin, before returning to Australia with Western Sydney Wanderers. The defender has 13 Socceroos caps, making his international debut in 2005 in a friendly match held in London against Jamaica.
Gold Coast United sent out this message on their social media pages. "On behalf of everyone here at Gold Coast United FC and from across football near and far, thanks Michael and congratulations on your contribution to the game. Thwaitey’s football journey took off when he moved from Cairns to Sydney as a teenager in 2002 for University. Fittingly his last ‘competitive’ match was leading his beloved Queensland on to Perry Park in the NPL ‘State of Origin’ match late 2020, a proud moment, one of many.
In between times, across those 18 years, some blood, plenty of sweat and a few tears shed in an impressive playing career that criss-crossed the globe and country. Michael competed with distinction in the NSL, overseas, in the A-league, for our National teams and in the NPL. His commitment and dedication to the game and his professionalism and approach have always been exemplary. “Bravo Thwaitey’ well played. We’ve been privileged to have you at the club and we wish you, Chantelle and the girls all the very best."
HALL BACK AFTER LONG INJURY LAYOFF
It’s been a tough couple of years for former Sorrento defender Lewis Hall. Not only has the 28-year-old had to put up with COVID-19, he injuries his knee in 2019 and had a total knee reconstruction, but after successful surgery and rehabilitation he is ready to get back playing and if he is selected on the weekend, he will play his 100th game for NPLVIC side Heidelberg United.
Hall played his football at ECU Joondalup, NTC, Glory Youth, before a stint at the Gulls, and was voted as the clubs “Player of the Year” in 2015 and stood out as Sorrento took on A-League side Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup. He also headed to the UK and trained with Portsmouth, Cardiff and West Bromwich Albion and had trials at Dutch side VV Haaglandia.
Many players usually don’t like taking about injuries and life off the park, but the defender said it’s made him stronger and spoke about his long-time battles with depression and mental illness, and how he credits football and Heidelberg United with playing significant roles in his recovery. “No, I’m happy to talk about it”, Hall explains. “I think it’s important to talk about this stuff and get the message out there to people who are struggling a bit. Let them know there’s hope and they can get through it. I’m not going to shy away from what happened, but it’s coming together again.”
Football had been a major focus in Hall’s life when everything went sour. The club cared for him and he for the club and, of course, his teammates. It gave Hall’s life structure, meaning and an outlet. Suddenly there wasn’t the camaraderie of mates, no coaches or officials to bark commands or crack the whip. The loss of football, he believes, hit him hardest. “I took it (football) for granted, I think”, he said after Friday’s win.
“I think getting back I am appreciating it a lot more for being one of those things that bring you real happiness. Yeah, I feel OK. It’s not just about the football, it’s about life getting back on track. I’m not proud, because I definitely hit rock bottom. But I’m pleased with myself for getting back to this place and football has been a huge aspect of that. It’s helped enormously. Getting back to the club – this club.” All the best Lewis from everyone at Footballwa
GLORY HOLD NO GRUDGES AGAINST SKY BLUES
Perth captain Diego Castro insists his team don't hold any grudges against Sydney FC despite having their title hopes ended by the Sky Blues two years in a row. The arch-rivals have a rich recent history, with the Sky Blues bucking the odds to beat Glory in a penalty shootout in the 2018/19 Grand Final.
Last season, Sydney beat Glory 2-0 in the semi-finals before going on to win their second straight A-league crown. The two powerhouses find themselves in unfamiliar territory this season, with Sydney currently sitting sixth and Glory ninth on the ladder.
The rivalry will still run hot when they clash in Perth on Wednesday night, but Castro played down talk of any bad blood. "In no way do we feel rage," Castro said. "There is no type of resentment or bad blood. It's the opposite, it's something that motivates us to get a better result."
"It's always good to put a bit of spice on these games when you are taking on rivals where there is a history. It always gives you a bit more motivation ... I still think that we are two of the best teams in the league, irrespective of the situation that we find ourselves in."
Glory made a barnstorming start to the season, scoring 18 goals across their first six games to rocket into title contention. But the youth-laden squad has hit a major road block since then, scoring just three goals during a four-game winless run.
Despite that, Castro is confident the team's form will soon turn around. "If you look, there is an evolution. Many young players have arrived, and you have to have patience, and help them," Castro said. "Like I say to my kids, the exams are at the end of the season, not in the middle."
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - SEMI-FINALS PREVIEW
It is the State League Night Series semi-finals tonight with two big games at Macedonia Park and in the early game UWA Nedlands meet Olympic Kingsway. (6.30pm) UWA produced the best performance in the quarter-finals beating Forrestfield United 4-1 and Head Coach Dom Gangemi said it was good team performance. “The game versus Forrestfield gave me the confirmation that this group of players who have been working together with humility and tactical discipline can achieve goals and be competitive in every game,” he explained.
“It’s a pleasure to coach those boys and there are always 20 players at every session, I can’t ask more.” Gangemi said Olympic were the standout team last season and are a good side and is expecting a tight contest tonight. “They won the league last season, and are a very strong team and well coached,” he said. “I hope it will be a great game of football, but for our side we are ready.”
Olympic coach Michael Janssen said he was delighted with the team spirit his side showed in the penalty shootout win against Fremantle City in the last round. “The quarter final was the expected tough game against a well organised team and Fremantle will definitely be a team to beat in the upcoming season,” he said. “While missing quite a few players in our squad the boys who came in showed a great spirit in the second half and deserved the result. Penalties are then a different story to decide such an intense game. We converted 5/5 and progressed to the next round. We are now looking forward to having the next challenge tonight.”
Janssen, who coached at UWA for over four seasons, said tonight will be a great game but preparations for the new season is also in the back of his mind. “We are going to make some changes again to test us against a different opponent, with just 10 days till the season starts this must be our focus,” he explained. “Most of the UWA squad is the same as last year and the years before. They know how they play together for a couple of years now. For us it’s most important to know how we want to perform regardless our opponents. If we can do that tonight we will definitely get the result. Hopefully we will have a good crowd at Macedonia Park as this makes this Night Series special every year.”
In the late game Subiaco take on Mandurah City (8.30pm) Paul Vallerius’ side also won in a shootout against Wanneroo City and defender Ben Johns said they had to work hard for it. “We were anticipating a tough tight physical game against Wanneroo and that’s exactly what it was,” he said. “Penalties are always a bit of a lottery but to get back in the game after going 1-0 down, and then we easily could have scored a few more on another day was pleasing.”
Johns is expecting another tough game tonight with Mandurah being in good form, but he said they are ready for it. “Mandurah’s pre-season results speak for themselves so we’re expecting our toughest game yet which will be a good test for the boys,” the defender said. “We go in to the game full of confidence, with nothing to lose and aim to book a place in the final.”
Mandurah produced another good win in the last round against Western Knights and coach Pete Taylor said it was huge performance from his players. “Kris and I were over the moon with the result and performance,” he said. “We all know how good Western Knights are and to come away with the win was a massive confidence boost for us all. We believe we can match anyone on our day and this game went a long way to proving exactly that.”
Taylor said they are playing well at the moment, but knows there is still work to do tonight and before the league season kicks off in two weeks. “There’s a real buzz around the squad at the moment and our preparation has been spot on,” he explained. “Subiaco have had some strong results so far, so we’re well aware that we need to be at our very best. Game day can’t come quick enough and we’re hoping to put on another match winning performance.”
GLORY HOPING TO END FORM SLUMP AGAINST SKYBLUES
Perth Glory return home tonight when they host defending Champions Sydney FC at HBF Park in week 13 of the A-League (6.20pm) Glory are coming off a nightmare road trip in NSW where they suffered two heavy defeats against Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers and a hard fought 2-2 draw with league leaders Central Coast Mariners.
But it was their frailties in defence which is a major concern for many, conceding eight goals in three games, while the loss against the Wanderers stretched to four games since they last found three points. So, they will be looking for some home comforts tonight according to Head Coach Richard Garcia.
"The main focus is that we've been away for so long and we want to be at home and play in front of our fans," he said. "We know we grow another leg when we're at home and that's fantastic. "We're probably getting at the back end of the season what some clubs had at the front end, so in that respect it's been very good for these guys to grow resilience by playing so many away games.
"If you had told me at the start of the season that we would have to spend the first half of the year basically away from home, I think anyone would have said it's a tall order. But the boys have come through it and it's about coming out now on Wednesday, playing good football and getting a result against Sydney."
The coach said despite the poor results the confidence in the squad is high and he is confident the results will turn. "I think you've got to accentuate some of the positives and make sure the guys are still on track in their minds about where we're going," he said. "It's easy to lose confidence when results don't go your way, but there have been some very promising signs and it's just about learning from these mistakes and getting back to some of the things that we did earlier in the season and having a bit more focus on that than just on the results. The result is the most important thing obviously, but to get the result, the performance has to be there.
"The mentality has got to be there that we're progressing in the right manner and I think that is coming. With the young squad that we have, it becomes an extended process. It's about resetting again and making sure that everyone's mindset is where it needs to be. In every season, you're going to have ebbs and flows and at the moment we're probably on a downward, so now it's about getting the guys back on the upward. We're constantly trying to improve the players and make sure that as a team we're improving. That's a process and it takes time, a little bit of patience and a lot of hard work and we've still got a lot of hard work to do to get to where we want to be as a group."
Sydney FC go into the game five points and three places above Glory having played a game more and while their form hasn’t been the best, Garcia is not underestimating the reigning Champions and Premiers. "Sydney FC have been good," he said. "They've taken a little while to find their feet as well. It's a random season where some teams started three or four weeks earlier than others and we're all of a sudden playing catch up due to the Asian Champions League.
"That's the scenario and we have to make the best of it just like they have to make the best of it. They're dangerous in a lot of areas. They have a very settled and senior squad and have been together as a group for a long time. They're pretty well drilled and well versed, so it's about us knowing their strengths and weaknesses and trying to exploit those." - Get your tickets for the game and support the Glory - visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted*- Ins: MALIK (promoted), RAWLINS (promoted) - Unavailable: 7Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)
Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, GK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 2 Patrick FLOTTMANN, 3 Ben WARLAND, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 5 Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6 Ryan McGOWAN, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 BOBÔ, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 16 Joel KING, 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Luke IVANOVIC, 21 Harry VAN der SAAG, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 26 Luke BRATTAN, 27 Jordan SWIBEL, 28 Calem NIEUWENHOF, 33 Pat WOOD - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: FLOTTMANN (promoted), SWIBEL (promoted) - Unavailable: 7 Michael ZULLO (calf), 12 Trent BUHAGIAR (knee), 19 Chris ZUVELA (knee) - Referee: Alireza Faghani
SAGE ANGERED BY ‘HORRENDOUS’ A-LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has hit out at the “horrendous” A-League fixture schedule that has seen his side slip to ninth on the ladder in a four-game winless run. In an email to Australian Professional Leagues commissioner Greg O’Rourke, Sage said he was concerned about player welfare.
It comes as coach Richard Garcia admitted living out of a suitcase had been “tough”. Seven of Glory’s 10 games have been on the road, including the past three and they played Asian Champions League in Qatar before returning in December.
“We are the only club to have suffered through 28 days of hotel and home quarantine,” Sage said in the letter to O’Rourke. “We are the only team that have played seven away games again leaving family for long stays.
“Now we have to play two games in five days at home then we do another away trip with three games in eight days ... horrendous schedule that no other club has to do. No other club has been asked to travel and play with little to zero preparation. The coach won’t use it as an excuse, but I will.”
“The players were underdone at the start because of the quarantine. We can’t get a settled side because of absolutely necessary rotation policy and with injuries to (Osama) Malik, (Chris) Ikonomidis, Sebastian (Langkamp) etc, we must play five kids under 22 who are good but inexperienced.”
“Where is the PFA (Professional Footballers Australia) for player welfare? They threaten to sue me at the drop of a hat but when players have to suffer a travel schedule they turn a blind eye. Just a thought to bring our season into perspective.”
FFA CUP - ROUND THREE – REVIEW
The third round of the FFA Cup took place over the weekend and there was almost a shock on the opening game on Friday night when Joondanna Blues drew 1-1 with State League side Gosnells City after normal time, bit missed out on penalties at Walter Padbury Reserve. Nick Bates gave the Blues the lead early but Miguel Oliveira levelled for Marc Anthony’s side after the break to send the game to penalties, Gosnells eventually winning 6-5 in the shootout. “A difficult game for us, but full credit to Joondanna who made it really difficult for us and deserved their lead at half time,” Gosnells City coach Anthony said. “The second half was a lot better from us and penalties can be a bit of a lottery but just happy to be in the next round.”
There was also penalty drama at Len Packham Reserve, where Riverside Christian FC knocked out Perth AFC 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at full time. Lee Magowan scored the goal for Riverside, before keeper Lee Klomp saved the decisive save in the shootout to send them through. “I couldn’t be happier for the team it’s a new team and only our second game together,” Riverside coach Richard Lowndes said. “We would like to thank Perth AFC for a great game and sportsman ship on and off the pitch. We are looking forward to the draw to see who we get next.” Club President Ruben Zandman was also obviously delighted. “I’m very proud of the efforts of the boys and the rising influence of WACFA clubs in the Football West setting.”
The Match of the Round was at Nash Field where Western Knights beat Stirling Macedonia 5-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 at full time. Richard Howles gave Stirling the lead, and they had chances to win it, but failed to take them and the Knights levelled when Alex Kretowicz headed home at the back post from a Johnny Chalmers free kick. Stirling again missed chances after the break, with Stone making some fine saves, and in the shootout, Stone saved the fourth Stirling penalty and Ciaran Byrne stepped up to score the winner. “I thought it was a very intense game, and both teams had chances to win but both goalkeepers were outstanding during the 90 minutes,” Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said. “I must admit it was a bit of a relief to get the win in the penalty shootout.”
Dianella White Eagles produced a great fight back in the second half to beat Canning City 4-3 at Willetton Reserve. City led 3-0 at the break with goals from Jordan Rana, Rowan Steed and Ryan Moran. But Bobby Despotovski’s side hit back after the break with Vlad Naumovski bagging a brace, with Stephen Musunda and Bobby Wilson scoring the others in the come from behind win. “We started very poorly and let ourselves down by not taking one of the many chances we created in the first half, and we conceded three very poor counter attack goals which we should have never let happen,” Dianella defender Bobby Wilson said. “Second half we raised the tempo and got back to basics as well as focusing on individual battles. We have the quality throughout our team but in the first half we let ourselves down with our work ethic and desire to win. Overall, it was a great moral boost for the squad as it proved that if we do the basics right, we have the potential to beat any team, and we are looking forward to the challenge of taking Dianella into division one.”
A young Mandurah City side moved through to the next round after a 5-0 win against Football Margaret River at the Peelwood Sports Facility. Jamie Burns and Rory McGrath bagging a double, with Craig Barker scoring the other. City coach Kris Donnell said it was good to see the younger players perform well. “Pete and I brought in a lot of the boys who hadn’t seen much of the night series and a few boys from the 20s,” he said. “So, we’re really pleased to get a nice win and not concede.”
Ashfield proved too strong for Maddington White Eagles running out 3-1 winners at Nikola Tesla Reserve. The hosts were ahead early, but goals from Mohammad Rezai, Zak Hussain and Joshua Selman sealed the win. Subiaco also needed penalties to beat Kingsley Westside at Wanneroo Reserve. It was 1-1 at full time with Simone Sichel scoring for Kingsley and Lucas Munhoz for Subiaco, but it was Subiaco who moved through 3-1 in the shootout.
Swan United faced a tough test at Sunday Amateur Premier Division side Jaguar but Dan Evans side win convincingly 8-0. Loic Anga scored a hat-trick, with Kurt Kouakou and John Monterosso scoring twice, with Deng Dutt scoring the other. “We are pleased to progress through to the next round where hopefully we can test ourselves against one of the big boys of WA Football,” Evans said. “We know we still have plenty of work to do and the league is our priority so we are one step closer to being ready for round one.”
In other games a hat trick from skipper Rhys Loxley has helped Forrestfield United to a 6-1 win against Kelmscott Roos at Hartfield Park, while Callum Speed’s goal and an own goal saw Joondalup City beat Wanneroo City at Wanneroo Reserve. Olympic Kingsway proved too strong for North Beach, winning 8-3 at Charles Riley Reserve. Jack Lavis and Asa Sippitts both scored hat-tricks, with Elliot Tattersal scoring a brace. “We looked at this opportunity to play players who couldn't play for us in the night series due to registration issues,” Olympic skipper Luke Palmateer said. “Asa was fantastic and gave us a great insight into what we can look forward to. Credit to North Beach who gave us a strong first half, they came with a high intensity and gave a good account of themselves.”
Fremantle City eased through with a 9-1 win against Greyhound Christians SC at Hilton Reserve, while UWA Nedlands beat Morley Windmills 4-1 at the UWA Sports Park. Joondalup United beat Curtin University 1-0 at Edinburgh Oval with Jamie Stewart heading home the all-important goal, while Busselton City beat East Perth 4-0 at Churchill Park. Murdoch University Melville have come home from the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury with a 3-1 win against South West Phoenix. Adrian Ciampini, Declan Tanna and Ben Pellizzari were the scorers for MUM, with Kieran Quinn scored from the spot for the hosts.
Kwinana United eased past South Perth 4-0 at Kelly Park, Sean Troop scoring a brace, with Jake Daley and Lee Bates adding he others. In the final game North Perth United edged out Ellenbrook United 1-0 at the Ellenbrook Sports Hub, the only goal of the game coming from Dave Houston. “Strong start from the boys and controlled the first half for long periods without getting the goal the performance deserved,” North Perth assistant coach Kevin Mulgrew said. “The second was end to end with both teams creating good chances bringing some great last ditch defending from both teams, but we managed to get the winner. The team is really starting to take shape now and looking forward to a big week ahead.”
ECU OPEN TITLE DEFENCE WITH WIN AT GWELUP
ECU Joondalup began the defence of the NPLWA title with a hard-fought 2-1 win against Gwelup Croatia at Wishart Street on a warm Sunday afternoon. Danny Hodgson gave the visitors the lead on 11 minutes, before Chris Harold doubled the lead on his NPLWA debut midway through the second half. Gwelup pulled one back deep into stoppage time, with Jon Stynes scoring from the spot, but it was too little too late. “We knew it would be tough game, they have good players, but we had a game plan and it worked, and we’re delighted to start the season with a win,” midfielder Sami Riak said post-match. “It was a great team performance from us today, and it’s always great to start the season with a win, and to come here and get the result we’ve put a marker down to the rest of the league we will be hard to beat again.”
It was the home side who opened up the brighter, and former Jacks’ midfielder Ethan Brooks saw an early effort flash wide, before Stynes picked out Brooks again moments later, but he couldn’t keep his header down. But on 11 minutes it was the Jacks who opened the scoring. Andy Higgins defence-splitting through ball sent Hodgson clear, and the former Gwelup striker raced into the penalty area, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball home.
It was almost 2-0 four minutes later, Nicol was sent clear by a neat Harold pass, but Gwelup keeper Stefan King got down well to deny him. King was in the action again on the half hour, this time producing a smart save to deny Sami Riak, as the Jacks pressed for a second. But keeper Johnny Perkins came to our rescue four minutes later with a great double save. First, he stood tall to deny Shubham Mokala, before produced a smart save to stop Blamo Qua Qua follow up shot, but at the break it was the Jacks holding a 1-0 advantage.
The Jacks were quickly out of the blocks after the break, and Nicol was thwarted by the alert King, before Hodgson headed over after good work by Harold. But their good start to the half was rewarded with a second goal on 70 minutes. Riak started the move picking out Nicol in the middle of the park, he found Hodgson down the right, who crossed to Harold, whose first time shot, clinically found the bottom corner of the net.
Gwelup looked for an immediate response, but Perkins saved well to deny Brooks’ long-range shot, and the Jacks immediately broke on a quick counter attack but Nicol’s through ball was blocked by a desperate Gwelup defender, with Hodgson ready to pounce in the box. Gwelup found a late lifeline when referee Michal Jasinski spotted a tug on the shirt by Jakub Prajza on second half substitute Hasani Sinclair, and Stynes stepped and sent Perkins the wrong way, to set up a grandstand finish. But the Jacks held firm to start their season with three points.
Gwelup Croatia 1 (Stynes 90+3’) ECU Joondalup 2 (Hodgson 11’, Harold 70’)
Gwelup Croatia: GK Stefan KING, 2 Ciaran SALINGER, 4 Thomas SOUTHGATE, 5 Blair GOVAN, 6 Declan HARGREAVES, 8 Jon STYNES, 11 Ethan BROOKS (9 Paul ZIMARINO 89’), 13 Rocco PIZZATA (3 Adam FIELDS, 76’) 14 Shubham MOKALA (12 Hasani SINCLAIR 67’), 15 Blamo QUA QUA, 22 Joshua SAMSON (7 Brent GRIFFITHS 76’) – Subs not used: RGK Benjamin RATAJCZAK – Yellow Cards: Southgate 40’, Griffiths 90’
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 3 Nelson TSHONGO, 4 Declan HUGHES, 6 Sami RIAK, 7 Danny HODGSON, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Chris HAROLD, 12 Jakub PRAJZA, 16 Shane CASSIDY – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 14 Ben HINSHELWOOD, 15 Lewis DAVIS, 17 Harry EVANS, 18 Danny DOUGLAS – Yellow Cards: Hodgson 6’, Prajza 90+3’ - Referee: Michal JASINSKI
AMBROGIO WINS IT FOR FLOREAT
Floreat Athena have started their NPLWA season with a hard fought 2-1 win against Balcatta at E&D Litis Stadium on a hot Saturday afternoon. Joshua Anasmo gave the hosts the lead early, but the visitors hit back with Jawad Rezai levelling. Nick Ambrogio scored three minutes before half time to regain the lead for Vas Vujacic’s side, and that was the winner, despite both sides having chances in the second half.
“Being the first game of the season, it was important for us to get off to a good start,” Floreat goal scorer Ambrogio said. “It was a great effort from all of the boys over a tough 90 minutes against Balcatta, and we’re looking forward to another successful season.”
It was Floreat who opened the brighter and Liam Murray's chip went inches over Riley Stephenson's crossbar, and it was the hosts who opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Ludovic Boi raced down the right and crossed from the bye-line to the back post and Anasmo headed in his first senior goal for the club. But Balcatta restored parity five minute later. Skipper Calum O’Connell found space down the left he cut the ball back to Rezai found the top corner, his first goal since joining the club from Perth SC.
Rezai was involved again on 36 minutes as he twisted and turned in the area before crossing to Hamza Hina, but the former Olympic Kingsway striker shot straight at Floreat custodian Jason Saldaris. But it was Vas Vujacic’s side who hit the front again three minutes before the interval. Dean Evans found Chris Saldaris on the left and his deep cross was headed home by Nick Ambrogio at the back post.
Clear-cut chances dried up after the restart as Henry Durr and substitute Amir Ajan tried their luck from distance, while Evans and Ambrogio were both thwarted by Stephenson in the final few minutes as Balcatta tried to push forward for an equaliser, but two goals proved enough for Floreat to secure the three points and start the season on a high.
Floreat Athena 2 (Anasmo 11’, Ambrogio 42’) Balcatta 1 (Rezai 16’)
Floreat Athena: GK Jason SALDARIS, 4 Ben STEELE, 10 Nicholas AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 11 George FESTA, 14 Ludovic BOI, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 17 Dean EVANS, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 19 Liam MURRAY, 22 Joshua ANASMO – Subs not used: RGK Joshua HUNTER, 3 Cameron MURRAY, 12 Robert HARDING, 16 Kyle MURRAY, 40 Wesley CASIMIR
Balcatta: GK Riley STEPHENSON, 3 Joseph MARINO, 4 Calum O’CONNELL, 5 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 6 Carmelo GIUFFRE, 8 Jack LEECH, 9 Hamza HINA, 10 Jon CORNESS, 16 Jawad REZAI, 17 Henry DURR – Subs not used: RGK Sebastian MEDICA 3 David CYRUS, 7 Amir AJAN, 11 Michael ZIMARINO, 14 Nicholas MESSINA - Referee: Josh MANNELLA
SOKOL AT THE DOUBLE FOR INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United have made the best possible start to the new season, after a 4-1 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Reserve. Steve Sokol gave Andres Oliveira’s side the lead, begore a stunner from Robert Petkov doubled their lead on the half hour. Ajak Riak made it 3-0 before half time, and despite Reds’ substitute Angel Andres pulling one back on the hour mark, Sokol’s second of the game wrapped up the win.
It was hot!!,” Inglewood coach Oliveira said. “It was a great contest against Armadale. I'm very pleased with our performance. The players did an excellent job controlling the whole game in attacking and defensively. I really enjoy how we created and finish off our chances, also the distribution of the ball. So happy with the front three scoring all the goals. The only sour note is the late challenge on Mark Barnett at the end of the game, which was reckless but not intentionally left him out next couple of games.”
It was the hosts who were on the front foot early and Kevin Ashwood shot flashed wide, before Ryan McEvoy long-range shot whistled over the top. But in their first real attack it was Inglewood who opened the scoring on 14 minutes. The Reds lost possession in the middle of the park and Andreas Theodosiades drove forward and sent Petkov down the right, he out-muscled his marker and crossed to Sokol who scored from close-range.
Alex Dunn then got down well to save McEvoy’s curing effort as Armadale looked for a quick response, but on 27 minutes it was 2-0, and what a goal it was. Riak won the ball in the middle of the park and found Petkov who hit a shot from 20 meters that flew into the top corner of the net. Armadale went close on 34 minutes, Joshua Cortes had time in the penalty area, but he delayed his shot and the chance was blocked, and sixty seconds later it was 3-0.
Theodosiades raced clear, and was brought down, but referee Matthew Southern played a good advantage and Riak raced on and finished well past Yousri Gharsallah. Armadale brought last season’s top goalscorer on just before the hour and he had an immediate effect, pulling one back for the hosts from free kick on the edge of the penalty area on 65 minjutes.
But seven minutes from time Inglewood, who last week won their first trophy for 16-years by taking out the Night Series, sealed the points. A quick free kick from Mark Barnett sent Robert Del Borrello racing down the right, his cross was turned home by Sokol to complete his brace. The win was soured late with injury to Barnett, who left United with ten men, but it was a winning start.
Armadale 1 (Andres 65’) Inglewood United 4 (Sokol 13’ 83’, Petkov 27’, Riak 35’)
Armadale: GK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 3 Harry QUIGLEY (13 Filippo GIOFFRE 75’), 4 Nathan COSTRLLO, 7 Joshua CORTES (11 Chad NILSON 67’), 8 Brian PATTERSON (15 Cherno BAH 67’), 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 17 Pieter JACOBSZ, 18 Kevin ASHWOOD, 21 Manase ABANDELWA, 22 Ryan MCEVOY (9 Angel ANDRES 55’), 23 Friday ZICO – Subs not used: RGK Michael CRAGGS
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 4 Scott BLACKMORE (20 Adrian MANNO 78’), 5 Thiak KUEL (6 Adam FALCONE 68’), 7 Ajak RIAK, 9 Robert PETKOV (16 Jamie MURPHY 78’), 12 Roberto DEL BORRELLO, 14 Steve SOKOL, 17 Mark BARNETT, 18 Andreas THEODOSIADES (10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA 68’) – Sub not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY – Referee: Matthew SOUTHERN
GULLS SWOOP LATE TO TAKE THE POINTS
Sorrento have scored a late stoppage time winner, to beat Cockburn City 3-2 at Dalmatinac Park in the season opener. Jesse Lazzaro gave the Cockerels the lead eight minutes before the break, but new signing Billy Quinncroft levelled five minutes later. Jordan Brown gave the Gulls the lead on the hour, but Sebastian Da Silva restored parity six minutes later. The game took a twist in stoppage time when Riley Woodcock was sent off by referee David Bruce, and sixty seconds later another new Sorrento signing Neil Gillies won it for Jamie Harnwell’s side. “I thought it was a good end to end game,” Gillies said. “Both teams had chances but we showed good fight and determination to come from a goal down and obviously to grab the winner very late.”
Both sides didn’t have the best of Night Series campaigns, but it the hosts who went close first in this one. Da Silva eased past his marker, but his effort drew a smart save from Joel Driscoll at his near post. Sorrento also went close in a lively opening, Scott Witschge saw his shot well saved by Cockburn keeper Luke Radonich. But on 37 minutes it was the hosts who opened the scoring on 37 minutes.
Former ECU Joondalup striker Dor Jok shot struck the arm of Gillies, and referee David Bruce pointed to the spot, and Lazzaro converted the resulting penalty. But the visitors were level three minutes from time, with Radonich misjudging the flight of Brown's cross-field ball and Quinncroft, who re-signed for the club after spells at Armadale and ECU Joondalup, poked the ball home at the back post.
The goal lifted Sorrento after the break and former Bayswater City midfielder Dean Cummings saw a shot flash inches past the post early, and they hit the front for the first time on the hour, Brown looping header beat Radonich. But Scott Miller’s side hit back five minutes later, Lazzaro’s corner was flicked on by Daniel Robinson and Da Silva scored from close-range. Both teams had chances to win the game, but it was Sorrento who won it five minutes into added time. Riley Woodcock was shown a second yellow card for a foul on halfway and from the free kick the ball was headed back across goal and Gillies finished at the back post.
Cockburn City 2 (Lazzaro 37’ pen, Da Silva 65’) Sorrento 3 (Quinncroft 42’, Brown 61’, Gillies 90+5)
Cockburn City: GK Luke RADONICH, 2 Julian TELES, 8 Cameron EDWARDS (7 Ashley ROSINDALE 82’), 12 Sebastian DA SILVA (10 David ARAYA 67’), 15 David SANTICH, 16 Ali GHOLAMI, 20 Dor JOK, 21 Jesse LAZZARO, 22 Daniel ROBINSON (3 Daniel DOLS 82’), 23 Riley WOODCOCK, 25 Breckan BAKER – Subs not used: 4 Euen GRANT, 18 Adam ANFUSO – Red Card: Woodcock 90+4
Sorrento: GK Joel DRISCOLL, 3 Daniel FAICHNEY (12 Joe TWEATS 71’), 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 7 Alex MORGAN, 8 Scott WITSCHGE, 9 Billy QUINNCROFT (5 Scott ROBERTSON 78’), 11 Tim HILL, 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 23 Neil GILLIES – Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI, 15 Tristian STEVENS, 19 Jaxon TEMATA – Referee: David BRUCE
WARLAND SPOT ON FOR GLORY
Riley Warland's late penalty has earned Perth Glory a share of the spoils, as they fought out a 2-2 draw with Perth SC in Saturday evening's NPLWA season-opener at Dorrien Gardens. The home side took an early lead against the run of play when former Glory duo Calvin Whitney and Michael Domfeh combined, the former playing in the latter who forced the ball past Cameron Cook at the second attempt.
Ruben Zadkovich's side continued to look the more likely as the first half wore on and duly restored parity when Bryce Bafford's initial shot was parried by Ryan Montgomery and the alert Charlie Leech pounced to fire home the rebound. Moment later, the lively Cameron Teece struck the bar for Perth SC with an audacious, long-range lob and it was the former Sorrento man who would subsequently restore his side's lead midway through the second half.
Glory skipper Giordano Colli was adjudged to have tripped Whitney in the box and Teece calmly converted from the spot. Stung by that setback, the Glory youngsters immediately set about pressing for an equaliser and they finally found one three minutes from time, Bojan Radinovic's foul on Bafford handing Warland the opportunity to level things up from the spot which he took with no fuss whatsoever. A pulsating contest continued to keep the Dorrien Gardens crowd enthralled right into stoppage-time when Cook produced a superb reaction save to keep Kieran Colwell at bay.
Perth SC 2 (Domfeh 9', Teece (pen) 63') Perth Glory 2 (Leech 24', Warland (pen) 89')
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA, 3 Jordan DE LEO (8 Riley VAN Dieken 81'), 4 Lachlan BYRD, 6 Nic MCDONALD, 10 Michael DOMFEH (20 Gustavo CATARACIONE 74'), 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 17 Cameron TEECE, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH - Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 7 Alex JOVIC, 15 Will GORDON
Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Nick WALSH, 6 Joseph FORDE, 7 Aidan EDWARDS (12 Lewis TUCKER 81'), 8 Chris DONNELL, 9 Charlie LEECH (13 Lucas ROSSI 69'), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 17 Bryce BAFFORD - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 2 Hugo SNOWDEN, 15 Aidan COYNE - Referee: Shane Skinner
NAVEN OPENS WITH A WIN AT BAYSWATER
Bayswater City have given new coach Gareth Naven a perfect start after a 3-0 win against Rockingham City at Frank Drago Reserve. Former Perth Glory striker Ndumba Makeche gave the hosts the lead early, before Konstantinos Sparta doubled their advantage seven minutes from half time. It got better for the home supporters with Fraser Dunlop added a third in the shadows of half time to seal the win.
“A good solid start to the season, three good goals and a clean sheet,” Bayswater striker Gordon Smith said. “The early goal gave us confidence to go on and grab another couple and kill the game before half time. We had a plan on how we wanted to approach the game and the work on the training ground during the week paid off and we now prepare for a tough game next week.”
The home side got off to a perfect start and were ahead inside five minutes. A long clearance from Liam Driscoll sent Makeche clear, he held off the last defender before lobbing the on-coming Cyril Sharrock. The striker went close to a second moments later, racing on to a ball from Fraser Dunlop, but Sharrock produced a smart save to deny him. The lively Dunlop then saw an effort flash just wide as Bayswater pressed for a second.
Rockingham went close themselves when Jethro Yumange’s cross was inches away from Shane Boyle at the back stick, before Luke Collins’ effort was blocked. But on 38 minutes the hosts doubled their advantage, Smith found Makeche on the edge of the box and he was pulled back by Dieudonne Sumail, and referee Julian serra gave a free kick. Sparta stepped and curled the free kick home superbly via the crossbar, giving Sharrock no chance.
It was 3-0 on 43 minutes, Makeche was the supplier this time, his slide-rule pass sent Dunlop clear, and he made no mistake. It was an uphill battle for Goran Stajic’s side after the break and no comeback would be forthcoming, but substitute Christos Vaenas almost bagged a spectacular consolation goal with an acrobatic effort which went the wrong side of the post. Makeche came close to adding a fourth for Bayswater deep into the stoppage time, but the woodwork came to the rescue of the visitors. It mattered little, Bayswater getting the Navan reign at the club off with three points.
Bayswater City 3 (Makeche 5’, Sparta 38’, Dunlop 44’) Rockingham City 0
Bayswater City: GK Liam DRISCOLL, 3 Jack ALLEN, 4 Albert FULLARD, 7 Ndumba MAKECHE, 8 Gordon SMITH 99 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA 80’), 12 Steven HESKETH, 15 Leonard GAMA (22 Luke SALMON 63’), 17 Steven WALMSLEY, 18 Fraser DUNLOP (29 Tyler GARNER 57’), 26 Zayd FARAH, 28 Konstantinos SPARTA - Subs not used: RGK Riccardo MAZZOLENI, 27 Dean KEZURER,
Rockingham City: GK Cyril SHARROCK, 3 Nathan NG (5 Afian GIYANTO 46’), 4 Dieudonne SUMAIL, 7 Feisal ZAW, 8 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 10 Shane BOYLE (9 Christos VAENAS 46’), 11 Luke COLLINS, 12 Jethro YUMANGE (15 Noah WITTSTROM-LEA 63’) 13 Ian NG, 18 Harry BOLAN, 23 Ryan KENNEDY (16 Mali-Jose BOUQUEY DE ARAUJO 72’) – Subs not used: RGK Brad STOUT – Referee: Julian serra
WANDERERS TOO GOOD FOR GLORY
Perth Glory’s recent poor form continued on after being well beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Friday evening. Richard Garcia’s side were torn apart on the first half, with Wanderers scoring four goals, luckily for Glory three were disallowed by VAR, while Liam Reddy produced a number of fine saved to deny a rampant Wanderers. Mitch Duke’s goal did give the home side the advantage before half time and second half goals to Duke, and James Troisi made it a very disappointing Night for Glory. The loss leaves them in ninth place and looking forward to returning home after a horror three game road trip.
"I thought we lacked intensity," Glory Head coach Garcia told Fox Sports post-match. “At the moment we're carrying all our experience in three or four senior players and the younger guys are going through a bit of a rough patch. We need those guys to be a bit more consistent. It's always tough when you come away and you're away for a week, but I still feel that we're showing good signs. We just need to improve upon our consistency."
The first chance of the game fell Glory's way, Bruno Fornaroli drawing a smart save from Daniel Margush with a low shot from the edge of the box and moments later Nick D'Agostino flashed a strike narrowly wide of the far post. It was a lively opening from the visitors but the Wanderers hit back and Liam Reddy was called into action to make a point-blank save from Bernie Ibini who had been picked out by strike partner Duke and when the loose ball fell for Troisi, he blazed over the top.
Ibini did have the ball in the net midway through the half, but the Socceroos striker had his effort chalked off for offside by the VAR and he was then foiled by Reddy once again after meeting a cross from Daniel Wilmering. With Wanderers continuing to menace on the break, the VAR was again called upon to rule out finishes from Ibini and Duke, before the latter forced a smart, one-handed stop from Reddy. The home side's pressure finally told in first-half stoppage-time, however, Troisi standing up an enticing cross at the far post and Duke climbing highest to power a header across Reddy and into the far corner.
And 1-0 became 2-0 almost immediately after the restart, Keanu Baccus supplying the long diagonal ball and Duke racing in on goal before finishing emphatically. Glory barely had time to reset before Wanderers struck again, the luckless Darryl Lachman producing a superb last-ditch tackle to foil Ibini, only for the ball to break for Troisi who side footed into an empty net.
The visitors came close to mustering a response within two minutes, Ziggy Gordon's fine block preventing Andy Keogh from converting Brandon Wilson's low cross. Garcia's side proceeded to enjoy plenty of possession in the latter stages, with Wanderers’ content to sit on their lead and threaten on the break, but with the exception of a blocked shot from substitute Daniel Stynes, the men in white rarely threatened to claim a consolation goal.
It was the home fans celebrating at the final whistle. “I thought we played exceptional in the first half, we really were, and could have and should have maybe been two or three goals up, if it wasn’t for VAR,” Wanderers Coach Carl Robinson said. “But offside is offside, I said that last week. You can’t have your cake and eat it all the time. “I asked the boys to respond at half-time because the game was certainly in the balance against a very good team, and they did. The first 10 minutes of the second half, we put the game out of sight.”
Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Daniel MARGUSH, 2 Ziggy GORDON, 4 Dylan MCGOWAN, 9 Bernie IBINI (7 Bruce KAMAU 67'), 12 Mitchell DUKE (11 Kwame YEBOAH 67'), 13 Tate RUSSELL, 14 James TROISI (27 Nicolai MULLER 78'), 17 Keanu BACCUS, 18 Graham DORRANS (19 Jordon MUTCH 89'), 29 Daniel WILMERING (39 Thomas AQUILINA 89'), 33 Mark NATTA - Subs not used: RGK Noah JAMES, 10 Simon COX,
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 79'), 10 Andy KEOGH (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 60'), 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON (19 Callum TIMMINS 67'), 16 Nick SULLIVAN (23 Dane INGHAM 46'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 67'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS - Referee: Daniel Elder
GLORY SNAP UP GERIA
Perth Glory have confirmed they have signed former Melbourne Victory defender Jason Geria from J2-League side JEF United Chiba for the remainder of the 2020/21 Season. The 27-year-old brings a wealth of A-League experience having played over 100 appearances during a six-season stint at Victory, where he was a part of the side which claimed the Championship/Premiership double in 2014-15 and the FFA Cup in 2015.
The Socceroos defender is now excited at the prospect of returning to the A-League as part of Richard Garcia’s Glory squad. "I finished up in Japan in December last year," he said, "and I was weighing up what the next move was going to be and due to some factors beyond my control, I felt that I needed to get back into it in Australia. Glory contacted me, we had some talks and now I’m here and I’m very keen to get started.
"I’m just looking to contribute; I want play as many games as possible and help bring success to the club. It’s always been tough playing away games against Glory, the fans are pretty loud and they let you know that you’re on their turf and don’t make it easy for you. So, it’ll be good having them on my side for once and I hope with the run of home games coming up, it can help propel us up the ladder. The energy in the group is really nice and it has a good unity to it, so adjusting is going to be easy."
Garcia, meanwhile, is confident that Geria will prove to be an important acquisition for the club at a crucial time of the season. "Jason's a very good player who will add excellent experience to the squad," he said. "He's been playing at a good level in Japan and, of course, has also played extensively and enjoyed great success in the A-League."
Those sentiments were echoed by Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata. “Securing Jason's services is another coup for the club and I'm sure our Members and fans will enjoy seeing him in action," he said. "We believe that his experience and winning mentality will make him a key contributor within the squad on and off the field this season."
Originally from Canberra, Geria attended the Australian Institute of Sport before joining Brisbane Roar where he went on to skipper the club’s youth team. But it was a move to Melbourne Victory that sparked his senior career into life as he proceeded to make 107 A-League appearances during a six-season stint with the navy-and-whites.
16 of those appearances came in Victory’s 2014-15 Championship-Premiership double-winning campaign and the dashing right-back also played in the 2015 FFA Cup Final win over Glory. In March 2018, he joined Japanese J2 side JEF United Chiba playing 59 times in all competitions over the course of three seasons. At international level, Geria represented Australia extensively at Under-20 and Under-23 level before winning his one Socceroos cap to date in a 2016 friendly against Greece.
GLORY GO DOWN FIGHTING AGAINST CITY
Perth Glory are still searching for their first win of the Westfield W-League season, after suffering a narrow defeat for the second time in the space of three days as Rhali Dobson's second-half goal secured a 1-0 win for Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening. Alex Epakis' side left nothing out there and went toe-to-toe with the reigning champions, but once again they came up short.
Epakis was again pleased with the character shown by his young squad. "I feel like a broken record," he said, "but we competed, played above ourselves and did our absolute best for 90 minutes. Unfortunately, we lacked a bit of experience and cutting edge which the opposition had and they took advantage of that and utilised it better than we did.
"Again, after the amount of work we did physically, I'm very happy with the girls because we've probably done what no team in world football has done before and played four or five games in the space of 14 days. So, for the girls to be continuing to produce the physical output they are is credit to them. Now we have a bit of time before our final two matches and we've got to make the most of that and maintain that level of performance."
It was City who were the faster out of the blocks on a warm night in Perth and they created the first chance as Jenna McCormick got in front of her marker to meet a Chinatsu Kira corner, only to see her flicked header fly narrowly wide. Having taken some time to settle, Glory responded with a chance of their own, Caitlin Doeglas showing a great turn of pace to outstrip the Melbourne defence, but ultimately finding the side-netting with her well-struck shot.
Chances were at a premium for the remainder of a closely-contested first half and it took until the 50th minute for either defence to be seriously threatened again as Kira's free-kick fell kindly in the box for City skipper Emma Checker who scooped her shot over the bar. Substitute Samantha Johnson then headed straight at Lily Alfeld as Rado Vidosic's side continued to ask questions of the Glory defence and they eventually broke through midway through the second half.
The lively Alex Chidiac slipped the ball into the path of the onrushing Dobson who fired across Alfeld and into the far corner. To their credit, Glory responded by creating a decent chance of their own almost immediately, Hana Lowry meeting Doeglas' cutback with a shot which Melissa Barbieri saved low to her left. But despite enjoying long periods of possession in the latter stages, the hosts were ultimately unable to break down a resolute City defence.
Perth Glory 0 Melbourne City 1 (Dobson 67')
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (6 Tijan MCKENNA 66'), 10 Alexia MORENO (23 Katarina JUKIC 73'), 12 Sarah MORGAN (17 Marianna TABAIN 73'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE (2 Sarah CARROLL 46'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 16 Isabella WALLHEAD - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT
Melbourne City: GK Melissa BARBIERI, 5 Tori TUMETH, 6 Noor ECKHOFF, 8 Hollie PALMER, 9 Alex CHIDIAC, 10 Chinatsu KIRA, 11 Rhali DOBSON, 15 Emma CHECKER, 18 Leah DAVIDSON, 19 Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC (20 Lia MULDEARY 82'), 21 Jenna MCCORMICK, 22 Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMA (17 Samantha JOHNSON 40') - Subs not used: RGK Sophia VARLEY, 13 Sarah CAIN - Referee: Kelly Jones
INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE WA SEASON PREVIEW
The 2021 NPL-WA season kicks off this weekend, and all eyes will be on reigning State champions ECU Joondalup, who are looking to win back to back titles for the first time in their history. However they will be strongly challenged by the likes of Inglewood United and Perth, who both did well in the recent Night Series. Floreat Athena, Gwelup Croatia and Bayswater City will also be knocking on the door for honours.
The team which finishes top of the regular season table will once again be champions and represent Western Australia in the national NPL play-off series. This week the footballwa.net team takes a look at the twelve clubs, and are joined by local football media guru and former Stirling Lions President Don Evans, Murray Stevens, from "Let's talk Football", Richard Kreider (Author of "Paddocks to Pitches" - a history of football in WA, and footballwa.net founder Jacob Aufdemkampe, in offering their thoughts on how season 2021 will pan out...
NPL-WA ROUND ONE PREVIEW
The 2021 NPLWA season kicks off this weekend and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Frank Drago Reserve where Bayswater City host Rockingham City (all games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated). Both sides have appointed new coaches for his season with Gareth Naven at Bayswater and Goran Stajic at Rockingham, and both sides struggled last season, so it will be important to start the new campaign with a positive result. The last time the two sides met at the venue was in round nine last season when Rockingham ran out 3-1 winners. Daryl Nicol gave the home side and early lead, but the visitors levelled through Ryan Kennedy, Michael Farmer gave them the lead at the break, before James Paylor secured all three point late.
New Rockingham midfielder Feisal Zaw said they have taken a lot of positives from a good Night Series. “Definitely, we rotated the squad and scored plenty of goals and played positively,” he explained. “We go into the season confident, and hopefully the attacking style of play fashions us a couple more wins this season.” Zaw said the new look Rockingham side are building nicely with Stajic and they are looking to be on the front foot on the season opener. “Bayswater are always quality, especially at home, but I think a lot of people are writing us off and this would be a huge statement if we can grab a win,” he said. “We will go there play our game and we just need to execute the game plan.”
Like Rockingham, Bayswater had a season to forget last year, but new striker Ndumba Makeche said that’s in the past and there have been some good signs on preseason. “We had a good night series with plenty of rotations of young players getting some first team football action,” he said. “We prepared well throughout our pre-season and all the lads are itching to kick of the season with a good result.”
Makeche said the new looking side are ready and knows the importance of starting the season well, and they are looking forward to it. “I think it will be a tough game against Rockingham, because they have a well organised coach, but I believe our quality will show on the day,” the striker explained. “Anything but three points at home will be points dropped for us, so everyone is focused and ready to go Saturday.”
In other games on Saturday Night Series winners Inglewood United hit the road with a trip to Alfred Skeet Reserve to take on Armadale. The Reds also had a positive Night Series, reaching the Semi-finals before a narrow loss to Inglewood on penalties, so with both teams in good form this one should be a great game. New Perth Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich starts his tenure at the club with a trip to Dorrien Gardens to take on Perth SC. Ramon Falzon’s side will be smarting after their loss in the Night Series final last week, and will be without the suspended Yagoub Mustafa, while the Glory youngsters, who have impressed in preseason, will be at full strength.
It’s a battle of the former Perth Glory legends Scott Miller and Jamie Harnwell at Dalmatinac Park as Cockburn City entertain Sorrento. Both sides had a disappointing Night Series, but last season the Cockerels just missed out on the title, while Sorrento made the top six, so both sides will look to start the season on a high. Top Four Finals Series winners Floreat Athena open their season hosting Balcatta at E&D Litis Stadium. Both sides struggled in the recent night series, but both finished last season well and both will look to continue that on Saturday.
The final game of the round is on Sunday when Champions ECU Joondalup begin the defence of their title with a trip to Wishart Street to take on Gwelup Croatia. The home side just missed on the Top Four Finals last season, and the club have recruited well, and they had decent Night Series, but will want to be on the front foot on Sunday. Joondalup skipper Johnny Perkins said they are getting better with each game and Head Coach Kenny Lowe will have some section headaches this season. “We have added real quality but its only as a collective that we can challenge again,” he said.
“Injuries, suspensions are part and parcel of football and it’s the 18+ in the squad that win you anything. No one is guaranteed their place, and the gaffer puts in players on merit regardless of age / experience so there is real competition for places which is great for intensity.” Perkins said Gwelup are a good side, and he knows they will have to be at their best on Sunday. “Gwelup were a solid outfit last year and have strengthened to push for it again this year,” the keeper explained. “It will be a tough game on a tight pitch, but training has been great, and everyone is champing at the bit to get started.”
FFA CUP ACTION THIS WEEKEND
The third round of the FFA Cup takes place this weekend with games across the metro area. Our match of the round takes us to Peelwood Sports Facility on Sunday where Mandurah City host Football Margaret River in a real David v Goliath tie. (12.30pm) Margaret River eased through the second round with a 9-0 win against Perth Hills and Head Coach Neal Carter-James said it was a good performance. “It was a big win against Perth Hills, but full credit to PHUFC though, they were great sportsmen on the day despite a heavy defeat, it speaks volumes for them as a club and group of players,” he said. “We entered the FFA Cup this year really to use it as prep for the season. It's been 5 years since FMR last entered, 2016 I believe, so we went to Perth with little expectation.
“Our focus was purely to work on a few things that we've highlighted as important for the season. The lads put in a good performance, in some hot conditions and it was nice to score a few goals. But more importantly it highlighted some details that will help for the season ahead. Overall, it's great when you win by such a margin, especially on your first outing for the season and when you can see the lads still had a few gears to go through, with Fab Pietrock grabbing a hat-trick, Tom Collins a brace, the second of which was pure quality, with John Mackay, Gordon Becker, Ziggy Fernandez and Jeronimo Mottin rounded out the goals.”
The club have already beaten a state league side after beating Balga and Swan United in 2016, and Carter-James said they are looking forward to the challenge. “From what I've heard, Mandurah City have recruited some quality players to strengthen their squad this season, so I'm sure it'll be a tough game, but that's what we entered the competition for, to stretch ourselves in prep for the coming season,” he explained. “We'll approach the game with a focus on specific areas of our game that we want to work on, if we get those aspects right, we'll be happy regardless of the result. For us, it's more about our performance and making sure we hit the targets we've set in terms of how we play, as well as establishing a style of play that will create the foundations for our season. The result is secondary to playing in the right way for us and we'll enjoy the game and the journey whilst we're on it. After all, if you're not playing with a smile on your face, maybe it's time to hang up the boots.”
Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said in the cup anything can happen, so they need to prepare well, like they do for all games. “It’s exciting to see the return of the FFA cup following last year’s disruptions, and we see it as an opportunity to expose some of the younger squad players to competitive fixtures and well see where it leads us,” he said. “We’ll never take any game lightly and whoever is selected will be suitably prepared our mindset is to win every fixture we’re involved in and this is no different. FMR had a massive victory in the last round against an amateur division two side so they’ll come into this full of confidence and with nothing to lose.”
The round kicks off on Friday evening at Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City host Joondanna Blues (7.30pm). Also on Friday night Kingsley Westside meet Subiaco at Wanneroo SC at 7pm. On Saturday (all games kick off at 3.00pm unless stated) Balga will be hoping not to lose to lower opposition again when they take on Northern City at Wanneroo SC (12.00pm). Dianella White Eagles make the trip to Willetton Reserve to take on Canning City (5.00pm), Fremantle City host Greyhounds Christian SC at Hilton Park, while UWA Nedlands host Morley Windmills at UWA Sports Park.
Curtin University meet Joondalup United at Edinburgh Oval (6.30pm), Wanneroo City meet Joondalup City in a local derby at Wanneroo Reserve (4.00pm), while South West Phoenix welcome Murdoch University Melville to Onside Sports Stadium. There is a massive game at Nash Field, where three-time cup winners Western Knights host six-time cup winners Stirling Macedonia. State League Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway take on North Beach at Charles Riley Reserve (4.30pm)
On Sunday Swan United face, a tough challenge when they visit Ted Cross Memorial Ground to take on Jaguars. New Swan coach Dan Evans is expecting a tough game against a side who have been impressive in the Amateur Premier League. “We don’t take anyone lightly, especially a side like Jaguars who we know have some good players. It’s going to be a tricky tie, especially at their ground so we have to be spot on with our preparation and trust in our processes,” he said. “We have to take every game as it comes but of course the chance to test ourselves against some of the big clubs in the country would be fantastic, but first of all we need to be at our best to get past Jaguars.”
In Sunday’s other games Busselton City host East Perth at Churchill Park, Perth AFC welcome Riverside Christian FC to Len Packham Reserve, Kwinana United take on South Perth at Kelly Park, while last season’s Amateur Premier League Champions North Perth travel to the Ellenbrook Sports Hub to take on Ellenbrook United. Maddington White Eagles welcome Ashfield to Nikola Tesla Reserve, while in the final game. Kelmscott Roos travel to Hartfield Park to take on Forrestfield Unitec in a local derby (5,30pm). State league Division Two Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers travel to E&D Litis Stadium to take on Hamersley Rovers next Friday evening, while Quinns have moved into the next round after Bunbury United forfeited.
GLORY HEAD TO WANDERLAND ON FRIDAY
Perth Glory will hope to build on their 2-2 draw with league leaders Central Coast Mariners last week when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Friday. (Kick-off 4.05pmWST) It will be the third game on the road for Richard Garcia’s side, but the coach is confident that his squad is moving in the right direction, and he believes that there will be further improvement from the side on a game-by-game basis.
"If we hadn't had the start, we did, then people would have said that we're still a young side and we're inexperienced," he said at his pre-game press conference. "But because we scored a lot of goals to start with, that probably overshadowed the fact that we're still a new group that is trying to grow and get better. I feel we're on the path to doing that. In my mind, I see the group improving every week, growing as a unit, and growing off the park as well. All the signs are there for them to keep going along this path and eventually get their rewards and it's just taking it step by step and making sure we improve every week."
Garcia is sensing that the club's new-look defence is starting to gel and knows they can get better. "The [squad's] mindset to defend hasn't been as good as it can be," he said. "So that's something that we've started to focus on a lot more and make them aware of that. I feel that they are now starting to take that on board and think about that part of the game as well. A lot of teams are trying to catch us on the counter and at times, we are giving goals away that we probably shouldn't concede, and that's part of us learning as a group.
"It's not a back four that have been together for a long time and now that we have a lot of games coming up in this season where we're playing every four days, there are a lot of areas to improve in a short space of time. The less training we're doing, the harder it is to get those things right, hence why we're doing a lot of video analysis work to try and get those things right in their minds so that they can go and do it on the park.
"Our defensive side is pretty new, whereas when you look at the likes of Bruno [Fornaroli], Cas [Diego Castro] and Andy [Keogh] who have all played together before, then you throw in some of those younger guys, it's much easier for them to come into that forward line because you have a bunch of guys that have been together for quite a while.
"Defensively, the only players we've got who have been in the squad for the last year and a half or two years are [goalkeepers] Tando [Velaphi] and Liam [Reddy], so we've virtually got a brand new back four. That takes a longer while to come together and we have to be a little bit more patient with that. It takes time for them to get their understanding of not only what we want, but how they work together. We've got grow this defensive line over the next two, three months and we've got to make small improvements. It's a process."
Glory's defensive resolve will certainly be tested again by a Wanderers side sitting second on the table and are looking for a third consecutive win and Garcia knows they will be in a battle on Friday. "They've got a fantastic front three who have got a lot of ability, but it's up to us to focus on how we shut that down," he said. "They're sitting nicely on the table, so it's another challenge for us to be away from home again and to try and get a result."
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Daniel MARGUSH, GK Noah JAMES, 2 Ziggy GORDON, 4 Dylan MCGOWAN, 6 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 7 Bruce KAMAU, 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9 Bernie IBINI, 10 Simon COX, 11 Kwame YEBOAH, 12 Mitchell DUKE, 13 Tate RUSSELL, 14 James TROISI, 17 Keanu BACCUS, 18 Graham DORRANS, 19 Jordon MUTCH, 27 Nicolai MULLER, 29 Daniel WILMERING, 33 Mark NATTA, 39 Thomas AQUILINA - Ins: MOURDOUKOUTAS (promoted), DORRANS (returns from injury) - Unavailable: 20 Vedran JANJETOVIC (long term injury)
Perth Glory squad: GK Tando VELAPHI, GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: MALIK (promoted), RAWLINS (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks), 34 Mason TATAFU (ankle – 1-2 weeks) - Referee: Daniel Elder
INGLEWOOD END 16-YEAR DROUGHT TO WIN NIGHT SERIES FINAL
Inglewood United have ended a 16-year trophyless drought after a 2-0 win against Perth SC in the NPLWA Night series Final at Dalmatinac Park on Sunday evening. In front of a big crowd at the home of Cockburn City, it was Robert Petkov who gave United the lead on 32 minutes. Perth’s chances took a hit just after half time when striker Cameron Teece was sent off by referee Julian Serra. Both sides had chances in a frantic second half, but Andres Oliveira’s side sealed the win late when substitute Scott Blackmore added a second to set off wild celebrations on and off the park.
Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn was a very happy skipper after the game. “I’m really proud of the lads, and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win,” he said post-match. “We knew Perth would fight till the end and getting that second goal was vital. It was a real team effort throughout the night series and that was evident with Blacky (Scott Blackmore) getting the winner. It’s nice to get the monkey off our back having been so close over the years, we can’t wait for the season to start now.”
Perth went into this game as current holders of the preseason competition and they began brightly, with Teece seeing his effort deflected wide. Inglewood settled and went close themselves, Steve Sokol shot was straight at Ryan Montgomery, before Mark Barnett’s header was cleared off the line by Aleks Jovic. Teece was a constant menace, and another shot brought the best of Dunn on the half hour.
But two minutes later United found the breakthrough. Former Perth SC midfielder Andreas Theodosiades found space in the middle of the park and wasn’t closed down, and he drove forward, his low shot was fumbled by Montgomery, the rebound falling to Petkov and the striker made no mistake, to send United into the sheds with a 1-0 lead.
They almost doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second half, a corner wasn’t dealt with and Anthony Bafobusha’s shot was well saved by the alert Montgomery, the rebound falling to Ajak Riak, but the new striker couldn’t find the target. Perth was then reduced to ten men when Teece was shown a straight red card after a lunging tackle on Bafobusha. A melee ensued with all played involved and referee and his assistants took some time to bring it under control.
Despite being reduced to ten men, Perth still had their chances. First, second half substitute Alex Silla brought a smart save from Dunn, before Michael Domfeh was brought down in the box, but the referee was well placed and booked the Perth striker for simulation. It was end-to-end football with the crowd on the edge of their seats. Inglewood was producing the better chances and Jason Barrera saw a shot flash wide, before Sokol should have finished it when sent one-on-one with Montgomery, but he failed to find the target.
Perth wasn’t going down without a fight and pushed men forward, but in the final minute it was Inglewood who secured the win. A short corner was played to Petkov, his deep cross was knocked down by Mark Bennett and Blackmore was on hand to sweep the ball home to seal the 2-0 win. "The whole club is stoked," Oliveira told Football West. "Obviously every team aims for a trophy, we've been so close in the past five years. We finally went over the hurdle, we're happy."
Inglewood United: GK Alex DUNN, 2 Alex ISHIDA-LIVINGS, 3 Giovanni SOARES, 5 Thiak KUEL (4 Scott BLACKMORE 76’), 7 Ajak RIAK, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Anthony BAFOBUSHA, 12 Roberto DEL BORRELLA, 14 Steve SOKOL, 17 Mark BARNETT, 18 Andres THEODOSIADES (8 Jason BARRERA 66’) – Subs not used: RGK Josiah GODFREY, 6 Adam FALCONE, 13 Brodie LANGAN, 19 Will NICHOLSON, 20 Adrian MANNO
Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 3 Jordan DE LEO, 6 Nick MCDONALD (20 Gustavo CATARCIONE 71’), 7 Alek JOVIC (12 Sam FLORES 84’), 9 Cameron TEECE, 10 Michael DOMFEH, 11 Yagoub MUSTAFA (2 Alex SILLA 43’), 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kieran COLWELL, 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH – Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, , 17 Lachlan BYRD, , 14 Daniel MCKENZIE, 18 Gordon WILL – Red Card: Teece 56’ - Referee: Julian Serra
HAROLD HAT-TRICK GIVES JACKS THIRD PLACE
In the early game in the night, ECU Joondalup beat Armadale 4-1 to seal third place in the NPLWA Night Series. Sami Riak had given Kenny Lowe’s side the lead early, before Chris Harold doubled their advantage just after the hour. But Armadale hit back, and Peter Jacobz fired home moments later, but two late goals from Harold sealed the win and completed a hat-trick for the former Perth Glory striker.
“It’s always nice to score goals and it’s good for us as we prepare for the season,” Harold said post-match. “Games like these are what preseason is all about, getting game time in legs and getting that competitive edge back. We were a bit sloppy at times tonight, but we tidied things up at the end and got the result which was pleasing.”
It was a perfect start for Joondalup, and they were ahead after only five minutes. Daryl Nicol’s corner found the unmarked Riak at the back post and the midfielder made no mistake. Armadale went close themselves moments later, former ECU striker Manase Abandelawa raced clear, but he shot straight at keeper Johnny Perkins. Armadale keeper Michael Craggs then produced a great save to thwart Niccol, after great work down the right by Jakub Prajza, but at the break Joondalup held the lead.
Craggs was at it again early in the second half getting down well to save Andy Higgins’ shot, before producing a superb reflex save to save Danny Hodgson’s point-blank header. The Armadale custodian was keeping his side in the game and on the hour, he saved well from Harold’s header. But on 69 minutes Craggs was beaten, Higgins’ cross from the right found Harold, who lost his marker to head home. But Armadale were back in the contest three minutes later, ECU switched off giving Jacobz too much space in the middle of the park and he drove forward and finished well past Perkins.
Armadale were now on top and substitute Brian Patterson headed over the top, before Kevin Ashwood’s free kick was saved by Perkins. But Armadale were caught out again seven minutes from time. Harry Evans effort was saved by Craggs, but Harold was quickest to the rebound to score. The icing was put on the cake on 88 minutes, Evans’ shot was only parried by Craggs and Harold nipped in to secure the match and his hat-trick.
ECU Joondalup: GK Johnny PERKINS, 2 Jeremy TSHONGO, 4 Declan HUGHES (13 Sonny O’SHEA 85’), 5 Ryan LOWRY (3 Luke DAVIS 12’) (16 Danny DOUGLAS 85’), 6 Sami RIAK, 7 Danny HODGSON, 8 Daryl NICOL (17 Harry EVANS 28’), 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Chris HAROLD, 12 Jakub PRAJZA (15 Oscar MALFIORE 85’), 16 Shane CASSIDY Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 14 Ben HINSHELWOOD
Armadale: GK Michael CRAGGS, 3 Harry QUIGLEY, 11 Chad NILSON (19 Rennie KISESA 45’), 12 Callum MELLOWSHIP, 13 Filippo GIOFFRE, 14 Blake ADAMS (18 Kevin ASHWOOD 56’), 15 Churno BAH (8 Brian PATTERSON 56’), 16 Ryan MCEVOY (6 Joel SANDERSON 56’), 17 Peter JACOBZ, 21 Manase ABANDELAWA, 23 Friday ZICO (4 Nathan COSTELLO 76’) – Subs not used: RGK Yousri GHARSALLAH, 10 Luca SCHMIEDGEN – Referee: David Bruce
VAR DENY GLORY LATE
Perth Glory have been denied victory against league leaders Central Coast Mariners after a controversial late penalty saw both sides share the spoils in a 2-2 draw at a wet Central Coast Stadium in Gosford. The game was delayed for 30 minutes and was in doubt with puddles in certain areas of the pitch, but referee Kurt Ams allowed the game to go ahead. Costa Rican striker Marcos Urena had given the Mariners the lead early, but Bruno Fornaroli levelled with his seventh goal of the season.
Nick D’Agostino then came off the bench to give Glory the lead 15 minutes from time, and it looked like the three points would be headed back west, but referee Ams was to frustrate Richard Garcia’s side after overturning his original decision of no penalty on the advice of VAR, after a clash of heads between Luke Bodnar and Matt Simon, and Simon picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty to give both sides a share of the spoils.
"I'm disappointed," Garcia said post-match about the VAR decision. “I thought the boys played really well, but the VAR decision ruined the game, but I think the boys found some very good positions to score and I saw that hunger and fight that I feel we probably lacked in the last few performances. I didn't think it was a penalty.
"It's a hard one and the referees are trying to do their best. I thought it was a good challenge... he [Bodnar] went up for the ball and there was a clash of heads. I don't think I've ever seen that being called as a penalty in my life. But if we move on to Friday against Western Sydney Wanderers, with the same mentality, I'm sure we'll do well."
It was Glory's first draw of the season, but they remain in eighth spot, but do have three games in hand on the teams above them, so they are very much in the finals mix. Garcia made three changes to the side beaten by Wellington Phoenix last week, with Liam Reddy returning between the sticks for Tando Velaphi, Luke Bodnar replaced Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Carlo Armiento replaced Daniel Stynes.
It was good weather for ducks, but the home side were the quickest to adapt to the conditions and it was the lively Urena who created the first opportunity, wriggling away from his marker in the penalty area, but Reddy stood tall to deny him. But he wasn’t to be denied on 25 minutes, Daniel De Silva was picked out on the edge of the box, his shot was well saved by Reddy, but Urena fired the rebound home from the angle.
Mariners are the form team of the competition and they almost doubled their lead moments later, it looked like Urena would double his tally but a superb last-ditch tackle from Bodnar, on his Glory A-League debut, denied him. Glory’s first chance came on the half hour, Neil Kilkenny’s free kick wasn’t dealt with and Andy Keogh’s shot was straight at WA-born Mark Birighitti. Former Glory defender Jack Clisby was then fortunate not to see red after a lunging tackle on Fornaroli moments later.
But it was Glory who found the equaliser four minutes from half time. Dane Ingram found Kilkenny on the edge of the penalty area and his teasing cross picked out Fornaroli and the Uruguayans glancing header found the corner of the net giving Birighitti no chance. The home side almost regained the lead immediately, De Silva was denied by Reddy again, before Oliver Bozanic shot smashed off the woodwork, but at the break it was all-square.
Glory was on the front foot after the break, with Diego Castro and Kilkenny pulling the strings, and half-time substitute D’Agostino saw an effort deflected wide, but Glory should have taken the lead on the hour. The lively D’Agostino burst clear, but unselfishly squared the ball to Fornaroli, and instead of shooting he tried a Rabona-style finish which left the striker somewhat red faced. There was a flashpoint nine minutes later when Simon’s rough tactics on Japanese defender Kosuke Ota saw Glory defender Darryl Lachman race in to remonstrate with the Mariners striker, both players were booked after the melee.
But fifteen minutes from time Glory’s pressure was rewarded with a second. Castro slipped the ball into Keogh, who played in D’Agostino, who beat Birighitti at his near post. But there was a final twist, when a ball into the box saw Bodnar and Simon clash heads and both trainers raced on to check the wellbeing of both players. The referee was then advised by VAR to take a look at the incident and after looking at the screen and multiple replays he reserved his decision and pointed to the spot. Simon stepped and sent Reddy the wrong way to equaliser.
The home side were convinced they had another penalty when the ball struck the arm of a Glory player in the box, but even VAR dismissed their claims, and Glory almost won it with the last kick. A ball into the penalty area caused confession between Birighitti and Ruon Tongyik, and Castro nipped in but he’s effort went inches over the top.
Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 4 Joshua NISBET, 5 Stefan NIGRO, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 10 Daniel DE SILVA, 11 Jack CLISBY, 12 Marcos UREÑA (29 Alou KUOL 59'), 14 Daniel BOUMAN (6 Gianni STENSNESS 73'), 15 Kye ROWLES, 19 Matt SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK – Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 22 Michal JANOTA, 23 Dan HALL, 25 Matthew HATCH, 26 Jaden CASELLA
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 82'), 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (18 Nick D'AGOSTINO 46'), 23 Dane INGHAM (16 Nick SULLIVAN 46'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 24 Daniel STYNES - Referee: Kurts Ams
OLYMPIC AND SUBIACO WIN SATURDAY NIGHT SERIES QUARTER-FINALS
On Saturday evening the other two quarter finals took us to Wanneroo Reserve, and in the early game Olympic Kingsway beat Fremantle City 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 at full time. “It was a game of two halves where we didn’t do a good job after we scored early, and Fremantle applied a lot of pressure and lead after the first half,” Olympic Head Coach Michael Janssen said. “After the break we got back into the game and rewarded ourselves with the second goal. It was an intense game against a very strong Fremantle side. We showed very good character and the team performed in the second half as a unit and we are looking to forward to playing the semi-finals.” It was Olympic who made the perfect start, and they were ahead after only three minutes. Gyles Davies was brought down in the box, and Gyles picked himself up to take the resulting penalty, but it was saved, but Chris Rizidis converted the rebound.
But Fremantle hit back sixty seconds later with Hayden Stevens scoring. Fremantle were then ahead on the half hour, with Adriano Jelenovic finding the target. But Michael Janssen’s side restored parity on 77 minutes from the spot. Teenager Darus Flomo was brought down in the box and Luke Rhodes stepped up to convert the penalty. So, it was off to a penalty shootout and it was Rhodes who scored the winning spot kick to seal the win for Olympic. “Under various circumstances, not progressing through was disappointing,” Fremantle Head Coach Cameron Lord said. “But the football we played in the first half, in particular was pleasing, so overall we have learnt a few valuable lessons throughout the Night Series, and there has been clear progression with a relatively new group of players. We now have three training weeks to build on that and make sure we are ready to hit the ground running in the league for Round one.”
It also went to penalties in the late game, with Subiaco beating hosts Wanneroo City 7-6 on penalties after the game had ended 1-1. “It’s never a nice way to decide a football game, but I’m very happy to take the win as we were second best for long periods of the game,” Subiaco Head Coach Paul Vallerius said. “I thought Wanneroo played very well and were certainly the better team in the first half, there work rate and intensity stopped us playing and we struggled to get any decent possession. After a few tweaks at half time, we were much better in the second half and started to dominate in the last half hour. Our football wasn’t the best, but the group showed great spirt and determination to grind out a result which shows the character in the squad we have. The shootout was a nail biter with some great penalties, but we kept our composure and scraped though in the end. I’m very happy for the lads and the club and we look forward to another difficult game in the semi-finals.”
Wanneroo opened the scoring in the first minute of the second half with Shakeel Alexander scoring. But seven minutes from time Subiaco drew level, substitute Aaron Simpson raced onto a neat through ball and rounded the keeper to score. So, it was off to penalties and it was 6-6 when a Wanneroo player hit the post, leaving Simpson to score the final penalty to seal the win. “It was disappointing to go out on Saturday night the boys all gave 100% this night series and I was proud of their efforts,” Wanneroo Head Coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “I thought it was a cracking game to be a part of it was end to end football the whole 90 minutes, very high-quality football and it was just a shame to go out on penalties, but overall a great night series and good luck to the remaining teams.”
MANDURAH AND UWA WIN FRIDAY STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES QUARTER-FINALS
It was quarterfinal time in the State League Night Series this weekend, and it kicked off on Friday evening at Hartfield Park. In the early game Mandurah City edged out Western Knights 2-1 in an entertaining game. “It was a great game and a good battle between two really good sides,” Mandurah Coach Kris Donnell said. “We sat in and played on the counterattack which I thought worked well. In the second half Ivan’s boys threw everything at us, but Pete and I are delighted how we defended, it was a really strong performance with two great goals so we’re over the moon.”
It was the Dolphins who opened the scoring just before half time. Scottish striker John Baird played the ball to the edge of the area to Alex Grayson, who chested it through to Joe O’Brien who volleyed it home. Mandurah doubled their lead on 76 minutes, Jeff bright played the ball across the box to O’Brien who back heeled it into the path of Alex Grayson who finished clinically. The Knight found a lifeline late with Alex Kretowicz scoring, but it was too little too late and Mandurah advance to the semi-finals. “It was a massive win for us, shows what we’re capable of,” O’Brien said. “I thought defensively we were very solid and took our chances when we needed to, so all in all a very good performance and we had quality all throughout the team.”
In the late game UWA Nedlands beat hosts Forrestfield United 4-1. “It was a good game, but well played by my players,” UWA Head Coach Dom Gangemi said. “We played with a team very young due some players missing as for job commitment, so I was very proud of those boys. We play every game with the aim to play the best football we can, and we now focus on the semi-final.” UWA hit the front on the half hour, Rhys Williams heading home after a scramble in the box. He sustained a facial injury, which saw him leave the field for a short time. They added a second just before half time, a quick counterattack saw Pascal Sedgwick race into the box, held off his marker and finish well.
It looked like the game was over when UWA added a third on 76 minutes, Adam Carlino getting on the end of cross at the front post to score. But Graham Normanton’s side weren’t finished and Tyron Pottier pulled one back nine minutes from time, heading home at the back post from well flighted free kick. UWA weren’t to be denied and sealed the win two minutes later, substitute Sam Moffat won possession and eased past three Forrestfield defenders before lashing the ball into the top corner, with the goal of the match. “That's the kind of performance we've been building to through the Night Series, playing with a decent tempo and generating some quality chances to score,” UWA’s Thomas Moroney explained. “Forrestfield is always a tougher away trip, vocal supporters, so to take that result is promising for the season ahead - Looking forward to the semi.”
LAST MINUTE HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY (Report courtesy of Perth Glory)
Perth Glory suffered stoppage-time heartache in the nation's capital on Friday evening as Michelle Heyman's 95th-minute effort secured a 3-2 win for Canberra United at Viking Park. Forced to play a 'home' game on the other side of the country, Alex Epakis' side produced a gutsy performance, with Caitlin Doeglas and substitute Katarina Jukic scoring two fine goals to cancel out efforts from Nicki Flannery and Heyman for the hosts.
Then, in a remarkable finale, Kendall Fletcher missed two penalties for United, Sarah Carroll saw red for dissent and just as Glory seemed destined to hang on for a deserved point, Heyman powered her way into the box and found the bottom corner. While naturally disappointed with the result, Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis was hugely heartened by the spirit his charges showed in extremely challenging circumstances.
"I'm just so proud of the group," he said, "they did themselves and the club proud today. We had so much to deal with and these are not excuses they are objective facts. We had to travel very quickly after the last game with fatigued legs, we had to travel without a full squad because some players couldn't make the trip and we moved heaven and earth to make sure that we were in the right mindset for this game.
"And after all that, we delivered a 90-minute performance. They gave me so much, they gave each other so much and when I walked into the changing rooms after the game, for the first time in my coaching career, I was speechless. I just said I was sorry that it didn't go their way in terms of the result. We dished up what I believe was our best performance to date and if that's our level for the next four games, we can do something positive on the run home and if we drop below that, we know that we've not been at our best."
It was Canberra who looked the more likely early on, the dangerous Paige Satchell twice going close before Heyman played in Flannery who finished clinically to make it 1-0. Just before the break, however, Glory hit back in magnificent style as Doeglas bent a left-footed strike from outside the box into the top corner of Keeley Richards' net.
Nine minutes into the second half, Heyman restored Canberra's lead, reacting smartly to rifle home the loose ball after Lily Alfeld had produced a fine save to block her initial effort and in doing so, the former Matilda replaced ex-Glory striker Sam Kerr as the Westfield W-League's all-time top scorer. But again, Glory dug deep and responded through Jukic whose long-range effort caught Richards off her line and sailed into the roof of the net.
As the final whistle loomed, the drama only intensified, with referee Lara Lee taking centre stage. In the 85th minute, she penalised Natasha Rigby for a trip on Fletcher in the box but having taken responsibility for the spot-kick herself, the Canberra midfielder drove her effort against the post. Lee then pointed to the spot again just two minutes later, adjudging that Sarah Carroll had handled the ball and then handing the already-cautioned Glory defender a second yellow, seemingly for dissent. Remarkably, Fletcher fluffed her lines again, this time shooting wide, but the women in green still managed to have the final word as Heyman struck for a second time to seal victory right at the death.
Canberra United: GK Keeley RICHARDS, 2 Emma ILIJOSKI, 4 Kendall FLETCHER, 5 Lauren KEIR, 6 Bianca GALIC, 8 Laura HUGHES, 10 Grace MAHER, 13 Paige SATCHELL (12 Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG 74'), 15 Jessika NASH, 19 Nicki FLANNERY (9 Demi KOULIZAKIS 75'), 23 Michelle HEYMAN - Subs not used: RGK Chantel JONES, 7 Rachael GOLDSTEIN, 14 Jessie RASSCHAERT
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (6 Tijan MCKENNA 61'), 10 Alexia MORENO (23 Katarina JUKIC 60'), 12 Sarah MORGAN (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 70'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE (17 Marianna TABAIN 70'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT - Red Cards: Carroll 87’ - Referee: Lara Lee
PERTH GO IN SEARCH OF MORE NIGHT SERIES SUCCESS
The first silverware of the new season is up for grabs on Sunday evening, when Inglewood United meet Perth SC in the NPLWA Night Series Final at Dalmatinac Park. (7.00pm) In the Semi-Final last weekend Perth were too strong for ECU Joondalup, and they have had great success in the Night Series, winning it on 21 occasions, and they are the defending competition holders. Head Coach Ramon Falzon was delighted the way his side went about their business against Joondalup. “We were very pleased with the dominant performance and the intensity we injected into the ECU game,” he explained. “We were looking for a strong start and it paid off because we were already 2-1 up after 20 minutes.
“Maintaining that type of intensity for the entire game is hard to achieve, however our players did their best to keep the pressure on our opponent and we managed to score our third before half time. We couldn't find our fourth goal in the second half and our players handled the situation well when ECU pulled one back in the 90th minute. Our players remained calm and composed and kept persisting until we found our fourth goal in injury time to secure another Night Series final.”
The only downside of the win was a serious injury to winger Niccolò Sabatini, and Falzon said the Italian will be missed. “It was sad and worrying to see Niccolò go down injured after 30 minutes last Sunday, and by the looks of it it seems to be a serious knee injury,” the coach said. “Unfortunately, we still have to wait a few more days for Niccolò to undergo further tests before we know the extent of the injury. We wish him a speedy recovery, but he will be sorely missed by the entire squad.”
Falzon has added some talented players in the offseason, and he is happy with how they have gelled during the preseason, but said it’s business as usual at the club. “Our recipe has been the same since 2016, we retain the core of the squad from one season to another, most of which have been with the club for a substantial amount of time,” he said. “We recruit a few players based on their football and human qualities which makes it easier for them to fit in the team dynamics. Furthermore, we even promote some of our home-grown talent that helps us achieve a great balance of youth and experience every season.
“At Perth SC we work hard with our own youngsters to help them through their journey towards establishing themselves as good quality first team players. Although we appreciate home-grown talent and we are aware that it takes years for players to make the jump in quality, we have the expectation to remain competitive. Our brand of football has been fairly similar since 2016. We work very hard at training to improve several aspects of our game and we expect that the players demonstrate the right attitude to transfer the quality from training to the games. Based on what we've seen in the Night Series, we feel that the players are on track in their understanding and implementation of our game plans.”
Sunday’s game is one the coaching staff and players are really looking forward too, but he knows the quality Inglewood have at their disposal. “Inglewood will be a tough nut to crack this Sunday, they are in good form at the moment, evidenced by their good performances and results,” Falzon said. “In my opinion, and credit goes to Andres Oliveira and their players, it looks like Inglewood are back to the levels of 2019 when they finished second in the NPL and qualified for the Grand Final. We know that we have a big job ahead of us on Sunday and our performance needs to be as good as our most recent outings for us to come out on top from the contest.”
Keeper Ryan Montgomery produced a couple of fine saves in the second half last week to keeper Joondalup striker Chris Harold at bay, and he said it was a good team performance, and Falzon and his assistant Marc Wingell continue to get the best out of the players. “I felt we bossed the game for the majority and were comfortable throughout, but as a keeper to was disappointing to concede late on but we got the result we needed which was the main thing,” he said. “Ramon and Marc made a few changes to the squad this season and it seems to be working well so far. The boys that they brought in have fitted in nicely and the teams gelling so hopefully we can take that into Sunday and carry it into the season.”
Montgomery is expecting a tough game on Sunday, but he said they will be doing all they can to make it back-to-back. “They (Inglewood) are flying at the moment so it should be a cracking game, and with the good weather there should be a good crowd on hand to watch it,” he said. “They’ve got some great players so we’ll have to be at our best but hopefully when the final whistle goes it’ll be Perth winning back-to-back night series titles.”
INGLEWOOD LOOKING FOR NIGHT SERIES TRIPLE
The first silverware of the new season is up for grabs on Sunday evening, when Inglewood United meet Perth SC in the NPLWA Night Series Final at Dalmatinac Park. (7.00pm) In the Semi-Finals last weekend Inglewood edged out Armadale in a penalty shootout, and Andres Oliveira’s side will be looking to add to their two previous Night Series title’s the last in 2005, when they beat Swan IC 3-0, the black and whites were coached by current Perth SC President Gary Marocchi at the time.
The last time these two sides met in a final was in 2019, in the Top Four Final Grand Final, a result the coach still hasn’t forgotten, but he was pleased the way his side fought out the Semi-Final against Armadale to reach Sunday’s final. “The bitter sweet of 2019 top four Grand Final, still hurts but that's the past now and we hope we can give the spectators that type of entertaining game,” he said. “We are happy to go through to the finals even it was through penalties. To be fair we weren't at our best but create enough chances to win the game, so the overall outcome was deserved.”
Oliveira played for the Azzurri in the 2000s, playing nine seasons at Dorrien Gardens and winning five league championships, but on Sunday is looking forward to a good game and hoping the result is different from 2019. “Obviously, they (Perth SC) are favourites being the benchmark over the years, they have made quite a few high-profile signings in the off season which comes with a lot of expectations for them, so they will be up for it as they showed against ECU,” he said. “But we are always confident against any team, for us Perth SC are just like any top team that we want beat, and we will be doing all we can to do that on Sunday.”
Inglewood custodian and skipper Alex Dunn saved a penalty in the shoot-out win against Armadale, but he said although it wasn’t the best they have played, the character shown by the players was pleasing, and the squad has the right balance of young and experienced players this season. “I thought it wasn’t our most complete game in the competition, having said that we still created a number of chances to score and the lads showed great character and desire to win on penalties,” he said.
“Andres has added some great players to the squad in the summer and there is a good mix of youth and experience. I do think the youngest’s out number us older blokes now, but there has been a great buy in from all the players from day one of preseason and a real desire to create a positive culture.”
Dunn said Perth have been the team to beat over the years, and this season will be no different. But he said the Inglewood players will be doing all they can to bring the trophy home, and they are determined to get a result on Sunday. “Perth is always a tough game, and Sunday will be no different,” he said. “They have quality all over the park, but we have had great battles with Perth in the past, and I think this will be no different. These are the games you want to play in as a player, I know the lads are looking forward to it including myself and we will give it a good crack on Sunday.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW
It’s Quarter-Final’s time in the State League Night Series, and the pick of the four games sees Mandurah City take on Western Knights in the early game at Hartfield Park on Friday evening. Both sides progressed through the group stage unbeaten, and with both teams packed with quality players this one should be a cracker. The Knights topped Group F, and reached the last eight with a hard-fought win against Stirling Lions, and coach Ivan Zuvela has been pleased how the squad is performing after rotating the players in all the games. “For me the most pleasing thing throughout the group stage was that we rotated the squad and used three different starting 11’s for each game,” he said. “Our squad is getting fitter and better as each week goes on in the preseason. We know Mandurah will be another difficult test, they are always a disciplined side especially with some quality individual players.”
Mandurah topped Group B, and eased their way through with a big win against Ashfield last weekend, and coach Pete Taylor said it was good to go through unbeaten, but knows there is still room for improvement. “Kris and I were very proud of our performances in the group games and to come away with nine points has us full of confidence, but we still have room for improvement and were all working hard to hit our targets,” he said. “Sunday’s game will be tough, and I think it can be the tie of the round for sure. Two good teams, on the back of a number of good wins, so it should give us a real nice gauge of where we’re at in preparation for the first league game.” In the late game at the venue Group D winners Forrestfield United host Group C winners UWA Nedlands. Forrestfield, who won the competition in 2019, were another side to go through undefeated, while UWA were beaten in the final game against Fremantle City, but did enough to win the group.
The other games are on Saturday at Wanneroo Reserve and in the early game Olympic Kingsway take on Fremantle City in a replay of last season’s Top Four Finals Grand Final. Olympic won Group E, winning all their games and finished the group stage off in style thrashing Swan United 6-2. Fremantle City progressed as one of the two best runners up, after being pipped for top spot, on goal difference by UWA Nedlands, who they beat 1-0 last week to qualify. In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City host Subiaco (7.00pm) Wanneroo City topped Group B, winning all their games, and rounded of the group stage with an impressive 3-1 win against Balga. Head Coach Jesse Bridgeman was happy with their progression and is looking forward to taking on a Division One side on Saturday. “To get through the group stage the way we did with the quality sides we played was very pleasing, we showed what we are capable of on our day and we showed we can grind out results too,” he explained. “This week is another good challenge and one the boys are looking forward too, every time you play a side in a higher league you really find out where we are at and what we need to do to get to that level so it’s a very exiting match up.”
Subiaco finished runners-up in Group D after a narrow 2-1 loss to Forrestfield last week, but progressed as one of the best two runners-up. Assistant coach Gary Colliver said he is pleased with the group of players and their progress in the night series this season. “We are happy with the how the team are playing at the moment and we know we have a long season ahead of us. The night series has given us some competitive games and it has been a perfect warm up for the season ahead,” he said. “The game against Forrestfield was evenly matched and we felt could have gone either way, we still have things we need to improve on, but the feeling inside the squad is a strong positive one.”
Colliver said Saturday will be another good test for them, but they ate looking forward to the challenge. “We are looking forward to playing a good side in Wanneroo, and it will be another challenge for the team which we embrace as we look forward to a potential place in the Semi Finals,” he explained. “Wanneroo have been playing some good football over the last couple years and they appear to be hitting the ground running with three strong results. It will be a tough game as they will have good support with a home advantage. It can be a tough place to play, with the crowd always on top of the players but we go into the game confidence.”
RHYS WILLIAMS OPENS UP ON SOCCEROOS HEARTBREAK
Defender Rhys Williams is loving life in Saudi Arabia where his impressive form for Pro League side Al-Qadsiah has kept the door ajar for a possible Socceroos return. The 32-year old moved to the Middle East in 2018 after a stint with Melbourne Victory and, unlike most foreigners, has managed to stick around for more than one season.
"Do you know what, it's amazing. I don't think many people would agree without being here but my family is so settled here," said Williams, who has become a key part of Al-Qadsiah's side. "To be honest, I'd be happy finishing my career here. We absolutely love it here. The club's been great and I also feel like a vital part of the club. I'm second captain, captain when the captain's away."
"It's amazing, not many foreigners can last one year let alone three years in Saudi Arabia, and it's nice to be one of those players. It was tough leaving Victory because I loved it ... but the chance came up and ultimately I wanted to try something different. I'm glad I did because I love it."
In 2019 Williams made the surprising decision to opt out of the chance to play for the Socceroos again. Having previously represented Australia 14 times, his decision was sparked by a disappointing rejection but the defender remains open to reversing it should he be needed when international football resumes.
"The turning point for me was the 2018 World Cup. Just came back with Victory, had a great season as the stats can tell you, my performances were good, I felt fit, was playing regularly. I did everything right and not to get picked in the provisional 50 players ... it was really tough to take," Williams said. "At the time it really hurt me; hurt me a lot."
"After that, Arnie came in and kept me on the standby list a good few times. I thought I was in the right place at the right time after so many years to show what I could do but it wasn't meant to be. It got to a point where all I was looking for was the national team squad and I felt it was affecting me mentally a little bit so I sent Arnie a message to take my name out of the hat."
"Ultimately, I'd never turn my country down. If he calls me or whoever the coach is calls me and said 'Look, we need you, we want to put you back in', I'd happily put my hand back up and go but I just don't think that will happen. I wouldn't say retired but more in the background and there's players coming through that they'd like to give a chance before bringing me in and I'm happy with that."
CIRCATI – LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
Former Perth Glory and Perth SC defender Gianfranco Circati was a fan favourite in his time at both clubs, and the Italian defender played almost 200 games in a career in Italy and Perth. Now his son Alessandro is following in his footsteps after signing for Serie A side Parma after a successful trial. Circati senior was also on the books of the Stadio Ennio Tardini side in two spells, now 17-year-old Alessandro has joined the club where the likes of Socceroo great Mark Bresciano and Vince Grella plied their trade. The tall defender has joined the clubs talented academy, and he also had trials in the UK, this after impressing for the Glory NPLWA side last season, and he is looking forward to the new challenge in Italy.
“Originally I was in England, and I went to Leicester City,” Circati told SBS The World Game. “It all went well there but due to Brexit I couldn’t pursue things. I have family here in Italy, so I came over with them and then the opportunity popped up that I could go to Parma and I’ve been there for four weeks now. It’s going well so far. It’s a good experience and a club with lots of history, and the quality is high here. The difference [compared with Australia] is that it’s less transitional, it’s more tactical. And Australia’s NPL is more like playing like England than other places in Europe.”
Circati spent his youth career with Perth SC, before spending four years in the Glory’s academy. In November the centre back received the club’s Most Glorious Youth Player award for the 2019-2020 season, and was one of a number of talented players nurtured by the club over the last couple of years. The defender remembers well his journey down under. “I was born in Fidenza, at the age of one I moved to Perth with my mum and my dad and older brother,” he explained.
“We grew up in WA and we would go to Italy for holidays. I played my junior football at Perth Soccer Club and Perth Glory, and I think I grew as a player a lot at the Glory. I changed a lot and that put me where I am today. It was always a dream to play in Italy but I never thought the opportunity would come as I had no plan to come to play here. It was either England or something like that. But with Brexit, it kind of opened the opportunity here and with my family here it was almost perfect.”
Circati grew up idolising Italian legend and AC Milan stalwart Paolo Maldini, and admits until recently he was unaware of the past exploits of Bresciano and Grella for the yellow and blues. “I really like Maldini as a defender,” he said. “He was originally my idol growing up. I still watch a few clips of him now, he’s a player I like to model my game off.
“I actually didn’t know the pair played for the club, I only found out a few days ago about that. It’s quite interesting, originally, I wouldn’t have known that, but I heard there were two Aussies who’d played for Parma. It was a good thing to hear. Let’s hope [I can follow in their footsteps]. I’ve started off with the Under-18s. We beat Genoa 6-1 last week so it was a good score for my debut. I hope to make it up and up to the first-team.” – From everyone at Footballwa.net – all the best Alessandro.
RYAN WILLIAMS GIVES FRANK ASSESSMENT OF PORTSMOUTH'S PLUMMET
Ryan Williams has scotched the suggestion contract uncertainty is the reason behind Portmouth's plummeting promotion push and declared: it couldn't be further from the truth. Pompey's woeful form continued as they slipped to a third successive defeat against Sunderland at Fratton Park last night.
After sitting top of the League One table over the festive period, Portsmouth now teeter on the edge of the play-offs by a point and there are genuine fears they'll blow a top-six finish. There have been suggestions a lack of clarity over new deals is affecting form, with manager Kenny Jackett admitting it could be the case.
In total, 11 players' contracts expire this summer. They include Williams, Tom Naylor, Andy Cannon, Jack Whatmough and Craig MacGillivray – all of who started against Sunderland. However, Williams emphatically poured cold water on those claims. "It's not an excuse and it's not one we are using," Williams said.
"If anything, the thing that will help us most would be if we got promoted and how you get promoted is working hard and playing well. We have had a dip and it wouldn't work in our favour to put the tools down. There is not a better club to be at as players to get into the Championship."
"It is set up to where we want to be and we haven't been good enough – that is it. It's got nothing to do with contracts and the climate we are in because of the pandemic. We just haven't been good enough. We are not feeling sorry for ourselves and just need a boost. We just need to keep working hard because we are all in this together.
"There have been a couple of whispers here and there (about the contract theory) and people just look at each other and are like “What!?” I'd prefer to stay here. I want this club to do well and that's why I came here – to get them back to the Championship. I can see the angle they're coming from and it couldn't be further away from the truth."
JETS FLY HOME WITH ALL THREE POINTS
Perth Glory's search for a first win of the Westfield W-League season goes on after they were well beaten 4-0 by Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on Monday evening. Rhianna Pollicina proved a handful in the first half and had a hand in both of the visitors' first-half goals, firing home the first herself and then laying on the second for Sunny Franco. Franco's header increased Newcastle's lead immediately after the break and the Lauren Allen added the fourth late in the piece, the loss leaving Glory rooted to the bottom of the table.
Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis could not fault his young side's commitment, but felt that the Jets were clinical in punishing the mistakes they made. "We keep putting in the best effort we possibly can, but we're an inexperienced team and we're still making some individual errors in key moments that are costing us goals," he said.
"Unfortunately, we were made to pay for every error we made and when you don't have much luck, other areas just build and build and they put more pressure on. We need to find a way to limit those errors and do a bit more. I thought we showed some good character to stay in the game in terms of we kept trying to go forward despite the scoreline, but it's the inexperience and little errors that we're being made to pay for."
After a cagey opening, the first chance of the night fell the way of the Jets as Allan was foiled by a brave, point-blank save from Glory custodian Lily Alfeld having been sent clear through on goal by a perfectly-timed ball from Tiana Jaber. Glory responded moments later, Caitlin Doeglas showing great pace to get in behind the Jets defence and fire in an angled shot which Claire Coelho did well to block at the near post.
As the half wore on, the chances began to flow and it was the visitors who came within centimetres of hitting the front on 24 minutes when a thunderous effort from Cassidy Davis crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced back out. But the visitors were not to be denied just short of the half-hour mark, Allen capitalising upon a defensive error and picking out Pollicina whose emphatic finish gave Alfeld no chance.
Within seven minutes Newcastle had doubled their lead, Pollicina turning provider with a slide-rule through-ball for Franco who calmly picked out the bottom corner. Moments later a fingertip save from Alfeld, prevented Tara Andrews' header from making it 3-0 just before the break. The respite proved short-lived for the home side, however, as two minutes after the restart a loose ball fell kindly for Franco who nodded home her second and the Jets' third goal of the night.
To their credit, Glory came close to hitting back immediately, the lively Doeglas surging away down the left and cutting the ball back for half-time substitute Malia Steinmetz whose well-struck shot drew a good save from Coelho diving to her left. Jamie-Lee Gale also threatened with a header as the women in purple tried desperately to force their way back into the contest, but instead it was the Jets who had the last word as Allan was teed up by substitute Sophie Harding and applied a composed finish to complete the scoring seven minutes from time.
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 6 Tijan MCKENNA (9 Malia STEINMETZ 46'), 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 10 Alexia MORENO (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 57'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 17 Marianna TABAIN (12 Sarah MORGAN 65'), 18 Taneesha BAKER (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 46') – Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT
Newcastle Jets: GK Claire COELHO, 2 Hannah BREWER, 4 Chloe O’BRIEN, 6 Cassidy DAVIS, 9 Tara ANDREWS (15 Sophie HARDING 65'), 11 Rhianna POLLICINA (10 Pana PETRATOS 74'), 12 Tessa TAMPLIN, 13 Lauren ALLAN, 14 Tiana JABER, 16 Sunny FRANCO (5 Alisha BASS 76'), 18 Taren KING - Subs not used: RGK Nicole SIMONSEN - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - SEMI FINAL REVIEW
Inglewood United and Perth SC will meet in next week’s NPLWA Night Series Final, after two dramatic Semi-Finals at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday. United overcame Armadale 3-2 on penalties in the early game, while Perth beat ECU Joondalup 4-2 in the late game. It was a tight affair in the early game with both sides creating chances, but it was Andres Olivera’s side who opened the scoring nine minutes before the break, Steve Sokol taking on his marker and finishing into the bottom corner. But four minutes later Armadale were convinced they had a penalty after Chad Nilson was brought down by Alex Dunn, he was the last man, but referee Michal Jasinski waved away their protests.
But Armadale were level early in the second half, when the referee spotted a foul in the box and Friday Zico made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Both sides pressed for the winner but they couldn’t find one, and Inglewood prevailed in the shootout, with the unfortunate Manase Abandelawa hitting the bar with the last penalty. “It was tough game, we created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half, and we should have put the game to bed,” Inglewood Head Coach Andres Oliveira said. “For not doing that we created more pressure on ourselves and credit to Armadale, they were relentless and got their goal. But overall, I thought we deserve to go through at the end. Dunners (Alex Dunn) made a save and forced two misses, while excellent penalties taken by Robert (Petkov), Steve (Sokol) and Anthony (Bafobusha) secured our passage through.”
In the late game Perth SC made the best possible start, scoring after only eight minutes. Good build up play between Cameron Teece and Yacoub Mustafa, the latter crossing from the right to Michael Domfeh who made no mistake. But Kenny Lowe’s side were level six minutes later, Daryl Nicol’s cross was finished by Danny Hodgson at the back post. But Perth hit back two minutes later, Teece sending Domfeh clear and he finished clinically past Johnny Perkins. The Jacks keeper produced a number of fine saves to keep his side in the game, and Nicol almost brought ECU level, but his free kick crashed off the post. But in the shadows of half time Perth added a third, Mustafa racing clear, kept his composure, to score.
It was end-to-end football after the break, and it was ECU who went close early, Chris Harold was sent clear but Ryan Montgomery stood tall to save. Harold was denied by the Perth custodian again as the Jacks pressed forward, while Perth was a constant threat on the counter attack, and Perkins had to be on his toes making some great saves to deny them. Perth suffered a blow when winger Niccolò Sabatini was stretched off with a serious knee injury. (From everyone at Footballwa.net we wish Niccolò a speedy recovery) But two minutes from time ECU found a lifeline, Nicol’s corner picked out Hodgson who headed home.
ECU pushed men forward looking for the equaliser, but Perth wrapped up the points in stoppage time when referee Steven Gregory pointed to the spot, after Domfeh was brought down in the area by Ryan Lowry. The former Glory youth striker stepped up to seal his hat-trick and send Perth in to the final. “It was a great result, and the performance was the best that I have been involved with since being at the club,” Domfeh said. “Delight to have scored a hat-trick but I couldn’t have done it without the lead up play from team mates. “So overall a great performance, and I’m looking forward to the final.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE REVIEW
The Quarter-Finalists in the State League Night Series have been decided after the final round of group games over the weekend. First in Group A, Wanneroo City topped the table after a 3-1 win against Balga at Wanneroo on Saturday evening. The hosts were ahead after only nine minutes with Charlie Breen finishing well at the front post after a corner. They doubled their advantage on 21 minutes, Ashley Corker scoring a free kick from 20 meters. Balga came out after the break well and reduced the deficit on the hour, but Wanneroo wrapped up the points and top spot on 76 minutes, Breen adding his second after racing clear and finding the net from long-range. “I’m very happy with the first half of the game, and going through to the next round,” City Head Coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “Second half Balga put us under a lot of pressure and I’m happy with the way we defended as a unit and saw out the game.”
In the early game at the venue Joondalup United beat Quinns 5-1. Quinns were reduced to ten men early and United made them pay. Jamie Gibson failed to convert from the spot, but he made up for it on 22 minutes smashing home a screamer from 22 meters. They doubled their lead on the stroke of half time, with Jay Lang finding the top corner from 25 meters. Quinns pulled one back on the hour, but United added a third on 71 minutes, with youngster Joel Sollitt scoring from close-range. It was soon 4-1, Sollitt doubling his tally after good work down the right by Jonah Vozzo. Quinns were reduced to nine minute two minutes from time, and Josh Whitmore put the icing on the cake scoring Joondalup’s fifth in stoppage time. “The early sending off made things easier for us than it could have been against a young talented Quinns outfit,” Joondalup Head Coach Nick Jennings said. “Always happy as a coach when you win and score five, but the number of easy opportunities we spurned again took a bit of the gloss away from the victory. Ultimately, though we remained unbeaten in the group stages, failing to profess into the knockout rounds is deemed a failure. We will get better and are looking forward now to the FFA Cup game away to Curtin Uni.”
In Group B, Mandurah City moved through and maintained their 100% record, with a 5-0 win against Ashfield at Murdoch Uni on Friday evening. It was a tight half, with Mandurah scoring the only goal on 17 minutes, James Paylor’s cross was headed home powerfully by Craig Barker. But Mandurah hit their straps after half time, and Scottish striker John Baird doubled their lead with a cheeky chip on 55 minutes. Ashfield had the opportunity to pull one back on the hour, but Mandurah keeper Kieran Shail saved a penalty. But seven minutes later it was Baird who added a third for the Dolphins, converting from the spot. It 4-0 when Alex Grayson finished well after Ashfield failed to clear a corner and Mitch Gruin completed the scoring eight minutes from time, converting Jeff Bright’s cross. Mandurah coach, and Glasgow Rangers fan Kris Donnell, who is still celebrating their Scottish Premier League title, said it was a professional performance from the players. “Really pleased with the boys again to go out and perform as well as they did, we had a few injuries this week so changed the team a little to give some of the young lads a bit of exposure too and everyone once again played their part,” he explained. “We moved the ball about really well and won the ball back in nice areas so Pete and I are really happy moving into the next stage.”
In the other game in the group new Morley Windmills coach Antony Benetti has seen his tenure at the club start off with a win, after coming from behind to beat hosts Murdoch University Melville 2-1. “It was a fantastic finish to the game and the boys showed tremendous spirit to come back from 1-0 down to a very highly rated opposition,” Benetti said. “We are a very new group and with it being my first week in charge we are still implementing our systems and behaviours. The result shows the buy in and work rate at training from the boys and while we have a long way to go it's a good start.” The hosts were ahead on the half hour, with Charlie Watt on target, and they led by that goal at the break. But Morley levelled on the hour, with Ryan Tracey scoring, and seven minutes from time Grant Mowatt won it. “It was a huge result for us against a team that's supposed to be contenders for the title,” Morley’s Mitch Castrilli said. “We have a very young squad with a lot of quality and it showed especially in the second half where we dominated, I'm looking forward to seeing how far we can go this season.”
In Group C Fremantle City moved into the Quarter-Finals after a narrow 1-0 win against UWA Nedlands at Edinburgh Oval on Sunday evening. The only goal of the game came after only eight minutes, an intense press forced UWA into a turning the ball over to Adriano Jelenovic who finished clinically. Both sides had chances,in a tight game, but none were taken. Despite the loss UWA won the group, with Fremantle joining them as one of the two best runners-up. “It was an important positive reaction to the previous week where we were very disappointing,” Fremantle coach Cameron Lord said. “The intensity and application were very good and is something we must continue to build on in preparation for Round One.” In the late game Dianella White Eagles missed the opportunity to progress after losing 3-1 against hosts Curtin University. Curtin raced to a two-goal lead in the first half hour. It was 1-0 on 25 minutes, when a ball into the box picked out Daniel Nocciolino who headed home. They doubled their advantage on 34 minutes, a low cross found Tiago de Souza, who lost his marker to score. Dianella pulled one back on 51 minutes, with former Perth Glory midfielder Hayden Doyle scoring. But Curtin sealed the win on 74 minutes, a corner found Craig Kamocha who headed home at the back post. “We absorbed a bit of pressure just after they scored, but Craig’s header sealed it for us,” Curtin Head coach Troy Reid said. “I’m really happy with the response and the performance from the players, especially after a tough couple of weeks”
In Group D Forrestfield United finished top of the table after a 2-1 win against Subiaco at Hartfield Park on Sunday. The hosts were ahead five minutes before half time, Jamie Street’s diagonal ball sent Tarek Atta down the flank, his cross picked out Jordan Lyall who made no mistake. Graham Normanton’s side doubled their lead on the hour, when Atta was brought down and Rhys Loxley made no mistake from the spot. Subiaco pulled one back late through Vasco Da Silva, but couldn’t find an equaliser, but despite the defeat Subiaco join Forrestfield in the Quarter-Finals as one of the two best runners-up. “We are progressing well,” midfielder Mitch Crocker said. “To control possession as well as we did against a good side was great, now we just need to bury our chances we are creating.”
In the other game in the group Gosnells beat Kelmscott Roos 3-2 in a local derby. It was a frantic start to the game with Eraste Ayemung opening the scoring for City after only three minutes. But Kelmscott were level three minutes later with Robert Justo on target. Gosnells regained the lead on 22 minutes, a well-weighted through ball from Aaron Colsani sent Miguel Oliveira in on goal and he finished low past the on-coming keeper. Kelmscott restored parity 12 minutes from time with Amos Doegolia Junior scoring, and it looked like the points would be shared, but two minutes from time Colsani rose highest to send a bullet header past the keeper to win for Marc Anthony’s side. “A good performance, but we made it a bit hard for ourselves,” Anthony said, “But with a lot of personnel missing we played some great football at times, so I’m pleased with how we are tracking for round one of the season.”
In Group E Olympic Kingsway finished top of the table after a 6-2 win against Swan United at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday. Olympic raced to four goal lead in the opening half hour. First on 12 minutes Gyles Davies deflected shot opened the scoring, before Hamza Hana doubled their advantage racing through the Swan defence to score his final goal for the club, after signing for Balcatta for the NPLWA season. It was soon 3-0, before Gyles added another on the half hour to make it four. Swan pulled on back just before half time with John Monterosso scoring from the spot. Monterosso scored another penalty on the hour to make it 4-2, but late goals from Davies, to complete his hat-trick and Chris Rizidis completed a comprehensive win for Michael Janssen’s side. In the late game in the group Shamrock Rovers beat Kingsley Westside 4-2.
Finally, in Group F Western Knights topped the table after a 3-2 win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park on Friday. The Knights opened the scoring on 20 minutes, Jake Sardelic’s cross found Cameron Yorke, whose glancing header beat Jamie Bosdet. But the Lions were level on the half hour with Sam Wynne scoring, but on the stroke of half time the Knights regained their lead. Some nice individual play from Jack Rycroft, saw him cut inside the edge of the box and he finished into the top corner. But the Lions levelled again six minutes from time, but deep into stoppage time a cross from out wide by Caleb Sheedy found Sardelic, who won it for the Knights from close-range. “It was such a tough game against a very good Stirling side,” Knights Coach Ivan Zuvela said. “They kept pushing us, and I was really pleased with our players ability to stay focused throughout the whole game.” In the other game in the group Joondalup City beat Canning City 2-0. Callum Speed gave Joondalup the lead from the spot on the hour, and they sealed the win in stoppage time with Ewan Fawcett on target. “I thought we dominated the game throughout, we all knew the goals were going to come,” Speed explained. “It sets us nicely for the league, and I believe we will be serious contenders this season with the quality in our squad this year.”
PHOENIX STUN GLORYW
Perth Glory have suffered a shock 0-3 loss against Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday afternoon. Despite dominating for long periods, they found themselves two goals down at the break with Reno Piscopo and David Ball scoring. They continued to dictate terms after the break, but lacked quality in the final third and it was the Phoenix who sealed the win on the hour with Ben Waine scoring. They will be play worse than that this season and win, and they will look to bounce back when they take on league leaders Central Coast Mariners next weekend.
Head Coach Richard Garcia said they need to tighten up at the back, but was happy with their attacking threat. "I'm encouraged that we're coming away from home and dominating games and we just have to tighten up going the other way," he said. "To cop three goals on the counter is a tough one to take, the boys are not happy with that and we can only improve from there. It was one of those days when we lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third and anything that we did have didn't seem to go in. On another day they all go in and you win comfortably.
"We know where we need to improve and the main thing is that we're coming away from home and putting in these performances where we are being dominant in that front third and we just need to be able to tighten up at the back end. The guys kept plugging away, they kept probing and trying to create chances, which they did, but it just wasn't our day."
Glory made five changes to the side that were beaten by Central Coast Mariners. In came skipper Diego Castro, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Brandon Wilson, Andy Keogh and Japanese international Kosuke Ota, for his starting debut. Nick Sullivan, Nick D’Agostino and Carlo Armiento dropped to the bench, Callum Timmins and Mason Tatafu were unavailable, while good news on the bench with young defender Luke Bodnar back after injury.
Glory dominated the opening 20 minutes, and it only looked a matter of time before they would score. Daniel Stynes and Bruno Fornaroli both saw shots blocked by Louis Fenton and Tim Payne respectively before Brandon Wilson's shot from the edge of the box drew a save from Oliver Sail, before Andy Keogh fired the rebound over the bar. Glory thought they had the lead moments later, Neil Kilkenny’s through ball sent Keogh racing clear and the Irish striker finished clinically, but his celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside, and VAR agreed.
It had been backs to the wall for the Phoenix, and they hadn’t an effort on goal, but they found themselves in front on the half-hour. Young Socceroo midfielder Piscopo strode forward from the centre circle, and he wasn’t closed down and his unerring shot flew into the bottom of the net. It went from bad to worse, and five minutes later the Phoenix doubled their advantage. Daniel Stynes lost possession in the middle of the park and James McGarry made space down the left, before crossing low to an unmarked Ball who scored from close-range.
Glory continued to look the more likely to score after the break, but it wasn’t their day and in and around the penalty area they lacked the quality to crack a tight Phoenix defence, superbly lead by Tim Payne. Then on the hour Phoenix added a third, Waine bagging his third goal of the season after Velaphi couldn’t hold a shot from Ball.
Glory continued to push forward and Kosuke Ota found Fornaroli with another quality cross, but the Uruguayan’s header and follow-up effort was superbly saved by Sail. The Phoenix custodian then saved to deny Stynes, before substitute Osama Malik bicycle kick forced another acrobatic save from the outstanding Sail. But it was Wellington who should have added a fourth late when Piscopo raced clear, his shot beat Velaphi but drifted inches past the post.
Wellington Phoenix: GK Oliver SAIL, 2 Liam MCGING, 5 James MCGARRY, 6 Tim PAYNE, 7 Reno PISCOPO, 9 David BALL (12 Matthew RIDENTON 90+1'), 10 Ulises DAVILA, 14 Alex RUFER, 16 Louis FENTON, 18 Ben WAINE (17 Tomer HEMED 77'), 23 Clayton LEWIS (8 Cameron DEVLIN 67') - Subs not used: RGK Stefan MARINOVIC, 13 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 15 Mirza MURATOVIC, 21 Joshua LAWS
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 8 Kosuke OTA (22 Josh RAWLINS 65'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (18 Nick D'AGOSTINO 65'), 15 Brandon WILSON (6 Osama MALIK 57'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 23 Dane INGHAM (16 Nick SULLIVAN 57'), 24 Daniel STYNES (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 75'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 3 Luke BODNAR - Referee: Adam Kersey
HALL OF FAME HAVE A NEW WEBSITE
The Football Hall of Fame Western Australia is pleased to announce the launch of their brand new website. Several months of hard work and dedication has gone into designing and developing the website, which is now live at footballhalloffamewa.com.au
The goal with the new website is to provide the football community – locally, nationally and internationally – with an engaging way to learn about the rich history of football in Western Australia, and the Hall of Fame itself.
The websites’ fresh new look and feel is complimented by several new features that include improved site navigation, enhanced presentation for mobile devices and integration with our mailing list subscription form and social media platforms.
The Hall of Fame will be constantly updating the website with news articles, photographs, announcements and other information relevant to the football community. The Hall of Fame thanks their co-lab partners at Daxies Website Design, who worked tirelessly alongside the Heritage sub-committee to make the website what it is.
The Hall of Fame invites the football community to provide feedback, submit additional information or photographs, make suggestions and/or pose questions on their new website by email to email@example.com
STATE FOOTBALL CENTRE A STEP CLOSER
Football West chief executive James Curtis says all levels of the round-ball game, from grassroots to professional, will be significantly boosted after their long sought-after State Football Centre was greenlit. The Western Australian Planning Commission’s Significant Development Assessment Unit has approved the transformation of the current unused space at Maniana Park in Queens Park into the state-of-the-art facility.
The $32.5m centre will serve as Football West’s administrative base and will house world-class playing and training facilities, capable of being used by Perth Glory’s A-League and W-League sides or touring overseas teams. It will open in time for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Australia, and will provide an in-tournament training base for any sides playing in Perth.
Once complete, the 16ha state football centre will contain two full-size, floodlit pitches, offices for Football West’s staff, three smaller pitches, two community pitches for public use, change rooms as well as strength and conditioning and sports medicine facilities. A grandstand with a capacity of 700 people will be constructed alongside the main pitch, although the site will have a capacity of up to 4000 spectators.
Curtis heralded the State Football Centre as a big step forward for the game in WA. “There’s never been an administration and talent development home for football, the game can really put its roots down,” he said. “A home is part of our DNA, it supports the history of the game, it’s exciting for us to think what will people will say in 50 years’ time and what memories will be created.”
Football West has been on the hunt for a permanent headquarters and centre of excellence for the better part of the past decade and previously considered sites in Subiaco, Burswood and Ashfield. Such special events include W-League games and A-League friendlies, junior and senior grand finals and cup finals, and training sessions for high-profile touring teams.
Curtis said a focus on open spaces and interconnectivity were at the heart of the centre’s grandiose and sweeping design. “We wanted to have a real sense when you enter the State Football Centre, you’re able to navigate the flow between the different aspects. We want to recreate the exciting feel of when you turn up to the MCG or any famous field,” he said.
“It’s got to be accessible when we look at it being fully utilised, parents can be watching kids on pitch one and the kids can have a run around on back pitches. During the week when the community are there, we’re able to have those people walk around, have a coffee and do some light recreational exercise.”
The development is being evenly funded by the state and federal governments, who are tipping in $16.25m each. Curtis said stage one of the build would involve construction of the two main fields and the main facility, with the community fields and supporting facilities for the high performance set-up to follow in stage two.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - SEMI FINAL PREVIEW
The NPLWA Night Series Semi-Finals take place at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday, and in the early game Group A winners Inglewood United take on Group B runners-up Armadale. (5.00pm) Both sides go into this one on the back of heavy defeats in the final round of group games, Inglewood played a young side against Perth Glory and were beaten 6-1, while Armadale were beaten 4-0 by Bayswater City, and went into the next phase on goal difference.
Armadale skipper Brian Patterson said it was a game of two halves against Bayswater, but knows they deserve to go into the Semi-Finals. “I thought Wednesday night’s game was a strange one, as in the first half I thought we were well in control and had our chances,” he explained. “But we seem to run out of legs in the second, and fair play to Bayswater for giving it ago, and we worked hard late to keep them at bay, but I think we fully deserve or place in the semi-finals.”
Patterson said Sunday can’t come quick enough, and they are ready. “Everyone’s really looking forward to the Inglewood game, and we are one win away from the first final of the season,” he said. “They have been in great form so far, but we don’t fear anyone and we are playing with great confidence. I think it’s anyone’s game and whoever wants it more will go through, bring it on.”
Inglewood qualified for the next phase before the last game and Head Coach Andres Oliveira gave some of his younger players a game against Perth Glory, and although the result didn’t go their way, he said it was good to give them some game time. “It’s hard giving opportunities to U20 and U18 players during the year, so when the opportunity arises like the Wednesday game it was a great opportunity,” he said. “The club supported this decision and it’s a great experience for the youngster, no matter what the result is, and I was very proud of the boys, playing against an excellently coached Perth Glory team.”
Oliveira said Sunday’s opponents (Armadale) will be tough and they have had a good Night Series, so it sets up a good game. “Armadale will be a good test for us, they being getting great results and deserve to go through to the semi-final,” he said. “They have been scoring a lot of goals and same with us, so this will make an entertaining game for everyone in attendance.”
In the second Semi-Final Group B winners Perth SC take on Group A runners-up ECU Joondalup in the late game at the venue. (7.00pm) Perth were the only unbeaten side in the preseason competition, and Head Coach Ramon Falzon said Wednesday win against Balcatta was pleasing. “It was pleasant to see our players put in another solid performance and create numerous goal scoring chances against Balcatta, and it was even more fulfilling to see the boys being rewarded with the three points,” he explained. “We started the game prudently to make sure that we did not give anything away, however we were always on the alert to capitalise on the opportunities created. With the score at 2-1 at half time, we tried to pile more pressure on Balcatta and rounded up an even better second half of football with three more goals.”
Falzon said they had some tight games against ECU last season, and he’s expecting the same on Sunday. “They (ECU) had a good season last year after the lockdown, and last year's encounters against them were great games to watch because of the football quality and the intensity injected by both teams,” he said. “We expect something similar this Sunday. ECU had a good start to this season so we are expecting a tough clash on Sunday, however we are keen to keep building our momentum following the wins against Sorrento and Balcatta.”
ECU Joondalup skipper Johnny Perkins, who pulled off an important save late in their win against Cockburn to see them through, said they had to work for the late win. “It was hard fought win, but better late than never,” he said. “They (Cockburn) are a well organised side with good players, so we knew it would be a tough game and it was. We played well and kept their opportunities to a minimum, so overall it was a good performance and another stepping stone to where we want to be at leading into the season.”
Perkins said Sunday is a huge challenge, but it’s one they are looking forward to. “A club like Perth, with their history would have been disappointed not to be thereabouts last year, and you can see with the signings they have brought in that they are really pushing for it this year,” he explained. “With that said, our focus remains on us. We feel we can beat anyone when we play to our abilities. There are no ‘easy’ games in this league, anyone can beat anyone, so if you’re not up to it you’ll get rolled. Two technical teams, full of confidence and going for the win promises to be a good game.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE PREVIEW
It's the final round of the State League Night series group stage this weekend, with quarter-final spots up for grabs. Each group winners will progress, with the best two best runners up joining them, and in Group A on Saturday it’s all to play for. In the early game at Wanneroo Reserve, third placed Joondalup United take on fourth placed Quinns in a local derby. Quinns can’t make the next stage, but a win for Joondalup, who is sitting two points behind the joint leaders, is vital. “We’re looking forward to the game against Quinn’s, but it’s a little disappointing finding ourselves in this position going into the last game but now it’s out of our hands,” Joondalup midfielder Jay Lang said. “All we can do is win and hope the other result goes our way.”. In the late game Wanneroo City host Balga. The Roos are in pole position to progress, but a win for Balga could change all that.
In Group B Mandurah City need a point to move through to the knock out stage when they take on Ashfield in the early game at Murdoch University on Friday. Ashfield returned to winning ways against Morley last week while Mandurah made it back-to-back wins against Murdoch University. “It was a solid win for us, the first half proved to be quite a test as we put ourselves under a lot of pressure and gave too much freedom, but the second half we fixed the issues and dominated them,” Mandurah’s Joe O’Brien said. “We expect nothing less than a win against Ashfield and a win in every game after that, there’s an elite winning mentality in our squad this year and we’re taking it each game at a time.” It’s been a tough week at Morley Windmills after new coach Tim Kantor stepped down, and new Head Coach Anthony Benetti will be looking for a winning start to his tenure when they take on host Murdoch University Melville in the late game of the group.
In Group C UWA Nedlands sit top, after two wins to start the competition, and a win in the final game against Fremantle City at Edinburgh Oval in the late game will take them through. UWA were big winners against Curtin last weekend, while Fremantle were beaten by Dianella, but Fremantle need a win and other results to go their way to move in to the knock out stage. In the early game at the venue Dianella White Eagles take on hosts Curtin University, and they will also be hoping for a win and hope results elsewhere go their way.
In Group D the two unbeaten teams, Forrestfield United and Subiaco AFC meet in the late game at Hartfield Park. A win for either side will take them into the quarterfinals, but the loser could also make the next phase as one of the beat runners up, so it’s all to play for on this one. In the early game at the venue, Gosnells City and Kelmscott Roos meet in a local derby, both looking to end the competition with their first points.
In Group E Olympic Kingsway takes on Swan United in the early game at Wanneroo Reserve on Friday evening. Olympic are well placed and a point would see them progress, while Swan will go on search of their first win of the competition. In the late game at the venue Kingsway Westside take on Carramar Shamrock Rovers. Rovers can’t qualify, but a win for Steven Dimitrovich’s side could see them move through. Winger Jayden Drummond was on target last week in the win against Swan, and he said it was good to get their first win.
“Bit of a bittersweet win, three points was the most important thing but we knew we needed goals to give us a chance going into the next game,” he explained. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t our night in front of goal we should’ve had five or six, but we just couldn’t put them away.” Drummond knows it’s still preseason but it would be nice to go further in the competition, but they will need to be at their best to beat last season’s champions. “We know the Rovers’ game will be a tough test they are a physical side,” he said. “We know we need goals to give us a chance to go through, anything can happen, we’ve been creating chances a plenty it’s just about putting them away now. We are building well for the season and that’s the most important thing.”
There was dramatic news in Group F in the week, with Stirling Lions deducted three points after playing a suspended player against Canning City last week and as per the competition rules, the result is now a 3-0 Victory to Canning rather than the actual 3-0 victory to Stirling. It means Western Knights now sit clear at the top of the group, and they now only need a point when they take on the Lions in the late game on Friday night at Macedonia Park. Canning City could still make the next stage after gaining those three points, but they need a win against Joondalup City in the early game at the venue to be on the mix for a quarter finals spot.
GLORY LOOK TO REBOUND AGAINST THE PHOENIX
Perth Glory begin a three game NSW road trip on Sunday when they take on a Wellington Phoenix at Wollongong's WIN Stadium (kick-off at 1.05pm WST). They also take on the Mariners again on March 14 in Gosford, before they play Western Sydney Wanders at Bankwest Stadium on March 19. Richard Garcia’s side will be looking to bounce back from their defeat on Tuesday against Central Coast Mariners, and the coach swung the changes on Tuesday with games coming thick and fast, but it showed we still need a few more experienced players in the squad to be competitive this season, and Garcia will hope German defender Sebastian Langkamp and Chris Ikonomidis will soon be available.
Garcia said that the lessons learned by his players in Tuesday’s defeat will stand them in good stead going into these three games. “It's a learning process and we're still growing as a group," he said. "We had some good possession the other night and probably didn't create as much in the first half, but at the same time, we can't concede set-pieces which then put you on the back foot. So that's a learning process for the group and I think once the senior guys came on and got on that front foot, we had enough chances to win.
"It's about learning that lesson and making sure that we start from the off in that vein of form. We have to make sure that we are focused for the full 90-95 minutes that we're on the park. The feeling within the camp is that we should have got something out of the [Mariners] game and should have been on the front foot a bit more, so we're looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday. They [Wellington] look like they're in form and are ready to go, but our boys are very hungry to bounce back."
Garcia well knows Wellington's strengths, but he was quick to point out that, that his focus this week has been about themselves. "Wellington are a strong side, the attacking side of their game is very good, their attacking midfielders are always a threat, looking to get in behind,” he said. “They've made a huge sacrifice to settle in Sydney, but the one benefit of that is that the travel is at a minimum for them.
“They are playing a lot of games that are local and it's probably less physically demanding for them as they are not having to do the amount of travelling that they usually would. But it's about us again and what we do and how we focus on our performance." Sunday’s game begins a run of five games in 20 days for Glory, but Garcia feels that his players are well capable of dealing with yet another demanding set of fixtures. "I keep saying the schedule is tough because it is tough for us," he said. “We're going to have to again be fully focused and make sure that we're resilient not only physically, but mentally.
"The hardest challenge is that mentally it's tough for the guys. But I think the guys have had a good run at it now, they know what to expect and we want to leave that to the back of our mind. The group is mentally tough enough to deal with it. It's a different reality now... a new normal and that's something we've spoken to the guys about."
Garcia said that Diego Castro is in contention to return to the starting side having been introduced from the bench against the Mariners and that with the exception of Mason Tatafu (ankle), Glory have no fresh injury concerns to deal with. The club's most recent meeting with Phoenix came in last season's Elimination Final when a Joel Chianese goal proved the difference between the two sides at Bankwest Stadium. This term, meanwhile, Ufuk Talay's men have picked up eight points from nine games, three of which came last weekend when David Ball and Ben Waine netted in a 2-0 away victory over the Jets.
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK SIX REVIEW
The Semi-Finalists for the NPLWA Night Series were decided on Wednesday evening, in a dramatic night of Football. First in Group A at E&D Litis Stadium ECU Joondalup reached the last four after a late Danny Hodgson goal saw them beat Cockburn City 1-0. It was a tight game played in difficult conditions, like the rest of the games with rain sweeping across the metro area. The Jacks needed a win to move through and it looked like they would miss out but on 85 minutes they found the winner. Substitute Ben Hinshelwood made space down the right, he fed the overlapping Luke Davis who crossed into the penalty area, Daryl Nicol challenged the keeper, the ball falling to Hodgson who held off his marker and fired home. “We knew Cockburn would give us a good game as they always do,” Hodgson said post-match. “We had a few missing tonight and people playing in different positions so to come away with the win is positive.”
Perth Glory were five minutes away from a spot in the next round, but ECU’s late goal denied them. But they finished the group in style thrashing an undermanned Inglewood United 6-1 at Perth Plasterboard Stadium. United had already made the semi-finals and coach Andres Oliveira rested a number of players and it was Glory on the front foot early and were four goals up in the first half hour. First on 18 minutes Luke Bodnar headed home from a corner, and sixty seconds later Bryce Bafford crossed to the back post for Jacob Muir to score. It was 3-0 three minutes later skipper Giordano Colli converting from the spot.
It was soon 4-0, Riley Warland curling home a free kick, and just before half time, Chris Donnell finished at the near post to make it 5-0. They added a sixth on the hour Lucas Rossi losing his marker to score. Inglewood scored a late consolation goal nine minutes from time through Hamza Belhassan. “It was certainly a professional display, which is what we expect from our boys, albeit against a severely under strength, but honest and hardworking Inglewood side,” Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich said. “There were some positive patches of play which was pleasing to see, but also some passages and moments that show us just how much we still need to improve.”
In the final game of the group Gwelup Croatia produced a stunning late comeback to beat Inglewood United 4-3 in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve. City went ahead on the half hour, a ball over the top fell to Shane Boyle who made no mistake past Stefan King. It was 2-0 six minutes later, when Dylan Rogers wasn’t closed down and his long-range shot flew home via the post. Gwelup found a lifeline just before half time Mitchell Oxborrow’s cross was flicked on by Hasani Sinclair and Shubham Mokala scored at the back post. But Rockingham regained the two-goal lead seven minutes from time, with Feisal Zaw’s shot deflecting past King. It looked all over for Taki Nicolaidis’ side, but on 90 minutes they pulled one back, with substitute Jon Stynes on target. Amazingly they levelled three minutes into stoppage time, another substitute Rocco Pizzata scoring. But the action wasn’t over and in deep into stoppage time Gwelup won it, Stynes getting on the end of another Oxborrow’s cross to score.
It was also close on Group B, with Perth SC taking out top spot after a come from behind 5-1 win against Balcatta in the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. It was Balcatta who opened the scoring on 19 minutes, with Jawad Rezai netting. But Perth hit back on 38 minutes, a ball found Cameron Teece on the edge of the box, and his shot on the turn flew low into the corner of the net. They hit the front three minutes before half time, Teece finding Calvin Whitney who fired home from 20 meters, via the crossbar. They added a third early in the second half, with Alex Silla arriving late in the box to fire home after some good Perth approach work. Whitney added his second and Perth’s fourth, ten minutes from time, his shot from the edge of the box deflecting up and over the keeper. The icing was put on the cake in the final minute, Gustavo Catarcione racing clear to score. “I thought it was a great win especially after how poor we were for the first 30 minutes and going 1-0 down,” Perth striker Teece said. “But as soon as we got that first goal back and started playing the way we normally do was only going to be one winner.”
Bayswater City needed a big win against Armadale in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve, to edge out the Reds to make the finals, but despite winning the game 4-0 they fell just short on goal difference. Gordon Smith gave the hosts the lead after only five minutes, but it was a tight first half after that with both sides having chances. But it was City who doubled their lead on the hour, with Ndumba Makeche on target, and the former Perth Glory striker added another three minutes later. City were looking for more goals and Fraser Dunlop found a fourth on 69 minutes, but they couldn’t find anymore, and it was Armadale moving into Sunday’s semi-finals.
In the final group game Floreat Athena thrashed Sorrento 5-1 in the early game at E&D Litis Stadium. Jamie Harnwell’s side were ahead in the shadows of half with Scott Witschge scoring. They held the until 18 minutes from time. Then floreat came alive with three goals in the space of nine minutes, Liam Murray bagging a brace, with Joshua Anasmo getting the other. Substitute Elijah Hass rounded off the scoring in stoppage time to make it back-to-back wins for Vas Vujacic’s side.
SAINSBURY REVEALS FFA CUP DREAM
Socceroos star Trent Sainsbury has revealed he wants to finish his career with Armadale and win the FFA Cup with help from his famous national teammates. The 29-year old has been in good form for Belgian club side KV Kortrijk in recent games, captaining the team for the first time and scoring a goal in their 2-0 win over Anderlecht last weekend.
But Sainsbury has one eye on his future post-Europe, disclosing he would love to play for his boyhood club and also win Australia's premier cup competition with the assistance of some green and gold stars. "Once I’ve retired from professional football and go back to the State League game, I'd love to go and spend a season back in Armadale," Sainsbury said.
"To try and bring in as many of my Socceroo mates as possible and win the FFA Cup, that'd be the ideal dream but I’d definitely just love to play in front of my friends and family. I grew up supporting that club and my dad and his mates have been there since day one supporting it, so that's one of the things I'd like to do when I finish my career off."
Sainsbury has played for the likes of Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven during a well-travelled career through Australia, Europe and Asia, but the former Central Coast Mariners centre-half nearly gave up the game in his younger days. The one-time Perth Glory youth defender credited ex-coach Kenny Lowe for reigniting his passion for football when it was dwindling in his teenage days
"I think it goes back to one of the simplest of things: 'if you don't enjoy doing it then it's not for you'," Sainsbury said. I've taken that on board from Kenny Lowe when back in the day I was thinking about finishing up trying to become a professional footballer. When I was 14 or 15 he brought me in and said, 'just come down and have a couple training sessions with me and the boys.'"
"He said to me, ‘you have just got to find that love of the game again. There's no pressure, just try and be the best person and the best footballer you can be.’ And that gave it back to me. I really wasn't going to, but my dad said ‘just go down, have a look, enjoy it and see what happens’, and that was sort of when I kind of fell in love with football again and wanted to become super competitive at it."
GLORY SUNK BY THE MARINERS
Perth Glory’s winning run on the A-League has come to an end after a 1-2 loss against league leaders Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park on a wet and windy Tuesday evening. The visitors led 2-0 at the break with goals from Matt Simon and Marcos Urena. Bruno Fornaroli scored his sixth goal of the season to get Glory back into the contest after the break, but despite dominating late they couldn’t find the equaliser, and the small crowd of only 4,125 went home disappointed.
Head Coach felt that there were plenty of positives to come out of the defeat. "Tonight, as much as the result was against us, I thought we played some good football and were actually on the front foot for most of it," he said. "Again, we've got to tighten up the sloppiness at set-pieces and a few things defensively and just be a bit more focused on what we do without the ball.
“I made a few changes to try and rest a few bodies and we had six under-23s in the starting side, so when you're playing and relying on a lot of young guys, they're not always going to be firing on all cylinders. I still thought they played well and gave a good showing of themselves, but it definitely helps when those older guys come on and steady the ship a little bit. It's a tough schedule and we've got to be wary of how we manage the guys."
Richard Garcia made four changes to the side which started Friday's win over Brisbane Roar, and handed Mason Tatafu a starting A-League debut in place of Jonathan Aspropotamitis. Callum Timmins came if for Diego Castro, Nick Sullivan came in for Josh Rawlins, while Daniel Stynes came in for Brandon Wilson, while on the bench NPLWA striker Ciaran Bramwell was named for the first time.
The home started brightly, but it was the Mariners who opened the scoring in their first real attack. Stefan Nigro heading a half-cleared cross back into the box, with Daniel Bouman flicking it on and Simon was given far too much room, and he chested the ball down before finishing clinically past Tando Velaphi. The Mariners looked lively and went close again moments later, the lively Urena raced clear, but Glory defender Darryl Lachman got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to deny him. Glory hit back and two dangerous crosses from Daniel Stynes and Nick Sullivan, both flashed across the face of goal, but no Glory player to finish them off.
Glory was convinced they had a penalty on 23 minutes when the ball cannoned into the hand of Mariners defender Ruon Tongyik, the VAR had a look at the incident, but deemed Tongyik hadn't moved his arm to an abnormal position, much to the displeasure of the Shed, who let their feelings known to the officials after watching the replay on the big screen. But it was the Mariners creating the best chances, and Urena fired inches wide at the other end on the half hour. Carlo Armiento went close seven minutes later, his shot from the edge of the box whistled just over the top, before Fornaroli’s effort did likewise. Velaphi then stood tall to deny Urena as the Mariners chased a second, and it eventually came four minutes from half time. Former Glory midfielder Daniel De Silva's free-kick found Urena at the far post whose header gave Velaphi no chance, and at the break Glory had it all to do.
Garcia brought on skipper Castro at the break, replacing Nick D’Agostino, but it was the Mariners that went close to a third early, Simon’s glancing header from the impressive Oliver Bozanic’s cross flashed inches past the far post, before Velaphi then got down well to deny De Silva. Garcia made a triple change with Japanese defender Kosuke Ota, Brandon Wilson and Andy Keogh coming on to replace Sullivan, Armiento and Timmins. Ota was soon in the action, his cross picking out Dane Ingram, but the New Zealander couldn’t keep his shot down.
Glory was back in the game on 64 minutes, and it was Ota who was the supplier. His cross from the left found Fornaroli and the Uruguayan headed low past Mark Birighitti. Glory pressed for the leveller and it almost came six minutes later. Ingram’s cross from the right found the head of Keogh, but the Irish striker header was off target. Stynes was then picked out in the box, after great approach work from Castro and Fornaroli, but the youngster could make the most of it. Ota was constant threat and his cross on 75 minutes picked out Fornaroli again, but his header was high.
With Glory pressing forward the Mariners were dangerous on the break and De Silva’s shot on the run drifted inches wide of the upright, and he went close again late after good work by Simon. Glory was throwing everything at the Mariners in search of the equaliser, and their best opportunity came two minutes from time, Neil Kilkenny’s corner was headed goal wards by Keogh, but the Mariners defenders got back to clear, with Fornaroli ready to pounce.
The result was a big morale booster for Central Coast after last week's loss to Adelaide. "Coming off the back of a really difficult loss to take, it was important for the team to show good character and resilience and bounce back tonight with a win," Mariners Daniel De Silva said post-match. "I think we showed that tonight - stuck it out right to the end. We are really happy with the three points."
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 16 Nick SULLIVAN (8 Kosuke OTA 58'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (17 Diego CASTRO 46'), 19 Callum Timmins (15 Brandon WILSON 58'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (10 Andy KEOGH 58'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES (38 Ciaran BRAMWELL 82'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 6 Osama MALIK
Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 4 Joshua NISBET, 5 Stefan NIGRO, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 10 Daniel DESILVA (22 Michal JANOTA 90+1'), 11 Jack CLISBY, 12 Marcos UREÑA (29 Alou KUOL 62'), 14 Daniel BOUMAN (26 Jaden CASELLA 72'), 15 Kye ROWLES, 19 Matt SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK - Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 3 Lewis MILLER, 23 Dan HALL, 32 Max BALARD - Referee: Daniel Elder
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK SIX PREVIEW
There will be three NPLWA Night Series Semi-Finals spots up for grabs on Wednesday evening, when the final round of fixtures are played. Inglewood United are the only team to have secured their place after topping Group A, but there are still four teams in the mix to join them. First up in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve Rockingham City take on Gwelup Croatia. (6.30pm) City missed the opportunity to seal a spot after being beaten by ECU, likewise Gwelup who were edged out by Inglewood. Goran Stajic’s side need a win and hope ECU lose and they can score more goals than Perth Glory on the night.
Stajic said last week was a great game for the neutral but the result didn’t go their way, but he was happy with the performance. “It certainly was a great game to watch and coach, as for the result the team that was more clinical won it,” he said. “We looked very good and were in the game, again for the entire 90+ minutes especially at 1-0 and at 2-3, 3-4 where we had chance after chance to equalise, this is a testament to the players character and the depth that we are creating in the squad. Obviously, our defending could be scrutinised however squad rotation and a focus on keeping possession could be the catalyst in that part of the game. That’s why I am pleased with the three goals we scored, they were created and executed in free play, and this shows that we can open up teams at will.”
The coach said all they can do is get a result on Wednesday and hope results elsewhere go their way, but it’s all about preparation for the season ahead. “The game against Gwelup will give our squad another opportunity to play together against another well coached and quality opposition,” Stajic explained. “The squad we have assembled is practically brand new and have achieved so much, yet so little in the space of two months. With the season fast approaching and to be in the position we are in is not surprising, however for us to win and the other results to go our way to play finals would be interesting but at what cost.”
Gwelup need a win, and then hope ECU lose and hope Inglewood beat Glory. But Head Coach Taki Nicolaidis said if they play with the endeavour the ten men showed last week against Inglewood he will be pleased. “Friday was definitely not the result we wanted against Inglewood, but I was proud of how the team reacted after going down to 10 men and 1-0 down,” he said. “Whilst we can still mathematically make the semis our sole focus is making sure we do our part by performing well to get the three points against a well organised and fit Rockingham. They have performed very well so far in the competition and know we have to be at our best to beat Goran’s troops.”
ECU Joondalup will look to build on last week’s win against Rockingham when they take on Cockburn City in the late game at E&D Litis Stadium. (8.30pm) It’s simple for Kenny Lowe’s side, win and they will be in the semi-finals, while Cockburn will be aiming to end their disappointing Night Series on a high as they go on search of their first win of the competition. In the final game of the group Perth Glory take on Inglewood United in the late game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. (8.30pm) Ruben Zadkovich’s side need a win in this one and hope ECU and Rockingham City both lose to progress. Both sides had hard fought 1-0 wins last week so with everything on the line this one should be a great game.
In Group B Armadale only need a point to guarantee a Semi-Final spot when they take on Bayswater City in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve (8.30pm) Armadale came from behind to beat Balcatta, while Balcatta were stunned by Floreat Athena. City need to win and hope Perth SC slip up against Balcatta to go through, so this one should be the game of the night. Reds Head Coach John O’Reilly said the win against Balcatta was pleasing, especially after going behind early. “It was a good performance from the lads, they showed great character after going 1-0 down and they held their nerve to come back and go in at half time level,” he said.
“In the second half our fitness and quality of finishing saw us score three deserved goals. It was also pleasing to give three debutants the opportunity to impress late, so it was a good day all-round.” The Reds only need a point but that’s the furthest from the mind of the coach. “It would be nice to go through the group stage undefeated, and it would be a great reward for the players for all their hard work and progression the squad has made,” O’Reilly said. “But up against Bayswater we need to do a job, we need to be strong defensively and if the opportunity arises, we will be looking for three points if we can.”
Perth SC’s fate is in their own hands and a win against Balcatta in the early game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium will see them qualify for next stage. Ramon Falzon’s side are undefeated in the competition, but Balcatta have a good record against Perth in recent seasons, so they will be looking to end their Night Series campaign with a win in the Italian Derby. In the final game of the group Floreat Athena and Sorrento meet in the early game at E&D Litis Stadium (6.30pm). Both sides have had a disappointing Night Series, so both will be looking to end it on high.
GLORY HOST MARINERS ON TUESDAY EVENING
Perth Glory are back in A-League action on Tuesday evening when they host league leaders Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park (kick-off 6.20pm) Richard Garcia’s side secured a fourth victory of the season on Friday evening, beating Brisbane Roar 3-1 and in the process, setting a new all-time A-League record of 18 goals scored in their opening six games. But Garcia is confident that his squad have plenty of improvement left in them heading into the game, and he knows they are yet to hit anywhere near their best form.
"We produced a decent performance [against Roar] and we're looking to grow from that," he said. "I feel that we have a lot more in the tank than we showed on Friday. Hopefully the cobwebs are out and Tuesday night will be a lot cleaner performance. The stats don't really make a difference to me; it's more being content with the way the guys are progressing. They are playing attractive, attacking football, which is the football I feel our fans want to see and it's the football that I want to play and see. I think the group are enjoying playing this way, but the most pleasing thing for me is not the number of goals that we're scoring, but that we're taking things on board and growing as a group."
The Mariners, meanwhile, will head west having lost just once on their travels this term and Garcia has been impressed by what he's seen from Alen Stajcic's side. "They've been together quite a while now and have added some real quality, so they have a decent squad," he said. “They had a tight game with Adelaide last time out and it was difficult for them copping three penalties. They're going to be a tough opponent as they're top of the league, full of confidence and travelling really well. But it's our home game... and another opportunity for us to improve as a group and as individuals and really grow and get another victory."
In team news, Garcia confirmed that no fresh injury concerns emerged from the Roar game and that with the exception of Sebastian Langkamp and Chris Ikonomidis, he is expecting to have a full squad at his disposal. He will have some selection headaches as well, with the performance off the bench of Japanese defender Kosuke Ota, Daniel Stynes, Andy Keogh and Osama Malik. A victory for Glory on Tuesday could lift them as high as third on the ladder, just three points behind the Mariners who sit top of the table, this before a three-game road trip in NSW.
Perth Glory squad: GK Tando VELAPHI, GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 8 Kosuke OTA, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 38 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: BAFFORD (promoted) - Outs: 19 Callum TIMMINS - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, GK Adam PEARCE, 3 Lewis MILLER, 4 Joshua NISBET, 5 Stefan NIGRO, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 10 Daniel DESILVA, 11 Jack CLISBY, 12 Marcos UREÑA, 14 Daniel BOUMAN, 15 Kye ROWLES, 19 Matt SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK, 22 Michal JANOTA, 23 Dan HALL, 25 Matthew HATCH, 26 Jaden CASELLA, 29 Alou KUOL, 32 Max BALARD, 33 Louis KHOURY - Ins: HATCH (Promoted), KHOURY (Promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 6.Gianni STENSNESS (Lower Leg – 1-2 weeks), 30.Jordan SMYLIE (Knee – 2 Weeks) - Referee: Daniel Elder
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This page was last updated on the 27th February, 2021