Brandon O’Neill gets his head on the ball under pressure from Shane Pickering

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BAYSWATER FINISH TOP (with Bianca Niederberger,

Bayswater City have won the National Premier Leagues-WA minor premiership and will go on to represent the state in the National NPL interstate Series next month, after an intense battle with Sorrento resulted in a 1-1 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday. Perth failed to defeat Cockburn City to snatch the top spot, leaving Bayswater to finish two points clear on the ladder. A goal from Paul McCarthy late in the second half levelled the score after Reece Vittiglia had given the hosts an early advantage.

Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne felt the tension and expected his side to have to survive a Sorrento onslaught after the strains of the mid-week Westfield FFA Cup match against Melbourne Victory. “When that first goal went in, we were thinking - what do we need to do? As we could have had two or three of our own before that,” Coyne said. “Sorrento always, always throw stuff at you and that was one of the reasons I rested players during the week and had players coming off the bench because I knew it would be a tough battle today. “But to finally get these lads over the line it was tremendous and I’m ridiculously proud of them because they’ve worked so hard all year.”

Although the final score was indicative of a fairly evenly matched game, Bayswater dominated possession but squandered goal scoring chances. Sorrento did well to resist the unrelenting pressure from the visitors and managed to convert from limited opportunities. With so much at stake it was destined to be an entertaining ninety minutes. Sorrento’s defence was organised and disciplined despite pressure from Bayswater’s David Headney and Steve Burton.

The visitors failed to take advantage of possession and were caught offside trying to get in behind the Sorrento defence. Gustavo Marulanda missed his chance in the 28th minute with a shot from outside the box that grazed the wrong side of the cross bar. Sorrento’s Vittiglia broke through in the 53rd minute, slotting past goalkeeper Devon Spence. On the restart, Vittiglia was on the attack again after being played in by Niccolo Sabatini but the brace eluded him. Bayswater responded and had numerous chances to equalise but neither Burton, Heagney nor Declan Hargreaves could find the target despite some close calls. Their more convincing attempts were denied by goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. In the 86th minute McCarthy finally found reprieve for his side after a header from Todd Howarth was stopped by Aspden but the deflection landed at McCarthy’s feet. With Aspden still recovering, McCarthy equalised. It was a relentless display from the Bayswater side that justified their position on the NPL WA league ladder.

Reflecting on the season, Coyne felt his side should have wrapped up the league a lot sooner. “I think sometimes, in some of our games, we let our complacency get the better of us," he said. "I think, at times we could’ve grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and we shouldn’t of lost some of the games we lost this year." “Overall, I think with the ability that this group has we could have been a little bit more professional and clinical with the way we went about things, and that’s what we’ll need to do moving forward.”

With the final play offs to come in the following weeks, Coyne said they will give it everything they have to be crowned league champions but said the traditionalist in him already believed they had achieved the title. “I really enjoyed winning the top four last year, but I remember saying to Doug Hesketh (Stirling) the first past the post really deserves the kudos because its twenty-two games and you should be crowned as champions,” Coyne said. “Play offs are like a three game cup final and although we’re immensely proud of winning it last year, I still think of the first past the post out of the twenty-two games are the true champions.”



Perth were thwarted in their last attempt to snatch away the NPL-WA Premiers plate from season long leaders Bayswater City by drawing 1-1 with a resolute Cockburn City side at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday. With the Cockerels leading for most of the game through Matt Barlow’s 28th minute strike, the Azzurri were becoming increasingly desperate as news filtered through from Percy Doyle Reserve that Bayswater were trailing to Sorrento. The visitors bombarded the home penalty box and got their reward on 84 minutes when Ash Rosindale was on hand from close-range to level the scores. But Bayswater too found the elusive equalizer they needed to retain top spot and their second piece of silverware for 2014, leaving Perth wondering what might have been, but also taking some satisfaction on a big improvement from 2013.

Perth assistant coach Ante Kovacevic knew his side became frantic in an attempt to take the lead. “We got desperate in the last half hour chasing the game and it just wasn’t enough time to ultimately get five goals to win by the four (needed) if the other game finished in a draw,” he said. “We emphasized how important it was to take our chances, Cockburn are a decent outfit and it was always going to be tough. “First half we lacked a bit of intensity and quality in the final third which is where you score the goals.”

Looking back on the season, Kovacevic was disappointed with the administration error that cost Perth a point in a 3-3 draw with Inglewood, and a slow start to the campaign that went some way to leaving them trying to catch up. “Bayswater and other clubs can also look back at games where they lost but to claw our way back to within two points after our start to the season is a pretty decent achievement,” Kovacevic said. “But the way we see it, to become the WA champions we have to win the Grand Final in three weeks time and that’s our aim now.”

Perth did not start the game looking like a side in contention for the top spot. Cockburn showed some scintillating form in the last ten games to flirt with a top four finish and appeared confident as they deservedly went ahead following a good attacking move. Jesse Fuller worked his way into space on the left, delivered a deep cross that Devon Gibson nodded back across goal for Matt Barlow to calmly side-foot home, leaving the visitors stunned. The game ebbed and flowed and both keepers had to be alert, but as Perth realised top spot was a realistic possibility, they pushed hard and were rewarded from a free-kick which, not unlike City’s goal, was nodded back into the danger zone where Rosindale was on hand to set up a grandstand finish. But Cockburn’s defence, superbly marshalled by retiring captain Paul Natale stood firm to hold on to the point that they richly deserved, to end their season with just one defeat in their last eight games.

Cockerels coach Marc Anthony was happy to finish with a point after the pressure Perth piled on towards the end, and was in upbeat mood as thoughts immediately turned to next season. “This is just the start for me here, it’s a good club, good people and we’ve got a fantastic bunch of players here. We won six, drew one, lost one of the last eight – that’s top-four form and certainly something to build on,” he said. Speaking about his skipper Paul Natale, Anthony heaped praise on the retiring centre-back who departs to take up a teaching position after over a decade at Dalmatinac Park. “He’s been a fantastic professional, leading by example, a top top lad. We’re delighted to give him a great send off,” Anthony said.

Natale naturally spoke very highly of the club he holds very dear to his heart, praising Cockburn club President Heidi Lazzaro for looking after him despite several opportunities to leave for other clubs. “I’ve had a great time here, played with some great players. I care about the club, it’s close to home and it’s just been such a pleasure to play here. I’m very happy,” Natale said.



Stirling Lions mid-fielder David Micevski scored four goals in a 5-2 win over Armadale at Macedonia Park to earn this year’s Golden Boot in the final game of the 2014 National Premier Leagues season. Captain Andy Brown grabbed the other with Alec Solomons and Ben Wantee scoring for the visitors as they battled to the end.

Micevski missed the first six games of the season but has steadily chipped away since then to become top goal scorer. “I said to myself before the game I wanted to get four goals,” he said. “The goal count hasn't been as high as in recent years so as I got close I realised there was a chance.” Gary Williams retired as Stirling coach last week after their Westfield FFA cup Round of 32 game against the Hyundai A-League’s Brisbane Roar. Co-coach Daniel Stoitis took charge as interim coach for the last game and looks forward to next season. "Our biggest challenge this season was gaining momentum at the start due to injuries,” he said. So hopefully we have a squad we can build on next year.”

It took thirty minutes for Micevski to make his intentions clear as he skipped past two defenders and fired into the near corner after the home side patiently worked their way into the box. The Lions continued their pressure but were hasty with final executions until Micevski made a determined run in the 39th minute and let fly a cracking left-footed strike into the far right. Captain Andy Brown scored the third immediately after when he headed in Hayden Doyle's near post corner. But defender Alec Solomon pulled one back as he towered above the Lions defence to lob Jackson Bealey's cross over keeper Aleks Vrteski's head.

The Army looked purposeful after the restart and they brought the game back to 3-2 with Wantee’s strike after good interplay between Nathan Costello and James Atkins. Micevski got his hat-trick in the 58th minute converting nineteen year old Robert Petkov’s pass across goal who showed pace and strength to work to the by-line. The Army clung on through waves of attacks with keeper Mathew Gould being forced to make some desperate saves. But the Lions were bound to be rewarded and in the 80th minute Moses Kalau ran from his own half and put through Petkov, who was challenged by Gould, but Micevski pounced on the loose ball to get his fourth.

Armadale finished bottom having won only one game and drawn four, but coach Lee Bamber could not fault his players commitment. “We’re not a team that’s rolled over and died every week,” he said. “We’ve gone out and played football, but sometimes we’ve been a bit naive.” “We’ve got to eradicate our mistakes and be more ruthless in front of goal and smarter with our defending, but that comes through experience and that’s why the young guys are playing- to become smarter footballers.”


GLORY END ON A HIGH (by Chris Andrawes,

A very strong Perth Glory side beat Inglewood United 4-2 at Intiga Stadium in the NPL on Saturday, in a game that was largely about building for the future for both teams. The start of the game saw a drastically different Glory side from last week, much to the frustrations of Inglewood fans, with the side featuring Glory first team players, Daniel De Silva, Brandon O’Neil, Jamie McLaren, Cameron Edwards, Jack Duncan and Chris Harold. Inglewood coach Goran Stajic felt his team performed well against a tough side. “I thought we were unlucky to not at least get a point out of it,” he said. “When they walked out with the players they walked out with, I thought it was going to be a tough day at the office.”

Glory coach Jon Gibson felt that having access to the players helped to keep his side competitive throughout the season. “When we’ve had players drop down its made a difference to the squad, but pay credit to the young boys this year who’ve stuck with it, they’ve learnt some big lessons this year,” he said.

“Its difficult, obviously we’re playing within the regulations, its interesting, because when the score is the other way we’re not good enough. “But we’ve got to find a balance within the rules, as long as we’re competitive in this competition thats really important,” he said. “The group is a really young group, they’re all 96’s, so that’s been really interesting, having boys play in a mens competition, which is very foreign to them. “You see one or two of them splattered amongst senior players at other clubs, but here it’s slightly different and they have to be totally accountable on the pitch,” he added.

Glory got the game underway in stunning fashion as McLaren’s work down the left caused Inglewood to put the ball into their own net. The Glory lead was tripled as McLaren’s driven shot found the bottom corner before, a pass from De Silva found McLaren again who chipped the keeper. Andrija Jukic pulled one back with a header on the goal line following a goal mouth scramble, but Brandon O’Neil’s second half free-kick put the game beyond doubt for Glory.

Second half substitute Emmanuel Mansaray squeezed home a consolation goal to keep the game interesting, but ultimately Glory were too strong for an Inglewood side who have had a turbulent season, which Stajic thinks will be different next year. “Overall its no secret that we’ve underachieved, we’re a team that still has a lot to offer next year, with a new senior head coach coming in, I think he’s got a lot to work with,” Stajic said. “The final interview is on Monday, and then the announcement will be made next week or the week after.”

Stajic believes his spell as coach has acted as an extended preseason for the club and feels many of the players who have played at the end of this season will be influential next season. “Sean Browne has shown he can match it up at the NPL level, Jarod McNally really impressed me with his running from out the back also Josh DeMarte and Marc Eldridge, just to name a couple,” he said.

For Glory, the season continues with Gibson preparing his side for the next challenges. “We’ve got a week off and then its straight into trials and the NYL (National Youth League) season, so the majority of the same group will stick together and move forward.”



ECU Joondalup stalwart Andy Banks chose the perfect match to retire after having kept a clean sheet and seeing his side win 3-0 against Subiaco at ECU Sports Complex. Banks said his side had a mixed season following their eighth place finish but felt the club he is leaving can only go upwards. “We started badly and came to in the middle,” he said. “Maybe the last 10 games we went a bit iffy but we’ve finished ok. “The younger lads will progress and get better from this (season),” he said. “Maybe they can kick on next year and look to get into the top four or five.”

After a slow start to the game ECU got their reward for an extended period of pressure at the end of the first half. After taking a corner Dan Dixon drifted back into the box and when the ball landed back at his feet having not being cleared properly the winger struck the ball first time and found the back of the net in the 45th minute. Joondalup got their second of the game in the 62nd minute after Subiaco started the half brightly like they did in the first but then dropped off. Substitute and ECU’s top scorer with 10 goals Tommy Amphlett caught the Subiaco defence square and struck his shot first time from 25m out into the top corner.

The pace of the game slowed right down with ECU happy to keep the ball and Subiaco sitting deep and giving their opposition plenty of space to play in front of them. The third goal came in the 84th minute following a raking diagonal ball which Jon Stynes let bounce, and then headed the ball over the outrushing Sam Stone with a clever finish. In a difficult first season in the top division Subiaco finished in 11th place with just four wins.

Coach Gerry McEwan said he was happy his side had not finished bottom of the league and believes they are able to improve next season. “It’s been a big learning experience for us,” he said. “Everybody has had a fair crack at establishing themselves in the league. “We know where we need to improve and what we need to build on,” he said. “I wanted to be off the bottom of the league so that if anybody was throwing stones they wouldn’t be throwing them at us.”



Floreat Athena completed their first National Premier Leagues WA season with an empathic 4-1 victory over finals-bound Balcatta yesterday at E&D Litis Stadium. Ludovic Boi’s calm finish cancelled out Benny Kouakou’s deflected opener in the first half but a flurry of goals from Ashley Corker, birthday boy Andrew Scaldaferro and Aryn Williams gave Athena the win to put an end to a frustrating stop-start season. “We wanted to finish the league with a win so we can carry on next year,” Boi said. “There were a lot of ups and downs this season. We’ve had issues with players coming in and out, coaches coming in and out so it’s not only been on the pitch but off the pitch as well.” “(Today) we performed quite well. We had a lot of young boys out there. It’s the last game of the season and we can’t get into the top four so we gave a lot of the young boys a chance and they’ve stepped up.”

Benny Kouakou had opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a deflected shot after being played through by Catarcione. Floreat were level just before half-time when Boi brought down a raking pass from Bobby Wilson and was fortunate to see the ball take a lucky bounce into his path after his darting run off the flank. There was nothing lucky about his finish as he calmly stroked it past the Balcatta custodian. The home side took the lead midway through the second half when Corker bundled home after Boi's quick free kick caught the Balcatta defence napping. With Balcatta chasing the game, Floreat hit them on the counter twice in the space of two minutes to make the score 4-1. Scaldaferro produced a diving header at the far post to make the score 3-1 before Williams rounded off the scoring when he brought down a lofted pass on his chest before lashing home from a tight angle.

Despite the result, Balcatta finished third behind runners up Perth SC and Premiers Bayswater City. Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon was pleased with the jump from tenth to third but conceded there was work to do. “It’s a big step forward,” Falzon said. “Compared to last year, finishing third is good. It’s (a) big improvement from finishing 10th. “We don’t have that winning mentality yet, that hunger that no matter what happens every week we want to win. Until we get that hunger and that winning mentality day in and day out in whatever we do we’re not going to win trophies. “So it’s a good step forward compared to last year but we’re not done yet. We need to make a big step forward if we want to win trophies.”



As the regular season finishes this weekend in the NPL-WA, there has been confusion around WA football circles on who are the champions this year. Football West have confirmed that the same system that has been in use since 2009 will continue, with the added bonus for the team that finishes top of the league will qualify for the NPL interstate series. "The winners of the league (first past the post) will receive a winners' shield in 2014 and represent Western Australia at the national finals series. The winners of the NPL-WA Grand Final will be the champion club in 2014", competition manager of the NPL-WA Chris Beech said this week, who also stressed that this decision was made before the season started and has been in the rules of competition since January.

The regular season winners which will be decided on the weekend will probably not receive the plate after the game. "Unfortunately the winners' plate won't be awarded this Saturday. With the plate potentially going to either Bayswater or Perth, we can't have it in two places at once and unfortunately we don't have an increased budget to buy a second winners plate for this situation. As much as we would love to have it set up like the EPL (regarding final day nail biters) and have trophies at multiple clubs ready for presentations, we don't have the capabilities to make this happen unfortunately", Mr Beech said.

The new NPL-WA trophy which will be decided on Grand Final day will be arriving at the Football West office in the next week or two. With current discussions between the governing body and the clubs, it's looking increasing likely that this will be the first and last time the new trophy will be decided by a play-off, as next season it will probably be awarded to the team that finishes top as champions and the finals being scrapped all together, or played as a separate minor top four post-season competition.

This season will also be the first time in Western Australian history that the Under 20's (Reserves) and Under 18's will also have their respective championships decided by the top four system, unlike last year when the top five was regarded as a separate competition. This will also be the case for all NPL-WA junior leagues.



Sorrento v Bayswater City

Sorrento have the ability here to frustrate Bayswater and cause them last-day heartache as the away side look to secure regular season glory. Bayswater head up to Percy Doyle, a destination that has proved a tricky place to pick up points in the recent past. Back in May Bayswater had won their first 10 games of the season when Sorrento headed to meet them at Frank Drago reserve. The Gulls surprisingly ground out a 1-0 win to make the rest of the competition sit up and take notice. The last two weeks Bayswater have scored nine goals without conceding which is great form heading into their pivotal final league game. They were gallant in defeat in Wednesday's FFA Cup game against A-League side Melbourne Victory. When Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell was asked whether he would approach this fixture any differently heading in to the finals, he responded with: "We obviously have to be mindful of players carrying niggles, or sitting close to suspensions, but are also aware that we have a duty to Perth, to do our best to beat Bayswater on Saturday. We probably won’t make a final decision on the starting line up until Saturday, but we would also like to keep our little winning run going". Sean Canham is the only absentee as he is in the UK.

Cockburn City v Perth

All Perth can do here is concentrate on their own performance and then hope Sorrento can do them a favour. The away side will go knowing that their record on the road has been almost faultless in 2014. From their 10 away fixtures Perth have won 8 and drawn 2 scoring 27 in the process. Cockburn will be no pushovers though. The Cockerels have lost only 1 of their last 8 and will want to end their season on a high, but will possibly look back on the season thinking what could have been after their late surge. When these sides met earlier in the year Perth edged out Cockburn 2-1. Jason Barrera is facing a late fitness test as he is carrying a knock. Alex Castiello and Craig Simpson will both come into the first team squad this week.

Perth Glory v Inglewood United

Inglewood are the away side as they face Perth Glory in their final game, on home turf. In what has proved a difficult season for both of these sides, neither of them managed to string a series of positive results together so each side will be wanting to end their respective campaigns with a bang. Glory's miserable second half of the campaign has seen them register only a single point in their last 14 outings. It is a developing group of players but surely they would have hoped to be more competitive? Inglewood really have underachieved this season. With players like Sharland, Blackmore and Jukic in their ranks, a 9th place finish has to be seen as a a let down but will go into this fixture confident of doing the double over their opponents.

Floreat Athena v Balcatta

Floreat at times this season have been very impressive but have been unable to bring any consistency into their game which is why they are languishing in mid table. A finals spot nor a battle to avoid the wooden spoon have been a concern of Floreat's for the majority of the year. Athena’s unpredictable form and club unrest have had an impact on their year. Having secured a finals berth a few weeks back Balcatta will be hoping to use this fixture to extend their winning streak to four matches as they look to hit the ground running in their quest for top 4 glory. Balcatta are still going to Floreat with the aim of getting the 3 points and try to build up more momentum for the finals according to Coach Ramon Falzon. Kieran Colwell is back from suspension and will be putting his hand up for selection. Gustavo Catarcione, Paddy Quinn and Matt Izzo are back from overseas travel and should all play their part on the weekend. There are no injury concerns at the moment so Falzon has a selection headache.

Stirling Lions v Armadale

Stirling are coming off the back of quite possibly the biggest game of the clubs rich history. The Lions hosted current A-League Champions Brisbane Roar at the WA Athletics stadium in the FFA Cup. Unfortunately the game ended 4-0 to the Professionals but Stirling can be proud of their efforts, especially their first half display. This weekend their opponents heading to the Den are bottom side Armadale. In a season of few positives Armadale will look to take the game to Stirling in a bid to go out on a high. Obviously without the concern of relegation, Armadale can go into the fixture looking to build on improving recent performances as they look to be more competitive in 2015. Rav Kuppasamy is the only casualty for Armadale heading in to the weekend as he battles a hamstring injury. Alex Clarke and Mitch Castrilli are back in the mix for selection in a game that Coach Lee Bamber wants to focus on, taking the chances that Armadale are creating and being a bit more stubborn at the back.

Subiaco AFC v ECU Joondalup

Subiaco bring their 2014 season to an end as ECU Joondalup head to the WA Athletics Stadium. In a season that could not have started any worse for the western suburbs side they will probably look back and consider it a satisfactory maiden top flight season as they were written off by most before the season began. ECU have had a season that has never really peaked as they are another side who have been in or around Mid-table throughout the entire season. Joondalup were narrow winners when these two sides met in Round eleven with Subiaco going down 2-1. This is a game that may not be one for the football purists be a typically combative affair can be expected. Charlie Comyn-Platt will be available this weekend for t he visitors but Andy Higgins and Danny Dixon are in doubt with injuries. For Subiaco, Jordan Rhodes is out, Rory Feely, Brad McDonald, Alex Randell and Ian McMurray are all doubtful.



Bayswater City are on the cusp of clinching the inaugural National Premier Leagues title heading into a tense final round of the regular season tomorrow. Bayswater, who are away to Sorrento, are two points clear of Perth SC, who travel to Dalmatinac Park to take on Cockburn City. There are numerous permutations but if Perth fail to win against Cockburn the league title will be Bayswater’s, while City will also be assured of top spot, regardless of results elsewhere, if they beat Sorrento.

The league winners will represent Western Australia in the National NPL Finals Series next month. Bayswater were busy mid-week taking on Melbourne Victory in an FFA Cup round of 32 match and coach Chris Coyne believes his side will take momentum from the game, despite losing 2-0 to the A-League heavyweights. “I’m sure if they roll with the same conviction, capacity and hunger to put up a fight against a team, they’ll have no issues,” Coyne said.

Perth, who have won their past six matches in a storming finish to the season, will have their fingers crossed that fourth-placed Sorrento can cause an upset to open the door for a last-gasp grab for the league title. But Cockburn City coach Mark Anthony said his side was out to finish the season on a high after last weekend’s 4-1 win over Inglewood United. “Although we’re out of top-four contention now, we’re very conscious of our attitude at the club and we don’t approach any game as a dead rubber,” he said. “We needed to take some form into that (Perth) game to have a chance ... that’s exactly what we’ll be doing and we’ll go out there and try and win the game.”



Gary Williams has resigned as coach of Stirling Lions effective immediately. Williams had only last week been endorsed by the committee to continue as senior coach for next year, along with Daniel Stoitis as his assistant. However this week Williams was forced to re-think his position. "Both Daniel and I agreed (to coach) but unfortunately the actions of one or two individuals at the club left me with little alternative but to resign from the club on Wednesday afternoon. I have certain values and principles which I will not compromise", Williams said.

"I have been coaching at the club for approximately seven years in total and have enjoyed every moment". Williams coached the senior team with both Doug Hesketh and Daniel Stoitis had have won a premiership (last season), been involved in a grand final, a cup final appearance and on Tuesday night he led the team into the clubs inaugural FFA cup game against Brisbane Roar. Williams went on to say, "I also leave the club with all three senior teams in the top 5 which is a testament to the coaching structure at the club. The first team have unfortunately missed out on the top 4 finals however this season has been the worst by far for injuries. At one point I was unable to select 12 first team players and could not select my strongest team until round eight There are a number of people at the club who I would like to thank but I will do that individually and in person in due course. I wish the club every success in the future."



When defender Matt Danskin steps out on Saturday afternoon to face Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium it will herald the end of a remarkable career. Danskin has packed a lot of football into his 29-year olds, from playing juniors with Forrestfield United to representing Australia at youth team level. That journey has also included two seasons with German club Werder Breman and a starring role on the local stage with Fremantle City, Perth SC and Inglewood United, the versatile right-sided player basing himself at the latter for the past couple of years.

Danskin rates the decision to hang up his boots as the hardest of his life. “When you give away something you have loved all your life, something which has given you your identity, has been the basis of nearly every decision you have made, that’s tough,” he said. “I’ve always set myself a standard and pushed myself to become a better player, but now my body won’t do what I want it to do. I’ve played only about 50% of games over the last three seasons and that tells me I’m no longer able to perform the way I want and expect.”

It was as a 5-year old the Danskin first strapped on his boots for Forrestfield. “We had an amazing team junior team, for about five years we practically won everything and went through one season without losing a game. Our coach, Alex Olejnik, was a great mentor and is still a friend to this day,” said Danskin, who graduated to senior football after joining Fremantle in 2000. “Fremantle was my first taste of State League football. We had a good group of youngsters, which included John Migas and Dean Apelgren, that started in the Under-18s and went on to have a large impact on the State League.”

Danskin’s dream of playing professionally came true after being spotted by scouts from Werder Bremen while on State team duty at the national youth championship. “They invited me over for a trial and on the last day was handed a file with a contract in it – that day changed my life,” commented Danskin, who was only 16 when he headed abroad. “But my dream turned into a nightmare. I was alone and isolated with no support program and that sent me down a dark road of depression. As bad as it was, I wouldn’t change a thing because those experiences made me the person I am today.”

While things didn’t go according to plan in Germany, it did lead to Danskin getting the opportunity to achieve another of his dreams – to represent Australia. “Being selected for your county, putting on that shirt with the coat of arms on it eclipses any feeling I’ve ever had … it is something I’ll never forget,” said Danskin, who toured South America with the Young Socceroos in late 2004. “South America is an unbelievable place, they live and breathe football. Everything about that tour – how we were treated, where we stayed, trained and played – epitomized what it is to represent your country.”

On returning home Danskin linked up with Perth. “They are biggest club in the State and the success we achieved is unrivalled to this day,” said Danskin, who played at the club for eight years. “The team ethos, culture and comradery was unbelievable. Some of the training sessions were so intense, the football so good, it was unbelievable. If other clubs could have seen what it was like during that period they would know why we were the best. Perth was an amazing club and Dorrien Gardens felt like home … I never wanted to leave.”

Pulling on Perth’s iconic sky blue shirt week in week out was a great honour for Danskin. “To play for a great club with a history of great players was a highlight in itself,” he said, before recalling the highlights of his time with the club. “The 2005 Cup Final against Inglewood United, where I scored the winner with a left-foot stunner, the 2009 Night Series Final against Floreat Athena, where I got the winner in extra-time with another great goal, and winning the 2012 Night Series with ten-men against our arch-rivals Bayswater City are all very special memories.”

Danskin moved to Inglewood two years ago and admits to being disappointed at not achieving more with the club. “I came to Inglewood with the aim of helping build a strong team and a strong club,” he explained. “But it takes more than a great coach and a core group of good players. The squad players, the youth players, they need to buy in also and do everything it takes to be the best they can, but we just haven’t had that. We’ve had too many players who roll up at training and to the game and call themselves a player, it doesn’t work like that, that’s mediocrity.”

Walking away from the game he loves will leave a big hole in Danskin’s life. “I’ll miss the mateship, the comradery, the banter and the game in general. The battle at 3pm on a Saturday will be something I’ll miss. That time every week when, no matter what’s going on in your life, it’s Saturday and that means football day and nothing else matters,” he said. “I’d like to be remembered as someone who was 100% committed, who gave everything he could for his team mates. But also as someone could play, who could make a pass not many people could make.”

Danskin is content with where his football journey went and what he achieved. “My birthday wish as a child was always to get a contract at a professional club and to play for Australia. I did both of those, I just forgot to wish for a bit more longevity, but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved,” said Danskin, whose focus next year will be on building a tavern – Tall Timbers – in Manjimup. “Retirement is not a decision I’ve made lightly, I love the game and I love playing it. But the body is done … when your body won’t let you play, you simply can’t.”



Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne says the Western Australian football community needs to start “banging on parliament’s door” again to find a home of football. Coyne’s side were forced to shift Wednesday’s 2-0 FFA Cup loss to Melbourne Victory away from home ground Frank Drago Reserve due to inadequate floodlights. The match was played at the WA Athletics Stadium in front of 1650 fans, who were at least 40 metres away from the action due to the running track around the field.

Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey commented after Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Stirling Lions at the same venue, that the gap between the field and crowd eradicated the home ground advantage due to the lack of atmosphere and Coyne agreed. “Kudos to everyone who turned up tonight, they made a big effort,” Coyne said. “But Mike Mulvey made the comment last night as well, when they’re 40 metres away you can’t really hear it. The atmosphere would’ve been better if it was at one of the smaller grounds with the stand on top of you. We’re grateful for Venues West for putting it on but I don’t think it’s the right venue for the rectangular game.”

In February last year, Football West launched the Home of Football campaign which aimed to garner political support for a central training and administration headquarters for the game in the state. So far the campaign hasn’t succeeded, but this week’s FFA Cup matches may have reignited the debate. “They’ve organised it well, but as a state we need to have a look at ourselves and try to get something,” Coyne commented. “Whether it’s a home of football or it’s in the northern suburbs or southern suburbs …. we need to look at it and start banging on parliament’s door and getting things done so we’ve got floodlights and facilities. It’s imperative.”



West Australian pair Chris Herd and Trent Sainsbury are in line for their senior international debuts being named in Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos squad to play Belgium and Saudi Arabia next month. Postecoglou has moved to broaden the base of international players ahead of the 2015 Asian Cup by selecting four uncapped players, the others being Brad Smith and Bailey Wright in the squad. Robbie Kruse, Carl Valeri and Josh Brillante have been recalled to the squad along with twelve members of this year's World Cup final squad, including captain Mile Jedinak and talisman Tim Cahill.

After naming the squad, Postecoglou declared Socceroos selections would continue to be bold in Australia's pursuit of becoming the best team in Asia. "The next series of games for us are really important to broaden the base and depth so we're going to be pretty bold in the way we select our squads and give some people an opportunity," Postecoglou said. "We want a really strong squad for the Asian Cup and we are only going to get that if we have a look at some more players."

Australia's 20-player squad to face Belguim (4 September) and Saudi Arabia (8 September) is Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Joshua Brilliante (Fiorentina), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Matthew Leckie (Ingolstadt), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Mark Milligan, Carl Valeri (Melbourne Victory), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Massimo Luongo, Brad Smith (Swindon Town), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Jason Davidson (West Bromwich Albion), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers) and Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle).



Bayswater City coach Chris Coyne expects his players to use the momentum gained during last night’s historic Westfield FFA Cup clash against Melbourne Victory in their bid to seal the National Premier Leagues-WA minor premiership this weekend. Goals from Kosta Barbarouses and Archie Thompson sealed a 2-0 win for the two-time Hyundai A-League champions Victory in front of 1650 at the WA Athletics Stadium last night, but Bayswater gained plenty of positives from their performance.

After a nervous start Coyne thought his side were by far the better team in the second half, setting them in good stead for the final regular round NPL WA match against fourth-placed Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday. Bayswater lead the competition by two points from second-placed Perth SC, who are away to Cockburn City. “I think the way they expressed themselves, especially some of the younger boys, was superb,” Coyne said of his side’s performance against Victory. “Once they got to grips with things they came up and gave a good account of themselves. “I’m sure if they roll with the same conviction, capacity and hunger to put up a fight against a team, they’ll have no issues.” But despite the Round of 32 Cup exit Coyne has relished the experience and the excitement the competition has generated. “We’ve really enjoyed this path, and have had a taste, but we’ll be super hungry next year,” he said.

Bayswater were put under early pressure from Victory and Guilherme Finkler’s shot forced a fingertip diving save from Devon Spence just seven minutes in. The local side had their hands full trying to contain the star studded Victory line-up, which included new signing Besart Berisha, who caused trouble up front. The former Brisbane Roar player was part of a series of slick passes by the visitors in the area and set-up Barbarouses, who coolly slotted the ball past Spence in the 23rd minute.

Bayswater’s only real first-half chance came after Steve Burton won an aerial challenge and knocked the ball back to David Heagney, whose powerful shot from range was tipped over the crossbar by Victory keeper Nathan Coe. Coyne’s men came out much stronger in the second half and seven minutes in Brian Farrell volleyed a cross-field ball from Heagney but it sailed narrowly wide. They came close to equalising again in the 70th minute when a free-kick taken by Todd Howarth dipped below the crossbar, forcing Coe to tip it out for a corner. But Victory doubled their lead in a moment of brilliance with just 13 minutes to go. Berisha was again the instigator, this time supplying Thompson who slid the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat said his side looked dangerous in the front third, especially during their dominant first half. “It’s good to have a meaningful competitive game in the pre-season,” Muscat said. “There were a number of chances and we scored two very good goals, which is a positive sign going forward. “From their perspective, once we got that first goal it was a lot harder for them and they had to come out in the second half. “They had a good go and hopefully they can go on and win the league on Saturday - I wish them all the best.”



Newcastle Jets fullback Scott Neville has targeted the upcoming four-team Townsville Football Cup for his return from a knee reconstruction. Neville re-joined his team mates for full training this week and is now focused on getting much-needed match fitness. “‘I have been training fully for four or five days,” Neville said. “Going into 50-50 challenges, I am not even thinking about the knee, which is a good thing. Throughout the whole rehabilitation, touch wood, I have not had a complaint with soreness because I have ticked every box. If I was not 100% sure, I would not put myself in that position. I know I have done all the work.”

Neville tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in early December but had to wait until mid-January for surgery and has since had eight months of rehabilitation. “It is huge to be back among the boys and out of the rehabilitation group,” the 25-year old said. “A lot of people say you can come back stronger from these injuries. I am just looking to get back to a good base. I was pretty happy with my form (before tearing the ACL), I was playing fairly consistent and felt like every game I had control over what I was doing. I’m aware it might take time for me to get back to where I was.”



It was not the upset win Stirling Lions had hoped for but coach Gary Williams had only praise for his gallant players after their 4-0 Round of 32 Westfield FFA Cup defeat to Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar at the WA Athletics Stadium. Henrique De Silva scored in the first half but the brunt of the damage was done within 13 minutes in the second with goals from Corey Brown, Matthew Smith and Jean Carlos Solorzano.

"They've beaten us by four brilliant goals today," Williams said. "But the lads can hold their heads high. We train twice a week whereas they probably train seven, and that's the difference." "But we carried on and fought to the end, it would have just been nice to get a goal against the champions of Australia."

Williams said it was a great experience regardless of the score on a night when history was made as Stirling became the first National Premier Leagues WA side to compete in the inaugural FFA Cup. "You watch them on the TV and you think they’re playing good football but when you witness it from the sidelines, the speed they move the ball, it's a sudden realisation of how much you've got to step up."

Stirling showed their intent when Hayden Doyle hit the inside of the left post with a low drive in the 11th minute. The post then came to Lions keeper Aleks Vrteski's aid when Dimitri Petratos' attempted volley across goal sliced and dipped unexpectedly over him. But Henrique undid the Lions positive start with an overhead kick from Clayton Arnez's goal line clearance following a corner in the 31st minute. The discipline of a full time professional club took its toll in the second half and Brisbane bagged three in quick succession. First Brown smashed home a lay off in the box in the 55th minute then captain Smith headed in A-League Player of the Year Thomas Broich's ball behind the defence in the 63rd minute. Five minutes later Petratos's free-kick bounced off a post and substitute Solorzano tapped it in with his first touch of the game.

The part-timers regained composure despite the fatigue. Jack Salter provided fresh legs and in the 80th minute received a ball on the break and muscled off a defender then skipped round another but his shot went fractionally wide. Dean Evans and Moses Kalau also had attempts but both strikes were comfortably parried by Brisbane keeper Michael Theo.

Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey said it was not an easy task travelling five hours to play the West Australians. "It’s pleasing to get a result because it was a banana skin waiting to happen, but thankfully we didn't fall over it," he said. "First half we were sloppy, but we were more penetrating in the second. We tired them out and it helped us find space. "Full credit to Stirling. A lot of teams would sit back and think about the result but they came out and played football."



Striker Eli Babalj has pressed his case for first team football with AZ Alkmaar after netting a double for their reserves side on Monday night. The two-time Socceroo scored his side’s opening two goals in a 5-2 thrashing of Fortuna Sittard. Babalj, 22, endured an injury-cursed debut season in the Netherlands, suffering hernia and groin problems, but returned to fitness in pre-season. He featured in a number of pre-season games but has been over-looked by manager Marco van Basten for their first two Eredivisie fixtures.



If not for an untimely injury, Stirling Lions midfielder Dean Evans might already be an established professional. But the setback that blunted his chances of making an impact during a second spell with Perth Glory has served only to further motivate the 24-year-old. So tomorrow night, when Stirling take on A-League champions Brisbane Roar in the round of 32 FFA Cup tie at the WA Athletics Stadium, opportunity will knock again for Evans.

While Evans focus is on causing a Cup-set, he also recognises this is another chance to catch the eye of those watching around the country. “I still want to prove myself at the next level,” Evans said. “I’ve been through a lot, I’ve worked hard and I’ve had a taste of it and I want more. I want to establish myself. I really want to get back into that professional environment and stay injury free and get my shot. Hopefully, if I keep working hard and I’m playing well that chance will come.”

One good performance might not be the clincher but Stirling win to match that of South Australia side Adelaide City, who knocked out A-League grand finalists Western Sydney Wanderers, would put his club in the spotlight. “It’s great to be playing against the best players in Australia,” Evans said. “You play to win and that’s what we will be trying to do. We’ll go out with the right game plan. If we have to sit and be patient and disciplined that’s what we’ve got to do and hopefully get them on the counter.”

Stirling coach Gary Williams, who experienced the joy of English FA Cup upset victories a player with non-league Hitchin Town in the mid-1990s, is also dreaming of a shock result. "I just want to put on a show,” Williams said. “If we come out of that game with our credibility intact and give them a good game, I'll be happy. But I’m not thinking negatively. I want to win the game. That’s our aim but most of all I want (the players) to enjoy the experience.”



Teenage defender Cameron Burgess has emerged as a bolter in Fulham's bid to jump straight back into the English Premier League after making his league debut for Felix Magath's team. Burgess, 18, played the full 90 minutes of the Cottagers Championship loss at Ipswich Town last weekend, when he displayed a maturity and commitment that has done nothing to harm his chances of more game time when Fulham entertains Millwall this weekend. Scotland-born Burgess is one of four ECU Joondalup alumni at Craven Cottage, the others being striker Adam Taggart, winger Ryan Williams and goalkeeper Jake Soutter.

Burgess showed his versatility by playing an unfamiliar midfield role against Ipswich. “It was a bit of surprise to get a start against Ipswich but a nice one,” he said. “I am a centre-half (but) I was more than happy to play wherever the boss wanted me to. This is a club determined to return to the Premier League this year and there’s quality all over the pitch in every position. To be involved with the first team, especially at my age, is pretty special and hopefully I can play some part in us pushing on for promotion.”

With both British and Australian passports, Burgess has the option to represent his homeland of Scotland or the green and gold of Australia. He has already made four appearance for Scotland at youth level but earlier this year took part in an Australia Under-20s training camp in Dubai. “There have been a few talks and we will see what happens,” said Burgess who joined Fulham in a scholarship two years ago. “Obviously I have a strong connection with Australia. It’s where I started to really develop my game and I made so many friends there inside football and elsewhere. There’s a great sporting culture there.”

Burgess’ roots are steeped in Scottish football folklore with grandfather Campbell Forsyth winning four Scottish caps as a goalkeeper in the 1960s during a career which saw him play for St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Southampton, while his father Stuart played for Albion Rovers, East Fife, Falkirk and Kilmarnock. “With my background they were proud that I was capped for Scotland and it was a big moment for me,” said Burgess. “But their main concern is more about me cementing a career in club football than anything else because if you don’t do that then there is no chance of playing international football anyway.”

Burgess trained with Aberdeen and Celtic as a kid prior to his family’s relocation to Perth. “My parents are still there and I talk almost every day to dad about football and general stuff and really value his advice,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with how things are going but there’s an awful lot still to do and so much to learn.” Burgess is part of a wave of talent to emerge from WA in recent years through ECU Joondalup which, in addition to the Fulham four, has spawned Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Shane Lowry (Leyton Orient), Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa) and Stoke City pair Alex Grant and Peter Skapetis.



Bayswater City have criticised Football Federation Australia for declining their move to play this week’s FFA Cup fixture against Melbourne Victory in Victoria. Bayswater were forced to move Wednesday’s glamour fixture away from Frank Drago Reserve due to inadequate lighting. Coach Chris Coyne told his club had wanted the game moved to Melbourne, as often occurs in England’s FA Cup where clubs strike a deal on splitting gate takings, but were denied by the FFA. “The FFA said straight away ‘no’ because it sets a precedent and isn’t in the benefit of the game, but I think it is,” Coyne said.

Coyne claimed Bayswater and Victory had agreed to the venue switch, and had tabled a formal proposal to the FFA, with Perth Glory owner Tony Sage working as mediator. “Victory were good to go with it,” Coyne said. “It was two consenting clubs. Sagey (Tony Sage) understood exactly where we were coming from. I think the FFA should’ve shown more foresight. It’s not just this one game, it’s about the next 10-15 years. We could’ve got $100,000, for example, off Melbourne game receipts and all the rest, why not let us do that? The money could’ve been spent in the right ways, such as floodlights so we don’t have this issue next year, junior infrastructure, facilities or coaching.”

The FFA refuted Coyne’s claims, with a spokesperson stating they “did not receive an official proposal from the clubs to switch the game”. However, the FFA did reveal they were open to the prospect of swapping venues between opposition clubs. “If it was deemed that Bayswater City did not have a suitable venue to hold the match and could not nominate a suitable local alternate venue, FFA would switch hosting rights to the away team,” the spokesperson added. “In this case Western Australia Athletics Stadium was nominated and approved as a suitable alternate venue. As there was no official request to relinquish hosting rights to the match, there was no request to knock back.”

Bayswater are not alone in missing out on a true home FFA Cup fixture, with Stirling Lions also forced to move their clash with Brisbane Roar to the Athletics Stadium. “I’m a bit disgruntled that the two WA clubs who’ve got into the FFA Cup haven’t been capable of hosting the game,” Coyne said. “It’s a massive problem in WA football, as it’s very AFL orientated and we’re left picking up the pieces. Our dressing room is as good as any in the A-League, it’s top notch and the playing surface is very good as well, but we don’t have the lights.”


COCKBURN CRUISE TO VICTORY (by Bianca Niederberger,

An early goal was not enough to invigorate Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium yesterday as Cockburn City cruised to a 4-1 win in the penultimate round of the NPL WA’s inaugural season. With both teams out of contention for a top-four finish, Cockburn left the pitch with their heads held high after punishing Inglewood in the second half. Inglewood’s only goal came as a result of a through ball from Andrija Jukic to Ryan Clarke, who ran on to beat Euen Grant and Blake Adams and, ultimately, keeper Dejan Aleksic. Clarke continued to threaten and on numerous occasions was denied by Aleksic.

Despite the early set-back, Cockburn controlled the game and were in cruise control as they kept up the pressure and intensity. Inglewood showed glimpses of cohesion but could not sustain their enthusiasm long enough to make an impact. The equalizer came midway through the first half when Ross Diamond found himself alone with time and space to execute a confident strike from the edge of the box. Inglewood squandered their chances and the lead as Cockburn surged forward in the second half, sealing the deal with three goals in the space of 20 minutes.

The fresh legs of Julien Teles, off the bench, delivered the first when he ran onto a ball from the midfield to challenge Luke Martino and slot it past the harried keeper. The second came from a Conor Kavanagh corner, ideally measured to connect with defender Alan Carroll whose close range glancing header was too good for Martino. And the third and final blow in injury time, was delivered by Matt Barlow, who had been hunting for a goal all day, with a simple tap in.

Cockburn City coach Marc Anthony said it was one of the best first-half performances he had seen from his team all season. “We gave away a terrible goal after a minute but apart from that we were superb,” he said. “We were miles ahead of our opponents and we had six or seven good chances to score. “We got the goal we deserved in the end and I just asked the boys to carry it on, which they did and I’m really, really happy.



Perth SC broke down a resilient Subiaco side in Saturday’s National Premier Leagues encounter at Dorrien Gardens thanks to two second half goals. The 2-0 win ensures that the minor premiership will be decided on the final day of the season following Bayswater City’s 3-0 win over Floreat Athena. In a largely uneventful first half, Subiaco had the best chance to take the lead just before the stroke of half time. Patient build up from the visitors created room for the overlapping Nathan Diaz. His driven cross fizzed past the goal area with no Subiaco player getting a final touch.

Perth started the second half the better of the two sides and took the lead by fortuitous circumstances. After a series of poor corner kicks, Mark Pritchard saw his corner swing directly into the far post beyond the reach of Subiaco custodian Sam Stone. The lead was doubled in the 75 minute from another corner. Stone managed to apply a strong fist to half clear the corner but Friday Zico sent a cross into the danger area that resulted in Ashley Rosindale tapping in as Subiaco failed to clear for a second time.

Midfielder Alex Randell felt that his Subiaco side was lacking in maturity and a little bit of extra quality that could have been the difference in many games this season. “I’m gutted about today,” Randell said. “And it seems to be the same mistakes every week. We’re conceding far too many off set pieces and we don’t take our chances when we get them.” The result is Subiaco’s fourth loss in five games but Randell believes his team can take the lesson learned from this season and hopefully improve for their final game against ECU Joondalup.


BAYSWATER WIN TOUGH (with Chris Andrawes,

Bayswater City made life hard for themselves with a patchy win against Floreat Athena, where the 3-0 score line did not do justice to Athena’s performance at Frank Drago Reserve in the National Premier Leagues on Saturday. Bayswater coach Chris Coyne was concerned with his side’s performance ahead of their Westfield FFA Cup match against Hyundai A-League side Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night. “I think we played well for two fifteen minute bursts when we got the goals,”he said.“Hopefully we don’t do that against Victory or we could be in trouble. “If Floreat had of got one there then we would’ve really struggled, it wasn’t a good performance whether it was the boys having one eye on next week or not I don’t know, but it was very lack-luster.”

Bayswater seemed to get off to a good start in a game that could have won them the minor premiership, depending on Perth's result. Striker David Heagney gave Bayswater the lead after just eight minutes, with a neat tap-in from inside the six-yard box. Bayswater doubled their lead later in the second half through Gustavo Giron Marulanda, who was the recipient of Paul McCarthy’s good work in the box, allowing Marulanda to tap into an empty net.

After half time the game swung in Floreat’s favour as they dominated play and forced some brilliant saves from Bayswater keeper Devon Spence, who struggled throughout with a slight injury. Floreat seemed to eventually get their reward as Jack Allen scored, but the linesman’s flag ruled it offside, much to the frustrations of Floreat coach Glenn Grostate. “Who knows about that goal, people are saying it was a goal and that would’ve changed the game,”he said.

Grostate was otherwise pleased with his side’s effort. “At the end of the day I’m very happy, when you come here, you’re against the best in the league and we have to realise that," he said. “We had four or five players out, we had two reserves players starting, so at the end of the day from what we had out there and what we had on the bench, I’m more than happy."

Despite Floreat’s free flowing attacking, Bayswater put the result beyond doubt with a goal from Brian Farrell, who showed his pace as he ran past the Floreat defence before firing past the keeper. The result was not enough to hand Bayswater the title this week, as Perth managed a 2-0 win in their game against Subiaco, but Coyne remained happy to leave it until the final week. “I spoke to the boys about it and I’m not too concerned because I’d rather be where we are than where they are. The pressure’s on Perth and we’ll see how it goes next week," he said. The result was also a slight confidence boost for Bayswater’s Westfield FFA Cup clash with Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night, with Coyne excited to see his players experience being the underdogs for the first time this season. “Every week everyone’s trying to shoot us down, so it’ll actually be a nice experience for the players to go out there and express themselves and have the freedom to play free flowing football without the burden of having to win every single game," he said.


LIONS READY FOR ROAR (by Colin Outhwaite,

Stirling Lions warmed up for Tuesday’s Westfield FFA Cup clash with Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar with a last-gasp victory away to ECU Joondalup. The Lions looked to be heading for a draw before David Micevski struck in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 win at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday. David Foster scored in the 33rd minute for ECU but Robert Petkov capitalised on a goal keeper fumble to level the scores before Micevski led the Lions to victory.

With a star-studded bench and the FFA Cup match at the WA Athletics Stadium coming up Stirling coach Gary Williams said it might have appeared they had one eye on Tuesday. “Before the game it was still possible for us to finish fourth, so it was important we stayed focussed,” he said. “I thought the first half was poor but I told them and got a good reaction in the second half.”

Sorrento sealed fourth spot with a 2-1 win over Armadale, so having missed out on the finals Stirling can now dedicate their full attention to the cup. "The boys are really looking forward to Tuesday,” Williams said. “It’s the biggest game of their careers for a lot of them, and it's certainly the biggest game of my coaching career." An uneventful first half was only highlighted by the first goal. Jake Benson-Cooper delivered a deep ball into the box for Jon Stynes to head over keeper Aleks Vrteski, and Foster helped the ball over the line. At the other end keeper Andy Banks couldn't keep hold of Moses Kalau's powerful shot in the 54th minute and Petkov pounced to equalise for the visitors.

ECU had a spell around the hour mark but Vrteski did well to keep out Foster from Danny Dixon's pass across goal. Foster's best chance came in the 65th minute as Stynes’ ball over the top put him through on goal, but his half volley fired wide. ECU's defence did its best to deflect a barrage of shots, and Banks made up for his earlier mistake with some solid saves. But Micevski’s class shone through with a great strike from the edge of the area.

ECU captain Jon Higgins said they would have settled for a draw. "Points aren’t an objective for us anymore so we took a gamble and they caught us on the break,” he said. “But to be fair they were dictating the game."

Higgins said the results have not gone their way this season but there are a lot of positives to carry over into next year. "We've got some young players in the squad that have gained a lot of confidence from playing at this level, so next year we’ll have bigger aspirations." They head to Subiaco next week where Higgins hopes to finish on a high. "We still want to win but it's mainly about incorporating into our game what we practice in training, and playing how we want to play," he said.



Balcatta sealed third position and a home minor semi-final game against Sorrento in two weeks after a 4-0 win over Perth Glory at Grindleford Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Carlo Coehlo netted a brace for the home side, accompanied by goals from Benny Kouakou and Laurence Shurama. Their superior goal difference of 16 means next week’s results are highly unlikely to affect their standing.

Balcatta coach Ramon Falzon said it had put them in the perfect situation leading up to the finals series. "It gives us a little bit of a breather because we don't have the pressure to need to win in the final week,” he said. "But we'll definitely honour the game next week against Floreat and go with the mentality to win the three points."

Glory opened well and had the first chance after a poor clearance from Matt Brook gave Nic Talimdzioski a clear shot, which he sent wide. But it was Balcatta who scored the first goal in the 10th minute after Kieran Stallard's shot was saved by keeper Luke Radonich, with the rebound falling to Coelho who didn't hesitate in smashing it home. They doubled their lead 10 minutes later with another rebound goal and this time it was Shuruma who thumped it into the net. Glory seemed to struggle with Balcatta's constant pressure, on and off the ball. They had some promising chances - Bor Bor Sambindi caused problems down the left wing with his step-overs and quick pace - but lacked options.

Balcatta came close to netting their third on the counter in the 37th minute with a great shot from Kouakou but it was tipped over the crossbar by Radonich. The visitors came out positively after half-time and immediately won a corner but Sambindi's attempt to slide the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal was stopped by Kouakou. Glory had a good spell of possession and a second corner in the 53rd minute saw Josh Tucker's header rebound off a Balcatta player into the keeper’s hands.

Despite Glory's improved defending, Balcatta extended their lead eleven minutes later when Coelho struck a ball that had rolled across the goal face. Kris Gate was granted a penalty in the 78th minute after being brought down by Radonich, but he hit the ball wide to the left. After hunting for a goal all game Kouakou was finally rewarded on the stroke of full-time when Shuruma passed it right to his feet, allowing him to put the ball away comfortably.

Glory coach John Gibson said consistency is the key for his young side. “If you look at the goals we’ve conceded this season a lot of them possibly come from our errors when we have the ball,” he said. “We need to make sure in transitional moments that we are lot better and we are accountable in defending those areas.” Gibson said the boys deserved credit for stepping up each week, rather than throwing the towel in. “These guys show an amazing amount of character and spirit and belief in what were are trying to do,” he said.



Reece Vittiglia’s fourteenth strike of the season in stoppage time cemented Sorrento’s place in the top four as they fought off a spirited Armadale side 2-1 at Alfred Skeet Reserve on Saturday. But the hosts felt hard done by as coach Lee Bamber and his players protested in vain for a foul on goalkeeper Matt Gould in the immediate build up to the Gulls winner. “It’s a foul on the keeper. He’s trying to punch it and he’s been held and the referee’s not give it. It’s a shocking decision,” Bamber said.

A game rather lacking in chances suddenly sprang to life in the last ten minutes with Scott Bulloch’s pile-driver putting Sorrento ahead. But a superb response by the National Premier League's bottom side saw them force an equalizer minutes later through Ben Wantee’s header to seemingly earn them a deserved point before Vittiglia had the final say. “The boys were magnificent. They’ve carried out the game plan. We conceded a soft goal; we didn’t close it down quick enough despite working on it in training. But to come back from that was a great effort. We’ve been working on making the young lads mentally tougher,” Bamber said.

The game began with Sorrento forcing the early pressure, looking to exploit Armadale’s reputation as slow-starters but the home side showed character to hang in there as they saw off a succession of corners with Steve McDonald getting closest, looping his header just over. Vittiglia really should have found the target from Bulloch’s cross but the prolific forward headed just wide. Both keepers showed excellent reflexes when called upon, first Gulls stopper Curtis Aspden blocking Josh Kuser’s close-range shot, before Gould reacted quickly to thwart Vittiglia.

Chances were again at a premium for most of the second half, Vittiglia looping a shot over on the turn before Jason Mirco, with his first touch after being introduced from the bench, headed over with the goal at his mercy. It was not all the visitors though, Aspden had to be alert to beat away Jackson Bealey’s low free-kick at his right-hand post. The goal the game had been screaming out for arrived in the 80th minute when Armadale only partially cleared a corner and the ball fell invitingly for Bulloch who rifled home from the edge of the box to give Sorrento the lead. But the home side, roared on by a vociferous crowd, responded superbly. First Aspden had to be brave to deny Dannie Richman before Billy Quinncroft thought he had levelled, only for his looping header to be cleared underneath the bar.

Army were not to be denied though, as from the resultant corner Wantee met the ball with a powerful header that gave Aspden no chance. Although a point was all Sorrento needed to seal their Finals berth, they pushed on again, Mirco seeing Gould brilliantly push away his snap shot. The winner arrived in the first minute of stoppage time, Gould unable to get distance on his punch under pressure, with a back-to-goal Vittiglia aware that a hook over his shoulder might just be enough. And it was. There was still time for Armadale to threaten but Kuser’s despairing lunge was not enough as Quinncroft’s pacy low-cross evaded him.

Sorrento joint coach Jamie Harnwell admitted his side snatched the win but was pleased with the performance on the whole. “We knew Armadale would make it difficult but we got the goals at the right time. Towards the end of the game we put some really good balls in the box and caused them a few problems. I was happier as the game wore on,” Harnwell said.



Rockingham City welcomed Melville City to Lark Hill knowing that they needed all three points to get back into second spot in Division Two. The home side flew out the blocks and raced into the lead when neat play from Louvie, Clark and Rowland resulted in Louvie's low cross being turned in by Taono. The early goal gave Rockingham a real confidence boost and the football was some of the best we have seen at Lark Hill this season with every player looking assured and confident in possession.

Once again it was Louvie who was the provider with a fantastic through ball for Taono who raced through and lobbed the keeper for his and Rockingham's second of the game. Ryan Kennedy's neat turn and lob from the edge of the box had the crowd on their feet but the ball had unfortunately landed just over and onto the roof of the net. The home side had the ball in the net a third time, this time a curling shot from Clark which was headed in by Taono, only to be denied by the assistant's flag. Rockingham didn’t have to wait long for the third when Taono grabbed a deserved hat trick, beating his man and powering home a low strike.

In the second half it was all about the home side again with Taona grabbing his fourth goal in an amazing performance, dispossessing the Melville defender both before lashing the ball home from a tight angle. The home side where really starting to flex their muscles and it was no surprise when Rowland turned his marker and powered in a shot from 30 yards into the top corner. Next it was the turn of the substitute Laure, he linked up well with the tireless Clark before lashing the ball beyond the keeper from just inside the box and he grabbed his second and the home side's seventh soon after when a mazy run took him beyond three Melville defenders and his stunning finish capped a fine display by the home side.

Articles compiled by Brett Klucznik, Paul Oliver and Peter Simcox unless otherwise stated.

If you have any additional information on Western Australian soccer that we have left out, or if you would like to get in contact, email Jacob at

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