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24.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE INTER-DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL REVIEW/PREVIEW

A place in the State League inter-divisional playoff final will be decided this weekend with the second legs of the semi-finals taking place. In the first legs on Tuesday evening Swan United and Murdoch University Melville hold narrow advantages, after two tight games. Firstly, at Chichester Park, Swan left with a 3-2 win against hosts Kingsley Westside. It was the visitors who made the break through on 14 minutes, Lucas Allender cut the ball back to Alex Young, who flicked the ball home at the near post.

But Kingsley were level seven minutes later, with Darren O Riordan scoring, and they hit the front moments later with skipper Jayden Drummond on target. The black and whites were level in the shadows of half time, Young saw his shot deflect to John Monterosso, who inched past his marker to fire home. The home side dominated the second half but couldn’t find a way past tight Swan defence, and it looked like both sides would go into the second leg level, but in the final minute it was Swan who won it. Young was the supplier again, this time he sent Monterosso behind the Kingsley defence, who beat his marker and finished clinically into the top corner. “It was a good win playing against a tricky Kingsley side who had the better of the second half,” Monterosso said. “We go into second leg with a narrow advantage but knowing it’s still all to play for. We’ve been in this situation over the last few seasons and know the job isn’t done yet and we will regroup and see where we can improve.”

Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich thought they deserved more from the tie, but knows it’s not over yet. “Really frustrated with Tuesday night result where I felt we deserved more than we got but that’s football for you and fair play to Swan didn’t give up till the end and got the 3-2 win,” he explained. “We turned our focus to Saturday straight after Tuesday night game as it’s only half time. We will go there with an all or nothing attitude and leave everything out there on the park in our search for the two-goal win, we will need.”

In the second semi-final first leg at Wormall Civil Stadium at Murdoch University, MUM hold a two-goal lead against Gosnells City. The hosts were ahead on 20 minutes, when Dan Tait’s 18-meter shot found the bottom corner of the net. They added a second on the half hour mark to seal the tie, Pat Quinn’s corner was finished by Dylan Urquhart. “It was a really strong performance but it’s only half time. We took our chances, and defended really solidly when we had to. The important thing for us which I thought we did really well was not giving them an away goal,” MUM midfielder Dion Berman said. “We know it’s a really tough place to go and play. They have been really strong there all season. We have to recover well, and then go out and do the job. Looking forward to a big game in front of hopefully a decent crowd.”

Gosnell’s skipper Scott Pereira said they will look to bounce back on Friday. “Tuesday was a big game for us as we wanted to try get a good lead going into Friday. I thought Murdoch wanted it more than us in the first half and we just were second to every ball and nothing was falling for us but in the second half we rolled our sleeves up and started to create more chances unfortunately couldn’t take any of them,” he explained. “Friday will be a huge game for us and I know the boys a ready to put things right. We know it’s possible and believe we have what it takes to turn the tie around and look forward to the challenge.”

24.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND SEVEN CATCH UP PREVIEW

The Belt Up Amateur Premier Division title will be decided this weekend, with South West Phoenix and Maddington White City divided by only one point going into the final round of fixtures, which features the top four teams. Leaders Phoenix could wrap the title up on Saturday evening with a win, when they welcome third placed Kwinana United to the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury. (6.00pm) The Phoenix scored late last week to claim the three points against UWA Nedlands, and striker Lee Stewart said they are making it a bit of a habit scoring late.

“Yes, it was another late win, but we’ve managed to do it so many times this year and I think that speaks volumes for the belief and attitude of this playing group,” Stewart explained. “It’s such a tough league and we’ve had so many tight games so turning those draws into wins has been so important to keep momentum in this title race. I thought UWA were extremely well organised and had a clear game plan to sit back and try and frustrate us and despite the bad luck of their only shot deflecting in we stayed calm and patient and were able to continue to dominate the ball and created the chances to win the game.”

With the Phoenix celebrating their 20th anniversary, Stewart knows the importance of Saturday’s game, but knows it will be a tough game. “It’s not often a league goes down to the final weekend and we are looking forward to such a big game, and would be great to celebrate our anniversary in style, but Kwinana are a well-coached side and we are expecting another tough game on Saturday night,” he said. “We’ve been approaching each game like a cup final ever since the Maddington loss as we knew we’d need a perfect finish to the season to give ourselves a chance. We have now put ourselves in a position where it’s in our hands so as a club we will prepare as best we can and look to produce a performance and get the three points.”

Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said he is looking forward to the game and will be looking for a response from his team after a disappointing result last week against Leeming. “Very disappointed with our efforts last week, but fair play to Leeming they were up for the challenge but we were well short of what we expect from ourselves,” Purvis said. “Our last game of the season is a big one against SWP and we know it’s has huge bearing on the title but to be honest after last week all I’m looking for is a response in performance from us. If we do that, we can make it tough for them but no matter the result I’m concentrating on our performance so we can sign off for the season and be proud of ourselves.”

If the Phoenix fail to win, Maddington could pip the for the title on Sunday afternoon with a win against fourth-placed Quinns at Gumblossom Park (All games kick off at 3.00) City’s attacking midfielder Alejandro Sarria was on target last week as they kept the pressure on the Phoenix with a big win against Wembley Downs, and he said they can’t control what happens in Bunbury, they can only control what they can do on Sunday. “We knew we had to win against Wembley, if we were to put pressure on the Phoenix and have a chance of winning the league,” he said.

“We continue training and playing every Sunday with the same desire to be champions. We know that we do not depend on ourselves but we are proud and happy of what we have achieved. In just two seasons in this league, we have shown that we are a great team and that we deserve more. As for this weekend I believe it is a disadvantage that a key game such as this is played at different times and days, however we are ready to play and win no matter what happens in the other game.”

Quinns drew in a ten-goal thriller last week against Joondalup United and coach Vinny McMillan said his ten men gave it everything, and he is expecting the same on Sunday. “It was a great end to end game to be a part of, and we set up with the intention to attack and score goals, knowing we may concede a few at the same time. Having a player sent off after 30 minutes didn’t help us however. After the break I thought we played some of our best football of the season for the first 20 minutes, going a goal up and moving the ball nicely. We inevitably started to tire and Joondalup took advantage of this. However, our boys never gave in and deserved at least a point. All credit to the Joondalup players who gave everything on the day and contributed to a brilliantly enjoyable game.

“Jeff and I are looking forward to this weekend’s game as are the players. It’s been a long season and it’s nice to have a game at home to round things off. Title on the line or no title on the line this game brings out the best in both teams and if Maddington do need a win there certainly will be no rolling over from our boys. We want to finish strong with a win and stay in fourth spot. I expect goals and a great atmosphere around the ground.”

In other games in the final round of fixtures, UWA Nedlands host North Perth United at the UWA Sports Park, Jaguar make the trip to Coker Park to take on Queens Park, Lemming Strikers entertain Wembley Downs meet at John Connell Reserve, while in the final game, relegated clubs Joondalup United and Hamersley Rovers meet at Beldon Park.

24.9.2021

FLOREAT ATHENA WELCOME FFA CUP HOLDERS TO LITIS STADIUM

The FFA Cup 2021 Round of 32 got underway last week, with Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast Knights cementing their place in the last 16. The action continues in Queensland on Tuesday 21 September with Brisbane-based Lions FC hosting Football NT's Casuarina FC, before moving from East coast to West coast with the Round of 32 continuing on in Perth this weekend.

In an historic FFA Cup first, National Premier Leagues (NPLWA) side Floreat Athena will host defending winners, A-League club Adelaide United on Sunday 26 September, which will be the first Round of 32 match played on a weekend. In a huge boost for Floreat, they'll host the game at their home ground, E&D Litis Stadium. Kick-off for that match is scheduled for 1pm local time (3pm AEST).

It’s a huge game for Vas Vujacic’s side, and he said they are looking forward to the challenge. “It doesn’t get any bigger, taking on the current FFA Cup holders, but it’s a challenge the club is looking forward too,” he said. “They have a quality squad of full-time professionals and we know it will be a tough game, however we are coming to end of a long tough campaign and hopefully we can take advantage of any rustiness they do have. I have every confidence in my players they can go out and give a good account of themselves, and its cup football and a one-off game, we will give it a good crack.”

Floreat midfielder Sean McManus said everyone is ready for the game, and it reminds him of his football back in Scotland. “In my time at Livingstone I played against the so-called bigger teams, the likes of Celtic, Rangers etc. and I loved it,” he explained. “I personally buzz off of the bigger games so looking forward to playing an A-League side this week and hopefully the magic of the cup swings our way. All the players are buzzing for the game on Sunday we are glad it is on, after not knowing if it would be with the covid restrictions. It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase what we have showed most of the season on the national stage, it will be a great experience for us.”

Then on Wednesday 29 September, ECU Joondalup welcome Adelaide Olympic to Dorrien Gardens, rounding out the currently scheduled Round of 32 fixtures. Kick-off for that match is 6pm local time (8pm AEST). For the remainder of the Round of 32, Football Australia continues to work with all stakeholders to manage the situation, and intends to schedule fixtures in each state when it is safe to do so.

23.9.2021

MAYNARD-BREWER SHINES ON STAGGIES DEBUT

It was debut to remember for former ECU Joondalup academy keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, after starring in Ross County’s 2-2 draw with Hearts at Victoria Park in the Scottish Premiership last week. The keeper is on-loan from English Championship side Charlton Athletic, but he feared that involvement in this summer’s Olympic Games with the Olyroos would wreck his chances of a loan move. While fully committed to parent club Charlton Athletic, the 22-year-old knew he needed first-team action to continue his development this season.

Representing Australia under-23s in Tokyo, even as an unused substitute, was a thrilling life experience, but meant he missed pre-season training completely. But he was backed by a supportive manager in Charlton’s Nigel Adkins, though, opportunity beckoned at Ross County, and his first-team chance came on Saturday after displacing established Ross Laidlaw against the high-flying Hearts, and earned the sponsors’ man of the match award.

“Coming to Ross County is a really good opportunity for me,” Maynard-Brewer said. “I went away with the Oz team for the summer Olympics in Tokyo and missed most of pre-season. As a result, I didn’t think I’d get a loan this season. Luckily, just as I was flying home from Tokyo’s airport the gaffer here called me. Immediately, I knew it was a great chance for me in a top league. I know Scotland is a football-mad country and takes football very seriously. Since coming here, I’ve loved everything about it – the people, club and area. I also have grandparents in Aberdeen who I don’t see very often, so that’s another nice aspect.”

Former ECU Joondalup Coach Steve Amphlett worked with the youngster in the club’s academy and the under 18s and he said he was always working hard on his game. “Ash was determined to succeed in the game, and when I coached him in the 16s and 18s, he was always stepping up when needed,” he said. “He was outstanding, and we are really pleased his determination and hard work has been rewarded in the UK and Olyroos.”

Scotland’s Premiership represents a huge step up for Ash, after previous loans at Dulwich Hamlet, Dover Athletic, Hampton & Richmond and Chelmsford City, but he is ready for the challenge. “I was a bit nervous. Obviously, Hearts are a good team,” the English-born keeper said. “But I’m happy I managed to make a few saves, which was nice early on as I was a little bit jumpy. “Their early goal was frustrating as it was their first attack. There was a deflection and it beat me at the near post, but we reacted in a good way, went in at half- time 2-1 up and withstood a lot of pressure from Hearts.”

22.9.2021

MGET WELL SOON DANNY HODGSON AS GLORY BEAT ECU IN BENEFIT GAME

The game ended in a 3-0 win to Glory, with Adam Zimarino scoring twice and Daniel Stynes adding the other, in their first pre-season hit out, while the Jacks gave their squad a good workout ahead of next week’s FFA Cup round of 32 game against Adelaide Olympic at the same venue. A defensive error allowed Stynes to open the scoring in the first minute, and they doubled their advantage on 16 minutes, Giordano Colli threading the ball into the path of Zimarino whose clincial finish gave Johnny Perkins in the ECU goal no chance.

Zimarino struck again shortly before the break, this time meeting an inviting Pacifique Niyongabire cross from the right with a powerful header. Niyongabire, who was making his debut for the club after his move from Adelade United, went close to adding a goal to his assist, ending a jinking run into the box with a rasping shot which flashed across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.

Glory began the second half in a similar vein Ciaran Bramwell shot flashing narrowly over the bar, before Perkins denied Antonee Burke-Gilroy, who was also making his Glory debut after a switch from Brisbane Roar. At the other end, Cameron Cook was called into action, tipping Sonny O'Shea header over the top, before former Glory midfielder Declan Hughes saw his dipping free kick fly over. Both sides made numerous changes and the game lost its sharpness, Glory running out comfortable winners.

19.9.2021

JOONDALUP TAKE OUT THE DIVISION ONE TOP FOUR CUP

Joondalup United are the 2021 State League Division One Top Four winners after a 3-1 win against Quinns in the Final at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. Jay Lang gave United the lead early, before James Oldroyd doubled their lead at the break. Quinns hit back early on the second half with Jackson Dongray reducing the deficit, but Jamie Gardiner added a third to give Nick Jennings’ side the trophy.

“The boys were superb from the first whistle and fully deserved the win,” Joondalup coach Jennings said. “I thought we showed enormous character to withstand the barrage of long throws and set pieces that Quinns had. We proved that we are a team, United hard working but also with good quality in the final third. It’s a great feeling after a few barren years to once again lift a trophy, this gives us a platform to push on again next season.”

It was a tight opening to the contest, but it was Joondalup who opened the scoring on 14 minutes, a long-throw from Jesse Owuor was flicked on to Lang, who swept the ball into the top corner. They doubled their lead nine minutes later, a long clearance from keeper Joe Smith sent Oldroyd clear and he finished low past Patrick Stephenson from the angle. At the break, Joondalup had one hand on the trophy, and their supporters were letting everyone know about it.

But five minutes into the second half Quinns reduced the margin. Jackson Dongray’s cross shot went over Smith and in off the back post. It was game on, but the Joondalup fans were in full voice again two minutes later when they hit back to make it 3-1. Lang sent a free kick out to the left to Oldroyd, who cross to the back post found Gardiner, who finished neatly. Quinns looked to get back into the game but were held out by some tight Joondalup defending, and at the final whistle it was the Joondalup supporters celebrating in the local derby final.

“Absolutely delighted with the win today, the boys were fantastic from start to finish and thoroughly deserved the win,” Joondalup midfielder Jay Lang said. “We executed the game plan perfectly and had that bit of extra quality in the final third when it mattered. I have to give a special mention to our fans who didn’t stop singing all day.”

Joondalup United: GK Joe SMITH, 2 Jesse OWUOR, 3 Scott HOYLE, 4 Gary HILL, 5 Jay LANG, 6 James OLDROYD, 7 Jamie GARDINER, 11 Anthony TAYLOR, 16 Adam BUCKLEY, 19 Joel PROUT, 20 Brad MCDONALD – Subs not used: 9 Joel SOLLITT, 10 Robert IRVING, 12 Ayden DRAGUN, 13 Andrew FLINT, 14 Nick MAPLESTONE

Quinns: GK Patrick STEPHENSON, 21 Reece ABRAMS, 22 Declan HUDSON, 24 Jackson DONGRAY, 26 Lucas TRIGLAVCANIN, 28 Kade FEARNALL, 29 Cian HIRRELL, 31 Owen GOODLIFFE, 42 Ben HINSHELWOOD, 43 Adam TONG, 44 Adam BUCKINGHAM – Subs not used: 4 Jack FREW, 19 Joel LEDSHAM, 23 Hermon MICHAELE, 39 Anyuon DAU, 50 Aidan HOLLOWAY – Referee: Stephen KNIGHT

19.9.2021

DIVISION ONE TOP FOUR CUP GRAND FINAL 18'S AND RESERVES REVIEW

There were two tight State League Division One Top Four Finals in the 18s and Reserves. First in the 18s Final Fremantle City overcame Subiaco 2-0 in the early game at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. It was a tight game throughout, with both sides having chances, but all the goal action came late. First on the hour Fremantle were awarded a penalty after Kai Stephens was brought down by Jonah Froman, and referee Kai Bartusch pointed to the spot. Stephens stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, but Samuel Assumption guessed the right way to save.

But eight minutes from time they were rewarded another penalty after Rhys Kapur handled Daniel Bell’s header on the line, and the referee awarded the penalty and sent the Subiaco player off. This time Bell stepped up and sent Assumption the wrong way to give Fremantle the lead. They sealed victory deep into stoppage time, Bell getting to the by-line and cutting the ball back to substitute Bailey Coustley who made no mistake.

In the reserves Subiaco made up for the loss in the 18s beating Stirling Macedonia 6-5 on penalties, after the game ended 2-2 at normal time. Subiaco opened the scoring on 13 minutes, Lachlan Hannah’s corner was headed home by Ethan Johnson. They doubled their lead just after the hour, substitute Kallan Del Dosso finding the top corner with a long-range strike. It looked game over but Stirling hit back on 79 minutes, Reece Corrigan’s corner was headed home by substitute Goran Beric.

Then three minutes from time they levelled with a bizarre goal. Subiaco keeper Sean McCracken’s long clearance was lobbed back by a Stirling defender and another substitute Kealey Farrant’s glancing header saw the ball roll into an empty net. So, it off to penalties and in the final penalty Stirling skipper Samuel Richardson saw his penalty saved by McCracken to set off wild celebrations from the Subiaco players and coaching staff.

19.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY TWO REVIEW

The Belt Up Amateur Premier Division title will go down to the final game of the season, with the top two sides South West Phoenix and Maddington White City both winning their respective round 22 games over the weekend. The penultimate round began on Saturday evening when league leaders Phoenix were given a scare by UWA Nedlands at the Onside Sports Stadium, but a stoppage time goal gave them a narrow 2-1 win.

“It was a little too close for me,” Phoenix coach Nick Carter said. “They were ahead at half time against the run of play, and after the break they put five in defence and we had to work hard to break them down. We pulled one back and Rory popped up in the last-minute winner. I’m really proud of the never say die attitude of the players, they deserve it.”

The home side had the majority of possession and chances in the first half but it was UWA who struck first against the run of play, with Abel Thomas-Hy free kick taking a deflection to beat Jamie Oakey. Phoenix knew what was at stake had they failed to win which saw them come out firing in the first 20 minutes of the second half. They levelled just after the hour mark, with a clinical finish by winger Kieran Quinn. Phoenix pushed on creating several opportunities, but it felt like it was going to be one of those games where things simply weren’t going right for the home team.

That was until a very late chance fell to veteran Rory Binnie in the final minute, who managed to squeeze one past the keeper, sending the crowd into a frenzy and securing the three points. “It was a testament to the entire team who never gave up and fought bravely until the very end,” Bennie said post-match. “It felt like that was one of those games the club will remember for a very long time, we are now only 90 minutes from the title, but it will be a tough 90 minutes against Kwinana United.”

On Sunday Maddington kept the pressure on the Phoenix after a 5-1 win against Wembley Downs at Nikola Tesla Reserve. The home side were ahead early, Gaston Bazet’s shot found the top corner from outside the box. But Wembley levelled midway through, with skipper Juraj Galba scoring. Maddington missed a number of chances to retake the lead, but they eventually found it in the final minute of the half, David Sarria was given too much time outside the box and he smashed the ball in off the post.

Wembley started well early in the second half and had some chances to score but so did Maddington with Jose Zuniga and Sami Ramos both going close. Zuniga turned the game at the end with a 10-minute hat trick, scoring three goals in quick succession to seal the win. “Wembley are a decent side so to beat them 5-1 is a good result. The win has lifted our goal difference above Bunbury's going into the final game of the season, which is great considering we were 11 goals behind them only a few weeks ago,” Maddington’s Petar Mrdja explained.

“It now comes down to the last game of the season and anything can happen. Our hopes rest with Kwinana and we hope they can achieve a result on Saturday. Kwinana are the best team that we have faced all season, they beat us at home earlier in the season and were extremely difficult to play against away, so I'm sure it won’t be easy for the Phoenix, same as it won’t be for us away to Quinns. We wish Kwinana all the best and hope that we still have something to play for come Sunday.”

Joondalup United’s fight for survival came to an end after they drew 5-5 in a thriller against Quinns at Beldon Park. "It was a typical derby game between two sides that know each very well, and it made for great entertainment both on and off the pitch. We needed a win and to have any chance of survival but unfortunately the inability to close out games has been an issue all season and we switched off right at the very end,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained.

"I can't fault the character and effort by the players, we took the game to Quinns throughout and to score five goals against a strong side was pleasing. We've improved as the year has gone on but it was too little, too late and the early season results gave us too much to do. There are a lot of talented players in the squad and the club will look to get back into the Premier Division as soon as possible."

The home side took the lead in the opening minutes when a bouncing ball was misjudged and Adam Taylor was on hand to hit a looping shot over the Quinns keeper. Quinns turned the game around quickly when a cross from the left was finished from close range by Ryan McCready and a free kick was headed home by Tom Ashworth. Ryan Pellow got Joondalup back on level terms when he picked up a pass from Andreas Bouzinekis and finished into the bottom right corner. Quinns were reduced to ten men following a straight red card to Liam Hunt, before Louis Cheetham tapped home from Adam Taylor's pinpoint cross to make it 3-2 at the break.

Despite being a man down, Quinns were the better team to start the second half and capitalised on a misplaced pass to tie it up, with McCready on target again. They then went ahead when a long-range shot was sliced into his own net by Jack Walsh. The back and forth continued as substitute Peter Rakic hit a stunning 30-yard strike that gave the goalkeeper no chance for 4-4. The numbers were evened up shortly afterwards when Adam Rogers was dismissed for a second yellow card offence.

A couple of brilliant saves kept the scores level until the final minutes when Quinns were penalised for handball and Adam Giannasi kept his cool to slot home the penalty. With the final action of the game, a free kick from the right wing was headed into the top corner by McCready, to complete his hat-trick and score his 29th goal of the season, and give Quinns a share of the points. “It was crazy game from start to finish and a real good local derby with everything you’d expect,” Quinns striker McCready said. “We fought back really well with 10 men for most of it, but we knew Joondalup were going to come at us battling for survival but we stood up to the challenge and got a deserved point at the end.”

There was another goal feast at a Kelly Park as third placed Kwinana United were beaten 5-4 by Leeming Strikers. The visitors were ahead early, with Cameron Anderson converting from the spot. But Kwinana hit back with a quick double from Lee Bates and Lewis McGowan, but David Palin restored parity volleying into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area. Anderson regained the lead for the Strikers early in the second half, but a doubled from Bates, to complete his hat-trick, saw Kwinana hit the front again.

The game wasn’t over and Justin Onek shot on the turn levelled things up, and they won five minutes from time, Palin’s found Clayton Kendell at the front post who headed home. “The game was end to end all day. With both sides not having a lot to play for, gave it a real go and for the neutral I think they would have enjoyed it,” Leeming player/coach Palin said. “A draw was probably the fairest result, and Kwinana could have won it but in the end, we managed to get it and given how good Kwinana have been all year were really pleased with the final result.”

Queens Park secured their survival after a hard fought 2-2 draw against North Perth United in the early game at Woodville Reserve. The visitors flew out of the blocks scoring early, a cross from the right was tapped in from close range by Lindon Bridger. But the hosts levelled midway though the first half, Kelechi Osunwa eased past two defender down the right and his cross picked out Simon El Chami who made no mistake. United were ahead in the shadows of half time, Osunwa was the supplier again, his cross from the right found David Houston, whose shot was turned home by El Chami, and the visitors then had Nike Bukasa sent off.

But three minutes from time the Park found the equaliser and their survival, substitute Arnold Antonyo racing clear to finish. “Full credit to Queens Park they battled and deserved their point, they showed a lot more desire and work rate,” North Perth coach Luke O’Neill said. “It was disappointing to see the effort from the lads this weekend, we have an opportunity to put it right this weekend against a well organised UWA side.”

In the final game Jaguar have fought out a 2-1 win against Hamersley Rovers at Carine Open Space. The Jags were ahead early, quick build up from the back found Akuei Guot on the left, and he put a ball into the middle for Conor O'Driscoll, who took a touch before volleying just inside the left-hand post. But Rovers hit back on the hour, with Jordan Nastov on target. But it was Jags who found the winner 18 minutes from time. A crucial defensive tackle from Matthew Dudek fell to Malek Domkoc, who put a long ball through to put Guot one-on-one with the keeper, and he rounded Liam Barclay, and passed the ball into an empty net. “Happy to get the win against a tough Hamersley side,” Jags keeper Michael Dudek said. “Although I am disappointed to see Hamersley getting relegated this season, being such a successful club over the years, and one I played many years for as a junior. I'm sure they'll bounce back quickly and be in the premier league again soon.”

18.9.2021

PERTH FIRST HALF BLITZ STUNS FLOREAT

Perth SC are the 2021 NPLWA Top Four Cup winners after a 6-3 win against Floreat Athena in the final at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. In Ramon Falzon’s final game in charge of the club, his side blitzed their opponents with a stunning first half performance, racing to a 5-0 lead after only 23 minutes, with goals from Kristian Santich, a double from Michael Domfeh, Alex Silla and Calvin Whitney. Floreat did pull one back before the break with Chris Saldaris converting from the spot, and they pulled it back to 5-3 with a second half brace from Nick Ambrogio, but Jordan De Leo wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

“An absolutely incredible night for the team, coaching staff, club and supporters. Our first 25 minutes were the best I think we’ve seen in the league by any team for some time now. Hats off to Floreat for their fight and for giving us a little fright at the start of the second half,” Perth defender Alex Silla explained. “But I’m so proud our group. All our hard work throughout the year was on show, we got our revenge for last year’s big dance and walked out deserving Top 4 Champions, ticking off yet another double.”

The hosts made the best possible start and they were ahead on six minutes. A clearance from Floreat fell to Santich on the edge of the penalty area and he volleyed home superbly into the top corner giving Thomas Chudy no chance. They doubled their lead two minutes later, a first-time ball from Cameron Teece sent Domfeh racing clear of the offside trap, and the striker finished low past Chudy. Amazingly it was 3-0 on 11 minutes, Yagoub Mustafa and Teece combining to send Santich to the by-line and he cut the ball back into the penalty area and Silla finished clinically from six meters.

They were in again moments later, Teece slipping in Mustafa in on goal, but Chudy stood tall to deny him. But he was beaten again on the quarter hour mark, as Perth added a fourth. Teece’s through ball sent Domfeh racing clear, he held of Dennis Galan and fired past the Floreat custodian. A shell-shocked Floreat needed to settle, and they went close themselves six minutes later, Robert Harding raced into the penalty are, but Perth keeper Ryan Montgomery was out bravely to save at his feet. But moments later Floreat were caught out again at the back. Mustafa’s ball sent Whitney clear down the left, the midfielder cut inside his marker before finding the bottom corner of the net to make it 5-0 and celebrated acrobatically.

It looked all over, but Floreat found a small lifeline after Nic McDonald brought down Ambrogio and referee Steven Gregory pointed straight to the spot, Saldaris found the bottom corner from the resulting penalty to reduce the margin. Perth went close to a sixth on the half hour, Santich’s free kick was headed inches wide by Lachlan Byrd, before Whitney’s snap shot from the edge of the box fizzed over the top. Floreat almost added a second in the shadows of half time, Ambrogio’s flick sent Harding in on goal but his shot from the angle flashed wide of the far post, but at the break Perth were in total control.

Vas Vujacic’s side were on the front foot after the break and they thought they had a second goal early, but Ludovic Boi’s goal was ruled out, the assistant spotting Ambrogio in an offside position in the build-up. But moments later they did find a second, Boi sent Sean McManus down the left and his cross to the back post was headed home by Ambrogio. Perth was still dangerous going forward and Whitney fired inches wide on 64 minutes, but sixty second later it was Floreat who added their third. A long free kick by Galan was headed goalward by Boi and Ambrogio bravely got in front of his marker and keeper to fire home, and it was game on.

Floreat had a sniff of a comeback and Arnold’s long-range strike whistled inches past the post and they were pushing and they thought the game wasn’t over, but it was on 79 minutes when Perth added a sixth. Santich’s ball into the box found substitute and club skipper Jordan De Leo, who got in between two Floreat defenders to home and seal the win. Kristian Santich won the player of the match, and was presented with the 'Marocchi Medal'. Perth keeper Ryan Montgomery said that could be his last game, and it was a great way to go out.

“Wow where do I start! The boys were primed and ready to make amends for last year final and to be 5-0 up after 23 minutes, I think the embarrassment was well and truly turned on its head,” he said. “It was definitely the best 25-minute start to a game in my career and it felt like a fairy tale. The penalty was a lifeline and they were always going to come out strong in the second half and credit to them for getting two goals to make it 5-3, but the boys re-focused and make it 6-3 just proves that clearly the best team won on the day. A clean sheet would have been nice, but what a way to send me into retirement I reckon.”

Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA (3 Jordan DE LEO 59’), 4 Lachlan BYRD, 6 Nik MCDONALD, 10 Michael DOMFEH, 11 Yagoub MUSTAFA, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kieran COLWELL 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 20 Cameron TEECE, 22 Kristian SANTICH – Subs not sued: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 15 Will GORDON, 17 Aiden FORMSTON, 18 Federico ACHILLI,

Floreat Athena: GK Thomas CHUDY, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert HARDING, 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 13 George FESTA, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 20 Andrew PALMER, 21 Ethan MOM - Subs not used: RGK Theodore SARRIS, 4 Ben STEELE, 14 Ludovic BOI, 16 Kyle MURRAY, 19 Laat MATHIANG – Referee: Steve GREGORY

18.9.2021

BAYSWATER TAKE THE GLORY IN PENALTY SHOOTOUT

Bayswater City have won the 2021 NPLWA under 20s Top Four Final after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win against Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. City were ahead early in this one, Daniel Katz on target, and in the shadows of half time they added a second with Katz adding a second. But Glory hit back and Jaylan Pearman scoring, and just before the hour mark Matthew George levelled. Both sides pressed for the winner but it was decided on penalties with City running out 4-2 winners.

“Obviously really pleased to defend the top four cup, and winning two of the three trophies on offer has to be seen as a successful season,” Bayswater coach Alun Vernals said. “The squad has been unbelievable both in attitude and ability so the players deserve all the recognition. The game itself had it all, good goals a red card, and a few handbags, but most all two teams desperate to get the win, Glory were very unlucky on the day.” Bayswater were ahead on eight minutes, Shaun Mukwevho sent Alex Pietroniro down the left and his low cross was turned home by Katz. They added a second three minutes before the break, Daniel Harrison’s corner was headed home by the unmarked Katz, and they lead by that scoreline at the break.

But Chris Coyne’s side were out of the blocks early in the second half, and Jaylan Pearman’s long-range shot was well saved by George Jackson in the first minute, and Glory reduced the margin sixty seconds later. Great work down the right by Joel Anasmo, saw him cut inside and cross to Pearman who side footed home. Bayswater went close to a third on 52 minutes, Mukwevho’s shot on the turn beat Sam Reilly, but the ball hit the far post and rolled across the goal line and hit the other before the ball was cleared. Glory rode their luck there, and minutes later we were all level. Anasmo was the supplier again, this time racing into the penalty area and feeding George, who made no mistake.

Both sides went for the win Giordano Sportiello’s shot on the run flashed wide, while George fired over the top at the other end. Bayswater were reduced to ten men on 77 minutes, when Pietroniro was shown a second yellow card by Troy Malatesta and Glory almost capitalized immediately. A free kick into the box wasn’t dealt with and Anasmo and Judd MacDougall saw their shots blocked by some desperate Bayswater defending. Glory pressed for the winner and almost found it two minutes from time, Hobson was in on goal, but Jackson stood tall to deny him, so it was off to penalties. Jackson was the hero again, saving George’s third spot kick, and up stepped Igor Cvijanovic to score the final penalty to give City a 4-2 win.

“Due to our close rivalry during the league and cup campaigns, the top four cup final turned out to be a fantastic game,” Bayswater skipper Dean Kezurer said. “A lot was riding on this game as we had very close ties with the Glory throughout the season, and they have some great young talent and their endeavour to win trophies really showed throughout the game. However, our team was playing for more than just a new trophy in the cabinet, this top four cup was also for our beloved Gerry (Maio) who sadly passed away this year. I would also like to extend a special mention to Daniel Katz who scored twice during the final as well as a heroic display by George Jackson who helped win us the game in penalties.”

Bayswater City: GK George JACKSON, 3 Aleks KRUSAROSKI, 4 Dean KEZURER (2 Logan RINDEL 63’), 6 Alex MCLEAN, 8 Daniel HARRISON, 9 Shaun MUKWEVHO, 11 Leonard GAMA, (7 Raeez PANDOR 50’), 13 Igor CVIJANOVIC, 14 Giordano SPORTIELLO, 16 Alex PIETRONIRO, 19 Daniel KATZ – Subs not Used: 15 Noah KANZI, 20 Jacob FORSYTH, 25 Nemanja JANKOVIC

Perth Glory: GK Sam REILLY, 2 Taiga MATOBA, 3 Andriano LEBIB, 4 Judd MACDOUGALL, 5 Alex CHRISTODOULAKIS, 8 Jaylan PEARMAN (7 Daniel ADESINA 86’), 10 Matthew GEORGE, 11 Joel ANASMO (20 Royie RAHAMIM 81’), 14 Daniel BENNIE, 16 Aiki TSUKAMOTO – Subs not used: 12 Christian ROBERTSON, 13 Gert PRINSLOO, 15 Shade STEWART – Referee: Troy Malatesta

18.9.2021

BAYSWATER TOO STRONG FOR INGLEWOOD

Bayswater City proved too strong for Inglewood United, taking out the 2021 NPLWA under 18s Top Four Cup Final with a hard fought 2-0 win at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday morning. “The boys were superb today and they have been throughout the season,” Bayswater coach Paul Lincoln said. “After last week’s loss to them and the carry on that ensued, the boys really wanted it and we saw that with the way we started the game. I thought we deserved it today and it was a good team performance. It’s been a remarkable year having won today, the cup and the league. We are extremely pleased with what the group has been able to achieve.”

City were ahead on 20 minutes, Orhan Boric burst into the penalty area and he was brought down by Christopher Tilson, and referee Jack Maraldo pointed to the spot and booked the Inglewood defender. William Gallagher stepped up and sent James Lindsay the wrong way from the resulting penalty, for his 20th goal of the season. They doubled their advantage five minutes from the break, Luca Macri was brought down by Ashton Rebelo 20 meters from goal, and Julian Kelly’s curling free kick crashed off the crossbar, and Boric was quickest to the rebound to fire home from close-range. Both sides had chances after the break but Bayswater held firm to seal the win.

City keeper Preston Gilling said it was a great day for the club, and a tough game. “It was a great battle throughout the course of the game,” he said. “Obviously getting that two-goal buffer before the break set us up well going into the second half so it was all about sustaining the lead and not getting complacent and just playing our football until the final whistle. It is a great feeling to win a treble, because it isn’t done too often in football”

Inglewood United: GK James LINDSAY, 3 Billy VINDEG, 6 Ashton REBELO, 9 Gordon PERKINS, 10 Oliver NIYOBUHUGIRO, 11 Joshua BAIARDO, 12 Ibere KASUKULU, 14 Christopher TILSON, 17 Arad GHALANDARMAHALLEH, 20 Elias WILLIAMS, 21 Daniel RADESKI – Subs: 2 Luke DIXON, 5 Zhan JANKULOVSKI, 7 Luke RADIS, 16 Aleks POPOSKI, 18 Joseph TEIXEIRA

Bayswater City: GK Preston GILLING, 4 Abdul MBANO, 5 Julian KELLY, 6 Cory MCNELIS, 9 Orhan BORIC, 10 Jerome WEST, 11 William GALLAGHER, 12 Ayok AYOK, 14 Luca MACRI, 18 Celeston FULLER, 21 Jethro HAAS – Subs: 3 Trejuan POTTS, 7 Sameer HOURANI, 8 Callum PIPER, 17 Kai TORODE, 25 Darius ANDRES – Referee: Jack MARALDO

17.9.2021

JOONDALUP AND QUINNS WIN THROUGH TO TOP FOUR CUP FINAL

It will be Joondalup United against Quinns in the Top Four Cup Final on Sunday, after two tight semi-finals on Thursday evening at Macedonia Park. In the early game on the night Joondalup upset the champions and hosts Stirling Macedonia 2-1. “A great night for the club, to beat the champions on their home ground was fantastic. The boys were superb and executed our game plan to perfection, yes, we may have ridden our luck at times but I feel over the 90 minutes the best team on the night won,” Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said.

“We’ve done half a job and know Sunday will be another huge challenge against an impressive Quinns side who showed great character to come back from the dead last night against the Knights. It’s been a few years since the club have lifted any silverware and we are determined to put it right on Sunday. I have a lot of respect for Glenn and have had many battles over the years with him and look forward to going head-to-head in the final and after the game sharing a beer.”

Joondalup were ahead on 14 minutes, James Oldroyd flicked the ball on to Adam Buckley, who held off his marker before firing past James Bosdet. But the hosts levelled early in the second half, Gyles Davies was brought down 20 meters from goal and from the resulting free kick Alex Tanevski curled the ball up and over the wall and onto the corner of the net. Many expected Stirling to go on with it, but Nick Jennings side had other ideas and they regained the lead 17 minutes from time. Anthony Taylor and Joel Sollitt combined on the edge of the box before Jamie Gardiner finished low under Bosdet.

“It was a great team performance against the newly crowned champions, we all had our jobs to do and I believe we were rewarded for our hard work off the ball,” Joondalup goalscorer Buckley explained. “We knew Stirling would have plenty of the ball but we had our game plan and executed it. As for Sunday’s final against Quinn’s this will be another tough battle, they are a good team who move the ball well. Everyone will have to be prepared again for another tough game, but one thing is for sure it will be a great game (battle of the north).”

In the late game Quinns came from two goals down at the break to beat Western Knights 3-2. “So happy to get the win after being 2-0 down at half time an unbelievable second half performance from the whole team,” Quinns skipper Adam Buckingham said. “Excited to be in the final again against Joondalup, we know it’s not going to be an easy game, but we are fully prepared and ready to get the job done.”

The Knights opened brightly and were ahead on 17 minutes, a poor clearance from Knights keeper Patrick Stephenson, went straight to John Chalmers, whose first-time pass sent Alex Kretowicz in on goal and he finished clinically. They doubled their advantage on the half hour, a short corner was played into the box by Dean Hurley and flicked on by Adam Harris and Cameron Yorke swept the ball home. Quinns found a lifeline on 54 minutes, a long throw by Jackson Dongray was flicked on by Adam Tong and Ben Hinshelwood got on front of his marker to score from close range.

They were level on 71 minutes, Hinshelwood continuing his first stellar season at the club, heading home Dongray’s deep cross. Both sides pressed for the winner but it was Glenn Grostate’s side that found it six minutes from time. Kade Fearnall cross was turned goalward by Hinshelwood but keeper Sam Stone made the block the rebound falling to Declan Hudson who scored from close range to seal the comeback win. “It was another great second half from the lads. We changed the plan at half time and got in their faces more, we knew the next goal was always going to be the winner,” Quinns Owen Goodliffe said.

“We pressed for the entirety of the half and it’s a credit to all the lads that we’ve managed to go undefeated this year against a Knights side with bags of quality. We all know what Joondalup are about, they’re a physical side with quality in the right areas. They’ve had an excellent season and have shown what they’re about consistently this year. I don’t think many people would’ve tipped Quinns and Joondalup in the top four let alone final, but it’s teed up to be an exciting day at Dorrien Gardens.”

17.9.2021

NPL-WA TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

The 2021 NPLWA season comes to an end on Saturday afternoon, as Perth SC host Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens, in the Top Four Series Final. (7.00pm) Perth booked their spot last weekend with a big win against Floreat, while Vas Vujacic’s side had to beat Perth Glory 2-1 in Tuesday’s Preliminary Final to seal their spot in the end of season showpiece.

Floreat defender Dennis Galan said the win on Tuesday was a huge improvement on their loss to Perth in the Semi-Final. “After the disappointing loss on Saturday, the lads were determined to make things right for our second chance to reach the final. We ironed a few things out that went wrong in the last game and tried to implement a game plan that would make it difficult for Glory,” he explained. “We knew they would keep the ball very well and create a lot of movement, so we tried to absorb a lot of pressure and make it hard for them to break us down. Fortunately for us, it worked out, and the boys work rate was second to none and was clinical when needed to be. Very proud of all the boys’ efforts after the quick turn around.”

Galan said the player group are determined to show their supporters and the WA football community, their performance last week against Perth was a one off. “Obviously, everyone is buzzing to be in another Grand Final, and these are the games we all want to be a part of,” the defender said. “I believe last week’s game against them was just a really bad day at the office for us, and what better way to prove it than to play them in the final a week later, it should be a great spectacle for all involved.”

Striker Nick Ambrogio echoed the words of his teammate, and said they need to play at their best on Saturday, and he is confident they will. “We needed a response from last weekend’s lethargic performance against Perth and I feel we stepped up Tuesday night,” he said. “We know Glory move the ball nicely and now they mix it up a bit going direct, this adds another weapon to their arsenal but credit to the fellas staying strong and disciplined and coming out deserved winners in my opinion.

“The win tees up a nice rematch against Perth, which will be a mouth-watering encounter. They beat us 4-0 in the 1st vs 2nd play off, and we beat them 4-0 in last year’s final, so it will be a great game. Saturday’s the big dance with neither team there to put socks on centipedes. It’ll come down to who wants it more with both squads equipped with some serious talent, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Perth had a great season, and won the title after chasing Floreat down in the second half of the season, and defender Alex Silla said it continues their positive few years. “We’ve had a really successful last couple of years, and we’ve built this winning culture and it seems no matter who plays young or experienced, that we just keep getting the job done at the business end of the year,” he explained. “It’s a credit not only to the players, but also the coaching staff and the guys behind the scenes, we’ve built something really special at the club.”

Silla said the win against Floreat in the semi-final showed the form they ae in, but is expecting them to hit back on Saturday. “It was a great performance on the weekend and it showed on the scoreboard, we took our chances and, in the end, it was quite a comfortable victory,” he said. “They’ll no doubt be looking to get a bit of revenge this weekend in a game that really matters, but we’re looking to put out a similar performance to last Saturday. They embarrassed in the big dance last year and we will be doing our very best on Saturday to make sure that this year it is us who will be walking out Top Four champions.”

Young Perth defender Lachlan Byrd has been outstanding in his first full season in the senior squad, and he has blended in well with the experienced players they have, and he said it helped him a great deal to settle in the side. “It’s been a superb season for everyone involved, and to come back from where we were, 11 points behind Floreat and storm home like we did was a real testament to the determination and quality of the unit,” he explained. “For myself It’s been unreal journey this year. Being at the club since the inaugural NPL season in U12s, it was always a massive ambition to push into the tremendously successful first team and become a player who can contribute to the team’s success.

“As you say, the translation to first team football was made that much easier by the likes of Bojan, Kieran and Monty, all experienced and quality players in their own right, who have massively influenced and encouraged me every step of the way. As a defender it’s reassuring to have these boys always covering, supporting and backing me up, and I think our defensive record this season (particularly in the second half of the season) is a testament to them and the winning culture they’ve demanded from myself.”

Byrd said Floreat are a very good side, and wouldn’t have liked the heavy loss last week, so he is expecting a fired up opened on Saturday. “I thought it was a dominant and excellent result for us and gives us a real confidence boost to put four past them whilst keeping a clean sheet, and it was nice to earn the mid-week rest, but simply put the jobs not done yet,” the defender said. “As Ramon (Falzon) likes to say, “every game starts 0-0”, and we know the quality and hunger Floreat will bring to the final. The boys are all raring to go, and are mentally and physically prepared for what should be an excellent game of football on Saturday.”

17.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY TWO PREVIEW

We head into the penultimate round of the season in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division and the title race is still to be decided, with only one point separating leaders South West Phoenix and Maddington White City. Our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Kelly Park, as Kwinana United host Leeming Strikers. Firstly, there was supposed to be a game in midweek, but the round five catch up game between Kwinana United and Hamersley Rovers at Kelly Park was forfeited by the visitors.

The Strikers found their goalscoring boots last week beating Hamersley 5-1, while Kwinana edged out UWA Nedlands. Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said it was disappointing to miss out on a game in midweek, but he knows Sunday will be another tight game. “It is what it is, Hamersley forfeited the game, and we’re now focused on the game against Leeming on Sunday,” he explained. “We are looking forward to the game, each time we play it’s always a great contest and we hope this week will be no different.”

Leeming coach David Palin said with their survival hopes secured, they are looking forward to the trip to Kelly Park. “We’re looking forward to the game this week, with no pressure on us anymore with us to get wins to stay up, it will be a nice change from the last few weeks,” he said. “We were supposed to play midweek two weeks ago but the pitch wasn't up to referee's high standard, so we got a forfeit for that. It's always a good game between both teams and with Kwinana pushing to finish as high as they can in the league there will be enough in the game to make it more than a dead rubber end of season game, it's always one we look forward too.”

Wembley Downs make the trip to Nikola Tesla Reserve to take on second-placed Maddington White City. The hosts came home with all three points from Jaguar last week, while Wembley were beaten for the first time in seven games, losing at home to North Perth United. Wembley coach said it was disappointing to let their unbeaten run slip, but they will look to bounce back on Sunday.

“It was a frustrating game, we had been in good form for so long, and to not meet our expectation was disappointing, but credit to North Perth, they played well and did what they had to, very deserving of the points,” he said. “Unfortunately, we picked up a number of injuries and playing two games a week for the last month has taken a toll. So, we just want to make sure we finish the season a strongly as we can, starting on Sunday.”

Wembley skipper Juraj Galba said the loss last week was hard to take, but they will look to make emends on Sunday. “I thought we were a bit unfortunate to lose last week, yes, they are a good side and played tactically well, but I thought we deserved to win as for the majority of the game we were better, we just didn't convert our chances. They scored three goals from three shots on target, but it ended our good run, but we still want to finish off the season strong.

“We are all looking forward to this game, especially the atmosphere which is always fantastic at the Maddington's home games. Last time we drew with them so we're going to the game with a lot of confidence that we can match them again. We expect a tough game as the home team has some quality players and still compete for the title, but last year we won there and we want to repeat the same result this year too.”

South West Phoenix open the round on Saturday evening, when they welcome UWA Nedlands to the Onside Sports Stadium in Bunbury. (6.00pm) UWA were narrowly beaten by Kwinana last week, while the Phoenix won a hard-fought game at Quinns, to maintain their lead at the top of the table. Phoenix striker Ababio Bright said last week game was a tough, but they managed to get the win. “Gumblossom is a tough ground and place to play for sure, but our team fought from the first minute of the game and had a couple of decent chances for go ahead prior to scoring the first goal,” he said.

“But in all it was a great game from both sides who played till the end. Especially Phoenix who had to dig deep to keep the score line at 2-1 going down to 10 men in the final minutes of the game and still keeping our chances of promotion alive. We’ve said all year long that no game is easy and especially the next one. We will go in focused and try to maintain the winning run we have a home recently. Hopefully we can maintain top spot going to the final round games.”

In other games this weekend North Perth United host Queens Park at Woodville Reserve at 1.00pm, with the visitors needing a point to keep the spot in the Premier League. Joondalup United need all three points, and Queens Park to lose to stay up, as they host Quinns at Beldon Park, while Jaguar make the trip to Carine Open Space to take on Hamersley Rovers.

17.9.2021

NPLWA UNDER 18S AND 20S TOP FOUR GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

The NPLWA under 18s Top four final will see Bayswater City taking on Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday (10.00am) after Bayswater beat Perth SC 4-3 on penalties on Wednesday evening in the Preliminary Final at Frank Drago Reserve. Euan Blair gave the home side the lead 11 minutes from time, but Perth hit back to send it penalties, with Alex Da Rocha levelling six minutes from time.

Bayswater coach Paul Lincoln said it was another tough game against Perth, with keeper Preston Gilling again the star. “The game against Perth was a tight contest and when the outcome is determined by a penalty shootout it’s a raffle and fortunately for us, we get another opportunity against Inglewood on Saturday which the players are relishing after the defeat last Saturday to them,” he said.

“Preston again showed his class, replicating his heroics from the Cup Final. The players keep finding a way to win so all credit to their hard work which started back in November last year. We know Saturday will be tough, they (Inglewood) are a physical side, who also have had a terrific season but are yet to win anything so we hope that we can reverse the result from the last time we met and add a third trophy to the cabinet and cap off a remarkable season.”

Inglewood coach Alex Stanojevic said it’s been a very competitive season, and they are looking forward to another competitive game against Bayswater on Saturday morning. “We always have good games against Bayswater, we lost by the single goal against them in the league earlier in the season, so it was nice to get that result back in last week’s semi-final,” he said.

“It’s good to see the top four final is first v’s second, the two best teams from the season. I think Saturday will be a cracker of a game, obviously both sides want to win, the rivalry between us has been good, and we played them a number of times, including the pre-season, so it should a great game to watch, and I hope there is a big crowd to watch it.”

The under 20s final will also involve Bayswater City, who will take on Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. (2.30pm) This after Glory beat Floreat Athena 4-2 on Wednesday evening at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park in the Preliminary final. It was a goal feast in the first half, Joseph Hobson gave the hosts the lead early, but Robert Ferrante levelled for Floreat moments later. Hobson added his second from the spot, before Judd MacDougall made it 3-1 to Glory, but Ferrante added his second from the spot to make it 3-2 at the break.

But it was Hobson who won it for Chris Coyne’s side, completing his hat trick with another penalty 14 minutes from time. “Everyone is looking forward to another challenge on Saturday against a very good Bayswater team,” Coyne said. “It’s a great opportunity for these players to play under pressure and will only enhance their development. The poor scheduling of these finals games will make it very tough for our extremely young group however, they will be ready come Saturday.”

Bayswater coach Alun Vernals said Saturday game against Perth Glory will be another tight one like their semi-final was. “It was a strong victory on Saturday, but we possibly wasted a few too many good chances but was still good value for the win,” he said. “We’re looking to finish the season on a high note, as the lads have been good all year and are one game from defending the top four cup. It’s the two best teams in the league so should be a good showcase of the best talent.”

16.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TOP FOUR SEMI FINALS PREVIEW

We head into the State League Division One Top Four Finals Series tonight, and both semi-finals will be held at Macedonia Park, and first up Champions Stirling Macedonia host Joondalup United. (6.30pm) The home sides romped to the title by 15 points and gaining promotion to the NPLWA next season, but this is a cup tie and Joondalup, who also have had a good season finishing fourth, will fancy their chances of getting a result in a one-off game.

It’s been a successful season for Stirling, and for striker Gavin Knight, who bagged 20 goals, and he said it was amazing to be a part of. “This season has been amazing, from the first game of season against Mandurah we had a great feeling we would do well this season,” he said. “But with the team spirit we have at the club it gives us a lot of confidence and that is a good reason why we were unbeaten for the last 18/19 games. And to win the league with four games to go as well was a great achievement and the club deserve to be in the NPL.”

Knight said tonight’s game will be tight, it’s a cup tie, and anything can happen, but they are certainly looking to progress to the final on Sunday. “Tonight’s game against Joondalup will be a tough one, and we played them a few weeks ago and they gave us a good game,” the striker explained. “So, we shouldn’t underestimate them, but if we play the way we can, then we should make it to the final on Sunday.”

Joondalup Coach Nick Jennings said their successful season has been two-years in the making, and he has been pleased with his sides endeavour during the season. “This season we’ve built on the solid foundations laid in the previous two years, and shown we are back as a top contender at state league level,” he explained. “We spoke at the start of the season and our minimum aim was to make the top four cup which we have obviously achieved, so I’m delighted for the players their efforts and hard work has been rewarded.”

Jennings said a trip to the Champions in the semi-final is a tough assignment, but he knows they can match it with anyone on their day, and his players are relishing the challenge. “To play the champions and best team by a mile at their home ground is a huge challenge but one we will be up for,” he said. “It’s a one-off game and the boys are ready, and we will stand toe to toe with Stirling and look to progress to the final on Sunday, I’m really looking forward to it.”

In tonight’s late game, second placed Western Knights take on third placed Quinns. (8.30pm) The two sides meet in the final game of the regular season, with Quinns scoring late to win 3-2, and this one should be another tight affair. It’s been a great season for Glenn Grostate’s side in only their second season in the division, while the Knights will also be looking to end the season on a high with some silverware.

Quinns’ Ben Hinshelwood has been a big signing, the former ECU Joondalup striker has bagged 22 goals in his first season at Gumblossom Park, and he said to beat the Knights last week will give them a huge boost heading into tonight’s game. “It was a massive win for us all the boys have worked hard this season and to go and cap it off with third place on the final game week was a bonus,” he said.

“It was really a game of two halves with the conditions playing a big part for both teams we went into half time 1-0 down but came out in the second half with the conditions to our favour and put out a good showing. With Second half goals from Owen and two from myself one in the last minute we sealed the win on the day. The result against the Knights has really given a lot of the lads confidence especially playing them again tonight in the top four semi-final.”

Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said the season has had its ups and downs, but he said to finish second was great rewards, but the title winners were too good. “I firstly want to congratulate Ian Ferguson and the Stirling team for winning the league. They are a fantastic side and their performances throughout the season proved that,” he said. “Also, credit to Luke Pavlos, who has done wonders for the club off the field, and I genuinely wish the club all the best in the NPL next season.

“For us we are ultimately disappointed not to win the league, however coming second in this very tough league is still a good achievement. I’m so thankful to the coaching group of Adam Kostrencic and Beto Medrano, and I’m so proud of every player. They gave it everything this year, and the culture amongst the team is the best I have ever seen throughout my time at the Knights, including as a player.”

Zuvela said tonight will be another tight game, like it was on Saturday in the league. “We are all looking forward to the semi-final against Quinns. They are strong all over the park and in particular in the front third they are very clinical,” he explained. “We played them on the weekend and they are a very good side, so if the game is half as good as that game, it should be an entertaining one.”

15.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE 18S AND RESERVES TOP FOUR SEMI FINAL REVIEW

The under 18s and reserves Top Four Series semi-finals were held on Wednesday evening, with Stirling Macedonia and Subiaco moving through to Sunday’s reserves final. In the first game at Macedonia Park, goals from Shuto Gozu, Reece Corrigan and Adrian Koios gave Stirling a 3-0 win against UWA Nedlands. In the late game at Wauhop Park, Subiaco edged out Fremantle City 3-2. City raced to a two-goal lead with Alfred Moore and Bill Orr scoring. But Lachlan Hannah pulled one back for Subiaco before half time, before a brace from Ethan Johnson, including the stoppage time winner from the spot.

It will be Subiaco against Fremantle City in Sunday’s 18s top four final, after both won their semi-finals in midweek. First at Kingsway Reserve on Tuesday evening, Subiaco beat hosts Olympic Kingsway 3-2 on penalties. The game ended in a 1-1 draw in normal time, Lazar Spasojevic had given Subiaco the lead, with Olympic equalising with an own goal. Then on Wednesday evening at Crazy Domains Stadium, at Hartfield Park Fremantle City edged out hosts Forrestfield United 2-1. Henry Wylde and Finley Greenwood gave City the lead at the break, and despite Amro Atta pulling one back for the hosts, City held on to move into the final.

15.9.2021

LAWRENCE RETURNS TO GLORY WOMEN

Sadie Lawrence has returned to Perth Glory Women - nine years after her last outing for the team. The 28-year old midfielder, a former Australia under-20 representative, scored 10 goals in 21 games for Murdoch University Melville in the recently National Premier Leagues.

Lawrence, who played 17 times for Glory between 2009 and 2012, is excited at the prospect of re-igniting her W-League career. “To be back playing for Glory is something that I’ve wanted for such a long time and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to have this opportunity,” Lawrence said.

“My aim is to just play the best football I possibly can and do the best for my home-state club. I’m really looking forward to working with (coach) Alex Epakis and hopefully I can help get the club to where it wants to be.”

Epakis said Lawrence can make a major contribution in the new campaign. “I am ecstatic to have Sadie back at Perth Glory this season,” Epakis said. “She has previously represented the club very proudly and will add a further level of depth and quality to our spine this year.”

“I have been watching the NPLW WA very closely this season and she has been a consistent stand-out player. I believe she has the mind-set and leadership qualities to be a really valued member of our squad.” The 2021/22 W-League season is scheduled to commence in mid-November.

14.9.2021

EAST BENGAL SECURE MRCELA

SC East Bengal have secured former Perth Glory defender Tomislav Mrcela for the upcoming Indian Super League season. The towering centre-back joins East Bengal on a one-year deal as coach Manuel Diaz's second foreign signing for the 2021/22 campaign, after Slovenian midfielder Amir Dervisevic

"I have got good feedback about the club. I have friends who have played in India and also know a thing or two about the club, and they tell me how big it is in this part of the world," said Mrcela after putting pen-to-paper with East Bengal.

"I will look to add experience at the heart of the defence and take care of the locker room as well. The atmosphere within the team is very important and I will leave no stone unturned in doing what needs to be done for the team's benefit... I can't wait to start the season."

Perth-born Mrcela grew up in Croatia where he played youth football for RNK Split before featuring for the firt teams at Jadran Kastel, Primorac 1929, Imotski, Mosor, Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva. He joined South Korean club Jeonnam Dragons in 2016 and two seasons later switched to Glory.

12.9.2021

GARCIA PRESENTED WITH PLENTY OF CHALLENGES IN 25TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

New squad, new home, fresh hope - but uncertainty lingers over of what lies ahead for Perth Glory as they prepare for their 25th anniversary season. Coach Richard Garcia believes they are better-placed after the disappointment of missing out on last season’s finals in a grim COVID-hit A-League campaign, two years after winning the Premier’s Plate.

Garcia is preparing the squad for the planned October 30 start but already there are suggestions it could now be pushed back until after November’s international break. He believes a year of quarantines, hubs, long spells from home, short turnarounds between games has left players better equipped to face any challenge thrown at them.

“When I took over it wasn’t just one or two people we had to change it was a whole load of people,” said Garcia in his second season in charge. “We had to get though a huge amount of work in a small time, getting a team up and running, trying to get the players back on board, going into hubs, playing with lack of preparation. It was physically and mentally very hard.”

Now eight weeks into training Garcia said it was a “breath of fresh air” to be able to work into the season. “The boys are focused on getting themselves fit and ready for whatever comes their way,” he said. “There are going to be challenges. Things are not always going to go to plan. If changes happen we will have plans B and C rather than have to make decisions on the run.”

“If we have to go through it again I would like to think that we will be better prepared. For now we are preparing as if we’re kicking off the season on the start date but who knows what might change. It might be a completely different story. The experiences from last year with travel, injuries all the adjustment we had to make, we want to be prepared so if we need to make change we can do it.”

Making the finals after last season’s disappointment is the obvious aim but Garcia has not yet set any targets. “We just want players to focus on getting better, to improve mentally and physically every day,” he said. “The results will follow. If we are at our best every day it becomes a habit and that leads to finals. We’re a good chance.”

Strikers Chris Ikonomidis and Nick D’Agostino, defenders Jason Geria, Dane Ingham and Sebastian Langkamp, midfielders Neil Kilkenny, Nick Sullivan and Brandon Wilson are among those who have moved on. But Garcia has been busy in the player market adding Spanish flair with striker Adrian Sardinero, former Socceroos Brandon O’Neill and Brad Jones, defensive trio Jack Clisby, Aaron Calver and Antonee Burke-Gilroy plus winger Pacifique Niyongabire.

But they have already been hit by injury with forward Carlo Armiento gone for at least six months after rupturing his ACL and veteran goalkeeper Liam Reddy expected to miss the first month of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Garcia admits versatility is going to be key this season with a limited budget and a smaller squad.

“We’ll look at maybe one or two more players, there are a couple of areas we still need to strengthen,” the coach said. “We probably still need a little bit going forward, an attacking midfielder. We’ve got depth but it’s about the front line, getting it for (Andy) Keogh and (Bruno) Fornaroli. With a smaller squad you need to have people who are adaptable and can play in more than one position.”

The big question being asked by Glory fans is whether star midfielder Diego Castro will be back for another season. The answer is predictable. “We are still in negotiations. He’s a tough negotiator,” Garcia said of the Spaniard, who has chalked up 125 appearances since joining Glory in 2015. “Of course we want him back if possible. He’s a legend of the club.”

Garcia maintains the club needs to build a long-term sustainable future using home grown talent. But he is realistic enough to know it can’t be done on local flair alone. “We need to have a good balance,” he said. “We want to give young local players the chance to prove themselves but they need experience around them. It puts a lot of weight on young shoulders otherwise.”

12.9.2021

FLOREAT BOUNCE BACK TO DOWN GLORY

It’s finals weekend in the NPL, with Champions Perth SC taking on Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens in the Top Four Final at Dorrien Gardens, after Floreat reached the showpiece game with a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory in the Preliminary Final at E&D Litis Stadium on Tuesday evening. Floreat were ahead at the break after an own goal from Glory defender Aidan Coyne, and Robert Harding doubled their lead early in the second half. Ciaran Bramwell scored to give the Glory youngsters hope late, but Floreat held on.

“It was a tough, but an enjoyable game, and we fought hard for each other and made sure to stick out the win so we can get into another cup final this season,” Floreat’s Sean McManus said. “Personally, I was pleased with my game, getting the first goal and an assist for Robbie (Harding) for the second, but the main aim was to get the result to play Perth in the final which the boys are looking forward too.”

The hosts were on top early and Chris Saldaris found the crossbar, before they opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Saldaris found McManus on the edge of the penalty area and his low shot took a wicked deflection off Coyne, wrong footing Cameron Cook. Adam Zimarino saw his shot flash wide, as Glory looked for a response, while at the other end Nick Ambrogio headed straight at Cook when well placed.

But four minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their advantage. Marco Santalucia sent the lively McManus down the left and he eased past his marker and pulled the ball back from the by-line for Harding to fire home, via the crossbar. Glory lifted the tempo and Charlie Leech forced a smart save from Thomas Chudy, and Zimarino saw an effort deflected over the top.

Glory found a lifeline six minutes from time, a short corner routine ended with Giordano Colli’s ball into the penalty area that Floreat failed to clear, and Bramwell forced the ball home in the goalmouth scramble. Glory sent players forward in search of the equaliser, but Floreat held firm to seal their place in the Final.

Match Details - Top Four Cup Preliminary Final
Floreat Athena 2 (OG 13', Harding 49') Perth Glory 1 (Bramwell 84')
Tuesday September 14, 2021
E&D Litis Stadium
Kick off 7.00pm
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistants: Shane Skinner, Simon Hicks

Floreat Athena: GK Thomas CHUDY, 2 Marco SANTALUCIA, 6 Jesse FULLER (19 Ethan MOM 46'), 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert HARDING (4 Ben STEELE 77'), 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN, 13 George FESTA, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 20 Andrew PALMER - Subs not used: RGK Theo SARRIS, 14 Laat MATHIANG, 16 Kyle MURRAY

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 2 Will FORMSTON (7 Charlie LEECH 55'), 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Joseph FORDE, 6 Chris DONNELL, 8 Aidan EDWARDS (20 Jack ANDREWS 55'), 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO, 18 Tyler VECCHIO (17 Josh ANASMO 46') - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY, 14 Joel ANASMO

12.9.2021

BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY ONE REVIEW

With two rounds remaining it's still neck and neck for the title and promotion to Saturday football in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, with South West Phoenix and Maddington White City both winning their respective games on the road in Week 21. Current leaders Phoenix travelled to Gumblossom Park to take on fourth placed Quinns and returned with a hard fought 2-1 win. “I thought we controlled the game most of the time, but Quinns pushed hard and created chances,” Phoenix coach Nick Carter said. “Quinns away is always hard so to come out with three points we are very happy with.”

The visitors had a number of chances in the first half that they failed to take, likewise the home side, but on the stroke of half time Phoenix did find the opener. Corey Barclay latched onto a though ball, before turning the defender and finishing at the keepers near post. They doubled their advantage early in the second half, Kieran Quinn picked the ball up about 20 meters out and stuck it low and hard into the bottom corner. Quinns lifted and created a number of chances of their own and they reduced the margin on 68 minutes.

A ball into the box was finished by Ryan McCready, his 26th goal of the season. They pressed late looking for the equaliser but Phoenix held firm to take a valuable three points, despite being reduced to ten men late when Franco Van Zyl sent off by referee Simon Hicks. “Overall, it was another good performance, we knew it would be tough as was our first game against Quinns,” Phoenix skipper Jamie Oakey said. “To be fair it could’ve been another 5-4 game, with both teams having a lot of chances. The most important thing was the three points though in our last away game, we now look forward to two home games to finish the season off strongly.”

Meanwhile Maddington kept up the pressure on Phoenix, with a 4-1 win against a ten-man Jaguar at Herb Graham Recreation Centre, to remain one point behind them. They were ahead on 37 minutes, a corner from David Sarria was headed home by Gaston Bazet. The hosts were reduced to ten men five minutes before half time, when Deng Akol was sent off by referee David Avison. But in stoppage time the Jags levelled, with Gojam Nyuon scoring from a free kick. City should have regained the lead early in the second half when Bazat was brought down in the box, but Jags keeper Michael Dudek, who was outstanding all afternoon, guessed the right way to save Bazet’s spot kick.

But 20 minutes from time City did find a second, skipper Cesar Orozco stabbing home from close-range. It was 3-1 minutes later, David Sarria made a run into the box and to the by-line, before he cut the ball back for Jose Zuniga to score. Zuniga was on target again in stoppage time, scoring from the penalty spot after Jhonatan Barbosa was brought down in the box, it was his 17th goal of the season. “On one hand we are happy with the win as it was another good performance by the team. On the other hand, Bunbury won again so there is not much to celebrate,” Maddington’s Petar Mrdja said. “I think they have pretty much won the league with that win as I can’t see UWA or Kwinana taking points from them now, we'll look to take out our frustration on Wembley at home next Sunday.”

It was a vital game in the relegation fight at Coker Park as Queens Park hosted Joondalup United with both wanting the win to help avoid the drop, but the game ended in a 0-0 draw. The point helps the hosts more than the visitors, Joondalup now sit four points off safety with two games remaining, so they must pick up a win next week to keep their hopes alive and hope Queens Park don’t win. “It was very disappointing to only come away with a point from a game we had to win but we could still be playing now without scoring, and that's been an issue all season,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained. “Queens Park played well and were very dangerous on the break but I was happy with our defensive effort to finally get that first clean sheet. Unfortunately, we couldn't put the ball in the net and that leaves us needing a lot of things to go our way in the final two rounds.”

Queens Park coach Ricardo Fynn said the performance of his side was very disciplined. “I thought It was a very entertaining draw, and it was our most difficult game this season because if we lost our fate would no longer be in our own hands,” he said. “Joondalup were fantastic yesterday, and I have always said they are coached by a very good coach and a bunch of quality lads who play for club and coach. Our boys were very well prepared, showed very good defensive discipline and were unlucky not to get all three points on the day. Joondalup gave us a few very nervy moments as well but both teams cancelled each other's efforts out. So, over the 90 minutes of football a draw was a very fair result but is obviously a better result for us who are four points clear with two games remaining.”

In other games on Sunday Kwinana United consolidated third spot after a 2-1 win against UWA Nedlands at the UWA Sport Park. Kwinana were ahead on 13 minutes, with Lee Bates finishing off a good team move. They doubled their lead in the shadows of half time, Bates firing home from a free kick. The hosts were reduced to ten men early in the second half when Manuel Piccinini was shown a second yellow card by referee David Bruce, but they did score a late consolation goal in the final minute, with Abel Thomas-Hy scoring from the spot. “I was happy with how we played, and like a lot of teams at this time we are thin on the ground for players,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said. “So, there were a few changes to personal and a change in shape so for the boys to take that on and get the three points was extremely pleasing.”

North Perth United are up to fifth after a 3-1 win against Wembley Downs at Butlers Reserve. The visitors found the breakthrough on the half hour, a cross from the right by Alex Corner, picked out Kyran Broadhurst who made no mistake, heading home. They doubled their lead just before the hour, Broadhurst playing Andy O’Neill through on goal, and the striker fired into the roof of the net. It was 3-0 on 68 minutes, Broadhurst and O’Neill combined again, O’Neill’s cross shot found Javier Pineres Mestre who turned it home.

Wembley pulled one back seven minutes later, with Lachlan Chamberlain’s half volley beat Todd Ross. Moments later they were awarded a penalty, but Ross guessed the right way to save. “It was good to be able to back up the performance from Wednesday night at Queens Park, it’s never easy to play three games in seven days so full credit to the lads they battled and got their rewards,” United’s coach Luke O’Neill said. “Hopefully we can continue that for the rest of the season and look forward to our last home fixture next weekend.”

In the final game Leeming Strikers were the big winners this weekend, beating Hamersley Rovers 5-1 at John Connell Reserve. The home side were ahead six minutes before half time, a cross from Mike Maratea was flicked on by Ben Greaves, which hit the unfortunate Hamersley defender Jack Schyman, and diverted it in for an own goal. But Rovers hit back and levelled in the final minute, Jakub Vychytil on target. But Leeming regained the lead on the hour, Andy Jennings received the ball outside the box beat a player before squaring to David Palin who finished into the corner from 15 meters.

The hosts then took control adding three more goals. It was 3-1 six minutes later, Cameron Anderson was played though and finished low into the bottom corner. It was soon 4-1, Anderson beat a player down the line before squaring for Kieran Witt who tapped in from close-range. Leeming rounded of the scoring in the final minute, Palin controlled on the edge of the box, his shot hit the crossbar before bouncing down and spinning back into the net.

“First half was an end-to-end game, both teams had a case to say they should have been in front but we found ourselves all square at half time. Second half we came out and started well, the press started working for us and we got the goals from working a little harder and getting a bit more pressure on the ball carrier it was certainly,” Leeming player/coach Palin explained. “The Hammers kept trying to play and get at us, it's obviously been a tough season for them but they never gave up and credit to them. That now makes us mathematically safe, which will allow us to enjoy the last two games and we hope to do that with a couple of wins.”

11.9.2021

SOCCEROOS ‘ARE LIKE BROTHERS’: SAINSBURY

Defender Trent Sainsbury was full of praise for the Socceroos’ spirit that helped his side secure a historic tenth victory in a row. Despite the hot and humid conditions in Hanoi, Australia became the first nation in the AFC to win ten consecutive qualification matches in a single qualification campaign by defeating Vietnam 1-0 on Tuesday night.

While the Socceroos of 2019-to-2021 are also just the second senior Australian men’s national team in the 99-year history of the Socceroos to win 10 ‘A’ international matches in a row, Sainsbury insisted there is more to come. “We click so quickly when we get to camp because we are like brothers,” Sainsbury explained.

“And when a new player comes in, we give them a welcome to the family. I think when we play on a good pitch, we can outplay any team in the world. I’m looking forward to playing some good pitches with this team because we can produce some exciting football and score some good goals.”

Following the hard-fought 1-0 victory - achieved courtesy of Rhyan Grant’s 43rd-minute header - Sainsbury praised the Socceroos performance despite the difficult playing conditions. “We always knew it was going to be difficult coming here to Vietnam,” Sainsbury said. “We were causing them a little bit of a problem with those balls over the top in the first half.

“We didn’t really do much in the second half, we kind of took our foot off the gas. They had a couple of half-chances and were getting a little bit desperate on the counter-attack but overall, three points away in Vietnam and a clean sheet, I’ll take that every day of the week.”

Victory against Vietnam gives Australia six points from a possible six to kick-off the Final Round of World Cup qualifying. There are still four matches to play in 2021, with games against Oman and Japan scheduled for October, and Saudi Arabia and China PR on the radar to round out the year.

11.9.2021

PERTH TOO STRONG FOR FLOREAT

The NPLWA Champions Perth SC flexed their muscles on Saturday in the Top Four major Semi-Final, and were too strong for Floreat Athena, running out 4-0 winners at the Inglewood Stadium. First half goals to Calvin Whitney and returning striker Cameron Teece put Ramon Falzon’s side in control, and Teece added a second after the break with Yagoub Mustafa adding the fourth late. The win sees Perth move straight into next week’s Grand Final, while Floreat take on Perth Glory in the Preliminary Final on Tuesday. “It was a really good performance from start to finish,” Teece said. “I thought it was a very comfortable win, and the boys played great and we got the goals to show for it, and yes it was nice to grab a couple goals on my return.”

The sides had met twice this season with both sides winning one each in tight encounters, but it was Perth who made the better start in this one and were ahead on eight minutes. Great work down the right by Michael Domfeh, and he cut the ball back to Whitney who found the bottom corner. Floreat looked for an immediate response and Chris Saldaris’ shot after a goalmouth scramble deflected just wide. But on 19 minutes the Champions added a second. A long clearance from Alex Silla sent Teece racing clear and he lobbed the on-coming Theodore Sarris, to double their advantage. Floreat needed to hit back, and they went close on 34 minutes, Perth failed to clear a corner and George Festa’s overhead kick was headed wide at the back post by Phil Arnold. It was Floreat’s best period of the game and Sean McManus shot from the edge of the box was saved by Ryan Montgomery. But try ae they might they couldn’t break down a Perth defence superbly led by skipper Bojan Radinovic and at the break they had all the work to do in the second half.

Floreat opened the second, like they finished the first and Andrew Palmer’s cross to the back post was headed wide by an unmarked Saldaris. But Perth showed them how to do it, when they added a third on the hour. Whitney’s corner found Teece, who powered his header home from five meters. Floreat weren’t going down without a fight and three minutes later Ludovic Boi’s free kick crashed off the crossbar, before Montgomery tipped the rebound over the top. From the resulting corner Boi’s snap shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Montgomery.

Both sides went to the bench with games coming up next week, but both sides had good chances. First Radinovic’s overhead kick flashed over the top, before Arnold shot was saved well by Montgomery. But in the second minute of stoppage time, Perth added their fourth. Whitney sliding Mustafa in down the right and he finished clinically past Sarris, and celebrated with and acrobatic back flip. “I think it was dominate performance for the boys and proved why we won the league,” Perth midfielder Calvin Whitney said. “I was happy how the team played and the work rate was high, so in the end a well-deserved win and hopefully keep the momentum for the final.’

Match Details - Top Four Cup Major Semi-Final
Perth SC 4 (Whitney 8’, Teece 19’, 62’, Mustafa 92’) Floreat Athena 0
Saturday September 11, 2021
Venue: Inglewood Stadium
Referee: David Bruce
Assistants: Julian Serra, Joshua Nixon

Perth SC: GK Ryan MONTGOMERY, 2 Alex SILLA (12 Sam FLORES 88’), 4 Lachlan BYRD, 6 Nik MCDONALD (15 Will GORDON 88’), 9 Cameron TEECE (3 Jordan DE LEO 73’), 10 Michael DOMFEH, 11 Yagoub MUSTAFA, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kieran COLWELL 19 Bojan RADINOVIC 22 Kristian SANTICH (18 Federico ACHILLI 79’) – Subs not used: RGK Adrian SINAGRA

Floreat Athena: GK Theodore SARRIS, 4 Ben STEELE, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Dennis GALAN (2 Marco SANTALUCIA 62’), 13 George FESTA, 14 Ludovic BOI (9 Robert HARDING 62’), 15 Chris SALDARIS (21 Ethan MOM 79’), 18 Phil ARNOLD (16 Kyle MURRAY 79’), 20 Andrew PALMER - Subs not used: RGK Jake LUMPKIN

11.9.2021

GLORY BEAT SORRENTO IN EXTRA TIME

Perth Glory have moved into the Preliminary Final on Tuesday evening after an 3-1 win against Sorrento after extra time at Percy Doyle Reserve. The hosts were ahead just after the half hour mark, with Chris Jackson scoring, but Glory were level shortly after, with Joshua Anasmo scoring. Both sides had chances in normal time, but it was off to extra time and Charlie Leech scored early to give Glory the advantage. Adam Zimarino added a third late in the first half of extra time to seal the win, and the hosts were reduced to ten men when Jackson was sent off late. “It was a very tough battle but I think we showed great character to come back and play the football that we did on that pitch,” Glory skipper Giordano Colli explained. “Now its full focus for the game on Tuesday night against Floreat that will be another tough test but we will be ready for the fight and hope to get the win.”

It was a cagey opening to the game, with so much on the line for both clubs, the winner moving through and the loser seeing their season over. Both sides had early chances, first a long throw from Jordan Brown was headed goalward by Jackson, but it was straight at Glory keeper Cameron Cook. Moments later Joseph Forde’s surging run down the left saw him cut inside his marker and his shot on the run flashed the wrong side of the upright. The Gulls were creating the better chances and on 22 minutes they had the best opening of the game. Jackson burst down the right and his low cross picked out Alex Morgan, whose close-range shot was well saved by Cook at his near post. Moments later they created another good chance, Ollie Annis’ cross was headed wide by Jackson. Sorrento was making all the running and on the half hour Mark Morgan burst into right of the penalty area and he cut the ball back to Dean Cummings whose shot was cleared off the line by the alert Aidan Coyne. But the hosts pressure was rewarded with the lead four minutes later.

Brown’s long throw wasn’t dealt with by Glory and Jackson swept the ball home from eight meters and raced off to celebrate and held up a DH7 shirt message in support of his mate Danny Hodgson, who is still in a coma after a one punch attack last weekend. But their lead didn’t last long and with their first shot on target for the game Glory levelled six minutes later. Adam Zimarino cut in from the right and his low shot was parried by Connor Campbell and Anasmo nipped in to fire home the rebound from close range. Both sides had late chances before the break, first Zimarino goal bound shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide, before Jackson’s shot on the run drifted wide at the other end, but at the break it was all to play for.

After the break, the game opened up significantly. Brown's header crashing off the underside of the Glory bar and away to safety, before Cook pushed Jackson's effort around the post. Glory also threatened. Giordano Colli's free-kick was palmed away by Campbell and Zimarino hit the side netting. Sorrento had one final chance deep into stoppage time, but Tim Hill couldn’t keep his effort down after Glory failed to clear a corner, so it was off to extra-time. Glory needed just three minutes of the first period of extra time to find the lead. Substitute Tyler Vecchio crossed from the bye-line and Leech was on hand to head home.

Sorrento looked for an equaliser immediately, and thought they had found it when Jackson's volley beat Cook, but the offside flag was up and the goal was ruled out. It was end-to-end football, but Perth was creating the better chances, the best falling to Colli, whose shot was well saved by Campbell. But Glory found the third in the final minutes of the first period, William Formston's pass found Zimarino and the striker finished across Campbell to all but seal the tie. Sorrento pushed in the second half, but they could find a way back into the game and it went from bad to worse for the Gulls, when Jackson was shown a straight red card by referee Shane Skinner for an incident involving Glory keeper Cook.

It sets up a Preliminary Final against Floreat at E&D Litis Stadium on Tuesday evening, the winner to take on Perth SC in next weekend’s Grand Final. “It was a great game and we fought really hard against a tough Sorrento team to get the result, the boys put in a great shift both on the ball and off the ball and our strong mentality is what got us the win in the end,” midfielder Charlie Leech said. “We are now fully focused on the game on Tuesday night against a strong floreat and we are eager as a group to go another step forward and go all the way to the end.”

Match Details - Top Four Cup Minor Semi-Final
Sorrento 1 (Jackson 34’) Perth Glory 3 (Joshua Anasmo 41’, Leech 93’, Zimarino 102’)
Saturday September 11, 2021
Venue: Percy Doyle Reserve
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Referee: Shane Skinner
Assistants: Michal Jasinski, Troy Malatesta

Sorrento: GK Connor CAMPBELL, 2 David STOKOE, 4 Shaun KILKELLY (19 Jaxon TEMATA 106’), 6 Chris JACKSON, 7 Alex MORGAN, 10 Ollie ANNIS (14 Jordan POKLER 102’), 11 Tim HILL (3 Daniel FAICHNEY 102’), 15 Tristan STEVENS, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 20 Jordan ROBERTS (8 Scott WITSCHGE 69’) – Subs not used: RGK Matthew GIUDICATTI – Red Card: Jackson 122’

Perth Glory: GK Cameron COOK, 3 Jacob MUIR, 4 Aidan COYNE, 5 Joseph FORDE, 6 Chris DONNELL, 7 Charlie LEECH, 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL (18 Tyler VECCHIO 90’), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Adam ZIMARINO (8 Aiden EDWARDS 103’), 17 Joshua ANASMO (15 Joel ANASMO 108’), 22 Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS (12 William FORMSTON 90’) - Subs not used: RGK Sam REILLY

11.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND TWENTY TWO – REVIEW

Ashfield will be playing Division Two football next season after the final round of State League Division One fixtures on Saturday. Ashfield needed a win at Olympic Kingsway and results elsewhere to go their way to avoid relegation but they found themselves behind six minutes before half time at Kingsway Reserve, Asa Sippits slipping in Harry Evans who fired past Jamie Serra. Ashfield pressed looking for a way back into the game, but their relegation was sealed when Olympic added a second nine minutes from time. James Fanelli made space down the right and pulled the ball back to Riley Gordon, who fired home his first goal for the season. “It was great way to finish the season with a well-deserved victory,” Olympic coach David Tough said. “The game was a bit like our season, where at times we played some great football, but missed far too many chances.”

That result meant Swan United have avoided automatic relegation, but will have to go in the play-offs, after a 2-1 defeat against Champions Stirling Macedonia at Macedonia Park. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Stirling on winning the league and gaining promotion to the NPL, and of course we knew that this would be a difficult game and against the run of play we were able to go into the break with the lead,” Swan coach Dan Evans explained. “Unfortunately, we were unable to hold on and disappointingly we conceded with the last kick of the game to lose. If you consider the chances, we created we were very unlucky not to get something out of the game. We were unable to convert three one on one chances and the main difference was that Stirling were able to find a way to win late on. That’s why they finished where they finished. Despite the loss the important thing for us was that results went our way and we secured a playoff spot. The boys were delighted with that but felt hard done by to get nothing out of the game. We now shift focus to the playoffs and I’ve got no doubt that if we are prepared to work as hard as we’ve worked in the last month then we will secure our status in this division.”

The black and whites hit the front on 35 minutes, Alex Young finding Brennan Borzecki, who brought the ball down well before finding the bottom corner. The hosts levelled things up just after the hour mar, Swans failed to clear a corner and skipper Dejan Spaseski volleyed home from 10 meters. It looked like United would leave with a hard-earned point, but with the last kick of the game Stirling won it. Sam Wynne dribbled into the box, and his shot was parried by Nick Stone and Alex Taneski fired home from close-range. “It was a good result and a tough game,” Stirling keeper James Bosdet said. “Swan were physical and played to their strengths and restricted us to minimal chances. Good to get the win in the end and give us some momentum going into the top four finals.”

Western Knights secured the runners-up spot, despite losing 3-2 to Quinns at Gumblossom Park. The Knights made a good start and were ahead on 25 minutes, Matthew Henry sending Paul Lloyd clear and he finished well past Patrick Stephenson. But Quinns were level seven minutes into the second half, referee Steven Gregory spotted a push by Tom Kennedy on Ben Hinshelwood, and pointed straight to the spot. Hinshelwood picked himself up and finished emphatically from the resulting penalty. They were ahead 15 minutes later, Hinshelwood turned provider this time, sending Owen Goodliffe down the right and his shot from the angle beat Sam Stone. But the Knights weren’t finished and restored parity ten minutes later, with a penalty of their own after Dean Hurley was brought down in the box, and the striker stepped up to convert from the spot.

It looked like the points would be sharded but deep into stoppage time, it was Quinns who won it. A long throw wasn’t dealt with and Hinshelwood pounced to fire home his 22nd goal of the season. “The first half performance wasn’t great but in the second we really turned it on,” Quinns Owen Goodliffe said. “We looked really organised and by far the better team second half which is impressive especially with four key lads not in the 11 and a young side playing. To secure third place with the last kick of the season is always special. When Ben (Hinshelwood) is in the box nine times out of ten he’s going to score so it’s always about finding a way to feed him. If we bring the same intensity and desire on Wednesday, there’s no reason why we can’t get a result again.”

Forrestfield United finished their season on a high beat Joondalup United 3-1 at Crazy Domain’s Stadium, at Hartfield Park. The visitors were looking to seal the runners-up spot, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring on ten minutes. Moses Macauley raced into the left side of the penalty area and crossed to Rhys Loxley, his shot was well saved by Joe Smith, but the ball fell to Laurence Todd, who finished well from the edge of the penalty area. But their lead only lasted four minutes, Anthony Taylor sent James Oldroyd down the right and his cross found a diving Brad McDonald who headed home. Forrestfield regained the lead just after the hour mark, a quick break saw Oliver Parry slide-rule through ball send Loxley clear, and the skipper finished clinically. They wrapped up the points with a third on 79 minutes, Tarek Atta’s cross from the left was turned home at the back post by Dan Corbett. “Saturday was a culmination of the last three games against the top three teams in the league, and we set ourselves a target of seven points from a possible nine,” Forrestfield Coach Graham Normanton said. “We achieved that goal with relative ease especially against Western Knights and Joondalup Utd and it showed how much improvement that this group of players have made over the second half of the season.”

UWA Nedlands ended their season with a bang, thrashing Mandurah City 5-1 at the UWA Sports Park. It didn’t start the best for the hosts, and they found themselves behind after only 13 minutes. Craig Barker sending Joseph McEvatt clear to slot low past Peter Pilkadaris. They held that lead until 17 minutes from time when Luke Randazzo levelled. The hosts then bagged three goals in nine minutes to turn the game around, first Sam Moffatt gave them the lead, before Tim Robertson and Randazzo added his second. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time when they added a fifth, with Robertson scoring his second of the game. “Fantastic win and nice way to finish what has been an underwhelming season for the club,” Randazzo said. “Having gone down 1-0 at halftime we felt we were doing a lot right but just hadn’t hit the score board. Upon getting the first goal the rest flowed on quite quickly afterwards, and it was some small reward for our efforts this year and we will look to improve on this for 2022.”

In the final game Fremantle City also ended the season on a high after a hard fought 2-1 win against Subiaco at Rosalie Reserve. They were ahead on the half hour, Subiaco failed to clear a free kick and Chris Thackray crossed to the back post and it was turned into his own net by Mella Loding. Subiaco were leveling on 64 minutes, Joshua Kotio’s cross from the left was headed home by Ben Johns. But it was Cameron Lord’s side that won it three minutes later. Matt Sparrow’s free kick was turned home acrobatically at the back post by Todd Howarth.

11.9.2021

STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND TWENTY TWO – REVIEW

The three spots for the State League promotion/relegation playoff spots have been decided on a thrilling final round of fixtures in the State League Division Two. There was one spot still available and it went to Murdoch University Melville, who became the first team to beat Champions Dianella White Eagles this season after a 3-0 win at Wormall Civil Stadium and Saturday evening. “Going into the game, we decided as a playing group we didn’t want to know what was happening elsewhere, we were so focused on winning the game and controlling what we could,” Dion Berman said. “We know our best is good enough to beat anyone and the desire we showed was massive, so hopefully we can build on that performance against Gosnells in the play-offs.” The hosts were ahead just before half time, a corner was flicked on by Dylan Urquhart and Daniel Tait scored from close-range. They added a second seven minutes into the second half, Patrick Quinn’s corner found Declan Tanna, who headed home via the post. It was 3-0, 18 minutes from time, Kai Jones was played clear, his first shot was well saved by Dejan Aleksic, but Jones reacted quickest to the rebound to score. Dianella ended the game with ten men when Daniel Mackenzie was showed a straight red card by referee Andre Ferreira and sent off.

The side to miss out was Wanneroo City, who needed a win and hope MUM didn’t, to pip them. They kept their side of the bargain with a gutsy win against Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park, but the result at Murdoch saw them miss out. “It was a great win yesterday and it felt like the boys done really turned up to play, but the three points were just not enough to make the play off,” Wanneroo coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “Unfortunately missing out by one point really hurts, because we were in the top four all season up until last week, premature end to our season but I’m proud of the effort the guys put in all season.” The visitors were ahead after only nine minutes, Jack Reilly cutting in from the left and finding the top corner with a stunning shot. They doubled their lead four minutes later, when Charlie Breen ran onto a great through ball and finished a great move by firing across the keeper.

But Kingsley hit back with two quick goals. First Joel Gillespie found the net from a free kick, and moments later a corner wasn’t clear and in the goalmouth scramble young debutant Jamie McLeod scored. But it was the hosts who won it early in the second half, Jack Hailstones cut in from the right, his shot rolled through the legs of Kingsley keeper Peter Stewart. “It would’ve been nice to get a win going into the play offs, but Wanneroo started fast but after their second goal it was all us in the first half,” Kingsley skipper Jayden Drummond said. “The second half was a tight affair and unfortunately they grabbed the winner, but it was good to give some of the young lads their first team debut, and especially for young Jamie to bag a goal. All our focus is on Swan now.”

Gosnells City took out the runners up spot after a 5-0 win against Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. It was a tight first half, but it was Gosnells who opened the scoring three minutes into the second half. Scott Pereira sent Eddie Wynne-Willson down the right, his cross found Miguel De Oliveira, who headed powerfully home. It was 2-0 on the hour, De Oliveira dinked the ball over his marker to the overlapping Wynne-Willson who pulled the ball back to Darren Francis who fired into an empty net. The score line blew out late, with Gosnells adding three goals. First on 85 minutes, Wade Farmer made space down the left and crossed to Conor Kavanagh who scored from close-range. It was 4-0 two minutes later, young substitute Blake Pritchard, passing into Wade Farmer, whose powerful shot gave Kelmscott keeper Jack Adams no chance.

They added the fifth in the final minute, referee Stewart Beattie spotted a handball by Sasco Tamba and pointed straight to the spot. James Sharp stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty, his first goal of the season. “Today was a great way to finish off our season and a great boost of confidence to take us into the playoff games,” Gosnells’ defender Sharp said. “To finish second this year just shows how good of a squad we actually have. All of us have worked hard to get ourself as high up the table as we can and finishing second proves that. We now need to rest up and focus on gaining promotion back into Division One. We will face MUM in the first leg and look for pay back after they beat us two years ago at the same stage. I personally think with the squad we have we will give it a red-hot crack at gaining promotion.”

Joondalup City ended their season on a high after a 2-1 win against Morley Windmills at the Iluka Sports Complex. It was the visitors who took the lead on the hour, with skipper Leigh Morgan scoring. But the hosts levelled five minutes later, they forced a turnover on half way, Harry Clisby playing a beautiful through ball in behind the Morley defence for Jonny Hulme, whose low cross was finished well by skipper Liam McGurk. They sealed the points 13 minutes from time, with McGurk bagging his second with a neat finish. “It was a great day for the club especially Liam McGurk who we had made captain for the day,” Joondalup coach Brad Haywood explained. “Last year Liam lost his father, Kevin McGurk, to an aggressive form of brain cancer and throughout the day Liam’s Family and the club had been raising awareness and funds for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. I was thrilled to see him get a double, his dad would be so proud.”

Carramar Shamrock Rovers and Balga ended their season with a hard fought 1-1 draw at Grandis Park. “A bit disappointed with the draw, we gave away a sloppy goal near the end and should have seen the game out when we were 1-0 up,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “It’s been a disappointing season really, but just have to work harder and hopefully injuries stay away for next season.” The hosts found the opened on 68 minutes, Owen Coates finding the net with a shot from outside the box. But Balga levelled five minutes from time, a quick counter attack saw Dominic Manno score his first goal of the season. “The game was hard fought, evenly matched,” Balga’s Liam Kessel said. “Both sides had an opportunity to take all the points, but splitting the points felt like a fair outcome.”

In the final game Curtin University have beaten Canning Cit 2-0 at Burrendah Reserve, to end the coaching stint of Canning coach Chris Finlayson. It was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play, Liam Goerke won the ball back on top of the penalty area and found Daniel Davey, who put the ball over the keeper to score. They sealed the points on the hour, Goerke again provided the assist for Davey to double his tally. “I thought we were lucky to score an early goal, and were then on the back foot for most of the half, but limited Canning to speculative chances,” Curtin coach Troy Reid said. “We adjusted well and controlled the second half, and it could have easily been three or four if we hadn’t taken some clear-cut chances. Happy with the response after half time and good to finish the season on a high.”




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 jacob@footballwa.net

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