SHARLAND AGREES NEW WOLVES DEAL (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Exciting Wollongong Wolves striker Greg Sharland has agreed terms on a new, two-year deal. The 19-year old signed the contract, which has the option of a further 12 months, before Sunday's northern division youth Grand Final. "I'm happy to re-sign with the club," Sharland told the "Illawara Mercury". "They've been very good to me and have given me an opportunity to play at the highest level. The coaching staff have helped my game immensely and I now look forward to becoming a regular first grade player for the club next season." Unable to prevent Parramatta Power from taking out the trophy on the weekend, Sharland has since returned to Perth and joined the Future W.A. squad ahead of their trip to France next month.
HONOURS SHARED BETWEEN UNDER-19'S AND GLORY
The State Under-19 side, Future W.A., played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with a Perth Glory combination at Litis Stadium tonight. With a less than ideal preparation for next months' trip to France, State team dominated the opening stanza of this match and were unfortunate not to take an early lead. A few minutes into the game Josh Kamasz and Andreas Oliveria combined on the right with the former's shot over the crossbar. And not long after Miki Vujacic showed great skill to evade his opponent and open up a path to goal for himself only to find Vince Matassa positioned to save.
Fielding no less than five players with international experience in the starting line-up, Glory fought back strongly and in the 12th minute Nick Mrdja should have done much better when he ran onto a defence splitting pass but, opting for power over accuracy, blasted wide. Three minutes later Dion Valle's long cross-field ball picked out Mrdja, he turned past Admir Mehic but shot straight into the arms of Oliver Taseski. It was only down to some stubborn defending by Mehic, Ivan Zuvela and Dino Djulbic that Glory didn't take the lead, the trio forcing Glory into shooting from distance for much of the half. The best scoring opportunities came the way of Glory's youngsters, Sam Miller clipping the wrong side of the bar from 15-metres and Mileta Miletic pulling his shot across the face of goal close to half-time.
It wasn't until thirteen minutes after the interval that the deadlock was broken. Nick Ward made a good run down the right flank before squaring to Oliveira who skilfully threw off his marker to hit a low shot which Matassa got a glove to but was unable to prevent from crossing the line. Glory responded almost immediately, Peter Lord's powerful shot was parried by Taseki and three defenders combined to thwart Mrdja's follow-up attempt. The State side looked to have sewn up the friendly on the hour mark when Oliviera netted for the second time this evening, only for the goal to be disallowed and a free-kick awarded to the State team in what was a genuinely bewildering decision.
Tiredness crept into the match over the closing twenty minutes, not surprising considering for most players it was their second game in three days. And with twelve minutes remaining Glory pulled level - Gareth Naven going on a long run out of defence, playing a neat one-two with Kostadin Manolev and, with the defence retreating, hit a scorching drive which gave Gianni Papalia had no chance. Glory were lead from the back by Deans and Valle who both showed a willingness to push forward when the opportunity arose, while teenager Daniel Arias chimed in with an important defensive contribution. State coach Gary Marocchi would have been pleased with his sides performance tonight, especially considering it was only their second competitive match following a 6-1 win over a youthful Ashfield line-up several weeks ago. Playing wide on the right, Daniel Stoitis proved a constant danger for the Glory backline, and in the centre of midfield Shaun Kilkelly enhanced his growing reputation.
Glory Combination : Vince Matassa, Gareth Naven, Dion Valle (Robert
Cibesku 74), Craig Deans, Daniel Arias, Robert Cibesku (Brad North 40),
Alistair Edwards, Sam Miller (Peter Lord 40), Michael Garcia, Mileta
Miletic (Kostadin Manolev 40) Nick Mrdja
Future W.A. : Oliver Taseski (Gianni Papalia 60), Ivan Zuvela, Dino Djulibic, Admir Mehic, Miki Vujacic, Daniel Stoitis, Mark Ristofski, David Foster, Shaun Kilkelly, Andreas Oliveira (Josh Kamasz 63), Josh Kamasz (Nick Ward 49)
WE WERE LUCKY SAYS GLORY'S PETKOVIC
Subiaco Oval will be the venue of the 2001/02 National Soccer League Grand Final on 12th May, this despite Perth Glory's stunning 0-2 away loss to Newcastle United on Friday night. "We were caught off-guard a bit, players weren't just up for the challenge in the first half and we got caught out. Two goals and we were a bit lucky not to concede a few more," goalkeeper Jason Petkovic said on his return to Perth. Glory nonetheless earned the right to host the season decider by taking out the two-legged play-off 4-3. Then will play the winner of this weekend's Preliminary Final between Newcastle and Olympic Sharks in the Grand Final.
The University of W.A. cruised to a convincing 10-1 home victory over Rockingham City in the First Round of the Mitre Cup on Sunday. University scored four times in the opening ten minutes and went in 7-0 up at half time after some simple but clinical finishing. The second half was predictably a quieter affair with University scoring another three goals to Rockingham's one, although the home side squandered many chances to further extend the margin. Tom Muirhead and Teemu Sihvola were the hat-trick heroes, while Adam Brett, Robert Benkovic, Mark Dascanio and Gareth Briggs also got on the scorecard for University, Simon Nichols the lone scorer for Rockingham. University reserves chalked up a similar result, winning 6-0 after Max Percy, Tim Grose(2) and Dave Holley (3) found the net.
Balga progressed to the next round after downing Floreat Athena 3-2 through goals from Gary Shorto, Gary James and Scott Wilson. Morley Windmills went down 0-3 to the visitors from Perth Azzuri, Shamrock Rovers overcame a stubborn South Perth United outfit 2-1, and Fremantle United knocked out Joondalup United by the same score. C.N. Canning International lost 1-2 at home to Premier League leaders Hamersley Rovers, while Murdoch University had little trouble against Calcio Rebels where the final score was 6-2. The visitors from Kwinana United scored nine without reply against Willetton. Second Division side Stirling Panthers pulled off a surprise by defeating the top flight's Subiaco United 1-0.
North Perth United thrashed Morley United 10-1, while in another all First Division clash Carlisle downed North Beach 2-0. Cockburn City beat Leeming Strikers 4-3 away from home, Ballajura recorded a 6-1 win over Colo Colo, and Cloverdale Chindits proved no match for Bunbury United where the game ended 0-4. W.A. Maccabi were shock losers at home to Gosnells City 0-1. There were big wins for Forrestfield United and Maddington Eagles who defeated Yanchep (4-0) and Beldon (6-0) respectively. B.B. United knocked off Kingsley 3-2, Curtin University got over the line against Perth International 4-3, Beechboro White Eagles won 4-2 in front of a big crowd over Gwelup Croatia, and Condors advanced to the next stage at the expense of Burswood United 3-2.
The results of the Collie-Suburbs United, and Australind-Busselton games are currently unknown. Forrestfield United, Kelmscott Roos, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Belmont Villa, Southern Spirit, Lynwood Colts, Perth Royals, E.C.U. Joondalup and Armadale all had a bye into the Second Round of competition.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ONE (Cockburn City vs Fremantle City by Lennie Bavich; Western Knights vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Bassendean Caledonian vs Future Glory by Bill McAllister)
Swan I.C. headed into their opening match of the 2002 Premier League season at Floreat Athena without several key players from their pre-season. Club captain Justin Everley and teenage striker Tom Shepheard were absent through injury, while Night Series regulars Damian Scali and Darren Blankley had to be content with a spot on the bench after turning out in the reserves. As if matters couldn't get any worse, State goalkeeper Corey Hugo required lengthy treatment after colliding with Robin Dyers when contesting a high ball just 6 minutes into the match, medico's working frantically to stop the flow of blood from a cut under the 'keeper's eye.
The opening half was all way one traffic in Athena's favour but, while they dominated possession, scoring opportunities were few and far between in open play with their best chances coming through dead ball situations. Hugo made a superb diving save to keep out Doug Ithier's 16th minute free-kick and Lucas Gobbi reacted quickest to the loose ball but nodded it high from close-range. Just after the half-hour another Ithier bomb ended inches over the bar, and shortly after an in-swinging Ithier free-kick was headed down by Robyn Dyers and into the path of Gobbi whose desperate lunge went wide of the target. The breakthrough finally came three minutes into stoppage time, Troy Bernard's curling free-kick into the area caught the defence ball-watching and Ithier snuck in to toe-poke the ball past an exposed 'keeper at the far post.
Gobbi sent Andreas Pantelis through on goal three minutes into the new half but his close range effort curled the wrong side of the up-right. Then, in the space of three minutes, Costa Socratous' shot on the run rose over the bar, and Kosta Kalavrouziotis saw his effort tipped wide by Corey Hugo after a good build-up. The pendulum swung Swan's way for the next ten minutes as midfielders Adrian McBride and Eddie Mura fought valiantly to get their side back in the game. There were a few hopeful long-range attempts on goal, but by the large the visitors today found the well-drilled Athena defence impossible to break down meaning John Xigas was left waiting to make his first save of the afternoon.
Athena delivered a killer one-two punch just after the hour mark. Breaking on the counter attack after defending a corner, Kalavrouziotis ran at the defence before sending Gobbi through with only the 'keeper to beat, the South American import calmly side-stepping Corey Hugo to slot into an open goal. The match was all but over when, in the 67th minute, Pantelis sped clear down the left before centring to Dyers whose first time shot crashed into the back of the net to make it three-nil. Minutes later Socratous should have added Athena's fourth but, with the 'keeper well out of position, the midfielder found the base of the up-right with the goal at his mercy.
The closing stages were a scrappy affair as errors crept into the game. Athena continued to ply the pressure in their search to put another goal past an already demoralised opponent only to be thwarted time and time again by a Swan backline lead by Christian Marocchi. Substitute Ryan Newhill finished a brilliant flowing move by sweeping the ball into the arms of an expectant Corey Hugo after 85 minutes, but two minutes later made amends for the miss when he stooped to head Socratous' cross from the right past a flat-footed 'keeper. The final four-nil scoreline was a fair reflection of a match in which Swan failed to get out of first gear and were duly out-played for the duration. Swan sweeper Marrochi showed a great deal of composure when working under pressure, while man-of-the-match Corey Hugo prevented the margin from becoming an embarrassment. For Athena, Gobbi's pace meant he was a constant menace in attack, out wide on the left Pantelis provided a lot of the attacking impetus and Jamie Trandos was rarely out of the action in the centre of the park.
Floreat Athena : John Xigas, Troy Bernard, Hugh Miller, Doug Ithier
(Anthony Jones 72), Adrian Sutton, Andreas Pantelis, Costa Socratous,
Kosta Kalavrouziotis (Peter Coci 78), Jamie Trandos, Lucas Gobbi, Robyn
Dyers (Ryan Newhill 76)
Swan I.C. : Corey Hugo, Christian Marocchi, Jamie Bell, Darren Freeman, Carlo Scali, Adrian McBride, Trevor Hatton, Justin Hugo, Steve Sauzier (Damian Scali 66), Eddie Mura, Brian Robertson
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : Trandos (21), J.Hugo (35), Freeman (45+)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 150 (approx.)
Home side Inglewood United had a poor first half against E.C.U. Joondalup in which defensive errors enabled Andy Mason and Richard Watson to give the northern suburbs side a 2-0 lead at the break. Five minutes into the second half 15-year old debutant Tom Jones, who partnered Mason in attack, went through the centre to round Oliver Taseski and extend Joondalup's margin. Inglewood substitute Michael Bacszynski raced clear in the 68th minute only to be brought down by visiting goalkeeper Peter Stewart who was promptly red-carded, and Andy Cornmell made no mistake from the penalty spot. Joondalup immediately struck back with a penalty of their own after Scott Bulloch was up-ended inside the box, but Taseski moved smartly to keep out the teenagers spot-kick. Inglewood at last came alive and Bacszynski headed home a Paul Lincoln cross in stoppage time but, despite having the extra man, Inglewood could not gain an equaliser before the final whistle was blown. "I though it was a very harsh call to send off Peter Stewart for what the referee deemed was a professional foul, their forward milked the situation," said Paul 'Geordie' Simmons after the game. "The highlight of the day was our first half display which was silken and aggressive, the debut of Tom Jones and the appearance for the final ten minutes of another 15-year old John Higgins."
Cockburn City took an early lead at Dalmatinac Park, scoring after 12 minutes against Fremantle City whose defence failed to clear the ball inside the 6-yard box and Domenic De Felice seized the opportunity to give former Socceroo goalkeeper Robert Zabica no chance. Three minutes latter De Felice made a good run into the penalty area where he met Christian Paschkewitz' pass to score his and his teams second of the match. 24 minutes into the half and an injury to Bozo Erakovic forced the home side to bring on substitute Stuart Francis which tested Cockburn's depth, Gary Numan absent through injury while Branimir Mikulic and Dean Wallace out suspended. Paschkewitz took on Fremantle's defence from the half way line and chipped an advancing Zabica to increase Cockburn's lead. Fremantle scored a consolation goal late in the game through a good striker by Llewellyn Bake.
Ashfield found themselves under the hammer from the opening kick of their home fixture with title favourites Perth S.C. The visitors started well, midfield trio Robbie Gaspar, Rob Giorgi and Jamie Coyne directing play and Perth made the most of their dominance to create a handy five goal half-time lead with goals from Mark Pottier, Coyne (2), Peter Vukmirovic and Rhys Graham. But Ashfield clawed their way back into the game after the break, Darren Yates scoring early on and goalkeeper Phil Jackson converting a penalty not long after. Steve Gillibrand made it 3-5 before Graham finally put the game out of Ashfield's reach. While his side won big, Perth coach Graham Normanton was no happy with their second half performance. "We were like world champs in the first half and world chumps in the second. We thought we were just too good to go out for the second half. We allowed them to get back into the game with two sloppy goals and a penalty. It was really frustrating that we didn't press home the advantage. It was totally deflating."
It was history in the making at Jubilee Reserve where Craig and Gareth Naven were on opposing sides for the first time in the careers as Bassendean Caledonian hosted Future Glory. The home side found themselves on the ropes within the opening minute after Chris Riston's centring ball was tucked away by Shaun Kikelly. Robert Cibesku seized upon a defensive error minutes later to extend the lead, and when Dion Valle put Mileta Miletic through to score Caledonian were 3-0 down with only ten minutes elapsed. A neat exchange between Glen McCormick and Paul Strudwick opened up the defence with the former McCormick finding the net to give the home side hope going into the break. Caledonian came out for the second half with all guns ablaze, winning five corners in quick succession only to be denied but the experience of goalkeeper Tony Franken and a strong backline. Against the run of play, Miki Vujacic added to Future's tally after 61 minutes, and Peter Lord completed the route with a stoppage time goal to make the final score 5-1. Alan Weir, Caledonian coach, said his side were let down a their poor start. "That was a wake up call to some of our players whose heads were still in the dressing room for the first ten minutes. It isn't possible to give a team of Future's calibre a three-goal start. We made and missed some chances, and are much better than that score line." Future coach Frank Arok was happy with his sides performance. "I was very pleased with the cohesion and combination moves of my team. Of the games we have played to date this is the best they have been. Caledonians are a strong lot and when we do not have the seniors after the eighth round that will be the test for us."
Two of the title contenders in Western Knights and Sorrento battled out a close encounter at Nash Field with the home side getting over the line 2-1. Fortune didn't favor the Gulls in the 2nd minute when a late tackle on Ryan Jeans was punished only with a free-kick when many judged it to be a penalty offence, the resultant shot by Shaun Fallon striking the defensive wall and rebounding to safety. Jared Love opened up the Knight's rearguard with his pace after 16 minutes, but his cut back from the line was blasted over by David Foster. Twelve minutes later Foster made amends in bizarre circumstances - Tommi Tomich raced out to collect a through ball only to find himself outside the 18-yard box as he leant over to pick the ball up, Foster having little difficulty in stabbing it home much to the delight of the visiting supporters. It wasn't until the 31st minute that the Knights created their first scoring opportunity, Stuart Montgomery's shot hitting the outside of Gareth Deeg's right post, and a few minutes later the 'keeper was at his best to batter away a Carl Medica thunderbolt. Nine minutes into the new half Lee Burns almost doubled Sorrento's lead but his powerful header flashed over the bar. The Knights launched a quick counter attack that saw Medica go effortlessly past two defenders before slotting pass the advancing Deeg to equalise. The home team stepped up the tempo and in the 61st minute Eugene Singeorzan, who had a quiet match due to the close attention of debutant Shaun Mooney, shook his marker only to put his header wide of the far post following John Nicolaou's cross from the right. Three minutes later Nicolaou did it all himself, firing the ball in off the right post to put the Knights two-one up. Sorrento strived to even the tally but not even the changes rung in by coach Steve Neville could find the goal that would enable them a share of the championship points.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
There were a couple of big wins on the opening weekend of competition in the Premier League reserves. Bassendean Caledonian hit Future Glory 5-1, and goals from Simon Jonas (2), Michael Vaz and Lui Oliveira saw Fremantle City thumped home side Cockburn City 4-0. Inglewood United scored three but a Gary Murray double and singles to Garin Collins and Craig Cheesman saw E.C.U. Joondalup go home with maximum points. Ashfield lost 1-2 to Perth S.C., and Floreat Athena fell over the line 1-0 over Swan I.C. courtesy of a strike by Tai Lahav early in the second half.
At Nash Field, poor finishing and two mistakes in defence cost Sorrento three points. Western Knights took the lead after 21 minutes following a foul on Joe Reale, Eric Kuzmar firing the spot kick past Neil Young. Fifteen minutes later Steven Sulenta was allowed time to advance on a hesitant defence and made his way around Young before putting the ball into the unguarded net. Brian Hedges reduced the deficit two minutes before the break when he headed in a David Colegate cross. The second half belonged to Sorrento but missed opportunities would cost them dearly and a broken wrist suffered by Gareth Phillips, who fell awkwardly and was taken to hospital, only rubbing salt to the visitors wound.
Fremantle City scored a convincing 5-0 win over Cockburn City in the Under-18's, Mark Sim bagging a hat-trick. Future Glory also won well as both Wesley Ryder and Ben Rogers netted twice in the 4-1 result over Bassendean Caledonian, while Ashfield bowed 1-2 to Perth S.C. Inglewood United lost 1-2 at home to E.C.U. Joondalup for whom Ross Griffiths and Dan Hendley scored, while goals to Sam Galati and Nick Haralambakis saw Floreat Athena over-power Swan I.C. 2-0.
Sorrento notched up a 3-1 away win over Western Knights. The visitors suffered an early setback when an 8th minute defensive error was pounced upon by Delio Teixie who scored the games opener for the Knights. But the lead lasted only five minutes when Andrew Brand's shot was parried by Robert Pedri and Daniel Cagorski was on hand to knock in the loose ball. In the 51st minute Sorrento took the lead through an Andrew Brand header, and ten minutes later they went down to ten men with the red carding of Liam Hill. The home team were also reduced by one when substitute Falvio Pehta was dismissed, and Sorrento sealed their win four minutes from the end when Robbie McCann's cross from the right was tapped in by Farrell Hedges.
FIRST DIVISION WRAP (South West Phoenix vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro)
Mandurah City continued on their winning way despite with a tight match at Dianella White Eagles. Depleted once again by injury, Mandurah faced a very big and strong home side in a match played a great pace. The visitors defence of Peter Knight, Gary Collins and Neil Patten-Williams proved to be the catalyst behind Mandurah's attacks, constantly stopping the opposition dead in their tracks before releasing the ball into midfield. The first half saw neither side concede much ground at the back with only scattered chances. Zelko Savic beat the 'keeper but shot high from a tight angle, while down the other end a bullet-like Sean Kearns shot from 35-metres hit the wrong side of the upright. Dianella came close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half but a desperate goal line clearance by Gary Collins keep the scorers untroubled. Veselin Zmukic had the best chance of the half for the home side, put through one-on-one with the 'keeper only to send the ball wide. Shortly after the visitors were denied a goal when Michael Bobridge saw his initial shot blocked by the 'keeper, and the follow-up saved. Some good defending by Collins saw him lay the ball off to Kearns whose cross-field ball saw Andrew Rennie outstrip the defence before beating the 'keeper at the near post to give Mandurah a one- nil advantage. Dianella sought desperately for an equaliser, but a solid performance by the Mandurah backline enabled the visitors to remain undefeated in their inaugural Soccer West Coast season. Earlier in the day Mandurah took the lead 25 minutes into the reserves clash through new-signing Carlos Almieda with a superb individual goal, but two goals either side of the break gave Dianella a handy lead with most of the match elapsed. The visitors fought back strongly and Mikel Sesma equalised with a scorching volley, Almieda then scored his second, and Sesma did likewise to give their side a 4-2 win. In the Under-18's, first half goals by Jack Kearns and Andrew Bell gave Mandurah a 2-0 half-time lead, but by the 63rd minute break that advantage had been erased as Dianella pulled level. Kearns re-stored the visitors buffer with a header shortly after, and three further goals saw Mandurah run out 6-2 winners.
It was an early rise for Armadale's road trip to Bunbury where they faced South West Phoenix in what promised to be an exciting match. Phoenix had lost a few players over the summer period, but they maintained a nucleus of players which were going to test the visitors. The Reds found the back of the net in the 20th minute when an in-swinging corner by Jason Hardie drifted to the far post and was scrambled over the line by Craig Anderson. Five minutes later Lawrence Bruce made a deft run towards goal and shot past the 'keeper only to find the ball rebounding off the post, but luckily Jason Goodwin was there to tuck the ball away to extend the gap. Even without solid defender Nick Twyman and striker Dennis Lee, the Reds were in total control of the game over the first 45 minute period. Phoenix came out for the second half fired up but it took until the 72nd minute for the home side to peg back a goal, and a further eight minutes to level the scores and give visiting coach Billy Russell palpitations. But, in the 84th minute, Bruce found the back of the net to make sure Armadale continued their best start to a season in years, sitting in second place after five rounds. It was a long-awaited first win for Byron Wood's reserves when they played earlier in the day with Armadale's goals coming from Chris Brown, Nick McLean and Joe Clarke. But things weren't so chirpy for the Under-18's who crashed 8-1 to Phoenix who scored six times in the second half.
Morley Windmills continued their fine start to the season with a 3-1 away win over Rockingham City, a result which moves them into equal second place on the First Division table. Although Windmills coach James Herbert made several changes to the line-up, the visitors played some of their best football of the season which culminated in first half goals from Steve Keady and Ian Ballantyne before Rockingham pulled a goal back from the penalty spot just before the interval. Drew Carruthers scored a stunning long-range goal to make it 3-1 to Windmills after which the experience of Martin Woodall, Ali Bertivic, Simon Messenger, Ballantyne and Carruthers shone through, while youngsters Leighton Smith and Michael Monterosso also contributed to the away result.
Stirling Lions became the First Division's top scoring side with 12 goals after defeating Canning City 3-0. A youthful Canning outfit put up a great challenge against their stronger opponents whose experience would count for a lot at the end of the day. Both sides were guilty of sloppy finishing in a free flowing opening 20minute period before the Lions took the lead through a dubious penalty which neither coach could understand, Keegan Ashley calmly slotting away the spot kick. Canning were unlucky not to pull level before the break after a couple of one-on-one situations with goalkeeper Rob Pucovski. The Lions came out on top with an much-improved second half showing that produced two excellent goals from Rob Milevski and Bobbi Klenkovski. It was only down to some good 'keeping by Pucovski that prevented Canning from getting on the board. In other games, Lions won the reserves 8-1 with hat-tricks to Adam Rains and Mark Di Carlo, while the Under-18's went 5-1 in favour of Canning.
Down at Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater City took a lucky lead over Wanneroo City after 36 minutes when Kevin Henderson's shot struck teammate Jamie Kumkar and deflected past the visiting goalkeeper. With no further addition to the scoreline in the first half, Bayswater doubled their lead midway through the second period, Sal Marapodi surging into attack and crossing to Nikola Stojanovski who smashed the ball home from 18-yards. Events took a turn for the worse for Bayswater shortly after with club captain Henderson send off and Jamie Kumkar limped out of the game with what appears to be a bad knee injury. With the clock fast ticking down, Wanneroo found a way back into the match via a Greg Bird rocket from 25-metres but the home side held on to record a vital 2-1 win. In the reserves, Pasquale Marapodi got the all-important goal in Bayswater's 1-0 win, while Tony Casella netted twice as Bayswater notched up a 2-0 result.
A dull first half between Stirling Suns and Balcatta at Brian Burke Reserve was punctuated only by Michael Laguna's goal after 37 minutes to give the visitors a half-time lead. Balcatta maintained the pressure after the break and were rewarded in the 50th minute when Laguna netted his second of the day. Midway through the half the game swung back in the Suns favour, pulling a goal back with twenty minutes remaining then snatching a share of the points with an 85th minute equaliser. In other First Division games, Queens Park moved into joint second place after defeating Kingsway Olympic 1-0, which was the same score when Southside United took maximum points from their game with Leeming Strikers at home. Perth City had the bye this week.
COACH PRAISES MONTGOMERY
Striker Stuart Montgomery could be instrumental in Western Knights' Premier League title aspirations according to coach Ronnie Campbell. Having played much of last season with Kingsway Olympic, as well as a short spell on loan to E.C.U. Joondalup, 23-year old Montgomery joined the Knights during the off-season and has slotted into the side with a minimum of fuss. "He's doing really well at the minute," Campbell told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "He's been scoring goals and he's been making goals, which has been great for us." With five Night Series goals to his credit, Campbell expects Montgomery's influence to be a big help to his side as they aim to beat Perth S.C. to the regular season title. "Perth would be the favourites and I think ourselves and Sorrento will be up there challenging," added Campbell.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The 2002 Premier League season kicks-off this weekend with the match of the round undoubtedly taking place at Nash Field where a strong Western Knights side squares off against reigning Premier League champions Sorrento. There won't be much between Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup when they go head-to-head at the National Stadium, while just down the road Floreat Athena will be looking to put their off-field problems behind them when they take on Swan I.C. At Dalmatinac Park, Cockburn City play Fremantle City for the second time in three days. Ashfield will find the going tough when they host an in-form Perth S.C., and it will be a similar situation at Jubilee Reserve where Bassendean Caledonian play Future Glory.
Saturday sees the fourth round of fixtures in the First Division, and Armadale this week have the arduous task of travelling to Bunbury where they play South West Phoenix. League leaders Mandurah City are on the road to Dianella White Eagles, Stirling Lions should have little trouble in accounting for Canning City's youngsters, and Stirling Suns are at home to Balcatta. Wanneroo City will be looking for their first points of the season when they play Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve, and Rockingham City host a confident Morley Windmills who are fresh from a 5-1 victory last week. Southside United take on Leeming Strikers, Queens Park play Kingsway Olympic, and Perth City have the bye.
FREMANTLE MAKE LATE SIGNINGS
Fremantle City coach Greg Kazmer has added some much needed experience to his young squad courtesy of some late recruiting. Former Australian youth international Marc Wingell has joined brother Dale at the club, while veteran defender Alex Cummings (right) leaves Inglewood United to link up with the port side. Also arriving at the club in recent times are midfielders Jason Faria and David Rodgers, who spent last season with Cockburn City and South West Phoenix respectively. In other club news, Fremantle will unveil their new playing strip - fluorescent green shirt and shorts with black socks - on the weekend when they try to overturn Thursday's Centenary Challenge Cup loss to local rivals Cockburn.
GLORY ON HIGH ALERT SAYS PETKOVIC
Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic has assured Perth Glory's fans that there will be no complacency when the side play Newcastle United in tonight's National Soccer League Major Semi-Final second leg on away soil. Glory go into the match with a 4-1 lead after last weekend's win at Subiaco Oval, but that's no guarantee of victory. "I think we have to be on our toes," Petkovic told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "We can't think that we've done the job until after the game." The 29-year old was between the posts when Glory lost the 1999/2000 Grand Final in a penalty shoot-out despite holding a 3-0 at half-time over Wollongong Wolves.
Glory's defence has conceded an average of less than one goal per game this season, and Petkovic has been a big part of that success at the back. Nominated this week for his third Goalkeeper of the Year award, Petkovic admitted his disappointment at not being sounded out by national coach Frank Farina for next months Oceania Nations Cup. "It does (disappoint me) considering we've had a good season and defensively we've been quite strong," he said. "But it's not my place to choose the team. I didn't set out this season to get in the national squad. I set out to win a championship and so far we're in the process of doing that. My priority is to finish off what we set out to achieve."
WHY THE CENTENARY CHALLENGE CUP?
Manager of Edith Cowan University Sports, David Ernst, explained why his university chose to sponsor the Centenary Challenge Cup which kicked-off on Anzac Day. "As part of the university's one hundredth year celebrations we wanted to be involved in supporting some sort of sport in Western Australia. And since a lot of our students play soccer, and we have a Premier League club at Joondalup it was natural that we chose to sponsor soccer," Ernst told Access 31's "W.A. Soccer" segment tonight.
Ernst also discussed the continued support shown to Premier League club E.C.U. Joondalup and it's importance to the university. "We've very supportive of the team on the campus, they're a fantastic team to be playing for us. It's been a very positive experience, we've had them here for four years now. A great many of our students come down and watch the games, we've got some students that play in the teams and it's all part of Edith Cowan University's goal to forge links with the community and having a Premier League soccer team in very important."
CENTENARY CHALLENGE CUP, ROUND ONE
The majority of the opening round fixtures in the Edith Cowan University sponsored Centenary Challenge Cup went according to plan today. Future Glory took to the field against First Division opponents Wanneroo City without any members of the Glory senior squad and came away with a hard fought 4-3 victory, the goals coming from Shaun Kilkelly, Peter Lord and Stephan Beretovac (2). A John Nicolaou double and singles by Eugene Singeorzan and Stuart Montgomery saw Western Knights thump Swan I.C. 4-1, young striker Tom Shepheard bagging the black and whites lone goal.
Home side E.C.U. Joondalup became the rounds only surprise casualty when they went down 4-2 to an under-strength Bassendean Caledonian who were without the services of Craig Naven, Paul Strudwick and Dean Gartside. With the scores locked at 1-1, Joondalup should have taken the lead after Alan Dunlop conceded a penalty but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by saving the resulting spot-kick. Joondalup ended the match with eight men after Dale McCulloch, Jamie Kuzmanovich and Abdul Kamara were dismissed. Scorers on the day were Ilia Manolev (2), Ian Griffiths and Graeme Matthews for Caledonian, with Abdul Kamara and Andy Brown netting for Joondlaup.
The day at Macedonia Park got off on the wrong foot as Sorrento were awarded a 3-0 result over Leeming Strikers on forfeit. Stirling Lions hit six without reply against Queens Park. Floreat Athena had no troubles in rolling a young Dianella White Eagles line-up by 5-0. In a match that failed to get out of first gear, Robin Dyers bagged a double with Lucas Gobbi and Ryan Newhill also finding the net for the Premier League side.
Cockburn City pulled off a 1-0 win over local rivals Fremantle City in what was a largely uninspiring match at Dalmatinac Park. With both sides playing nine men behind the ball for much of the afternoon, teenager Jeff Bright was the scorer of the games only goal mid-way through the second half. With five minutes remaining, referee Michael Klaver sent off Cockburn's Branimir Mikulic for striking, and very soon after teammate Dean Wallace was unfairly dismissed as he attempted to bring calm to a heated situation.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE : PERTH GO THROUGH
Perth S.C. commenced their defence of the Boral Cup with a 1-0 win over South West Phoenix in Bunbury today. State defender Aaron Cole continued his habit of scoring in important games by netting the afternoon only goal. The reserves ended 9-0 in favour of Perth, while penalties were needed to decide the Under-18 clash with the visitors again triumphant. Perth will meet Western Knights in the Second Round of the competition as a date yet to be decided.
SHARLAND WOLVES' ROOKIE
Highly-rated Wollongong Wolves attacker Greg Sharland was named his club's Rookie of the Year over the weekend after an inspirational debut season in the National Soccer League. There are rumours that the former Inglewood United player has trials lined up in Europe over the Australian close-season. Sharland is part of the 16-player Future W.A. squad announced recently to compete in next month's Tournai De Croix in Lille, France.
NO PREMIERSHIP RETURN FOR PETTERSON (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Veteran Australian goalkeeper Andy Petterson has been released from his short-term deal with West Bromwich Albion. The former Portsmouth and Charlton shot-stopper signed for the Baggies before the March transfer deadline as cover for regular custodian Russell Hoult, but with Gary Megson's charges avoiding the Division One play-offs and winning direct promotion last weekend, the decision was made to cut short Petterson's deal. "Andy came on a short-term contract with the agreement that he would move on at the end," said Megson.
CLUBS GET ON THE WEB!
The number of local soccer websites on the internet has slowly been on the rise over the past few years with at last count there being over thirty on-line sources of information on the game in W.A. This week we look at the four Soccer West Coast clubs - Bassendean Caledonian, Bayswater City, Ashfield and Canning City - who are currently on-line.
Bassendean's (http://www.geocities.com/caleys2002/index4.html) site is still very much in it's infancy administrator Bill McAllister makes sure it's updated several times a week to include the latest club news. "We will have match reports plus results from every level at our club as soon as possible," he said this week. "Hopefully we'll also run interviews with players like Paul Strudwick and Craig Naven when the opportunity arises, and as the season progresses our social calendar will be updated. There may be a few other features added once the season gets going properly."
First Division club Canning City (http://www.geocities.com/canningcitysoccer/) is another with an on-line presence. "Just last week I revamped the site. We have just the most important things on the site - general information, the club location, contact details, etc. We also have the occasional news item and a few photos on-line but that's about it … our club is represented on the net, we are on-line!" said former club secretary and current website administrator Herma Meyer.
Ashfield (http://www4.tpgi.com.au/vs56lt/) have been on-line in one form or another for the past few years and underwent a major revamp over the summer with the end product launched back in February. Club news, match details, squad listings, fixtures and results, coaches comments, photographs, and a 'Wally of the Week' section are all featured on their new-look site.
The most recent club to go live is Bayswater City (http://www.rollaboyz.org.au/adam/bayswater_city_soccer_club_websi.html) whose simple but informative site provides visitors with club news, squad details, fixtures, match reports, weekend previews, League tables and much more. It is believed the site will grow as the 2002 season progresses.
A more complete listing of the known local soccer sites - be they professional, amateur, junior, club or administrative - can be found on-line in our links section.
STATE AMATEURS IN TRAINING
The West Australian State amateur squad is currently in training for the national Amateur Championship which is being staged at Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood, New South Wales early in June. "I've tentatively named 15 players and I've got another four from which I'll be choosing the one position left. I'm very pleased with all the players and their commitment shown," said State coach David Coward this week. But exactly who the State side will face over Sydney's long weekend in June is still unclear. "Five teams were initially nominated - South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory and us - but about two weeks ago the Northern Territory pulled out so we're now back to the four. We're hearing some concerns about Victoria at the moment as well, so hopefully by the end of this week we'll know where we are going."
LONG WINTER LOOMS FOR ATHENA
It's going to be a very long season for those at Floreat Athena where Taki Lambetsis has taken over the reigns to become their third coach in six weeks. The appointment of Lambetsis, a former youth team coach with the club, comes hot on the heels of John Hunter's departure in March and last weeks decision by Peter Koulizos to resign from the coaching position. While a mass walk-out by the players has been averted, morale is low at the club who two months ago were being tipped to be serious contenders for the championship.
On the playing front, it's nothing but good news for Athena with Troy Bernard (knee), Jason Smith (hamstring) and Ryan Newhill (right) all returning to the training track after recent injury and coming into contention for a place in the starting line-up this weekend. South American forward Lucas Gobbi, who spent the Night Series with Inglewood United, has been training with the club while the off-season recruitment of Jamie Trandos and Kosta Kalavroutziotis will add to the options in attack.
SCHRANDT ANSWERS CRITICS
Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt has responded to claims that local coaches are being over-looked for the State position, saying the ineligibility of those currently coaching was a decision made by the organisation's board several years ago. "I wasn't there at the time, it was six or seven years ago, but it was a decision of the board that they would not appoint any coach of a Premier League or First Division club to the position of State coach. They wanted to have someone as independent as possible and we've worked along those line ever since," Schrandt said on 990AM's International Football Show this week. "When you look at the scenario, a coach who is incumbent in a job will see his own players every week whereas a coach who is without conflict, if you wish, can see all the sides within the period of a few weeks. It gives them that little bit more flexibility as well and I think that's one of the reasons behind it."
With the State Under-19 team heading to France in little over four weeks, Schrandt also made clear the reasons behind the Future W.A. moniker. "The reason for the name Future W.A., and that is what it is in real terms, the players are all 17, 18 and 19-year olds, is that we do live in a commercial world in which it's very difficult to raise funds. It's difficult to go out and say give me 30 or 40 grand, I want to take a team away. We did structure a deal with Perth Glory who have gone about raising funds for the trip and they have agreed to underwrite it to a certain extent. We've still got to raise an enormous amount of money ourselves, but it does make our task a little bit easier. I can't see a real problem naming the side Future W.A. because it was simply a commercial deal, and if somebody else wants to come along and give us another 20 grand or so then we'll happily name it something else."
Soccer West Coast have recently been heavily criticised for the lack of information which comes out of the organisation in regards to up-coming games and decisions made by the board. Schrandt said this was an identified problem that was currently being addressed and which he hoped would be resolved within the next fortnight. "We are at the moment having some discussions and holding interviews to make the appointment of a media officer. It's a part-time position, but there will be work for the media officer to do maybe four to six hours a week to assist the media and everybody else in what is happening at Soccer West Coast." The president added that S.W.C. were also looking at revamping their website in the near future.
We are pleased to announce that the Board of Soccer West Coast has given their permission for the Western Australian Soccer Website to reproduce the Premier League and First Division fixtures for the 2002 season. These fixtures are now back on-line at our Fixtures and Results section.
MURPHY INKS NEW DEAL, PLANS TO END CAREER IN PERTH
Sheffield United defender Shaun Murphy has been removed from the transfer list after agreeing to a new contract to keep him at Bramall Lane until the summer of 2004. The Australian international looked to be on his way out of the club following a wage dispute but, after a two-month loan at Crystal Palace, forced his way back into the Blades side and was rewarded with a contract extension last Friday. Shortly after signing his new deal, Murphy confirmed that he is planning to wind down his career by returning to playing in Australia. "Perth is my home and that's where I'll eventually settle. Hopefully, I can put in a couple of years with Perth Glory."
FIVE VIE FOR TOP AWARDS
West Australia has five nominees in the National Soccer League's end-of-season awards as announced by Soccer Australia today. Perth Glory's Bobby Despotovski is one of five players in the running for the Players' Player of the Year award - the Warren Medal - where he's up against Glory teammate Damian Mori, Troy Halpin (Olympic Sharks), Joel Porter (Melbourne Knights) and Fernando Rech (Brisbane Strikers). Jason (Glory) and Michael Petkovic (South Melbourne) have been nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year along with Olympic Sharks custodian Clint Bolton. With 18 goals for the Australian Institute of Sport, Anthony Danze is up for the South Division Youth Player of the Year, while Eddie Lennie is one of three contesting the Referee of the Year.
LENNIE BACK FROM INJURY
Less than a month after breaking a bone in his shoulder, referee Eddie Lennie was back doing what he enjoy most - officiating Saturday's National Soccer League finals clash between Perth Glory and Newcastle United at Subiaco Oval. Scottish-born Lennie broke a clavicle while taking part in a scratch match between the local referees and the media last month when he fell awkwardly under a tackle, the injury requiring a plate and screw to be inserted in the joint. After missing two N.S.L. matches, Lennie declared himself hit to take charge of the Major Semi-Final which Glory won 4-1.
"I thought it was a very high standard game, the first half was better than the second but it was a good game. The goals were well taken and there were very good build-ups to all five goals," said Lennie when interviewed by John O'Connell and Mo Kaplin after the game on 990AM's International Football Show. One thing about the match that really stuck in the mind of Lennie, who refereed in the 1998 World Cup Finals, was the incredible atmosphere at Subiaco. "There were 32,000 there tonight and the roar when the two teams came out to start the match, I actually had goose bumps on my arms."
When it comes to finals football, Lennie says it's no different to any other game for him. "I prepare the same for any game. There's obviously a bit more at stake in finals games but I just do my usual thing … it's just another working day for me." He also stressed the importance of the other match day officials whose efforts usually go largely unnoticed. "It's a team effort out there, although I'm in the middle of the field there are four of us out there - the two assistants and the fourth official - and we work as a team. There are three teams on the park, the two competing for the game and the referee's team. We know each other, we know what we want and expect from each other."
The University of W.A. maintained their bright start to their W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League campaign with a 3-1 victory over Perth Azzurri at McGillivray Oval. The game started well for University, Tom Muirhead scoring his first goal for the club in the 6th minute from a curving free-kick which gave the ‘keeper no chance. Although they had several opportunities to add to their tally, University slowly drifted out of the game as Azzurri upped the pressure in midfield and won themselves a succession of corners which culminated in a scrambled goal for Mario Giangiulio to send the teams in level at half-time. The second half saw University make a tactical change and again the wily Tom Muirhead outsmarted the ‘keeper on the near post for early goal. Marc Dascanio impressed with some non-stop running in the second half and crossed for David Berg to score with a well positioned header across the goalkeeper. The win puts University level on points at the top of the table with Hamersley Rovers. Post-match, coach Kevin Burton said “We are enjoying the competitive nature of the Premier league and whilst it is exciting for the club to get off to such a positive start we are under no illusions that to match the standard of sides like Hamersley, Murdoch and Forrestfield we have to learn from every game and put it into practice on the training ground.” University reserves defeated Azzuri Reserves 5-2 to go top of the table through goals from Dave Holley (3), Tim Grose and Lee Stickells, Dimi Patikopoulos and Dom Femia were the scorers scored for Azzurri.
Balga crashed to their third successive losses when they went down 4-2 at home to E.C.U. Joondalup. Striker Gary James made sure the sides went into the break at one-all by levelling for the home side. Shortly after the re-start Joondalup stamped their authority on the match with two goals to re-store their lead. James then converted a soft penalty to bring Balga back into the match, but a defensive error close to the end allowed the visitors to net a simple goal which consigned Balga to bottom place on the Premier League table. Hopes, however, remain high at Balga who are still without six first team regulars in Anthony Banham, Steve Hill and Matt Brown, all out through injury, along with suspended trio Justin Jensen, Ross Kelly and goal genius William Lyall.
Hamersley maintain their 100% win record with a 4-2 demolition of Fremantle United on Sunday. Shamrock Rovers lost 2-0 at home to Forrestfield United, and Murdoch University went down by the same score to Spearwood Dalmatinac. Subiaco United collected their first point of 2002 when they drew 2-2 with Kwinana United.
BORAL CUP, ROUND TWO (Inglewood United vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich)
In the Second Round of the Boral Cup on Saturday, Inglewood United defeated Cockburn City courtesy of an extra-time golden-goal from the penalty spot after the home side clawed their way to a 2-2 draw in regulation time at the National Stadium. Cockburn took an early led when Christian Paschkewitz headed in a cross from teenager Jeff Bright, and their second soon followed after Branimir Mikulic chipped the Inglewood defence to put Bright clear and he made no mistake in making it 2-0. In total control of play, Cockburn were brought back to earth with a thud late in the half when Andy Cornmell (right) sprung a well-rehearsed off-side trap to slip the ball past the advancing Dino Pacella. The second half was dominated by some superb performances by both goalkeepers, Inglewood’s Oliver Taseski put up a impregnable barrier while down the other end Pacella rescued his defence on several occasions as the home team sought to equalise. And with two minutes remaining Inglewood did just that, young substitute Michael Baczynski sending the game into extra-time. Poor refereeing saw Inglewood awarded a penalty after Paul Lincoln’s dive in the area, and the spot-kick was duly converted by Cornmell to give the home side a hollow 3-2 win. “The hot weather may have taken it’s toll,” said Cockburn coach Mark Jackson after the game. “We were excellent in the first half an hour but we faded in the second half.”
E.C.U. Joondalup proved to be no match for Ashfield when the two sides met in the northern suburbs on Saturday. It took the home side just 18 minutes to open the scoring, Mark Benbow netting with a move straight from the training track when he cut in from the right and his arrowing drive flew into the Ashfield net. A few minutes later the margin was doubled when Benbow’s deep cross was met with an unstoppable volley at the back post by teenager Scott Bulloch. Joondalup were by this stage well in control of proceedings with their opponents yet to test Joondalup goalkeeper Peter Stewart. Joondalup started the second half with an elegant display of two-touch football with which they created numerous scoring opportunities, Dale McCulloch rattled the up-right and Andy Mason the crossbar while two other shots were cleared off the goal line. To their credit Ashfield refused to concede the match and in the 75th minute pulled a goal back through Karl Atley who the made the most of some very sloppy defending. Sniffing they could upset their more fancied opponents Ashfield pushed hard for an equalised only to be denied by a solid home back line. Joondalup’s two-goal buffer was restored when Lee Stratford’s chip over the defence flicked the head of a defender and Abdul Kamara was on hand to knock the ball past the ‘keeper. Ashfield were thrown a late lifeline when referee Wayne Oldham awarded them a dubious penalty, ruling Andy Brown to have fouled Atley inside the area, and goalkeeper Phil Jackson expertly tucked it away to set up a tense last few minutes. In a match that never really reached any great heights, Kamara, Paddy Rooney and Richard Watson inflicted the most damaged for Joondalup while Ashfield were lead by David Mayers, Atley and Jamie D’Arcy.
At Coker Park, Queens Park were over powered by a confident Fremantle City side 3-0 courtesy of two goals from new signing David Rodgers, their third coming from the boot of teenager Josh Kamasz.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18’S ROUND-UP
Fremantle City won an entertaining battle with Bassendean Caledonian 2-0 in the reserves Boral Cup, while Inglewood United proved too strong for Cockburn City 3-2. In the Under18’s competition, Fremantle thrashed Bassendean 12-0 with defender Marc Sim opening the floodgates after just 6 seconds! John Migas ended the game with four goals, Mo Atak and Sim bagged hat-tricks and Paul Oliver netted twice. Goalkeeper Luke Hennessey was the hero for Inglewood when he saved three penalties in the shoot-out with Cockburn to see his side go through 4-2, the scores were tied at 1-1 after regulation time. And E.C.U. Joondalup progressed to the next stage courtesy of a 4-0 drubbing of Ashfield.
FIRST DIVISION WRAP (Armadale vs Perth City report by Michael Di Pietro; Stirling Lions vs Southside United by Don Evans)
Playing in front of a large crowd for the first full fixture at Peelwood Parade Reserve, the clash between Mandurah City and Bayswater City produced a great game as both teams strived all afternoon to gain the upper hand. Depleted by injury over the past few weeks, Mandurah’s youth policy that has been driven by coach Paul O’Brien is certainly paying dividends as the young brigade showed that they are up to the rigours of first team football. The first half was barren of chances for both sides with the best one being created by the home side, wily veteran Neil Patten-Williams releasing Andrew Rennie who looked certain to open the scoring only to hit a soft shot straight at the ‘keeper who breathed a sigh of relief. The second stanza started in much the same vane as the first, then in the 56th minute an Alan Fitzmaurice throughball was intercepted by the Bayswater midfield, and with the home defence caught flat footed Nikola Stojanovski finished off to give Bayswater the lead. This sparked the game to life and saw Mandurah take the game to Bayswater, winning a corner almost immediately when a stinging shot from Steve Choate was deflected on to the crossbar and out for a corner. The resulting cross saw Cliff Kearns rise high above everyone to rifle a header passed the outstretched Bayswater ‘keeper to level the score. Mikel Sesma almost added Mandurah’s second but his shot narrowly missed the target. Minutes later Sesma again found himself in a goal scoring position but this time he unselfishly crossed to Damian Condo who shot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal for his second goal in as many weeks. A tactical change by Bayswater coach Salv Todora saw new-signing Sal Marapodi come off the bench to inspired a late fight back. A great ball by Gareth Healey saw him release Jamie Kumkar who was fouled by goalkeeper Mike Green, the referee pointed to the spot much to the jeers of a big home crowd and Kevin Henderson calmly slotted it into the bottom corner. The visitors could have stolen the game with a minute left, a corner floated into the area was powerfully headed on target but Green produced a superb save to ensure the points were shared. In the reserve, Mandurah gained their first points of this years’ campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Bayswater, all four goals coming in the opening 15 minutes through Steve Rhodes, Barry Neylon (2) and an own goal. It was the similar story in the Under-18’s with a Matt O’Brien double giving the home side a 2-0 result.
After a bye in round two, Armadale hosted their first home match for the season on the weekend. Their visitors Perth City are also challengers for the First Division title according to local soccer pundits, but the Reds had a full strength squad to pick from and looked solid from the kick-off. The home crowd had reason to celebrate after 24 minutes when Lawrence Bruce gave them the lead. Play continued to be quite entertaining for most of the half, Perth had their opportunities to get back on level terms but found Armadale goalkeeper Craig Olenjeki in superb form. Paul Caulkin put the game beyond doubt in the 75th minute when he received a cross from the wing from Jason Goodwin. Five minutes later it was Goodwin’s turn to be on the end of a cross when he made it 3-0. At the completion of the round the Reds find themselves nicely placed in third position on the table, one point behind Kingsway Olympic and newcomers Mandurah City, but having played one game less than the leaders. Armadale’s reserves took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes through Joe Clarke, but immediately after the re-start their opponents equalised. Perth stretched the lead out to 3-1 before striker Chris Brown gave the Reds a chance to sneak a point from the match, but to no avail. Under-18’s coaches Jim Loveless and David McKean were forced to re-shuffle their squad after losing several players to the reserves and injury. Against a strong Perth side, Armadale took the lead through Oliver Crockford and were looking good after half an hour, but were unable to maintain control for the full 90 minutes to go down 4-2. A bright point for the home side was the effort by Under-16 ‘keeper Cameron Richens who made his debut.
Macedonia Park was the venue for a seven-goal thriller on the weekend that put Stirling Lions title aspirations back on track. With five new faces in the team due to a rash of red cards handed out the previous week, the Lions came out with all guns blazing against Southside United. And they took the lead after just 8 minutes when a perfect cross from Adam Raines found Rob Milevski unmarked in the box and he headed in from close range. After a string of missed opportunities, the margin was doubled in the 23rd minute after Basil Lenzo darted down the centre and laid off a neat one-two with Milevski before unleashing a smashing drive for what was certainly the goal of the day. Despite being two goals down, Southside never gave up the chase and from a simple free-kick in the middle of the ground the visitors bagged their first goal of the afternoon. Fourteen minutes after half-time a fine exchange of passes between Keegan Ashley, Tomo Nishizawa and Andy Wright saw the latter hammer it past the visiting ‘keeper to restore the Lions two-goal lead. The dominate home side continued to drive into attack but were thwarted in their attempts to further extend the margin by the frame of the goal and some desperate goalkeeping. Southside mounted a late comeback which saw stand-in striker Paul Street find the back of the net twice to tee-up an entertaining last fifteen minutes. Not to be outdone, the home side continued to pressure and with six minutes left on the clock new signing Michael Vassiliou popped up to secure maximum points with the Lions fourth goal from a tight angle.
Morley Windmills thumped five past Dianella White Eagles to record a 5-1 home victory at Wooton Reserve. Perhaps inspired by Windmills reserves winning their third game on the trot, the home side took an early lead when Ray Rose bagged his third goal of the campaign. Dianella struck back not long after and should have gone ahead on the half-hour mark when awarded a penalty which was well saved. With Simon Messenger switched to right back at the break, Windmills came out for the second half firing on all cylinders. They went 2-1 up when Dianella’s last defender hauled down Steve Keady inside the area to earn himself a red card, Ian Ballantine successful from the penalty spot. From there Windmills never looked back as Ballantine netted twice more for his first hat-trick of the season while Michael Monterosso found himself in the right place at the right time to also get on the scorecard.
In other games, Kingsway Olympic went down 0-2 at home to Stirling Suns, while South West Phoenix’ 3-1 win over Wanneroo City consigned them to their third loss from as many starts. Balcatta notched up their first win of the season by defeating Canning City 2-1, and Leeming Strikers knocked off Rockingham City 2-0.
COONEY LOOKS TO IRELAND
Australia could lose another young talent with teenager Sean Cooney facing a potential tug of war between the country of his birth and his parents’ homeland of Ireland. The Perth teenager has been with English club Coventry City for the past two years and has recently forced his way into the reserves where he’s caught the eye of Ireland’s youth management. “He’s a big centre half, he’s reasonably solid at the back and good in the air. If he improves and gets near Coventry’s first team in the next year, he could be a show for our under 21’s,” said Ireland’s Under-19 coach Brian Kerr recently. “But if he was selected by Australia I wouldn’t have a problem with him going to Australia.”
After playing locally for Inglewood United, the then 16-year old Cooney travelled to England in mid-2000 and within three weeks was signed up on a three-year contract by the Sky Blues. And while Cooney admits he has “improved heaps” during his time in England, he said he was unsure which way he would turn if international calls came for him from both Australia and Ireland. “I’m not too sure, whoever really came in first, I’d choose,” he said. “It would be easier to play for Ireland because it’s just across the water, but I’d like to play for Australia. I’ve talked to the Irish Under-19 coach and he said they were interested in calling me up.”
It wasn’t until recently that the 18-year old was contacted by Soccer Australia, who has since indicated the defender may be called into its youth training camp later in the year. “I don’t even think they knew I was over here until just recently,” he said. “They’ve taken my details and I’m sending them my resume. I’m hoping I’ll be called up for the Under-20s for their training camp in the summer.” Cooney’s parents, Tom and Anne, migrated to Perth as newly weds 28 years ago and have left their son to decide where his loyalties lie. “That’s going to have to be up to him, whatever he wants, as long as he’s happy and doing well,” Mrs Cooney said. “We’re Irish and we’d love him to play for Ireland but we love Australia too. But it probably won’t be his choice, it’s whoever gives him the chance first I suppose.”
NEW CUP STARTS ON ANZAC DAY
The opening round of the Edith Cowan University sponsored Centenary Cup kicks-off on Thursday 25th April with a couple of triple-headers in the northern suburbs. At the Edith Cowan University ground in Joondalup, First Division side Perth City go head-to-head with Future Glory (11.15am), E.C.U. Joondalup take on Bassendean Caledonian (1.00pm) and Night Series runners-up Western Knights play Swan I.C. (3.00pm). Down the road at Macedonia Park, Leeming Strikers come up against Sorrento (11.15am), Stirling Lions have the home ground advantage against Queens Park (1.00pm), and Floreat Athena face a young Dianella White Eagles outfit (3.00pm). The days other fixture pits Cockburn City against Fremantle City at Dalmatinac Park (3.00pm). The remaining match between Inglewood United and Perth S.C. takes place under lights at the National Stadium on Wednesday 29th May.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The National Soccer League Major Semi-Final between Perth Glory and Newcastle United takes centre stage this Saturday night at Subiaco Oval. On the local front there’s a host of action with part one of the Second Round of the Boral Cup taking place, all matches kicking-off at 2.15pm. At the National Stadium Inglewood United host Cockburn City, E.C.U. Joondalup are at home to Ashfield, and Queens Park host Fremantle City at Coker Park. The postponed First Round Cup match between South West Phoenix and Perth S.C. will be played on Thursday 25th April in Bunbury.
Round Three of the First Division season also takes place on Saturday with leaders Mandurah City hosting Bayswater City at Peelwood Parade. Armadale return to the park with a home fixture against Perth City, a depleted Stirling Lions play Southside United, and Morley Windmills face Dianella White Eagles. Visitors to Kingsway Sporting Complex have the option of watching Kingsway Olympic and Stirling Suns, or Wanneroo City verses South West Phoenix. Balcatta are at home to Canning City and Leeming Strikers host Rockingham City.
FUTURE W.A. SQUAD NAMED
The Future W.A. squad has been announced for next month's visit to Lille, France, where the Under-19 side will participate in the Tournai De Croix. The 16-player squad is Anthony Danze, Shaun Kilkelly, Admir Mehic, Antonio Naglieri, Miki Vujacic (Future/Perth Glory), Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Scott Bulloch, Mark Ristofski (E.C.U. Joondalup), Dino Djulbic, Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira, Gianni Papalia (Perth S.C.), David Foster, Daniel Stoitis (Sorrento), Ivan Zuvela (Western Knights) and Greg Sharland (Wollongong Wolves). On stand-by are Nick Ward (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Australian Under-16 representative Josh Kamasz (Fremantle City). Coached by Gary Marocchi and with Frank Arok going along as technical director, the other officials are David Schrandt (tour leader), Barry Tate (trainer) and Barry Greenwood (property officer).
Speaking with Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian", Marocchi said it had not been an easy task to select the squad as they'd had two of the last three friendlies cancelled. "It's been pretty hard. We've had to cancel a couple of games but the squad had to be picked," the coach said. "We will really need the clubs to cooperate so we can get the players together as much as we can before we leave for France. They've got to start playing together. It's a good squad of players but they haven't had a game together yet." The Under-19 side face a tough schedule in France where they've been grouped with defending champions Birmingham City and the United States Under-19 national team.
BROXTON RELEASED, TRIALS WITH LEYTON
Australian Under-17 representative Darren Broxton has been released after completing the second year of his scholarship with English club Southampton. The former E.C.U. Joondalup midfielder has since gone on trial with London side Leyton Orient, playing a full match for the reserves in mid-week when they defeated Peterborough United 1-0.
HILL KICKS ON IN SINGAPORE
Danny Hill is enjoying life in Singapore where he’s one of six former Sorrento players with Sengkang Marine. “Things are fine in Singapore,” said the big defender this week. “It’s a lot different up here than in Perth, things are much busier. I miss the laid back lifestyle of Perth and I’ve got a lot of good friends there … I’m also missing the beaches! But I’m starting to get used to the weather now, the first few weeks were very difficult as I was getting head spins and dizzy spells due to dehydration.”
Marine, traditionally one of the S-League’s whipping boys, began their 2002 campaign in blistering form which saw the club nominated for “the Straits Times” Team Of The Month award. “The start of the current season was obviously very good for us and also a shock to everyone up here. Unbeaten in five games was a great record.” After such a great start, the club has recently had a reversal of fortunes with three losses on the trot. “The defeats have been very depressing, missed chances and bad refereeing decisions have cost us dearly.”
Hill, who was recently nominated for “the Straits Times” Footballer of the Month for March, has been featuring prominently in the headlines in Singapore. He scored a 95th minute equaliser in the 2-2 away draw with Tampines Rovers when he picked up the man-of-the-match award, and a week later repeated the feat by collecting the same award for his performance in the 1-1 draw with Jurong F.C. Unfortunately Hill missed his clubs most recent outing due to injury. “I’ve got a knee injury that’s keeping me out at the moment,” said the optimistic defender, “But all in all I’m having a great time in Singapore and will continue to do so until I return to Perth and Sorrento later in the year.”
Sorrento kick-off the new Edith Cowan University sponsored League Cup competition with a 3.00pm Anzac Day showdown with Leeming Strikers at Macedonia Park. A few days later they start their quest for back-to-back Premier League titles at Nash Field where they are away to Western Knights on Saturday 27th April. The Under-18’s get underway from 11.15am, reserves at 1.00pm and the first team from 3.00pm.
The northern suburbs club is also looking to fill a couple of gaps in their junior ranks. Sorrento are seeking two players who are eleven years of age, and another two that are twelve for the coming season. There is also a position available for a 13-year old goalkeeper at the club. Interested parties are asked to contact Jasmine Albon on 9409 8458.
LOCAL GAME IN TV SPOTLIGHT
Western Australian soccer has hit the airwaves as the sport’s revival captures the imagination of a new generation of supporters. Access 31’s “The Locker Room” program will devote half an hour to the local soccer scene every Thursday night from 7.45pm in the form of the West Coast Soccer segment which looks at everything from juniors through to the Premier League.
Commentator and presenter Bob Figg said the return of local soccer to television screens was a good sign for the game. “There are some 20,000 youngsters playing soccer in W.A., the Perth Glory has enjoyed a tremendous year and the Future Glory concept has been very popular,” he said. “It seemed a natural step to take the local game back to television. It was also a natural fit with Access 31, which is gaining hugely in popularity with Western Australians looking for a local alternative. The Locker Room is proof of that, having been a massive hit with W.A. sports fans during the summer season, where an N.S.L. segment focussing on Perth Glory has proven popular.”
“Governing body Soccer West Coast has been very supportive of the new shows and there has been tremendous corporate backing from the likes of Midland Brick, Western QBE and Pride Plumbing, with other companies also looking at coming on board. Such support underlines the tremendous potential soccer has when the product is right. The Midland Brick and Western Q.B.E.’s West Coast Soccer will feature some match highlights, interviews and a junior club profile in a panel setting. It will be fun, light-hearted and about the people who make the game tick, but with enough analysis thrown in to satisfy the more serious supporters.”
CACERAS A FREE ANGENT
Although he scored in the reserves’ 3-1 win against Macclesfield Town, former Perth S.C. striker Adrian Caceres became the fourth player to be made a free agent by Hull City this week. The 20-year old joined the Third Division club on a short-term contract a month ago after making a big impression by scoring twice as a trialist on his reserves debut. But Caceras was unable to carry that form into the first team, making just one starting appearance as well as three off the bench.
After rising up through the ranks of the local competition with Perth, Caceras signed with English Premier League club Southampton in August 2000. A change of management saw him fall out of favour and he started the 2001/02 season on loan to Brentford where it was hoped he’d gain some valuable first team exposure. After five games for the Bee’s he returned to Southampton and, unable to break into the senior side, Caceras was handed a free transfer in mid-March.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL …
On the eve of the 52nd season of professional soccer in Western Australia, we take a look at how the top flight is shaping up for the winter season ahead by reviewing each of the Soccer West Coast clubs. Over the past seven years seven different clubs - Stirling Macedonia (nee Lions), Inglewood Falcons (nee United), Floreat Athena, Western Knights, E.C.U. Joondalup, Fremantle City and Sorrento - have lifted the Premier League championship … but who will do the job in 2002?
LOCAL COACHES NEED RECOGNITION SAYS NORMANTON
Speaking with John O’Connell on 990AM’s International Football Show this week, Perth S.C. coach Graham Normanton voiced his concerns that local Premier League coaches are being over-looked for positions with the State team. “I’m disappointed that we’re not even considered because coaches need career paths as much as players and being selected to coach the State squad could be considered recognition in the same way that players get recognised by playing for the State team.”
One of the reasons given for local coaches to be over-looked is a supposed conflict of interest between clubs and State duties. But that’s something Normanton disagrees with strongly. “The question of a conflict of interest is questioning a coaches integrity in a lot of ways. If I was given the job my integrity would come first and foremost - you’ve got to be honest with yourself and know that you’ve done the right thing even when you’re coaching at club level. You’ve got to know that your players are as good as, if not better than the others if you’re going to pick them. I think most coaches have got integrity and I don’t think you could be biased towards your club.”
“It would be nice to get a little bit of recognition with regards to the State job. But in the last three or four years we’ve been given no opportunity to get involved in the State program whatsoever, and that’s a little disappointing” said the coach who took Perth to three trophies in 2001 as well as the Night Series title last weekend. “The thing that really bothers me is that we are not even considered, which is sad seeing we put a lot of work into soccer,” Normanton added. “The job must be advertised otherwise it smacks of hypocrisy, it’s a closed shop. We don’t even get the opportunity to apply for these jobs as we don’t even know the jobs available before it’s given. We get told that there’s an Under-19 team and there’s a coach and he’s going to ring you … it’s very frustrating from our point of view.”
At Perth Oval on Saturday morning a young E.C.U. Joondalup side were shown how the game is played at the top level in this country when they were taken apart by Perth Glory. The National Soccer League’s leading scorer Damian Mori bagged six goals in the 10-0 win, Scott Miller, Brad Maloney, Michael Garcia and Nick Mrdja also getting their names on the scoresheet. “To be honest, I thought in the first half we could’ve been even more ruthless in front of goal. In saying that, 10 goals against anybody is all right, isn’t it?,” said Glory’s hard to please assistant coach Alan Vest post-match.
A double by former Perth Glory midfielder Paul Strudwick helped Bassendean Caledonian defeat Inglewood United 2-1 when the two sides met at Jubilee Reserve on Saturday. According to sources, Strudwick’s second was an absolute stunner, rising into the top right hand corner and giving the visiting ‘keeper no chance. Caledonian’s reserves won their encounter 3-1 while a very young Under-18’s line-up went down 0-3.
A Branimir Mikulic hat-trick and two goals to Christian Paschewitz saw Cockburn City defeat Swan I.C. 5-2 on Saturday. Cockburn took out the reserves clash 5-1 where the scorers were Micheal Jennings (3) Denis Stojanovic and Domenic De Felice, while the Under-18’s finished 2-2 courtesy of two goals from Jason Dos Santos.
Also on Saturday, Future Glory’s Under-18 side travelled to Ashfield Reserve where they met the home side. Ashfield took an early lead when Dinko Ahmetanovic netted, but that was cancelled out shortly after by Ben Rogers. With the game becoming very physical, Future defender Jonathon Mathers was carried off following a late tackle and took no further part in the match. With chances at both ends, Future crept in front just before the break courtesy of a Sebastian Trim goal. Early in the new half Ashfield were back on level terms through Ben Kelly but Future responded with the next three goals, two splendid long-range strikes by Michael Park and Alex Crookes and a well taken fifth by Goce Dilevski giving the visitors a 5-2 lead. Ashfield came back and late goals by Adam Quinn and Dion Floias made the final score 5-4 in Future’s favour.
NIGHT SERIES FINAL : PERTH TAKE OUT THRILLER (Future Glory vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Perth S.C. made it back-to-back Night Series titles when they came from behind to defeat favourites Western Knights 3-2 in a thrilling Final at Litis Stadium on Sunday evening. Graham Normanton went into the match without injured trio Vince Tana, Tony Cumace and Todd Howarth, while Robbie Puca, Mark Pottier and Peter Vukmirovic were included in the squad despite having missed training in the days leading up to the game. Their opponents on the other hand were at near full-capacity, their only absentee being the suspended Ray Marinovic after club captain Scott Devine passed a late test on a twisted ankle.
The Knights started strongly and came very close to taking the lead after just 6 minutes, a well-planned free-kick being rolled to Leon Russell whose thundering drive crashed into the underside of the bar, bounced on the goal line and came back into play. With the respective midfield’s fighting hard to steer control of the game their way in an action-packed game, very few scoring opportunities presented themselves over a tight opening 20 minutes. Perth goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo produced a brilliant diving save in the 13th minute to keep out a powerful shot from 9-metres by Carl Medica, and six minutes later Andreas Oliveira’s header flashed wide after some good lead-up work on the right by Rob Giorgi.
Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich caused more than a few nervous moments for the Knights coaching staff when he nonchalantly took on and beat Oliveira, then hit his clearance just beyond the reach of Pottier. Growing in confidence, the Knights took the lead after 27 minutes when Dino Djulbic mis-timed a clearance and Stuart Montgomery made the most of his opportunity by threading the ball between Scarparolo and his near post from an acute angle. Six minutes later it was very nearly 2-0 but Russell lifted the ball over the bar from the top corner of the 18-yard box. And shortly after Perth were lucky not to have Pottier sent off for a savage foul on Devine than had the Knights supporters baying for vengeance. Perth kept on plugging away and four minutes from the break Tomich spectacularly tipped Jamie Coyne’s blistering drive over the bar to earn the admiration of both sets of fans. The resulting Robbie Gaspar corner was played short to Oliveira, he turned his defender and centred low for Coyne who bundled the ball over the line from close range for the equaliser.
The second half started slowly with Perth enjoying the better of play but unable to convert their possession on the scoreboard. But 14 minutes in the period the Knights re-gained their lead with a superb piece of individual skill by Medica. Taking control of the ball close to the halfway line, Medica skilfully made his way past three opponents before slamming a low shot beyond the reach of Scarparolo from just inside the area. Knowing they had nothing to lose, Perth threw men forward in the search for their second goal. A quick counter-attacking move put teenager Rhys Graham through with only Tomich to beat, but the ‘keeper raced off his line and made a superb smothering save at the wingbacks’ feet. Minutes later Tomich pulled off another fine save, this one to keep out a superb shot from Coyne after he and Oliveira created space with a neat one-two movement.
The Knights defence did well to repel their opponents time and time again, but two fine Perth moves in the space of four minutes would be their undoing. Robbie Puca slipped away down the left in the 64th minute to clip ball into the area, Pottier beat his man to the low cross and steered it past Tomich and inside the far post to level the scores. Minutes later Gaspar relayed the ball to Coyne on the right, he swung it into the dangerzone and Pottier was on hand again to nod it past Tomich’s out-stretched hands to give Perth the lead for the first time tonight. With confidence now sky-high, Perth went in search of a fourth goal. Gaspar’s stunning long-range free-kick crashed into the underside of the bar and bounced on the line, and with Tomich out of position Giorgi was unable to tuck away the loose ball. And in the 79th minute Gaspar threw off an opponent only to see his low shot saved by Tomich.
With time very much against them the Knights never gave up hope and had their opponents’ defence under the hammer over the five minutes of stoppage time played by referee Jeremy Oliphant, whose final whistle signalled the start of some wild scenes in the Perth camp. Man-of-the-match Coyne played a key part in the victory with his constant drive from midfield, Gaspar chimed in with another sparkling performance and Pottier’s two goals in the end proved the all-important difference. Tomich was superb between the posts, making numerous crucial saves while wide on the right Nielsen impressed with a non-stop contribution for the Knights.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulbic, Stephen Willey, Aaron
Cole, Rhys Graham (Peter Vukmirovic 73), Robbie Puca, Jamie Coyne, Rob
Giorgi, Robbie Gaspar, Mark Pottier, Andreas Oliveira
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Ivan Zuvela, David Annall, Evan Wallace, Claus Nielsen, Leon Russell, Alex Christie, Scott Devine (Joseph Reale 73), Paul McVittie, Carl Medica (Eugene Singeorzan 59), Stuart Montgomery
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Cautions : McVittie (8), Montgomery (22), Gaspar (54), Medica (59), Wallace (72), Christie (75)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 1,400 (approx.)
Sorrento received a surprising lesson about the art of finishing as they were well beaten by 6-1 by the feet of Future Glory in the hastily arranged play-off for third and fourth place. Without regulars Sean Fallon, David Foster and Shaun Bowyer through injury, Stuart Banks holidaying in the United States and Lee Burns out suspended, Sorrento coach Steve Neville handed starting places to Gareth Phillips, Brian Hedges, David Colegate, Peter Butler and Ross Greer. There was no indication of the goal avalanche to come as the match started cautiously. Hedges created the first opportunity after 5 minutes when he crossed from the right to Phillips who let fly with a volley from 25-metres, but the shot was straight into goalkeeper Vince Matasa. Sorrento continued the pressure and it paid off on 15 minutes, Hedges put a long ball over the top for Jared Love who outpaced Dion Valle before beating Matassa to open the scoring. Sorrento’s lead only lasted two minutes, Shaun Kilkelly getting onto a poor clearance and firing the ball into the bottom left corner pass the despairing Gareth Deeg. Lively up front, Phillips set-up Ryan Jeans in the 24th minute but his blast was well held by the ‘keeper.
Future took the lead after 30 minutes by virtue of a stunning strike by Peter Lord who turned and volleyed into the top left corner from inside the area. Further pain was inflicted on Sorrento who conceded two goals in the final minutes of the half. Lord’s push on Iain Deans went unnoticed by the referee and he used the time gained to place the ball wide of Deeg’s right for Future’s third. And midfielder Miki Vujacic created an opening of his own when he tricked his way into the area and the blasted in from an angle on the left for the goal of the match. With a lot of catching to do, Sorrento made the mountain even higher twelve minutes into the new half. A goal mouth scramble saw Daniel Stoitis cleared it off the line and in the defensive confusion that followed Vujacic powered the loose ball into the top right corner from an acute angle. Now 5-1 down, Sorrento struggled to keep up with a very confident Future side and the final nail was hammered in with three minutes remaining when an embarrassing collision between Deans and Deeg allowed the ball to run to Antonio Naglieri who had the simplest of tap-ins.
The University of Western Australia avenged last years’ Cup semi-final loss at the hands of Spearwood Dalmatinac with a character-filled 2-1 away win in the W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League on Sunday. In a very competitive game, University took the lead after sweeper Adam Brett sent the tireless Robert Benkovich away on a solo run from the half way line which saw him beat the ‘keeper at the near post. After hitting the up-right then the bar in an evenly contested half, Dalmatinac finally found an equaliser through Darren Pesich who converted a good cross. The second half continued with end-to-end action, Dalmatinac throwing everything at the opposing defence and again hitting the frame of the goal, while down the other end University launched a series of raids which saw Robert Benkovich going very close to netting. In the last minute of the match Benkovich broke forward only to be taken down by the ‘keeper, leaving the referee with little opportunity but send off the ‘keeper and to award a penalty which Brett despatched into the back of the net. U.W.A. reserves also recorded a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals by Mike Ford and Tom Banyard, M.Forzatti was Dalmatinac’s scoring.
Reigning Premier League champions Hamersley Rovers found themselves two goals down after 15 minutes against Balga but fought back strongly to maintain their 100% win record with a convincing 6-2 away triumph which saw them go top of the table on goal difference. Murdoch University are second after a 4-1 road win over Fremantle United, with U.W.A. third. Runaway winners of the First Division last season, Subiaco United’s top flight initiation took a turn for the worse when thrashed 8-1 at Forrestfield United. Perth Azzurri went down 2-1 at home to Shamrock Rovers, and E.C.U. Joondalup defeated Kwinana United 3-2.
FIRST DIVISION WRAP
Mandurah City moved to the top of the First Division table after their 3-2 away victory over South West Phoenix. The competitions only two non-metropolitan based clubs fought out an entertaining match with Phoenix grabbing the upper hand after 15 minutes after Mandurah’s Michael Green saved a penalty but was unable to keep out the follow-up shot. Mandurah pushed forward in their search for an equaliser but were held at bay by a determined home defence until five minutes from half-time. A superb Sean Kearns’ through ball found Mikel Sesma whose shot beat the ‘keeper but was cleared off the line and Andrew Rennie was on hand to curl the loose ball into the top corner of the net. Phoenix started the second half desperate to re-store their lead and a defensive error by Cliff Kearns allowed the home side to net with a fantastic curling shot from 30-metres. Paul O’Brien, coach of Mandurah, made some astute tactical changes which had immediate effect, Cliff Kearns superb long ball finding Damian Condo on the edge of the area, from where he scored a classy equaliser. With both sides seemingly content to settle with a share of the points, Mandurah’s Neil Patten-Williams innocuous cross into the penalty area saw substitute Michael Charlesworth pressure a defender to head the ball past his own ‘keeper and give Mandurah a hard-earned 3-2 win. The two earlier games were both taken out by Phoenix with the reserves winning 3-1, Clint Forsyth the scored for Mandurah, and the Under-18’s 3-0.
A very young Rockingham City side caused the seasons first major upset by knocking off a luckless Stirling Lions outfit 4-2 on Saturday. In a match dominated by poor refereeing, Rockingham got off to a flying start by finding the target after 20 minutes. Despite being reduced to ten men, the Lions pressed for an equaliser only to be denied by the sharp reflexes of the Rockingham goalkeeper and the frame of the goal. The second half was less than a minute old when Rockingham doubled their lead. With the match turning physical and some unsavoury challenges allowed to go unpunished by the referee, the visitors saw red when Danny Carlino and Toby Wright were sent off for dissent. A gallant display by veteran defender Andy Wright saw the Lions come back into the match, only for his side to go three down on the counter-attack. The Lions responded immediately with a goal of their own through Adam Rains who shortly after bagged his second to make it 3-2. With 15 minutes remaining Keegan Ashley squandered a spot-kick which would have levelled the scores, Bobbi Klenkovski became the fourth Lions player sent off before Rockingham made it 4-2 two minutes from full-time. “Something must be done about the referees,” said a furious Lions coach Basil Lenzo post-match. “When blatant tackles on players go unpunished, and players are not given the opportunity to air their views, then the game is always going to get out of hand. The referees have to understand that they are not bigger than the game, and that they can only earn respect through good decision making.”
At Frank Drago Reserve, the match between Bayswater City and Morley Windmills was abandoned by the referee in the 50th minute after a Windmills player was struck on the back of the head by a spectator. Bayswater dominated the opening period and took a deserved early lead when Jamie Kumkar’s precise lob cleared the ‘keeper. Spurred into activity, the visitors then came back into the match and got back on level terms through Michael Monterosso. The turning point came when Bayswater were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of influential midfielder Alan MacKenzie, and just minutes later Windmills made it 2-1 when Raymond Rose converted. The second half began with Windmills making the most of their numerical advantage before the game was called off with players from both camps citing the referees’ lack of control as the underlying reason for the unrest.
Dianella White Eagles notched up their first win of the new campaign with a 3-1 home result over Leeming Strikers. After controlling for opening half hour, Dianella finally took the lead when Peter Mrdja’s shot came back off the bar and Zelko Savic was on hand to head it over the line. Five minutes later some sloppy defending allowed the visitors to make it one-all, which is how things stayed going in to the break. A more aggressive Dianella side emerged for the second half and they soon found themselves back in front after Zoran Barovic’s free-kick was parried by the ‘keeper and Savic found himself in the right place at the right time to make it 2-1. Dianella wrapped up the three points when a scorching shot by Bojan Bolta restored his sides’ two-goal advantage.
Stirling Suns took a 1-0 lead in the break in their home fixture with Queens Park who mounted a very late fight back to steal maximum points. The visitors equalised with only minutes remaining to set up and exciting finish in which the Suns had a goal disallowed for off-side before Queens Park netted the winner deep in injury time. The result, which lifts Queens Park into second place on the table, would have no doubt please recently appointed coach Allan Pottier. In other games, Perth City defeated Wanneroo City 3-l in the derby match at Kingsway Sporting Complex, Canning City were held 1-1 at home by Kingsway Olympic, and Southside United and Balcatta played out a scoreless draw. Armadale had the bye.
MORGAN’S TARGET A TOP SIX FINISH IN SINGAPORE
Eight games into the S-League season and Sengkang Marine, who are coached by former Sorrento boss Trevor Morgan, sit in sixth place and looking at achieving their best ever season in the competition. Having collected 11 points so far - almost half of the what they chalked up in the whole of last season - Marine were recently rewarded for their efforts by being named “the Straits Times” Team Of The Month for March. Morgan has set Marine a target of 50 points for 2001, “That would give us our best finish yet and likely a finish in a respectable top-six position,” he said this week. Since joining the S-League in 1998 Marine has never experienced a top ten finish.
Marine started the season undefeated after five games but that form has dropped off in recent outings with three consecutive losses, not that that bothers the coach. “We won the matches we should have won and our losses have come against sides we were expected to lose - against Home United, Woodlands Wellington and Sembawang Rangers, which are in the top four,” Morgan told “the Straits Times” this week. “The good thing is that the matches have all been close.” Also at Marine with Morgan are former Sorrento players Tony Carbone, who is club captain for the second year running, Danny Hill, Simon Harland and youth team player James Morgan. Todd Harnwell has completed his loan spell with the club and will return to Perth shortly.
COACH TIPS TOMICH FOR N.S.L.
Beaten just once in six outings, it would be fair to label Western Knights goalkeeper Tommi Tomich the safest pair of hands in the current Night Series competition. The 22-year old, who spent two years as an apprentice with Perth Glory before returning to the Knights camp, has improved greatly since he last played for the club in 1999 according to coach Ronnie Campbell. “I’ve been delighted with him,” Campbell told Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian”. “His attitude and performances have been outstanding since he came back. I think he’s probably learnt a lot from the Glory. He’s a much better goalkeeper now.”
Tomich returned to the Knights camp this year after successive seasons with Cockburn City and Bassendean Caledonian, and Campbell is tipping a return to National Soccer League level for the young custodian who trialed with Melbourne Knights last September. Tomich himself agrees he has improved and says he wants to step up to the national competition. “I’d love to be playing at the next level,” he said. “You see what the Glory are doing and you just wish you were there.” That opportunity may come soon for Tomich if he continues the form he’s shown so far in this year.
NIGHT SERIES FINAL PREVIEW
The state's top two clubs fight it out at Litis Stadium on Sunday night for ownership rights of 2002 Night Series trophy. Many are tipping Perth S.C. and Western Knights to fight it out for the Premier League championship this year, and going on pre-season form it's hard to disagree. To date, neither side has lost in the Night Series, but that will change this weekend for one of them.
Perth coach Graham Normanton has more than a few injury concerns ahead of Sunday's decider. He will be without Vince Tana (knee) and Todd Howarth (groin), while Robbie Puca (groin), Peter Vukmirovic (hamstring) and Mark Pottier (flu) all missed training on Thursday night and will undergo late fitness tests. But Perth was bouyed last week with the return of Jamie Coyne who effortlessly slipped into the midfield alongside Gaspar, Robbie Gaspar and Rob Giorgi. Dino Djulic, Steve Willey and Aaron Cole were solid at the back against Sorrento, but that formation may change with Michael Icanovski set to return to the eleven with Willey pushing out to the wing. And while Andreas Oliveira is yet to get on the scoresheet this season, Perth can boast that they are the highest scoring side in the competition with 15 goals shared between no less than nine different players.
The Knights go into the Final at near full-strength after downing Future Glory last Sunday. The only player in doubt is captain Scott Devine (ankle) although Ray Marinovic will be missing after being red carded last weekend. The off-season recruitment of Stuart Montgomery and Evan Wallace has certainly added depth, quality and character to Ronnie Campbell's squad. In goal Tommi Tomich has been sensational, conceding just a solitary goal in six outings, teenager sweeper Ivan Zuvela looks set to become a regular in the first team this season, while the midfield muscle is provided by Alex Christie, Devine and Paul McVittie. With the likes of Wallace, Eugene Singeorzan and John Nicoloau on the bench last week, Campbell obviously has an abundance of wealth to choose his starting line-up against Perth from.
OTHER WEEKEND ACTION
Saturday sees Round Two of the new First Division season with a number of derbies on the cards. Perth City take on Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex, Bayswater City play long-time rivals Morley Windmills at Frank Drago Reserve, and South West Phoenix are in action for the first time when they host a Mandurah City in Bunbury. The young Canning City side will be at home to Kingsway Olympic, Dianella White Eagles play Leeming Strikers, and Southside United are up against Balcatta. In other games Rockingham City will find the going tough when they host Stirling Lions, while at Brian Burke Reserve Stirling Suns play Queens Park. Armadale have the bye.
With the Premier League season due to get underway next Saturday, a number of clubs are having their final pre-season hit-outs this weekend. E.C.U. Joondalup take on Perth Glory, recently crowned National Soccer League champions, at Perth Oval on Saturday with proceedings getting underway from 10.30am. Later in the afternoon Joondalup are back in action, this time playing Fremantle City at all three levels. At Jubilee Reserve Bassendean Caledonian go head-to-head with Inglewood United, while Swan I.C. meet Cockburn City in all grades from 11.15am. Cockburn's Under-18 and 21 sides will also be in action next Tuesday (16th April) when they take on Perth S.C. at Beale Park from 6.30pm.
"FOR THE FANS" SAYS LAZARIDIS
Socceroo Stan Lazaridis has underlined the determination of the players at Birmingham City to win promotion to England's top flight in honour of the club's supporters. "We have to make sure that we do it for the fans this season after what has happened in the past. I feel with the squad we have got we can really press on this time and make that final step." With two League games remaining, the Blues sit in fourth place and looking good to make the play-offs for the fourth successive year. But having had to endure the agony and frustration of being beaten in the semi-finals of the play-offs for the past three years, Lazaridis would like nothing better than to end this season on a high.
A big thank you to all those that expressed their dismay at the forced removal of the Premier League and First Division fixtures for the coming season from this website late last week. We have since sought written permission from Soccer West Coast to reproduce their fixtures on-line this year and understand it is being taken to the Board meeting on Monday night.
DAVIES ENJOYING LIFE WITH BIRMINGHAM
Young goalkeeper Clint Davies has made a sterling comeback after breaking his arm on training track for Birmingham City late last year with several appearances on the bench for the Blues first team. And with a new contract in the offering, the one-time State junior representative has recently gone out on loan in an effort to further his exposure to senior football. "I've gone to Halesowen Two (Dr Marten's League) for a few games, the first being the 0-0 draw with Cinderford Town on the weekend."
"But the last few weeks have been really good, especially the two first team call-ups," Davies said this week. "The first was against Bradford City away which we won 3-1 and the second was against Norwich City away which we scraped a 1-0 victory. The experience was brilliant, Norwich was an overnight stay so that was even better. It gave me a chance to see what first team football is all about, everything is about the result. I also played for the reserves against Burnley which we won 2-0 at home, away at Preston North End when we lost 0-1, and then when we won 1-0 away at Sheffield United. It was great to have the chance to play in these games as hopefully that is what I'll be pushing for next year."
ERGIC EYES SWISS CHAMPIONSHIP
With just six games remaining in Switzerland's play-off series, 21-year old Ivan Ergic is on the cusp of helping F.C. Basel to their first championship since 1979/80, and their ninth since formation in 1907. Having played a leading role in Basel topping the home-and-away table when they finished 5-points clear of F.C. Lugano, the former West Australian junior representative has been a regular for his club as they've lost once in eight play-off outings to lead second-placed Grasshoppers by 7-points.
Now firmly established as a favourite with the fans at the club, Ergic marked his 51st appearance for the club on Sunday by scoring on the stroke of half-time in their 3-2 win over Servette. But it's been a long and at times difficult journey for the youngster who left Perth in mid-2000. With just one season in Australia's National Soccer League under his belt, Ergic arrived in Switzerland as a green 19-year old who not only had to become accustomed to his new club's intensive training schedule and tactics, but also the Swiss climate.
"The Ivan Ergic of today is another player to the Ivan Ergic that arrived in the summer of 2000," coach Christian Gross told the "Basler Zeitung" newspaper recently. After making 19 appearances and scoring once in his debut season, Ergic has rarely been out of the starting side in 2001/02 when he's found the net six times in 33 games. "I've learnt what professional football is," the midfielder said. With strong rumours circulating that he may spend next season in Italy with Juventus, Ergic is only focused on achieving finals' success with his current club. "I missed that chance with Perth Glory, now I want the chance to hold the trophy with Basel."
Croatian-born Ergic came to Australia in early 1997 with his parents who settled in Carnarvon. Within months the midfielder found himself in the Western Australian Under-16 side, and a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport followed. After time in Canberra Ergic joined Glory where he came to the attention of Juventus, signed a 4-year deal with the Serie A club and was immediately loaned out to Basel. Despite playing for the Young Socceroos while still at the A.I.S. and being short-listed for both the Australian Olympic and senior national teams during 2000, the midfielder committed himself to an international future with Yugoslavia last year.
MURPHY WANTS TO STAY A BLADE
Having just returned to Sheffield United after a two month loan at Crystal Palace, defender Shaun Murphy has announced that he would like to stay on at Brammall Lane once his current contract expires at the end of this season. "I think Neil Warnock would like to keep me and hopefully we'll be able to sort something out," said Murphy, who was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up for the Blades' 3-0 win over Watford last weekend. Warnock, United's manager, is believed to be keen to hold on to Murphy.
However, Palace coach Terry Bullivant has made it clear that the Eagles may make a play to lure to Australian back to London. "Shaun did very well but we're looking at all our options for next season because it doesn't look like we'll get into the play-offs. There will be a lot of players available in the summer and he might be one of them. The deal is not dead because we rate him highly and we might go back in for him."
Fremantle City recorded a hat-trick of wins over Premier League rivals Floreat Athena when the two clubs met in a series of friendlies at Hilton reserve on Sunday. Goals were the order of the day as the Under-18's hit four without reply, the reserves whallopped their opponents 8-1, while the first team match ended 2-1 in favour of the port side.
Bassendean Caledonian recorded a 4-2 win over Cockburn City on Saturday. Jimmy Merkouris ,Glen McCormick , Devid Vitale and Paul Strudwick were the scorers for Caledonian while Branimir Mikulic and Roberto Colallilo replied for Cockburn. Goals from Colin Copperwaite (2) and Michael Jennings saw Cockburn's reserves win 3-2, while in the Under-18's the southerners were victorious 7-2.
NIGHT SERIES SEMI-FINALS (Perth S.C. vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
The opening semi-final of Sunday's Night Series pitted the undefeated Western Knights against a Future Glory line-up boasting five senior Glory players - Vince Matassa, Jamie Harnwell, Antonio Naglieri, Gary Faria and Nick Mrdja - in the starting eleven. But all that experience counted for little when, in just the 3rd minute of play, Ray Marinovic floated a corner into the dangerzone and Alex Christie did the rest, his glancing header nestling in the back of the net before the opposition knew what had hit them. For much of the following twenty minutes the two teams tried desperately to assert some control over proceedings, the result being a tightly contested game which took place between the two penalty boxes and with few scoring chances at either end.
It wasn't until mid-way through the half that Future mounted their first serious attack when Miki Vujacic clipped the ball over the Knights backline to send Faria through, but an alert Tommi Tomich raced off his line and smothered at the midfielder's feet. Just after the half-hour Faria was presented with a golden opportunity to level the scores when a deep corner cleared a crowded area, but he volleyed well wide of the target. Future were awarded a penalty after 32 minutes when Christie brought him Faria inside the box, Mrdja stepped up to take the kick and, diving the right way, Tomich produced a fine save to keep his side in front. With Carl Medica and Ray Marinovic playing in attack and regular forward Stuart Montgomery just behind the pair, the Knights strung together some promising moves of their own. Their best attack came two minutes from the interval when Matassa's reflexes had to be at their sharpest to turn away a close-range Medica rocket.
Two minutes after the re-start the Knights went down to ten men when Marinovic was given an instant red card for lashing out at Admir Mehic. But the dismissal didn't deter a Knights side hell-bent on winning and in the 45th minute they doubled the deficit. Sprinting away down the left, Montgomery cut inside to take the ball across the top of the 18-yard box before slamming it low shot beyond the reach of Matassa to make it 2-0. With their backs now firmly to the wall, Future would have to dig deep to get back in this game and they would need strikers Mrdja and Mileta Miletic, who had been kept pretty much out of the game by their opponents, to spark that revival. And for the next quarter-hour it looked as though they were dead and buried.
Finally, in the 59th minute Mrdja found himself with some space but hit the ball squarely across the face of goal. Three minutes later Tomich proved his value with another fantastic save, this time diving full-length across the goal mouth to keep out Mehic's header. And not long after Mrdja made the most of some stagnant defending only to slam his shot into the up-right. With the Knights playing mostly on the counter-attack, Claus Nielsen sent a lovely cross into the area where it narrowly evaded the out-stretched leg of substitute Eugene Singeorzan. But when Faria pulled a speculative long-range shot wide despite having plenty of time to line up the target Future knew their Night Series campaign was almost over. Other than Matassa, Future's senior players failed to ignite tonight while youngsters Vujacic and Chris Ritson were impressive in midfield. It was a deserved victory to the Knights for whom goalkeeper Tomich was in sensational form, Paul McVittie and Alex Christie were tirelessly in the middle, and Ivan Zuvela showed an experience beyond his years in his capacity as sweeper.
Future Glory : Vince Matassa, Shaun Kilkelly, Admir Mehic, Jamie
Harnwell, Chris Ritson (James Hesketh 65), Kostadin Manolev, Antonio
Naglieri, Miki Vujacic, Gary Faria, Mileta Miletic, Nick Mrdja
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Ivan Zuvela, Claus Nielsen, David Annall, Leon Russell, Alex Christie, Scott Devine, Paul McVittie, Stuart Montgomery (Evan Wallace 55), Carl Medica (Eugene Singeorzan 65), Ray Marinovic
Referee : Ron Tully
Cautions : Devine (27), Matassa (50)
Dismissals : Marinovic (42)
Attendance : 1,300 (approx.)
Perth S.C. needed an extra-time golden-goal to overcome a determined 10-man Sorrento outfit in an exciting semi-final to go through to the Night Series decider. The sudden death atmosphere was evident from the start where both defences dominated play. It was 15 minutes in before the first opportunity fell to Perth, Vince Tana's cross from the right found Andreas Oliveira but he headed it high from in front. Three minutes later came Sorrento's first opportunity with Shaun Fallon curling a free-kick from 25-metres just over Robert Scarparolo's cross bar. On 17 minutes came the first of a total of nine cautions issued during the course of this match after David Foster was judged to have fouled Robbie Puca.
With Perth enjoying the better of possession, their opponents were more direct going into attack and this approach paid dividends in the 23rd minute when Fallon got away down the left and sent the ball to the far post where Foster nodded it past the 'keeper. Four minutes later Robbie Gaspar shook his marker Shaun Bowyer and unleashed a thunderbolt from 30-metres which saw Deeg at his best to beat away. Sorrento finished the opening half strongly and should have doubled their lead on 32 minutes, Fallon's quality cross from the left picked out Foster at the far post but this time the young striker couldn't keep his header down. Not to be outdone, Oliveira sent Gaspar through found minutes later but the midfielder couldn't find a way past Deeg. And a minute before the break Fallon's free-kick from deep on the left was met by the incoming Jeans whose powerful header shaved the wrong side of the upright.
Two minutes after the break Perth lost experienced defender Steven Willey to injury, and shortly after Fallon succumbed to an ankle injury for Sorrento. Lee Burns was prominent in the Seagulls midfield, creating a string of opportunities for Jared Love who made some decisive runs at the Perth rearguard. Love cut the defence apart with a clever ball to Gareth Phillips but he didn't connect cleanly and Scarparolo gathered. Perth got back on level terms in the 65th minute when Foster was judged to have handballed Gaspar's cross into the area, referee Michael Klaver immediately pointing to the spot from where Mark Pottier made no mistake. Not long after Burns combined with Love whose inch-perfect pass found Jeans, but with only Scarparolo to beat the striker stumbled over the ball allowing the defence time to re-position. Perth had two opportunities to wrap up the match in the final four minutes - Coyne's long ball was controlled Oliveira but he pulled it across the face of goal, and in the final minute a Gaspar cross caught the defence ball-watching only for Oliveira to nudge it wide.
With the scores deadlocked after 80 minutes, the match entered the golden-goal period. 48 seconds into extra-time a deep Gaspar cross found Pottier whose strong header was pushed away by Deeg. Substitute Jake Harman and Iain Deans had their names added to the referee's list of cautions, while a cynical trip on Phillips when he was sent clear went unpunished. Burns and Dino Djulbic squared up to eachother after tangling in midfield, Klaver over-reacting to the situation by dismissing Burns while Djulbic became the ninth recipient of a yellow card. Perth started the second half of extra-time determined to end the match. Deeg made a brilliant double save, first blocking a stinging Willey drive from 30-metres then recovering in time to keep out Oliveira's effort from the rebound. But in the 94th minute Perth got their winner, a ball pumped in from the right hitting Aaron Cole on the chest and the ball spun between the legs of Deeg and agonisingly over the line.
Played for the better part played in a competitive but by no means fiery spirit, some poor refereeing over-shadowed what was an entertaining semi-final. Sorrento had reason to feel hard done by the match official who booked six of the their players and sent off the influential Burns in extra-time, a decision would be the game's turning point. But to give credit where it's due, Perth fought hard against a strong opposition on an evening that saw very little between the two sides. Gaspar provided the inspiration behind the win, particularly effective whether in midfield or out wide on the right, while for Sorrento it was Deeg that shone with a number of top-draw saves.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulic, Steve Willey, Aaron Cole,
Rob Giorgi, Vince Tana (Rhys Graham 42), Robbie Puca (Vlado Milasinovic
55), Jamie Coyne, Robbie Gaspar, Mark Pottier, Andreas Oliveira
Sorrento : Gareth Deeg, Iain Deans, Daniel Stoitis, Kevin Murphy, Sean Fallon (Gareth Phillips 43), Jared Love, Lee Burns, David Colegate, Shaun Bowyer (Jake Harman 60), David Foster, Ryan Jeans
Referee : Michael Klaver
Cautions : Foster (17), Bowyer (42), Graham (49), Giorgi (52), Colegate (66), Murphy (67), Harman (84), Deans (86), Djulbic (89)
Dismissals : Burns (89)
Attendance : 800 (approx.)
The University of Western Australia made an excellent start to its W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League campaign with a last minute 3-2 victory over Fremantle United at McGillivray Oval on Sunday. The first half was a fairly even affair territorially although Fremantle did strike the upright from a wind assisted free-kick. The second half commenced with U.W.A. going one up when sweeper Adam Brett converted a corner. U.W.A. then doubled their lead through a similar goal with Brett again the scorer, and with 25 minutes to go the game looked over. However, Fremantle kept plugging away and got back on level terms courtesy of a converted penalty by David Neeru and a sensational free-kick by Danny Collova. In a dramatic last minute Marc Disconier took the ball from the half way line, drew the defence then slid it into the far corner past a stranded goalkeeper. "It was really a game that at 2-0 up we looked in no danger of walking away with anything but three points. Unfortunately our defensive discipline slipped and allowed Fremantle back into the game," said U.W.A. coach Kevin Burton post-match. "Given that Fremantle only lost six games last season, this was a very good win for us. The support of the crowd was very much appreciated and it was great to see many former players down for the 'legends' game including Malcolm Bailey who established the club in 1949." U.W.A. comfortably beat Fremantle 4-0 in the reserves fixture courtesy of goals from Tim Grose (2), Guy Hattersley and Lewis MacDonald.
In other opening weekend matches, reigning champions Hamersley Rovers accounted for E.C.U. Joondalup 3-0, which was the same result when Kwinana United defeated Forrestfield United. Murdoch University proved too strong for Balga 3-1, Perth Azzurri knocked off newly-promoted Subiaco United 1-0, while Shamrock Rovers and Spearwood Dalmatinac ground out a scoreless draw.
FIRST DIVISION WRAP (Wanneroo City vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro)
The 2002 season has finally kicked off with Soccer West Coast once again leaving the organization of the fixtures to the very last minute and with no definite plan as to what will occur in 2003. Armadale traveled north to Wanneroo City feeling confident after a good pre-season workout, and within 15 minutes strike partners Dennis Lee and Greg Newcombe had the Reds two up. A very good free-kick in the 31st minute gave Wanneroo some hope, pegging the score back to 2-1. In the second half coach Billy Russell asked for more short and direct passing from the players. In the 54th minute Newcombe caught the 'keeper in possession and had little problem in sticking the ball in the back of the net. Lee added his second via the penalty spot after 70 minutes, then Newcombe notched up an opening round hat-trick two minutes from full-time when he was put through the middle with only the 'keeper to beat. With a large playing squad at Armadale this year, a strong reserves team dominated for much of the 90 minutes but unfortunately they were unable to put away their chances, the match ending 0-0. The Reds Under-18 side had a commanding victory, outplaying the opposition from the start with Darryl Perrella bagging a hat-trick and singles to Chris Burns, Nick McClean, Peter Taylor and Steve Hanley giving them a 7-2 victory. While the final score could have been three times the actual one, coaches Jim Loveless and David McKean were well pleased with the team's efforts, in particular with young Hanley who worked tirelessly throughout.
Stirling Lions and Dianella White Eagles kicked off the new season at Macedonia Park with a scrappy encounter in which neither side was able to gain the upper hand over the opening half-hour. The visitors were unlucky not to take the lead close to the break when they caught the Lions defence napping and Rob Pukovski made a tremendous reflex save to keep things on an even footing. The Lions picked the tempo up in the second half and in the 53rd minute Bobbi Klenkovski found the net through a crowded goalmouth to give his side the lead. Despite some below par refereeing, the home side dominated for much of the second half which saw them squander a hatful of goalscoring opportunities before a fine cross by Gus Parfumi saw Danny Carlino pipe up for the Lion's second of the afternoon. Dianella sparked into life and it was only through some unlucky finishing and excellent goalkeeping by Pukovski that they didn't score. The Lions came back into the match in the final quarter-hour as their opponents ran out of puff, Klenkovski putting the icing on a 3-0 win with an excellent finish. The Lions won both the reserves and Under-18's matches also, 8-1 and 3-0 respectively.
Frank Drago Reserve was the venue for the evenly contested match between Bayswater City and Leeming Strikers in which both sides created some good scoring opportunities in the first half without success. Just on the hour mark the home team grabbed the lead through a fantastic 25-metre strike from midfielder Gareth Healy. It was very nearly 2-0 almost immediately from the re-start with Willie Herd going through one-on-one with the 'keeper only to find the side netting. From the resulting goal kick Leeming went into attack and equalised with a well-earned goal scored from just inside the area. Proceedings came to a sudden halt when referee Tom Klaver signaled the end of play after 85 minutes, but after consulting with his assistants on the line he called the players back onto the park to see out the game. In a frantic final six minutes, the ball was relayed from one end to the other as both teams searched for a winner. Bayswater secured the three points when substitute Mark Paratore sprinted away down the left and crossed for Nick Stojanovski who tucked the ball away after 89 minutes. "Always good to start the season with a win," said a delighted Bayswater coach Salv Todoro after the game.
The match between Mandurah City and Perth City was postponed until the evening of Tuesday 9th April at Bortolo Park where, in their debut State League outings, the home side went home winners by 3-0 in front of an enthusiastic. In a game played at great pace, Mandurah took the lead after 10 minutes with a well placed strike from Sean Kearns. Shortly before the break the margin was doubled when Alan Fitzmaurice evaded two tackles in his own half before sending a long pass down the right for Steven Choate, he squared it across the top of the 18-yard box and Cliff Kearns fired home. The second half started with Perth working hard to get back on level terms, but Mandurah proved up to the task and did themselves, the club and their supporters proud. The their defence holding firm, Mandurah came back into the match as the half wore on and three minutes from full-time were rewarded with a free-kick from just outside the penalty area which Sean Kearns hammered into the net to seal a memorable victory for Mandurah. "The quality, pace and endeavour of the players in the Perth City squad was excellent they played the game hard but with great spirit and Mandurah City would like to wish them all the best for the season ahead," said Mandurah president John Fitzmaurice after the game. On a sad note, Mandurah captain Steve Adams was taken to Fremantle Hospital after suffering a serious facial injury during the match. The Mandurah squad for their debut State League appearance was Mike Greene, Garry Collins, Neil Patten-Williams, Peter Knight, Damien Condo, Andrew Rennie, Cliff Kearns, Alan Fitzmaurice, Sean Kearns, Steven Choate, Micky Bobridge, Steve Adams, Micky Sesma and Michael Charlesworth.
With eleven of their squad under the age of 19, Canning City were on the road to play an experienced Queens Park outfit on Saturday. After conceding an early goal, Canning fought back to make it 3-3 midway through the second half, but when the visitors were reduced to ten-men their opponents made the most of the opportunity and added to further two goals with the final score 5-3. Elsewhere, Balcatta and Rockingham City played out a scoreless draw, Morley Windmills lost 1-2 at home to Stirling Suns, and Kingsway Olympic downed Southside United 1-0. South West Phoenix had the bye.
STATE UNDER-19 FRIENDLY CANCELLED
Last night's proposed friendly between Inglewood United and Future W.A. at the National Stadium was cancelled at late notice. According to sources, Soccer West Coast called the match off at 10.30am on Friday morning after those clubs playing in Sunday's Night Series semi-finals - Future Glory, Perth S.C., Sorrento and Western Knights - refused to make their players available for the State Under-19 side. Between them, the four semi-finalists consist of over half the Future W.A. squad.
WALK OUT AT QUEENS PARK
On the eve of the new First Division season, the bulk of the Queens Park senior squad have walked out citing irreconcilable differences between the club committee and the players union. It is believed that no less than fifteen senior squad members, some with experience in the Premier League, along with the first and youth team coaches announced their intentions to seek others clubs on Thursday night.
NIGHT SERIES SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW
It's semi-final time in the 2002 Night Series at Litis Stadium on Sunday when Western Knights come up against Future Glory and Perth S.C. play Sorrento. The Knights have proved deadly on the scoring front during the series, their ten goals shared between seven players, and it's from out wide that Ray Marinovic and Claus Neilsen will provide much of the danger. But Future striker Mileta Miletic, the tournament's leading scorer, will be sure to keep the defence on their toes while down the other end teenager Shaun Kilkelly has been a rock in defence. The key to the late match will be who controls the midfield with Perth's Robbie Gaspar and Robbie Puca set to go to battle with Sorrento pair Lee Burns and Jared Love.
MURPHY BACK TO SHEFFIELD
Australian centre-back Shaun Murphy is back with Sheffield United after a two-month loan at Crystal Palace. With little prospect of the move becoming permanent, the 31-year old opted to curtail his loan spell in which he made eleven appearances for the First Division club.
At the 'request' of Soccer West Coast, we regretfully announce the removal of the Premier League and First Division fixtures for the coming winter season from the Western Australian Soccer Website. We would like to thank those that commented positively on our new-look fixture pages but for the time being the situation is out of our hands.
STATE UNDER-19'S IN ACTION
Future W.A., the name under which the State Under-19 team will compete in France this year, take on Premier League side Inglewood United in a friendly at the National Stadium on Friday evening, kick-off at 7.00pm. Under the guidance of one-time Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi, Future W.A. will travel to Europe in May to take part in the Tournoi de Croix where they have been grouped with defending champion Birmingham City and the United States Under-19 side.
BUMPER YEAR EXPECTED
The Western Australian Soccer Website - aka www.soccerwa.com - should be in for another bumper year if our successful start to 2002 is any indication. Between 1st January and 31st March the website experienced a massive 14,366 hits - close to double the 7,672 recorded over the same three-month period last year. March was only the second time that we cracked the 5,000 hit target with 5,651 visitors for the month. That March high is the second highest monthly total we had recorded since first venturing into cyberspace in September 1997, the record being the 5,946 registered in May 2001. With your continued support www.soccerwa.com is now well on course to smash the 12-month record of 43,107 hits which was set last year.
CUP FINAL FEVER HITS THE NORTH
Heathridge Soccer Club are holding an F.A. Cup Night on Saturday 4th May at the Iluka Sports Complex which is located on the corner of Marmion Avenue and Miami Boulevard. With doors opening at 8.00pm and the pre-match entertainment including highlights from classic matches of the past, attendees must wear a soccer shirt on the night. Tickets to the event are $10.00, which includes light food, and bookings can be made by contacting 9301 0900.
Fremantle City have had their depth tested during this years' Night Series following the absence of several key players. Goalkeeper Sam Tomeo heads the clubs list of walking wounded with an achilles problem. Also currently on the sidelines due to injury are Dulio Xavier (back), Daniel Trim (ankle) and Cisco Jorqueira (knee). Recently married Michael Mirco has been away on his honeymoon, while attacking midfielder Miguel Ortin has been released by the port side.
As a result, coach Greg Kazmer promoted several of the clubs youth brigade to the senior ranks for the pre-season competition. Former State junior players Michael Cross, Josh Kamasz, Dean Apelgren, Glyn Busson and Jordan Andrews have all featured recently for the port side and shown that they are ready to step up to the state's top flight. Fremantle have further strengthened their side for the coming winter with the recent arrival of midfielders Jason Faria (ex-Cockburn City) and Marc Wingell (ex-Dianella White Eagles), while former Australian goalkeeper Robert Zabica is back in training having completed his cricketing commitments. One-time Western Knights defender Ric Antunes has also joined the training squad on trial.
RE-STRUCTURE HIGH ON PROSPERO'S AGENDA
Soccer Association of Western Australian president Louis Prospero along with fellow-board members Keith Jones and Steve Coppack recently returned from the eastern seaboard where he attended the National Planning forum called by Soccer Australia. Held at Stadium Australia and with representatives from each State and Territory invited, the forum provided the stakeholders an opportunity to express their views on how they would like to see the game progress.
On Saturday night Prospero spoke with John O'Connell on 990AM's International Football Show about the next step. "This Thursday I'll be reporting back to the stakeholders the outcome of that meeting, and hopefully we can make some historic decisions on Thursday night which will not only affect us here in W.A. but also in a national sense. And, with the Department of Sport and Recreation, we are looking at getting all the stakeholders involved in the re-structure of the game. There are a lot of positive moves happening and we're looking forward to the next few months."
In the light of Australia's failure to qualify for this years' World Cup, and Soccer Australia in serious financial difficulties, the importance of a nation-wide plan is not lost on any fan of the game. But change must start in our own backyard. "We've got to start at the grassroots and our grassroots in W.A. are with the juniors, amateurs, Soccer West Coast and the affiliates," said Prospero. "The enthusiasm that is coming from all realms of the code at the moment within our community is great, and the regional areas are coming on board saying they also want to be involved in the re-structure of the game."
With the backing of the Department of Sport and Recreation - as well as Premier Geoff Gallop - to push forward with reformation of the game, Prospero hopes that as a sport we have learnt from the mistakes of the past. "This is the time to turn the tables, when we've got the support of the government and the stakeholders. I would hate to think that we would not take the opportunity."
ARMADALE PROVE TOO STRONG
Armadale continued their fine pre-season form by handing out First Division rivals Rockingham City a 7-1 thrashing in Saturday's friendly. Off-season recruit Greg Newcombe lead the way for the Reds with a four-goal haul, while Jason Goodwin, Jason Hardie and Darren Ingham also got their names on the scoresheet. The reserves meetings also went the way of Armadale for whom Chris Brown and Paul Loveless found the target in a 3-1 win, the Reds third goal being an own goal.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND SEVEN
Without regulars Adam Kiley, Adrian Spinelli, Gene Wyllie and Steve Goff, Ashfield coach Tom Kilkelly fielded a largely experimental starting eleven for their final Night Series game against Cockburn City on Monday night. And while opposing coach Mark Jackson opted to rest talented trio Jeff Bright, Domenic De Felice and Roberto Coloillo from the starting line-up, it didn't take Cockburn long to stamp their authority over proceedings. After 8 minutes Shane McNally ran onto a neat pass clipped over the defence only to be denied by the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Phil Jackson who made the save down low. Five minutes later Denis Stojanovic's centring ball found Dragan Njegic, his initial shot was smothered by Jackson but there was little the 'keeper could do when Njegic hammered the loose ball over the line from close range.
While Ashfield made good use of the ball when pushing forward, Cockburn's strong defence took control once the ball entered their third of the pitch. Awarded a free-kick inside the penalty area after 18 minutes when Jeff Cargill picked up a back-pass, Ashfield's Steve Bretti found a gap in the wall but saw his shot kept out by the young goalkeeper. Down the other end of the pitch Jackson was a man under siege. Christian Paschkewitz connected sweetly with Stojanvic's free-kick only to find Jackson positioned to save. On the half-hour mark McNally again went clear of the defence, this time Jackson raced off his line to block the shot. And shortly after a Gary Numan cross was toe-poked narrowly wide by Stojanovic. Cockburn's perseverance finally paid off right on the stroke of half-time when Jackson parried Njegic's close-range shot and Paschkewitz reacted quickest to rifle the loose ball past the 'keeper and make it 2-0.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half were a largely uneventful affair with Cockburn constantly pushing forward but finding few holes in a much tighter Ashfield backline. Under the hammer for much of the period, Ashfield managed only the occasional counter-attacking move, none of which called Cargill into action. Only in the 56th minute was there anything for the crowd to get excited by, Dusan Macura taking the ball past several opponents before laying it off to Paschkewitz whose powerful shot was tipped wide by a full-stretch Jackson. A long diagonal ball from Josh Pescud nine minutes later sent Numan through on goal, but he too found the Ashfield custodian up to the task with a fine response to his rising shot.
With ten minutes remaining, Pescud worked tirelessly to hold off an opponent and take the ball inside the 18-yard box only to finish disappointingly by blazing high. The late introduction of Darren Yates saw Ashfield finally come into the game, the midfielder combining fluently on the right with Steve Gillibrand as the team went into attack. Twice in as many minutes the pair worked their magic on the flank only to see their dangerous crosses into the area cut out by Cargill. Yates then sent Jason Seca through with only the 'keeper to beat but the young striker lifted the ball well over the bar from 16-metres. In the final minute of the match Pescud made it 3-0 when his in-swinging corner took Jackson and his defence by surprise and curled inside the near post.
Ashfield : Phil Jackson, David Mayers, Steve Bretti, Brad Pochroj (Matt
Pochroj 50), Brett Colombera, Luke Pavlos, Martin Sherwin, Gary Spinks
(Darren Yates 68), Steve Gillibrand, Jason Seca, Karl Atley
Cockburn City : Jeff Cargill, Dusan Macura, Boza Erakovic, Davorin Svirac, Gary Numan (Steve Adam 70), Denis Stojanovic (Jeff Bright 50), Dean Wallace, Josh Pescud, Shane McNally, Christian Pascherwitz (Roberto Colalillo 74), Dragan Njegic
Referee : ???
Cautions : Erakovic (33), Mayers (58), Spinks (60), Atley (80+)
Dismissals : Mayers (76)
Attendance : 150 (approx.)
THE WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
With the semi-finals of the 2002 Night Series already decided, the tournament’s final qualifying games take place at Litis Stadium on Monday evening. Ashfield will be looking to pick up their first points of the series when they take on Cockburn City in the Group B fixture, while the so far undefeated Western Knights play a young Fremantle City side that is improving with every outing.
FREMANTLE YOUTHS CONTINUE TO SCORE
Fremantle City's Under-18 side just can't seem not to find the back of the net at the moment. The youngsters managed to score an astonishing 26 goals in three games over a five day period this week against Fremantle United's reserves, Southern Spirit and Fremantle United's Under-16s line-up. "The team will now have a well earned Easter break before returning to training next Tuesday, 2nd April," said an enthusiastic Mike Tetlow.
JONES INKS NEW DEAL FOR ‘BORO
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones received an early 20th birthday present last week when he finally put pen to paper on a new two-year contract that comes into effect on 1st July. Jones, an Australian youth international, is highly rated by his clubs coaching staff. “Ability-wise he has everything. His challenge is to produce it all at the same time,” said goalkeeping coach Paul Barron recently. It is believed Middlesbrough beat off offers from several other clubs in securing the youngsters’ signature.
Jones was one of four ‘Boro youngsters to agree to new contracts, the other being fellow-Australian Luke Wilkshire, former England youth skipper Stuart Parnaby and Brazilian Arturo Bernhardt. “It’s lovely to have the option of young players coming through because the biggest thing in a football club is healthy competition,” said first team coach Steve Harrison via the clubs official website (www.mfc.co.uk). “You need your experienced players looking over their shoulder at these young bucks coming up. And you need those young players knocking on the door and saying, ‘I’m ready, I’m ready’.”
Last week Jones was between the posts when Middlesbrough’s reserves came from behind to defeat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 away from home, a result that puts the club back on top of the League table. Although suffering from concussion after a collision early in the game, the youngster saw out the full 90 minutes of the fixture as ‘Boro didn’t have a substitute ‘keeper. With a number of appearances on the bench for the first team in recent weeks, Jones is hoping to make his senior debut in the Premier League next season.
PHOENIX RING IN THE CHANGES
Bunbury-based South West Phoenix will take a largely changed squad into their second season in the First Division. Coach Joe Kelly departed the scene late in 2001 due to work commitments, his position has been filled for the coming season by Jimmy Mayers, the highest qualified coach in the south-west of the state. There has also been a number of changes to the clubs playing stocks with the versatile Damian Trim joining his brother in the Premier League at Fremantle City, which is looking the likely destination for midfielder David Rodgers who is currently on trial with the port side. Also trialling but in Scotland is young goalkeeper Francis Allen who has been offered terms with Queens Park. But it will be the loss of experienced quartet David North, David Suttie, Savo Garic and Brett Norrie, as well as talented youngster Adam Spinelli, that the club will feel the most. With so many departures Mayers may be called upon to promote youth team players James Bergin, Brendan Fantasia and Michael Jennings to the senior list before the winter is out.
FIRST DIVISION TO START 6th APRIL
There’s been good news this week for the First Division clubs with the announcement that their league season will finally kick-off on Saturday 6th April, some five weeks after some clubs’ first competitive hit-out in the opening round of the Boral Cup. After much discussion, the season format will see each of the 17-teams initially play each other once. Once each club has played their 16 games, a new lot of fixtures will then be drawn up in which the top eight clubs will meet for a second time, and the bottom nine clubs will also meet again. Unlike 2001 when this second stage was a play-off series, all points accumulated will count towards the final League table.
Following recent inquiries, we would like to point out that the Western Australian Soccer Website - www.soccerwa.com - is not in any way sanctioned by any of the local controlling bodies, and as such has no official standing within the game in this state. We are in fact a totally independent website which is devoted to covering and promoting all things West Australian in the world game - be that on the local, national or international stage. Links to the official websites of Soccer West Coast, the W.A. Amateur and Social Soccer Association and the Junior Soccer Association can be found in the Links section.
PUCA BACK FOR PERTH
Former Perth S.C. favourite Robbie Puca recently made his return from injury by turning out for the club in their 3-1 Night Series win over Ashfield. After three seasons in the National Soccer League with the sadly defunct Eastern Pride (nee Gippsland Falcons), things were looking up for the attacking midfielder. After going under the surgeon’s knife over the winter for correct an osteitis pubis complaint - coincidentally the same injury that is currently sidelining his Perth teammate David Onoforo - Puca was invited to attend pre-season training with South Melbourne last August.
“I had the operation and went back for the pre-season with South Melbourne but I came back too soon,” Puca said this week. “At the first session the injury flared up again and the doctors advised me to have a year off and let everything recover. But I don’t like to just sit around and watch so after six months off I figured I was ready to make a comeback in the State League. I started training with Perth in February and Normo (Graham Normanton, coach of Perth) asked me if I was ready to play against Ashfield, I said I’d give it a go and everything went well.”
In that match against Ashfield Puca provided the driving force for Perth on the left side of midfield, making several darting runs into attack and combining well with State wingback Todd Howarth. “I pulled up quite well afterwards, there was no soreness or anything and hopefully things will only get better from here on. It had almost been a year since I last played and I’m really glad to be playing again. If I can get a good season in at Perth, and get back to the level I was at with Pride, then hopefully I’ll have been able to impress the right people and get back to playing in the N.S.L.”
KALOGERACOS CALLED UP FOR VICTORIA
Former Floreat Athena player Vvas Kalogeracos is one of four Whittlesea Stallions player that have been named in the 30-man Victoria training squad by coach Harry Chalkitis. The squad will be trimmed next week ahead of the 20th April friendly with Queensland. Kalogeracos joined the Stallions earlier this year and has found the net four times in seven Premier League outings.
DRAW ENDS SWAN’S NIGHT SERIES CAMPAIGN
Despite a late resurgence, Swan I.C. bowed out of this year’s Night Series after being held to a 2-2 draw by Sorrento on Wednesday evening. Jared Love gave the Seagulls the lead after just 10 minutes with a stunning individual effort, and shortly before the break Ryan Jeans doubled the margin as Sorrento looked to run away with the game. However, Swan had other ideas and midway through the second half Brian Robertson was denied by goalkeeper Gareth Deeg and Iain Deans who cleared the midfielders effort off the line. Swan’s breakthrough goal came in the 54th minute, Robertson turning provider this time for lively forward Sal Marapodi who made no mistake in finding the net. Stirred into life, the black and whites had their opponents on the ropes over the closing stages and when Tom Shepheard equalised with ten minutes remaining the game was very much back on. But Sorrento’s nervously defence weathered the storm to progress to the semi-final stage of the tournament on goal difference ahead of tonight’s opponent.
In the late game Perth ended Inglewood United’s play-off hopes with a hard-fought 2-2 draw. While Elton Holmes got on the scorecard for Inglewood, goals from debutant Vlado Milasinovic and Andres Oliveira looked to have given Perth the points until four minutes from full-time when a converted penalty by Andy Cornmell saw that the teams ended on level terms. The result means Perth finish on top of Group B, one point ahead of Future Glory with Inglewood in third place. Perth now meet Sorrento in the round of four which will be played at Litis Stadium on Sunday 7th April. The other semi-final pits undefeated Group A winners Western Knights against Future.
STATE UNDER-19’S TO BENEFIT FROM GLORY FUNDRAISER
Continuing to build a strong relationship with the West Australian soccer fraternity, Perth Glory has underwritten the Soccer West Coast Under-19 State teams’ trip to France. Some of the best talented young players in the State will travel to France between 13th and 23rd May 2002 under the name of Future W.A. In an effort to help fundraise for the trip a Dinner Dance will be held on Friday 12th April, from 7.00pm until late, at the Vasto Club, Vasto Place in Balcatta. Tickets are $50.00 inclusive of food and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Lisa Tana on 9240 1212.
SOCCEROO CALL-UP FOR GARCIA?
Former Perth S.C. attacker Richard Garcia is one of a handful of youngsters that have been earmarked for inclusion in Frank Farina’s new-look Australian squad for the up-coming Oceania Nations Cup. Garcia made his senior debut for West Ham United earlier this year and is likely to be called up for the July tournament being held in Auckland. Half of Farina’s 18-man squad is expected to come from the National Soccer League with the remainder from overseas. Luke Wiltshire (Middlesbrough), Saso Petrovski (Viborg), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers) and Archie Thompson (Lierse) also believed to also be in contention for a spot in the squad.
LIONS TAKE PRIDE IN OFF-FIELD ENDEVOURS
Stirling Lions have undergone some off-field changes that has seen them adopt a coaching structure similar to that employed in Europe. Wayne Thorpe has been appointed manager of the senior team, his role being to oversee first team matters and provide assistance to senior coach Basil Lenzo. Paddy Strano is the reserves coach and Leo Mannella the under-18 coach. With the expressed aim of winning promotion to the top flight this season, club president Don Evans and his board are working hard behind the scenes to promote the club and its’ facilities as the number one soccer venue in the Stirling region.
The club have joined forces with several Soccer Schools of Excellence which they plan will provide a career path for local juniors to progress up through the Lions ranks. To date the club have benefited from the program at Balga Senior High School with four of their players added to the youth teams. “We are working tirelessly with the schools in providing them with a venue, coaching and an avenue for the schools to ensure that the three to five years of work they put into these kids leads to them continuing the game within our region,” said Lenzo this week.
On the player front, the Lions have parted company with midfielder Vladimir Beretovac who has joined local rivals Stirling Suns. The Lions are also in the hunt to strengthen their playing stocks before the First Division season kicks off with a couple of name players in their sights. The other good news for the club is that one-time Australian Schoolboys forward Rob Peruzza has returned to the training track and is said to be looking forward to a successful winter campaign.
CACERAS EAGER TO IMPRESS (reproduced with permission from www.hullcityafc.net)
Adrian Caceras recently signed a contract until the end of the season with English Third Division side Hull City and is itching to make a big impression at his new club. Released by Southampton, the Buenos Aires born striker caught the eye at Boothferry Park with a two-goal display in a reserves recently win over Mansfield Town, his reward being an extended stay with Hull. Prior to making his debut on the weekend in the nil-all clash with Leyton Orient, Caceras talked with to Brendon Smurthwaite for the Tigers official website (www.hullcityafc.net) about his time in England and what he hopes will be a bright future at Hull.
Caceras started out locally as a junior with Perth S.C., stepping up to the first team under coach Graham Normanton. With previous trial spells in England and Argentina under his belt, the attacking midfielder was invited to Southampton midway through 2000 where he was signed by then-manager Glenn Hoddle. Caceras said he enjoyed his time under the former England international, “It was very good experience for me, I learnt a lot off Glenn and it was really good playing under him.”
But things took a turn for the worse for Caceras with Hoddle’s departure as the club struggled to avoid relegation in 2000/01. “I think that didn’t help me, I’m sure you can’t only put it down to that but it was a big factor. New managers, new people coming in look at you differently and see different things in you and they make different plans. In September I went to Brentford and that was another experience for me. Unfortunately I couldn’t settle in to the team and it just didn’t happen for me.” Since returning to the Saints’ camp Caceras featured only occasionally for the reserves before being released early this month.
The youngster opted to try his luck with Hull where he was immediately thrown into the deep end, turning out for the reserves only days after arriving. “It was a bit scary, I didn’t know who I was going to come up against but I tried to settle into the team and it was quite good,” he said, omitting the fact that he scored twice in the 6-1 win over Mansfield Town to win short-term contract. “I’m here until the end of the season and hopefully doing my best for the team and get them promoted … We’ll just see how good I settle in and if the manager’s happy and the chairman then we’ll go from there.”
PETTERSON JOINS BAGGIES
32-year old Andy Petterson today joined First Division club West Bromwich Albion until the end of the season on a free transfer from Portsmouth. The Fremantle-born goalkeeper will provide cover for regular Baggies custodian Russell Hoult following recent injury to his deputy Brian Jensen, who will be sidelined until the start of next season. It is expected Petterson will compete for a place on the bench with Chris Adamson. With less than half a dozen games remaining in the Second Division season, W.B.A. are well-positioned for a place in the play-offs for promotion to England’s top flight.
Although he’s been signed as back-up for Hoult, Petterson insists he isn’t there just to make up the numbers. “I was told by certain coaches at Portsmouth I was the best ‘keeper there but due to politics and certain other reasons I couldn’t force my way into the team,” he said this week. It’s good to get away and get some games - even for the reserves. But I haven’t just come here to sit on the bench. Football is a funny game … one minute you can be out of things, the next you’re in the spotlight.”
With some doubt hanging over his playing future, Petterson is keen to add stability to his career. “I played just about every game under Alan Ball at Portsmouth but it was curtains for me when he got sacked,” said Petterson. “I’m not getting any younger and the last two years have been a waste. I’ve had a few loan moves but I want to establish myself somewhere as a regular keeper. If I do well here, who knows what will happen - if I impress and Albion offer me a contract, great. If not, hopefully someone else will sit up and take notice.”
Ashfield played host to Western Knights at all three levels on Saturday. The Under-18 clash ended in a one-all, while the Knights took out the reserves meeting 4-1 despite Ashfield’s second half dominance. After a scoreless first half, the Knights picked up the pace up the senior meeting with Eugene Singeorzan breaking the deadlock. Young Joe Reale, who replaced John Nicolaou at the break, was a constant problem for the opposing defence and sealed victory to the Knights with a well-taken goal which saw him dummy his way past goalkeeper Phil Jackson before making it 2-0.
An under strength Dianella White Eagles played Murdoch University in a friendly at Murdoch over the weekend. Starting very slowly, Dianella fund themselves two goals down within half an hour but a much better second half eventually saw honours shared with the game ending in a 2-2 draw. Elsewhere, Inglewood United defeated Stirling Lions 3-1.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Referee Jeremy Oliphant made full use of his deck in last night’s match between Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian, flashing eight yellow and three red cards in 80 minutes. Two goals down shortly after the break, Caledonian showed great composure to fight back and score twice in the final ten minutes to earn themselves a share of the points. The early match saw Swan I.C. keep their play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Fremantle City. An ingenious penalty taken by Miki Vujacic but converted by Shaun Kilkelly enabled Future Glory to defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 2-1. Perth S.C. took out Sunday’s other match, downing Cockburn City 3-2.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND SIX (Cockburn City vs Perth S.C. by Lennie Bavich)
It was a very young Fremantle City side that ran out for the Night Series clash with Swan I.C. on Friday. 16-year old goalkeeper Michael Cross made his senior debut for the club and 15-year old striker Josh Kamasz was again in the starting eleven for a team that had an average age of under 20. It was no surprise then that Swan’s experienced midfield combination dominated the over the opening exchanges and provided striker partners Sal Marapodi and Tom Shepheard plenty to work with. Shepheard went close to opening the scoring in the 9th minute, testing Cross from 14-metres following a good attacking move down the right flank orchestrated by Darren Freeman. Seven minutes later a quickly taken free-kick saw Marrpodi hammer a low shot in target which Cross saved down low to keep things on an even footing.
Fremantle didn’t create anything of note until the 20th minute when Anthony Pereira ran onto a long ball out of defence only to be stopped dead in his tracks by a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Christian Marocchi as he entered the 18-yard box. Other than that there was very little for the port side to get excited about as the Swan backline of Marocchi, Freeman and Jamie Bell in control of their third of the pitch. Down the other end Swan continued to create chances but lucky was not on their side. A high ball played into the are by Trevor Hatton after 26 minutes evaded the out-stretched arms of Cross and Shepheard, who had drifted in unmarked at the far post, was unfortunate not to re-direct it between the posts. And shortly before half time Hatton was again the provider, is long-ball from the half way line was cleverly flicked on by Shepheard to Marapodi who knocked it over the advancing ‘keeper only to see Cesare De Bartolo desperately concede a corner.
Fremantle came out after the break revitalised and could have found themselves two up within minutes. Breaking on the counter-attack, a blistering long-range strike by Kamasz curled narrowly wide of the angle, and 60-seconds later John Mirco skied a golden opportunity after a defensive error gifted him with plenty of time line-up the target. Marapodi punished the port side in the 45th minute when he raced past a defence waiting for the off-side flag and onto Carlo Scali’s well-weighted pass, the striker side-stepping Cross and slotting it into the unguarded net to make it 1-0. That lead would last just two minutes as Fremantle hit back with a controversial equaliser. Mirco’s low ball into the 6-yard box found Kamasz whose shot appeared to have been kept out by Corey Hugo, not so according to the assistant referee who judged the ball to have crossed the line much to the dismay of the Swan ‘keeper.
Annoyed at having lost their lead, Swan swung into action. Shepheard found the net in the 52nd minute only to have his effort disallowed for impeding Cross. And shortly after a brilliant weaving run by Shepheard saw his low centre find Brian Robertson who squandered the opportunity from close-range. Robertson made amends for the miss in the 64th minute with a fantastic diagonal run which took him past three defenders and into the 18-yard box before hitting the ball across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. Swan continued their assault and two minutes after re-storing the lead should have had a penalty when Cross badly mis-timed a tackle on Shepheard, the teenage forward hobbling off with an ankle injury minutes later. Fremantle threw everything into getting a second equaliser to create a tense final few minutes but their desperation lead to few genuine chances as Swan rode their luck to hold on for a deserved 2-1 win. Hatton was the star of the show with a superb performance in the middle, while Shepheard and Marapodi proved a constant danger in attack. For Fremantle it was Cross that shone in what was a disappointing display by Fremantle.
Fremantle City : Michael Cross, Daniel Trim, Glynn Busson (Jordan Andrews
54), Cesare De Bartolo, Craig Surtees, Joe Vaz, Dom Ando (Johnny Ferriera
60), Anthony Pereira, Dale Wingell, Josh Kamasz, John Mirco (David Rodgers 68)
Swan I.C. : Corey Hugo, Christian Marocchi, Jamie Bell, Darren Freeman, Darren Blankly (Adrian McBride 63), Carlo Scali, Justin Hugo, Trevor Hatton, Brian Robertson (Tom Glavovic 80), Tom Shepheard (Carlos Echoveria 68), Sal Marapodi
Referee : Derek Minett
Cautions : Bell (32), Justin Hugo (63)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 250
Despite the absence of key quartet Jason Smith, Hugh Miller, Ryan Newhill and Peter Coci, Floreat Athena came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders when they took on Bassendean Caledonian in Friday’s late fixture. Robin Dyers was denied at close range by Alan Dunlop after 6 minutes, defender Luke Croxall did well to block Adriano Biondo’s after he broke into the area, and on the quarter hour mark Jamie Trandos lifted his shot the bar from 15-metres. While Athena were quick to deliver the ball to their strikers, it was a different story for Caledonian who took far too long to get into attack and allowed Athena time to re-position themselves at the back.
Caledonian produced their first promising move of the game after 25 minutes, an excellent exchange of some ten or so passes taking them out of defence and into the opposing 18-yard box where Ian Griffiths’ volley ended half a metre wide. Two minutes later Kosta Kalavrouziotis opened the scoring after a diagonal run into the area from where he picked his spot between Dunlop and the up-right to give Athena the lead. Athena’s quick movement of the ball continued to pay off and they were unlucky not to extend the margin before the break. A good cross by Anthony Jones was headed high by Dyers after 32 minutes, and a minute before half-time Jamie Trandos sliced open the defence and sent Kalavrouziotis through on goal only for the midfielder to pull the ball wide of the far post.
Two minutes after the break Athena doubled their lead. A good pass from Jones opened up the defence and Kalavrouziotis had time to draw the ‘keeper, pick his place and make it 2-0. The dismissal of Griffiths for a second yellow card offence looked to have dampened Caledonian’s chances, but with the numerical advantage Athena eased off and allowed opponents back into the game. Gary James’ powerful shot forced Xigas into a smart save down low midway through the half, but it wasn’t until the 70th minute that things really came to life. A high ball into the area by substitute Paul Strudwick was mis-judged by goalkeeper John Xigas, and Marco Schisano had the simple task of pulling one back for Caledonian to set-up an exciting finish.
A minute later Dunlop made a fantastic flying save to keep out a curling goal bound strike by Socratous. Ithier became the second player sent off when he received his second yellow card shortly after. Strudwick nodded Dunlop’s booming long clearance past the Athena defence and into the path of Graeme Matthews who raced through the middle and knocked it past Xigas for the equaliser after 78 minutes. Less than 60-seconds later Caledonian went down to nine men following Strudwick’s second yellow card. During the four minutes of stoppage time played by referee Jeremy Oliphant, Troy Bernard and Steve Cramphorn could have snatched victory for their respective team but wasn’t to be and the points were shared after 80 minutes off football.
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Marco Schisano, George Ramm, Luke
Croxall, Aaron Moschopoloulos (Paul Strudwick 55), Gary James (Steve
Cramphorn 67), Jimmy Merkouris, Craig Naven, Devid Vitale (Darko Ilmanovski
67), Ian Griffiths, Graeme Matthews
Floreat Athena : John Xigas, Troy Bernard, Adrian Sutton, Doug Ithier, Manolis Arapis, Anthony Jones, Jamie Trandos, Kosta Kalavrouziotis, Costa Socratous, Adriano Biondo (Jimmy Christopoulos 74), Robin Dyers
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Cautions : Griffiths (14), Ithier (44), James (58), Strudwick (71), Jones (73)
Dismissals : Griffiths (46), Ithier (72), Strudwick (79)
Attendance : 350
Perth S.C. defeated Cockburn City 3-2 in their fourth round Night Series clash at Litis Stadium on Sunday evening. Cockburn took an early lead when a Roberto Colalillo pass found Jeff Bright wide on the left wing, the youngster out-pacing his marker before coolly beating Robert Scarparolo in the Perth goal to make it 1-0. Perth equalized 11 minutes into the half when a Vince Tana header on to the bar was carried over the goal line by Cockburn custodian Dino Pacella. Peter Vukmirovic gave Perth the lead after 34 minutes, slipping past the opposing defence as they tried to spring the offside trap and giving Pacella no chance to save. Colalillo failed to make Perth pay early in the second half, awarded a penalty after being tripped by central defender Aaron Cole and Scarparolo judged correctly to keep out the spot kick. Perth replaced Vukmirovic with Andreas Oliveira who wasted no time in getting into the action but his shot sailed over the bar. Cockburn replaced Dean Wallace an introduced striker Dragan Njegic with just under half an hour to play, and shortly after replaced Colalillo and Denis Stojanovic with Shane McNally and Scott Bailey who were given 20 minutes to make a impact. And Bailey did just that in the 70th minute, breaking free down the right wing and his inch-perfect cross enabled Christian Paschkewitz to head home and level the game at 2-2. With five minutes remaining Pacella denied Mark Pottier for the second time in the half, and three minutes later Todd Howarth’s goal survived the raised flag of the referee’s assistant to give Perth victory by 3-2.
Future Glory all but secured themselves a place in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over E.C.U. Joondalup in a match that will be remembered for an audacious winning goal by Shaun Kilkelly. Mileta Miletic gave Future a dream start, heading home Miki Vujacic’s pinpoint cross after just six minutes. They held that lead until the 23rd minute when Joondalup look possession near the halfway line and a quick centre saw John Greenwood clip the ball past Tony Franken for the equaliser. Seconds later Mark Benbow almost gave Joondalup the lead but headed just wide with Franken scrambling. Five minutes later Future were awarded a penalty when Ashwin Nair up-ended Vujacic inside the box, the young midfielder lining up from the spot but instead of shooting rolled the ball sideways to Kilkelly who ran into the area and easily beat perplexed goalkeeper Peter Stewart. Scott Bulloch might have equalised soon after the break but a poor first touch allowed Gareth Naven to block, then Admir Mehic was unlucky not to increase Future’s lead when his 22-metre drive bounced back of the inside of the post. Miletic also hit the woodwork for the Future after Antonio Naglieri sent him clear with a superb through ball, then Franken was forced to make a spectacular save to tip Kevin Griffiths’ long-range effort over the bar in the dying moments as Future hung on for an important win.
DE VANNA WINS TOP AWARD
17-year old Lisa De Vanna was named the Women’s National Soccer Leagues’ Rising Star at a gala event in Canberra on Friday night. After several years playing in Perth, the striker was drafted into the Adelaide Sensation team for her first taste of the national competition where her speed, skill and willingness to take on the opposition caused headaches for many a defender. De Vanna is the first Western Australian to receive a W.N.S.L. award.
The evenings major award, the Julie Dolan Medal, was taken out by New South Wales Sapphires midfielder Joanne Peters who polled 35 votes to finish ahead of debutant De Vanna (33) and Bridgette Starr (32, Canberra Eclipse). The honour of Highest Goalscorer was shared between Caitlin Munoz (Eclipse) and Sappghires teammates Kelly Golebiowski and Alicia Cavanagh, while veteran defender Anissa Tann took out the International Player of the Year.
THE WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's make or break time for Swan I.C. when they meet Fremantle City at 6.45pm in the Night Series tonight. Despite being thumped by Western Knights last weekend, Swan are still in with a mathematical chance of making the last four and will be looking for a big win over the port side to keep their slim play-off hopes alive. Swan's chances on victory may hinge on late fitness tests for young striker Tom Shepheard (ankle), Eddie Mura (hamstring) and Jamie Bell (toe).
Tonight's late game will see Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian in action for the last time with neither side likely to progress to the next stage of the tournament. Caledonian coach Allan Weir said he has been happy with the improvement shown by his side over recent weeks. "Finals are beyond us now, which is a bit disappointing, but the Night Series is about seeing the team improve," Weir said, who will be without injured striker Ramon Westerburger for tonight clash. For Athena Hugh Miller will be absent through injury, while midfielder Doug Ithier should return to the side having recently agreed to a new contract.
There's a lot on the line for the four teams involved in Sunday's Group B fixtures. Undefeated group leaders Perth S.C. can pretty much wrap up top spot should they defeat Cockburn City, who will be spurred on by the knowledge that victory will put themselves back in the running for a play-off berth. It's a similar situation for E.C.U. Joondalup when they play Future Glory later in the night with both teams seeking maximum points to go through to the knock-out stage of the competition.
On Sunday at Hilton Park (on Carrington Street, Hilton), Fremantle City's youngsters continue their preparations for the season ahead. The first team takes on a Future Glory combination, while the reserves and Under-18's face amateur side Fremantle United. The same day at Percy Doyle Reserve, Sorrento's Under-18 and reserve teams play Perth S.C. from 9.00am and 11.00am respectively.
Looking ahead to next week, Wednesday sees the second-to-last qualifying games in the Night Series. Sorrento play Swan I.C. in the early match while Inglewood United and Perth S.C. meet from 8.15pm.
CALIES SIGN CRAIG NAVEN
Former Perth Glory and Australian youth defender Craig Naven should be cleared in time to make his State League return tonight when Bassendean Caledonian take on Floreat Athena in the Night Series. Naven will spend the coming season on loan to Caledonian for the next 12-months from defending Night Series champion Perth S.C. Local professional body Soccer West Coast were close to finalising the transfer yesterday and Caledonian coach Allan Weir was preparing to throw Naven straight into the action. "If it comes through he'll play," the coach said. Another former Glory star, midfielder Paul Strudwick, is also close to making his first team comeback for Caledonian after a lengthy lay-off due to injury.
SCHOOLS TEAMS GEAR UP YEAR AHEAD
Trials for the W.A. Schoolgirls squad which will compete in August's National Championships have commence at the Britannia Road Reserve in Mount Hawthorn. Interested players are invited to attend the sessions which get underway from 4.30pm on Wednesday evenings under the watchful eye of coach Aric Foreman.
Try-outs for the Schoolboys team start on 3rd April at the same venue with coach Tony Ratcliffe. This years' Australian Schools Soccer National Championships are being held in Perth over the period 10th to 17th August. Following the event the Schoolboys team will travel to East Timor for a friendly series. Both the Australian Schoolboys and Schoolgirls will tour the United Kingdom in December.
Representative teams selected from the schools soccer program are heading to Kuala Lumpar shortly for a three-match visit. Two teams - one male, one female - consisting of Year 10, 11 and 12 students will depart Perth on Friday 19th April and return a week later. Organisers are hopeful that the visit will become a biannual event.
CONTRACT CLOSE FOR GARCIA
Speaking with his club's official website (www.whufc.co.uk) Richard Garcia has revealed that his new contract with West Ham United is all but signed and sealed. "Just the final details are being done and it is pretty much signed, really. It is just having the time and doing the thing properly, but it will be signed in the next week or so when we get around to it," he said.
"I am happy at West Ham and it looks like I am getting a chance so it is really just up to me and the way I play," Garica added. "Hopefully we can get another couple of wins under our belt and then the pressure is off, and maybe I can get a few more games under my belt to get a bit more experience. The first team is what everyone at the club aspires to and for me it has been a great season coming through, getting a few games and being on the bench. I'm just hoping I can improve more and more each day and hopefully cement my position in the first team."
During the week Garica turned out twice for the Hammers reserves. On Monday he was one of two players sent off the in the controversial 2-2 with Derby County, Garcia red carded for his second yellow card offence after 73 minutes. Two days later the attacker came off the bench for his club to score twice as they beat Queens Park Rangers 5-0 in a mid-week friendly.
Sorrento are on track to make the last four of the Night Series after a commanding 3-1 win over Floreat Athena on Sunday. A key ingredient in that result was a rock-solid performance at the back by State Under-19 player Daniel Stoitis (right) who, just five days earlier, broke his nose in the shock 0-1 loss at the hands of Bassendean Caledonian. The club are pleased to announce that veteran striker Ross Greer has returned to full-time training following the completion of his cricket commitments, and the birth of his fourth child. It will be Greer's sixth season with the Seagulls.
On other club news, goalkeeper Neil Young is still in England where he's likely to be sidelined for up to seven weeks with an abductor muscle injury. Young, who most recently trialled with Crewe Alexandrea, hopes to try out for another club once he has recovered from injury. After a spell with Northampton Town, Glen Thomas has moved on and is on trial with Third Division rivals Oxford United. Unfortunately the midfielder's clearance failed to come through in time for him to participate in the reserves mid-week meeting with Reading. If successful in winning a contract with Oxford Thomas will join fellow-Australian Scott Guyett at the club.
ONOFORO KEEN TO RETURN FOR PERTH
One noticeable absentee from Graham Normanton's squad during the Night Series has been David Onoforo who under went a groin operation late last year. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, the striker went under the surgeon's knife four before Christmas to clear up an osteitis pubis problem and is itching to get back out on the track with his club. "On average a full recovery takes around three to four months so I'll be hitting three months this Thursday (21st March)," Onoforo said this week.
"I've been restricted to swimming and cycling for the past month and I want to be back to light training by the first week of April. Hopefully I'll be ready for a start in the reserves at the beginning of the season, to get my fitness and match practice up to speed, then hopefully back in the first team come the start of May. All this is fine on paper, although some players that have had an osteitis pubis operation have taken up to twelve months to get back to where they were, so I'll just have to tread carefully, see how my groin reacts and take it from there."
CACERAS SIGNS FOR HULL
Hull City have signed midfielder Adrian Caceres on a free transfer from Southampton until the end of the season. The left-sided player scored twice for the Tigers reserves in their 6-1 home win over Mansfield Town in the Avon Insurance League Division Two last Wednesday. The 20-year old former Perth S.C. youngster headed to Southampton late in 2000 but other than a five-match loan spell at Brentford, he hasn't seen first team action since. "He's got some nice touches and took both goals very well," said Hull's caretaker-manager Billy Russell. "The lad's fitness was a bit down but that's to be expected when you're not playing first-team football." The former Perth S.C. striker was back in action on Wednesday evening, seeing out the full 90 minutes of the reserves 2-1 triumph over Carlisle United when his best scoring opportunities were turned away by goalkeeper Johnny Brain.
INGLEWOOD WIN CUP TIE
Inglewood United are through to the second stage of the Boral Cup after defeating First Division Leeming Strikers 4-0 at the National Stadium tonight.
STATE PLAYERS CATCH SCOUTS' EYE
Several local players could be in line to set-up to the ranks of the National Soccer League following some impressive individual performances in the recent friendly with South Australia in Adelaide. A number of clubs from the nations' top level competition - including Adelaide City, Northern Spirit and potential new-comers Adelaide Galaxy - sent scouts to Adelaide and by all accounts they went home with the names of some potential signings from the west amongst their possessions.
W.A. currently has well over a dozen players in the N.S.L., amongst them Greg Sharland (Wollongong Wolves), John Carbone (Brisbane Strikers), James Afkos (Marconi Stallions) and Michael Petkovic (South Melbourne). But with by far the largest W.A. contingent is our very own Perth Glory who hold the registration for Jason Petkovic, Jamie and Todd Harnwell, Craig Deans, Gareth Naven, Scott Miller, Alistair Edwards, Bobby Despotovski, Michael Garcia, Anthony Danze, Gary Faria, Tony Franken, Antonio Naglieri, David Tarka, Nick Mrdja and Vince Matassa.
SUBIACO SEEK PLAYERS
2002 will see the debut appearance of Subiaco United in the W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League and the club are on the look-out for quality players. With the season kicking-off on 7th April, interested players are invited down to training at Rosalie Park (corner of Onslow Road and Thomas Street, Shenton Park) for the senior and reserves teams on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Those interested in playing social or masters can come down on Wednesday evenings. For more information contact Max Wright (0403 534 181) or Neil Henshaw (0408 036 743).
TANA TO HELP FUND STATE UNDER-19'S TRIP
The West Australian Under-19 team will compete in this year's Tournoi de Croix in May under the Future W.A. banner after an agreement between Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana and Soccer West Coast. Tana has agreed to help finance the trip to the competition, in which the team will compete as Future W.A. in recognition of Future Glory who were accepted into the local competition this season. Future is currently taking part in the Night Series and has had a significant impact upon attendances with the overall figure up by approximately 30%. Future coach Frank Arok will travel as technical director and assist coach Gary Marocchi, who is in the process of selecting the 16-man squad.
S.W.C. president David Schrandt told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" the agreement was a clear signal the local professional organisation and Glory had moved closer to common ground after previous disagreements. "Although we've had our differences in the past, we do understand that we've benefited from the Glory," Schrandt said. "We are starting to gel together." Marocchi hopes to put together a strong, competitive squad that can contribute at least as much as the side which played in last years event. "My intention is to take the strongest possible team. I'll look at as many players as I can," the coach told to Cook. It is believed Western Knights' Ivan Zuvela and Perth duo Todd Howarth and Andres Oliveira are the front-runners for the three over-age places.
DAVIES BUSY FOR BLUES
It's been a hectic week for Birmingham City goalkeeper Clint Davies. Wearing the No.29 shirt, the 18-year old watched from the bench as the Blues first team defeated Bradford City 3-1 last Tuesday, and 24 hours later found himself in the thick of the action as the reserves downed Burnley 2-0 in their mid-week Avon Insurance League fixture. Davies was back on the bench for the first team when they recorded a 1-0 win at Norwich City on Friday, and on Monday night was between the posts for the reserves when they lost for the first time under boss Keith Bertschin 0-1 to Preston North End.
SARPE SIGNS FOR ROMANIAN CLUB
18-year old midfielder Andre Sarpe has reportedly signed for Romanian First Division club F.C. Universitatea Craiova. After spending his junior years with Kingsway Olympic, Sarpe spent 2000 in Romania where he was part of the youth set-up at Dinamo Bucharest. He returned to Perth last year when he linked up with E.C.U. Joondalup and was part of the State Under-19 team that journeyed to France last May for the Tournai de Croix.
Fremantle City's three teams were on the road on Saturday, travelling to Macedonia Park to play First Division side Stirling Lions in a series of friendlies. Fremantle's first team fought back from 0-2 down to run out 3-2 victors, while the reserves also came from behind before winning 4-3. In the Under-18's the port side was far too strong for their northern counterparts, running away with the game 11-0 courtesy of goals from John Migas (3), Paul Oliver (4), Marc Sim (2), Simon Elton-Bott and Matt Danskin.
Also on Saturday, Future Glory's Under-18 team played a friendly with a combined W.A. Country Under 16/18 side at Perth Oval. Future took out the match 6-0, the first five goals coming form Ben Rogers - his second five-goal haul in as many games - Ashley Otte netted the sixth. It was a good work out for the Future youngsters against a Country team that never gave in and played their part in a good game. Future coach Alf De Bono, although pleased with the result, will hope for a better performance in their next game. The Future team, who have been training regularly for the past eight weeks, consists of players under the age of 16.
At Ashfield on Sunday morning, Perth S.C. reserves went a goal behind to Dianella White Eagles early in their clash but finished the stronger of the two sides to win the game 2-1.
A PAIR OF YOUNG MATILDAS
National Youth coach Mike Mulvey has included two West Australians in his Young Matildas squad which will compete in the inaugural Oceania Under-19 Women's World Cup qualifying tournament in Tonga next month. New South Wales Sapphire midfielder Collette McCallum and Adelaide Sensation striker Lisa De Vanna were named in the 18-player squad that will assemble for a brief training camp mid-April before departing for the qualifiers which are start on 23rd April. McCallum was part of the national Under-19 side which took part in a four-nation tournament in New South Wales last August, while for De Vanna it will be her first competitive outing for the side.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND FIVE (Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich)
A fiery clash between E.C.U. Joondalup and Ashfield produced five goals, two red cards and a missed penalty opened this weekend's Night Series at Litis Stadium on Friday. The northern suburbs team started brightly and peppered their opponents goal in a terrific first half showing. Youngster Mark Ristofski opened the scoring after 6 minutes, and Mark Benbow doubled the lead in the 25th minute as Joondalup dominated the opening exchanges. In addition Andy Mason's saw his header brilliantly saved by Phil Jackson, Richard Watson hit the up-right and John Greenwood also scraped the frame of the goal. Joondlaup went into the break with a commanding 3-0 lead after Ristofski netted his second goal two minutes before half-time. The match would have been over five minutes into the new half had Ristofski converted from the spot, but Ashfield came back into the game after Joondalup midfielder Paddy Rooney was given his marching orders in the 59th minute. Playing their second game in three days, a powerful Karl Atley header pulled one back as Ashfield upped the tempo. Having been denied twice by Joondalup goalkeeper Peter Stewart, it was third time lucky for substitute Matt Pochroj when he scored Ashfield's second goal with six minutes remaining. Joondalup's situation worsened when State midfielder Dale McCulloch was red carded for hacking Brett Colombera from behind with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.
Cockburn City grabbed a share of the points in Friday's Night Series clash with Inglewood United courtesy of a late equaliser by substitute Shane McNally. Some poor goalkeeping by Cockburn's Dino Pacella allowed Inglewood to take the early lead when, just 3 minutes into the match, the 'keeper failed to hold an Inglewood shot and Daniel Harrop pounced on the loose ball to make it 1-0. Inglewood increased their lead just after the 30 minute mark from a corner, the Cockburn defence failing to mark Argentinean import Lucas Gobbi whose header found the back of the net. Goalkeeper Oliver Taseski kept Cockburn at bay with several superb saves, tipping Domenic De Felice's shot over the bar with his right hand before showing his versatility with a left hand save to Dragan Njegic's shot. Cockburn got a goal back from the penalty spot after young defender Jeff Bright was upended as he was about to shoot on goal, Roberto Colalillo converting from the spot. Christian Paschkewitz was also bought down in the penalty area just before half-time but referee Wayne Oldham this time did not award a penalty. With five minutes remaining, McNally spotted Taseski off his line and clipped it in the net to pull Cockburn level. Joshua Pescud, who also came off the bench, was through one-on-one with the 'keeper not long after and should have sealed the game only to hit the ball too close to Taseski. With just two games remaining in the qualifying rounds of the tournament, Cockburn now need to win on both occasions to make the last four semi finals while hoping the results of other games also go their way.
Western Knights became the first side to book their place in the semi-finals by thrashing Swan I.C. 5-0. Long-serving striker Eugene Singeorzan gave the Knights the lead before Stuart Montgomery doubled the margin on the stroke of half-time. The Knights continued their barrage after the break as their opponents wilted, Montgomery bagging his second of the game before John Nicolaou and substitute Joseph Reale filled out the scoreline. The result leaves Swan with a mathematical chance of making the play-offs but they'll have to win big over Fremantle City and Sorrento for that to become a reality.
Floreat Athena's chances of making the play-off stage of the Night Series received a body blow when they were defeated 3-1 by Sorrento in Sunday's late fixture. With the Seagulls dominant over the opening period, Ryan Jeans put the side in front with a header after 21 minutes, and eleven minutes later David Foster doubled the margin by tucking away Jared Love's cross. Athena's only real chance of the half came the way of Jimmy Christopoulos whose shot crashed into the up-right shortly before the interval. 51 minutes into the new half Robyn Dyers gave Athena hope when he pulled a goal back, but Love shattered the home teams plans when he made it 3-1 shortly after. The loss was not the sort of start caretaker-coach Peter Koulizos was after. The club's vice-president stepped in to fill the gap after John Hunter re-signed following last week's 3-1 win over Fremantle City. Hunter left saying he was unable to take the club in the direction he wanted, "I didn't really have much of a say in what was happening," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian".
NAVEN RETURNS TO LIFT TROPHY
Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven (right) made his return to the club's starting eleven just in time to lift the National Soccer League minor championship trophy prior to Saturday's home clash with Newcastle United. It ended a long and frustrating spell on the sidelines for Naven who had been limited to two brief appearances as a substitute this season. Having celebrated his 33rd birthday just a fortnight ago, the nuggetty midfielder spent the early part of the 2001/02 campaign recovering from a groin operation and has recently has been improving his match fitness in the Night Series with Future Glory. With injury ruling out several first team regulars, Naven took his chance against Newcastle and, with the title wrapped up, "it was easier for the coach to pick me," he said prior to the game. "Winning the league was great for the club, for our fantastic fans and mostly for our great group of players," he added. "There is very good camaraderie in this club."
Born in Wigan, England, Naven and twin brother Craig spent their junior years playing locally for Gosnells City and Bayswater City which lead to both representing Australia at 1985's Under-16 World Championship in China. Gareth made his State League debut in 1987 for Perth Italia before stepping up to the national Soccer League with Adelaide City where he managed just a dozen appearances in his two years with the club. He returned to Perth and helped the club lift numerous trophies between 1990 and 1995, Naven himself collecting the W.A. Fairest and Best medal in 1992. Having co-captained the Perth Kangaroos to the S-League title, Naven was an automatic choice to lead Glory when they were accepted into the N.S.L. for the 1996/97 season. An ever-present in 1997/98, Naven has picked up several club awards, namely the Most Glorious Player (1999/2000), the Supporters Player of the Year (1999/2000) and the Clubman Award (2000/01) on his way to making 143 appearances for Glory (as of 18/03).
KARP EXCITED BY PROSPECTS
Midfielder Tal Karp was thrilled to be part of the Canberra Eclipse side that defeated pre-match favourites New South Wales Sapphires in last weekend's Women's National Soccer League Grand Final. "It was a great game to come out of with a win. It wasn't the best game of football you've ever seen but we came last last season and to go into this game and come out with a victory was pretty exciting," Karp told Penny Tanner and Martin Wells on Radio Fremantle's (107.9FM) Saturday Morning Soccer Show. While the result gave Eclipse their first ever W.N.S.L. trophy, Karp said it was all the sweeter after the Sapphires snatched a last gasp victory when the sides last met. "It was a bit of a turn around from the last game we played when, although they won, we were a goal up until about the last seven minutes when they scored two … but it works either way, nothing's fair in football."
2001/02 has been a great season for Karp who was recently named as one of four stand-by players for the Matilda's as they prepare for an international tournament in France against the host nation, Canada, and Japan next month. "It's great to be in the stand-by squad. We've got a training camp for two weeks starting tomorrow (Sunday) and it will just be a good chance to be able to train with all the girls that have been in the Olympics and the Australian team for quite a while. They go to France straight after the camp and if anyone's injured then I'd be willing to jump in and got to France." The 20-year has put on hold her plans to play in America after recently winning a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport.
U.W.A. SEEK COACH (by Kevin Burton)
The University of W.A. seek a coach for their reserve team ahead of the up-coming W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League season. Head coach Kevin Burton is looking for someone either in a coaching development role or an experienced former player who would like to put something back into the game (and could even be a playing coach role if the hunger is still there to play). The U.W.A. train twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 6.30pm and 8.15pm at McGillivray Oval at Mount Claremont. However, the minimum time commitment would be at least every Thursday and of course on Sundays for the matches which kick-off at 1.00pm. U.W.A. have a good and keen squad of players in the reserves and the team scored over 100 goals last season in winning the title and making the quarter-finals of the reserves Amateur Cup. Ideally, the club are looking for someone that loves soccer, has a positive attitude and wants to be part of a successful team. The facilities and players at the club would make this an enjoyable challenge in what will be an exciting season for both the first eleven and reserves. Interested parties are invited to contact Kevin Burton on 0417 369 794 or via kevin.p.burton.@bhpbilliton.com.
THE WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Ashfield face the difficult task of their fourth game in 12 days when they take on E.C.U. Joondalup from 6.45pm tonight. Friday’s late game sees Cockburn City, who must win if they want to progress to the next stage of the tournament, against an Inglewood United team buoyed by last week’s 2-0 win over Future Glory. Victory on Sunday by Western Knights should pretty much secure their place in the last four, but there will be no favours from second-placed Swan I.C. From 8.00pm Sorrento play Floreat Athena and with places two through to six separated by just one point on the Group A table both sides are in need of taking all points on offer.
HUNTER PARTS COMPANY WITH ATHENA
Floreat Athena will go into this Sunday’s Night Series clash with Sorrento minus coach John Hunter who parted company with the club just days after recording a 3-1 win over Fremantle City in the Night Series. In his one full season at the helm of Athena Hunter, a former State striker, steered the club to third place on the Premier League table after they narrowly avoided relegation in 2000. In addition, under Hunter the club finished 2001 as runners-up in each of the three local play-off competitions, the Night Series, Boral Cup and Champion of Champions. It is believed Hunter left the club on amicable terms.
AROK PLEASED WITH FUTURE BOYS
Future Glory have started their time in the local competition in fine form. In their opening month of Soccer West Coast competition the youngsters have recorded three wins, one draw and a single loss from their five outings. Interviewed in the latest issue of Perth Glory’s official publication “Glory Days”, coach Frank Arok said he was pleased with the progress being made by the side. “It’s better than I expected. The Under-19’s are doing quite well,” said Arok. “There are some very talented kids and I am quite happy to say the big guys - Mich (d’Avray) and Alan (Vest) - have been very surprised with some of the players.”
While he is currently out of action through injury, former Floreat Athena junior Tomislav Crnkovic said Future was a great stepping stone for a career at the next level. “This is a really good thing for us,” said the striker. “You can’t get this kind of training, this kind of work anywhere else. It’s like a soccer school, you’ve got a 100 percent better chance of getting a better club, getting to the N.S.L.” Crnkovic’s thoughts were echoed by midfielder Peter Lord, formerly with Armadale, who added that the training sessions were more intense than he’d been used to. “Frank doesn’t let us stop,” he said. “It’s a lot more physical and mentally demanding but if you’re willing to put your body through it, then you can do it mentally. It’s hard training but I’m enjoying it and if you enjoy it, you’ll do alright won’t you?”
ROUGH END OF THE STICK FOR ASHFIELD AND CALEDONIAN
The folks at Ashfield and Bassendean Caledonian must be wondering what they did to have been handed such a difficult start to the month. Ashfield, recently promoted from the First Division, have had the gruelling task of playing four times in the space of 12 days. They began the month with a Boral Cup match against Wanneroo City before a punishing Night Series schedule in which they play Perth S.C., Future Glory and E.C.U. Joondalup in quick succession. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they now have to wait 18 days before their next official game! It’s a similar story for Caledonian who started March with the Night Series clash with Fremantle City, faced Queens Park in the Cup three days later and this week played Western Knights and Sorrento in a return to Night Series action for four games in 13 days!
MCCALLUM PUTS FINAL LOSS BEHIND HER
For young Collette McCallum the Grand Final of the Women’s National Soccer League last weekend didn’t quite go according to script. A regular for New South Wales Sapphires this season, McCallum had started the match on the bench as the Sapphires dominated the season decider, coming on with 16 minutes remaining and eight minutes after Canberra Eclipse scored what would prove to be the only goal of the afternoon. But there was a bright side to the day for the Perth-born teenager. “The Grand Final loss was disappointing and I would have liked to have played from the start as I’ve been playing well, but the coach picks the team so I have to accept it … at least I got to watch Perth Glory win against Parramatta and take out the League!”
Less than 24-hours after the Grand Final loss, McCallum was back on the park playing for the New South Wales Academy side in the 11-team N.S.W. Women’s Super League. “I scored two goals on Sunday in our first game for the season when we played Mingara Lakers and won 7-0,” said the 15-year old midfielder. Rated as a player of “world class” by Sapphires coach Allan Bourke, McCallum is also looking forward to pulling in national colours once again. “My main aim now is to travel with the Young Matilda’s to Tonga and play in the Under-19 World Cup qualification games next month, and then go to the Under-19 World Cup in Canada in August.”
MID-WEEK SUCCESS THIUMPH FOR CALIES
Bassendean Caledonian recorded their first win of the Night Series on Wednesday despite a late surge from a determined Sorrento side at Litis Stadium. Sorrento's Gareth Deeg was the first of the 'keeper's called into action when, in the 9th minute, he courageously dived at the feet of Jason Van Rooy after being left exposed by his defence. Four minutes later it was Alan Dunlop's turn, the 'keeper tipping a superb long-range effort from David Foster over the bar. With much of the half dominated by some rock solid defending, it wasn't late in the period that the game really came to life. Deeg again kept his side in the game when he saved a Van Rooy shot from point-blank range after the defence was caught waiting for the referee's whistle. In the 33rd minute Dunlop produced a fantastic double save, first deflecting Kevin Murphy's close-range shot onto the bar and following it up with spectacular diving save to keep out Gary James' header from the rebound. Finishing strongly, Sorrento eventually beat Dunlop when Sean Fallon squeezed it past the 'keeper only to find young defender Luke Croxall on the line to clear.
The deadlock was finally broken three minutes into the new half, Graeme Matthews' square ball saw Ramon Westerberger hold off his marker and slot it across Deeg and inside the netting on the far side. Sorrento Substitute Gareth Phillips stretched Dunlop with his first touch of the ball, a looping header that the 'keeper knocked over the bar after 51 minutes. The Caledonian midfield by this stage had the upper hand and but would goalscoring chances hard to come by courtesy of a very strong defence which had Kevin Murphy and Iain Deans at it's heart. But as the clock ticked down the pendulum slowly began to swing the other way with several tense moments in the Caledonian backline over the final 15 minutes. A determined run through the middle by Stuart Banks saw him swing the ball wide as the defence backed off. Then Jared Love saw his shot tipped around the post by Dunlop. The action temporarily returned to the opposite end where Deeg made another courageous save, this time at the feet of Fallon after he raced onto a long ball from the middle. Without breaking stride, Sorrento surged back into attack and won themselves a corner which saw Fallon's downward header blocked on the line. Two minutes from full-time Sorrento should have equalised through Phillips after Love's cross evaded Dunlop and a defender but the young forward - completely unmarked and with an open goal at his mercy - nodded it high.
Future Glory continued their march towards the last four with a 2-1 win over Ashfield in the late game. Alistair Edwards came close to opening the scoring after 12 minutes when his first-time angled shot slid wide of the far post, and shortly after Miki Vujacic chipped over the bar after some superb lead-up work from Michael Garcia. Ashfield were denied by the sharp reflexes of Vince Matassa who turned a fierce Darren Yates' drive from 12-metres over the bar. In an all-action opening, Vujacic found the target in th 23rd minute when fired home Mileta Miletic's cross from close range. Four minutes later Miletic doubled the margin, latching onto a brilliant through ball by Antonio Naglieri and showing great composure to round Jackson and slot the ball into the empty net. Not to be out-done, Karl Atley pegged a goal back for Ashfield eight minutes from half-time when controlled Yates' cross and expertly volleyed past Matassa from 9-metres. And shortly before the break Yates had a chance to level the scores but shot wide with only the 'keeper to beat. Both sides rode their luck in the second half in which Edwards twice came close to finishing Ashfield off, while Naglieri squandered a golden opportunity from the top of the six yard box.
JONES BACK AFTER ENGLISH TRIALS
Young striker Tom Jones has returned to Perth after English trials with Third Division clubs Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle. "While at Exeter I played for the Under-17's against Swansea, we won 3-0 and I scored one of our goals. I was there for two weeks and they said they would have signed me but they are so much in debt they can't even pay any of their players, so that was the end of that. After that I went to Plymouth, I was there for three weeks and played two games for the Under-19's. The first was against Cardiff in really bad conditions which we won 2-0 and the other was the derby game with Exeter which we lost 0-1, again the weather was dreadful."
Having returned to Perth last week, the teenager said he was glad to be home and was now looking forward to get back out on the park and enjoying the West Australian sunshine. "I came back to Australia because of two reasons really - homesickness and the shitty weather they were getting in England. I enjoyed my time with both Exeter and Plymouth, and have got the chance to go back in July and be given a scholarship, but it's very unlikely that I will take up the offer. I want to concentrate on getting into the State-16 team which goes over to Sydney later in the year, and hopefully make my debut for the Joondalup first team."
BROKEN LEG ENDS HOWELLS' SEASON
The English season has come to a premature end for Cheltenham Town's Lee Howells who broke his leg 33 minutes into last week's match with Bristol Rovers. The long-serving midfielder was carried off on a stretcher following a challenge for a 50/50 ball with Latvian international Vitalis Astafjevs, and although initial impressions suggested otherwise, hospital x-rays later revealed the full extend of the injury. The news comes just a week after the 33-year old Howells' agreed to a new two-year contract with the club that is in contention for the Third Division play-offs.
Robins manager Steve Cotterill said the injury to Howells was a massive blow to his club's play-off hopes. "Archie has broken his tibia and has two cracks in his fibula as well," Cotterill told the club's official website (www.cheltenhamtownfc.com). "He will be in plaster up to his groin for around four weeks, the plaster will then come off and he will be x-rayed again. The decision will then be made whether to leave him in the full plaster or use a shorter one below the knee for a further two weeks. It's obviously a massive blow for the club, and going into the kind of fixtures we have ahead of us Lee is not someone you would want to lose."
The youth teams of Fremantle City and Perth S.C. met over the weekend with honours shared at the end of the day. An entertaining Under-18's clash saw impressive performances from both sides with the 1-1 half-time scoreline a fair indication of proceedings. But after the break Fremantle ran away with the match win end up victors 5-1 with State Under-16 midfielder John Migas netting a hat-trick along with singles from Marc Sim and Danny Barlow. To square the ledger Perth took out the Under-21's friendly 3-0 with all their goals coming in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Dianella White Eagles played their first game of 2002 on Sunday afternoon, defeating Wanneroo City 3-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND FOUR
Friday's early Night Series match pitted the so-far undefeated Western Knights against Group A strugglers Bassendean Caledonian whose coach Allan Weir took the opportunity to provide a number of the clubs youngsters a run with the first team. With lightning cracking all around and a light summer's shower falling, it didn't take long for the Knights central players to take control of the game and reduce their own defence to little more than spectator status. Caledonian 'keeper Alan Dunlop was in for a busy evening, making his first save from a powerful Ray Marinovic drive after just 7 minutes, and shortly after blocking Carl Medica's after he was teed-up by Claus Nielsen. A good over-lapping move in the 17th minute saw Paul McVittie send Medica through on goal, Dunlop against called into action to deny the pacey midfielder.
The Knights finally got the breakthrough after 19 minutes courtesy of some sloppy defending. Playing the ball into the area from the right, Nielsen picked out the unmarked Marinovic who, with space to manoeuvre slammed the ball across the line off the underside of the bar. With wide players Medica and Marinovic relishing in the opportunity to run at the Caledonian defence, the Knights were simply out-running their opponents. George Ramm prevented what looked certain to be the Knights second goal in the 33rd minute when he cleared McVittie's header off the line. Caledonian's first real shot came two minutes from the interval, Gary James finding Gannon Jones inside the 18-yard box but his first-time shot skimmed the playing surface and ended a metre wide. The final minute of the half saw Marinovic race the ball down the right flank before sending a low cross into the area which narrowly evaded the out-stretched leg of Stuart Montgomery.
Coach Weir's half-time words of wisdom saw Caledonian kick-off the new half with renewed enthusiasm, winning a corner within 40-seconds of the re-start. A minute later Simon Henderson saw his explosive shot on the turn knocked wide by Tommi Tomich. Devid Vitale played the resulting corner into the heart of the dangerzone where Ramon Westerberger's header was cleared off the line. It was a much more confident Caledonian side whose passes were now hitting their intended targets with some very promising moves being strung together featuring wide players Henderson and Aaron Moschopoulos. Vitale tested Tomich with a superb curling shot, and 30-seconds later Graeme Matthews flicked the ball past the advancing 'keeper only to see Russell block it's path to goal. Matthews out-muscled two opponents in the 50th minute before placing his shot from the top of the area slightly too high, and not long after Moschopoulos' header from another Caledonian corner went narrowly over the bar. With by far the better of play, Caledonian suffered a body blow when hard-working midfielder Vitale was forced from the field through injury, the side losing much of their drive from the centre in the process.
The Knights clawed their way back into the game over the final 20 minutes, Dunlop making a great diving save to keep out Nielsen's rasping right-footer. With Caledonian showing clear signs of tiring having played three games in eight day, Westerberger called Tomich into action for the last time tonight, the 'keeper unable to hold his shot but recovering as Matthews raced in for the crumbs. Seven minutes after coming on, young Joseph Reale had a golden opportunity to seal victory of the Knights when he ran onto a long ball from midfield only to send it wide as Dunlop advanced to narrow the angle. The final ten minutes of the match petered out as both teams began to feel the full effects of the humid conditions, the Knights holding on to record their third win of the tournament and open up a three-point gap at the top of the Group A table. For the victors it was Danish midfielder Nielsen that worked hardest all evening while, against his old club, Westerberger was the stand-out performer for Caledonian.
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Marco Schisano, George Ramm, Luke
Croxall, Gannon Jones (Aaron Moschopoulos 40), Simon Henderson, Ian
Griffiths (Gary James 22), Devid Vitale (Jason Van Rooy 50), Jimmy
Merkouris, Graeme Matthews, Ramon Westerberger
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Evan Wallace (Steve MacDonald 59), David Annall, Leon Russell, Carl Medica, Claus Nielsen, Ray Marinovic, Alex Christie, Paul McVittie, Stuart Montgomery (John Nicolaou 69), Eugene Singeorzan (Joseph Reale 63)
Referee : ???
Cautions : McVittie (28), Westerberger (53)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 400
The late match between Ashfield and Perth S.C. started at lightning pace with Albert Osei-Tutu and Karl Atley both denied, at opposite ends of the park, by the sharp reflexes of the respective goalkeepers within 5 minutes of kick-off. After an even opening period, Perth took the lead in the 21st minute when Rob Giorgi and Osei-Tutu thoughtfully combined to set-up Adam Bunce who made no mistake from close range. Three minutes later the margin was doubled when Perth were awarded a dubious penalty when Dino Djulbic came down in side the area, young goalkeeper Johnathon Van Der Voet getting his glove to Mark Pottier's spot-kick only for the ball to go in off the post. Ashfield's best chance of the half came in after 27 minutes when Brett Colombera picked out Atley whose shot was well saved by Robert Scarparolo. Two minutes from the interval Steven Willey made it 3-0 when he drilled the ball under the body of Van Der Voet after he blocked Osei-Tutu's initial shot.
In his return to State League football, Robbie Puca proved to be a constant headache for the Ashfield midfield and five minutes into the second half he came close to adding Perth's fourth goal after a good lead-up by Pottier. Play continued in the same vein as Ashfield were forced to defend for much of the half with good opportunities coming the way of Giorgi and Bunce in quick succession. Perth went down to ten men in the 52nd minute when Robbie Gaspar was dismissed for his second yellow card offence, and Ashfield responded by winning a rare corner which saw David Mayers' strong header blocked by Scarparolo. But at the other end the onslaught continued unabated - Osei-Tutu was denied by the 'keeper, Pottier pulled the ball wide, substitute Tony Cumace tried his luck from distance and defender Michael Icanovski sent his shot into the waiting arms of Van Der Voet. Relying chiefly on the counter-attack, Ashfield pulled a goal back eight minutes from full-time when Scarparolo parried Aaron Cowdrey's blast and, in the ensuing scramble, Mark Donnelly bundled the bobbling ball over the line. Unfortunately Ashfield substitute Ric Fonseca was red carded during the ensuing celebrations for reasons unknown. At the end of the weekend's fixtures Perth would remain as the only undefeated Group B team after three games, while Ashfield languish at the foot of the table without a point to their credit.
Future Glory suffered their first loss of the Night Series when they went down 2-0 to an impressive Inglewood United side on Sunday. Fielding a young side, Future got off to a dreadful start with Admir Mehic glancing Paul Lincoln's cross into his own net after just 3 minutes. It wasn't until the 18th minute that Frank Arok's team create their first chance, Brad North dragging his shot wide from the edge of the area. Michael Baczynski should have doubled Inglewood's lead two minutes later but fired over from 5-metres, and shortly after Lincoln headed straight to Franken after the veteran goalkeeper was caught out of position. Kostadin Manolev had Future's best chance of the half but his close-range effort was cleared off the line. Early in the second period Inglewood substitute Lucas Gobbi's shot on the turn crashed against the bar, then Franken made a stunning save to turn Baczynski's shot wide for a corner. Inglewood's persistence paid off when, after 53 minutes, Gobbi beat the 'keeper with a tremendous diving header after a superb move on the left by Andy Cornmell. Gobbi almost grabbed a spectacular second late in the match but Franken was alert and saved well after the Argentine beat four players on a mazy run into the area. Defender Shaun Kilkelly again turned in an impressive performance for Future, while Miki Vujacic and Mehic also showed their class.
The late Group A fixture pitted Floreat Athena against Fremantle City with both sides needing maximum points to keep alive their slim hopes of making the semi-final stage of the pre-season tournament. The port side took the lead through young midfielder Anthony Pereira, but Athena were back on level terms when Kostas Kalavroutziotis found the target. A superb long ball by defender Anthony Jones sent Costa Socratous through for Athena's second, and Adriane Biundo made it 3-1 before shortly before half-time. Neither side was able to add to their tally after the interval.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE (Cockburn City vs Rockingham City by Lennie Bavich)
Having stepped up from the state's amateur ranks over the summer, Mandurah City made their long-awaited Soccer West Coast debut when they travelled to play Bayswater City in the opening round of this years' Boral Cup competition. After a hesitant opening few minutes, both sides settled to confidently stroke the ball around the park, resulting in some with some good passages of play when going forward. The first chance of the afternoon came the way of the home side in the 8th minute when Gareth Healey opened up the Mandurah defence with a superb pass that found Andrew O'Neill, the young striker pulling his shot wide of the far post. Two minutes later the visitors were presented with a golden opportunity of their own following a dreadful defensive error by Daniel Naumovski, but Michael Bobridge mis-hit his low shot from 12-metres.
With much of the game taking place between the 18-yard boxes, Bayswater's midfield stepped up a gear, their thoughtful use of the ball giving the home side the upper hand. Latching onto a nice pass from the middle, Jamie Kumkar showed great skill to evade the challenges of two opponents before sending a scorching shot on target which Mandurah goalkeeper Michael Green was happy to knock wide for a corner. Bayswater's dominance was rewarded after 19 minutes when a well-worked short corner permitted Matthew Novatsis to send the ball high into the 6-yard box and Kevin Henderson's powerful header hit the net after taking a slight deflection off a defender. Six minutes later the margin was doubled when Henderson curled his long-range free-kick around the defensive wall, Green parried the shot and O'Neill reacted quickest to slam the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Stunned at conceding twice in quick time, Mandurah sparked into life. Attacking midfielder Sean Kearns tried his luck from distance after 29 minutes that had Bayswater goalkeeper Bill Todorovski frantically back-peddling to keep it out of the top corner. A minute later a Sean Kearns played a free-kick low into the penalty area and, with a slice of luck, Michael Bobridge flicked it past the 'keeper from close-range. Shortly after a ball played through the Bayswater defence saw Andrew Rennie race clear only to hit it wide from 14-metres. Mandurah were very much back in the contest and in the 37th minute found their equaliser through Bobridge, Rennie pulling the ball across the face of goal from close to the by-line and Bobridge was there at the far post to slide it across the line. Bayswater only chance of the period came a minute from the break when a strong run by O'Neill took him past two defenders and into the area where his rising shot skimmed the wrong side of the bar.
Mandurah started the second half where they left off the first. Full of running, the visitors put Bayswater on to the back foot and their defence under all the pressure. Three minutes after the interval a good long-range effort by Rennie was stopped on the line by Todorovski. After winning three corners in four minutes, a bullet-like free-kick from Sean Kearns went inches over the bar. And not long after Gary Collins' explosive header from another corner also ended high. While Mandurah moved the ball around the park quickly to take them into their attacking third, Bayswater were guilty of putting themselves under unnecessary pressure by dallying on the ball for far too long, giving their opponents plenty of time to get numbers behind the ball and stifle any potential attack.
Bayswater's only clear-cut chance of the half came from a dead ball situation after 74 minutes, Henderson against hitting it low past the wall only for his shot to come back into play off the base of the up-right. With extra- time looming, both teams searched desperately for a late decider which resulted in a handful of scattered half chances, as well as a superb shot from the top of the area by Rennie which brought out the best in Todorovski. With neither side able to break the deadlock after 90 minutes, it would take just four short minutes of the golden-goal period to decide the outcome. In a swift counter-attacking move, Kumkar's perfect-weighted pass from the centre circle released O'Neill through the middle, the striker clipping it over the advancing Green from just outside the area as Mandurah's defence closed him down. It was without a doubt the best move of the match and a goal deserving of winning a Cup final!
While history will show that Bayswater won 3-2, this was very much an even-handed affair in which either side could have progressed to the next round. Mandurah striker Bobridge kept the opposing defence on high alert for the duration, while Sean Kearns provided the visitors drive from the centre. Veteran midfielder Willie Herd served Bayswater well with a tireless performance, along with club captain Henderson and two-goal hero O'Neill. "I was happy with the endeavour that the team put in," said Bayswater coach Salv Todaro post-match. "It was a good, tight contest and I was pleased that we worked hard all the way to the end, and that the young boys kept competing and they now know what is expected of them. I'd also like to congratulate Mandurah on an excellent game, they are a welcome addition to the league and I wish them all the best for the year." Special mention must also be made of referee Michael Diver whose contribution was a near-faultless showing this afternoon, allowing the game to take its natural course and rarely getting involved unnecessarily - refereeing of this calibre all too often goes unrecognised.
Bayswater City : Bill Todorovski, Daniel Naumovski, Scott Payne (Mark
Paratore 55), Daniel Van Gelovski, Gareth Healey, Jason Lawton (Kristian
Novatsis 84), Kevin Henderson, Willie Herd (Nicola Stojanovski 77),
Matthew Novatsis, Jamie Kumkar, Andrew O'Neill
Mandurah City : Michael Green, Gary Collins, Mathew Ferguson, Steve Adams, Peter Knight (Alan Fitzmaurice 81), John Transfield, Cliff Kearns, Danny Moore, Sean Kearns, Andrew Rennie, Michael Bobridge
Referee : Michael Divers
Cautions : C.Kearns (66)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 150
Cockburn City romped home in the First Round of the Cup with an eight goal haul against Rockingham City at Dalmatinac Park. The opening goal came from Dean Wallace after some good work by Dragan Njegic and newcomer Christian Paschkewitz in the Rockingham penalty area. Roberto Colalillo netted the second after being set-up by Jeff Bright who played well on the left side of midfield, and when Paschkewitz was up-ended 8-metres from goal Colalillo scored his second of the afternoon, this one from the penalty spot. The home's first half dominance gave goalkeeper Dino Pacella a free ride with very little to do. Paschkewitz scored his side's fourth, rounding Alan Matteucci in the Rockingham goal after 68 minutes. Seven minutes later came Cockburn's fifth, Colalillo passing to Njegic who slotted it home. Paschkewitz pass enabled Colalillo to complete his hat-trick not long after. With 10 minutes left remaining the visitors mounted a late onslaught, dragging a fine save out of Jeff Cargill (who had just replaced Pacella) which he was unable to hold and from the ensuing scramble Rockingham scored a consolation goal. Not to be out-done, Colalillo and Paschkewitz both added to their tallies to complete the rout at 8-1. Mark Jackson, coach of Cockburn, deserves praise for his inspired vision of partnering Colalillo and Paschkewitz in attack who netted six goals between them.
In the northern suburbs E.C.U. Joondalup proved too strong for First Division opponents Morley Windmills. Starting with just one striker, Windmills constantly thwarted their opponents over the opening 45 minutes courtesy of a five-man defence which snuffed out Joondalup's better attacking moves. A number of tactical and positional changes made by home coach Paul Simmons at the interval break paid off inside the opening ten minutes of the new half. Garin Collins opened the scoring with a tremendous volley from 17-metres, and shortly after John Greenwood forced the ball over the line from a well-worked free kick. The two goals have the effect of opening up the game as Windmills went in to the attack in the hope of up-setting their opponents. But it wasn't to be and Joondalup progress to the round of 16 by a 2-0 margin.
Elsewhere in the second part of Round One of the Boral Cup, Perth City won the local derby with Kingsway Olympic 4-3 in golden-goal extra-time, Balcatta downed Stirling Suns 3-1 and Southside United defeated Canning City 2-1.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18’S ROUND-UP
Extra-time was needed to settle the reserves Boral Cup match between Cockburn City and Rockingham City after the scores were tied at 1-1, goals from Colin Copperwaite and Bryn Griffiths seeing Cockburn into the next round of the competition. Mandurah City won 4-0 over home side Bayswater City, who had two players red carded within minutes of each other early in the second half. E.C.U. Joondalup had a comfortable 3-1 win over Morley Windmills, and Balcatta accounted for Stirling Suns by the same score. Kingsway Olympic went down 2-5 at home to Perth City, and Southside United crept over the line 1-0 against Canning City.
Two goals from Omar Lemzouri and a third by substitute Daniel Collins enabled Cockburn to win the Under-18’s clash with Rockingham 3-0. Joondalup hit ten past Morley without reply, Bayswater City defeated Mandurah 2-1, and Perth City came out on top of Kingsway Olympic 3-0. Canning City needed penalties to separate them from Southside United 4-2, and Balcatta won on forfeit over Stirling Suns.
HONOURS SHARED WITH SOUTH AUSTRALIA (with thanks to Kerry from Adelaide Soccer - www.citynet.com.au/adsoc)
Western Australia have held South Australia to a scoreless draw in Saturday's Fasta Pasta Centenary Challenge match at Hindsmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. Both sides had their chances but failed to make the most of them in an entertaining match watched by a crowd of little over 1,000. While W.A. took to the field in their traditional colours of black and gold, the home side fronted in a replica of their 1905 strip of all white with a diagonal red stripe. The visitors were the quickest of the two teams to settle, dominating the opening first 20 minutes and creating several chances through Michael Garcia on the left and lively forward Andreas Oliviera.
S.A. worked their way back into the match with midfielder Aaron Westervelt left wingback Michael Pirone sending some dangerous crosses into their 18-yard box. But the strong and at times physical defence of Troy Bernard, Aaron Cole and Adrian Sutton stood firm. On the few occasions they were breached goalkeeper Corey Hugo came to the rescue of the team from the west. IN the 32nd minute he denied S.A. captain Michael Brooks with a world-class save from a header at point-blank range, and four minutes later turned a rasping left-footer by Frank Sergi around the post.
The home side started the new half with renewed enthusiasm, forcing their opponents into defence and to reply on counter-attacking moves. Hugo was again called into action in the 52nd minute, this time producing another spectacular save to keep out Brooks' powerful shot from 6-metres. Not long after Bill Misailidis and Pirone combined on the left to tee-up Sergi who pushed a simple header wide. With the warm afternoon taking it's toll on the players, both coaches looked to their benches to introduce fresh legs and try and find the goal to break the deadlock. While the score ended in a nil-all draw, this was an entertaining match played between two committed sides relishing the opportunity to wear their State colours. Corey Hugo contributed with a man-of-the-match performance for the west, while others that impressed included Garcia, Bernard, Cole and Todd Howarth. For S.A. their best players were Pirone, Sam Barbaro, George Tsonis, Westervelt and Misailidis.
"The young lads gave themselves to W.A. soccer 100% today," commented W.A. coach Robbie Dunn post-match. "It was a better result than you think because the South Australian side have been training since November and were predicting a 5-0 scoreline. Our performance today was fantastic. Troy Bernard gave everything, I had to take him off 10 minutes after half time and put on young Ivan Zuvela at sweeper and at 19 he played like a veteran. Another outstanding performer was Dale McCulloch, he was absolutely brilliant and took over the captains armband when Troy went off. If you'd have watched the team today, nil-nil doesn't really reflect the game." Praise was also heaped on goalkeeper Corey Hugo who constantly frustrated the home forwards with a series of great saves.
KARP HELPS ECLIPSE TO CHAMPIONSHIP
20-year old midfielder Tal Karp was part of the Canberra Eclipse side that lifted the Women’s National Soccer League trophy on Saturday by defeating New South Wales Sapphires 1-0 at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney. The Sapphires, who went through the home-and-away season undefeated, dominated the match only for Eclipse to score with their first attack when Caitlin Munoz netted after 66 minutes. While Karp ended up on the winning team, another Perth girl, Collette McCallum, came on in the 74th minute as the Sapphires searched for an equaliser.
THE WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Saturday sees the second part of the opening round of this season's Boral Cup competition. Cockburn City host Rockingham City in the south of the river derby, while at the other end of the city Kingsway Olympic take on Perth City in another local clash. Elsewhere, E.C.U. Joondalup are at home to Morley Windmills, Balcatta play Stirling Suns, Southside United take on Canning City, and at Frank Drago Reserve it's Bayswater City verses League new-comers Mandurah City.
Book-ending these games is the Midland Brick sponsored Night Series. On Friday night Western Knights take on Bassendean Caledonian at 6.45pm followed by Perth S.C. against Ashfield. Inglewood United verses Future Glory is the early fixture on Sunday with Floreat Athena and Fremantle City meeting at 8.00pm. All games will be played at Litis Stadium.
KNIGHTS SEEK PLAYERS
Premier League club Western Knights are looking for new players to add their senior, juniors and amatuer squads. The club, which is based at Nash Field in Mosman Park, have a long and proud tradition as one of the state's top performers with their most recent success coming in 2000 when they lifted the Boral Cup and striker John Nicolaou was named the top flight's Leading Goalscorer. Nicolaou, along with club captain Scott Devine and 18-year old defender Ivan Zuvela, are part of the current Western Australian State squad. Players interested in joining the Knights for 2002 should contact Basil Zuvela on 9433 2505.
FIRST DIVISION PLANS SCRAPPED
Soccer West Coast have been forced to bow to the demands of their member clubs and scrap the proposed idea of seeding clubs for the coming First Division season. Instead, the First Division sides have opted for the more equitable solution of names being drawn out of a hat to determine who plays who twice this winter. In essence it will be a case of the first eight clubs drawn out will play eachother twice and the remaining nine clubs once. The first round of the competition has been pushed back to after Easter as a result.
JUNIORS BACK WITH S.A.W.A.
The state's soccer community is united again following the restoration of the Junior Soccer Association under the Soccer Administration of Western Australia umbrella. The move ends a rift that had seen the juniors, representing some 20,000 young players across the state, out of synch with the controlling body. Under new president Louis Prospero and the S.A.W.A. board, the J.S.A. has been welcomed back to the fold. "It is another sign that soccer in Western Australia is putting the past and personal politics behind it," said Prospero this week. "People now recognise that for soccer to progress we need to work together for the improvement of the game, not get bogged down in petty disputes between various arms of the code."
That wasn't the only good news Prospero had to share. "I am also pleased to announce that the problem of Perth Glory's affiliation fees has been resolved. The original amount levied upon Perth Glory has been paid in full and an agreed annual fee will be paid. Again this brings a crucial element of the game back into the soccer community in W.A. There is considerable significance that at one end of the scale we have welcomed back the juniors and at the other the state's National Soccer League representatives. Recent developments such as the introduction of Future Glory to the state competition run by Soccer West Cost has shown what can be achieved with a unified approach. Soccer has a huge future in W.A. and I am proud that we are setting a standard that the Code could follow nationally in terms of bringing together the diverse groups within the code," added Prospero.
CALL TO REVIVE STATE SERIES
State coach Gary Marocchi believes it is time to invigorate the local competition by establishing an interstate series. The former Socceroo suggested interstate challenge matches could be played during the winter season, while the National Soccer League was in recess, to act as an incentive to players at the local level. "If the States cooperate, and with more funding from Soccer Australia, I think it could work," the former Perth Glory coach told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". Marocchi, who is unable to attend this weekend's friendly with South Australia due to personal commitments, said Western Australia needed a senior side so that young players could develop through the ranks. "There's not much point having an Under-19 State team if there's nowhere for the players to go after that."
JOONDALUP COACH EXPLAINS POOR START
While it may have taken E.C.U. Joondalup three games before recording their first win in the Night Series, coach Paul 'Geordie' Simmons is not about it hit the panic button. "I think in the first two games we lost due to several factors," Simmons said this week. "Against Cockburn it was missed chances, and against Perth it was that we had won the B.G.C. Cup and a lot of the players thought they had arrived. After the thrashing Perth handed us, the following week on the training track was hard to say the least and the lads responded well for the game against Inglewood which we won 3-1. I'm pleased with the squad we have assembled this year and am optimistic of a top five finish, we have youth and experience and what is more important determination and commitment." Joondalup extracted revenge on Cockburn when the clubs met in a friendly on Monday night, winning 3-1 despite the absence of four regulars. The northern suburbs club also won the reserves clash by 2-1.
IN CONVERSATION WITH ... CHRIS COYNE
Chris Coyne joined Luton Town last September as manager Joe Kinnear looked to strengthen what he considered a leaky defence. The day after signing a three-year contract with the Hatters, Coyne made his debut in the home clash with Lincoln City which he marked by scoring an unlucky own goal in the closing minutes to give Lincoln a 1-1 draw. Since then the Australian youth international has become one of the first names on Kinnear's teamsheet as Luton battle it out for automatic promotion to the Second Division. But it's been a long journey for the 23-year old who left Perth as a teenager, and this week Luton's website administrator Geoff Stimson took Coyne for a stroll through his career ...
You started playing in Sydney before continuing your junior days in Perth with Sorrento, Kingsway Olympic and later made your senior debut for Perth Italia as a teenager. Who were the biggest influences on you in those early days?
"My father John Coyne coached me from about 10 or 11 years on and he was a big influence on my career. He played at a good level himself over in England and he also played in the American Soccer League over there in the Seventies. He knew what he was going on about. He played at Tranmere and Hartlepool and Wigan. He played at a few clubs and then he went over to New York and played with the New York Cosmos and a few clubs over there, so he was a big influence."
You moved to England at the age of 17 to join West Ham United. There's been a lot of discussion in recent times about the age at which players should head overseas to pursue their career. What do you think of the new F.I.F.A. guidelines which makes it very difficult for players under the age of 18 to further their careers abroad?
"I was 16 and turning 17 about a month later when I moved abroad, so it was a fairly young age. I think that the F.I.F.A. guideline is a hard rule because if players want to chase their dreams then they have to leave. Australian football is not strong enough to stay there. I wouldn't have left home if I didn't have to, but I think you can't say to a Physiotherapist: 'Don't go there', because it's your job and you have to earn your money somewhere. You've got to earn a living for your family. So I think it's a bad rule in the sense that it's putting shackles on people that they don't need. But it's up to the club to look after people then and make sure that the family can come over, which West Ham did for me. They made sure that my family could fly over every year, so I think that's the way round it."
After playing for Australia at 1995's Youth World Championship in Ecuador, you, your brother Jamie and Richard Garcia headed to West Ham where you signed a four-and-a-half year trainee contract. While you enjoyed a fair degree of success with the Hammers youth teams, at senior level it was a different story with just a handful of games for Brentford and Southend, and just one substitute appearance for the Hammers. Do you have fond memories of those years?
"I had a great time at West Ham. There were a few Aussies there and they tapped into a market that no-one else had gone into before. I had five and a bit years there that I really enjoyed. The Premier League is hard for anyone to get into so I wasn't really disappointed with it. There were a lot of young players also. Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand came out of our youth team and went into the first team and you can't have four or five young lads going in. Rio Ferdinand was phenomenal - a great athlete, great on the ball and he was head and shoulders above everyone else. He was a great player. So I was disappointed that I didn't play more but I wouldn't change it for the world and I don't look back on it with any regrets. I enjoy what I've got now. I'm enjoying my football. I think I had to move for first team football. You can't just sit in the reserves and be a squad player all your life."
You left West Ham late in the 1999/2000 season and linked up with Scottish club Dundee. Just as you were starting to make the senior squad you were called up as one of four stand-by players for the 2000 Olympic Games, an offer which you turned down. The Olympic Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity - have ever regretted the decision that you made?
"Not at all. I haven't got many regrets and that's not one of them. What disappointed me was that I didn't get picked in the initial 18-man squad. The manager wanted me to come over as a reserve and I'm a bit too proud for my own good I suppose. I could have sat there and hoped for a place. But I think I'd only played about three or four first team games at Dundee, so if I'd left I would have lost my spot for two months and I couldn't afford to do that to go over there as a reserve. Now, if the manager could have guaranteed me a place, which I tried to explain to him, which I thought maybe I merited then, I would have cut my leg off to get over there to play in the Olympics in my own country. But that didn't arise and I've got no regrets about staying because I played 30-odd games after that in the league and cup. So no regrets at all."
Over the years, Shaun Murphy worked his way up through England's lower divisions before being called-up for the Socceroos. Do you hope to be able to follow his example and someday win a call-up to the senior national team?
"Yes, of course I do - I'd love to play at senior level for my country. I've done it at junior level so that's the next progression. Shaun's done really well for himself, so hopefully I can emulate that and it would be fantastic to play for my country."
After a spell in Dundee's reserves you established yourself as a first team regular. But less than 18 months after joining Dundee you were heading back south of the border for Luton. Were those days in Scotland happy times for you?
"Yes, I loved it - I really enjoyed it. It was difficult because the manager came in and got rid of a lot of players. I left not on bad terms, but I wasn't happy with the way it was handled by them. But I was happy with the way Luton treated me, so I had no problems with moving. It was a good club and I enjoyed playing there and the supporters up at Dundee were fantastic, superbly so."
There's been a lot in the media lately about Dundee and various claims against club officials Paul and Peter Marr, and Ivano and Dario Bonetti from players Patrizio Billio and Marco De Marchi. What do you make of all the fuss?
"As far as I'm concerned, and speaking as a friend of De Marchi and Billio, I don't think they've been treated right, but I don't know all the ins and outs. Ivano and Dario are difficult to get on with because they're not very people persons. They do demand respect because of the level of football they've been at, I mean, Sampdoria, Milan, Roma - they speak for themselves. You don't play at that level for 15 years if you're a bad player. But they just make things a little bit difficult for players. Last year we did fairly well, this year they're struggling but the Marr's have backed him and it's none of my business now. I think they do earn respect as players but they sometimes make it difficult for players with their attitude."
As you were on your way out of Dundee, Sydney-born Mark Robertson arrived. He's currently on the fringes of become a first team regular. How do you think Mark will go at Dens Park in the long-term?
"Robbo was there. He's one of my best mates. He was there for about six months. Great bloke. Same thing, though - he hasn't really been given a chance. There's a lot of Spanish and Argentinian players up there and Italians. But then Robbo's happy up there and he loves working up there. He's from a Scottish background, his father's from Edinburgh, so he likes the people up there and loves where he's at. He'll do well up there, Robbo, he's enjoying it."
Why did you chose to join Luton over some of the other clubs?
"The attraction was that it was a Third Division club that didn't belong here with a high profile management team that were looking to go up. That was something that interested me and it was something that I've really looked forward to. The manager up in Scotland played me all last year and then for some reason at the beginning of the season dropped me, so I knew there was something to it. I know now that he's brought in a Chinese international instead so it's worked out really well for me coming here and the ambitions of the club match my own.
How different is the Scottish Premier Division compared to playing in the Third Division?
"It's a lot slower in Scotland. The likes of Celtic and Rangers have better players because they've got better money and they can afford to pay better players so they're technically a lot more gifted than some of the players we've played in the Third Division so it is slower. But I played on loan at Brentford in the Third Division in 1998 and it's definitely a higher standard than it was then. There's not a really big gap, but I think it's more difficult playing in the Third Division than in the Scottish Premier simply because of the pace. It's just physical - it's just about rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in. Like at Lincoln the other night, it was a poor pitch and conditions weren't great but you've just got to get on with it - and it was a good result there!
The weekend of December 15th was a bitter-sweet occasion for you. The Friday night was spent at hospital with your wife where you witnessed the birth of your first child, and less than 24-hours later you lasted just 10 minutes of the home clash with Rushden and Diamonds before going down with a serious knee injury. Take us back to that weekend ...
"I just remember before the game saying to Mick Harford 'How long till kick off?' because I was really looking forward to it and I just wanted to get out there and play. I think it was just demoralizing, the fact that I'd had to put so much into being physically ready and mentally prepared, and then when I got injured through a stupid tackle. It wasn't even a bad tackle, it was just Berky (Ahmet Brkovic), my own teammate, caught me - that was what was gut-wrenching. The good thing was that I spent my first Christmas with little Kieran, but the bad thing was that I missed nine games. And there were two or three games called off through bad weather or it would have been even more. I mean, your career's so short that no-one wants to miss two months of it. That was more what I was worried about than anything else. That's the worst and longest injury I've had. I've had a knee injury before but it was only minor. I'm just glad to be back now and I'm getting fit again. I can feel it sometimes, but it's just one of those things and I've been told I will for a while."
You recently returned to the first team after spending the better part of a month on the sidelines with that knee injury. With the season rapidly coming to an end, Luton are well and truly in the hunt for automatic promotion to the Second Division. Are you confident that the side can continue to get the right results and hold on to second place?
"Very confident. You have to be confident with the performances we've put in. We've lost a few points that we probably shouldn't have, but we've also picked points up like on Tuesday night at Lincoln. It was a poor game but we've just dug in and picked up three points where we could have gone there and come away with one point or no points. We've got to be confident with performances like that. We can play tough football but we can also play good football and I think we've got the makings of a good side
The weather in England at the moment is quite different to what we're getting in Perth, do you miss not being back at home at this time of the year? And, I know it's a long way off, but would you like to one day return to Australia and see out your playing days, perhaps with Glory?
"I miss Perth - it's home and everyone misses their home. I miss going down the beach when it's 30-odd degrees in the summer and it was only five minutes away from the house. I really do miss home because my family's there - my little sister, brother, Mum and Dad. I miss that. And I'd love to go back and play in the N.S.L. because I learnt my football in Perth and I'd love to go back and play for the Perth Glory one day and hopefully get into management in football at some level back home. So I'll definitely, definitely go back to retire. I got back last year but we only had nine days off because we were in the Inter-Toto Cup. I've only had 30 days in the last three years over there so this year with the World Cup it will be good to have a good couple of months out there definitely. Touch wood it's an early end to the season and we go up on the 20th. That'd be great."
You've played in three countries and represented Australia on several occasions at youth level - in your opinion, who is the best player you have played alongside, and against?
"There's been a few. Claudio Cannigia up at Dundee was an absolutely amazing player, a frightening player. And also playing with Paulo Di Canio and people like that at West Ham - some good players. I couldn't really pick one, to be honest. As for the best player I've faced, probably Henrik Larsson of Celtic last year. He was phenomenal, a really good player."
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve in the game over coming years?
"I'm just enjoying it at the moment. I want to enjoy it and work hard and hopefully if you put everything into it you'll achieve whatever's there, whether it's a cup, a league, whatever. As long as I'm playing to the best of my ability and putting the hours in on the training ground and enjoying it. I think if you're enjoying your football, the rewards will come with that."
MEET JOHNNY WARREN!
Western Australia's Sporting Life are pleased to present former Australian captain Johnny Warren at the Perth launch of his book "Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters" on Friday 15th March at Rosie O'Grady's Northbridge from 6.00pm. The low $15.00 entry fee includes a complimentary pint of Caffrey's as well as finger food. Tickets are available via either John at Rosie O'Grady's, or Ashley Morrison (ph 9443 8790).
QUALITY THE NAME OF THE GAME AT BAYSWATER
Bayswater City kick-off their 2002 campaign this Saturday with the Boral Cup fixture against First Division rivals Mandurah City at Frank Drago Reserve. It's been a particularly harsh off-season for the club with the departure of the bulk of last year's playing squad. "We have lost nine players from our 2001 first team squad, and although we have not yet fully replaced the numbers we have been able to bring in some quality players," said coach Salv Todaro this week. Amongst the new-comers are former Windmills pair Kevin Henderson and Gareth Healy, young wingback Andrew O'Neill has been signed from Floreat Athena, and Peter Faraguna (ex-Balcatta) has returned to the club. In addition, Rod Zuvala and Kristian Novatsis have been promoted from within the youth ranks.
"The squad has been together since the mid-January and I have been very pleased with their commitment, attitude and willingness to learn," said Todaro. "We've had three practice games - against Inglewood United Under-21's, Queens Park and amateur club Subiaco United - but to be honest I've not really been that interested in the results, only in getting the players working on our game plan and adjusting to playing with each other." Despite all the change at Bayswater, the coach is confident they will improve on last seasons' performance. "The whole club is looking forward to a better year than last year. However, we are still very much in a re-building phase and still on the lookout to strengthen our squad."
The departures from Bayswater include forwards Ian Ballantine and Ricardo Fonseca who have taken up offers from Morley Windmills and Ashfield respectively, while the current whereabouts of Alex Jankilovski are unknown. Charles Condipodero, Paul Da Sun Martino and Dario Dicesare will miss the coming season due to work commitments and Marco Serra has opted to take the year off for personal reasons. Long-term injury looks like keeping midfielders Michael Catalano and Bradlee McCagh sidelined indefinitely.
ENGLAND'S WEATHER THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR HIGGINS
15-year old midfielder John Higgins, formerly with E.C.U. Joondalup, has settled in well at Birmingham City where he has been enjoying playing against some of England's biggest clubs. "I've been playing regularly for the Under-16 team and things are going well. Some of the teams we've played lately have included Liverpool, Everton, Fulham, Stoke City, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town, and last week it was Manchester United."
While the footballing side of things has been going well for the teenager, he has found England's weather at this time of the year a somewhat trying experience. "I do miss Perth - a lot. I'm really finding the whole winter weather over here very hard to deal with … to be honest I nearly went back to Australia not long ago because of the weather." Part of Higgins' homesickness was tempered recently by the arrival of former Joondalup teammate Tom Jones who is trying his luck in the south of England. "He phoned me when he was at Exeter and said that he loved it there, but unfortunately I haven't heard from him since."
MEET THE COACHES AT SORRENTO
Sorrento are holding their annual 'Meet the Coaches' day for all their junior players this Sunday, 10th March, from 1.00pm, following the Academy League matches which get underway at 9.00am. The clubs senior sides have friendly matches against Shamrock Rovers on the same day with the games starting at 2.00pm (reserves) and 4.00pm (first team). The club's next competitive hit-out is against Bassendean Caledonian, who are winless to date in the Night Series, on Wednesday, 13th March 2002 from 6.45pm. The late match features Future Glory and Ashfield.
BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
As part of celebrations for 100 years of soccer in South Australia, the West Australian State team will take on their South Australian counterparts this Saturday afternoon at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. It will be the sixteenth meeting between the two states, S.A. holding a slight advantage having recorded six victories to W.A.'s five with a further five games drawn. W.A.'s last win came in 1960, since then S.A. have run out triumphant in the past five meetings, the most recent being the 3-2 home win in 1974.
Former Socceroo defender Robbie Dunn, who will coach the side in Gary Marocchi's absence this weekend, is no stranger to the game in South Australia or Hindmarsh Stadium. Dunn was a member the West Adelaide squad in 1982 and 1983, awarded the club's Best and Fairest award 1983. "The boys in the squad are really looking forward to Saturday's Fasta Pasta Centenary Challenge and personally I am feeling very excited about returning to my old playing arena," Dunn told the S.A. Soccer Federation website (www.sasf.com.au) this week. "We have worked extremely hard over the past two weeks and although they haven't had an ideal preparation there will be no excuses from any one of them."
"We have put together a good blend of strength and speed and hopefully the lads can give the fans value for money and do themselves and W.A. soccer proud. The team is mixed with some exciting young W.A. talent as well as a sprinkling of some clever and cool senior personnel. We all respect the S.A. team and know that we will have to perform to our highest standard to gain any sort of result from this highly anticipated clash."
The 16-man playing squad is Troy Bernard, Robyn Dyers, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Daniel Trim, Dale Wingell (Fremantle City), Lucas Gobbi (Inglewood United), Dale McCulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup), Aaron Cole, Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira (Perth S.C.), Ryan Jeans (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.), Ivan Zuvela (Western Knights) plus two players from Perth Glory, most likely Antonio Naglieri and Michael Garcia. Special thanks also goes to the team sponsors Driftwood Wines and Sumich Pty Ltd who have paid for the airfares for all players and officials and who without the game would not go ahead.
CACERAS TO LEAVE SAINTS
Former State junior Adrian Caceras has been handed a free transfer by English Premier League club Southampton. The youngster's contract expires at the end of the current season and Saints management chose to give him, along with reserves teammate Kevin Gibbens, the opportunity to find another club ahead of the March transfer deadline. It is believed that either Bournemouth or Brentford may move to add Caceras to their playing roster.
Speaking to Southampton's official website, reserve coach Steve Wigley wished Caceras and Gibbens well. "Both have got something to offer and probably need a fresh start somewhere else. They have been at the club a while but if they are not going to feature then it is best to let them go now. That gives them time to get fixed up now before the rush of players looking for clubs over the summer. At the moment we feel the Premier League is a step to far for them but there is no reason why both should not step down and get their careers going again. That is what we hope ... there is nothing we would like more than for both to prove us wrong."
A product of the Perth S.C. youth system, Argentinan-born Caceras joined Southampton in September 2000 after two years of playing for Perth in the W.A. Premier League. Glenn Hoddle, then manager of Southampton, earmarked him as a star of the future but Caceras has spent much of his time in the Saints' reserves with just a scattering of appearances on the bench for the first team. He also went out on loan for a short period to Brentford early in the 2001/02 season.
KILKELLY STEPS UP TO SENIOR RANKS
According to media reports, Future Glory star Shaun Kilkelly has been promoted to the senior Perth Glory squad to provide cover for regular defender Jamie Harnwell and Craig Deans who have both been unable to shake niggling injuries recently.
MURPHY EXTENDS STAY AT SELHURST PARK
Sheffield United defender Shaun Murphy has had his loan period to Crystal Palace extended into a second month. The Australian international has played five games for the Eagles and an impressed Palace manager Trevor Francis said he was delighted to have Murphy for another month. "Shaun has played well over the four weeks and shown great commitment. On Saturday he suffered a nasty cut but there was no question of him leaving the pitch. This is exactly the sort of attitude I expect from my players."
PLAYERS, COACH NEEDED AT KINGSWAY
Kingsway Olympic are on the hunt for quality players in all grades - senior, reserves and Under-18's - for the up-coming Soccer West Coast season. Olympic, one of Perth's longest established clubs, are also seeking a coach for their Under-18 team. Individuals interested in either turning out for the club or, the available coaching position, are asked to contact Harry Trandos (ph: 0407 986 180) or Mitch Doherty (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE (Armadale vs Fremantle City by Michael Di Pietro)
Having taken on Fremantle City in the Night Series just three days earlier, Bassendean Caledonian were forced to make a number of changes to their line-up for their home Boral Cup clash with First Division outfit Queens Park. Played in warm conditions under a cloudless sky, the visitors started the stronger side but they found penetrating the Caledonian defence a difficult task with sweeper Marco Schisano running a tight ship. Coming completely against the run of play, Caledonian took the lead in the 10th minute when a defensive blunder allowed Jason Van Rooy to calmly slot the ball past goalkeeper Luke Woodfin from 8-metres.
It wasn't until the 22nd minute that Queens Park threatened, Glen Noblet's high cross into the area from the right caught the Caledonian defence ball-watching and Stewart Indge rose unchallenged only to sent his downward header into the waiting arms of Alan Dunlop. Five minutes later the visitors found the target. Matt Tilbury curled ball into the path of Noblet who was hauled down inside the area by his marker, leaving referee Wayne Oldham with little option but to point to the spot, Nick Dyer sending Dunlop the wrong way with the resulting penalty. But just two minutes after getting back on level terms, more sloppy defending from Queens Park allowed Graeme Matthews to re-store Caledonian's lead when he nipped in between Allan Pottier and Woodfin to knock the ball into an unguarded net.
As the half came to a close the visiting team upped the pressure with flank players Sean Cowman and Tilbury at the heart of their best moves. In the 42nd minute Dunlop raced well off his line to punch a dangerous ball clear of the 18-yard box, only for it to land at the feet of Tilbury whose chip over a crowded area was blocked on the line by Schisano. And shortly before the half-time whistle, the Caledonian defence again came to their rescue when Noblet's deep corner was expertly volleyed on target by Cowman, this time Gannon Jones stopped the shot from crossing the line.
The home team started the new half seeking a third goal which would kill the game off. After two minutes of play Darko Ilmanovski raced clear of the defence and forced Woodfin into a fine save from close range. And not long after Jimmy Merkouris shot from distance forced the young 'keeper to hastily back-track and catch ball on the goal line. But Queens Park weren't about to roll over and with their first attack of the half got their equaliser. Noblet found himself in space after a darting diagonal run to the right, the midfielder clipped the ball to the far post where Indge headed it between Dunlop and his up-right with 51 minutes elapsed.
Although stunned by the goal, Caledonian continued to dominated proceedings but were unable to find holes in their opponents defence. Queens Park, on the other hand, appeared content to sit back and attack on the counter. Noblet almost gave his side the lead on the hour, holding off two opponents before hitting a rasping drive from the top of the box which a diving Dunlop tipped around the post. Just four minutes after coming on, Jode Henderson scored what would be the match winner for Queens Park when an in-swinging Tony Pritchard corner flicked several heads at the near post before hitting the back of the net, Henderson emerging with arms out-stretched to claim the goal.
With time now against them, and urged on by a vocal home crowd, Caledonian were spurred into action. Ian Griffiths tried luck from long range but Woodfin was well-positioned to make the save, and after 77 minutes a powerful shot from Kevin Smith saw the visiting 'keeper move smartly to keep his side in front. Griffiths had another chance five minutes later, snatching at a loose ball inside the area only to see the shot go over the bar. After four frantic minutes of stoppage, during which the ball never once left the Caledonian attacking half, the final whistle signalled victory to the Queens Park who would look to Noblet as the inspiration behind win. There were also tireless contributions from wingbacks Cowman and Tilbury, while for Caledonian it was Simon Henderson wide on the left that impressed most.
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Marco Schisano, George Ramm,
Gannon Jones, Aaron Moschopolous, Simon Henderson (Kevin Smith 71),
Jason Van Rooy (Devid Vitale 58), Darko Ilmanovski, Jimmy Merkouris, Ian
Griffiths, Graeme Matthews (Steve Cramphorn 81)
Queens Park : Luke Woodfin, Alan Pottier (Laurence Embersby 78), Paul Blaxely, Alex Grindley, Sean Cowman, Matt Tilbury, Nick Dyer, Mark Brown (Tony Pritchard 53), Glen Noblett, Stewart Indge, Darren D'Mello (Jode Henderson 67)
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : Jones (41), Grindley (45), Moschopolous (48), Cowman (64), Griffiths (78)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 150
In their first official match of the season, Armadale hosted Premier League outfit Fremantle City for what promised to be an interesting clash, as the Reds have been getting some favourable results in their build up to the season. The first team squad has changed considerably since last season with only three players from the team of 2001 making the first eleven. Fremantle were the clear pre-match favourites but no one had told Armadale that and within the opening 24 minutes the Reds conjured up five goal scoring opportunities through Dennis Lee and Lawrence Bruce. A Lee shot in the 35th minute looked a certainty for the back of the net, but ever-green 'keeper Robert Zabica made a miraculous save to keep Fremantle on level terms. Unfortunately a lapse in concentration three minutes later allowed the port side in for an easy goal scored by John Mirco. The second half saw Armadale trying but not having the ammunition to finish. Coach Billy Russell was not a disappointed man though, he felt the team worked hard for the entire game and feels quietly confident going into the 2002 season, after all the Reds won't be coming up against team the calibre of Fremantle on a weekly basis.
Future Glory are through to the second round of the Cup competition but not before Stirling Lions roared their defiance in front a crowd in excess of 1,600 at Macedonia Park. The First Division club took the lead against the run of play when Toby Wright burst clear and lobbed goalkeeper Vince Matassa from outside the box with half an hour gone. With Future piling on the pressure, excellent goalkeeping by Rob Pucovski and some stout defending kept the Lions ahead until four minutes before the interval when Nick Mrdja, one of five Perth Glory squad members in the line-up, converted Miki Vujacic's cross. The Lions had the match in their grasp with just 12 minutes remaining on the clock when Wright's pace took him away and he set up Bobbi Klenkoski who made it 2-1. Three minutes later it was game-on again, Future substitute Kostadin Manolev tucking away Adhir Mehic's cross to send the game into extra-time. Mrdja decided the match ten minutes into the golden-goal period to see Future through to the round of sixteen.
Premier League club Ashfield were pushed all the way in their home Cup meeting with Wanneroo City before recording victory 2-1. The game between Inglewood United and Leeming Strikers has been postponed until Wednesday, 20th March from 7.30pm, while a date has not yet been set for the South West Phoenix-Perth S.C. clash .
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Former State-16 player Matt Kamasz found the target five times as Fremantle City thrashed Armadale 9-0 in the opening round of the reserves Boral Cup competition. Bassendean Caledonian defeated Queens Park 6-0 in another walkover result, while Stirling Lions proved too strong for Future Glory 5-3. The match between Ashfield and Wanneroo City ended in a 2-2 draw before the visitors won 3-6 in a penaly shoot-out.
In the Under-18's, a hat-trick by off-season recruit Paul Oliver, and further goals from Mo Atak (2) and John Migas has given Fremantle a convincing 6-0 win in their visit to Armadale. A very happy Mike Tetlow, coach of Fremantle, said post-match that the final margin could have been a lot greater if not for some fine goalkeeping, "Armadale's 'keeper was a class act, he saved his team more than ten times." Future Glory overpowered home side Stirling Lions 9-3, Bassendean Caledonian defeated Queens Park 1-0, and Ashfield won on a forfeit.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND THREE (Sorrento vs Western Knights by Kerry Slater)
E.C.U. Joondalup re-discovered their touch in front of goal to record their first win of the 2002 Night Series on Friday evening. Defender Andy Brown (right) gave the northern suburbs team the lead after 33 minutes when he headed in a corner which was flicked on at the near post by Richard Watson. Three minutes later and the lead was doubled, Inglewood United failing to deal with another corner and this time it was Andy Mason that knocked it over the line from close-range. Inglewood started the second half brightly, midfielder Daniel Harrop crossing from the right to pick out Lucas Gobbi whose header went close to pegging a goal back. But 12 minutes into the new half Inglewood were reduced to ten men when Harrop was dismissed for a second yellow card offence. Pushing forward at every opportunity, Inglewood refused to give up hope and their persistence was rewarded after 61 minutes, Scott Campbell and Michael Baszynski combining to provide Gobbi with a simple tap-in. The game was put beyond Inglewood's reach six minutes from full time when Mark Ristofski scored the goal of the night, controlling and drilling Mark Benbow's far-post cross into the roof of the net in one fluent movement.
In the 8.00pm game, goals from teenagers Josh Kamasz and Anthony Pereira, off-season signing Miguel Ortin and long-serving midfielder Michael Mirco handed Fremantle City a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Bassendean Caledonian.
The two perceived heavyweights of the Night Series' Group A, Sorrento and Western Knights, battled out a very competitive 0-0 draw to share the points on Sunday night. After two matches in the competition, these two teams with Swan, are undefeated with Sorrento topping the group on goal difference. With both teams at full strength, coaches Steve Neville (Sorrento) Ronnie Campbell (Knights) had their players prepared for a tough encounter. Both defences stood firm and both goal keepers didn't have to produce a save of any note in the match. The majority of the match was a long, intense, hard-hitting contest in midfield. It wasn't until the 15th minute that a serious attempt on goal was fashioned. A long ball by the Knights' Claus Neilsen found the newly signed Stuart Montgomery in space whose shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide by Iain Deans, the brother of Glory's Craig. Any chance at goal was from distance and they didn't worry either of the 'keepers. Although Tom Tomich was nearly caught out by Lee Burns' thunderbolt on 30 minutes that powered just over the bar.
Sorrento started the second half in attack, but David Foster's header following a Jared Love cross from the right lacked the power to trouble Tomich. As the half progressed the Knights, even without the services of captain Scott Devine who failed to appear after the break due to an injury suffered in a clash with Burns, gained more possession and looked as if they may pressurise the Sorrento rearguard. On 56 minutes an effort from outside the area by Eugene Singeorzan was almost diverted in by Montgomery, but the ball came back off the right post with Gareth Deeg beaten by the deflection and Sorrento captain Kevin Murphy was on hand to cleared the danger. Neville made a change to his line up by bringing on Jake Harman for Mark Cox and, later David Foster made way for Gary Andrews, but neither move sparked improvement in Sorrento's play. Singeorzan should have won it for the Knights with seven minutes remaining but his attempted chip cleared Deeg and also the cross bar. The best players on the night for Sorrento were Burns, Murphy and Deeg, while for the Knights it was Neilsen, Leon Russell and Tomich that impressed.
A bizarre goal by Trevor Hatton inspired Swan I.C. to a stirring fight-back and a share of the points with Floreat Athena in Sunday's late Night Series fixture. A first half header by striker Robyn Dyers saw Athena go into the break with a one-goal buffer. The match sparked into life two minutes after the interval when Athena goalkeeper Vas Vujacic looked to have comfortably saved Hatton's free-kick, but referee Pedro Vasquez disagreed and judged the 'keeper to have crossed the goal-line with the ball in his hands and awarded the equaliser. Swan then went on the offensive and, seven minutes after drawing level, they hit the front Carlo Scali finished sweetly. With time running out, Athena midfielder Costa Socratous found the bottom corner of the net to earn his side a very lucky point.
FORRESTFIELD AIM TO BETTER 2001
W.A.A.S.S.A. Premier League side Forrestfield United are looking forward to a successful 2002 campaign in which they hope to improve on the fourth place they collected last season. On the weekend they started their pre-season with a friendly against Leeming Strikers, and although the match went against United 1-2, coach John McKenna was happy with the result considering the average age of the team is just 22 years of age. A Jason Marshall goal saw United hold their opponents 1-1 in the reserves meeting.
HOWELLS COMMITS TO CHELTENHAM
Long-serving Cheltenham Town midfielder Lee Howells has committed himself to the Robins for another two years to add to the ten he has already spent at the club. The Australian-born 33-year old made his debut for Town way back in November 1991 and has stayed loyal for the past decade. "I am very happy here and glad to sign for another two years. When I first came up to Cheltenham I had never been to the club and I got lost looking for the ground. I stopped to ask someone for directions and they said they didn't know that Cheltenham even had a football club. That was when I wondered what I was getting into. But things have obviously changed a lot since then and it has been great to be part of what has happened here over the last few years."
Robins manager Steve Cotterill said Howells contract extension was a reward for his dedication to the club. "This new contract is richly deserved because Lee has been in the best form I have seen from him this season. I am delighted for him because he loves it here and has had chances to leave but has never done so. Not many players would have shown that kind of loyalty and I think it is important that the club shows loyalty back." Howells is the third highest appearance maker in the club's history with a total of 442 starts and 26 substitute appearances plus 78 goals. If he remains a regular selection over the next two years he will become only the third player to break the 500 appearance barrier for Cheltenham, the others being club legends Roger Thorndale and Dave Lewis.
DIANELLA IN FOR 17-TEAM FIRST DIVISION
Dianella White Eagles have been confirmed as starters for Soccer West Coast's First Division, bumping the number of teams up to 17 teams with the opening round of the 2002 season now set down for Saturday 23rd March. The club were suspended from competing in last year's Major Play-off series following an incident in the finals clash with Queens Park which was abandoned after 60 minutes when referee Ray Archibald was assaulted. Following recent discussions between Dianella and S.W.C., the club's suspension has been repealed.
Although there are 17 teams in the 2002 First Division, the League will be played over 24 rounds. With all clubs seeded by S.W.C., according to various club sources the top eight seeded clubs will meet each other twice, and the bottom nine sides once, over the course of the winter. The bottom nine ranked clubs will meet twice and play the top eight clubs once. If that isn't confusing enough, several clubs have raised their concerns over the seeding process which has seen Armadale ranked eighth and above Kingsway Olympic - despite Kingsway finishing top of the 2001 Minor Play-off series six points clear of second-placed Armadale!
BIG WEEKEND ON THE CARDS
It's another big weekend of football in Perth kicking off with tonight's Night Series games at Litis Stadium. After a dramatic come-from-behind win over Ashfield last Friday, Inglewood United well be tested when they take on the so-far winless E.C.U. Joondalup from 6.45pm. The late game pits Fremantle City against Bassendean Caledonian in a fixture both sides must win to keep alive hopes of making the last four.
The following evening at Perth Oval, victory by Perth Glory over Northern Spirit will bring the National Soccer League minor championship back to the west if other results go their way, despite there being five rounds of the home-and-away season to go. On Sunday the action return to Litis Stadium where Sorrento play Western Knights. Both teams are undefeated in this years' event with top spot beckoning for the winners. The late match will see Swan I.C., who thumped Bassendean Caledonian last weekend, up against a Floreat Athena side still smarting from their first round loss to Western Knights.
The opening round of the 2002 Boral Cup takes place on Monday when the game of the round is undoubtedly First Division Stirling Lions against League new-comers Future Glory at Macedonia Park. Last Saturday the Lions last week held reigning Premier League champions Sorrento to a 1-1 draw, while Future will be looking to rebound from their 0-1mid-week friendly loss to Queens Park. Fremantle City will have their work cut out for them when they travel to take on a vastly improved Armadale side, Inglewood United are favoured to knock out Leeming Strikers, and Perth S.C. will have to overcome a two-and-a-hour trip before taking on South West Phoenix. Elsewhere Ashfield play Wanneroo City and Bassendean Caledonian face Queens Park.
SWAN LOOK TO USUAL SUSPECTS
Having lifted the 1999 First Division championship, Swan I.C. looked to have turned a corner when they started the following year in blistering form. They made the end-of-season finals despite a dramatic mid-season slump, only for their downward spiral to continue into 2001. A poor start, two changes of coach and the mid-season departure of several players all contributing factors on the club finishing rock bottom last with just nine points from eighteen games.
Taking over as coach in late April, Paul Wozny immediately set about turning things around and, despite being dropped in at the deep end, Swan's form did show improvement over the second half of the winter. The backbone of Wozny's side was a large core group of players - Justin Everley (right), Darren Freeman and Justin Hugo in defence, central players Damien Scali, Carlo Scali, Paul Borg and Trevor Hatton, striker Brian Robertson, and State goalkeeper Corey Hugo - and those same players will again be a big part of their coach's plans this year.
Over the off-season Wozny has injected some new blood to the Swan line-up. The new faces in the squad include Jamie Bell (Cockburn City), lively forward Sal Marrapodi (Bayswater City), young Tom Lasnavich who is currently on loan from Inglewood United, and Darren Blankly. Christian Marocchi returns after spending the pre-season with Perth S.C. and young striker Tom Shepheard has been in fine form since stepping up to the senior squad. Another teenager, Daniel Webb, received a major setback this week when it was confirmed that a badly broken leg would keep him on the sidelines for a lengthy period. Departures from the Swan squad of 2001 include Nigel Aubin (retired), Matt Gronnow and Ross Holton have both moved interstate, while former State Schoolboy Johnathon Van der Voet has joined Bassendean Caledonian.
S.W.C. HAVEN'T GIVEN UP HOPE
Bernd Stange, the man who lead Perth Glory to their only National Soccer League minor championship in 1999/2000, is back in town on holiday and has already talked informally with Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides about the possibility of future employment. "Soccer West Coast would like to sit down with Bernd and hopefully present a couple of proposals he can consider," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "We are not looking at the immediate future but down the track someone like Bernd Stange would be fantastic to lead a second team."
Despite the assertion of Soccer Australia chairman Ian Knop that a second Perth licence for the National Soccer League would not be granted at any time in the near future, Tombides said S.W.C. has not given up hope of launching its Western Lightning bid. "Ian is in charge of Soccer Australia at the moment but is he there for the long haul?," Tombides queried before adding that his organisation had to be prepared to enter a team in case the prevailing view changed. Stange has gone on the record as saying he would love to retire in W.A., but he was not yet ready for another long-term affair with the State. The former East German national coach has been approached regarding working overseas with the possibility of taking over as coach of Azerbaijan after the 2002 World Cup Finals.
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This page was last updated on the 30th April, 2002