University of WA secured a hard fought 2-1 victory in the WAASSA Premier Division game against Shamrock Rovers at McGillivray Oval on Sunday to remain in third place on the ladder. Yet it was Shamrock who started as the livelier side when they were quick to pounce on a poor defensive clearance after 5 minutes and William Lyall took advantage of a deflected cross to put Shamrock 1-0 up. UWA struggled to find an answer and Shamrock had a lot of early possession. Then after 30 minutes UWA's Gavin Dennis played a ball in from the left side of the penalty box to Bryn Griffiths who knocked the ball past a defender and buried a shot into the top left hand corner. Five minutes later UWA's Max Percy found David Berg on the left and he beat one player and played the ball into Frederik Larsen who held the ball up for David Berg to then drive the ball home to make it 2-1 to UWA at half time. The second half saw Shamrock have an early header turned over the bar by UWA keeper Adam Kesacoff for a corner. UWA could have wrapped the game up 10 minutes later when captain Adam Brett hit the bar with a header from a corner and Bryn Griffiths had the goal bound follow up shot well blocked and cleared to safety. Two minutes later Frederik Larsen found himself one on one with Shamrock goalkeeper Ed Schuller and his well struck shot was very well saved by Ed Schuller deflecting the ball around the post for a corner. UWA were rarely troubled defensively thereafter and saw the game out comfortably. Coach Kevin Burton said: "We were rather average early in the first half but we scored two cracking goals to make up for it. We still have an outside chance of finishing in the top two with a league game versus second placed Fremantle next week and this is followed by a cup semi final against the same team a few days later. So we have everything to play for." UWA Reserves defeated leaders Shamrock Rovers Reserves 1-0 with a headed goal from Gareth Briggs and remain in second place on the ladder.
League leaders Hamersley Rovers continued their recent run of good form with a comprehensive 5-0 win at Kelly Park against Kwinana United. The home team were missing a few regulars such as Willars, Caceras, and Cole and used young keeper John Campbell for his first game. However it it debateable whether even with all their regular first choice guys available that they could have withstood the first half blitz by league leaders Hamersley. With second place Fremantle playing at lowly Balga it was vital for Hamersley to put on intense early pressure and this they did all all over ther park to lead at the break by the final score of 5-0. But for some fine saves by debutant Campbell and some over elaboration around the box the score should have been at least 7 or 8 at the break. Goals to Birkinshaw ( 2) Yates, Hendry and Labbate ( pen) were just reward for a fine exhibition of attacking play coupled with some mean defending. In the second half some astute coaching by Kwinana coach Frank Longstaff and more discipline by the Kwinana players resulted in no further addition to the score although in fairness the game was over after the first 45 mins as a contest. In the end 3 more points for Hamersley in their quest for a hat-trick of league titles still hotly pursued by Fremantle (1 point behind) and UWA (4 points behind) with this weeks big game at the port between Fremantle United and University of WA looking like having a big bearing coupled with Hamersley's home game against an in-form Canning International.
In other games Spearwood Dalmatinac defeated Murdoch University 3-1, Canning International beat Forrestfield United 4-2, Fremantle United were big winners away to Balga with a 7-0 win, while North Perth United gained a vital league point on the standings with a 2-2 draw against Perth Azzurri. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
MRDJA ON TARGET FOR GLORY
For the second time in three days, Perth Glory have defeated Singapore by a single goal in the state's south-west. There was an early scare for Glory in Mandurah when, with just 2 minutes gone, Noh Alam Shah put the ball in the back of the net for Singapore only to have the goal ruled out for offside. Glory then took control of the game and created the better of the scoring opportunities but Gary Faria, Nick Mrdja and trialist Mark Williams were unable to convert the chances which came their way. A minute from half-time Mrdja's shot hit the back of the net to break the deadlock, although the striker looked suspiciously offside as he broke through on goal. In front of a crowd numbering around 2,500, Glory continued to have most of the ball after the break although Fadzuhasny Juraimi send the ball whizzing just wide of the upright after 64 minutes for the visitors. The win followed Glory's 3-2 triumph over Singapore in Waroona on Thursday. "These were two great workouts for us," said coach Mich d'Avray. "It was also fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for the game in the Peel region. I'd like to thank all of those who worked so hard in Waroona and Mandurah to make the games so much fun to be part of and of course the State Government for making the tour happen under the Country Sport Enrichment Scheme."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (Cockburn City vs Sorrento by Lennie Bavich; Swan I.C. vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAllister)
For Stirling Lions and Western Knights their final round Premier League clash at Macedonia Park was an important match, albeit for two very different reasons. Having last taken full points in early May, the Lions were keen to end their first season back in the top flight on a high and, hopefully, move away from the foot of the table. But in order to achieve this the home side would need a big team effort as hard-working pair Adam Rains and Darko Ilmanovski were both absent through injury, although the return from suspension of highly-rated teenage goalkeeper Jordan Conti did balance up the ledger to a degree. Standing in the Lions way was a full-strength Knights side for whom victory would seal a place in the Champion of Champions play-off series. The visitors went into the game undefeated in their past three outings and looking the goods to extend that run.
The match opened quickly with the Knights immediately on the offensive. Having found himself in space inside the area Carl Medica was disappointed to scuff his shot straight at Conti, and minutes later Daniel Trim created room to manoeuvre only to place his shot from 10-metres the wrong side of the post. After twisting past a couple of defenders Medica was again denied by the 'keeper who this time raced off his line to smother at the strikers feet. Next it was the turn of Claus Nielsen when he skillfully brought down a high ball only to drill his shot across the face of goal. A quickly taken free-kick from Media skidded narrowly, and in the 17th minute Nielsen's shot on the turn was brilliantly saved by the ever-alert Conti. The Lions first opening came a minute later as Eugene Singeorzan shrugged off his marker but drove the ball over the crossbar from 18-metres. A few more minutes had elapsed before the Lions embarked on a sweeping attack in which Singeorzan sent Toby Wright clear but his shot didn't require a response from visiting 'keeper Tommi Tomich.
Just as the home team were beginning to find their rhythm, the Knights dealt them a devastating blow. In the 23rd minute Luka Jukic sent a deep free-kick to the back post where Medica made the most of some hesitant defending to knock the ball into the net from close-range. Only some desperate defending prevented the gap from widening five minutes after as Tony Paolino put his body on the line to thwart Paul Cooke, the loose ball came to Jukic but his explosive strike was blocked by Luke Pavlos before the defender scrambled the ball to safety. With Paul McVittie, Jukic, Nielsen and Cooke dominant across the middle of the park the Knights were able to push forward almost at will. In an effort to counter this the home team played it very flat at the back to spring a well-worked offside trap with regularity that resulted in very few opportunities for the visitors to add to the score. Going the other way, the Lions were also encountering stiff resistance although both Singeorzan and Andy Wright got into good positions leading into the break but on both occasions they failed to call Tomich into action.
The second half was only a minute old when Conti produced a superb reflex save after Trim rose above the defence to meet an in-swinging corner from Cooke. Minutes later Trim opened up the defence to send Medica through but the ball bounced awkwardly for the Knights captain and his shot rose over the crossbar. Nielsen benefited when Pavlos lost his footing on an uneven surface and again Conti proved his worth to the club by smothering at the feet of the Danish import. Needing a goal to stay in the game, the home side upped the tempo midway through the period to forced their opponents on to the back foot. Stjepan Beretovac raced onto a ball played over the defence only to be quickly shut down by Evan Wallace and Leon Russell who together snuffed out the danger. Ripples of panic swept through the visiting camp in the 64th minute when Tomich gifted the ball to Singeorzan who from just inside the area swept his shot wide of the far post. With their next attack Christian Debarro slipped the ball through to Harman who made his way into the area only to have Alex Christie take the pace off his shot and Tomich gathered the loose ball with ease.
Having thrown everything that they had left in the tank at the Knights without success, the Lions dropped off over the closing period as the visitors re-established control. Close to the corner flag Trim robbed Pavlos of possession to whip a low cross into the area where Conti reacted quickly to beat the on-rushing John Nicolaou to the ball. With several good moves down both flanks suffering from poor delivery into the area, it was going to take something pretty special for the Knights to add to their tally, and that is exactly what happened in the 83rd minute. Spotting the Lions 'keeper well of his line, Jukic chanced his luck from 35-metres with a fantastic chip that sailed well over Conti and into the top corner to extend the lead and pretty much wrap up the game. But Jukic wasn't yet finished and four minutes into stoppage time the talented young midfielder showed dogged determination in running the ball into the area from wide on the right, forcing his way past two challenges and getting a lucky deflection before lashing a low shot past the advancing 'keeper.
After dominating the game for long periods, it was a just reward that the Knights went home with the points to move up the standings and end the season in third place. The star of the show for the away side was Cooke who made the right flank his own with an electrifying display of skill and pace, closely behind him was fellow midfielder Jukic who set-up one goal and scored two himself, and Nielsen also worked tirelessly in the middle of the park. Out-classed and out-muscled for much of the afternoon, the Lions did well to restrict the Knights on front of goal. Not for the first time this season, Conti turned in a display that underlies just why he is so highly rated on the local scene, while Andy Wright and youngster Pavlos played a key roles at the back for the hosts. In what has been a tough season for the club, if the Lions can learn from the experiences of 2003 then it won't be too long before they are up there challenging for silverware themselves.
Stirling Lions : Jordan Conti, Tony Paolino, Andy Wright, Luke Pavlos, Leo Harman,
Stjepan Beretovac, Christian Debarro, Keegan Ashley, Robert Monterosso, Toby Wright,
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Evan Wallace (Stephen Zuvela 83), Alex Christie, David Annall, Leon Russell, Paul Cooke (Scott Devine 77), Claus Nielsen, Luka Jukic, Paul McVittie, Daniel Trim, Carl Medica (John Nicolaou 77)
Cautions : Jukic (13), Pavlos (39), Paolino (45), Beretovac (75), Zuvela (90)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 175 (approx.)
Chasing a spot in the play-offs, Inglewood United arrived at Dorrien Gardens searching for nothing less than three points while Premier League champions Perth S.C. opted to rest a few of their more regular players and showcase some of the club's upcoming talent. Following a rather uneventful opening period, the first genuine chance on goal arrived in the 20th minute when Mark Pottier shot wide from a Vince Tana cross. Minutes later Tana's final game for Perth was cut drastically short by a mistimed tackle from Jamie Kuzmanovich which had the Perth player stretchered from the field with a serious knee injury. The visitors break the deadlock on the half-hour when Alan MacKenzie's corner found Kuzmanovich whose effort squirted wide to Ryan Newhill and the big striker made no mistake. Five minutes later Inglewood hit the target once again, a defensive bungle by Perth forcing goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo off his line and with an open goal Newhill tucked the ball way to make it 2-0. Perth retaliated with Shane Crampton going close on a couple of occasions but without success as half-time approached. Louis Parkinson twice called Scarparolo into action after the break but otherwise there was little for fans of either team to get excited about. That was until the 77th minute when Perth pulled level through young Damian Catalano who hit an amazing drive from 20-metres which soared into the top left hand corner to breathe new life in the match. Michael Baczynski could have sealed victory for Inglewood shortly after, while down the opposite end Aaron Cole came close to equalising with a diving header which was controversially pulled up for offside. The closing stages saw the stretcher out again after a late tackle by Stephen Willey forced Daniel Kovacevic from the field, the young defender later diagnosed with a chipped bone in his ankle. The 2-1 win elevated Inglewood to fourth and in the finals series.
Cockburn City bounced back from defeat last weekend by triumphing over Sorrento at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday. In a game that will be remembered for missed chances rather than goals scored, Shane McNally spurned the first opportunity of the game by shooting wide after being put through by Mileta Miletic 5 minutes after kick-off. It was a miss that would come back to haunt the host club ten minutes later when Sorrento were awarded a penalty for a handball by defender Josh Pescud and Tony Cumace stepped up with confidence to put the visitors in front. There were several good openings present themselves at both ends of the ground with John Mirco shooting high and wide as did teammate Peter Petkovich as Cockburn sought to equalise. Going the other way a Sean Fallon shot from out wide ended narrowly wide of the upright while a fine effort by Simon Harland met with the same fate. Three minutes from the break the ball was finally put away by John Mirco who leveled the game with a low shot on the turn from just outside a crowded penalty area. With regular defenders Dusan Macura and Boza Erakovic absent due to work commitments and injury respectively, Pescud and Steve Adam proved more than worthy replacements as the hosts found themselves increasingly under pressure in the second half. Midway through the period Adam cleared a goalbound shot off the line and shortly after Pescud willingly conceded a corner when he blocked a powerful close-range strike. Nine minutes from the end of regulation time Pescud turned attacker by swinging the ball in from the flank to Jeff Bright whose shot was blocked on the line by a defender, the loose ball came to Petkovich and the striker made no mistake in slamming it into the roof of the net to give Cockburn maximum points by a 2-1 scoreline. In combination with other weekend results, the loss saw Sorrento tumble from third to fifth on the final standings.
Needing victory over Floreat Athena to keep alive their slim hopes of making the top five play-offs, E.C.U. Joondalup capitulated at home as the visiting team ended their season on an almighty high. Joondalup came out of the blocks flying with Scott Bulloch constantly causing problems down the left top put the pressure on Athena's backline. Somewhat against the run of play, Athena's pressed forward after 20 minutes via Anthony Jones who ran the ball out of defence to combine with Andreas Oliveira whose pass found Sasha Kilibarda and the young attacker cleverly flicked the ball past advancing goalkeeper Peter Stewart. The home side tried desperately to get back on level terms only to be frustrated time and time again by some stubborn defending. Ten minutes from the break Matthew Novatsis swung the ball to the near post where Jones beat his opponent to the ball to net with a classy diving header. Although deflated, Joondalup continued to press go forward after the break although their reliance on playing the long ball game made the jobs of Troy Bernard, Fernado Coron and Jones rather easy. The hosts came close to pulling back the gap through Duncan Willets who stretched goalkeeper Vince Mattasa with a powerful header from a Josh Kamasz corner. But it was Athena that would find the target through substitute Josip Madgic who headed in a cross from Dejan Djukanovic to make it 3-0. With confidence sky-high, Athena attacked without mercy before the gap was increased to four goal when defender Keith Taylor headed into his own net after a tame Novatsis cross. It was left to Oliviera, Athena's leading scorer this season, to complete the route by scoring a superb volley which was again the result of an excellent ball in from out wide by Novatsis cross. Athena's win meant they ended the season with a six-game undefeated run which elevated them to sixth on the final standings, a position only the brave would have predicted mid-year.
After a convincing win over Sorrento seven days earlier, Bassendean Caledonian ended their 2003 campaign by sharing the points with Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. The home side began promisingly with Gary Andrews creative in midfield and attacker Paul Lincoln lively as the side went forward in search of the games opening goal. The breakthrough came via a quick counter-attack by the hosts after Caledonian striker Andy Cornmell mis-hit a shot and the ball was cleared up-field by a defender to Andrews who relayed possession to Christian Marocchi and he made no mistake on netting from close-range after 35 minutes. Both sides came out fired up for the second half by launching several dangerous attacks. Caledonian goalkeeper Alan Dunlop was called upon to make a superb save to deny the hard-working Lincoln, while down the opposite end Cornmell found Cory Hugo up to the task. Ian Griffiths went close for the visitors as they sought to equalise and end what has been a disappointing season with dignity. On the hour the whistle blew for a handball inside Swan's defensive area and the referee immediately pointed top the spot for Cornmell to send Cory Hugo the wrong way for his ninth goal of the home-and-away campaign. With Craig Naven marshalling the defence with aplomb, Swan could find few paths to goal in the remaining time despite their numerous drives into attack. Caledonian on the other hand carved out three good opportunities but on each occasion failed to produce the goods. The best of the visitors chances came in the closing stages when Naven played the ball down the left for Matt Donlevy who streamed into attack but was unable to make the most of the move. Both teams ended the game with ten men as Caledonian captain Kevin Smith was given his marching order for a second yellow card offence in the 82nd minute, and soon after Lincoln followed received his second booking for a dive inside the 18-yard box.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
First Division reserves champions Perth S.C. ended their regular season campaign with a 2-0 defeat of third-placed Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens. Vlado Milasinovic put the home side in front after 38 minutes while a goal ten minutes from full-time by Albert Osei-Tutu put the icing on the cake of a successful season for the Perth youngsters. Sorrento finished in the runners-up spot courtesy of a 4-3 away win over Cockburn City. Goals from Jarrod Smith and Scott Bushby enabled E.C.U. Joondalup to claim fourth on the final standings and a 3-1 win over Floreat Athena for whom Jed Lea Henry found the target. In a tight match at Macedonia Park, Steven Sulenta's 73rd minute strike for Western Knights gave them victory over Stirling Lions. And Bassendean Caledonian ended their winter on a high by downing Swan I.C. 2-0. Cory Bessant opened the scoring after 55 minutes with Leo Perrotta adding to the tally twelve minutes from the end.
Under-18 champions E.C.U. Joondalup suffered their first loss of the home-and-away campaign after Josip Magdic netted on the hour to give fourth-placed Floreat Athena victory by a single goal. Joondalup ended the season two points clear of arch rival Fremantle City to lift the trophy. Perth S.C. thumped Inglewood United 8-1, while Fabio De Oliveira's goal in the 28th minute secured Cockburn City a 1-0 win over Sorrento and a place in the play-offs. Swan I.C. had little difficulty in accounting for strugglers Bassendean Caledonian at the Swan Italian Club. A goal after 14 minutes by Jay Buntin separated the two teams at the break, but four minutes into the new half Ian McCallister drew the sides level. Within five minutes Swan had restored and extended their lead with Brendan Knox and Matt Ullbricht adding to the tally. Western Knights swept aside bottom team Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park where Joe D'Ortona bagged a hat-trick with Andrija Jukic completing the scoreline midway through the second half.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-SIX (Dianella White Eagles vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Balcatta vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie; Canning City vs Ashfield by Phil Unsworth)
Held to a draw last weekend by The City, First Division leader Bayswater City needed to take nothing less than maximum points from Saturdays away clash with near neighbour Dianella White Eagles who were without regulars David Mrdja and Dragan Njegic. With midfielder Andrew O'Neill lurking dangerously on the right, Bayswater took the lead after 5 minutes when a mix-up in the Dianella defence resulted in Goran Bolta putting the ball past his own goalkeeper. With their heads up, Bayswater would go on to control the remainder of the match with a performance that simply out-classed the home team. O'Neill could have doubled the margin but his initial shot was blocked by defender Taki Nicolaides, and the young attacker then scuffed the follow-up over the bar. Dianella tried valiantly to break down the visiting defence but could find no way past a rock-solid backline of Jason Lawton, Michael Kovacevic and Daniel Vangelovski. After the half-time break Bayswater upped the pace, throwing everything at the hosts in an effort to make safe the points. Kevin Henderson finished a sweeping move by scoring his thirteenth goal of the campaign following a great defence-splitting pass from O'Neill. Bayswater's third came three minutes from the end of regulation time after a strong run from midfielder Filipe Xavier to tee-up Bobby Klenkoski whose mis-timed shot beat goalkeeper Steve Partolo. With the final whistle Bayswater edged one step closer to winning promotion, although second-placed Mandurah City look like keeping the pressure up until the final week of competition. Goals by Nick Paone and Pasquale Marrapodi put Bayswater in the driving seat in the reserves only for Dianella to fight back and claim victory by 6-2. The under-18 match ended in a 3-0 win to Dianella.
A strong 4-2 victory away at Balcatta ensured Mandurah City stay in the hunt for promotion to the top flight at seasons' end. Balcatta came out firing on all cylinders to have the Mandurah defence working overtime over the opening 10 minutes, but it was the visitors that created the best of the early moves when Christian Paschewitz broke through the defence only to have his shot deflected wide. The host club responded almost immediately with Scott Broadley sending a well worked free-kick through the defensive wall to give goalkeeper Paul Dixon no chance of making the save. With their season on the line Mandurah regrouped and, following a long throw from John Tranfield, Paschewitz rose high above the defence to slide his header into the net after 28 minutes. The visitors went in front seven minutes later through Jordan Rhodes who coolly turned on the ball and from near the penalty spot scrambled his shot past the goalkeeper. Balcatta drew level early in the second half via another deadball situation, this time Broadley's shot being deflected into the net with Dixon caught going the opposite direction. Mikel Sesma took possession following a long clearance down the right and rounded an opponent only to be fouled inside the area for a penalty from which Jordan Rhodes made no mistake in restoring Mandurah's lead in the 78th minute. The three points were sealed by Paschewitz who bagged his second of the day from close range. Mandurah's reserves stumbled in their quest to win the title when defeated 1-2 by Balcatta who also took out the under-18 fixture by 4-3.
Mid-table Kingsway Olympic had a difficult away trip to Coker Park on the weekend to play fourth placed Queens Park. The visitors were pumped up for Saturday's game with the entire squad out to impress the coaching staff a little over a week out from a semi-final appearance in the Boral Cup. It took just 15 minutes for Olympic to break through as Sota Iwasaki led the home defence on a merry dance only to have his shot parried by the goalkeeper but Ben Roberts was well placed to tuck the loose ball into the back of the net. Not long after a searching Andy Brown ball went over the heads of the defence and Iwasaki volleyed in to extend the margin. Some good lead-up play in midfield resulted in an Olympic free-kick Andy Brown took quickly to send the ball into the back of the net from 25-metres only to have the goal disallowed. Steve Dimitrovich then stepped up and blasted the ball into the top left hand corner to make it 3-0 with 39 minutes gone. The visitors carved out numerous other opportunities to add to their tally before continued Steve Bretti made the most of a defensive error three minutes from the interval. The home team threw men forward after the break in an effort to get back in the game but goalkeeper Kalon Tenakov was rarely troubled thanks largely to the defensive duties of Andy Brown, Alan Henderson, Alan Nanini and Jason Stern. Olympic substitute Shane Fitzpatrick twice had chances to score his sides fifth but on both occasions luck wasn't on his side before the final whistle signaled a comprehensive victory to the visitors. Both the earlier games ended with honours even, the reserves 1-1 and the under-18's 3-3.
In a repeat scoreline of their meeting earlier in the season, Canning City went down 1-5 at home to Ashfield. The hosts went into the game far from full strength, goalkeeper Robby Meyer and talented midfielder Paul Oliver absent due to suspension and Jix Loong out through illness. Ashfield almost scored inside the opening minute when Chris McCullough was allowed an unmarked run on goal but his shot flew over the Canning crossbar. With Canning doing most of the defending and breaking only on the counter-attack, it looked as though they would take the lead in the final minute of the half when awarded a penalty, however, Steve Walker's spot kick was high and the teams went in at nil-all after 45 minutes. Canning got a second chance from the spot early in the second half when Shane Laing was fouled, and this time Ryan Allomes made no mistake in drilling his shot into the roof of the net to give his side the lead. Ashfield pulled level when the ball ricocheted off Alex Crookes and sailed across the Canning defence where it was met by David Mayers who headed the ball in from close-range. The goal lifted the visitors spirits and in a ten minute period Ashfield went on a goalscoring spree. Muhamed Komadric found the net twice with John Monterosso and Daniel Taylor adding to the score to give their side a comprehensive win. Earlier in the day the reserves game ended with honours shared at 1-1, while Canning took outthe under-18 clash by 2-0.
Armadale's slim chances of taking out the First Division title evaporated with a 1-2 away loss to Leeming Strikers who picked up maximum points for the first time in over two months. The match was just 5 minutes old when disaster struck the Reds camp as Gary Murdoch was red carded. Taking full advantage of the extra man, the Strikers took the lead shortly after with Josef Tomancak finding the back of the net. Thirteen minutes after half-time Anthony Natale gave Armadale hope of taking something from the game by equalising, but in the 77th minute a goal from Craig Ruthven ensured the Strikers would claim victory. The City thumped a lacklustre performance from Morley Windmills to register the seventh win of their campaign. After a scoreless first half, The City were reduced to ten men in the 56th minute when Adam Windley received his marching orders. It took until the seven minutes from the end for the games' opening goal which came from Jason Hope, and in quick succession Mark Cox added two to complete the 3-0 win. Stirling Suns scored their first win in over a month by defeating South West Phoenix 5-4. And Glen Hallums was on target for Rockingham City who climbed off the foot of the table with a 1-1 away draw with Southside United for whom Stuart Jones netted.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
In what was the last Premier League outing for Vince Tana, Stephen Willey and Gareth Naven, champions Perth S.C. went down 1-2 at home to Inglewood United who secured themselves a spot in the top five series courtesy of a Ryan Newhill double. Second-placed Cockburn City accounted for Sorrento by 2-1, and Western Knights moved up to third with a 3-0 away over Stirling Lions. E.C.U. Joondalup's winter came to a crashing halt with a 0-5 home mauling from Floreat Athena, and Swan I.C. finsihed their home-and-away commitments with a 1-1 draw against Bassendean Caledonian.
Baswater City cruised to a 3-0 away win over Dianella White Eagles to stay top of the First Division with Mandurah City still nipping at their heels after a 4-2 away defeat of Balcatta. Armadale dropped off the pace with a 2-1 loss at Leeming Strikers, and Queens Park's inconsistent season continued with a 0-4 home loss at the hands of Kingsway Olympic. Ashfield thumped Canning City 5-1, and in a nine-goal thriller Stirling Suns accounted for South West Phoenix 5-4. Rockingham City climb off the foot of the table courtesy of a 1-1 draw at Southside United, and The City won 3-0 at home over Morley Windmills.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Perth S.C. may have secured the Premier League title last weekend, but there is still plenty to play going into the final round of the home-and-away season. With both teams having already secured themselves a place in the top five series, it's second verses third at Dalmatinac Park as Cockburn City face off against Sorrento. A draw away at Stirling Lions will be enough for Western Knights to make the play-offs, but at Dorrien Gardens Inglewood United must take maximum points from Perth in order to extend their season. E.C.U. Joondalup and Swan I.C. find themselves in a similar situation, both relying on those above them to slip up while claiming victory themselves at home over Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian respectively. Out of action with the bye are Fremantle City whose Premier League commitments for 2003 are complete.
There is also mounting interest in the First Division as the race for top spot heats up. Topping the table by three points, Bayswater City have a potentially tricky away clash with Dianella White Eagles who have been running hot and cold of late. Second-placed Mandurah City are also on the road but should account for mid-table Balcatta, while third-placed Armadale are favoured to extend their winning run when the meet Leeming Strikers who have the home ground advantage. Queens Park come up against Kingsway Olympic at Coker Park, Ashfield are home to lowly Canning City, and Stirling Suns take on South West Phoenix in what promises to be an tight mid-table meeting. Elsewhere Southside United welcome Rockingham City to Walter Padbury Reserve, and The City are home to Morley Windmills.
GLORY VISIT MANDURAH
Perth Glory visit Mandurah this weekend as part of the State Government's Country Sport Enrichment Scheme. On Friday morning at Bortolo Reserve, Peelwood Reserve and Laurie Standford Reserve, Glory players will conduct coaching clinics for invited players from 10.00am, and then at 4.00pm there are additions sessions being held at Peelwood Reserve. The following day the reigning National Soccer League champions play the second and final game of the series with the Singapore national team at Peelwood Reserve, kick-off at 3.00pm. The days activities get underway from 11.00am with two junior cup finals to be played prior to the Glory-Singapore friendly.
GOALS THE KEY TO CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS
The Premier League championship will spend another twelve months in the trophy cabinet at Dorrien Gardens following Perth S.C.'s 3-1 mauling of Cockburn City last weekend. Under coach Graham Normanton, the Blues started the season in blistering fashion by taking maximum points from eleven of their opening thirteen games to place them well clear of the chasing pack. "Obviously, you always look at starting the season well to set you up, and after thirteen games I was feeling pretty confident that we could win it from there," said Normanton this week. "It's always difficult to put a run of results down to one particular thing, but there are a number of factors which contributed to our early season form. One was that we knew we had the fittest team in the League, and we certainly had some quality players at the club, both experienced and inexperienced."
"But perhaps the most pleasing aspect of our game early on was our goalscoring," added the Perth coach. "In pre-season I felt that scoring was going to be one of our problem areas so we worked on making better use of the ball and creating more scoring opportunities ... and I guess you could say it worked." The only team to have netted more than fifty Premier League goals this year, Perth have been lead from the front by summer signing Shane Crampton who has found the back of the net in excess of twenty times so far this season. "Even if you take Shane's goals out of the equation we still would have finished only one goal behind Cockburn City. I know Shane has grabbed the headlines, and so he should, but I was really pleased with the contribution of the other players in the goalscoring department. After four games we had scored 20 goals - and a lot of them were quality goals - which really set us up well for the rest of the season."
With the title seemingly wrapped up, successive losses to Western Knights, Floreat Athena and Sorrento allowed Cockburn to close the gap on Perth at the top of the Premier League table. "When we lost those three games on the trot, something that has not happened to me before as a coach, we weren't playing that badly. In all three games, if we had taken our opportunities in front of goal we would have won each of those matches. And that is not looking at the games through rose coloured glasses - it is just a fact. The other thing was that we got punished for making basic errors at the back, we conceded some pretty soft goals during that run which no team can afford to do. Even after those results, we were still very confident in our ability to turn things around. We kept working on our passing and our mobility which we know are our strengths, we kept working at those aspects of our game and in the end it put us in good stead. There is no substitute for quality."
With wins over Swan I.C. and Bassendean Caledonian restoring their confidence, Perth demolished second-placed Cockburn on Saturday to secure the Premier League title. "Cockburn was a game which we had all looked forward to since five o'clock on that Sunday back in June when they won 3-0. We knew we had let ourselves down that day and we wanted to set the record straight. What we didn't know that day was that Cockburn would be undefeated when we next faced them so the game became even more significant to us. Even though we had gone a goal down early on Saturday it didn't really faze me as we'd worked all week on how to break them down and we were doing that at will so it was only a matter of time before we got on the score sheet. I felt that when we stepped on the gas they had no answers to us and the score by the end of the game really could have been a few more in our favour. I was really pleased with our defence, we restricted them to very few goalscoring opportunities and dealt with anything they could throw at us very confidently."
With the regular season trophy safety tucked up at Dorrien Gardens for another twelve months, Normanton praised the level of commitment and quality of football played by Perth's players. "Overall I have been extremely pleased with the standard of our game, but that's no accident as we have worked very hard at our style of play," commented the coach. "I have often said that we sometimes get wrapped up with what is on television in terms of soccer, yet if you had seen our three goals against Cockburn on television everyone would have been talking about them. In Western Australia I feel that we don't give our own players the credit they deserve at times, I'm not saying that it is English Premier League standard but it is certainly worth coming to support and certainly worth writing about. I build the team around teamwork and expect a 100% contribution from every player, and to tell you the truth the players that we have at Perth are a pleasure to coach. I couldn't ask for more from them than I am getting now. My biggest problem will be getting their feet back on the ground after a weekend of celebrations. We are still involved in two very important competitions - the Boral Cup and top five series - and our aim is to do well in both of these also."
CACERAS STRIKES TWICE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have continued their pre-season by defeating the Singapore national team 3-2 in a friendly played at Waroona Town Oval this afternoon. In a competitive match Singapore took a surprise lead in the 11th minute a defensive slip by Shaun Murphy allowed Egmar Goncalves in to lob the ball over goalkeeper Vince Matassa and into the back of the net. It wasn't until early in the second half that Glory replied with Caceras netting his first of the day. Tom Pondeljak put Glory in front after 65 minutes when his speculative shot was deflected pas the visiting 'keeper Lionel Lewis. The score became 3-1 when a shot by midfielder Anthony Danze bounced awkwardly in front of Lewis and Caceras hooked in the rebound. The skill and pace of the Singapore players continually caused their opponents problems over the course of the match and in stoppage time substitute Mirko Grabovac was able to reduced the margin. Speaking after the game with "West Australian" correspondent Jonathon Cook, Glory defender Scott Miller said he felt the team were on track in their preparations for the new National Soccer League season which starts at the end of next month. "At this stage I think we are ahead of where we were this time last year," commented Miller. "We probably hesitated a bit too much in the first half but we got better. In the second half, I thought we knocked it around quite well."
SOCCEROO CALL-UP FOR TARKA?
Former Cockburn City player David Tarka may find himself in line for senior Australian honours next week when the Socceroo's take on Jamaica in London. Injuries to the regular defenders Tony Popovic, Hayden Foxe and Craig Moore could lead national coach Frank Farina to turn to some of the nations talented youngsters which include Tarka, Ljubo Milicevic (F.C. Thun), Patrick Kisnorbo (Hearts), Jade North (Perth Glory) and Iain Fyfe (Adelaide City).
BASEL EXTEND ERGIC'S CONTRACT
Although he hasn't featured for F.C. Basel in over eight months, former Perth Glory midfielder has had his contract with the Swiss Cup holders extended until July 2005. Having joined Basel in July 2000 in a loan arrangement with Italian giants Juventus, the 22-year old quickly established himself as a regular of the starting eleven and in his second season played an influential role in Basel taking out the Swiss League and Cup double. Ergic was forced onto the sidelines late last year by a niggling groin injury, and has only recently returned to the training track following a particularly nasty bout glandular fever.
GARCIA CAUGHT OUT BY MANAGER'S SACKING
The termination of Glenn Roeder's contract as manager of West Ham United late last week caught everyone associated with the London club by surprise, including Perth-born attacker Richard Garcia. "It has come as a shock to me, and I am sure it has to a lot of players, that Glenn has been given his marching orders," Garcia recently told the official West Ham United website. "It is always going to be tough on anyone who gets relegated and especially when there was such a good talent base. We had so many good players at the club last season but we needed to get financially stable and of course it was going to be hard losing so many players (over the off-season) and establishing a new team."
With Trevor Brooking taking over first team management in a caretaker capacity, the Australian youth international hopes that whoever is appointed long term will be able to continue nurturing the young talent at the club. "I have no preference about who comes in - we just hope that whoever does will do a great job," Garcia commented. "Maybe the experienced players have a preference but as a young player, I don't - I just hope that the new man can teach me as a player because that is what a young player needs from a manager. I think Glenn has really helped a lot of players at the club develop - he has certainly helped me - and I am sad to see him leave."
SCOTTISH TRIALS FOR MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Atalanta defender Adrian Madaschi has recently taken up an offer to try out for top flight Scottish club Dundee United. The Australia Under-20 international is hopeful of winning a contract in Scotland before the fall of this month's transfer deadline. Madaschi was offered a short-term deal at Burnley before accepting an offer from Coventry City for trials. However, the Sky Blues' signing of Steve Staunton from Aston Villa ended their interest in the Perth-born defender. Madaschi has been staying with Hearts defender Patrick Kisnorbo and could sign for United after Livingston's Marvin Andrews turned down a Tannadice offer late last week.
TARKA DELIGHTED WITH FOREST MOVE
Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of former Cockburn City and Perth Glory defender David Tarka, who is widely rated as one of the brightest young prospects in the Australian game. "This a great move for me," Tarka told his new clubs official website. "I've achieved everything I wanted to achieve in Australian football and moving to England really was the next step. I had two weeks with Portsmouth but things didn't really work out there. I jumped at the opportunity when Forest offered me a trial and am delighted to have signed a contract with the club. I'm really looking forward to my time at The City Ground, Forest is a club with a great history and it's a honour to be here." The 20-year old has signed a three-year with Forest who are now waiting to receive international clearance from the international football authorities.
GLORY TOO STRONG FOR INGLEWOOD
Perth Glory have taken out their fourth pre-season friendly with a come-from-behind to defeat of Inglewood United in a match aimed to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation at National Stadium. The hosts took the lead after 10 minutes when Shaun Kilkelly slid the ball through to Michael Baczynski whose shot crashed into the post and rebounding off the back of goalkeeper Jason Petkovic before crossing between the posts. But Inglewood's lead was short lived as Glory hit back five minutes later when triallist Mark Williams found the back of the net following a Scott Miller corner. The National Soccer League champions went in front midway through the half via local product Nick Mrdja who created space for himself and shot truly from just outside the 18-yard box, and two minutes later recent arrival Shaun Murphy nodded in a Gary Faria corner to extend the margin. The win was sealed three minutes from full-time with a fine goal from Adrian Caceras who side-stepped a defender to drill the ball into the net.
On a fine day at Carine, Hamersley Rovers picked up another valuable 3 points in their quest for a third straight league title in the WAASSA Premier Division. However the 5-2 victory did not come wthout some anxious moments particularly in the first half when Murdoch twice led after some sloppy defending by the champions. Both Nathan Chapman and Ronnie Chong were very busy up front for Murdoch well supported by Jason Dixon and Alistair Coulthard who was playing at the back as the sweeper. Hamersley once they got their normal attacking game going looked very dangerous with both Labbate and Yates prominent up front with good midfield support coming from Hendry, Vernals, O'Connell and Birkinshaw. Afetr an early penalty to Murdoch converted by Chapman, Rovers equalised when a training ground move saw Vernals cross perfectly for Labbate to convert at the far post. By half time it was 2 -1 to Murdoch after a goalmouth scramble saw Chong score close in. After a less than friendly half time talk from coach Mickey Brennan, Hamersley came out and really took the game the game to Murdoch. The attacking options were endless and it was Darren Yates who really came to the forefront with 2 excellent goals characteristic of his style, inventive ,sharp and showing plenty of flair not seen too often at this level . His second was one of pure class when he sidestepped his marker on the edge of the box, looked up and curled his shot just under the crossbar and post with the keeper stranded! Either side of his 2 goals were an equalising header to Neil Birkinshaw and a scrambled first goal for the club to Gavin Hendry. In the end it was Hamersley's attacking options which were too much for a Murdoch side well coached by Alan Taylor but missing the necessary discipline to hold onto a lead and really dig in when it matters. They should avoid the dreaded drop purely on their attacking ability alone.
In other games Forrestfield United defeated Kwinana United 1-0, Fremantle United beat Canning International at home with the same score line. Spearwood Dalmatinac drew 1-1 with Perth Azzurri. While Balga suffered their worst loss in their history after a 9-0 demolition away to Shamrock Rovers. The club's previous record loss was 8-0 to Swan IC in the first round of the 1994 D'Orsogna Cup. University of WA defeated North Perth United 3-0, with Frederik Larsen scoring 2 goals, and Bryn Griffiths getting the other. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Bassendean Caledonian vs Sorrento by Bill McAllister; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Fremantle City by Tom McCrisken; Western Knights vs Floreat Athena courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Swan I.C. vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Just three points separated Perth S.C. and Cockburn City prior to Saturday's top-of-the-table Premier League clash at Dorrien Gardens. Although missing a wealth of talent in Mark Pottier (suspended), Perry Ielati, Robbie Puca and Vince Tana (all injured), it was a strong home team which took to the field requiring just a single point to claim their second championship in as many years. Shane Crampton has been a revelation in attack for the club since his arrival during the summer, while in the middle of the park Gareth Naven has shown that, even at the age of 34, he is still one of the best players on the local scene. Cockburn headed in the clash as the competition's form side, undefeated in thirteen games - including a 3-0 defeat of Perth in June - and needing victory today to have any hope of over-taking Perth at the top of the standings. One of the strengths of Cockburn over the home-and-away series has been a rock-solid defence who have conceded goals at a rate of less than one a game. Coach Mirko Jelicic made just a single change to his side which knocked off Inglewood United 4-1 seven days earlier, Boza Erakovic coming into the starting eleven for Dusan Macura.
In a quick opening period it may have been Perth that were pushing forward with more confidence and conviction, but it was the visitors that drew first blood in the 6th minute. Jeff Bright's cross from the left was trapped by Peter Petkovich whose mistimed shot fell perfectly for Erakovic to drill low and beyond the reach of a diving Robert Scarparolo from 12-metres. Unperturbed, Perth continued to stamp their authority over proceedings with a string of attacking raids down both flanks, while a powerful Todd Howarth header from Adam Bunce's corner kissed the wrong side of the crossbar. The Blues dominance was rewarded after 16 minutes when Crampton timed his run to perfection in meeting a low cross from the right by Rhys Graham to level the game. Graham was involved two minutes later when he took the defence with him to the near post only to step over Howarth's low pass and present Crampton with an open goal from which there was no mistake. Crampton bagged his third goal in seven minutes when Rob Giorgi played him down the left, the Perth striker holding off Josh Pescud before calmly slotting past goalkeeper Dino Pacella to send the home fans into seventh heaven.
Having opened up a sizeable lead, Perth eased off the pace and took time to re-assess the situation. With Giorgi and Naven playing key roles in the middle of the park, the Blues were able to tightly control the supply to Cockburn's forwards who only occasionally threatened to break through. Petkovich opened up the Perth backline with an ingenious flick past the last defender that Mileta Miletic was quick to race on to but, sensing the move early, Scaraparolo came of his line to smother at the feet of his opponent. In the minutes leading up to half-time Dean Wallace made a determined run into attack in which he combined to great effect with John Mirco and Miletic only to drill an explosive shot from 13-metres over the crossbar. There were several other promising passages of play from Cockburn who threw everything forward in order to reduce the margin before the break, but on each occasion these attacks were meet with strong resistence from defensive trio Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski and Dino Djulic who were well in control of their third of the field.
Cockburn began the new period by forcing the home team on to the back foot as they set about restoring balance to the ledger. A 48th minute corner by Bright skimmed heads in the 6-yard box and fell to Miletic whose explosive volley beyond the far post forced a sharp response from Scarparolo. Perth tightened things up considerably following the early scare to allow the visiting forwards little time or space to manoeuver, or even consider their options when on the ball. Chances on goal were few and far between for the visitors despite the best efforts of Petkovich, Michael Mirco and Shane McNally who worked tirelessly in the engine room. Their next chance came after 61 minutes and again resulted from a corner, this time Perth clearing the danger to the top of the box where a first-time snap on goal from substitute Roberto Colalillo whizzed inches high. Breaking immediately on the counter-attack, Graham was put through with only Pacella to beat but, with Pescud nipping at his heels, the youngster hesitated and was eventually forced wide before crossing to Crampton who should have done much better than to sky his effort. Not long after Pescud played a searching ball from the back which Petkovich raced onto only for his rising shot to be wide of the target.
Having sat back and soaked up the pressure, Perth stepped up a gear going into the last twenty minutes. Howarth swung a free-kick in from the left after 72 minutes which Wallace partially cleared and Colli was thwarted by a fantastic reflex save from Pacella. Graham wriggled free of his marker to whip in a cross that caught the Cockburn defence flat-footed and which Colli pulled agonisingly wide of the far post. With the game - and the championship - within grasp most teams would have been content to see out the remaining time and hold their, but that's not Perth's style. Time and time again the home team pushed forward in an attempt to extend their lead and make clear that they will be the team to beat in the up-coming finals series. A powerful drive by Naven was pushed onto the upright by Pacella before the defence scrambled it to safety. A minute later Cole's rising shot crashed against the underside of the bar and came back into play. Having twisted past his marker, Crampton open up a path to goal but again Pacella was up to the task and prevented the ball from crossing the line. And well into stoppage time Pacella again denied Perth with a spectacular flying save to tip over Damian Catalano's fierce shot from the top of the 18-yard box.
The final whistle was greeted by scenes of wild celebration from the Perth camp as the realisation set in that the Premier League trophy was going to spend another twelve at Dorrien Gardens. "It's nice to win the League and we've got two more competitions to have a go at before we finish," said Naven whose work rate in the centre was a key component in today's victory, while Crampton's seven minute hat-trick was the perfect response to Cockburn's early goal. With contributors in every position Perth completely out-classed Cockburn to sound a very loud warning to the remainder of the field that they are back in peak form on the eve of the finals. Although they took the lead, Cockburn coach Jelicic said after the game that his side had taken too long to get going. "I don't think we fired early enough," he said to Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "We've held 1-0 leads at times throughout the season and I was disappointed we dropped off." Central defender Pescud worked tirelessly for the visitors, but it was Pacella who was the stand-out performer with several important saves, especially late in the game, which prevented the final margin from blowing out.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulbic, Aaron Cole, Michael
Icanovski, Todd Howarth, Jason Colli (Michael Catalano 79), Gareth Naven
(Stephen Willey 89), Rob Giorgi, Adam Bunce (Daniel Micevski 53), Rhys
Graham, Shane Crampton
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Jeff Bright, Boza Erakovic, Josh Pescud (Steve Adam 79), Mario De Felice, Michael Mirco, Shane McNally, Peter Petkovich, John Mirco (Roberto Colalillo 45), Mileta Miletic (Simon Jonas 75), Evan Wallace
Bookings : None
Dismissals : None
Referee : Steve Muldoon
Attendance : 450 (approx.)
Even with veteran defender Craig Naven missing, Bassendean Caledonian proved they can be a very competitive force by toppling third-placed Sorrento at Jubilee Reserve. The northern suburbs side started well with Jared Love finding Simon Harland who headed over the crossbar from close-range, then Sean Fallon laid it on for Todd Harnwell but he blasted high from 6-metres. Caledonian broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when a corner from the right was partially cleared and the hard-working Ian Griffiths set-up Andy Cornmell to make it 1-0. But that lead disappeared a minute later when a clearance fell kindly to Sean Fallon who slammed the ball back over goalkeeper Alan Dunlop and in to the back of the home net. Shortly after Sorrento were thwarted by Dunlop after Love flicked a pass on to Harland whose shot was brilliantly saved by the Caledonian 'keeper. The home side upped the pace ahead of the break with a fine Kevin Griffiths strike skimming the bar, and Ramon Westerberger finding the side netting. They persistence was rewarded through Cornmell who worked hard to win possession before slotting to Ian Griffiths who netted a stunning goal from 30-metres that gave Sorrento custodian Gareth Deeg no chance of making a save. The second half saw a titanic struggle with the home team creating several more goalscoring opportunities without success. With time running out, Sorrento threw everything into finding an equaliser as Richard Watson had his shot blocked, Steve McDonald's effort was desperately hacked clear only to be sent back in and Harland this time headed the ball over the top. Near the end Caledonian almost conjured up a third goal as Cornmell robbed Tony Cumace and went one-on-one with Deeg who managed to foil the striker. On a day when it was an overall team performance that allowed Caledonian to take out maximum points for only the season time this season, there were strong showing from captain for the day Kevin Smith and attack-minded Ian Griffiths. Losers for the first time in thirteen starts, Sorrento remain in third place on the standings while Caledonian climb off the bottom of the table for the first time this year.
E.C.U. Joondalup and Fremantle City met at Edith Cowan University in a game both sides needed to take maximum points from in order to maintain their push for a place in the top five series. The host club got off to the best possible start when, straight from the kick-off, a neat exchange of passes between Garin Collins, Duncan Willets and Peter Vukmirovic resulted in a lovely through ball to Scott Bulloch who blasted in from 10-metres with barely a minute elapsed. A shell-shocked Fremantle took some time to get back into the game and it wasn't until midway through the half that home goalkeeper Peter Stewart had a shot of any substance to save thanks largely to some fine defending from Peter Roberts and Darren Broxton. Joondalup's lead was doubled after 25 minutes when Willets played through to Vukmirovic who controlled in an instant before picking his spot beyond the reach of the Fremantle goalkeeper. The port side created a few chances late in the half via set-pieces but Fremantle could not put the ball away when it matter most. A half-time re-shuffled saw Fremantle emerge after the break more attack minded and the visitors began to test the opposing defence with more regularity. Twenty minutes into the period a free-kick from the left caught Joondalup ball-watching at the back and Branimir Mikulic was on hand to blast the ball into the net from close-range. Shortly after Fremantle squandered a golden opportunity to level the game from the penalty spot when Mikulic's spot kick hit the post before being scrambled to safety by the home defence. With the clock ticking down, Joondalup were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Roberts. Taking the game up to their opponents Fremantle continually applied pressure to the Joondalup backline who were finally breached well into stoppage when Joe Liguan leveled the game and stole a point for the visitors.
Western Knights final home game of the 2003 season saw them share the points with Floreat Athena who were gifted a two-goal lead. The opener came from the penalty spot after Leon Russell brought down Costas Socratous, the referee's assistant felt that the Athena player had dived but referee Tom Klaver had no doubts and Troy Bernard stepped up to convert from the spot. Athena's lead was doubled in the 65th minute when substitute Andreas Oliviera rounded Evan Wallace and pulled the ball back to an unmarked Sasa Kalibarda who, at the second attempt, forced the ball past goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. Both goals came against the run of play as the Knights peppered the visiting goal only to either missed the target completely or find Athena goalkeeper Vince Matassa positioned well to save. The second goal stung the Knights and four minutes later pulled a goal back when Daniel Trim's firm cross into the box was deflected in by defender Filipos Pakioufakised who wrong-footed Matassa. Carl Medica and Claus Neilsen both squandered opportunities in quick succession, then a fantastic move started by Tomich and involving Luka Jukic and Russell was snuffed out as Matassa saved at the feet of Medica and Fernando Coron cleared the danger. In the final minute of play Paul Cooke turned sharply inside the box only to be brought down by Jamie Trandos, Medica placing the resultant penalty just out of Matassa's reach to equalise for the Knights. The Knights had three clear chances to snatch victory in stoppage but Medica and Trim were thwarted at Matassa within the space of a minute, while an unmarked Cooke placed the ball wide of the target from close-range with Matassa nowhere in sight. The win has the Knights move up a place to fourth but needing victory next weekend over Stirling Lions to be assured of a finals berth.
Stirling Lions winless run continued with another nail-biting defeat, this time going down 2-3 to home team Swan I.C. The visitors may have welcomed trusty defender Andy Wright back to the fray, but they went into the match without key trio Darko Ilomanoski, Adam Rains (both injured) and Jordan Conti (suspended). Despite this, the Lions started with great promise as Toby Wright combined with Christian Debarro whose cross found Keegan Ashley but his shot was well saved by goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Although playing with a stiff breeze in their favour, Swan found themselves on the back foot as Eugene Singeorzan was denied by the home 'keeper and then Debarro's shot grazed the outside of the upright. Midway through the half Swan hit a purple patch that would change the outcome of the game. Nippy forward Paul Lincoln continually carved open the visiting defence to providing teammate Damien Scali with a hat trick of goals in the 25th, 27th and 37th minutes. A faint glimmer of hope came for the Lions in the 44th minute when Debarro was awarded a penalty following a foul by Gary Williams and Singeorzan sent Hugo the wrong way from the spot. A half-time tactical change by Lions coach Wayne Thorpe paid dividends with Ashley bringing a finger tip save from Hugo in the 55th minute. Two minutes later Stjepan Beretovac's perfect pass allowed Singeorzan to smash a scorcher into the net and reduce the deficit. The goal opened up the game as the visiting team sought to equalise. A dazzling run from Andy Wright teed-up Toby Wright whose shot was brilliantly kept out by Cory Hugo, and shortly after Leo Harman crashed the ball into the underside of the crossbar. The Lions threw everything at Swan who battled manfully through tireless midfielders Dean Nicolaou and Carlo Scali. Another shot by Harman ricocheted off the post, and Singeozean headed over the bar in the dying minutes as Swan hold on to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Crowned champions of the First Division reserves weeks ago, Perth S.C. were surprisingly held to a scoreless draw by Cockburn City when they met at Dorrien Gardens on the weekend. Sorrento came away from Jubilee Reserve with all three points as a result of their 4-1 defeat of Bassendean Caledonian. Goals midway through the first half from Joe Woodin and Jake Harman gave the northerners a comfortable buffer by the interval. Six minutes into the second period Graeme Matthews pegged back the margin, but Daniel Cagorski and Trevor Morgan netted in the closing stages to have Sorrento emerge victorious.
Fremantle City finished their season with a 3-3 draw at E.C.U. Joondalup where Saul Contera gave the port side the advantage after 6 minutes. Steve Petrig leveled eight minutes later but Fremantle continued to go on the offensive and Joe Liguan restored their lead in the 27th minute. The match reached flash point after 34 minutes when Fremantle went down to ten men with the dismissal of Carl Page, and a minute later Joondalup did likewise as Craig Stephenson received his marching orders. The visitors looked set to record victory after Daniel Baker found the target seven minutes later the interval, but Joondalup refused to lie down and Scott Bushby and Jarrod Smith during the closing stages meant the points were shared.
Western Knights went down 1-2 to Floreat Athena at Nash Field. Steve Nauer and midfielder Andreas Pantelias were on target for the visiting team while Ivan Zuvela, who has only recently returned from a lengthy spell out through injury, netted for the Knights. The clash between the two bottom clubs at the Swan Italian Club ended with honours even as Swan I.C. and Stirling Lions drew 1-1. Jerome Vallett gave the Lions the lead three minutes into the second half but the visitors lead was short-lived as Mark Donnelly equaliser in the 50th minute.
E.C.U. Joondalup's 1-1 draw with Fremantle City in the under-18 competition was enough for the northern suburbs to secure the trophy for the second time in as many years. Phillip O'Callaghan put Joondalup a goal up by hitting the target in the 1st minute, but it was all hands on deck for the home side following the dismissal of Matt Maxted midway through the second half. Fremantle had to wait until ten minutes from the end for the equaliser which arrived via Jason Barrera. Having completed their League commitments, Fremantle will end the season as runners-up.
Already assured of a finals berth, Perth S.C. went down 1-2 to Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens where all three goal came in a fourteen minute burst. Carlo Cardosa put Cockburn in front after 34 minutes, Jan Zablocki gave the hosts the lead right on half-time, and eight minutes into the second period Andrew Jennings netted what would be the deciding goal. Trailing Cockburn by one point in the race for the fifth and final play-off spot are Sorrento who comfortably swept aside home team Bassendean Caledonian. Seagulls striker Dejan Gurovski found the net in the opening minute, and shortly before half-time Ryan Frisina brought Caledonian back into the match. But after the break the visitors ran away with the game with Gurovski adding three more to the tally.
Phil Clarke struck in the 55th and 73rd minutes for Floreat Athena as they downed Western Knights 2-0 to stay in fourth place. Swan I.C. ran out 4-2 winners over Stirling Lions despite going a goal down in the 2nd minute from Michael Puglese. Connor Mahady equalised after 17 minute, Brendan Knox put the black and whites in front shortly after and ten minutes from the interval Matt Ullbricht made it 3-1. Robert Campos added to Swan's tally early in the second half before Thomas Mifsuio reduced the deficit after 52 minutes.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY FIVE (Bayswater City vs The City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Stirling Suns by Barry Rennie; Canning City vs Queens Park by Phil Unsworth; Kingsway Olympic vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
First Division leaders Bayswater City welcomed to Frank Drago Reserve a The City side brimming with confidence following last weekends five-goal mauling of Dianella White Eagles. The home side started with a bang as Andrew O'Neill was sent through one-on-one with goalkeeper Paul Roseburgh and the young attacker made no mistake in giving the Bayswater faithful something to cheer about. Not to be denied, The City fought back and quickly leveled the score after Alex Grindley conceded a needless free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Scott Wyeth took quickly to send the ball into the top corner of Dusan Martinovic's net. Boima Karpeh came close to restoring the hosts lead but his chip over the 'keeper crashed into the crossbar. The second half was a scrappy affair with neither side able to establish control. Bayswater were awarded a dubious penalty after Bobby Klenkoski was sent crashing to the floor, and Kevin Henderson stepped up to put his side in front with twenty minutes remaining. The City continually applied the pressure to the hosts in their quest for an equalise, but it wasn't until the dying minutes that they breached the home backline. A dangerous throw-in into The City area saw Grindley commit a foul for which the referee immediately pointed to the spot, Scott Wyeth converting to give the visitors a deserved point. Bayswater's reserves kept their good run going with a gutsy victory 2-0 courtesy of goals from Pasquale Marrapodi and Nick Paone, while the under-18 game ended in a 5-3 scoreline to the hosts for whom Zorgan Alsahmi (3) and Chris Herd (2) were the scorers.
Without Christian Paschewitz (suspended) and Mick Bobridge (injured), second-placed Mandurah City squandered a golden opportunity to make up ground on the league leaders by playing out a disappointing 1-1 draw with Stirling Suns at Peelwood Parade. In a match that was completely dominated by the home team, it was the Suns who drew first blood by scoring with their first attack after 29 minutes. After conceding possession unnecessarily in midfield, some sloppy defending on Mandurah's behalf allowed attacker David Moschilla to find the back of the net with a perfectly struck shot that gave goalkeeper Paul Dixon no chance. After going in front the Suns failed to create another chance on goal over the remainder of the afternoon, but it was a much different story for Mandurah who were unable to convert the numerous opportunities which came their way. Early in the second half the hosts were awarded a penalty after Andrew Rennie was brought down inside the area and youngster Jordan Rhodes was denied from the spot by Suns goalkeeper who was judged to have moved too early and Rhodes made no mistake with his second attempt. Mandurah then pushed desperately for the match winner but as was the case in the opening period luck was on the side f the visitors and the Suns managed to hold out for a well-earned point, despite the dismissal of Orkun Ozturk after 86 minutes. In the reserves, Mandurah continued their winning ways with a strong 5-1 victory that has kept them well on the way to taking out the league title. The hosts under-18 side also claimed maximum points but did so without kicking a ball as the Suns forfeited 3-0.
In clear, cool conditions, lowly Canning City hosted fourth-placed Queens Park at Willetton Sports Club on Saturday. The game started at a frenetic pace with Canning settling the earlier of the two sides. Ryan Allomes made an early threat on the visitors goal when Matt Santich crossed from the right and Allomes' headed over the visitors crossbar. Twenty minutes in Queens park attacker Brian Robertson came close to opening the score when he tried his luck from 20-metres only to hit the base of the post. The home team opened their account after 24 minutes when Mick Van Dongen's low strike from the edge of the 18-yard box tucked itself inside the far post. Just three minutes later Queens Park responded with a delightful display of crisp one-touch passing between Lynden Pywell and Robertson that opened up the opposing defence before Robertson drove the ball in off the far post from an acute angle. The two sides went into the half time break on level terms, but Queens Park had been able to settle into their preferred style of play rather than being rushed by Canning's pressing game. Six minutes into the second half Robertson scored his and Queens Parks second goal of the day with a low diagonal shot past goalkeeper Robby Meyer. Queens Park secured maximum points midway through the period via Glen Nobblett who dribbled into the dangerzone and hot a low shot inside the far post. Canning ended the game with ten men following the dismissal of Meyer in the 77th minute. Earlier in the day, Queens Park took out the reserve by 2-1 while the under-18 game ended in an 8-1 win to Canning.
It took Ashfield just 4 minutes before taking the lead over Kingsway Olympic when the two teams met at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The visitors got off to a flying start when John Monterosso beat his marker to cross deep for Muhamed Komadaric who out jumped two defender to head the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. From that point on Ashfield controlled proceedings but it was Olympic that scored after 43 minutes when the unmarked Steve Dimitrovich headed in a corner. Dion Florias and Alex Crookes then took the game into their own hands for the visitors by taking the ball straight into attack from the re-start with Florias blasting into the top corner from just inside the penalty area to made it 2-1. Ashfield came out firing on all cylinders after the interval and would have wrapped up the game if not for some brilliant goalkeeping from the Olympic custodian. The hosts got themselves back in the game through former Ashfield player Steven Bretti who leveled the score. With Ashfield stepping up their search for a winning goal, Wayne Culverwell had a close-range header pushed into the crossbar by the 'keeper who then denied Chris McCullough before the danger was cleared. The game looked destined to end drawn until the 89th minute when Wayne Culverwell intercepted a clearance by the 'keeper to cut the ball back to substitute Bradman Wilkinson who tapped in from close-range to send the Ashfield supporters and coaching staff into celebration mode. The reserves game was taken out by Olympic whose winner arrived in the final minute, while the under-18 fixture ended in victory to the hosts by 2-1. The youth team clash ended on a sour note with Ashfield defender Zac Jones suffering a suspected broken ankle.
Struggling Rockingham City made the trip to John Connell Reserve on Saturday for the First Division clash with Leeming Strikers. The home got off to a perfect start when Josef Tomancak was sent clear of the defence and chipped the advancing goalkeeper to open the Strikers account after 6 minutes. It took Rockingham just nine minutes to reply via Glen Hallums who brought the two teams back on level terms. Chances came and went at both ends of the park as both sides looked to go into the break with the lead. A minute before half-time the complexion of the game changed with the dismissal of Strikers player Dave Harken for a foul inside the area, and Hallums stepped up to convert the penalty to put Rockingham 2-1 up. Early in the second half the visitors added to their tally through Daniel Sirca who made the most of some stagnant defending at a corner. The Strikers pegged the gap back to a single goal after Carlo Di Toro headed in from a corner, but Rockingham could sniff victory in the air and weren't about to let the opportunity slip. With ten minutes to go Hallums completed his hat-trick by beating the offside trap and knocking the ball into Michael Smerilli's net, and Robert Crerar made it 5-2 after holding off a challenge from his marker. Shortly before the final whistle Di Toro again reduced the margin as Rockingham registered just their fourth win of the campaign to move level on points with Canning City as the season draws to a close.
Armadale made up ground on the top two with a 2-0 home win over strugglers Southside United. Jason Goodwin put the hosts in front after 20 minutes, and shortly before the interval both teams were reduced to ten men as Steven Tsallis (Armadale) and Tommy Drummond (Southside) were red carded. Three minutes into the new half Dennis Lee added to the Reds tally. Morley Windmills ended a five game losing streak with a 2-0 away defeat of a Dianella White Eagles side who have struggled for consistency this season. Simon Messenger scored in the 41st and 75th minutes for Windmills, while in the final minute the hosts had Mario Lucic sent off. Balcatta registered their fifth home win of the winter by thumping South West Phoenix 4-0. First half goals from Adrian Caloiero, Oriano Lapalombara and Scott Broadley set up the win which was completed when Carmelo Gumina netted after 55 minutes.
STATE SPLIT OVER SELECTION OF GRIFFITHS (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Local fans are still debating the merits of the State selection of 15-year old Rostyn Griffiths. The teenage midfielder hasn't yet played senior football for E.C.U. Joondalup, yet has been called up to a provisional 34-man State squad by coach Steve Simmons. Griffiths, who has spent time at Blackburn Rovers and Ipswich Town earlier this year, told the "West Australian" newspaper, "I think I do feel ready. I've been to England a few times and I'm sort of used to it. I feel like if I can play there, I can play here. It's an honour really." Simmons backed the youngsters selection. "He's got great vision, reads the game well, he's good in the air and he's got a great engine. If you're good enough, it doesn't matter how old you are." Griffiths, a regular for Joondalup's Under-18 side, could be part of the State squad for the challenge match with National Soccer League champion Perth Glory at Litis Stadium on 7th September.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. have made it back-to-back Premier League championships with a 3-1 defeat of second-placed Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens. The visitors may have gone ahead via Boza Erakovic, but three goals in a blistering seven minute period by star striker Shane Crampton gave the Blues the trophy. Western Knights ended the top five hopes of Floreat Athena by holding them to a 2-2 draw, and Fremantle City are also out of contention for a play-off berth following their 2-2 away draw at E.C.U. Joondalup. Swan I.C. are still in with a mathematical chance of playing finals football following a 3-2 win over Stirling Lions. And Bassendean Caledonian have moved off the bottom of the table for the first time this winter after a surprise 2-1 defeat of third-placed Sorrento.
Armadale's 2-0 home defeat of neighbouring Southside United has brought them back into contention for promotion as the top two in the First Division falter. With six games remaining in the home-and-away season, leader Bayswater City were held to a 2-2 draw at home by The City, while Mandurah City drew 1-1 with the visiting Stirling Suns. Queens Park stay fourth courtesy of a 3-1 win at Canning City, and Ashfield stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a 3-2 result against Kingsway Olympic. Leeming Strikers went down 3-5 at home to Rockingham City, Dianella White Eagles lost 0-2 to Morley Windmills, and Balcatta thumped South West Phoenix 4-0.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Premier League title could be decided on Saturday at Dorrien Gardens where Perth S.C. need only a single point from their clash with second-placed Cockburn City to make it back-to-back championships. A Sorrento win against bottom side Bassendean Caledonian will secure their place in the play-off series, while Western Knights can also make themselves safe with victory at home over Floreat Athena. Level on points and sitting just outside the five are E.C.U. Joondalup and Fremantle City who meet in the northern suburbs. Swan I.C. are home to Stirling Lions with the bye this week going to Inglewood United.
First Division leader Bayswater City this weekend come up against a The City side growing in confidence and coming off a 5-0 thrashing of Dianella White Eagles. Mandurah City are home to Stirling Suns, as third-placed Armadale welcome local rival Southside United to Alfred Skeet Oval. Canning City will find the going tough against Queens Park, and Kingsway Olympic verses Ashfield should be an interesting tussle between two very evenly matched sides. Dianella White Eagles take on the visiting Morley Windmills, Leeming Strikers are home to Rockingham City, and South West Phoenix travel to Balcatta.
WOMEN'S TEAM TEST THEIR SKILLS
The women's State team flew to the eastern states this morning to test the waters as to the possible entry of a West Australian team in the Women's National Soccer League. "The squad is travelling to the east for the express reason of gauging our quality against a couple of N.S.L. teams with the end goal being to enter the competition the following season," said squad member Penny Hoath. "The powers to be have already given the green light to a West Australian team coming into the national league subject to funding, and coach Alistair Edwards is working very hard to encourage sponsors to back us. From our perspective, we will have to perform well to even consider being a part of the N.S.L. even if funding should become available."
The nine-day tour begins with a two-match series against W.N.S.L. side Adelaide Sensation and concludes in Melbourne late next week when the State team twice meets Victoria Vision who also play in the national competition. To help prepare for the trip the State team have played a series of recent friendlies with promising results. "We have a kick-ass team," added Hoath, a former Australian international. "I've been playing senior State soccer since 1987 and this is the best bonded and skilled team I have been privilege to be a part of. Alistair has been able to impart his wealth of experience on the players and given us tips as to how we can use them quickly and effectively against competent opponents. The way he has taught us has worked well against the local boys teams we played and I'm sure will overcome the lack of experience against better women opposition."
The West Australian women's squad boasts an incredible array of local talent. Five players from Floreat have been included in the 16-player squad including respected State captain Jessine Bonzas and highly rated defenderr Tanya Oxtoby who recently trialed with W.N.S.L. champion Queensland Sting. Joining the pair from the inner city club are former Australian Schoolgirls representatives Lisa Tana and Deb Gorton as well as Canadian import and recipient of the 2002 Premier League Fairest and Best award Sarah Cunningham. Balcatta's Helen Carroll is the only goalkeeper making the journey and is joined by Northern Redbacks teammates Amanda Tana, Nicola Williams and Luciana Colangelo. Also drawn from the Redbacks camp are Lisa DeVanna and Collette McCallum, both recently short-listed for the Australia Olympic squad. Former Australian international Penelope Hoath and 18-year old Joanne Allen hail from Lynwood, Lisa Ward has been turning on the style in the south of the state for Bunbury, and Queens Park are represented by former Australian Schoolgirls representatives Nadia Poulsen and Stacey Woodfin.
BACZYNSKI REFLECTS ON SCHOOLBOYS TOURNAMENT
One of the star performers for the State Schoolboys at the recent national championships in Melbourne was Inglewood United's Michael Baczynski. Having stepped up to the senior ranks at club level earlier this year, the 16-year old attacker turned on the style in the eastern states and come tournaments' end was one of three West Australian players put forward for Australian Schoolboys honours. "I was pretty happy with the way I played," said Baczynski this week. "I played in midfield for the majority of the tournament which was something different for me and an experience that I learnt a lot from. I'm pleased that I was able to play well consistently over the week and it was nice to be named in the shadow squad, although I was a little disappointed to miss out on full selection. Special congratulations must go to Scott Blackmore for making the Australian Schoolboys team after trialling in England, and to Ben Rogers for also making the shadow team after traumatic personal circumstances ... well done lads."
The Schoolboys may have ended the tournament in fifth place with just one win to their credit, but there wasn't a great different between the West Australian side and those form the other states according to Basczynski. "It was a good tournament for all the W.A. boys, everyone played reasonably well and we were a bit unlucky not to get some better results in Melbourne," he commented. "Unfortunately we just didn't get that luck that you sometimes need in those sorts of tournaments. I think that we were pretty much on a par with the other states, but we made a few mistakes at crucial times and were punished for them whereas we were unable to capitalise on their errors. The players from the other states were a lot bigger than us physically and that might have intimidated a few of our boys at different times. In general though it was a very even competition and any of the states really could have taken away the honours. Our coaches Damon Atthowe and Kevin Griffiths did a great job and it was just a shame that a few more things couldn't have gone our way on the park."
MURPHY ON DECK FOR GLORY
After an eleven-year career in England, Australian international Shaun Murphy this week touched down in Perth to commence a two-year contract with National Soccer League champions Perth Glory. One of the state's most successful soccer exports, Murphy turned down another season with First Division side Sheffield United to return home for personal reasons. "My wife ... she's been suffering with breast cancer for the last two years so it was a joint decision between us that we would come home and seek the support of our families," he said. The 32-year old defender is unlikely to have any regrets about leaving England. "I basically called time on that part of my career," he added said. "I'll miss it. It was hard to leave but I've moved on from that now and I'm focused on being here." Having played abroad for Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, Murphy is now looking forward to the big game atmosphere of finals matches in Perth, something that was a far-off thought when he left western Australia in 1992. "When I was growing up and playing football here I never expected to see 40,000 people watching a game," he commented in reference to the record breaking crowds Glory has drawn to Subiaco Oval in recent years.
NEW ERA OPENS FOR LOCAL SOCCER (by Mike Hennessey)
At the compulsory Soccer West Coast League of Management meeting held at Dorrien Gardens on Wednesday 20th August, clubs voted unanimously to indicate they were in favour of Soccer West Coast signing the Memoranum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the restructure of the local game. With other soccer organisations having already agreed to sign, this means the code can move forward towards Stage One of a process that will see the establishment of a new Soccer Commission. The meeting was addressed by Ron Alexander and Kevin Watts of the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR). They outlined the process forward that will provide soccer with the possibility of substantial funding as a top five sport - as the recent Morgan Gallop Poll Research showed soccer is, by a large margin, the biggest team participation sport in Western Australia and in Australia as a whole. Ron Alexander, in his first statement, made it plain that "the Sport will run the Sport."
The proposed seven member Commission will have three independent members, one each from Soccer West Coast, the Junior Soccer Association and WAASSA, and one appointed by the government. Stage One should take about two years in which the status quo will be maintained. As the new Commission prepares for the future it will have the advice of a Soccer Advisory Council that will be open to all areas of the sport to express their views. The Commission will have a chief excutive officer and a developmental officer, the former responsible for finance, administration, marketing, sponsorship and promotion while the latter will be developing an overall plan for the sport covering coaches, referees, sport medicine and adminsistration. John Quigley, a member of the S.W.C. board, spoke of the need to have a soccer commission that will have the clout that will enable the largest team participation sport in Australia (1.218million) to claim the funding its position warrants. He also emphasised the Government's goodwill towards soccer and its backing of the reform process.
The DSR will assist in the opening of new offices for the administration of the sport although Mr. Alexander mentioned that soccer might be selling itself short if it were to accept $200,000 to redevelop the seven-room cottage at Perth Oval. Clubs should note the services offered by the DSR. Its' club development scheme covers help with the starting and running of a club, the roles of president, secretary and treasurer, conducting a meeting and other administration functions. The signing of the MOU should open the door for government funding that, for example, could see the appointment of a full-time director of coaching. It was pointed out that clubs concerned at any aspect of the reforms have the two year period of Stage One to voice their concerns. In general business the need for all Premier League clubs from season 2004 to have their own teams in the junior champions league was discussed. The overall tone of the meeting was one of goodwill. The firm desire to move the game forward was evident throughout the meeting.
IRISH COME FROM BEHIND TO DEFEAT SOCCEROOS
The Republic of Ireland have come from behind to defeat Australia 2-1 in the international friendly played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin overnight. The Socceroos began brightly with Marco Bresciano's 12th minute volley cannoning back off the underside off the crossbar. Minutes later a vicious low shot from Danny Tiatto was paddled wide by goalkeeper Nick Colgan, while down the opposite end Lucas Neil was influential in stifling Ireland's strike force lead by the dangerous Damien Duff. It wasn't until a minute before the break that the home nation threatened as Robbie Keane was denied by a smart reflex save by Mark Schwarzer. Australia took the lead early in the second half when Perth-born Stan Lazaridis coasted down the left flank and his centre found Mark Viduka who killed the ball with his thigh and slammed it into the net from close-range. Viduka was denied his second on the hour when he was played clear only to be denied by a fine low save from the advancing Golgan who also kept out Bresciano's follow-up. Ireland leveled the game in the 74th minute after a free-kick from Ian Harte was knocked past Schwarzer by John O'Shea. Buoyed by the goal, the Irish pressed for the winner which arrived seven minutes later via substitute Clinton Morrison after he raced onto a long pass played over the Australian defence by Harte.
TARKA DEAL FINALISED (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory have accepted a $250,000 bid from English First Division club Nottingham Forest for promising young defender David Tarka. "We are disappointed with what was put on the table but that's reflective of the international soccer market," Glory chief Jeff Dennis told the "West Australian". Tarka accepted personal terms with Forest almost two weeks ago but the deal was delayed as the two clubs finalised the conditions of his transfer. The Australia Under-23 international chose to forgo a 10% cent slice of the transfer to smooth the deal in which Glory will net $180,000, with Soccer Australia to pick up around $30,000. Cockburn City, whom Tarka made his Premier League debut for at the age of 16, are entitled to about $25,000 of the transfer fee while the Australian Institute of Sport collecting in the vicinity of $12,000.
SPONSORSHIP SOUGHT WOMEN'S TEAM
Western Australia may be represented in the Women's National Soccer League as early as next year according to Women's Soccer W.A. president Janette Spencer. The organisation have been given provisional approval to take part in the 2004 competition but requires financial backing to get it off the ground. "The board needs to get out and talk real dollars with potential sponsors. That's our job now," Spencer told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "We need at least a $20,000 a year sponsor for a three-year term." The women's game in this state has never been healthier with Lisa DeVanna, Collette McCallum, Candice Townsend, Ashley Bennett and Tal Karp, who plays in the W.S.N.L. for Canberra Eclipse, all in line for national honours in coming months. "In the history of our game, this has to be the most successful we've been," Spencer said. "If we had a (W.N.S.L.) team in Perth the chances are we could attract the likes of Tal Karp back here to play under our banner. The reason players have gone across there is because they were looking for opportunities at a time when they weren't being offered here."
NEW LOOK FOR J.S.A. WEBSITE
With the Junior Soccer Association's Top Four finals series about to get underway, the association this week launched a new-look website at their regular http://www.jsawa.org.au address. The website has undergone a major overhaul and new includes all J.S.A. latest results, fixtures and tables, news on the various State teams and Junior Champions League, details of development programs and up-coming coaching courses, competition rules and regulations, and an exchange board through which clubs and players can advertise their wares. "Our aim is for the site to provide as much information as possible for all of those interested in the game and involved in the J.S.A.'s activities," said Lisa Bradock, the association's general manager. "The upgrade also coincides with the launch of a new format for the iScore website, which hosts our fixtures and results."
GLORY TOO STRONG FOR ATHENA
Perth Glory have continued their preparations for the 2003/04 National Soccer League season with a 3-0 defeat of local club Floreat Athena on a chilly evening at Litis Stadium. The opening goal came midway through the first half when Tom Pondeljak's cross from deep on the right was brilliantly controlled by Damian Mori before blasting the ball past goalkeeper Vince Matassa. With Glory dominant across the middle of the park Mori doubled the margin shortly before the break by converting another Pondeljak cross. The icing was put on the cake in the second half by local product Gary Faria who finished brilliantly to wrap up the friendly win. There were strong performances from midfielders Wayne Shroj and Pondeljak along with former Rotherham United defender Mark Williams who is currently on trial with Glory.
DRAW MADE FOR CUP SEMI-FINALS
The semi-final draw for the Boral Cup has produced two intriguing clashes to be staged to Litis Stadium in early September. On Saturday 6th September traditional rivals Perth S.C. meet Western Knights in what is sure to be a blockbluster. Perth also feature in the reserves where they take on Bassendean Caledonian, while in the under-18's it's Inglewood United against E.C.U. Joondalup. On Sunday 7th September the top flight's Swan I.C. come up against First Division outfit Kingsway Olympic for the right to play off for silverware. Cockburn City meet Stirling Lions in the reserves, and in the youth game it's Cockburn verses Fremantle City.
Former Soccer West Coast clubs Balga and University of WA played in an important WAASSA Premier League game on Sunday, with UWA getting the win to keep them in the title hunt. University started off brightly going 1-0 up early in the game, but not before Anthony Banham, who has been injured for most of the season, equalising for Balga and putting them back into the game. UWA made it 2-1 before the break and it was all to play for after the interval. However, it was a different story in the second half, with University making the most of their opportunities and getting the goals they wanted. The final score being 7-1 to University of WA.
Hamersley Rovers bounced back from last weeks defeat by Spearwood Dalmatinac with a solid 4 -1 win against a difficult opponent in Perth Azzurri in a game played at the tiny Beatty Park ground on Sunday. However with Fremantle also gaining three points from an excellent win at Kwinana and a big win for UWA against bottom side Balga the race for this years title remains wide open. The first half was all Hamersley and they took the lead when Darren Yates turned sweetly on the edge of the box to fire into the top stanction with the keeper nowhere. They were then awarded a penalty which was turned around the post for a corner, from the ensuing corner Martin Ireland rose high to head home after a near post flick on by Peter O'Connell. Azzurri were not getting much headway from midfield and it was a complete surprise when they scored after a break and attempted offside failed for the half time score to be 2 -1 in favour of Hamersley. The second half was much the same as the first with Hamersley generally in control and they were soon on the scoreboard again when Yates beat the offside trap to cooly round the keeper and then Ireland got his second from another corner and far post header. Azzurri lost Nikolovski after his second bookable offence picked up trying to keep tabs on leading scorer Labbate. No further goals were added although Labbate and Yates went close. There is along way still to go in the league but Hamersley's squad is getting stronger all the time and they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Fremantle United remain one point behind league leaders Hamersley, after a solid 4-0 win away to Kwinana United. Murdoch University still have the possibility of relegation hanging over their shoulders after a 2-1 loss at home to Forrestfield United, while Spearwood Dalmatinac thrashed North Perth United 9-0. Canning International continued their good season with a 2-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
COMFORTABLE HIT-OUT FOR GLORY
Off-season recruit Tom Pondeljak bagged his first goals for Perth Glory when they defeated First Division opponent Armadale 9-0 in a pre-season friendly at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was another useful work-out for Glory as they prepare to defend their National Soccer League championship. Played out in front of a healthy crowd on a sunny afternoon, Damian Mori opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he headed home a Mark Byrnes cross. Eight minutes later Tom Pondeljak opened his account with a low right foot drive, and Glory went to the break with a three goal cushion thanks to Brad Hassell's simple finish. Pondeljak's crossbar-rattling effort and a fine shot from Hassell which forced a good save from the Armadale goalkeeper were clear signs that there were more goals to come for the N.S.L. side. Their fourth came three minutes in to the second half when Pondeljak finished a neat move by chipping into the net. Adrian Caceres hit the woodwork and Hassell had an effort cleared off the line as Glory not unexpectedly dominated possession. A brace from Nick Mrdja was the reward, then Anthony Danze headed home to make it 7-0 before Mori scored from the spot. Mrdja completed his hat-trick and the scoring seven minutes from full-time.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY (Bassendean Caledonian vs Perth S.C. by Bill McAllister; Western Knights vs Fremantle City courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com ; Floreat Athena vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
The Premier League clash at National Stadium on Saturday between Inglewood United and Cockburn City had a lot to offer both clubs. Out of action next weekend with the bye, the hosts knew that victory today would put them in god stead for a spot in the top five play-off series. Following a dramatic come-from-behind draw with Sorrento seven days earlier, coach Eddy Hodgkinson made just one change to his side with State Schoolboys striker Michael Baczynski coming into the line-up in place of Renato Rechichi. Cockburn have had a brilliant season under debutant coach Mirko Jelicic, the side going into the match undefeated in 13 starts to be placed second behind competition heavyweights Perth S.C. with the regular campaign fast drawing to a close. Today the southerners would have to do without experienced defender Boza Erakovic due to injury while hard-working Steve Adam had to make do with a place on the bench. With the sun streaming down from a blue sky as the sides took to the park, the stage was set for an entertaining afternoon's football.
The crowd were still settling into their seats when Cockburn went in front, John Mirco making the most of some poor defending to work the ball to the byline from where he played it low to the near post and Michael Mirco did the rest, tucking his shot under goalkeeper Oliver Taseski with just a minute gone. In a very quick opening to the game John Mirco slammed a low shot into the side netting following a darting run down the left flank, and minutes later at the opposite end Ryan Newhill waltzed past Dusan Macura but the big striker's low cross narrowly evaded the outstretched leg of Louis Parkinson. Inglewood's day went from bad to worse as Mileta Miletic slotted the ball to the top corner of the box where Peter Petkovich shrugged off a challenge by Shaun Kilkelly and drove his shot under the advancing 'keeper to make it 2-0 after 10 minutes. Rory Mouttet called Dino Pacella into action for the first time with a rocket from the top of the area which the Cockburn custodian tipped over the crossbar. And in the 21st minute Scott Campbell's curling cross from the right was met solidly by Alan MacKenzie whose downward header was spectacularly kept out by Pacella.
Although two goals down Inglewood very still very much in the game, the home team continually matching their opponent but finding ways past a well-organised defence hard to come by. A succession of corners produced little to cause Pacella any great concern, then on the half hour a long-range shot from Parkinson curled narrowly wide of the far post. A minute later John Mirco, who appeared suspiciously offside, raced on to a long ball played over the defence to go inside the 18-yard box and hammer an unstoppable shot past Taseski and inside the far post. Ten minutes from the break Kosta Kalavroutziotis found the back of the net after Pacella was unable to hold a fierce drive from Michael Baczynski but after consulting with his assistant on the line referee Eddie Lennie disallowed the goal. Bad luck continued to plague Inglewood as Kalavroutziotis limped from the ground with a leg injury to force coach Hodgkinson into a couple of unplanned positional changes. The hosts pushed forward with regularity but, unable to penetrate Cockburn's backline, were forced to shoot from distance with a powerful Kilkelly drive from 18-metres which rose over Pacella's goal the closest Inglewood came to scoring.
Some stern words from Hodgkinson at the break saw Inglewood emerge for the new half fired up and within four minutes of the re-start they'd opened their account for the afternoon. Michael Baczynski fended off a challenge from Macura to go inside the 18-yard box and draw Pacella out of position before squaring to the unmarked Parkinson who gleefully slammed the ball into an unguarded net. Buoyed by the goal, Inglewood went in search of a second but like earlier in the game were unable to find a way past their opponents defence in which Macura and Josh Pescud were the lynch pins. In the 57th minute John Mirco benefitted from an Inglewood mistake in the centre circle, evaded three challenges as he made his way into the penalty area and drilled his shot past the advancing 'keeper to score Cockburn's fourth goal. Another error in midfield by the host club two minutes later permitted John Mirco to again run with the ball into attack, drawing the defence before squaring to Miletic whose powerful strike from 15-metres produced a great diving save from Taseski. With their three goal buffer restored, any thoughts Cockburn may have entertained that Inglewood would give up the chase were quickly proved wrong as Kilkelly played a delicate ball into the path of Parkinson who scuffed his shot on goal and Pacella gathered comfortably.
It was all one-way traffic over the final half-hour as Inglewood lifted in intensity. Michael Baczynski used his muscle to shoulder Macura off the ball and play a low centring pass to Parkinson who was unable to make the most of the opportunity from 10-metres. A free-kick played in by MacKenzie was solidly met at the back post by Kilkelly whose header crashed into the side netting. Mouttet made his way past an opponent wide on the left and his mis-cued cross forced Pacella into a desperate save as the ball headed for the far top corner of his goal. Inglewood's dominance was evident as their corner count climbed to in excess of twenty five, but still they were unable to stick the ball in the net. A defensive slip-up allowed Michael Baczynski in but Pacella was quick off his line to smother at the feet of the young striker after 85 minutes. Pacella was called into action two minutes later to push a strong header by Jamie Kuzmanovich around the post following a lovely cross from the right by MacKenzie. The final shot of the match came in stoppage time when Michael Baczynski tried his luck from distance and Pacella watched his effort sail harmlessly over the crossbar.
The final three-goal margin in Cockburn's favour suggests their win was a comfortable one, but the reality was anything but that. Apart from a busy opening period in which the visitors scored twice, it was Inglewood that looked the more confident on the ball and had the majority of possession only to be let down by some unforced errors - that resulted in three goals - and woefully inadequate finishing. Right wingback Campbell ran himself into the ground for the hosts before being replaced late in the game, while the performance of defender Kuzmanovich was also deserving of praise. Relying chiefly on catching their opponent with quick counter attacks, Cockburn were well served by experienced sweeper Macura and there were also lively displays from rising stars Miletic and Jeff Bright. The win sets up a potential championship decider next weekend when Cockburn travel to Dorrien Gardens where they'll meet leaders Perth S.C. who sit three points above them on the table with just two rounds remaining in the home and away series.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Shaun Kilkelly, Daniel Kovacevic (Paul
Baczynski 75), Jamie Kuzmanovich, Scott Campbell (Renato Rechichi 76),
Kosta Kalavroutziotis (Jamie Goodman 40), Rory Mouttet, Alan MacKenzie,
Ryan Newhill, Louis Parkinson, Michael Baczynski
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Dusan Macura, Josh Pescud, Mario De Felice, Jeff Bright, Michael Mirco, Evan Wallace (Roberto Colalillo 78), Shane McNally, John Mirco, Peter Petkovich (Jason Dos Santos 84), Mileta Miletic (Steve Adam 78)
Bookings : Kilkelly (71)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Eddie Lennie
Attendance : 200 (approx.)
It was bottom verses top at Jubilee Reserves where Bassendean Caledonian took on Premier League leader Perth S.C. in picture perfect conditions on Saturday afternoon. The home side started with an impressive move in which Kevin Smith relayed possession to Matt Donlevy, the midfielder played the ball through to Andy Cornmell who was brought down by goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo and the referee hesitated not moment in pointing to the spot. Cornmell stepped up and dispatched the penalty past Scarparolo to give the home team the lead with just 2 minutes played. Perth's first opening came not long after but Aaron Cole's strike on goal was just wide of the target. But the dominant side over the opening period were Caledonian who continually forced Perth into performing defensive duties. A exchange between Ramon Westerberger and Cornmell resulted in Kevin Griffiths heading the latter's cross just over the crossbar. In the 25th minute a Perth corner was cleared by goalkeeper Steve Grant to Donlevy who quickly streamed into attack with Ian Griffiths but defender Vince Tana was able to eliminate the danger. Perth leveled seven minutes later as Rhys Graham, who appeared to be in an offside position, allowed to unleash from just outside the penalty box. With half-time approaching, a long free-kick into attack by Smith was flicked on by Westerberger for Cornmell to score his and the teams second goal. Perth reduced the chances of an upset six minutes after the interval when Mark Pottier equalised to set up an intriguing second half. Grant was alert to keep out a fine free-kick by Todd Howarth free kick, and later in the period Cornmell slipped the ball the wrong side of the upright. With five minutes remaining Howarth swung the ball into the area from the left and Shane Crampton was placed to head in what would be the winning goal. Perth came close to extending their lead in the closing stages when Tana was through with only the 'keeper to beat but Grant reacted smartly to thwart.
The top five aspirations of Swan I.C. have all but vanished following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. The black and whites took the lead with a goal in the last minute of the first half from Paul Lincoln who benefitted from some great work by Elton Holmes. Lincoln scored his second of the day, and his tenth of the season, midway through the second period after being set-up by young attacker Tom Shepheard. With a two-goal advantage, Swan let three valuable points slip from their grasp as goals from Jared Love and defender Steven MacDonald in the space of four minutes allowed the northern suburbs side to draw level and extend their undefeated run to twelve games. A more comprehensive report of this game will appear once further details come to hand.
Ronnie Campbell's Western Knights need to win their remaining two fixtures to guarantee themselves a finals berth for the sixth successive season following the weekend's 3-2 defeat of Fremantle City at Nash Field. The first half saw very few scoring opportunities, however, Knights goalkeeper Tom Tomich had to be on his toes while Bobson Karoma made one terrific save early on to keep out a thunderous Claus Neilsen shot. Neilsen had Karoma again scrambling five minutes into the second half when he unleashed a powerful long-range effort that whistled past the upright. It was therefore no surprise when Neilsen opened the scoring on the hour, Carl Medica rolling a free-kick to the Danish import who chose guile rather than power to curl his low shot to the left of Karoma's outstretched hands. Five minutes later the Knights had the ball in the back of the Fremantle net again, via of Paul Cooke, but the goal was disallowed as Trim Morgan had impeded a defender in the lead-up. Fremantle took the free-kick quickly and a hopeful long ball appeared harmless enough until an error by Evan Wallace which allowed former Cowdenbeath player Craig Young to accelerate into the box before blasting past a helpless Tomich. Four minutes later Young doubled his and Fremantle's tally, Tomich blocking the strikers initial shot but unable to recover in time to keep out the follow-up which Young hammered it into the roof of the net. In the 79th minute the Knights were back on level terms as Leon Russell's over-hit cross was collected by Paul McVittie who showed sublime skill to control the ball, swivel and hit the perfect cross for Daniel Trim to power his header past Karoma and in off the underside of the crossbar. A minute later the Fremantle goalkeeper self-destructed. Trim's weak effort was straight at the big Ghanaian who ran to the edge of his area and thrust the ball and his shoulder into the face of Paul Cooke, leaving referee Patrick McCaffrey with no option but to red card Koroma. After a lengthy delay Medica calmly slotted the resultant spot kick past replacement 'keeper Michael Basilio to return the lead to the home side. With two minutes to go Medica had the chance to put the icing on the cake as Morgan lost his marker to sent an inch-perfect cross to the Knight's captain whose volley was sadly high.
At Litis Stadium, Floreat Athena needed to take maximum points from their derby meeting with traditional rival Stirling Lions in order to keep alive their slim chances of participating in the end of season play-offs. The visitors showed their desire to win for just the third time this season from early on with Keegan Ashley leading the charge, the midfielder firing on goal in the opening minutes. Happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, Athena's first attack came after 16 minutes with James Trandos' shot forcing young goalkeeper Jordan Conti into a great reflex save. In a game where defence became the order of the day, it was clear that the scorer of the first goal was likely to be the conquerer. Athena came close in the 22nd minute when a curling corner from Matthew Novatsis was cleared off the line by vigilant defence from Leo Harman. The Lions brightest chance fell to Eugene Singeorzan seven minutes from half-time when he found himself through on goal only to have goalkeeper Vince Matassa make an instinctive body save. The half-time whistle came with both sides right in the mix for maximum points. After a very even start to the second period an error in defensive from the visitors allowed Sasa Kalibarda to ghost in and rifle the ball into the bottom corner past the outstretched hands of Conti after 60 minutes. With the Lions fighting valiantly to restore equality on the scoreboard, the ball was scrambled wide of the target then Ashley had a fine shot held by Matassa in quick succession. Andreas Oliviera showed his class late in the game by turning sharply to hit a smashing shot from outside the area to seal the win for Athena.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Reserve competition leader Perth S.C. thumped lowly Bassendean Caledonian 10-1 at Jubilee Reserve. The pattern of the game was established early on as Vlado Milasinovic, Jason Colli and Damien Catalano found the back of the net inside the opening ten minutes, and a goal from Albert Osei-Tutu after 19 minutes effectively killed off the match as a contest. Caledonian goalkeeper Alan Dunlop made numerous important saves to prevent the margin from blowing out even further prior to the break. Perth went on the rampage early in the new half with further goals coming from Catalano, Osei-Tutu and Cosimo Cavalaro before Graeme Matthews netted the home teams solitary goal. Osei-Tutu completed his hat-trick in the 70th minute with Craig Simpson completing the scoreline nine minutes later. Inglewood recorded a convincing 5-1 home win over Cockburn City to stay in second place. Inglewood's goals came from Fahid Albunajim, who scored a hat-trick, Jason Godfrey and Lee Haienko while Roberto Colalillo netted for Cockburn midway through the second half.
Third-placed Sorrento registered a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Swan I.C. who ended the game with nine players. The game started badly for Swan with Robert Shepheard being sent off after 26 minutes, but to their credit the visitors held firm to go into the break on level terms. Ten minutes into the second half Scott Patterson gave Swan the lead as an upset looked on the cards. The turning point came after 69 minutes with the dismissal of Kyle Greenaway, three minutes later Sorrento level via Jake Harman and in the 76th minute Trevor Morgan popped up to bag the winner. Western Knights went down 0-2 at home to Fremantle City whose goals came either side of the break via Saul Contera and Michael Cutri. At Litis Stadium, Floreat Athena were held to a 1-1 draw by Stirling Lions in a match that both sides finished with ten men. Jerome Vallett gave the Lions the lead after 38 minutes but Gerald O'Brien equalised in the 66th minute. Chris Gakis (Athena) and Danny Carlino (Lions) were the players dismissed.
Fremantle City squandered a golden opportunity to go level on points at the top of the under-18 table with E.C.U. Joondalup, who were out of action with the bye, when held 1-1 by Western Knights at Nash Field. Sebastian Trim got the port side off on the right foot by netting after 1 minute but his goal was cancelled out shortly before the break by Ryan Fitzgerald. Third-placed Perth S.C. hit eight without reply from a luckless Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve. Cormac Dawson got the ball rolling for the visitors inside the opening minute, Chris Socratous doubled the margin midway through the half, and Nikita Ruravytsya made it 3-0 after 29 minutes. A minute in the second half Jan Zablocki added to the tally before Dean Sinagra scored three times in the space of eleven minutes. Zablocki completed the scoreline after 75 minutes.
Floreat Athena assured themselves of berth in the finals series with a 3-0 defeat of Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium. Cockburn City held on to fifth place courtesy of their 4-0 win at Inglewood United. First half goals from Luke Eoannidis and Jason De Abreu set the southerners on course for maximum points, but it wasn't until the final ten minutes that victory was confirmed when Carlo Cardosa and De Abreu found the back of the net. One point behind and keeping the pressure on Cockburn are Sorrento who won 2-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve over Swan I.C. Dejan Gurovski gave the Seagulls the lead after 15 minutes but early in the second half Jay Bunton brought the teams back on a level footing. Two minutes from full-time Sorrento wrapped up a tight game with the winning goal coming from Jay MacDonald.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY FOUR (Morley Windmills vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; South West Phoenix vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie; Rockingham City vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro; Ashfield vs Queens Park courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com; Canning City vs Kingsway Olympic by Phil Unsworth)
Bayswater City made the short trip to Wotton Reserve on Saturday to face neighbouring Morley Windmills in Round Twenty Four of the First Division season. With striker Ray Rose back following time in the eastern states Windmills were confident of toppling the competition leaders who were without Daniel Vangelovski (school camp) and Sean Cowman (suspension). The game started scrappily with both sides playing shocking football over the opening half. The visitors created scattered chances chances with Andrew O'Neill going closest, while Daniel Naumovski was well placed to give them the lead only to mis-kick. The second half began in much the same fashion as the first with Bayswater unsuccessful in their attempts to break down a resilient Windmills backline. But their persistence was eventually rewarded after Kevin Henderson played the ball out wide to O'Neill whose fantastic cross found striker Boima Karpeh and he made no mistake in making it 1-0. A couple of substitutions from Windmills has the effect of putting Bayswater under pressure as the hosts went in search of an equalising goal which finally arrived two minutes from full-time when Rydeen Botha's shot hit the post and the rebound was put away by substitute Zoran Petreski from close-range. With time very much against them Bayswater immediately set about adding to their tally as Windmills goalkeeper Matt Darling paddled a deflected shot over the crossbar. The resultant corner produced a scramble for possession in which Bobby Klenkoski netted to send the Bayswater faithful into raptures with pretty much the last kick of the game. The reserves meeting ended in a 1-1 draw while the under-18 game saw Bayswater victors by 13-1.
Mandurah City bounced back from a disappointing loss last weekend by defeating South West Phoenix at Bunbury's Soccerdrome on Saturday afternoon. The visitors were in control from the start and were never in serious danger as their push for promotion regained momentum. Making good use of the wide playing surface, Mandurah wreaked havoc on the Phoenix defence with an attacking style that suited their hard running forwards. The scoring was opened after Andrew Rennie took on the defence to run the ball to the goal line from he turned sharply onto the brought down by a reckless tackle which resulted in a penalty that Jordan Rhodes converted. The margin was stretched when some solid defensive work produced an quick attack in which Rennie was on hand the finish from close-range. Phoenix' only real opportunities in reducing the deficit came through former Mandurah player Pat Roberts but these were repelled through some excellent work from defensive trio Peter Knight, Gary Collins and Damian Condo. The second half was controlled by Mandurah but the visitors were able to translate that dominance on the scoreboard only once, that through a thundering strike from Steven Rhodes. Mandurah had the opportunity to further close the goal difference gap on leader Bayswater in the dying seconds however Jordan Rhodes failed to convert a second penalty after Rennie had beaten the last defender. Both Mandurah's reserve and under-18 teams got back to winning ways with 1-0 and 2-1 results respectively.
Third-placed Armadale travelled to Dowling Street reserve on Sunday knowing that victory over Rockingham City would to them in step with leaders Bayswater City and Mandurah City. Perhaps feeling the effects of the previous days friendly with Perth Glory, the Reds turned in their worst first half performance of the season to trail 0-1 at the break after Marc Hornby netted for the hosts after 28 minutes. Stern words from coach Billy Russell in the changing room and some positional changes completely turned the game around as Armadale emerged for the second half charged up. Dennis Lee converted from the penalty spot to level the game nine minutes into the second, substitute Steve Tsalis gave the Reds the lead before Lee bagged his second in the 76th minute as the visitors set their sights on taking maximum points. There were numerous additional opportunities for Armadale to carry on their goalscoring but it never eventuated as Rockingham pegged back the margin in the closing stages through Glen Hallums. The win - Armadale's seventh in eight weeks - firmed up their place near the top of the table but they'll have to rely upon both Bayswater and Mandurah to drop points over the final weeks of the season to have any hope to winning promotion to the top flight. There was an upset in the reserves with Rockingham winning 1-0 courtesy of a penalty converted by Scott Stephens in the second half. Rockingham claimed all three points in the under-18 fixture, also by a 1-0 scoreline.
Ashfield's 1-1 home drew with fourth-placed Queens Park kept them in seventh on the First Division table at the completion of the round. The visitors started confidently by making having the better of possession and knocking the ball round the park to good effect but unable to break down their opponent defensive core of Daniel Taylor, David Mayers and Edin Mehic. It wasn't until the last ten minutes of the first half that Ashfield began to get forward with any degree of menace but, like Queens Park, there was little which really tested the goalkeeper. Ashfield continued the control play after the break only to fall a goal behind on the hour when Linden Pywell made a great zigzagging run before rifling the ball into the back of the net. The home side looked destined to suffer their first loss in four weeks until the 73rd minute when Wayne Culverwell slammed in from close-range following a low corner from Alex Crookes. The were further chances at both ends but with neither side able to add to their tally the game ended with honours even. Ashfield claimed victory from a tight reserves meeting in which the games only game arrived after 75 minutes via Terry Arapis. But it was Ashfield's defensive unit of Eldin Ibrisimovic, Martin Kelly, Craig Culverwell, Arapis and 16-year old Steven Pearse that they had to thank for the victory after holding a determined at bay for the entire 90 minutes. The under-18 match ended in a 2-0 win to the home side whose goals came from James Barker and substitute Hussain Atekhis.
Having defeated Kingsway Olympic earlier in the season, Canning City were quietly confident going into Saturday's meeting at Willetton Sports Club despite several recent changes to the playing staff. There were no significant, on target, attempts on goal over the opening period as the two sides sized eachother up. The first incident of note occurred after 9 minutes when Canning's Paul Oliver was shown a red card by referee Glynn Moore. Although a man down with the vast majority of the match to be played, Canning stuck to their game plan as Shane Laing became the lone target man in attack. Indeed, the only two opportunities in the half came the way of the home side but neither Ryan Alomes nor Laing were able to make the most of their chances. After the half time break Canning had a great opportunity to take the lead when Laing neatly rounded Olympic defender Scott Evans to make his way into the 18-yard box where he was brought down and a penalty awarded. Laing stepped up to take the spot kick himself but his shot towards the centre of goal cannoned off the legs of goalkeeper Matt Battigelli. After this incident Olympic seemed to gain a greater appetite to win the game and they took the lead when substitute Louis Elliott volleyed the ball into the roof of the net following an impressive display of one-touch passing as they went forward. The hosts pressed hard for an equaliser with Laing coming close with a long-range strike which Battigelli pushed wide of the target. In the end Olympic ground out a win but the result must have been cold comfort against a very gallant ten man Canning side. The win make it a clean-sweep for Olympic who took out the reserves 5-0 and the under-18 match 3-2.
At Kingsway Sporting Complex, The City had little trouble in accounting for a lacklustre Dianella White Eagles side. The home team went into the break holding a one-goal advantage courtesy of Ben Yates' goal after 16 minutes. Five minutes into the second half Scott Wyeth doubled the margin as The City sought to kill off the game. But it wasn't until the closing stages that they really hit peak form. In the 72nd minute Adam Bachiller made it 3-0, Scott Wyeth added his second four minutes later, and the scoreline was completed in the 83rd minute by Adam Windley. "This result has been coming for a while," said The City coach Stuart Currie following his sides victory. "In fact it could have been double this score if it had not been for some poor finishing on our behind. With six 16-year olds in our starting line-up, it was great to see such a young team play with so much authority against a very good opponent from the top half of the table. I'm sure that many people who made up what was a very large crowd today will return to watch The City again."
Elsewhere, Southside United registered their third win at Walter Padbury Reserve when they accounted for Leeming Strikers 2-1. Tommy Drummond and Ian Maguire got themselves on the scoresheet for the home team while the Strikers, who had Craig Ruthven sent off shortly before half time, had Josef Tomancak as their scorer. All three goals in the match at Graham Burkett Reserve between Balcatta and Stirling Suns came in an eventful opening period. Scott Broadley put Balcatta in front after 8 minutes, and when Adrian Coloiero added to the tally in the 15th minute it looked as though a whitewash was on the cards. While the Suns pegged back the margin a minute later via an own goal there was not addition to the score as Balcatta ran out 2-1 victors.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A late header from Shane Crampton enabled Perth S.C. to defeat bottom side Bassendean Caledonian 3-2 and keep on track their aspirations for back-to-back Premier League titles. Keeping the pressure on the leaders are Cockburn City whose 4-1 away win over Inglewood United has them three-points adrift in second place. At Percy Doyle Reserve Sorrento were held 2-2 by Swan I.C. whose play-off hopes have now evaporated, while Western Knights charge for a finals berth continued when they accounted for Fremantle City 3-2. A luckless Stirling Lions went down 0-2 away at Floreat Athena.
Bayswater City also required a late goal to overcome Morley Windmills 2-1 and stay top of the First Division standings, three points ahead of Mandurah City who accounted for South West Phoenix 3-0. A young Ashfield side held Queens Park 1-1, while The City thrashed Dianella White Eagles 5-0. Canning City went down 0-1 at home to Kingsway Olympic, Southside United won for just the third time at home this season by knocking over Leeming Strikers 2-1, and Balcatta surprised Stirling Suns 2-1. Playing for the second time in as many days, Armadale defeated Rockingham City 3-2 on Sunday to move into third place.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Premier League season is coming down to the wire with just three rounds of games remaining. Currently with a three point lead, victory to Perth S.C. away at Bassendean Caledonian will go a long way to them making it back-to-back championships. But keeping the pressure on are Cockburn City who this weekend have a difficult away meeting with top five contender Inglewood United. The are important games for four teams in competition for a play-off berth as Sorrento host Swan I.C., while at Nash Field it's Western Knights verses Fremantle City. Floreat Athena meet Stirling Lions, and out of action with the bye are E.C.U. Joondalup.
First Division leader Bayswater City travel to Wotton Reserve for a meeting with neighbouring Morley Windmills, while South West Phoenix welcome a Mandurah City side desperate to win but missing star striker Christian Paschewitz. An in-form Ashfield are home to Queens Park, The City will be out to move back up the table when they take on Dianella White Eagles, and Balcatta are sure to find the going tough at home to Stirling Suns. Canning City welcome Kingsway Olympic to south of the river, and Southside United meet Leeming Strikers at Walter Padbury Reserve in Saturday's other action. The following day Armadale travel to Rockingham City to complete the round.
BIG DAY FOR ARMADALE
First Division club Armadale will stage the biggest day in their 30-year history when they get to test their skills against National Soccer League champions Perth Glory on Saturday afternoon. The Reds are currently sitting in third place on the table having won six of their past seven outings and, although hampered by early inconsistency, are still very much in with a chance of gaining promotion to the top flight for 2004. Glory are only a matter of weeks into their pre-season campaign but during the week defeated visiting Malaysian side Sahah 1-0. The N.S.L. side will have all of their stars on show including the national competitions' all-time leading goalscorer Damian Mori and local heroes Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller. The day's entertainment at Alfred Skeet Oval commences at 12.00noon with a series of rooball matches, the main clash kicking off at 3.00pm with all proceeds going in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Association.
MIXED RESULTS FOR SCHOOLS TEAMS
The West Australian Schoolboys went down to a late goal in their opening game of the 2003 School Sport Australia Secondary Soccer Championships in Melbourne. The side from the west gave a very good account of themselves against Victoria a competitive and free flowing Day One clash at Bob Jane Stadium. Twice Western Australia appeared to have taken the lead as Ben Rodgers and Michael Filippou found the target, but on both occasions the referee disallowed the goal. At the opposite end of the park Carmelo Genovese and Chris Hart worked tirelessly in keeping the host state at bay. But five minutes from the end Victoria succeeded in breaking the deadlock with a stunning goal from long-range by Yanni Galanos to snatch victory. "Our boys played well and to be honest to lose was disappointing," commented West Australian coach Damon Atthowe. "It was very even game with some good chances at both ends. Towards the end you just knew it was going to take something pretty special to separate the two teams, and unfortunately for us the luck went Victoria's way." In other opening day fixtures South Australia defeated the Australian Capital Territory 3-0, while Queensland drew 0-0 with New South Wales.
The following day the action switch to Kingston Heath Recreation Reserve where Western Australia came up against the Australian Capital Territory. Michael Baczynski and Ben Rodgers worked tirelessly in sending the westerner's into attack but the signs were ominous when Marko Aleksic headed goal from a corner was disallowed. The team from the west went close on several occasions before, with ten minutes remaining and against the run of play, the Territorians launched a quick counter-attack which saw Louis Lopresti parry a long-range strike and the loose ball was pounced upon and converted from 7-metres. "We didn't play as well as yesterday but we certainly did enough to deserve a point from the game," said Damon Atthowe. "Our defence has been excellent in both games, so far they've allowed our opponents only one shot from inside the 18-yard box. The back three today of Carmelo Genovese, Johnathon Mathers and Michael Filippou were rock solid." In the days other games Victoria maintained their perfect win record with a 2-1 defeat of Queensland, while New South Wales knocked off South Australia 1-0.
On Day Three West Australia met New South Wales who were the red-hot favourite to take out the gold medal. The game was less than ten minutes old when New South Wales edged their way into the lead with a superb shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but it wasn't until close to the final whistle that the points were secured. "They were a better team than us across the park," commented Damon Atthowe from Melbourne. "We started really well despite going a goal down early on and by half-time had out-shot New South Wales four to one. After the break they dominated play, we held them well at the back and again prevented our opponent from getting a shot from inside the penalty area, but down the other end we couldn't make an impression on goal." On his return from injury Scott Blackmore played a pivotal role in the centre of the park for West Australia, while there was also strong showings from John Morton and Johnathon Mathers. In the days other action Victoria continued to lead the way with a 2-0 win over the Australian Capital Territory, and Queensland buckled 1-2 to South Australia.
Western Australia made the most of Wednesday's rest day from boys competition by taking in a guided tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, undoubtedly one of the world's premier sporting venues. The following morning they returning to action against a South Australian side sitting in third place with two wins from three starts. Missing Scott Blackmore and Jason Dos Santos due to an accumulation of yellow cards, Western Australia were on the back foot from the opening kick and within ten minutes found themselves three goals down as South Australia seized the initiative. Marko Aleksic and Dinko Ahmetanovic found the target as the westerners searched for a way back into the game but it wasn't too be as the opposition added to their tally to run out 6-2 victors. "This loss was much easier to take as they were a much better side than us on the day," said the State coach. "Mind you, the final shot count was pretty even with us twice having shots cleared off the line and we also hit the bar." In other Day Four games, New South Wales moved to the top of the standings with a 4-2 defeat of previous leader Victoria, and Queensland registered their first win of the week by downing the Australian Capital Territory 3-1.
The Schoolboys ended their tournament on a high by claiming victory over Queensland on Friday morning, the result lifting West Australia off the bottom of the standings. In what was a solid team performance, Michael Baczynski opened the scoring when he converted from the penalty spot before Jason Dos Santos secured victory with a well taken goal. "For once things went our way, we went in front and the boys just took it from there," said Damon Atthowe. "It was great to finish the week on a positive. The boys did themselves and the State justice over the week. They matched everyone for endevour and discipline, were well organised in every game and tactically were on par with the other states." New South Wales completed the tournament with a 3-0 defeat of the Australian Capital Territory to take out first place, ahead of South Australia who drew 2-2 with Victoria. Following the completion of the championships, Scott Blackmore was named in the Australian Schoolboys squad which will venture overseas in December, while Michael Baczynski and Ben Rodgers capped a series of strong performances when included in the Australia shadow squad.
In the 2003 Schoolgirls tournament, Western Australia were out-played by a very strong Queensland side who scored through Tashina Roma, Stephanie Latham and Lauren Blaney to register a 3-0 opening day success. South Australia defeated the Northern Territory 3-0, and Victoria drew with the Australian Capital Territory 1-1. There were goals aplenty on Day Two of the competition as Western Australia opened their account with a 6-0 thrashing of the Northern Territory. Lisa DeVanna lead the way for the westerners by snaring a hat-trick, Ciara Conway scored twice and Candice Townsend once in the comprehensive win. On a busy day reigning champions New South Wales recorded big wins over South Australia (14-1) and the Australian Capital Territory (4-0), Queensland downed South Australia 5-0, and Victoria hit twelve past the Northern Territory without reply.
Kicking-off at 2.00pm on Tuesday, Western Australia crashed 0-7 to a New South Wales side rated as one of the best to ever play at the championship. Queensland boosted their goal difference with a 14-0 defeat of Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory accounted for South Australia by 2-0. The next day West Australia bounced back with a 4-0 demolition of South Australia to keep their medal aspirations on track. The results of games of the Wednesday other games - Victoria vs New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory vs Queensland - are currently unknown (please contact Brett via firstname.lastname@example.org if you can fill in this gap). Day Five of the Schoolgirls tournament brought Western Australia their second win, this time defeating the Australian Capital Territory 3-1. Stephanie Grant got the ball rolling for the west, Lisa DeVanna doubled their tally and Ciara Conway completed the scoring as Western Australia moved their way up the standings. But the big scorers on Thursday were New South Wales who thumped the Northern Territory by a massive 34-0. Victoria snuck home against South Australia 1-0 to stay in the hunt for the bronze medal.
On Friday morning the Schoolgirls completed their campaign with a resounding 5-1 defeat of host state Victoria to finish with the bronze medal. Australian youth international Lisa Devanna bagged her second hat-trick of the week, with Stephanie Grant and an own goal rounding out the scoreline. New South Wales recorded victory by 5-0 over Queensland to end the tournament undefeated and take out first place, and the Australian Capital Territory hit eight goals past the Northern Territory without reply in the remaining game.
CACERAS ON TARGET (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Locally produced attacker Adrian Caceras (right) scored the only goal of the game as Perth Glory defeated visiting Malaysian side Sabah 1-0 in their first hit-out of the 2003/04 pre-season. Glory made use of their full squad in the hastily arranged friendly which came about after Sabah were forced to shift their intended training camp from Indonesia to Perth ahead of the Malaysian Cup. Off-season recruits Wayne Shroj, Jade North and Tom Pondeljak all pulled on club colours for the first time in competition as coach Mich d'Avray opted for a much changed starting line-up to that which won last season's National Soccer League Grand Final. Caceras settled the match after 69 minutes when brilliantly twisted and turned to net at the near-post. The West Australian side created a slew of opportunities to score earlier but some rusty finishing following the winter lay-off meant Glory failed to convert their chances into goals. Glory's next pre-season fixture is against local club Armadale on Saturday at Alfred Skeet Oval (kick-off 3.00pm), while next Tuesday they meet Premier League outfit Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium from 7.00pm.
JOONDALUP TO HOST NSL FIXTURES
Arena Joondalup will host National Soccer League action for the first time when the venue plays host to Perth Glory's opening two fixtures of the 2003/04 season. Glory will open the defence of their N.S.L. title by meeting long-time rivals Melbourne Knights on Sunday 28th September and on Sunday 9th November the opposition are South Melbourne, both games getting underway at 3.00pm. The reigning N.S.L. champions will play eight of their first ten games interstate while Perth Oval is transformed into a new multi-purpose stadium. Glory's first game at their re-developed home ground has been set down for Saturday 6th December against Sydney United.
ENGLISH CONTRACT FOR MARTIN
English non-League club Leigh RMI have snapped up former E.C.U. Joondalup junior Ian Martin. The 22-year old goalkeeper turned out in all of the Railwaymen's pre-season games, impressing manager Mark Patterson sufficiently to offer him a permanent contract. It is understood Martin will provide back-up for regular goalkeeper Stuart Coburn at the Nationwide Conference side. Martin moved to England in 1998 to take up an apprenticeship offer from Newcastle United and was shortly after selected to represent Northern Ireland at youth level. Released at the end of the 1999/2000 season, he joined Irish Football League side Coleraine for whom he made 60 appearances, helping them to the 2001 North-West Cup. Upon his return to Australia in mid-2002 Martin signed for Adelaide City but with the mid-season appointment of Zoran Matic he found himself out favour and early this year was released after only four outings for the Zebra's.
COVENTRY TRIALS FOR MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Coventry City have taken Atalanta defender Adrian Madaschi for trials from under the noses of Burnley. Madaschi has spent the week training at Turf Moor and did enough to be offered a short-term contract, but With the Australia youth international currently available for loan from Italian Serie A club Atalanta, Coventry boss Gary McAllister has managed to convince the youngster to try his luck at Highfield Road. "It's a complicated situation for Adrian," said the defender's agent Lou Sticca. "He enjoyed himself at Turf Moor and was very impressed with the club and the town. But Burnley can only offer a short-term deal at the moment and it isn't what Adrian is after. He wants to put down some roots and play regular football in England. He feels he can definitely do a job in the First Division. Coventry manager Gary McAllister was keen to have a look at Adrian, so that's where he's off to today. As he showed at Burnley, he's in tremendous shape and is determined to land a decent contract in England."
BORAL CUP DRAW
Soccer West Coast have announced that the Boral Cup semi-finals, to be played on the first weekend of September, will be drawn on Russell Goodrick's Real Estate Program at 9am this Saturday 16th August on Channel 9.
INGLEWOOD DOWN SABAH IN GOODWILL GAME (by Mike Hennessey)
In a Tuesday night match at the National Stadium Inglewood United defeated visiting Malaysian state side Sabah 2-0. Neither side was at full strength and regular interchange was the order of the day. It was a cold night for Sabah and its supporters but the Malaysian side played some attractive football particularly in the first half. They were the first to serious threaten their opponents goal but found Oliver Taseski in great form. Utilising the full width of the park, Sabah were able to split open the Inglewood rearguard and despite several promising attacks were unable to get on the scoreboard before half-time. Sabah were unable to retain their shape in the second half and Inglewood began to dominate. With their aerial supremacy it was no surprise that Inglewood opened the scoring in the 72nd minute with a high cross from the left being headed in by an unmarked Jamie Kuzmanovich. Inglewood came close to a second when Ryan Newhill hammered a long-range shot that the goalkeeper failed to hold only for the ball to trickle past the post. Sabah came back but Taseski again showed his skill diving to his right to save. Inglewood again struck in the 82nd minute when Fahid Albunajim rose to head home to give Inglewood a 2-0 win in what was a good workout for both sides.
HARNWELL MAKES ENGLISH DEBUT
One-time Sorrento player Jamie Harnwell has made his English league debut by coming off the bench 58 minutes into Leyton Orient's 1- home loss to Doncaster Rovers on the opening weekend of the 2003/04 Third Division season. Cleared to play just hours before the deadline for the new season, the 26-year old defender came off the bench with his side already two-goals behind. "Going on when you're losing is never easy for a defender, but I'm delighted to have made my debut," he said of told Orient's official club website. Having recently agreed to a one-month deal with Orient, Harnwell is now hoping that he gets more opportunities to impress and earn a longer stay at Brisbane Road. "I had a great five years with Perth Glory [but] I needed a new challenge and I've always had a burning desire to play in the English league. I came over from Perth in Western Australia which was a long trek, and I was pleased I did enough to justify a month's deal, now I want to do enough to justify longer than that."
PROGRESS SLOWED ON RESTRUCTURE
The reformation of soccer in Western Australia, aimed to helping the game in this state achieve its true potential, has not progressed as quickly as was hoped. "The current situation is that all but one association, Soccer West Coast, have committed to signing the Memorandum of Understanding," said Kevin Watts, Senior Consultant for the Department of Sport and Recreation. "The process has taken a lot longer than was expected and so the timelines for the implementation of stage one of the restructure have blown out. The soccer forum met on Saturday (2nd August) and agreed to continue the restructure process. We will also be meeting with Soccer West Coast clubs on the 20th August to work through any concerns they have. If they still are not in a position to sign then the Government will determine what strategies it will employ to assist the other associations in the development of soccer."
The restructure process commenced in early 2002 when the local associations asked the Department of Sport and Recreation to facilitate a series of soccer forums. With the joint aim of unifying the sport as well as determining the future direction of soccer, the State Planning forum formally proposed a new management structure last November. Under Stage One of the restructure, the Soccer Administration of W.A. would be dissolved and replaced by a new independent governing body, provisionally named he Soccer Commission, to be appointed by the Minister for Sport and Recreation and with its own, new Constitution. A chief executive officer of the Soccer Commission would be appointed and a new administrative structure put in place. The new organisation would really begin to take shape under Stage Two with all clubs affiliating directly to the Soccer Commission, the development of a new constitution and the election of commissioners. The Australian Sport Commission, who are supporting the restructure of soccer at the national level, are keen to see soccer restructured at the state level, and it would be exciting if W.A. took the lead.
University of W.A defeated Canning International 2-0 the WAASSA Premier league soccer fixture at McGillivray Oval on Sunday to remain in third place on the ladder. In probably the most appalling weather conditions seen all season the first half was more an occasion for ducks than soccer players. It was therefore perhaps not surprising that there were very few chances created in the first half. The only highlight was in the 42nd minute when UWA's Frederik Larsen was found by Max Percy on the left flank and he cut in beat a couple of players and placed a superb shot from the edge of the penalty box into the far right hand corner wide of the Canning goalkeeper M.Gonzalez. The second half saw the wind and rain drop off slightly and UWA came out in positive mood with an early Max Percy free kick just going by the left post. After 15 minutes Max Percy won a 50:50 header in midfield and the ball fell to Frederik Larsen who went one on one with the substitute Canning goalkeeper only to be denied by the keepers' legs. Shortly afterwards UWA's Marc D'Ascanio back heeled the ball in the penalty box and found Robert Benkovic who in turn slipped the ball to David Berg who drilled the ball agonisingly close to the right hand post. Canning then had a chance themselves when a free kick was conceded by Nick Helm on the left and C.Alvarez hit a shot which UWA keeper Shayam Young was happy to push over the bar for a corner. Moments later Frederik Larsen opened Canning's defence up with a superb pass to Robert Benkovic who coolly slotted the ball into the far right hand side corner from just inside the box and make it 2-0. UWA were rarely challenged thereafter and comfortably saw the game out. Coach Kevin Burton said, "The conditions were shocking and its a credit to both sides that any decent soccer was played. The positive thing is that we rarely looked troubled and could have had another 2 or 3 goals." UWA Reserves kept their good run up with a 3-1 victory over Canning Reserves and move into second place on the ladder.
In a game played under very difficult conditions particularly through the first 45 minutes Spearwood Dalmatinac became the first side to beat Hamersley twice in one season since the Rovers won their first title in 2001. Incidentally for the statisticians Hamersley have now lost 10 games out of 60 over the last 3 league seasons and Dalmatinac have collected 3 of those with the other 7 defeats being one offs to various WAASSA clubs. The final score of 3 - 2 to Dalmatinac does not tell the full story of how the game was played and what a great advertisement it was for Amateur soccer in this State. The heavy rain and stormy conditions made playing balls too short very dodgy and certainly it would be fair to say that Rovers had the worst of the storm defending the goal against an extremely strong breeze. After plenty of early shared possession Dallies took the lead after Jason Faria shot true after several attempts to clear were thwarted by the strong wind. Just before half time Rovers probably produced the best move of the day when after a great turn and through ball from State midfielder Alun Vernals Darren Yates did well on the Dallies deadball line to find league leading scorer Flavio Labbate diving low to head home 1 - 1. Unfortunately Dallies rallied again and once again the conditions played a major part when a clearance attempt bounced back off an attacker to loop over Lackovic in the Rovers goal who was left stranded by the wind and flight of the ball, 2 - 1 to Dallies. After half time the wind and rain died down but still Hamersley were doing most of the general attacking only for Dallies once again to counter attack after a mistake at the back for Dean Garside to cooly shoot home from the edge of the box 3 - 1 to Spearwood Dalmatinac. Hamersley Rovers were not done yet and Flavio Labbate once again showed his undoubted class and strength to chase a ball down outside the area, turn sharply and shoot home past the Dallies keeper, now 3 - 2 to Dallies. Before the end both sides created plenty of goalmouth incidents including a offside goal to Rovers correctly ruled out and several breakaways from Dallies almost adding to the score. In the end whilst a draw would have seemed a fair result under the difficult conditions it would be unfair not to congratulate Spearwood Dalmatinac on taking the game to a very strong Hamersley Rovers lineup pushing very hard for a third straight title win.
In other games, second placed Fremantle United kept the pressure on league leaders Hamersley Rovers with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Murdoch University. Forrestfield United ran out 4-2 winners over Perth Azzurri, while North Perth United grabbed a vital win to try to avoid relegation with a 3-0 win over Balga. The result of the Shamrock Rovers-Kwinana United fixture is unknown. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
SABAH IN TOWN
Malaysian Premier 1 club Sabah visit Perth this week as part of preparations for their up-coming Malaysian Cup campaign. Coached by ex-Sorrento player Peter Butler and featuring the talents of locally produced midfielder Robbie Gaspar, Sabah will play a series of friendlies during their time in town. On Tuesday night at the National Stadium they meet Inglewood United (7.15pm kick-off) and two days the Malaysians come up against Perth Glory (3.00pm kick-off) at the same venue. Sabah ended the recent M-League season in fourth place, earning them a spot in next years Malaysian Super League, with Gaspar's 11 goals making him their leading goalscorer.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINETEEN (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Western Knights courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Fremantle City vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Saturday's Premier League meeting between Inglewood United and Sorrento at National Stadium attracted a surprisingly small crowd for a clash between two of the top flight's in-from teams. Lead by veteran midfielder Alan MacKenzie, the host club have made their way up the table over the past couple of months with four wins from the six most recent starts. But today they would find resources stretched with attack minded trio Daniel Harrop (injured), Michael Baczynski (State duty) and Alex Josifovski all unavailable. Sorrento were also without a couple of important figures in their season, namely Todd Harnwell and goalkeeper Neil Young who were both absent through injury. With Sorrento third and Inglewood fourth on the standings, victory today would take one team closer to a berth in the top five play-offs.
Getting proceedings underway, Sorrento immediately set about trying to unsettle their hosts. Inside the opening minute Simon Harland headed wide a deep cross from the right by Jared Love, and shortly after Glen Thomas tried his luck with a blistering shot from distance that sailed over Oliver Taseski's crossbar. With their defence working overtime to limit the supply to Harland and Andy Mason, Inglewood launched a number of promising attacks of their own through wide players Kosta Kalavroutziotis and Scott Campbell. In the 10th minute Kalavroutziotis skillfully opened up a path to goal but his rasping drive was deflected wide. The resultant corner was cleared only as far as Rory Mouttet whose first time strike from the top of the 18-yard box went just over the crossbar. Six minutes later it was Sorrento that caused problems from a corner, Tony Cumace sending the ball deep to David Foster and MacKenzie was fortunately placed on the goal line to clear the youngsters header.
Although there were some good exchanges from both teams, Sorrento were the more structured and deservedly took the lead in the 23rd minute. Taseski was unable to hold another dangerous Cumace corner which Steve MacDonald nodded back across the face of goal to Sean Fallon who made no mistake with a solid close-range header. With Thomas directly play in the centre of the park it was Sorrento that were carving out the better of the scattered goalscoring opportunities. Fallon pounced on a slip up in midfield by MacKenzie to advance on goal and, spotting the 'keeper off his line, clip the ball goalward over a back-tracking Taseski but also the crossbar. Love played a superb diagonal ball into attack which was run on to by Foster whose first time volley dipped the wrong side of the bar after 38 minutes. For their part Inglewood could find few ways past their opponents backline, their best move coming in stoppage time when Ryan Newhill failed to connect with Louis Parkinson's ball across the 6-yard line.
Inglewood emerged for the new half firing on all cylinders as they sought to level. Parkinson found himself in space to chip the ball in the direction of Newhill who, under pressure from Cumace, heeded wide. The big striker was in the thick of the action in the 51st minute when his bullet-like drive from the top of the area was amazingly kept out by an alert Gareth Deeg. Sorrento slowly re-established control of the game and were denied a second goal by Kuzmanovich who blocked MacDonald's goalbound on the line. The home team again wriggled off the hook when Thomas sent Mason past the last defender and slotted his shot under the advancing Taseski only to have the goal rightly disallowed for offside. Love won possession in midfield after 65 minutes and raced away down the right to cross to Mason but he was beaten to the ball by a lunging Kuzmanovich who headed out for a corner. Cumace sent the ball into the dangerzone once more, it quickly went to the feet of Harland who blasted high from 10-metres.
Unable to kill off the match, the visitors then found themselves under the hammer as the pendulum swung back in Inglewood's favour. From the top corner of the box Parkinson curled the ball around Deeg but also the far post after being teed-up by Newhill. A searching cross into the area from Campbell again called Deeg into action, this time the 'keeper literally taking the ball from the head of Kuzmanovich. The introduction of Fahid Albunajim allowed Newhill to drop into a more creative midfield role as Inglewood upped the pace against a tiring opponent. Ten minutes from the end the hosts were rewarded when Cumace handled inside the box and Parkinson sent Deeg the wrong way from the penalty spot to set up a tense finish. The final minutes saw some great end-to-end action as both teams went in search of a match winning goal, but with neither defence wanting to concede very few goalscoring opportunities resulted. Shaun Kilkelly killed off Sorrento's best chance when he halted a weaving run into the area by Thomas, while down the other end Parkinson sliced narrowly wide a Kalavroutziotis free-kick played to the back post.
While Sorrento were not doubt disappointed to have conceded all three points to a late goal, but at the end of the day a draw was a fair reflection of this match. As you would expect from two teams competing for places in the top five, every player which took to the field gave 100% with the end result being an thoroughly entertaining match for those in the stands. For Inglewood there was another workmanlike performance from MacKenzie who, having recently turned 37, still has plenty to offer the local game, while out wide on the left Kalavroutziotis was at the heart of the home teams best attacking moves. In a man-of-the-match performance Thomas was tireless in the centre of the park to put time and time again sent Sorrento into attack, while there was another faultless display by Watson whose marshaling of the visitors rearguard was without fault.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Shaun Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich,
Daniel Kovacevic, Kosta Kalavroutziotis, Scott Campebll, Rory Mouttet, Alan
MacKenzie, Renato Rechichi (Fahid Albunajim 67), Ryan Newhill, Louis Parkinson
Sorrento : Gareth Deeg, Daniel Cain (Daniel Stoitis 59), Richard Watson, Steve MacDonald, Tony Cumace, David Foster, Jared Love, Sean Fallon, Glen Thomas, Simon Harland, Andy Mason (Todd Harnwell 83)
Bookings : Thomas (37), Newhill (41), Albunajim (76), Kilkelly (83)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Ron Tully
Attendance : 175 (approx.)
Perth S.C. returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Swan I.C. at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. The home side dominated the opening exchanges and took a deserved lead when Swan goalkeeper Cory Hugo dallied with the ball and allowed an alert Shane Crampton to deprive him of possession and net the games opener. Swan leveled after a superb long ball from Christian Marocchi found Elton Holmes who rounded goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo to tuck the ball safely in the net. Cory Hugo made a good save to keep out a Crampton penalty kick, but there was little the 'keeper could do as Gareth Naven blasted the team in blue into a 2-1 half-time lead. The visitors had their chances after the interval to get back in the game, and it looked as though Swan would do just that after Perth were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Dino Djulbic for a second bookable offence. But Swan were unable to make the most of the numerical advantage and Crampton sealed maximum points and Perth's first win in a month shortly before full-time. "It's the boost we needed," said a relieved Perth coach Graham Normanton, whose team is aiming to add to last seasons' championship success. "When you're in a run like that, I think a bit of doubt comes into the players' minds. And everyone's gunning for us because we are trying to win back to back. It's definitely a relief. When you've lost three and there's only four games to go you wonder whether you're going to fall in a hole."
Keeping the pressure on the leaders are Cockburn City who brushed aside Bassendean Caledonian at Dalmatinac Park. Jeff Bright got the hosts off to the sort of start they were after when he smashed the loose ball past goalkeeper Steven Grant after Dusan Macura was allowed to advance on goal only to have his shot blocked by man-of-the-match Craig Naven. Caledonian were unlucky not be get back on level terms as a spectacular strike from Paul Hickey from 35-metres smacked into the crossbar before being hastily cleared by the home defence. Shortly after Andy Cornmell had a shot cleared of the line by Macura, the ball fell to Ian Griffiths whose goalbound shot was again scrambled clear amidst call for hand ball from the visitors. Cockburn's lead was doubled on the hour when the visitors failed to sufficiently deal with a Josh Pescud corner and substitute Dean Wallace capitalised. Not long after Griffiths set-up Cornmell whose effort was deflected wide for a corner, while with their next attacking play Cockburn struck the crossbar via Wallace. Home custodian Dino Pacella was called upon to deny Craig Wells and Cornmell in quick succession as Caledonian sought for a way back into the match. But the game was out beyond their reach two minutes from the end by Michael Mirco who out-jumped the defence to head in an in-swinging corner from the right by Bright.
Western Knights gave their finals hopes a major boost with a gutsy 2-1 away win over an E.C.U. Joondalup side missing John Morton, Scott Blackmore (State duty), Peter Vukmurivic, Abdul Kamara (injured) and Anthony Danze (returned to Perth Glory). The visitors started positively and could have scored inside the first five minutes when a superb goalbound header by Paul McVittie was blocked by teammate Carl Medica and Trim Morgan, in his comeback game for the club, blasted the loose ball over the crossbar. In any event, the Knights were the ones to open their account first as the result of a brilliant interchange of passes between Morgan and Medica with the latter slotting the ball home past goalkeeper Peter Stewart. On the half-hour Joondalup equalised through a magnificent piece of individual skill by Duncan Willets who received the ball chest high and back to goal, but brought it under control, swivelled and let fly an unstoppable shot just inside Tommi Tomich's left hand post. Joondalup nearly took the lead just before the break when Josh Kamasz unleashed a powerful strike from a tight angle but Tomich was equal to the challenge. Stewart matched his opposite numbers athleticism five minutes into the second half when he kept out a thunderous long-range shot from Morgan. Within a minute Kamasz, who appeared to be offside, found himself one-on-one with Tomich who managed to get enough of a touch on the ball to deflect the shot onto the post, and the rebound bounced safely into his arms. In the 62nd minute Medica sealed the game following a clever ball in from the left by Leon Russell and the Knights captain used his strength to fire home his second of the game. The visitors had a couple of chances to stretch their lead but Daniel Trim headed just over the bar and Claus Neilsen shot wide.
Stirling Lions year of frustration with officialdom continued in their 0-4 loss to a youthful and vibrant Fremantle City at Ken Allen Field. The much awaited contest started with the Lions taking early control courtesy of Keegan Ashley and Adam Rains who forced two corners in the opening sortie of attacks. Eugene Singeorzan came close in the 7th minute as his shot sailed just over the bar. The silky skills of Fremantle came to the fore after 20 minutes when a series of precise passes was clinically finished by Jamie Jorquiera. The Lions lost composure as the port side went on an attacking blitz and the lively Jamie Jorquiera nailed another great goal eight minutes later following some sloppy marking by the visitors. The controversial sending off of Tony Paolino after 32 minutes ruined any hope the Lions had of a fight-back. The second half began like the first with Fremantle absorbing the early pressure as the Lions lacked the final touch in a goalmouth scramble. A piercing run from John Migas saw him brought down inside the box by goalkeeper Jordan Conti and Jamie Jorquiera stepped up to complete his hat-trick in the 75th minute. But it took the Fremantle attacker two attempts to net as Conti was judged to have moved off his line when he saved the initial spotkick by referee Tom Klaver, and the protests from Lions goalkeeper only earned him a second yellow card. The final stanza would be played out as a melodrama with the young Fremantle side executing some beautiful moves and 15-year old Mo Atak coming off the bench to float a header over replacement goalkeeper Ken Ftynogiannis to net the port sides' fourth. Going on today's evidence, Fremantle's form slump is over and the top five berth is again on the cards courtesy of strong showings from Jamie Jorquiera, Craig Surtees and veteran Alex Cummings.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP (Cockbrun City vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAllister)
Bassendean Caledonian started their reserves meeting with Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park in blistering form, Leo Perotta playing the ball through to Graeme Matthews whose shot from 20-metres beat goalkeeper Jeff Cargill. In the 14th minute Liam MacCallum became the provider as Matthews doubled the margin with a goal that was a carbon copy of the opener. Cockburn should have pegged back the gap when awarded a penalty, but goalkeeper Steven Grant kept out Peter Mrdja's spot kick. Early in the second half a mis-hit shot by Mrdja came the way of Richard Lacey who beat substitute goalkeeper Troy Smith at the near post. With defenders James Houston, Matt Gow and Phill Lunt doing a great job, the visitors were reduced to ten men with the red carding of Ashley Otte after 59 minutes. The score was leveled via a curling free-kick from the talented Brad North. Smith prevented Cockburn from going ahead when he saved another penalty to the home side, and the Caledonian 'keeper was in the thick of the action as Cockburn used their extra man to full advantage. Twelve minutes from the end Mrdja and Houston were red carded, and with five minutes remaining Daniel Palermo bagged the match winner from close-range.
Damien Todorovic gave Swan I.C. the lead after 17 minutes at Dorrien Gardens, but David Micevski earned the home team a shared of the points when he scoring in the 63rd minute. Inglewood United have leapt into second on the reserves table with a 3-0 home defeat of Sorrento. Jason Godfrey and Demir Arslanoski set up Inglewood's win put scoring within minutes of eachother midway through the first half. Two minutes before half-time Sorrento's day went from bad to worse with the dismissal of Farrell Hedges, and Matyas Balagh secured the points with a superb header from Dendle Morgan's 62nd minute cross from the right. E.C.U. Joondalup had to wait until the 81st minute when Marc Sim netted the only goal of their home clash with Western Knights. Fremantle City had Carl Page red carded in the 75th minute of their scoreless draw with Stirling Lions.
Fremantle City's under-18 side wrapped up their home schedule with a resounding 4-1 victory over Stirling Lions on Saturday. The port side went ahead after just 5 minutes when Jason Barrera benefitted from some excellent short passing just outside the 18-yard box. Although the more dominant side, Fremantle had to wait until the 30th minute to add to their tally when 15-year old Chris Smith received a quickly taken free-kick to dribble past two defenders before blasting into the back of the net. Five minutes later the margin became three goals as Mo Atak netted for the twenty-seventh time this year. After the break the visitors tightened their defence but still could not Fremantle from scoring as John Thornley headed in a deep cross from the left. With the points in the bag, the port side ease off over the closing stages which resulted in the Lions pegging back the gap with a fine consolation goal.
Cockburn City and Bassendean Caledonian fought out a 1-1 draw in an exciting, see-sawing clash at Dalmatinac Park. Starting with a flurry, Caledonian should have taken an early lead as Ian McAllister met a cross from the left only to narrowly miss the target, David Houston's high ball was headed over the crossbar by McAllister, then Corrie Bessant hit the outside of the upright. Cockburn weathered the wearly storm to come back into the match with Luke Eoannidis forcing goalkeeper Troy Smith into three good saves in the lead up to half-time. After the break Carlo Cardosa was denied by Smith, and minutes later down the opposite end home custodian Tom Langley thwarted Houston from giving Caledonian the lead. Cockburn went in front via a rather soft penalty which was converted by Eoannidis, but the visitors weren;t about to give up without a fight and seven minutes from the end substitute Tom Koprowicz equalised from close-range.
E.C.U. Joondalup remain three points clear of Fremantle following their 3-1 home defeat of Western Knights. Andrija Jukic gave the visitors the lead after 36 minutes, but second half goals from Phillip O'Callaghan (2) and Kevin Carmona saw the northerners take out maximum points. Perth S.C. were held to a scoreless draw by Swan I.C., and Inglewood United accounted for Sorrento by 3-2.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY THREE (Bayswater City vs South West Phoenix by Adam Rucci; Dianella White Eagles vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie; Morley Windmills vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Southside United vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
Bayswater City have gone clear at the top of the First Division table at the completion of Round Twenty Three of the season. On Saturday Bayswater welcomed a South West Phoenix side with five consecutive victories under their belt, the visitors confidence and determined to upset the competition leader. In a scrappy opening period neither it was the visitors that were the dominant of the two teams but Phoenix found it difficult it get past a well-organised Bayswater backline. Against the run of play the hosts took the lead after 23 minutes as James Anderson lost possession in the box and Boima Karpeh pounced to chip the ball over goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite and into the net. Five minutes later Phoenix drew level when Kevin Henderson's attempt to head clear struck the back of teammate Daniel Vangelovski and flew past a surprised Dusan Martinovic in the Bayswater goal. The home team stepped up a gear leading into the break and were rewarded through Bobby Klenkoski who beat Braithwaite to give his side the advantage after 45 minutes. Early in the second half Bayswater extended their lead when Andrew O'Neill's in-swinging corner was nodded in by Kevin Henderson. The game was ended as a contest by Karpeh when he netted his second of the afternoon with a close-range header. The final whistle sent off some wild celebrations in the Bayswater camp as news filtered through that rivals Mandurah City had lost to Dianella White Eagles. A Brad McGagh goal gave Bayswater a 1-0 win in the reserves, while the under-18 clash ended in a 5-1 result to Phoenix.
Mandurah City's push for promotion to the top flight received a serious blow on Saturday when they went down 0-1 away at Dianella White Eagles. The visitors started strongly with some penetrating runs from Gary Collins and Jordan Rhodes, but their hard work was undone at the final hurdle as Dianella constantly turned over the ball. Adopting a long ball game, the hosts caught Mandurah out on several occasions at the back but Dianella were held at bay by Damian Condo, who made some timely interceptions, and the sharp goalkeeping skills of Paul Dixon. Mandurah began the second half more confidently with some probing attacks and it appeared it would only be a matter of time before they'd score. The best chance of the period came via Christian Paschewitz who, with only goalkeeper Sreten Partalo to beat, pushed his shot wide of the upright. The games' turning point came at the 70 minute mark when Partalo and Paschewitz collided as they contested possession, the striker hitting his head the knee of his opponent who was forced from the ground injured. Suffering concussion, Paschewitz was then issued his second yellow card which left Mandurah with 10 men. The restart brought a swift response from Dianella who attacked down the right flank and a deep cross found Filip Smiljanic unmarked at the back post where he no mistake with the easiest of tap-ins. This loss means Mandurah slip three points behind leader Bayswater City with little under two months remaining in the competition. The reserves ended in a scoreless draw, while the under-18 fixture also saw the points shared by a 2-2 scoreline.
Canning City made the trip to Wotton Reserve for the away meeting with Morley Windmills. The last time these two sides met it ended with honours even at 1-1, and another tight encounter was on the cards today. Rob Rose was the first to come close to scoring after 10 minutes when he received a cross from Steve Waycott but the attackers shot was over the crossbar of Canning goalkeeper Robbie Meyer. A minute later and down the opposite end a precision pass from Paul Oliver found Mick Van Dongen whose volleyed met with a similar result. With 20 minutes elapsed the visitors took the lead as Matt Santich passed the ball out of defence to Mick Van Dongen whose cross from the right was met by Jix Loong and it was a simple task for the Canning player to drive the ball into the net from 6-metres. Four minutes later Mick Van Dongen, again probing the Windmill's defence, was brought down by just outside the 18-yard box and from a well rehearsed set piece Ryan Allomes dribbled into the area to unleash a fierce, low drive beyond the reach of goalkeeper Mike Darling and inside the far post. The second half was just three minutes old when Windmills were awarded a penalty which Meyer kept out with his legs after Rydeen Botha drilled his spot kick at the centre of the goal. In the 62nd minute Meyer made another impressive to keep the visitors two-goals in front, this time diving horizontally to knock a Botha header around the post. Canning didn't offer many more threatening moves on the Windmills goal but their gritty defensive play saw them through to a well deserved win. In the early games, Canning won the under-18's by 7-0 while the reserves ended 2-1 in favour of Windmills.
Ashfield jumped from ninth to seventh on the First Division table following their 4-0 defeat of Southside United at Walter Padbury Reserve. The visitors began strongly and were unlucky not to go in front when Muhamed Komadaric had his close-range shot hand-balled and cleared off the line. With 33 minutes elapsed Ashfield finally opened the scoring after Dion Florias' corner was cleared was far as Ben Harris whose screaming volley from 17-metres was blocked by the goalkeeper and David Mayers was the quickest to act in heading home from close-range. Ashfield extended their lead through Wayne Culverwell whne he found the net from just inside the area. With a two-goal lead, Ashfield went into the half time break confident but wary that Southside may have had a surprise for them on the resumption of play. The second half opened with some attacking play from both teams who were thwarted by a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping. Ashfield eventually added to their tally via another corner which Chris McCullagh headed in for the visitors third of the day. Brad Pochroj got Ashfield's fourth with a fine volley from 14-metres following good lead-up from that ended with a superb cross by Harris. The reserves game was won by Ashfield 2-0, while Southside's under-18's remain on course to take out silverware following their twenty-first win of the season, the 5-0 scoreline taking the youngsters to over 100 goals for the season with another eight games to play.
Armadale collected full points from their home meeting with Kingsway Olympic despite ending the game with ten men after the dismissal of Craig Anderson. The Reds won 2-1 courtesy of an own goal and a strike from Steven Tsallis, while Olympic's response came via Ben Roberts. The City went down 0-1 at home to Balcatta for who Jeff Lione netted after 38 minutes. Goals from Brian Robertson and Ross Posthuma gave Queens Park victory by 2-1 over Rockingham City, who had Jonathan Crawford red carded ten minutes from the end. And the points were shared as Stirling Suns and Leeming Strikers ended 2-2. Lucas Whitehouse gave the Strikers the lead minutes before the break, but two goals in three minutes from Alex Jankuloski early in the second half saw the Suns go in front. Things were put back on even terms in the 72nd minutes when Ciaran Allan found the target.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. returned to winning ways with a 3-1 home defeat of Swan I.C. courtesy of goals from Shane Crampton (2) and Gareth Naven. Three points behind the leaders are Cockburn City who had a comfortable 3-0 win over Bassendean Caledonian at Dalmatinac Park where the goals came from Jeff Bright, Dean Wallace and Michael Mirco. Inglewood United and Sorrento played out an tight 1-1 draw, while a hat-trick by Jamie Jorquiera saw Fremantle City thump Stirling Lions 4-0. Western Knights revitalised their play-off hopes with a 2-1 away win over mid-table rivals E.C.U. Joondalup.
The race for the First Division title has been blown open by Dianella White Eagles who handed Mandurah City their first loss in nearly three months. Making the most of their rivals misfortune, Bayswater City move three points clear at the top of the standings courtesy of a 4-1 home defeat of South West Phoenix. Armadale stary third following their 2-1 home defeat of Kingsway Olympic, and a point behind them are Queens Park who accounted for Rockingham City by 2-1. Southside United were on the receiving end of a 4-0 whalloping by Ashfield, and The City went down 0-1 at home to Balcatta. Morley Windmills also lost at home 0-2 to the youngsters from Canning City, while Stirling Suns and Leeming Strikers shared the points.
SCHOOLBOYS CONFIDENT OF STRONG SHOWING
West Australian Schoolboys coach Damon Atthowe is confident his side will do the state proud when they compete at the 2003 School Sport Australia Secondary Soccer Championships in Melbourne. "We are very confident of doing well at the carnival, this is a strong disciplined side," commented the coach. "This squad has more experience than previous squads with approximately twelve of the sixteen players having been in the State Under-15, Under-16 or Schoolboys sides of the past few years. I think the ability level is more even and we have more players who are first team members or on the fringes for their State League club."
The Schoolboys have warmed-up for the tournament with some very encouraging results in recent friendlies. Twice they have defeated the State Under-16 side (2-0 and 4-0), and the 3-0 win over Inglewood United's under-21's was followed by victory over a Windmills/Caledonian combination by 5-4. More recently the Schoolboys went down 1-2 to a strong Fremantle City line-up, before a 1-3 loss to the State Amateur team who, two months ago, finished third in the national championships. "The team has gelled well and are playing good football. The players are comfortable on the ball, we look particulary good going forward and also move well off the ball. In fact competition for places is so strong that I have yet to pick our starting line up," said Atthowe, who finds it difficult comparing the squad of 2003 with last year's. "The two sides were picked to play different styles, however, when we played the State amateurs their coach Dave Coward did say that in his opinion this years team was a better football playing squad."
Atthowe has been forced to make one change to the squad named a few months ago with injury claiming goalkeeper Michael Smerrelli whose place has been taken by Louis Lopresti. In addition Scott Blackmore has missed the Schoolboys warm-up games due to English trials, but the talented midfielder returned to Perth this week to take his place in the travelling party. This years squad is Dinko Ahmetanovic (Inglewood United), Chris Hart, Johnathon Mathers (Bassendean Caledonian), Marko Aleksic, Jason Dos Santos, Louis Lopresti (Cockburn City), Josip Magdic (Floreat Athena), Daniel Barlow (Fremantle City), Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United), Scott Blackmore, John Morton (E.C.U. Joondalup), Carmelo Genovese, Ben Rogers (Perth S.C.), Gavin McIlveen (Rockingham City), Michael Filippou (Stirling Lions), and Chris Ramsay (Swan I.C.).
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
With only four rounds remaining in the Premier League season, there are a number of crucial showdowns when Round 19 is played out on Saturday afternoon. Coming off three successive losses, leader Perth S.C. will find the going tough when they welcome to Dorrien Gardens a Swan I.C. side undefeated in their past eight outings. Should the Blues slip up, victory to Cockburn City at home over Bassendean Caledonian will take them to level on points at the top of the standings. It's fourth verses third at the National Stadium as Inglewood United and Sorrento go head to head. Western Knights may include former State striker Trim Morgan in their line-up for the away clash with E.C.U. Joondalup, while Fremantle City will be out to end a horror run of results when they take on lowly Stirling Lions at home. Floreat Athena have the bye.
There are important games for the top teams in the Round Twenty Three of the First Division campaign. At Frank Drago Reserve Bayswater City meet a South West Phoenix side who have taken maximum points from each of their past five outings, while Mandurah City have a tricky away meeting with fifth-placed Dianella White Eagles. Armadale will need victory over Kingsway Olympic to keep alive their slimming hopes of silverware, likewise Queens Park when they travel to play bottom side Rockingham City. The City take on Balcatta, Stirling Suns are home to Leeming Strikers, Morley Windmills welcome Canning City to Wotton Reserve, and Ashfield will be keyed up for victory over Southside United at Walter Padbury Reserve.
SURPRISES IN STATE SQUAD
Paul Simmons is sure to raise a few eyebrows following the announcement of a 34-man provision State squad for next month's friendly clash with Perth Glory. Confirmed as coach last week, Simmons has drawn heavily upon the playing stocks of Premier League leader Perth S.C. and Sorrento while naming just four players that represented Western Australian in November's outing against Glory. But it's the selection of 15-year old Rostyn Griffiths and State Schoolboys attacker Josip Magdic that are the big surprises. "The door is never closed, any player performing well will always have the opportunity to get a berth," commented Simmons. Widely praised for the level of communication his has initiated with the local clubs, Simmons' first training session with the squad will be at Litis Stadium next Wednesday from 7.00pm.
The 34 players in the running for State duty are Alan Dunlop (Bassendean Caledonian), Jeff Bright (Cockburn City), Scott Bulloch, Garin Collins, Rostyn Griffiths (E.C.U. Joondalup), Anthony Jones, Josip Madjic, Andreas Oliveira, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Dean Aplegren, Branimir Mikulic, Craig Surtees, Craig Young (Fremantle City), Alex Josifovski, Sean Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich (Inglewood United), Adam Bunce, Aaron Cole, Shane Crampton, Rhys Graham, Todd Howarth, Gareth Naven (Perth S.C.), Adam Raines (Stirling Lions), Simon Harland, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason, Glen Thomas, Richard Watson, Neil Young (Sorrento), Elton Holmes, Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.), Claus Nielson, Leon Russell and Tommi Tomich (Western Knights).
LOAN DEAL FOR JONES
Young Middlebrough goalkeeper Brad Jones will spend the next two months on loan to First Division outfit Rotherham United. The 21-year old joins the South Yorkshire club following a hand injury to Gary Montgomery that is expected to keep him sidelined for some time. Jones, a former junior with Bayswater City, was a regular in the Boro reserves last season when he also made a number of appearances on the bench towards the end of the campaign. Jones will compete for a place in the first team with Mike Pollitt who is the current number one at Millmoor.
QUEENS PARK SEEK KEEPER
First Division club Queens Park are looking to strengthen their goalkeeping stocks for the final months of the 2003 campaign. If you think you have something to offer the club then please contact first team coach Michael Brazil on 0418 959 201. Queens Park are currently place fourth and still have a mathematical chance of winning promotion to the top flight.
HODGKINSON GETS INGLEWOOD BACK ON TRACK
The appointment of Eddie Hodgkinson as coach of Inglewood United in late June had an astonishing effect on the play-off hopes of the inner city club. Despite an abundance of talent at the National Stadium, when the new coach arrived Inglewood were languishing in seventh place with four wins from eleven starts and coming off a four game run from which they'd claim just two points. Six weeks later it's a much different scenario. Under Hodgkinson Inglewood have surged up the table with four victories, one draw and a single lost to put themselves into fourth place, but more importantly back into the equation for a berth in the end of season finals.
During a successful stint in charge of Inglewood during the mid-1990's Hodgkinson lead the club to the runners-up spot in the League and Top Four play-offs. Having amicably parted company with the club for to personal reasons, Hodgkinson knew he would one day return to the fray at Inglewood. "To be honest, it was probably a job I was always going to return to. I left Inglewood in 1995 due to business commitments after three year coaching stint at the club. Although I had been away from the club for seven years, my passion for the club and my link with the Kramers always remained strong. During my absence I had been asked on a couple of occasions to return to Inglewood but the timing just wasn't right in the past - this time it felt right. I knew I'd have a challenge on my hand but I wanted to rejoin the club that originally put its faith in me to coach in the top flight in Western Australia."
On taking over the coaching reigns Hodgkinson opted to sit back and assess the playing stocks. "The first week I didn't change anything. I left the starting eleven the same as for the previous week and just monitored how the players trained and played." With a 2-4 home loss to E.C.U. Joondalup the outcome, the new coach then took measures to remedy the situation and set about get their season back on track. "The following week I completely changed the defence, I changed the formation and moved a couple of players into different positions. I introduced Michael Bacsynski, who had previously been entrenched in the under-21's, into the first team and also had the good fortune of Jamie Kuzmanovich returning from trials in Turkey. The players seemed to be lacking in confidence and discipline for which a pat on the back and a slap on the wrist at the right time was the required medicine. So far so good."
Over the past five weeks Inglewood's season has been turned around, the team re-discovering their potential and taking thirteen Premier League points from the fifteen on offer. "When I took on the job I certainly did not expect to expect things to turn around as quickly as they have," said Hodgkinson. "Like all coaches I pick a team with a view to winning games. In the next few weeks we face a very big test by playing the three teams above us, it will certainly test the teams character and the results will determine our destiny. When I took over I did not have any specific targets in mind, it was more or less based on familiarising myself with the playing staff, preparing for next year and doing the best we could for the remainder of this season. In terms of long-term, my goal is to return Inglewood to be one of the top sides in Western Australia."
Part of the reason for Inglewood's reversal of fortunes has been important contributions from several players who've stepped up to meet the challenge. "Alan MacKenzie has led from the front and, being club captain, has helped guide the younger players on the park. It's a little unfair to single players for special attention considering the effort that all have put in since I arrived, however, Shaun Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Scott Campbell, Ryan Newhill and Louis Parkinson have helped us climb our back up the table," said the coach. Although the club are looking the goods to earn a place in the finals, Hodgkinson already has one eye on next season. "At the moment we are a little thin between the edges. We have a lot of good young attacking orientated players at the club, however, overall we have a shortage of defensive minded players. The stocks need to be improved upon for next year, I feel I have the makings of a good squad already, with a few additions we could be in good shape for next year."
LAZARIDIS RETAINED FOR SOCCEROO FRIENDLY
Stan Lazaridis will get the chance to add to his international tally for Australia after being included in Frank Farina's 20-man squad to face the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday 19th August. The soon to be 31-year old has pulled on Socceroo colours on 56 occasions - 45 of those in 'A' internationals - since making his debut in April 1993 against Kuwait. Farina has retained the majority of the squad that defeated England in February when Lazaridis kept captain David Beckham out of the game. The full squad is Marco Bresciano (Parma), Tim Cahill (Millwall), Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel), Brett Emerton, Luca Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Hayden Foxe (Portsmouth), Vince Grella (Empoli), Zeljko Kalac (Perugia), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City), Craig Moore, Kevin Muscat (Glasgow Rangers), Paul Okon, Mark Viduka (Leeds United), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Danny Tiatto (Manchester City) and Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City).
TARKA CLOSE TO ENGLISH CONTRACT
Perth Glory defender David Tarka is on the verge of a dream move to English club Nottingham Forest. The 20-year old defender has agreed terms with the First Division side who are now in discussion with Glory over the transfer of Tarka who has a year to run on his current contract. Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis confirmed that negotiations were underway with Forest. "They've contacted us and we are in discussions at the moment," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. An Australian youth international, Tarka trialled unsuccessfully with English Premier League newcomer Portsmouth prior to getting the opportunity to strut his stuff for the coaching staff at the City Ground.
GLORY'S PRE-SEASONS PLANS
Having held their first training session for the 2003/04 campaign last weekend, Perth Glory's pre-season is taking shape with confirmation of several friendlies. The National Soccer League champions get things rolling on Thursday 14th August when they meet Malaysian outfit Sabah (7.15pm kick-off) at the National Stadium, and two days later travel to Alfred Skeet Oval to take on First Division club Armadale (3.00pm kick-off) with all proceeds from that game going to the Cystic Fibrosis Association. Following those, Glory's next hit-out is against Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium on Tuesday 19th August following by a friendly encounter with Inglewood Unitd at the National Stadium on Sunday August 24th. The club then 'go country' for a two match series with the Singapore national team. Glory face Singapore on Thursday 28th August at Waroona Town Oval (kick-off 12.00noon), and two days later the action takes place at Peelwood Parade Reserve in Mandurah (kick-off 3.00pm). The club last game before the N.S.L. season gets underway will be against the West Australian State team on Saturday 7th September at Litis Stadium (kick-off 4.00pm).
HARNWELL SIGNED BY LONDONERS
After a lengthy trial period with Leyton Orient, defender Jamie Harnwell has agreed terms on a one-month contract with the English Third Division club. The 26-year old has spent much of the past month at Brisbane Road where he has impressed manager Paul Brush. "Jamie has done very well with us, getting better and better all the time," Brush told the club official website. "He's had to acclimatise to some new surroundings but he's shown that he's a capable defender. It's a position we're short in at the moment, and he's a big lad who is strong and very powerful in the air." Handed the number 24 short for the coming season, Harnwell's contract will not be activated until his international clearance is rubber stamped.
NARDI SELECTED FOR INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Angelo Nardi is one of eight referees to be appointed to the International Soccer Challenge 2003 which is being held in Adelaide next week. Using a new development path initiative undertaken by both Soccer Australia and the National Referees Commission, the tournament is being used as a stepping stone for the nations best young referees who've shown the potential to one day become top class National Soccer League and F.I.F.A. standard referees. In addition to Nardi, Western Australia will be represented in Adelaide by Eddie Lennie who, along with fellow World Cup referee Mark Shield, will act as mentors to the match day officials by providing advice and assistance.
BURNLEY MOVE FOR MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Australian youth international Adrian Madaschi is aiming to break into English football by trailling with First Division club Burnley this week. "It's been a long-term ambition to break into English football," Madaschi said from Italy prior to heading for Manchester. "I'm very excited with the opportunity I've been given at Burnley and aim to make the most of it." The 22-year old defender has spent six years in Italian football and hopes the grounding will help him clinch his dream move to England. "Yeah, obviously I've learned a hell of a lot from being at Atalanta," continued Madaschi. "But now the time's right to put that experience to good use. I want to play first team football this season and I'd be delighted to work for a manager like Stan Ternent." The big centre-half, who can also play in midfield, is keen to hold his place in the Australia Under-23 squad ahead of next year's Athens Olympics. Should he land a contact with Burnley, Madaschi will join Ryan Townsend at Turf Moor.
LORD OF THE FOREST
Fremantle City's Peter Lord heads to England tomorrow for a two-week trial with First Division club Nottingham Forest. Lord, who recently turned 20, has been a regular fixture of the midfield in his first season with the port side for whom he has turned in some impressive displays. Spotted while playing for Armadale a few years ago, Lord made his mark in the top flight last season while wearing the colours of the short-lived Future Glory.
IMPORTANT TWELVE MONTHS FOR GARCIA
West Ham United may have gone down 1-2 to PSV Eindhoven Dutch champions in their recent pre-season meeting, but there were plenty of positives for Hammers' manager Glenn Roeder to take from the prestigious clash - including a shining performance from attacker Richard Garcia. The former Perth S.C. player got the 12,227 crowd on their feet after 36 minutes when he Joe Cole's corner was flicked on by Fredi Kanoute to Garcia who turned the ball into the net from close-range. With his confidence boosted by his first senior goal at Upton Park, Garcia went on to produce an accomplished performance that was one of the highlights of the night. Unfortunately for the Hammers their opponents went home with the Out Performance Display Cup as Mateja Kezman leveled before Dennis Rommedahl bagged the final minute winner. "It is a big season for me now and I am looking for a definite improvement," said Garcia who is hoping to finally make his mark at the club. "It was disappointing to be relegated but we have to be positive and I have to take my chance when it comes."
DAVIES SET TO PROSPER
Little under a fortnight since joining English Conference club Halifax Town on a one-year loan deal from Bradford City, former Inglewood United junior Clint Davies (right) says he is enjoying life at the Shay Stadium where he's ready to make the most of his opportunity. "I really like it here," Davies recently told the online "Halifax Today" newspaper. "It is a good club with good players and the manager is one of those people who respects his players and talks to them all the time. All in all it makes for a really good atmosphere and things seem to have gone pretty well so far. My immediate ambition has to be to keep my place in the first team. I am at an age where I need to be playing all the time. Also by doing that, you are putting yourself in the shop window and if you are playing well then you are benefiting the team."
The 20-year old goalkeeper has started his time with Halifax impressively, last week picking up two man-of-the-match awards for his performance in the friendly loss to Stockport County. "It's incredible isn't it," said Davies. "I'm the goalkeeper for a team who have just lost 3-1 and I am voted man-of-the-match by two different sponsors ... oh well, I guess that's football for you!" Davies display against Stockport, as well as those in other recent pre-season hit-outs, lead Halifax boss Chris Wilder to hail the goalkeeper as a real talent of the future. "Clint has made an excellent start with us, but he knows he will have to work hard and keep his form. He goes back to Bradford one day a week for coaching then he has coaching with us as well. We will work him hard, but I firmly believe he's a very good acquisition for us and I think he's got a bright future."
WEBSITE RECORD SHATTERED
Friday 25th July 2003 will go down as the first time in the (almost) six year history of the Western Australian Soccer Website that 100,000 hits were registered in a calender year. While the number of visits has decreased slightly since the removal of our controversial Forum earlier in the year, the website is still in a very healthy state as is evidenced by July's total 14,884. By the end of last month some 103,347 hits had been recorded since 1st January 2003 - a massive increase on the 80,661 that was tallied for the twelve months of 2002.
University of W.A were held 1-1 by Kwinana United in their WAASSA Premier league soccer match at Kelly Park. UWA started brightly with Frederik Larsen crossing to the head of Bryn Griffiths but Kwinana keeper Andy Willars held onto the ball well down to his left. After 15 minutes UWA had a corner which eventually fell to Gavin Dennis who hit the ball high over the bar from only a metre out. Two minutes later UWA's Robert Benkovic again found Gavin Dennis and his over the shoulder shot hit the post and Kwinana cleared the ball to safety. UWA's Nick Helm then raced down the left flank and passed to Robert Benkovic who took on centre half Steve Cole and slid the ball past keeper Andy Willars into the right hand corner to put UWA one up. Kwinana then had an opportunity themselves after 37 minutes when a forward picked up a loose ball and shot goalwards but UWA's Max Percy cleared it off the line. With seconds remaining of the first half UWA should have taken the lead from a scrambled corner which eventually struck the post but the referees whistle went for half time. In the second half Kwinana pushed Chris Atkins up into the forward line and looked more of a threat. However, it was not until the 76th minute that Kwinana scored when a Chris Atkins cross exposed the UWA defence and found Roberto Cacaras who beat UWA's Shayam Young with little trouble. Kwinana might have had a second in a goalmouth scramble when UWA's defender Nick Helm cleared a certain goal off the line. UWA then took up the challenge and launched a series of raids on the Kwinana goal. Frederik Larsen beat a couple of players in tight space and saw his close range slot cleared with Andy Willars' legs. Substitute David Berg had a great chance to win the game but his 5 metre drive was well saved by Andy Willars. Coach Kevin Burton said: "We are disappointed not to have converted our chances today but we are still in third spot behind Hamersley and Fremantle so we have everything to play for." UWA Reserves defeated Kwinana Reserves 4-0 to remain in third spot on their ladder.
Hamersley Rovers continue to the lead the WAASSA Premier League after a 1-0 win against North Perth United. Shamrock Rovers ran out easy 3-0 winners against relegation threatened Murdoch University. Perth Azzurri and Forrestfield United fought out a 1-1 draw, while Forrestfield United had a 1-0 away win over Spearwood Dalmatinac. Canning International moved up to fourth place on the standings with a 5-0 victory at home to Balga. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHTEEN (Swan I.C. vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Bassendean Caledonian vs Inglewood United by Bill McAllister; Stirling Lions vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Don Evans)
On a windy, wintry afternoon Floreat Athena squared off with Fremantle City at Litis Stadium in a Premier League clash both sides were desperate to take points from. Coming off an away defeat of competition leaders Perth S.C., Athena's confidence was boosted by the return of Costa Socratous and Jamie Trandos from injury, while the recent addition of Perth Glory's Vince Matassa has given them some consistency and reliability between the posts. It was a much different story for Fremantle, however, with the port side winless in their past eight outings and in danger of losing touch with the top half of the table. Adding to their woes is the fact that Marc Wingell and Anthony Pereira have been ruled out for the remainder of the season by injury, while they would also have to do without attackers Branimir Mikulic and John Migas for today's game due to suspension.
It took the hosts less than a minute to create the games first opening with Josip Magdic's shot from close to the by-line forcing goalkeeper Bobson Karoma into paddling the ball over the crossbar. The flight of the resulting corner by Matthew Novatsis deceived the Fremantle defence, allowing Trandos to head it in at the far post and give Athena the lead with just 2 minutes gone. Cisco Jorqueira benefited from a similar situation at the oppose end shortly after but Matassa produced a superb reflex save to keep out the close-range strike. Playing with the aid of a very strong wind at their backs, it came as was little surprise that Athena were the ones doing all the early attacking. Trandos tried his luck from distance after Fremantle coughed up possession but his shot went high. In the 16th minute Trandos played a clever one-two to open up the defence only to have Shane Nunes dispossess the midfielder before he could shoot. A weaving run by Magdic took him inside the area and again it was Nunes that came the Fremantle's rescue with a perfectly-executed tackle.
Following a difficult opening period in which they had to battle not only the home team but also a very determined wind, Fremantle began to string together some promising moves of their own. Cisco Jorqueira caught Eugene Tan in possession to force another sharp response from Matassa, the loose ball fell perfectly for Craig Young but he too was denied by the Athena 'keeper. In the 32nd minute Cisco Jorqueira made his way down the left to send a low cross to Young who controlled well before Fernando Coron cleared the danger. With Paul Coelho and Cisco Jorqueira providing the drive from their respective flanks, Fremantle attacked relentlessly only to be turned away by a five-man Athena backline. Six minutes from the break Alex Cummings floated a free-kick into a crowded 18-yard box which quickly went to feet and within seconds of eachother Young and Cisco Jorqueira had powerful close-range shots desperately blocked by defenders. The last attack of the half belonged to Athena as Andreas Oliveira surged forward to force Koroma into a fantastic diving save.
Aaron Moschopoulos should have increased Athena's lead seven minutes into the second half but was dispossessed by Dean Apelgren from 7-metres. Fremantle upped their workrate after the break with Cummings and Devid Vitale taking the upper hand in the battle for control in midfield. But for all their efforts the visiting side were still unable to open up passage to goal as Athena stuck to a none-too-attractive defensive formation. A long clearance by James Hesketh after 59 minutes was run on to be Young for whom the ball bobbled up awkwardly as he lined up the target and his weak shot was hit straight to Matassa. As the match wore on the pressure began to take its toll on Fremantle's young team. An unforced error in the 67th minute allowed Tan to advance down the left from where he tested Koroma who tipped the defenders delicate chip over the bar. Not long after Dejan Djukanovic turned the ball over in midfield and slipped it into the path of Peter Coci but thankfully for the visitors Apelgren was alert to sweep the low cross out for a corner.
The final quarter-hour belonged to Fremantle but, when not forced into shooting from distance, found their lack of height inside the box telling. Apelgren pumped an excellent diagonal cross into the dangerzone which somehow evaded not only the defence but also his teammates and it passed out for a goal kick. Not long after the danger again came from Cisco Jorqueira floated the ball into the area from the left which Adrian Sutton headed to safety. A tactical re-shuffle saw Fremantle take up a three-man attack but no matter what they did nothing went their way. Dulio Xavier pushed forward two minutes from the end of regulation time to send a searching cross in the direction of Michael Vaz and on this occasion it was Coron and Troy Bernard that conspired against the attacker. Athena's win should have been confirmed in stoppage time when, on another quick break through the middle, Oliveira was through with only Koroma to beat but the striker skied his shot as Vaz tried desperately to close him down.
For the neutrals in the stands this was an incredibly frustrating game to watch largely due to the negative tactics applied by Athena from the opening kick. Even after taking the lead inside two minutes the home side persisted with a five-man backline which won't win them any new fans. The performance of Matassa was the highlight of the match for the hosts, the 'keeper making several important saves throughout the afternoon, and there was a strong display from Moschopoulos in the middle of the park. Fremantle's young team showed a lot of character by sticking to their guns right up to the final whistle despite the fact that nothing was going their way. Vitale worked hard in midfield on a day the port side were deserving of at least a share of the points, while it was the creativity of Cisco Jorqueira wide on the left that was the inspiration behind the visitors best attacking moves.
Floreat Athena : Vince Matassa, Troy Bernard, Eugene Tan, Adrian Sutton,
Fernando Coron, Matthew Novatsis, Aaron Moschopoulos, Costa Socratous
(Dejan Djukanovic 65), Jamie Trandos (Marc Nauer 76), Josip Magdic (Peter
Coci 53), Andreas Oliveira
Fremantle City : Bobson Koroma, Craig Surtees, Dean Apelgren, Shane Nunes, James Hesketh (Jamie Jorqueira 74), Alex Cummings (Dulio Xavier 63), Paul Coelho, Cisco Jorqueira, Devid Vitale, Craig Young, Peter Lord (Michael Vaz 45)
Bookings : Vitale (70), Coci (87), Moschopoulos (89), C.Jorqueira (90)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Perth S.C. have had their lead at the top of the Premier League table cut to three points as a result of Saturday's loss - their third in as many weeks - to Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Seagulls preparation for the outing was dramatically made redundant after 8 minutes when Dale McCulloch received his marching orders from referee Michael Nugus for his fervent reaction to a late tackle in a tense and committed opening exchange. Perth should have snatched the lead whilst the home side was still in the throws of adjustment, however, Shane Crampton slotted wide of the right post on 11 minutes. Lead at the back by Richard Watson, the home team seemed determine to hold out against all odds as Jamie Coyne blasted high with only goalkeeper Gareth Deeg to beat after 23 minute. Opportunities for the hosts were very limited with Simon Harland operating as the lone striker, the best chance coming late in the half when Tony Cumace's cross found Harland whose header went over the crossbar. Five minutes into the second half Perth went in front following a stray pass by Daniel Cain which Mark Pottier pounced upon and as the defence backed off the attacker unleased a trademark bullet from 23-metres which Deeg was unable to keep out. The introduction of David Foster in the 76th minute produced immediate effect for Sorrento, the youngster skilfully putting the ball across goal to where Andy Mason was placed to slide it over the line for the equaliser. Nine minutes later Glen Thomas gained possession in the middle and swung play to the right where Harland sped into attack to fire a low cross back in the direction of Thomas who got the better of Dino Djublic and flick the ball past a stunned Robert Scarparolo. Post-match, coach Steve Neville described the game as Sorrento's best during his time at the club. "All the credit has to go to the players. Everyone gave as much as they could, I couldn't have asked for more."
Cockburn City narrowed the gap to Perth by one point but squandered a golden opportunity to make up further ground on the League leader by being held to a 1-1 draw by Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club on Saturday afternoon. The home side came out of the blocking firing on all cylinders and in the 4th minute got the result they were after when a fine cross from the left wing picked out youngster Tom Shepheard at the far post where he rose high to send a powerful downward header that bounced and looped over goalkeeper Dino Pacella on it's way into the back of the net. As if there wasn't enough pressure already on the visitors to get back in the game, attacker John Mirco receiving his marching orders in the 25th minute for a deliberate handball inside the penalty. But Swan failed to increase their lead as Damian Scali's resultant spot kick was placed wide of the left upright. Although playing a man down, Cockburn refused to give up without a fight and in the 56th minute equalised after Michael Mirco ran the ball into the 18-yard box before laying it off to Peter Petkovich who powered his shot past Swan custodian Cory Hugo. As you would expect from a side with the advantage of an extra player, Swan upped the pace in an effort to reclaim the lead but the visitors defended in numbers to thwart their opponent. In a physical closing period, Cockburn's Pacella and Bozo Erakovic both required treatment in the 77th minute as players in both colours tried to gain the upper hand through brute force. With four games remaining in the regular season, Cockburn sit three points behind Perth who they meet in what could be the title decider at the end of this month.
Bassendean Caledonians were the victims of a poor refereeing decision that resulted in Inglewood United claiming all three points from their meeting at Jubilee Reserve via a late penalty. In an entertaining game played in blustery and difficult conditions, Louis Parkinson tested Alan Dunlop early on only to find the Caledonian goalkeeper equal to his effort. Dunlop was in the thick of the action as Inglewood pounded the goal over the opening stages, Parkinson again foiled by Dunlop who then produced a brilliant save to keep out Kosta Kalavroutziotis' shot. Veteran attacker and former Perth Glory player Alan MacKenzie provided much of Inglewood's attacking drive with a man-of-the-match display in the middle of the park. The first chance for the home side came via Andy Cornmell who sent a free-kick just high shortly before half-time. Caledonian showed more enterprise early in the second half with Jason Van Rooy crossing to Kevin Griffiths whose well-timed volley brought a great save from Oliver Taseski. The Inglewood 'keeper was then forced into two fine saves in as many minutes as Ian Griffiths then Andy Cornmell were denied. In the 73rd minute Caledonian were denied a penalty by the referee, and on the resulting counter-attack MacKenzie's great strike was kept out by Dunlop. Three minutes from the end Inglewood were awarded a soft free-kick which MacKenzie lofted over the home backline for Jamie Kuzmanovich to ram an unstoppable header past Dunlop for the deciding goal.
Wild, blustery weather conditions turned Stirling Lions clash with E.C.U. Joondalup at Macedonia Park into a scrappy affair which would be decided from the penalty spot. Minister for Sport and Recreation Bob Kucera, who is showing a keen interest in the growth of soccer at local level, tossed the coin to get proceedings underway with young Christian Debarro providing the Lions with early impact when he embarked on a great solo run only to lack the final finish with the goal beckoning. The tricky nor-west breeze that howled across the park made accuracy difficult for both sides over the opening period. Joondalup's best early chance came the way of Duncan Willetts who forced a reflex save from goalkeeper Jordan Conti in the 18th minute. With neither side able to dominate, Conti made a courageous save the feet of Josh Kamasz after 37 minutes and in the goalmouth scramble that followed the referee awarded the visitors a hotly disputed penalty, but Anthony Danze was denied by a superb save from Conti who dived low and to his left. Joondalup came out looking to take the lead early in the second half, piling on the pressure with staunch defending by Darko Ilomanoski and Leo Harman foiling their best moves. The Lions response came through Stejpan Beretovac who surged past the visiting defence and combined with Eugene Singeorzan to set-up Danny Carlino whose turning shot was saved by the finger tips of Peter Stewart. A defensive error in the 57th minute saw Joondalup awarded another penalty, and this time Duncan Willetts made no mistake by sending Conti the wrong way. The match became congested as both sides struggled with the conditions. With twenty-one minutes to go Conti made another brave save at the feet of Scott Bulloch, but this time the young goalkeeper came off the worse for wear and was stretchered from the ground with concussed, Ken Ftynogiannis taking his place between the posts. The Lions were reduced to ten men in the 75th minute when Ilomanoski received his second yellow card.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
It was make or break time for Sorrento in their home clash with leader Perth S.C. for whom victory would seal the Premier League Reserves trophy. The hosts went in front after 8 minutes through a spectacular Farrell Hedges volley from a tight angle that snuck between goalkeeper and upright. While they played the better football, Sorrento were unable to increase their lead before, in the 40th minute, Albert Osei-Tutu swept in the equaliser. A minute into first half stoppage time Hedges had the Seagulls back in front when he expertly lobbed 'keeper Francis Allen. The second half was an even tussle which produced very few chances. Towards the match end, Perth exerted severe pressure to the home defence which paid off when the ball was cleared of the 18-yard box but only as far as Simon Trinca who struck his shot into the top right corner to snatch a point with a just minute remaining.
Goals from Jason Godfrey, Paul Baczynski, Dinko Ahmetanovic and Lee Haienko gave third-placed Inglewood United a 4-0 away win over Bassendean Caledonian. It was 4-0 at Litis Stadium also as Fremantle City brushed aside Floreat Athena in windy conditions. Stirling Lions took the lead through Mark Randazzo but it was E.C.U. Joondalup that took out the game courtesy of three goals in eight minutes by Jonathan Greenwood at the start of the second half. The 78th minute dismissal of Amare Hailu compounded the Lions woes. Swan I.C. scored a morale boosting 5-1 win over the visiting Cockburn City side. The black and whites raced to a three-goal buffer inside ten minutes as Damian Todorovic, Daniel Simcox and Ben Anderton found the net. David Mahon further extended the gap midway through the first half, and Joe Kendall completed Swans scoring spree after 82 minutes. Cockburn ended the game with ten men after the late dismissal of Robert Potter.
Battling strong winds as well as each other, the Under-18 teams of Sorrento and Perth S.C. met at Percy Doyle Reserve ion Saturday. With neither side able to really dominate play, Seagulls goalkeeper Carl Diggins was the busier over the opening half was rarely tested. Eight minutes into the second half a suspiciously offside Nikit Rukavytsya was sent clear of the home defence and the youngster raced on to beat Diggins and break the deadlock. The margin blew out to two goals in the 55th minute when a swift exchange of passes caught the Sorrento backline ball watching as Stephen Worthy placed his shot inside the right post to finish a very slick attacking move. To their credit the home side refused to concede the game and struggled on, but in all honesty they never seem to have the capability to catch Perth.
E.C.U. Joondalup stay three points ahead of Fremantle City at the top of the youth competition following a 5-0 thrashing of Stirling Lions. A minute into the second half and Phillip O'Callaghan got the ball rolling for the northerners before the Lions went down a man with the dismissal of David Buckley after 48 minutes as Kevin Carmona doubled the lead. Goals in quick succession from Scott Bushby and Sam Coolican and a late strike by Rhys Williams completed the 5-0 scoreline. Floreat Athena managed to stifle the usually fluent passing game employed by Fremantle and midway through the first half tookthe lead when Rodrigo Aguirre capitalised on a defensive error. The second half was only minutes old when defender Marlon Ramirez denied Athena a second goal, but it proved the wake-up call the port side needed. In the 49th minute Mo Atak bagged his twenty-sixth goal of the campaign to level, and a minute later John Thornley put Fremantle in front. The closing stages belonged to the visitors who were thwarted in their attempts to extend the 2-1 margin by promising Athena goalkeeper Alex Dunn.
Swan I.C. went down 0-2 at home to Cockburn City for whom Justin De Abreu netted twice. Bassendean Caledonian were out to end their eight-game winless streak at Jubilee Reserve when Inglewood United were the opponents on Saturday. The home side got off to a flying start as David Houston put them in front after 10 minutes and Corrie Bessant extended the margin with 33 minutes elapsed. But a goal from Mladen Kovacevic shortly after saw the two teams go into the break on level terms to tee up an exciting second period. Two minutes after the re-start Inglewood were back on level terms as Abdi Mohamed netted, and in the 49th minute Mohamed gave his side the lead. From there the visitors simply ran away with the game with James Comi and Alex Stamatidis adding to the tally before a last minute goal from Ryan Frisina brought some respectability to the 3-5 margin for Caledonian.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY TWO (Queens Park vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Southside United by Barry Rennie; Armadale vs Stirling Suns by Michael Di Pietro; Canning City vs Dianella White Eagles by Phil Unsworth)
First Division leaders Bayswater City were away on the weekend to third-placed Queens Park in what was a vital game for both sides. The visitors suffered an early blow to their chances when striker Sal Marrapodi was stretchered from the field and taken to hospital for scans following a crunching tackle from behind in the opening minute. With eight minutes gone Bayswater then took the lead after being awarded a penalty which Kevin Henderson sent into the top corner of the net. With their strong midfield combination of Henderson and Ian Davidson in control of play, the visitors never looked back from here and doubled their advantage when Kevin Henderson scored from close range following a corner. Bayswater slowed the pace and began to stroke the ball around the park with grace and confidence but could not get find a way past sweeper Grant Learmont who had a fine match for the home side. The start of the second half saw the hosts throw everything into getting back into the game only to turned away time and time again by a Bayswater side whose goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic was in fine form. Bayswater stretched their lead to three goals when Boima Karpeh made the most of a one-on-one with goalkeeper experienced Darren Williams. Karpeh was replaced shortly after by Nick Stojanovski who wasted no time in getting involved by netting his sides fourth and final goal of the afternoon. The reserve meeting went 1-0 in favour of Bayswater with Pasquale Marrapodi bagging the decider, and the under-18 was also taken out by the visitors as Luke O'Neill (2) and Chris Herd scored in the 3-1 result.
Mandurah City continued their dominance over lower placed sides with a resounding 4-0 win over Southside United. The hosts suffered a scare prior to the start when in-form goalkeeper Mike Green was forced to withdraw with a back injury that severely restricted his movement in the warm-up, experienced veteran Paul Dixon taking Green's place between the uprights. With defenders Gary Collins and Damian Condo setting up many of the sides' forward thrusts, and Andrew Rennie and Jordan Rhodes creative in the middle of the park, Mandurah were on top from the opening kick. The opening goal resulted from some good work by Steven Rhodes whose cross found Christian Paschewitz who headed powerfully into the net after 10 minutes. The margin was doubled when a pass from Collins sent Rennie away down the right and, after taking his man to the bye-line, the attacker laid the ball back to Paschewitz who made light work of the finish. The highlight of the second half was a flying header goal by John Tranfield who commenced his run from the half way line and powered into the box to get himself on the end of a pin-point cross from Collins. In a completely one-sided affair, Paschewitz completed a deserved hat-trick with another headed goal ten minutes from the end. Mandurah's reserves extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points courtesy of an Adam Boone double which was added to be Mick Bobridge. The biggest win of the afternoon was in the under-18's where Mandurah thumped the previously undefeated Southside 5-0.
At Alfred Skeet Oval it was fourth-placed Armadale against fifth-placed Stirling Suns in a game both sides were eager to claim maximum points from. A tight opening quarter-hour saw both teams open their account, the hosts through Emlyn Whetnall after 4 minutes only to have the Suns draw level almost immediately through Alex Jankulovski. Armadale continued to press and in the 22nd minute Darren Ingham added to the tally and give the home fans something to cheer about. Eight minutes later Craig Anderson made it 3-1 following a corner from Paul Caulkin, and five minutes from the break the Reds supporters were again given reason to celebrate as Ingham converted after some good lead-up work down the left. The three points never looked in doubt for the remainder of the afternoon, however, the Suns mounted a late fightback to give the hosts a scare. In the 85th minute Jankulovski made it 4-2, and another goal shortly following a corner after further reduced the gap, but Armadale survived a tense stoppage time period to record their fifth win in six weeks. In the reserves there was a good win for Armadale by 5-0 with the goals coming from Darren Kingston (3), David Twigg and youngster Rosali Mohammed. A hat-trick by Chris Hill secure the home team a 3-1 win in the under-18 meeting.
South West Phoenix have been propelled further up the First Division standings following a 2-1 win over Morley Windmills at the Bunbury Soccerdrome. In a tough, windswept encounter neither side was able to find the target over the opening period. The match was thrown wide open when a lovely flowing move by the home side which began with James Bergin, involved Jamie Lister and David Rodgers and ended with Patrick Roberts' crisp left footer beating goalkeeper Mike Darling. With the breeze at their backs Windmills adopted playing the long ball to put the home side under pressure, the visitors best chance coming in a one-on-one for which goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite produced a fine reflex save. Seven minutes into the second half Greg Hayes benefited from a weaving run by Steve Suttie when he fed the ball to the striker who rifled in Phoenix' second of the game. Savo Garic was denied by Darling as he attempted to extend the home sides lead after coming off the bench on the hour. Windmills chances of mounting a late comeback received a massive boost then Phoenix went down to ten men with the dismissal of John Sherrington after 70 minutes. A minute later Richard Rose put the visitors back in the game by heading in a cross from the hard-working Rydeen Botha. But Phoenix defended resolutely over the closing stages to register their fifth consecutive win as they shape up for a top four finish. "I was pretty please with the way the team played and the way they stuck to it when under pressure in the second half," said coach Jummy Mayers after the game. Phoenix' reserve side romped to a 5-1 win, while the under-21's ended their losing streak with a massive 21-0 whalloping of their Windmills counterparts.
While Canning City's recent form hasn't been the greatest, they were confident heading into the weekend fixture with Dianella White Eagles at Willetton Sports Club. Played in blustery and cool conditions, it took a considerable time for both teams to settle with the first chance on goal arriving after 11 minutes Billy Stirling fired high for the home team. For the remainder of the first half much of the attacking moves came from Dianella but the teams went into the break without troubling the scoreboard, mainly due to poor finishing. Canning had the opportunity to open the scoring on three occasions within the opening ten minutes of the second period, however, Shane Laing, Mick Van Dongen and Jix Loong all failed to take advantage of good build-up play. The match turned in Dianella's favour in the 56th minute when striker Dragan Njegic slotted the ball into the net from close-range after a cross from Stevica Petrovic had avoided the Canning defence. Prior to the deadlock being broken home goalkeeper Robbie Meyer had done a lot to keep his side in the hunt. Meyer made two more impressive saves but Canning was unable to profit from his good work by going down to Dianella by the single goal. Earlier in the day Dianella took out both the reserves (4-3) and under-18 (5-2) meetings.
The derby clash at Kingsway Sporting Complex ended with honours shared between Kingsway Olympic and The City. Mark Cox got The City off to a perfect start by finding the target with just 6 minutes elapsed and four minutes from the interval the visitors buffer was increased by Ben Yates. In the 64th minute Sota Iwasaki reduced the margin, then seven minutes later The City were reduced to ten men with the red carding of Jake Lennox. Olympic upped the pace in their search for an equaliser which finally arrived in stoppage time via Andy Brown. At Ashfield Reserve, Phil Bell put Leeming Strikers in front after 25 minutes but it was Ashfield that went into the break with the advantage as Daniel Taylor and Dion Florias netted within three minutes of eachother late in the half. Bell earned the visitors a share of the points when he scored in the 64th minute. The clash between Rockingham City and Balcatta also ended in a draw courtesy of first half goals by Glen Hallums (Rockingham) and Scott Broadley (Balcatta).
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
It was a low scoring weekend with the ten Premier League teams in action producing juts eight goals between them. Having played for much of the game with ten men, Sorrento have defeated Perth S.C. 2-1 as the League leader continues to be reeled in by the remainder of the field. Cockburn City squandered a golden opportunity to really make life difficult for Perth when they were held to a 1-1 draw by home side Swan I.C. A Jamie Kuzmanovich header close to the end gave Inglewood United all three points at Bassendean Caledonian, while a goal after 2 minutes by Jamie Trandos enabled a defensive Floreat Athena to defeat Fremantle City's youngsters 1-0. E.C.U. Joondalup won 1-0 at Stirling Lions for whom teenage goalkeeper Jordan Conti stretchered off.
Queens Park's hopes of mounting a late challenge for the First Division title suffered a major blow when they went down 0-3 at home to leaders Bayswater City on the weekend. Level on points but with a game in hand over Bayswater, Mandurah City remain favourite to take out the silverware following a 4-0 thumping of Southside United. Armadale moved into third place courtesy of a hard-fought 4-3 win over Stirling Suns, Canning City lost 0-1 at home to Dianella White Eagles, and South West Phoenix proved too strong for Morley Windmills by 2-1. The points were shared in the three remaining game. Kingsway Olympic and The City drew their derby meeting 2-2, which was the same score as when Ashfield met Leeming Strikers, while it was 1-1 between Balcatta and Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The highlight of Round Eighteen of the Premier League season takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve where third-placed Sorrento take on leaders Perth S.C. who are coming off two consecutive losses. In red-hot form of late, Swan I.C. have home ground advantage over a high-flying Cockburn City, while Fremantle City will be out to end their seven-game winless streak run when they meet Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Bassendean Caledonian will find the going tough at home against Inglewood United, Stirling Lions take on E.C.U. Joondalup, and out of action due to the bye are Western Knights.
In the First Division, third-placed Queens Park welcome leaders Bayswater City to Coker Park in what promises to be an absolute cracker of a game. Mandurah City should have little trouble in accounting for lowly Southside United, while the showdown at Alfred Skeet Oval between Armadale and Stirling Suns will be tightly contested. The youngsters from Canning City will find the job difficult against Dianella White Eagles, South West Phoenix take on Morley Windmills in an important mid-table contest. Ashfield are home to Leeming Strikers, Balcatta take on bottom side Rockingham City, and Kingsway Olympic meet The City in the derby at Kingsway Sporting Complex.
ONE DAY AT A TIME FOR MCCALLUM
17-year old Collette McCallum has come through what has been a difficult sixteen period with flying colours. "After the experience of the last year I'm now just taking things one game at a time, said the exciting young midfielder. Having helped Australia to the Under-19 World Youth Championship last April, McCallum was ruled out of the finals tournament by injury. "I'd played in the qualifiers in Tonga and returned to Perth to live after the tournament," she explained. "However, in my first game back for E.C.U. Joondalup boys I twisted my knee. I was advised to continue training but on the Young Matildas training camp in Queensland a month before the finals in Canada my knee went again and I had no option but to get a knee reconstruction. The operation was performed here in Perth by Keith Holt who, along with my physio Jeremy Hunter, advised me on my recovery and I'm now back playing with the Redbacks in the West Australian Womens' League."
Having made her way back to full fitness with the Redbacks, McCallum recently travel east with the West Australian Under-18 squad for the women's National Talent Identification Championship. And while the State youth side didn't reach the play-off stage of the tournament, they were far from disgraced according to McCallum. "At the nationals I though the Under-18 side were unlucky not to do better. The gap has definitely closed between us and the other states and with Alistair Edwards involved I think that gap will get even closer." Following the event, McCallum was one of three Perth-based players invited to attend a week-long camp for the national Under-19 team. "Ashley (Bennett) and Candice (Townsend) both did really well and I don't think we've had three players from W.A. in a national team at the same time before. The camp itself was tough, especially after playing seven games in eight days, but it was really great to get the girls together and let everyone know what is expected of them."
ENGLISH TRIALS FOR COCKBURN TEENAGER
15-year old Cockburn City player Daniel Maddaloni flew out of Perth last weekend to take up offers to trial with a number of English Premier League clubs. Maddaloni has been playing locally for Cockburn's Under-15 Junior Champions League team and has also stepped up the ranks with several appearances for the clubs Under-18 side under his belt this year. A superb crosser of the ball who possess exquisite skills on the ball, the left-sided midfielder was a member of the State Under-14 team which travelled to Sydney last year and has previously spent time with the Southampton Academy. Maddaloni will be reunited with Southampton in mid-August, but prior to that he'll try his luck in London with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Charlton Athletic and Fulham.
OSIJEK COME CALLING FOR ARSOVSKI
Young Perth S.C. player Igor Arsovski has reportedly left for Croatia to take up a contract with top flight outfit NK Osijek. The 18-year old midfielder spent last season as a regular in the Blues' reserve side and represented Western Australia at the 2002 Schools National Champions which were staged in Perth last August.
SIMMONS TAKES ON STATE JOB
Appointed coach of the West Australian State team this week, former E.C.U. Joondalup boss Paul Simmons has been quick to make clear what he expects from players called up for duty. "One of the things I want to get across is that for a lot of players the honour of playing for the State has gone - and that's got to change," Simmons told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "Playing for the State should be the biggest buzz for a player. When they pull on the State jersey they should feel two feet taller. I want to get the pride back into wearing the shirt." One of the first tasks on the agenda of the new State coach will the naming of a 30-player squad to meet Perth Glory in an up-coming friendly. With plenty of young players coming up through the ranks who have shown the enthusiasm, desire and ability to represent their State, Simmons said there would be a few surprises in the squad named shortly.
KNIGHTS ADVANCE TO LAST FOUR
Western Knights captain Carl Medica this evening bagged a hat-trick to lead his club to victory over First Division outfit Canning City and into the last four of this years Boral Cup. The game at Wotton Reserve was only 17 seconds old when Medica struck to put the Knights in front, but to their credit Canning dug deep to prevent their more fancied opponent from extending their lead over the remainder of the opening half. The margin was doubled two minutes after the interval when Leon Russell found the net, and the left-sided midfielder struck again after 53 minutes to put the Knights in commanding position. Paul Van Dongen gave Canning some hope by pulling a goal back before Medica added two more to the Knights tally. In stoppage time Paul Oliver converted Cannings second goal of the night from the penalty spot.
CARBONE HOPEFUL OF N.S.L. RETURN
Former Perth Glory player John Carbone could make his return to the National Soccer League with Queensland Lions should they be granted entry to this seasons' competition. It is understood the new board of Soccer Australia are unhappy with a thirteen team league which necessitates one team has a bye each week - a situation that would be eliminated should the Lions be invited to participate. "The Lions are looking likely to be the next Perth Glory, they are a very professional club," Carbone said from Brisbane this week. "For me, it was hard to be let go by a club like Glory, but I think in the near future the Lions will have the potential to reach that same level. That is what all clubs should be striving for - it is what the game in Australia needs."
After three seasons for Glory, Carbone headed to Queensland in mid-2000 to re-establish himself in the N.S.L. with Brisbane Strikers. An ever-present in his first season, Carbone began the 2002/03 campaign in promising fashion by helping the Strikers to a memorable 4-3 win over his former club at Perth Oval. But shortly after that game the midfielder's time at the club began to sour. "The week after our fantastic win over Glory I had a shocker against Wollongong Wolves and from there the relationship with the coach deteriorated. To be honest, I don't really understand why I was crucified for that one bad performance, but I guess that's football. It was then difficult for me to get back in the side as we went winless for about seven games, and we also had a number of left-sided players at the club competing for the same position."
At the end of his second season in Brisbane Carbone was released by the Strikers and, some three months later, the midfielder is still bitter about the way in which he was informed his services would no longer be required. "I was disappointed by the way they released me - through the mail. I thought they could have at least had the balls to pick up the phone. But then that is typical of the administration they have at that club." But not long after his departure from the ranks of the N.S.L. the 26-year old was back on the field of play with the Lions, a club that have been the dominant force in the Queensland State League for the past decade. "An old pal from my days at the Australian Institute of Sport, Darren Sime, has been at the club all his life. I had that connection but also the coach, Miron Bleiberg, liked my style of play and wanted me to join them."
"In terms of administration the club are very professional, while playing-wise it will be tough," Carbone commented. "They are looking at giving their young boys a crack at the N.S.L. and furnishing the squad with only a few players that have prior experience in the national competition. It will take a bit of time for the young boys to get a grip of the speed of the game, I can tell you that it looks a lot slower on the sidelines than it does when you're out there. Obviously as a club they want to succeed but at the same time they are being realistic as to what they can achieve in the first year. I remember Glory's first game against Sydney Olympic when they lost 1-4 and now they have only two players left from that squad in Reggie (Scott Miller) and Bob (Bobby Despotovski). Hopefully the young boys at the club will be given the opportunity to succeed at national league level with the Lions."
MURPHY JOINS GLORY
Perth Glory have secured the services of Australian international Shaun Murphy on a two-year contract. "This is a great signing for Perth Glory," said a delighted Glory coach Mich d'Avray. "To be able to secure a player of Shaun's international pedigree is a big coup for the club and his return to Australia is great for the game. The fact that we've got a Socceroo is a bonus - that he's a West Australian player is the ultimate," added d'Avray. "This is a season of consolidation for the club and the experience Shaun will bring will be a great help in achieving our aim of reaching the top six." Murphy's signing, which is subject to him completing the formality of a medical, is a major coup for the Glory after the departure of eight players at the end of last season.
Murphy started out locally with Sorrento and Perth Italia (nee S.C.) before stepping up to the ranks for the N.S.L. with Blacktown City and Heidelberg United. Having helped Australia to the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the defender moved to England to play for Notts County (135 games, 7 goals) for whom Murphy took out the Player of the Season awards in 1994/95 and 1995/96. A stint with West Bromwich Albion (79 games, 7 goals) followed before Murphy signed on the dotted line for Sheffield United (182 games, 11 goals) in July 1999. His performances at club level earned the defender his senior international debut at the ripe age of 29, Murphy going on to make 18 'A' appearances in total for Australia which included the fateful 2002 World Cup qualifiers. Recipient of the 2000/01 Player of the Season with the Blades, he spent a short period on loan to Crystal Palace (11 games, 0 goals) at the tail end of the 2001/02 campaign.
TWO MORE INTERNATIONAL OUTINGS FOR KARP
Tal Karp has played her part in Australia finishing second behind the host nation in the three-nation international women's soccer tournament played in Japan over the weekend. The Matilda's started their campaign with a scoreless draw against South Korea, Karp coming off the bench on the hour but unable to change the course of the game. The big talking point for Australia was a serious knee injury to defender Thea Slatyer which has thrown into doubt her place in the squad for the World Cup later this year. On Sunday evening Karp was in the starting line-up as Australia held a strong Japanese side to a nil-all draw.
University of W.A. defeated Murdoch University 2-1 in Sunday's WAASSA Premier League action at McGillivray Oval. The first chance of the afternoon came after 17 minutes when UWA's Bryn Griffiths teed-up Frederik Larsen whose shot was knocked over the crossbar for Murdoch goalkeeper Rene Lohier. Nine minutes later the home team took the lead following a Marc D'Ascanio corner which was headed into the roof of the net by Griffiths. Thereafter Murdoch continued to put pressure on the UWA backline with the best chance falling to Roan Albriutsen who held off a couple of challenges only for Shyam Young to push his effort around the upright. The second half began with Murdoch on the attack as Alistair Coulthard's shot on the turn as knocked over by Young. After 65 minutes Griffiths found Mark Adam with a pass over the Murdoch defence and his lob went narrowly cleared the bar, while home 'keeper Young was called into action shortly after to keep out a good shot from Nathan Chapman. The margin was doubled when a superb pass from Nick Helm made it's way to Larsen who beat the 'keeper to put UWA in the box seat. But three minutes later Murdoch were awarded a soft penalty which Chapman drilled into the top corner to make it 2-1. "We were clearly not at our best today with key players out injured or sick but we showed real character by grinding out an important victory against a Murdoch side with good pace up front," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. UWA claimed victory in the reserves with a 4-2 defeat of Murdoch to move into third spot on their table.
Hamersley Rovers lead the Premier League standings by two points over Fremantle United. On Sunday Hamersley thumped Forrestfield United 4-0 at Hartfield Park, while Fremantle United were pushed all the way by Spearwood Dalmatinac before emerging as 1-0 victors. Bottom side Balga made life difficult for Kwinana United who took out the points by 2-1, North Perth United went down 1-4 at home to Canning International, and the points were shared as Shamrock Rovers and Perth Azzurri drew 2-2. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
MAROCCHI TO BE REPLACED AS STATE COACH
One-time Australian captain Gary Marocchi has been ruled out from coaching the State team. Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt recently confirmed that, under the rules of the organisation, the State coach must be free of club coaching commitments and as such Marocchi, who is the technical director of coaching at Swan I.C., is ineligible for the position. Although Carlo Scali is officially player-coach of Swan, it is Marocchi does much of the coaching for the first team. "At the moment I'm happy to put my efforts into Swan. I'm trying to contribute a little bit to the game in the area," said Marocchi. With his position at Swan an honorary one, Marocchi added that he was prepared to continue working with both State and club teams as he has done since last year. It is expected a new coach of the State team, whose first duty will be a friendly with Perth Glory, will be announced shortly.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVENTEEN (Inglewood United vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Bassendean Caledonian by Tom McCrisken)
Sorrento welcomed the Western Knights to the northern suburbs in Round Seventeen of the Premier League season which was played out over the weekend. Although undefeated in their past eight outings, Sorrento coach Steve Neville said in the morning newspaper that there was still room for improvement at the club. The late withdrawal due to injury of regular goalkeeper Neil Young was a minor blow for the home side, while suspension forced Iain Deans to watch from the sidelines. The Knights were brimming with confidence following last week's defeat of leaders Perth S.C.., so much so in fact that Ronnie Campbell opted to go with an unchanged starting line-up meaning experienced trio Paul McVittie, Scott Devine and Carl Medica had to make do with a spot on the bench.
The home side began in an attacking frame of mind and determined to take the early lead. Using the full width of the park to great effect, much of Sorrento's attacking impetus came from wide players Todd Harnwell and Sean Fallon who were quick to latch onto passes played down their respective flanks before sending the ball into the dangerzone. But once in the 18-yard box it was the Knights defence, which had Alex Christie and Evan Wallace at its' heart, that took possession, turning the ball over with ease to frustrate their opponent. Having spend much of the opening quarter-hour on the defensive, the Knights eventually found their attacking feet but, like the home side, were unable to get clear sight of goal due to some resilient defending.
It wasn't until the 18th minute that either goalkeeper was called into action, and even then Tommi Tomich was comfortable in keeping out Tony Cumace's free-kick from 22-metres. Teenager Daniel Cain showed his willingness to join in the attacks by pushing past his opponent down the right to deliver a low cross to Andy Mason who slid the ball wide under pressure from Wallace. The Knights first real shot arrived after 31 minutes as Paul Cooke rifled narrowly wide from just inside the penalty box. Sorrento took the lead six minutes later when Tony Cumace's free-kick caught the visiting defence ball-watching and Steve MacDonald rose to head in against his former club. The margin was nearly doubled shortly after as the Knights hacked the ball clear of their 18-yard box only to have Fallon drill it goalward to stretch Tomich.
The pace picked up after the interval with both sides attempting to wrestle control of midfield with some crunching tackles. In an even period the two sides craved out some good openings on goal to keep the respective defences on their toes. In the 55th minute Luka Jukic sent a searching ball into the area where Gareth Deeg responded smartly to snuff out John Nicolaou's chance. Shortly after Cumace swung a corner in from the right and again MacDonald nodded the ball goalward but this time Tomich was on hand to prevent it from crossing the line. Another darting run by Cain resulted in Mason screwing his shot wide from 7-metres. The Sorrento rearguard backed off to allow Claus Nielsen a path to goal but his stunning strike crashed into the frame of the goal. Four minutes later Glen Thomas spotted Tomich off his line and chipped the 'keeper who knocked the ball onto the crossbar and Wallace foiled Mason with the follow-up.
Medica and McVittie took some time to find their measure after coming off the bench earlier in the half, but once they got into the rhythm of the game it was the Knights that dominated. A free-kick on the top edge of the box was taken by Jukic whose rising shot was deflected over the bar by a defender after 71 minutes. Nine minutes later Jukic cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Medica but Deeg was quick off his line to smother at the striker's feet. Shortly after Wallace was allowed to advance but his shot was straight at the 'keeper, then Cooke sent a lovely free-kick into the are only to find no-one on hand to convert. A Leon Russell free-kick into the box found Nicolaou but again Deeg denied the striker. In the 87th minute Medica seized upon a defensive error to slam a low shot on target for which Deeg thrust out a glove to turn around the post. And with the final whistle just moments away, Medica teed-up Christie whose rocket-like drive from 25-metres cannoned back off the underside of the bar.
Those that made the trip to Percy Doyle Reserve today were treated an entertaining game in which both sides turned in some quality football. For much of the afternoon it was Sorrento that carved out the better of moves with Thomas working hard in the centre of the park, while Cumace and Cain showed they have more to offer than just defensive duties. The Knights quiet start was made up for when they came storming home over the closing stages to have the home side well and truly on the back foot. Central midfield combination Jukic and Nielsen proved much of the teams drive throughout the game, but it was left-sided defender David Annall that shone for the visiting team with another solid display at the back.
Sorrento : Gareth Deeg, Tony Cumace, Richard Watson, Steve MacDonald,
Daniel Cain, Todd Harnwell (Jared Love 26), Sean Fallon, Glen Thomas, Dale
McCulloch, Simon Harland, Andy Mason (David Foster 77)
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, David Annall, Evan Wallace, Alex Christie, Tony Kursar (Paul McVittie 52), Steven Zuvela (Carl Medica 52), Leon Russell, Paul Cooke, Claus Nielsen, Luka Jukic, John Nicolaou
Bookings : None
Dismissals : None
Referee : Patrick McCaffrey
Attendance : 225 (approx.)
Premier League leader Perth S.C. have stumbled to their second successive loss by going down 1-2 to inner city neighbour Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens. The home side started brightly and would dominate the opening half of play with a solid performance across the middle of the park, but a combination of some lacklustre finishing and strong defensive work from Athena saw the two teams go into the break on level terms. It wasn't until after the break that the game finally sparked into life. Athena took a surprise lead when Matthew Novatsis swung a free-kick into the dangerzone and Anthony Jones rose to brilliantly head the ball past goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. With Athena looking set ground out victory and upset the reigning champions, Gareth Naven found Robert Puca who turned smartly to beat visiting custodian Vince Matassa to net the equaliser after 83 minutes. In a drama-packed closing period, referee Ton Klaver sent off the experienced Naven four minutes for his second yellow card offence in the 87th minute. Athena then threw everything into finding a late winner but when Andreas Oliviera missed a header a minute into stoppage time to appeared the game was to end in a draw. But two minutes later the former Perth star netted the deciding goal with a spectacular scissor-kick to sent the visiting fans home happy. Although today's result didn't go in their favour, Perth remain atop the table with a four-point buffer over Cockburn City. In a season in which little has gone their way, the win was a massive confidence booster for Athena who remain a mathematical chance of making the top five play-offs.
The Stirling Lions can hold their heads high despite going down 1-2 to Inglewood United at the National Stadium. The late withdrawal of key defender Andy Wright as well as a groin injury to Luke Pavlos forced Lions coaches Wayne Thorpe and Basil Lenzo to reshuffle their line-up in an effort to find the right mix. After an even opening period, the game was turned on its head after 15 minutes when referee Michael Klaver awarded Inglewood a penalty despite the handball offence being committed by an Inglewood player, and from the spot Louis Parkinson neatly converted to put the home side in front. It took the Lions some time to regain their composure and in the 35th minute Stejpan Beretovac combined with Keegan Ashley before embarking on a fine run that ended with Oliver Taseski acrobatically tipping the teenagers shot over the crossbar. The Lions looked to equalise early in the second half as Beretovac this time turned provider with a perfect cross to Euegen Singeorzan who volleyed fractionally high after 55 minutes. At the opposite end Ryan Newhill shot over as the game opened up with both sides searching for a goal. The visitors were punished in the 65th minute when Jamie Kuzmanovich headed across the face of goal and Louis Parkinson reacted by smashing in his second goal of the afternoon. Not to be denied, the Lions struck back a minute later when the buzzing Beretovac crossed to Singeorzan whose flashing header beat the diving Taseski to give the visitors renewed hope. Singeorzan and Beretovac had shots brilliantly saved by Taseski as the Lions went in search of an equaliser, while Parkinson was unlucky not to snare his hat-trick when he hit the up-right after 80 minutes. Late in the piece it was Inglewood who piled on the pressure as the Lions had run out of puff and Jordan Conti was called on to prevent the home team from adding to their tally.
E.C.U. Joondalup coach Stewart Kamasz fielded a balanced side for their home meeting with Bassendean Caledonian who were without the experience of defender Craig Naven who failed a late fitness test. The game was only a few minutes old when Duncan Willetts was on the receiving end of a crunching tackle for which the offender was booked. Although Willetts was again crudely brought down minutes later, Joondalup were not about the have their feathers ruffled as they set about playing the better football. Through the hard work of midfielders Scott Bulloch, Abdul Kamara and Anthony Danze Joondalup carved out three good opportunities over the opening half without success. Down the other end the home defence restricted Caledonian to scattered long-range shots via Andy Cornmell and Kevin Griffiths. The second half started off with much of the play bogged down in midfield, although as the period progressed Caledonian began to construct some promising attacking forays. Moments after Peter Stewart tipped a shot over the crossbar Joondalup broke on the counterattack, catching the visiting backline on the hop as Willetts showed off his great ball control by slotting home the game opening goal after 65 minutes. A few minutes later Josh Kamasz and Willetts combined with the latter beating a couple of defenders before squaring the ball to Bulloch who doubled Joondalup's advantage. It became 3-0 with five minutes remaining as Willets again out-classed the defence to slammed the ball past Alan Dunlop in the Caledonian goal. While it was far from their best performance of the season, the 3-0 win keeps Joondalup in fifth spot on what is still a very congested Premier League ladder.
For the second successive week Ken Allen Field was unavailable for use by Fremantle City meaning their home fixture with Swan I.C. was switched to Coker Park, home of First Division side Queens Park. Hit heavily by suspensions and injury, the port side took to the field minus the services of Branimir Mikulic, Anthony Pereira, Mark Wingell and Peter Lord. The first shot on goal arrived after 15 minutes when Fremantle's Devid Vitale was denied by an alert Cory Hugo, and almost immediately afterwards Swan went on the attack with an inch perfect cross by Paul Lincoln nodded wide by an unmarked Tom Shepherd. Referee Wayne Oldham should have issued a number of bookings following some wild challenges, but instead the match official was content to lecture players at length. The deadlock was broken after 37 minutes when Craig Surtees and Dean Aplegren combined for Craig Young to side-foot into the net. A minute later John Migas had a shot saved by Hugo, and shortly before the break Elton Holmes came close for Swan with a good shot on the turn. Swan came out for the second half fired up with the midfield of consisting of Marocchi, Damian Scali, Carlo Scali and Mark Lee making their presence felt. Swan's rewarded arrived in the 62nd minute when goalkeeper Bobson Koroma misjudged a corner and Damian Scali equalised in a goalmouth scramble. Ten minutes later the black and whites hit the front when a hopeful through ball was chased down by Paul Lincoln who nipped in between Shane Nunes and Karoma to slot the ball home. A few minutes later the crowd were stunned as a Cory Hugo clearance struck Migas and ricocheted to Cisco Jorqeira who side footed into the net, only for the referee to issue Migas with his second yellow card of the day. Swan were determined not to let their opponent back into the game by netting for a third time after 88 minutes when Elton Holmes made his way past Alex Cummings to sent the ball inside the far post from 15-metres. Fremantle managed to reduce the margin in stoppage time as Mo Atak slipped the ball through to Jorqeira who was upended in the box, and Cummings converted from the spot to make the final score 3-2 in favour of Swan.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Perth S.C. look to have the reserves competition wrapped up with only a handful of games to go, currently sitting a massive ten points clear of second-placed Sorrento. On the weekend the Blues made light work of dumping Floreat Athena 5-2. Defender Daniel Arias got the ball rolling for Perth when he netted after 23 minutes, then thirteen minutes later Daniel Micevski doubled the margin. Perth were reduced to ten men midway through the second half when goalkeeper Gianni Papalia was red carded, but it made little difference as Cosimo Cavalaro, Albert Osei Tutu and an own goal saw the margin blow out to five goals. Athena responded with two goals of their own in the last minute through Paul Vlachou and Jed Lea Henry. Sorrento remain second despite a surprise 2-0 home loss to Western Knights for whom Daniel Trim scored shortly before the break and Steven Sulenta netted after 47 minutes. Daniel Cagorski spurned a golden opportunity to put the Seagulls back in the contest midway through the second period when he swept a cross from the right over the crossbar from close range.
Inglewood United's 3-2 defeat of Stirling Lions at the National Stadium allowed them to lead clear of Cockburn City who were out of action due to the bye. The Lions drew first blood with defender Adam Kostrencic netting after 9 minutes of play, but shortly after Demir Arslanoski leveled the game. Renato Rechichi scored three minutes after half-time to put the home side in front, and when Rechichi added Inglewood's third a minute from the end it looked as though it was game over. But the Lions continued to fight with Steve Bozinovski reducing the margin in the dying moments of the contest. Goals from Tyrone Fenwick, Joe Liguan and Mo Atak meant Fremantle City hold on to their place in the top five with a 3-1 win over Swan I.C. for whom Matt Ullbricht netted. In the far north E.C.U. Joondalup accounted for Bassendean Caledonian by 4-2 through goals from Andy Stefanovski, Darryl Platten and a John Greenwood double. Leo Perrotta had given Caledonian the lead after 6 minutes while Graham Matthews also found the back of the net.
The Under-18 meeting between Fremantle City and Swan I.C. at Coker Park was just 28 seconds old when Andy Pomfret gave the port side the lead via a set-piece. The margin was doubled in the 6th minute when John Thornley was brought down inside the area and Mo Atak converted from the spot. With Fremantle the side doing all the attacking, they went into the break with a three-goal buffer after an attempted clearance by a Swan defender found the back of the net. Minutes into the second half Swan's woes were compounded with the dismissal of their goalkeeper, and from the penalty spot Atak bagged his second of the day. The 16-year old striker Mo Atak completed his hat-trick shortly after, taking his tally to an amazing twelve goals in his past three outings. Swan reduced the margin when Glenn Bennett scored with a header after 54 minutes, but Thornley was not yet done and the young attacker netted twice in quick succession as the score blew out to 7-1. Swan went down to ten men with the red carding of Daniel Agudelo before Matt Ullbricht netted the sides second, and late goals by James Rickers and Seb Trim completed a memorable day for the Fremantle youngsters.
It was a good performance by a young Sorrento side who welcomed the Western Knights to Percy Doyle Reserve on the weekend. The home side controlled most of the game and really should have gone into the interval in front. But it wasn't until two minutes into the second half that the Seagulls struck as Brodie Martin got on the end of a fine cross from Dejan Gurovski to sent the ball goalward and it was deflected wide of Knights goalkeeper Ante Ramic. In the 65th minute a Dennis Galan through ball set-up Gurovski whose shot had enough power on it to cross the line after Ramic took much of the pace off the shot. Two minutes later a good move started with Steve Kruit who squared to Galan, he pushed play forward to Barry Briman whose cross to Gurovski was brilliantly volleyed in for Sorrento's third of the day. With seven minutes to go the Knights bagged a consolation goal through Paul Underwood when he caught out the Seagulls defence with a darting run.
E.C.U. Joondalup remain three points clear of Fremantle at the top of the under-18's table following a 5-2 home defeat of Bassendean Caledonian. A double from Kevin Carmona allowed Joondalup to race to a commanding lead even before Scott Bushby added the home teams third goal after 29 minutes. Caledonian reduced the gap shortly before the break through Liam McCallum, but Joondalup ran away with the game as Phillip O'Callaghan and Bushby added to the tally. Corrie Bessant brought some respectability to the scoreline when he netted for Caledonian three minutes from the end of regulation time. Ten points adrift of Joondalup lie Perth S.C. who thumped local rival Floreat Athena 4-1 at Dorrien Gardens. The clash between Inglewood United and Stirling Lions ended in a scoreless draw.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY ONE (Bayswater City vs Balcatta by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Morley Windmills by Barry Rennie; Armadale vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Striker Bobby Klenkovski and Boima Karpeh were the stars of Bayswater City's 5-2 demolition of Balcatta at Frank Drago Reserve in Round Twenty-one of the First Division season. The home side started in complete control and by half-time had done enough to ensure that maximum points were theirs. The opening goal arrived after 23 minutes and resulted from a great run down the left by Andy O'Neill whose cross reached Karpeh and the Bayswater attacker tapped it over the line from close-range. The lead was doubled not long after through Klenkoski, O'Neill again the provider with a fine delivery which Klenkoski made no mistake with from 9-metres. Well and truly on the back foot, there was little Balcatta could do but try and hold on and hope that there was relief on the way for the constant pressure being applied. The game was effectively over as a contest when Karpeh weaved his way past three defenders from near the corner flag before rounding goalkeeper Colin Lees for his second of the match. With 39 minutes elapsed, an O'Neill corner swung into the area found Klenkoski who headed in from close range to send Bayswater into half-time with a commanding four-goal lead. Balcatta showed some fight after the interval, knocking the ball around with confidence and stifling the home teams hold over the game. The visitors persistence was rewarded twelve minutes from full-time when a thumping free-kick from distance by Scott Broadley gave home custodian Dusan Martinovic no chance. Two minutes later Klenkoski completed his hat-trick, and the 5-1 scoreline, after a quick counter-attack that was again inspired by O'Neill. The reserves fixture was taken out by Balcatta by 2-1, while the under-18 clash ended with honours even at 2-2.
Coming off a top-of-the-table draw with Bayswater City, Mandurah City would have looked at the weekend clash with Morley Windmills as a must win game to continue their charge towards the First Division title. Mandurah went into Saturday's clash with an attacking line-up, and despite the best efforts of Windmills it was the home side that had the better of the first half play. But the score remained nil-all after 45 minutes although Christian Paschewitz and Andrew Rennie went close on several occasions. A half-time pep talk from coach Paul O'Brien saw the home side emerge for the second period charged up and ready to take the game up to their opponent. Steven Rhodes set-up the opening goal with some strong work down the left side, crossing high to Paschewitz who headed to the feet of Rennie and the striker finished precisely from close-range. From here Mandurah took control. A thundering shot from John Transfield made it 2-0, then Jordan Rhodes converted a penalty awarded after a jinxing run into the area by Paschewitz. Windmills were reduced to nine men with red cards issued to Amir Bektic and Gary James in quick succession. The margin blew out to five goals when Paschewitz found the net, but that was reduced shortly after when a defensive error allowed the visitors to score a soft consolation goal via Marco Schisano. Mandurah were lead from the middle of the park where Transfield and Cliff Kearns were a tower of strength. With a game in hand over table-toppers Bayswater, the 5-1 scoreline keeps Mandurah level on points but behind on goal difference at the head of the standings. Mandurah claimed victory in the reserves by 3-1 to stay four points clear at the top of the table, while the under-18 fixture also ended in favour of the home side by a massive 10-0 scoreline.
Canning City made the short trip to Alfred Skeet Oval where they meet an in-form Armadale side currently sitting towards the top of the standings. The home side settled early to pin Canning back in there own half, the ball only crossing into Armadale's defensive half through the long goalkicks of Canning custodian Robbie Meyer. However, amazingly it wasn't until the 33rd minute that Armadale got their opening goal when Greg Newcombe tucked the ball into the net during a goalmouth melee resulting from a corner. Armadale had barely finished their celebrations when Canning made one of their rare ventures into opposition territory, Chris Littlejohn darting down the right before crossing to Ryan Allomes who wrong-footed goalkeeper Craig Olejnik in sliding the ball across goal and inside the far post. The second half began with the home side out to kill off the match as a contest, again putting the Canning defence under pressure with a series of dangerous raids. But it took until the 67th minute for any addition to the scoreboard, the ball slipping from the hands of Meyer to Emlyn Whetnall who tapped in at the far post. Armadale secured the points nine minutes from the end when Greg Newcombe met a cross from Dennis Lee to side-foot truly. With a largely impotent attack that was unable to create a single promising attack in the second half, Canning were never going to find themselves in a position to win this match. Armadale emerged victors from both the earlier games also, 1-0 in the reserves and 2-1 in the under-18's.
Kingsway Olympic continue to shuffle their way up the standings, this week defeating Southside United 2-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve to move into sixth place. The home side were in control for the opening quarter-hour through some industrious work in the middle of the park but they were unable to produce much which caused trouble for a well-drilled Olympic backline. The visitors soon turned things around and when young striker Shane Fitzpatrick slipped the ball past the goalkeeper after 11 minutes the pendulum had swung in Olympic's favour. Going on the attack time and time again Olympic should have killed off the game only to squandered numerous opportunities to extend their lead, the best chances coming the way of Fitzpatrick who hit the post and shortly after was denied by a fine save from goalkeeper Francois Ternel. Having weathered the storm, Southside went into the break on level terms after Mark Ronald sent a cracking left-foot shot from just outside the 18-yard box that flew into the top corner. The Southside were eager to add to their tally at start of the second half but found teenage goalkeeper Matt Battigelli in fine form. There were chances down the opposite end also with substitute Mark Purcell, on his return after over a month out due to a knee injury, spurning several opportunities to give Olympic the advantage. The deadlock was broken with twelve minutes remaining when Olympic were awarded a contentious penalty following a corner which resulted in the dismissal of Stuart Jones and Andy Brown tucked away the spot kick. Olympic survived a late charge with Olympic defender John Quinn clearing from his own line in the dying minutes.
Queens Park stay in the hunt for silverware courtesy of a 2-1 away defeat of Dianella White Eagles, the result putting in third place and five points behind joint leaders Bayswater and Mandurah. Goals from Miladin Guguroski (2), Stefan Stoleski and Michael Stefanovski gave Stirling Suns a 4-2 home win over Rockingham City for whom Danny Sirca and Gavin McIlveen were the scorers. South West Phoenix made it four wins on the run with a 3-1 defeat of Leeming Strikers at John Comnnell Reserve. The Strikers went in front after 31 minutes through Jeremy Herbert, but the lead lasted just two minutes before the visitors were awarded a penalty which experienced striker Savo Garic converted to put the sides back on level terms. Phoenix benefited from controversial offside call on the hour which Garic made the most of by beating the goalkeeper to give the visitors the advantage. And five minutes later Pat Roberts sealed victory when he finished off a superb sweeping move. As Kingsway Sporting Comlpex, Chris McCullogh netted after 11 minutes and Muhamed Komadaric doubled the lead in the 25th minute for Ashfield against The City. The home side reduced the margin as Mark Cox netted twice after the interval, but late goals within minutes of eachother by McCullogh and David Mayers secured the points for Ashfield.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Premier League leader Perth S.C. suffered their second successive loss, going down 1-2 to Floreat Athena, but stay top by 4 points as Cockburn City were out of action with the bye. A Steve MacDonald header after 37 minutes gave Sorrento the points over Western Knights, and Inglewood United's fine run continued with a 2-1 home win over Stirling Lions courtesy of a Louis Parkinson double. E.C.U. Joondalup thumped Bassendean Caledonian 3-0, while Fremantle City were condemned to their fourth successive loss by Swan I.C. who won 3-2.
There was not change at the top of the First Division where Bayswater City and Mandurah City remain tied on 41 points. Both teams enjoyed big home wins on Saturday, Bayswater by 5-1 over Balcatta and Mandurah 5-1 against Morley Windmills. Queens Park stay third following their 2-1 win over Dianella White Eagles, while fourth-placed Armadale downed Canning City 3-1. Stirling Suns were too strong for Rockingham City by a 4-2 scoreline, as Southside United lost 1-2 at home to Kingsway Olympic. South West Phoenix made it four wins on the run with a 3-1 defeat of Leeming Strikers, and Ashfield took maximum points from The City where it was 4-2.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The big game in Round Seventeen of the Premier League season takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento, currently place third, meet a re-vitalised and confident Western Knights team. An inury and suspension hit Fremantle City will be hoping to end a run of losses when they take on Swan I.C., E.C.U. Joondalup welcome Bassendean Caledonian to the northern suburbs, and Inglewood United take on Stirling Lions at the National Stadium. Floreat Athena have the unenviable task of traveling to Dorrien Gardens to meet a Perth S.C. side out to make amends for a disappointing result last weekend, and out of action due to the bye are Cockburn City.
Joint First Division leader Bayswater City are tipped to account for lowly Balcatta when they visit Frank Drago Reserve, while Mandurah City have a difficult home clash with Morley Windmills. Queens Park will have to take maximum points from their tough away meeting with Dianella White Eagles to hold on to their slim chances of taking out the trophy at seasons’ end, and The City take on Ashfield in what promises to be a highlight of the round. Armadale should have few troubles when Canning City come to Alfred Skeet Oval, likewise Stirling Suns who are home to Rockingham City. Leeming Strikers take on South West Phoenix, and Southside United are home to Kingsway Olympic.
GLORY SEEK WAYS TO MINIMISE EFFECTS OF TRAVEL
Perth Glory is looking at ways to alleviate the effects of a heavy travel schedule over the opening months of the 2003/04 National Soccer League season. The reigning champions will play eight of their first ten games on the road while Perth Oval is being redeveloped. Mich d'Avray has held discussions with the club's medical staff as to ways of reducing fatigue amid concerns the intensive travel schedule will have a negative impact on the players. "We've never made an excuse out of travelling but this is really going to hurt us," said the Glory coach. "We are going to have to do some homework on the effects of travelling week in, week out and we'll work out a program to suit." Allocated a first round bye, Glory's campaign commences on Sunday 28th September when they meet Melbourne Knights in Perth, possibly at Arena Joondalup. The first game at a refurbished Perth Oval has been set down for Saturday 6th December when Sydney United will be the visitors.
KNIGHTS BACK TO WINNING WAYS
The Western Knights weekend win over arch-rivals Perth S.C. could not have come at a better time for the club. Depleted by injury and suspension, the Knights season was in very real danger of going off the rails following three successive losses which had seen them slip down the Premier League standings. But the players dug deep on Saturday to not only pull off one of the surprise results of 2003, but also acted as a confidence booster in their quest to make the end of season play-offs. “The win was huge for everyone involved at the club,” said defender Alex Christie, who captained the side to victory over Perth. “You definitely feel a lot better after a win.”
“It’s hard to pinpoint any specific reason for those three recent losses,” added Christie. “You never set out to play badly as a player but some weeks just don’t go as well as others. We seemed to go through a few games there where we probably had a few players having one of those sorts of days, so you tend to get caught out when that happens. Ronnie (Campbell) and Willie (Kelly) are always first class, they get us fully prepared before every game. In that three-game losing spell we didn’t seem to carry out their instructions too well, and that definitely didn’t help. Throw in a bit of bad luck and that might half explain the reason for the poor run.”
Turning to Saturday’s game, Christie says that without five first team regulars due to injury and suspension the Knights always knew it was going to be a difficult task against the competition leaders. “The pressure was definitely mounting, but we’re lucky that there are good people throughout our club and everyone remained fairly positive,” said Christie. “We knew our backs where up against the wall because Perth are a good team with a lot of quality players. Added to that we had some key players out which made it tough, but we still had a good side the park and there was a feeling that it was a ‘nothing to lose’ game for us - we did have a chance if we all put in a good performance.”
Although they went into the interval break with the lead courtesy of a Paul Cooke goal, the Knights really rode their luck over the opening 45 minutes as Perth wasted numerous opportunities to get on the scoreboard. “We talk about luck at training, sometimes you need it and we definitely had it on the weekend,” commented Christie. “It was nice to go in a goal up at half-time and there was a real belief in the changerooms that we would win. Most of Perth’s chances came from defensive mistakes, which we addressed at half-time, and everyone knew what they had to do in the second half. Every player showed heaps of character, did their jobs and played well. It was an awesome performance all round in the end.”
Boasting the local games most lethal strike-force, depth across the middle of the park that most other clubs would only dream about, and a rock-solid backline, there is little doubt about the calibre of the current Perth squad. “Perth play the best soccer in the League so you have to try stop them somehow,” said Christie. The Knights set out to stifle their opponents usually creativity, forcing them to concede possession by giving them little time to think on the ball - a tactic which brought the home team three very valuable Premiership points. “We tried to close them down quickly and prevent them getting into any sort of rhythm which seemed to work, but no matter what you do against Perth - play man-for-man, pressure them or attack on the break - they are still a very tough side to beat.”
While several players are set to return to the side in coming weeks, Christie spares a thought for goal ace Stuart Montgomery who recently suffered a broken foot which will keep him sidelined until the end of the home and away series. “Monty is a huge loss to our side, he’s pretty much carried us until now so hopefully we can return the favour and carry him through to some more silverware,” said the defender who hopes the win over Perth will be a catalyst for better times at Nash Field. “I think the fans, coaches and players all know what we have to do to keep winning. In past years that I have been at the club we have always gone on decent winning streaks at some stage during the season, but we haven’t done that this year - yet. If all the boys consistently dig deep and we get on a winning run, I’m sure we could give the top five a shake!”
REGISTER FOR INDIAN OCEAN MASTERS GAMES
It’s now less than a year before the 2004 Indian Ocean Masters Games gets underway in Geraldton. With 30 sports committed to the Games, registrations of interest to participate are already high as the northern city prepares to welcome around 4,000 visitors who will inject some $2 million into the regional economy. The soccer tournament, which is hosted by La Fiamma Sporting Club, runs from Tuesday 4th until Saturday 8th May 2004 and is open to men’s and women’s teams with a limit to 20 players per squad. All teams are guaranteed a minimum of four games, preliminary stage fixtures being 50 minutes (2 x 25 minutes halves) in duration with the Finals played over 90 minutes. For more information regarding the soccer tournament, contact organisers Michael Glynn (ph 0417 092 434 or email email@example.com) or Chris Herring (ph 0418 939 659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternately, register your interest to participate in the Games online at www.iomg.com.au
HARNWELL IMPRESSES IN ENGLISH TRIALS
Out of contract Perth Glory defender Jamie Harnwell has been impressing in trials with English club Leyton Orient over the past fortnight. Determined to win a deal in England, the 25-year old has caught the eye of the O's coaching staff in three recent pre-season friendlies. Harnwell featured in the opening half of the Orient's 3-1 defeat of non-League Greys Atheltic, and a few days later was part of the side which knocked off Welling United 4-0 leading manager Paul Brush to comment, "Jamie did well again for the second match, especially on the ground." Last weekend the big defender turned in a solid display before being replaced an hour into the 1-2 loss to Millwall, while in mid-week Harnwell came off the bench in the 60th minute of Orient's 1-1 away draw with local rivals Barnet.
DAVIES JOINS BRADFORD, LOANED TO HALIFAX
Halifax Town have secured the services of highly rated goalkeeper Clint Davies on a season long loan deal from neighbours Bradford City. Released by Birmingham City during the English off-season, the 20-year old shot stopper officially joined Bradford on Monday and within 24-hours was on his way to Halifax where he will gain some much needed first team experience. “We’ve now filled the two positions that we needed so we’re really settled with the squad,” commented Halifax manager Chris Wilder on the capture of Davies and defender Darren Hockenhull. “It gives us a good opportunity to work on a few things in pre-season. They’re two young signings and hopefully they’ll fit in well alongside some of the experienced players we’ve got.”
THREE CHOSEN FOR NATIONAL TRAINING SQUAD
Goalkeeper Ashley Bennett, defender Candice Townsend and midfielder Collette McCallum will spend this week in camp at the Australian Institute of Sport as reward for their performances at the Women’s National Talent Identification Championships in Canberra. A 30-player squad was announced at the completion of the tournament for a week-long camp which is the first step in the build-up towards next year’s Under-19 Women’s World Championship to be held in Thailand.
Carine Open Space was the venue for the much awaited WAASSA Premier League clash between competition leaders Hamersley Rovers and second-placed Fremantle United on Sunday. The previous meeting between the traditional rivals ended in controversy with player and spectator problems that left both clubs in no doubt about their future conduct. Fremantle opened the scoring after only 5 minutes when a Jason Smith cross somehow eluded goalkeeper Daryl Benstead and crept over the line via the crossbar. Having gone behind, Hamersley responded by applying the pressure with Alun Vernals leading the charge from midfield where he was partnered by Van De Plank and Birkinshaw. For Fremantle Matt Favazzo stood firm at the back while Michael Delapena showed flashes of brilliance but lacked and kind of real support. After the break Hamersley continued to pound the visitors goal with good chances coming the way of Darren Yates, Vernals and Flavio Labbate without success. In a moment of pure skill Van De Plank created enough space for him to thread the ball to Yates whose cross found Labbate and the League’s leading scorer converted an easy chance to level the game. The shared points may have changed nothing at the top of the table, but today both teams produced an entertaining game played in the right spirit which should draw the praise of WAASSA officials who are often quick to criticise but slow to recognise when clubs make efforts to improve on field behaviour.
University of WA defeated Perth Azzurri 2-0 at Beattie Park to move into third place on the amateurs standings at the completion of Round Thirteen. The small sloping pitch made passing difficult and space at a premium, is opportunities on goal were not surprisingly few in a very tight first half. UWA might have scored as early as the 10th minute when an Adam Brett header following a corner was well saved by goalkeeper Aaron Garbin. At the other end a lively Azzurri attack kept the visiting defence fully occupied. However, despite a couple of long range efforts from the home side the teams went in level after 45 minutes. Early in the new half Charlie Jensen put Damian Pesch away down the left but his shot was well kept out by UWA custodian Shayam Young. A short corner in the 65th minute was crossed by Frederik Larsen and with Garbin unable to get a clean hold of the ball Bryn Griffiths gratefully crashed it into the net from close range. Three minutes later UWA doubled their advantage when David Berg somehow scrambled the ball to Larsen whose shot crossed the line via the inside of the left upright. With fifteen minutes to go Larsen was put with only the ‘keeper to beat but this time Garbin came out on top by making a good save with his legs. Shortly after Azzurri were reduced to ten men for a soft red card which enabled UWA to see out the game without much difficulty. “The pitch made the quality of football difficult for both sides but we were patient and have to be happy with coming away with three points,” said UWA coach Kevin Burton. UWA reserves finally returned to winning ways with a strong 5-0 defeat of Azzurri.
Spearwood Dalmatinac proved too strong for Shamrock Rovers by a 3-0 scoreline, while Forrestfield United thumped North Perth United 6-0 at Hartfield Park. Kwinana United went down 1-3 at home to Canning International in their mid-table contest, and Murdoch University condemned Balga to their twelfth loss of the campaign when they triumphed 4-0 on home soil. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
LOWY TEAM TAKES CONTROL
Soccer Australia today confirmed the unanimous election of Frank Lowy as bhairman of the Board of Soccer Australia, with Brian Schwartz elected deputy chairman, and John Singleton, Ron Walker, Suzanne Williams and Phillip Wolanski also unanimously elected as directors of the Board. The meeting of the Soccer Australia members was held in Sydney this morning, with the soccer stakeholders unanimously electing all the new directors following the resignations of the previous Board members.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIXTEEN (Stirling Lions vs Cockburn City by Don Evans; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Swan I.C. by Tom McCrisken; Fremantle City vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAllister)
Nash Field was the venue for Saturday’s Premier League showdown between arch rivals Western Knights and Perth S.C. The two teams went into the game with contrasting recent fortunes, the home side coming off a three game streak from which they’d failed to collect a single point. Adding to the Knights woes was that with Stuart Montgomery, Daniel Trim and Scott Devine out through injury, and Paul McVittie and Carl Medica suspended, the senior squad was stretched to the limit. Perth on the other hand were bristling with confidence, sitting atop the league table, at full strength, and coming off four consecutive wins. The warm, sunny conditions added to the afternoon, attracting a healthy sized crowd to Nash Field for what promised to be an entertaining clash between two fiercely competitive old foes.
In a tough opening period it was Perth had enjoyed the better of play. After 5 minutes Shane Crampton ran on to a searching pass which goalkeeper Tommi Tomich, having spotted the danger early, was quick off his line to block the shot. Although the Knights were quick to shut them down in midfield, the visitors knocked the ball around the park with confidence and crafted several good openings that deserved better finishing. Catching the Knights defence ball watching, Gareth Naven sent a low cross to Todd Howarth who somehow swept the ball wide from close range. In the 10th minute Jamie Coyne found himself in space and his powerful drive was brilliantly kept out of the top corner by an equally superb diving save by Tomich. Shortly after Tomich held a strong Coyne header after he rose above a flat-footed defence to meet Naven’s corner. For their part the Knights best chance of the period came via their first corner in the 18th minute which Paul Cooke swung in and John Nicolaou nodded narrowly high.
A foul by Tomich on Howarth after 18 minutes resulted in referee Eddie Lennie pointing to the spot, but Mark Pottier failed to test the Knights ‘keeper by drilling his shot to the right of the target. It was a miss that would cost the visitors dearly. Four minutes later Nicolaou’s deep cross from the left found Cooke whose initial shot was blocked by Robert Scarparolo and the Knights attacker made no mistake by netting the rebound from 5-metres. A few minutes later the margin was very nearly doubled when Luka Jukic’s bullet-like free-kick was spectacularly tipped over the crossbar by the Perth ‘keeper. The remainder of the half would belong to the visitors who were let down by some very poor finishing. Pottier was sent clear of the defence by Crampton but he side-footed wide with just Tomich to beat. From wide on the left Crampton swung the ball into the dangerzone after 35 minutes only to see Rhys Graham spray his shot the wrong side of the upright. Four minutes later Crampton was again provider, this time teeing-up Coyne whose weak effort from the top of the 6-yard box rolled wide of the far post.
After the break both teams attempted to take control of the middle section of the park by brute force, referee Lennie rightfully issuing a couple of yellow cards to reestablish calm. Possession was evenly shared between the Knights and Perth but neither was able to create much in the way of goalscoring opportunities thanks largely to some resolute defending at both ends. With their usually creative midfield stifled, the visitors started to take control of proceedings following the introduction of Robbie Puca and Adam Bunce whose fresh legs were exactly what Perth needed. Coyne sent a quickly taken free-kick over the bar, then on the hour Puca played the ball to Crampton who ran goalward after chesting it down but Tomich proved up to the task with a fine smothering save. The Knights were by this stage relying chiefly on counter-attacking moves as a route to goal, and through such a play Jukic who won a tussle with Paul Natale to advance on goal but the youngsters explosive shot was knocked around the upright by Scarparolo. The resulting corner was swung in by Cooke and Steven Zuvela rose above a stagnant defence to nod the ball inches over the crossbar with 65 minutes elapsed..
Time may have been fast running out for Perth but they remained calm and confident on the ball. Crampton forced his way into a crowded 18-yard box where Alex Christie and David Annall conspired to dispossess the attack as he lined up an equaliser. With fifteen minutes to go Howarth played a clever one-two with Pottier which took him past the Knights defence and again Tomich proved too strong, diving at the feet of Howarth to eliminate the danger. Two minutes later the home side had what appeared a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down when Claus Nielsen was hauled down by Natale following a defensive splitting pass from Nicolaou. As the clock ticked down Perth threw caution to the win in their search for a late equliser. But the visitors were thwarted at every turn by a Knights defence that was marshalled by Evan Wallace and which could sniff the end of a four-week run without victory. A tense final few minutes produced several less than textbook clearances from the home side before Lennie’s whistle signaled a hard-earned win which gave both sets of supporters plenty to take about on their journeys home.
Games between the Knights and Perth are close encounters and this was no exception. Although under-strength, the home side were always confident of pulling off an upset and did so by sticking to their game plan. The Knights had man-of-the-match Tomich to thank for the win, the ‘keeper making some important saves to leave the visitors licking their wounds. There were also important contributions from Christie and Annall who worked hard all afternoon in snuffing out their opponents attacking options. Perth could have wrapped up this game in the opening half but instead wasted numerous golden opportunities then after the break were unable to get clear sight of goal. Crampton and Howarth linked with great effect down the left from where most of Perth’s attacks came, while in the centre of the park there was another tireless display from club stalwart Naven.
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Evan Wallace, David Annall, Leon Russell,
Tony Kursar, Alex Christie, Leon Russell, Paul Cooke, Claus Nielsen, Luka
Jukic, John Nicolou
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Paul Natale, Aaron Cole, Michale Icanovski, Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham (Adam Bunce 55), Gareth Naven, Rob Giorgi (Robbie Puca 45), Jamie Coyne, Mark Pottier, Shane Crampton
Bookings : Tomich (18), Naven (31), Christie (48), Crampton (52), Russell (90)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Eddie Lennie
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
A last minute hoodoo is beginning to haunt the Stirling Lions after suffering a 1-2 loss to high flying Cockburn City at Macedonia Park. The visitors opened up in dazzling form with a long-range strike from Michael Mirco crashing into the crossbar to give the Lions an early scare. It wasn’t until midway through the first half that the home midfield parked into life with Toby Wright showing the way. Christian Debarro laid the ball off to Adam Rains whose shot was well held by Cockburn goalkeeper Dino Pacella, and shortly after Andy Wright sent a long pass through to Eugene Singeorzan but his effort whizzed past the post. The Lions continually peppered the goal in an inspired fifteen minute period that ended with a brilliant Toby Wright cross being volleyed against the post by Singeorzan shortly before the half-time whistle blew. Cockburn emerged for the second half and immediately set about creating a number of early attacking sorties to test their opponents defence and Lions goalkeeper Jordan Conti kept the game scoreless with some amazing saves. Responding with renewed vigor, the Lions mounted numerous quick counterattacks through Rains and Toby Wright as a well-placed Singeorzan headed safely into the hands of Pacella. Intense pressure by the Lions saw them chalk up four corners in succession to have the visitors on the back foot. The deadlock was finally broken after 75 minutes when a loose ball fell to Tony Paolino whose smashing half volley made it’s way through the crowded goalmouth and into the back of the net to set off wild celebrations amongst the home fans. But Cockburn were not finished yet and leveled the game ten minutes later with a brilliant goal from striker Peter Petkovic following an inch perfect cross from Shane McNally. The referee would have a big say in the outcome by playing an astonishing seven minutes of stoppage time, and in a nightmare finish for the home team Michael Mirco scrambled the ball home for Cockburn to snatch victory with the very last kick of the afternoon.
Both Floreat Athena and Inglewood United were missing key players for their meeting at Litis Stadium, the home side without star striker Andreas Oliveira due to an accumulation of yellow cards while Rory Mouttet was out for the visitors for the same reason. The game started predictably with the visitors being forced to try and prise open a stubborn Athena backline with little success. With the visitors well on top in terms of possession, not to mention shots on goal, but were unable to get the result they were after. A quick counter-attack by the home side saw a Troy Bernard free-kick floated to Adrian Sutton who nodded the ball back to Josip Magdic lurking on the top of the 18-yard box from where his shot was deflected past goalkeeper Oliver Taseski for the opening goal after 17 minutes. The second half brought a change in referee as well as to Athena’s formation, coach Julio Moreno opting to make better use of his attacking options by pushing another player up-front to partner Dejan Djukanovic. Although Athena failed to really test a strong Inglewood backline, the change of tactics produced a more open and entertaining game for the spectators. Inglewood leveled the score through young striker Michael Baczynski in the 55th minute after he pounced to chip over stranded goalkeeper Vince Matassa. The visitors upped the pressure as they went in search of a match winner, forcing Matassa into several impressive saves to earn his side a share of the points. “We are playing some good football at the moment offering a lot of flair up front,” said Inglewood coach Eddy Hodgkinson post-match. “We are creating lots of chances, however, our conversion rate is extremely low at the moment. Credit to Athena they set out there stall and stuck to it, they defended well and played on the break. It is always hard to crack a defence that is prepared to sit deep and allow you to come at them.”
E.C.U. Joondalup began their home fixture with Swan I.C. on a positive note with Scott Bulloch on fire down the left flank and a good run in the opening minutes was unfortunate not to provide the games first goal. In the 10th minute Duncan Willetts sent a telling pass to the feet of Peter Vukmirovic whose flick on found Josh Kamasz and the young attacker beat his marker to crossed hard and low in the direction of Bulloch who blasted the ball into the roof of the net. The following ten minutes produced plenty of aggression in the centre of the park as both teams attempted to claim the region as their own. With chances coming at both ends of the ground, Joondalup managed to double their lead after 25 minutes when mazey run by Willetts took him to the edge of the are from where he unleashed a low shot that took a slight deflection to beat goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Elton Holmes and Paul Lincoln began to find their measure for the visitors and shortly before the break Swan pegged back a goal via a corner that Carlos Eccheveirra got on the end of. Swan began the second period with the better of possession and working hard to find an equalising goal. Twenty minutes into the half a throw-in found Holmes who hooked the ball into the dangerzone from the byline and Lincoln seized upon a defensive mix-up to fired truly and make it 2-2. The remainder of the game produced a number of opportunities for both teams to take the lead, perhaps the best coming the way of Bulloch after he slid past a tackle only to knock his shot just the wrong side of the and upright. The final whistle signaled the end of an entertaining game from which neither side could really complain about claiming only a single point.
Bassendean Caledonian registered maximum points for the first time in 2003 with a 3-1 defeat of Fremantle City at Dalmatinac Park. With youngsters Eric Ravanal and Wesley Ryder exploiting their pace to create all sorts of problems for the Fremantle backline, Caledonian were awarded a penalty after 4 minutes which Andy Cornmell slotted beyond the reach of Bobson Koroma for the games opening goal. John Migas came close to leveling proceedings a minute later but shot wide, and shortly after Ryder teed-up Ian Griffiths whose effort was knocked wide as Caledonian sought to extend their advantage. At the 22 minute mark Ramon Westerberger carved open the home defence with a lovely ball to Ryder whose clever back-heel it into the path of Cornmell saw him net for the second time today. The port side responded by launching a barrage of attacks as a superbly timed strike by Migas flew just over the crossbar, then goalkeeper Alan Dunlop made a good save to thwart Craig Young. Craig Surtees headed a Peter Lord cross narrowly high, before Lord embarked on a fine run through the visiting defence to hit a magnificent drive from 25-metres past Dunlop to reduced the gap. Fremantle came out fired up after half-time and the visiting side breathed a collective sigh of relief when a goal by Alex Cummings was disallowed for offside. And there was further cause for concern not long after when Jason Van Rooy’s skied clearance went close to being an own goal. It was then the turn of Karoma to be called into action by deflecting a Cornmell shot wide, and a free-kick from Michael Vaz sailed over as the hosts continued to press. With Lord replaced due to injury, Caledonian once again gained the ascendancy. Cornmell laid the ball off to Ryder whose effort was deflected wide by Surtees, and from the resulting corner Cornmell volleyed narrowly wide. Minutes later the game was put beyond doubt by Cornmell when he converted from the penalty spot to complete a deserved hat-trick. “I knew we’d get a result eventually but time was getting away from us," said Caledonian coach Allan Weir after the game. “It’s a relief to get a win because it’s … something to build on.”
RESERVES AND UNDER-18’S ROUND-UP
Two goals in quick succession gave reserves leader Perth S.C. a hard-fought 2-0 win over the Western Knights at Nash Field. In an even opening half, chances came the way of both sides with neither able to make anything of the opportunities and the teams went into the break on level terms. Perth wasted no time in letting their intentions be known at the start of the second period with Knights custodian Robert Pedri making a sharp reflex save to deny Vlad Milasinovic early on. The deadlock was finally broken after 52 minutes by Damir Kuduzovic, and two minutes later the creative midfielder again found the net to double his sides lead. Pedri prevented the margin from blowing out even further by blocking shots from Albert Osei-Tutu and Cosimo Cavallaro in quick succession. The Knights carved out a few chances of their own at the opposite end of the field, calling Gianni Papalia into action on several occasions without ever really threatening to score. Perth continued to pressure in their search for a third goal but the closest they came was after 77 minutes when Daniel Arias headed a deep corner narrow wide.
Cockburn City recorded a 5-2 away win over Stirling Lions who reside at the foot of the reserves table. It took the visitors just 11 minutes to get on the scoreboard through Jason Dos Santos, and four minutes later the margin became two goals as Richard Lacey found the target. Dos Santos added his second on the half-hour, 30th minute before the Lions mounted a late revival, Jerome Vallet and Anthony Macri scoring to have the home side only one goal down at the break. It wasn’t until late in the second half that the game was decided, Dos Santos completing his hat-trick after 81 minutes then Kris Haxton sealing the result shortly after. Floreat Athena went down 0-3 to Inglewood United at Litis Stadium where the scorers were Dinko Ahmetanovic and Damir Arslanoski (2). Fremantle City were held to a scoreless draw by Bassendean Caledonian who had Jim Houston sent off after 58 minutes. And E.C.U. Joondalup cruised to a 5-0 win over the visitors from Swan I.C.
Under-18 leaders E.C.U. Joondalup dominated possession to run out deserved 4-0 victors over Swan I.C. With the game scoreless after the first half, Joondalup took the lead through Phillip O’Callaghan early in the new half. Leigh Perry added to the tally after 54 minutes, Martin Ashworth made it 3-0 with 62 minutes gone, and Perry completed the scoreline minutes from full-time. Three points behind the leaders are Fremantle City who were 5-0 victors over Bassendean Caledonian. Ben Howe got the ball rolling for the port side after 10 minutes, before Mo Atak bagged his first midway through the opening half. Atak completed yet another hat-trick with further goals after 52 and 61 minutes, while five minutes from the end of regulation time recent signing John Thornley found the net.
First half goals from Michael McKeague (2), Rodrigo Aguirre, Nic Studer and Gerald O’Brien gave Floreat Athena a 5-0 win over Inglewood United at Litis Stadium. Perth S.C. started brightly away to Western Knights with Chris Socratous netting after 19 minutes. Matt Francis leveled eight minutes later, but Socratous restored his teams lead five minutes from half-time. Dawson Cormac ran riot after the break by scoring times with Craig Simpson also getting on the scoresheet in the Blues 7-1 win. Justin D’Abreu gave Cockburn City the lead after 7 minutes in their away meeting with Stirling Lions. Two minutes into the second half Luke Eoannidis doubled the visitors lead, and when D’Abreu bagged his second after 66 minutes the game was effectively over as a contest.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINETEEN (Mandurah City vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci and Barry Rennie; South West Phoenix vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro; Ashfield vs Morley Windmills courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com; Canning City vs Rockingham City by Phil Unsworth; Queens Park vs Leeming Strikers courtesy www.leemingstrikers.com)
The First Division match of the season took place at Peelwood Parade where joint leaders Bayswater City and Mandurah City meet in an exciting match. The visitors should have taken the lead after 5 minutes through Andrew O’Neill after he was set through on goal only to place the ball wide with just goalkeeper Mike Green to beat. With Bayswater continually applying the pressure, Bobby Klenkoski was put through not long after but his effort was knocked on to the post by Green before being cleared. The Mandurah rearguard was finally breached after 17 minutes when Sal Marrapodi netted in a goalmouth scramble. Further chances came the way of O’Neill and Klenkoski was Bayswater sought to double their lead but neither was able to hit the net. Nine minutes from the interval Jordan Rhodes played a corner short to Andrew Rennie, he laid is back to the teenager who bent the ball into the back of the net from a tight corner to the amazement of the Bayswater defense. Mandurah seemed hard done by shortly after when Chris Paschewitz was bundled over in the area by goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic but the referee waived play to continue. The period immediately after half-time was completely dominated by Bayswater whose midfield was constantly pushing forward, and their persistence was rewarded after 58 minutes when swift attacking move down the left resulted in Klenkoski volleying in a fine cross from Boima Karpeh. Bayswater’s lead lasted until nine minutes from full-time when Gary Attrill was fouled inside the area and Rhodes stepped up to send the spot kick past Martinovic to make the final score 2-2. The reserves finished in a 4-0 to Mandurah who also took out the under-18 game by 2-1.
Third-placed Armadale journeyed to Bunbury where they were out-played by a determined South West Phoenix who emerged triumphant by a very comfortable margin. Phoenix took the lead after 25 minutes when Jamie Lister played the ball out of defence to Dave Murphy, he quickly relayed it to Greg Hayes whose cross decieved goalkeeper Darren Ingham and Steve Suttie was placed to knock in the simplest of goals. Armadale’s best chance of the half came the way of Paul Colkin who was denied by home cusotdian Reece Braithwaite. Steve Suttie by benefited from a superb cross by Savo Garic after 68th minutes, beating the ‘keeper to the ball to double the lead. Having twice been foiled by Ingham, it was third time lucky for Rogers when he headed in a corner by Garic in the 77th minute, and then Rogers secured the points for the home by scoring his second of the day side seventeen minutes from full-time. “That was without doubt one of the best wins since I took over last year,” said Phoenix coach Jimmy Mayers following the final whistle. “Not to mention the act that it is the first time I have enjoyed three wins in a row.” There was better luck for Armadale in the reserves where they claimed the points with a 3-0 win. In a controlled display from a confident visiting team the goals came from Peter Taylor (2) and Darren Kingston. The under-18 clash ended in a 3-1 triumph for Phoenix.
The opening 20 minutes of the Queens Park-Leeming Strikers clash at Coker Park saw both sides attempt to establish their dominance across the middle of the park with the home side shading their opponents in terms of possession. With 24 minutes elapsed the Strikers went in front when some sloppy defending allowed livewire Lucas Whitehouse to find the back of the net. But the lead lasted just nine minutes, a Linden Pywell cross finding Paul Dundo in space at the back post and the youngster drilled in the equaliser. Queens Park began the second half positively with recent signing Mark Brown providing the drive from midfield. Midway through the period the home side struck twice in quick succession to race to a two-goal lead as Glen Noblett and Brian Robertson found the target. With victory seemingly assured Queens park replaced Dundo and Grant Learmont, who were both carrying minor injuries, only to have the visitors come storming back into the match. Late in the game Whitehouse reeled in the margin as the Strikers upped the ante and pressed to level, but despite their dominance the visiting side were unable to convert and Queens Park held on to record victory. “We were more than happy to finish with all three points as their was very little between both sides,” said Queens Park coach Mike Brazil after the game. “We now move on with a game against Dianella this Saturday and hopefully our young side can learn from the mistakes made against Leeming.”
An under-strength Olympic Kingsway claimed all three points from their home encounter with Dianella White Eagles. The game started as expected with a number of overly physical challenges before the sides settled and Dianella began to take control of proceedings. The visitors early pressure paid dividends after 15 minutes when a cross evaded Paul Hedges and Robert Cibesku finished by giving his side the lead. Spurred into action, Olympic battled their way back into the game and created some good chances that were deserving of better finishing. After the break all the play was with the home side as they sought to level, but luck was not on their side in the 57th minute when Brian Hedges spot kick was brilliantly kept out by Sreten Partalo. Minutes later Hedges made amends when he latched onto a pass and beat the Dianella ‘keeper and tie up the game. The hosts continued to dominate, carving out some good opportunities to go in front but unable to make the most of them. With 69 minutes expired, Hedges finally put the ball away by sliding the ball past the on-rushing ‘keeper and put the home side in the box seat. Olympic were then denied what appeared a certain penalty when Sota Iwasaki was brought down but the referee waved play to continue. Close to the end Dianella won a penalty of their own after Dragan Njegic was fouled by Alan Henderson and Olympic’s 16-year old goalkeeper Matt Battigelli, on his first team debut, produced a stunning save to ensure the home team emerged victorious.
Ashfield welcomed the return of defenders Chris McCullagh and Daniel Taylor from suspension for their home meeting with neighbouring Morley Windmills. The game started evenly with both teams trying to gain the upper hand with some hard but fair tackling. After 10 minutes Matt Pochroj made his way down the right flank for Ashfield before crossing deep to Muhamed Komadaric who knocked the ball back to David Mayers but the experienced midfielder headed disappointingly over the crossbar. Ten minutes later Matt Pochroj once again found a way past his marker to cross to Komadaric whose header crashed against the bar before bouncing to safety much to the relief of the visiting defence. Ashfield’s early endevours amounted to nothing when Windmills went one-nil up after a long throw into the box caught the home defence flat-footed and Damien Fezcur tapped in from close range. Almost immediately from the re-start Ashfield went into attack as Ben Harris beat two defenders and the goalkeeper before placing the ball into an empty net. After the break the two teams battled hard to take control of the game with unconverted chances to take the lead coming at both ends of the ground. With it looking as though the game would end level, Komadaric weaved a bit of magic in beating his man then shooting past the ‘keeper and into the net for what would be the match winner. But before the final whistle there was time for a moment of controversy which resulted in Morley going down to ten men with the dismissal of Simon Messenger for a second yellow card offence. Goals from Chris Williams, Winter Ngyun and Bryce Parry were enough to give Ashfield a 3-0 win in the reserves, ending their opponents five game unbeaten run. The under-18’s also ended in victory to the home side, a hat-trick by Adam Dennis the highlight of the 8-0 win where Stuart Morton (2), Michael D’Silva, Zac Jones and Tom Filter also got on the scorecard.
Canning City and Rockingham City fought out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Willetton Sports Club for the River To The Sea Shield, a joint initiative of Rivertron MLA Tony McRae and his Rockingham counterpart Mark McGowan. Rockingham may have come back from a two-goal deficit to share the points, but as previous holders it was Canning that retained the Shield. In an even first half, Canning went ahead just before half-time after Shane Laing was brought down by a clumsy tackle and Ryan Allomes stepped up to drive the free-kick into the roof of the net from 25-metres. The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Canning adding to it’s tally after Sam Soltani was brought down on the top edge of the 18-yard box, and Allomes again scored direct from the free-kick by slamming a low shot past the defensive wall and into the bottom corner of the visitor’s goal. Midway through the period Rockingham reduced the gap via Gary Cowan who netted from an impressive strike that flew across the face of goal to cross the line. With three minutes of regulation time remaining and Rockingham pressing for an equalising goal, the game was leveled by Rob Crerar when he successfully converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Jon Crawford. In the earlier games Canning claimed all three popints from the reseves by a massive 5-0 scoreline, while the under-18’s ended with honour even at 1-1.
Balcatta lost 0-2 at home to Southside United for whom Bob White and Gary Hunt were the scorers. Although they finished the game with nine men, The City claimed a point from their home fixture with Stirling Suns which ended 2-2. Mark Cox netted twice for the home side - who had Chris Currie and Jake Lennox red carded - with the Suns replying through Stefan Stoleski and Miladin Guguroski.
WOMEN'S JUNIOR AND YOUTH TEAMS COMPETE AT NATIONALS
This years women’s National Talent Identification Championship were staged at Valentine Park, headquarters of Soccer New South Wales, this week with the west represented in both the Junior (under-16) and Youth (under-18) categories. Ten teams battled it out for the Junior crown this year - Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia - with the teams split into two qualifying groups before the play-offs for silverware. The Youth category pitted eight teams - Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia - in a round robin series to decide the national champions.
The West Australian Junior team began the initial stage of their tournament in Group A alongside Queensland, New South Wales Country, Victoria and Tasmania. In the opening game of the Under-16 competition on Saturday, Queensland defeated Country New South Wales by a 2-0 scoreline. That afternoon Western Australia kicked off their campaign with a convincing 2-1 triumph over Victoria courtesy of goals from Stephanie Grant and Jaime Blake. The following day Tasmania's entry into the tournament saw them on the receiving end of a 0-4 scoreline against Victoria. Katy Coglan gave the girls from the west coast the lead after 33 minutes against Queensland who claimed maximum points after Kirsten Jamieson netted either side of half-time. Monday’s round of fixtures began with a scoreless draw between Western Australia and Tasmania, followed by Victoria’s 3-1 win over Country New South Wales which took them to the top of the Group A standings.
Country New South Wales registered their first win when they downed Western Australia 1-0 on Tuesday morning, then Queensland roared to the top of the table with a 9-1 demolition of Tasmania. With Wednesday a rest day for all teams, Western Australia sat out the following days action with the bye as Victoria were held to a 1-1 draw by Queensland, and New South Wales Country overpowered Tasmania by 3-0. At the completion of the preliminary round of games the girls from the west finished were placed fourth in the Group A standings. In the Under-16’s semi-finals played on Friday, Queensland and New South Wales teed up a meeting in the decider with wins over South Australia (2-1) and Victoria (2-0) respectively. In the minor place play-off’s Tasmania claimed tenth with a 3-1 defeat of the Northern Territory, while Northern New South Wales took out seventh ahead of Western Australia. Renae McIntosh out the northerners in front after 36 minutes, Lisa D’Ovidio equalised three minutes later but a goal early in the second half from S.Schmitzer sealed a 2-1 win. New South Wales Country came in fifth with a 2-0 win over the Australian Capital Territory.
The Under-16 tournament was taken out by Queensland 5-4 on penalties with the final with New South Wales Metro scoreless after extra time. Third place went to Victoria courtesy of a 1-0 win over South Australia. The complete West Australian Under-16 squad which competed in this years champions was Jaime Blake, Helen Bremer, Kelly Brooker, Katy Coghlan, Brid Dawson, Lisa D’Ovidio, Stephanie Grant, Carys Hawkins, Janine Haxton, Megan Jenyns, Marlee Jones, Julia McInerney, Hannah Newton, Amy Thorpe, Laura Turnbull, Jamie Webb and Sarah Wilson. The side was coached by Salv Todaro with Lea Stinton as team manager.
The Under-18 tournament began with New South Wales claiming victory by 8-1 over the Australian Capital Territory, followed by a 2-0 win to Country New South Wales against Victoria. South Australia took the points against Western Australia by 1-0, and Queensland rolled Northern New South Wales 5-1. Sunday morning began with South Australia going down 0-2 to Country New South Wales. Erin Frewin gave the Australian Capital Territory the lead after 1 minute against Western Australia who responded shortly after with Lydia Hirst finding the net. But the territorians proved too strong in the end with the winning goal arriving after 62 minutes via Rochelle Borucinski. In the late games, Northern New South Wales lost 1-5 to New South Wales, and Victoria proved no match for Queensland where the game finished 4-0.
The third day of competition had New South Wales comfortable 8-0 winners over South Australia. Kicking off at 1.30pm, Western Australia’s third fixture was against Northern New South Wales who went in front after 29 minutes through Jenna Tristram. The lead lasted just two minutes before Gemma Langley equalised, but Tristram gave her side all three points by scoring early in the second half. In the days other action, Country New South Wales lost 2-3 to Queensland, and Victoria battled out a tight scoreless draw with the Australian Capital Territory. On Tuesday Country New South Wales returned to the winners circle with a 2-0 defeat of Northern New South Wales, while Western Australia bowed 0-1 to Victoria whose goal came from Megan Thornton in the 13th minute. The Australian Capital Territory brushed aside South Australia 4-1, and New South Wales maintained their 100% win record with a 4-0 scoreline against Queensland to top the standings after four games.
Following Wednesday’s rest day for all teams, the Under-18’s action resumed the next afternoon with New South Wales defeating New South Wales Country 2-1, and Northern New South Wales losing 2-3 courtesy of a late goal from the Australian Capital Territory. A double from Alannah Reed meant Queensland were too strong for Western Australia by 2-0, and in the days final game Victoria and South Australia drew 0-0. New South Wales maintained the 100% win record on Friday with a 1-0 defeated of Western Australia, the deciding goal arriving after 22 minutes via Katie Hilder. In the days other action, Victoria downed Northern New South Wales 3-1, Queensland held onto second place with a 4-0 thumping of South Australia 4-0, and New South Wales Country were too good for the Australian Capital Territory by 2-0.
A 9-0 win by New South Wales over Victoria on the final day of competition gave them the trophy ahead of Queensland, who were too strong for the Australian Capital Territory by 5-1. Northern New South Wales downed South Australia 3-1, while goals from Collette McCallum and Gemma Langley saw Western Australia hold New South Wales Country, who finished third, to a 2-2 draw. Along with team officials Jude Pettit (coach) and Tara Coffey (manager), the West Australian Under-16 travelling party is Joanne Allan, Ashley Bennett, Lydia Hirst, Ashley Kane, Gemma Langley, Jessica Laidler, Tess Lewin, Collette McCallum, Lauren McCreary, Diane Murray, Vanessa Sakalidis, Anna Sweetingham, Candice Townsend, Jessica Valvasori, Stacey Woodfin and Kylie Woodfin.
BLADES RELEASE MURPHY
Sheffield United have paved the way for Shaun Murphy to play for Perth Glory in the coming National Soccer League season by agreeing to terminate the remaining 12-months of his playing contract. The big defender made 182 appearances in his four year stay with the Blades and was a key figure in a memorable 2002/03 campaign, but missed the end of last season to help his wife, Alison, through illness. With a year left on his current deal, Murphy requested that he be released so as to return to Perth with his wife and children to be closer to their families. “I’m disappointed to leave under these circumstances and would have liked to be part of another successful season,” the 32-year old said via the club’s official website this week. “I want to thank all the fans for their support during my time with United and also the Board for understanding my situation and allowing me to return home.”
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Round Sixteen of the Premier League campaign had it's fair share of upsets as the Western Knights inflicted only the second defeat of the season on Perth S.C. courtesy of a first half Paul Cooke goal, while Andy Cornmell's hat-trick saw Bassnedean Caledonian win their first game, 3-1 away to Fremantle City. Stirling Lions went down 1-2 at home to Cockburn City, Floreat Athena held Inglewood United 1-1, and the points were also shared in the north where E.C.U. Joondalup and Swan I.C. ended 2-2. Despite the upset, there is absolutely no change to the order of the standings!
The top of the table First Division clash between Mandurah City and Bayswater City ended with honours shared at 2-2. A 3-2 win by Queens Park at home over Leeming Strikers moves them into third on the standings as Armadale and Dianella White Eagles slipped up with away losses to South West Phoenix and Olympic Kingsway respectively. The City drew 2-2 with Stirling Suns, and Ashfield toppled neighbouring Morley Windmills 2-1. Balcatta went down 0-2 at home to Southside United, and Canning City were held 2-2 by the visitors from Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's fast becoming make or break time for an injury ravaged Western Knights who this weekend come up against Premier League leader Perth S.C. at Nash Field. Stirling Lions were unlucky not to claim victory last Saturday over Sorrento, so they'll be keyed up for their home clash with second placed Cockburn City. In an important mid-table fixture, E.C.U. Joondalup welcome Swan I.C. to the northern suburbs, while Fremantle City will be wanting to get their season back on track when they host the winless Bassendean Caledonian. Floreat Athena take on Inglewood United at Litis Stadium, and out of action with the bye are Sorrento.
The First Division title could go a long way to being decided this weekend as joint leaders Mandurah City and Bayswater City meet at Peelwood Parade. Kingsway Olympic have the misfortune of meeting an in-from Dianella White Eagles side whose last loss was over two months ago, South West Phoenix have a difficult home clash with third-placed Armadale, and Ashfield welcome neighbouring Morley Windmills across the railway tracks to Ashfield Reserve. At Coker Park Queens Park take on Leeming Strikers, and The City come up against Stirling Suns at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Canning City have home ground advantage over Rockingham City, and Balcatta meet Southside United in two bottom of the table fixtures.
TIMES ARE TOUGH AT ATHENA
It is highly unlikely that Floreat Athena will look back on 2003 with any degree of fondness. Fourteen games in the regular season and the club are rooted firmly in the lower reaches of the Premier League table with just three wins to their credit. Following a less than spectacular start to the campaign, things have begun to look up for the club since the mid-May coaching appointment of former Chilean youth international Julio Moreno whose arrival was welcome like a breath of fresh air. "We definitely needed a change of direction at the time," said defender Anthony Jones (right) this week. "A few of the senior players knew Julio from when he played for Athena in 1998, and in general the squad were pleased that he took up the job."
"Julio bought sweeping changes to the every aspect of our training routine," explained Jones, now in his second season as part of the senior squad. "This included players being weighed before and after training, out training sessions being upped from two to three nights a week, and the club being prevented from serving the players any fatty food after our Thursday night session and on match days. In addition, Julio changed the way we played by altering our formation from a traditional 4-4-2 to 4-1-2-1-2. He also wanted a complete change in the style we play with the aim of playing a shorter passing game and making better use of our skillful attacking players. Another major change is that Julio is also a lot stricter than our previous coach, he has and will bench player if they present with a bad attitude or for constant poor performances."
2003 has seen injury plague Athena with the majority of the senior list at one time or another forced onto the sidelines. "The biggest factor in our poor showing so far this season has been injuries," pointed out Jones. "Our entire midfeild of Costa Socratous, Jamie Trandos and James Afkos have been out through injury for a while now and we are relying on the youngsters to control the game. Andreas Oliveira has been virtually partnerless up front with neither Sasa Kilibarda nor Dejan Djukanovic, who has himself only just come back from injury, claiming that second strikers spot as their own. Unfortunately our lack of depth has meant we've dropped some valuable points, such as against Stirling Lions when we stormed to a 2-0 lead before James Afkos went off injured and we ended up drawing 2-2. Also, some players who played well last year haven't really been able to match those performances this season."
One of Athena's strengths this year has been a solid defence consisting of State player Adrian Sutton, Eugene Tan, Marc Nauer and Jones. Testaments to the quartet's hard work is the fact the side have conceded more than two goals on only two occasions during the current campaign. "Adrian Sutton is the best central defender in the League and he does a great job of organising the backline," commented the young defender. "Adrian and myself get along well and he has improved my game greatly, making us a quite capable partnership in the middle. Eugene and Marc have come on well this year, they are both quick and strong and few teams have been able to get behind them and get in lots of crosses. Although we've just signed Vince Matassa, goalkeeper Anthony Mori has been in great form this year, he has easily been one of our best players but has found himself unfortunately dropped from the team."
Placed toward the foot of the table with two months remaining in the regular season, you would have to be very brave - or just plain stupid - to put money on Athena staking a place in the top five series. "Realistically, we will only be playing in the finals if we can string together a run of victories over the coming weeks and at the same time rely on the teams above us to draw a lot and continually drop points," said Jones. "Regardless of how the other teams go, we will be out to get a few good results and improve our position while giving the younger players in our squad more first team experience which will help us next year. At this stage our goal is to get as many points as possible, play well and bring on the youngsters that we have. If we make the finals from this position it will be seen as a bonus."
WOMEN'S JUNIOR AND YOUTH TEAMS COMPETE AT NATIONALS
This years women's National Talent Identification Championship were staged at Valentine Park, headquarters of Soccer New South Wales, this week with the west represented in both the Junior (under-16) and Youth (under-18) categories. Ten teams battled it out for the Junior crown this year - Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia - with the teams split into two qualifying groups before the play-offs for silverware. The Youth category pitted eight teams - Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and Western Australia - in a round robin series to decide the national champions.
The West Australian Junior team began the initial stage of their tournament in Group A alongside Queensland, New South Wales Country, Victoria and Tasmania. In the opening game of the Under-16 competition on Saturday, Queensland defeated Country New South Wales by a 2-0 scoreline. That afternoon Western Australia kicked off their campaign with a convincing 2-1 triumph over Victoria courtesy of goals from Stephanie Grant and Jaime Blake. The following day Tasmania's entry into the tournament saw them on the receiving end of a 0-4 scoreline against Victoria. Katy Coglan gave the girls from the west coast the lead after 33 minutes against Queensland who claimed maximum points after Kirsten Jamieson netted either side of half-time. Monday's round of fixtures began with a scoreless draw between Western Australia and Tasmania, followed by Victoria's 3-1 win over Country New South Wales which took them to the top of the Group A standings.
Country New South Wales registered their first win when they downed Western Australia 1-0 on Tuesday morning, then Queensland roared to the top of the table with a 9-1 demolition of Tasmania. With Wednesday a rest day for all teams, Western Australia sat out the following days action with the bye as Victoria were held to a 1-1 draw by Queensland, and New South Wales Country overpowered Tasmania by 3-0. At the completion of the preliminary round of games the girls from the west finished were placed fourth in the Group A standings. In the Under-16's semi-finals played on Friday, Queensland and New South Wales teed up a meeting in the decider with wins over South Australia (2-1) and Victoria (2-0) respectively. In the minor place play-off's Tasmania claimed tenth with a 3-1 defeat of the Northern Territory, while Northern New South Wales took out seventh ahead of Western Australia. Renae McIntosh out the northerners in front after 36 minutes, Lisa D'Ovidio equalised three minutes later but a goal early in the second half from S.Schmitzer sealed a 2-1 win. New South Wales Country came in fifth with a 2-0 win over the Australian Capital Territory.
The Under-16 tournament was taken out by Queensland 5-4 on penalties with the final with New South Wales Metro scoreless after extra time. Third place went to Victoria courtesy of a 1-0 win over South Australia. The West Australian complete Under-16 which competed in this years champions was Jaime Blake, Helen Bremer, Kelly Brooker, Katy Coghlan, Brid Dawson, Lisa D'Ovidio, Stephanie Grant, Carys Hawkins, Janine Haxton, Megan Jenyns, Marlee Jones, Julia McInerney, Hannah Newton, Amy Thorpe, Laura Turnbull, Jamie Webb and Sarah Wilson. The side was coached by Salv Todaro with Lea Stinton as team manager.
The Under-18 tournament began with New South Wales claiming victory by 8-1 over the Australian Capital Territory, followed by a 2-0 win to Country New South Wales against Victoria. South Australia took the points against Western Australia by 1-0, and Queensland rolled Northern New South Wales 5-1. Sunday morning began with South Australia going down 0-2 to Country New South Wales. Erin Frewin gave the Australian Capital Territory the lead after 1 minute against Western Australia who responded shortly after with Lydia Hirst finding the net. But the territorians proved too strong in the end with the winning goal arriving after 62 minutes via Rochelle Borucinski. In the late games, Northern New South Wales lost 1-5 to New South Wales, and Victoria proved no match for Queensland where the game finished 4-0.
The third day of competition had New South Wales comfortable 8-0 winners over South Australia. Kicking off at 1.30pm, Western Australia's third fixture was against Northern New South Wales who went in front after 29 minutes through Jenna Tristram. The lead lasted just two minutes before Gemma Langley equalised, but Tristram gave her side all three points by scoring early in the second half. In the days other action, Country New South Wales lost 2-3 to Queensland, and Victoria battled out a tight scoreless draw with the Australian Capital Territory. On Tuesday Country New South Wales returned to the winners circle with a 2-0 defeat of Northern New South Wales, while Western Australia bowed 0-1 to Victoria whose goal came from Megan Thornton in the 13th minute. The Australian Capital Territory brushed aside South Australia 4-1, and New South Wales maintained their 100% win record with a 4-0 scoreline against Queensland to top the standings after four games.
Following Wednesday's rest day for all teams, the Under-18's action resumed the next afternoon with New South Wales defeating New South Wales Country 2-1, and Northern New South Wales losing 2-3 courtesy of a late goal from the Australian Capital Territory. A double from Alannah Reed meant Queensland were too strong for Western Australia by 2-0, and in the days final game Victoria and South Australia drew 0-0. New South Wales maintained the 100% win record on Friday with a 1-0 defeated of Western Australia, the deciding goal arriving after 22 minutes via Katie Hilder. In the days other action, Victoria downed Northern New South Wales 3-1, Queensland held onto second place with a 4-0 thumping of South Australia 4-0, and New South Wales Country were too good for the Australian Capital Territory by 2-0.
A 9-0 win by New South Wales over Victoria on the final day of competition gave them the trophy ahead of Queensland, who were too strong for the Australian Capital Territory by 5-1. Northern New South Wales downed South Australia 3-1, while goals from Collette McCallum and Gemma Langley saw Western Australia hold New South Wales Country, who finished third, to a 2-2 draw. Along with team officials Jude Pettit (coach) and Tara Coffey (manager), the West Australian Under-16 travelling party is Joanne Allan, Ashley Bennett, Lydia Hirst, Ashley Kane, Gemma Langley, Jessica Laidler, Tess Lewin, Collette McCallum, Lauren McCreary, Diane Murray, Vanessa Sakalidis, Anna Sweetingham, Candice Townsend, Jessica Valvasori, Stacey Woodfin and Kylie Woodfin.
DRUGS IN SPORT PRESENTATION NIGHT (courtesy www.kingsacademy.com.au)
As part of the continued development of players from the Kings Soccer Academy and in line with the ethics and objectives of the club, a presentation on Drugs in Sport has been arranged for all the academy players and their parents. On Monday 21st July, the club rooms at Macedonia Park will be the venue for a presentation conducted by Sports Medicine Australia who will discuss the use of consumable substances by participants in health-related and sport-related fitness programs. Areas covered include accurate information on recreational drug use and their effect on performance, drug testing in sport, and the prevention of problems caused by drug use. The session is the first in a number of initiatives which are being planned by the Kings administration team between now and the end of the season.
"The aim of the presentation is awareness and education," said Mitch Doherty, director of coaching with the Kings. "Last season we held presentations on sports injuries, alertness and prevention, as well as motivational presentations to feed and improve the mental abilities of our players. This season we are holding the Drugs in Sport Presentation evening for everyone involved at the club, as we are very sensitive to the concerns and issues, which surround this important topic. It will give parents and players an opportunity to ask questions to the experts as well as acting as an ice breaker between young children and their parents, as we realise for many people this is not a topic that is discussed freely in the household. Other family members such as brothers and sisters of the players are also welcome to attend, as we believe that the further we can take the message the greater the impact will be on the family unit."
HARNWELL TRIES HIS LUCK
Hot on the heels of David Tarka's departure for England comes news that a second of Perth Glory's homegrown stars, Jamie Harnwell, has also made his way to the United Kingdom for pre-season trials. The first port of call for the 25-year old is London where he'll link up with Leyton Orient and may feature in the clubs' friendly meetings with Premier League clubs Charlton Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur to the end of the month. A favourite with the Glory faithful, Harnwell made 133 appearances during his time with the club and scored 18 goals, including one in the 2002/03 Grand Final victory over the Olympic Sharks.
MEMORABILIA TO GO UNDER THE HAMMER
The Kings Soccer Academy are proud to announce their inaugural Auction Night Dinner to be held at the Macedonia Park, home of Stirling Lions, on Friday 16th August. To assist in raising money to aid the development of junior soccer, the Kings have gathered a wide ranging collection of sporting memorabilia from around the globe. Topping the list is a Manchester United shirt signed by the squad, which included David Beckham, that won the 2002/03 English Premier League season. Also on offer is an Australia shirt signed by West Australian export and current Birmingham City star Stan Lazaridis, a soccer ball signed by the Manchester United squad, and a rare limited edition framed plaque depicting some of Manchester United's most famous players.
Framed and signed action photographs of Ryan Giggs (Manchester United and Wales), Edgar Davids (Juventus and Holland), Danny Tiatto (Manchester City and Australia), Scott Gemmill (Everton and Scotland) - all photos are accompanied by a Certificates of Authenticity - and many other will also go under the hammer. Other sports are also covered by the auction with signed State of Origin Rugby League shirts from both the New South Wales and Queensland squads, and a mounted pair of boxing gloves signed by Jeff Fennech. And new items being added on a daily basis to the auction list.
In addition to the auction, a sumptuous buffer dinner will be served and light entertainment featuring Elena Perroni, Coby Grant and Christina Samudio will be provided in one of the state's premier sporting establishments. For your chance to own a piece of sporting history, not to mention making a shrewd investment, visit the Kings Soccer Academy online or telephone Steve Smith (0438 093 269 or 9300 8020).
COACHING ROLE FOR OLDFIELD
Oxford United have confirmed that David Oldfield has agreed a new player-coach deal that will see him work alongside first team manager Ian Atkins. Perth-born Oldfield, who recently turned 35, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in England with the likes of Luton Town, Manchester City, Leicester City, Millwall, Stoke City and Peterborough, making over 550 League appearances. "I'll be number two to Ian and work alongside Darren Patterson, who has done such a brilliant job with the youth team. Hopefully we can learn from each other and from the gaffer as well," Oldfield said. "Obviously I'm a bit down the list now with the strikers we have brought in, but I'm going to try and keep playing and battle away for a place and I'm going to combine that with some good coaching work and try and expand my knowledge of that side of the game as well. I'd like to keep playing, but I will try and combine the two roles and get the best out of the lads at the same time."
WORLD CUP BERTH FOR KARP
West Australian Tal Karp has been named in the 20-player Matildas squad which will compete at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup in the USA later this year. The squad has the hallmark of coach Adrian Santrac with eleven of the side given their first taste of senior international football since his appointment as interim coach in January 2001. Santrac is pleased with the team, despite their overall lack of experience at World Cup level. "We've got a lot of mobility and talent amongst this group," he said. "It's a strong balance which makes this squad effective. What we don't exactly know is how they'll handle the pressure of a World Cup, but this group is very sound emotionally, very steady. To date, in pressure situations, they've handled themselves particularly well. In some ways, the character within this squad belies their lack of playing experience."
Australia commences their warm-up for the tournament with a three-way series in Japan where they'll meet the host nation and South Korea in late July. On the Matilda's return to Australia they'll go straight into a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport before heading to the United States of America for the World Cup which starts on 20th September. The full squad is Dianne Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Amy Beattie, Hayley Crawford, Rhian Davies, Bryony Duus, Gill Foster, Heather Garriock, Kelly Golebiowski, Pam Grant, Tal Karp, Cassandra Kell, April Mann, Joanne Peters, Taryn Rockall, Cheryl Sailisbury, Thea Slatyer, Danielle Small, Sacha Wainwright and Amy Wilson.
GLORY OFFER TEMPTING TO MURPHY
Perth Glory are on the verge of luring former Australian international Shaun Murphy back to Western Australia. The 32-year old defender has spent the last eleven years playing in England with Notts County, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United, who he joined in 1999. "Yes, there is a big possibility of me coming. The club has made me a very good offer and it would be nice to come back to Perth and do a couple of years for Glory," Murphy told Len Findlay of the "West Australian" newspaper. "Things have changed for me at a personal level," added the big defender. Providing there are no last minutes hitches, Murphy will return to Perth next month, giving him plenty of time to prepare for Glory's 2003/04 pre-season schedule.
COYNE BACKS FANS AS HATTERS FUTURE BECOMES CLOUDY
Defender Chris Coyne has returned to England to find Luton Town's future in the balance following what has been a very rough off-season. Turbulence struck the Hatters in May when consortium of investors bought into the club with manager Joe Kinnear sacked shortly after. Developments since have revealed a number of irregularities in the purchase by the new owners which lead to the Football League Board late last week requesting that the F.A. Advisory and Compliance Unit visit the club amid growing concern over its future. "At the end of last season, we left with smiles on our faces and everything was rosy but we've come back to a different scenario," said Coyne via the club's official website.
Many Hatters fans have opted not to purchase season tickets and are instead channeling their cash into a pledge fund set up by the Trust in Luton Interim Committee, something that Coyne says is entirely understandable. "They're not sure what's going on and they're allowed their own views and perspective," the defender commented. "They probably think that what they're doing is right and good on them. If they think that's right, they should stand up for themselves. We're not in a position where we can do that. We've got to get on with our jobs and make sure that everything's right for the start of the season."
GASPAR NETS FOR SABAH
The chances of Sabah winning the M-League title may hinge of the goalscoring prowess of talented West Australian Robbie Gaspar for whom the goals are flowing freely at the moment. Late last month the creative midfielder netted in the Rhino's 1-1 home draw with Pahang and while he failed to find the net in his clubs next two games - a 3-1 defeat of Menang and the scoreless draw with Perak - goals in his last two outings have elevated him to amongst the competition's leading goalscorers. A second minute Gaspar header set Sabah on the road to a 3-1 win over F.C. Johor last weekend when the influential midfielder also teed-up the Rhino's second goal. And the 22-year old bagged his tenth goal of the campaign in mid-week by scoring a minute into the second-half against Penang who ended up claiming victory by 1-2. On the weekend Gaspar was influential in Sabah's 2-0 win over Selangor, scoring his sides opener with a superb free-kick from 35-metres. With the league season almost at a close, Sabah are looking the goods to match last year's third-place League finish and secure a berth in next seasons Malaysian Super League.
TARKA HEADS ABROAD (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Australian youth international David Tarka today begins trials with top flight English club Portsmouth who he will join on a pre-season tour. The Perth Glory defender has attracted interest from a number of English clubs, including West Ham United and Aston Villa. Managed by Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth last season won promotion from the First Division and include amongst their senior list Australian international Hayden Fox. Should Tarka be successful in landing a contract with Pompey he will spend 2002/03 rubbing shoulders with former England stars Paul Merson and Teddy Sherringham.
WAASSA Premier League leader Hamersley Rovers bounced back from a disastrous mid-week exit from the Mitre Cup with a hard fought 3-1 victory over perennial rivals Shamrock Rovers at Harold Rossiter Park on Sunday. Although his side were hammered by the University of WA just a few days earlier, Hamersley coach Mickey Brennan refused to make mass changes to the line-up with the only absentee being midfielder Alun Vernals due to suspension. With the visitors accent on regaining lost pride, the players responded positively and the end result was just reward for some great all round hard work from all sectors of the team. Neil Birkinshaw opened the scoring after 1 minute, and second half goals from Nick Cianci and Flavio Labbate saw Hamersley home. But the win was not without some anxious moments from a determined Shamrock side who never gave up the chase and were somewhat unfortunate in front of goal on several occasions with luck not on their side today. However, in a game like this luck was always going to be play its role and the ground made close control difficult as players from both sides relied on their better judgement to make things happen. Going on this spirited performance, seventh-placed Shamrock will win more games than they will lose before the season is out, but on the day it was Hamersley's players who were the more focused in erasing the bad memories against UWA.
University of WA chalked up an impressive 6-1 victory over Spearwood Dalmatinac at McGillivray Oval. In blustery conditions, the first half was a fairly tight affair with Dalmatinac having a couple of half chances foiled on both occasions by Declan Sharp's last ditch tackles. The most significant moment occurred five minutes from half-time when Robert Benkovic pounced on a defensive error and beat two defenders before rifling the ball into the far corner. Four minutes into the second half and the visitors had their reply when the ball skewed off the boot of G.Pesich in the goalmouth and it somehow ended in the net via the up-right. Max Percy, Andy Hart and Benkovic combined in the 54th minute for David Berg to restore UWA's lead. The game was altered shortly after when Dalmatinac's sweeper was dismissed for a late challenge on Benkovic, and from the resultant free-kick Percy smashed the ball into the top right hand corner to make it 3-1. Substitute Frederik Larsen added to the tally after making his way past two opponents, then Adam Brett was denied from the penalty spot by L.Smith. Berg drove the ball into the net from a tight angle, and the scoring was completed when the same player converted from the penalty spot close to full-time. "It's been a good few days for us having beaten Hamersley 8-0 in the week in the Cup and now scoring six today," said coach Kevin Burton after the game. "We are finally delivering the goods, our discipline and teamwork has been good. Our challenge is now to see if we can sustain it." Dalmatinac won the reserves meeting 2-1.
Perth Azzurri moved into third place with a comfortable 6-2 win over bottom team Balga. The bright sunshine was reflected in the home teams' mood as the early exchanges saw Balga play some strong one touch football with Matthew Brown and Darren McNally prominent. Both sides seemed evenly matched for the opening twenty minutes as they traded blows at either end without really creating anything of great menace. In the 22nd minute as Azzurri carved out a good move down the left through Stuart Cardy which amounted to nothing, and in a sparkling counter-attack play highlighted by one lovely passing the black and greens went in front through Sasa Dzaferonic who lobbed the 'keeper. Galvanised at having conceded, Azzurri quickly took the upper hand with a couple of gilt edged opportunities coming the way of Damian Pescud who just couldn't find the onion bag. Just when it seemed the visitors would crash their way back into the game, Balga struck again through Gary Shorto who caught the Azzurri 'keeper in no-mans land to lift the ball into the net via the far junction of post and bar. At half-time Balga were looking good to register their first win of the season, but as the clouds swarmed over the sky to shade out the warm sun so the second half commenced with Azzurri looking far more ominous. The boys in blue would dominate the game from here on with some superb work down both flanks. By the end of 90 minutes Pescud had bagged a hat-trick with other goals coming from Adrian Scriva, Charly Jensen and Kevin Pope to give the Azzurri a deservedly massive win. So for the second week in succession Balga conceded six goals in 45 minute period to throw away the points and the chance of a much needed victory.
In other games, Fremantle United allowed Hamersley to open up a two point gop at the top of the WAASSAA Premier League standings when they were held 1-1 at home by eighth-placed Forrestfield United. North Perth United fought doggedly before going down 0-1 at home to Kwinana United, and Canning International recorded their fourth win of the season with a 3-2 home result against Murdoch University. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN (Cockburn City vs Western Knights by Lennie Bavich; Sorrento vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Swan I.C. vs Floreat Athena courtesy www.geocities.com/swanic2003)
The scene was set for an intriguing Premier League clash at Dorrien Gardens where Perth S.C. welcomed E.C.U. Joondalup to the inner city. The visitors were out to avenge their heavy early season loss to the Blues, but it was always going to be a daunting task with Joondalup forced to make three chances to the side which last weekend came from three goals down to earn a share of the points against Sorrento. A cursory look at the Perth line-up revealed a home team at full strength and with an abundance of talent waiting in the wings on the bench.
In sunny conditions, Perth wasted no time in settling and quickly had the visitors on the back foot. A 2nd minute in-swinging corner from Todd Howarth was nodded against the bar by Jamie Coyne and Shane Crampton snapped the rebound high. Winning the ball deep in defence, Rhys Graham embarked on a jinxing run into attack which took him past several opponents and the youngsters rising shot from the top of the box was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Peter Stewart. The Joondalup allowed Howarth room to advance after 10 minutes and his powerful strike from distance skidded narrowly wide. Perth's dominance was rewarded in the 18th minute as Crampton squared to Gareth Naven who played the ball into the path of Howarth and talented left wing-back made no mistake with a blistering shot that rocketed into the net despite the best efforts of Stewart. Two minutes later the margin was doubled when Graham played a clever ball in behind the defence and from close-range Howarth knocked the ball into the net.
Coyne came agonisingly close to bagging his sides third goal not long after but his thunderous drive from 20-metres rose over the bar. Perth were by now running rampant, completely in control across the middle of the park and able to break down their opponents attacks with ease before launching their next offensive. With the ball at his feet, Crampton took on and beat four opponents to go inside the area where his shot from 8-metres was knocked around the up-right by the sharp reflexes of Stewart after 31 minutes. The onslaught eased late in the half and Joondalup began to be a bit more adventurous, their first clear shot on goal coming via Peter Roberts whose free-kick from 17-metres was high. Keith Taylor pushed down the left but his shot from distance was directed straight at goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. Four minutes from the break the visitors were awarded a free-kick inside the area but on a narrow angle which Darren Broxton sent under the defensive wall only to have Papalia prevent it from crossing the line.
It looked as though the second half was going to be a repeat of the first as Perth started strongly and, after two minutes of play, Stewart was well positioned to deny a curling shot from Coyne. But Joondalup took the game up to the home team by creating the better of the attacking moves. Abdul Kamara skipped away down the right flank and sent his cross deep to Josh Kamasz whose perfectly timed volley was blocked off the boot by Micheal Icanovski after 51 minutes. A quick counter-attack lead by John Morton ended with the young defender's cross evade the Perth backline and Anthony Danze should have done much better than headed the ball wide from close-range. Just after the hour Scott Bulloch whipped the ball into the area and to the feet of Danze who, with only the 'keeper to beat, appeared destined to score before Aaron Cole swooped to clear the danger.
The pendulum swung back in Perth's favour with a well-worked short corner that resulted in Mark Pottier's strong downward header being held on the line by Stewart after 68 minutes. Minutes after a superb diagonal pass from Coyne came to Adam Bunce who rocketed the ball wide of the target. Joondalup reduced the gap after 74 minutes when they were given free-kick for mysterious reasons some 20-metres from goal, and Roberts strike on goal took a major deflection which wrong-footed Papalia as the ball crashed into the back of the net. But any hopes the visitors had of staging a comeback were dashed four minutes later when Crampton netted from close-range to re-establish Perth's two-goal buffer. The scoreline was completed three minutes from the end of regulation time when Howarth's corner from the right came off heads and fell perfectly for Crampton at the back post to ram the ball over the line to leave the home supporters buzzing.
The final 4-1 result was a fair reflection of a game that Perth controlled from the outset and never once looked like faltering, the youngsters from Joondalup quite simply out-played and out-classed by a far more experienced and composed side. With contributors all over the park, Howarth was at his electric best for Perth in a man-of-the-match display while mention must also go to sweeper Paul Natale who marshalled the defence with a maturity far in excess of his teenage years. On a day when they had far too many passengers to be truly competitive, Broxton was the pick of the crop for Joondalup with a rock-solid performance in the centre of defence where he partnered the visitors hard-working captain Roberts.
Perth S.C. : Gianni Papalia, Paul Natale, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski,
Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham (Vince Tana 83), Gareth Naven (Adam Bunce 52),
Jamie Coyne, Rob Giorgi (Robbie Puca 66), Mark Pottier, Shane Crampton
E.C.U. Joondalup : Peter Stewart, Peter Roberts, John Morton, Keith Taylor, Craig Cheesman, Scott Bulloch, Darren Broxton, Anthony Danze, Abdul Kamara, Peter Vukmirovic (John Greenwood 81), Josh Kamasz
Bookings : Kamasz (45), Natale (74)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Patrick McCaffrey
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
A four point gap has opened up between second and third on the table courtesy of Cockburn City's 4-0 thumping of the Western Knights at Dalmatinac Park. Some bruising clashes early on lead to the home side being temporarily reduced to ten men as Jeff Bright received treatment on the sidelines. With 31 minutes elapsed Cockburn went in front as Michael Mirco's cross found Peter Petkovich who headed over goalkeeper Tommi Tomich and under the crossbar. John Nicolaou came close to equalising nine minutes latter when Scott Devine and Stuart Montgomery combined but with just Dino Pacella to beat the Knights striker saw his shot cannon back off the crossbar from 9-metres. The visitors began the second half determined to equalise with their best chance coming the way of Scott Devine whose shot from distance struck the up-right. Six minutes into the new period the Knights suffered a devastating blow when leading club goalscorer Stuart Montgomery was carried from the field with a broken foot following a challenge from Bright. John Mirco made his way into the penalty area after 69 minutes, evading two defenders only to be brought down by Paul Cooke for a penalty which the attacker converted himself to double Cockburn's lead. The Knights bad day at the office continued with the dismissal of Paul McVittie for a second yellow card offence which left the visitors a man down with little under fifteen minutes to go. Daniel Palermo came off the bench and proceeded to mesmerise the Knights defence with a dazzling display on the left, the substitute teeing up John Mirco who drew the 'keeper before sidefooting in from a narrow angle. In injury time Dusan Macura, who had marshalled the home defence superbly, went on a weaving run past several opponents and drew Tomich out of position before squaring the ball to the unmarked Petkovich who tapped in Cockburn's fourth. "The score line was not a true reflection," said victorious coach Mirko Jelicic after the game. "The Knights hit the bar a couple of times at important stages and had one gone it might have been different."
Percy Doyle Reserve was the venue for the seemingly one-sided fixture between highly flying Sorrento and second from bottom Stirling Lions on Saturday. The home side made their intentions clear from early on as goals from Simon Harland and Todd Harnwell inside the opening 9 minutes put their opponents on the back foot. But Sorrento eased off after going two up and the Lions responded through Eugene Singeorzan who finished clinically after 15 minute to opening his sides' account. With Adam Rains leading the way from the middle of the park, the visitors clawed their way back into the game and in the 32nd minute were deservedly back on level terms as Stjepan Beretovac's corner was brilliantly headed in at the near post Rains. Going into the break it was action aplenty as the two teams traded shots on goal. In the 39th minute a great ball from Keegan Ashley found Singeorzan who forced a reflex save from goalkeeper Neil Young. Sorrento charged back with a blitzing attack that was foiled by the crossbar following a fine header from Harland. The Lions came out charging after the interval to go in front via a classy exchange of passes between Ashley and Singeorzan, the latter smashing a brilliant shot into the back of the net with 55 minutes elapsed. Sorrento drew level twenty minutes later when Andy Mason volleyed truly from a corner to set up a grandstand finish. The goal of the day arrived after 83 minutes when a series of passes between Ashley, Rains and Singeorzan ended with Ashley giving the travelling supporters good reason to celebrate. But the Lions hopes of causing an upset were dashed six minutes later as Sean Fallon blasted into the roof of the net to earn his side a share of the points from an entertaining goalfest in which the winner was soccer. 17-year old Christian Debarro, Toby Wright and Luke Pavlos were the unsung heroes for the Lions.
In near perfect conditions at the National Stadium a revitalised Inglewood United that took on an injury ravaged Fremantle City who will be without Marc Wingell (knee) and Anthony Periera (kidney) for the remainder of the season. The home side came out of the blocks the quicker as the games first chance came the way of Alan MacKenzie who shot wide from 12-metres. Fremantle edged in front after 28 minutes as Peter Lord fended off two challenges to slide the ball through to the industrious Craig Young whose clever lob cleared the advancing Oliver Taseski for a cool finish. But the lead lasted just four minutes, with Fremantle custodian Bobson Koroma misjudging a corner from the right and Louis Parkinson was on hand at the back post to knock the ball back into the 6-yard box where Jamie Kuzmanovich side-footed in the equaliser. The normally creative Scott Campbell was working hard on Inglewood's right to keep tabs on the dangerous John Migas who on more than one occasions sent the ball into the dangerzone only to find no Fremantle player there to finish off the move. Inglewood created several good openings in the minutes leading to the interval as Parkinson, Kosta Kalavrouziotis and MacKenzie all shot narrowly wide of the target. The second half began with a more purposeful Fremantle. Two minutes in Craig Surtees shot over following a Migas corner, and shortly after Llewelyn Bake and Branimir Mikulic combined with the latter forcing a good save from Taseski. Not to be outdone, Parkinson beat two players only to have his fierce drive held by Koroma. The complexion of the game was altered just after the hour when Mikulic was dismissed for dissent, and in a moment of frustration the striker took the red card from the referees hand and proceeded to kick it into the air, an action which is sure to see him sit out a few weeks. A minute later Inglewood took the lead when a cross from the right was headed in at the back post by Kuzmanovich for his second of the day. After 79 minutes the home should have sealed victory but Ryan Newhill somehow missed the target from close-range. Eight minutes later Inglewood wrapped up all three points when Newhill made the most of some indecisive defending and clipped the ball over the advancing Koroma. With a minute left Michael Vaz reduced the margin with a well taken free-kick from 18-metres that curled into the top corner to make the final score 3-2 to the home side.
On a lovely sunny afternoon, Swan I.C. welcomed Floreat Athena to the Swan Italian Club where the playing surface was in excellent condition despite a large amount of rain being dumped on the Swan Valley over the past week. The early exchanges were even as both teams looked for an early opening, and it was the visitors that drew first blood after 16 minutes when Sasa Kilibarda made a good run down the left flank before playing the ball to Dejan Djukanovic who made no mistake. It was very nearly 2-0 a minute later as Kalibardi turned well in the area only to find the side netting with his shot. With Swan struggling in midfield, Elton Holmes lifted the home team with a surging run which ended with him being hauled down inside the area after 24 minutes, and Mark Lee stepped up to beat goalkeeper Anthony Mori and level the game. The second half produced some attacking end-to-end football which began with Djukanovic shooting high after Swan failed to clear a Troy Bernard corner. Athena were making most of the running and an excellent run by Anthony Jones saw his strike on goal saved by Cory Hugo. A mistake by Carlo Scali gifted the ball to Kalibardi whose first time lob was held by Cory Hugo. In the 65th minute Lee won possession from Paul Vlachou in a heavy challenge before playing it through to Damian Scali who finished well by placing his shot into the net. Enjoying the better of play, Athena lacked the quality finishing that could have seen them level before substitute Carlos Echeverria combined with Paul Lincoln to make it 3-1 in the 78th minute. The visitors continued to ply the pressure as youngster Rodrigo Aguiree played a superb pass to Djukanovic who was denied by Cory Hugo in a one-on-one situation, and with the games' last opening Bernard found Michael Lardis but he finished poorly. "It's a great result for the club," said Gary Maorrchi, technical director of football at Swan, After the game. "This was our sixth game without defeat, something the club hasn't achieved before. The final twenty minutes were poor, and we must improve this for the rest of the season. Our aim is to make the top five at seasons end."
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Perth S.C. remain four points clear in the Premier League reserves competition with a storming second half performance which had them defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 6-2. The Blues took the initiative with early goals from Ben Rogers and Albert Osei Tutu that put them two up after only seven minutes gone. Recent Joondalup signing Marc Sim reeled in the margin by netting in the 27th and 34th minutes to have the sides go into the break on level terms. The start of the new half had Perth well and truly the more dominant side but unable to find a way past goalkeeper Alan Mattecucci and his defence. The floodgates were prised open just after the hour when Damir Kuduzovic brilliantly curled the ball past the 'keeper from just inside the area. Osei Tutu added his second eleven minutes later, Cosimo Cavalaro scored in the 78th minute and Daniel Micevski completed the route after 86 minutes.
Sorrento's 3-0 home defeat of Stirling Lions keeps them in second place, all the Seagulls goals came in the second half through Jake Harman (2) and Joe Woodin. Cockburn City and Inglewood United remain locked in joint third place with 22 points apiece. Cockburn had to rely on a late goal from Marko Aleksic to defeat the Western Knights 3-2 at Dalmatinac Park. Stipan Majic put the visitors in front midway through the first half but that lead lasted just eight minutes before Petar Mrdja, and a further four minutes elapsed before Roberto Colalillo netted to put Cockburn in the box seat. Nine minutes after the break Andrew McGettrick got the Knights back on level terms, but Aleksic's strike close to the end gave the home team maximum points. Goals from Demir Arslanoski and Lee Haienko (2) gave Inglewood United a 3-1 result against Fremantle City for whom Saul Contera netted.
Swan I.C. recorded their second home win of the season by downing Floreat Athena on home soil to lift themselves off the bottom of the reserves table. Christian Marocchi got the home suide off to a flying start by scoring after 5 minutes, and a great solo run by Rob Shepheard saw the youngster increase the lead midway through the first half. Just before the hour Carlos Echeverria made it three-nil, and when Matt Ullbricht found the target after 65 minute the game was all but over as a contest. Still, Athena continued to go on the attack which saw goalkeeper Chris Ramsey make some fine saves before finally being beaten in the last minute of regulation time by midfielder Andreas Pantelias.
Fremantle City crushed Inglewood United 8-1 in the Under-18 Premier League as Mo Atak proved his inclusion in the State Under-16 squad with a double hat-trick. The port side opened the scoring through captain Michael Cutri whose powerful header gave the Inglewood goalkeeper no chance. Atak then went on the rampage, scoring four times in the space of twenty minutes to leave Inglewood stunned. Shortly before the break the home side pegged back the margin via the penalty spot, but Atak continued his superb form by adding another two goals to Fremantle's tally early in the new half with Tim De Sousa also getting on the scoresheet for the visitors. "The performance by the boys today was really pleasing," said Fremantle coach Mick Tetlow after the game. "Mo Atak was simply too hot to handle". Atak's six-goal haul moves him to the top of the goalscoring charts having found the net nineteen time from fourteen starts.
E.C.U. Joondalup stay top of the table courtesy of a 2-1 win over Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. Phillip O'Callaghan gave the visitors the upper hand after 24 minutes, but his goal was cancelled out thirteen minutes later by Cormac Dawson. But O'Callaghan had the last say with the deciding goal coming ten minutes from the end of regulation time. Sorrento thumped Stirling Lions 7-2 in their mid-table meeting at Percy Doyle Reserve. Cockburn City stayed within striking distance of the top five with a 2-1 home win over the Western Knights. A goal after 3 minutes from Carlo Cardosa gave Cockburn a lead they took into the half-time break. It took the Knights until the 64th minute to get on the scoreboard through Matthew Francis, but eight short minutes later Daniel Collins restored Cockburn's advantage.
Swan I.C. opened their home meeting with Floreat Athena brightly but suffered a double blow as Scott Lewry and Hayden Darcy were forced from the field by injury. With Jarred Campher running the midfield Athena began to get on top and Nick Studer gave the visitors the lead with a fine free-kick into the top corner of the net. Athena could, and should, have doubled their lead when awarded a penalty but Gerald O'Brien missed from the spot and the one-goal margin remained at the break. Swans position worsened midway through the second half when Kyle Greenaway was sent off for his second yellow card offence, but Athena were unable to make the most of the player advantage thanks to some resolute defending by Danyal Bennett and Glenn Bennett and several good saves from goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo. With five minutes to go Danyal Bennett surged forward and played the ball to Matt Ullbricht who rounded the last defender and finished superbly to earn his side a share of the points.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHTEEN (Rockingham City vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie; Armadale vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com; Leeming Strikers vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Leading the First Division standings on goal difference from Mandurah City, the pressure was on Bayswater City when they met bogie side Kingsway Olympic at Frank Drago Reserve on the weekend. The home side started confidently with Kevin Henderson and Gareth Healy directing play across the centre of the park, and in the 17th minute Healy gave Bayswater the lead with an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net from 30-metres. The margin was doubled in the 24th minute by Sal Marrapodi who profited from some good lead-up work by Bobby Klenkoski, but three minutes later Olympic kept themselves in the game as midfielder Sota Iwasaki was hauled down inside the box and Brian Hedges slotted the resultant penalty kick past goalkeeper Francis Allen. The visitors pressed hard for an equaliser only to have Henderson convert a fine Marrapodi cross to make the score 3-1 after 38 minutes. After the half-time interval Bayswater emerged ready to go on the with job and in complete control of the game. Henderson won a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Andrew O'Neill send into the top corner of the goal, then substitute Boima Karpeh weaved a bit of magic by making his way past three opponents and his cross was deflected in by an unfortunate defender after 82 minutes. The 6-1 scoreline was completed three minutes from the end of regulation time by Henderson who headed in a corner from O'Neill. Olympic had more luck in the reserves where they won 7-3, while the under-18 game also ended in the visitors favour by a 2-1 scoreline.
Mandurah City made the short trip north for their weekend meeting with local rivals Rockingham City. It was obvious from the opening kick that Mandurah would have too much pace up front for a sluggish Rockingham defence as Jordan Rhodes made his way past four challenges with superb run into attack which ended with the young midfielder unable to convert. In the 10th minute some fine defensive work sent Andrew Rennie away down the left and from the by-line his left foot cross found Chris Paschewitz who made no mistake in netting from close-range. A fine move started at the back again sent Mandurah into attack and from a well-rehearsed corner Paschewitz bagged his second without any real pressure. Mandurah's third goal resulted from a defensive error which resulted in a penalty which Rhodes had no trouble in dispatching past the goalkeeper to put the game out of Rockingham's reach before the break. The home side tried to restrict their opponents in the second half by applying some negative tactics but it made no difference as Mandurah were on a roll. In a acre of space directly in front of goal, Rennie could not believe his luck when the ball was played to his feet and the attacker coolly placed his teams fourth int he back of the net. To complete a black day for Rockingham, they conceded a free-kick just 12-metres from goal which Rhodes coolly chipped over the defensive wall to make the score 5-1. The result means the First Division title could go a long way to being decided next weekend when Mandurah welcome joint-leader Bayswater City to Peelwood Parade next Saturday. A Gary Attill ht-trick gave Mandurah a comfortable 3-1 win in the reserves, while the visitors also claimed the under-18 fixture by a 2-0 scoreline.
Armadale moved their way into joint third pace with a 3-1 home defeat of a comparatively inexperienced Ashfield side whose average age was nineteen. The game started with several physical challenges that should have been dealt with more firmly, none more so than when an Armadale player reacted to a David Mayers tackle which resulted in the games first booking. Both sides created a few good chances but neither was able to finish, that was until just after the half hour mark when Armadale upped the tempo and began to look the more dangerous of the teams. The deadlock was broken after 33 minutes when Paul Colkin scored from a corner, and the margin was doubled shortly after when a defensive error led to Darren Ingham slipping the ball past goalkeeper John Van Der Voet. Ashfield came out with more confidence after the break and proceeded to carved out a number good attacking moves but, as was the case in the first half, goals eluded them. Five minutes into the half the visitors were thrown a lifeline when Armadale were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Jason Goodwin. In an attempt to make the most of the situation, Ashfield threw men forward in search of a goal but it was the reds that netted as Ingham beat Van Der Voet in a one-on-one situation. Ashfield refused to concede defeat and were rewarded when Muhamed Komadaric scored with a lovely volley from just outside the 18-yard box. Both sides ended the game a player down with Ashfield's Wayne Culverwell red carded four minutes form the end of regulation time. The reserves game ended in a 2-2 draw with Ashfield's goals coming from Chris Williams and Ricardo Garzon, while the under-18 fixture ended in a 3-1 win to Armadale.
Canning City visited neighbouring Leeming Strikers in what was an entertaining local derby that ended in a 2-2 draw. The opening period was a fairly scrappy affair as the two teams settled into a rhythm which saw the Strikers adopt an open game in contrast to Canning's defensive style which relied on fast breaks into attack. Early chances came the way of the Strikers' Gordon Hind and Angelo Perrovechio whose effort went wide and were saved by goalkeeper Robbie Meyer respectively. Canning slowly began to create a few chances of their with Paul Van Dongen and Shane Laing going close before Paul Oliver's free-kick from distance was knocked onto the up-right by Strikers goalkeeper Michael Smerilli and Laing was on hand to drive the ball into the net after 26 minutes. Chances came and went at both ends of the park to keep the crowd's interest levels up. It took until midway through the second half for a second goal to arrive, Mick Van Dongen racing away down the right to cross into the area where Smerilli spilt what should have been a regulation catch and Laing once again profited from close-in. To their credit the Strikers didn't give up but Meyer was proving difficult to beat with great saves to deny Lucas Whitehouse and Allan Ciaran. With just five minutes remaining David Perrin pulled a goal back for the home side after Ciaran's initial shot rebounded off the crossbar. And three minutes later Craig Ruthven levelled the game after a superb cross from Adam Mitsopolous. Earlier in the day the Strikers took out the reserves by 3-0 and the under-18 game by 2-1.
Morley Windmills registered a 2-1 home win over Stirling Suns who ended the game with nine players following the dismissal of Zoran Talimdzioski and Billy Risteski. Rydeen Botha put the home side in front early in the second half, Miladin Guguroski equaliser midway through the period but a goal from Michael Campbell four minutes form the end gave Windmills the points. Dragan Radojevic (2) and Jimmy Stoichev were on target for Dianella White Eagles who downed Balcatta 3-1, Gavin Falco-Brown the scorer for the visitors. Southside United held a two goal lead over Queens Park after 45 minutes minute thanks to goals from Tony Pritchard and Bob White, but the visitors stormed back after the break to claim victory with Glenn Noblett and Paul Dundo (2) finding the net. South West Phoenix set up a 3-2 away win over The City with first half goals from James Bergin (2) and Jamie Lister. Mark Cox netted late in the first half for The City whose other goal was an own goal.
HOWELLS BACK IN THE FRAME
Cheltenham Town midfielder Lee Howells has passed the first fortnight of the English pre-season training with flying colours. The 34-year old has been out of action since March 2002 when he broke a leg against Bristol Rovers, and subsequent complications resulted in him missing the entirety of last season. "Howells has worked very hard over the summer and has come through the first two weeks with no problems," club physiotherapist Ian Weston told http://www.cheltenhamtownfc.premiumtv.co.uk this week. The clubs longest serving player, Howells has made close to 450 senior appearances for the Robins since his arrival in mid-1991.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. continued their march towards back-to-back Premier League titles with a convincing 4-1 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. Cockburn City extended their undefeated run to nine games by thumping Western Knights 4-0, while Sorrento needed a last minute goal to snatch a point from their home encounter with Stirling Lions that ended 4-4. Inglewood United won for the second consecutive week when they knocked off Fremantle City 3-2, and Swan I.C. proved too strong for Floreat Athena by 3-1.
Bayswater City stay atop the First Division table on goal difference after registering a 6-1 home win over Kingsway Olympic, but keeping the pressure on are Mandurah City who downed Rockingham City 5-1. Armadale took maximum points from their home clash with Ashfield by 3-1, the score as Dianella White Eagles's home win over Balcatta. Southside United went down to Queens Park 2-3, and Morley Windmills moved up the standings with a 2-1 defeat of Stirling Suns. The City lost 2-3 at home to South West Phoenix, and the points were shared as Leeming Strikers and Canning City drew 2-2.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Premier League leaders Perth S.C. will face some stiff opposition from an in-form E.C.U. Joondalup when they meet at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. Cockburn City have home ground advantage over a Western Knights side coming off two successive losses, while high-flying Sorrento welcome Stirling Lions to Percy Doyle Reserve. Having claimed victory last weekend for the first time well over a month, Inglewood United take on Fremantle City at the National Stadium, and Swan I.C. are home to Floreat Athena. With several key players out through injury, Bassendean Caledonian will welcome the bye.
Bayswater City are home to Kingsway Olympic, while joint leader Mandurah City travel a little up the coast to meet Rockingham City in this weekend's round of First Division fixtures. Morley Windmills have a tough home encounter with Stirling Suns, it'll also be close at Alfred Keet Oval where Armadale welcome Ashfield, and Dianella White Eagles should account for Balcatta. The City and South West Phoenix promises to be an intriguing clash, Southside United will find it tough against Queens Park, and Leeming Strikers meet neighbours Canning City.
MIXED RESULTS AT KANGA CUP
Three State Country teams have spent the past week competing in the 2003 Kinga Cup in Canberra on behalf of the Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia. Representative teams under the watchful eyes of coaches Glenn Leckenby (under-13), Pedro Petrisor (under-15) and Doug Grant (under-17) made their way east along with official Anita Brady (tour manager) and Velimir Pejic (physiotherapist). Sanctioned by Soccer Canberra, Soccer Australia, the Oceania Football Confederation and world governing body FIFA, the youth tournament - the fifth largest of its kind in the world - is open to club, school, association and community based teams for male and female players ranging in age from eleven to nineteen.
Playing in Pool A of the Under-13 age group, W.A. Country got their campaign off to a flying start with a 3-0 win over Weston Creek Royals on Monday's opening day of competition. The following morning the team from the west went top of the standings courtesy of a 2-0 defeat of Belnorth Hammers, but a 0-1 loss to Wagga Wagga on Wednesday saw W.A. Country slip to fourth on the congested table. A 1-1 draw with Majura put the West Australian's in with a mathematical chance of taking out the group in the final day of competition, but those hopes were dashed by a 1-3 loss to Pool A winner Modbury Jets. The W.A. Country Under-13 squad which competed in Canberra consisted of Jullian Eaton, Scott Gibson, Morteza Karimi, Shannon McAlpine, Nicholas Osborne, Nathan Small (Albany), Callum Tonkin (Collie), Callum McMulkin, Richard Olsen, Kieran Smith (Country Coastal), Peter Devlin, Cody Greatorex, Mark Samuels (Goldfields), Rheece Bartel, Jeremiah Benjamin, and Llewyn Butler (Karratha and Districts)
In Pool A of the Under-15's, Belnorth United emerged victorious over W.A. Country by 1-0 on Monday morning. The following day the team from the west featured in games at both ends of the day, the morning fixture wending in a scoreless draw with Maccabi while after lunch they were humbled 0-5 by South Australia's Modbury JSC. Another tough draw followed on Wednesday that started with a heavy 1-5 loss to Shellharbour JSC and concluded with a meeting against Tuggeranong United who claimed the points by a 1-3 scoreline. The Country under-15 side registered their first win with their final game of the competition on Thursday afternoon by defeating Woden Valley Hammers 3-1. The 2003 W.A. Country Under-15 squad was Marc Amato, Michael Flavel, Ryan Galante, Daniel Hassell, Nathan Matowitz, Jason O'Byrne, Jarod Peterson, Zac Puzey, Corey Williams, Conner Young (Albany), Wade Comito, Wesley Hagan, Alex Vanzyl (Country Coastal), Mark McCormack, Dean Stacey (Goldfields) and Lysan Phanthawee (Karratha and Districts).
W.A. Country were pitted in Pool B and started their campaign with a 1-5 loss to Coffs United on Monday afternoon. That was backed up by a 1-4 defeat by Soccer Canberra the following morning, and later the same day Belconnen emerged victorious 1-3 over the team from the west. Pointless after Wednesday's 0-2 loss to Beacon Hill, W.A. Country shared bottom spot with New South Wales team Tenambit Sharks after four games. The Country Under-17 side continued their poor run of results with 1-5 loss at the hands of CBF United on Thursday, but W.A. Country ended the tournament on a high by defeating Tenambit Sharks 1-0. Players that turned out for the W.A. Country Under-17 side in Canberra were Brendan Garvey, Cain Pietropaolo, Alan Spicer, Ryan Whittingstall, Jordan Wilson (Albany), Cameron Donohoe, Drasko Jankovic, Rudy Keenan, Liam Moolla, Tien Nguyen (Country Coastal), Troy Terry, Jarrod Walker (Geraldton), Ryan Armstrong, Lee Higgins, Raveshlan Kuppusamy (Goldfields) and Josh Benjamin (Karratha and Districts)
THOMAS LEADS SEAGULLS BACK TO TOP
Sorrento have erased the bitter memory of a disappointing 2002 season with a strong showing this year in which the northern suburbs club have rarely been far from the top of the Premier League standings. The competition's second highest scoring side have lost just two regular season games and are undefeated since their narrow loss to leaders Perth S.C. in mid-May. "Although we have not been beaten in any of our last seven league games, we have still been a little disappointed that in four of them we have only come away with a point," said 24-year old club captain Glen Thomas (right) this week. "On a more positive note it shows that we are a hard team to beat which is something that can't be said of last season."
"This year there has been a lot more competition for places in all positions," commented Thomas. "We have arguably the two best goalkeepers in the competition in Neil Young and Gareth Deeg, and the aquisition of Richard Watson, Dale McCulloch and Andy Mason together with the return of Simon Harland, Todd Harnwell, Andy Bowyer and Daniel Stoitis has given us strength in depth. In my opinion it is that which has been responsible for our good form rather than the performances of individual players. Things are also looking good for the future as we have some quality young players pushing for a regular first team place, none more so than Danny Cain who has already established himself as a permanent member of the squad."
Appointed Sorrento captain in pre-season, Thomas has this year produced some of the best form of his career. An ever-present fixture in the Seagulls starting line-up, the midfielder has chipped in with some important goals and collected several best on grounds including in last weekend's derby clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. "I've been happy with the way I have been playing this season and it is always nice to get on the score sheet. But what has pleased me the most is that, after being made captain, I felt I needed to take more responsibility on the park and lead by example and I'd like to think I've done a good job of that so far. I owe a lot to Steve Neville, who along with Trevor Morgan I have learnt a great deal from, there will always be room for improvement and I will continue to work on improving my game personally and also the performance of the team as a whole. I think under Steve's guidance this squad can go from strength to strength."
Thomas first came to prominence as a teenager at Wanneroo British and, having established a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder, joined Sorrento in 1996. By the end of that season the then 16-year old had forced his way into the senior squad which made the Final of the D'Orsogna Cup. Under coach Trevor Morgan, Thomas quickly became established as a regular feature of the first team and in the years that followed was selected for the Western Australian Institute of Sport as well as helping Sorrento win the 1999 Night Series, West Ham Cup and Champion of Champions. "I also had an offer of trials with Derby County but picked up shin splints shortly before I was due to leave and had to miss the opportunity," Thomas commented. "It took me quite a while to get back to the form that I had shown during those seasons and, on the advice of Trevor (Morgan) and Steve (Neville) I trialled in England at the beginning of the 2002 season." Unable to get a clearance to play for Northampton Town, Thomas played reserves football at Oxford United before returning to Sorrento.
Now in his eighth season with Sorrento, Thomas was part of the successful 2001 squad which lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in the clubs' history. While that championship squad rates as perhaps the best the club has ever put on the park, Thomas believes the current group of players have the ability to better that achievement. "I think this season's squad is as strong, if not stronger than the 2001 squad that won the League. There is a great togetherness about us, everyone is pulling in the same direction, and while we can pass the ball around and play good football we still have the players that will go out and battle to grind out a result. There is definitely a growing confidence within the squad that we can go and win things, I think that emanates from Steve Neville and Willie McNally and filters down through the players and we will be approaching the second half of the season in that way."
The biggest obstacle Sorrento face in adding to their trophy cabinet comes in the guise of Perth S.C. who, after fourteen rounds, lead the standings seven points of their nearest rival to once again be the top flight's yardstick. "We knew Perth were going to be the team to beat this year and they have shown that they deserve to be with their great form. It is always a good game when we meet Perth, we have twice been on the wrong end of a 3-2 result, once in the League and once after extra time in the quarter final of the Boral Cup. We would have hoped to be closer to them in the League going into the home fixture on 2nd August, however, we will still be looking forward to what promises to be a big game. Personally, I think it will take a big slip up on their part to allow any of the chasing clubs to catch Perth this year."
FRIENDSHIP THE NAME OF THE GAME
Soccer New South Wales this week hosted the 2003 Friendship Games at Valentine Park, Glenwood, with Western Australia represented by the Under-14 North and South Development Squads. An annual event, the tournament features elite representative Under-14 boys teams from each mainland state with the aim being to help prepare players for future competitions and challenges in an atmosphere that is without the stresses of full-blown competition. "Results are not important," said John Hedison, special projects officer for Soccer N.S.W. "There are no winners or losers, and every player in the Games receives a medal." Many players who have participated in the Friendship Games have gone on to forge careers at a much higher level, amongst them Harry Kewell and recently crowned Oceania Player of the Year Brett Emerton.
The 2003 W.A. Under-14 North squad consisted of John Di Marco, Daniel Majinski (Inglewood United), Phillip Arnold, Anthony Cochrane, Shane McEntaggart, Jovo Pavlovic, Troy Tobin, Jason Trpevski (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jesse Bridgeman, James Perry, Jack Rocchi, Nicholas Trajkoski (Sorrento), Matthew De Barro, Damian Houston, Andrew Kendrick, and Stephen Whitehead (Stirling Lions). The team officials were Steve Duckworth (coach) and Michael Barton (manager). Pulling on State colours for the Under-14 South squad during the past week were Aaron DosSantos, Ivan Gavranic, Cameron Hayes, Matthew Johnson, Samuel Keary, Andrew Morrow, Patrick Quinn, Cory Schotter, Stephen Skilandis, Luke Woodard (Cockburn City), Andrew Reale (Country Coastal), Gareth Chellin, Robbie Figg, Ryan Pearson, Carlos Portillo, and Kurt DeSouza (Fremantle City). Paul Wozny coached the side with Marin Vlasich as team manager.
UWA HUMBLE LEAGUE LEADERS IN CUP
University of Western Australia have pulled off a massive 8-0 victory over WAASSA Premier League leader Hamersley Rovers in their Third Round Mitre Cup meeting at the National Stadium on Wednesday evening. After an even opening period the goalfeast began in the 25th minute when Max Percy's free-kick was nodded in by David Berg. Robert Benkovic made it 2-0 by beating two defenders before firing truly, and minutes later Berg clipped in from close-range. After the interval UWA goalkeeper Shayam Young made a fine save after Hamersley were awarded a free-kick inside the area. The margin blew out to four goal on the hour as Bryn Griffiths netted, and Hamerley's woes were compounded with the red carding of Alun Vernals for dissent shortly after. UWA captain Adam Brett converted from the penalty spot, substitute Gavin Dennis calmly slotted in goal number six, Steve Padbury sent his shot into the top corner without fuss, and Marc D'Ascanio netted to complete the demolishion. "It was a very special night for us because we had a plan and executed it with a very disciplined a team orientated performance," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. "We felt Hamersley were rather fortunately to have beaten us 3-0 a couple of weeks ago in the league but this was the perfect response from the players. We now need to see if we can realise our potential for the rest of the season."
In other Third Round games played so far, the Premier League's Fremantle United had little trouble in accounting for Second Division side Cloverdale Chindits where the final score was 9-1. There were goals galore as Inglewood United Amateurs emerged 9-4 winners over Kalgoorlie/Boulder, and Perth Azzurri had a 4-3 away win over First Division opponent Suburbs United. The remaining Cup games - Curtin University vs Kwinana United, Leeming Strikers Amateurs vs Forrestfield United, Murdoch University vs Calcio Rebels and the all FIrst Division meeting of Ballajura and Colo Colo - will be played out over coming weeks. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
TWO OUT, TWO IN FOR JOONDALUP
The past few weeks has seen more movement in the E.C.U. Joondalup camp with two players taking leave of the club at the same time as two others arrive. The Premier League side will be without the services of Scott Blackmore and Garin Collins for the next few weeks as the pair head abroad for trials. 17-year old Blackmore, a former State junior representative, expects to spend up to five weeks in England where plans to trial with Southend, Chelsea and Portsmouth. An attacking left-sided player, Collins will head to his native Scotland for trials with Dunfermline. New to the northern suburbs club are teenage striker Duncan Willetts, formerly of English side Worchester City, who started his time in Perth by netting on debut for Joondalup last weekend. The club also welcome the return of young Perth Glory midfielder Anthony Danze who emerged from Joondalup's youth system several years ago.
SKILLS CLINIC, QUIZ NIGHT HOSTED BY SORRENTO
Northern suburbs club Sorrento are conducting a Soccer Skills Coaching Clinic for players aged six through to twelve. The sessions will be held each day from Monday 14th July until Thursday 17th starting an 9.00am and finishing up around midday. Players interested in attending are asked to contact coach Steve Neville on 9409 4312 or 0417 935080 to register. Sorrento have also organised a Quiz Night for Friday 18th July starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from Diane Hedges (ph. 9304 6234) at a cost of $8.00 each with the night's major prize courtesy of The Greenwood (Hotel).
KIDDERMINSTER TRIALS FOR MURPHY (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Kidderminster Harriers have handed trials to West Australian defender Kevin Murphy (right). The centre-half, the younger brother of Australian international Shaun, was released by Sheffield United at the end of last season and will trial with Harriers for the next seven days. Murphy, one-time captain of Sorrento, was a was a regular in the Blades' reserve side that won the Avon Inusrance Premier Division last season and is one of a handful of players Harriers manager Ian Britton is trying to attract to the club.
INJURY CLAIMS HAMERSLEYS' WELLS
WAASSA Premier League leader Hamersley Rovers will be without the services of Paul Wells for the remainder of the season after the club stalwart suffered a badly broken leg playing against Kwinana United on Sunday. "All who know Paul and, of course, his father Geoff realise how much they have put into the club for many years both on and off the field," said first team coach Mickey Brennan. "This latest setback will cast a shadow over Paul's future as he'd only recovered last year from another broken leg suffered in season 2001. The clash itself was one of those that results in serious injury one in a hundred times, and as a club we will do all we can to support Paul and his family. Kwinana coach Frank Longstaff has also pledged his clubs support in any fundraising that we undertake was to be commended."
The injury to Wells is the latest in a series which has caught the northern suburbs club on the hop. Long-term injuries have kept defenders Gabriel Tana (abductor muscle) and Sam Tsakasiris (ankle) out of action and the pair are likely to stay sidelined for up to six and four weeks respectively. Attacker Darren Yates has been out of action due to a hernia and will be absent for at least the next fortnight, which is the same period before James Macauley came make his return from a nose operation. And goalkeeper Aleks Lackovic has only recently recovered from a calf injury which forced him from the park for over a month. As if that wasn't enough, reserve team coach Marcus Stockinger sustained a back injury at work last week.
BUTLER BELIEVES SABAH CAN GO ALL THE WAY
With four games remaining in the Malaysian season, Peter Butler is confident Sabah have what it takes to land the M-League title. Following their 3-1 defeat of Johor on the weekend, the Rhino's moved to fourth on the standings and seven points behind leaders Perak. "If we collect all 12 points after this, there is no saying just what we might land - the title perhaps," said the teams' technical director of coaching. "If we win the next four games - who knows. I'm a big believer and it is not over until the fat lady sings." Sabah will be put to the test on Tuesday when they face sixth-placed Penang and victory over the Islanders would put the Rhinos on course for the title. "I want to take one game at a time, but most importantly this team can achieve anything," Butler declared.
On Saturday former Perth S.C. attacker Robbie Gaspar set Sabah down the road to victory by scoring after just two minutes of play. "I thought we got a fantastic start to the game and a good goal from Robbie, but obviously I thought whoever adapted best (to the slippery pitch and wet conditions) was going to win the game," commented Butler. "The boys adapted fantastically well. They showed tremendous fighting spirit and the will to win. And what I want to breed is winners and I want a team that knows how to win the game." With the M-League season fast coming to an end, the race for the Premiership is now a four-way battle between reigning champions Perak, Perlis, Kedah and Sabah. With 41 points from 21 games, Perak hold the upper hand but have a game less to play than their opponents. Perlis are second on 38 points with Kedah and Sabah close behind with 35 and 34 points respectively.
The Round Eight catch-up fixtures in WAASSA's Premier League were played out on Sunday with leaders Hamersley Rovers held to a scoreless draw at home by Kwinana United. The game itself was, quite frankly, like an old fashioned arm wrestle from start to finish with neither side able to gain control of the vital midfield area, leaving both sets of strikers searching in vain for some crumbs to feed off against two rock-solid defences. Rovers were fortunate to still be on level terms at the break as Kwinana created several promising moves only to be denied by goalkeeper Daryl Benstead. The best chance for the home side came the way of Joe Wright whose first touch let him down when well placed in the box following good work by Alun Vernals. The second half was a similar story with neither team able to break down the opposing backline before the final whistle signaled an end to procedings. "We can take some positives out of the game such including our third consecutive clean sheet and some good individual performances," said Hamersley coach Mickey Brennan after the game. "We can play better and we know it, Kwinana are a difficult side to break down and have proved this with seven draws and only one loss this season. They will continue to trouble other sides near the top of the table as the season progresses."
The University of WA were held to a 2-2 draw by Shamrock Rovers at Harold Rossier Park. On a small and bumpy pitch the opening goal came after 32 minutes when Bryn Griffiths found Robert Benkovic just inside the box and the UWA striker finished with a shot into the left hand corner of the goal. Shamrock responded moments later as Stephen Roche made a strong run out of defence to cross deep for William Lyall to head into the roof of the net and level the game. Five minutes before half-time Benkovic was thwarted by goalkeeper Ed Schuller who made a lucky save with his legs. UWA carved out the better of the openings after the break but Gavin Dennis and Marc D'Ascanio were unable to convert. With five minutes to go the visitors took the lead as Andy Hart found Dennis who held off a challenge to slot the ball past the Shamrock 'keeper. Not to be outdone, a Shamrock free-kick into the area was headed back to Cathal Lennon who nodded the ball into the net to again level the game. "We adapted well to the difficult surface and played some good football throughout," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. "Both teams competed hard for the whole game and played the game with the right attitude. I thought the referee also had an excellent game. Obviously we are disappointed to concede so late in the game but it was an enjoyable game to watch." UWA reserves went down 2-4 to competition pacesetters Shamrock Rovers.
It was a tough day at the office for Balga, with Fremantle United dominating the first half with wave after wave of attacks, which kept goalkeeper Chris Harvey busy. Fremantle got off the blocks in the opening minutes, going 1-0 up with a soft goal near the 6 yard box. Balga kept them at bay for another 20 minutes, but the inevitable happened and Fremantle then went 2-0 up. The floodgates then opened, and by half time it was 6-0 and a double digit score was on the cards. But after the break, Balga was determined to salvage some pride, and after several tactical switches appeared far more solid. They began to put pressure on Fremantle's under worked backline and allowed the strikers little room to create any further scoring chances. The game slowly petered out, until with 3 minutes remaining some neat passing lead to Darren McNally slipping the ball under the diving keeper to grab a Balga consolation. The final score 6-1 to Fremantle.
In other results, Spearwood Dalmatinac stay within striking distance of the top two following a 4-2 win over Murdoch University. North Perth United went down 0-1 at home to Perth Azzurri, and Forrestfield United picked up three very valuable points when they knocked off Canning International by 4-0. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOURTEEN (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Sorrento by Tom McCrisken and Kerry Slater; Stirling Lions vs Perth S.C. by Don Evans; Cockburn City vs Fremantle City by Lennie Bavich; Western Knights vs Inglewood United courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com)
Both Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian were depleted by injury for their Premier League meeting at Litis Stadium. With the two teams languishing towards the foot of the table, this was an crucial game and not surprisingly the opening fifteen minutes passed largely without incident as the two combatants sized eachother up. Playing with the benefit of a strong wind, Caledonian enjoyed the lions share of play as wide players Jonathon Mathers and Eric Ravanal used their pace to get in behind the opposing defence. But the visitors could find few holes in a well-organised Athena backline in which Adrian Sutton and Anthony Jones were the lynchpins. Relying chiefly on quick counter-attacking plays, Athena managed to first genuine shot on goal when a surging run from the back by Troy Bernard saw him split the defence with a fine pass to Dejan Djukanovic whose low drive from 14-metres was held by goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. Three minutes later Caledonian carved out their first chance when an Ian Griffiths corner was cleared only as far as Ramon Westerberger and his hopeful effort was directed straight to the chest of Anthony Mori.
Having settled the better, Caledonian then carved out some good goalscoring opportunities and had the home side doing much of the defending. Jones timed his challenge on Andy Cornmell to perfection after the striker ran onto a well-weighted cross-field pass by Griffiths. A few minutes Paul Strudwick curled a free-kick from 30-metres around the defensive wall which narrowly missed the top corner of the goal. A long ball into attack from Strudwick found Cornmell who was this time denied by an alert Mori who'd raced off his line to block the shot. But completely against the run of play Athena took the lead in the 31st minutes when Bernard clipped a free-kick into the area and Sutton rose above a flat-footed defence to head the ball beyond Dunlop and inside the far post. Unperturbed at conceding, Caledonian continue to go on the attack and equalised nine minutes later through a superb in-swinging free-kick from Strudwick which crept in at the far top corner. And the visitors came agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 45th minute when a corner went to feet and Westerberger struck the base of the up-right before Strudwick sent the follow-up wide.
The first meaningful attack of the second half came seven minutes after the re-start when Cornmell's deflected shot fell to Westerberger whose close-range effort was smothered by Mori and Sutton quickly cleared the danger. Chances came and went at both ends as the teams traded shots on goal. The pendulum was beginning to swing in favour of Athena who threatened constantly since adopting a three-man forwardline, while Caledonian were happy to sit back and break quickly on the counter-attack. Having been on the park only a minute, Athena's Matthew Novatsis maintained possession despite the presence of a couple of defenders but his shot from the top of the area landed on the chest of Dunlop. Shortly after Mori was again in the thick of the action by parrying Craig Naven's shot from a narrow angle then pouncing on the loose ball as Cornmell moved in for the kill. In the 68th minute Athena won a corner which Novatsis sent to the near post where Jones flicked it on to Oliveira who blasted the ball into the roof of the net to again put the home team in the driving seat. Shortly after Oliveira was presented with a golden chance to seal Athena's win when the ball landed at his feet only for it to disappear just as quickly with Mathers robbing his of possession.
Into the final twenty minutes and Caledonian upped the pressure. Ravanal picked out Griffiths inside the box who knocked a weak shot past the advancing Mori only to see Jones race in and prevent the ball from crossing between the posts. Shortly after Mori produced a top draw save to deny Matt Donlevy who benefitted from some fine lead-up work by Jamie D'Arcy and Cornmell. Griffiths skipped past Eugene Tan and set his sights on goal but was again thwarted by Jones who timed his tackle to perfection. It was all one way traffic by this stage and with six minutes to go Griffiths hit a speculative shot from distance which stretched but didn't really trouble Mori. A minute later Caledonian got the result they were after as Naven's high ball into the area was met by Westerberger whose header caught Mori flat-footed as the ball crossed for the equaliser. Djukanovic almost snatched back the lead with a rising shot which was brilliantly tipped over by Dunlop in the 88th minute and, after five tense minutes of stoppage time, the game came to a close with points deservedly shared. Athena were well served by Jones and Sutton who between didn't put a foot wrong all afternoon, while for Caledonian it was the hard-working Griffiths and and young defender Mathers that stood out.
Floreat Athena : Anthony Mori, Adrian Sutton, Anthony Jones, Eugene Tan,
Marc Nauer, Michael Lardis, Paul Vlachou (Julian Madaschi 54), Aaron
Moschopoulos (Matthew Novatsis 54), Troy Bernard, Sasa Kilibarda (Andreas
Oliveira 23), Dejan Djukanovic
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Kevin Smith, Paul Strudwick, Craig Naven, Jamie D'Arcy, Jonathon Mathers, Eric Ravanal, Matt Donlevy, Ramon Westerberger, Andy Cornmell (Jason Van Rooy 89), Ian Griffiths
Bookings : Moschopoulos (25), Westerberger (31), Mathers (53), Sutton (77)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 175 (approx.)
The rivalry between northern neighbours E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento has always been fierce, and Saturday's showdown was no exception. With local pride at stake, the match lived up to pre-game expectations by producing some lovely passages of football, several truly great goals, and excitement which kept the healthy crowd on their feet until the final whistle. Sorrento made their intentions clear inside the opening minute as Todd Harnwell sped past his marker to make his way down the right flank but his cross into the area went unconverted. A minute later Sean Fallon tested Peter Stewart with a well struck effort which forced a sharp reaction from the Joondalup goalkeeper who turned away the hot chance. Having pushed forward at every opportunity to have home defence under the pump, Sorrento found reward after 11 minutes when Andy Mason threw himself at a cross from Glen Thomas to beat Stewart to the ball and poke it into the net from close-range. Not content with a one-goal advantage, the visitors continued to dominate proceedings with some swift exchanges in the middle before the side went into attack mode.
The home side created their first goalscoring opportunity came on 17 minutes when defender Peter Roberts tried his luck from 25-metres with a scorching shot which went wide of the left post. With Joondalup doing much of the defending, Stewart was kept busy and made several important saves before he was again beaten, albeit somewhat controversially. As the Joondalup custodian made his way out to claim a Tony Cumace corner he was clattered into by Steve MacDonald and the loose ball spilled to Glen Thomas who, from the top of the box, had time to pick his spot and stick the ball in the corner of the net to make it two-nil after 23 minutes. The Seagulls were flying and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty as Craig Cheesman caught Harnwell's trailing leg as he dashed into the box but referee Eddie Lennie wasn't swayed by the loud appeals from the visiting supporters. With a mountain to climb, Joondalup tried desperately to reduce the margin before the break with Garin Collins working hard but unable to find a way past the opposing backline. Two minutes from the break Sorrento were denied a third goal after the referee judged Mason to have handled the ball.
Both teams were forced to make changes at half time due to injury as Joondalup introduced new recruit Duncan Willetts for Scott Blackmore, whilst David Foster replaced Richard Watson for Sorrento. On the resumption of play Harnwell continued to create all manner of problems for the home side with his explosive turn of pace and close control. In the 54th minute Simon Harland stung the hands of Stewart as he fired on the turn after receiving a throw in on the right. Jared Love came off the bench early in the half and wasted no time in settling before he raced onto a lovely pass from Harnwell to lob the ball over Stewart but the attackers effort landed on the top of the crossbar. It looked as though it was going to be Sorrento's way when Harnwell clipped the ball to the far post to Harland who rose unchallenged to head past Young in the 65th minute and make it three-nil. But Joondalup had other ideas and four minutes later got on the scoreboard when a long clearance sent the home team streaming into attack and Collins crossed to Roberts who, without breaking stride, timed his volley to perfection. The goal was exactly what the doctor had ordered for and with close to twenty minutes remaining Joondalup's destiny was in their hands.
Up-front Peter Vukmirovic and the lively Josh Kamasz began to unsettle the visiting defence as Willetts began to find his stride. On 73 minutes Vukmirovic did well to step inside two defenders only to blast high. Ten minutes later Joondalup added to their tally as Scott Bulloch sent the ball into the heart of the Sorrento penalty area where in one smooth motion Willetts controlled, threw off his marker and slotted home from close-range. The momentum was now with the home team and in the 85th minute Anthony Danze rose above the defence to solidly head in corner from Bulloch to level the game. Following the restart Stewart made a brave save at the feet of Harland as both teams threw everything into finding a late winner. In the final minute Joondalup were awarded a free-kick just outside the area which Bulloch slammed into the defensive wall before Lennie's final whistle signaled the end of a remarkable game. For the visitors it was creative midfielder Thomas and Harland that stood-out, while Roberts and Bulloch were the pick of the bunch for Joondalup.
E.C.U. Joondalup : Peter Stewart, John Morton, Craig Roberts (Josh Kamasz
70), Darren Broxton, Craig Cheesman, Scott Blackmore (Duncan Willetts 46),
Scott Bulloch, Anthony Danze, Abdul Kamara, Garin Collins, Peter Vukmirovic
Sorrento : Neil Young, Daniel Stoitis, Steve MacDonald, Richard Watson (David Foster 46), Tony Cumace, Glen Thomas, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason (Jared Love 56), Simon Harland, Sean Fallon, Todd Harnwell
Bookings : Harnwell, Vukmirovic, Fallon, McCulloch
Dismissals : None
Referee : Eddie Lennie
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
The game at Macedonia Park between struggling Stirling Lions and league leader Perth S.C. turned out to be a thrilling nail biter with the result decided in the very last minute of play. The 4-4-2 combination adopted by Lions coach Wayne Thorpe had the effect of neutralising the usually fast-breaking Perth over the opening stanza. The first shot on goal arrived after 16 minutes when Rhys Graham's free-kick appeared goalbound until an acrobatic save from home goalkeeper Jordan Conti. Six minutes late the Lions responded through Adam Rains whose shot was tipped around the up-right by Rob Scarparolo. The home side opened the second half confidently by taking the game right up to Perth who defended superbly under pressure with Aaron Cole playing a starring role. Against the run of play Perth came close to breaking the deadlock after 65 minutes when a speculative shot was cleared off the line by Rains. From then on it was end-to-end stuff and before too long the home side were denied a penalty when a handball inside the area went unnoticed by the match officials. Two minutes later a fast break out of defence put Eugene Singeorzan one-on-one with Scarporolo who brought down his opponent leaving the referee with no option but to send off the goalkeeper. With Cole taking over between the posts the Lions piled on the pressure as they sniffed a major upset on the cards. Some brilliant hustling by debutant Christian DeBarro put the ball on a plate to Rains who smashed his shot into the chest of Cole and the loose ball rebound to safety. The crowd was on it's feet as both teams searched for the winner. Conti made a brilliant save to thwart Mark Pottier after 85 minutes, but shortly after a defensive error by Scott Bailey opened the door for Perth to launch one final attack which ended with Pottier blasting the winner into the roof of the net after Conti parried an initial shot.
At Dalmatinac Park Cockburn City extended their run without loss to eight games with a 2-1 result over neighbouring Fremantle City. After spurning early chances Cockburn took the lead at the 22nd minute mark as Dean Wallace threaded the ball in to young striker Mileta Miletic who tucked his shot under goalkeeper Bobson Karoma. Three minutes latter Michael Mirco came close to doubling the margin when he weaved through the opposing backline only to see his shot come back into play off the up-right. Fremantle suffered a blow when the experienced Marc Wingell was carried off on a stretcher following a heavy clash, and shortly after the home team were forced to look to their bench with Dean Wallace limping from the field with a hamstring injury. Former Cockburn striker Branimir Mikulic made Dino Pacella work for his supper when he sent in a low goalbound effort which the goalkeper did well to keep out. Fremantle maintained the pressure leading into the break by winning a series of corners but the home defence held firm to keep Cockburn in front after 45 minutes. On the resumption of play Miletic made his way to the by-line from where he cut the ball back in the direction of John Mirco but the Fremantle backline were having none of it and effortlessly turned over the ball before sending their side into attack. Both 'keepers were called upon midway through the half, first Karoma parried a John Mirco shot then a a minute later Pacella did likewise to deny Craig Young at the other end. Fremantle found their equaliser after 76 minutes when Young made the most of a plat-footed Cockburn backline and gave Pacella no chance with a perfectly placed shot from 17-metres. But things stayed level for only four minutes as Josh Pescud and Roberto Colalillo combined to play the ball forward to Michael Mirco who made no mistake in hitting the net from close-range. Cockburn's win sees them leapfrog over Fremantle and into second place on the standings, but still a long way behind leaders Perth S.C.
On a blustery afternoon at Nash Field the Western Knights were blown off the park by a hardworking Inglewood United side. The visiting team were on the scoreboard after only 10 minutes when the livewire Louis Parkinson picked up the ball on the halfway line to embark on a surging run that took him just outside the 18-yard box from where he crossed to Ryan Newhill who powered the ball into the back of the net. The closest the Knights came to equalising in the first half came after 26 minutes when Carl Medica's mis-cued cross deceived goalkeeper Oliver Taseski and hit the angle of the goal. The Knights had more luck a minute after half-time when, from a free-kick just outside the area, Claus Nielsen stepped up to curl the ball into the left-hand corner. Having conceded their lead Inglewood lifted and came close to going back in front after 56 minutes when Alan MacKenzie robbed Scott Devine of possession but a scrambling Tommi Tomich pushed his long-range effort around the post. Six minutes later Inglewood found their second through a long hopeful ball that looked to present no problem for the home defence until a mix-up between defender Evan Wallace and Tomich allowed Ryan Newhill to claim possession and the big striker rounded Tomich to find the back of the net. Taseski tipped a lob from Medica over in the 73rd minute but that was the last time the Knights threatened. The opponents on the other hand could have added to their tally on two more occasions. Three minutes from the end Parkinson found himself with just Tomich to beat but the Knights custodian smothered his shot, then moments later the ball was turned over in midfield and MacKenzie forced a sharp save from Tomich to deny Inglewood from increasing the 2-1 scoreline.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Bassendean Caledonian's reserves came from a goal behind at half-time to claim maximum points from their away visit to Floreat Athena. Rodrigo Aguirre put the home side in front after 42 minute, but his goal was negated on the hour by substitute David Houston who scored a brilliant equaliser after he beat two defenders before hitting an unstoppable shot from just outside the area which dipped over the goalkeeper and under the crossbar. The ever dangerous Wesley Ryder made his mark shortly after by putting Caledonian in front with a fine effort from the right as the visitors grew in confidence. Athena threw everything into getting back into the game only to be constantly repelled by a solid Caledonian defence which proved themselves up to the task with Chris Hart and goalkeeper Steve Grant the stand-out performers. With Gareth Wright and Leo Perrotta working hard to send their side into attack, Ryder completed a memorable afternoon by snaring his third goal in the 81st minute to make the final score 4-1.
Striker Shane Crampton netted four times for Perth S.C. in their 9-0 thrashing of Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Goals in the 2nd, 18th and 26th minutes from Crampton got the visitors off to a flying start with Damir Kuduzovic adding the Blues fourth eleven minutes from the break. Vlado Milasinovic got in on the act by netting four minutes into the second half, and Crampton completed his haul four minutes later. Cosimo Cavalaro struck in the 78th minute as the margin blew out to seven goals before Milasinovic completed his hat-trick with goals in the 80th and 89th minutes. The win, coupled with other weekend results, extended Perth's lead at the top of the reserves table to four points and with a game in hand over the chasing pack.
E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento battled out a tough but entertaining match in the northern suburbs derby. Jake Harman bagged his thirteenth goal of the campaign after 18 minutes when he curled a great left-footer into the top corner. Nine minutes before the break John Greenwood canceled out Harman's strike to send the teams into the break on a level footing. Despite the best of efforts of both sides in the second half, not to mention a brilliant penalty save by Sorrento goalkeeper Gareth Deeg to deny Derek Cooke - who was red carded close to the final whistle - the points were shared.
In other reserves' games, Cockburn City went down 0-2 to the visitors from Fremantle City for whom Michael Vaz scored in the 10th and 80th minutes. The win means Fremantle leapfrog over Cockburn into third place. And at Nash Field the Western Knights were defeated 3-1 by Inglewood United who remain fifth but go level on points with Cockburn. Michael Baczynski put the visitors in front midway through the opening half but his goal was cancelled out by Kris Hansen five minutes from half-time. Dominic Ando claimed the lead for Inglewood after 70 minutes, and young striker Dinko Ahmetanovic put the result beyond doubt nine minutes from the end.
E.C.U. Joondalup remain three points clear at the top of the under-18 table following a 2-1 home defeat of neigbouring Sorrento. Looking the better team, the Seagulls should have made more of their early chances but success in front of goal evaded the visitors. A controversial incident on 36 minutes saw Joondalup's Daniel Glasspool sent off for dissent when he loudly protested a harsh back pass decision, and from the free-kick Sorrento were unable to penetrate the defensive wall. As is the case when many teams are reduced, Joondalup raised the after the break and in the 51st minute Sorrento were caught flat at the back, allowing an unchallenged Scott Bushby to slot into an empty net. Within three minutes Kevin Carmona tore the heart out of the visitors when he expertly controlled the ball before firing pass Carl Diggins. A further minute elapsed before Sorrento reduced their arrears through Barry Briman who bundled the ball over the line from close in. But despite playing with an extra man, Sorrento could not make any further impression and subsequently slipped further behind the top four teams.
Fremantle City allowed Joondalup some breathing space by being held to a 2-2 draw by Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Third-placed Floreat Athena took the lead after 3 minutes against Bassendean Caledonian when Michael McKeague netted, but the teams were back on level terms within ten minutes after Thomas Ions equalised following good lead-up work from Leo Perrota. The job was made all the harder for the home side when they were reduced to ten men after 27 minutes with the dismissal of McKeague. Early in the second half Athena reclaimed the upper hand as Darryo Campher netted, and the same player netted his second close to the final whistle to round out the 3-1 scoreline. David Micevski scored four, Stephen Worthy two and there was once each to Nikita Ruravytsya and Goce Dilevski as fourth-placed Perth S.C. hammered eight past Stirling Lions without reply at Macedonia Park.
The clash at Nash Field between Western Knights and Inglewood United ended in a 6-1 triumph to the home team. It took the Knights just 10 minutes to go in front through Andrija Jukic who gave goalkeeper Michael O'Sullivan no chance with a brilliant shot with the outside of his boot from 15-metres, and the gap was doubled nine minutes later as Paul Underwood beat the 'keeper to a through ball to poke it home. The visitors woes were compounded when O'Sullivan went down injured after colliding with Underwood, and with no substitute goalkeeper on the teamsheet Daniel Dawson took over between the posts. Underwood made it three-nil after 22 minutes, but Inglewood reduced the deficit right on the stroke of half-time through Alex Stamatiadis. Nine minutes into the second half Underwood completed his hat-trick as the Knights went on the rampage. Matt Francis got in on the act in the 56th minute with a fantastic near post header, and four minutes later the same player scored the Knights sixth. To their credit the Inglewood youngsters refused to give up the chase and created several openings to add to their tally only to be let down by poor finishing.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SEVENTEEN (Ashfield vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Leeming Strikers by Barry Rennie)
Away for the third consecutive week, Bayswater City travelled locally to take on a young and talented Ashfield side in Round Seventeen of the First Division season on the weekend. The game started slowly as both teams sounded out their opponent with little in the way of goalscoring opportunities at either end. Seizing the initiative, Ashfield took an early lead through Ben Harris who found himself with space inside the 18-yard box and the midfielder made no mistake in finding the target to send the home fans into raptures. The visitors responded by upping the pace but despite carving out some good scoring moves they were unable to finish. Bayswater's best chances to level came through the lively Sal Marrapodi who twice squandered one-on-one's with Ashfield custodian Jonathon Van Der Voet. After the break Bayswater emerged pumped and quickly set about dominating possession but, like the first half, they were again unable to put the ball in the net as Ashfield defended resolutely. Bobbi Klenkoski made way for Nick Stojanovski in the 74th minute and seven minutes later the visitors equalised through Andrew O'Neill whose free-kick from 18-metres gave Van Der Voet no chance. Bayswater then pushed hard for a second goal which arrived after 85 minutes via Kevin Henderson who was on the end of a pin-point cross from Sean Cowman for the match winner. In the reserves Bayswater looked set for victory with first half goals from Ian Davidson, Eddie Parra and Nick Paone, but Ashfield fought back strongly after the break to level the game at 3-3 and earn a share of hte points. Luke O'Neill (2) and Chris Herd scored for Bayswater's Under-18 side in their 3-1 win.
Mandurah City consolidated their position as equal leaders of the First Division with a hard fought home win over Leeming Strikers. In a game played in blustery winter conditions, Mandurah went into the game with a strong attacking line-up which paid dividends after 9 minutes when a decisive move down the left found Andrew Rennie whose cross from the by-line and Chris Paschewitz finished decisively. The home team continued to control play in conditions that regularly saw the ball driven across the field by the wind with scoring opportunities few and far between. Against the run of play the Strikers pushed forward against the wind and when the Mandurah defence misjudged their attempt to clear the danger Lucas Whitehouse pounced and the scores were once again level. Mandurah had most of the play in the first half but Jordan Rhodes and Paschewitz were unable to make the most of their chances in front of goal. A minute into the second half the home side won a corner which Rhodes played short to Rennie who laid it back to Rhodes and from his resultant cross Paschewitz was once again positioned well to knock in what would be the deciding goal. The remainder of the game had Mandurah doing much of the defensive work with solid contributions from Cliff Kearns and Jamie Transfield, while on those occasions the backline was breached goalkeeper Mike Green was always on hand to thwart the visiting forwards.
Morley Windmills were again left to rue missed opportunities, as well as some diabolical refereeing, when they went down 0-1 to Queens Park at Coker Park. The match started well enough for Windmills with good chances coming the way of Gary James, Simon Messenger and Nigel Comito who were all denied by some sharp goalkeeping. With the visitors on top Marco Schisano shot wide by a matter of centimetres before Michael Campbell put the ball into the net only to have the goal disallowed for offside. Windmills suffered a crippling blow six minutes from half-time when Kenny Dunne was dismissed for his second yellow card offence. Using the extra player to full advantage, Queens Park took the lead ten minutes into the second half as Adrian McBride's shot caught goalkeeper Matt Darling unsighted. The visitors tried valiantly to get back into the game but found the task to much as Queens Park defended resolutely to claim victory and move up the table into sixth place. Windmills reserves climbed off the bottom of the table with a 1-0 win thanks to a Mark Aldworth goal, while Queens Park claimed the under-18's by 4-1.
Kingsway Olympic welcomed Rockingham City to the north with both teams eager to gain maximum points and begin what will be a very slow climb back up the First Division table. In a physical start to the game it was Olympic that had the better of play before the early pressure paid off with Steve Bretti tapping in from close-range after 4 minutes. The home team continued to threaten and Bretti doubled the lead with another poachers goal after 16 minutes. Two goals down and with their hopes fading fast, Rockingham tightened up considerably at the back to hold their opponents at the bay for the remainder of the half while mounting a few good attacks of their own. Jonathan Crawford wsa one the end of one such move and he pegged back the gap with a clinical finish leading into the half-time break. The second half was more of a battle with both teams fighting doggedly for every ball and neither able to creative muchin the way of clear cut chances as the game petered out in a 2-1 win to Olympic. The win made it a happy day for the home side who also won the two earlier games, victory in the reserves coming with a 1-0 scoreline while in the under-18's it was 3-1.
Dianella White Eagles may have defeated Stirling Suns 2-1 but the result may yet be overturned at a tribunal hearing next week. Armadale came away from Balcatta with all three points courtesy of a 4-2 scoreline. Darren Ingham (2), Craig Anderson and Jason Goodwin were on target for the Reds while the home side's goals came from Michael Chiari and Gavin Falco-Brown. A Ross Weir goal after 31 minutes gave The City victory on the road to Canning City. Southside United went down 3-5 to South West Phoenix at Walter Padbury Reserve. A hat-trick by David Rogers in the space of eleven minutes plus goals in the last five minutes from Jamie Lister and Greg Hayes gave Phoenix the points and cancelled out goals a second half double from Scott Cooper and Bobby White's strike after 87 minutes.
N.S.L. SET TO GO SUBURBAN?
Perth's suburbs are likely to host National Soccer League fixtures next season as Perth Glory make tentative plans to play home games in Fremantle and Joondalup. The new season is scheduled to kick-off on 20th September but the redevelopment of Perth Oval is not due for completion until the end of November with Glory's first home game at the venue set down for the weekend of 6th December. The club have approached Soccer Australia to play their first twelve games of 2003/04 away and the second half of the season at the re-vamped stadium. "But we don't expect to get all of that," said chief executive officer Jeff Dennis recently. "We will probably have to play a couple at least at home so it would be a wonderful chance to take some games to the suburbs. Fremantle and Joondalup spring to mind as options and we will be exploring the opportunities."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
With goalkeeper Rob Scarparolo sent off midway through the second half, it took a stoppage time goal from Mark Pottier for Perth S.C. to see off a gallant Stirling Lions and maintain their seven point lead at the head of the Premier League table. Cockburn City leapfrog over Fremantle City courtesy of a 2-1 win at Dalmatinac Park, while in the north honours were shared after E.C.U. Joondalup mounted a second half revival to draw 3-3 with local rivals Sorrento. Western Knights' poor run continued with a surprise 1-2 home loss to Inglewood United, and Floreat Athena were held 2-2 at home by Bassendean Caledonian.
Bayswater City and Mandurah City continue to match eachother at the top of the First Division table. Bayswater left it until late to come from behind and defeat Ashfield 2-1, while Mandurah had a tough home encounter with Leeming Strikers who eventually went down by the same scoreline. Dianella White Eagles move into third with a 2-1 win over Stirling Suns, Armadale defeated Balcatta 4-2, and Queens Park over-powered Morley Windmills 1-0. Kingsway Olympic knocked off Rockingham City 2-1, The City accounted for bottom side Canning City by 1-0, and Southside United went down 3-5 at home to South West Phoenix.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
On Saturday two of the local games biggest derby’s take place at opposite ends of the city. With both teams sitting near the head of the table the match of the round takes place at Dalmatinac Park where a fiercely contested battle is assured between Cockburn City and Fremantle City, while up north E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento go head-to-head at the Edith Cowan University Campus. Perth S.C. return to action with an away meeting with Stirling Lions, and Inglewood United will need victory over Western Knights in order to stay in touch with the top half of the table. Floreat Athena welcome Bassendean Caledonian to Litis Stadium, and it’s Swan I.C. that has the bye this weekend.
The big game in this weekend’s round of First Division fixtures takes place at Dianella Reserve where fourth-placed Dianella White Eagles take on third-placed Stirling Suns. Ashfield have a difficult home fixture with near-neighbour Bayswater City, while at Coker Park three very important points go on the line as Queens Park meet Morley Windmills. Mandurah City are expected to account for Leeming Strikers, Kingsway Olympic will be wanting to get back to winning ways when they host Rockingham City, and The City are favoured over Canning City. Elsewhere, Balcatta are home to Armadale and South West Phoenix make the trip to Walter Padbury Reserve where they play Southside United.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE US SAYS FREMANTLE’S SURTEES
Having worn the colours of Fremantle City for over a decade, it’d be a safe bet that Craig Surtees knows a thing or two about the game. So when the 31-year commented that he wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the port side’s strong start to the current campaign you knew there must have been good reason behind his thinking. “We had a solid pre-season with sufficient warm-up games, and a good nucleus of young players with the right experienced players around them,” Surtees explained this week. Coach Greg Kazmer has got us playing a quicker, shorter style of game and gave us the belief that we could match it with any team on the day. We certainly had the desire to do well and the first game against Perth, which we lost 4-0, acted as a wake up call for us. A lot of people immediately had us finishing in the bottom few of the table and that only gave us even more motivation to prove them wrong. We have a strong squad with a lot of quality players in the wing to do a job when called on.”
With the table beginning to have some meaning, the Fremantle defender senses that the month of July will sort out the championship contenders from the pretenders. “The next few weeks are really going to set the foundations for who will be amongst the top five at the end of the season,” he said. “At Fremantle we are treating every game like a final as about six teams are within a few points of each other, so one slip-up could see us fall amongst the pack in mid-table. Luckily we are yet to meet most of these teams for a second time so our destiny is firmly in our own hands. If we play to our strengths and maintain the belief in ourselves then I’m confident we will be there come finals time as we do have the players and the coaching staff to make Fremantle a solid contender for honours.”
“In all my time with Fremantle, I don’t think the club has ever had as much potential to become a dominate force in future years than with the stock of young players they possess today - from the first team right down to the juniors,” added Surtees. The fact the current Fremantle squad is one of the youngest in the local game is testament to the hard work in laying the foundations for what has become recognised as one of the states best youth development systems. With the vast majority of Fremantle’s senior list under the age of 23, Surtees says the clubs youngsters have made the transition to first team football with great enthusiasm and confidence as a group. “I have been pleasantly surprised how these young boys have stepped up and held their own in the Premier League. I think with the team we have at the moment we have a lot of talented youngsters who have pulled together to play like a team. This bond and belief in ourselves has got us in a position were we can compete with the best clubs in the league.”
Over the years Fremantle have produced some outstanding young talents who have gone on to bigger and better things, amongst them Perth Glory midfielder Gary Faria and teenager Matt Danskin who is currently under contract with German club Werder Bremen. Of the current crops of youngsters it is Dean Apelgren and John Migas have displayed the potential to play the game at the next level according to Surtees. “Dean is a versatile young player who has been cementing his place in the back line of our squad with his confidence on the ball and hard tackling. However he also has the ability to get forward and beat players and deliver quality crosses in the box,” said the Fremantle defender. “John is a solid direct playing midfielder, his talent lies in his ability to weave past his opponent with speed and power and get himself and the ball in the danger zone. He not only sets up vital goals but he also can bag a few himself - certainly a player that can change a game.”
Surtees first played senior football as a teenager at Kingsway Olympic and in January 1990 was part of the Australian Schoolboys squad, along with fellow West Australian Rob Peruzza, that toured the United States of America and England. After a couple of seasons with Stirling Macedonia (nee Lions) Surtees commenced what would become a long and successful association with the Fremantle club, and one which would see him experience all the highs and lows the local game has to offer. In the early to mid 1990’s Surtees twice tasted the bitterness of relegation, but on both occasions the club bounced straight back into the top flight after just a single season in the First Division. Once back in the Premier League Fremantle set about establishing themselves as major force on the local scene, and Surtees was to play a key role in their success.
Having finished runners-up in 1997 and third the following two seasons, Fremantle finally reaped the rewards for their hard work in 2000. Semi-finalists in the Night Series and Boral Cup competitions, victory in their final game of the regular season gave the port side their first ever Premier League crown by the narrowest of margins, edging out the Western Knights on goal difference. “That the Championship squad was the strongest I have played with at Fremantle,” commented Surtees, whose season was capped by being named the club’s Fairest and Best award. “We had a rock solid defense with the likes of Dave Evans, Evan Wallace and Dulio Xavier at the back, and our combination in the midfield of Steve Bourne, Paul McVittie, Scott Clissold and Gary Faria proved highly successful. And with Trim Morgan up-front we had someone who could put the ball away when we needed it most.”
In a lengthy playing career Surtees said two coaches - Stuart Kamasz and Greg Kazmer - had left their mark on him. “When Stuart came to the club he brought with him a wealth of knowledge and skill that I hadn’t found in other coaches, and his reputation for winning championships spoke for itself. He enticed big name players to the club like Bourne, Morgan and McVittie, and he brought as an assistant coach Mick Tetlow to give the club a more professional feel. Having these people around me gave me someone to look up to and motivated my desire to win a championship. The second coach to stand out is Greg Kazmer, who was appointed to first team at a difficult time and it’s down to his dedication that Fremantle are where we are today. He introduced us to a different style of play, one based more on the South American style were we keep possession with shorter, quicker passes and lots of movement. This style has certainly has given me more confidence on the ball and with the players around me.”
STAN’S PLAN FOR JUNIORS
Soccer has provided Birmingham City midfielder Stan Lazaridis the kind of life that he only dreamed of as a child. And after close to a decade playing abroad the Australian international is preparing to give something back to the West Australian soccer community in the form of an elite academy for juniors which he hopes will be up and running late this year. “In Holland and parts of Africa kids are learning skills by the age of nine, so by the time they get to sixteen or seventeen they are juggling the ball around 150 times non-stop,” Lazaridis told Channel 7 reporter Steve Nelkovski this week. “If we can implement some of those methods, pinching a few of those ideas, we’ll be able to better develop our young players.”
Lazaridis played locally for Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Macedonia and Floreat Athena before stepping up to the ranks of the National Soccer League with the now-defunct West Adelaide in the early 1990’s. Having made the move to England in 1995 to link up with West Ham United, Lazaridis stressed the importance of young players being mentally as well as physically prepared before they make the move abroad. “Soccer overseas is really difficult and if you are not fully prepared for it it can scare you and you may never want to go back again,” he said. Another aspect Australian youngsters often fail to comprehend is the number of sacrifices that have to be made in order to be successful and play at the highest level. “They’ve got to understand about going out and the alcohol component, what food they’re going to be eating, the times they’re got to be asleep - the whole regime is important.”
WORK TO BEGIN ON PERTH OVAL
Two years after it was proposed, the $10.5 million redevelopment of Perth Oval has officially been given the go-ahead. Last night the Town of Vincent council voted unanimously for the project which will become the home for Western Australia’s National Soccer League representatives Perth Glory. Building will begin next week with the 18,450 capacity stadium expected to be completed by the beginning of December, a month behind schedule. The project is the biggest undertaken by the town whose investment is $4.5 million with the rest provided by the State Government. Allia Holdings, a subsidiary of Perth Glory, will contribute $400,000 each year for 20 years and an additional sum of $80,000 annually for oval repairs and maintenance. The club will also donate $1.2 million worth of equipment including lighting.
SHIRT AUCTION AIDS CANCER
The auction of the shirt Shaun Murphy wore for Sheffield United throughout the 2002/03 season has raised £500 towards cancer research. The Australian defender missed the tail end of the English campaign to help his wife, Alison, through her battle against cancer. The recipient of Murphy’s playing shirt, an anonymous bidder from Beighton in Derbyshire, is reported to have bought it as a present.
SWAN HOST SUCCESSFUL PANEL SHOW (by Mike Hennessey)
Three of Australian soccer's most famous names entertained a healthy audience at the Swan Italian Club late last week. Australian national coach Frank Farina, Perth Glory boss Mich d'Avray and Socceroo Stan Lazaridis formed the expert panel in a lively panel show jointly promoted by Swan I.C. and Inglewood United. Farina had come to the show following a meeting with promoters seeking to bring the Socceroos to Perth possibly in November and January. Farina did point out he is not the one selecting the venues, much depended on finding sponsors and Perth could struggle to compete for fixtures with 80,000 crowds in Sydney and Melbourne. Farina commented that all European clubs would be forced to release their Australian internationals for up-coming friendlies as well as World Cup qualifiers. Thus Perth would see the return of Lazaridis in company with Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill and so forth. In other matters, Farina and d'Avray agreed that Western Australia needed a State director of coaching as currently it is the only state without one. Lazaridis stressed that quality young players could be lost to the world game without the presence of a state director of coaching. The west is currently the only state that receives no state governent grants to cover the cost of a director of coaching position. The panel show was followed by an auction of soccer memorabilia that raised $7,200 for Soccer West Coast.
Back to the www.footballwa.net Archived News Index
This page was last updated on the 31st August, 2003