ASIAN COACHING ROLE FOR SORRENTO'S BUTLER
Former Sorrento midfielder Peter Butler is in the running to become Technical Director of Coaching with the Sabah Football Association in Malaysia. Butler, who made close to 450 appearances for the likes of West Ham United, Notts County and West Bromwich Albion before spending two seasons with the Seagulls commencing 2001, watched Sabah's 2-1 weekend win over Melaka in which former Perth S.C. player Robbie Gaspar scored twice. "Sabah has some good players [and] I think I there is a positive attitude in the side," he said following the match.
JONES STARS FOR AUSTRALIA
Not even the heroics of one-time Bayswater City goalkeeper Brad Jones could prevent Australia's Under-23 team from going down 0-1 to Spain in Lorca yesterday. Following a tentative start to the game by both teams, Jones was tested for the first time midway through the opening half when he kept out a close-range shot from Portillo. Australia's best chance of the half arrived via ex-Perth S.C. attacker Richard Garcia, who replaced Nick Carle after 33 minutes, when his cross found Scott McDonald whose low shot was turned around the post by goalkeeper Victor. Garcia was proving a handful for the home defence and early in the second half made his way past two opponents to shoot from 17-metres only to see Victor save well. Not long after Jones made a good low save to his right to deny Ruben Castro, but there was little the goalkeeper could do when he was left badly exposed by his defence after 64 minutes when Joseba Arriaga made the most of his opportunity to give Spain the lead. Ten minutes from full-time Luke Wilkshire's driving free-kick which went the wrong side of the post was Australia's best chance to even the game. Perth Glory defender David Tarka, who saw out the full game, was the third West Australian who took part in the friendly. "I am pretty pleased with the result in the end, for it was the first time the team had played together as a team," said coach Frank Farina post-match. "I thought Ahmad Elrich, Wayne Srhoj and Brad Jones in goal had very good games." The match is part of the Olyroos' build-up towards the Olympic Games qualifying tournament to be held in January next year.
FANS TO HAVE A SAY (courtesy of www.perthglory.com.au)
Fans of soccer in West Australian will be given the opportunity this weekend to express their support for the reform of soccer in Australia with Perth Glory fans able to sign up at Saturday nights match at Perth Oval. A 10,000 signature petition from the grass roots of soccer in W.A. will be presented to Soccer Australia to urge them to accept in full the recommendations of the Crawford Report, the independent inquiry into the structure and governance of soccer in Australia. The far reaching recommendations of the Crawford Report call for the complete overhaul of the structure of soccer in Australia, with an independent Soccer Australia board, headed by billionaire businessman and long time soccer fan Frank Lowy. Other recommendations include giving voting rights to the real stakeholders in the game, the hundreds of thousands of participants, the juniors, women, referees, amateurs and professional players, in order to make Soccer Australia truly representative of the whole spectrum of soccer in Australia. Soccer, with over 600,000 participants, is now by far the most popular participation sport in Australia.
COONEY MAKES SENIOR DEBUT FOR COVENTRY
Former Inglewood United player Sean Cooney made his senior English League debut on the weekend when he came off the bench for the last eleven minutes of Coventry City's scoreless draw with First Division rival Gillingham. "It was great to see Sean get on because we have played together a few times in the reserves this season and he has shown that if you do well there you will get your chance," said Calum Davenport, a teammate of Cooney, after the game. "He hasn't put a foot wrong in recent weeks and now he's had 15 minutes in the first team that will do him the world of good for next season." With the Sky Blues releasing several first team regulars at seasons' end, the 19-year old central defender is expected to become an integral part of Gary McAllister's first team squad next season having spent the current campaign in the reserve and Under-19 ranks.
LAZARIDIS DELIGHTED WITH NEW OFFER (courtesy of www.tribalfootball.com)
Speaking with the "Evening Mail", Stan Lazaridis says he is delighted with the news that Birmingham City will be offering him a new contract. "Another year, from point of view, is not the greatest thing in terms of how much football I think I've got left in me. I'd love to stay a little bit longer, maybe at least a couple of seasons more. But it's not a case of me having any grudge, not at all. Whatever happens, there's no way I will be leaving next season and that's great. I think the club are saying, in other words, that they're not planning to let me go." 30-year old Lazaridis has had his best season with the Blues since his arrival in 1999. "I have been encouraged by my performances and the team's this season. I've enjoyed it more than any other since I came over here from Australia, on and off the pitch." On the weekend Lazaridis helped guarantee Birmingham's place in the English Premier League next season when he scored their third in the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.
GASPAR SPELLS DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR MELAKA
Two wonder goals from midfielder Robbie Gaspar was enough to help Sabah snatch a narrow 2-1 victory over lowly Melaka in Malaysia's Premier I League over the weekend. Five minutes into the clash the former Perth S.C. player unleashed a thunderous long-range shot that flew straight into the back of the Melaka net to send the 3,000 fans at the ground into a frenzy. Sabah could have increased their lead in the 41st minute as Josiah Seton and Gasper were denied by the goalkeeper in quick succession. But two minutes later Gaspar made amends when his low free-kick from 35-metres took a slight deflection on its' way into the net to put Sabah two goals up. Melaka reduced the margin in the 50th minute but were unable to level the score. Sabah are seventh in the thirteen team M-League.
SCOTLAND STUN THE WORLD! (by Bill McAllister)
The Scotland verses 'the Rest of the World' fundraiser for Derek McKay at Jubilee Reserve this afternoon attracted a good size crowd who were suitably entertained by the stars of yesteryear. All the young players in the state should have been there to see how the simple use of the ball and accurate passing can open up a game. It may have been played at a moderate pace but it was a delight to watch how the players used and worked for each other. The first half saw Willie Kelly score twice for Scotland while down the opposite end Jimmy Coles was on target and a penalty from Leon Plumley made sure the sides went into the break on level terms. Johnny Davidson and Kelly each bagged two second half goals with a youngster Ross Gordon getting Scotland's other to make the final scoreline 7-2. Referee Felix Kelly did a great job in the middle and had no need for cards of any colour, in fact I'm sure he left them at home.
University of W.A. went down 1-2 away to Murdoch University in an action packed WAASSA Premier League fixture on Sunday at Murdoch University. Murdoch adapted to a poor pitch much quicker than their opponents and took the lead after 15 minutes when the lively Heng Ling met a cross from the right to drill the ball past goalkeeper Shayan Young. UWA themselves had a good chance after 20 minutes when Frederik Larsen went clear only to hit the frame of the goal with his shot, and a minute later Robert Benkovic was foiled by the legs of Murdoch custodian Rene Lohier. Roan Albriutsen hit the post as Murdoch sought a second goal, then Alistair Coulthard had two fine shots acrobatically saved by Young. The second half continued in much the same vein and after 53 minutes UWA were back on level terms when a Max Percy corner was headed down by Adam Brett for Benkovic to tap home. Immediately at the other end Brett's clearance was charged down by Coulthard who struck the left hand post before the visitors cleared the danger. On the hour Benkovic was fouled inside the area but the referee awarded a free-kick rather than a penalty, and Percy's shot was pushed over by Lohier. Coulthard gave Murdoch the lead when his shot from just outside the 18-yard box took a wicked deflection off a defender to end up in the opposite corner to its original destination. Murdoch almost scored again but Declan Sharp made an excellent last gasp clearance off the line to deny a certain goal. Close to the end UWA had another penalty appeal turned down after Benkovic was shoved over in the box. "I thought on the chances created Murdoch deserved their win but it was a game that with more fortune we could easily have come away with something," said UWA coach Kevin Burton after the game. "We were simply too slow to adapt to a bumpy, long grassed pitch but obviously it was the same for both sides. Certainly no one could complain about the entertainment value." There was more success for the UWA reserves who claimed victory in their meeting 5-2.
Reigning champions Hamersley Rovers finally kick-started their new campaign with a solid 2-0 defeat of last season's runner- up Forrestfield United. Hamersley welcomed back Welshman Alun Vernals from suspension along with last year's Player of the Year Neil Birkinshaw for this all-important clash. The home side struck after 15 minutes Flavio L'Abbate latched onto a ball touched back from a Forrestfield defender and the striker took his time to score low to the 'keepers left. Soon after Forrestfield had their best chance of the game when on a quick counter-attack Keith Makrell then Wayne Brooks were denied by Aleks Lackovic and his defence. The second half started out in a similar vein with Hamersley holding sway but always on the alert for quick breaks usually instigated by Brooks and Paul Allen. With Simon Kolomyjec leading the home defence, down the opposite end Flavio L'Abbate and Darren Yates were busy in making life difficult for their opponents by creating a string of scoring opportunities. The match slipped from Forrestfield's grip when Flavio L'Abbate poked his second goal in from close-range following another inventive piece of work from Yates. Best on the day for Forrestfield were Kane Gordon-Davidson and Brooks, while for Hamersley it was the L'Abbate brothers, Flavio and Guiseppe, that excelled. Hats off also to referee Ian Cowan who kept the going flowing when other less experience referees would have stopped play missing any advantage the attacking teams may have had.
In other Premier League games, Canning International defeated North Perth United 2-0, and Perth Azzurri were comfortable in victory by a 4-1 scoreline at home against Shamrock Rovers. Spearwood Dalmatinac went down 1-3 to the visiting Fremantle United team, and the points were shared between Kwinana United and Balga, for whom Darren McNally and Craig Dunbar scored, in the 2-2 draw. 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 FOUR (Western Knights vs Cockburn City courtesy of www.westernknights.web1000.com; Stirling Lions vs Sorrento by Don Evans; Floreat Athena vs Swan I.C. by Greg Scali)
E.C.U. Joondalup and Perth S.C. were both close to full-strength for their Premier League clash at the Edith Cowan University ground on Saturday, the only notable absentees being John Higgins and Todd Howarth. After a cautious start, Joondalup's Scott Bulloch creating the first opening when he played inside to Garin Collins who touched it past the advancing Robert Scarparolo and Aaron Cole backed up his goalkeeper to concede a corner as the ball rolled towards the line. Perth's first chance came after 11 minutes as David Onoforo's cross from the left was met by a stinging close-range shot from Rob Giorgi that Luke Croxall blocked with his body. Three minutes later Perth cleared a Bulloch corner of the 18-yard box where Derek Cooke cracking first time shot was tipped over the bar by Scarparolo. The opening twenty minutes set the stage for what looked to be a tight encounter, but Perth's experience soon came to the fore against the young home side.
A great ball through the middle by Mark Pottier after 21 minutes sent David Onoforo away with only the 'keeper to beat but Peter Stewart was quick off his line to eliminate the chance to score. Three minutes later Shane Crampton won possession on the right to send a low centring pass to Giorgi who mis-kicked badly from 2-metres and allowed Stewart to gather. Perth were making good use of the full width of the park and after 31 minutes Crampton beat two defenders on the left and slipped the ball into the path of Giorgi whose brilliant first time shot curled just wide of the top corner. Their breakthrough goal arrived in the 34th minute when Onoforo and Crampton combined on the halfway line to send the latter on a weaving run which took him inside the area before planting a low shot past Stewart. With their dominance asserted, Perth continued to attack. Rhys Graham put Onoforo through but his low effort was just wide of the target. A Gareth Naven free-kick caught the Joondalup defence flat-footed and, after controlling well, Pottier blasted high. And in stoppage time Crampton created space for himself but curled the shot wide.
Playing against the wind in the second half, Joondalup started brightly and determined to get back on level terms. Following a strong run down the right flank, Peter Roberts' low cross into the area evaded several defenders and Bulloch crashed his shot into the base of the up-right, then Collins slammed the rebound narrowly wide. Nine minutes into the half Joondalup had better luck when Perth's defence were slow to react to a corner which went to feet, Peter Vukmirovic's close-range effort was blocked and Scott Blackmore was there to bundle the ball over the line for a deserved equaliser. Five minutes later the home side came close to going in front an out-swinging Scott Bulloch corner was solidly met by Vukmirovic whose header was spectacularly tipped over by Scarparolo. But any hopes Joondalup had of going on with the job received a devastating blow in the 62nd minute when Vukmirovic picked up his second yellow card of the day following a crunching late tackle on Giorgi which left the Perth midfielder writhing in pain.
Two minutes after being reduced to ten men Joondalup went a goal down after Aaron Cole's speculative long-range shot took a wide deflection off an opponent to leave Stewart with no chance of saving. From there Perth took control as they piled on the goals. An in-swinging Adam Bunce corner was brilliantly glanced in by Onoforo after 68 minutes. Five minutes later Bunce made his way down the left, drawing the defence out of position before squaring to the unmarked Onoforo who had the time to pick his spot beyond the reach of the 'keeper. It was 5-1 after 77 minutes as Stewart parried Onoforo's shot and Crampton pounced on the loose ball and knocked it into the back of the net. Substitute Paul Natale made a broke away down the left and cross to Onoforo after 94 minutes but the striker slid the ball wide. Two minutes later a dipping volley by Giorgi from the top of the area was just high. Crampton completed his hat-trick - and the 6-1 scoreline - in stoppage time to rub salt into Joondalups' gaping wound.
The result takes Perth to the top of the Premier League standings after four rounds, the reigning champions having now scored seventeen times in their three league outings. This weeks win was once again orchestrated from midfield where Giorgi, Naven and Pottier worked tirelessly in ensuring Perth would dominant possession and play. The visitors had contributors all over the park in a match that was a team effort in every sense of the phrase. After a poor first 45-minutes, Joondalup came back into the match in the second half as Bulloch and Blackmore stepped up a gear, but once experienced defender Vukmirovic was sent off the home team simply fell apart. "It's would've been really good to see how it might have panned out if we'd had eleven players," said Joondalup coach Stuart Kamasz after the game in reference to Vukmirovic's dismissal. "It wrecked the whole game, and I think 6-1 was a bit unfair on the lads."
E.C.U. Joondalup : Peter Stewart, Peter Vukmirovic, Luke Croxall, Peter
Roberts, Daryl Platten, Derek Cooke (Craig Cheesman 73)), Scott Bulloch,
Darren Broxton, Scott Blackmore (Abdul Kamara 83), Eugene Singeorzan (Tom
Jones 83), Garin Collins
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Steve Willey (Dino Djulbic 73), Aaron Cole, Perry Ielati, Michael Icanovski (Rhys Graham 39), Adam Bunce (Paul Natale 73), Mark Pottier, Gareth Naven, Rob Giorgi, David Onoforo, Shane Crampton
Bookings : Blackmore (20), Vukmirovic (41), Croxall (58), Singeorzan (81), Naven (81)
Disnissals : Vukmirovic (62)
Referee: Michael Klaver
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Despite the heroics of Cockburn City goalkeeper Dino Pacella, the Western Knights registered victory in their clash at Nash Field. The first half was dour affair with only the first and last minutes being memorable. In the opening minute of the game John Nicolaou put Staurt Montgomery through with just the 'keeper to beat but the Knights striker telegraphed his shot and Pacella had no trouble saving. In the final minute of the period Montgomery turned provider, crossing perfectly to Steven Zuvela who powered in a header that Pacella could only push into the net. After the break Pacella was again on hand to deny Montgomery in the 50th minute when he pushed a header that was arrowing for the bottom corner around the post. Five minutes later Montgomery again found himself behind the visiting defence and, having knocked the ball past the advancing Pacella, was body-checked by the 'keeper for what most of the crowd felt was a certain red card - but referee Ron Tully deemed otherwise and Pacella received only a booking. From the ensuing free-kick the Cockburn custodian acrobatically tipped Claus Neilson's rising shot over the crossbar. Pacella again denied Montgomery after 71 minutes when he beat out a volley from close-range following good work by Leon Russell and Carl Medica, and in the final twenty minutes the 'keeper prevented Montgomery from scoring on three further occasions. With three minutes to go the tireless Paul McVittie played a sharp one-two with substitute Stipan Majic who found himself with just the 'keeper to beat, but once again Pacella proved up to the task with a low save to his left. The final margin would have been much greater if not for the heroics of Pacella who, in many people's eyes, was very fortunate to see out the entire match.
In windy conditions at Ken Allen Field a young and fearless Fremantle City hosted an Inglewood United side packed with talent and experience. The first opening came after 6 minutes when Shaun Kilkelly crossed from the left to Ryan Newhill who screw his shot wide of Bobson Koroma's post. Fremantle surged up-field via a mesmerising run from 18-year old John Migas which took him past three opponents before his cross was hit over the bar from close range by Peter Lord. Shortly after Dean Aplegren's shot from 17-metres was well saved by visiting goalkeeper Beni Pietropiccolo. In a competitive match Inglewood created some great chances to open the scoring as Newhill again missed the target from 12-metres, and not long after Alan MacKenzie's cross was nodded wide by Rory Mouttet. Migas hit a shot towards the far post which was miraculously cleared of the line by Jamie Kuzmanovich, while a minute late and down the opposite end Louis Parkinson's left foot effort from an angle skimmed the crossbar. Inglewood started the second half with a surge as Newhill's driving shot at goal was safely captured by Koroma. The ball was quickly turned over by the visitors and Newhill's header was cleared off the line by Alex Cummings then, in a goalmouth scramble, Craig Surtees blocked Parkinson's stab at goal. As the match wore on Fremantle began to hit their stride as Craig Young fired just wide, Branimir Mikulic hit the bar with a fine header, and Anthony Pereira's shot was deflected over the bar. Substitute Llewelyn Bake made his presence felt almost immediately when he surged down the right flank before sending a low cross into the dangerzone which Mikulic controlled then tucked past Pietropiccolo to give Fremantle the lead after 78 minutes. Backed by the home crowd, Fremantle went in search of a second goal which arrived in the 82nd minute via Young who made the most of some poor marking at a corner. The port side were content to run the clock down, although Inglewood did manage once further attack in which Parkinson's shot was smothered by the advancing 'keeper. Few would argue Inglewood's poor finishing cost them today, but it was difficult to deny a spirited Fremantle side which registered their third League win on the run.
Stirling Lions continued their difficult introduction to the state's top flight with a 2-5 defeat at the hands of an experienced and polished Sorrento side at Macedonia Park. The home team were left stunned after 2 minutes of play as Sean Fallon's pass was squeezed in at the near post by David Foster. Sorrento had pace up forward as Todd Harnwell beat his defender near the half way line and before finding Fallon who badly screwed his shot wide of the left post after 10 minutes. The Lions crept back into the game briefly with Keegan Ashley belting a scorcher just over the bar and New Zealander Adam Rains embarking on a penetrating run only to have his shot cleared by a desperate Sorrento defence. The 23rd minute saw Fallon double the visitors lead when he was gifted an easy goal following some good lead-up play from Richard Watson, Tony Cumace and Harnwell. Again the Lions attempted to claw back into the match with Toby Wright, Adam Rains and Danny Carlino coming close but not finishing with effect. The Seagulls were focused on killing off the match and in the 38th minute did just that as Foster crossed the ball perfectly to captain Glen Thomas who rose to head into the top corner of Jordan Conti's net. Some poor defending at a corner resulted in Fallon volleying in his second goal after 41 minute, and the half-time whistle couldn't come quick enough for the Lions as Harnwell tapped in Sorrento's fifth goal two minutes into stoppage time. The Lions were a totally different side in the second half and came out firing with an early own goal from Cumace whose blasted the ball into the roof of the net after some tenacious persistence by Stejpan Beretovac. Unwilling to conceded defeat, the home team earnt their opponents respect with a strong second half performance that was led from midfield by Victor Bogos, Ashley and Beretovac. The better supply from the middle of the park culminated in a fine team goal after 60 minutes which was finished off by Danny Carlino. There were several near misses for both sides over the closing stages of this match but there was no addition to the score as Sorrento claimed maximum points courtesy of a first half blitzkrieg.
Swan I.C. took their improved form to Litis Stadium on Saturday and went home with maximum points courtesy of a deserved 2-1 win over Floreat Athena. With both sides looking for their first win of the league season, the first 15 minutes was dominated by the respective defences with neither side willing to commit players forward. Athena sweeper Troy Bernard created the first chance of the match when he hit the crossbar from a free-kick in the 17th minute following a surging run from inside his own half. A minutes later Swan goalkeeper Corey Hugo made a courageous save at the feet of Sasha Kilibarda as he zeroed in on goal. With Swan lifting their workrate across the entire park, the black and whites dominated the next twenty minutes which started with Christian Marrochi's header going just wide after clever work from Elton Holmes and Tom Shepheard. A minute later the visitors went ahead when Athena's defence coughed up possession to allow Paul Lincoln to score his first of the afternoon with a delicate chip over the 'keeper. Taseski kept out Holmes' effort from the top edge of the 18-yard box as Swan sought a second, and the Athena 'keeper followed this with a fantastic reflex save from close-range to again deny Holmes. Swan were rewarded for their hard work ten minutes from half-time as Holmes' shot came back off Taseski and Lincoln was well-place to knock in his second goal. Against the run of play, Athena reduced the deficit via Andreas Oliveira who showed his class by scoring from close range with the last kick of the half. The home side controlled the tempo after the break with Bernard and Michael Lardis having their best of their chances, but in general Athena found it difficult to break down their opponents defence which was lead by Carlos Echivierra. Down the opposite end Holmes shot wide, Shepheard was denied appeals for a penalty, and substitute Terry Nicolaou could have scored with his first touch but mis-hit from 12-metres. With five minutes remaining Taseski was again at his brilliant best in parrying a Holmes strike and Justin Hugo skied the loose ball from close-range. In stoppage time Bernard had a chance to earn Athena a point but his attempted lob went narrowly over the crossbar. Going on today's performance, Swan are very much on the improve and really should not be underestimated.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Sorrento controlled their away reserves meeting with Stirling Lions from the moment Daniel Cagovski placed his header in the back of the net following a fine corner from man-of-the-match Daniel Stoitis after 4 minutes. Seven minutes into the second half Cagovski lobbed goalkeeper Paul Larkin from a narrow angle to score his and the teams second of the match. And on 79 minutes Jake Harman showed control to step inside and slot home to take his season tally to five goals and complete Sorrento's 3-0 triumph. The win keeps the Seagulls level third with Western Knights and Inglewood United on seven points
Perth S.C. sit undefeated and atop the reserves table after four rounds of action. On Saturday the Blues came home with maximum points from their trip north when they defeated E.C.U. Joondalup by 3-1. Vince Tana gave Perth the lead in the 40th minute, and the margin was doubled four minutes later by Eddie Parra. Steve Beesley reduced the gap early in the second half, and five minutes from the end skillful midfielder Ben Rogers sealed victory of the Blues. Level on points with Perth but having played one game more is Floreat Athena who thrashed bottom team Swan I.C. 8-1 at Litis Stadium. The match was over as a contest by the break by which stage Athena held a five goal lead. Matthew Novatsis (3), Robert Cibesku (2), Christopher Gakis (2) and Theo Xidas where the scorers for the home side, while Swan's lone goal came from Damian Todorovic.
Danny Butler gave the Western Knights the early lead in their home clash with Cockburn City. The match came to life with a flurry of goals shortly before and after the break as Stipan Majic made it two-nil, Miguel Ortin pegged back a goal for the visitors after 41 minutes, and Mileta Miletic levelled the match six minutes in the new half. Butler restored the Knights lead after 73 minutes and five minutes later Majic gave the home team some breathing space to open up a two-goal buffer. Cockburn finished strongly with Richard Lacey netting in the 89th minute, but the Knights held out to record a tough 4-3 win. Fremantle City claimed maximum points for the first time this season with a 4-2 result over the visiting Inglewood United side. A first half double from Jamie Jorqueria and late goals by Daniel Barlow and Joe Liguan got the port side over the line. Lee Haienko and Scott Campbell were on target for Inglewood.
Two teams remain undefeated after four rounds of the Under-18 competition. A goal early in the second half by Troy Dott enabled Floreat Athena to defeat a very young Swan I.C. line-up 1-0 to stay top of the table on goal difference ahead of E.C.U. Joondalup who were held to a 1-1 draw by Perth S.C. Stephen Worthy gave the Blues the lead after 23 minutes and Phillip O'Callaghan earnt the home team a point with the equalising goal on the hour. Fremantle City ran riot at home against Inglewood United to register a 7-2 triumph through goals from Marc Sim (4), Mo Atak (2) and James Rickers, Inglewood's scorers were Demir Arslanoski and Mladen Kovacevic. Cockburn City notched up their first win of the campaign when Justin De Abreu bagged the only goal of their meeting with Western Knights.
At Macedonia Park, Sorrento put three past Stirling Lions without reply to ease their way on to seven points, level with Fremantle. After a scrappy first half, Dennis Galan scored a fine goal by sending his shot into the top left corner to get the Seagulls flying after 61 minutes. Brodie Martin doubled the lead when he found the same spot eight minutes later, and debutant Jay McDonald completed the scoreline with a low strike from in front eight minutes from the end. The result ends a disappointing eight-day period for the young Lions who last weekend were thrashed 13-0 by Perth then, two days later, were dumped from the Boral Cup by First Division club Leeming Strikers.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIX (Southside United vs Mandurah City by Barrie Rennie; Bayswater City vs Queens Park by Adam Rucci; Stirling Suns vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro)
Mandurah City traveled to Walter Padbury Reserve for the second time in six days where they out-played Southside United 7-0 to go top of the First Division on goal difference. The visitors dominated the game from start to finish, leading two-nil by half-time before going into overdrive to add a further five goals to their tally after the break. It was a complete team effort by Mandurah whose defence never permitted the opposition forwards a real look at goal with Damien Condo again rock solid at the heart of their backline. Up front the forwards ran riot with Michael Bobridge and Christian Paschewitz scoring twice each and Jordan Rhodes, Andrew Rennie and Alan Fitzmaurice, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, netting one apiece. Star midfielder Rhodes was at his creative best and worked hard to ply the pressure to the Southside rearguard. The goal of the match came when Rhodes passed to Rennie who returned the ball with a clever back-heal from between three defenders, Rhodes then crossed perfectly to Paschewitz to finish. Birthday boy Fitzmaurice left the goalkeeper floundering with a long-range strike, while Rhodes netted from the spot after being brought down inside the area after making a searching run into attack. Goalkeeper Mike Green had a relatively simple days work, called upon just once to deflect the ball over the crossbar. There is little doubt this was Mandurah's best effort so far this season and sets the side up for some interesting home games in the next fortnight against Dianella White Eagles and South West Phoenix.
The City won the first game of their short history by out-playing Kingsway Olympic, who led the First Division table going into the weekend, at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Olympic took the lead early on after Barry McLeod brought down Sota Iwasaki inside the area and Steve Bretti converted from the penalty spot. Midway through the half a well directed header from John Wyeth saw the two teams go into the break on level terms. Five minutes into the new half Olympic again went in front via the penalty spot as Bretti bagged his eighth goal of the campaign. The City made an equalising goal mysteriously disallowed after the two sides had returned to the center to restart the game, the referee's decision leading to a heated argument which resulted in The City's Rod McMullen being dismissed for dissent. Showing great spirit and determination, The City battled on and were rewarded when Matt Deddie scored midway through the second half. Unfortunately, Deddie would take no further part in the game as he was stretchered from the playing surface as he collided with the post and tore his cruciate ligament in the process of scoring. Ten minutes from full-time Scott Wyeth capped a memorable day for the home side when he netted from the penalty spot to give The City a hard-fought victory. "It was a great local derby played in front of a very large vocal crowd," said The City coach Stuart Currie after the game. "We deserved the win, we're playing well and we will climb the table."
It was a big game at Frank Drago Reserve where Bayswater City came up against a confident Queens Park side who were looking to take home maximum points. The match started slowly with both sides trying to get on top of the other and it was the home team that settle the better as Gareth Healy and Kevin Henderson began to dominate midfield. The first chance of the afternoon came the way of Boima Karpeh who superbly rounded a defender only to hit his shot wide of Darren William's goals. Not long after Bayswater pushed forward again and this time created a good chance through Sal Marrapodi who let himself down with a poor finish. The visitors first opening came through midfielder Adrian McBride whose shot hit the outside of the post. Like in recent weeks, Bayswater came out firing on all cylinders for the second period and ten minutes in Nick Stojanovski marked his debut in the starting line-up by bagging the teams opening goal by expertly putting the ball past Williams. Bayswater then attacked seemingly at will and soon went two-nil up via Kevin Henderson who scored his fourth goal of the season. The final nail in Queens Park's coffin arrived ten minutes from full-time when Andrew O'Neill's corner was met by Dario Pellicciotti whose header went flew directly into the back of the net. Shortly after Queens Park went down to ten men with the dismissal of substitute Jodi Henderson following a confrontation with the referee. The win moves Bayswater into joint third spot, one point behind leaders Mandurah and Olympic, after six games. The Unde-18 game ended in a 5-0 win to Queens Park, while the Under-18 clash finished 4-1 in favour of Bayswater.
An interesting weekend of results meant Armadale could be relatively content at taking away just a single point from their away meeting with Stirling Suns. On a small and bumpy pitch it was the respective goalkeepers that were the stand-out performers, both making some important saves throughout the match to keep the teams on a level footing. The Reds had a few injury concerns ahead of the match and, with a reshuffled line-up, were happy with taking home a point. After six games Armadale find themsleves in fifth spot, only two points adrift joint leaders Mandurah City and Kingsway Olympic, while the Suns sit joint second on a congested First Division table. Despite goals from Greg Newcombe, Matt Bennion and Cameron Richens, it was a lacklustre performance from Armadale's reserves who claimed victory by 3-2. The Reds Under-18 side cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win with first half goals from Omar Mohammed and Peter Taylor, while after the interval goalkeeper Robbie Easton made some great saves before Taylor added to his tally by completing his hat-trick.
The points were shared at John Connell Reserve where Leeming Strikers and Ashfield played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in windy conditions. The visiting team took the lead midway through the first half via the experienced David Mayers whose shot had the pace taken off it by Strikers custodian Phil De Souza. Sparked into life at conceding, the home side responded with several good attacking raids before Angelo Porrovechio slotted in the equaliser. Minutes after Porrovechio earnt his side a penalty which was converted by Lucas Whitehouse to give the Strikers the lead going into the break. With a strong wind at their back, Ashfield pressed hard for an equaliser that should have come from the penalty spot but the effort was pushed wide of the target. But the visitors didn't have to wait too much longer before Matt Pochroj brought them back into the game following an error in defence by the Strikers. The home team suffered a body blow with the dismissal of Phil Bell for a second yellow card offence, the midfielders departure forcing the Strikers to defend in numbers until the final whistle. Ashfield claimed the reserves meeting by a 4-2 scoreline, Martin Kelly (2), Winter Ngyun and Ricardo Garzon the scorers, while the Under-18 match ended 4-0 in favour of the Strikers.
Canning City travelled north to Dianella Reserve where they met a confident Dianella White Eagles side fresh from 2-2 draw with then league leaders Kingsway Olympic. It was a flat performance from the visitors who were playing their third game in eight days and it came as no surprise when Dianella took the lead through striker Dragan Njegic after 35 minutes. Philip Smiljanic completed the 2-0 scoreline after the break when he converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Zelko Savic. South West Phoenix picked up a crucial away point when they held Morley Windmills 1-1 at Wotton Reserve. And Rockingham City defeated the visiting Balcatta team 3-2 to record their second win of the home-and-away campaign.
SPIRITED PERFORMANCE FROM GLORY
Perth Glory have moved a step closer to a third home Grand Final with a 3-0 defeat of Northern Spirit at North Sydney Oval tonight. Australian international Damian Mori headed Glory in front after 12 minutes following a superb cross-field pass from Scott Miller to an unmarked Matt Horsley who found Mori in front of goal. Spirit won a succession of corners towards the end of the first half but could not level the score. A clinical pass thirteen minutes after the re-start led to Glory's second goal, Brad Hassell carving open the home defence to allow Andre Gumprecht a clear shot from close-range. Simon Colosimo rounded off an excellent match eleven minutes from full-time when he did the lead up run to provide Bobby Despotovski with his eighth goal of the play-off series. For their part, Spirit were let down by an inability to score, the home team often displaying good control and some slick passing only to fall apart when within scoring range. "Perth is the best team in the competition and it will be hard for anyone to beat them," said Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna after the game.
INGLEWOOD 'KEEPER SIDELINED
Inglewood United with be without Nick Stone for the next few months after the goalkeeper broke his leg on the training track on Thursday night. United coach Jimmy Pearson said 23-year old had fallen awkwardly when his studs caught in the ground as he turned to chase a ball. It was initially thought the former Bournemouth 'keeper had dislocated his ankle but he has since had an operation to repair the break. With State representative Oliver Taseski having recently signed with Floreat Athena, Pearson will call up 19-year old Beni Pietropiccolo for Saturday's clash with Fremantle City.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. have continued their perfect start to the season with a 6-1 mauling of E.C.U. Joondalup. With the game evenly poised, it was the dismissal of Peter Vukmirovic that proved the turning point as Perth piled on five goal in the last 26 minutes to claim maximum points. Fremantle City won their third game on the run by defeating Inglewood United 2-0, while there were goals aplenty at Macedonia Park where Sorrento emerged 5-2 victors over Stirling Lions. Western Knights downed Cockburn City 1-0, and Swan I.C. registered their first win of the campaign by 2-1 away at Floreat Athena.
A 7-0 away thrashing of Southside United has elevated Mandurah City to top spot in the First Division after six rounds of fixtures. Previous leaders Kingsway Olympic went down 3-2 to The City who collected maximum points for the first time this season, while Bayswater City accounted for Queens Park 3-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. Stirling Suns and Armadale played out a scoreless draw, and the points were also shared between Leeming Strikers and Ashfield as well as Morley Windmills and South West Phoenix. Dianella White Eagles defeated Canning City 2-0, and Rockingham City proved too strong for Balcatta by 3-2.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
A congested Premier League table after three rounds has paved the way for some very important games this weekend. With one win from three starts, both Western Knights and Cockburn City will be desperate for maximum points to lift them into the upper reaches of the table when they meet at Nash Field. Fremantle City have had a good start to the new campaign and will view their home clash with Inglewood United as a measuring stick of their potential. In the northern suburbs E.C.U. Joondalup's young team take on the might of Perth S.C. who are coming off two big wins last weekend. Stirling Lions are home to Sorrento in what promises to be another cracker, and three crucial points are on the line at Litis Stadium where both Floreat Athena and Swan I.C. are aiming to register their first win of the season. The bye this week goes to Bassendean Caledonian.
First Division leaders Kingsway Olympic this week make what is one of the shortest away trips in the world when they take on bottom side The City at the Kingsway Sporting Complex. Stirling Suns have a difficult home fixture with an Armadale side on the improve, and Southside United will be out to avenge Monday's Cup loss to Mandurah City when they meet for the second time in six days at Walter Padbury Reserve. Leeming Strikers and Ashfield, two of the competition's youngest teams, go head-to-head at John Connell Reserve, Bayswater City host Queens Park, and Morley Windmills are home to South West Phoenix. Canning City travel to play Dianella White Eagles, struggling Rockingham City have home ground advantage over Balcatta.
BENEFIT DISCO AT WINDMILLS
Morley Windmills will be having a benefit disco for first team player Justin Jensen, who seriously broke his leg in two places in a friendly game against Swan I.C. in March. The disco will be held at the Morley Windmills Soccer Club at Wotten Reserve on Saturday 3rd May starting at 7:30pm. Entry is only $15 with all money raised to help Justin's recovery. Anyone interested in buying tickets can contact Gary James on 93775651 or 0403 310 141.
PAST STARS RE-LIVE GLORY DAYS
The stars of yesterday year will be pulling on their playing boots this Sunday at Jubilee Reserve in a benefit match for Derek McKay. The former Aberdeen legend recently suffered serious injuries as a result of being knocked over by a car and looks like being unable to work for up to twelve months. To assist with making ends meet, the local soccer community has pulled together for a Scotland verses 'the Rest of the World' match at the home of Bassendean Caledonian, kick-off at 3.00pm with all proceeds going to MacKay. Amongst those who are set to play are Johnny Davidson, Ronnie Campbell, Ray Ilott, Ernie Hannigan, Mick Palmer, Steven Sceats, Paul Middleton, Tommy Maras, Bill Murray, Peter Holt, Jim Crone, Jimmy Coles, Hugh Robertson, Len Dundo, Peter Holt, Jack Kennedy, John Sydenham and Keith Mitchell.
MICEVSKI STARS IN BIG WEEKEND FOR PERTH
It was a huge weekend for the Under-18 side at Perth S.C. The young Blues side belted their Stirling Lions counterparts 13-0 in Saturday's League meeting and two days later bettered that result with a 19-0 thrashing of Queens Park in the second round of the Boral Cup. "The wins against Stirling Lions and Queens Park were quite remarkable," said 17-year old David Micevski this week. "I think the reason behind those big scores is that at Perth we play as a unit, work as a team and I would say are better organised than the teams we played on Saturday and Monday. We move off the ball for each other which makes life easier for the rest of the team. However, I think there is always room for improvement and we'll just have to wait and see this weekend when we play top of the table E.C.U. Joondalup ... they should be a test for us!"
Micevski played a key role in both scorelines over the Easter long weekend, scoring six goals in each of Perth's outings. "I was pretty pleased with my performances in the two matches although I certainly wasn't expecting to score six goals in both games, especially coming from midfield," said Micevski who started out playing junior football for Stirling. "I thought six against the Lions was a pretty good achievement, but it turned out to be my Easter weekend with another double hat-trick against Queens Park. From the twelve goals I scored in those two games there were some memorable ones and there's little doubt that I'd rate these games as the ones that would stand-out in my career." With much of the Perth Under-18 team drawn from the clubs highly successful youth development program, it seems the future of the club is in very safe hands.
START DOESN'T SURPRISE OLYMPIC'S STERN
Few would have been brave enough to predict in pre-season that, after the first month of competition, Kingsway Olympic would be undefeated and two points clear of their nearest rival at the top of the First Division table. But the clubs promising start to the new season comes as no surprise to centre-half Jason Stern. "I'm not really surprised with the way we have started 2003," the 20-year old commented. "We had a good run at the end of last year which really put us in good stead for this season. We have a tremendous team spirit down at Kingsway which is a carry over from last year and, while all of the club are extremely pleased with the early results, we feel that we haven't yet played to our full potential."
There are several key differences between the Olympic side which ended last season in the bottom half of the table and this years model according to Stern. "Last year we really struggled to score goals but at the same time we conceded very few," he said. "This season we are banging them in with new signing Steve Bretti playing brilliantly and getting amongst the goals. Also, our midfield and defensive players are popping up with goals which really helps out. And several of our younger lads have stepped up to the senior squad as a result of the experience they've gained. In fact a big part of our start has been the impact of the reserves who are making competition for places very intense - they are certainly keeping us first teamers on our toes!"
Olympic underlined their strength over the Easter long weekend by dumping Premier League side Stirling Lions from the Boral Cup. "It was an absolutely brilliant team effort," commented Stern. "Two-nil up after 20 minutes or so and we were buzzing until Kaylon Tsenov, our goalkeeper, was harshly sent off. We defended brilliantly as a team and Stirling hardly had a decent chance in the first term. We just dug in for the second half until Stirling were awarded a penalty, which they scored from, but the spirit and willingness to put our body on the lines for our mates pulled us through. It was a massive confidence boost as we went into the game with no expectations and coach Sean Lynch just said to go out and enjoy ourselves, which we did."
The 30-game First Division season is going to be a very long slog for some clubs and, recognising the need depth, Olympic made some important signings over the summer. "We brought in Steve Bretti (Stirling Lions), Sota Iwasaki, Stuart Corr (both Wanneroo City), Scott Evans (Perth City) and Danny Taylor returned from England," said Stern. "You never know what may happen over a long season but with the strength and depth that we have I think we can be there or thereabouts. When a player gets injured or suspended we have someone just as good to come in and replace them at the moment. If I had to single out a top five I think I'd go for Kingsway, Mandurah City, Bayswater City, Armadale and Queens Park that's keeping in mind that I've not seen all the teams yet."
LAZARIDIS CHASES TWO YEAR DEAL (courtest of www.tribalfootball.com)
Stan Lazaridis says he is still keen to seal a new contract with top flight English club Birmingham City. "I'd like to stay for another two years as I feel I could do a job for the team, but obviously it depends on whether the club want me to stay. We'll have to wait and see as it rests in their hands, but Birmingham is a good club and I want to be part of it," the midfielder said this week. "It has been a really good season for me and if we stay up then it will be a good reflection on both me and the team - hopefully I will have contributed towards it."
"When I first came here, there was huge expectation on me," Lazaridis continued. "The club had invested a lot of money in me and at times you do feel the pressure, especially when things aren't going so well. Fans will automatically look at their No.1 signings and think 'what's he doing?'. But this season there have been a number of big names coming in and in some ways I was forgotten at the start of the campaign. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it allowed me to concentrate on my football and took a lot of weight off my shoulders. It allowed me a lot more freedom and just to play football. I feel really confident now in every game that I play and try to contribute to the team's performance by providing chances. The fans have been good to me and I always feel as though something is going to happen when I get the ball."
FIVE LEAVE INGLEWOOD
The season may only be a few weeks old but already there has been considerable movement out of the Inglewood United camp. The signing of former Bournemouth goalkeeper Nick Stone resulted in Oliver Taseski seeking greener pastures, the State number two taking up an offer to spent the home-and-away season with Floreat Athena. State Under-19 representative Admir Mehic, who played last season with Future Glory, has opted to take 12-months off for study reasons, while there are unconfirmed rumours that talented left wing-back Andy Cornmell has parted company with Inglewood. 22-year old Michael Di Fulvio, who established himself as a first team regular last year, has ended his lengthy association with Inglewood by strengthening the defensive stocks at Swan I.C. The black-and-whites are also the new club for teenager Scott Patterson who made his senior debut in last weekend's Boral Cup tie over Cockburn City.
GLORY BACK ON TV (courtesy of www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory matches will again be seen on free-to-air television thanks to the support of Channel 7, Access 31 and FST Media Services. Channel 7, rights holders to the National Soccer League, has agreed to release the free-to-air rights for Glory's remaining Championship Series games and at least three games will now be shown on Access 31. "This is great gesture by Channel 7," said FST Media Services' Bob Figg, who is executive producer and host of the West Coast Soccer program which airs each Thursday on Access 31. "It means Perth Glory fans can now see the away game against Northern Spirit live on free to air television in Perth via Access 31." The Spirit game will go to air at 5.25pm W.A. time on Anzac Day.
The two remaining Glory home finals, against title rivals Parramatta Power and Olympic Sharks, will receive a delayed broadcast on Access 31. "We have been fortunate in securing financial support from Western QBE, Chicken Treat and Harvey Fresh" said Figg. "It is the good will of Channel Seven in releasing the rights and of Access 31, who have made air-time available, which has made this possible. The W.A. Trotting Association has also been most cooperative in allowing us to take up some of their air-time though we will still feature live pacing races from the Anzac Day meeting during the soccer. The coverage of the away game will be supplied by Expo Channel, which has done a great job of televising Sydney games in the series so far. Media Release Productions will provide coverage of the home games with a five camera shoot planned." Channel 7 will retain all rights to the 2003 N.S.L. Grand Final.
GLORY TO MISS TARKA
David Tarka will miss Perth Glory's National Soccer League clash with Northern Spirit on Friday night due to international commitments. The young defender had hoped to be available for the Glory's championship series game in Sydney before joining the Australian Under-23 squad for the friendly with Spain next Tuesday. But the 20-year-old, who has been a key figure in the heart of Glory's defence this season, will fly out of Perth on Thursday for the Spanish town of Lorca. "I'll miss a finals game but this is an opportunity I had to take," Tarka said. He will return to Perth early on Friday 2nd May and will be considered for selection for the following evenings' home fixture against Parramatta Power.
BORAL CUP, ROUND TWO (Sorrento vs Inglewood United by Kerry Slater; Cockburn City vs Swan I.C. by Greg Scali; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Canning City by Tom Crisken)
First Division club Queens Park made the daunting trip to Dorrien Gardens on Easter Monday for a Second Round Boral Cup showdown with reigning trophy holders Perth S.C. The home side settled the quicker and launched several unsuccessful attacking raids courtesy of some good movement of the ball, while Queens Park showed they would be no pushover with a number of dangerous forward thrusts of their own. Perth took the lead after 15 minutes when a low ball into the area from wide on the left by Adam Bunce avoided the visiting defence to present Shane Crampton with a simple tap-in at the back post. The match was effectively over seven minutes later as Crampton dribbled the ball along the top edge of the 18-yard box before hitting a low shot beyond the out-stretched gloves of goalkeeper Darren Williams. From then on Perth were the only side in this match as central midfielders Gareth Naven and Rob Giorgi took control. The home team were unlucky not to add to their tally shortly before half-time as a stinging Naven drive from 22-metres was defelcted wide, and moments later Albert Osei-Tutu was brilliantly kept out by Williams. Four minutes into the second half Bunce snuck in behind the defence to meet a Rhys Graham free-kick but steered his header narrowly high. Queens Park managed their first real chance on goal via substitute Steve Sauzier after 52 minutes but his effort was blocked by Perry Ielati after good lead-up work by Brian Robertson. Bunce made the margin three goals in the 56th minute after playing a clever one-two with Crampton to go inside the area where he curled the ball around Williams for the goal of the match. Crampton twice squandered one-on-one opportunities with the 'keeper before completing his hat-trick seven minutes from full-time via the penalty spot after Graham had been brought down. While the 4-0 scoreline indicates this was a one-sided game, the truth of the matter is the margin does not truly reflect the enormous gulf that existed between Perth and Queens Park this afternoon.
Simon Harland turned in a man of the match performance to inspire Sorrento to a thrilling 3-2 win over Inglewood United at Percy Doyle Reserve. A Dale McCulloch free-kick from the left found Harland who devastated the visitors by powering home his header from 8-metres to give Sorrento the lead with just 5 minutes elapsed. The home side came close to doubling the margin in the 20th minute Sean Fallon's low cross was turned goalward by Andy Mason only to be deflected wide by Jamie Kuzmanovich. Eight minute later the Seagulls got the result they were after as Todd Harnwell's in-swinging corner was nodded through a crowd of players and over the line by Steven McDonald to make it two-nil. Close to the end of the half Sorrento came close to a third goal when Tony Cumace's low kick came off Inglewood's Alex Josifovski and goalkeeper Nick Stone was forced into a reflex save to keep out the deflection. Seven minutes into the second half and Inglewood pulled a goal back when Louis Parkinson showed his skill to cut inside his marker and dispatch a fine shot into the top corner of Gareth Deeg's net. Minutes later Daniel Harrop unleashed a volley that seemed destined for the same corner until it took a deflection of Fallon and looped over Deeg's crossbar. The visitors drew level after 58 minutes via Shaun Kilkelly who reach a loose ball before Deeg to slot under the body of the 'keeper from a narrow angle. The contest was alive and some enterprising passages of play thrilled the reasonable crowd. With ten minutes remaining Harland's persistence saw him get the better of two defenders before squaring to Fallon who placed his shot beyond Stone's reach to restore Sorrento's lead. Inglewood fought desperately and unsuccessfully to send the game into extra-time only to constantly have their attacking moves break down, although Ryan Newhill's header from a Scott Campbell free-kick did cause some concern on the home bench.
At the opposite end of the city Rockingham City hosted a powerful Western Knights side at Dowling Street Reserve. The visitors should have taken the lead inside the opening minute when Daniel Trim rounded the goalkeeper to cut the ball back to Stuart Montgomery who chip his effort over the crossbar. It was a sign of things to come as the Knights dominated possession but were unable to convert their many chances in front of goal. A thundering drive by captain Carl Medica was deflected wide by a defender, and from the resultant corner Paul McVittie's goal bound header was cleared off the line. Montgomery squandered two opportunities in quick succession after being set-up by Paul Cooke and Leon Russell, the striker rushing both shots past the up-right. After 19 minutes the Knights finally took the lead when Evan Wallace rose above the defence to head home the sides sixth corner. Within two minutes the margin was doubled by Cooke following a nice one-two with Trim before the midfielder knocked the ball under the 'keeper. The goal spurred what had been until now a listless Rockingham performance but, against one of the local game's better defences, they rarely looked like scoring. A long, surging run by Claus Nielsen ended with an inch-perfect cross to Montgomery who tap into a empty net after 32 minutes to make it three-nil. Tommi Tomich was forced into his first real save of the match shortly after the break when a Rockingham forward before a flat-footed defence to go through one-on-one with the 'keeper. But it wasn't long before the visiting side reasserted their control and Medica beat four players before cutting the ball back to Montgomery who scored from 7-metres after 55 minutes. With Trim, Medica and Scott Devine all going close to adding to the tally, Cooke headed in a far post cross by Neilsen for the Knights fifth after 71 minutes. Three minutes from full-time time Montgomery completed his hat-trick following a delightful ball from Alex Christie which put the striker through to round the 'keeper and make the final score 6-0.
Both Cockburn City and Swan I.C. were missing key players due to suspension, injury or unavailability when they met at Dalmatinac Park where the fans were treated to a goal feast. Swan came out of the blocks firing to have their opponents on the back foot from the start. In the 2nd minute Dean Nicolaou's long-range bomb hit the upright, and a minute later Elton Holmes shot wide with only the 'keeper to beat. Holmes got behind the defence in the 10th minute and sent the ball into the path of Nicolaou who made no mistake from close range. Cockburn's first forward movement almost produced a goal but Jeff Bright couldn't make the most of John Mirco's good lead-up. The margin blew out to three-nil very quickly as Nicolaou bagged his second after some clever work by Tom Shepheard, them Holmes got on the end of a Damian Scali through ball to chip the oncoming Dino Pacella. Cockburn reduced the deficit before the break as John Mirco's persistence paid off with a goal from 22-metres. The second continued in the same fashion with Swan adding to there lead after 48 minutes, veteran sweeper Carlo Scali making a penetrating run through midfield before placing his shot into the corner of the net. Although three goals down, Cockburn refused to concede defeat and pulled a goal back through midfielder Domenic De Felice. But it proved to be all in vein as Holmes put the result beyond doubt when he got on the end of a Tom Shepheard cross and headed home from close range, making the final score 5-2 to the visiting team.
Canning City travelled north for Monday's Cup clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. The game started very lively and it looked as though a high scoring affair was on the cards as Joondalup went ahead after 2 minutes through a fine move which was finished off by Scott Bulloch who slotted home from 12-metres. Joondalup rained down on their opponents with wave after wave of attacks that were repelled by a solid Canning backline. The home side began to get frustrated at their lack of penetration as the game wore on, but with five minutes the win was sealed by striker Garin Collins when he converted with a well taken goal. Well done to Canning for a very gutsy display, their youngsters never gave up and ran until the final whistle blew. Despite their lower league status, Canning proved they are able to match it with teams from the top flight and today gave a very spirited account of themselves. For Joondalup, new signing Peter Vukmirovic was the stand-out performer with a superb display at the back.
Kingsway Olympic started their Cup clash with Stirling Lions on the right note after Stuart Corr gave them the lead after 5 minutes. And the home side's lead was doubled shortly after by Danny Trandos whose free-kick came to nestle in the back of the Lions net. Olympic continued to press forward at will with Steve Bretti and Jason Stern both denied in one-on-one situations by young goalkeeper Jordan Conti. The dismissal of Olympic goalkeeper Kaylon Tesonov for handball outside the 18-yard box after half an hour gave the visiting team hope for a come back. Rarely in the game over the opening 45 minutes, the Lions dominated the second period but managed only scattered shots on goal for all their possession. With time running out, the Lions came back into contention when awarded an 76th minute penalty which was converted by Toby Wright to make the score 2-1. Minutes later Olympic's replacement goalkeeper Aidan Hayes was his side's saviour, making a superb reflex save to keep out a goal bound shot by Danny Carlino to ensure the home side progressed to the next stage of the knock-out competition.
In other second round Boral Cup action, Fremantle City defeated Floreat Athena 3-2 at Ken Allen Reserve. Striker Craig Young gave Fremantle the lead after 6 minutes and Branimir Mikulic doubled the margin twenty minutes later as the port side looked to run away with the game. Andreas Oliveira pegged back the deficit after 32 minutes, then levelled the score eleven minutes into the second half. In a tense finish to the match Young bagged his second of the day, and the match winner, three minutes from the end of regulation time. At Walter Padbury Reserve Southside United dipped out of the knock-out competition at the expense of First Division rivals Mandurah City. A penalty converted by Jordan Rhodes and an excellent volley from Christian Paschkewitz midway through the first half set Mandurah down the path to victory in a one-sided match. The home team reduced the margin in the 62nd minute when Brian Murphy pounced on a defensive error to round goalkeeper Mike Green before slotting home. Mandurah played out the match with ten men following the dismissal of Steve Adams for a second bookable offence, while late in the match Southside also had a player sent off.
GLORY ROUT NEWCASTLE (courtesy of www.tribalfootball.com)
Bobby Despotovski's controversial double-strike ensured that Perth Glory would remain top of the National Soccer League's finals table for another weekend as they defeated Newcastle United 4-0 at Perth Oval on Saturday night. Despotovski scored in the 26th minute in an effort where the linesman's off-side flag mysteriously remained down to give the home side what was otherwise a deserved half-time lead. The Australian international then doubled the margin with another disputed goal in the 69th minute after strike partner Damian Mori appeared to hit his cross from over the byline. Second-half substitute Mark Byrnes added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute, his first in Glory colours, and Mori added a fourth goal in stoppage time. But there was no doubt as to Glory's overall attacking dominance in this match, as Despotovski's clinical finishing and midfielder Simon Colosimo's ubiquitous influence propelled he home team to victory. The result means Newcastle are eliminated from Grand Final contention while Glory's third win on the run moves them to the top of the pile, five points clear of their nearest rivals.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THREE (Sorrento vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Kerry Slater and Tom McCrisken; Inglewood United vs Western Knights courtesy of www.westernknights.web1000.com ; Bassendean Caledonian vs Sorrento by Bill McAllister)
The long awaited northern suburbs derby between Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve was undoubtedly the Premier League match of the round. Over the years the two clubs have developed a very healthy rivalry and this season is no different. But adding spice to this years match was the fact Sorrento fielded no less than five former Joondalup players - Gareth Deeg, Richard Watson, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason and Sean Fallon - in their starting line-up. Last weekend the teams experienced contrasting fortunes - Joondalup humbling a highly rated Inglewood United outfit 5-2, while Sorrento were surprise losers at home to Fremantle City. A good crowd gathered on a warm day for what promised to be an entertaining game.
The opening minutes were a racy affair with little in the way of structure to either sides play but plenty in terms of chances on goal. Joondalup should have been a goal to the good after 2 minutes when a good ball over the top presented Garin Collins with the first opportunity but his lob over the advancing Gareth Deeg was wide of the left post. Four minutes later Scott Bulloch weaved his magic inside the area, beating Steve McDonald only to be hauled down by the big defender and referee Jeremy Oliphant had no option but to award a penalty. Darren Broxton stepped up confidently to send the ball for the bottom corner, Deeg guessing the right way and diving full length to get his glove on the ball but unable to prevent it from bobbling over the line to put Joondalup in front. Within a minute the home side should have been level as McCulloch found Todd Harnwell but his lob of Peter Stewart went the same path as Collin's earlier effort.
The home side continued to go on the offensive only to find Stewart in fine form, blocking a powerful blast on goal from Fallon and shortly after hold onto a left footed effort by Harnwell. The goalmouth action continued minutes later as Stewart failed to hold Glen Thomas's shot and defender Peter Roberts made a desperate clearance of the loose ball after the Joondalup 'keeper and Simon Harland collided. Harnwell was good sped inside his marker after 18 minutes and sent the ball past Stewart only to have it go the wrong side of the left post from an angle. Joondalup managed one of their infrequent attacks through the troublesome Collins in the 28th minute, his skill permitting him to kept possession before Richard Watson made a timely interception. The closing stages of the half saw Sorrento up the pace and after 39 minutes they found an equaliser. Tony Cumace clipped a free-kick dangerously into the area from the left to Harland who got the faintest of headers on the ball but it just enough to take it away from Peter Stewart and into the far corner of the net.
Following the half-time break during which the players had time to catch their breath and the spectators the opportunity to reflect on what had been an entertaining period, the second half began as the first had ended with Sorrento pressuring the Joondalup rearguard at every opportunity. A well worked free kick four minutes in ended with Andy Mason's attempt deflecting off Daryl Platten's thigh for a corner to the home team. The home side launched a series of attacking raids in their quest to take the lead but found the opposing backline up to the task with the experienced Peter Vukmirovic and youngster Luke Croxall rock solid between Platten and Scott Blackmore. Not wanting to give the wrong impression, Joondalup also created several chances on goal but the second half was one that belonged to the respective goalkeepers with Deeg and Stewart always well positioned to prevent the opposition from taking the lead.
On 60 minutes Harnwell pounced on a rare defensive error by Joondalup and, from the byline, cut the ball back to Mason who mis-hit horribly from in front. Four minutes later a curling Cumace free-kick tested Stewart and the visitor's custodian held low down. Not wanting to upset the rhythm of their teams' coaches Steve Neville and Stuart Kamasz left it until late before making any substitutions with David Foster the first player used off the bench in the 72nd minute to replace an injured Harland. Sorrento finished the fast-paced match strongly as Harnwell switched play to Foster whose low effort was wide of the right upright after 81 minutes. Shortly after McCulloch crossed from the left and Love's volley sped across the face of the goal. In a tense finish to the game Joondalup conceded a penalty in the 88th minute after Fallon was fouled by Vukmirovic, Cumace stepped forward to take the spot-kick which Stewart guessed right to parry and from the follow-up Cumace lashed the ball high.
Minutes later the final whistle signalled the end of what had been a passionate and entertaining game which, while the play may not have always been pretty, it kept the fans on the edge of their seat. Sorrento would view the result as two points lost rather than one gained after squandering so many opportunities to seal maximum points after the break. For the home side there were stand-out performances from hard-working midfielder Cumace and defensive strongman Watson, while Joondalup's best on the day included Vukmirovic and goalkeeper Stewart. Few could begrudge the visitors a point from their solid overall team performance, but at the end of the day it was Sorrento that were left disappointed.
Sorrento : Gareth Deeg, Daniel Cain (Daniel Stoitis 86), Richard Watson, Tony Cumace, Steven McDonald, Glen Thomas, Dale McCulloch, Sean Fallon, Todd Harnwell, Simon Harland (David Foster 72), Andy Mason (Jared Love 78) E.C.U. Joondalup : Peter Stewart, Peter Roberts, Darren Broxton, Daryl Platten, Luke Croxall, Scott Blackmore, Derek Cooke, Scott Bulloch, Peter Vukmirovic, Eugene Singeorzan, Garin Collins (Craig Cheesman 89) Bookings : Singeorzan, Cain, Roberts, Blackmore Disnissals : None Referee: Jeremy Oliphant Attendance : 400 (approx.)
The stands were full at Dorrien Gardens as Perth S.C. took on Stirling Lions in what was tipped to be the clash of the round. The action started all too soon in what proved to be an exciting first half as Perth's Albert Osei-Tutu took the games opening shot at goal inside the 1st minute then, seconds later and down the opposite end, Robert Milevski saw his effort well saved by goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. The action flowed quick from end to end with good scoring opportunities created by both teams before the deadlock was broken by the home side when Todd Howarth's cross was converted by Shane Crampton after 20 minutes. The Lions constant pressure and pace had the home team unsettled and in the 25th minute Stefoski again proved a danger but his shot ended narrowly wide. Perth doubled the margin via Rob Giorgi who slid the ball past Jordan Conti following a fine cross by Shane Crampton. Minutes later Conti was again put to the test when he brilliantly tapping Howarth's free-kick over the crossbar. As the half ticked down Toby Wright put sent the ball long to Milevski who, with Scarparolo caught out of position, shot on target only to have it cleared for a corner. Minutes later a Naven corner supplied Perth with their third goal which Howarth happily converted. The new half was just minutes old when Adam Bunce claimed Perth's fourth after Giorgi's initial shot was blocked by the Lions defence. Both teams made a rash of substitutions around the hour mark with the Lions changes producing immediate result, a long cross allowing Robert Monterosso to fire past Scarparolo and give the visitors some hope of a late fight-back. But those hopes were extinguished by substitute David Onoforo who headed in Rhys Graham's cross, and shortly after the pair combined again for Onoforo to score his second of the match and ease Perth to the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable 7-1 win.
At the National Stadium, Western Knights fielded a team that on paper looked strong but came unstuck against Inglewood United. The visitors took a long time to settle and in the 10th minute conceded when a poor clearance resulted in a Inglewood coming straight back at their opponents and a cross from the right found Louis Parkinson who made no mistake in slotting last goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. The Knights came into the match as the half progressed and it appeared only a matter of time before they equalised. Paul McVittie's header crashed into the crossbar following a Stuart Montgomery corner, and late in the period Leon Russell pushed forward before squaring into the 6-yard box where Carl Medica's effort was blocked on the line by Inglewood custodian Nick Stone. Inglewood came out firing on all cylinders for the second half and soon found themselves two goals the better as Alan MacKenzie turned Evan Wallace before sending a superb cross to Ryan Newell who, sneaking in from behind his marker, volleyed precisely to give Tomich no chance. The visiting side now had no option but to throw caution to the wind and their reward came ten minutes from the end when Leon Russell surged into attack only to be dispossessed as he was about to shoot, the loose ball spinning luckily to Stuart Montgomery who blasted it past Stone. Inglewood looked to seal the win with several late chances, but they'd already done enough to ensure maximum points against a Knights side which was well below par.
At Ken Allen Field, Fremantle City and Cockburn City contested a pulsating local derby witnessed by a crowd which numbered close to 500. In an fact slowing match, Cockburn were unlucky not to take the lead via John Mirco who hit the bar then the post with shots within minutes of eachother. While the first half ended scoreless, the talking point was the dismissal of Cockburn captain Josh Pescud who received his marching orders after being issued two yellow cards by referee Tom Klaver. Seven minutes after the interval Fremantle nudged ahead through Craig Young who ran onto a through ball and, although forced wide, slotted the ball between 'keeper and post after 58 minutes. A minute later the home crowd were silenced by exciting young midfielder Jeff Bright who raced in unmarked to coolly knock the ball past Bobson Karoma for the equaliser. With the tackles flying, Fremantle's Peter Lord was dismissed for a late challenge on Dean Wallace, and shortly after Cockburn went down to ten men with the red carding of Boza Erakovic. John Migas sent Branimir Mikulic through in the 70th minute and the big striker wriggled past several defenders before placing the ball under the 'keeper for the match winner. The win moves Fremantle to third place on the Premier league table, level on points but with a poorer goal difference than leaders Perth S.C. and Inglewood United.
Both Bassendean Caledonian and Floreat Athena left it until very late before making their move at Jubilee Reserve. In an exciting and entertaining match, the action flowed quickly from end to end with both goalkeepers in top form with numerous timely saves. Just 15 minutes into the clash and Ian Griffiths cross found brother Kevin Griffiths whose well directed header was brilliantly kept out by Oliver Taseski. Minutes later home custodian Alan Dunlop made an equally impressive save to deny Costa Socratous from giving Athena the lead. The second half saw both defences continue to dominate. In his first team debut, 16-year old Jonathon Mathers was superb and combined well with fellow defenders Kevin Smith and Jamie D'Arcy for Caledonian, while down the opposite end State defender Adrian Sutton was resolute in marshaling the visiting backline. A blistering shot by Ramon Westerberger was spilled by Taseski but was scrambled to safety by the Athena defence, and shortly after Dean Gartside missed a good opportunity to put the home side in front following a Craig Wells cross. At the other end Andreas Oliveira's fine shot was turned round the up-right by Dunlop. With five minutes left on the clock Athena substitute Rodrigo Aguirre headed the ball to Oliveira whose spectacular scissor-kick flew past Dunlop and into the back of the net. Facing defeat in the face, Caledonian picked up the pace and responded with a goal of their own after Graeme Matthews' cross caused Athena to concede a penalty which Kevin Griffiths dispatched beyond the reach of Taseski to level the game at 1-1.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
With Scott Campbell, Jason Godfrey and Kosta Kalavroutziotis amongst their number, it was a strong Inglewood United reserve side which took to the field for their clash with Western Knights at the National Stadium. The home side took the lead after 17 minutes when Lee Haienko bundled the ball over the line after two teammates' hit the woodwork in a goalmouth scramble. Spurred into action, the Knights controlled the remainder of the half and were back on level terms shortly before the break via Danny Butler. Inglewood started the new period on the attack but found Knights custodian Robert Pedri in excellent form. The visitors took the lead after being awarded a very soft penalty which Stipan Majic converted mid-way through the half. It took Inglewood until the very last minute of play to equalise, Haienk bagging his second of the day to earn his side a share of the points.
Sorrento took the lead against E.C.U. Joondalup after 17 minutes with a fine flowing move that ended with Jake Harman scoring a lucky goal which went in off his shin. The home side controlled much of this match and should have added to their tally well before Jared Love wrapped up all three points nine minutes from the end. Two late goals from Floreat Athena gave them a 3-1 away win over Bassendean Caledonian to move into equal second spot Perth S.C. who downed Stirling Lions 4-0. On target for the Blues were Paul Natale, Jason Colli, Damian Catalano and Craig Simpson. Fremantle City and Cockburn City played out a 1-1 draw at Dalmatinac Park.
E.C.U. Joondalup maintained their 100% win record and stay top of the Under-18 table following a 2-0 win over neighbouring Sorrento. In a match of high quality, the difference between the two sets of exciting youngsters provided to be the visitors' ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Following an even first half Joondalup went ahead eight minutes after the break through Daniel Waind. Joondalup waited until the very last minute of normal time before sealing maximum points when Phillip O'Callaghan doubled their lead.
Floreat Athena's 7-0 thumping of Bassendean Caledonian elevates them into second place, two points behind the competition leaders. Gerald O'Brien and Jarryd Campher both scored doubles for Athena with Troy Dott, Rodrigo Agguire and Paul Vatistas also amongst the goals. Western Knights stay third despite a 4-0 away thrashing by Inglewood United for whom Mladen Kovacevic scored a hat-trick with Abdi Mohamed netting their other goal. Perth S.C. recorded a massive 13-0 win over Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens, while Fremantle City accounted for Cockburn City 4-0.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIVE (Armadale vs South West Phoenix by Michael Di Pietro; Bayswater City vs Mandurah City by Adam Rucci; Morley Windmills vs Ashfield courtesy of www.ashfieldsc.com)
Things are definitely looking up at Alfred Skeet Oval after Armadale demolished South West Phoenix in Round Five of the First Division season on Saturday. In what was expected to be a close match, Armadale dominated from the outset with a great team performance that saw them finally make the most of their chances in front of goal. Nick Twyman opened the scoring for the Reds and Greg Newcombe was their other solitary goalscorer, while Luke Morris capped a great day out scoring a hat-trick. The result moves Armadale back into the top half of the table after a decidedly rocky start to their home-and-away campaign. The reserves match ended in a scoreless draw, although one bright spot for the home team was the impressive debut of 15-year old Brett Wheatley. Phoenix' have produced some exception talent in their short time in the league which was underlined on Saturday by the Under-18's 5-1 thrashing of Armadale.
The pressure was on Bayswater City to get a positive result from their home clash with Mandurah City. The visitors started the better with young attacker Jordan Rhodes in blistering form. Bayswater goalkeeper Adam Ashworth had his reflexes tested early on by teammate Daniel Naumovski whose mis-kick was kept out by the athletic Ashworth. Soon after Andrew Rennie was denied by the Bayswater 'keeper, and late in the half a Mandurah free-kick taken by Steven Rhodes crashed into the crossbar. But it wasn't to be for the visiting team as the two sides went into the break on level terms. Bayswater attacked from the start of the new half and they should have gone in front via midfielder Gareth Healy who was sent through on goal only for a poor touch to let him down. Just after the hour Mandurah took the lead through Jordan Rhodes following some slack defending which left the teenager unmarked and able to slot the ball past Ashworth. The home side then threw everything at their opponents and bagged a deserved equaliser through Andrew O'Neill whose deflected shot went past the out-stretched glove of Mike Green. With the very net play Bayswater should have taken the lead as Boima Karpeh expertly rounded Green but, with an open goal at his mercy, the striker scuffed his shot wide of the target from 2-metres. Not long after Sal Marrapodi also beat Green only to see his effort crash into the side netting. In the end the 1-1 draw was a fair outcome with both sides satisfied with a point apiece. Mandurah won both the earlier games, the reserves by 2-1 and the Under-18's by 2-0.
Leeming Strikers found themselves under the pump from early on when they hosted Queens Park at John Connell Reserve. The visitors created numerous opportunities to take the lead over the opening 45 minutes with clear cut chances coming the way of Brian Robertson and Glen Noblett who were denied by the brilliant goalkeeping of which Strikers youngster Michael Smerilli. The second half saw some good chances at both ends with neither team able to put the ball in the back of the net. With the match seeming destined to end scoreless, Queens Park mounted a late charge in an effort to steal all three points on offer. A fine shot by Paul Dundo was cleared off the goalline, then Billy Robb saw his effort saved. In the 88th minute the visitors were awarded a penalty for handball and Noblett confidently dispatched the ball into the net to break the deadlock. The Strikers then threw everything at their opponents and would have equalised if not for the outstanding form of goalkeeper Darren Williams. "The last couple of weeks have been all over the place for us in terms of putting the same team on the park for two consecutive weeks," said Queens Park coach Mike Brazil. "Richard Hatton has been out with a knee complaint, and Grant Learmont and striker Glen Noblett have only recently returned from injury. I am very grateful that we have the points that we have considering the players we've had out in recent times, and its' a great credit to this young side to be where we are at present. But, as many coaches will agree, it's very early days in a very long season and I don't think we'll get an honest indication of the front-runners until the second half of the season."
Ashfield traveled to Wootton Reserve for a derby meeting with Morley Windmills keen to go home with all three points. The first half of the game was a relatively even affair with Ashfield having the better of goalscoring opportunities but unable to convert. A spirited half time pep talk from coach Tom Kilkelly sparked life into the visitors and 30 seconds after the resumption of play Ashfield bagged their opening goal when Muhamed Komadaric took the ball to the left of goalkeeper Matt Darling before slotting it into the net. With their tales up, Ashfield doubled their lead two minutes later through Komadaric who again rounded the 'keeper before scoring. The visitors continued to play the better football with Windmills rarely calling opposing goalkeeper Eldin Ibrisimovic into action. With around 10 minutes to go the home side were awarded a dubious penalty that Simon Messenger hit to the left of Ibrisimovic who got a hand to the shot but couldn't do enough to prevent it from crossing the line. Komadaric came close to completing a hat-trick shortly after only to be denied by the Windmills 'keeper. With minutes to go Ashfield substitute Wayne Culverwell should of scored but again it was a brilliant save by Darling which kept the score at 2-1.
Dianella White Eagles and Kingsway Olympic played out deserved 2-2 draw at Dianella Reserve. The visitors looked set for a comfortable win after racing to a two-goal lead after half an hour, but that margin was reduced by Dragan Njegic who headed in a cross from Dragan Radojevic. Midway through the second half Dianella drew level through David Mrdja. In other games, Rockingham City went down 2-4 at home to Canning City, Southside United also lost at home to Balcatta by a 0-2 scoreline, and Stirling Suns defeated The City 2-1.
SPORTS MINISTER BACKS REFORM
Via a written media release, West Australian Sport and Recreation Minister Alan Carpenter has backed the Crawford Report saying the document complemented the good work already being undertaken to reform the way soccer is managed in Western Australia. Carpenter said the proposed restructure model for W.A. dovetailed with key elements of the Crawford Report. "Soccer in W.A. has already been through the painful process of looking at its administration, factional divisions and internal politics and has decided that there must be change," Carpenter commented. "A soccer forum made up of key representatives of the soccer community have been meeting since May last year and has been responsible for the incredible momentum that has gathered since," the Minister added. "I am confident that as a result, soccer in W.A. will be ready to be part of the development of the new national structure recommended by chairman David Crawford's committee."
The proposed restructure of the local game would take place in two stages. The first would see the Soccer Administration W.A. replaced with an independent commission, a chief executive officer and support staff who'd work closely with current associations to unify the management and development of the sport at all levels. Once this had been achieved, there would be a merger all off existing associations into the commission with all clubs and regional associations affiliating directly to it. The Department of Sport and Recreation is working with the W.A. Soccer Forum to finalise a proposal for Government support to implement stage one of the restructure. The proposal will also take into account the recommendations of the Crawford Report to ensure the restructure of soccer in W.A. complemented the national restructure. "I urge all those involved in soccer in Western Austrlaia to get behind these reforms," Carpenter said. "We have more evidence than ever before that the current status of soccer must change, and there are now clear pathways for this to occur."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. have roared to the top of the Premier League table with a 7-1 home mauling of newly promoted Stirling Lions in Saturday's third round of competition. There were also wins for Fremantle City and Inglewood United, both by 2-1 scorelines, over Cockburn City and Western Knights respectively. The points were shared between Bassendean Caledonian and Floreat Athena at Jubilee Reserve where the match ended one-all, and that was also the result in the northern suburbs derby between Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup.
Kingsway Olympic still lead the First Division by two points despite being held to a 2-2 draw at Dianella White Eagles. Stirling Suns' 2-1 win over The City moves them into second place after five games. Armadale put five past South West Phoenix without reply, Morley Windmills went down 1-2 at home to Ashfield, and there was also an away win for Queens Park over Leeming Strikers. Bayswater City and Mandurah City drew 1-1, Balcatta accounted for Southside United 2-0, and Canning City proved too strong for Rockingham City by 4-2.
There were big wins to Western Knights and Perth S.C., over Rockingham City and Queens Park respectively, in Monday Second Round of the Boral Cup. In the rounds three all Premier League showdowns, Sorrento defeated Inglewood United 3-2, Cockburn City crashed 2-5 at home to Swan I.C., and Fremantle City completed a miserable weekend for Floreat Athena with a 3-2 home win. The surprise of the day came from First Division leaders Kingsway Olympic who toppled the top flights Stirling Lions 2-1. Elsewhere, E.C.U. Joondalup eliminated Canning City by 2-0, and Southside United lost 1-2 at home to Mandurah City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
A big weekend of local action starts on Saturday with two derby clashes as Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup meet at Percy Doyle Reserve, while at Ken Allen Field Fremantle City and Cockburn City go head to head. Inglewood United have home ground advantage over Western Knights, and both Bassendean Caledonian and Floreat Athena will be eager to take our maximum points when they clash at Jubilee Reserve. At Dorrien Gardens the Premier League's only two teams with a 100% win record - Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions - come up against eachother. Swan I.C. have the bye.
First Division leaders Kingsway Olympic will be out to maintain their undefeated record when they teavel to play Dianella White Eagles. Morley Windmills are at home to neighbouring Ashfield, Southside United are favoured to take the points over Balcatta, and Leeming Strikers host a Queens Park side who have so far failed to live up to pre-season expectations. South West Phoenix, the competitions only other undefeated team, travel to Armadale, and Bayswater City have a home date with Mandurah City. Rockingham City and Canning City clash at Dowling Street Reserve, while Stirling Suns take on bottom side The City.
On Monday it's the Second Round of the Boral Cup and the pick of the games has to be at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento and Inglewood United are thrown together. In other all Premier League games, Cockburn City host Swan I.C., while Fremantle City are home for the second time in three days when they meet Floreat Athena. Reigning Cup holders Perth S.C. are expected to account for Queens Park, likewise Western Knights when they travel south to play Rockingham City. Up north E.C.U. Joondalup have home ground advantage over Canning City, and Kingsway Olympic meet local rivals Stirling Lions. The only all First Division game takes place at Walter Padbury Reserve where Southside United play Mandurah City. It was originally planned that those First Division clubs not involved in the Cup would feature in League, however, this decision has been reversed with those games originally scheduled for Easter Monday now postponed until Monday 29th September.
GLORY FAVOURED FOR VICTORY
Perth Glory can consolidate their place at the top of the National Soccer League Championship Series with victory over Newcastle United on Saturday night at Perth Oval. Last weekend Glory gave their chances of hosting a third national league Grand Final a huge boost with a 2-1 win over Olympic Sharks, a result that has without a doubt swamped the camp with confidence. Australian international Simon Colosimo has been in sensational form since stepping up to the first eleven, while wide players Matt Horsley and Scott Miller will be sure to keep the visiting defence on their toes. Four games into the ten round series and Newcastle have just a single point to their credit, that from last weekend's scoreless draw at Northern Spirit. Compounding coach Ian Crookes' woes is the fact they will be without first choice goalkeeper Daniel Beltrame, who was sent off against Spirit, against Glory.
CLUBS DECISION LEAVES TEENAGER REELING
Many players seem to come up against the clubs verses country issue in their careers, especially in Europe where clubs believe they have the right to tell dictate to players, who are paid good wages, when and where they can play for their nation. But you wouldn't expect a player to be asked to chose between playing for his club or taking up an offer to better himself by trialling with a national organisation. That is exactly the situation 16-year Scott Patterson finds himself in after Premier League club Inglewood United told him he was no longer required because he would miss to or three games while trying out for the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Patterson, who plays for Inglewood's Under-21 team, was recently invited to trials with the A.I.S. for their 2004 intake. The teenager is rated one of the state's hottest young prospects and spent part of the summer in England where he impressed the coaching staff at Premier League club Chelsea. Asked to attend a two-week trial in Canberra, Patterson was told by Inglewood that, should he take up the offer and miss up to three games for the club, he would be required to return his club shirt and kit bag back as his services would no longer be required. This the teenager was told following Inglewood's recent clash with Swan I.C., leaving Patterson and his family understandably stunned. The A.I.S. has a fantastic record of bringing out the best in young players but, with attitudes like that shown by Inglewood, one wonders what we have to do to encourage quality players to stay in Australia?
CLUBS DECIDE NEXT SEASON'S NSL (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
The National Soccer League will kick-off next season on the first weekend of August after the thirteen clubs met yesterday to discuss the next 12 months. It was decided that the competition would retain thirteen teams for next season and also revert to a five-week finals series run on a knock-out basis, with the top two teams having the double chance. Clubs for the new competition would be announced in April 2004, giving all participants the opportunity to prepare for the re-launched league six months out from an October kickoff. Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana was pleased with the meeting and having earlier endorsed the PFA's Australian Premier League model, also confirmed support for the clubs' plans. "They endorsed the integrity of the Crawford report and are pushing for autonomy," Tana told the "Herald-Sun". "They're accepting the need for change and I'm happy with the outcome."
VUKMIROVIC PAYS FOR HIS OWN TRANSFER! (courtesy of www.ecujoondalup.com)
Journeyman Peter Vukmirovic signed with E.C.U. Joondalup last night after proving his loyalty to the club by buying out his own contract with Cockburn City. Late last week Steve Wheatley, president of the northern suburbs club, stated that there would be no way Joondalup would pay out the remainder of Vukmirovic's contract after he had been granted a free transfer by Cockburn. But Vukmirovic came to his own rescue late on Tuesday by paying Cockburn's asking fee out of his own pocket to proving has the drive and ambition to want to continue his career in the north. "Obviously we are very pleased," Wheatley commented. Joondalup officials said Vukmirovic had proved his passion for the game with his very generous offer.
JUNIOR STATE PROGRAM CONFIRMED
The Junior Soccer Association have confirmed their schedule of activities for the various State junior teams for the coming year. The Under-14 Development Teams, coached by Steve Duckworth (North) and Paul Wozny (South), will compete in the Friendship Games between 4th-10th July. Shortly after, the Country Development Teams head to Canberra for the Kanga Cup which is being held between 7th-13th July. The September/October school holidays will see the State Under-15 and Under-16 squads take part in the National Talent Identification Championships under coaches Mike Tetlow (Under-15) and Peter Bliss (Under-16). And during that same holiday period the Under-13 Development Squads will play off in the Champions Cup.
The reform of Australian soccer appears in danger of collapse with Soccer Australia stakeholders angered by proposals for interim board chairman Frank Lowy to pick his own commissioners. It understood those with voting rights under the current structure are not happy with the prospect of having no say in the make-up of the new independent six-person board, recommended by the Crawford Report. Serving board member Paul Afkos, who has been strongly linked with a position on the interim board, said he has been inundated with phone calls from concerned stakeholders. "It is the view of the stakeholders that they have some say on the make-up of the interim board," Afkos said. "It would be naive of the (federal) Government and the Australian Sports Commission to ignore the wishes of the stakeholders."
TARKA OFFERED TRIALS AT WEST HAM
Young defender David Tarka has turned down an offer to trial with English Premier League side West Ham United in order to focus on Perth Glory's National Soccer League finals campaign. Hammers boss Glenn Roeder invited Tarka to spend a week with the London outfit but after much consideration the 20-year-old decided against the move. "I had a good think about it and a chat with Mich (coach d'Avray) and decided it would be better that I see out the season," Tarka told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "It would've been too disruptive for me and also for my teammates, so I chose to stay." With the offer to trial left open, Tarka looks likely to try his luck with West Ham at the end of the N.S.L. season.
It's been a big week for Tarka who, just days after delaying the Hammers offer, he received a surprise call-up to the Australian Under-23 squad for their friendly with Spain on 29th April. "I have to be playing regularly to get a look in for the Olympics, which is another reason why if I go overseas it has to be the right time," Tarka commented. The Olyroos squad named by Frank Farina has a distinctly West Australian flavour with Tarka one of four local products in the travelling party, the others being Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Adrian Madaschi (Pistoiese/ Atalanta), and Richard Garcia (West Ham United). Tarka is expected to be available for Glory's away clash with Northern Spirit on Friday week before he departs for Spain. And the defender may not miss a game for his club should he return from his trip to Europe in time for Glory's home meeting with Parramatta Power on 3rd May.
COACHES AGONY OVER MURPHY
Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has admitted the decision to drop Shaun Murphy from the weekend's F.A. Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal was the toughest decision he has made. Murphy, who has played 49 of the Blades 51 games this season, was a surprise omission from the starting line-up with his place was at the back taken by Phil Jagielka. "Obviously it was a big disappointment for Shaun, but I thought that Arsenal don't play to his strengths and we would be better served with Jags in there," said Warnock. "Arsenal are not a team to pump balls in the box or put in too many high crosses ... it was one of the toughest decisions I have made in 20 years of management." However, Warnock believes Murphy still has a major role to play as the club challenge for a spot in the Premier league next season. "We have got some tough games coming up which we need to win to cement our play-off place and Shaun has a part to play."
GLORY BEAT SHARKS - AND HOODOO
Perth Glory have moved a step closer to a third National Soccer League grand final after an 2-1 win over arch-rivals Olympic Sharks in Sydney this evening. Damian Mori opened Glory's account after 35 seconds when he made the most of some slack defending by Olympic defender Jade North. The goal spurred the home side into action but for all their dominance the Sharks were unable to penetration their opponents solid backline. Japanese import Hiro Ishida won the Sharks a penalty after 56 minutes when Scott Miller was ruled to have fouled him inside the area, and Ante Milicic sent Jason Petkovic the wrong way from the spot to equalise. Glory upped the pace over the closing stages with Nick Mrdja's 69th minute shot knocked into the crossbar by goalkeeper Clint Bolton, and shortly after Matt Horsley sent his diagonal shot wide. Two minutes from full-time Horsley embarked on a long run which took him into the area when he teed-up Mrdja for a simple tap-in. The win will be a major boost for Glory who had lost their previous three matches to the Sharks, and may yet go head-to-head with Olympic in the grand final. "Possibly if we had lost tonight there might have been a problem," said Glory coach Mich d'Avray after the game. Glory now move to the top of the finals table with 12 points with the Sharks on nine and Parramatta Power, Adelaide City Force and Northern Spirit on seven each.
The University of W.A. were held to a 2-2 draw by Perth Azzurri at McGillivray Oval in Sunday's second round of WAASSA Premier League action. UWA had an excellent chance to take the lead after 2 minutes when Max Percy beat three players in running half the length of the pitch only for the Azzurri goalkeeper to deny him. The home side took the lead after 30 minutes when an Adam Brett header found the target following a fine cross from Gareth Briggs. Charlie Jensen went close for Azzurri five minutes later but his volley was just off-target. Right on the stroke of half-time UWA doubled their lead as Percy won possession on the half way line before sending Marc D'Asconier through to stroke the ball home. After a slow start to the second half the pace picked up as an Azzurri counter-attack ended with Robert Celeste slamming the ball into the roof of the net. UWA substitute Frederik Larsen twice hit the frame of the goal in the last ten minutes as the home side attempted to kill off the match. But in the last minute of play Azzurri were awarded a penalty for a dubious handball decision and Stuart Cardley converted from the spot to claim a share of the points. "We have been the better side in both our opening games against Spearwood and Perth Azzurri and only come away with two draws," commented U.W.A. coach Kevin Burton after the game. "To say we are disappointed not to have won easily today is an understatement but the quality of our football and the chances we are consistently creating are very positive signs and we will get it right." U.W.A. reserves had a comfortable 6-1 victory over Azzurri in the early game.
Fremantle United erased their opening round loss to Forrestfield United with a 2-0 win over Hamersley Rovers who have been crowned Premier League champions for the past two seasons. Neither side would consider this one of their better performances but at least Fremantle can take heart that they are at least on the board with a early win. Rovers, after an excellent performance last week, were never really in the game and produced as lacklustre performance with midfield partners Alun Vernals and Neil Birkinshaw absent. With Michael Dilapena, Johnny De Felice and Jason Smith back in Fremantle's ranks, they took the lead after 25 minutes Nick Marchesani found a way past his opponent and inside the 18-yard box from where he sent the ball low and to the left of goalkeeper Aleks Lackovic. The referee cautioned several players from both sides but the match official should have taken a much firmer line as a handful of off the ball incidents were allowed to go unpunished. After the interval neither side was able to establish any sort of superiority and the match deteriorated into a quite scrappy affair. Fremantle made the points safe when a mistake by Rovers defender Nick Cianci on the edge of his own penalty box presented Smith with the simplest of chances with Lackovic caught out of position. "We have not played this bad during my term in charge," said Rovers coach Mickey Brennan post-match. "We've some work to do to lift our work-rate, concentration and urgency to have any chance of a hat-trick of titles."
Murdoch University dominated the opening quarter hour of their clash with Balga but were unable to create any clear cut chances on goal. Then, just as Balga started to find their rhythm, Murdoch scored twice in quick succession to put the home side well and truly on the back foot. Balga pulled a goal back but shortly before half-time conceded two further goals following some abysmal defending. The second half was a more even affair with Murdoch adding to their taly to make the final score 6-1. After two rounds, Azzurri top the table on goal difference ahead of Canning International and Kwinana United, who also sit on four points, after their 3-3 draw on Sunday. North Perth United accounted for Forrestfield United 3-2, while the result of the Shamrock Rovers-Spearwood Dalmatinac game is currently 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
KARP OPENS INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNT
The Oceania Football Confederation qualifying tournament for the up-coming Womens' World Cup are over and 21-year old West Australian Tal Karp was right in the thick of the action. Having watched from the bench as the Matilda's demolish Samoa 19-0 in their opening game, Karp stepped up to the starting eleven for Monday afternoons' clash with the Cook Islands. And the midfielder didn't disappoint, scoring her first goal for the senior national team after 37 minutes before adding to her international tally in the 81th minute as Australia triumphed 11-0. Karp was rested on Wednesday evening when the Matilda's strolled to a 13-0 win over Papua New Guinea to secure themselves a place in today's final. Australia took out the series - and booked their place at the World Cup Finals - with a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the deciding game, Karp coming off the bench 81 minutes into the final with victory already assured.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWO (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Inglewood United courtesy www.ecujoondalup.com; Sorrento vs Fremantle City by Kerry Slater; Western Knights vs Swan I.C. by Greg Scali)
Round Two of the 2003 Premier League season pitted together Floreat Athena and Cockburn City in what had been billed as the match of the round at Litis Stadium. The visitors were brimming with confidence after making the final of the Night Series then kicking off the home-and-away campaign with a come-from-behind win over E.C.U. Joondalup seven days earlier. Athena were eager to erase their opening round home loss to Sorrento, a task made all the more difficult with five first team regulars - Robin Dyers, James Afkos, Costa Socratous, Anthony Jones and Troy Bernard - out for a variety of reasons and coach Taki Lambetsos banished from the sidelines after being red carded last weekend.
It was tame opening with both teams taking their time to settle and unwilling to over commit themselves when going forward. The visiting side suffered a body blow after 5 minutes when attacker Denis Stojanovic was stretchered off an took no further part in the game following an awkward fall in the 18-yard box. Five minutes later Athena's new goalkeeper Oliver Taseski made a timely interception after Jeff Bright skipped away down the left to cross into the area from the by-line. Unforced errors saw the ball turned over with regularity as much of the play took place in the middle third of the park. It wasn't until the 17th minute that the small crowd were treated to a shot on goal as Josh Pescud raced past the Athena defence and onto a long pass before firing on target from 14-metres only to see Taseski paddle his rising shot over the crossbar. It was a warning Athena failed to take notice of, and two minutes later they paid the price. Bright created space for himself before sending a high ball to Dean Wallace who, completely unmarked on top of the 6-yard box, had little trouble in heading past Taseski for the games opening goal.
The remainder of the half was a largely uninspired period of play in which Cockburn dominated possession but were unable to penetrate their opponents backline. Time and time again Bright used his explosive pace to push forward down the left only to have his crosses cut out, while in the engine room Wallace and Michael Mirco worked tirelessly without result. For their part the home side lacked drive and creativity. Athena struggled to get the ball in their attacking half and on those occasions that they did strikers Andres Oliveira, who was their only player showing any desire to score, and Sasa Kilibarda lacked support. As the half came to a close Cockburn started to find way past their opponents defence. A superb through ball by Wallace found Peter Petkovich after 40 minutes but his powerful drive was deflected wide off the boot by Adrian Sutton. And minutes later Michael Mirco went on a jinxing run into the area only to have the ball cleared by some desperate defending.
Athena began the second half in more convincing fashion and found an equaliser four minutes after the resumption of play. From wide on the left Jamie Trandos crossed into the area where Kilibarda's weak header caught Dino Pacella by surprise, the goalkeeper fumbled the ball twice before it bounced over the line for the softest of goals. Four minutes later the home side should have taken the lead but Kilibarda struck the crossbar from 13-metres when it seemed easier to find the back of the net. The visitors responded with a fine move of their own that featured Bright and Dom De Felice and ended with Wallace rifling his shot narrowly over the top. Trandos skillfully brought down a high ball that he played to the feet of Michael Lardis who shot high on the hour. With the two side trading shots on goal, De Felice unleashed a dipping drive which Taseski did well to knock over the top after 71 minutes.
The final ten minutes produced a flurry of attacking activity from both teams as they sought to take full points from the game. Wallace shot over the top after Petkovich pulled the ball back from close to the by-line. After 83 minutes of play, referee Jeremy Oliphant noticed one corner flag was shorter than the regulation length and delayed play for four minutes while the offending flag was replaced, much to the dismay of players and fans alike. Upon the resumption of play, Cockburn substitute Roberto Colalillo stretched Taseski with a rising effort following good lead-up work by Bright. Breaking immediately on the counter-attack, Athena hit the side netting via Josip Magdic. Some sloppy defensive work saw the ball quickly turned over and Trandos' bullet-like shot flew marginally high. Three minutes into stoppage time Pacella made up for his earlier error by keeping out a stinging close-range effort from Oliviera, then denying Trandos who was quick to pounce on the loose ball.
At the end of what was a scrappy match, both sides would be disappointed to have not scored more, but a share of the points was a fair result from a game that failed to live up to pre-match expectations. Cockburn dominated the first half but for all their possession were unable to break down their opponents' defence, despite the best efforts of flank players Bright and Pescud. After the break Athena picked up the slack and pulled together to work their way back into the match but, other than in stoppage time, failed to really test Pacella. Oliveira worked tirelessly up-front for the home team while down the opposite end of the park Sutton marshalled the defence superbly.
Floreat Athena : Oliver Taseski, Adrian Sutton, Eugene Tan (Aaron
Moschopoulos 58), Andreas Pantelis, Dejan Djukanovic, Josip Magdic,
Fernando Coron, Michael Lardis, Jamie Trandos, Sasa Kilibarda (Jimmy
Christopoulos 83), Andreas Oliveira
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Alan Pottier, Steve Adam, Boza Erakovic, Josh Pescud, Jeff Bright, Dom De Felice, Dean Wallace, Michael Mirco (Roberto Colalillo 74), Denis Stojanovic (John Mirco 7 (Mileta Miletic 60)), Peter Petkovich
Bookings : Wallace (45), Coron (45), Pescud (51), Christopoulos (90+)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 125 (approx.)
At Macedonia Park, Stirling Lions celebrated their return to the top flight with a hard-fought 2-1 win over visiting Bassendean Caledonian. The home side started the match on the right foot and took the lead after 10 minutes when Keegan Ashley's high cross was headed in by Robert Milevski. The Lions continued to ply the pressure with young midfielder Stjepan Beretovac a never-ending problem for the visiting defence who held firm for the remainder of the half. After the interval Caledonian took the game up to their opponents as Craig Naven, Dean Gartside and Kevin Griffiths combined well. The visitors came close to leveling on several occasions only to be foiled by some superb goalkeeping by Jordan Conti. The Lions added their second goal on the counter-attack when a fine through ball found the Beretovac who made no mistake in knocking it past Alan Dunlop from 10-metres. Caledonian bagged a late consolation goal via substitute Ramon Westerberger who converted a cross from Naven to round out the scoreline.
E.C.U. Joondalup hosted Inglewood United, a side widely touted as a real contenders for the Premier league title this year, on Saturday. And the visitors started as if they meant to live up to that reputation by immediately putting the pressure on the home defence with Peter Stewart pulling of a fine point blank save in the 3rd minute. Joondalup slowly worked their way into the game and in the 15th minute their persistence paid off as Scott Bulloch rifled home a great strike from 18-metres to make it 1-0. Inglewood were the next to find the back of the net as Ryan Newhill steered the ball home following a good cross from the right. In the 40th minute a long clearance found Joondalup newcomer Eugene Singeorzan who brilliantly turned his marker inside out before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper to restore the home teams' lead. Starting the second half with more confidence, Joondalup extended the margin when a fine passage of play wide on the left saw Shaun Kilkelly turn the resulting cross past his own goalkeeper. Five minutes later Luke Croxall rose above the Inglewood defence to make it 4-1 with a solid header as the game slipped away from the visiting team. Scott Bulloch grabbed his second of the match with another fine strike that was deflected past the 'keeper after 80 minutes. Louis Parkinson pulled one back for Inglewood with five minutes to go but it was little too late as Joondalup claimed maximum points with an excellent all-round performance that belied their tender years.
It was Sorrento against Fremantle City at Percy Doyle Reserve where the home side were strongly favoured to take out the points. And Steve Neville's side looked as good as the pundits words by taking the lead after 18 minutes when Glen Thomas' throw-in found Todd Harnwell who quickly fired in a low cross that caught the Fremantle defence out as Sean Fallon speared the ball home with his left foot. Both goalkeepers were kept busy as some enterprising end-to-end action gave the crowd something to cheer about. Cisco Jorquiera's corner was headed just over by Peter Lord after 27 minutes, and shortly after James Hesketh swung in a free-kick which Lord connected with only to have Gareth Deeg prevent the ball from crossing the line. Andy Mason mis-hit wide after a good move involving Thomas and Fallon. Steve McDonald prevented Craig Surtees from equalising, then a Fallon free-kick from 18-metres rose narrowly over Bobson Korama's crossbar on 40 minutes. Dale McCulloch cleared another Lord header off the line, but there was little Sorrento could do a minute into stoppage time when Branimir Mikulic converted Hesketh's free-kick played into the area. Mikulic was the provider of the visitors second goal six minutes into the second, slotting the ball to John Migas who turned his marker before rifling his shot past Deeg to give the port side the lead. Korama was impressive as he battered away a Harnwell shot on 63 minutes and, as Sorrento sought to level the game, the 'keeper denied Harnwell, McCulloch and Thomas with a string of fine saves. Moments before the final whistle came the Seagulls last effort as Harnwell crossed to Fallon who rose high but headed the ball over the bar.
It took two first class finishes for Western Knights and Swan I.C. to split the points in what was a entertaining game played in difficult conditions at Nash Field. Swan started keenly and the exciting Tom Shepheard found himself in behind the Knights defence twice in the first ten minutes but on neither occasion was he able to trouble goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. The home side weren't without their chances also as captain Carl found John Nicolaou after 24 minutes but his header went wide of the up-right. The deadlock was broken when Daniel Trim spread the ball wide to the ever-dangerous Medica who, quick to spot Cory Hugo off his line, masterfully chipped the ball into the back of the net from 20-metres. Four minutes later Medica could of made it two but skied his chance, and both Luka Jukic and Montgomery could have added to the home teams' tally leading up to half-time. Swan maintained the pressure at the opposite end as Damian Scali headed over from close range, then Dean Nicolaou forced Tomich to save sharply. The second period started positively for Swan, an exchange on the edge of the box between Christian Marrochi, Dean Nicolaou and Tom Shepheard saw Elton Holmes give Tomich no chance with a cool finish from 17-metres. The final quarter-hour saw chances come the way of both sides without success. Hugo was called on to save from Trim then the goalkeeper superbly turned over a Stipan Majic flick, and Tomich kept out a header from Damian Scali and halted a long-range strike from the same played close to the final whistle. Although both sides probably felt they should have won this game, the balance of play would suggest that a draw was a fair outcome.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
E.C.U. Joondalup's reserves suffered a humbling 2-5 loss to Inglewood United on the second weekend of top flight fixtures. Some excellent early attacking play resulted in the home side taking a two goal lead via John Greenwood who netted twice inside a minute. But Joondalup then eased off and allowed their opponents back into the game as Inglewood made the most of some slack defending to go into the break on level terms. The half-time team talk failed to stimulate Joondalup and, apart from the odd attacking foray and some good efforts from Greenwood, there was little for the home fans to get excited about. With Michael Baczynski continually tormenting the home defence, Inglewood piled on further goals in the 65th, 82nd, and 90th minute to run out deserved winners.
Plagued by injury and illness, Bassendean Caledonian's reserve team were forced to utilise 17-year old outfield player Philip Lunt in goal. Although beaten 4-1 by Stirling Lions, Caledonian could hold their head high with goalscorer Ian Dennis and teenagers Jonathon Mathers and David Gordon the pick of their players. For the home side Bobbi Klenkoski bagged a hat-trick with Dimce Taneski scoring their other goal. Cockburn City had little troubled in accounting for home side Floreat Athena as Peter Mrdja found the net four times and Fabio Fusari and Roberto Colalillo once each in making the final score 6-1 at Litis Stadium.
Western Knights claimed third place on goal difference ahead of a host of other sides following their 6-0 demolition of Swan I.C. Stipan Majic netted three for the Knights for whom Paul Cooke, Daniel Butler and Arthur Stefanovski also got on the scoresheet. Farrell Hedges and Joe Liguan were on target for Sorrento and Fremantle City respectively as they shared the points with a 1-1 draw.
E.C.U. Joondalup went to the top of the Under-18 table after two rounds as a result of their 7-2 home win over Inglewood United. Level on points with the northern suburbs club is Western Knights for whom Reggie Ram (2) and Kris Hansen scored inside the opening 20 minutes to give the home side a 3-0 win over Swan I.C. Floreat Athena move into third on goal difference after a 6-0 trouncing of Cockburn City, the goals coming from Troy Dott (3), Nick Struder, Johnathon Davite and Gerald O'Brien. Brodie Martin gave Sorrento the early lead against Fremantle City before Marc Sim pulled the visitors level after 36 minutes. Dejan Curovski restored the home teams' lead in the second half, Mo Atak equalised for the port side, and Ozren Kotur bagged his first goal in Sorrento colours to secure maximum points for the boys in blue.
It was an exciting clash between the Under-18 teams of Stirling Lions and Bassendean Caledonian who clawed their way back into the match from two goals down after Etienne Sharp and Jermone Vallet found the back of the net for the home team. Caeldonian's Danni Progri scored twice to level the game before the visitors squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead from close range. Sharp, on off-season recruit from South West Phoenix, bagged his second of the day late in the match to start the Lions home-and-away season on a positive note.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOUR (Kingsway Olympic vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Rockingham City by Barrie Rennie; Ashfield vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro; Canning City vs Leeming Strikers by Phil Unsworth)
It was a sad afternoon for Bayswater City who lost at all three levels away at Kingsway Olympic in the fourth round of First Division competition on Saturday. The senior clash started brightly for Bayswater with Boima Karpeh giving them the lead after 20 minutes. But disaster struck for the visitors just two minutes later when midfielder Filipe Xavier was sent off for dissent, putting his team on the back foot and under pressure for the remainder of the game. Olympic leveled the score after 27 minutes through Sota Iwasaki, went a goal up from a superb Ryan Lickers free-kick from 40-metres which flew over goalkeeper Adam Ashworth, and extended their lead to 3-1 via an own goal before the half-time break. Bayswater came out firing after the interval and, with just twenty-three seconds gone, the visitors were back in the match as Karpeh set-up Sal Marrapodi who made no mistake. Minutes later midfielder Kevin Henderson connected sweetly with a corner to put Bayswater on level terms. But from there the match slipped from the visitors grip as Bretti scored twice in quick succession to ensure maximum points for Olympic and open up a three-point lead at he top of the First Division table. Olympic took out the two earlier games as well, winning the reserves by a massive 7-1 and the Under-18's 1-0.
Mandurah City met local rivals Rockingham City at Peelwood Parade in blustery, wet conditions. The home side started the better but were dealt a severe blow after 15 minutes when Gary Collins was red carded after what appeared to be a strong but fair tackle then, reacting to comments from the Mandurah bench, the referee then sent off coach Paul O'Brien. The opening goal arrived on the half-hour mark when John Crawford's long ball into the area caught the Mandurah defence by surprise and, with young goalkeeper Nick Archer stranded amongst the pack of defenders, the ball drifted into the back of the net to give Rockingham the lead. Mandurah made a couple of changes to their game at the start of the second half with the end result being several shots go narrowly wide and crosses just failing to find their targets. With Mandurah throwing at their opponents, Rockingham sealed victory with seven minutes remaining when the home side failed several times to clear the danger and a Rockingham doubled their lead with a good shot from the top of the 18-yard box by Marko Aleksic. The only positives Mandurah could take from the game was a stirring midfield display by Jordan Rhodes and the non-stop performance of debutante Adam Boone. Mandurah won both the earlier games, the reserves by a 2-1 scoreline with Steven Rhodes bagging both goals, and the Under-18's by 1-0 with Garry Attrill scoring the games only goal.
It was another case of Armadale not making the most of those chances that came their way when the Reds hosted a young Ashfield line-up on the weekend. A dominant home side really should have come away with maximum points but simply could not bury an Ashfiled side that didn't have that much to show. Craig Anderson gave Armadale the lead after 70 minute, but the visitors replied soon after via a corner which was converted by David Mayers. At the end of the day some very average finishing meant Armadale miss out on two valuable points that were theirs for the taking. The reserves clash saw Armadale control proceedings from the outset with Bryan Wood, Emlyn Whetnall, Darren Ingham and Oliver Crockford all missing chances to give the Reds the lead. With two minutes remaining Ashfield broke the deadlock through Nermin Srndic to leave the home side rueing their string of missed opportunities. Ashfield also claimed the Under-18 clash with goals from Alex Crookes and Robbie Anderson (2) before David Hall bagged a late consolation goal for Armadale.
South West Phoenix remain as one of only two undefeated teams in the competition following their comfortable 4-1 home win over The City at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. With star striker Savo Garic absent due to work commitments, Phoenix' confidence recieved an almighty boost when goalkeeper Steve Jones saved a penalty just 10 minutes into the clash. The home side soaked up the early pressure before winning a penalty of their own when Brett Norrie was brought down inside and Pat Roberts converted from the spot to give them the lead. On the half hour the margin was doubled as Steve Suttie met Norrie's cross to head past The City goalkeeper. After the interval Phoenix peppered the goal as David Rodgers and James Bergin came close to extending the gap. The match was effectively over as a contest in the 52nd minute when Roberts scored his second of the day, and two minutes from the end of regulation time Steven Suttie made it 4-0. The City managed to pull a goal back in injury time via the penalty spot. The win propels Phoenix into the top half of the table, level with Bayswater City and Stirling Suns on six points.
At Robinson Reserve in Osborne Park, Stirling Suns took on the visitors from Morley Windmills in a match both sides were desperate to win after mediocre starts to the new season. The Suns started with a bang, drawing a good early save from their opponents goalkeeper then, with 7 minutes elapsed, taking the lead via Maladin Gugoroski's volley into the roof of the net. Two former Suns players brought Windmills back into the game after 23 minutes as a long throw-in from Nigel Comito found Phil Russie who headed into an empty net. Three minutes into the second half David Panov re-stored the home teams' lead with a stunning long-range free-kick which curled around the defensive wall into the top left hand corner of the goal. Moments after Windmills striker Rydeen Botha was replaced in the 68th minute, the Suns gave themselves a two-goal buffer as Ozturk found the back of the net. Windmills' Simon Messenger brought a fine save from the Suns goalkeeper as the visitors searched for a goal to keep alive their chances. With six minutes remaining their persistence paid off as Gary James slipped the ball to Danesh who slotted it past the 'keeper and make it 3-2. The visitors pressed hard for an equaliser but the Suns defended well to hold on an take out all three points on offer.
Local rivals Canning City and Leeming Strikers came head-to-head on Saturday at Willetton Sports Club where the wet and windy conditions made for a tricky game on a slippery playing surface. Canning settled earlier than their opponents only to lose the influential Paul Van Dongen after 7 minutes with a thigh injury. The Strikers opened the scoring after 16 minutes as David Perrin outpaced Brad Davies to slip the ball past goalkeeper Robbie Meyer. The home side leveled in first half stoppage time when Patrick Fitzgerald ran onto Paul Oliver's free-kick to head past Michael Smerelli. After the break the Strikers restored their lead with a fluke goal from goalkeeper Smerelli whose drop kick, aided by a strong wind, traveled the length of the pitch and bounced over Meyer. Chris Littlejohn evaded the opposing defence before flicking the ball to Shane Laing who drove a low shot into the back of the net to make it 2-2. Just after the hour the Strikers again took the lead, this time substitute David Harken heading home a free kick. Seven minutes before full-time the Striker's created a two goal cushion with another bizarre goal as Lucas Whitehouse meet another long ball from Smerelli which he rolled past the advancing Meyer. Shortly after Canning pegged a goal back as Mike Van Dongen's free-kick curled into the top left-hand corner of the goal. In a nervous final five minutes Canning almost equalised through John Rimmington who directed his header just wide of the target.
Balcatta registered their first win of the season with a confidence building 3-1 home result over Dianella White Eagles. In a fast-flowing match it was the visitors that found the net first when Zelko Savic was put through with only the Balcatta goalkeeper to beat, the young striker sending his shot past Adam Dassie as defender Scott Broadley attempted clearance off the line amounted to nothing. Four minutes later Broadley was in the thick of the action when his long throw-in looped over the Dianella goalkeeper to Michael Chiari who volleyed it into the back of the net for the equaliser. Balcatta took the lead on the half hour via a free-kick which Broadley sent flying past an out-stretched 'keeper. The second half saw plenty of attacking play from both sides before Balcatta secured maximum points ten minutes from full-time when Aleandro Di Nuzzo bagged his first of 2002 with a well-placed shot which found the left hand corner from 16-metres.
The weekends other match saw Queens Park continue their disappointing start to the season with a 1-3 home loss to Southside United. Scott Cooper, Stuart Jones and Eldin Abraham were the scorers for Southside with Brian Robertson taking his season tally to five goals for Queens Park. The win moves Southside into joint second place where they share seven points with the Windmills, the Strikers and Mandurah after four games.
FOUR NAMED IN NATIONAL TEAM!
Western Australia will have it's biggest ever representation at national team level when the Australian Under-23 side play Spain later this month. Coach Frank Farina has included four players who hail from the western seaboard - goalkeeper Brad Jones, defenders David Tarka and Adrian Madaschi, and attacker Richard Garcia - in his 19-man squad for the friendly on Wednesday 29th April in Lorca, Spain. The squad goes into camp on the Saturday prior to the match which is part of the build-up towards next year's qualifying tournament for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The full squad that has been selected to travel to Spain is Eugene Galekovic (South Melbourne), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Ljubo Milicevic (F.C. Basel), Iain Fyfe (Adelaide City), Adrian Madaschi (Pistoiese/Atalanta), David Tarka (Perth Glory), Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Leeds United), Spase Dilevski (PSV Eindhoven), Gareth Edds (Swindon Town), Richard Garcia (West Ham United), Luke Wilkshire (Middlesbrough), Wayne Srhoj (Olympic Sharks), Ahmad Elrich (Parramatta Power), Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Strikers), Alex Brosque (Marconi Stallions), Brett Holman (Excelsior/Feyenoord), Scott McDonald (Bournemouth), Nick Carle (Troyes) and Joshua Kennedy (Stuttgart Kickers/Wolfsburg).
PLAYERS ASSOCIATION RELEASE MODEL FOR NEW NATIONAL LEAGUE
The Australian Professional Footballers' Association has unveiled their model for the creation of an exciting new national league in Australia. The competition, dubbed the Australian Premier League, will initially consist of ten teams with one based in each of Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, two from Melbourne, three from Sydney and the remaining two from other markets which will be chosen on business merit. The newly proposed national competition is the result of in-depth market research into the state of the game in Australia. "The Socceroos cannot wait to commence Australia's qualifying campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals," said P.F.A. president Alex Tobin at yesterday's launch. "The Crawford Report heralds a new governance structure and management framework for our game. The A.P.L. delivers the reforms needed to our national competition. Nothing now should stand in the way of our game finally fulfilling its true potential."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
It was an afternoon of upsets when round two of the Premier League was played out on Saturday. Two of the biggest surprises came from the northern suburbs as E.C.U. Joondalup thumped a strong Inglewood United side 5-2, and down the road highly-rated Sorrento went down to Fremantle City by a 2-1 scoreline. Stirling Lions marked their top flight return with a 2-1 triumph over Bassendean Caledonian, and Western Knights were held 1-1 at home by Swan I.C. At Litis Stadium Floreat Athena and Cockburn City ground out an uninspiring 1-1 draw.
In the First Division, Kingsway Oympic have opened up a three point gap at the top of the table following their 5-3 home trouncing of Bayswater City. There were several upsets in the fourth round of competition with Mandurah City going down 0-2 at home to Rockingham City, Queens Park crashed 1-3 to Southside United at Cocker Park, and Stirling Suns accounted for Morley Windmills by 3-2. Balcatta took maximum points from their home clash with Dianella White Eagles, while Ashfield and Armadale took a point each from their meeting. Canning City scored three but Leeming Strikers went one better to record an away win, and South West Phoenix registered their first win of the season over The City by 4-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Premier League continues on Saturday with several tantalising clashes on the cards. Floreat Athena come up against a confident Cockburn City side at Litis Stadium, and Stirling Lions return to top flight league action with a home clash against Bassendean Caledonian. The youngsters from E.C.U. Joondalup host Inglewood United, while northern neighbours Sorrento meet Fremantle City at Percy Doyle Reserve. Western Knights are favoured to accounted for Swan I.C., and last weekend's big winners, Perth S.C., have the bye.
Title favourite Queens Park will be looking for a return to winning ways when they host Southside United in Round Four of the First Division on Saturday. The match of the round takes place in the northern suburbs between Kingsway Olympic and Bayswater City, and in the southern derby Mandurah City have home ground advantage over Rockingham City. Both Ashfield and Armadale will be eager to take maximum points from their game, and Stirling Suns are home to a strong if depleted Morley Windmills. Elswhere, Balcatta take on Dianella White Eagles, the youngsters from Canning City and Leeming Strikers go head-to-head at Willetton Sportsman Club, while The City travel to Bunbury where they meet South West Phoenix.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA BOARD AGREES TO STEP ASIDE
The board of Soccer Australia last night agreed to begin implementation of the Crawford Report findings. This will commence with a general meting on Saturday 3rd May of its members where it will be proposed that Frank Lowy, Ron Walker and John Singleton be elected unopposed to the board of Soccer Australia with Lowy appointed to the position of chairman. All current board members have agreed to vacate their positions unless elected to one of the three remaining positions by the membership of Soccer Australia - the state federations, National Soccer League clubs and others with voting rights under the constitution. Effective immediately, the board will move into caretaker mode and have pledged to not commit Soccer Australia to any further material policy or commercial decisions.
BIG DAY FOR MURPHY
One of Western Australia's most successful exports, Shaun Murphy, will this Sunday play one of the biggest games of his career as Sheffield United meet English glamour club Arsenal in the semi-finals of the F.A. Cup at Old Trafford. Even for a player who has represented Australia in World Cup qualifiers and has been a regular in England's First Division, this weekend's game is something special. The clash promises to be one of the busiest of the season for Murphy as the Blades defence attempt to keep the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Sylvain Wiltord, Freddie Ljungberg and Francis Jeffers from spoiling their Cup fairytale. "We are going to have to play out of our skin against Arsenal and they are going to have to have an off day for us to progress to the final," Murphy admitted to "West Australian" reporter Jonathan Cook. "It's at Old Trafford. It's a massive game and it's going to be a fantastic day out for the fans and players."
While recent focus has been on the Blades' up-coming Cup tie, the club are also pushing for promotion to the Premier League. Now in his fourth season with the club, the former Perth Italia player has a season to run on his current contract and a stint at the England's top flight would be a great way to end an overseas career that began in 1989 with Notts County. After seven and a half seasons with County, during which time he was twice voted Player of the Year, the defender spent two and a half years with West Bromwich Albion before signing with the Blades in mid-1999. Murphy made his senior Australian debut shortly after, then collected his clubs' Supporters Player of the Year award in his second season at Brammell Lane. He, wife Alison and two children intend to return to Perth, and 32-year old Murphy has not ruled a season or two in the N.S.L. - "if the body's holding up".
KARP OPENS INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNT
The Oceania Football Confederation qualifying tournament for the up-coming Womens' World Cup are currently in full swing in Canberra, and 21-year old West Australian Tal Karp is right in the thick of the action. Having watched from the bench as the Matilda's demolish Samoa 19-0 in their opening game, Karp stepped up to the starting eleven for Monday afternoons' clash with the Cook Islands. And the midfielder didn't disappoint, scoring her first goal for the senior national team after 37 minutes before adding to her international tally in the 81th minute as Australia triumphed 11-0.
MOVEMENT AT JOONDALUP (reproduced with permission from www.ecujoondalup.com)
There's been a fair bit of movement at E.C.U. Joondalup this week with the departure of one player, the signing of another and the possibility of a second joining before the weekend. The week started sensationally for the northern suburbs club when contract negotiations with Andre Sarpe came to a halt and the talented midfielder walked out on the club. Sarpe was a no-show for Saturday's Premier League clash with Cockburn City, prompting many rumours around the metro area that he had quit the club. Joondalup president Steve Wheatley revealed Sarpe was no longer considered to be at the club after his non-apprearance at training this week. The 17-year old is rumoured to be in negotiations with another Premier League club.
A few days later it club sources revealed Joondalup they are close to signing former Perth Glory player Peter Vukmirovic. Wheatley confirmed the club is in talks with the towering striker who may sign for the northern suburbs club by the end of this week. Should Vukmirovic agree terms with Joondalup his experience will prove invaluable. The 34-year old was part of the Glory squad for their first two seasons before a spell in Singapore with Marine Castle United. After two years with Dianella White Eagles, Vukmirovic spend 1999 and 2000 in the top flight with Joondalup. Since then he has turned out for Swan I.C., Floreat Athena, a second stint at Dianella, Perth S.C. and Cockburn City.
And on Thursday the club confirmed they have secured the services of Western Knights star striker Eugene Singeorzan. The big striker joins Joondalup after nine season with the Knights. "He is one of the best centre forwards in the league," commented Wheatley. "By signing him we will add some much-needed experience to our squad." The club president brushed aside suggestions Joondalup had 'hit the panic button' with Singeorzan's recruitment. "It has always been the intention of adding to the squad when the right players became available," Wheatley added.
BECOME A REFEREE
Ever wondered why that free-kick was given? Or why that off-side was not given? Or why was blue player No.2 sent off when green player No.9 appeared to commit a similar offence? Why is the referee holding his hand up? Why wasn't a free-kick awarded when the ball clearly made contact with the player's hand? Here's your chance to find out by undertaking a Class 3 Referee Course which will enable you to put your whistle where your mouth is. For course details and further information, contact course co-ordinator Peter Tripoli on 9453 9172.
PLAYERS BACK CHANGE
Players from Perth's sole representative in the National Soccer League, Perth Glory, have endorsed the Crawford Report which recommends radical changes be made to the structure of the game in Australia. Local product Vince Matassa, who also serves as the team's union representative, said the squad agreed with the report's findings, including the replacement of the current Soccer Australia board with an independent interim board. "We've had enough of the backroom deals, the divisiveness and the disappointments this sport has given us again and again over the years - and we want change," said Matassa this week. "The players are stakeholders, the juniors who run around on a Sunday morning are stakeholders, the thousands of supporters who come along every week are stakeholders and we have already spoken. We are the reason the Crawford Report came about," the former Perth S.C. goalkeeper added. "We want to remind the voting stakeholders it is their responsibility to represent us and our views, and therefore they should accept the reform as it is proposed."
Of particular interest to the Glory players was the suggestion that the N.S.L. be run independently of Soccer Australia. Long-serving defender Jamie Harnwell said the current state of the domestic league was typical of soccer's problems. "The N.S.L. is indicative of the whole thing," he told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "The structure isn't working at the moment." An ailing national competition has resulted in numerous players turning to Asia to continue their careers and Harnwell, who has been offered reduced terms for next season because of the downturn in the league, is said to be considering playing options abroad. "There's a number of players over in Asia - Malaysia and Singapore especially, at the moment - because the money is there, the league is being run as a business, the government is helping and it's something that's attractive to players."
MIXED RESPONSE TO CRAWFORD REPORT
There has been a mixed reaction in the west to the recommendations of the Federal Government backed Crawford Report. The review called for Soccer Australia's board to stand down and be replaced by an interim board whose task it will be to bring about radical changes to the code in this country. Other recommendations include the establishment of an independent commission to run the national league, a new constitution for the national body, and a massive shake-up of voting rights of the game's stakeholders - the clubs and state bodies.
Soccer Australia director Paul Afkos said it was naive to expect the board of Soccer Australia to resign on the basis of the report recommendations. He said the board would remain in place until the stakeholders had time to digest the contents of the report and had the opportunity to have their say on what course of action was to be taken. "With respect to the Crawford report saying that the stakeholders have no confidence in the board, we totally disagree with that," Afkos told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "This board has rolled up its sleeves, made the hard decisions, not the popular decisions, and turned around the financial position."
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana said a lot of the report made sense but he expected it to be met with resistance from some areas. The report has identified the need to amend the voting structure, which would result in some State federations having their influence reduced at national level. Under the proposed re-structure the state federations of New South Wales and Queensland would be the major beneficiaries with the other states - including Western Australia - to relinquish some voting rights. Tana said implementing the report would be like "pushing the proverbial up hill" but he hoped it would be successful.
Soccer Administration of W.A. president David Schrandt declined to comment on the particulars of the review, saying he would like time to look more closely at what it recommended. "I really have not had an opportunity to read the document in any detail. The SAWA board is meeting next Thursday - 17th April - so between now and then the board members will digest the report and we'll provide a statement at that time. However, having glanced over the 97 pages there are going to be some changes. I believe it is up to the stakeholders to be realistic and realise that their game has to go forward through cooperation and not confrontation, and the Crawford Report may assist in that."
Glory's chief executive, Jeff Dennis, described the recommendations as refreshing, encouraging and exciting. "Soccer can no longer be the insular sport it has become," Dennis said. "These are strong, sound recommendations from an utterly independent source. The game must embrace this change and move on to the next level, using the Crawford Report as its blueprint. It's refreshing, encouraging and even exciting - soccer is at the dawn of a new age." Dennis particularly welcomed the recommendation that the national league be a separate identity from Soccer Australia. "It is the only way to allow the national domestic competition to flourish and become a real contributor to the game in this country, the kind of flagship competition the fans and players deserve."
Glory coach Mich d'Avray was also in favour of the findings and hoped they would be endorsed by Australian soccer community at large. "People always talk about the stakeholder, to me the two main stakeholders - the players and supporters - both want the reform," said the Glory boss. "The Crawford Report is the way forward and I think we could be on the verge of an exciting era in Australian soccer."
"I think we're all hopeful that this is not just another one of those reports that the true fans remember happen periodically in Australia," said one-time Australian women's international Penny Hoath (formerly Tanner). "We all know what has to get done but can it really be done with 100% agreeance? It is not only the national league, it is all of us down on the ground that make each and every one of us a stakeholder. My feeling is the government needs a 'buyback clause' whereby non-compliance within a pre-determined timeframe means they step in and commence the re-structure, leading those true soccer hearts in the right direction."
Former Australian international Alistair Edwards, who turned out for Glory and Olympic Sharks in the N.S.L., said the report might need some minor adjustments to accommodate the work being done in uniting the code in W.A. "I just think it's an opportunity for the custodians of the game to go down in history making a very positive step towards reform," Edwards said. "With the unification process that's been going on in W.A., the report might need some fine-tuning. But we would be foolish as a code not to endorse it."
The inquiry - conducted on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission - came with the assurance that all those involved in the sport had a say in its future direction. Stakeholders have been asked to provide their views on the report to Soccer Australia by 28th April prior to the following weekend's board meeting where the submissions will be discussed. Soccer Australia and its stakeholders will then hold a planning forum on 10th May to decide what parts of the Crawford Report it should implement. An extraordinary general meeting of Soccer Australia will then be called to vote on whether to accept the recommendations.
YOUTH GOALKEEPER REQUIRED
Premier League club Bassendean Caledonian are seeking a quality goalkeeper for their Under-18 team which plays on Saturday's in Soccer West Coast competitions. The club invite players in the 15 to 16 age bracket to contact Neil Ross on 0414 377 536 as soon as possible.
NEW WEBSITE RECORDS SET
Yesterday, Monday 7th April, has gone down as the biggest single day in the history of the Western Australian Soccer Website - aka www.soccerwa.com - with a massive 960 hits registered over the 24-hour period. The new daily record number of visitors highlighted what has been a successful period for the website. A new weekly record of 4,322 hits was recorded last week (Monday 31st March to Sunday 6 April), that total by far eclipsing the previous best seven-day period of 3,855 which was notched up just a fortnight earlier.
This year has also seen the monthly record broken - twice! Prior to January our best tally for a single calender month was 9,097 from May 2002. This was shattered when 12,841 visited the website in February, a total which was itself bettered the very next month with 16,288 hits recorded on our homepage. And with 36,153 visits recorded for the first three months of 2003, the Western Australia Soccer Website is well on course to break the yearly record established in 2002 of 80,661.
REPORT ON GAMES' GOVERANCE RELEASED
The Federal Government's eagerly awaited independent review on soccer - the Crawford Report - has called for sweeping changes to the way the game is governed in Australia. The end product of eight months of interviews and submissions which included visits to all states, as well as talks with FIFA, the English FA and USA Soccer, was a 97-page report with a massive 53 recommendations. Amongst those is a request for the board of Soccer Australia to stand down immediately and be replaced by a six-person interim board. Other recommendations include a new constitution for the national body; new voting power to the affiliates ranging from the players, women and indoor soccer; an independent national league; and offers voting rights to states dependant on the player numbers.
Frank Lowy, the second richest businessman in Australia, has agreed to head the interim board that would also include advertising guru John Singleton and Melbourne businessman Ron Walker. If given the go-ahead it would be a welcome return to soccer for Lowy who helped establish the National Soccer League in 1977 only to leave the game ten years after pulling his beloved Sydney City out of the league for political reasons. The interim board would act on the financial position of Soccer Australia, introduce the new constitution, seek a new high profile chief executive officer who would become the public face of Soccer Australia, set up terms of reference for the standing committees and election process, establish a policy on conflict of interest, establish the national league company and licence agreement, and oversee the election of the next board.
But for change to take place under the present constitution the stakeholders need to produce a 75% majority to pass the recommendations - an unlikely scenario given they will not be keen to dilute their power base. "There may be difficulties if the current (Soccer Australia) board or the voting members are not supportive," Crawford said on the report's release. "If the board will not step aside, the (inquiry) committee proposes the current voting membership replace the board utilising the current articles of association. In the event that the current membership is unwilling or unable to commence the change process, it will be left to governments collectively to influence change within the sport." Federal Sports Minister, Rod Kemp, has already said the federal Government would consider withholding $2 million in annual funding to Soccer Australia if the board refused to consider Crawford's recommendations.
The Crawford Report can be found on-line at http://www.soccerinquiry.org.au/content.htm
A large crowd turned out for the opening game of the WAASSA Premier League season between title holders Hamersley Rovers and perennial rivals Shamrock Rovers at Carine Open Space. With a strong wind at their backs, Hamersley were soon on the offensive as midfielders Carl McGough and Chris Bennett dominate the centre of the park. Eddie Schultz in the Shamrock goal proved to be a stumbling block with a series of good saves, the best a spectacular diving save which denied striker Flavio L'Abbate. However, after 20 minutes L'Abbate latched onto a good through ball from Bennett and drilled his shot low and to the left of the 'keeper for the games opening goal. With Hamersley's defence standing rock-solid, the visitors managed a rare attack in which Paddy O'Boyle seemed destined to score only for Aleks Lackovic to pull off a great save. Ten minutes before the break, another counter-attack resulted in Shamrock levelling with a lovely shot which found the top corner of the net. Hamersley responded shortly after when a free-kick into the area found L'Abbate who made no mistake with a header to re-store their lead. The second half was a pulsating affair in which Shamrock had the better of play, twice they hit the frame of the goal as well as being denied on several other occasions by Lackovic and his defence. The introduction of Mark Kelly off the bench provided the catalyst for a string of attacking moves which eventually resulted in the visitors winning a penalty which Simon Brown converted to make the final score 2-2 in an entertaining match.
Balga began their return to the Premier League with a tough away clash with Perth Azzurri at Beatty Park Reserve. The game started at a fiery pace with Azzurri having the best of the early chances but it was Balga that went closest when Scott Wilson smashed the ball into the crossbar after 10 minutes. Damien Pescud put Azzurri 1-0 up ten minutes later with a fine header, and a quick counter-attack shortly before the interval saw the home side double their lead through an easy tap-in from Adrian Scriva. Balga started the second half on top with Anthony Banham's unstoppable rocket from outside the 18-yard box bringing them back into the match. Six minutes later Azzurri re-stored their two-goal advantage via Pescud's fine header, and the result was put beyond doubt when Peter Nikoloski added their fourth goal in the 82nd minute.
University of W.A. dominated their away meeting with Spearwood Dalmatinac but had to settle for a share of the points as the game ended in a 1-1 draw, David Berg the scorer for U.W.A. "I am optimistic we will do well again this year as we have nothing to fear from any other side," said U.W.A. coach Kevin Burton after the game. "The squad still has good depth and we will no doubt be there at the end of the season. But at the end of the day words are irrelevant - it's what your players do that count and I am comfortable that we know what is required to be successful." Forrestfield United were rewarded for their dominance in a physical encounter with Fremantle United by claiming all three points courtesy of a 3-0 scoreline at Hartfield Park. Canning International began their season with a 4-2 away win over Murdoch University, and Kwinana United proved too strong for North Perth United by 3-1.
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
INJURY SIDELINES GASPAR
Injury has again hampered the progress of former Australian Schoolboys international Robbie Gaspar who is currently plying his trade in Malaysia. The talented midfielder missed the opening weeks of the season with an ankle injury and, having made his starting debut for the Rhino's only days earlier, Gaspar failed a late fitness test on Saturday to miss Sabah's 1-3 away loss to Johor F.C. "Prior to the clash he was training with the team and that's why I brought him along," said Sabah coach Justin Ganai. "But when we arrived in Johor, he was still complaining about the pain on his left thigh so I dared not risk him." Gaspar, who starred on the local scene last year for Perth S.C., is in doubt for Sabah's home fixture with Penang scheduled for Tuesday evening.
FANS RETURN TO SEE GLORY TRIUMPH (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory's hopes of winning the National Soccer League Championship Series received a boost with a convincing 3-1 defeat of Adelaide City Force at Perth Oval this evening. Star import Simon Colosimo showed all his class to guide Glory to a crucial victory in front of 10,292 fans. Glory took the lead in the 7th minute when Bobby Despotovoski's cross was met by Damian Mori swooping low at the near post to head home. Glory continued to press before the visitors equalised against the run of play when a hopeful centre from the right saw Claudio Pelosi rise above a motionless defence to thud his header into the top corner after 17 minutes. Mori had the chance to put Glory back into the lead when Matt Horsley found him unmarked in front of goal but the striker totally mistimed his shot and the chance was lost. It was left to Brad Hassell to put Glory into a 2-1 lead, the midfielder firing through a crowded goalmouth to give goalkeeper Lupce Acevski no chance in the 32nd minute. The home side continued to dominate the midfield in the second half with Colosimo, Horsley and Andre Gumprecht all having shots well saved. With 79 minutes gone Scott Miller swept down the left flank and his finely placed centre enabled Despotovoski to sweep the ball home to give Glory a winning lead. The home side could have added to their tally with Horsley, Gumprecht and Shane Pryce all going close, but in the end it was a comfortable enough victory.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ONE (Floreat Athena Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Bassendean Caledonian vs Western Knights courtesy of www.westernknights.web1000.com ; Swan I.C. vs Inglewood United by Mike Hennessey; Cockburn City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Lennie Bavich)
Sorrento showed they are in-form and will be serious challengers for the Premier League title this year with a convincing display away to Floreat Athena on the weekend. After an uneventful opening period, Athena took the lead after 22 minutes when, in a swift counter-attacking move, Michael Lardis raced away down the right before crossing to an unmarked Andreas Pantelis whose perfect volley flew past Gareth Deeg from the top of the area. But the lead lasted just seven minutes, a long ball over the top from Tony Cumace found Todd Harnwell in behind his marker and he coolly beat Mori from an angle for the equaliser. Live wire Andy Mason beat Adrian Sutton and Mori to the ball but his effort struck the outside of the post after 36 minutes. Shortly after and down the opposite end Fernando Coron's free-kick into the area picked out Andreas Oliveria who should have done better than mis-hit wide of the target. With the very next attack Sorrento took the lead, Sean Fallon belt a low cross into the area which Mason deflected in despite the close attention of Sutton. Sorrento started the second half full of running as Mason pulled his shot across the face of goal, Simon Harland was denied by a lucky save from Mori, and Thomas screwed the ball wide when it seemed as though he'd bag the visitors third of the afternoon. Athena fought their way back into the match as the half progressed, substitute Anthony Jones only just failing to hit the target as the ball spun over Deeg's bar, then Lardis executed a delicate chip over the Sorrento rear guard for Djukanovic whose header went straight to Deeg. The match became much more difficult for Athena when Robin Dyers was dismissed for his second yellow card offence on 80 minutes. The closing stages belonged to the visitors who didn't seal the match until the third minute of stoppage time when Fallon and Thomas combined to set up Harland who stabbed home from in front.
The Western Knights, winners of the recent Night Series, opened their 2003 League campaign with a hard fought 2-0 win over Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve. It was a game in which the Knights owed a great deal to the fortitude of their defence and the tireless efforts of new recruit Daniel Trim in midfield. The home side started the stronger and in the 10th minute goalkeeper Tommi Tomich was quick off his line to punch the ball off the head of Graeme Matthews after a dangerous cross from Craig Naven. Seven minutes later Dean Gartside used his strength to force his way through the Knights' defence only to be dispossessed by a well-timed David Annall tackle. Steve Zuvela had the Knights first scoring chance in the 29th minute but his shot dipped too late and went over the crossbar. A minute later a neat John Nicolaou flick put Stuart Montgomery through but goalkeeper Alan Dunlop beat out his fierce shot. The Knights dominance of the second period paid dividends on the hour as Luka Jukic's smart one-two with Daniel Trim opened up the opposing defence before Jukic crossed to the near post where Nicolaou's mis-hit his shot slipped through the arms of Dunlop and dribbled over the goal line. Shortly after Nicolaou combined with Montgomery who, with Dunlop quick off his line, was rushed into shooting wide. Caledonian's best chance of the game came in the 79th minute when Ryan Jeans flick-on header saw Kevin Griffiths out-pace the defence but his pull back to Jeans was blasted high. In the 85th minute substitute Scott Bailey turned his marker in the heart of the Knights defence but once again the in-form Tomich came to the rescue with a fine save. Four minutes later Trim played the ball wide to Eugene Singeorzan who accelerated into the penalty area before centring to Zuvela who unselfishly slipped it to Montgomery and the striker made no mistake it knocking the ball past the advancing 'keeper.
Cockburn City opened their new campaign with a 4-2 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup at Dalmatinac Park. It took the visitors just 5 minutes to open their season account as Scott Bullock dispossessed Steve Adam before the young midfielder beat goalkeeper Dino Pacella to make it one-nil. Ten minutes latter Bulloch did it again, this time latching on to a pass from Scott Blackmore and leaving Joshua Pescud in his wake to double the margin. For the remainder of the half Joondalup looked more likely to score but had to be content with a two goal half-time lead. Following the half-time break, during which Cockburn replaced Denis Stojanovic with lively attacker Robert Colalillo, the home side picked up the pace and were rewarded when Pescud reduced the deficit from the penalty spot after Peter Petkovich was fouled inside the 18-yard box. The score was leveled two minutes later when Jeff Bright's cross into the penalty area was blocked but the loose ball came the way of Pescud who buried it into the back of the net. In a tense final quarter-hour, Cockburn went in front for the first time as a long ball into attack found substitute John Mirco who seized upon some sloppy defending to go on a fine run which resulted in a goal. The frantic pace continued with a string of end-to-end attacks keeping the crowd on their feet. Joondalup conceded a fourth goal when Dean Wallace rose high and beat the visiting goalkeeper to a corner, his header crashing into the net to make the final score 4-2. "We came out really slow, for some reason we were really flat," said Cockburn coach Mirko Jelicic after the game. "But we were very intense in the second half."
Reigning Premier League champions Perth S.C. kicked-off the new home-and-away campaign with a resounding win over Fremantle City at Dorrien Gardens. Played in picture-perfect conditions and in front of a healthy sized crowd, it took just 11 minutes for summer signing Shane Crampton to score his first goal on home soil. With the home side enjoying the better of first half possession, midfielder Gareth Naven put his side in the box seat by doubling the margin shortly before half-time with a fine shot from 15-metres. After the interval Perth continued to dominate with Naven and Rob Giorgi directing play through the middle of the park. Late in the half Naven bagged his second of the day, and substitute Perry Ielati completed the 4-0 route close to full time.
Swan I.C. were outgunned by Inglewood United going down 3-0 at the Italian Club on Saturday afternoon. With the wind at their backs and the slope in their favour, Inglewood started brightly and soon had opposing goalkeeper Cory Hugo in action when he had to deal with a fierce Louis Parkinson drive. Ten minutes later he could do nothing to prevent Ryan Newhill firing home a rebound to put Inglewood into the lead. Swan should have drawn level when they gained a penalty for a foul on Paul Lincoln as he tried to slot home a rebound from Damian Scali's shot but the spot kick was squandered. Inglewood went on to increase their lead in the 39th minute when a quickly taken corner enabled Alan Mackenzie to centre for Jamie Kuzmanovich to head home giving his side a two-goal half-time lead. Swan fared little better in the second half as Damian Scali and Elton Holmes worked tirelessly, but Inglewood custodian Nick Stone was rarely troubled. The home side owed much to Hugo who produced several quality saves, but the 'keeper was powerless to prevent Andy Cornmell from tapping home in a goalmouth scramble to make it 3-0. Swan showed some fightback and Dean Nicolaou's freekick drew a fine save from Stone on a day which belonged very much to Inglewood.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Bassendean Caledonian's reserves started their season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Western Knights at Jubilee Reserve. The only goal of the match came after 35 minutes when Ian Dennis unleashed a great left foot strike from 16-metres that went into the top corner giving the Knights goalkeeper no chance. Down the opposite end Steven Grant made a timely save at the foot of the post in the second half to ensure all three points went to the home team.
It was a disappointing start to 2003 for Sorrento's reserves who met Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. A mistake in the defensive line saw Jimmy Christopoulos' shot blocked by Andy Evans but the loose ball fell perfectly for Joseph Madjic who headed it over the line from close range. Sorrento did get level through Jake Harman after he was set up by good work from Shaun Bowyer on 41 minutes. The second half deteriorated for the visitors with Mark Walsh sent off before Alain Campher bagged Athena's winner with a fine solo effort after 80 minutes.
Although Cockburn City went 3-1 courtesy of goals by Mileta Miletic, Brad North and Fabio Fusari, the home side ended up on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline against E.C.U. Joondalup after Dwayne Sajda (2), Andrew Stefanovski and John Greenwood found the target. Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena registered 2-1 home wins over Fremantle City and Sorrento respectively, and Inglewood United opened their campaign with a 2-0 away win over Swan I.C. through goals by Michael Baczynski and Joe Capone.
Swan I.C. Under-18's battled Inglewood United - and the referee - to earn a hard fought 1-1 draw in the opening game of new season. Despite taking the lead through Jay Buntin after 10 minutes, Swan were put on the back foot shortly after when Matt Ullbricht was dismissed for retaliation after having a penalty appeal turned down. Minutes later Danyal Bennett followed Ullbricht from the field for a foul, despite winning the ball in the challenge. Although down to nine players, Swan continually attacked and were very unlucky not to go further ahead. Not to be outdone, Inglewood pushed hard for an equaliser only to be held at bay by some excellent defensive work from the home side. But Inglewood's pressure finally paid off four minutes from the end with a goal which resulted in the points being shared.
Western Knights Under-18 side went a goal up early on through Aaron Ellwood against Bassendean Caledonian, and the visitors were unlucky not to be further ahead by half-time. Mid-way through the second half Caledonian were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Troy Smith was sent off for foul language in an innocuous incident. The home side pressed hard to get back in the game as David Houston saw a couple of good shots blocked. But the Knights twice added to their tally as Kris Hansen and Ryan Fitzgerald made the final score 3-0. Perth S.C. and Fremantle City drew 1-1, the points were also scored between Floreat Athena and Sorrento who scrapped out a scoreless draw, while Cockburn City went down 0-2 at home to E.C.U. Joondalup for whom Scott Bushby and Sam Cooligan were on target.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THREE (Leeming Strikers vs Mandurah City by John Fitzmaurice; Bayswater City vs Ashfield by Adam Rucci; Armadale vs Balcatta by Michael Di Pietro; The City vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Victorious in both their opening two games of the season, Mandurah City had a golden opportunity to open a gap between themselves and the rest of the First Division field when they travelled to play Leeming Strikers on Saturday. The game started positively for Mandurah City who raced to a 3-0 half-time lead. Christian Paschewitz continued his fine form with a blistering shot that gave the Leeming goalkeeper no chance, and further goals from Andrew Rennie and Michael Bobridge put the visiting team in the box seat for what appeared to be a comfortable win. But a 20 minute delay to the start of the second half, which was caused by sprinklers which showered the playing surface, broke Mandurah's momentum. The Strikers pulled a goal back shortly after the long break, and a couple of enforced changes left Mandurah in disarray as the home side further reduced the deficit. The visitors has a couple of chances to restored their two-goal buffer without success, and with ten minutes remaining a speculative long-range shot from midfield deceived Mandurah goalkeeper Mike Green to level the score at 3-3. In a frantic final few minutes Strikers threw everything at their opponents who were reduced to ten men with this dismissal of Green for dissent. Mandurah's reserves faired much better despite going a goal behind after ten minutes. Steven Choate ended the match with a hat-trick, Adam Boone bagged two and Adam Parmenter adding his name to the score sheet in the 6-1 win. A very strong Strikers Under-18 side took out their game 7-0.
Bayswater City were looking forward to their meeting with neighbouring Ashfield at Frank Drago Reserve. After a scrappy start, the home side created the first scoring opportunity as Sal Marrapodi brilliantly rounded a defender but was denied by outstanding young goalkeeper Eldin Ibrisinovic. Picking up the pace, Bayswater began to gain the upper hand but had no luck in front of goal as Daniel Naumovski's header went just wide and, shortly after, a long-range shot from Kevin Henderson met with the same result. Unlucky not to have got on the scoreboard during the first 45 minutes, Bayswater came out firing for the second half and it didn't take long for them to hit the front as Andrew O'Neill's corner was met by Henderson whose header went straight in to the net. Two minutes later Boima Karpeh's cross from the right was met by Marrapodi whose first time shot was expertly put away to give Bayswater a two-goal buffer. The game was over as a contest a further ten minutes down the track when Henderson struck the goal of the season from a free-kick hot from some 35-metres. Not long after Bayswater went down to ten men when midfielder Naumovski was sent off for an off the ball incident. The final score would have been much greater if not for the skills of Ibrisinovic who brought some respectability to the margin. The result made it a hat-trick of wins for Bayswater whose reserves won 3-1 with goals from Nick Paone, Rick Fonseca and Pasquale Marrapodi. Bayswater's Under-18 side continued on their winning way with a comprehensive 7-2 victory.
Armadale turned in a very polished home performance against Balcatta to claim maximum points from their weekend clash. Reds coach Billy Russell picked a side that had one aim - to score goals - with Greg Newcombe, Gary Murdoch and Jason Hardie coming into the starting eleven at the expense of Darren Ingham, Emlyn Whetnall and Steve Cramphorn. Newcombe took just 12 minutes to make his presence felt by giving Aramdale the lead, and five minutes later Dennis Lee extended the margin by converting from the penalty spot. Luke Morris made it 3-0 after 30 minutes before the visitors got themselves on the scoreboard late in the half. It was a similar story after the break as the home side continued to dominate against a very poor Balcatta side. Morris added his second in the 70th minute, and Cramphorn rounding off the scoreline eight minutes from the end. Armadale's young reserve team emerged victorious from their meeting with Balcatta by a 4-1 score courtesy of goals by David Forsythe, Bryan Wood and Oliver Crockford. The Under-18 clash ended in a 3-5 triumph to the visiting team, Armadales scorers being Julien Steins, Chris Hill and Adam Coleman.
The opening minutes of the Canning City-The City clash was a scrappy affair with both teams trying to seize the initiative. The first shot on goal arrived after 10 minutes when Jason Hope ran on to a throw-in on the left and fired a shot across Canning's penalty area which just missed the far post. A minute later Canning's Mick Van Dongen had a similar opportunity at the visitors end with an identical result. Canning were warming to their task and in quick succession Paddy Fitzgerald and Paul Oliver rattled the frame of the goal, the latter with a blistering volley from 30-metres. The deadlock was broken after 25 minutes when Oliver's free-kick floated into the area when Mick Van Dongen time his run to perfection and volley the ball home from 4-metres. The City came close to equalising almost immediately when an unmarked Mark Cox headed just over the bar following a free-kick. The City pulled level after 40 minutes as Ben Yates was allowed room on the edge of the 18-yard box and he fired a low shot past Canning custodian Robbie Meyer. Thirteen minutes into the second half Meyer failed to hold onto a high cross from the left and Yates raced in to force the ball untidily into Canning's net to give the visitors the lead. Canning left it late before equalising, Oliver's free-kick finding Shane Laing whose low shot was fumbled by The City's substitute 'keeper Austin Watkis and the ball bounced over the line with seven munute remaining on the clock. Watkis made ammends shortly after when he raced off his line to pressure John Remmington into making an error in a one-on-one situation.
Dianella White Eagles registered a 1-0 win over Stirling Suns at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The only goal of the match came from solidly built defender Davorin Svirac who headed home a cross from Dragan Radojevic early in the second half. It was a bittersweet day for Svirac who was later dismissed for his second bookable offence but the visitors held out the final 20 minutes to come away with all three points. In other games a depleted Morley Windmills side upset highly-rated Queens Park 2-1, Rockingham City went down 0-2 at home to Kingsway Olympic, and South West Phoenix were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Southside United.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Reigning Premier League champions Perth S.C. have started the new Premier League season with a 4-0 home thrashing of Fremantle City. Inglewood United also began with a comfortable win, 3-0 at Swan I.C., while Western Knights hit two without replay away to Bassendean Caledonian. The clash at Dalmatinac Park between Cockburn City and E.C.U. Joondalup produced six goals as the home side triumphed 4-2, and Floreat Athena went down 1-3 to Sorrento. Stirling Lions had the bye.
After three rounds of First Division fixtures, three clubs sit level atop on seven points. Kingsway Olympic lead the pack on goal difference following their away win over Rockingham City but are closely followed by Mandurah City, who drew 3-3 at Leeming Strikers, and Morley Windmills won upset Queens Park 2-1. Bayswater City's 3-0 win over Ashfield puts them into fourth, and Dianella White Eagles move to fith courtesy of a 1-0 away win over Stirling Suns. Elsewhere, Armadale defeated Balcatta 5-2, The City and Canning City drew 2-2, and South West Phoenix drew at home with Southside United 1-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The new Premier League season gets underway this weekend with Night Series winners the Western Knights taking on Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve. Runners-up in the pre-season competition Cockburn City are home to E.C.U. Joondalup, and Inglewood United open with an away trip to Swan I.C. Floreat Athena host Sorrento, Perth S.C. play Fremantle City at Dorrien Gardens, and Stirling Lions have the bye.
It's Round Three of the First Division as a young Leeming Strikers side host Mandurah City who are the only team yet to drop a point. Kingsway Olympic travel south to play Rockingham City, Morley Windmills are home to Queens Park, and local rivals Bayswater City and Ashfield meet at Frank Drago Reserve. Armadale will be looking to record their first win when they take on Balcatta, likewise The City who have home ground advantage over Canning City. Elsewhere, Stirling Suns play Dianella White Eagles, and in Bunbury, South West Phoenix come up against Southside United.
TOP OF TABLE ENCOUNTER AT PERTH OVAL
The return of Damian Mori from a two-match suspension will be a huge boost to Perth Glory when they face Adelaide City in Saturday's crucial showdown at Perth Oval. After two rounds of the National Soccer League Championship Series Glory and Force are two of four teams locked on six points at the top of the leaderboard. In nine previous meeting between the two sides in Perth, the home side have claim victory on six occasions to Force's two. But last weekend Glory's pride took a battering when they went down to Parramatta Power, and Force coach Zoran Matic is aware he can not underestimate this weekend's opponent. "They will be like a hurt lion in the cage and they will want some meat, so we will have to be very careful," said the Adelaide said. "We will have to make sure we do not concede an early goal in the first 15 or 20 minutes, we will have to try to frustrate them."
N.S.L. RE-FORM DELAYED ... AGAIN!
The much-talked about revamp of the National Soccer League looks to have been delayed another 12 months. Hopes of a 2004/05 relaunch of the league appear to have been dashed following this weeks meeting of the N.S.L. Commission where clubs were told that a 2005/06 kick-off was now the preferred option. It is now most likely the national competition will continue in it's existing format although with plummeting crowds, no sponsorship, and only occasional television coverage many clubs are expected to embark on a major cost-cutting exercise. Perth Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis was still hopeful that reform can be implemented for the 2004/05 season, but admitted that is likely to be postponed. "There's probably not enough time to get ready for 2004/05," he said told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "The best time to launch it would probably be 2005/06."
GASPAR STARS FOR SABAH
Former Perth S.C. midfielder has made a brilliant start to his time in Malaysia with Sabah, scoring twice to help the club to a 5-0 mid-week over Terengganu. Having missed the Rhino's opening games of the season due to injury, Gaspar featured for the first time last weekend when he came off the bench in their 0-1 loss to Perak. On Tuesday evening the midfielder was promoted to the starting line-up and took just 11 minutes before scoring his first goal for Sabah to give them the lead. Zainizam Marjan made it 2-0 in the 30th minute before Gaspar struck his second of the night six minutes later. While Gaspar came close to adding to his tally, two second half goals from Zainizam completed his hat-trick and a memorable victory. Post-match, coach Justin Ganai said he was impressed with the performance of Gaspar who has only recently recovered from his injury. "To be fair, I think he needs another few matches to be fully recovered (from ankle injury). He is still a bit cautious in his moves." The win helped the Rhinos to climb two rungs up from 11th to 9th in the M-League standings.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL ... PART TWO
The past eight Premier League seasons has seen the home-and-away trophy go to eight separate clubs. With no relegation from the Premier League this season, the coming winter will provide many clubs the opportunity to experiment a little more than usual and promote from within their youth ranks. On the eve of the new season we take a look at the state's top flight and make some predictions as to how each team will fair in 2003 ...
PERTH "QUIETLY CONFIDENT" OF SUCCESS
Graham Normanton, coach of reigning Premier League champions Perth S.C., has shrugged off suggestions that his club's dominance of the local competition is over. Perth's early exit from the Night Series prompted critics of the state's most successful club to claim the Blues no longer posed the same threat they have been to opposing teams in recent times. But Normanton, who has lead the club to eight trophies in three years, says Perth's elimination has increased his players hunger for further success. "Yes - we expected to advance further in the Night Series but the fact remains that we feel we are capable of winning trophies. Since our departure from the tournament there's been a positive response amongst the players who now feel even more determined to produce this season."
"Our success has been gained by a tremendous work ethic from the players at the club and that is still as good as ever," explained Normanton. "I'm not going to be drawn into a debate on whether we are going to win this or that trophy, but suffice to say that we will be there when it comes the business end of the season. I saw all the teams play in the Night Series and from what I witnessed Perth are as good a side as any of the those that made the last four. We out-played every team we came up against - with no exceptions - but I feel we were the victims of our inability to convert the chances we had to win both games, and as anyone knows that can really cost you."
While many believe the loss of Andreas Oliveira, the clubs' leading goalscorer for the past two years, will have a marked effect on Perth's season, Normanton says the striker's absence is minimal. "It hasn't affected us a great deal to be honest, I don't believe that anyone is irreplaceable. Andreas was prone to missing some great opportunities to score, but Perth are a team that creates many scoring opportunities and he was always going to score plenty of goals playing for us. The loss of players like Jamie Coyne and Robbie Gaspar have been far more damaging to us, although a major goal scorer is an asset to any club."
"We made only one signing during the summer," said the Perth coach in reference to the recruitment of former Sorrento attacker Shane Crampton. "We spoke with several other players about joining Perth for this season but I refuse to pay players the sort of money that they were asking. A team needs to built within its resources and we'll be looking to some of the many talented youngsters who are now starting to come of age at the club to add to our depth. In addition, we're expecting Robbie Puca to start training anytime now after his horror run of injuries and he'll be a big bonus for the side towards the latter stages of the campaign. I am very optimistic about the season ahead. In the final analysis there a lot of factors that need to be considered - can the squad stay healthy, free from suspensions, can the players keep their form at a high level and so forth. Rest assured that the coaching staff at Perth are quietly confident of success this year."
TOMICH WORTHY OF N.S.L. (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Western Knights coach Ronnie Campbell believes that young goalkeeper Tommi Tomich is worth another chance at National Soccer League level following his performances in the Midland Brick Night Series. "Tommi has matured a lot and was very dependable during the Night Series - and saved a penalty at a crucial stage of the final against Cockburn," said Campbell. "I reckon Tommi is good enough to play at N.S.L. level." Tomich, who is now 22, was an apprentice with Perth Glory a few years ago and has also had trials with Melbourne Knights.
NEW PRESIDENT FOR BAYSWATER (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Charlie Licata is the new president of First Division side Bayswater City. He has been involved with the club for 33 years and has previously served club in the capacity of vice-president and manager. "The priority of our club is our juniors, and John Birighitti is director of coaching and development officer for our junior set-up," said Licata. "We are also getting a lot of ex-players involved, including Robert Peruzza, Sam Scuderi, and Ron Rucci, who are helping us with juniors." Peter Marocchi, whose blossoming career was ruined by injury, has been appointed Under-18 coach with the assistance of his father, Leo Marocchi.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT AT COCKBURN (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
New Cockburn City coach Mirko Jelicic, whose team made a big impression in reaching the Night Series final, was said he was reasonably happy with his side performance in the pre-season competition. "It was a good build-up for the start of the season proper and good for our confidence, although we're still not playing the way I would like," said Jelicic. "We can improve our ball skills and ball comfort. A lot of players have got to step up considerably in their efforts." Utility star Dean Wallace, who missed the Night Series final through suspension, will return to action for their opening league fixture on Saturday against E.C.U. Joondalup. Amongst the new faces at the club this year are brothers Michael and John Mirco, Peter Mrdja and veteran Allan Pottier. Jelicic has been pleased with the contributions of youngsters Denis Stojanovic and Dom De Felice who have both responded well to first-team demands after stepping up from the reserves.
N.S.L. LURE FOR MORGAN
Former Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan, who lead the northern suburbs club to their first Premier League title, is reportedly one of twelve applicants for the coaching position with National Soccer League side South Melbourne. Currently in his second season with Singaporean club Sengkang Marine, Morgan arrived in Western Australia in 1996 following a 400-plus game professional career in England. He lead Inglewood Falcons (nee United) to championship success in his first season and spent the next five years with Sorrento, leading them to success in the 1999 Champion of Champions series and, two years later, the Premier League title. Also in the running for the Souths' position are one-time Scotland international Stuart Munro, former Socceroo's Ken Murphy and Mike Peterson along with Joe Mullen, Phil Stubbins, Branko Babic, Branko Culina, Leon Gardikiotis, Joe Palatsides, Ron Smith and Ken Worden.
ROCKINGHAM SACK COACH
First Division outfit Rockingham City have parted company with senior coach Laslo Korokai. Club president Rolfe Bertram made the announcement immediately after Rockingham's weekend loss to Ashfield.
BLACKBURN TRIALS FOR KAMASZ
17-year old striker Josh Kamasz head to England today where he'll spent two weeks trialling with Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. The invitation to trial came via the club's Australian scout Stuart Munro who saw the teenager score for E.C.U. Joondalup in their Night Series clash with Western Knights. If successful in trials Kamasz will join Joondalup midfielder Rostyn Griffiths on Rovers' books, the 14-year old recently agreeing terms on a three-year deal commencing next year.
Kamasz, an Australian Under-16 international, started out with Fremantle City for whom he made his first team debut last winter. Despite missing the latter stages of the season the teenager won the clubs' Leading Goalscorer and Rookie of the Year awards before being named joint W.A. Rookie of the Year with Joondalup midfielder John Higgins. Another Joondalup youngster, 16-year old Philip Callaghan, is also hoping to continue his career abroad and is currently on trial with Coventry City.
LEARN FROM THE KINGS (reproduced with permission from www.kingsacademy.com.au)
The Kings Soccer Academy, under the direction of F.A. qualified coach Mitch Doherty, are holding three-day soccer clinics during the up-coming Easter holidays. The clinics will focus on fun as well as the skills and technique development of players. The Kings Academy are the official youth development academy of Manchester United in Western Australia and the program will include drills and skills that are currently used by the highly successful Kings Academy teams. All clinic participants will receive a quality training shirts and a pair of shorts, and to make life easier for everyone, the clinics are being run in three different locations throughout the northern suburbs. The venues are Cabrini Park Marangeroo, Beaumaris Sporting Complex in Iluka, and Clarkson School in Clarkson. With numbers restricted to sixteen players per squad, please contact Jill on 9409 7286 (evenings) or send an email to email@example.com to book your place.
BROKEN ARM WON'T STOP KARP (by firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tal Karp, a product of the West Australian system, was last week included in the 20-player Matilda's squad that will contest the Oceania Football Confederations' Women's World Cup qualifying tournament which starts this weekend in Canberra. But alas, the young midfielder broke her arm on the training track late last week and is now hoping the injury either heals very quickly(!) or that she will be allowed to play with her arm heavily strapped. Should Australia qualify for the Women's World Cup Finals they will be Oceania's sole representative in China.
BALGA RETURN TO WAASSA'S TOP FLIGHT
Although relegated from WAASSA's Premier League last season, Balga will compete the 2003 season in the top flight following the withdrawal of E.C.U. Joondalup from the competition due to a shortage of players. The club are keen to prove that they should not have ended last season in the drop zone and are seeking an enthusiastic first team manager for the coming winter. "We're not quite ready yet but give us a couple of weeks and we will compete okay in the league," said club president Ken Shorto. "We lost fourteen players to various teams during the close season, ten of which went to Inglewood United's new amateur team where our coach of last year, Danny Stevens, is in charge. But there's still plenty of life in Balga yet." The Balga squad have been working tirelessly on the training track over the past few months and are said to be looking forward to the new campaign.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Despite playing the final 23 minutes with ten men, Western Knights have claimed the 2003 Night Series with a 1-0 win over traditional rivals Cockburn City at the National Stadium tonight. The only goal of the game arrived after 16 minutes via Stuart Montgomery whose low shot was beyond the reach of Dino Pacella. Cockburn came back into the match following the second half dismissal of Carl Medica but were unable to break down their opponents' resilient defence.
Following their 3-2 home win over The City, Mandurah City remain as the only side with a 100% record in the First Division following the second round of fixtures on Saturday. Title favourite Queens Park were held to a scoreless draw by Armadale, Kingsway Olympic accounted for Leeming Strikers 4-2, and despite their injury crisis Morley Windmills proved too strong for Balcatta. Ashfield downed Rockingham City 3-2, and Canning City picked up their first points courtesy of a 3-1 home defeat of Southside United. South West Phoenix and Dianella White Eagles drew in an eight goal thriller, and Bayswater City were surprised at home by Stirling Suns who claimed victory by 1-0.
NIGHT SERIES FINAL : KNIGHTS TAKE OUT TROPHY
Following Perth's wettest 24-hour period in over 30 years, Cockburn City and Western Knights contested the final of the 2003 Night Series in near-perfect weather at the National Stadium this evening. Starting the match as underdogs, Cockburn has to do without defensive players Dusan Macura and Evan Wallace who were overseas and suspended respectively. At full strength, the Knights camp had good reason to be confident of taking out the trophy having beaten their opponents four weeks earlier in the group stage of the competition.
It took just 3 minutes before the first shot in anger was fired, Knights teenager Luka Jukic sending a speculative volley from distance wide after Cockburn failed to sufficiently clear a corner. An even opening period produced several promising forward thrusts from both sides who were denied time and time again by two very well-organised defences. With ten minutes gone Cockburn began to assert their dominance across the middle of the park with Jeff Bright and Denis Stojanovich proving to be particularly effective. Against the run of play, the Knights surged forward in the 16th minute, Carl Medica relaying the ball to John Nicolaou who in turn found Stuart Montgomery, his initial shot was blocked but the striker made no mistake with the follow-up which was threaded between Dino Pacella and his right post to make it one-nil. Cockburn very nearly had a reply three minutes later when Bright opened up the defence by playing a clever one-two with Stojanovich but the left wing-back was denied by the sharp reflexes of advancing goalkeeper Tommi Tomich.
In the 24th minute Boza Erakovic came to Cockburn's rescue by clearing a powerful close-range shot by Paul McVittie off the line after Pacella mis-judged Medica's free-kick into the 6-yard box. Shortly after Medica and Steven Zuvela were very lucky not have their names taken by referee Pedro Vaquez for late tackles of Bright and Roberto Colalillo respectively. As the half progressed Cockburn re-established control of the game and created the better of the goalscoring opportunities. Michael Mirco beat the offside trap to race on to Josh Pescud's through ball only to have Tomich come quickly off his line and rob the midfielder of possession. In the 36th minute Peter Petkovich's shot from 17-metres was blocked by a defender, then Stojanovich curled the loose ball narrowly over the crossbar. And four minutes later Michael Mirco put the ball through to Colalillo whose low effort from a difficult angle went across the face of goal.
Cockburn continued the second half where they'd left off the first. A superb in-swinging corner from Bright was chested down by Petkovich whose volley was blocked a metre from the line by Zuvela. Responding to their opponents attacking forays, the Knights opted to play things square at the back and caught Cockburn offside with alarming frequency. So when Pescud was brought down inside the area by Dean Johnson for a Cockburn penalty in the 57th minutes, there was good reason to believe their fortunes were about to take a turn for the better. But Tomich brilliantly saved Michael Mirco's spot-kick, and brothers Michael and John Mirco amazingly thwarted each other in their attempts to convert the rebound. Still upset with the penalty decision, Medica was issued his second yellow card of the match for dissent moments later to put the Knights under even more pressure with over twenty minutes remaining.
With the game still very much alive, Cockburn upped the pressure. A rising shot through a crowded area by Stojanovich stretched Tomich who tipped the ball over the bar on the hour. Minutes later Bright was halted by a dubious off-side decision he sped away from a flat-footed Knights defence. Having thrown everything into finding an equaliser without success, Cockburn tired late in the match while their opponents found a second lease of life. Leon Russell's inch-perfect cross to Montgomery resulted in a stunning volley which was spectacularly knocked over the bar by Pacella after 73 minutes. And two minutes from full-time Claus Nielson skidded the ball just the wrong side of the up-right from distance.
It was a hard-fought Night Series win for Ronnie Campbells' side who rode their luck at times, especially in the period leading up to half-time and then after being reduced to ten men in the second half. "They showed lots of character," said the Knights coach. "We knew Cockburn would be tough as they are fit and mobile. But a team can't dominate for 90 minutes and they put us under pressure in the second half. I felt our experience would tell as we had more players with finals experience." With lung-bursting performances from wide players Bright and Pescud, Cockburn were unlucky not to get themselves on the scoreboard. But when their second half penalty was kept out even the most ardent of supporters knew it wasn't going to be their night.
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Alan Pottier, Steve Adams, Boza Erakovic,
Josh Pescud, Jeff Bright, Dom De Felice, Michael Mirco, Denis Stojanovic
(Christian Alvarez 73), Roberto Colalillo (John Mirco 40), Peter Petkovich
(Mileta Miletic 67)
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Dean Wallace, Dean Johnson, Steven Zuvela, Leon Russell, Luka Jukic (David Annall 67), Carl Medica, Claus Neilsen, Paul McVittie, John Nicolaou (Daniel Trim 67), Stuart Montgomery
Bookings : Medica (38), Pottier (39), Adams (51), Pescud (67), Nicolaou (77)
Dismissals : Medica (57)
Referee : Pedro Vasquez
Attendance : 950 (approx.)
POWER TOO GOOD FOR GLORY
Perth Glory's National Soccer League finals campaign continued with a 2-1 away loss to Parramatta Power this afternoon. Power dominated the first half and came close to scoring in the 5th minute through Brad Maloney whose stinging drive slammed against the crossbar. Played in steamy, energy-sapping heat, Power gained the upper hand after 23 minutes through Damien Brown whose sweetly hit shot curled into the far corner with Jason Petkovic caught flat-footed. Nine minutes later the margin was doubled when Paul O'Grady's header was palmed off the line by Petkovic and into the path of Ahmad Elrich whose diving header found an unguarded net. Glory's lifeline came right on the stroke of half-time when defender Jamie Harnwell was first to a Simon Colosimo corner and his downward header had too much power for goalkeeper Liam Reddy. The visitors lifted after the interval to dominate possession through the hard work of central midfielders Andre Gumprecht and Colosimo. But they were continually left frustrated by a Power defence that allowed the visitors few meaningful openings.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWO (Mandurah City vs The City by Barrie Rennie; Canning City vs Southside United by Phil Unsworth; Bayswater City vs Stirling Suns by Adam Rucci; Ashfield vs Rockingham City courtesy of www4.tpgi.com.au/vs56lt)
Mandurah City made the trip to Kingsway Sporting Complex on Saturday for the First Division clash with competition new-comers The City. In a game that never really reached any great heights, Mandurah dominated the first half without being able to breach a City defence which sprung the offside trap to perfection. The best chance of the period came the way of Christian Paschewitz who headed narrowly over the bar. Against the run of play, The City won themselves a penalty which 19-year old goalkeeper Nick Archer saved in spectacular fashion. The visitors settled after the break and were rewarded when Gary Collins calmy slotted home his second goal in as many weeks. An act of careless retaliation by Scott Wyeth on Alan Fitzmaurice saw the City reduced to ten men mid-way through the half. Capitalising on this numerical advantage, Mandurah stretched their lead when John Transfield rounded the goalkeeper and finished brilliantly from the tightest of angles. The home side pegged back the gap when Mark Cox scored a terrific goal, and some loose marking at the back allowed Gary Murray to level the score in stoppage time. In the 94th minute Paschewitz went down inside the area and referee Billy Rice awarded Mandurah a penalty which 17-year old Jordan Rhodes planted in the top right hand corner for the winner with literally the last kick of the game. While the 3-2 scoreline didn't reflect Mandurah's dominance, the visitors performance left much room for improvement for a side considered championship material.
Canning City's first home game of the new campaign resulted in a 3-1 win over Southside United in front of a healthy sized crowd. It took only 2 minutes for Canning to open the scoring Paul and Mick Van Dongen combined before the latter picked out Chris Littlejohn who, evading a defender, played the ball across the penalty area to Shane Laing whose low drive went beyond goalkeeper Jayson Mehnert. Six minutes later Patrick Fitzgerald surged into the penalty area where he met a cross from the right and delicately lobbed the ball over Mehnert to put Canning two goals ahead. Canning continue to press and went close to adding to their tally through Laing and Littlejohn who were denied by an alert Mehnert. Southside came back into the match late in the half and pegged back the margin when Craig Innes shot from 25-metres flew past Robbie Meyer and into the back of the net. Nine minutes into the new half Mick Van Dongen was brought down by Nigel Doherty just inside the 18-yard box for which referee Steven Gregory bizarrely awarded a direct free-kick that Paul Oliver blasted through the defensive wall and inside the upright to make it 3-1. Having already brandished five yellow cards, the referee dismissed Southside's Tony Pritchard for retaliation following a clumsy tackle by Fitzgerald three minutes from the end. Shortly after Southside were awarded a penalty after Jix Loong handled the bouncing ball inside the area, Meyer diving to his left to keep out Russell McAinsh's spot-kick and his follow-up. The final shot of the game came from Southside's Noel Gilfoyle whose effort went wide. Canning came out the deserved winners but in truth should have converted another one or two good scoring chances into goals.
Stirling Suns continued their good start to season 2003 with a 1-0 away win over Bayswater City on Saturday. The match stared very scrappily as both sides tried to take control and, settling the quicker, it was the visitors to Frank Drago Reserve that began to play the better soccer. The Suns came close to scoring in the opening minutes when a header from a corner smacked against the crossbar. The latter stages of the first half saw Bayswater attempt to find their way back into the match but were unable to break down their opponents' well-organised midfield. The second half continued the pattern of the first with a very scrappy game ensuing. As Bayswater's midfield began to tire, the Suns picked up and pressed hard for the match winning goal which finally arrived after 85th minutes through substitute Orkun Azturk who made the most of a one-on-one with goalkeeper Adam Ashworth. The match ended with the Suns fans ecstatic and the Bayswater fans very disappointed on a day when nothing went right for the home side. There was more joy for Bayswater in the earlier games, the reserves winning 2-0 courtesy of two goals by Nick Paone, while the Under-18 triumphed 7-1 with Luke O'Neill bagging four goals.
Ashfield started their home clash with Rockingham City slowly, allowing the visitors the better of the early play. Making the most of their opponents sluggish start, Rockingham took the lead after 15 minutes. This only made Ashfield up their workrate and not long after were back on level terms when a great pass from Steve Love found Matt Pochroj who expertly rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the back of the net. Playing some nice soccer, Ashfield took the lead via a free-kick from 18-metres which Chris Williams struck sweetly. Enjoying the better of possession as the match progressed, the home side extended the margin via Matt Pochroj who made the most of a one-on-one with the 'keeper to make the half-time score 3-1. It was a much more composed Rockingham which emerged for the new half and when Alex Smith reduced the deficit it looked as though they were back in the game. But despite creating numerous opportunities they were unable to add find an equalising goal, while for Ashfield Ben Kelly squandered several golden chances to kill the game as a contest. The result made it a hat-trick of wins for Ashfield. The reserves triumphed 2-0 with second half goals from Wayne Culverwell and Alen Havic, while Alex Crookes scored all the goals in the Under-18's 3-2 win.
It wasn't three points but it was definitely a better all round performance by Armadale when they 0-0 with Queens Park at Coker Park. With Armadale coach Billy Russell making four changes to his line-up following last weeks disappointing start to the season, there were some good scoring created opportunities by both teams in an entertaining if scoreless match. If truth be told it was the two goalkeepers that were the stars, Armadale custodian Craig Olenjeki saving a penalty while his opposite number Darren Williams was constantly thwarted the visitors attack.
At Wotton Reserve, Morley Windmills defeated Balcatta 3-1. Despite their lengthy injury list, the home side made sure of the three points with a dominant first half performance and by going 1-0 up early on, and the margin was doubled shortly after by Phil Russie. Balcatta did manage to pull one back after the break, and the visitors almost equalised close to stoppage time when the ball smashed into the crossbar. Windmills sealed the game with a well-taken goal from well outside the penalty area which gave the goalkeeper no chance.
South West Phoenix and Dianella White Eagles played out a tense 4-4 draw at Eyrie Park in Bunbury. Dragan Njegic and Zelko Savic gave the visitors a two-goal buffer only to have the margin reduced shortly before half-time when Taki Nicolaidis turned the ball past his own goalkeeper. Phoenix went on the rampage after the interval and raced to a 4-2 lead with goals from Savo Garic (2) and Greg Gayes. But the visitors stormed back late in the game, Njegic netting in the 83rd minute and David Mrdja equalising shortly after to earn Dianella a share of the points.
Kingsway Olympic registered their first win of the season with a 4-2 home result over Leeming Strikers, Scott Evans opened the scoring for Olympic before Steve Bretti bagging a hat-trick to secure maximum points.
MURPHY RESCUES BLADES RESERVES
Former Sorrento captain Kevin Murphy grabbed a last minute leveller to extend the unbeaten run of Sheffield United's reserves in the Avon Insurance League to five matches on Wednesday. The 22-year old defender looped the ball over Preston North End goalkeeper Andy Lonergan just as the home side thought they had done enough to secure maximum points from the clash. The goal came in Murphy's full match of the week, two days earlier he was part of the side which registered an emphatic 3-0 victory over Oldham Athletic.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's the final of the Midland Brick sponsored Night Series Final on Sunday when Western Knights go head-to-head to Cockburn City at the National Stadium in Inglewood from 6.45pm. The two teams have met once already in the pre-season competition, on that occasion the Knights emerged as 2-0 victors courtesy of goals from Stuart Montgomery and Leon Russell. With the ever-reliable Tommi Tomich between the posts, the Knights will start the final as favourite despite struggling to overcome Swan I.C. last weekend. The recent signing of Michael Mirco has added some vitality to Cockburn's line-up which also features the attacking skills of Denis Stojanovic and Jeff Bright. Cockburn, who've scored seven goals in two weeks, had little trouble in accounting for Floreat Athena in their semi-final showdown.
Armadale's difficult start to the 2003 First Division season continues on Saturday when they take on title favourite Queens Park at Coker Park. A confident Bayswater City side host Stirling Suns, while a powerful Mandurah City outfit come up against The City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Morley Windmills have home ground advantage over Balcatta, Ashfield meet Rockingham City at Ashfield Reserve, and Olympic Kingsway play Leeming Strikers at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Southside United travel to Willetton Sports Club where they play Canning City, and at Bunbury's Eyrie Park it's South West Phoenix verses Dianella White Eagles.
HAPPENINGS AT WINDMILLS
The injury crisis which has hit Morley Windmills, in combination with a number of recent retirements and several players being unavailable due to work and travel commitments, has left the First Division club short of players. Any unsettled or out of contract players who are yet to locate a club for the coming season - be it at senior, reserve of under-18 level - are asked to contact Windmills immediately via 0418 957 846 for further details. Alternately, simply front up at training on Tuesday or Thursday evening from 6.30pm at Wotton Reserve in Embleton.
The club will also be having a benefit disco for Windmills player Justin Jensen, who seriously broke his leg in two places in a friendly game against Swan I.C. a few weeks ago. The disco will be held at the Morley Windmills Soccer Club at Wotten Reserve on Saturday 3rd May starting at 7:30pm. Entry is only $15 with all money raised to help Justin's recovery. Anyone interested in buying tickets can contact Gary James on 93775651 or 0403 310 141.
SECOND ROUND OF CUP DRAWN
The Second Round of the Boral Cup was drawn this evening live on Channel 31's "West Coast Soccer" segment hosted by Bob Figg and Perth Glory goalkeeper Vince Matassa. In the three all-Premier League clashes Cockburn City are home to Swan I.C., Fremantle City take on Floreat Athena, and Inglewood United travel north to play Sorrento. At Dorrien Gardens Perth S.C. host First Division favourite Queens Park, E.C.U. Joondalup have home ground advantage over Canning City, and Rockingham City have been drawn with Western Knights. Stirling Lions made the short trip up the road to play Kingsway Olympic, while Southside United meet Mandurah City at Walter Padbury reserve in Thornlie. All games are scheduled to be played on Easter Monday, 21st April.
SCHOOLBOYS TRIALS NEXT WEEK
Trials for the West Australian Schoolboys team will be held early next month at Britannia Road Reserve in Mount Hawthorn. With this years championships being held in Melbourne, Schoolboys coach Damon Atthowe invites all interested players to try out for the 16-player squad on Thursday 3rd April from 4.00pm for a 4.15pm start. There will be additional trial sessions on Wednesday 9th and 16th April. The 2003 Schools National Championships will take place in Melbourne between 9th and 16th August.
Recently appointed as Schoolboys coach, Atthowe replaces Tony Ratcliffe who has decided to end his long-term relationship with the side. "Tony was team manager and later coach of the side over a ten year period," Atthowe said. "I managed the side last year and was successful in becoming the coach for this years team." A Level Three A.S.F. coach, Atthowe has 15 years coaching experience in the schools competition and has been coordinator of Forrestfield's soccer program since its inception five years ago. In addition he also played State League for Kelmscott Roos and Queens Park in the 1980's.
Last year Western Australia finished in fifth place, although heading into the final day of competition they could have ended as high as second. Nick Ward, who has recently taken up an offer to join the Australian Institute of Sport, Alan Mattecucci and Dean Apelgren were named in the Australian Schoolboys squad at tournament's end with Jeff Bright, Brian Hedges and Colin Gilchrist in the shadow squad. Others than have turned out for the Schoolboys in recent times and are now regulars in the Premier League include Derek Cooke, Scott Bulloch, Jason Godfrey, David Foster, Jordan Conti, Robert Cibesku, Rhys Graham, Daniel Arias, Dino Djulbic and James Hesketh.
DESPOTOVSKI HONOURED WITH PLAYER OF THE ROUND (reproduced with permission from www.socceraustralia.com.au)
For Perth Glory, and especially Bobby Despotovski, last week saw a remarkable turnaround in fortunes. In the space of just seven days, Glory went from the heartbreak of being denied a second consecutive premiership by rank underdogs Marconi Stallions, to opening their Championship campaign with a stunning 5-0 victory over Northern Spirit. For Despotovski in particular it was a red-letter day, with the club's all-time top scorer helping himself to four goals - the first four-goal haul in National Soccer League Finals history.
By Despotovski's own lofty standards of recent years this season has only seen an average return in the goalscoring stakes with seven goals in 22 games. However last Saturdays four-goal haul took his season tally to eleven and sixth placing on the seasons top-scorers list. It also catapulted his club tally to 82 - far and away the Glory club record. That tally coming at a ratio of just a tick over a goal every second game. Despite the lop-sided scoreline the opening Championship Series game against Northern Spirit could have been different had the ball bounced differently. "Northern Spirit were unlucky not to score after we had scored our first," said the Perth-born Despotovski. "Adam Kwasnik hit the post but if that had of gone in, it could have been a different story. On the night we had more luck with everything we tried going our way."
The comprehensive win has also boosted the squad's confidence after the massive disappointment of losing the Premiership when it was within touching distance. "We had a nightmare against Marconi the week before," he says. "We knew we had to come out and not play a defensive style, but we had to come out and work hard towards a win. Everyone was down (after the Marconi match) for a few days but on the day they (Marconi) deserved to win. Now after a good win versus Northern Spirit we are back where we belong and our confidence is up again. We know what we have to do from now on."
When asked about his four-goal tally the humble Despotovski was quick to pay tribute to all his teammates but in particular to fellow Glory veteran Scott Miller and young striker Nick Mrdja. "Scott Miller and Nick Mrdja both had great games with Nick having a hand in four of the five goals I think. Scott had a great game with his defensive duties and also got up and down the flanks and had a hand in some goals as well," he said. "Against Parramatta this weekend we will try and play a similar game to what we did against Northern Spirit and hopefully score a couple of goals in the game but it will be very hard." With an in-form Despotovski and Mrdja plus the league's all-time top scorer due to return to action shortly, who would bet against the Glory securing the title of 2003 National Soccer League Champions.
PERTH PUSH FOR INTERNATIONAL
Perth is a serious contender to host one of the two proposed friendlies against Uruguay in early June. Soccer Australia are said to be in negotiation with the South American's to play a two-match series during the next FIFA designated international date on 7th and 11th June. While the Australian rugby union side are due to play Ireland at Subiaco Oval on 7th June, Soccer Australia director Paul Afkos is confident he can secure the venue for a Socceroo's showdown with Uruguay.
"If we can't have Subiaco, it makes the decision for the underwriter a lot easier, but I still believe we can get it," Afkos told Peter Desira of the "Herald Sun". "The days where internationals are automatically assured to Sydney and Melbourne are gone. Apart from us, South Australia and Queensland are hot on their heels bidding for games." A full-strength Uruguay travel to Tokyo this week for a friendly with Japan who are reportedly paying $168,000 to play the South American's. It is understood Uruguay are demanding a similar match fee for their Australian trip, which makes the possibility of a sell-out, 45,00 capacity crowd at Subiaco Oval all the more tempting.
SCHOOL CAMP IN SORRENTO
Alf Debono, development coach with Future Glory, is holding a coaching camp at Sacred Heart College in Sorrento starting 28th April and running through until 2nd May. Kicking off each day at 9.00am with a scheduled finish time of 3.30pm, the camp is open to boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14. With the focus being the application of good techniques in game situations, Debono will make use of both indoor and outdoor facilities. Other than skills work, there will be sessions on good nutrition and fitness for soccer, motivation and goal setting, and personal evaluation. Video analysis will be used so that players get a chance to observe themselves in different situations. At the end of the week-long camp Debono will provide all participants and their parents with written feedback about each players strengths and weaknesses. With only ten places still available, interested parties are advised to contact Debono as soon as possible on either 9401 2536, 0403 161 655 or via email@example.com
ON THE BALL WITH SCOTT PATTERSON (reproduced with permission from Swan I.C. matchday programme)
It is the ambition of any young West Australian player is to play at the highest level possible. Most can only dream of going overseas and joining a club, but for Inglewood United youngster Scott Paterson that dream became reality when he was invited for trials at Premier League giants Chelsea. The teenager went along for a week's trial but impressed the coaching staff to the degree that he was asked to stay on for five weeks. Patterson trained with the Under-19 and reserve teams and featured in several practice matches against the senior side where he played against the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Eidur Gudjohnson, Marcel Desailly, John Terry and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. He also had trails with Scottish Premier League sides Dundee and Motherwell.
Peter Simcox from the Swan I.C. matchday program recently caught up with the Inglewood youngster for a chat and started off by asking him how the trip abroad was. "It was a superb experience for me, meeting and playing with the first team, and taking part in the coaching sessions which were brilliant." You trained with the Chelsea first team players, is there any moments that stand out for you? "Yes quite a few, one that stands out in particular was my initiation at the club, the reserve's and first team formed a circle around me, put on some music and told me to dance! And if I was rubbish they all got to take off their shoes and belt me. And you guessed it - I was rubbish!"
What is the major differences you found between the game in the U.K. and here in Perth? "I think there is a few! One that stands out is the pace of the game, it is a lot quicker and sharper and definitely more aggressive as well. The clubs I was at had a very high standard of players, lots of England under-19 squad members and a few Italian and Scottish representatives at 17's and also 19's." What if anything didn't you like in the trials? "The clubs' and the training facilities are excellent in the U.K., but the weather is a bit harsh." Is there any chance of you returning to a club overseas in the future? "Yes I will be returning overseas further down the track."
A typical day at Chelsea training - what was the routine? "Well pre-season was tough, from 9.15am to 4.00pm you go to the training complex, warm up starts off with a 6.5kilometre run and if you do not complete the 6kilometre run in 25minutes you do it again! Then a few sprints with high repetitions, then we finish off the morning with small-sided games. After lunch you go out and work on fast footwork with a number of very strenuous exercises. Lots of small-sided drills at a very high intensity, then at the end it's a game - the reserves verses the first team. We beat them once and I will never forget it as I scored a belter past Carlo Cudicinni!"
GLORY DITCH TV DEAL (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory has ripped up its television deal with Channel Seven because of Saturday night's poor crowd and also a smaller than expected ratings figure. Glory's home clash with Northern Spirit pulled in the second smallest crowd in the club's history and Channel Seven were also disappointed with viewer figures on the night. "If ever it was going to work it should've been on Saturday night but it just didn't," Seven program director Jamie Martinovich told the "West Australian". Martinovich also said the station could not commit to showing the club's away games. "There was a benefit to our sponsors and our country supporters in having a live telecast," Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said. "We were led to believe a live telecast would take about 2,000 (people) off our gate - if that was the case we were prepared to go with the short term pain ... but it was a lot more than that so this is the result."
FLOREAT TAKE OUT WOMEN'S NIGHT SERIES
Floreat have been crowned the winners of the Bobby 10-sponsored women's Night Series following victory over Stirling Breakers on Sunday evening. Floreat won the Auswest Fencing Division A competition courtesy of a 2-0 defeat of the Breakers in front of a healthy crowd at George Burnett Park in Manning. Lynwood A won the play-off for third and fourth on forfeit from Murdoch A. In the Universal Cameras Division B, East Fremantle Green claimed the trophy in their first year of competition as a result of a 4-3 win over Cockburn on Friday evening. Lauren McCreary, Sarah Hughes, Kamila Ambrozewicz and Sarah Sweetingham were on target for East Fremantle while Jasmina Markovic bagged a double and Ines Selgado the other for Cockburn. Balga took out third place after defeating Queens Park B 1-0 courtesy of Shirley Martinez' goal.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO REGULAR TRAINING
The Monday night beach soccer competition at Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club has been well received and is coming on in leaps and bounds according to organiser Alf Debono. "A number of clubs have used the facility to provide a change to their usual training routine," said Debono. "We're providing a 'super circuit' which is a real challenge for players, and that's followed by games of Strike Ball and beach soccer. In total the session goes for one and a half hours and the feedback from clubs is very positive." Clubs interested in taking part in such sessions are invited to contact Debono on 94012536 or 0403 161 655.
LEARN FROM THE BEST THESE HOLIDAYS
Learn from the best these April School Holidays. Perth Glory are giving local youngsters the opportunity to experience the training required to make them the best they possibly can be. If you are aged between 6 and 15 years of age and want non-stop soccer action these April School Holidays there is only one place to be - the GloryZone April Soccer Clinics. With four centres operating around metropolitan Perth, there is sure to be a venue near you. As well as mixing it with the best coaches, Perth Glory players and fellow junior soccer players in a structured environment, you will also receive a soccer pack to make you the envy of all your friends. The pack includes a Glory soccer ball, an exclusive GloryZone t-shirt and tickets to a Glory finals game. Clinics for the April School Holiday period will be held in Coolbellup (Len Packham reserve), Forrestfield (Forrestfield High School), Kingsway (Kingsway Reserve) and Floreat (McGilvray Sports Ground). For more information on these clinics telephone 9383 9911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Next weekend's final of the Midland Brick sponsored Night Series will be played out between Cockburn City and Western Knights following this evening's round of four. Cockburn advanced to the pre-season decider with a convincing 4-1 win over Floreat Athena courtesy of goals from Jeff Bright, Denis Stojanovic, Peter Petkovich and Dean Wallace. The early match was taken out by the Knights whose winner came from a penalty converted by captain Carl Medica.
It was a high-scoring opening round of the 2003 First Division with 34 goals spread over eight games. Bayswater City were convincing as they accounted for Canning City 4-1 at Frank Drago Reserve, while championship favourite Queens Park defeated home side The City 3-0. Mandurah City knocked over Armadale 4-2, which was the same scoreline when Leeming Strikers downed Balcatta. There were draws between Olympic Kingsway and Morley Windmills, Ashfield and Dianella White Eagles, and Rockingham City and South West Phoenix, while Southside United won 2-0 at home over Stirling Suns.
NIGHT SERIES, SEMI-FINALS (Cockburn City vs Floreat Athena by Lennie Bavich)
The Night Series semi-finals got underway at the National Stadium on Sunday evening with the 6.30pm clash between tournament favourite Western Knights and Swan I.C. Following a nervous start by both teams, it was the Knights that created the first opening via teenager Luka Jukic whose cross from the right found John Nicolaou who was unable to bring the ball under control with only swan goalkeeper Corey Hugo to beat. With neither side able to take control of the midfield, a lovely move by Swan put Christian Marocchi through in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Tommi Tomich who narrowed the angle before pulling off a fantastic low save to keep the scores level. Just after the half-hour Leon Russell sent the ball down the left flank to Stuart Montgomery who created space for himself before firing a cross into the area where Hugo parried Nicolaou's explosive shot only to see Claus Nielsen knock the rebound across the line.
Swan started the new half eager to equalise and were rewarded twelve minutes in following a defensive error by Dean Johnson which allowed Elton Holmes to tee-up Tom Shepheard who made no mistake from 9-metres with a precise finish. The game was evenly poised as the two combatants worked tirelessly to score the all-important goal that would give them the advantage. Swan's chances were dealt a severe blow with twenty minutes remaining when Shepheard was sent off for his second yellow card offence, a decision that seemed somewhat harsh when a better course of action would have been a stern word in the teenagers ear. Playing with an extra man, the Knights started to dominate. Carl Medica made a surging run into attack that took him past several defenders before he was hauled down for a penalty, Medica converting from the spot himself. The final 2-1 margin would have been much greater if not for the efforts of Hugo and teammate Trevor Hatton who both cleared shots off the line, while two minutes from the end Montgomery pulled a shot from a narrow angle across the face of goal. The only disappointing aspect of the clash was a below par performance by the referee whose constant whistle blowing interrupted the flow of an otherwise entertaining game.
Cockburn City progressed to the pre-season final following a comfortable 4-1 win over Floreat Athena in the second semi-final. Denis Stojanovic charged into the penalty area after 9 minutes only to see his shot cannon off the up-right and across the face of goal where Jeff Bright arrived to tuck the ball into the net from a narrow angle. Bright came close to doubling the lead six minutes later but, after good lead-up work by Stojanovic, the teenager's effort struck the post. Stojanovic was involved again in the 31st minute when his chip over goalkeeper Anthony Mori increased Cockburn's margin. Dusan Macura was superb at the heart of Cockburn's defence as Athena started the second half on the offensive, Macura at one stage crashed to the ground just metres from the goal line as Cockburn scrambled to keep their opponents from pulling back a goal. In the 59th minute midfielder Michael Mirco threaded the ball to Peter Petkovich who coolly scored Cockburn's third of the evening. Two minutes later Athena youngster Dejan Djukanovic latched onto a long pass to reduce the deficit. With Cockburn cruising for a spot in the final, Dean Wallace made it 4-1 a minute from full-time when he headed into an open goal after Petar Mrdja and Mori clashed while challenging for a cross into the box.
JONES IMPRESSES WITH BORO RESERVES
Currently understudy to Australian international Mark Schwarzer at Middlesbrough, young goalkeeper Brad Jones has been featuring regularly for the second string at the Riverside Stadium. Last week the former West Australian junior representative helped 'Boro's reserves into second place on the table with a clean sheet in the scoreless draw with leaders Aston Villa. "Every 'keeper wants to keep a clean sheet," Jones told http://www.mfc.premiumtv.co.uk recently. "All we wanted was a clean sheet, anything after that was a bonus. Overall we have to be happy. We deserve to be right up there with the leaders, last night was a good recovery game for us and we showed we can do well when we're right up there at the top."
The result against Aston Villa came four days after Boro's reserves went down 0-4 to Sunderland when the weather made life very difficult for the goalkeepers. "It was an easier night for me than last week - there was no wind and rain for a start!," Jones added. "Everything about the night was better. I thought defensively we were good, Tony Vidmar showed great character. He's excellent, he's been an international for ever so long, he played first team here, first team at Rangers, he knows what he's doing and assures you in what you're doing. The result put Sunderland out of the way, that was a bad day at the office, it's gone now and we move on." Having started the season on the treatment table for a shoulder injury, Jones went on loan to Stockport County at the end of last year where he made five first team appearances. On his return to 'Boro he established himself as reserve team 'keeper and is a regular of the first team's match day squad.
GLORY GRAB EARLY LEAD ON FINALS TABLE
Perth Glory began their National Soccer League finals campaign with a comfortable 5-0 win over Northern Spirit at Perth Oval on a damp Saturday evening. Northern Spirit had more of the early possession but a terrible mix-up in defence saw the ball roll goalward before a gleeful Bobby Despotovoski swooped to score the easiest goal of his career and give the home side the lead. Northern Spirit could have been back on level terms four minutes later as Adam Kwasnik received a great through ball only to blast it against the post. It was a costly miss as Glory went into attack and fine control by Nick Mrdja took out the 'keeper and two defenders before he squared the ball for Despotovski to slot home his second of the night. Glory continued on their merry way with Mrdja again breaking through, his shot was too hot for 'keeper Paul Henderson to hold on to and Despotovoski was again well-positioned to complete his hat-trick. As half-time approached a clash between Kwasnik and Scott Miller ended with both receiving yellow cards with Kwasnik redcarded as his was his second bookable offence.
Three-nil up Glory began the second half at almost half pace but in the 57th minute a fine move between Mrdja and Matt Horsley saw the latter being brought down as he raced through. Northern Spirit had their chances to get back into the game but failed to convert. As Glory counter-attacked the visitors relied heavily on Henderson who pulled off some fine saves to prevent a rampant Glory side from going further ahead. But there was nothing the Spirit custodian could do nothing when a fine Mrdja-Miller move down the left enabled Caceres to net Miller's cross to give Glory a 4-0 lead. Glory kept the best goal till last, with 89 minutes a beautifully judged flick over the shoulder by Mrdja put Despotovoski through and the striker coolly picked his spot to hammer the ball into the roof of the net and complete the route..
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ONE (Armadale vs Mandurah City vs Barrie Rennie; Bayswater vs Canning City by Adam Rucci; Ashfield vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy of www4.tpgi.com.au/vs56lt)
Mandurah City started the new First Division season with a resounding 4-2 away win over one of the competitions highest ranks teams Armadale. The visitors controlled the opening stages of the clash with Jordan Rhodes dominant in midfield while up-front Mandurah's forwards created plenty of opportunities. But it was the home side that netted first, Paul Caulkin giving the Reds the lead after 17 minutes. And eight minutes later a searching run by Andrew Rennie led to Christian Paschewitz putting the visitors back on level terms. The remainder of the half saw a confident Mandurah side dictate play with Paschewitz, Steve Adams and Peter Knight at the heart of their best attacking moves. The margin was doubled by Steven Rhodes who fired through a crowd of players following a scramble for possession inside the 18-yard box. It was a better display from Armadale after the break but time and time again they were thwarted by a well-organised Mandurah backline. Paschewitz's second goal of the afternoon, again the result of some hard running by Rennie, appeared to seal the visitors win. But Armadale weren't about to lie down and roll over, Dennis Lee converting from the penalty spot to bring his side back into the match. Mandurah wrapped up maximum points shortly after when the home defence failed respond to a back post corner which the unmarked Gary Collins headed in from close-range. Jordan Rhodes was one of the best afield with a display mature beyond his teenage years, while there was also important contributions from Paschewitz and Collins. Earlier in the day, Armadale took out the reserves fixture by a 3-2 scoreline while the Under-18's finished in a 1-1 draw.
Bayswater City started their 2003 campaign with a strong performance against a young Canning City line-up at Frank Drago Reserve. A very scrappy opening period saw the home side look very nervous with some wayward passing. Settling the quicker of the sides, Canning went a goal up when former Fremantle City player Paul Oliver drove a free-kick from 25-metres through the four-man wall and low into the bottom right hand corner of the Bayswater goal. The home side responded by stepping up the intensity to knock the ball around with more confidence. Ten minutes after going behind Bayswater levelled the score via a Sal Marrapodi who made the most of a one-on-one with goalkeeper Robby Meyer after referee Paraskevas Anastasios overruled an offside flag. Continuing to ply the pressure, Bayswater went ahead six minutes later as Marrapodi bagged his second of the afternoon following some good lead-up work from Daniel Naumovski. Bayswater's third goal arrived after a good run down the right by Dario Pelliciotti whose cross was spilled by Meyer and midfielder Andrew O'Neill converted an easy chance from close-range. Canning tried hard to work their way back into the match after the interval with Chris Littlejohn going close to netting following an excellent cross from Michael Laughlin, and in the closing stage John Rimmington had a header tipped over the cross-bar by goalkeeper Adam Ashworth. The final goal came in the last minute of play through debutant Boima Karpeh who took the 'keeper on before calmly finishing to give Bayswater a 4-1 victory. Canning took out the reserves meeting 3-0 while the Under-18's ended 5-2 in favour of Bayswater.
Kingsway Olympic started their home meeting with Morley Windmills positively and were two goals the better inside the opening minutes. It took Olympic just 4 minutes to score their first goal of the season via a free-kick from 30-metres which was taken while goalkeeper Matt Darling was still lining up his defensive wall. Two minutes later the margin was doubled via an excellent header that gave Darling little chance. Windmills injury concerns deepened after 15 minutes when Simon Messenger left the field with an achilles injury, his place taken by Ken Smith. Twenty minutes later Windmills woes were compounded by the dismissal of Smith who was twice booked for what were very soft fouls. The second half saw Windmills ten men dominant possession, but it was Olympic who put the ball in the back of the net only to have it disallowed amid bizarre circumstances. A series of fine passes ended with Marco Chinsano slotting the ball coolly into the bottom corner of the net to put the visitors back in the game with 30 minutes remaining. Three minutes later the score was levelled as a fine run by Steve Keady aw his cross find Sam Danesh who turned the ball into an empty net. The closing period saw some good chances created at both ends with the best of those coming the way of Keady who forced an excellent save from the Olympic goalkeeper. At the final whistle it was the visitors who were the happier with a share of the points following injuries to Messenger and Chinsano and the unnecessary dismissal of Smith.
Balcatta got off to a flying start against Leeming Strikers by taking the lead 3 minutes after kick-off when Adrian Zonato made no mistake from just inside the 18-yard box. The visiting team pushed hard for a second goal but were kept at bay by a brilliant display of goalkeeping from teenager Michael Smerelli. The Strikers drew level with their first serious attack of the match after 35 minutes, a cross into the area catching Balcatta goalkeeper Simon Madaschi off-balance and David Sherington was on hand to knock in the simplest of tap-ins. Aleandro Di Nuzzo came close to restoring the visitors lead but his shot struck the up-right before rolling along the goal line. Balcatta responded through Lucas Whitehouse who surging run into attack took him past Madaschi and his shot from a tight angle was unfortunately turned in by defender Scott Broadley to give the home side the lead. Moments before the half-time break Adrian Caloiero almost equalised only for Smerilli to make a superb save from point blank range. Despite taking the upper hand after the interval, Balcatta went a further goal behind when Ross Ward curled the ball past Madaschi, and the result was put beyond doubt ten minutes later as David Perin's header made the score 4-1. Refusing to concede defeat, Balcatta reduced the deficit via a Broadley header but in the end it wasn't enough on what was a very frustrating afternoon for the visitors.
Ashfield started their home fixture with Dianella White Eagles brightly, the young side having their more experienced opponents on the back foot from early on. Despite their dominance, it took 37 minutes before Ashfield gained the advantage on the scoreboard via Chris Williams' quickly taken free-kick which flew into the back of the net from 18-metres. Dianella then upped the tempo and an even second half followed in which several poor challenges resulted in bookings for players in both teams. As the game came to a close Ashfield's youngsters tired as Dianella took control of proceedings. The visitors equaliser arrived with twenty minutes remaining to set up a tense finish to an entertaining contest. Ashfield lost captain Edin Mehic to injury following a very late tackle which saw another Dianella yellow carded, but the home side held on to register a promising first round result. Ashfield took out the reserve fixture by a 6-0 scoreline courtesy of goals by Alen Havic (2), Tom Gaca, Dinko Ahmetanovic and second half substitute Winter Ngyun (2). The under-18 clash ended in a 2-1 in to Dianella, Stuart Morton the scorer for the home side.
In other opening round games, The City went down 0-3 at home to Queens Park in the debut outing. Southside United proved too strong for Stirling Suns by 2-0, and the points were shred between Rockingham City and South West Phoenix where the final score was 3-3.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Bassendean Caledonia vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
An under-strength Stirling Lions travelled to Jubilee Reserve on Saturday for a friendly hit-out with Bassendean Caledonian. Injuries to Adam Rains, Rob Milevski and Tony Paolino gave the visitors a chance to experiment with Rob Monterosso switching to sweeper and Michael Filippou taking over at right back. Caledonian's 5-3 win was orchestrated by recent recruit Ryan Jeans who bagged a hat-trick, while for the Lions Danny Carlino scored two classy goals. Lions coach Wayne Thorpe would have been pleased with the return to form of Bobbi Klencovski and the Trojan efforts of midfielder Toby Wright. Caledonian also claimed the reserves meeting by a 6-0 scoreline, while the Under-18's ended in a 4-0 win to the Lions.
THIRD LOAN MOVE FOR DAVIES
Birmingham City's young Australian goalkeeper Clint Davies has joined Nationwide Conference club Woking on a one-month loan. It will be the third time the first year professional has been loaned out his season, his previous stays being at Tamworth and Nuneaton Borough. Davies was recalled from Nuneaton by Steve Bruce before the end of his month following serious injury to regular first team 'keeper Nico Vaesen. At that time the 19-year old was the only professional goalkeeping cover for Ian Bennett on the Blues' books. However, the arrival of Andy Marriott from Barnsley has left Davies surplus to requirements at St. Andrew's and he will now be able to benefit from first team football at Kingfield. Woking are currently battling to avoid relegation towards the bottom of the Conference table.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Night Series is down to four teams and that number will be halved on Sunday with the semi-finals of the pre-season competition at the National Stadium in Inglewood. Starting at 6.30pm, tournament favourite Western Knights take on Swan I.C. who eliminated a previously unbeaten Sorrento line-up last weekend. In the late game, which starts at 8.05pm, Floreat Athena will be looking to bring some consistency to their results when they take on Cockburn City for whom Michael Mirco impressed on his return last weekend.
The new First Division season kicks-off this weekend with a full round of games. With a long season ahead, pre-season favourite Queens Park travel to Kingsway Sporting Complex where they meet The City, while two of the competitions strongest sides - Armadale and Mandurah City - go to battle at Alfred Skeet Oval. Bayswater City start their campaign with a home fixture against Canning City, Leeming Strikers host Balcatta, and Ashfield meet Dianella White Eagles at Ashfield Reserve. Olympic Kingsway have home ground advantage over Morley Windmills, Stirling Suns are on the road to Southside United, and at Dowling Street reserve it’s Rockingham City against South West Phoenix.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL … PART ONE
The 2003 First Division season kicks-off this weekend with games being played as far and wide as Armadale, Rockingham and Kingsway, and almost everywhere in-between. A 30-game home-and-away series promises to test even the strongest of clubs, and with only one club being promoted to the top flight it's going to be a very tight season. With four clubs already shaping up as serious title contenders, Brett Klucznik takes a close look at the First Division, assesses the clubs' stocks and makes some predictions as to how each of the teams will fair in this year ...
GLORY, SPIRIT RING IN CHANGES
Perth Glory start their National Soccer League finals campaign on Saturday night with a crucial home clash against sixth-placed Northern Spirit (kick-off 7.45pm). With injury concerns over defender David Tarka, coach Mich d'Avray has signalled a possible start for mid-season recruit Mark Byrnes while local product Mrdja comes into the line-up to replace the suspended Damian Mori. Brad Hassell and Jamie Coyne have both been added to Glory's matchday squad. Following a 1-5 thumping by Parramatta Power last weekend, Spirit welcome experienced duo Julian Watts and Andrew McDermott back to their squad which includes former Scottish professional Stewart Petrie and one-time Australian captain Alex Tobin. With Spirit winless in five visits to the west, Glory go into the clash as clear favourite.
SCHOOLGIRLS TRIALS NEXT WEEK
Trials for the State Schoolgirls team which will travel to Melbourne in August for the 2003 Schools National Championships are being held next week at Britannia Reserve in Mount Hawthorn. Coach Wayne Baseden invites players interested in trying out for the squad to turn up at Britannia Reserve on Wednesday 26th March at 4.00pm for the first set of trials. Further dates and trials will be held at the same venue over coming weeks. “The trials are usually well attended,” said Baseden. “West Australia have been successful in the last few years, coming second in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and third last year. Quite a few west Australian players have then gone on to represent Australian including Ciara Conway, Ashley Kane and Lisa DeVanna who ended up trialling for the Young Matilda’s World Cup squad only to miss out on the final cut due to injury.” To be eligible for the squad, players must be aged between 13 and 19 and be studying either at high school or TAFE.
WOMEN’S NIGHT SERIES FINALS THIS WEEKEND
The Bobby 10 Night Series will climax this weekend with the finals of the women’s competition at George Burnett Park on Manning Road, Manning. In last weekend’s semi-finals of the Auswest Fencing Division A, Murdoch Warriors were thumped 0-6 by a powerful Stirling Breakers, while Floreat hit five without reply from Lynwood A. The Breakers and Athena meet in Sunday’s decider which kicks-off at 7.15pm, with Murdoch A playing Lynwood A in the play-off for third and fourth. In other Sunday games Noranda play Carlisle, Queens Park A take on Ballajura A, and Sorrento Stingers meet Ferndale Crusaders.
The final of the Universal Cameras Divison B will be contested on Friday by East Fremantle Green and Cockburn from 8.15pm. In last Friday’s semi-finals Cockburn thumped Queens Park B 7-0 while East Fremantle Green required penalties before edging past Balga by a 3-1 a scoreline. This Friday will also see Balga and Queens Park B battle it out for third and fourth places, Lynwood B take on Sorrento Seagulls, East Fremantle Red meet Shamrock, Forrestfield come up against Subiaco B, and Ashfield Swans play Ballajura B. For more details on the tournament, and a comprehensive look at women’s soccer in Western Australia, visit the all new Women’s Soccer Western Australia website at http://www.womensoccer.com.au
ITHIER OFF TO CHINA
State defender Doug Ithier has agreed terms with Chinese B-League side Chengdu, who are based in the southern Chinese province of Sichuan. After sitting out the past seven months due to a disagreement with Floreat Athena, the 28-year old thought he may have played his last game. But Ithier’s enthusiasm was rekindled during the pre-season Night Series with some impressive performances for Western Knights. Fresh from a two-week trial with Chengdu, the level of professionalism in China surprised the solidly built Ithier who hopes the move may open the door for his return to Australia’s National Soccer League. Ithier was part of the Perth Glory squad in their first two seasons, playing 15 games before heading to Malaysia where he captained Sarawak. Following a short spell with Athena, he returned to Asia in 1999 to play for Singaporean club Marine Castle United.
GLORY STARS CONSIDER OPTIONS
On the eve of the National Soccer League finals, two of Perth Glory’s homegrown stars are said to be considering options to continue their careers abroad next season. With eleven players coming out of contract and the club offering those it wishes to retain reduced terms, Bobby Despotovski and Jamie Harnwell have indicated they may leave the best supported team in the National Soccer League. Although he is likely to stay in Perth, Despotovski, Glory’s all-time leading goalscorer, hasn’t ruled out a move to Singapore. And Jamie Harnwell is reportedly considering playing in Asia or England. Players whose contracts are up for renewal have been asked to take a pay cut of between 25% and 50% and already German recruit Andre Gumprecht has announced his plans to leave the club while Brazilian midfielder Edgar may be another to look elsewhere. Local products Vince Matassa and Jamie Coyne are amongst the eleven coming out of contract along with Shane Pryce, Brad Hassell, Mark Byrnes, Mohammed Mouhouti and Simon Colosimo.
CONSISTENCY THE AIM FOR MRDJA
Former Perth S.C. striker Nick Mrdja will take the place of the National Soccer League’s all-time leading goalscorer Damian Mori when Perth Glory begin their finals campaign this weekend. The 24-year old is expected to come into the starting line-up following the two-week suspension of Mori who was send off in Sunday’s surprise loss to Marconi Stallions. “Mrdja is the obvious choice, I’ll be watching him very closely to see how he reacts this week,” said coach Mich d’Avray who repeated his early-season warning to the striker. “We have been saying for too long that it is time for Nick to stand up and be counted. He cannot go on considering himself a squad player - he has to step up. He’s done better this season but he is still inconsistent, more like an 18 or 19-year old than a mature player.”
It’s been a chequered summer for Mrdja who ended the regular season as Glory’s third highest scorer, level with Brad Hassell on 6 goals but behind regular strikers Mori (16 goals) and Bobby Despotovski (7 goals). After several appearances off the bench he broke into the starting line-up and opened his season account in Round 9 against Wollongong Wolves. Two weeks later he scored the only goal of the game with Adelaide City Force 13 minutes after coming off the bench, and the following week bagged his third goal in a month in the away win over Melbourne Knights. A lengthy spell on the bench was to follow before Mrdja returned to the first eleven to net the only goal of the Round 17 clash with Newcastle United. Playing mostly off the bench for the remainder of the regular season, Mrdja added to his tally away at Wollongong and in the home win over the Knights.
WINDMILLS DRAW WITH STATE TEAM
An under-strength Morley Windmills this evening held the West Australian State Amateur team to a one-all draw 1-1 at Wootton Reserve. Steve Keady was the scored for Windmills with Flavio L’Abatte bagging the State’s teams goal. Both sides had several opportunities to add to their respective tallies but in the end a draw was a fair result after Windmills dominated the first half with the State team the better side in the second.
N.S.L. FINALS ON TV
Perth Glory will start its finals campaign at home to Northern Spirit on Saturday evening - and the game will be shown live on Perth television! With tickets sales for the finals series going well, Glory has reached an agreement for all five home finals to be shown live on Channel Seven and GWN. “We want to reach the widest possible audience with finals soccer and are also very conscious of our many country-based supporters,” said chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. “The matches will kick-off at 7.45pm to allow for the live broadcasts and I have no doubt the atmosphere will be sensational.” Tickets for the entire finals series or individual game are available from BOCS outlets, phone 9231 2044 for more details.
Following their home clash with Northern Spirit, Glory travel east to play Parramatta Power on Saturday 22nd March (kick-off 4.30pm Perth time). Following that they host Adelaide City Force (5th April), are away to Olympic Sharks (13th April, 4.00pm) before another home fixture, this time against Newcastle United (19th April). Round Six sees the start of the return legs with a trip to North Sydney Oval to play Northern Spirit (25th April, 5.30pm), a home fixture with Parramatta Power (3rd May) is next up, then another road trip to meet Adelaide City Force (9th May, 6.30pm). Olympic Sharks come to Perth Oval on 17th May, before the final game of the series away to Newcastle United the following weekend. The Grand Final is scheduled for Sunday 1st June and will be hosted by the team that finishes top of finals series table.
Former Australian youth international Vas Kalogeracos is back in training following a lengthy lay-off due to injury. The soon to be 27-year old spent part of the local pre-season at Floreat Athena but will shortly head east to link up with Victoria First Division club Heidelberg United. The nippy striker played 2002 in the colours of Whittlesea Stallions in Victoria’s Premier League, scoring eight times before succumbing to a career-threatening groin injury. In August Kalogeracos was invited to the Australian Institute of Sport by director of coaching Steve O’Connor in a bid to get to the bottom of the problem. In a well-travelled career Kalogeracos started out locally with Perth Italia and Floreat Athena before spells with Sydney Olympic, Birmingham City (England), Stevenage Town (England), Kuala Lumpar (Malayasia), Perth Glory, Stockport County (England), Hamkam (Norway), South Melbourne and Whittlesea.
ZEBRA’S SNARE VUJACIC
19-year old Miki Vujacic will spent the next couple of months away from home after recently joining National Soccer League finalists Adelaide City Force. Having made his way up through the ranks at Perth S.C., the creative midfielder spent 2002 honing his skills with Future Glory before winning senior State honours at seasons’ end. Vujacic is expected to return to the local game sometime in May when it is understood he will turn out for Stirling Lions.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Friday night belonged to the underdogs as Swan I.C. and Cockburn City progressed to the last four of the Night Series at the expenses of their more favoured opponents. In a flat opening match, two goals from Elton Holmes in quick succession set Swan on the road to a 2-1 upset over a highly-rated Sorrento outfit. Later in the evening it was new signing Michael Mirco that scored twice as Cockburn eliminated the previously undefeated Inglewood United. Western Knights emerged triumphant from Sunday’s early game by a 4-1 scoreline against E.C.U. Joondalup, and in the late game Floreat Athena downed Perth S.C. 2-1. In the weekend’s sole Boral Cup match, Stirling Lions came from behind to defeat Dianella White Eagles 2-1 on Saturday, the winning goal arriving in the 119th minute via Rob Milevski.
NIGHT SERIES, QUARTER-FINALS (Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Western Knights by Tom McCrisken)
Friday’s opening quarter-final Night Series clash between the previously defeated Sorrento and underdogs Swan I.C. was a dour and largely uninspiring affair - perhaps if the teams had been made aware English scout Stuart Munro was in the stands they may have put on more of a show. Sorrento controlled all the early play but it took until the 17th minute for the first crack at goal as Sean Fallon amazingly pulled his shot wide with only goalkeeper Corey Hugo to beat. Five minutes later Fallon turned provided by pulling the ball back from the by-line to Jared Love whose close-range effort was brilliantly blocked by Hugo. Perhaps not realising he had more time, Simon Harland hurried his shot after collecting a high pass from Richard Watson which resulted in the ball skidding just wide of the up-right. It took some clever footwork by Elton Holmes who, in combination with Tom Shepheard, set-up Gary Andrews for Swan’s first chance on goal but the left-sided midfielder scooped his effort from 16-metres over the crossbar shortly before the break.
After a dull first half, the pace picked up for the second the quick thinking Hugo dashed off his line to as thwart Sorrento substitute David Foster after he went clear of the Swan defence. The deadlock was broken after 52 minutes when Shepheard’s cross from the right went to feet and Holmes reacted sharply to spear the ball under goalkeeper Neil Young. Two minutes later and that lead was extended, Holmes making the most of a defensive error to race through and calmly slot the ball under Young who’d been badly exposed by his defence. Staring elimination from the tournament in the face, Sorrento surged forward at every opportunity in their search to reduce the margin. With 58 minutes elapsed Dale McCulloch was brought down inside the area to win Sorrento a penalty, the talented midfielder picking himself up to convert from the spot and keep alive his teams hopes. Shepheard looked set to restore Swan’s two-goal buffer with ten minutes remaining but his jinxing run was halted illegally, and from the resultant free-kick Holmes blasted the ball narrowly the wrong side of the target. In a desperate final few minutes referee Derek Minet was forced to issue a rash of yellow cards as tempers became frayed, and his final whistle signaled Swan’s safe passage into the round of four.
Cockburn City also advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of a 3-2 defeat of Inglewood United in Friday’s late fixture. Jeff Bright raced away down the left with just five minutes gone to chip the ball into the 18-yard box where Shaun Kilkelly was judged to have handled and Michael Mirco scored from the spot to give City the lead. United equalised 15 minutes later when the ball was played to the feet of Rory Mouttet who made no mistake in finding the net. But the host club were on level terms for only three minutes before Mirco restored City’s advantage, stroking the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Nick Stone and inside the up-right from 18-metres. And three minutes before the interval City extended their lead after a long ball into the penalty area caught the home defence by surprise and Josh Pescud headed over the advancing ‘keeper. The visitors tactic of trying to break United’s flow with the off-side trap often lead to some nervous moments in defence, the most notable being Dean Wallace scrambled clearance just 2-metres from goalline. The second half was a comparatively dull affair with little in the way of scoring chances at either end until Shaun Kilkelly converted a cross from the left to reduce the deficit and bring United back into the game with ten minutes remaining. Four minutes later Robert Colalillo could have made the game safe from the penalty spot but Stone dived the right way to keep out his spot-kick.
On Sunday night E.C.U. Joondalup came up against a strong and very focused Western Knights outfit. After a nervous start the Knights took the lead with a quick counter-attacking move that saw Stuart Montgomery go on a long run only to have his shot blocked by goalkeeper Alan Mattecucci but John Nicolaou was placed to knock in the loose ball after 15 minutes. Joondalup attempted to get back into the game but were met at every turn by a very determined Knights side which was being controlling play through the midfield combination of Claus Nielson and Leon Russell. The introduction of Steven Zuvela at the break paid off for the Knights when he drilled a low shot into the back of the net from 12-metres to double the margin four minutes into the new half. Montgomery extended the lead ten minutes later to effectively end the game as a contest. Joondalup rallied and were rewarded on the hour when Josh Kamasz’ shot deflected off Evan Wallace on its way past goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. Within five minutes the Knights re-stored their three-goal buffer as the ball cannoned off the knee of Zuvela and floated over Mattecucci to make it 4-1. Special mention must be made of the match officials who, on the whole, did a very good job in handling a potentially explosive match with a controlled performance in which commonsense prevailed.
The late game pitted reigning Night Series holders Perth S.C. with local rivals Floreat Athena. The match started at a cracking pace with both side eager to be the first one the scoreboard. Perth goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo made a courageous diving save at the feet of Jamie Trandos after 4 minutes, and shortly after Anthony Mori pulled off a fine save to keep out Todd Howarth’s scorching shot down the opposite end. Howarth was the instigator behind Perth taking the lead in the 29th minute when his low cross from the left was moved on by David Onoforo to Michael Icanovski who made no mistake in finding the net. Athena drew level four minutes into the second half after Andreas Oliveira was brought down by Scarparolo, the State striker converting from the penalty himself. With neither side able to add to their tally in the time remaining, the deciding goal arrived five minutes into extra-time via teenager Sasa Kilibarda who sent Athena go through to next Sunday’s round of four.
PREMIERSHIP EVADES GLORY
The National Soccer League premiership has slipped from Perth Glory’s grasp following their shock 0-2 defeat by bottom club Marconi Stallions. Glory required only a draw to claim the regular season trophy but instead received a sounding hiding by a Stallions side who recorded only their sixth win of the season. Tony Sekulic opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a powerful header following Luke Casserley’s corner which caught the visitors flat-footed . Michael Thwaite came close to doubling the margin after 27 minutes but his shot went high, and not long before the beak Angelo Costanzo saw his effort scrambled to safety by goalkeeper Jason Petkovic and Scott Miller.
The Stallions continued to press after the break and would have gone further ahead if not for Petkovic’s intervention. The former Socceroo denied Joe Spiteri and Alex Brosque in quick succession, but there was little be could do in the 53rd minute as as Spiteri got in behind the Glory defence to bag his sides second. Damian Mori had a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit moments later only to send his shot over the bar from 4-metres. Glory’s best chance of the game came via a Nick Mrdja free-kick which struck the crossbar. Eight minutes from the end the visitors were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Mori, while the Stallions Robert Enes was also red-carded for dissent in the same incident.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE
The final First Round Boral Cup clash took place on Saturday when Stirling Lions played host to First Division opponent Dianella White Eagles at Macedonia Park. Possession was evenly distributed in a quick opening spell that produced few genuine chances on goal. Of the early chances, Dragan Radojevic went close for the visitors but his low effort was wide, while down the opposite end Dimce Taneski beat his marker only to shoot into the side nettting. The first real moment of excitement arrived after 13 minutes when Tony Paolino brought down Zelko Savic inside the area, Davorin Svirac shot form the penalty spot only to see Lions goalkeeper Jordan Conti dive low to his left and keep it out. Shortly after the visitors won a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Radojevic sent narrowly over the crossbar. The Lions were also pushing forward at every opportunity but were forced into shooting from distance as their opponents defended in numbers.
A quick counter-attacking move lead by Dragisa Volarevic caught the home defence out in the 28th minute but his low cross evaded the outstretched leg of Savic as he raced in at the back post. Played in sunny conditions, the early pace dropped off with both teams adopting a more thoughtful approach as Dianella dominated. Sinisa Mitrovic sent a high diagonal pass to Dragan Njegic who controlled brilliantly before playing the ball into a crowd goalmouth where Volarevic rammed it past Conti for the games opening goal after 40 minutes. Two minutes later Dianella had the ball in the back of the net for a second time as Savic nodded in Njegic’s cross only to have it ruled out for offside. On the stroke of half-time the Lions conceded another penalty, and again Conti rose to the challenge by saving Phillip Smiljanic’s spot kick. Shortly after the half-time whistle broke Dianella’s momentum and the two teams retired to the changerooms for a well-deserved break.
Dianella started the second half determined to kill off the match with a second goal. Conti made a tremendous reflex save to deny Njegic after he meet a deep cross. Minutes later Njegic beat the offside trap and Conti who recovered quickly to force the striker to shoot into the side netting from a narrow angle. The home side responded with a goal to be treasured from Toby Wright whose chip over from 22-metres gave goalkeeper Nenad Djurasevic absolutely no chance as it found the top corner of the goal with 51 minutes elapsed. It was end-to-end action for the next fifteen minutes. Savic beat the last defender and appeared destined to restore Dianella’s lead only to have Conti thrust up a hand and knock his shot over the bar. Lions substitute Bobbi Klenkoski seized upon a defensive error but Djurasevic parried his shot, the loose ball rolled to Robert Milevski who squandered an open goal from 5-metres much to the disappointment of the home fans.
The combined effect of a hot day and their competitive first match of the season began to take it’s toll on Dianella whose players began to tire noticeably. Sensing this, the Lions upped the tempo and controlled the final twenty minutes with a barrage of attacking forays. In the 71st minute Wright played a corner short to Taneski who sent a rising shot towards the top corner of the goal which Djurasevic moved swiftly to knock wide. Shortly after Klenkoski skillfully brought down a high ball but his effort was deflected wide for a corner. Breaking quickly on the counter-attack, Savic was again thwarted by another close-range save from man-of-the-match Conti. Nine minutes from the end of regulation time Milevski spot a gap between ‘keeper and up-right but Djurasevic knocked the shot around the post. With extra-time looming, Mohammad Mouhouti sent a long ball to the top of the penalty area where Taneski’s first time volley was just wide of the target. Moments later Tom Klaver’s whistle sent the match into golden-goal extra-time.
Going straight into attack from the re-start, Wright found the base of the up-right with a vicious shot as the Lions made their intentions clear. Not to be out-done, Savic pushed wide on the left before crossing to the far post where Njegic volleyed not too far wide of the post. The second 15-minute period of extra-time began with Savic again turning provider, this time teeing-up Volarevic who shot disappointing wide from just inside the penalty box. In the 116th minute Djurasevic denied Milevski by tipping the striker’s rising shot over the bar. Just when it seemed penalties would decide this Cup tie, Milevski rose high above a stagnant defence to meet a Wright cross from the right and sent a downward header out of Djurasevic’s reach for the winning goal. It was a tough break for Dianella who had fought valiantly for 119 minutes against a Lions side who are at last beginning to look like top flight material.
Stirling Lions : Jordan Conti, Riste Stefoski, Tony Paolino, Dark
Ilmanovski (Stjepan Beretovac 45), Tony Parfumi (Bobbi Klenkoski 45),
Mohammad Mouhouti, Leo Harman, Robert Monterosso (Luke Pavlos 75), Toby
Wright, Dimce Taneski, Robert Milevski
Dianella White Eagles : Nenad Djurasevic, Taki Nicolaides, David Mrdja (Dragomir Balic 80), Davorin Svirac, Phillip Smiljanic, Sinisa Mitrovic, Dragan Radojevic, Mario Lucic (Igor Novakovic 93), Dragisa Volarevic, Dragan Njegic (Daniel Jovanovic 105), Zelko Savic
Cautions : Svirac (23), Ilmanovski (37), Mouhouti (45), Lucic (66), Stefoski (93)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Tom Klaver
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Bolstered by the inclusion of Perth Glory’s Brad Hassell, a young Fremantle City side defeated Bassendean Caledonian 3-0 at Jubilee Reserve this afternoon. 18-year old John Migas put the port side ahead after 5 minutes with a fantastic left-foot shot which gave goalkeeper Alan Dunlop no chance. With Kevin Griffiths and Dean Gartside working hard in midfield to get Caledonian back in the game, Fremantle veterans Alex Cummings and Craig Surtees were dominant at the back where they partnered teenagers Dean Apelgren and Chris Wylie. Craig Young doubled Fremantle’s lead after the interval with Hassell adding the sides third late in the piece. Earlier on Fremantle’s Under-18 side out-classed their Caledonian counterparts 7-0. On Sunday Fremantle’s reserves were held to a 1-1 draw by Fremantle United’s first team in a competitive match at Hilton Reserve.
First Division rivals Queens Park and Ashfield met in a friendly at Coker Park on Saturday with the home side emerging comfortable victors. Glen Noblett lead the way with a fine hat-trick while Grant Learmont and off-season signing Brian Robertson also got their names on the scorecard in the 5-0 win. Leeming Strikers went down to a dominant The City side by a 3-2 margin courtesy of a hat-trick by Mark Cox in his first outing of the new season. “The game was a good little work out for us as I was able to use a few of the younger players who all did very well,” said coach Stuart Currie.
Bayswater City recorded a 2-1 win over Kingsway Olympic when those sides met at Frank Drago Reserve. Both Bayswater’s goals came from mew-signing Boima Karpeh. “I used the game to give those players who had not had a great deal of playing time in the pre-season an opportunity for a decent run before the season proper,” said coach Salv Todaro. The match between Southside United and Armadale ended in a 3-2 win to Southside.
Having broken his leg mid-2002, young striker made his return to on-field action for E.C.U. Joondalup’s reserves by scoring twice in their 5-0 win over Floreat Athena. John Greenwood also bagged a double with Keith Taylor also finding the net for the northern suburbs’ side.
SECOND OPERATION FOR ERGIC
Former Western Australia junior representative Ivan Ergic have undergone his second operation in the space of three months in an effort to shake off a niggling groin injury. The creative midfielder is hoping to return to action for F.C. Basel come the beginning of April. Ergic last turned out for his club in late November’s European Champions League clash with Manchester United.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Night Series goes into sudden this evening with the opening two quarter-final showdowns at the National Stadium in Inglewood. Sorrento, who are undefeated so far in the pre-season tournament, take on Swan I.C. from 6.45pm while in the late game it's Group B winner Inglewood United against Cockburn City. The early game on Sunday pits the youngsters from E.C.U. Joondalup against a strong Western Knights line-up. At 8.25pm the final round of four fixture features near-neighbours Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena. On this weekend is the final game in Round One of the Boral Cup which will see Stirling Lions take on Dianella White Eagles at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon.
GLORY POISED FOR THIRD TITLE
An away draw with Marconi Stallions will be enough for Perth Glory to wrap up their third National Soccer League minor title in four seasons when the two sides meet at Marconi Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With just two wins from their last ten outings, the last-placed Stallions will be playing for little more than pride in a season that will go down as the worst in the clubs' long history. In seven visits to Marconi Stadium, Glory has emerged with maximum points on five occasions and coach Mich d'Avray is keen to continue in that vein. "We've got to approach this game positively and like every other this season and that is to win. To go out and play for a point could rebound on us," he said this week. The game will be broadcast live and exclusively on 6PR (882AM) from 2.00pm Perth time.
WORLD CUP SPOT BECKONS FOR KARP
National women's coach Adrian Santrac has included Tal Karp in his 22-player squad for a two-week training camp in Canberra starting on Monday. One of seventeen scholarship holders at the Australian Institute of Sport in the squad, Karp spent the past few seasons with Canberra Eclipse in the Womens' National Soccer League. The 21-year old midfielder has made eight appearances for the Matilda's since her debut in national colours last year. Next week's camp will lead the Matilda's into the Oceania Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament which starts on 5th April in Canberra.
RHODES BACK FROM ITALY
Talented young midfielder Jordan Rhodes has recently returned from Italy where he was one of three local players invited to be part of the Leichardt Tigers squad which competed in the 55th annual Viareggio tournament. Rhodes, who made the trip along with Antonio Naglieri and Boima Karpeh, revelled in the opportunity to match his skills with some of the world's best young players. "Italy was a fantastic experience," the teenager said this week. "We were treated like royalty by the locals of Viareggio. I enjoyed every minute of the trip, be it playing against professionals of a very high calibre to mingling with the best young players in Europe. Some of the players at the tournament included Diego Maradona's son and a Brazilian international who has just been valued at A$30 million!"
Rhodes linked up with the Leichardt squad prior to their departure for Europe. "In order to gel with the players, I spent a week in Sydney training with the Leichardt team and we arrived in Italy approximately a week before the tournament started. This allowed us to play a few friendly matches, including a 3-2 loss to Empoli whom Leichardt have links with. We were draw in a group with Italian teams Cosenza, Napoli and Regina which pleased our coaching staff as it could have been a much harder group. We lost the first two games 1-0 and the last game 3-0 and, although we were disappointed that we didn't get at least one win, the coach was pleased with the results - in ten years no Australian team has ever won a game in the group stage of this tournament!"
"I think the big difference was that we didn't take our chances and were subsequently punished by the Italian teams who were very careful and didn't make many mistakes for us to capatilise on. Our team was as fit and strong as the other teams, but the Italian teams defended strongly and made us pay with some clinical finishing. They also had better control of the ball, mainly due to the fact the train and practice everyday," commented Rhodes before evaluating his own performance. "It was a great challenge to adjust to the more technical style of play, which is typical of Italian football. I was pleased with the way that I performed, and what I achieved during the tournament. It was a fantastic way to test my abilities, and I have learned more about the game as a whole. It has definitely increased my hunger to play professional football at a high level."
Rhodes returned from England in the middle of last year having spent several years in the youth ranks at Charlton Athletic. He made several appearances for Mandurah City, the club with whom he started out as a junior, towards the end of the 2002 local season but is yet to sign on the dotted line for the coming campaign. "I'm presently training with Mandurah but I have yet to sign with them as I am looking at my options," he said. "Mandurah is a great club who I predict will do well again this season. They have recently signed Christian Paschewitz, who came up through our junior ranks, and also have a great batch of very young players, some of whom will be regular starters for the first team this season. The future at the club is very promising."
200 UP FOR DESPOTOVSKI
Former Floreat Athena attacker Bobby Despotovski is set to make his 200th appearance in the National Soccer League when Perth Glory take on Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium this Sunday. After several seasons in the local league with Athena, during which time he represented the State, Despotovski stepped up to the ranks of the N.S.L. in 1994/95 by making his debut for Heidelberg United. The following season was spend with Eastern Pride before he returned to Perth to play for Glory in the club's inaugural season in the N.S.L. To date he has found the net 88 times in the national competition, making him the N.S.L.'s sixteenth highest all-time goalscorer. Twice named Glory's Most Glorious Player, the 31-year old has 4 appearances for the Australian national team to his credit for 5 goals.
BLACKBURN STEP BY CHASE FOR JOONDALUP STARLET (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
English club Blackburn Rovers are pressing ahead with a bid to sign West Australian whiz-kid Rostyn Griffiths. The teenage E.C.U. Joondalup striker is rated one of the hottest talents in Perth and has already attracted interest from several Premiership and First Division clubs. It is understood that Blackburn's Australian-based scout Stuart Munro has jetted to Perth this week in an attempt to seal a deal for the teenager.
DEFENDERS SOUGHT BY BAYSWATER
First Division club Bayswater City are looking to strengthen their playing stocks for the coming winter season with the acquisition of young, quality defenders. Reserve team coach Rodney Njirich is seeking players aged 18 to 21 capable of playing either as sweeper or in central defence who will provide immediate back-up for the first team. Interested players can contact Njirich on 0403 241 621, or by fronting for training at Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater, on Tuesday and/or Thursday evenings from 6.30pm.
KINGS ADOPT NEW PROGRAM
The northern suburbs Kings Soccer Academy players will start the new season as fit, agile and probably quicker than most of their counterparts thanks to a sensational new fitness program introduced into their training schedule early this year. "As a result of our association with Manchester United Football Club, we were introduced to one of the latest and most innovative training programs in Australia," explained coaching director Mitch Doherty. "The program known as SAQ, which is based on Speed Agility and Quickness techniques, using state of the art equipment and has been adopted as the preferred method of training by a host of top European clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus to name but a few."
The Kings Academy recently arranged for the Australian SAQ managing Director David Magrone, and SAQ instructor Fabio Macolino to fly in from Sydney, to facilitate the first ever SAQ instructor training course in Western Australia. "Since our association with Manchester United was finalised, we have been focused on achieving our club goals in the development of youth players and we firmly believe that the club is leading the way in innovative training techniques," Doherty added. "The SAQ program is yet further proof that the Kings Academy players are benefiting from this unique arrangement with one of Europe's leading clubs. If you look at the statistics on the SAQ Australian website you will find that there are only 150 accredited SAQ trainers in the whole of Australia. All of our coaches, including our goalkeeper coach, attended the course and we are proud to be the first soccer club in W.A. to have a complete coaching staff of SAQ accredited trainers."
"Even though the course was only held two weeks ago, we have already introduced SAQ into our training program and the reaction has been extremely positive from all of our players. As a club we are setting high standards and raising the quality bar on a regular basis, however this is only the start of a number of initiatives planned for the Kings Academy coaching staff and players over the coming months," Doherty concluded. The Kings Football Academy will have teams in the new Junior Champions Leagues in the Under-11 through to Under-15 age groups. There are still a limited number of places still available for quality players in some of the squads. For further information on the Kings Academy, please contact Mitch Doherty on 9300 8654, via email to email@example.com or online at http://www.kingsacademy.com.au
BIG FUTURE TIPPED FOR TEENAGER
Bayswater youngster Chris Herd could become the latest West Australian to forge an overseas career when he heads to England in the next few months. For the past two years English Premier League club Southampton have been keeping a close eye on the skilful 14-year old who, despite his impending trip, has his feet firmly on the ground. "There's a lot of talented players but if the attitude is not there, and the commitments is not there they won't get anywhere. And I believe Chris has got that," John Sydenham, Southampton's scout downunder, told Steve Nelkovski of Channel Seven news this week.
The Herd family head to England shortly when Chris will participate in the final round of trials for Southamptons' youth academy with hopes of earning himself five-year deal. "The club have hundreds and hundreds of players going through there and not many of them are asked back. I think that speaks for itself - obviously they see something special," Sydenham added. "It's marvellous, it's a fairytale." Southampton are not the only English club keen on Herd with several other top flight clubs already expressing their interest should the Saints pass him over.
UNDER-20'S CAMP ON HOLD
The postponement of the World Youth Championship later this month has lead to the deferment of the Young Socceroos camp in Perth. West Australia was to be used as the Australian Under-20's training base in the lead-up to the tournament which had been scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates starting on 25th March. But F.I.F.A.'s decision to delay the tournament because of war fears prompted Soccer Australia to put the Perth camp on hold. Local officials have been told W.A. will get its chance to host the Young Socceroos when the championships are rescheduled.
One player disappointed that the tournament has been put on hold is Perth Glory defender David Tarka who was hoping to use the event as a springboard to an overseas career. "I just hope it's not postponed for long and that they have it in four or six weeks, or whatever. I've got to cling to that hope," he told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian". Tarka will now be available for the initial stage, if not all, of Glory's finals campaign. "I've just got to concentrate on what I've got to do with Glory."
MURPHY THE LAST MAN STANDING
Shaun Murphy is the only Australian left in the English F.A. Cup following Sheffield United's stunning 1-0 win over Premier League outfit Leeds United in their quarter-final meeting at Brammall Lane. The 32- year old defender, who was over-looked for Australia's friendly with England last month, played his part in the win by setting up Steve Kabba's 78th minute winner. Murphy's strong header from the edge of the 18-yard box landed for Michael Tonge whose 15-metre shot was blocked but Kabba was well placed to slam the rebound home with his first touch. For Leeds, Australian internationals Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka were both denied earlier chances to give the Yorkshire team. Th win sets up a meeting with Cup olders Arsenal in the round of four for United.
GLORY FAVOURITE TAKES SWIPE AT GAME'S ADMINISTRATION (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski has taken a swipe at the game's administrators and highlighted the concerns of current National Soccer League players. The Glory favourite, writing in his column for the "Sunday Times" said, "There has been plenty of optimism at high levels of the game's administration about the future of soccer in Australia since the granting of a World Cup spot to Oceania and the win over England. But for the players in the N.S.L., it appears to be a different story. For the guys who make a living from the game in Australia, all this talk at the top of great sponsorship deals and a new era for the game is beginning to sound a little hollow."
"I suppose if you have the prospect of a nice all-expenses paid trip to watch the World Cup in a couple of years everything will look rosey," Despotovski added. "But for the people who want to stay and play in their own country, times are getting tough. Amazingly, with a Federal Government report on the game's future not even released yet, we are already starting to hear people claim the game does not have to be changed to survive in Australia. What planet are they on? Crowds have plummeted this season. If you took the dozen clubs other than Perth Glory and added their crowds up each week you would be lucky some weeks to break five figures. The need for change in Australian soccer has never been greater. It is all very well to pick a national team just from those who play overseas, but surely people can see the need for a strong domestic competition."
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND FOUR (Cockburn City vs Western Knights by Lennie Bavich)
The kick-off to the Group A Night Series clash between Western Knights and Cockburn City was somewhat overshadowed by a spectacular sunset, but it wasn't long before the on-field action grabbed the attention of a healthy crowd at the National Stadium. State striker Stuart Montgomery was allowed latitude by the assistant referee, despite being caught in what appeared to be an off-side position, when he ran onto a teammates pass to beat goalkeeper Dino Pacella and give the Knights the lead. On a day which saw the temperature peak at over 40 degrees celsius, the Knights were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of midfielder Paul McVittie. Although down a man, the Knights were able to double the margin via Leon Russell who converted a cross from Montgomery. Shortly after Cockburn's Shane McNally received his marching orders for a foul on Paul Cooke who was immediately replaced due to injury. The injection of the fresh legs of Peter Mrdja and Bryn Griffiths at the half-time break breathed life in Cockburn's performance along with the introduction of Peter Petkovich ten minutes later. But the substitutions caused Cockburn some problems when Dusan Macura came off injured, leaving the side with nine players. Not long after the numbers were evened up when Tony Kusar received his second yellow card of the night, then Cockburn went down to eight men as Peter Vukmirovic was copped his second caution. With the heat taking it toll on the players, Cockburn fought galliantly and came close to grabbing a late consolation goal with Domenic DeFelice shooting just wide of the up-right after being set-up by Petkovich.
In the late match, host club Inglewood United defeated local rivals Perth S.C. who ended the game with nine players. In an even opening half both teams created some good opportunities to get on the scoreboard first without success. David Onoforo squandered a chance to put Perth in front when he failed to convert a penalty, while down the opposite end State striker Ryan Newhill missed an open goal. Midfielder Adam Bunce was the first to be given his marching orders following a two-footed tackle on Jamie Kuzmanovich early in the second half. Nine minutes later Perth's new recruit Shane Crampton joined Bunce in the changerooms after lashing out at Alex Josifovski with the score still at nil-all. Seizing the initiative, young gun Louis Parkinson opened the scoring in the 66th minute. Perth came close to leveling shortly after via Jamie Coyne whose effort went narrowly wide of the target. Five minutes from the 2-0 scoreline was completed by Newhill to leave United undefeated at the completion of the qualification stage and on top of the Group B standings.
GLORY IN BOX SEAT FOR MINOR PREMIERSHIP (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory grapped top spot on the National Soccer League table by defeating Melbourne Knights 3-1 on an oppressively hot and humid Saturday evening at Perth Oval. It was a credit to both teams that they kept the 9,156 fans happy with some entertaining soccer. The home side began with Adrian Caceres in the starting line-up and he immediately create havoc down the left flank. And it came as no surprise when Glory took the lead in the 4th minute, a fortunate mis-kick by Damian Mori enabling Matt Horsley to power the ball into the bottom corner of the net. One-nil down, the Knights came back with Lubo Lapsansky firing just wide following good work by Daniel Vasilevski down the right. Mori again mis-kicked in front of goal after being set up by Horsley but it didn't prove costly as four minutes later goalkeeper Martin Johns failed to hold an Andre Gumprecht pile-driver and Bobby Despotovski was left with the simple task to tap home and give Glory a 2-0 lead. The Knights, with no hope of reaching the finals, nonetheless played some attractive soccer and agreat move through the centre enabled Anthony Pelikan to round Petkovic to reduce the arrears to 2-1. The home side went through a spell when they tended to give the ball away too easily as the end of the first half approached, something that may well have been punished by a team challenging for a spot in the play-offs.
Glory attacked early on in the second half but Mori and Despotovoski yet again proved ineffective. Mori's loss of form and confidence is particularly worrying with the finals approaching. Midway through the half Nick Mrdja replaced Mori and Mark Byrnes took over from Caceres. This brought immediate improvement with Mrdja combining well with midfielders Gumprecht and Horsley. A move down the right saw Gumprecht brilliantly force his way through the defence to square the ball to Mrdja who slotted home to increase Glory's lead to a comfortable 3-1. The Knights' young side continued to plug away and they were able to extend the home defence with Pelikan the outstanding player, the attacker setting Serkan Oksuzwho who brought a quality save from Jason Petkovic. Simon Colosimo came off the bench in the final stages and livened up proceedings with a long-range rocket that rattled the crossbar. The 3-1 margin in favour of Glory gives them a handy two point lead at the top of the table and, with a superior goal difference, a draw next Sunday with Marconi Stallions will be enough to give them the minor premiership - regardless of how Olympic Sharks fare against Adelaide City Force.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE
At Litis Stadium the rain clouds opened up shortly after the start of the Boral Cup First Round clash between Floreat Athena and First Division side Ashfield. Played in trying conditions, Athena took the lead after 10 minutes following a foul on James Afkos inside the penalty box, Andreas Oliviera converting from the spot. Having been booked for dissent over the penalty decision, Ashfield's David Mayers received his second yellow card shortly after when he brought down Costa Socratous to put the visitors well and truly on the back foot. With Ashfield down to ten men Athena took their foot off the gas, allowing their opponents to create numerous promising attacks. Their best opening came through Dion Flores but he was unable to get the ball past goalkeeper Anthony Mori. Athena picked up the pace after the break with much of their play being channeled through Socratous and Anthony Jones on the right flank. Ten minutes into the period the margin became two goals as Socratous found Sasa Kilibarda who swept the ball into the net. Five minutes later the result was put beyond a doubt after Jamie Trandos' excellent far post cross was nodded in by teenage striker Kilibarda. Athena used the time remaining to give a run to some of their younger players including Eugene Tan, Dejan Djukanovic and off-season recruit Aaron Moschopoulos. The final scoreline could have been much greater had Moschopoulos done better after some fine lead-up work by Djukanovic, while Oliveria swept the ball over the bar from close range in the final minute. Full credit to the young Ashfield side who, reduced to ten men early in the game, competed well to keep the final margin down to only three goals.
At Kingsway Sporting Complex Fremantle City dominated their Cup meeting with The City from the outset. Branimir Mikulic scored his first hat-trick since his arrival from Cockburn City, and the State striker could have had a few more had luck been on his side. It wasn't until the final fifteen minutes that Fremantle asserted their authority on the scoreboard as young attacker John Migas found the back of the net twice in the space of a minute. His first goal saw Migas cut in from the left wing, sashay past two opponents before sliding the ball under the goalkeeper, a within the minute he'd held off two defenders to slot home 10-metres. The City battle all the way to the final whistle in oppressive playing conditions in a game played in a good competitive spirit. "We fielded a very young side with most of the players around the age of 19 or 20," said the City coach Stuart Currie after the game. "In fact we started with three16 and two 17-year olds in the line-up. This was pretty much our first meaningful game together and the players did well although Fremantle's superior fitness and experience showed towards the end."
Stirling Lions continued their pre-season preparations with a friendly against E.C.U. Joondalup in sweltering conditions on Saturday. A torrential downpour greeted the two sides for the start of the game which produced some thrilling end-to-end action before Joondalup emerged as victors by a 3-1 scoreline. Josh Kamasz opened the scoring for Joondalup with Scott Bulloch adding two more to the tally in the second half. New signing Dimce Taneski scored the Lions lone goal.
Ryan Jeans has repaid the faith Bassendean Caledonian placed in him by hitting a hat-trick in Saturday's friendly win over First Division side Kingsway Olympic. Having only recently made the move from Sorrento, where he played for seven seasons, the 23-year old striker was amongst the goals as Caledonian ran out 5-0 victors. The other goals came from rising star Joel Powell who opened the scoring with a fine volley from distance and attacking midfielder Graeme Matthews.
Swan I.C. recorded a 3-0 win over First Division side Morley Windmills in energy sapping conditions courtesy of goals from Eddie Mura and teenager Tom Shepheard (2). The result was overshadowed by a serious injury to Windmills midfielder Justin Jensen who was taken to hospital with a broken leg. It was later revealed Jensen broke both bones in his leg and required a three-hour operation which saw pins inserted into his leg.
Leeming Strikers travelled to Coker Park where they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Queens Park in stifling conditions. Steve Sauzier bagged a double for the home side with Billy Robb scoring the other for a young Queens Park side. "In extremely hot conditions both sides did well to keep the game at a high tempo and from our point of view it gave us a good opportunity to have a look at some of the younger kids in the squad," said coach Mike Brazil. Lead from midfield by Craig Ruthven, the pick of the visitors goals came from Lucas Whitehouse who unleashed a curling left-footer from 22-metres which found the top corner of the net.
Mandurah City met W.A.A.S.S.A. club Hamersley Rovers in a match contested over three 30 minute 'halves' on Saturday afternoon. The match ended 5-1 in favour of Mandurah who took the opportunity to give a first team run to many of their youth players, 22-year old Andrew Rennie being their oldest player on the park at the final whistle. The clash between Armadale and Rockingham City was called off at half time due to heavy rain with the score deadlocked at 0-0.
UNDER-20 VISIT LIKELY TO BE POSTPONED
The Soccer Administration of W.A. is likely to learn today that the Young Socceroos Perth training camp scheduled for next week will not go ahead. It was expected the national Under-20 side would meet the State team in a two-game series while in town, but following F.I.F.A.'s decision to postpone the World Youth Championships due to possibility of war breaking out in the middle east that now looks unlikely. Soccer Australia will meet today to decide whether they'll postpone the Perth camp, but local officials are keen to host the Young Socceroos once the youth tournament is rescheduled. S.A.W.A. president David Schrandt said the WA soccer community deserved the opportunity to watch first-class international fixtures in Perth. "We will vigorously pursue the opportunity for the camp to be held in WA, as we've been starved of international fixtures," he said. It is understood W.A. officials will investigate the option of bringing an Asian team to Perth to play in a three-way mini-series between the Under-20 side and the State team.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Perth Glory's aspirations of a third regular season title go on the line on Saturday night (7.00pm kick-off) when they host long-time foes the Melbourne Knights. Perth Oval hasn't been a pleasant place to visit for the Knights over the years, Glory winning six of the seven meetings at the ground with the remaining game ending with honours even. Needing maximum points from the clash, Glory coach Mich d'Avray is expected to name an unchanged line-up to that which defeated Adelaide City Force last week when Jason Petkovic and Jamie Harnwell were singled out for praise. Injury has hit the Knights camp hard in recent weeks with a foot injury forcing Daniel Piorkowski out of Saturday's clash while Leon Buhic (hamstring) and the lively Henry Fa'Arodo (knee) will also be absent. On the plus side the visitors welcome back from suspension goalkeeper Martin John, and 16-year old striker Serkan Oksuz has been impressive since recently making his first team debut recently.
Also taking place on Saturday are two First Round games in the Boral Cup. At Kingsway Sporting Complex First Division outfit The City take on a young Fremantle City line-up, while Floreat Athena and Ashfield meet at Litis Stadium. On Sunday it's final group stage games in the Midland Brick sponsored Night Series at the National Stadium. From 6.45pm the Western Knights and Cockburn City go head-to-head with the winner claiming second place in Group A behind Sorrento. Top spot in Group B is up for grabs in the late game, which starts at 8.20pm, when long-time rivals Perth S.C. and Inglewood United square off in what promises to be an entertaining tussle.
STATE SQUAD NAMED FOR YOUNG SOCCEROO'S (reproduced with permission from Soccer West Coast)
The West Australian State team will tackle an Australian national team for the first time in nine years when the Young Socceroos call into Perth on their way to competing in the World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The Australian Under-20 side will take part in a week-long training camp in Perth during which they'll play the State senior side twice. The opening clash will be on Monday 17th March while the return friendly takes place on Thursday 20th March, Litis Stadium the venue for both games. The last national team to tackle the State side was the Australian Olympic (Under-23) team which drew 1-1 at the WACA Ground in 1994.
West Australian coach Gary Marocchi has included three newcomers in his squad for the two-game series with Sorrento trio Simon Harland, Glen Thomas and Gareth Deeg being called up for State duty. Sorrento, who are in red hot form at the moment in the Night Series, has five players in all in the State squad, former Perth Glory player Todd Harnwell and central defender Richard Watson the others. Western Knights midfielder Joe Vaz, who recently returned to W.A. after spending a couple of seasons in the Victorian State League, is one of four Western Knights players in the squad. Marocchi has also requested the use of Perth Glory players Anthony Danze, Jamie Coyne, Mohammad Mouhouti, Adrian Caceres and Simon Colosimo for the games.
The West Australian squad to play the Australian Under-20 team is Jame Afkos, Andreas Oliviera, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Branimir Mikulic (Fremantle City), Shaun Kilkelly (Inglewood United), Todd Howarth (Perth S.C.), Stuart Montgomery, Doug Ithier, Joe Vaz, Carl Medica (Western Knights) Todd Harnwell, Simon Harland, Gareth Deeg, Glen Thomas, Richard Watson (Sorrento) and Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.). All players must attend State team training, which will be at Litis Stadium on 10th and 12th March.
UNDER 18'S KEEPER WANTED AT LEEMING
Due to an early promotion to first team duties of their outstanding Under 18 Keeper the Strikers now require cover for this position for season 2003. Incentives are available to the right quality of player and you can contact the club either through their website at http://www.leemingstrikers.com or call the Under 18 Coach direct on 0413 770111.
SWAN SEEK JUNIORS
Swan I.C. are after players for their Juniors Champions League teams in order to complete their squads for season 2003. The clubs junior president Paul Kendall said, "We struggle to attract player from outside the area, due to traveling , but we believe the club is in excellent hands this season. With Horacio Ruiz in charge of the junior development and Gary Marocchi the technical director of the senior teams, the club is heading in the right direction. Our junior club is in the infant stage at the moment but we have big plans for the future." Interested players are asked to contact John (040 798 7771), Paul Kendall (9299 7709), Horacio Ruiz (040 272 2069) or Peter Simcox (041 894 1583) for more details.
INJURY OPENS DOOR FOR DAVIES
West Australian goalkeeper Clint Davies will spend the remainder of the English Premier League season as part of the first team set-up at Birmingham City. On Monday the clubs' first choice 'keeper Nico Vaesen was forced onto the sidelines for a year after snapping knee ligaments. Ian Bennett has taken Vaesen's place with Davies stepping up as his understudy for the final weeks of the 2002/03 campaign.
SECOND LICENCE LIKELY TO BE CANNED
Any hopes of a second team from West Australia entering the National Soccer League are likely to be dashed when the Australian Sports Commission hands down the independent Crawford Inquiry next week. It is understood that amongst the recommendations will be the adoption of a new national league model that could see up to three current clubs axed, leaving little room for new clubs to come into the competition. According to Ray Gatt of "the Australian" newspaper, the game in Australia faces a major overhaul. David Crawford's review is believed to recommend, in part, the appointment of an independent seven-person commission to run the sport and the adoption of the Professional Footballers Association model for a 10-team league. Other suggestions are a restructure of the voting rights of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia, and support from various state governments. While the findings of the inquiry - which has been six months in the making - are expected to be handed down next Tuesday, it is unlikely the report will be released publicly until later in the month.
LEEMING BUILD FOR FUTURE
There have been some big changes at First Division club Leeming Strikers over the off-season with new sponsorship deals negotiated, relationships with junior clubs strengthened and a shake-up of their playing and coaching rosters. Appointed club president little over six weeks ago, Alan Thraves has had a busy time laying the groundwork as he sures up the long-time security of the club. "Sponsors are vital to the future of any club and we've been fortunate enough to forge relationships and sponsorship agreements with international companies such as Mitre, Powertech and Sony which will provide us with a solid foundation on which to build," said Thraves. "At the same time we've been able to maintain our longer term supporters like Morrisons, Garvan, Pretone and Floraco."
"It's all about appeal - and we have been a low profile club too long," added the Strikers president. "We have a new $400,000 facility just weeks from opening which will give the Strikers one of the finest complexes available. The clubs' look and feel has been redesigned as can be seen in the new logos and website (http://www.leemingstrikers.com), there's more focus on building programs which include social teams as well as the professional side, and we want the community involved in the club and our activities. And our current negotiations with Nike UK are progressing nicely and will hopefully lead to us being the best dressed team in the league, if not the state."
The off-season saw numerous changes to the clubs playing roster with the departure of several experienced players. "The playing staff is unrecognisable from last seasons'. We focused on the players we wanted to keep and have done that, while our transfer target dealings have also proved largely successful. First team newcomers include Phil Bell (ex-Farnborough Town, England ) and Howard Nystadt (Norway) from abroad, along with local lads Glynn Busson (Fremantle City), Ben Smith (Cockburn City), Craig Ruthven, Michael Karalis (Floreat Athena), goalkeeper Michael Smerilli (Future Glory), and Ciaran Allen (Western Knights). We are now better able to compete financially for quality players and as a result are getting almost daily enquiries concerning opportunities within the Strikers structure."
"The Under-18's also welcome several new faces of the future," added Thraves who doubles as coach of the Strikers youth team. "The teams build-up to the season has been impressive. And I feel that several of our youngsters - Garth Lecky, Josh Italiano, Jarryd Thraves and Sam Ambrogio included - will most likely to feature in first team sometime this year. Our position at the club is one of development - allowing the young players to progress through the system with the best possible opportunity of advancement. We have built relationships with a couple of other clubs - Perth S.C. and Lynwood Juniors - and these opportunities will provide access to further quality young players in their development stages, as well as enhancing the reputation of the Strikers. These links will guarantee youngsters keep coming through and our connections overseas will provide the ultimate pathways if they are good enough and have the desire to head that way."
It wasn't just the playing squad that has been re-vitalised in recent times. With goals to become a force in the First Division over coming years, it was decided that a new approach was in order. "We were aware a professional would be required to lead the front line team and after many personal conversations between Bob Braid (ex-Inglewood United) and myself we were delighted when he decided to take up the challenge," said Thraves. "The boys relate and respect his knowledge and things are going very well. Dave Anderson is also proving a big hit among the lads, his professional background includes 18 years in Scotland and he'll prove to be a great asset to the club."
With the start of the new league season rapidly approaching, the Strikers are aiming for a big improvement on last season when they finished third from bottom. "Our object is to be around the top four if possible," said Thraves. "We have to remember the team finished poorly last year so we have a steep hill to climb, but as I said the foundations are important and if we can build on those then the future will take care of itself. As for this years teams to watch out for, I think the top four might be Queens Park, Armadale, Bayswater City and Mandurah City - all these clubs seem to have recruited well in the off-season to add bite to their already strong squads. And the dark horse ... the Strikers of course!"
WIN GLORY TICKETS
Radio Fremantle are giving away three double passes to Perth Glory's five home finals series games! To enter, all you have to do is write your name, address and daytime telephone number on the back of an envelope and post it to Glory Competition, Radio Fremantle, 4/153 Rockingham Road, Hamilton Hill 6163. Entries close on Thursday 13th March with the winners announced live on air two days later.
NATIONAL HONOURS FOR COONEY AND TARKA
Young Socceroo vice-captain David Tarka could find himself partnered by fellow West Australian Sean Cooney when the national Under-20 team begin their F.I.F.A. World Youth Championship campaign in the United Arab Emirates later this month. Cooney is one of four players added to the squad by coach Ange Postecoglou. "With Sean I was really short of defenders with this squad and looking around in Australia and overseas he was one where reports I was getting were positive," Postecoglou said. "He is playing regularly in the Coventry reserves, which is not a bad standard for a guy his age and by all reports he has been doing fairly well. And with the mix and the balance of the squad I just thought he was one worth bringing in."
The up-coming tournament will be Cooney's first taste of international football. The 19-year old centre-half, who also qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland, has been a regular fixture of the Coventry City reserves team this season. In recent weeks he's played full games against an experienced Tottenham Hotspur line-up and, most recently, Fulham. A former State Under-14 representative, Cooney played youth football locally with Kingsway Olympic and Inglewood United before heading to England in mid-2000. Tarka is a key member of Perth Glory's defence and was part of the Under-20 squad which won the Oceania qualifying tournament late last year. The young defender started out with Cockburn City with whom he made his senior debut at the age of sixteen before taking up a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport.
WOMEN'S NIGHT SERIES IN FULL SWING
The new women's season has commenced with the Bobby 10 sponsored Night Series being contested every Friday and Sunday evening at George Burnett Park in Manning. The AusWest Fencing Division A features seven top flight clubs split into two qualifying groups. The opening weekend of competition saw Lynwood A get off to a fantastic start with a convincing 3-0 win over Ballajura A courtesy of goals from Jessica Laidler (2) and Penny Hoath. Anna Sweetingham and J. Vener were on target for Murdoch when they defeated Queens Park A 2-0. The sole Group B clash ended in a 3-2 win to Stirling Breakers as Sandra Szopski, C. Zainudin and Donna Harris found the net against Subiaco whose goals came via an own goal and State representative Tanya Oxtoby.
On Sunday evening Murdoch Warriors thrashed Ballajura A by a 10-1 margin. Lisa D'Ovidio led the way with a four-goal haul, Jenna Sammut and Marlee Jones bagged two each and there were singles by Vari Jeffries and Erin Stinton. Ballajura's solitary goal came when a Murdoch defender turned the ball past her own goalkeeper. Lynwood A made it two wins from as many starts courtesy of Jessica Sardi's only goal of the game against Queens Park A. In Group B, goals by Sandra Falk and Jessica Pilcher enabled Floreat to defeat Stirling Breakers 2-1, Donna Harris was on target for Stirling. This Sunday's fixtures pit Queens Park A against Ballajura A from 5.30pm and Murdoch with Lynwood A (7.15pm). Stirling Breakers have the bye so the Group B fixture features Floreat and Subiaco.
Sixteen First and Second Division clubs are also competing in the pre-season competition in the Universal Camera's Division B. Following the second round of group games that were played out over the weekend, Noranda and East Fremantle lead Group One with 4 points apiece ahead of Forrestfield on 3 points. It's equally as tight in Group Two where Balga (4 points) top the table but are closely followed by East Fremantle Red and Ashfield Swans (3 points each). Cockburn's 3-0 win on Friday saw them move to 6 points and maintain their 100% win record in Group Three where Sorrento and Carlisle sit joint second on 3 points. Queens Park B (6 points) are favourites to take out Group Four as Shamrock Rovers and Ballajura B (3 points each) contest the runners-up spot.
The finals of the Night Series will be played on Friday 21st and Sunday 23rd March at George Burnett Park. The league season kicks-off shortly after with the first round of fixtures scheduled for Sunday 6th April. For more information on the local women's game, including the remaining Night Series fixtures and complete finals schedule, visit the all-new Women's Soccer W.A. website at http://www.womensoccer.com.au
LAZARIDIS FRUSTRATED BY CLUBS' INACTION
Australian international Stan Lazaridis has admitted he may consider a future away from Birmingham City if they decide opt not to extend his current contract beyond the next 12-months. The left-sided midfielder is playing some of the best football of his career and would like to stay at St. Andrews, but the club will wait to see which division they'll play in next season before offering new terms to certain players, including Lazaridis. "What is frustrating is not knowing," said Lazaridis this week. "I go out and play whole-heartedly and I've built up a good relationship with the fans. It's hard when you go to a new club to win the support, and when you've already got that the job is half done.
"I'm 30 and the next contract will probably be the last big one of my career. If I thought they were just going to take up the (12-month) option, and you've got another club willing to give me a couple of years, then it's going to reach a bit of a crisis point," he added. "I'd have to go and say 'I understand your point of view, that you can't commit until you know division you are in. But if they are only willing to give me a year, and another club give me two or three years, then what do I do?' I'm wanting to go for the World Cup in 2006 - that's the aim. If I can perform well, then everything else will follow."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Western Knights' 3-0 win over Stirling Lions in Friday's round of the Night Series meant an early elimination for last season's First Division champions. The same fate befell Bassendean Caledonian after E.C.U. Joondalup upset Floreat Athena 4-1 in the night's late game. Sorrento left it late to defeat Cockburn City in Sunday's opening fixture, the 2-1 win maintaining the Seagulls 100% win record in the series. Perth S.C. accounted for Swan I.C. by 3-0, while Inglewood United drew 2-2 with Fremantle City later in the night.
In a marathon Boral Cup match at Frank Drago Reserve, Mandurah City eliminated Bayswater City via a penalty shoot-out after the score was tied at one-all following 120 minutes of football. In the First Rounds only all Premier league clash, E.C.U. Joondalup triumphed over home team Bassendean Caledonian 2-1, while Western Knights overcame Armadale 3-1. Queens Park got over the line against Stirling Suns by 2-1, which was the same score when Olympic Kingsway defeated Leeming Strikers with an extra-time golden-goal. Elsewhere, Rockingham City knocked out Balcatta, Morley Windmills went down at home to Canning City, and Southside United scrambled to a 1-0 win against South West Phoenix.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE (Bassendean Caledonian vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Tom McCrisken, Morley Windmills vs Canning City by Malcolm Watson)
For the second time in as many years, Mandurah City made the trip to Frank Drago Reserve for a First Round Boral Cup meeting with Bayswater City. Despite the warm conditions, the match got off at a cracking pace with both teams eager to seize the initiative. With their midfield controlling the flow of play through the centre of the park, it was Mandurah that created the first opening as Michael Bobridge's shot from 12-metres was deflected off the boot and went narrowly the wrong side of the post for a corner. Goalkeeper Darren Williams was Bayswater's saviour in the 14th minute when he somehow kept out a Cliff Kearns volley from close-range after the home defence was caught ball-watching at a corner. And some first game rustiness cost Mandurah in the 16th minute when Andrew Rennie then Christian Paschewitz both scuffed shots within seconds of each other.
It wasn't until the 28th minute that Bayswater mounted their first serious challenge on goal, but when it arrived it was with deadly effect. In a flowing move started at the back by Sean Cowman, a series of exquisite passes from Gareth Healy, Sal Marrapodi and Daniel Naumovski ended with the latter racing past the defence to expertly clip the ball over the advancing goalkeeper for the game opening goal. Two minutes later Bayswater were lucky not to concede a penalty after Paschewitz was up-ended inside the area, referee Steven Gregory waving away the appeal. But Mandurah didn't have to wait long before getting themselves on the scoreboard as, with 32 minutes gone, Paschewitz rose unchallenged to head a long throw-in past Ashworth. The remainder of the half belonged to Mandurah as the home side struggled to break down their opponents defence. Ashworth spilled a low shot from Steven Rhodes then breathed a sigh of relief as it rolled out for a corner. And not long before half-time Bobridge had a glancing header cleared off the goal line after meeting Rhodes' in-swinging corner.
Some positional and tactical changes at the break saw a much more competitive Bayswater take to the field for the second half. Dario Pelliciotti swung a 50th minute free-kick around the defensive wall only to find goalkeeper Michael Green positioned to save without extending himself. Five minutes later Green was again in the thick of the action as he kept out Pelliciotti's downward header following a corner to the home team. With their backs already to the wall, Mandurah received a body blow when Kearns was dismissed for retaliation following a seemingly innocent tackle by Marrapodi. As the heat began to take it's toll, Bayswater coach Salv Todaro introduced fresh legs off the bench in an attempt to gain the upper hand in what had become a tight match.
Reduced to ten men, Mandurah had little option but to defend in numbers and rely on breaking quickly on the counter-attack as Bayswater pressed their advantage. Andrew O'Neill deceived the visiting defence in the 62nd minute to cross to Marrapodi whose header lacked the power to beat Green. Seven minutes later it was accuracy that was the problem as Pelliciotti's bullet-like header flashed narrowly over the crossbar from O'Neill's corner. The closing stages were all one-way traffic with Mandurah the ones doing all the defending. Causing no end of problems for the visiting defence, O'Neill used his pace to skip away down the left after 82 minutes but disappointed by firing weakly at the 'keeper. And moments from the end of regulation time Cowman shot wide after some good lead-up work from Healy and O'Neill.
After a lengthy drinks break the match resumed for the first period of golden-goal extra-time. Paschewitz was lucky not to be carded for a behind play incident with Naumovski, despite it happening right in front of the referee. For much of the period Mandurah struggled to get the ball into their attacking third while shots rained down at the opposite end. Cowman's low centring pass found Nick Stojanovski whose explosive shot was blocked by a defender. O'Neill saw his low drive saved after the Mandurah defence failed to sufficiently deal with a corner. In the 113th minute Healy beat the off-side trap to go through with only the 'keeper to beat, but the advancing Green thrust up a glove to tip the midfielder's shot over the bar. Shortly after Pelliciotti pulled his shot across the face of goal as a penalty shoot-out loomed. Mandurah's only chance of the period came in the final minute as Rennie tried his luck from distance which didn't trouble Ashworth.
Following 120 minutes of energy-sapping football, the match was to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Both teams missed their first spot-kicks and when Rennie and Bobridge converted Mandurah were well and truly in the box seat. Healy pegged a goal back after three kicks apiece. Paschewitz restored the visitors two-goal buffer, Pelliciotti made it 3-2, before Mandurah captain Gary Collins stepped up to seal victory and send his side into the next round of the knock-out competition. This was one of those games which, with a spot of luck, could easily have gone either way. Both teams had several opportunities in open play to add to their tally but failed to stick the ball in the back of the net when it mattered most. Collins was rock solid at the back for Mandurah and John Transfield worked tirelessly in midfield for the duration. For Bayswater, Healy was the driving force behind their best moves in a man-of-the-match performance, and O'Neill proved a constant menace to the opposing defence right up to the final whistle.
Bayswater City : Adam Ashworth, Daniel Vangelovski, Michael Kovacevic
(Dario Pelliciotti 45), Scott Payne, Sean Cowman, Gareth Healy, Andrew
O'Neill, Daniel Naumovski, Phillip Xavier (Adrian Scaffidi 78), Sal
Marrapodi, Willie Herd (Nick Stojanovski 67).
Mandurah City : Michael Green, Gary Collins, Peter Knight, Damian Condo, John Transfield, Cliff Kearns, Daniel Moore (Mikel Sesma 115), Steven Rhodes (Alan Fitzmaurice 75), Andrew Rennie, Christian Paschewitz, Michael Bobridge
Cautions : Rhodes (21), Transfield (40), Cowman (82), Collins (103)
Dismissals : Kearns (56)
Referee : Steven Gregory
Attendance : 200 (approx.)
E.C.U. Joondalup traveled to Jubilee Reserve for their First Round Boral Cup clash with Bassendean Caledonian. The game got of to a good start with both teams feeling their way around, Joondalup starting the brighter with some good passing and having the upper hand in midfield. The opening goal arrived after 18 minutes when Scott Bulloch was brought down inside the area by Caledonian defender Luke Croxall and Darren Broxton confidently converted from the spot. The goal sparked the home side into life but for all their endevours they were unable to break down their opponents well-drilled defence. Some fine play in the 33rd minute resulted in Joondalup doubling their lead as Garin Collins fed a perfect ball to Bulloch who slotted past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. The introduction of fresh legs at the start of the second half saw the home side come back into the game only to be held at bay once again by their opponents backline. They finally pegged a goal back in the 79th minute via Ian Griffiths who made a rampaging run which took him past two defenders before knocking the ball past Peter Stewart to bring Caledonian back into the match. Joondalup were under the hammer for the remainder of the match, the home side having a penalty appeal turned down moments before Kevin Griffiths hit the crossbar with a speculative shot. Caledonian got the ball in the net for a second time with just two minutes left on the clock only to have it ruled out as Dean Gartside was judged to have kicked the ball out of Stewarts' hands. On balance of play Joondalup deserved their win and if not for the heroics of Dunlop the game could have been over early in the second half.
With several key members of the Leeming Strikers first team absent, coach Bob Braid always knew it was going to be a difficult afternoon when his side traveled to play Kingsway Olympic in the opening round of this years' Cup competition. The match started at a cracking pace with both sides testing each others fitness levels in the warm conditions which provided plenty of fireworks and plenty of goalscoring opportunities. With some crunching tackles being put in from both sides, it was Olympic that took the upper hand by finding the back of the net first. But, despite some poor finishing, the Strikers refused to concede defeat and were rewarded for their persistence when Craig Ruthven bagged a stunning equaliser. Although Kingsway were reduced to ten men with half an hour to go, Strikers goalkeeper Michael Smerilli was the busier with several fine saves to his credit as the home side dominated possession. But there was little Smerilli could do two minutes into golden-goal extra-time when he parried a fierce shot only for the rebound to be put away for the match winner.
At the National Stadium, Stirling Suns went head-to-head with First Division rivals Queens Park. Against the run of play, the Suns took the lead mid-way through the first half courtesy of some sloppy making by Queens Park's defence. A goal down, Queen Park stepped up the pressure after the interval with off-season recruit Peter Murphy pulling all the strings in the middle of the park. With the Suns defence standing solid, it took until the 75th minute for Queens Park to level the scores when a deep corner from the right was converted by Ross Posthuma. In the period which followed Queens Park threw everything at their opponents without success, although some good work from new signing Paul Dundo lead to Billy Robb drilled his shot across the face of goal and Brian Robertson was unable to deflect the ball goalward. With three minutes left on the clock the Suns squandered an opportunity to win the game fromthe penalty spot. In the dying moments of the match Murphy put Lynden Pywell in behind the Suns defence from where he pulled the ball back to Roberson who bagged a last-gasp winner from close-range.
On a hot afternoon Canning City continued their strong lean towards youth by fielding a team featuring only three players over 18 in their Cup clash at Morley Windmills. The opening period saw plenty of endeavor from both sides but little which troubled the respective goalkeepers. It wasn't until the 35th minute that the game sparked into life, a long clearance from City custodian Robby Meyer bouncing into the opposing penalty area where the home 'keeper spilled the ball but Mick Van Dongen was unable to make the most of the opportunity. Five minutes later the visitors got the breakthrough as Mick Van Dongen's powerful header ripped into the roof of the net. Windmills came out for the new half determined to equalise, and they got their result in the 50th minute after some sloppy defending ended with a simple tap-in. With the home side enjoying the better of possession, City relied on quick counter-attacking plays. A powerful run down the right by Nurimba in the 64th minute saw him pull the ball back to Mick Van Dongen who notched up his second of the match from close-range. The result was put beyond doubt twelve minutes later when Shane Laing blasted home from 10-yards.
First Division side Armadale surprised top flight outfit the Western Knights by taking the lead in their Cup clash at Alfred Skeet Reserve. But a double from midfielder Paul McVittie and another by John Nicolaou saw the Knights over the line by 3-1. Elsewhere, Rockingham City started their season with a 3-2 win over Balcatta, and Southside United progressed to the next phase at the expense of South West Phoenix by a 1-0 margin.
GLORY SLASH WAGE BILL (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory have confirmed that several first team players will have to take pay-cuts if they want to stay on in the west next season. "Right across the board we will be looking to reduce costs for next season and if we weren't doing that we wouldn't be prudent," said the clubs' chief executive officier Jeff Dennis to the "West Australian" newspaper. "Player salaries are a large portion of the costs of any sporting club so we will be looking to bring that down. Until the league reforms we will look to reduce costs. There will be a time when the league flourishes and we need to make the right changes now so we will be there to flourish with it. This club is going to be here for a long time." Regular starters Bobby Despotovski, Jamie Harnwell, Brad Hassell, Andre Gumprecht, Edgar and Shane Pryce are out of contract at the end of the season. So, too, are Mark Byrnes, Vince Matassa, Simon Colosimo, Jamie Coyne and Mohammed Mouhouti.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND THREE (Sorrento vs Cockburn City by Kerry Slater; Swan I.C. vs Perth S.C. by Mike Hennessey)
E.C.U. Joondalup's young guns came of age on Friday night with a dazzling display against a strong Floreat Athena to open the third weekend of the 2003 Night Series at the National Stadium. With a line-up whose average age was around 20, Joondalup turned on the style in treating the crowd to a skilful performance worthy of any top flight club. Athena started strongly with both possession and several penetrating runs but were unable to find a path to goal thanks to some fine defending. Played in warm conditions, Joondalup allow their opponents to run the ball out of defence almost unchallenged as the northerners forwards preserved their energy. Following a couple of quick counter-attacking moves, Joondalup were rewarded in the 21st minute when Garin Collins drew first blood in making it 1-0. The second half saw Joondalup hound their opponents at every opportunity, a tactic which produced a second goal when Scott Blackmore headed in after 50 minutes. With a place in the quarter-finals there for the taking, the northerners grew in confidence, switching play from one side of the pitch to the other in an attempt to again open up the Athena defence. The match was put beyond doubt when Collins bagged his second of the game on the hour, and six minutes later Derek Cooke made it 4-0. With just seconds left on the clock Athena scored a consolation goal via Dejan Djukanovich
In Friday's early fixture, Stirling Lions were given a lesson of footballing life in the top flight by Western Knights who emerged victors by 3-0. The Knights were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after 5 minutes after John Nicolaou's shot struck the arm of an opponent and rose over the crossbar, the referee awarding a corner rather than pointing to the penalty spot. Seven minutes later a nice exchange of passes featuring Doug Ithier, Stuart Montgomery and Paul McVittie ended with Joe Vaz trying his luck from 16-metres, the ball deflecting off a defender before coming to rest in the back of the net for the games opening goal. Early in the second half Bobbi Klenkovski was presented with a golden opportunity to level the scores when put through with only Tommi Tomich to beat, but the striker shot disappointingly wide. Within five minutes the Lions would rue the miss as Leon Russell's deep cross picked out Montgomery who volleyed sweetly from close-range to double the margin. The match killed off with ten minutes remaining, Ithier's clearance finding Eugene Singeorzon whose pass to Montgomery beat the offside trap and sent the State striker through for his second of the night. The result meant elimination from the tournament for the Lions, winner of the First Division championship last year, with three losses from as many outings.
A last minute goal from Sorrento's Sean Fallon robbed Cockburn City a share of the points in their Group A meeting on Sunday evening. The northern suburbs team started brightly Simon Harland testing Dino Pacella who made a diving save after 7 minutes. Six minutes later some lovely movement of the ball involving Todd Harnwell and Glen Thomas ended with the former sending the ball past Pacella to give Sorrento the advantage. A thrilling game was interrupted all too often by the referee's whistle which culminated in the 30th minute dismissal of Cockburn defender Boza Erakovic after challenging Andy Mason for a high ball. Shortly after Mason was put through on goal but shot wide thanks laregly to pressure from Steve Adam and Dusan Macura. Cockburn began the second half full of fight and took the match up to their opponents. The result was a deserved equaliser eleven minutes into the period, Mileta Miletic's cross picking out Peter Petkovich who set-up Domenic DeFelice to score from close-range. Within a minute of the re-start Cockburn won a free-kick which Macura clipped to DeFelice who volleyed narrowly high. In the 66th minute Petkovich tricked his way pass Richard Watson and then Steve MacDonald before goalkeeper Gareth Deeg came to Sorrento's rescue. As the match acme to a close Sorrento picked up the pace with MacDonald heading over the crossbar after 77 minutes. Then, in the final minute of play, Harnwell's first time cross found Fallon racing into the area to hit a fantastic volley into the roof of the net to steal all three points for Sorrento.
Perth S.C. cruised into the quarter-finals of the pre-season competition with a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Swan I.C. Dean Nicolaou tested Perth goalkeeper Robert Scaraparolo from a free-kick as the black-and-whites kept pace with their opponents over the opening 20 minutes. Shortly after a Damian Scali header called the Perth custodian into action as Swan searched to take the early lead. Perth responded by upping the pace with Todd Howarth dominant down the left flank, the midfielder finding David Onoforo who made no mistake in converting to give is side the lead. Only the brilliance of Corey Hugo in the Swan goal kept them in the game, but he could do nothing to prevent Adam Bunce scoring a second goal for Perth before the half-time interval. Early in the second half Howarth went on a dazzling run, beating four opponents to provide Onoforo a simple tap in for his second goal of the night. Despite being reduced to ten men following an ankle injury to Jamie Coyne, Perth remained in control of the match right up until the final whistle.
In the late game Inglewood United and Fremantle City fought out a tough 2-2 draw in a match that had plenty of goalmouth action. With Fremantle's line-up featuring only three players over the age of 21, the port side stunned their more experienced opponents by snatching the lead after 20 minutes when Peter Lord and John Migas combined for Branimir Mikulic to score his first goal since his recent transfer from Cockburn City. But their lead was short-lived as three minutes later Ryan Newhill replied for the host club. Ten minutes into the second half Fremantle's lead was restored by Jamie Jorqueira who rounded goal Nick Stone before tucking the ball safely in the back of the net. Inglewood this time waited just two minutes to respond, this time it was Shaun Kilkelly who hit the equaliser following a fine piece of individual skill. Cisco Jorqueira and Jordan Andrews had opportunities to win the game for Fremantle without luck, while Newhill came close to giving Inglewood maximum points from the top of the 18-yard box. The result ends Fremantle's interest in the pre-season competition, while Inglewood meet Perth S.C. next Sunday to determine who tops the Group B table.
W.A. JOINS PLAN TO HOST WORLD CUP
Australia are expected to announce their intention to bid for the hosting rights of the 2014 World Cup Finals later this year, and the West Australian has already put their hand up to stage part of the event. The W.A. government will team with New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to examine the possibility of bringing the world's biggest single sporting event down under. With the world game enjoying overwhelming support in the west via the success of Perth Glory, state premier Geoff Gallop said the event would bring great economic benefit to the state. "The FIFA World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world next to the Olympic Games," Gallop said. "In joining the feasibility planning for this world-class event, WA is looking to place itself on the international sporting stage." The feasibility study - which is yet to get the support of the Federal Government and Soccer Australia - will look at the bidding process and the likely economic and infrastructure impacts of hosting the matches around Australia. It is understood Australia may also big to host other up-coming tournaments including the Under-17 and women's world cup finals.
EIGHT GOALS IN FRIENDLY THRILLER
Ashfield continued their pre-season preparations with a friendly against top flight outfit E.C.U. Joondalup which produced eight goals. In a very competitive game between two young, enthusiastic teams, Ashfield gained the upped hand when Martin Kelly's quick free-kick surprised the opposing defence and rocketed into the back of the net. Ashfield doubled their margin via Martin Kelly when he latched onto a good ball from Brad Pochroj to beat the goalkeeper at the back post. Joondalup responded in style, bagging three goals of their own to snatch the lead. With half-an-hour remaining Alen Havic levelled the score when he bundled the ball past the 'keeper for the games sixth goal. Five minutes later Joondalup restored their lead as Ashfield went to sleep while defending a corner. Throwing evernthing forward in an attempt to find another equalising goal, Martin Kelly won Ashfield a penalty fifteen minutes from the end which was duly converted by Dinko Ahmetanovic. Ashfield had a chance to snatch a win close to the end when Ahmetanovic cut the ball back to Wayne Culverwell who unfortunately blasted across the face of goal. The final 4-4 scoreline was a fair reflection of a tight game in which both teams played some very exciting soccer and keep the small crowd entertained.
GLORY BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Perth Glory have edged a step closer to winning their third National Soccer League premiership following last night's hard-fought 2-0 win over Adelaide City Force at Hindmarsh Stadium. With two games remaining in the regular season, Glory are one point behind Olympic Sharks but are well-placed to overtake the leaders who have a bye next weekend. Defender Jamie Harnwell opened the scoring after 12 minutes when he rose above the home defence to head home David Tarka's cross. In the 45th minute City were presented with a golden opportunity to equalise when awarded a penalty, but Glory goalkeeper Jason Petkovic made a superb save to deny former Australian captain Aurelio Vidmar. The win was sealed in the 89th minute when Damian Mori bundled the ball over the line after Adrian Caceres, who had replaced Bobby Despotovski just a minute earlier, caused havoc in the City penalty area. Glory coach Mich d'Avray praised his players for over the result. "I always knew tonight was going to be a very hard game as Adelaide are among the form teams of the competition," said d'Avray following the club's 200th N.S.L. match. "I thought it was a good game of soccer and a good effort. I'd like to see a highlights package of the game as it was played at a very high level."
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This page was last updated on the 30th April, 2003