AFKOS REFUTES FIFA REASONING
Perth-based Soccer Australia board member Paul Afkos has rejected the reasons given by FIFA for their decision to reneging on a promise made seven months ago to grant the Oceania Football Confederation direct qualification to the 2006 World Cup Finals. FIFA president Sepp Blatter cited turmoil in Soccer Australia’s administration and New Zealand’s poor performance at the Confederations Cup as why Oceania had lost automatic qualification. “It isn’t any of those,” Afkos told Len Findlay of the “West Australian” newspaper. “It is political. This is all about getting Sepp Blatter elected again to go past the next World Cup. There are plenty of countries in the world where the administration has many more problems than we have - everyone knows that. As for New Zealand’s performance, did FIFA go to Europe and say after the last World Cup ‘France were world champions yet did not score a goal, so you are losing a spot’?” FIFA’s decision to remove automatic qualification from the OFC - and award the spot to the politically powerful South American confederation - came completely out of the blue. “Soccer Australia and Oceania were not even aware this matter was coming up for discussion. If we had been alerted, we would have sent a delegation and canvassed for votes,” added Afkos.
FIFA BACK-FLIP COSTS OCEANIA (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
The Oceania Football Confederation have lost their direct qualifying place for the 2006 World Cup Finals. FIFA chose to renege on their decision by handing the South American Confederation an extra qualifying spot, with Oceania going back again to the qualifying route. The decision was almost unanimous, with only Oceania voting against the move. “In my view, the decision is a disgrace and I think it is politically driven to accommodate the powerful South Americans,” said OFC president Basil Scarsella. “It’s unethical, it’s immoral, call it what you like.” He continued, “The executive committee had overwhelmingly supported them in the past and now they’ve gone 180 degrees. I don’t accept the reasons they are given but in these situations you don’t need reasons just an excuse to revisit it. It was always an option but it doesn’t paint FIFA in a good light in terms of being a respected organization in my view.” FIFA cited as their reasons the disarray of Soccer Australia and New Zealand’s poor on-field showing at the current Confederations Cup.
Not even Sundays torrential rain could prevent reigning champions Hamersley Rovers from easing their way to the top of the WAASSA Premier League for the first time this season. In a thoroughly enjoyable game for the spectators who were brave enough to venture down to McGillvray Oval, a splendid hat-trick from Flavio Labbate enabled Hamersley to account for the University of WA by 3-0. The afternoon started well for Hamersley when a defensive mix-up resulted in a cross from the right being converted from close-range by the in-form Labbate. UWA responded almost immediately with several promising attacks which ended in Adam Brett heading just over the crossbar, and minutes later Robert Benkovic shot high with a fine effort on the turn. Six minutes into the second half Hamersley pounced when a cross was delivered with precision to the near post where Labbate claimed his second of the day. Shortly after the game was effectively over when a cross struck Marc D’Ascanio’s leg and the ball fell to Labbate who found the net with a strong shot from 16-metres. Although UWA were out of the game they never gave up the case with Larsen, Brett and Bryn Griffiths all going close only to be denied by goalkeeper Daryl Benstead. “It was a strange afternoon - we had excellent possession for long periods but failed to convert from seven good opportunities whereas Hamersley had four chances and scored three,” said UWA coach Kevin Burton after the game. “Whilst the difference between the teams was clearly the form of striker Labbate, we still had some positive moments to reflect upon.” Labbate was the games stand-out performer, his three-goal haul taking his season tally to twelve goals from seven starts to make him by far the most lethal attacker in amateur circles. There were also good showing from midfielders Alun Vernals and Peter O’Connell for Hamersley, while for UWA it was Benkovic, Larsen and Max Percy that shone. A late goal gave Hamersley the reserves game by a 1-0 scoreline.
The race for the league title took a dramatic turn as lowly North Perth United won for the third time this season and dumped Fremantle United from top spot courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline. Hamersley’s win pushed them to 22 points and leadfrog Fremantle who have 20 points after ten games. Shamrock Rovers are third on goal difference following a 1-1 home draw with Forrestfield United, narrowly in front of Spearwood Dalmatinac who crushed bottom side Balga 4-1. Kwinana United defeated Murdoch University 2-0, and the points were shared between Canning International and Perth Azzurri where things ended 2-2. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THIRTEEN (Inglewood United vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Tom McCrisken; Swan I.C. Vs Western Knights courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Bassendean Caledonian vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Sorrento vs Fremantle City by Kerry Slater)
Following a torrential downpour earlier in the day, referee Wayne Oldham waited until fifteen minutes before kick-off before giving the go-ahead to Inglewood United's Premier League meeting with E.C.U. Joondalup at the National Stadium on Saturday. With much of the middle third of the pitch under various depths of water, it was clear this was not going to be a game of great skill. In the 4th minute a John Morton a free-kick into the area from the right skimmed the head of an Inglewood defender and bounced invitingly for Scott Bulloch at the back post where he headed it over the line to give the visitors the lead. Having adapted better to the conditions, Joondalup extended their lead after 25 minutes when Anthony Danze sent Peter Vukmirovic down the right, the big striker turning one defender then making his way past a second before finding the net from the top edge of the 18-yard box for the goal of the game. Five minutes from the break Garin Collins played a free-kick low to the near post which Scott Blackmore got the slightest of touches on to turn the ball past goalkeeper Oliver Taseski and make it three-nil. Less than two minutes into the second half Inglewood had reduced the gap through Louis Parkinson who received the ball from Ryan Newhill before picking his spot between goalkeeper Peter Stewart and his near post from a tight angle. The home team began to assert their influence across the middle of the park to have Joondalup under pressure at the back. A fierce shot on goal by Parkinson struck the arm of a defender and the referee hesitated momentarily before awarding a penalty which Alex Josifovski converted to give Inglewood hope with eleven minutes to go. Seven minutes later that hope vanished as substitute Josh Kamasz delivered a fine pass to Abdul Kamara, he in turn knocked the ball on to Vukmirovic who threw off his marker to fire past Taseski and seal three points for Joondalup who stay in the mix for a place in the play-off's.
Cockburn City have continued their excellent recent form with a 1-0 defeat of Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park. Starting confidently, Athena went close to scoring in the 5th minute but Anthony Jones headed over the crossbar from an in-swinging Jamie Trandos corner. After repelling the visitors early pressure Cockburn came into the game with flank players John and Michael Mirco influential. The game was blown wide open after 15 minutes when midfielder Domenic De Felice sent a lovely cross-field pass to the unmarked John Mirco whose low shot deceived 18-year old goalkeeper Alex Dunn at the near post. The remainder of the half was a scrappy affair with much of the play taking place in the middle third of the park, Athena shading their opponent in terms of possession with pacey attackers Dejan Djukanovic and Andreas Oliviera held at bay by a Cockburn defence superbly marshaled by Dusan Macura. Twelve minutes into the second half substitute Roberto Colalillo sent a dangerous cross into the Cockburn area which Michael Mirco and Dean Wallace lunged at only to have the ball come back off the upright. Athena picked up the pace in their quest for an equaliser over the final half-hour, and they should have had it when Djukanovic pulled the ball back to Oliveira who unfortunately blasted high from 9-metres. Throwing all caution to the wind, Athena won a series of corners and free-kicks around the penalty area. A well directed free-kick from Matthew Novatsis was deflected narrowly wide of the up-right, and shortly after Adrian Sutton had a towering header cleared off the goal line. But Cockburn rode their luck and held on to claim the points by stretching their unbeaten run to seven games.
Saturday's clash at the Swan Italian Club between Swan I.C. and Western Knights kicked-off despite concerns over whether or not the pitch was indeed fit for play. The Knights hesitation to start the match continued throughout the game as they put in a performance void of the passion and commitment required under the circumstances. The home side came close to taking the lead after 8 minutes when only a Claus Nielsen clearance prevented Paul Lincoln from netting. Two minutes later and down the opposite end a superb pass form Luka Jukic put Stuart Montgomery one-on-one with goalkeeper Corey Hugo who forced the Knights striker into firing wide. Swan gained the upper hand after 28 minutes when Justin Hugo made a surging run into the Knights' 18-yard box only for his shot to strike Alex Christie and the loose ball fell to Paul Lincoln who, with Tommi Tomich stranded, stroked the ball into an empty net. The Knights carved out two more good scoring opportunities in the first half but Corey Hugo saved well from Paul McVittie while John Nicolaou hit his shot straight at the Swan custodian. The second half saw Swan continue to dominate and Paul Lincoln nearly doubled his personal tally in the 65th minute when a superb pass from the tireless Tom Shepheard set him free, but his shot smashed against the crossbar. Five minutes later things went from bad to worse for the Knights as Alex Christie was sent off for a second yellow card offence, a decision that seemed a little harsh in the conditions. Down the ten men, the Knights lifted their game as Montgomery shot wide then, in the 89th minute, substitute Stipan Majic had his effort smothered by Corey Hugo. The final twist came in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Elton Holmes rushed in behind Leon Russell and rifled his shot home to make the final score 2-0.
The points were shared at Jubilee Reserve when Bassendean Caledonian and Stirling Lions fought out a 1-1 draw in wet, wintry conditions. The Lions controlled the early exchanges with Adam Rains and Toby Wright working hard in midfield to supply big striker Eugene Singeorzan with plenty of ammunition. The first opening came the way of Singeorzan who shot wide of the mark after 18 minutes, and shortly after a smashing effort by Keegan Ashley was safely scooped up by Caledonian goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. On the half hour the visitors were awarded a penalty after Danny Carlino was brought down inside the area by Craig Naven, and Toby Wright stepped up to coolly slot home and give his side a deserved lead. A good cross by Ian Griffiths from the right found Andy Cornmell whose effort was cleared off the line by Andy Wright as Caledonian sought to equalise, while the Lions came close to extending the gap just before half-time but Singeorzan placed his shot narrowly off-target. Caledonians' task became all the more difficult in the 63rd minute when midfielder Paul Hickey was sent off for a second yellow card offence. But the home side dug deep to level three minutes later as Kevin Smith's through ball came off the head of Tony Paolino and got stuck in the mud before Cornmell pounced to beat goalkeeper Jordan Conti with a low strike. The Lions responded by piling on the pressure and with 70 minutes gone Singeorzan forced a world-class save from Dunlop. The home team almost stole the points late as Ramon Westerberger went close, and close to the end Eric Ravanel was denied by Conti who made a courageous diving save at the youngster's feet.
Sorrento suffered the pain of foregoing two championship points when they conceded a late goal to draw with Fremantle City at Ken Allen Field. The Seagulls showed their liking for the heavy pitch as early as the 1st minute when Andy Mason's shot flashed wide of the post following a Daniel Stoitis free-kick. Not to be outdone, Fremantle youngster Dean Apelgren tried the delicate chip over goalkeeper Neil Young who did well to prevent the ball from dropping under the crossbar after 5 minutes. It was end-to-end stuff as the sides traded shots on goal. Glen Thomas fired into the body of Fremantle goalkeeper Bobson Karoma and from the resulting counter-attack Neil Young denied Jamie Jorqueira. A shot from Simon Harland cannoned off the body of the Fremantle custodian and Sean Fallon's follow-up header was cleared off the line by Dulio Xavier. The deadlock was broken after 34 minutes when Peter Lord fed a short pass into John Migas whose shot on the turn was wide of the 'keeper and inside the far post. But within seven minutes Sorrento found a response when Stoitis' long throw-in was headed away by Marc Wingell as far as Glen Thomas whose effort was turned in at the far post by Fallon. After the break it was the visiting that were doing much of the attacking as Harland, Jared Love and Andy Mason going close to netting. With 71 minutes gone Sorrento nudged their win in front as Mason volleyed in a pass from Harland. The introduction shortly after of the lively Cisco Jorqueira breathed new life into the home team and with twelve minutes remaining Craig Surtees side-footed into an empty net after the Sorrento backline failed to clear the danger to earn Fremantle a share of the points.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18’S ROUND-UP
The first half of the reserves clash between Bassendean Caledonian and Stirling Lions looked destined to end scoreless before Craig Wells put the ball in the back of the net shortly before the interval. The lead became two goals early in the second half when a defence splitting pass found Andy Gordon whose rasping drive was well beyond the grasp of the visiting goalkeeper. To their credit the Lions fought their way back into the game and reduced the leeway when a defensive error allowed a one-on-one for Basil Lenzo who rounded goalkeeper Steve Grant before tucking the ball away to make it 2-1 after 81 minutes. Injury and other concerns meant Caledonian were forced to utilise four players under the age of sixteen who had earlier taken part in the under-18 fixture, the quartet performing admirably to help the side to all three premiership points.
Another impressive showing by Sorrento’s in-form reserve team gave them maximum points away at Fremantle City on Sunday. Battling not only the heavy downpour but also a dogged Fremantle line-up, the Seagulls backed up a strong first half display with a ‘never say die’ attitude after the break. Joe Woodin got the ball rolling for the team in blue with a close-range tap-in after 12 minutes, but the port side were back on level terms after 23 minutes when Saul Contera made the most of his opportunity. Sorrento reclaimed the lead just after the half hour mark following some good lead up work from Andrew Brand that lead to Farrell Hedges bundling the ball over the line. Early in the second half Fremantle gave the visitors a fright, however, a unified performance permitted Sorrento to hold on and claim victory in tough conditions.
Cockburn City had a comfortable 6-1 win over Floreat Athena at Dalmatinac Park. Vince Nizich got the home team off on the right foot by netting after 4 minutes, Simon Jonas doubled the lead midway through the first half and shortly after Peter Petkovich got in on the act with Cockburn’s third. The game effectively over as a contest when Nizich added his second to the scoreboard in the 75th minute, but Athena refused to lie down without a fight and Andreas Pantelias reduced the gap ten minutes later. But Simon Jonas had other ideas and bagged two goal in the space of four minutes to complete his hat-trick and the scoreline. The clash between Swan I.C. and Western Knights was called off after 55 minutes with the score at nil-all. And at the National Stadium the game between Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup was abandoned without a ball being kicked.
In the under-18’s, Cockburn City swept aside the visiting Floreat Athena team by a 6-1 scoreline. A goal after 6 minutes by Troy Dott got Athena off to the perfect start but it wasn’t long before the home side hit peak form. Bojan Kovack leveled after 15 minutes, and not long after Luke Eoannidis gave Cockburn the lead. After the break the home team piled on three goals in twelve minute to set up victory, Eoannidis’ double punctuated by a strike from Jason Dos Santos. The win was capped after 73 minutes when Dos Santos netted his second of the day. And the points were also shared between Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup where the final score was 1-1. Abdi Mohamed (Inglewood) and Tommy Ashworth (Joondalup) were the scorers.
The points were shared when Swan I.C. and Western Knights squared off on a rain sodden pitch at the Swan Italian Club. The leadership of captain Kyle Greenaway and his deputy Scott Lewry was noticed in the Swan camp as their opponents quickly established control of the game before taking a deserved lead through Andrija Jukic. The black and whites then lost goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo, who was carried off with a head injury, as Radomir Petrovic took over between the posts. After the half-time break Swan came back into the game with Brendan Knox leveling the score via the penalty spot. With the home team enjoying the better of play, a defensive mistake resulted in a Knights penalty which was converted by Steven Conroy. Showing great determination, Swan bounced back and a great corner found Danyal Bennett who headed in the equalising goal. Minutes later Swan came agonisingly close to snatching the lead from another corner which was again met by Bennett only for the ball to strike the crossbar before being scrambled away by the defence.
Stirling Lions took the lead against home team Bassendean Caledonian after 24 minutes when Anthony Macri’s shot was deflected past goalkeeper Troy Smith. Minutes later Smith was again in the thick of the action, this time making a great save at the near post as the visitors sought to extend their lead. Caledonian came close to leveling late in the half but a strong shot from David Houston was parried by the Lions custodian and Corey Bessant knocked the follow-up wide. There was better luck for Caledonian after the break as a good through ball from Alex Tharby found Leo Perrotta who cut in from the right before rounding the ‘keeper to knock in the equaliser after 68 minutes. Bessant and Houston had opportunities to put the home team in front as the half progressed but in the end a 1-1 draw was a fair result.
On Sunday, a disjointed Sorrento outfit was put to the torch by a slick Fremantle City side who claimed victory by 4-0. It took the port side just 13 minutes before getting on the scoreboard with a swift attacking move that saw Tom D’Souza’s precise cross to the far post volleyed in by Ben Howe. Both teams created some good openings throughout the remainder of the half but failed to convert them into goals. After the break Fremantle picked up the pace with some exquisite passing and in the 52nd minute Chris Smith sent the ball to Andy Pomfret who took full advantage of some hesitant defending to double the margin. The move of the game resulting the margin becoming three goals after 68 minutes as Sebastian Trim found the net from a tight angle. And two minutes later john Thornley was taken down inside the 18-yard box and Mo Atak duly stroked home from the penalty spot his sides fourth of the day. “I was really pleased with the teams performance today,” said Fremantle coach Mike Tetlow. “We have now scored in every round, 49 goals in 12 games, and kept 6 clean sheets. Needless to say that our defence as been excellent all year.”
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIXTEEN (Stirling Suns vs Bayswater city by Adam Rucci; The City vs Mandurah City by Barrie Rennie; Rockingham City vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com; Leeming Strikers vs Kingsway Olympic courtesy www.leemingstrikers.com)
The First Division clash between competition leaders Bayswater City and third-placed Stirling Suns lived up to it’s pre-game expectations to keep a large crowd entertained for the duration. The game started off very slowly in the wet, slippery conditions and it was the Suns which made the early breakthrough when a long throw-in went to feet and the loose ball was smashed home by midfielder Djoko Cvetanoski to send the home fans into raptures. The equaliser came soon after as Andrew O’Neill swung in a corner which Kevin Henderson met with a solid header which he sent past goalkeeper Nenad Djurasovic. From that stage on the game was very much a one-sided affair with Bayswater having in the proximity of 75% of the ball but unable to convert that dominance into goals. The second half began with Bayswater determined to go in front, stringing together some good attacking moves with their hard-working midfield well on top. Introduced off the bench at the break, Bobby Klenkoski looked the most likely to break the deadlock and was presented with a golden opportunity to do so following a great cross from Sal Marrapodi but his header crashed against the crossbar. Bayswater continued to pressure the Suns who were often forced to defend en masse with only the occasion push forward on the counter-attack. In stoppage time O’Neill squandered a chance to give his side all three points when he blasted over the bar from close-range. This was very much as case of two points lost for Bayswater while their opponents were more than happy with the one they got. The Suns won the reserves by 4-3, while the score was 2-2 in the the under-18 fixture.
Mandurah City eked out an uninspired 2-1 win over The City on Saturday afternoon to go level on points with Bayswater City at the head of the First Division table. Conditions that could only be described as woeful failed to help either side stamp any real authority over the match, although it seemed as if The City would be the first to score after adapting better to the conditions. In a dominant first half, on six occasions the visiting side were put through with only the goalkeeper but each time poor finishing let The City down and kept alive Mandurah’s hopes. Some half-time tactical changes from Mandurah coach Paul O’Brien saw his side take the game up to the home team. With the aid of a strong win, Christian Paschewitz raced away through the middle and, with only the goalkeeper to beat, calmly slotted the ball into the net to give Mandurah the lead ten minutes after the re-start. The goal spurred the visitors into life and they dominated the remainder of the afternoon. So it came as no surprise when the margin became two goals as Paschewitz showed his class by netting from an acute angle on the hour. The City reduced the deficit seven minutes from full-time after a shot from outside the penalty area by Jason Hope took a wicked deflection off Peter Knight before hitting the net. This set up a frenetic end to the game as The City pushed for an equaliser but Mandurah were able to withstand the pressure and take maximum points home with them. In the reserve game Mandurah City fought hard to finish the match with a 2-2 draw after twice coming from behind to equalise, the visitors goals coming from Gary Attrill and Michael Sesma. The under-18 clash ended in a 7-1 thrashing to Mandurah.
An under-strength Morley Windmills recorded their first away win of the campaign by downing Balcatta 4-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. The start of the game was postponed due to the pitch having to be remarked on a very wet afternoon, Windmills got off to a dream start when Michael Campbell’s bullet-like header crashed into the roof of the net following a well-taken corner by Gary James. Minutes later James was again the provider as Kenny Dunne repeated his goal scoring feat of last week to put the visitors in a commanding position after only 10 minutes. After losing the influential Deeny Botha to injury, Windmills appeared content with their two-goal lead and allowed Balcatta to play themselves back into the game with increased possession but rarely threatened in front of goal. The second half was a tightly fought contest in which Windmills always looked the more likely to trouble the scorers. A moment of magic from Kenny Smith saw him knock the ball over the defence but it flashed wide of the up-right, and shortly after James brought forced a great save from goalkeeper Colin Lees. Windmills added to their tally via a controversial penalty which Marco Schisano converted to pretty much wrap up the points. Balcatta reduced the margin late in the game only for Windmills three-goal buffer to be restored when James finished clinically.
At Dowling Street Reserve, Rockingham City went down 2-3 to the visitors from Ashfield. The home team took just 11 minutes to get on the scoresheet when an uncharacteristic error by Ashfield goalkeeper John Van Der Voet coughed up the ball to Gary Cowan who placed the ball in an exposed goal. Unperturbed at going behind, Ashfield found the perfect response four minutes later via a Matt Pochroj corner which found Wayne Culverwell who converted a simple header from close range. Continually pushing forward and playing some attractive football, Ashfield took the lead after the half hour when Muhamed Komadaric was bundled over just out side the 18-yard box and Dion Florias free-kick was put away by Chris McCullogh. To Rockingham’s credit they never gave up and created numerous scoring opportunities before the break without success. It was a similar story in the second half as chances went begging at both ends of the pitch, but with fifteen minutes to go Rockingham scrambled an equaliser via Jonathon Crawford the visiting team failed to clear the danger inside their 18-yard box. This set up a exciting climax that saw Komadaric shoot over the crossbar from close-range before, in the 85th minute, substitute Tom Gaca scored with practically his first touch by heading in at the back post. Ashfield found the net for a fourth time via Martin Kelly in the final minute o f play but the goal was ruled out for offside. Ashfield took out the reserves 2-1 with second half goals from Billy Robb and Chris Williams, while the under-18 clash ended 2-0 to Rockingham.
Leeming Strikers and Kingsway Olympic fought out a 2-2 in their mid-table clash at John Connell Reserve. The home side opened the scoring when Jeremy Herbert put Joseph Tomchek through to round the goalkeeper before tucking the ball away. Herbert might have increased the lead but twice squandered opportunities before Olympic leveled after a dangerous free-kick into the area caught the home defence napping and Matt Baird duly slotted home. The remainder of the half was fairly even despite the fact Olympic were reduced to ten men after they had a player dismissed for dissent. A minute into the second half Lucas Whitehouse headed home a free kick to put the Strikers back in front. Making the most of the numerical advantage the home team continued to do most of the attacking with Olympic relying on the occasional swift counter attack. The Strikers were left stunned when a debatable penalty was awarded for handball and Olympic’s Brian Hedges equalised from the spot with just under twenty minutes to go. A clever chip by Phil Bell hit the post as the Strikers searched for a late winner which just did not arrive. The reserve fixture also ended in a 2-2 draw, while the under-18 game was taken out by Olympic 2-1.
Dianella White Eagles kept in tact their undefeated home record with a 3-2 defeat of South West Phoenix. In an exciting first half, Phoenix took the lead through Savo Garic after 6 minutes, but goals in quick succession from Dragan Njegic and Filip Smiljanic put Dianella in the box seat. The two teams went into the break on level terms after Garic added his second in the 32nd minute. The winner arrived twelve minutes after the re-start when Jimmy Stoichev found the target. The win moved Dianella into joint third place, level on points with Stirling Suns and three points behind co-leaders Bayswater City and Mandurah City. Armadale extended their run without defeat to eight game with a 2-1 victory over Queens Park at Alfred Skeet Oval. An own goal after 7 minutes put Queens Park in front, but the red mounted a strong second half revival with Jason Goodwin scoring twice in six minutes to claim the win. Southside United moved away from the foot of the table with a 2-0 win over Canning City who drop to last place on the standings. Bobby White put Southside in front early in the second half with Tony Pritchard sealing the points in the 83rd minute.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Cockburn City continued their excellent run of results with a 1-0 win over Floreat Athena in Round Thirteen of the Premier League season. Having raced to a three goal lead at the break, E.C.U. Joondalup repelled a strong second half performance from Inglewood United to claim maximum points by 4-2 at the National Stadium. Swan I.C. pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Western Knights on a rain-sodden pitch in the Swan Valley, while the points were shared at Jubilee Reserve as Bassendean Caledonian and Stirling Lions battled out a tight one-all draw. On Sunday at Ken Allen Field, Fremantle City and Sorrento drew 2-2.
Bayswater City lead Mandurah City on goal difference following the completion of Round Sixteen of the First Division season. Mandurah moved level on points courtesy of a 2-1 away win over The City while not far down the road Bayswater were held to a 1-1 draw by third-placed Stirling Suns. Dianella White Eagles defeated South West Phoenix by 3-2, Morley Windmills enjoyed a 4-1 win over Balcatta, and Armadale accounted for Queens Park 2-1. Rockingham City went down 2-3 at home to Ashfield, Leeming Strikers and Kingsway Olympic shared the points, and Southside United registered a much needed 2-0 win against Canning City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Undefeated in their past six outings, Cockburn City are on a roll and favoured to account for Floreat Athena when Round Twelve of the Premier League season gets underway on Saturday afternoon. A Swan I.C. side which has shown marked improvement over the past month come up against the Western Knights, while Inglewood United are home for the third consecutive week as they play E.C.U. Joondalup. Three very important points are on the line at Jubilee Reserve where Bassendean Caledonian meet Stirling Lions. On Sunday it's second verses third as Fremantle City welcome Sorrento to Ken Allen Field. With the weekend off due to the bye are reigning champions Perth S.C.
The First Division's big game this weekend has third-placed Stirling Suns up against leaders Bayswater City. The City will be well tested by a strong Mandurah City side, Dianella White Eagles are expected to overcome South West Phoenix, while the mid-table clash between Leeming Strikers and Kingsway Olympic promises to be a very tight affair. Armadale and Queens Park will both be desperate to take full points from their meeting at Alfred Skeet Oval where a loss could mean losing touch with leading pack, and Balcatta have a great chance to pick up some much-needed points when they host an injury depleted Morley Windmills. Elsewhere, Southside United are home Canning City and Rockingham City welcome Ashfield.
BROKEN LEG SCUPPERS TEENAGER'S DREAM
For the second time in the space of 12 months the hopes of promising young attacker Tom Jones have been brought to a shuddering halt by serious injury. While preparing to trial in England on the weekend, the E.C.U. Joondalup teenager broke his leg in a friendly organised by former Saints Academy boss Mike Lyons. "I broke me leg on Sunday playing in a five-a-side outdoor competition in Brunei," said Jones, who was prevented from playing for the State at last years' National Talent Identification Championships by a break to the same leg. "I had shinpads on so it was such a shock to break the leg again. To be honest I am still in shock - I had trials with Southampton lined up for the first Monday in July." Jones made his way back to Perth on Tuesday evening and was immediately taken to hospital by family for treatment. "I went straight to Joondalup hospital where they x-rayed my leg. I have a clean break of my tibia, but it's displaced so my leg has been put in a plaster cast and the plan is that I'll go back to the hospital on Monday for an operation to get my leg straightened. It's the same leg that I broke last year but this time it's below the previous fracture."
GOALS GOALS GOALS
Shane Crampton may not have scored last weekend by he still heads the Premier League leading scorers table. To date the Perth S.C. striker has netted 13 times, but closing in fast is Western Knights attacker Stuart Montgomery whose red-hot form has brought him five goals in the past fortnight to take his season tally to 9. Andy Mason (Sorrento), Golden Boot recipient for the past two years Branimir Mikulic (Fremantle City) and Louis Parkinson (Inglewood United) have each scored 6 times, which is one more than Elton Holmes, Paul Lincoln (both Swan I.C.), John Nicolaou (Knights), Andreas Oliveira (Floreat Athena) and Eugene Singeorzan (Stirling Lions/E.C.U. Joondalup).
With nine goals to his credit Sorrento's Jake Harman leads the way in the Premier League reserves. Hot on Harman's tail and two goals off the pace are Vlad Milasinovic, Damien Catalano (both Perth S.C.) and Petar Mrdja (Cockburn City). A further goal behind we find Western Knights' Stipan Majic, big Inglewood United striker Lee Haienko and John Greenwood of E.C.U. Joondalup. A rash of players make up the chasing pack with 5 goals each, namely Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United), Joe Liguan (Fremantle City), Jason Dos Santos (Cockburn City), Daniel Butler (Knights) and Floreat Athena pair Robert Cibesku and Mathew Novatsis.
The leading goalscorer of the Premier League under-18 competition after 12 rounds is Marc Sim whose 14 goals came for Fremantle City and prior to his recent move north to E.C.U. Joondalup. Two goals behind Sim is his former Fremantle strike-partner Mo Atak, while Perth S.C. attacker David Micevski is third with 11 goals. Talented E.C.U. Joondalup youngster Phillip O'Callaghan is a further goal behind and followed by Troy Dott (Floreat Athena) and Rostyn Griffiths (Joondalup) on 9 and Steven Worthy (Perth) with 8. Another Perth player, Cormac Dawson has found the net 7 times with teammate Jan Zablocki, Gerald O'Brien (Floreat Athena) and Demir Arslanoski (Inglewood United) on 6 goals.
Two goals in front at the head of the First Division scorers table is Mandurah City striker Michael Bobridge with 14 goals who leads from Lucas Whitehouse (Leeming Strikers) and Brian Robertson (Queens Park). Kingsway Olympic's Steven Bretti is currently in third place on 13 goals, Steven Suttie (South West Phoenix) has 10, and Bayswater City teammates Sal Marrapodi and Boima Karpeh have scored 9 each. At the half way stage of the season five players sit bunched on 8 goals - Zelko Savic, Dragan Njegic (both Dianella White Eagles), Scott Broadley (Balcatta), Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Christian Paschkewitz (Mandurah City)
Julio Barrendilla of First Division reserves leader Canning City tops that competitions scorers table with 17 goals, four ahead of Dianella White Eagles' striker Stevica Petrovic. Kingsway Olympic's Hill Regan is placed third with 12 and is followed closely on 11 by teammates Steven Rhodes and Steven Choate from Mandurah City, who sit level on points with Canning. Pour players make up the chasing pack with 7 goals apiece - Pat Roberts (South West Phoenix), Mark Cox (The City), Jonathon Cook (Southside United), and Christian Dolva (Canning City)
John Thornley, who last week transferred from Southside United to Fremantle City, is streets ahead of the field on the First Division under-18 scorers table with 35 goals. With Southside undefeated from fifteen starts, Thornley's former teammate Simon El Chami is a distant second on 22 goals, and two behind him sits Simon Versaico of Leeming Strikers. With 15 goals is Dianella White Eagles attacker Daniel Narandzic who is followed by Shirash Sasikumar (Leeming Strikers) and John Aitken (Balcatta) on 12. Zorgan Alsamani (Bayswater City), Jason Maiola (Southside) and Gino Comito (South West Phoenix) have each tallied 11 goals so far this season, which is one more than Canning City's Daniel Trevisiol.
THE SKYS THE LIMIT FOR TARKA
Australian coach Frank Farina is keeping a close eye on local product David Tarka whom he rates as one of the nations best young players. Speaking with Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" this week, Farina said Tarka's dedication and commitment would determine just how far his career would take him. "I see David as a potential Socceroo - sooner rather than later," Farina commented. "But he's learning his trade. He's still quite young. He's still got a lot to learn and I think he would be the first to admit that. The sky is the limit for him but it depends how devoted, how dedicated, how much ambition he has. From what I've seen, he's a young lad who really wants to do well." The 20-year old defender will shortly trial in England where the like of Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and West Ham United have expressed an interest in taking a look at Tarka.
INCONSISTENCY COSTS SWAN
The performances of Swan I.C. over the opening three months of the Premier League season have been much better than their position in the lower half of the table suggests. But while the black-and-whites have shown that they are more than capable of matching it with the competition's strongest teams, they have let slip some valuable points with poor showings against the lower ranked sides. "Our inconsistency has come about for a variety of reasons," explained club coach Gary Marocchi this week. "We have not been able to put the same team out two weeks in a row as a few long term injuries in combination with players' work commitments has tested our depth. Discipline has also been a problem, we've picked up a few red cards and they obviously make things difficult for the ten men remaining on the field. But the main reason is that we have conceded too many soft goals. Barring the first game of the season, we've played well enough to get results but haven't defended well as a team."
Last weekend's display against Inglewood United was prime example of Swan losing their focus at the wrong time. Having dominated the game the black-and-whites looked destined to register their third win of the campaign, only to concede a stoppage time equaliser in a goalmouth scramble. "We played very well and we were bitterly disappointed with the result as we should have come away with three points," commented Swan's long-serving player Carlo Scali. "We were more disappointed with conceding the late goal than with missing two penalties as we had more players around the ball than Inglewood. As a team we were not desperate enough in wanting to clear the danger at a critical period of the match. Gary mentioned at half-time that all he wanted out of the second half was not to concede a goal as we were susceptible to the opposition raising their game."
While the results may not have gone in Swan's favour so far this season, Marocchi is confident the side will fare better over the next few months. "We have the capabilities to improve," said the coach. "We think we are a better team than last year so we expect to finish higher than last seasons position. We are aiming for a spot in the Boral Cup final, and victory in the final would be a huge boost for soccer in the Swan Valley and be a catalyst for promising players to join the club - something we have found to be a stumbling block this year. But we need to have our full squad available each week to maintain that competitive edge. We're also aiming to get more points at home - our away record is very good with only one defeat from eight matches counting the Cup - but we need to give our supporters some joy at home, not just high scoring but heart-breaking results."
FARINA WANTS OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS IN PERTH
If national coach Frank Farina could have his way, Perth would host next years' Oceania qualifiers for the 2006 Olympic Games. But while Farina has floated the idea with Soccer Australia, the final decision as to where the January qualifiers are played lies with the Oceania Football Confederation and the national body. "Fingers crossed for everyone here. There's a big chance it will," Farina told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "Perth have been a leading light in terms of Australian soccer over I would say the past three or four years," he commented. "It's been proven that they are soccer mad over here. They will go to games." Australia have been confirmed as host of the Group A qualifying tournament which will also feature Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Group B matches will take place in New Zealand between the host nation, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
STRIKERS SNARE EX-SOCCEROO (courtesy www.leemingstrikers.com)
Leeming Strikers have secured the services of former Australian international Tony Franken as their goalkeeping coach for the remainder of season 2003. Franken will work on a weekly basis with the Strikers goalkeeping stocks which features youngsters Michael Smerilli, De Souza, Tae Phillips and Luke Rotondella to improve their technique and general skills. "We are truly delighted to have recruited such a famous name into our club and consider ourselves very fortunate to have someone of Tony's ability guiding our young keepers," said club president Alan Thraves. "This is a player who has been there and done it all and his experience is considered a tremendous boost to our coaching programs." Franken arrives at the club with a wealth of experience having played in the National Soccer League for Perth Glory, Olympic Sharks, Parramatta Eagles, Sydney United, Leichhardt and Canberra City during his successful career.
INJURY AGAIN HITS WINDMILLS
For the second time this season Morley Windmills small squad have been hit heavily by injury which will leave them light on players over the next few weeks. John Pfaff has missed the past month due to a foot injury, last seasons' Player of the Year Simon Messenger has been absent for the past three weeks with a calf complaint, while an ankle injury has sidelined Chris Kahil. In additional Drew Carruthers and Steve Waycott are currently unavailable due to personal commitments, while the clubs' leading goalscorer Phil Russie has joined Dianella White Eagles becoming the third player this season to move to Windmills' First Division neighbour. In other club news, after two successful seasons in charge of the reserves James Herbert has stepped up to become assistant to John Castrelli in coaching the senior side. Justy Jensen, who broke his leg while playing for Windmills earlier in the opening weeks of the current season, has been appointed coach of the reserve side. To keep up to date with all the latest happenings from the Windmills camp visit http://www.geocities.com/morley_windmills
JONES EYES OLYMPICS
When the Australia head to the Athens Olympic Games next year it's likely the goalkeeping duties will be carried out by the safe hands of 21-year old Brad Jones. Earlier this year he was one of four West Australians in the Australian Under-23 squad for the friendly with Spain, and now the young goalkeeper has his sights firmly set on a berth in the national side at the 2004 Olympics. "When you start playing football you want to play for your country, so to play in an Olympics would be unreal," Jones recently told Channel 9 reporter Bob Harnett said. As a teenager playing for Bayswater City, Jones was scouted by and subsequently signed for English Premier League club Middlesbrough. "I'd been watched by a few clubs that I knew of, and I always wanted to go to England to play, so when the chance came about I went for it straight away." Since moving to England Jones has progressed up through the youth ranks at 'Boro and ended last season as back-up to Australian No.1 Mark Schwarzer.
MALAYSIAN TRIALS FOR MIKULIC
Fremantle City' and State striker Branimir Mikulic heads to Malaysia this week for trials with top flight club Sabah. The M-League side, who are fast developing ties with Western Australia, is currently home to goalscoring midfielder Robbie Gaspar, formerly of Perth S.C., while one-time Sorrento player Peter Butler recently took up a coaching position with the club. 23-year old Mikulic will be one of two Australians to try his luck with Sabah this week, the other being Sydney-born attacker Paul Harries who most recently played in England for Exeter City.
DEANS AGREES TERMS WITH NEWCASTLE
Perth Glory defender Craig Deans has agreed terms with National Soccer League rival Newcastle United. Following talks last week with coach Ian Crook, Deans signed a one-year deal with United with the option of another 12 months. The former Western Knights centre-half will leave Perth in time for Newcastle's pre-season training which commences in August. In total Deans turned out on 55 occasions during this two spells with Glory which was punctuated by an 18-month stay with Carlton for whom he played 36 times.
Reigning WAASSA Premier League champions Hamersley Rovers finally got some goals on the board with an emphatic 7-0 win over a hapless Balga side at Carine. Having accepted a late invitation to remain in the top flight despite being relegated last season, Balga have had a very difficult season to date with many players moving on at the end of last year and the club winless in the current campaign. Despite missing four first team regulars, Hamersley dominated from the opening kick and goals from Nick Cianci, Joe Wright and a two converted penalties by Flavio Labbate put them in an unbeatable position at the break. Midfielder Alun Vernals was involved in nearly all the moves which leads to the home teams goals and is nearing the best form of his career. Hamersley made full use of their bench after in the second half as they eased their way to a comfortable victory. Cianci made it 5-0 ten minutes after the re-start, Wright bagged his first ever hat-trick for the club, and substitute Gary Mills completed the route by netting a dangerous corner played in by Vernals. For Balga there were good performances from goalkeeper Chris Harvey, who prevented the final margin from being larger, and young attacker Hien Tran.
University of WA returned to winning ways with a fine defeat of Forrestfield United at Hartfield Park. The first genuine chance on goal arrived after 20 minutes when the ball fell to Marc D'Ascanio whose close-range strike was brilliantly pushed wide for a corner by Forrestfield goalkeeper Scott Kessner. Just before half-time Kessner was again in the thick of the action when he denied Adam Brett a goal from a fine header. The ball was quickly raced to the opposite end as Wayne Brooks sharp shot scraped the outside of the up-right. The second half saw a more determined approach from UWA as an alert Kessner kept out a good effort from D'Ascanio. The deadlock was broken by State representative Robert Benkovic who beat a defender before crossing to Frederik Larsen who volleyed into the roof of the net after 65 minutes. UWA doubled their advantage not long after when Larsen's hot cannoned back off the up-right and the ball fell to Bryn Griffiths whose shot was turned in by Benkovic. With ten minutes remaining Andy Hart broke free down the left flank and his cross landed at the feet of Griffiths who side-stepped an opponent to drive in the visitors third of the afternoon. "It was pretty tight in the first half but we lifted a gear in the second half, got hold of the midfield and came away with three deserved points," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. Forrestfield's reserves inflicted the first loss of the season on UWA by a 3-2 margin.
In other weekend action, Fremantle United took maximum points from their home fixture with Shamrock Rovers by 2-1, Perth Azzurri and Kwinana United drew 2-2, and the points were also shared as Murdoch University and North Perth United ended 1-1. The result of the Spearwood Dalmatinac-Canning International clash 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
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWELVE (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich and Tom McCrisken; Western Knights vs Bassendean Caledonian courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com)
Gloomy conditions greeted the players as they made their way into the field for the Premier League clash between Inglewood United and Swan I.C. at the National Stadium. Sitting mid-table at the half way stage of the season and coming off a home loss to competition leaders Perth S.C., Inglewood went into this game in need to maximum points to keep on track their plans of making the end of season play-off series. State representative Jamie Kuzmanovich was the only notable absentee for the home side although there was only a place on the bench for hard-working midfield pair Scott Campbell and Alan MacKenzie. Some strong recent showing indicate Swan's lowly placing in the standings is by far from a true reflection of their potential, and following last weeks away defeat of Bassendean Caledonian were in a confident mood of upsetting their more fancied opponent.
Determined to unsettle their opponents, Swan came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and very nearly took the lead after 2 minutes when Mark Lee curled a free-kick past the defensive and just wide of the top corner. Taken aback by their opponents attacking approach, the home team found it difficult to string together their passes going forward with the end result being the ball was all too often conceded well before within sight of goal. Down the other end, however, it was a much different story. An in-swinging Lee corner was met solidly at the back post by Michael Di Fulvio whose header rocketed the wrong side of the up-right. Swan won themselves another free-kick just outside the 18-yard box after 13 minutes and this time Elton Holmes sent the ball over Oliver Taseski's crossbar. Five minutes later Lee played a corner short to Damian Todorovic who whipped the ball into the area where it was allowed to run deep and Holmes' first time shot flashed across the face of a crowded goalmouth.
Inglewood were living dangerously and didn't the know it. In the 25th minute Taseski was pressured into hoofing a sloppy backpass which landed at the feet of Damian Scali who, with the 'keeper out of position, shot disappointingly wide. It seemed only a matter of time before Swan would take the lead, so when they did so three minutes later it surprised no one. Holmes and Todorovic combined on the right flank with the latter sending a dangerous cross into the box which Kosta Kalavroutziotis had the misfortune of turning past his own 'keeper in an attempt to clear. Finally sparked into life, Inglewood lifted their game and dominated the remainder of the period. Ryan Newhill raced onto a defence splitting pass and drew the defence out of position before squaring to Kalavroutziotis but his shot flew straight into the arms of Corey Hugo. Finding himself in the thick of the action again, Newhill sent a deep cross to Louis Parkinson after 37 minutes but the young striker hurried his shot to sent the ball wide. Another promising attack was snuffed out by Corey Hugo minutes later when he raced off his line to take the ball off the boot of Newhill following brilliant delivery by Kalavroutziotis.
The home team made a promising start to the second half with Rory Mouttet providing plenty of penetration down the left wing and, six minutes in, Shaun Kilkelly surged forward only to have his shot deflected wide for a corner. But by and large Inglewood found it difficult to break down a Swan backline marshaled by club captain Carlo Scali and the hard-working Justin Hugo. Following a period on the back foot Swan re-discovered their rhythm and to re-gain control. After 55 minutes Tom Shepheard was brought down inside the area following a weaving run down the right, but Taseski made a fine save to deny Holmes from penalty spot. Within minutes the Inglewood 'keeper knocked wide a Paul Lincoln drive after he skipped past his marker, and Taseski was well-placed to kept out Dean Nicolaou's shot from 15-metres. In the 68th minute Swan were given a second chance from the penalty spot after Shepheard crumpled under minimal contact from Kilkelly who was duly sent off by referee Hugh Best for his second yellow card offence. With golden opportunity to seal victory, Lincoln sent Taseski the wrong way only to scoop his effort over the crossbar.
A Damian Scali strike from 18-metres was tipped around the post by Taseski who was forced to five full-length along his line after 74 minutes. Shortly after Lincoln, Holmes and Damian Scali combined to open up the defence and this time Daniel Harrop came to the rescue of the home side by thwarting Lincoln from 8-metres. Swan dominated a tightly contested closing stages but were unable to add to their score as Inglewood sought a late equaliser with some quick breaks on the counter-attack. It wasn't until substitutes MacKeznie and Campbell began to find their measure that Inglewood started to look threatening. There were more than a few nervous moments when Swan failed to clear a corner and Michael Baczynski's shot on the turn whizzed over the crossbar close to the end of regulation time. Inglewood left it until the very last attack of the afternoon to level the game as Alex Josifovski nodded down another corner and Parkinson got the decisive touch in the ensuing goalmouth scramble four minutes into stoppage time.
Having worked so hard to dominate play for almost the entire game, to concede such a late goal was a cruel blow for Swan. No one would have begrudged the visitors all three points on a day when they completely out-played their opponent, but their inability to kill of the game really did cost them dearly. Holmes was a constant menace in attack while in the middle of the park Lee and Damian Scali controlled play and effectively negated the influence of their opposite numbers. In a generally flat display from Inglewood there were few highlights with only the defensive core of Daniel Kovacevic, Jason Godfrey and Kilkelly performing up to standard. On senses that new coach Eddie Hodgkinson, who takes over the Inglewood this week, will have his work cut out in making the side the power they can be.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Shaun Kilkelly, Jason Godfrey, Daniel
Kovacevic, Daniel Harrop, Rory Mouttet, Scott Cassie (Scott Campbell 78),
Kosta Kalavroutziotis (Alan MacKenzie 56), Alex Josifovski, Louis
Parkinson, Ryan Newhill (Michael Baczynski 85)
Swan I.C. : Corey Hugo, Carlo Scali, Justin Hugo, Damian Todorovic (Dean Nicolaou 66), Michael Di Fulvio, Gary Andrews, Tom Shepheard, Mark Lee, Damian Scali, Elton Holmes, Paul Lincoln
Bookings : Kilkelly (65), Kovacevic (68), Shepheard (87)
Dismissals : Kilkelly (68)
Referee : Hugh Best
Attendance : 175 (approx.)
Perth S.C. extended their lead with a 2-1 win over Fremantle City in the top-of-the-table clash at Ken Allen Field. Played in cold and windy conditions, the visitors took the lead after 7 minutes when the Fremantle defence failed to respond to a Todd Howarth corner which found Mark Pottier who has presented with the time to pick his place in the back of the net. Fremantle fought back strongly over the remainder of the half but were continually thwarted by Perth custodian Robert Scarparolo who kept out a number of good strikes on goals to keep Perth in front at half-time. The port side continued to threaten after the interval and were rewarded six minutes in when a dangerous comer resulted in Anthony Pereira converting to level the game. A further six minutes elapsed before Perth re-claimed the upper hand following a controversial off the ball incident that had the home fans calling for the dismissal of Perth striker Shane Crampton. From the free-kick Gareth Naven picked out Crampton who relayed the ball to Todd Howarth and the talented left flanker made no mistake with a stinging shot which flew through the hands of Fremantle goalkeeper Bobson Karoma. Ther remainder of the game produced numerous scoring opportunities which went unconverted at both ends of the park as Perth held on to claim victory.
Sorrento edged closer to the top of the table with a well deserved win over Floreat Athena at Percy Doyle Reserve. With Richard Watson absent due to injury, the home defence was tested early on as goalkeeper Neil Young produced a great double save to thwart Andreas Oliviera then Aaron Moschopoulo to keep things on an even footing. Taking up the challenge Sorrento slowly tipped the scales in their favour. In the 31st minute Jared Love produced a final push to win through and his lightning volley from just inside the area rocketed past Anthony Mori to balloon out the back of the net. Shortly after Simon Harland had a shot that was headed off the line by Anthony Jones, but there was little the visitors could do in the 36th minute as Sean Fallon's cross from the left was powerfully headed in by Harland. Sorrento almost had a third two minutes from the break but Glen Thomas' smashing right foot drive came back off the crossbar. The home side continued to ply the pressure in the second half as Thomas fired just over then and three minutes later Dale McCulloch also sprayed the ball high. After 52 minutes Love pulled his shot across the face of goal, and a minute further on Harland was smothered by a fast reacting Mori. With the clock ticking down a searching clearance by Steve McDonald reached Harland who beat his marker to cut the ball back to Andy Mason but his effort bobbled over the bar. And in the final a long throw from Daniel Stoitis traveled through to Harland who toe-poked wide of the target. The secures Sorrento's place in the upper reaches of the table and sets the scene perfectly for next weekend's away trip to second-placed Fremantle City.
Cockburn City extended their run without loss to six games by defeating E.C.U. Joondalup 2-0 in the northern suburbs on Saturday. Despite starting well and coming close to scoring inside the opening 5 minutes, Joondalup struggled to match the work rate of their opponents midfield with Michael and John Mirco and Shane McNally dominant across the middle with some excellent movement on and off the ball. After winning a string of corners, Cockburn broke the deadlock after 37 minutes as Jeff Bright floated the ball deep from the right to Dean Wallace who headed it back across the face of goal and Michael Mirco made no mistake in finding the target with a first time strike. Joondalup pressed hard to equalise before the interval but attackers John Greenwood and Josh Kamasz found little room to manouver against a well organised defence featuring Mario De Felice, Boza Erakovic, Dusan Macura and Bright. The pattern of play after the break was much the same as first half although Joondalup were much more productive only to be let down by poor delivery to their forwards. The result was put beyond doubt when Dean Wallace, who was a constant menace to the opposing side, sent a powerful diving header past Peter Stewart following a good run down the left flank by John Mirco.
Stuart Montgomery tookhis season tally to nine goals with a double for the Western Knights in their defeat of struggling Bassendean Caledonians at Nash Field. The home side dominated the first half with some scintillating football, taking a deserved lead after 13 minutes as Luka Jukic played an exquisite cross-field ball to Carl Medica who send a well-weighted pass into the path of Montgomery and the striker lifted his shot over goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. Just prior to the Knights' second goal came the move of the match when Medica played a one-two with David Annall then dribbled the ball across the Caledonian penalty box, playing another one-two with Montgomery then unleashing a shot that looked a certain goal only for Dunlop to produce a top shelf save. The Knights second goal came from a similar slick passage of play, as Paul McVittie, Jukic and John Nicolaou combined with the latters cross to the far post rifled home by the Montgomery. The second half saw the Knights dominance slip as they started to over elaborate, however the visiting team rarely threatened Tommi Tomich in goal. Montgomery had several chances to complete his second hat-trick in consecutive games but the striker's shot cannoned off the post after being put through by Claus Nielsen after 48 minutes. And nine minutes from the end Montgomery spurned another opportunity after substitute Scott Devine and Medica combined well wide on the left, but his shot flew wide of the mark. Despite the 2-0 scoreline, Knights coach Ronnie Campbell has reason for concern over his sides the inability to kill off the opposition - had Caledonian sneaked a goal this would have been a very different game and a test of the Knights mettle.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
The opening half-hour of the reserves meeting between Inglewood United and Swan I.C. at the National Stadium was dominated by the home side with the ball rarely crossing the half way line. A goal after 16 minutes by Lee Haienko put the home side in the driving seat, and when Dinko Ahmetanovic made it 2-0 eight minutes later it looked like being a very one-sided contest. But to their credit Swan fought back with their best chance coming David Mahon whose powerful drive was forced wide by goalkeeper Beni Pietropiccolo. After the break it was a much more evenly contested affair in which the respective 'keeper's were frequently called into action with Swan's Chris Ramsey the busier of the two. The gap was reduced by Matt Allbricht who cleverly flicked the ball past Jamie Goodman to drill it low past the 'keeper midway through the half. Inglewood sealed the points five minutes from the end when Haienko found the net while Swan were down to ten men with Danayal Bennett off receiving treatment for an ankle injury. In the final minute Renato Rechichi almost added the hosts' fourth but volleyed wide a deep cross from Jay McEvoy.
The crucial clash between Fremantle City and League leader Perth S.C. at Ken Allen Field proved to be a very tight affair that remained scoreless until the 63rd minute when Albert Osei-Tutu popped up to put the visiting side in front. Fourteen minutes later Osei-Tutu doubled the margin and Vlado Milasinovic rounded out the 3-0 scoreline when he netted in the final minute of play. Second-placed Sorrento took early control of their home clash with Floreat Athena and were rewarded for some enterprising play when the move of the match resulted in James Morgan blasting an exquisite pass from Jake Harman into an empty net. Back after a week's suspensions, Farrell Hedges put the Gulls further ahead before the visitors got on the board through Michael Lardis who placed the ball wide of goalkeeper Gareth Deeg from the penalty spot. The home team put the points in the bag with a headed effort from Hedges following a cross from the by-line by Harman.
A goal after 10 minutes from Dwayne Sadja gave E.C.U. Joondalup the perfect start to their home clash with Cockburn City. But the visitors headed into the break in front after Davo Banjac and Simon Jonas found the net within three minutes of eachother late in the half. Jason Dos Santos made it 3-1 ten minutes after the re-start and when Daniel Palermo found the net after 74 minutes the game was over as a contest. Bassendean Caledonian registered their third win of the season with a 2-1 defeat of the Western Knights at Nash Field. Jim Houston converted from the penalty spot to give the visitors the lead, but the Knights were back on level terms when Steven Sulenta scored his third goal in as many weeks. A well hit shot from Gareth Wright restored Caledonians lead before the visitors found themselves under all the pressure as the Knights mounted a strong late charge to equalise. But Caldonian defenders Houston, Phil Lunt and Matt Gow along with goalkeeper Steve Grant performed heroically to ensure their team went home with all three points.
Making good use of the full width of the park with some quick attacking moves, Fremantle City gained the upper hand early on in their under-18 Premier League meeting with a talented Perth S.C. outfit at Ken Allen Field. The port side got on the scoreboard after 13 minutes when central midfielder Sebastian Trim played an inch-perfect pass into the box where new signing John Thornley was brought down for a penalty, and Mo Atak made no mistake from the spot. The port side created numerous opportunities to exxtend their lead but were thwarted by some deperate defending from Perth and the frame of the goal. The fifteen minutes immediately after the break saw both sides with an even share of possession with good openings coming at both end of the field. On the hour a great six-pass move saw Fremantle turn defence into attack as Thornley netted his sides second of the day. The introduction on Ben Kelly, who had replaced Jason Barrarea, had almost immediate impact as he made it 3-0 after 65 minutes with a strike from close-range. "This team played with no fear, good movment, good awareness and the will to play," said Fremante coach Mike Tetlow after the game.
Bassendean Caledonian recorded their second win of the season with a 3-1 defeat of the Western Knights at Nash Field. The visitors took the lead when Ciarian Mullin put a great through ball to Leo Perrotta who beat a defender before slotting past the goalkeeper. Caledonian doubled their advantage after being awarded a penalty, with Ryan Frisina successful from the spot after 24 minutes. On the half hour the Knights' Jared Kay pegged back the gap when he found the back of the net with a well taken free-kick. But immediately from the re-start Caledonian went on the attack through Ian McAllister whose brilliant cross was headed in by Frisina to restore the two-goal buffer. With little over half an hour to go the visiting side were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of John Barker, and not long after they became nine when Frisina succumbed to injury with Caledonian having already made use of their bench players. But Leigh Barlow, Thomas Koprowitz, Alex Tharby, David Houston and McAllister defended well during the final minutes in which goalkeeper Troy Smith made a timely save to ensure Caledonian went home with maximum points.
Daniel De Fazio gave E.C.U. Joondalup the perfect start by netting after 2 minutes against Cockburn City, and four minutes later the lead was doubled as Rostyn Griffiths tucked the ball home. With a cricket score on the cards, Cockburn tightened up defensively to prevent their opponent from adding to the tally for the remainder of the game. Joondalups' 2-0 win keeps them at the top of the under-18 standings, three points ahead of second-placed Fremantle. Sorrento went down 0-1 at home to Floreat Athena for whom Jarryd Campher netted after 72 minutes. And Swan I.C. continued their brilliant run of recent results with a 2-0 defeat of Inglewood United at the National Stadium where both goals came from the boot of Matt Ullbricht.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIFTEEN (Canning City vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro)
Bayswater City went into their weekend away clash with Canning City sitting atop the First Division table but with several teams breathing down their neck. The first half saw very few chances on goal created as the two teams played some sub-standard football with the visitors having the upper hand but unable to make much of their dominance. On his return to Bayswater Bobbi Klenkoski was partner in attack with Ian Davidson while Boima Karpeh watched from the sideline. After the interval Bayswater continued to control the game with some much improved passages that lead to several chances on goal. After 67 minutes Davidson made way for Karpeh in a switch that was to prove fateful for the home team. Shortly after Karpeh accelerated past four Canning players with ease before crossing to Klenkoski who nodded the ball on to Andrew O'Neill and he made no mistake in scoring from close range. Bayswater then put immense pressure on the Canning rearguard and created chances to extend the gap through Klenkoski and Karpeh but neither could find a way past Canning goalkeeper Robby Meyer. The point clinching goal came three minutes from full-time as Klenkoski was sent through only to have Meyer parry his shot, but Sal Marrapodi was on hand to tuck the ball in and make the final score 2-0. A double from Nick Paone gave Bayswater's reserves a 2-0 victory, and Luke O'Neill scored in the Under-18s but could not prevent Canning from claiming maximum points through a 4-1 scoreline.
A poor refereeing decision cost Armadale a share in the points in a tightly fought match with Mandurah City at Peelwood Reserve on the weekend. The Reds started the game with a few changes to their line-up as Steve Cramphorn, Emlyn Whetnall and Jason Goodwin were promoted to the starting line-up at the expense of Jason Hardie, Dennis Lee and Darren Ingham. Mandurah came close to scoring early on as Christian Paschewitz headed wide, but it was the travelling fans who were celebrating not long after when Lawrence Bruce found the back of the net to give the visitors the lead. The remainder of the opening half was a pretty even affair with Armadale doing enough to maintain it's lead after 45 minutes. The Reds came out firing after the interval but it was the hosts that scored early this time as Jordan Rhodes' cross into the area was met by Paschewitz who rose high in a crowded goalmouth to level the game after 48 minutes. Mandurah then began the search for a winning goal only to find defenders Nick Twyman and Laurence Bruce working hard to ensure it wasn't going to be easy for the home side to score a second. That was until the 87th minute when, with Bruce off receiving treatment for badly gashed head, the referee had judged Tsallis to have tripped Andrew Rennie inside the 18-yard box - an occurrence that no one else had captured - and Rhodes netted the deciding goal from the spot. In the reserves, Mandurah raced to a two-goal lead thanks to Gary Attrill and Jake Loreto but went into the break on level terms after Armadale's Dave Forsythe and Darren Kingston netted. Mandurah added to their tally in the second half through Attrill and Mikel Sesma to register a 4-2 win. The under-18 game ended 5-0 in favour of Mandurah.
The clash between Stirling Suns and Southside United produced nine goals and a see-sawing lead over the early stages. Southside went in front after 7 minutes through the experienced Stewart Inge only to have youngster Stefan Stoleski level the score within 60-seconds. Lee McEvoy re-stored the visitors lead in the 10th minute and again the Suns responded quickly as Alex Jankulovski found the back of the net to score the games fourth goal with only 20 minutes elapsed. With neither side able to add to the scoreboard before half-time, the two sides headed into the break with the promising of plenty more goals to come. Seven minutes into the new half Jankulovski bagged his second of the day before completing his hat-trick just after the hour mark. The Suns looked like running away with the game when Miladin Gliguroski made it 5-1 in the 64th minute, but the visiting team were not yet finished with Bobby White reeling in the gap after 75 minutes. But it was the Suns that were finishing the stronger of the two teams and Dancho Jovanovski killed off Southside's feint hopes of stealing a point by scoring his sides sixth after 81 minutes. The win keeps the Suns in touch with the competition leaders, three points behind Bayswater City and one behind Mandurah City. The two earlier games went the other with Southside claiming the points by 4-3 in the reserves and 2-1 in the under-18's.
In an even opening half there were few chances on goal as Morley Windmills and Kingsway Olympic battled hard to gain the upper hand in their clash at Wootton Reserve. Midway through the period Windmills attacker Rydeen Botha was denied a goal despite appearing to be well onside when the ball was played to him, while the only other genuine opportunity came shortly after as Ben Hedley crashed the ball into the crossbar with a stinging strike. The second half began with Olympic doing all the attacking and they were rewarded six minute in when Stuart Corr broke free down the left to set-up Steve Bretti who headed home to give the visitors the lead. The introduction of Michael Campbell off the Windmills bench brought almost instant result, his presence causing panic in the opposing defence and Nigel Comito was on hand to head the ball home from close range after 74 minutes. With both teams attempting to assert their influence over the flow of play, a rash of yellow cards from the referee not only broke up the game but also ruined it as a spectacle. Twelve minutes from the end Olympic went down to ten men with the dismissal of Alan Henderson with a straight red card following a challenge on Ali Bektic, and almost immediately after teammate Andy Brown received his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Playing with a two man advantage Windmills were now well on top and, with the clock ticking down, secured maximum points as Kenny Dunne powered a corner into the net despite the best defensive efforts of Alan Nanini.
In a tough, fast paced game Ashfield started brightly away to Dianella White Eagles by being the more creative side over the opening spell. Relying on quick counter-attacks, Dianella opening the scoring after 21 minutes through Dragan Njegic and six minutes into the second half that margin ballooned out to two goals as Jimmy Stoichev found the target. To their credit the visiting Ashfield youngsters fought their way back into the game and reduced the margin with a bit of brilliance from Matt Pochroj who beat two players before slipping the ball past the goalkeeper. With their confidence boosted, Ashfield created the better of the openings over the closing stages but some good defending from the home side allowed all three point to go in Dianella's favour. Both the early games were also taken out by Dianella. Martin Kelly, Andrew McRay and new signing Billy Robb were on target for Ashfield's reserves when they went down 4-3, while the under-18 clash ended 1-0.
Queens Park recorded a narrow 1-0 win over a fast improving The City at Coker Park. There were few clear-cut chances in a scrappy opening half with neither side able to make the most of their opportunities. The second half was a much different proposition with The City taking the game up to their opponents to totally dominate the game. On three occasions the visitors hit the frame of the goal as Gary Murray, Adam Batchelor and Ben Yates all went close, while on another four occasions the home defence scrambled the ball to safety off the goal line. But, is so often is the case, Queens Park rode their luck and with just their second attack of the half Brian Robertson scored with a wonder strike six minutes into stoppage time to decide the game. The City claimed victory in the reserves with a 5-1 mauling of the home team, while the under-18 game also ended in favour of the visitors by a 2-1 scoreline.
Balcatta took the lead 16 minutes into their home clash with Leeming Strikers courtesy of Michael Chiari, but goals either side of the break by Dale Wingell enabled the visitors to go home with the points. And in the southern derby South West Phoenix and Rockingham City played out a one-all draw in a game that three players received their marching orders. Glen Hallums put Rockingham in front after 36 minutes, but the sides went into the break on level terms following a goal from James Bergin three minutes from half-time. Phoenix player Andrew Cantoni was the first to be red carded in the 64th minute, and late in the game Rockingham went down to nine men with the dismissal of Luke Rennie (83rd minute) and Ryan Cattermole (88th minute).
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Two unconverted second half penalties cost Swan I.C. dearly as Inglewood United scored a dramatic stoppage time equaliser to earn a share of the points at the National Stadium. The visitors took the lead through an own goal after 28 minutes but, reduced to ten men midway through the second period, Inglewood leveled via Louis Parkinson. On a weekend when there was no movement on the table, Fremantle City went down 1-2 to Perth S.C. in the top of the table clash. Sorrento defeated Floreat Athena, Western Knights were too strong for Bassendean Caledonian, and Cockburn City accounted for E.C.U. Joondalup - all by 2-0 scorelines.
Bayswater City remain top of the First Division following a 2-0 away defeat of Canning City. Mandurah City and Stirling Suns keep the heat on the competition leader courtesy of wins over Armadale (2-1) and Southside United (6-3) respectively. Dianella White Eagles continued their good run of results with a 2-1 home win over Ashfield, while Queens Park scored the only goal of the game against The City. Kingsway Olympic's woes continued with a 1-2 loss at Morley Windmills, Leeming Strikers were too strong for Balcatta by 2-1, and the points were shared by South West Phoenix and Rockingham City who battled out a 1-1 draw.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The second half of the local season gets underway on Saturday with the top of the table showdown between Fremantle City and Perth S.C. at Ken Allen Field. When the clubs met on the opening weeks of the 2003 winter Perth emerged triumphant 4-0, but the port side have matured a great deal since that game and will prove a much different proposition for the competition leaders. With six clubs separated by four points, there are crucial mid-table clashes in the northern suburbs for E.C.U. Joondalup and Cockburn City, as well as Sorrento and Floreat Athena. Western Knights should emerge from their home encounter with bottom side Bassendean Caledonian as winners by a comfortable margin, and Inglewood United are favoured to bounce back from last weeks loss when they take on Swan I.C. at the National Stadium. Stirling Lions have the bye.
In the First Division, Canning City are home to top side Bayswater City who will be under pressure to win from Mandurah City who meet Armadale at Peelwood Parade. Stirling Suns are tipped to account for struggling Southside United, while an inconsistent Queens Park are have home ground advantage over The City who have come on in leaps and bounds over the past month. Morley Windmills and Kingsway Olympic go head-to-head at Wotton Reserve, and there's another intriguing mid-table clash at Dianella Reserve between Dianella White Eagles and Ashfield. Elsewhere, Balcatta are home to Leeming Strikers, and South West Phoenix welcome Rockingham City to Bunbury.
GARCIA BOYS REFLECT ON 2003
The break in the European league has given West Ham United's Richard Garcia the opportunity to come home to Perth and spent time with elder brother Michael (right), whose career was ended in February by injury. Confirmation that Michael's playing days were over due to an arthritic condition, which had contributed to the deterioration of cartilage in his left knee, came as a bitter blow to the 26-year old. "I knew a few years ago there were only a certain number of kilometres left in the knee," the Perth Glory midfielder told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "I knew it was bad, but I didn't think it would be the end of my career." It will be up to 12 months before Michael is able to walk normally after a recent operation that he hopes will avert the need for a knee replacement later in life.
Richard says his older brother has been one of the biggest influences on his decision to take up the round ball game. "When I was younger he would come back from the Institute of Sport and teach me the stuff he was learning there," said the 21-year old. Although a regular fixture for the Hammers' reserves last season, Richard was restricted to appearances on the bench for the first team as they struggled to climb away from the foot of the Premier League table. "I never got a chance last season because we were always in the relegation zone," he commented. "We never got out of the hole." The attacker twice made it onto the park but he'd much rather forget both occasions which ended in the Hammers' elimination from the Worthington Cup by Oldham Athletic and the F.A. Cup at the hands of Manchester United. Following West Ham's demotion to the Division, Garcia is hopeful manager Glenn Roeder will make more use of his services in 2003/04.
MID-TERM PREMIER LEAGUE REPORT
Last weekend's round of fixtures marked the halfway stage of the Premier League season, each club having now taken to the field of play on ten occasions. And while there are already some noticeable gaps opening up at either end of the table, bunched in the middle of the standings are six clubs separated by just a handful of points. In what promises to be a tight and entertaining finish to the regular season, with many more thrills and spills yet to come, we take a look at what has transpired so far in the winter of 2003 and evaluate each clubs chances over the remaining months of the campaign.
Flying high at the top of the Premier League table are reigning champions Perth S.C. Having the enviable record of being the competition's highest scoring side, and with just a single loss to their name, Perth are shaping up as odds on favourite to make it back-to-back regular season crowns. While striker Shane Crampton leads the way on thirteen goals, Perth have plenty of attacking options with no less than eleven other players also getting themselves on the scoresheet. Defensively the side are rock-solid, in fact coach Graham Normanton has such an abundance of talent at his disposal that he's recently introduced a rotational system in order to keep players match sharp. In the centre of midfield Adam Bunce and veteran Gareth Naven have formed a sound partnership from which to launch attacks, and much under-rated goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo is enjoying some of the best form of his career. Tough to beat regardless of whether they play, Perth are without doubt the side all others will measure themselves against.
Still going through a re-building process, little was expected from Fremantle City club prior to the season's commencement. But the port side have been the big surprise of 2003 and, at the halfway stage, are placed well in second and four points clear of their nearest rival. In his second year with the club, coach Greg Kazmer has instilled a sound work and team ethic in his players who have claimed victory from seven of their ten starts. Summer signings Branimir Mikulic and Craig Young have combined with great effect with teenager John Migas to provide the side with numerous avenues to goal. And defensively Fremantle have been served well by experienced campaigner Craig Surtees and rising stars Dean Aplegren and Shane Nunes. Whether Fremantle can maintain their winning ways will be revealed in the fullness of time - they themselves are under no illusions as to how difficult the job to make the finals will be - but with some many young players filling out their ranks the future is looking very bright indeed for the club.
Currently third and undefeated in their past four games, Sorrento are hotly tipped to finish near the top of the table and with a berth in the Champion of Champions play-off series. The only top flight side to have scored in every game so far this season, the northern suburbs side have tallied up twenty-four goals in total with the pleasing aspect for coach Steve Neville being that those goals have come from eight different players. Attacking midfielders Todd Harnwell and Simon Harland have been instrumental in Sorrento's high conversion rate that has led to Andy Mason finding the target on six occasions. At the opposite end of the park Richard Watson has been in fine form and competition for the position between the up-rights has been intense between Neil Young and Gareth Deeg. Make no doubt about it, Sorrento will be up there come seasons' end - the only question is how close can they come to knocking Perth S.C. from top spot.
Winners of the Night Series in pre-season, Western Knights' inconsistency over the first three months of the home-and-away series is reflected by their mid-table standing. Although undefeated on home soil, they have been less than impressive on the road while a couple of recent losses have cast doubt over their ability to break down opposing defences. Last year the Knights went the second half of the season undefeated and, with Claus Nielsen and Paul McVittie running the engineroom, it would surprise few if they repeat that achievement in 2003. In goalkeeper Tommi Tomich they have some of the safest hands in the League, while hard-working defender Leon Russell is currently producing some of the best form of his career. Injury permitting, the Knights will finish the season strongly and continue their amazing run of play-off appearances under Ronnie Campbell.
After a lacklustre start Cockburn City have been able to consistently produce the goods following the return of Dusan Macura and Antonio Naglieri from abroad, and the signing of attacking midfielder Michael Mirco. The goals may not have exactly flowed for the club but Cockburn have dug deep to carve out some good results which has them going into the second half of the season unbeaten in their past five outings, including a 3-0 demolishion of leaders Perth S.C. The adoption of a 4-4-2 formation by coach Mirko Jelicic has added stability to the backline while giving youngsters Jeff Bright and Domenic De Felice the opportunity to shine across the centre of the park. Although injury and inexperience has at times costs the side, all the signs are pointing towards a strong finish to the regular season for Cockburn who have their sights firmly set on a place in the finals series.
To say Inglewood United's season to date has been disappointing would be a gross understatement. Following a major recruitment drive over the summer that completely re-shaped the senior squad, Inglewood have failed to live up to expectations and after ten rounds are placed in the lower half of the table. Veteran Alan MacKenzie has been a steadying influence in an ever-changing midfield, while a dangerous forward line featuring Alex Josifovski, Ryan Newhill and the lively Louis Parkinson ensures opposing teams have no time to relax. And although they possess some of the local games' best defenders, some sloppy work at the back has proved their undoing on several occasions and is sure to give newly appointed coach Eddie Hodgkinson food for thought. A place in the finals certainly isn't out of the question but Inglewood will really need to pull their socks up if they want to be considered as serious contenders.
In a dreadful start to the season Floreat Athena managed just one win in the first six weeks and were wallowing towards the foot of the table. Step in Chile-born Julio Moreno who, in the space of four games, has re-vitalised the clubs flagging fortunes. Wins over Fremantle City and Western Knights and shared points with Stirling Lions have boosted confidence within the camp and, although the football hasn't been the best, Athena now have something upon which to build should they wish to participate in September's play-offs. Goalkeeper Anthony Mori has seized the opportunity for regular first team with both hands and has been the pick of the players along with Adrian Sutton, Jamie Trandos and the clubs leading goalscorer Andreas Oliveira. With a poor home record, Athena's cause has not been helped by a crippling injury list which has kept the majority of the senior list sidelined at one time or another. It's going to take a lot of luck for Athena to make their way up the table and something just outside the top five will be the best they can hope for.
Brilliant one week, disappointing the next - that would about sum up the season of E.C.U. Joondalup. Amongst their scalps the northern suburbs side can count Fremantle City and Inglewood United, but tempering their triumphs have been some sub-standard performances that have seen them concede four or more goals on four occasions. Coach Stuart Kamasz has the difficult job of adding some semblence of consistency to what is still a very young team in which Scott Bulloch, Peter Vukmirovic, Darryl Platten and Peter Roberts have been the stand-out performers. With eleven players sharing the 23 goals for, Joondalup have proven they do have the ability to rise to the occasion but at the end of the day their season hinges on how badly the players want to succeed. Regardless of what happens between now and September, Joondalup's focus is on future campaigns when trophies are bound to come the way of the ambitious club.
Swan I.C. are another side that have played to their potential against some of the League's top clubs, only to turn around the net week and drop points to teams they had on the ropes only to fail to go on with the job. Of particular concern to the coaching staff must be Swan's very real inability to get results at home, the five games played in Middle Swan may have produced eleven goals for the black-and-whites but, with eighteen going in at the opposite end, the end result has been one solitary point. Since the season proper kicked-off the club have made some astute signings who have made telling contributions, amongst them Mark Lee and Michael Di Fulvio, while long-serving captain Carlo Scali, State goalkeeper Cory Hugo and striker Elton Holmes also rate as amongst their best. How Swan fare from here on in may depend on them staying injury free as, with a very young reserves team, there isn't a great deal of depth or experience to fall back on.
Promoted last season as champions of the First Division, Stirling Lions are currently finding out just how tough life in the top flight can be. Winless since Round Five and haven taken only two points from their last six outings, injuries to key players and a lack of quality finishing has allowed vital points to slip from the Lions grasp on more than one occasion already this year. The form of experienced defender Andy Wright and creative midfielders Stjepan Beretovac and Toby Wright will be crucial in the Lions quest to climb away from foot of table, while the recent capture of Eugene Singeorzan will provide them with a much needed targetman up-front. With some talented individuals in their playing list, the Lions should do better over the final months of the campaign and one gets the feeling they would be more than happy with a mid-table finish.
Finalists for the first time in club history last season, 2003 has Bassendean Caledonian sitting rock bottom last after ten games and with a very deep hole to dig themselves out of. Five points adrift of Stirling Lions, Caledonian will have to overcome their appalling record at Jubilee Reserve where, in six games, they have scored four times with the end result being two points. Good performances between the posts by Alan Dunlop has prevented the club from some suffering some much heavier losses, while the experience of Craig Naven, Kevin Griffiths and Ian Griffiths has been invaluable. Questions over whether or not they will become the first team since 1991 to go the home-and-away series without victory have already been raised - it's now up to the players to knuckle down and prevent speculation from becoming reality.
STRIKERS SEEK CENTRAL DEFENDER
First Division outfit Leeming Strikers are looking to strengthen their playing stocks with the acquisition of a quality central defender for their senior squad. "We are very close to where we want to be now," said club president Alan Thraves recently. "Our results are very encouraging when we have a full player list available, injuries are still hurting us but we are becoming very competitive in all three squads. But we are missing a leader at centre-back to complete the picture and would love to hear from anyone interested in joining our club that feels they can do a job for us". Interested players can apply for the position via the Strikers website - http://www.leemingstrikers.com - or by contacting Thraves on 9332 2665.
FREMANTLE SECURE PROMISING GOAL SNEAK
Fremantle City coach Mike Tetlow has reacted quickly to the departure of talented teenager Marc Sim by snapping up Southside United striker and State Under-16 squad member John Thornley. A prolific goalscorer, Thornley is a product of the Forrestfield United junior set-up and counts being a member of the Leeds United Development Centre as amongst his achievements. His arrival comes hot on the heels of Sim, who is the leader goalscorer in the Under-18 competition this year, leaving the port side for the new challenge offered by northern suburbs club E.C.U. Joondalup. "We wish Mark the best wishes in his future career and thank him for his efforts for Fremantle City," said club representative Andrew Danskin this week.
TANA PAYS TRIBUTE TO DEPARTING COACH (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana has thanked former Australian coach Frank Arok for a job well done in Western Australia. Arok has retired from coaching the world game and opted to return to Yugoslavia after a lengthy spell in Australia which ended with a two-year stint in charge of Glory's youth development program. "Frank's contribution has been incredible," said Tana this week. "When the concept of youth development program for Perth Glory was discussed many were openly cynical but Frank proved them wrong. Thanks to his efforts some 200 young players have had free skills coaching over the past two years and the effects of the program will be seen throughout Western Australia in years to come. All of that was developed from nothing and deserves the utmost praise. Frank also coached Future Glory to the Boral Cup Final in its only season, and I am sure he would have been even more successful if events elsewhere in the game had allowed the concept to be taken further. The base Frank has created will be one on which to build when the game is in a condition which allows the process to be restarted. On a personal level it has been a great privilege to work with Frank, one of the biggest and most positive influences Australian soccer has ever seen."
KNIGHTS COACH BACKS MONTGOMERY
According to Western Knights coach Ronnie Campbell, striker Stuart Montgomery is good enough to play in the National Soccer League and could be as good a player as Perth Glory's Bobby Despotovski. "He is a class player," Campbell told the "West Australian" over the weekend. "He has two good feet, he's intelligent and I think he could play at the national level." Campbells' comments came after Montgomery's hat-trick on Saturday against Cockburn City paved the way for a 4-2 triumph to the Knights. In praising the 24-year old striker, the Knights coach drew comparisons Despotovski, Glory's all-time leading goalscorer and success of the local game. "I played with Bobby at Athena in 1993/94 at the end of my playing career," Campbell said. "Then I was assistant coach to Eric Williams when Bobby was still there and I can see similarities between him and Stuart." Montgomery joined the Knights last season when, in all competitions, he found the net fourteen times - a tally he has already leveled in 2003 with the League season at it's halfway mark.
STAKEHOLDERS HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN BOARD
A third attempt to elect Frank Lowy and his reform team has ended like the previous two in farcical failure. A meeting of Soccer Australia stakeholders in Sydney on Saturday was adjourned after only a few minutes because of legal threats from the national body's existing board. Instead, the stakeholders held an informal meeting at which two resolutions were passed - a 'no confidence' vote in the Soccer Australia board and the support of the election of Frank Lowy and his team. Both resolutions were passed by a massive 97.5% - the only stakeholders who didn't vote in support were Nother Spirit (abstained) and Adelaide City (non-attendance). "It is ironic for the simple reason that you've got 100% support now for Lowy," commented Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana following the meeting. "As far as I'm concerned it's all constitutional glitches, it's basically people hanging on to power for no reason whatsoever." The vote to out the existing board and install the Lowy-led team will now have to wait at last another month.
STRIKERS CONTINUE TO EXPAND (courtesy www.leemingstrikers.com)
Leeming Strikers celebrated the opening of their new Dimond Court function rooms late last week by confirming the arrival of yet another former Premier League player in Brendon Barnes. A former State Schoolboys representative, the 20-year old attacker made his way up through the youth ranks at Cockburn City prior to agreeing terms with the Strikers. "Brendon was pointed out to us by a close friend of both myself and the Strikers," said club president Alan Thraves. "We are very pleased he has chosen to join us, competition for places can only make us stronger".
Thraves' comments came at the opening of the clubs new $1.8m facilities that completez a five-year development plan begun by the previous club board. "Previous members efforts with the new premises have us in a great position for the future, we owe them a huge debt for their efforts over the last five years", he said. "We are making a great impact in our local area now and crowds are stronger each week, the facility will only enhance our market appeal. We have a three-year plan that is travelling well in front of schedule at present and of course we are pleased about that but we're mindful there is still much to achieve and improve."
After a two-week lay-off due to the National Soccer League Grand Final and last weekend's National Championships, WAASSA's Premier League resumed on Sunday as Canning International welcomed reigning champions Hamersley Rovers to the picturesque Weir Park. Flavio Labbate marked his return to league action after a four game suspension with a brace of goals that took his season tally to seven goals from just five games and up amongst the competitions leading scorers. Labbate's first came via the penalty spot after good approach work by Craig Dingley and Alun Vernals who was up-ended inside the box. The margin became two as Daniel Scudder and Vernals combined to slot the ball to Dingley who cut play across for Labbate who converted easily to his side in the box seat at the break. Canning continued to work hard with the skillful Julio Moreno a key figure in the middle of the park, but for all their enterprise the home team found it difficult to breach a sound Hamersley defence led by Gary Elwell and Nich Cianci. Hamersley themselves had several opportunities to build on the two-goal buffer only to miss several good openings before Canning scored a consolation goal from the spot after referee Steve Lewis awarded a very dubious penalty. The 2-1 scoreline means Hamersley hold onto second place in their quest for a hat-trick of League titles.
University of W.A.'s excellent four game winning streak was brought to an abrupt end by League leaders Fremantle United at McGillivray Oval. The first half was a fairly tight and physical affair with UWA goalkeeper Shayan Young making three sharp saves to deny the visiting strikers. Right on the stroke of half-time Frederik Larsen put UWA ahead after being send down the left by State representative Robert Benkovic. Fremantle got back in the game with a controversial second half goal when a visiting players' shot stuck the hand of a teammate and deflected past Young. The visitors continued to plug away and eventually took the lead with a shot from inside the box. Five minutes from the end Benkovic was hauled down from behind for a free-kick on top of the 18-yard box which Percy converted from 20-metres to level the score. But the game was far from over as Fremantle mounted a final minute attack which saw a mis-hit cross lob over the unlucky Young and under the cross bar for the match decider. "Few neutrals would say that we were not worth a draw today," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. "I am pleased with the composure we showed in the face of extreme provocation." The reserves fixture ended in a 1-1 draw.
Balga stormed out of the blocks against Forrestfield United to claim the lead after 3 minutes as some excellent lead-up work resulted in Hien Tran lobbing the goalkeeper. Having stunned their opponents, Balga failed to capitalise and five minutes later the two sides were back on level terms when Matthew Hilcock was allowed to run at the defence and drive the ball into the top corner of the goal. With Tran prominent, Balga took the initiative and after a fine run from Tran ended with the home team being awarded a free-kick which Gary Shorto eased the past the 'keeper to make it 2-1. Although Forrestfield have struggled for results this season they demonstrated their abilities by responding just minutes later with a great long-range strike which again found the top corner. From this point the game deteriorated for Balga whose confidence dipped noticeably to allow the visitors gain the upper hand. Having been denied on several occasions by the home defence, Forrestfield eventually found a way through to score their third. The introduction at half-time of Wayne Brooks was all the impetus Forrestfield needed as they piled on four additional goals to have the margin blow out to 7-2 and a deserved three points.
In other top flight WAASSA games, Shamrock Rovers enjoyed a 4-1 win over lowly North Perth United to consolidate third place, and Murdoch University went down 1-2 on home soil to Perth Azzurri. The result of the Kwinana United-Spearwood Dalmatinac game is unknown. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ELEVEN (Sorrento vs Cockburn City by Kerry Slater and Lennie Bavich; Western Knights vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Floreat Athena vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Tom McCrisken; Bassendean Caledonian vs Swan I.C. by Bill McAllister)
The National Stadium was the venue for the important showdown between local rivals Inglewood United and Perth S.C. as the Premier League reached the half-way mark on Saturday. Having had last weekend off due to the bye, the home team went into the game without influential midfielder Alan MacKenzie due to injury for their first game under caretaker coach Paddy Morris. In the opposite corner were a Perth side who six days earlier suffered their first loss of the season, a result they were eager to erase from memory and extend the gap between themselves and the rest of the Premier League field on a crisp but sunny afternoon.
Both sides set about trying to establish control over proceedings in a quick opening spell in which the respective defences proved they were more than capable to matching anything the opposition threw at them. A 6th minute corner to Inglewood saw Alex Josifovski rise above a stagnant Perth rearguard and goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo made an acrobatic save to turn his downward header over the crossbar. Not long after Ryan Newhill showed great control in bringing down a high pass on top of the box then laying it into the path of Louis Parkinson whose shot from a narrowing angle was given safe passage across the face of goal by Scarparolo. It took Perth until the 23rd minute to mount their first serious challenge on goal as Gareth Naven brilliantly slotted to Mark Pottier who, with the target within range, had the ball cleared off his boot by Shaun Kilkelly. A minute later and with is back to goal, Adam Bunce chanced his luck from inside the area and flicked the ball over goalkeeper Oliver Taseski only to have Daniel Kovacevic to knock it wide for a corner.
With the game in desperate need of a goal in breathe new life into proceedings, Perth took the lead after 32 minutes when Rob Giorgi's deep corner was nodded down by Aaron Cole and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble Bunce ram the ball over the line. Buoyed by the goal, the next ten minutes were all one-way as Perth sought to make the most of their advantage. In a quick counter-attacking move, Cole played the ball long to Pottier whose diagonal cross to the top of the penalty area was met by Michael Icanovski and his first time drive flew narrowly wide of the far post. Three minutes later Naven clipped a pass over the defence for Pottier to run on to and the attacker's powerful, low strike forced a fantastic reflex save from Taseski. Inglewood saw more of the ball in the final few minutes when Jamie Kuzmanovich out-jumped a flat-footed defence at a corner but failed to test Scarparolo. But the visitors failed to heed the warning and in stoppage time a dangerous cross by Kosta Kalavroutziotis saw Josifovski send a looping header over the Perth 'keeper to level the score.
It was a confident Inglewood that emerged for the second half and immediately went on the attack. Parkinson ran onto a pass clipped over the visiting defence but his attempted lob over Scarparolo was held on the line. Minutes later Josifovski sent a clever pass into the box where Newhill allowed the ball to run to Daniel Harrop whose explosive drive from a narrow angle was high. Perth launched their first attack of the half through Graham after 53 minutes, the young attacker held off an opponent to make his way inside the area only to have Taseski parry his shot and Shane Crampton was placed well to convert the loose ball and re-store the visitors lead. Although stunned by the goal, Inglewood continued to plug away and ten minutes later Parkinson beat the defence to a long pass from Newhill and evaded two defenders but his shot from 16-metres failed to test Scarparolo. With the two sides trading shots on goal Pottier really should have extended Perth's lead in the 66th minute but the striker lifted his shot over the crossbar after good lead-up work from Crampton.
With Inglewood now showing signs of not only tiring but also running out of ideas, Perth upped the tempo. A lung-bursting run from Naven saw him go past the defence courtesy of a neat one-two with Crampton but the veteran's shot from close to the by-line was brilliantly saved by Taseski. The visitors then had a legitimate appeal for a penalty turned down after substitute Paul Natale's shot appeared to strike the arm of Kovacevic. A rare Inglewood attack saw Scarparolo make an easy save from Parkinson's low strike. With four minutes left in regulation time, Todd Howarth made his was past a couple of opponents before hitting a rising shot from 15-metres for which Taseski produced a fine save. Another sterling run into attack from Naven ended with Stephen Willey crashing the ball into the up-right as Perth looked to kill off the contest. And in the final minute Graham's free-kick into the area was expertly brought down by Crampton whose initial shot was parried by the 'keeper and, with an open goal at his mercy, the striker sent the follow-up wide of the target.
After an evenly contested first half in which neither side found top gear, the game really picked up after the break with some great attacking football which kept the small but vocal crowd on the edge of their seats. At the end of 90 minutes Perth were deservedly winners thanks to a hard-working midfield in which Naven's vision and distribution was first class and was matched by a non-stop performance by the attack-minded Bunce. For the home side Josifovski proved the central figure as Inglewood pushed forward, his goal on the stroke of half-time just reward for a solid display. And, playing as sweeper, Kilkelly chimed in with another mature performance that underlined just why he is rated one of the state's hottest young talents.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Shaun Kilkelly, Daniel Kovacevic, Jamie
Kuzmanovich, Daniel Harrop, Rory Mouttet (Scott Campbell 66), Scott Cassie,
Kosta Kalavroutziotis (Michael Baczynski 88), Alex Josifovski, Louis
Parkinson, Ryan Newhill
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Perry Ielati, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski, Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham, Gareth Naven, Rob Giorgi (Stephen Willey 70), Adam Bunce (Paul Natale 74), Mark Pottier, Shane Crampton Bookings : Kuzmanovich, Cassie (64), Mouttet, Crampton (77)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Tom Klaver
Attendance : 200 (approx.)
Coming off a solid win over Premier League leaders Perth S.C., Cockburn City made the trip north to Percy Doyle Reserve when they faced a Sorrento undefeated in their past three outings. As befitting two teams near the top of the table, the early play was enterprising and Cockburn should have drawn first blood but Dean Wallace headed wide after 4 minutes. Two minutes later the home side were into their stride as Andy Mason had a fine shot from distance saved by Dino Pacella. Neil Young came to Sorrento's rescue after 41 minutes by deflecting a Dean Wallace over the bar. With the half seemingly destined to end scoreless, John Mirco was the recipient of a sloppy Sorrento clearance to rifle the ball past the home custodian minutes from the interval. Early in the second half the home team responded through Simon Harland who, after tangling with goalkeeper Dino Pacella, chipped the ball into the net to draw the teams level. Harman almost put Sorrento in front after 53 minutes but had his effort hacked off the line by Jeff Bright. Brothers Domenic and Mario De Felice brilliantly combined to put Wallace through on goal only for the Sorrento rearguard to concede a corner as the clock ticked down. Bright then floated the ball into the dangerzone where Wallace rose to head powerfully on target as Young moved sharply to fist the ball away. In the final ten minutes it was Sorrento that did all the attacking as Mason, Gareth Phillips and Glen Thomas went close to scoring the decider but Cockburn held on for a share of the points.
Stirling Lions found themselves on the wrong end of a six-goal shoot-out against the Western Knights in an intriguing contest at Nash Field. Played in bright, sunny conditions, the game kicked-off with the Knights gaining the upper hand from early on as their experienced midfield combination of Paul McVittie and Claus Nielsen set about putting the Lions defence under the pump. Having kept their shape and held firm over the opening period, the visitors backline was breached after 18 minutes when a Luka Jukic cross from the right found Stuart Montgomery who was allowed time and space to whack it in at the near post. Minutes later Montgomery turned provider with a neat chip that was headed in by strike partner John Nicolaou to double the lead. The Lions showed great character by bouncing back from their opponents early goal blitz and a fast break resulted in evergreen attacker Rob Milevski come out the better in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Tommi Tomich after 31 minutes. Shortly before the break Montgomery restored his teams two-goal advantage with a free-kick which found a hole in the Lions defensive wall. After the break the Lions came out fighting and reduced the gap after 55 minutes when Toby Wright's cross was mis-hit by Steven Zuvela who had the misfortune of sending the ball past Tomich. Lions custodian Jordan Conti came to the rescue with a series of reflex saves that frustrated the Knights time and time again, while down the opposite end Adam Rains was denied by a fantastic save from Tomich after 70 minutes. New signing Eugene Singeorzan was introduced off the bench and set about feeding the ball to the Lions attackers as Milevski and Rains both came close to bagging an equaliser. But it was to be the Knights afternoon as man-of-the-match Montgomery completed his hat-trick with a close-range shot in the final minute of play.
The clash at Litis Stadium between Floreat Athena and E.C.U. Joondalup proved to be a dour occasion which failed to live up to pre-match expectations. In one of the poorest games in recent memory, for some seventy five minutes there was so little quality on the park that the most entertaining aspect of the game came from the spectators sitting in the stands. Only in the final fifteeen minutes did things on the park pick up with several good moves being put together by both teams that resulted in some good scoring opportunities. In the end it was Joondalup that would go home happy as a free-kick on the edge of the area was fired low into the corner of the goal by Garin Collins. For much of the afternoon the home side seemed more concerned with not conceding than winning this game. Even when a goal behind, Athena lacked ideas, maintained a packed midfield, and opted to play with a lone striker with the end result being a string of long-range shots which visiting goalkeeper Peter Stewart had little difficulty in keeping out. John Greenwood could have made the scoreline more respectable for Joondalup with a couple of one-on-one's with goalkeeper Anthony Mori who came out on top both times. On a day when there were no real stand out performances from either team, this will be a game most will want to forget.
Winless after ten rounds, it was a confident Bassendean Caledonian side which met Swan I.C. at Jubilee Reserve. And the home side started off on the right foot by taking the lead after 10 minutes following a nice passage of play in which Kevin Smith, Ryan Jeans and Dean Gartside combined to set-up Andy Cornmell who made no mistake in slotting past goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Cornmell went close to doubling the lead a few minutes later as Caledonian's dominated play but were unable to convert their chances. As the game progressed Swan became more involved in proceedings as Elton Holmes, Tom Shepheard and Paul Lincoln all brought fine saves out of goalkeeper Alan Dunlop who made sure things stayed as they were on the scoreboard for the interval. At the start of the second half Caledonian forced a couple of corners and twice went close to extending their lead before the Swan midfield again took control. Dunlop was called upon to make timely saves from Lincoln and Mark Lee before a desperate challenge felled Shepeard in the penalty area and Holmes gave the home 'keeper no chance from the spot to level the game. Three minutes later it was Holmes again whose shot from just outside the 18-yard box deflected off the boot of defender Jamie d'Arcy to take it past Dunlop and put Swan into a 2-1 lead. With around half an hour to go the visitors were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Carlos Echeverria for his second bookable offence. But despite the extra player Caledonian were unable to break down their opponents although Gartside headed over from in-front, and Jimmy Merkouris' fine effort from 25-metres ended just over the crossbar. The 2-1 win lifts Swan to within striking distance of those above them on the table, while Caledonian are still to register their first win of the campaign.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Premier League reserves leader Perth S.C. continued on their merry way with a 3-1 away result over Inglewood United. Robbie Puca put the Blues in front after 11 minutes before goals early in the second half from Vlado Milasinovic and Albert Osei Tutu wrapped up the game. Inglewood's consolation goal came from defender Jason Godfrey in the 67th minute. Second placed Sorrento lost ground on Perth by going down to Cockburn City at Percy Doyle Reserve. Robert Colalillo put the visitors in front twelve minutes into the second half and Marko Aleksic doubled the lead with little over a quarter-hour to play. Daniel Gagorski reduced the margin shortly after by heading past goalkeeper Jeff Cargill, but it wasn't enough as Cockburn move to within striking distance of a place in the top five.
Goals from Kenji Urabe, Steven Sulenta and Brett Colombera enabled Western Knights to account for Stirling Lions by a 3-2 scoreline, the Lions scorers being Carmelo Gumina and Christian Debarro. Steve Petric put E.C.U. Joondalup a goal up after 20 minutes away to Floreat Athena, and shortly before the interval that margin was doubled by Steve Beesley as the northerners claimed victory by 2-0. And both goals in the bottom of the table clash at Jubilee Reserve came from the penalty spot. Scott Patterson put Swan I.C. in front on the hour only to have Jimmy Houston level the game with eight minutes remaining.
E.C.U. Joondalup came from behind away at Floreat Athena to stay top of the under-18 competition. An 11th minute goal from Troy Dott got the home side off to the perfect start but Joondalup responded with two of their own after the break via Daniel Waind and Rostyn Griffiths to take home all three points. Perth S.C. kept the pressure on the leaders with a 6-0 thrashing of Inglewood United at the National Stadium. Stephen Worthy got the ball rolling for Perth by netting after 38 minutes, but it was after the break that the floodgates opened. Worthy bagged, two minutes later James Isaia made it 3-0, then Brendan Ross sealed victory by scoring after 57 minutes. Cormac Dawson added the sides fifth before Chris Socratous completed the route ten minutes from time.
Sorrento looked impressive after the first few minutes of their home clash with Cockburn City, but took until 36 minutes before they found a way past goalkeeper Luigi Lopresti. The goal came from the best move of the match and which started in the home sides defensive line and ended with Josh Kitchen delivering the telling cross to Steven Kruit who made no mistake. The second half turned into a scrappy affair where neither team rose to any great height, both 'keepers holding firm as Sorrento won the day through a worthy goal.
Swan I.C. won for the third time this season with a 3-1 away defeat of fellow strugglers Bassendean Caledonian. The black and whites were forced to come from behind after conceding an early goal, but a great run and finish from Glenn Bennett leveled the game after 30 minutes. 14-year old goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo prevented the home team from re-storing their lead by keeping out a penalty close to the break. Second half strikes from Matt Ullbricht and Brendan Knox ensured the visitors would go home with maximum points. The fixture between Western Knights and Stirling Lions ended scoreless.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOURTEEN (Bayswater City vs Rockingham City by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Kingsway Olympic by Barry Rennie; South West Phoenix vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
A late change of venue meant Bayswater City were home for the third consecutive week when they took on struggling Rockingham City in Saturday's round of First Division action. The home side were without regulars Daniel Vangelovski, Dusan Martinovic (both injured) and Alex Grindley (suspended) for this important meeting, while young goalkeeper Francis Allen stepped up to make his senior debut having recently joined the club on loan from Perth S.C. Bayswater started off very brightly by controlling the early play and after 5 minutes took the lead as Andrew O'Neill's corner was converted by midfielder Kevin Henderson. Against the run of play Rockingham leveled through Glen Hallums who great chip left Allen stranded. But from then on it was the home side that dominated and in a blistering twenty minute spell sealed maximum points. A fine cross by Bradley McGagh resulted in Boima Karpeh restoring Bayswater's lead, and the margin became two goals as O'Neill expertly headed home a cross from Ian Davidson. Bayswater then made the score 4-1 as striker Boima Karpeh let fly a stunning volley from 22-metres which left the Rockingham goalkeeper with absolutely no chance of saving. It was a much quieter second half as Bayswater continued to dictate the pattern of play through their hard working midfield in which captain Gareth Healy was the linchpin. Credit must be given to Rockingham who never threw in the towel and saw out the full 90 minutes with a positive attitude and eager to score. The win takes Bayswater back to the top of the table, two points ahead of Mandurah City who could only manage a draw on the weekend. The reserves game was taken out 1-0 by Rockingham, while the under-18 game was awarded to Bayswater 3-0 on forfeit.
Mandurah City fought out a physical 2-2 draw with Kingsway Olympic at Peelwood Parade. In a game that was pivotal to Mandurah retaining a strong position at the top of the league, they went into the game without key players Chris Paschewitz (suspended) and John Transfield (study commitments). The home side made a flying start when in-form striker Michael Bobridge got the finest of touches to slide the ball past the Olympic goalkeeper and into the net after 9 minutes. Well in control of the game but unable to break down their opponents defence, Mandurah once again gave away a penalty when Damian Condo unnecessarily bundled over an Olympic forward and Andy Brown made no mistake from the spot after 20 minutes. Shortly afterwards the home side lost the services of Bobridge after suffering a thigh injury and the already depleted Mandurah forward line were always going to struggle for the remainder of the game. A highly entertaining game continued after the break with Mandurah regaining the lead, this time Jordan Rhodes converting from the penalty spot to set the scene for an exciting finish. Olympic drew level for the second time this afternoon after being awarded a free-kick on the edge of the 18-yard box which Brown took quickly to place in the back of the net. The best opportunity for Mandurah to snatch victory came when a long pass from Andrew Rennie found Steven Rhodes who was through with only the 'keeper to beat but was unable to make the most of the chance. Once again home custodian Mike Green stood out with several great saves and deft anticipation to shut down Olympic's best attacking plays as the game ended with honours even. Mandurah won both the earlier games, a very young reserves side by 4-1 and the under-18's 1-0.
Undefeated in their past three outings, the youngsters from Ashfield were brimming with confidence ahead of their home encounter with third-placed Stirling Suns. A minute before the end of an entertaining half-time Alex Jankulovski popped up to put the Suns in front and set up an intriguing remainder of the match. The second half started with a flurry as Muhammed Komadaric leveled after six minutes of play only to have the Suns re-store their lead through Orkun Osturk who found the back of the net with 53 minutes gone. Ashfield continually pushed forward in search of a second goal which finally arrived seven minutes from the end via Wayne Culverwell. A share of the points was enough for the Suns to remain in third on the standings after the completion of round fifteen, while for Ashfield they stay mid-table and just seven points behind leaders Bayswater City.
The game at Alfred Skeet Oval between Armadale and Morley Windmills get underway at a cracking pace with both teams eager to be the first on the scoreboard. Playing the more direct football, the home side relied heavily on spraying the ball wide to their flank players who would then run the side in attack with Dennis Lee the target man in the middle. Windmills on the other hand opted to play things through the middle of the park where Steve Waycott and Ali Bektic controlled play and set about patiently building the teams attacking forays. Finishing the first half the stronger side, Armadale were unlucky not to go into the break a goal the better after finding the back of the net only to have it ruled out for what was a marginal offside call. The start of the new half saw the visitors take control with an endless stream of attacks putting the Armadale backline under pressure. But against the run of play Armadale took the lead after a corner was cleared of the 18-yard box and a well stuck shot by Jason Hardie flew back into the dangerzone and past the goalkeeper. Within minutes Windmills responded when Leith Hinds' attempt on goal was headed in by Rydeen Botha. The visitors continued to press forward in search of a winner and, despite some off the rough ball tactics from their opponent, Windmills unlucky not to go home with all three points after hitting the crossbar and Botha screwing a shot wide with just the 'keeper to beat.
Dianella White Eagles side welcomed an out-of-form Southside United side to Dianella Reserve. In a fairly even opening half that produced few clear chances on goal, the visitors gave themselves reason for cheer by taking a 1-0 lead ten minutes from the break courtesy of Bobby White. Dianella coach Petar Drca made several changes at the interval, bringing Filip Smiljanic, Zelko Savic and Stevica Petrovic off the bench in an attempt to re-vitalise his sides flat performance. The move paid off shortly after the re-start as young striker Petrovic robbed an opponent of possession before sending a cross into the area where the ball was deflected into the net via a Southside player to level the game. With their confidence boosted, Dianella began to play with more composure and a surging run down the right flank by Dragan Radojevic ended with his cross being slotted home Savic from close range after 69 minutes. The home team extended their lead twelve minutes later as a corner from Savic was brilliantly headed in by David Mrdja. With the clock ticking down, Dianella sealed victory when Petrovic bagged his first goal at senior level by rounding the goalkeeper after being put through by Dragan Njegic. The 4-1 win was the perfect way for Dianella to send off Savic, the club's leading goalscorer with eight goals so far this season, who headed to Europe within hours of the final whistle.
The City continued their recent run of good form by defeating Leeming Strikers 4-2 at the Kingsway Sporting Complex on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. The home side took the lead when Gareth Williams bundled the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble, then doubled the margin after a lovely flowing attack which ended with Scott Wyeth netting. The Strikers attempted to get back into the game at the start of the second half only to be thwarted by their opponents defence. Adopting the long ball game, The City gained a third goal through Adam Bachelor before their opponents struck via Lucas Whitehouse who converted from the penalty spot. Five minutes later Kerrin Alan headed home from the far post to make the score 3-2 and give the Strikers some hope with ten minutes remaining. But it wasn't to the visitors day as The City were awarded a penalty and Gary Murray sealed victory. "We totaly dominated the game and should have won by a greater margin," said The City coach Stuart Currie. "At the moment the boys are playing with a lot of confidence and I'm really pleased for them, especially the youngsters whom all have done really well. Hopefully we can carry on with our good run of results." The reserves clash ended in a 1-1 draw while in the under-18's the Strikers claimed victory by 5-1.
Queens Park were at home for their clash with lowly Balcatta on Saturday. The opening half was an even encounter which saw both sides create some good openings but unable to make the most of their opportunities. Queens Park took the lead after 16 minutes via a fine attack down the left flank which ended with Paul Dundo placing his header beyond the reach of the goalkeeper. Balcatta were back on level terms ten minutes later after being awarded a penalty for handball and former State representative Scott Broadley made no mistake from the spot. It wasn't until late in the second period that the game came to life. With around twenty minutes remaining Balcatta substitute Oriano Colli, on his return after a lengthy lay-off due to injury, intercepted an attempted clearance by the Queens Park goalkeeper before dribbling the ball into the back of the net. This had the instant effect of livening up proceedings which were played at breakneck pace as Queens Park pushed hard for an equalising goal, but the Balcatta defence held firm and forced their opponents into shooting from outside the box. With minutes left on the referee's watch Balcatta came close to securing maximum points as some brilliant work from Anthony Totounzias sent Colli down the line and his crossing to John Atkins was volleyed narrowly over the crossbar. But in the end it didn't matter as Balcatta recorded a much needed win that will no doubt boost spirit's at the club.
Determined to arrest their slide down the First Division table, Canning City made the long journey south to play South West Phoenix in Bunbury. Phoenix quickly got into top gear and had a goal on the board after 5 minutes when David Rogers headed in a cross from the right from close-range. Slowly but surely Canning began to warm to the task and four minutes after going behind Paul Oliver hit the base of the up-right with a powerfully hit shot from 30-metres. A long ball over the top in the 12th minute saw Chris Littlejohn outpace the home defence and slot his shot past Phoenix goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite for the equaliser. On the 19 minute mark Littlejohn won possession and again surged forward to his the ball inside the far post from the from the top of the penalty area. With Phoenix having more possession as the half came to a close, the two sides went into the break on level terms after Steven Suttie volleyed truly from a corner. The second half was a much tighter affair with each team struggling to get the ascendancy over the other. With three minutes of regulation time to play Canning were awarded a penalty which Shane Laing tucked inside the right post to make it 3-2. But Phoenix were not done yet and in the dying moments of the game substitute Jamie Lister hit a dramatic equaliser from the top edge of the 18-yard box. Earlier in the day Canning won the reserves 4-0, a result which keeps them firmly in the running for the title.
LIONS SIGN SINGEORZAN
Striker Eugene Singeorzan has wasted no time since his release from E.C.U. Joondalup last week by signing on for Premier League rivals Stirling Lions. "I had bigger money offers from first division sides but I wanted to stay in the top league and Stirling is a good club," the big striker said. Singeorzan has trained all week with his new club and, while he feels it will be another week before he's back to full fitness, he may make an appearance off the bench for the Lions today when they play another of his former club, the Western Knights.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Shane Crampton's thirteenth goal of the season enabled Perth S.C. to defeat Inglewood United 2-1 and go four points clear at the top of the Premier league table on Saturday. Sorrento and Cockburn City squandered the opportunity to make up ground on second-placed Fremantle City - who had the bye - when they drew 1-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Western Knights downed Stirling Lions by 4-2 with Stuart Montgomery bagging a hat-trick, and E.C.U. Joondalup knocked off Floreat Athena 1-0 at Litis Stadium. Bassendean Caledonian's dreadful season continued with a 2-1 home loss to Swan I.C.
Bayswater City returned to the top of the First Division standings following a 4-1 home defeat of Rockingham City, while Mandurah City drop one place as a result of their 2-2 draw with Kingsway Olympic. Ashfield and Stirling Suns also drew 2-2, Armadale and Morley Windmills finished 1-1, and Dianella White Eagles waved goodbye to young striker Zelko Savic - who is off to Europe - with a stylish 4-1 win over Southside United. The City continued their resurgence with a 4-2 win over Leeming Strikers, Balcatta shocked Queens Park 2-1, and the points were shared between South West Phoenix and Canning City where it ended 3-3.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Premier League reaches the half-way stage this weekend when they big game takes place at the National Stadium as Inglewood United welcome near neighbour and League leader Perth S.C. Percy Doyle Reserve is the venue for other blockbuster showdown between third-placed Sorrento, who will be without injured trio Todd Harnwell, Jared Love and Dale McCulloch, and fourth-placed Cockburn City. Three much needed points are on the line when Bassendean Caledonian take on fellow strugglers Swan I.C., Floreat Athena are home for the second week in a row when they meet E.C.U. Joondalup, and Western Knights play Stirling Lions at Nash Field. Fremantle City have the bye.
First Division leaders Mandurah City come up against a Kingsway Olympic side struggling for consistency of late, while Rockingham City have a difficult home meeting with second placed Bayswater City. Stirling Suns are on the road to Ashfield, Armadale take on an injury depleted Morley Windmills, and Queens Park play Balcatta at Coker Park. Undefeated in their past three outings, The City have home ground advantage over Leeming Strikers, Dianella White Eagles welcome Southside United to Dianella Reserve, and South West Phoenix are home to Canning City.
DIRECTORS SET TO FURTHER FRUSTRATE REFORM
In a desperate bid to cling to power, Soccer Australia's three man board look set to further frustrate the soccer community by using legal argument to try and block moves by businessman Frank Lowy to take control of the national body. After meeting with lawyers, the board of Les Avory, Dominic Galati and Paul Afkos yesterday issued a statement saying they would not recognise the validity of a special meeting of Soccer Australia stakeholders due to be held tomorrow.
The meeting was called several week ago by Soccer New South Wales with the sole purpose of removing the three directors and replacing them with an interim board headed by Lowy. "All the stakeholders want this meeting to go ahead and they want to take control of the future of the sport," said Soccer N.S.W. president Tom Doumanis. "They (the current board members) are clutching at straws and it cannot be allowed to go on. This nonsense is just to frustrate and delay Frank Lowy." Backing the move for radical change to the game's administration are nine of the eleven state federations, nine of the thirteen National Soccer League clubs, and hundreds of thousands of fans nationwide.
ON THE BALL WITH TREVOR MORGAN (courtesy the Swan I.C. matchday programme)
Described as "one of the more articulate and honest coaches around", one-time Sorrento boss Trevor Morgan is currently in his second season in charge of Singaporean club Sengkang Marine. The 2003 season has not exactly got off to a great start for the Dolphins who, after fourteen games, sit in ninth place with seven seven wins (two in regulation time, five on penalties) to their credit. "Things are not as well as I had hoped for," Morgan recently told Peter Simcox of the Swan I.C. matchday program. "Three of our foreign players failed their medicals in January, leaving me with only one main striker and short a defender, so we've struggled during our first round of matches."
With Sengkang scoring on average one goal a game while conceding at twice that rate, Morgan has been under pressure to turn around the clubs fortunes. Following an excursion into the transfer market, the coach is confident on-field success will come to his side over the second part of the S-League season. "I've signed defender Shane Pryce from Perth Glory and a lad called Ian Fitzpatrick from English Conference League club Halifax Town. In addition I'm hoping to take one or two local players on loan," Morgan explained. "This should greatly improve our team and I am hoping for much better results from our remaining two rounds of fixtures."
Last year five former Sorrento players called Sengkang home at one time or another, but the off-season departure of many of these left Morgan with some big holes to fill in his squad. "For a variety of reasons Tony Carbone, Simon Harland and Todd Harnwell, who had a loan spell with us, have all returned to play in Perth," Morgan said. "James Morgan, my son, improved his fitness and awareness in full-time training last year and broke into the first team towards the end of the season. Like all young players he needed find more consistency, but a change in the rules governing players under 21 meant he was unable to return to Singapore this year. The only one who is still with us is Danny Hill."
"The S-League would, probably because of our full-time training, just shade the Soccer West Coast teams," Morgan said when asked how the game in Singapore compares to that downunder. "But I think only three or four of the teams here could compete against sides from the National Soccer League who are stronger both physically and mentally." After leading the club to their highest ever placing in his first season, Morgan hopes his time in Singapore will lead to coaching at a higher level, be it in Australia's N.S.L. or Europe. "I want to coach at the highest level that is available to me at the time, and at the moment that is here in Singapore. Should any other club give me the opportunity of coaching them, and I thought it was the right move, I would take it no matter where it was."
Morgan enjoyed a lengthy career as a player, starting out in 1980 and taking in stays at Bournemouth, Mansfield Town, Exeter City, Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, Colchester United, Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City to end with in excess of 500 appearances in England alone. In addition he turned out for Happy Valley and South China in Hong Kong and spent several months as a guest player in the N.S.L. with St. George before heading to Perth in the mid-1990's. With coaching experience at Exeter, South China and Birmingham, Morgan spent five successful years with Sorrento during which he took them to victory in the Night Series and Champion of Champions series in 1999, and laid the groundwork for their first ever Premier League championship in 2001.
In addition to his time with Sorrento, Morgan also coached at the West Australian Institute of Sport's soccer program. "I thought that program was a great success with Jamie and Todd Harnwell, Gary Faria, John Carbone and Kevin Corriea all securing full-time playing contracts as a result of it, and we also had a four game winning trip to Sydney where we beat the Australian Under-17 side. But, unfortunately, certain people took great delight in trying to fix something that was already running smoothly and the whole thing fell apart with the really sad part being that they stopped boys from becoming full-time professional footballers. Maybe someone should ask the players what they thought of the program as they were the ones who made the sacrifices to get the rewards."
ASHFIELD CAPTAIN CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS (courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
With virtually a new first team squad following relegation from the Premier League at the end of 2002, little was expected from an Ashfield side whose focus this year is on youth development. But over the opening months of the season the club have proved to be more than competitive and after twelve rounds sits eighth on the First Division standings, five points behind joint leaders Mandurah City and Bayswater City. And, with some good recent results under their belt, morale is on the increase within the teams' playing ranks. "The players confidence is starting to grow and believe that we can cause few upsets this season," first team captain Edin Mehic recently told www.ashfieldsc.com. "We've shown a lot more passion and desire to win throughout the last few weeks which has played a part in the recent wins and the overall rise in confidence."
One of the keys to Ashfield's successful start to what will be a very long winter campaign has been some top shelf goalkeeping. "Eldin Ibrisimovic has been in excellent form so far but with John Vandervoet pulling off some great saves and playing well in the reserves the pressure is being kept on Eldin for a first team birth," Mehic said. "To have John Vandervoet as a back up 'keeper shows the improved depth amongst the Ashfield squad this season." With injury keeping the experienced DJ Mayers on the sidelines, the club dipped into the transfer market a few weeks back which ended with the return of defenders Gary Bird and Daniel Taylor to Ashfield Reserve. "Gary will bring a lot more experience to what is a young team," Mehic commented. "And Daniel has come in and played some very good games, his strength and ability to play the ball has increased our depth at the back ... with Daniel and Chris McCullough doing very well, coach Tom Kilkelly will be left with a tough decision when DJ is available again."
With much of their senior list this year consisting of players in their late teens, many were quick to write off Ashfield in pre-season with predictions of a mid-table finish being the best they could hope for. "Well, to be honest, Ashfield's aim this season is not for promotion," Mehic said. "During the pre-season the departure of several key players resulted in Ashfield lacking in the experience department. But if players show the same committment and effort as in the last few matches, then a top six finish is not out of the question. I'm sure the boys will continue working together and achieve a respectable league position come the end of the season." And as for who will take out the trophy and a place in the top flight next season? "Well it's still to early to say, but Kingsway Olympic and Bayswater City would be in the running. Kingsway have recruited very well in the last few weeks and I expect them to be favorites from here."
GLORY MODEL THE WAY TO GO ACCORDING TO LAZARIDIS
Australian international Stan Lazaridis has given Perth Glory a big thumbs up by saying Adelaide needs a broad-based team in the National Soccer League. With the possibility Adelaide City may withdraw from next seasons' national competition for financial reasons, Lazardis, who spent three seasons at West Adelaide, believes the South Australian capital would embrace a new team based on the Glory model. "I know what Adelaide fans are like and I think they would welcome a new team along the same lines as Perth," he told Meno Toutsidi of the "The Advertiser" this week. "I think we could get crowds of between 5,000 and 10,000, maybe more, but I think it's important the new team appeals to the entire sporting community. You would get some of the Adelaide boys coming back from Europe to play out their careers and I'm sure a lot of people would like to see that. I went to the grand final in Perth and the atmosphere was brilliant. It was like being at a Premier League game in England."
INGLEWOOD APPOINT NEW COACH
Eddie Hodgkinson will make his return to Inglewood United when he takes up the coaching reigns at the end of the month following the departure of Jimmy Pearson for health reasons last week. The inner city club are currently under the watchful eye of caretaker coach Paddy Morris who is putting the players through a testing fitness program before the arrival of Hodgkinson. After three seasons with in charge of Sorrento's Under-18 side, Hodgkinson parts company with the northern suburbs on amicable terms and is said to be looking forward to the challenges offered by the Inglewood job. Hodgkinson started out coaching at Balga and spent time with Inglewood and Kingsway Olympic prior to his time at Sorrento.
BIG PICTURE IN GLORY'S SIGHTS
It's been a great season for Perth Glory who took out the National Soccer League Grand Final last weekend over Olympic Sharks in front of a bumper crowd at Subiaco Oval. In addition midfielder Simon Colosimo won the Marston Medal for best player in the season finale, and Damien Mori was recipient of the N.S.L. Players' Player of the Year and Golden Boot Awards. With these successes under their belt, Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis says the club will now be pushing ahead with plans to influence major reform within the game's governing body. "While last weekend's result was a significant step for us as a club, the ultimate quest - the Holy Grail if you like - is to successfully define a culture of the world game here in Western Australia," Dennis told Tony De Bolfo of "the Sportsvine Newsletter". "Success on the pitch is very rewarding and satisfying for the players, the club and the fans, but as far as the business of Perth Glory is concerned it's a far wider goal. It's about defining that culture."
While conceding it will take time for soccer to make a dent in what has traditionally been a cricket and football dominant market, Dennis believes significant change across all aspects of the sport could be achieved with the next three years. "An overwhelming majority of fans want change and we wholeheartedly support that. There is a need for the three remaining [Soccer Australia] board members to release their strangle on power and allow for a renaissance of soccer in this country," Dennis said. "The National Soccer League should be a marketable commercially-driven enterprise consisting of a number of high-profile clubs including Perth Glory, which would in turn benefit from increased media exposure, television coverage and attendances. These outcomes could all be achieved within three years, together with our involvement with the State Government in the construction of a $10.5 million, 20,000-seat stadium at Perth Oval by the end of next year."
SUNDERLAND EYE COYNE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy is reportedly interested in Luton Town centre-half Chris Coyne. The one-time Australian Under-23 international has established himself over the past 18 months as one of the best young defenders in England's lower divisions with the Hatters. Coyne, currently holidaying back in hometown Perth, could be interested in a move to the Stadium of Light following the sudden sacking of Hatters boss Joe Kinnear.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA BOARD TO STAND DOWN
The remaining members of the Soccer Australia board have agreed to stand aside and facilitate the smooth transition of power to Frank Lowy and his team. The decision comes after developments late last week which resulted in the cancellation of Saturday's planned extraordinary general meeting of Soccer Australia stakeholders in Sydney. It is understood nine of the eleven State and Territory federations were set to issue a notice of no confidence in the current board, while at least eight of the thirteen National Soccer League clubs have backed Lowy's proposed takeover. It is expected the current board will tender their resignation effective to a general meeting set down for this Saturday, 14th June, when the stakeholders will also vote to install Lowy's interim board.
MILLER WINS TOP GLORY HONOUR
Local product Scott Miller was named Perth Glory's Most Glorious Player at the club's annual awards night on Saturday. The 31-year old became the third player to lift the trophy twice in the club's short history, joining fellow original squad member Bobby Despotovski (1999/200, 2001/02) and New Zealand import Danny Hay (1998/98, 1998/99) whom he shared the award with in 1998/99. With 67 votes Miller finished narrowly ahead of Andre Gumprecht (64) and goalkeeper Jason Petkovic (58) with young defender David Tarka (47) coming in fourth place. Miller also received the Players' Player of the Year trophy, while Gumprecht went home with the Coachs' Award as well as the inaugural Media Award. Despotovski was named the Supporters' Player of the Year, asnd Craig Deans the Clubman of the Year.
BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The 2003 National Amateur Championships were held at the National Stadium over the weekend and tournament organisers could not have hoped for a more exiciting finish to the event. Proceedings kicked-off on Friday evening with the Northern Territory meeting a dominant Western Australia side who were simply unable to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal. With the shot count well in the hosts favour, they were left stunned shortly before half-time when Territory striker Brad Stenner swept the ball home to give his side the lead. It was a similar story after the break with the west on top and the more creative of the two teams, but as luck would have it the Territory took out maximum points by 1-0. In the days' late game New South Wales went down 2-4 to South Australia.
Both the following afternoon's games ended with honours shared, beginning with a 2-2 draw between South Australia and the Northern Territory. At 7.00pm New South Wales took on Western Australia in a thrilling encounter that saw the teams each score twice to earn a share of the points. Saturday's results meant that heading into the final day of competition all four teams were in with a very real chance of taking home the silverware. South Australia and the Northern Territory sat level on 4 points but well within striking distance of Western Australia and New South Wale - a closer finish could not have been predicted.
New South Wales registered a 2-0 win over the Northern Territory to put themselves in the box seat. West Australian attacker Flavio Labbatta was denied by some sharp goalkeeping early on, but South Australia took the lead minutes before the break via Malia. Following the second half dismissal of a South Australian defender for dissent, the west drew level as Leigh Perry's long-range effort rocketed into the net. Five minutes from the end the west were given a lifeline as Jason Dixon's shot took a deflection off a defender to make it 2-1. But the host state were unable to get the one additional goal which would have given them the trophy that ended up going home with South Australia on goal difference after all four teams ended with 4 points. A complete round-up of the championship can be found online at http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TEN (Fremantle City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by McCrisken; Sorrento vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAllister; Cockburn City vs Perth S.C. by Lennie Bavich)
The sun was beaming down at Litis Stadium when a depleted Floreat Athena side ran out to take on the Western Knights in Round Ten of the Premier League season. Athena coach Julio Moreno had too look to his clubs reserves for players with a number of regulars, amongst them Costa Socratous, James Afkos, Michael Lardis, Andreas Pantelis, absent due to injury. In the opposing camp Ronnie Campbell was also forced to re-shuffle his line-up with Carl Medica out through suspension and defender Evan Wallace on the sidelines due to injury.
While both goalkeepers were called into action within minutes of kick-off, neither was put to the test in a tame opening. The first clear-cut chance on goal came after 13 minutes when Andreas Oliveria pounced on a defensive error to knock the ball over the advancing Tommi Tomich, the shot hit the post but the rebound fell fortunately for Oliveria who, with an open goal at his mercy, placed his second attempt to the left of the target. Other than that it was the visitors that enjoyed the better of the first half-hour courtesy of a dominant midfield who controlled play. But try as they may, the Knights were unable to find a way past their opponents well-drilled backline which had Adrian Sutton and Anthony Jones at its heart with able assistance provided by Eugene Tan and Marc Nauer.
It took until the 31st minute for the Knights to create a scoring opportunity as Claus Nielsen's low cross into the 6-yard box was turned out for a corner by Tan under pressure from John Nicolaou. Two minutes later Stuart Montgomery had a powerful low strike on goal blocked by Anthony Mori, the loose ball came to Nicolaou who knocked his effort wide much to his own disappointment. A rare Athena foray into attack resulted in Tomich making a comfortable save to deny Oliveira after 39 minutes, and on the counter-attack the ball was fed to Montgomery who evaded his marker but was again thwarted by the gloves of Mori. A minute from the break Montgomery was allowed space just outside the 18-yard box from where he unleashed a blistering drive destined for the top corner for which Mori produced an equally spectacular diving save to see the two sides go in after 45 minutes on level terms.
New life was injected into a dull match six minutes after the break as Jamie Trandos' shot was deflected into the path of Sasa Kilibarda who placed the ball low and to the left of Tomich from 7-metres to make it 1-0 to Athena. With no option now but to attack en masse, the Knights upped the tempo to again establish control over proceedings. Montgomery ran on to a searching pass played down the right on the hour mark but his stunning first time drive whizzed narrowly wide of the up-right. Six minutes later Nielsen forced a fine fingertip save from Mori after he mis-hit an attempted cross into the area. The visitors next attack saw Nicolaou and Nielsen combine on top of the box with the latter's low drive being blocked by Mori who gathered possession as Paul Cooke moved in for the kill. For their part Athena managed several scattered counter-attacks which were by and large snuffed out with little effort by the Knights defence who then quickly played their side into attack.
In the 69th minute substitute Scott Devine met solidly an out-swinging corner by Cooke who grazed the wrong side of the crossbar. Four minutes later there were more than a few nervous moments for Athena in a scramble for possession inside a crowded 18-yard box as Paul McVittie, Nicolaou, then McVittie again had shots desperately blocked before the ball was hacked clear of the dangerzone. As the game progressed it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would equalise. A darting run down the right by Cooke saw him play the ball inside to Nielsen whose first time strike sailed over the top. The final few minutes saw Athena pull men back as the focus became holding out their opponents and on to their slender lead. In stoppage time Steven Zuvela and David Annall both had shots on goal blocked in quick succession following a quickly taken free-kick by Montgomery in what would be the games last attacking play.
On a day that saw them on the back foot for much of the 90 minutes, Athena had their backline to thank for maximum points. Sutton did a superb job in marshalling the defence and on those occasions it was breached Mori came to the teams rescue. And, while their attacks were few and far between, nippy striker Oliveira once again proved a constant danger for the opposing backs. In what was an overall flat performance from the Knights, it was their central midfield pairing of McVittie and Nielsen who worked tirelessly for the duration for little reward. And full marks to Patrick McCaffrey who was faultless with the whistle, allowing play to flow and diffusing several potentially explosive situations without issuing a single yellow card.
Floreat Athena : Anthony Mori, Adrian Sutton, Anthony Jones, Eugene Tan,
Marc Nauer, Jimmy Christopoulos (Nicolas Zumaran 74), Jamie Trandos, Troy
Bernard, Aaron Moschopoulos (Julian Madaschi 85), Sasa Kilibarda (Matthew
Novatsis 83), Andreas Oliveira
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Steven Zuvela, Alex Christie, David Annall, Leon Russell, Paul Cooke, Luka Jukic (Scott Devine 56), Paul McVittie, Claus Nielsen, Stuart Montgomery, John Nicolaou
Bookings : None
Dismissals : None
Referee : Patrick McCaffrey
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
Swan I.C. were the visitors to Macedonia Park where they met Stirling Lions in a game that both sides were eager top take maximum points from in an effort to move away from the foot of the Premier League table. The condition of the playing surface didn't help the quality of the game which kicked-off at a rapid pace with some crunching tackles being put in from both teams. In an attempt to establish some control over proceedings, the referee booked Damian Todorovic after 5 minutes for a late challenge but the Swan defender didn't heed the lesson and twenty minutes later he earnt an early shower after being booked for a second time. The bulk of the possession was in favour of the home team who were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage as Swan held firm at the back. The best opportunity of the 90-minutes came the way of Elton Holmes who was through one-on-one with young Lions custodian Jordan Conti who forced the Swan striker into placing the ball wide. The Lions almost pinched all three points in the final minutes of the game which would end scoreless thanks to a superb save from Corey Hugo who denied the home teams' Rob Milevski.
E.C.U. Joondalup made the trip to Ken Allen Field for their game with second placed Fremantle City. The game got off at a furious pace with the visitors attacking at every opportunity and they came close to taking the early lead through Josh Kamasz who twice shot wide. The deadlock was broken after 20 minutes as a fine cross from Kamasz found Derek Cooke whose header beat goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. Ten minutes later Garin Collins did some equally fine work before sending the ball into the area when Cooke again pounced to pressure the defence into conceding an own goal. While Fremantle were unable to match their opponents intensity, they did create several good chances before the break but were unable to make the most of them. The port side emerged for the second half a totally different proposition, putting Joondalup under pressure at every opportunity only to be denied on no less than four occasions by the frame of the goal and some desperate defending. The visitors worked their way back into the game after the hour having weather the storm with teenage substitute John Morton showing a maturity beyond his years at the back. Fifteen minutes from the end the result was put beyond doubt by John Greenwood who was rewarded for his hard work with a well taken goal after a good lead-up from Collins.
The match at Percy Doyle Reserve between Sorrento and Bassendean Caledonian ended with honours even following an exciting 3-3 which kept the crowd on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. The visitors began positively and a fine cross from Ryan Jeans was squandered by Andy Cornmell, then Dean Gartside saw his effort slide the wrong side of the up-right. Sorrento fought back and a good attacking move down the left resulted in Simon Harland's cross being turned past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop by defender Jonathon Mathers. Six minutes later Sorrento had the ball in the net again as Andy Mason aerobically struck home a Todd Harnwell header only to have the effort ruled out for offside. The second half started at a brisk pace as the visiting side went in search of an equaliser. And they only had to wait eleven minutes before Matt Donlevy's shot was partially cleared and Kevin Griffiths pounced to knock the ball in and level the score. Three minutes later Caledonian hit the front as Kevin Griffiths crossed and Jeans cleverly dummied the pass for Gartside who rammed the ball home. Within 60-seconds Sorrento were back on level terms after Jared Love curled in a great ball to beat Dunlop. Chances continued at both ends of the park as Cornmell put Jeans through with only goalkeeper Neil Young to beat but his shot was wide. And down the opposite end Steve McDonald stretched Dunlop with a good header from a Daniel Stoitis corner, but the Caledonian 'keeper was sharp to make the save down low. Caledonian took like registering their first win of the season when Jeans converted from the penalty spot after 87 minutes, but with three minutes left on the clock a partially cleared corner fell to Andy Mason whose low shot through a crowded area squirmed in to make it 3-3.
Cockburn City became the first team to defeat Perth S.C. in the home-and-away season when they thumped the reigning champions 3-0 at Dalmatinac Park on Sunday. Perth opened well but it was the home side which drew first blood as after John Mirco played the ball into the path of Michael Mirco who slammed his shot from just outside the 18-yard box beyond the reach of goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo after 22 minutes. The home team continued to attack with scoring opportunities coming the way of John Mirco, Dean Wallace, youngster Mileta Miletic and Michael Mirco who were all kept out by the Perth backline which stood firm to ensure the lead wasn't extended before the interval. The second half began with Perth seeking to level as Dino Pacella's made a good save to keep out Michael Icanovski's effort, and shortly after Gareth Naven shot over the crossbar. After 73 minutes Michael Mirco, who worked hard all afternoon, made his way down the right before passing to Domenic De Felice whose inch-perfect cross found Dean Wallace at the far post where he rose majestically above the defence to power his header into the back of the net. De Felice sealed the win in the dying minutes when he took off from the halfway line, beating Perth's offside trap, to make his way inside the penalty area and draw Scarparolo off his line before slotting the ball home for Cockburn's third of the day. The win lifts Cockburn into fourth place on a day which saw three sets of brothers - John and Michael Mirco, and Domenic and Mario De Felice, and Mark and Allan Pottier - included on the teamsheets.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
The first half of the reserves meeting between Sorrento and Bassendean Caledonian was a dour struggle that failed to impress anyone. After the scoreless first half, the Seagulls started to look a little more goal inclined but their stocks seemed to take a plunge when Farrell Hedges was red carded midway through the period. As some times happens in the world game, the ten men looked better organised than their opponents and took the upper hand after 79 minutes when James Morgan's shot from distance came back off Steve Grant's crossbar and Jake Harman was placed to knock home the follow-up. Two minutes later Morgan lobbed the ball into the dangerzone where Gareth Phillips headed home to double the scoreline. Harman then produced something special for his twelfth of the season by turning to chip the ball into the top left corner three minutes from full-time. Caledonian bagged a consolation goal 60 seconds later via former Sorrento player Craig Wells.
A depleted Swan I.C. took the lead over Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park through Sam Soltani in the 22nd minute, and on the hour the gap was doubled as Aaron Finn knocked the ball home. Christian Debarro made it 2-1 as the Lions finished strongly. But it was the visitors that would take out maximum points as, in a tight finish, Daniel Simcox cleared a shot off the line in the last minute. Floreat Athena went down 1-3 at Litis Stadium to a rampant second half performance from the Western Knights with goals from Tristan Carroll, K.Urabe and Steven Sulenta. Vlado Milasinovic bagged a hat-trick for Perth S.C. in their 3-1 win over Cockburn City whose late consolation goal came from Richard Lacey. Fremantle City registered a 2-1 home win over E.C.U. Joondalup.
Sorrento's Under-18 side started their home meeting with Bassendean Caledonian on the right note by taking the lead after 4 minutes when Dejan Gurovski was well placed to convert. On the half-hour, a stunning strike by Dennis Galan from 30-metres went over goalkeeper Sam Cornwell and in off the underside of the bar, and three minutes later it was 3-0 as Gurovski netted for the second time with a tap in. Four minutes into the second half the home team were awarded a penalty when Ozren Kotur was held back, however, Gareth Phillips struck the outside of the right post with the spot kick. It wasn't until the 58th minute that Sorrento further enhanced their dominance as Steve Kruit placed his header beyond the reach of Cornwell. Gurovski completed his hat-trick in the final minute of play to complete a deserved 5-0 win.
Matt Ullbricht gave Swan I.C. the lead a minute before half-time and Hayden Darcy sealed the 2-0 win over Stirling Lions when he converted after 65 minutes. Three minutes later Lions were woes were compounded with the dismissal of Etienne Sharp. The clash between Fremantle City and E.C.U. Joondalup at Ken Allen Field ended with the points being shared. The port side took the lead midway through the first half but that was cancelled out by Phillip O'Callaghan's goal after 44 minutes. All three goals in the clash at Litis Stadium between Floreat Athena and the Western Knights also came in the first half. Troy Dott and Kibrom Hailemariam enabled Athena to race to a two-goal lead before Matt Francis reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time. David Micevski struck twice for Perth S.C. in their 2-1 away win over Cockburn City for whom Bosan Kovack scored in the second half.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTEEN (Mandurah City vs Canning City by Barry Rennie; Bayswater City vs Armadale by Adam Rucci)
Mandurah City moved back to the top of the First Division table after a hard-earned 1-0 win over Canning City at Peelwood Parade. The home team started strongly and could have been two goals up inside the opening quarter-hour after chances just eluded their hard working forwards. Success finally came their way after the Canning backline failed to clear the ball and Andrew Rennie found Mick Bobridge who finished with a perfectly placed header. Some solid defensive work from Gary Collins and Damien Condo, and hard running by their attackers created several more chances for Mandurah, however they went in at the break with just the one goal lead. Early in the second half Canning came close to levelling when Jix Loong was put through with only goalkeeper Mike Green to beat, but the Mandurah custodian pulled off one of the saves of the year to deflect the shot over the crossbar and concede the corner. Christian Paschewitz made life difficult for Mandurah when he was sent off mid-way through the half after mis-timing a challenge on Chris Littlejohn. Despite seeing out the game with an extra man, Canning failed to capitalise and their run of losses - all-be-it narrow losses - continued. Mandurah on the other hand leapt back to the head of the leaderboard on a day which their main rivals - Bayswater City and Stirling Suns - faltered. The win made it a hat-trick for Mandurah who took out the reserves and under-18's 5-2 and 4-1 respectively.
Bayswater City stay level on points with Mandurah at the top of the table despite a 0-3 loss to Armadale on home soil. The game promisingly for the home team who controlled the first ten minutes with some nice movement of the ball. But it was the Reds that got the breakthrough goal after 18 minutes through defender Gary Murdoch whose shot went straight under goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic. Ten minutes later Armadale went two up as Martinovic wasn't fast enough in getting down to keep out a shot from Steven Tsailis. The game was all over as a contest after 40 minutes when striker Greg Newcombe had a shot from long-range that floated into the net with Martinovic again not up to the task. The half-time whistle blew and Armadale were very pleased with their performance and set to continue on with the job after a well earned break. But it was Bayswater that came out firing at the start of the new half to play the better soccer, only to be denied by in-form goalkeeper Craig Olenjik. The home side created numerous chances through Boima Karpeh, Kevin Henderson, Gareth Healy and Sal Marrapodi, none of whom could find a way past the visiting 'keeper and his well-organised defence. The final whistle blew signaled a deserved in by Armadale courtesy of an accomplished team performance. In the reserves, Aramdale received three red cards but still recorded victory by a 3-2 margin, Nick Paone and Carlos Polat getting the goals for Bayswater. The under-18 fixture ended 3-2 in favour of Bayswater courtesy of a double from Chris Herd with Zorgan Alsahmi netting the other.
Dianella White Eagles made their way to John Connell Reserve for the First Division clash with Leeming Strikers and at the end of 90 minutes when home very happy. The visitors took the lead after 10 minutes as Zelko Savic combined with Dragan Njegic who sent the ball flying into the top corner of the Strikers net. Making good use of the full width of the park, Dianella confidently pushed forward at every opportunity to have their opponents on the back foot for much of the afternoon. Midway through the half Savic doubled his sides lead, and Canning were lucky not to go in at the break three goals down after conceding a penalty which the experienced Taki Nicolaides blasted over the crossbar. It was pretty much the same story after the interval as Dianella continued dominate. A fine run and pass from youngster Igor Novakovic set up Njegic for his second of the game early in the half. Savic made the most of his possession in attack by placing his shot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper, and minutes later the young striker was bundled over in the box for a penalty which he converted to complete a memorable hat-trick. The Strikers reeled in the margin with a late consolation goal.
Balcatta took the lead against the visiting Ashfield side after 32 minutes when Gavin Falco-Brown found the net, but that goal was negated thirteen minutes after half-time by Muhamed Komadaric. Two own goals plus strikes from Gareth Williams and Gary Murray ensured The City were big 4-0 winners over a struggling Southside United. Glen Hallums put Rockingham City on the path to victory over Morley Windmills by netting after 20 minutes, and John Crawford gave the home side a two-goal buffer shortly after. The match came to life after Brian Hast added Rockingham's third in the 71st minute. Windmills reeled in the gap with goals in quick succession from Rydeen Botha and Zoran Petreski before Gavin McIlveen sealed victory for Rockingham with a 78th minute strike. South West Phoenix opened their account via Savo Garic 15 minutes into their away meeting with Kingsway Olympic. Andy Brown leveled the score early in the second half but it wasn't enough as goals in the last ten minutes from Steve Suttie and David Rogers enabled Phoenix to go home with maximum points. Queens Park were held to a 1-1 draw at Coker Park by Stirling Suns for whom Miladin Gugoroski netted.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The were more than a few upsets in Round Ten of the Premier League which was played over the weekend. On Saturday, Fremantle City crashed to a 0-3 home defeat at the hands of E.C.U. Joondalup, while an unde strength Floreat Athena knocked off Western Knights by 1-0. Bottom side Bassendean Caledonian travelled north where they held Sorrento 3-3, and the points were also shared at Macedonian Park as Stirling Lions and Swan I.C. ended scoreless. Michael Mirco, Dean Wallace and Domenic De Felice found the net for Cockburn City when they defeated League leader Perth S.C. 3-0 on Sunday.
Bayswater City's 0-3 home loss to Armadale has allowed Mandurah City to move back to the top of the First Division - on goal difference - following their 1-0 defeat of Canning City. Queens Park and Stirling Suns drew 1-1, which was the same score between Balcatta and Ashfield. The City's 4-0 thrashing of Southside United lifted them away from the foot of the table, and South West Phoenix also continued their climb up the table with a 3-1 away win over Kingsway Olympic. Leeming Strikers went down 1-5 to Dianella White Eagles, and Rockingham City won 4-2 over Morley-Windmills.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
New Floreat Athena coach Julio Moreno will faced his toughest test yet when the Western Knights visit Litis Stadium in Saturday's round of Premier League fixtures. Fremantle City host an E.C.U. Joondalup side out to put a traumatic week behind them, while Stirling Lions have home ground advantage over Swan I.C. Banging in the goals of late have been Sorrento and they'll be hoping to continue that form when they take on struggling Bassendean Caledonian at Percy Doyle Reserve. The first Sunday game of the 2003 season takes place at Dalmatinac Park this weekend as Cockburn City welcome League leaders Perth S.C. Inglewood United are out of action with the bye.
First Division leader Bayswater City travel to Alfred Skeet Oval this weekend for their clash with Armadale, while Mandurah City are also travelling for their away game with Canning City. The match of the round takes place at Coker Park where a rapidly improving Queens Park meet high-flying Stirling Suns. Kingsway Olympic will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host South West Phoenix, and The City will be aiming to make it two wins in a row from their away clash with Southside United. Elsewhere, Leeming Strikers are home to Dianella White Eagles, Rockingham City take on the visitors from Morley Windmills, and Ashfield make the short trip to Balcatta.
STRIKERS SIGN STATE 'KEEPER (courtesy leemingstrikers.com)
Leeming Strikers announced another successful transfer today with the addition of State Under-15 goalkeeper Tae Phillips to their books. "We are very lucky to have two of the more talented young state goalkeepers around in Michael Smerilli and now Tae Phillips," said Strikers president Alan Thraves. "It is a great advert for our club that lads of this quality see a future for themselves at the Strikers. Signings like these show our intention for improvement, we're delighted with Tae's decision to join us". Phillips, who spent the past couple of years with Perth S.C., represented Western Australia at last years National Talent Identification Championship in Sydney and is again in line for representative honours this year with the Under-16's.
JOIN THE FUN IN JOONDALUP
For anyone in the northern suburbs, Arena Joondalup are hosting a seven-a-side tournament every Monday night and are inviting new teams to participate. Purely a social event - there are no league tables compiled - round up nine of your mates and enjoy a great night of friendly competition, fun and fitness. All games are all played under lights on an outdoor Astroturf pitch. If you are interested in joining in, contact E.C.U. Joondalup via email@example.com or phone club president Steve Wheatley on 0412 723 805.
CLUBS LINE UP FOR TARKA
A string of English Premier League clubs are seeking talks with Perth Glory defender David Tarka. The 20 year-old centre-half already has a trial offer on the table from West Ham United, but Newcastle United, Birmingham City, Everton and Leeds United are also chasing the towering defender. Tarka will be in England over the European summer and is set to try-out with a number of interested clubs.
DEANS SET TO LEAVE GLORY
Local product Craig Deans looks likely to leave Perth Glory for National Soccer League rivals Newcastle United over the Australian off-season. The defender, who did not play a game this season after having an operation on a knee, will meet United coach Ian Crook next week to discuss a two-year deal. Deans had to argue his case at Glory this season for match payments, which he eventually received, and last month was told he could look at opportunities elsewhere. "I've still got another year to run on my contract but Glory are happy for me to go," said the 29-year old. The 2002/03 N.S.L. champions have already lost Shane Pryce to Sengkang Marine (Singapore) while fellow defenders Jamie Harnwell and David Tarka will try their luck in Europe. Parramatta Power have made tempting offers to Simon Colosimo and Andre Gumprecht, Brazilian midfielder Edgar is undecided about his future, and former Perth S.C. player Jamie Coyne may head to Malaysia should a new deal with Glory not be forthcoming.
SHARLAND RELEASED BY CHARLTON
Attacking midfielder Greg Sharland has been released by English Premier league club Charlton Athletic. The former Inglewood United and Wollongong Wolves player joined the Addicks last year but, while a regular for the reserves, was unable to break into the first team ranks of the London club. One of nine players so far released by Charlton since the end of the English season, Sharland is expected to return to Perth where he'll contemplate his next career move.
DEVANNA NAMED JOINT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Perth born Lisa De Vanna has been made joint recipient of the Julie Dolan Medal which goes to Australia's female Player of the Year. De Vanna, who plays in the Women's National Soccer League for Adelaide Sensation, polled 35 points to finish level with Heather Garriock of Queensland Sting. Canberra Eclipse midfield Tal Karp, who also hails from the west, came in third with 29 points. De Vanna, an Australian Under-19 international, also received the award for the leading goalscorer of the W.N.S.L.
Perth Glory striker Damian Mori capped a fine season by taking out the mens' Player of the Season award, the Warren Medal, as well as being named the National Soccer League's leading goalscorer. The Under-21 Player of the Year was taken out by Alex Brosque (Marconi Stallions), and Clint Bolton (Olympic Sharks) claimed the Goalkeeper of the Year. Lawrie McKinna of Northern Spirit was awarded the Coach of the Year, while the Referee of the Year went home for the second successive with Queenslander Mark Shield.
CHAMPIONS COMMENT ON GRAND FINAL SUCCESS
Perth Glory's victory in the Grand Final of the 2002/03 National Soccer League season on Sunday is being hailed as a major turning point in the history of Australia's best supported club. While they'd already twice claimed the regular season trophy in their short seven-year history, prior to the weekend Glory had been unsuccessful in taking out the season finale with heartbreaking losses to Wollongong Wolves and the Olympic Sharks in 1999/2000 and 2001/02 respectively. Following Sundays 2-0 win over the Sharks, Glory players and officials agreed on the importance of the occasion.
Speaking immediately after the game, left-sided player Scott Miller said he felt that a weight had been lifted by Glory's triumph. "I was going to hang myself if we didn't win that one today," the Glory stalwart joked. "It's actually a relief to do it for the fans, to do it for our families, and to do it for ourselves. A lot of the boys are leaving this year so there'll be a lot of drinks tonight." Part of the inaugural Glory squad, Miller will savour the win more than most as the game also marked his 200th appearance in the national competition. "I wouldn't have too many more chances to win a championship so thank god I've got one now," the 31-year old added.
Bobby Despotovski was another who felt a sense of relief with the win. "I'm glad the monkey is off the back because that monkey was starting to turn into a gorilla," the star striker commented at the post-match press conference. "We are not choking anymore. We are champions." Unable to lead the club to Grand Final victory last season, Despotovski said he was determined not to fail as captain for a second time. "When I got up this morning I said to myself, 'Mich gave me an opportunity to be captain last year and I failed'," the Australian international said. "Not many times in my entire life, in my career, have I failed twice in the same task."
Glory were quietly confident of victory going into the game according to Mich d'Avray. "The thought of losing didn't enter our heads," said the coach. "I think you saw today what it meant to the people in Western Australia," he added. "We played it down during the week but there was pressure on us. There was pressure on the players and everyone at the club because we held the hopes of not only the people of Perth but the people of W.A. A lot of neutral people from all over Australia were hoping we would do it because I think we've been the benchmark," d'Avray said. "No one can deny us our victory today - it was very sweet."
After a seven-year wait, Glory chairman and majority shareholder Nick Tana was over the moon. "What happened here today should be bottled and rolled out in Sydney and Melbourne," he said after the final whistle. "I knew it was all worthwhile whether we won or lost today. Our cause is a bigger cause, our cause is the game. Look at what happened out there today - it is a very simple equation. We had fantastic soccer, a great atmosphere, a superb venue and a great bunch of boys. The future of our game has to be that we can roll this out in Sydney and Melbourne."
Speaking the day after the Grand Final, defender Jamie Harnwell saw the win was made all the more sweeter by the clubs' previous failures. "If I'd have won it three years ago in our first Grand Final it might not have meant so much to me. But to have gone through that heartbreak two times, it definitely makes this one a lot better," he said. "I'm glad the club had finally gotten over the chokers tag." But the day was a bitter-sweet occasion for Harnwell who may well have played his last game for the club. "I want to try something new so I'll be heading to the U.K. for trials at the end of this month and see what happens from there."
"We won't actually realise it fully until a week or so away when well say that was a hell of a day and it's going to be a hell of a moment for the club," said goalkeeper Jason Petkovic. The 30-year old shot stopper was an important figure in Glory's win with a couple of vital saves late in the first half to twice deny Joel Porter and ensure the 101st clean sheet of his career. Like his teammates, the former Australian international was glad the club had finally broken their Grand Final duck. "There is a great sense of relief that we've fully overcome that last obstacle that we needed to get over as a team. The one thing that had eluded us was that trophy - and we've got it now."
SINGEORZAN RELEASED (courtesy www.ecu.joondalup.com.au)
Hot on the heels of E.C.U. Joondalup's elimination from the Boral Cup on a technicality comes news the club have released star striker Eugene Singeorzan. While Joondalup president Steve Wheatley said he regretted the decision, he added the northern suburbs outfit were left with little option but to terminate Singeorzan's contract. "I'm bitterly disappointed with the whole affair," Wheatley said. "I still maintain that Eugene is one of the best strikers in the league, but in this instance he has really let the club down, and we had no choice in the matter." Joondalup were ejected from the knock-out competition after it was discovered they had played Singeorzan, who was Cup-tied to the Western Knights, in their Second Round win over Canning City.
PHOENIX WILL RISE ACCORDING TO COACH
It's been an up and down start to the season for Bunbury-based club South West Phoenix. A strong start was followed by a four game run in which they picked up just a single point, but their three most recent outings have produced nine goals and two wins for the club who appear to be on their way up. "At the start of the season we lost several key players to injury, namely Reece Braithwaite (cracked rib), Gary Mayers (broken arm), Brett Norrie (torn calf muscle), and we also had Chris Gaynor out due to work commitments. That left us a bit thin in terms on first team experience in defence," explained coach Gary Mayers. "The turning point though was our 5-0 win over Balcatta, that was a huge morale boost for the team. A couple of good results over the next few weeks should give us the confidence needed to carry on climbing up the ladder. With a couple of players set to return from injury and the recent signing of attacker James Lister things are looking much brighter for Phoenix."
Over the years the South-West corner of the state has produced some quality players who have gone on to play at a higher level, amongst them former Perth Glory defender Doug Ithier and State representatives Alan Armstrong and Daniel Trim. With Phoenix doing going from strength to strength, Mayers is confident there will be plenty more players emerge from the region in coming years. "Of our current first team the youngsters to watch would have to be James Bergin (18), Dominic Allen (17) and James Anderson (16). From the youth ranks Gino Comito, Houstan Mustard, Jacob King, Greg Murray, Kane McMurray and Stephen Anderson are all names you will hear a lot more of in the future. Young goalkeeper Francis Allen has already been snapped up by Perth S.C., who are currently also chasing Allen, James Turbitt and Etienne Sharp joined Stirling Lions in pre-season, and James Anderson would have been a Future Glory had they continued. So to say we are in a healthy position would be an understatement - we are a sleeping giant!"
BONDS STRENGTHENED IN NORTH
Two of the northern suburbs strongest clubs have formed an alliance under which clearer direction will be provided for players at both ends of their careers. B.G.C Lightning Cup holders Sorrento and WAASSA Premier League champions Hamersley Rovers will pool their resources in an effort to strengthen the playing stocks of both clubs with the recent signing of a Heads of Agreement. The document stipulates that Sorrento will not to enter teams in WAASSA's amateur leagues, but will encourage players who are best suited for amateur soccer to join Hamersley. For their part Hamersley have agreed to encourage any suitably talented teenagers from within their ranks to contact Sorrento for trials with their Junior Champions League teams. Both Sorrento and Hamersley are prohibited from merging or becoming aligned with any other club for the term of the agreement, which is "ongoing and indefinite". "We've had a good relationship between the two clubs for years," said Sorrento secretary Kerry Slater.
NATIONALS IN PERTH THIS WEEKEND
The 2003 National Amateur Championships are being staged in Perth this weekend at the National Stadium, home of Premier League club Inglewood United. The action gets underway at 6.00pm on Friday 6th June with the clash between West Australia and the Northern Territory, and two hours later it's New South Wales against South Australia. The following day South Australia and the Northern Territory meet from 5.00pm followed by New South Wales and West Australia at 7.00pm. Sunday's final day of competition starts with a 1.00pm showdown between the Northern Territory and New South Wales, before the final fixture between West Australia and South Australia at 3.00pm.
The West Australian squad for the tournament is Charly Jensen, Peter Nikolski (Azzurri), Pablo Caceras (Canning International), Paul Allen (Forrestfield United), Neil Burkinshaw, Gary Elwell, Flavio L'Abbate, Andre Van Leishout , Alun Vernals (Hamersley Rovers), Chris Atkins, Jeff Dury, Andy Willars (Kwinana United), Jason Dixon (Murdoch University), Martin Mirco, Damian Pescud (Spearwood Dalmatinac) and Rob Benkovic (University of W.A). Dave Coward has been named as coach with Mickey Brennan his assistant. More information on the championship, and the amateurs game in Western Australia, came be found online at http://waassa.ola.com.au
TANA URGES BOARD TO STEP ASIDE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory owner Nick Tana has urged the remaining members of Soccer Australia's board to step down and allow Frank Lowy's team to begin rebuilding the sport. Tana is confident the new broom can help the game become Australia's number one sport inside seven years. "I urge them, I beg them, I implore them to walk away and let Lowy have a go," Tana told the "Sydney Morning Herald" recently. "Resign, and allow the transition to take place. If they do that, it's my prediction that by 2010 there will be one million registered players in the country and soccer will be the dominant sport in Australia. That's on the back of the Socceroos qualifying for two World Cups [2006 and 2010] and Lowy and his team being the catalyst to kick-start what we need to do."
"To be honest, my patience is really being tested," Tana added. "These troglodytes, these dinosaurs, they hide behind constitutional process because they have nothing else left. They know the vast majority of the game is against them. Why do you think they didn't show their faces (at the Grand Final) on Sunday? Because they knew full well that 38,000 people would have booed them off the park and given them the same message - get out of the game. To date, we've played by the rules. We've done everything by the book and tried to be a model club per se. But we're in an environment where others don't play by the same rules, so from now on we will bend the rules a bit. We'll do everything we can to get the message across. The fact we've now won a grand final, that we're true champions, gives us a bit more clout. We'll keep shaking the tree until everything drops off and the guard changes completely."
University of W.A. secured a spot in the Third Round of the Mitre Cup with a 4-1 away win over Gosnells City on Monday. In a fairly tight first half UWA were three times thwarted by the Gosnells goalkeeper who came out on top in one-on-one situations. A promising attack by Gosnells was headed across the face of goal and Tyan Jamieson nodded it over the line to give his side the upper hand after 45 minutes. The second half saw UWA apply significant pressure to their opponents defence which was eventually breached after 65 minutes when Adam Brett beat three players before unleashing a stunning shot from outside the box which found the left hand corner of the goal. Eleven minutes later Max Percy gained possession, held off a determined challenge and somehow drilled his shot into the top corner to put UWA in front. With 78 minutes elapsed the game was effectively over as David Berg played a neat one-two with Marc D'Ascanio who fed the ball to Robert Benkovic and the striker sent his effort wide of the 'keeper but inside the far post. The win was secured by D'Ascanio who ran from the half way line, beating four players on the way, before slipping the ball past the 'keeper to make the final score 4-1. "We were beaten here last year in the cup and so we were pretty determined to put that right," said UWA coach Kevin Burton. "We did not panic at being a goal down and our belief was rewarded with four goals of the highest quality in the second half." UWA reserves also secured a sound victory over their Gosnells counterparts by a 5-0 margin with goals from Laverty (2), Holley, Davenport and Briggs.
Forrestfield United also enjoyed a comfortable win when they played Second Division outfit Southern Spirit. Forrestfield went ahead when Harvey Jennings found the net early on, and two goals in quick succession from Brad Effie really put Spirit under the pump. The outcome was put beyond doubt by Matt Alcock who added a further two goals to Forrestfield's tally before the half-time whistle. Spirit started the new half confidently by creating several goalscoring opportunities in an attempt to claw their way back into the game, but when substitute Peter Rayner bagged Forrestfield's sixth of the game their chances were well and truly dashed. Eiffe completed his hat-trick before Occha finished off the demolition. The only disappointment on an otherwise celebratory day for Forrestfield was a second half injury to one of their players who was taken to hospital via an ambulance.
BORAL CUP, ROUND THREE (Sorrento vs Perth S.C. by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento and Perth S.C. collided in a classic Boral Cup quarter-final showdown at Percy Doyle Reserve this afternoon. Shane Crampton found himself in the right place on 19 minutes to angle in Adam Brunce's low cross from the right to stun the home side who had dominated the opening stages. Sorrento attacked again from the restart with Daniel Stoitis' cross to Simon Harland who headed wide of the post. On 34 minutes Gareth Naven took possession in midfield and unleashed a thunderbolt that struck the right post before ricocheting over the line to double his side's lead. Right on half-time Crampton seized upon an under hit attempted back pass but in his eagerness blasted well over Neil Young's crossbar. A couple of changes to the Sorrento line-up at the break paid off after 65 minutes when Todd Harnwell got behind the defensive line to lob his header over stranded goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. Six minutes later Jared Love's shot from the edge of the area flashed narrowly wide of the left post as Sorrento searched to equalise. The pressure was endless on Perth and resulted in an attempted clearance by Dino Djulbic spinning off his boot and around Scarparolo for the equaliser on 77 minutes. Harland cut back for Thomas whose first time shot was deflected wide after 83 minutes, then Aaron Cole almost snatched it for Perth but his shot from distance came off the outside of the top left corner. The game was decided after 25 minutes of extra-time when a hopeful lob forward by Todd Howarth was slightly deflected by Steve McDonald and fell into the path of Crampton who smashed the ball pass the Young.
First Division side Mandurah City played host to the top flight's Swan I.C. in what was an entertaining contest at Peelwood Parade. The home team started strongly and took the lead after 7 minutes when Andrew Rennie got on the end of a deep cross to head the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Corey Hugo. The lead was doubled by Rennie who hit a cracking shot from an angle just inside the 18-yard box which dipped over the Swan 'keeper to find the far top corner of the goal. The visitors reduced the gap when Damian Scali converted from the penalty spot to go into the break 2-1 down. Mandurah seemed content to rest on their laurels at the start of the second half and were made to pay for their inactivity as Swan took the game up to them. Elton Holmes levelled the score from close-range after the home defence failed to respond to a dangerous corner, then Swan hit the front after some fine work in midfield resulted in Carlos Echevierra heading over goalkeeper Micheal Green. The visitors sealed their passage into the round of four when Mandurah again failed to deal with a corner and striker Paul Lincoln made it 4-2.
Kingsway Olympic came out firing in an entertaining Cup meeting with Fremantle City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. In an opening half dominated by some solid defensive work by both teams, Olympic striker Sota Iwaski was twice denied by goalkeeper Bobson Koroma while down the opposite end of the pitch Anthony Pereria squandered a good chance to put the port side in front. Early in the second half, John Migas was brought down by Olympic goalkeeper Kalon Tsenakov and substitute Peter Lord duly converted the resultant penalty. Olympic responded by upping the tempo which resulted in Adam Purcell being bundled over inside the box and referee Patrick McCaffrey, who had a great game, pointed to the spot from which Andy Brown made no mistake to level the game. Fremantle youngster James Hesketh twice forced good saves from Tenakov towards the end of regulation time, but with no addition to the scoreboard the match went into extra time. Alan Henderson, who was recently introduced off the bench of Olympic, almost scored with his first touch, a blistering shot from 18-metres which kissed the wrong side of the up-right. By the start of the second 15-minute period Olympic were getting on top of the game as a good cross from Henderson was met at the far post by Danny Trandos whose effort was just wide of the target. The game was decided when Scott Evans picked out Bretti who slipped his shot past Koroma to send the home fans into seventh heaven.
JOONDALUP KICKED OUT OF CUP
Current holder of the Boral Cup E.C.U. Joondalup have been sensationally kicked out of this years' competition. The northern suburbs club were due to play Western Knights in a quarterfinal match yesterday but the game was called off after it was discovered Joondalup fielded an ineligible player in their Second Round win over Canning City. Last Thursday Soccer West Coast informed the club that the inclusion of Eugene Singeorzan, who was Cup-tied to the Knights, against Canning was in breach of the rules and the game would be awarded to their First Division opponent on forfeit. Joondalup coach Stuart Kamasz said his club were unaware Singeorzan had played as a substitute for the Knights against Armadale in Round One. "I think it's a bit rough getting kicked out," Kamasz commented. "The player couldn't even remember coming on for the Knights. The game should have been replayed." As a result of the decision, the Knights will meet Canning on a date yet to be determined.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTEEN (Bayswater City vs Leeming Strikers by Adam Rucci)
Playing for the second time in three days, Bayswater City and Leeming Strikers turned in a close but entertaining match with both sides having opportunities to win take out maximum points. Things started off very scrappy with Bayswater controlling the opening stages and unlucky not to go ahead through Sal Marrapodi who took too long to shoot and was closed down with a goal at his mercy. The Strikers then had a very good spell when they won several corners, one of which was converted by the experienced Ross Greer to give the visiting team the advantage after 20 minutes. Forced on to the back foot, Bayswater defended well but it was the frame of the goal which denied Greer from adding to his tally when he connected with another corner. Having woken up, Bayswater picked up the pace to control play and got back on level terms shortly before the break via midfielder Nick Stojanovski whose sweetly struck shot from outside the 18-yard box gave goalkeeper Michael Smirelli no chance. The second half saw the home side create numerous chances without success, the best of which came the way of substitute Boima Karpeh who squandered a one-on-one with Smirelli in the dying minutes. Lucas Whitehouse was proving a constant threat in attack for the Strikers for whom Dale Wingell put the ball in the back of the net only to have it disallowed for offside. In the end the two sides would have to settle for a draw on a day when better finishing would have resulted in victory. The reserves fixtures ended in a 2-3 loss for Bayswater whose goals came from Jamie Kumkar and Christian Ottolini.
Canning City started their home fixture with Balcatta with a bang, hitting the post just minutes into the game. With the visitors taking their time to settle, Canning took an early lead via the penalty spot after a foul inside the area by Scott Broadley. Shortly after the margin was doubled by Paul Oliver as Balcatta's chances of taking even a single point home with them began to diminish. An back injury to striker Broadley forced a re-shuffle in the Balcatta ranks, leaving Adriano Caloiero with the job of doing all the work work up-front. The visitors finally found their rhythm and started to take more of an active role in proceedings. A foul on Caloiero by the Canning goalkeeper resulted in a penalty that was converted to reduce the gap prior to half-time. The second half saw Balcatta effectively restrict their opponents in attack before turning the ball over and surging forward themselves. Anthony Toutunzias evened the ledger after 51 minutes with his third goal of the season. Growing in confidence, it looked only a matter of time before Balcatta would hit the lead, so it came as no surprise when Broadley made the most of a one-on-one with the 'keeper after 68 minutes to earn his side maximum points.
Morley Windmills defeated Southside United 2-1 at Wootton Reserve where all the goals arrived in the opening half. Gary James gave Windmills the lead after 17 minutes, Rydeen Botha doubled the lead ten minutes late, and Southside's Bobby White reduced the gap eight minutes from the break in a goalmouth scramble. Windmills' Phil Russie appeared to have made it 3-1 but had the goal disallowed for offside, and shortly after Marco Schisano hit the post with a free-kick. Botha, James and Drew Carruthers all had opportunities to extended the home teams lead without success. First half goals from Ben Yates and Gary Murray gave The City their first win of the season, 2-1 over Rockingham City for who Filipe Do Carmo scored after 58 minutes. "This was the first time this season when we were able to field the same ten outfield players two games in a row," said The City coach Stuart Currie. "We played with a lot of determination today and really wanted to win the game." Armadale were held 1-1 by visiting Dianella White Eagles for whom Zeljko Savic netted after 18 minutes only for Jason Goodwin to level early in the second half. South West Phoenix went down 1-2 at home to Queens Park.
GLORIOUS DAY FOR THE WEST
The 2002/03 National Soccer League season reached it's climax at Subiaco Oval today as regular season premiers Olympic Sharks met hometown heroes Perth Glory in front of 38,111 spectators. Although they'd stumbled at the final hurdle twice in the past three years, the Glory camp was in a relaxed mood but confident that this time it would be them that'd be lifting the silverware at days' end. With a full squad at his disposal, Mich d'Avray named pretty much the same team that served him well throughout the final campaign. Going into the game as underdogs, Sharks coach Lee Sterrey hedged his bets and named several players carrying injuries in his line-up, namely Paul Kohler (back), Hiroyuki Ishida (calf), Troy Halpin (groin) and Jeromy Harris (tendonitis).
In a tough, physical opening period it was Glory that looked the more determined side with their first attack coming after 4 minutes as Andre Gumprecht found Simon Colosimo who was allowed to surge into attack only to have his effort from 18-metres skid wide of the target. With Colosimo and Gumprecht having the greater influence over the centre of the park, the Sharks took a long time to settle and rarely tested their opponents defence over the opening quarter hour. The first real opportunity of the game came after 19 minutes as Bobby Despotovski dispossessed Halpin then beat Tom Pondeljak but Sharks custodian Clint Bolton was quick off his line to deny the Glory striker with a good save low to his left. A minute later Ante Milicic created the visitors first opportunity when his dipping shot from 25-metres went narrowly over the crossbar. Not long after Harris got away from David Tarka but Scott Miller was on hand to eliminate the threat.
Much to the relief of the big hometown crowd, the deadlock was broken after 30 minutes. A Colosimo corner to the top of the 6-yard box was solidly met by Jamie Harnwell who out-jumped Ante Juric to send his downward header into the back of the Sharks net. Stung into action, the Sharks began to get more involved in the game as their midfield stepped up a gear, but it was in attack the visitors lacked the vital spark to penetrated a solid Glory defence. The momentum was with the Sharks as half-time approached and they were unlucky not to level the score. A cross from the left was bound for Harris before Miller intercepted to head over the bar after 35 minutes. In the 42nd minute Pondeljak drew the defence before playing the ball into the path of Joel Porter as he raced into the area but Petkovic was quick off his line to smother at the midfielder's feet. And a minute later the same two players combined with Porter's first time shot sailing just over the bar and Petkovic caught flat-footed.
The Sharks knew they had to take the game up to Glory after the break but it was the home team who came out firing to have their opponents on the back foot. Two minutes after the re-start Gumprecht and Despotovski combined with the latter laying the ball off to Brad Hassell whose low drive was comfortably scooped up by Bolton. In the 53rd minute Glory almost bagged a second goal when Matt Horsley made his way into the box and while his shot from an acute angle beat Bolton it ended just inches wide of the far post - and the out-stretched leg of Damian Mori. It was all one-way traffic as the home side continually won possession and quickly set in motion the teams next attacking foray. Mori skinned Jade North and cut in towards goal in the 62nd minute but Bolton pushed his shot from a tight angle away for a corner.
With 76 minutes gone Mark Byrnes pushed down the left and sent a low cross back into the area from close to the by-line only to find his Glory teammates had over run the ball. Fast running out of time and ideas, visiting coach Sterrey made three late substitutions that had little effect against a Glory line-up full of confidence and determined to kill off the game. Three minutes from the end of regulation time Scott Miller surged to the top of the 18-yard box where the ball was deflected off a defender to Mori who screwed his shot on goal, catching Bolton flat-footed, and the ball dribbled over the line to seal victory. After four minutes of stoppage time came the final whistle that signaled the start of celebrations for Glory players, officials and supporters who, after seven seasons, can finally call their club N.S.L. Champions.
There is no doubting Glory were deserving of victory today with a display which, although not their best of the season, was definitely streets ahead of that of the Sharks. The win was orchestrated from midfield where Colosimo, in a man-of-the-match performance, and Gumprecht excelled. Between the posts Petkovic was a tower of strength, while Miller and Horsley were always at the ready to work hard at both ends of the park. The Sharks on the other hand were well below their best as the pre-match gamble to start so many injured players not paying off. In a side that largely lacked imagination, Bolton was the standout with several saves at important times in the game. There were also telling contributions from North and Juric in defence, while up-front Ante Milicic worked tirelessly but lacked support.
Perth Glory : Jason Petkovic, David Tarka, Jamie Harnwell, Shane Pryce,
Scott Miller, Brad Hassell (Mark Byrnes 60), Andre Gumprecht, Simon
Colosimo, Matt Horsley, Bobby Despotovski (Edgar 87), Damian Mori (Nick
Olympic Sharks : Clint Bolton, Ante Juric, Jade North, Paul Kohler (Wayne Srhoj 80), Andrew Packer, Hiroyuki Ishida, Joel Porter (Franco Parisi 80), Troy Halpin, Tom Pondeljak, Ante Milicic, Jeromy Harris (Greg Owens 76)
Cautions : Tarka (40), Porter (58)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Mark Shield
Attendance : 38,111
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE (Swan I.C. vs Sorrento by Greg Scali; Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich)
Premier League leaders Perth S.C. continued their undefeated start to the season with a 5-0 defeat of Bassendean Caledonian at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. The match got underway with Perth launching a number of attacking forays on the visitors goal that saw Adam Bunce, Mark Pottier and Gareth Naven all go close to breaking the deadlock over the opening period. Down the other end Caledonian's forwards were keeping goalkeeper Robert Scarporolo on his toes, their best chance coming the way of Kevin Griffiths whose effort sailed over the crossbar from long-range. The game was turned on it's head with the dismissal of Caledonian attacker Ian Griffiths following an innocent enough challenge on Dino Djulbic. Perth made the most of their numerical advantage and seven minutes before the break were awarded a penalty which Pottier converted to make it 1-0. The margin was almost doubled minutes later as Shane Crampton's shot was brilliantly kept out by goalkeeper Alan Dunlop, Naven then found the net with the follow-up only to have it ruled out for off-side. Ten minutes into what was to be a scrappy second half Crampton dummied his way past Dunlop to score Perth's second goal, and the match was effectively over when Naven's perfect cross found Crampton who chipped his shot over the 'keeper. Caledonian's best chance of the half came via a long cross from Jamie d'Arcy to Kevin Griffiths who was denied by a strong save from Scarparolo. The margin really blew out in the last few minutes as Albert Osei-Tutu headed in a Rhys Graham cross, and Crampton completed his hat-trick via the penalty spot.
There was plenty of action and excitement when Swan I.C. hosted Sorrento at the Swan Italian Club on Saturday. In the opening minutes Swan custodian Corey Hugo made a fine save to thwart Andy Mason after he swooped on to a loose ball, while down the opposite end Neil Young denied Elton Holmes after he was released on a quick break. The deadlock was broken when Todd Harnwell's cross to the back post found Simon Harland whose centring header was blasted goalward by Glen Thomas, Hugo blocked the effort but there was little he could do as Thomas converted with the rebound. Minutes later Andy Mason doubled the lead following a defensive error by Swan, and the margin blew out to three goals when Harnwell broke away from his marker to finish clinically after 32 minutes. Swan started to get back into the game and were unlucky not to score when a goalmouth scramble fell to Paul Lincoln but his desperate attempt to score was blocked on the line by Steven McDonald. On the stroke of half-time Elton Holmes unleashed a powerful left-foot drive which caught Young off guard to reduce the margin. The introduction of Dean Nicolaou and Damian Todorovic at the break added strength to the Swan line-up as they started to enjoy more possession. Happy to sit back and break on the occasional counter-attack, Sorrento came close to adding to their tally when Harwell again found space and crossed to found Andy Mason who could only send his first time effort over the crossbar. Holmes reeled the margin in even further when he converted from the penalty spot, but the home side were unable to find another goal which would have ended with them earning a share of the points.
Cockburn City hung on for a 2-2 draw with Inglewood United in their Premier League meeting at Dalmatinac Park. The home team took the lead after 8 minutes when Mileta Miletic put the ball through for Michael Mirco whose superb strike beat the 'keeper. Inglewood's Louis Parkinson went close after 27 minutes with a shot which caught goalkeeper Dino Pacella stranded only to cannon off the upright. Michael Mirco doubled the lead after exchanging passes with wingback Jeff Bright to slice open their opposing defence to give the home team a two-goal buffer at the break. Inglewood reeled in the difference early in the second period when Pacella's punch to clear the ball at a corner struck Rory Mouttet and rebounded over the line. The game was levelled from the penalty spot by Parkinson and, although both teams had their chances to add to their respective tallies, that was the way the game ended.
Fremantle City were worthy 2-1 winners at Ken Allen Field where they accounted for a lacklustre Western Knights outfit. The Knights main tormentor was Cisco Jorqueira who combined with John Migas after 20 minutes to set up Branimir Mikulic who shot wide with only goalkeeper Tommi Tomich to beat. Seven minutes later Jorqueira turned Evan Wallace inside the 18-yard box and pulled the ball back across the face of goal and defender Tony Kursar unfortunately put the ball in his own net as he attempted to toe poke it out for a corner. Fremantle continued to carve out chances and only a fine block from Leon Russell, a save by Tomich and a clearance on the line from Kursar prevented them stretching their lead. In the 37th minute the Knights were given a lifeline as Fremantle's James Hesketh hit a pass straight to Carl Medica and the Knights captain surged forward to smash a fierce drive into the bottom corner. But Hesketh made amends a minute before half time when a great run by Migas ended with his cross finding the unmarked Hesketh who thumped the ball past Tomich. The second half saw Fremantle held at bay by some desperate defending and Tomich's legs, while down the opposite end the closest the Knights came to levelling the game was when Russell hit the crossbar after 65 minutes, then goalkeeper Bobson Karoma made an easy save to thwart Medica. Fremantle were deserved winners on a dismal day for the Knights which was exacerbated when Wallace limped off with a hamstring injury and Medica was sent off after a second bookable offence.
In the other Premier League game played on Saturday, the points were shared between Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park. First half goals from Andres Oliveira and James Afkos saw the visitor's race to a two goal lead, but that was pegged back before the break when Rob Milevski found the target. A Scott Bailey goal midway through the second period levelled the game.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Perth S.C. and Sorrento have broken away from the chasing pack in the reserve competition after nine rounds of action. Topping the table with 21 points are Perth who are closely followed by Sorrento on 19, but there's a four point gap to Fremantle City in third, and a further two to fourth-placed Inglewood United. Perth stay in first courtesy of their comfortable4-2 win over Bassendean Caledonian on home soil. Goals from Damian Catalano and Vlado Milasinovic midway through the opening half put Perth in the box seat, but Caledonian pegged back the margin in the 47th minute via Wesley Ryder. Catalano restored his sides two-goal lead after 64 minutes, and Milasinovic sealed victory with his second of the day four minutes later. Ryder brought some respectability to the scoreboard when he bagged a late consolation goal for the visitors.
A hat-trick to Jake Harman and an own goal cancelled out Damien Todorovic's first half effort as Sorrento disposed of Swan I.C. 4-1. Goals to Jordan Andrews and Daniel Barlow set Fremantle City up for a 2-1 home defeat of the Western Knights for whom Tristan Carroll scored a 86th minute consolation. Cockburn City cruised to a 4-0 win over Inglewood United as Denis Stojanovic (2), Jason Dos Santos and John Mirco netted. A Jarrod Smith hat-trick enabled Stirling Lions to pull off the surprise of the round when they defeated Floreat Athena 3-0.
Fremantle City made full advantage of the bye afforded to E.C.U. Joondalup by defeating Western Knights 2-1 to go top of the Under-18 competition. Goals to Adam Hayton and Jerome Vallet weren't enough for Stirling Lions who crashed 2-7 at home to Floreat Athena. Nick Studer (2), Michael McKeague (2), Gerald O'Brien (2) and Peter Sheahan were Athena's scorers. There were also plenty of goals at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City went down 2-4 to Inglewood United.
Leo Perrotta gave Bassendean Caledonian the lead after 24 minutes over Perth S.C. who responded with venom. Jan Zablocki equalised a minute later and Goce Dilevski netted in the 39th minute to give the home team the lead at the break. Nikita Ruravytsya made it 3-1, Zablocki again found the net twice soon after and Stephen Worthy rounded out the 6-1 win late in the piece. Swan I.C. won their first game of the season with a 2-1 home upset of Sorrento. Scott Lewry (Swan) and Dennis Gallan (Sorrento) scored in the first half with a 72nd minute goal by Brendan Knox deciding the game. The win means Swan leapfrog over Bassendean Caledonian and Stirling Lions to move off the bottom of the table.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWELVE (Southside United vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Leeming Strikers vs Morley Windmills courtesy leemingstrikers.com; Ashfield vs South West Phoenix courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
Bayswater City have taken over top spot on the First Division following the completion of Round Twelve of the season courtesy of a 2-0 defeat of Southside United at Walter Padbury Reserve. The game started slowly with Ian Davidson partnering Sal Marrapodi up-front for the visitors in the absence of Boima Karpeh due to injury. Goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic started his first game for the first team this seaosn and was never really threatened over the 90 minutes. The closest Southside came to scoring was also the game's first opening which resulted from a defensive error by Daniel Naumovski which allowed a Southside attacker to go one-on-one with the 'keeper but the final shot was cleared off the line by a determined Jason Lawton. Bayswater then took control of the game but found it very hard to break down their opponents defence. The breakthrough finally arrived with 34 minutes elapsed as Kevin Henderson's pass was expertly controlled by Gareth Healy who slammed the ball past Southside custodian Jayson Mehnert from 14-metres. Bayswater went into the break happy with their lead and keyed up to extend it at the start of the second half. Davidson was proving to be a handful for the Southside defence as Kevin Henderson and Gareth Healy worked tirelessly in the middle of the park. In an effort to get back in the game, the home side threw everything at their opponents but the closest they came to levelling was via substitute Tony Pritchard whose shot went wide of the target. The win was sealed in the final minute as Davidson sent Andrew O'Neill through on goal and the young attacker finished well to make it 2-0. Both the earlier games went the way of the home team, Southside victorious 5-0 in the reserves and 7-0 in the Under-18's.
Mandurah City traveled to Coker Park where they played Queens Park knowing that victory would firm up their place in the top two in the First Division premiership race. So when Queens Park had a player sent off after just 20 minutes the visitors task looked all the more comfortable. However, playing a man down, the hosts adopted a defensive style of play that continually frustrated their opponents' who dominated play only to encounter a 'stacked' defence which permitted little room in which Mandurah City could operate. The best opportunity came when, after some solid midfield work, the ball appeared to have been scrambled over the line only to be gathered by the goalkeeper with the plea's of the Mandurah players being waved away by the refereee and his assistant. In the end the 0-0 scoreline was a fitting result in a game which never really got out of first gear. Mandurah took out the reserves game 1-0 via a superb strike from Justin Gates, while the under-18 match ended in a comfortable 5-0 win to the visitors.
Kingsway Olympic continued their slid down the table by crashing 4-3 away at Balcatta. Several dubious challenges were allowed to go unpunished by the referee in a scrappy opening period before Balcatta took the lead via a corner which was headed in by Adriano Caloiero ten minutes before half-time. But it wasn't until after the break that the goals began to flow, Olympic drawing level after some good work by Sota Iwasaki who teed-up Steve Bretti for a simple tap-in after 50 minutes. Balcatta then went ahead amid controversial circumstances, a shot by Antoine Aquilia striking the underside of the bar and bouncing on the line before being cleared, but the assistant referee signalled the ball had in fact crossed the line and the goal awarded. The visitors were the next to score, Scott Evans finding Adam Purcell wide on the left and his screaming shot from 20-metres rocketed past the goalkeeper. With fifteen minutes to go Olympic took the lead as Andy Brown's header found the back of the net. Refusing to concede defeat, Balcatta responded when Scott Broadley's free-kick took a deflection to wrong-foot the Olympic goalkeeper. With minutes remaining Balcatta secured maximum points as another free-kick from Broadley was blocked by the defensive wall before being scrambled over the line by 16-year old John Atkins in his fourth senior appearance.
Leeming Strikers claimed all three points from their meeting with Morley Windmills at John Connell Reserve. The Strikers began brightly with a move down the left in the opening minute ending with Angelo Perrovechio firing wide. Perrovechio was nearer the mark some seven minutes later following an exciting run by Phil Bell although the ball was still to find the net. The pressure was telling on the visiting side and took the lead after a hasty clearance rebounded back past the Windmills goalkeeper off a teammate. With a solid defence marshalled by captain Craig Ruthven, the Strikers looked all class with Ross Greer, Bell and Dale Wingell combining well in midfield. In the 31st minute Bell set Lucas Whitehouse free on the left and he picked his spot from 16-metres and hammered the ball into the top corner to make it 2-0. The Strikers were dominating for the most part and the pressure was getting to the visitors who were reduced to ten men in the 42nd minute following a serious foul play incident. Windmills began the second half striving to get back into the game but they lacked the penetration to threaten Michael Smirelli's goal. Gradually the home team began to re-assert their dominance, allowing coach Bob Braid was able to bring on youngsters Alex Hornby and Garth Lecky who proceeded to lead the Windmills backline on a merry dance. In earlier games, the Strikers won the reserves by 3-0 and took out the under-18 clash by forfeit.
Ashfield started their home clash with South West Phoenix very slowly and were made to pay when the Bunbury side too the lead after 2 minutes of play via Steve Suttie. The goal woke up the home team who began to strike the ball around the park with confidence and Ashfield should have been back on level terms when Wayne Culverwell put Alex Crookes through with only the goalkeeper to beat but the youngster uncharacteristically missed the target from close-range. Shortly after Crookes found Matt Pochroj who expertly shot past the advancing 'keeper from a difficult angle to level the game. In a see-sawing contest, both sides had their chances to score but it was Phoenix that made the most of the opportunities that came their way by restoring their lead with a stunning volley from 27-metres by Suttie. Ashfield came out for the second half firing on all cylinders and deservedly equalised after 52 minutes through Culverwell after Muhamed Komadaric's initial effort was blocked by the 'keeper. Growing in confidence, the home team went in front four minutes later when Wayne Culverwell beat his man and cut the ball back to Matt Pochroj who unselfishly set up Crookes from 8-metres for what would be the deciding goal. There were further chances at both ends before the final whistle signalled a hard-fought 3-2 win to Ashfield.
In other weekend action, The City drew 1-1 with Armadale at Kingsway Sporting Complex where both goals arrived within a minute of eachother. Gary Murray scored for The City while the visitors goal came from Greg Newcombe after 50 minutes. Alex Jankuloski gave Stirling Suns the lead 5 minutes into their home clash with Canning City. The game put back on level terms midway through the half by Paul Oliver only for Jankuloski to restore the Suns lead eight minutes before the break. Canning continued to plug away and were rewarded for their efforts when Michael Van Dongen equalised after 61 minutes, but it was all in vain as a goal from Dancho Jovanoski twelve minutes later made the final score 3-2 to the home team. Dianella White Eagles defeated Rockingham City 3-2 courtesy of goals from David Mrdja, Zelko Savic and and injury time winner by Dragisa Volarevic.
CHOKERS TAG SET TO GO SAYS GLORY GOALKEEPER
Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic says Perth Glory are set to thrown off the chokers tag which has hounded them since the club's loss in the 1999/2000 Grand Final. "You can't hide from the fact that we've lost two grand finals, but everything is focused on the bad things rather than the good things the club has achieved in a short period of time," Petkovic said. "We've won the minor premiership twice and been in the finals for the last four or five years. A lot of teams in the eastern states have been around for much longer and not done nearly as well. From where we've come from, to be one of the leaders in the sport in this country is a tremendous achievement. I'm confident that once we win one title, many more will come."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Fremantle City continued their brilliant start to the season with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat of the Western Knights at Ken Allen Field in Round Nine of the Premier League season. The win keeps the pressure on League leader Perth S.C. who crushed Bassendean Caledonian 5-0 thanks to a Shane Crampton hat-trick while Mark Pottier and Albert Osei-Tutu also found the net. Sorrento move up the standings following a 3-2 away win over Swan I.C. The points were shared between Cockburn City and Inglewood United where things ended 2-2, which was the same score at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions scored two late goals against Floreat Athena.
Bayswater City's consistency over the opening months of the First Division season has taken them to the top of the table after 11 games. On Saturday Southside United were Bayswater's victims by a 2-0 scoreline which puts them one point ahead of Stirling Suns who defeated Canning City 3-2 at home. Queens Park held Mandurah City to a scoreless draw at Coker Park, while the upset of the round saw Balcatta topple Kingsway Olympic 4-3. Ashfield overcame long-distance rivals South West Phoenix 3-2, The City played out a 1-1 home draw with Armadale, Dianella White Eagles proved too strong for Rockingham City by 3-2, and Leeming Strikers downed Morley Windmills 2-0.
CHOKERS TAG SET TO GO SAYS GLORY GOALKEEPER
Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic says Perth Glory are set to thrown off the chokers tag which has hounded them since the club's loss in the 1999/2000 Grand Final. "You can't hide from the fact that we've lost two grand finals, but everything is focused on the bad things rather than the good things the club has achieved in a short period of time," Petkovic said. "We've won the minor premiership twice and been in the finals for the last four or five years. A lot of teams in the eastern states have been around for much longer and not done nearly as well. From where we've come from, to be one of the leaders in the sport in this country is a tremendous achievement. I'm confident that once we win one title, many more will come."
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The pick of Saturday's Premier League action takes place at Ken Allen Field where Fremantle City will need more than youthful enthusiasm to overcome an experienced Western Knights line-up. It'll be a tight affair at Macedonia Park with both Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena in need of maximum points. There are important games for Swan I.C. and Sorrento, who meet at the Swan Italian Club, and home team Cockburn City against Inglewood United. Perth S.C., who have been scoring seemingly at will so far this season, are expected to prove too strong for the visitors from Bassendean Caledonian. E.C.U. Joondalup are out of action with the bye.
The First Division's big game this weekend sees a strong Mandurah City away to Queens Park who have come on in leaps and bounds over the past few weeks. Stirling Suns should bounce back to form against a youthful Canning City, and Kingsway Olympic are tipped to take out the points over Balcatta at Graham Burkett Reserve. Southside United will find the going tough against Bayswater City, likewise The City who has home ground advantage over Armadale. Elsewhere, Dianella White Eagles play Rockingham City, Leeming Strikers are home to Morley Windmills, and Ashfield take on the visitors from South West Phoenix.
Monday sees the quarter finals of the 2003 Boral Cup. The match of the round takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento go head-to-head with Premier League leaders Perth S.C. Also in the northern suburbs, an in-form Kingsway Olympic welcome a young and highly talented Fremantle City side. First Division powerhouse Mandurah City come up against the top flight's Swan I.C. at Peelwood Parade. The clash between Western Knights and current Cup holders E.C.U. Joondalup has been called off with Joondalup eliminated from the competition on a technicality.
GLORY-SHARKS MEET IN SEASON FINALE
The biggest game on the domestic soccer calendar comes to town on Sunday (kick-off 1.00pm) when Perth Glory take on Olympic Sharks in the 2002/03 National Soccer League Grand Final at Subiaco Oval. In seventeen meetings between the two sides the ledger is evenly balanced with six wins to Glory, seven to the Sharks and four games drawn. Their most recent meeting, just a fortnight ago at Perth Oval, ended in a narrow 1-0 triumph to Glory. The game will be broadcast live and in full by Radio Fremantle (107.9 FM) commencing at 12.45pm, and will screened on delayed telecast by Channel 7 from 3.00pm.
The home side head into the clash as red-hot favourites courtesy of their blistering recent form that has brought them eight wins in ten final series matches. With 42 goals between them this season Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski loom as key figures up-front for Glory, while midfield partners Andre Gumprecht and Simon Colosimo have been in peak form of late and are sure to keep the visiting side on their toes. Central defenders David Tarka and Jamie Harnwell will have the job of snuffing out the Sharks attacks but behind them stands one of the best goalkeepers on the national scene in Jason Petkovic. Coach Mich d'Avray has a full squad to choose from with the only player in doubt being substitute striker Nick Mrdja who has an inflamation of the hip.
Having taken out the home-and-away season trophy, the Sharks have really struggled over the finals series in which they've lost five times in ten outings. Striker Ante Milicic, who scored the only goal of the 2001/02 Grand Final between the Sharks and Glory, is the man Glory's backline have to keep close tabs on. In the middle of the park Wayne Srhoj, Tom Pondeljak and Troy Halpin will provide the ammunition, while defensively the Sharks will look to the big game experience of captain Ante Juric and goalkeeper Clint Bolton. Key defender Paul Kohler suffered a back injury at training today and is likely to miss the game, while Hiroyuki Ishida (calf), Jeromy Harris (tendonitis) and Halpin (groin) should be part of the line-up despite their injury worries.
FANS URGED TO GET BEHIND GLORY
Alan Vest, assistant coach of Perth Glory, wants to hear noise, chanting, cheering and whistling from the club's supporters at Sunday's National Soccer League Grand Final against rivals Olympic Sharks. While Glory's hometown supporters turned out in great numbers at last seasons' finale, which Olympic won 1-0, Vest believes the atmosphere created for the game was below par. "To be honest, I didn't think the atmosphere at last season's grand final was very good. It seemed a bit dead," said Vest. Should Glory fall behind on Sunday, as happened last year, the players will be looking to the crowd to help them out. "That is when the fans are vital," Vest added. "It is easy to support if the team is winning all the time. It is if a team gets behind, the fans can give a lift, there is no doubt about that. They need to be a bit more vocal than last year."
PROTEST PLANNED FOR N.S.L. FINALE
The Football Supporters Association of West Australia will voice their disapproval over the lack of progress being made on the reform front prior to Sunday's National Soccer League Grand Final. Moves to reform the game, as suggested the Crawford Report which was released in April, are being stifled by three directors of Soccer Australia - Les Avory, Dominic Galati and Paul Afkos - who want a spot on the interim board to be led by Sydney businessman Frank Lowy. But the president of the Football Supporters Association of W.A., John O'Connell, said it was time to move ahead for the good of the game. "When we look at the people involved in Soccer Australia there is a lot of baggage to come with it," O'Connell said this week. "People say we should have people that know about soccer on the board but we've had those people on the board for 30 or 40 years and they have not achieved anything. We need to come out and say we support Frank (Lowy) and that we should get on with restructuring the game." O'Connell also pointed out that the protest isn't a character assassination of the remaining board members, rather it's a chance for people to air some of their feelings about the sport.
KLAVER BLOWS WHISTLE ON REFEREES
Anyone that has tried to officiate a soccer match will be quick to tell you that being the man - or woman - with the whistle is not an easy job. With your every move and decision sure to earn you the ire of at least one team and their supporters, few would disagree that being a referee is a thankless task and one that is rarely praised. But while they are often on the receiving end of much criticism, referees choose to stay involved in the game for one reason. "Just like everyone else football is our passion," said local official Michael Klaver this week. "Quite simply, we love the game."
"It's true we do cop a lot of abuse but football is an emotional game and everyone is entitled to their opinions," Klaver told Brett Klucznik. "On the flip side of that abuse is that we do get compliments, although they tend not to be expressed at the same volume as the negative comments - but that is all part of the game. Refereeing at any level is a challenging job and obviously the higher you go up the ladder the more the pressure appears to be on you. But at the end of the day you are there to do a job, be it a game in the national league, the state league or at under 11's."
While players, coaches and supporters are often at odds over whether a referee had a good game or not, match officials are constantly monitoring and having assessed their performances. "It's well known that we have inspectors who assess and grade our performances throughout the season, however, there are many other ways to gauge your game. For example, you have your peers on the line or who happen to be at the game watching and you ask them for their opinions. Why stop there, it can also be appropriate to ask players, coaches and the like for their thoughts on how went. In addition to match inspectors, at National Soccer League level each game is video taped and the referee receives a private copy for self assessment."
Having been a regular on the local scene for numerous years, Klaver stepped up to the level when he joined Eddie Lennie, Patrick McCaffrey, Stephen Muldoon, Angelo Nardi and Michael Nugus in the National Soccer League a couple of years back. Since his N.S.L. debut as an assistant referee in Perth Glory's home clash with Marconi Stallions in October 2001, Klaver has made in excess of a dozen appearances on the line. "This is my second full season on the N.S.L. assistant referees panel and I'm loving it," Klaver commented. "The step up is actually quite a jump from the local game mainly because of the pace of the game. Being a professional competition it's interesting to see the way things are run behind the scenes, everything is done very formally. It's a great experience and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Like players, referees are always looking towards their next career step. "Football is constantly moving forward and one aspect in particular is the idea of full time referees. This would be a huge opportunity which I one day hope to be a part of," said Klaver of his own career aspirations. "The ultimate goal for me would be to officiate as a FIFA official at a major event like the World Cup. For now though my next goal is to become a member of the N.S.L. Referees Panel. In terms of the highlights I've had so far, I'd say the biggest honour would probably be refereeing the 2002 Boral Cup Final as well as all the N.S.L. games I've been involved in."
In the past few months several players from the local competition have taken steps towards getting their referee qualifications. "I think that sort of thing should be absolutely encouraged," Klaver said. "It's a good move which those players will benefit from. The laws of the game are simple enough to learn and it would hopefully make our jobs a little easier too. Actually, becoming and being a referee is a bit different to simply doing a course though, but none the less it is a step in the right direction for the game in general. For those interested in doing the referees course, contact Peter Tripoli on 9453 9172."
Klaver first turned his hand to refereeing at the age of 16 in an effort to earn himself some extra pocket money. "A few years later whilst playing a reserves game at Cockburn City, one of the officials for the league game got injured and couldn't run his line," he explained. "The referee of that game knew I had been an official referee and asked me to run the line, so I did. The referee on the day, Andy Gorton, was being assessed and in the inspection report it was noted that I had a very good game on the line. Soon after I received a phone call asking me to rejoin the referees body as a senior referee. After a bit of thought I decided to try it for the year, see how it goes and here I am today."
DALE TO WING INTO STRIKERS (courtesy leemingstrikers.com)
First Division club Leeming Strikers have confirmed the signing of another quality player with the acquisition of former Perth Glory player Dale Wingell. Comfortable playing in attack of midfield, Wingell spent last season on the books of Fremantle City and is the second high-profile capture for the Strikers this month, coming hot on the heels of Ross Greer's signing from Sorrento. First team coach Bob Braid was elated with the signing of Wingell, formerly a member of the State team. "I have been tracking Dale for some time and I am delighted our club were able to secure his signature," said Braid. "He will add tremendous depth to our squad and is just the kind of player we need right now. We have played several weeks now with many first team choices missing through various reasons, when we get them all on the park we will rattle some cages." Asked if the transfer targets for the 2003 season are complete, Braid said "No, we still have our eye on one or two to complete the picture, we're patient and will wait our moments but we will get our men eventually."
LAZARIDIS SHARES HIS WISDOM AT MACEDONIA PARK
Birmingham City and Australian midfielder Stan Lazaridis and former Socceroo goalkeeper Tony Franken will be the guests of honour at Macedonia Park on Saturday for a panel discussion prior to the Premier League meeting between Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena. The panel, which also features Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides and board member John Quigley, will discuss the matter of 'What it takes to get to the top in soccer as a chosen career'. A big turnout is expected with over 300 players and parents drawn from the clubs' junior ranks confirmed to attend.
MILLER REACHES 200 GAMES FOR GLORY
Scott Miller will make his 200th appearance for Perth Glory when they take on the Olympic Sharks in Sunday's Grand Final of the 2002/03 National Soccer League season. Miller commenced his N.S.L. career in 1994/95 with Eastern Pride and, after two years with the Gippsland-based club, he joined Glory for their inaugural campaign in the national competition. "I copped a bit of a ribbing when I signed," he said this week. "People said Glory would be lucky to get a couple of hundred people to a game." Miller was part of the Glory line-up in their first competitive outing, against the Sharks on 13th October 1996 when the visitors got up 4-1 at Perth Oval. Seven years later the 31-year old left-sided player, who played two matches for Australia in mid-2001, is on the eve of his third Grand Final outing with Glory and set to become the clubs' first player to notch up 200 N.S.L. games.
ON THE BALL WITH GARETH NAVEN (courtesy the Swan I.C. matchday programme)
Anyone who has seen Gareth Naven in action this year will tell you the 34-year old midfielder is playing some of the best football of his career. Having spent numerous seasons with Perth S.C. prior to a lengthy stay in the National Soccer League, Naven returned to his second home of Dorrien Gardens following his release by Perth Glory in mid-2001. "The whole club has been great and made me feel welcome," he recently told Peter Simcox. Seven games into the new winter campaign and Naven has been a key member of the Perth side that top of the Premier League table undefeated. "The season is going well," Naven commented, somewhat understating the fact. "We have a good young team and have excellent backing from coach Graham Normanton and Tommy Maras."
Prior to his return to Perth, Naven spend many years playing in the national competition with Adelaide City and then as captain of Perth Glory. In his 145-game career, two matches immediately come to mind for Naven. "The two Grand Finals at Subiaco Oval - they were stand outs in my time in the N.S.L. The atmosphere was electric. They were great occasions but it was also a huge personal disappointment because I wasn't in the starting line up for either game." A big part of those two fateful occasions was Glory's fanatical supporters who are always cheering the side on no matter which side of the country the game is being played. "It's great to have the support, especially when we were playing so far from Perth. They never stop cheering all game."
The recent Crawford Report has set down some pretty clear guidelines as to how the game in this country, via Soccer Australia, can get it's house in order and begin to build upon the games true potential. "The major hurdle is a financial viable league competition which attracts sponsors and television rights - this is a must. Also individual states need to have a development policy through to clubs and state teams." On a related topic, there have long been suggestions that Western Australia field a second team in the national competition but Naven, one of the most successful players that state has ever produced, has different thoughts on the matter. "I believe Perth should only have one team in the N.S.L.," he said. "As they say, if it's working then don't change it!"
MORE SHENANIGANS AT NATIONAL LEVEL
It was expected the extraordinary meeting of Soccer Australia called for 7th June would provide the smooth transition for an interim board led by Frank Lowy to take control of the board of the national body. But recent developments suggest S.A. stakeholders will vote to cancel that meeting, and at a general meeting seven day later will remove Les Avory, Dominic Galati and Paul Afkos from the board to be replaced by Lowy's team. Soccer New South Wales, one of the most powerful S.A. stakeholder groups, last week instigated the 14th June meeting saying the arrangements for the earlier meeting were unacceptable as they require secret ballots and contested elections. Lowy has indicated he will walk away from the game should his hand-picked board not be elected unopposed.
While the incumbent board members will need a majority vote from S.A. stakeholders - the clubs and states - the whole reform process will derail if they manage to get the numbers. "We're not quite sure what the motives are of those few remaining board members," Mark Peters of the Australian Sports Commission said recently. "I can only ask why are these three people trying to hold on when the vast majority of the soccer fraternity want to move this forward. It was made clear in the Crawford Report, and was evident at the aborted 3rd May Soccer Australia general meeting, that a majority of stakeholders have no confidence in the current governance of Soccer Australia and would like the remaining directors to stand aside in order to allow the Lowy team to take the game forward."
DRAMATIC RISE IN WOMEN'S NUMERS
Women's soccer in the west continues to grow with a 20% increase in participation numbers over the past 12 months, with the biggest increase taking place in the under 18 age groups which experienced a massive 50% jump in numbers. "We have had to turn clubs away this year because it was too late to arrange fixtures," said Janette Spencer, president of Womens' Soccer Western Australia this week. While Perth Glory's continuing on-field success and the 2002 World Cup Finals tournament has played it's part in the growth, the effect of movies such as "Bench It Like Beckham" has also been noticeable. "Part of it is a parental acceptance of soccer as a sport for women," Spencer added. "Lots of parents are seeing it as a good sport for their daughters to play." As a result of the recent growth, W.S.W.A. are looking to overhaul their organisational structure. "We are really feeling the pressure at the moment because we are a totally voluntary organisation with no paid staff," Spencer commented.
BIRMINGHAM RELEASE DAVIES
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce has handed one-time West Australian junior representative Clint Davies a free transfer. The 19-year old shot-stopper, who joined the Blues in mid-1999 and signed his first professional contract last March, was second choice goalkeeper for part of the recent English Premier League campaign. Davies spent the last few months of the season on loan to non-League clubs Tamworth, Nuneaton Borough and Woking only to be recalled on each occasion by Birmingham due to injury problems with the club's goalkeeping stocks.
LAZARIDIS CRITICAL OF INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM
With Australia's 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign set to start in around fifteen months, Stan Lazaridis has hit out at the national team's lack of regular football. The Socceroo's last outing was the 3-1 win over England in February, while their next scheduled friendly is against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 20th August. "To be honest, our international schedule is very poor," Lazaridis told Fox Sports correspondent Andy Paschalidis. "I know Soccer Australia is having problems at the moment and I respect that. But we have missed a golden chance to cash in, in the short-term. Everyone was talking about our big win in England. It was the perfect marketing chance to consolidate but we didn't move. I'm sure we wouldn't have had too many problems securing top-line opposition."
NAGLIERI CONFIDENT OF MOVING ABROAD (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Former Perth Glory midfielder Antonio Naglieri has re-joined Cockburn City following extended trials in Europe. Recipient of the W.A. Rookie of the Year in 2000, the 20-year old trained with Cardiff City, Perugia and Ternana before injury struck and he was forced to return to Perth. "It was a good experience," he told the "West Australian" recently. "Now I just need to get games under my belt. If I play well enough hopefully something will pop up again either in the National Soccer League or overseas."
Sunday's WAASSA Premier League clash between Murdoch University and Hamersley Rovers proved to be another tight affair between two sides with almost indentical records so far this year. Although missing Nick Cianci and captain Flavio Labbate, Hamersley started brightly and opened the scoring after 15 minutes when excellent approach work by Alun Vernals and Darren Yates resulted in Daniel Scudder having time and space to slot home under the advancing goalkeeper. At the other end of the park Nathan Chapman squandered a good chance to level when he seized upon a poor back pass and rounded goalkeeper Andre Van Leishout only to shoot wide. While they were unable to get on the scoreboard during the opening half Murdoch were still very much in the game. Hamersley came out for the new half determined to secure themselves full points and a place near the top of the table. Twenty minutes in Darren Yates made a goal all of his own when he held off his marker some 30-metres from goal before making his way inside the area to slot the ball under the 'keeper. Within ten minutes Murdoch pulled a goal back when Coultard's shot from the edge of the box was turned onto the bar by Van Leishout and Chapman stooped to head in the rebound. Jason Dixon, who was having a strong game in midfield, was unlucky not to equalise with a great shot that struck the crossbar and bounced on the goalline before being cleared by the visiting defence. The 2-1 pushed Hamersley to the top of the standings, one point ahead of University of W.A., while Murdoch slip to sixth.
University of WA cruised to an impressive 7-0 defeat of North Perth United at McGillivray Oval. The home team began on a positive note when David Berg headed the ball down to Daniel Forbes whose strike on goal was pushed around the post by goalkeeper John Bryant. After 17 minutes a long pass from Max Percy found David Berg inside the penalty area and he made no mistake in finding the back of the net. Minutes later Percy won possession in the centre of the pitch and relayed the ball to Forbes who shot into the legs of Bryant and Robert Benkovic was there to drive the loose ball home and make it 2-0. University were on fire and when Percy and Forbes again combined to set-up Benkovic for his second of the day the game was effectively over as a contest. Seven minutes from the break the margin became four goals after Andy Hart lobbed the ball over the visiting defence and Forbes beat both defender and goalkeeper to score from an acute angle. The second half saw University continue to dominate. A corner found its way to Adam Brett who did not linger from 2-metres to further extend the margin, and shortly after another corner resulted in David Berg's glancing a header making it 6-0. Berg then had a chance to score a hat-trick only for his chip to strike the crossbar, but Harry Banyard was well placed to net the rebound for his first ever goal in the top flight. "We knew we were going to post a good score sooner or later with all the chances we have been creating and, without being disrespectful to our opposition, it should have been double figures but for some good saves from their 'keeper," said University coach Kevin Burton after the game. University also claimed the reserves match by 6-0 to maintain their winning steakand stay top of their division.
A warm, sunny afternoon greeted the players as the Balga and Shamrock Rovers teams took to the field for their Premier League meeting at Brian Burke Reserve. Both clubs went into the game desperate for points, Balga searching for that elusive first win under coach George Papaliaris and Shamrock out to put some disappointing recent results behind them. The early stages saw neither side impress as passes went astray and play was generally sloppy. Shamrock probably shaded their opponents with strikers Mark Kelly and William Lyall putting the home defence under pressure without really creating much in the way of scoring opportunities. The visitors major threat came from their height and a corner was met solidly by Lyall who headed in against his former club for the matches first goal. After the break Balga danger man Hien Tran started to find his rhythm and get more involved in the game as the home side sought to equalise. Midway through the half Tran drew the visiting defence out of position before slotting to Paul Harnett who was felled just outside the area and Darren McNally brilliantly curled the ball around the wall and into the unguarded net. Sensing a rare win was a very real possibility, Balga continued to press forward in numbers with Tran proving particularly effective. With 15 minutes remaining, another break into the area resulted in Shamrock conceding a penalty which Gary Shorto smashed home to give Balga the advantage. But Shamrock have proven time and time again that they are made of stern stuff and weren't about to give up just yet. They charged forward at every opportunity and within minutes of going behind had equalised through Kelly who made the most of a hesitive defence to nod home. There were chances for both teams to win in the closing stages but it was Shamrock who were successful with a quick counter attacking move that saw Lyall slam his shot past substitute goalkeeper Chris Harvey for the winner. "Some of the young boys did well today - we are improving every game and the win will come," said Balga's Papaliaris after the game.
In other WAASSA Premier League games played on Sunday, Kwinana United defeated Forrestfield United 2-1 and Perth Azzurri were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Spearwood Dalmatinac. The result of the Canning International-Fremantle United fixture is unknown. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT (Swan I.C. vs Perth S.C. by Mike Hennessey; Sorrento vs Inglewood United by Kerry Slater; Western Knights vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Bassendean Caledonian vs Cockburn City by Bill McAlister and Lennie Bavich)
Stirling Lions welcomed high-flying Fremantle City to Macedonia Park for Round Eight of the 2003 Premier League season. Neither side was expected to shine this season but their starts to the winter campaign could not have been much more different. With a young squad, Fremantle have undoubtedly been the surprise packets of the opening two months of competition and prior to the match sat in second place and a point behind table-toppers Perth S.C. In contrast, the Lions have won just twice from six starts and are struggling with a dreadful run with injury. The only absentee for Fremantle was the experienced Alex Cummings who was forced to watch from the sidelines due to injury, while the Lions had regulars Troy Wright, Adam Kostrencic and Darko Ilmanovski out of the starting line-up for the same reason.
All the early play may have been with the home side but for their increased possession there were few genuine shots on goal as Fremantle's young defence held firm under mounting pressure. The best of the early moves resulted from a Lions corner that Keegan Ashley floated into the heart of the 18-yard box where Andy Wright rose unchallenged to thump the ball narrowly over the crossbar. Referee Steve Muldoon succumbed to injury after 6 minutes, and his replacement Hugh Best wasted no time in stamping his authority on a physical game with a couple of quick bookings. In the 16th minute Mark Gentile sent Rob Milevski away down the left but having made his way well inside the 18-yard box the striker pulled his shot across the face of goal. With the very next play Fremantle mounted their first serious attack that resulted in Anthony Pereira shooting wide from 16-metres.
Midway through the half the Lions lost Gentile who was taken off to hospital having suffered a serious knee injury when challenging possession. Although play was held up for a lengthy period due to the injury, the break didn't disrupt the home sides' rhythm. Teenager Stjepan Beretovac won possession in his own half before exploding down the left flank but his cross into the area went unrewarded as Milevski and Adam Rains failed to test goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. A 34th minute corner again caught Fremantle's backline ball-watching as Andy Wright this time forced Koroma into a fantastic flying save along his goalline. Milevski was unlucky not to give the Loins the lead after 40 minutes when he ran onto a fine pass into attack by Robert Monterosso, but with Koroma racing off his line the ball took an awkward bounce off the playing surface and Milevski's lob flew well over the top.
A tactical change during the interval by Fremantle saw Mikulic drop back into midfield with John Migas taking his place in attack. The move worked a treat as just four minutes after the resumption of play 18-year old Migas broke the deadlock by sending his shot from the top of the 18-yard box beyond the reach of Lions custodian Jordan Conti. With little option now but to attack, the home side threw everything into finding an equalising goal only to have their best moves broken down by a well-organised Fremantle defence. Going the other way, the port side were also being frustrated as Andy Wright and Tony Paolino efficiently marshalled the Lions rearguard. The end result was few chances on goal with much of the play taking place in midfield where both team effectively stifled the others creativity. Of the chances on goal the best came the way of Fremantle as Migas met Mikulic's free-kick from the left but his header kissed the wrong side of the crossbar after 68 minutes.
As Lions' passes began to go astray and their hopes faded, Fremantle took over the game with a wonderful display of passing to break down the opponents. In the 75th minute Craig Young beat the offside trap to go through the middle with only Conti to beat but the striker placed his shot wide of the target when he should have done much better. Three minutes later a sweeping move ended with Mikulic shooting high from 16-metres, and a further two minutes elapsed before Dean Apelgren found the side-netting. Conti made a superb reflex save from close range after Mikulic's mesmerising run into the area after 81 minutes. The Lions only chance of the period was a speculative lob by substitute Scott Bailey that a back-tracking Koroma stopped on the line. The result was put beyond doubt six minutes from the end when Mikulic controlled a cross from the right and brilliantly threw off his marker, wrong-footing Conti in the process, then blasted the ball into an exposed net from 7-metres.
The 2-0 win keeps Fremantle hot on the heels of leaders Perth S.C., and at the same time opens up a six point gap on Inglewood United and Western Knights who share third-place. Mikulic was superb for the port side and showed his value whether it be playing as an out-and-out striker or in a more creative role in midfield. Teenage sweeper Apelgren was faultless in his command of the Fremantle defence, and there were also key contributions from Migas and Shane Nunes. Having dominated the opening half the Lions would rue their missed opportunities to take the lead. Andy Wright was the stand-out player for the home side with a rock-solid display at the back and a danger in deadball situations. Beretovac was an inspiration throughout the afternoon, and Milevski worked tirelessly up-front without success. Mention need also be made of referee Best who allowed the game to flow, was firm but fair when called upon and in general did a superb job with the whistle.
Stirling Lions : Jordan Conti, Tony Paolino, Andy Wright, Riste Stefovski,
Robert Monterosso, Adam Rains (Adam Kostrencic 82), Mark Gentile (Toby
Wright 25), Stjepan Beretovac, Keegan Ashley, Danny Carlino (Scott Bailey
64), Rob Milevski
Fremantle City : Bobson Koroma, Dean Apelgren, Craig Surettes, Shane Nunes, James Hesketh, Anthony Pereira (Jamie Jorqueira 85), John Migas, Marc Wingell, Cisco Jorquiera (Peter Lord 77), Branimir Mikulic, Craig Young
Bookings : Mikulic (10), Pereira (13), Young (53), T.Wright (68)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Steve Muldoon / Hugh Best
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
A depleted Swan I.C. side lost a close battle with traditional rivals Perth S.C. at the Swan Italian Club on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. The game flowed from end-to-end with Adam Bunce firing just wide for Perth and Paul Lincoln failing to finish a fine Swan move. Corners came at both ends but generally it was the respective defences that were on top. The visiting side broke the deadlock after 31 minute when Rob Giorgi raced in to shoot low into the net as the ball broke loose in a goalmouth scramble. One-nil up, Perth might have had a second but Shane Crampton sliced his shot wide not long after. Swan came close to leveling before half-time when they cleverly worked a corner only for the Perth defence to clear off the line to maintain their lead. The home team came out firing in the second half as Lincoln set up Damian Scali but his shot was well-saved by Gianni Papalia, and shortly after Lincoln shot narrowly wide himself. Perth responded through Bunce who cut in from the right with the ball at his feet but his shot was also just off-target. Continually on the attack, Swan could have altered the outcome of the game only to be thwarted by two great saves from Papalia in quick succession, first to keep out Elton Holmes' effort and then turning Damian Scali's hard shot around the post. Perth increased their lead via a free-kick on the edge of the 18-yard box which was brilliantly curled into the top corner by Todd Howarth after 71 minutes. A defensive error enabled Mark Lee to peg back the margin, and Swan were desperately unlucky not to be on level terms when a great run from Lincoln ended with him hitting the upright. At the other end young goalkeeper Chris Ramsey saved well but he could do nothing to prevent Mike Icanovski firing in the loose ball to put Perth 3-1 up then, down the opposite end, a superb header by Holmes from a Lee cross again reduced the arrears. Some great defending by Aaron Cole prevented the home side from equalising before the tall defender turned attacker as he sent Bunce racing through to make it 4-2. Just when fans thought it was game over a spectacular long-range strike by Damian Scali closed the gap but Perth held out for a couple of uneasy minutes to take out maximum points.
Sorrento made good their home ground advantage when they took on a strong Inglewood United side on the weekend. The home side were on the attack from as early as the 2nd minute when David Foster came close to profiting from a loose ball but had his shot blocked by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. Four minutes later Taseski was again Inglewood's saviour as he kept out a Todd Harnwell effort. Sorrento reaped reward for the early pressure after 13 minutes as Andy Mason squared into the danger area where Simon Harland squandered a close-range tap-in before Glen Thomas lobbed the ball over the sprawling Taseski from 7-metres. Within a minute the Seagulls won a free-kick on the right that Daniel Stoitis swung in and Steve McDonald's powerful header skimmed the outside of the up-right. A Harnwell corner on 18 minutes was headed down at the far post by Richard Watson to Foster who expertly guided the ball over Taseski to double Sorrento's lead. With Sorrento custodian Neil Young little more than a spectator, it seemed only a matter of time before the home side would further extend the margin. Two minutes from the break Daniel Cain's searching long pass found Mason who beat Daniel Harrop before firing in Sorrento's third of the game. After a fiery half-time talk from coach Jimmy Pearson, it was a more robust Inglewood side which emerged after the break. But it took until the 67th minute for the visitors to fashion an opening as Shaun Kilkelly's low cross from the left reached the unmarked Scott Campbell who blasted well over when a better return was expected. Both coaches made full use of their benches without change to the score. Four minutes from the end a sweet, flowing move involving Watson, Dale McCulloch and Thomas ended with Mason heading across the goal face much to the relief of Taseski.
The Western Knights had little trouble in disposing of E.C.U. Joondalup by a 4-0 scoreline at Nash Field. The writing was on the wall from early in as the Knights' strike force of Stuart Montgomery and John Nicolaou carved out chance after chance but simply could not hit the target. It was however Joondalup that threatened first and only a terrific one handed save from Tommi Tomich prevented an audacious chip from teenager Josh Kamasz from giving the visitors the lead. The Knights struck two minutes later when a perfectly weighted ball over the top by Claus Nielsen found Nicolaou who cut it back for Montgomery who clipped his shot past goalkeeper Peter Stewart. Tomich came his side's rescue again in the 27th minute when a he parried away a fierce goal bound drive from Eugene Singeorzan. Montgomery and Nicolaou continued to terrorise the visiting defence but it was Knights captain Carl Medica who was next to score following a trademark mazey run into the penalty area. After the break Joondalup came out with an increased urgency and when Kamasz turned his marker just inside the penalty box and unleashed a venomous shot it looked like they were back in the game, but Tomich was there again to fingertip the effort onto the post and to safety. In the 55th minute the game was ended as a contest as Nielsen's cross found Scott Devine and he laid the ball off Nicolaou who, with time and space to pick his spot, curled the ball past a despairing Stewart to make it 3-0. Nicolaou completed the scoring after 70 minutes after Leon Russell surged down the left, played the ball to Medica who cleverly drew a defender before pushing his pass to Nicolaou who slotted it into the bottom corner of the goal.
Cockburn City went home with maximum points from their meeting with Bassendean Caledonians at Jubilee Reserve. Youngsters Mileta Miletic and Roberto Colalillo were lively in attack throughout this match but the first opening came the way of Antonio Naglieri who was foiled in a one-on-one with home custodian Alan Dunlop after 10 minutes. Shortly after Shane McNally was brought down inside the penalty area leaving the referee with no option but to award a spot kick which Nagileri converted by sending Dunlop the wrong way. Caledonian's best chance of the opening half saw Ian Griffiths tee-up Dean Gartside whose shot was blocked. Down the opposite end, Dunlop was called upon twice within minutes to keep out shots from Colalillo as the half ended with Cockburn holding a one-goal advantage. The second period began with the home side on the attack, Matt Donlevy and Gartside combining to open up the defence but the pass to Ian Griffiths was just out of his reach. Cockburn were also looking dangerous as they went forward only to find Dunlop at his brilliant best by saving a Miletic shot after the home defence failed to clear to a corner. Midway through the half Peter Petkovich replaced Colalillo and he did not disappoint when Josh Pescud's corner went to feet and the striker crashed the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0. Post-match, Cockburn coach Mirko Jelicic said the return of Naglieri and Dusan Macura from abroad and Shane McNally from injury have been key players in the sides return to form. "They've made a bit of a difference and put some pressure on the players who have been in cruise mode. The players have some confidence now that they didn't have before last week."
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Sorrento moved to outright second on the reserves table following a 2-0 win over Inglewood United in a tight meeting at Percy Doyle Reserve. The home side looked the better organised but struggled to prove their early dominance. After the break it was with the assistance of their opponents that Sorrento took the lead. With 54 minutes gone, a low, hard cross from the right was missed by the Inglewood goalkeeper and crashed into the body of a surprised Shane Hrstic before rolling over the line for the games opening goal. Nine minutes later the result was put beyond doubt via a stunning shot by Harman which flew into the top corner of the net.
Perth S.C. stay top of the reserves competition courtesy of a 4-0 away win over Swan I.C. with goals from Daniel Micevski, Edward Parra, Ben Rogers and James Isaia. Fremantle City left it until very late before earning themselves a share of the points from their away clash with Stirling Lions which ended 1-1. Christian De Barro put the Lions in front four minutes from half-time but Fremantle came storming back after the break to dominate play and create all the chances on goal. After several near misses the port side leveled via a spectacular strike from Daniel Barlow after 76 minutes. Goals from Sam Miller (2) and Tristan Carroll for Western Knights were negated as Tom Jones, Derek Cooke and John Greenwood found the net for E.C.U. Joondalup to tie the game up at 3-3.
Bassendean Caledonian held on against Cockburn City to register their second win of the season at Jubilee Reserve. Ryan Jeans struck in the 7th and 20th minutes for the home side before Petar Mrdja reduced the margin midway through the opening half. But there was no stopping Jeans who completed his hat-trick after 36 minutes to put Caledonian in the box seat by the break. Cockburn pegged back the gap with 69 minutes gone via Peter Petkovich. Caledonian goalkeeper Steven Grant kept his side in front with a great save to deny Petkovich his second of the day, and Petkovich twice struck the crossbar as Cockburn threw everything forward over the closing stages in an effort to snatch a point without success. The result lifts Caledonian four points clear of bottom side Swan I.C.
Fremantle City boosted their goal difference and keep the pressure on Under-18 leaders E.C.U. Joondalup with a crushing 9-0 defeat of Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Mo Atak opened the floodgate after 6 minutes, doubled the margin eleven minutes later and completed his hat-trick a minute before the interval. Marc Sim got in on the act with two goals in as many minutes at the start of the new half before Sebastian Trim made it 6-0 after 56 minutes. Atak bagged his fourth of the game ten minutes later, Sim wrapped up his hat-trick after 64 minutes, and a great finish from Jason Berreira rounded out the scoreline close to the end. The win, Fremantle's biggest of the season to date, brings their goal tally to 39 after eight rounds. "It's pleasing that the Lions played the game with dignity, its not easy to be on the end of a 9-0 result," said Fremantle coach Mike Tetlow.
E.C.U. Joondalup maintained their three-point lead in the Under-18 competition courtesy of a 6-2 away defeat of Western Knights. Rostyne Griffiths and Phillip O'Callaghan both scored twice and Daniel Waind and Sam Colligan once for Joondalup while both the Knights goals came in the first half from Paul Underwood. Perth S.C. continued their climb up the table with a resounding 6-1 defeat of bottom side Swan I.C. Matt Ullbricht gave the black and whites the lead after 18 minutes but Perth responded with a goal blitz in which started with David Micevski's 30th minute strike, Jan Zablocki gave the visitors the lead a minute later and a second from Micevski after 37 minutes left Swan reeling. Mcevski completed his hat-trick after the break, Zablocki scored a second with Perth's sixth goal coming from a Swan defender.
The clash between Sorrento and Inglewood United started with neither side giving the other an inch, but it was the northern suburbs side that held the advantage at the break after a double from Andrew Brand negated the effect of a penalty converted by Demir Arslanoski. Thirteen minutes after the break Abi Mohamed put the visitors level but that lasted just three minutes as Dejan Gurovski restored the home teams lead. A Barry Briman volley on the hour enforced Sorrento's margin and ensured them maximum points. Cockburn City scored twice in the opening five minutes of their away clash with Bassendean Caledonian to send them down the path to victory. Dragan Milankovic opened the scoring after 2 minutes, Bojan Dakovack doubled the lead with 4 minutes gone, and when Fabio Deoliugria netted on the half hour the game was over as a contest.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ELEVEN (Bayswater City vs Dianella White Eagles by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Balcatta by Barry Rennie; Armadale vs Leeming Strikers courtesy leemingstrikers.com; Ashfield vs Canning City courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
Bayswater City moved to the top of the First Division table - level on points with but ahead on goal difference of Mandurah City and Kingsway Olympic - following a 4-0 trouncing of Dianella White Eagles at Frank Drago Reserve. With regulars Adam Ashworth, Daniel Vangelovski and Boima Karpeh absent through injury while goalkeeper Gianni Papalia returned to Perth S.C. after a short loan spell, it looked like being a long afternoon for the home side. The match started with both teams playing good, aggressive soccer with the first chance coming the way of Dianella forward Zelko Savic who hit his shot straight at 'keeper Mathew Saliacus when he should have done better. After that the home side stepped up a gear to dominate proceedings with midfielders Kevin Henderson and Gareth Healy in complete control. Bayswater's first goal arrived after 38 minutes as Healy broke away down the left and crossed to Andrew O'Neill who converted what was an easy chance. It was all one-way traffic after the break as Bayswater went in for the kill. Their second goal came from Sal Marrapodi and resulted from a great cross by Sean Cowman. Marrapodi added his second via a first-time strike which found the corner of the net following a good lead-up from Healy. The margin blew out to four goals when Nick Stojanovski whacked the ball home from close-range. The reserves match was taken out by Dianella by 7-0, while the Under-18 fixture was won by the visiting side by 5-1.
At Peelwood Parade, Mandurah City scored a comfortable six goal win over the visitors from Balcatta to keep pace with Bayswater City and Kingsway Olympic at the completion of Round Eleven of the First Division season. From the opening minute Mandurah created the better of the scoring opportunities and, with 3 minutes gone, a perfect pass from Jordan Rhodes saw Andrew Rennie control brilliantly before laying the off to Michael Bobridge who scored with his head from close range. From there the home team never looked in trouble, controlling the play for the remainder of the half in which Bobridge scored his second shortly before half-time. After the break Mandurah continued to attack while down the opposite end of the park the home defence never gave Balcatta's attackers a chance to score. Damian Condo, on his return from injury, was in complete control at the heart of the backline which also featured Alan Fitzmaurice and Steve Adams who used their superior strength to cut out their opponents more menacing moves. Bobridge deservedly completed his third hat-trick in three home outings and is proving to be an irresistible force up front for Mandurah, and Chris Paschewitz also got in on the action with several solo efforts which resulted in two goals. Rhodes completed the scoreline when he went it alone to score under the diving Balcatta goalkeeper. The win rounded out a successful day for Mandurah who also took out the reserves (3-0) and Under-18 (4-1) meetings.
Kingsway Olympic began their home clash with Queens Park in dominant fashion but unable to get the early breakthrough. As the half progressed the home defence of Andy Brown, Jason Stern and Nanini came under increasing pressure with Adrian McBride sending a stream of dangerous crosses into the area from the left but few clear cut chances resulted. In the 29th minute Olympic got the breakthrough they were after when a free-kick from the right was flicked on by Brown and Stern beat the offside trap to slip the ball into the bottom left hand corner for the games opening goal. The ebb and flow of the match produced a lot of attacking but chances on goal were few and far between as the respective defences held firm. Queens Park drew level after 41 minutes via McBride whose cross into the area was captured by goalkeeper Aiden Hayes who was clattered in to by Brian Robertson, forcing the 'keeper to spill the ball and Robertson headed it over the line. The battle of the midfield's continued after the break. A quick attack from Olympic resulted in Sota Iwasaki being hauled down inside the 18-yard box and Steve Bretti's spot kick was brilliantly turned around the post by the 'keeper. John Higgins whipped in the resulting corner which was judged to have been handled by a Queens Park defender and for the second time in a minute the referee pointed to the spot. This time Andy Brown stepped up and slotted home to give Olympic the lead after 55 minutes. Bretti and Iwasaki both missed good opportunities to kill off the game as the clock ticked down. Queens Park also had their chances to snatch a point with Stern timing his tackle to perfection to thwart Robertson from close-range, and McBride striking the crossbar from 12-metres before Brown cleared the danger to earn his side maximum points from a match that didn't reach any great heights.
The match between Morley Windmills and The City at Wotton Reserve got underway amid warm conditions in front of a healthy sized crowd. The home team should have taken the lead in the opening minute when a long throw-in was flicked on and Sam Denesh somehow squeezed his shot wide from close-range. Windmills continued to press with Phil Russie continuing his good form of last week with a number of threatening raids on the visiting backline. Knocking the ball around with confidence, Windmills began to stamp their authority on proceedings and a fine build up down the right flank involving Denesh and Joe Comito resulted in Simon Messenger tucking the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the 18-yard box. On the half-hour a home corner was headed on by Steve Waycott and as ball dropped Russie reacted first to hook his shot into the net from close-range. Growing in confidence with every move, Windmills went into the break with a three-goal buffer following a swift attack which started with Marco Schisano and was finished by Gary James. After the interval the home side continued to control possession with good scoring chances coming the way of James and Deni Botha who were both unlucky not to extend the margin. The only sour note for the home team in what proved a comfortable win was an injury to the influential Schisano that may rule him out of this long weekends round of games.
Leeming Strikers went down 4-3 to Armadale in their First Division meeting at Alfred Skeet Oval. In an entertaining game, Armadale started on the offensive and forced visiting goalkeeper Mark Wiseman to produce several great saves to prevent the home side from scoring. In the 13th minute the Strikers were awarded a free-kick some 25-metres from goal which Ross Greer hammered into the top corner before the 'keeper could move for the games opening goal. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 as David Perrin volleyed on the turn to again give the Armadale custodian no chance. The home side came back and were able to score twice through Greg Newcombe and Darren Ingham, both in goalmouth scrambles, to end the half on level terms. Early in the second half the Strikers regained the lead as Lucas Whitehouse, spotting the 'keeper off his line, expertly chipped the ball into the back of the net. The games' turning point arrived after 50 minutes when Glynn Busson was sent off for his second bookable offence to leave the visitors with ten men. Making the most of the situation Armadale equalised shortly after through Newcombe, then took the lead via Dennis Lee who converted from the penalty spot to take out all three points. It just wasn't the Strikers day as a great shot from Greer slipped through the 'keeper's hands, onto his head and then the crossbar in an nail-biting finish to the game. The Strikers won both the earlier games, 3-2 in the reserves and 6-0 in the Under-18's.
Ashfield started their away meeting with Canning City by creating several early chances before being rewarded after 6 minutes when a good build-up started at the back sent Dion Florias down the left flank for him to cleverly chip goalkeeper Matt Dabrowski from 20-metres. Canning were unlucky not to be back on level terms five minute later as Mick Van Dongen hit the frame of the goal from long-range. However, Van Dongen was again involved in the 16th minute when Canning evened the score via Brad Davies who drilled the ball into the back of Ashfield's goal. Shortly before half-time Brad Pochroj won possession and found Wayne Culverwell, he in turn relayed the ball to Muhamad Komadaric who, with only the 'keeper to beat, made no mistake in making it 2-1 to Ashfield. Two minutes into the second half Chris Littlejohn was unlucky not to equalise, his header from a Canning corner hitting the post. In the 56th minute Ashfield extended their lead when 16-year old Alex Crookes combined well with Culverwell before scoring his teams third of the game. Crookes bagged his second after Komadaric's shot came back into play off the up-right, and close to the end Komadaric and Ben Harris combined with Komadaric netting with a smashing drive from 16-metres. Ashfield substitute Chris Williams came close to making it 6-1 late in the game but his effort was well saved by Dabrowski.
In other First Division action, South West Phoenix send Stirling Suns toppling from the top of the table with a 2-1 win at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. Pat Roberts got Phoenix off to a great start by netting after 15 minutes, and eight minutes later the same player doubled the lead. The Suns fought gallantly but found the Phoenix defence difficult to break down and although Miladin Guguroski did reduce the deficit in the 69th minute it simply wasn't enough. For over 80 minute the game between Rockingham City and Southside United was scoreline, but four goals in the closing stages had the crowd at Dowling Street Reserve up on their feet. Simon El Chami gave Southside the lead after 82 minutes but a minute later things were level as Glen Hallums found the net. With 87 minutes gone, Bob White restored Southside's lead, and three minutes later it was over when El Chami bagged his second of the day. The win, Southside's third of the season, lifts them to fourth from bottom and gives them a little breaking space from those below.
SWC TO BRING BIRMINGHAM TO PERTH?
Soccer West Coast want English Premier League side Birmingham City to play a friendly against either the Australian Under-23's or the State team in Perth. S.W.C. general manager Paul Tombides said the organisation would explore the possibility of bring the Blues to Perth as part of their scheduled visit to Malaysia in July. Former Floreat Athena star Stan Lazaridis, who is currently holidaying in Perth, has been a regular for Birmingham over the past few seasons and recently signed a new two-year deal with the club. It is understood a financial backer has already expressed a strong interest in the project.
SECOND STRING GLORY LOSE TO NEWCASTLE
In a game of no consequence, Newcastle United have ended their National Soccer League campaign on a high by defeating Perth Glory 1-0 at EnergyAustralia Stadium this evening. Already assured a home Grand Final next week, Glory opted to rest nine regulars and allowed Newcastle, who were well out of contention, dominate possession for long periods of the match. Bobby Despotovski looked to have got the visitors off to a bright start when he found the back of the net in the 9th minute only to have the goal ruled out for offside. From that point it was Newcastle who controlled play and, in the 25th minute, a Ryan Griffiths corner produced the games only goal as Matthew Bingley flicked on for Adam Hughes to score at close range. Newcastle's Hughes had a goal disallowed for offside two minutes from half time, while in the 61st minute Griffiths hit the underside of the post only for the ball to spit out over the line.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. were pushed all the way by traditional rivals and home side Swan I.C. before emerging as 4-3 victors to stay top of the Premier League after eight rounds of fixtures. Second half goals by John Migas and Branimir Mikulic ensure Fremantle City keep pace with the leaders with a 2-0 defeat of Stirling Lions. Western Knights thumped the visiting E.C.U. Joondalup team 4-0, while Sorrento registered a healthy home win by 3-0 over Inglewood United. Bassendean Caledonian's poor season continued with a 0-2 home loss to Cockburn City.
Kingsway Olympic, Bayswater City and Mandurah City all sit level on points at the top of the First Division. Olympic held on to win 2-1 at home against Queens Park, Bayswater won 4-0 over Dianella White Eagles, and Mandurah thrashed Balcatta 6-0. Stirling Suns slip down the rankings following a 1-2 away loss to South West Phoenix. There were big wins for Ashfield (5-1) and Morley Widmills (3-0) over Canning City and The City respectively, Armadale downed Leeming Strikers 4-3 in a thriller, and Rockingham City crashed 1-3 at home to Southside United.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The first leg of the Spring in the Valley Cup takes place this Saturday as Swan I.C. host traditional rivals Perth S.C. at the Swan Italian Club in the eight round of the Premier League season. In what is expected to be a close game, Sorrento meet Inglewood United at Percy Doyle Reserve, while Western Knights have home ground advantage over E.C.U. Joondalup. Bassendean Caledonian welcome Cockburn City to Jubilee reserve, and Stirling Lions are home to Fremantle City. Floreat Athena are out of action with the bye.
In Round Eleven of the First Division, leaders Stirling Suns travel south to Bunbury where they meet a South West Phoenix side which last week scored five times without reply. Bayswater City have a difficult home date with Dianella White Eagles, Mandurah City welcome Balcatta, and Kingsway Olympic host Queens Park in the pick of this weekend's games. There's an enticing mid-table clash between Armadale and Leeming Strikers at Alfred Skeet Reserve, Canning City play Ashfield, Rockingham City meet Southside United, and Morley Windmills take on The City at Wotton Reserve.
STRONG SCHOOLBOYS SQUAD NAMED
Western Australia will head to the 2003 Schools National Championship with what is quite possibly their strongest State Schoolboys squad assembled. Coach Damon Atthowe and team manager Kevin Griffiths have this week confirmed an impressive 16-player squad for the tournament which is being held in Melbourne this August. The majority of the squad have already represented the State at various junior levels, including seven that were part of last year's Under-16 State team, and many have first team experience in the Premier League.
The Schoolboys squad is Dinko Ahmetanovic (Ashfield), Chris Hart (right), Johnathon Mathers (Bassendean Caledonian), Jason Dos Santos (Cockburn City), Josip Magdic (Floreat Athena), Daniel Barlow (Fremantle City), Michael Baczynski (Inglewood United), Scott Blackmore, John Morton (E.C.U. Joondalup), Michael Smerilli (Leeming Strikers), Ben Rogers (Perth S.C.), Marko Aleksic, Gavin McIlveen (Rockingham City), Michael Filippou (Stirling Lions), Chris Ramsay (Swan I.C.) and Carmello Genovese (club unknown). Also asked to train with the squad as standby players are Cockburn pair Carlo Cardozo and Louis Lopresti.
GLORY RETURN FOR FARIA
Perth Glory midfielder Gary Faria will make his return to the starting eleven in this evening's National Soccer League fixture against Newcastle United at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The 24-year old has not featured since January's home demolishion of Kingz F.C. because of on-going groin problems. "It's been a long time, I can't wait to play," he said. Faria was initially hoping rest would be all that was required to overcome the injury but he later learnt an operation would be needed to rectify the problem. Then, as the midfielder was working his way back to full fitness, the injury flared again. "I had the operation, came back and then tore it again. I had to start from scratch, which has been very, very frustrating," Faria said. "All I could do was take it one day at a time."
SOCCER ON THE GROW
Soccer is booming according to a recent report issued by marketing company Sweeney Sports. The 16th annual report shows Australian's interest in the round ball game during the summer was at an all-time high and had almost doubled since the group's first report. Soccer was the only sport which 'recorded a substantial increase in interest compared with the summer of 2001/2002', whilst in participation levels soccer was one of 'two sports to have attracted the largest increase'. Of the 1,297 people surveyed from capital cities around Australia, 47% said they were interested in soccer compared to 52% who registered an interest in Australian Rules.
Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides said the report's findings rang true in W.A. Tombides said there is a shortage of grounds and referees to accommodate the State's rapidly growing 22,000 professional and amateur players. The strongest area of growth is the 6 to 8-year old age group where children were joining soccer clubs because of parents' perception that the world game is a safer option than some other sport, in particular rugby and Australian Rules. Tombides believes the international appeal of soccer, and children's desire to emulate playing idols, also contributed to the growth. "Stars like David Beckham and Australian role models like Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are having a huge impact on the sport," he said.
WORLD CUP MATCH IN PERTH?
World Cup action could be on its way to Perth following the confirmation of dates for the Oceania qualifiers for the 2006 finals' tournament. With the Trans-Tasman clash against New Zealand almost certain to be played in either Sydney or Melbourne, it is believed Western Australia will bid to stage one of Australia's four qualifiers against the weaker Pacific nations. Also in the hunt for hosting rights to these games are Adelaide and Brisbane. The qualifying tournament begins in September 2004 and runs until November 2005. The winner of the group after the 10 home-and-away matches will proceed directly to the 2006 World Cup Finals which are being staged in Germany. Australia's campaign for Germany started with the historic 3-1 win over England in February, and continues in August with a Dublin meeting against the Republic of Ireland.
MILLER'S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (courtesy of the "Glory Days" fanzine)
Left-sided defender Scott Miller is enjoying one of his finest seasons ever for Perth Glory. The number seven is one of only two players who have been with the club since the very beginning and says he wouldn't swap the last seven years for quids. "It has been great fun," he said recently. "We have played in front of the biggest crowds, we have won the minor championship twice and we have had some great players come through the place. I have made some great friends and been paid for doing something I enjoy - what more can you ask for?"
With 49 games under his belt for Morwell Falcons (nee Gippsland Falcons, nee Eastern Pride), Miller was already a success in the National Soccer League before Glory came seeking his signature. It might have appeared to be a no-brainer to return home but it wasn't quite that simple. "Actually I really enjoyed my time in Morwell. I met my now wife there and the people were fantastic. It was a very friendly club and it wasn't an easy decision to leave. However, the prospect of playing in my home state and with a number of players I had known for a long while was too attractive to resist and back I came."
One of those players was Bobby Despotovski who was also enjoying a successful career in the eastern states. The Glory striker remembers his first meeting with Miller. "I was playing in one of my first games in W.A. and this guy absolutely flattened me and called me a donkey. That lost something in translation and when I tackled him hard later on I asked him who's the monkey now? We both started laughing and have been friends ever since." The two are roommates on away trips and are firm friends off the pitch too.
Picking a favourite player from his seven seasons with Glory is harder and Miller finally settles on sharing the accolade. "I think there are so many candidates," he said. "Gareth Naven was a magnificent leader of the club. I really don't think he was given the recognition he deserved. Gareth had to be the front man all the time, he had the respect of all the players and he could go and talk to management as well. Everyone respected him. The other nomination is Bobby - he has won two Most Glorious Player awards and that says it all. He was the catalyst for us last season and this time around he has scored seven goals in the finals. He always gives 100%." (this interview was conducted several weeks ago - ed.)
As to the future Miller reckons the redevelopment of Perth Oval wil be a big step forward. "It has been hard shunting here and there for training with no real base. It will be good to settle down at least and have everything in one place. I also hope we get some reform in the game so people stop talking about politics and worry about what is happening on the pitch." Rarely out of Glory's starting eleven in his seven years with the club, Miller is set to make his 200th appearance in Glory colours this weekend away to Newcastle United.
The time has come to catch up on some recent transfers that have seemingly slipped through the net. A product of the Inglewood United youth system, defender Michael Di Fulvio has strengthened the backline of Swan I.C. Skillful left wingback Andy Cornmell has also moved on after two seasons with Inglewood to become the latest addition to the Bassendean Caledonian playing stocks. Young Perth S.C. goalkeeper Gianni Papalia has joined Bayswater City on loan, while moving up the pecking order at Dorrien Gardens is Francis Allen formerly of South West Phoenix. After six years with Sorrento, 36-year old Ross Greer adds some experience to a young Leeming Strikers squad and another of the local games veterans, Gerry McEwan, has agreed to turn out for The City in their debut season. Busiest on the transfer market is Kingsway Olympic who have picked up talented teenager John Higgins, defender Andy Brown (both ex-E.C.U. Joondalup) along with former State Schoolboys representative Bryan Hedges.
ONE HUNDRED UP FOR PETKOVIC
Perth Glory's Jason Petkovic became just the second goalkeeper in National Soccer League history to notch up 100 clean sheets when he shut out Olympic Sharks on Saturday night. The 30-year old now has his sights set on breaking the 105-game clean sheet record set by Marconi stalwart Bob Catlin. "I always go out to try to keep a clean sheet, so by default I'm going to try to get 105 or more," Petkovic said this week. Petkovic reached the century milestone in just 273 games, 155 of those in Adelaide City colours, while Catlin played 345 matches in his N.S.L. career which ended last year.
A regular starter for Glory since his arrival three years ago, Petkovic was quick to point out that the teams' solid defence was a contributing factor in him reaching the century of clean sheets. "Obviously, the defence means everything to you as a goalkeeper," he said. "Good players make it easier for you to make adjustments." He was also thankful for the system that had been successfully implemented at Glory. "It comes down to getting the right things in place and building the right sort of culture. Over the three years I've been here, we've just got better and better. It's about knowing the players and having stability and consistency."
Glory coach Mich d'Avray says Petkovic's achievement underlines his value to the team. "Jason is the best keeper playing in Australia. I have said in the past he is worth twelve points a season, given the season is now longer that will probably have to go up to eighteen! He has made some crucial stops for us in recent weeks. The one against John Buonovoglia in the first half of the Power game springs to mind and of course the two top class saves he made against the Sharks. I am sure Jason would agree that goalkeeping coach Willie McNally and reserve 'keeper Vince Matassa deserve credit too. They work very hard with Jason and it helps him keep that vital edge to his game."
TARKA WANTS WINNERS MEDAL
It's looking a safe bet that 2002/03 will be David Tarka's final season in Australia for some time. But before he heads abroad the teenage defender has his sights on just one thing - a National Soccer League championship winners' medal with Perth Glory. "My priority is to help Glory get to the Grand Final and then go one step further and win it. If this is to be my last season with the club it would be a great way to bow out."
The former Cockburn City player recently turned down an opportunity to trial with English club West Ham United. "It was a great chance but it came at the wrong time. To go on trial with West Ham would have meant letting the fans down and my teammates down, and I did not want to do that," Tarka explained. "The club did not pressure me and were supportive, which make me more determined to stay and help get us to another Grand Final."
All the same, Tarka is more than likely to try his luck in England over the coming off-season. "I have been told of some interest from overseas clubs and that is very flattering," said Tarka. "I know I still have to work hard on elements of my game and that will be the key to success. I have to keep working hard and hope I get the breaks. I do have ambitions to play in the Premier League so that would be my ideal destination."
LAZARIDIS INKS NEW BIRMINGHAM DEAL (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Stan Lazaridis has signed a new, two-year deal with English Premier League side Birmingham City which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2004/05 season. The Australia international put pen to paper only hours after interest emerged from Serie B Ancona. "The manager and I have both agreed that it was probably my best season at the club," the 30-year old midfielder told Birmingham's official website (www.bcfc.com). "I have been able to perform consistently well, week after week, and have helped to set up several goals as well as grabbing a couple myself. I have been pleased with my general contribution to the side but it has been a team effort with the likes of Robbie Savage, Christophe Dugarry, Matt Upson, Jamie Clapham, Stephen Clemence and Jeff Kenna. It has been like a jigsaw where all the pieces have been fitted together and everyone has played their part." Blues manager Steve Bruce added: "We did have a year's option but we decided we wanted to add another year on top of that. It's in recognition of the way Stan has performed for us this season and the way he has conducted himself."
MEDICA THANKS FOR "A DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET"
Sunday's activities at Nash Field to honour the tenth year of service of Western Knights captain Carl Medica proved a roaring success. In front of a large and vocal crowd, the inaugural Perth Glory squad defeated a Knights XI selected by Medica in a penalty shoot-out after the game was tied at one-all after regulation time. "I tried bribing them into scoring the winning goal but to no avail," said Medica this week. "It was a great game to watch with heaps of goalmouth action and a special thanks to all the ex-Glory players and past and present Knights players who gave up their time to make it a day I will never forget."
"I'd like to thank Western Knights Soccer Club for organising a fantastic day, and also all past and present committee members for their support over the past ten years. A huge thanks to all the passionate Knights supporters who are there week in week out, and to the sponsors of the club who are too numerous to name," Medica said. "Thanks to all my family and friends who have supported me all this time, and a huge thanks to my parents, my wife Marian and my baby boy Sebastian - who knows, there might be another 'Diesel' playing for the Knights in the future!"
"A special thank you to all past and present team mates who without them I would not be the player I am today. Soccer is not all about winning - its also about having a good laugh with your teammates after training or on the weekend after the game. Huge thanks to past and present coaching staff, and a special mention to Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly who have helped turn my career around since they came to the club. They are two of the finest coaches I have been associated with who have instilled the winning value at the club and their record speaks for itself - since 1998 the Western Knights have won every trophy on offer."
TANA'S GOAL - TO BE A GLORY FAN
Perth Glory chairman and majority shareholder Nick Tana says he will be happily become little more than another Glory fan once he has achieved the goals he set upon forming the club. "When I started this club I had four objectives," he told "Sydney Morning Herald" reporter Michael Cockerill. "To develop a commercially viable club - we've done that. To set up a youth development program - it's ready to be rolled out again at a moment's notice. To have a purpose-built stadium of our own - that's on the way. Hopefully, in 12 months time, the job will be done," added Tana. And once the national league has been reformed, Tana says he will be willing to walk way from running the club. "I'll sell my stake for $1, and I'll frame it. Then I'll just be a fan. Something I'll always remember is the day I sat on the hill at Brandon Park (Wollongong) and had a hotdog. I got castigated for not being in the V.I.P. area, but that's not where I want to be - what I really want to be is a Glory fan."
Tana, a long-time supporter of the reformation of the national league, says the time is now ripe for change and has thrown his weight behind the Australian Premier League concept as put forward by the Professional Players' Association. "When we (Glory) got going, we created something on the basis that the league would move forward," said the Glory co-founder who has so far lost around $3 million of his own money in making the club the benchmark of the Australian game. "Everything was predicated on change. It's reached the point where we've had to make a correction. If we, as a league, haven't got any credibility, there's no point in pouring money into a black hole. The credibility has to come first, and we can get that overnight with the creation of a brand new league. The A.P.L. is the solution. We've set the bar in the N.S.L. for seven years but we can't carry it any more."
The WAASSA Premier League clash between Hamersley Rovers and Perth Azzurri proved a spectacle for supporters but not for the respective coaches. It was certainly a game of two halves with Hamersley racing to a four goal lead by the break with Alun Vernals twice finding the net and Darren Yates and Joe Wright also getting their names on the scoresheet. The home team really should have scored more after having Azzurri on the backfoot for much of the half. Vernals dominated the middle of the park and not only scored twice but also created numerous chances with some excellent distribution. Just before the break Hamersley's new goalkeeper, Andre Van Leishout, saved a poorly taken penalty to keep Azzurri scoreless at the break. A half-time pep talk from coach Mickey Brennan about not being complacent, building on their lead and boosting Hamersley goal difference appeared to fall on deaf ears as Azzurri came storming back into the match. With errors creeping into the Hamersley game, striker Damien Pescud won the visiting team a dubious penalty which was converted to reduced the gap to three goals. Joe Wright and Darren Thomson missed good chances for the home side as State captain Charlie Jensen got Azzurri more involved across the middle of the park. Two goals resulted for Azzurri, including one from Jensen when he headed home unchallenged at the far post, as they reeled the scoreline in to 4-3. But an equalising goal eluded the visitors on a day they showed great character in coming back from a seemingly impossible position.
University of W.A. defeated Balga at McGillivray Oval to move into fifth place and only two points behind league leaders Fremantle United. University took the lead after 12 minutes when Daniel Forbes chased a seemingly lost ball deep and won possession before passing to Robert Benkovic, he in turn found Marc D'Asconio who finished the move by finding the net. Balga forced a penalty shortly after but visiting defender Darren McNally was denied by an excellent save by Shayan Young. University continued to apply pressure and were rewarded in the 45th minute when D'Ascanio passed to Brett whose well-struck shot from 25-metres caught Balga custodian Steve Skordas off his line to make it 2-0. The second half was only minutes old when the home team were denied a third goal as Skordas made a fine save from Benkovic. A mix-up in the University defence after 52 minutes resulted in a penalty to Balga which Gary Shorto converted despite Young getting a glove on the shot. A 69th minute University corner found its way to the back post where D'Asconio drilled the ball goalward and David Berg got the last touch before it crossed the line to make the score 3-1. The consistent Max Percy continued to impress in midfield for the home side and ten minutes from the end sent an excellent cross to David Berg whose header went agonisingly wide of the post. "Another three points was very nice but we are all aware that we can play better than that," said University coach Kevin Burton following the win. "Certainly we owe our 'keeper a vote of thanks for a fine penalty save at a critical moment." University won the reserves meeting with by a crushing 8-1 scoreline to make it six wins from as many outings.
Fremantle United have gone one point clear at the top of the table after six rounds courtesy of a 1-1 home draw with Kwinana United. Murdoch University's 3-1 win at Forrestfield United moves them second on goal difference ahead of Canning International - who lost 1-3 at Shamrock Rovers - and Hamersley. Spearwood Dalmatinac won for the second time this season by downing North Perth United 3-2. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
GLORY DOWN ARCH-RIVALS (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory put arch-rivals Olympic Sharks Grand Final hopes in jeopardy with a determined 1-0 win in the last game at Perth Oval before the venue is redeveloped. With the pitch conditions made difficult by light Rain, the game was decided by a moment of brilliance from a returned to form Damian Mori. Glory defended solidly from the start but when they did push forward it was to devastating effect as a free-kick from some 25-metres was tapped to Mori whose shot rocketed into the top corner before Sharks goalkeeper Clint Bolton have time to move after 10 minutes. One-nil up, Glory came close to increasing their lead when Andre Gumprecht rifled a shot past the up-right. Mori had another chance to score just before half-time but for the most part it was Glory competently coping with all their arch-rivals had to offer.
The Sharks desperately needed to win to prevent either Parramatta Power or Adelaide City Force gaining the second Grand Final berth at Subiaco Oval on Sunday, 1st June. As such, the visitors came out firing in the second half and in the first ten minutes forced two fine saves from Glory custodian Jason Petkovic. Glory showed they, too, could be dangerous in attack and a flowing move begun by Simon Colosimo sent Gumprecht through and he set-up Mori whose header hit the post. The Sharks had to keep striving for goals and they had the opportunity via a free-kick near the edge of the area but Petkovic again saved well. In all the Sharks found the solid Glory defence and the wet conditions too great a hurdle. For Glory they have gained the psychological advantage should last year's Grand Final winners gain another spot in the season finale.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVEN (Cockburn City vs Swan I.C. by Greg Scali; Inglewood United vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAllister; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
The cold and wet conditions didn't deter the crowd that turned out to see the match of the round between the undefeated Perth S.C. and highly rated northern suburbs side Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. On a slippery surface, the first chance came the way of Perth as Mark Pottier's pass found Gareth Naven but the veteran fired over after 6 minutes. A period of probing attempts by both teams followed as the respective defensive units held firm. Sorrento produced a good move on 16 minutes as David Foster met Tony Cumace's cross but the young attackers' header was held by goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. Within a minute, Shane Crampton went close down the opposite end after benefiting from a loose ball as his shot shaved the outside of the left post. Shortly after a long-range volley from Sorrento captain Glen Thomas just missed the top corner with Scarparolo struggling.
In the 23rd minute Perth gained the advantage they had been looking for. A fantastic solo run from Naven saw him bolted between two defenders and round goalkeeper Gareth Deeg, but the veteran midfielder's shot lacked power and in the scramble that ensued Pottier blasted the ball into the net for the games opening goal. The home side continued to ply the pressure and came close to adding to their tally within minutes of going in front. A Crampton shot ricocheted off the defensive wall and into the path of Rob Giorgi who drive was brilliantly kept out by Deeg. And in the 27th minute a tremendous strike by Dino Djulbic was deflected away by an alert Sorrento 'keeper to prevent a gap from widening. A Sorrento free-kick presented Cumace with a chance to level against his former club, but the midfielder's curling shot was narrowly high after 35 minutes. However, just two minutes later Sorrento equalised through Andy Mason after an initial header by Steve McDonald. With half-time fast approaching Perth restored their lead after a poor clearance by the visiting forced Deeg off his line and Crampton, taking full advantage of the situation, tucked the ball over the line.
Sorrento seemed to have left their focus in the changeroom as Perth attacked from the start of the second half, Rhys Graham racing away down the right to cross for Crampton whose volley was held by Deeg. With both teams attacking with enthusiasm, Sorrento were awarded a contentious free-kick which resulted in a physical confrontation that saw Crampton shoved to the ground and Naven seemingly punched by an opponent, but referee Steven Seeds opted to keep his cards in his pocket. On 51 minutes, Cumace's cross from the left avoided everyone and struck the far post before Todd Howarth cleared the danger much to the frustration of the visiting side. Ten minutes later Perth extended their lead when Crampton and Pottier combined with a nifty one-two that opened up a hesitant visiting defence as Crampton got in between Deeg and Andy Bowyer to poke the ball home.
On 67 minutes, Sorrento reduced the arrears with a swift counter-attacking move that saw Simon Harland clip the ball to Thomas whose first time volley struck the underside of the crossball and was amazingly kept out by Scarparolo only for Mason headed it over the line from close-range. It was the last of the action for Scarparolo who came off with a suspected broken nose after colliding with the knee of an opponent following the save. Youngster Francis Allen took over between the posts to make his first team debut with the game now delicately poised. Sorrento introduced some fresh legs and continually pressed forward in search of an equaliser but Allen proved their foil with a superb display, his best save preventing a low effort by McDonald from crossing the line. The final whistle signalled the end of a tense last few minutes, and ensued Perth would continue their undefeated run. In combination with other weekend results, the win takes Perth to outright first place on the Premier League standings while Sorrento drop one place to sixth in a very congested middle of the table.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo (Francis Allen 67), Perry Ielati, Aarom
Cole, Todd Howarth, Mark Pottier, Adam Bunce, Rob Giorgi, Dino Djulbic,
Gareth Naven, Shane Crampton, Rhys Graham.
Sorrento : Gareth Deeg, Andrew Bowyer (Daniel Stoitis 73), Richard Watson, Tony Cumace, Steve McDonald (Jake Harman 85), Glen Thomas, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason (Sean Fallon 77), Todd Harnwell, Simon Harland, David Foster
Bookings : Mason (10), McCulloch (60), McDonald (63)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Steven Seeds
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
With coach Julio Moreno in charge for the first time, Floreat Athena made the trip to Ken Allen Field where they met a Fremantle City side out to extend their winning run to six games. The first opening came the way of the port side after 2 minutes when Anthony Pereira's low cross across the 6-yard line were unrewarded. With Athena showing they'd made the trip with the aim of winning maximum points, Andres Oliveira had a good shot kept out by Fremantle goalkeeper Bobson Karoma after 27 minutes. Shortly after a strong run down the left by John Migas saw him brought down just outside the 18-yard box and the resulting free-kick was sent just wide by Marc Wingell. A magical one-two between Cisco Jorqueira and Craig Young resulted in the former's shot being blocked by Sutton and then Anthony Mori made a great save at the feet of Branimir Mikulic. It was a good battle that had the crowd on their toes and two minutes from the break Kilibarda put the ball in the net only to have it disallowed for dangerous play by a fussy referee. Fremantle began the second half strongly with Pereira hitting the crossbar a minute after the re-start. Shortly after Mori made a point-blank save to deny Jorqeira, and in the 55th minute the Athena custodian kept out a goalbound effort from Mikulic. The visitors responded with a fine cross from Afkos which was headed wide by Oliveira, and moments later Afkos again provided the ammunition as Moschopolous' header hit the bar. The crowd were kept on their feet as Mori again saved Athena by saving at the feet of Mikulic, then a terrific run from Jorqueira ended with his shot going just wide. Fremantle's inability to finish was punished in the 81st minute when a cross from the right found Jamie Trandos unmarked at the far post and he headed into the net to give Athena the lead. Fremantle almost found an equaliser in the closing moments but Mori again proved up to the task with fine saves to deny Mikulic and Wingell.
There was controversy aplenty at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City played host to Swan I.C. Questions were raised prior to kick-off when only two match officials were in attendance, for a professional body to be unable to supply a full complement of officials is simply not good enough for the clubs, players and supporters. Played in difficult conditions with light rain making the surface very slippery, Cockburn were awarded a dubious penalty after 10 minutes but the home side failed to make the most of the opportunity as Josh Pescud's telegraphed shot was pushed wide by goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Chances were few and far between as both sides struggled to come to grips with the conditions while Alan Pottier and Carlo Scali lead their respective defences well. Swan were reduced to ten men on the half hour when Justin Hugo was sent off for retaliation and, although a man down, the visitors were able to keep the opponents at bay and the game remained scoreless at the break. Like the first half, the second was dominated by the defences as Cockburn were unwilling to throw an extra man forward and Swan were content not to concede. Tragedy struck for the black-and-whites in 67th minute when teenager Tom Shepheard received his second yellow for a sloppy tackle, leaving Swan with nine players. Cockburn continued to struggle to break down their opponents defence who simply refused to give in. With Swan defending en masses in stoppage time, the referee spotted a hand ball in a crowd penalty area and awarded a spot kick to Cockburn which Antonio Naglieri converted for the games only goal.
It was an entertaining local derby clash between Inglewood United and Bassendean Caledonian at the National Stadium. Making better use of the wide pitch, Inglewood got the opening goal after Jamie Kuzmanovich put a long ball through to Alex Josifovski who out-sprinted the Caledonian defence and blasted his shot past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. Not long after Kuzmanovich headed just wide of the target as Inglewood dominated the first half hour. Late in the half the visitors rallied as Ian Griffiths' shot was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski, and shortly after Jason Godfrey made a timely interception of Kevin Griffiths' effort. Right on the stroke of half-time Inglewood doubled their lead as Scott Campbell's pass saw Louis Parkinson make the most of his opportunity. The second half saw Caledonian start in a more positive vein as Ryan Jeans and Dean Gartside combined with the latter scoring reducing the margin from close-range. The visitors search desperately for an equalising goal but Taseski made a courageous save at the feet of Graeme Matthews. Kevin Griffiths and Matthews combined to set-up Gartside whose shot was turned over the bar by Taseski, and moments later Dunlop made a fine save from Shaun Kilkelly as Inglewood attempted to kill off the match. Kuzmanovich, Taseski, Godfrey and Josifovski were the stand out performers in Inglewood's 2-1 win, while Gartside, Dunlop, Craig Naven and Ian Griffiths were the best for Caledonian.
Stirling Lions found their depth severely tested with key players Toby Wright, Darko Ilomanoski and Michael Fillipou absent through injury for their away clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. After a tense opening spell the Lions enjoyed a twenty minute period in total control with Adam Rains and Stjepan Beretovac dominant in midfield but, for all their possession, the closest they came to scoring was when Rains' found the side netting. A hopeful long clearance from Peter Vukmirovic landed between Lions goalkeeper Jordan Conti and his defence and Josh Kamasz made the most of the mix-up which followed to score against the run of play after 35 minutes. Minutes later it was very nearly two-nil as Scott Bulloch made his way into the 18-yard box only to for his powerful shot to crash into the crossbar, and Kamasz was unable to direct the rebound between the posts. Five minutes into the second half Beretovac testing Peter Stewart with a rasping shot which the Joondalup custodian did well to keep out, and shortly after a header from Rains sailed narrowly high from a corner. Joondalup began to take over the match with Keith Taylor and Abdul Kamara picking up the pace and their hard work paid off in the 72nd minute when Taylor's cross was headed down by Eugene Singeorzan to Kamara who doubled the margin. Ten minutes from the end a seemingly harmless Singeorzan shot slipped through the hands of Conti to make it 3-0. And in the very last minute the Lions put away a consolation goal via veteran Andy Wright.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Sorrento's reserves turned in a very slick first half display against home side Perth S.C. but only had one goal to show by the break. In the 8th minute a Daniel Cagorski cross from the left reached Farrell Hedges who side footed past goalkeeper Francis Allen. The visitors lead was doubled three minutes into the second half when a good chip by Jake Harman set up Hedges who smacked the ball into the back of the net. Never a side to give up hope, Perth edged their way back into the game when Albert Osei-Tutu stumbled the ball home after Sorrento's defence failed to cut out a low cross from the right. The visitors held firm over the closing stages to inflict Perth's first defeat of the season.
Already depleted by injury, E.C.U. Joondalup suffered an early blow in their home meeting with Bassendean Caledonian when Danny Wilson was forced off with a suspected broken arm after falling awkwardly inside the penalty area. Otherwise, the first half passed without incident as the two teams traded attacks without ever really threatening. Joondalup cracked open the match after 65 minutes as John Greenwood squeezed his shot between the goalkeeper and his post from an impossible angle to make it 1-0. The Lions upped the tempo as young attacker Billy Bozinoski forced several good saves from Alan Mattecucci before Tom Jones made the most of some slack defending to steer the ball into the corner of the net and kill off the visitors hopes. The home crowd was left stunned by the late dismissal of John Morton for what appeared to be a fair and legitimate tackle.
Peter Petkovich bagged a hat-trick, Peter Mrdja two and David Palermo and Jason Dos Santos one each as Cockburn City stunned Swan I.C. 7-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Inglewood United accounted for Bassendean Caledonian 2-0 through goals in the last ten minutes by Joe Capone and Fahid Albunajim. At Ken Allen Field a 3rd minute goal from Peter Lord set Fremantle City on the road to victory against Floreat Athena. The port side ran rampant over the opening stages as Michael Vaz doubled the lead after 15 minutes, Jamie Jorquiera netted three minutes later, and Vaz made it 4-0 with 19 minutes elapsed. Vaz took his tally to four with second half strikes to make the final score 6-0 to Fremantle.
Floreat Athena were given a footballing lesson when beaten soundly by Under-18 competition leaders Fremantle City at Litis Stadium. Following a scoreless opening half, the port side went into overdrive and some fine lead-up work from 15-year old Ben Howe and a clinical finish by Marc Sim gave them the lead after 50 minutes. A passage of play down the right flank and a great pass by Marlon Ramirez resulted in a second goal for Sim, his twelfth of the 2003 season. The introduction of Jason Feather proved an inspired move with the youngster scoring with his first touch. Shortly after Feather set-up Mo Atak for Fremantle's fourth to complete a solid win. "The second half performance was as good as it gets," said coach Mike Tetlow following the game. "Our passing and movement was a joy to watch."
E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions played out an entertaining contest which saw Joondalup dig deep to take out maximum points. A Phillip O'Callaghan after 5 minutes and Rostyn Griffiths' goal midway through the opening half put the home side in what appeared to be a comfortable position for the start of the second period. In the 62nd minute Jerome Vallett pulled one back for the Lions to begin a flurry of goals. With the young Lions side showing signs of tiring, O'Callaghan netted after 66 minutes and Griffiths three minutes later to make it 4-1. Vallett again reduced the gap four minutes from full-time only for O'Callaghan to bag his fourth of the game in the final minute to complete the 6-2 scoreline.
It was a bad day for Sorrento who hit the frame of the goal on three occasions and lost Gareth Phillips to a knee injury midway through the first half of their clash with Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. Over the duration of the match Perth looked the more composed as they took confidence from Stephen Worthy's goal on 14 minutes. Five minutes into the second period Worthy doubled the margin, and shortly after Cormac Dawson added the home teams' third goal. The Sorrento youngsters continued to plug away in an attempt to get back in the game but the width of the post was the problem, before Perth scored their fourth on 61 minutes via Nikit Rukavytsya.
Cockburn City ran out 3-0 winners over Swan I.C. with goals from Carlo Cardoso, Luke Eoannidis and Dragan Milankovich. Bassendean Caledonian won their first game of the season with a 2-1 away win over Inglewood United. The opening goal came from Caledonian as Leo Perotta's cross saw David Houston's scorching shot blocked by goalkeeper Luke Hennessy and the ball fell for Alex Tharby who slotted home. Inglewood leveled the score close to half time, but a second half drive by Cirian Mullen took a deflection and re-stored the visitors lead. Shortly after Caledonian goalkeeper Troy Smith kept his team in front with a superb save.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TEN (Stirling Suns vs Mandurah City by Barrie Rennie; The City vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Southside United vs Armadale by Michael Di Pietro; Canning City vs Queens Park by Phil Unsworth; Rockingham City vs Leeming Strikers courtesy leemingstrikers.com)
Mandurah City surrendered top spot in the First Division when they were beaten 4-1 by home team Stirling Suns in Round Nine's top of the table clash. In front of a large parochial Suns crowd, Mandurah opened the scoring through a strong move by Jordan Rhodes and which was finished by Steve Adams after a goalmouth scramble. The rest of the first half was strongly contested and tempers simmered with the referee under constant pressure to maintain control. On a narrow ground that did not suit the open fast breaking Mandurah forwards, chances were few and far between for both sides. David Jackson showed that he has a future with some solid and controlled defensive work and was well supported by John Tranfield in setting up several attacking moves. After the break an injury to Adams unsettled the Mandurah backline and their opponents struck by scoring on a fast break via Billy Ristevski after 52 minutes. This rejuvenated the Suns and with the crowd getting involved in the game the home side were the ones making all the moves. Goals from Orkun Osturk and David Moschilla in quick succession put the Suns in the driving seat and the game effectively out of Mandurah's reach. The icing was put on what ended as a comfortable win for the Suns by Zoran Talimdioski in the 90th minute. The reserve clash ended in a 2-2 draw, and the Under-18's was taken out by Mandurah by a massive 8-1.
Bayswater City traveled north to the Kingsway Sporting Complex where three points had to be achieved against bottom side The City. Following injury to Adam Ashworth last week, youngster Gianni Papalia took over between the posts after being loaned from Perth S.C. during the week. The game started brightly for Bayswater who took the lead after 5 minutes through Boima Karpeh whose first time shot went into the corner of the net. The visitors then threw everything at The City but were unable to break down their experienced backline which featured Gerry McEwan and Stuart Currie. Two minutes from half-time they finally found a way through as Sal Marrapodi beat the off-side trap and put the ball past goalkeeper Mark Wiseman. Shortly after the start of the new half Bayswater went three goals up as Karpeh made the most of a swift counter attack orchestrated by Sal Marrapodi. The City edged back into the game when midfielder a Jake Lennox shot from 30-metres flew into the roof of the net. Following a period on the backfoot, Bayswater restored their three-goal buffer as Karpeh completed his hat-trick with a powerfully struck drive. The game was ended as a contest when Daniel Naumovski converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Karpeh. In the final minute a fine shot from Currie resulted in a consolation for the home side. Both the earlier games went the way of The City, 3-0 in the reserves and 2-1 in the Under-18's.
With their ego's bruised following last weeks suprise loss to Canning City, Kingsway Olympic travelled to Ashfield Reserve where they ran rampant against a young Ashfield line-up. The match started well for Olympic with Steve Bretti making the most of his early chances by going past the defence before clipping his shot over the advancing goalkeeper. Shortly after Bretti was at it again, this time rounding the 'keeper before slotting home to make it 2-0 with under 15 minutes elapsed. The visitors continued their dominance of the game but were unable to add to the tally before the break, while Ashfield's best chances of the period saw them hit the crossbar from a quickly taken free-kick. It was a similar story after the re-start with Olympic well in control of proceedings courtesy of a hard-working midfield which featured that talents of recent signing John Higgins and Scott Evans. Ryan Lickiss continued knocking some wonderful crosses in from the right, one of which resulted in Bretti forcing the 'keeper into a stunning save from a header. Midway through the half Sota Iwasaki made it 3-0 when he rounded the 'keeper superbly and trickled the ball over the line. A touch of controversy crept in with 20 minutes to go as Danny Trandos was alleged to have brought down Wayne Culverwell for a penalty which Kalon Tenakov dived low to his right to keep out Paul Hughes' shot. As the clock ticked down Olympic made it 4-0 after Lickiss' shot was well saved and Matt Baird was on hand to bundled the ball over the line.
Leeming Strikers gained a hat-trick of wins against Rockingham City on a wet, windy Saturday afternoon at Dowling Street Reserve. The visiting side had to play into a strong wind in the first half but despite, this obstacle, took an early lead after David Perrin robbed a defender and coolly slotted home past a helpless goalkeeper. Aided by the wind Rockingham came back only to meet a solid defence well-marshalled by Carlo Di Toro and backed up by the safe hands of Michael Smirelli in goal. This enabled the Strikers to maintain their lead until half-time. The wind dropped away at the start of the second half and Rockingham were able to continue to apply pressure on the visitors goal but again the Strikers defence proved too strong. The visitors showed they could attack and in the 88th minute they gained a corner which Glynn Busson sent to the far post and Lucas Whitehouse was there to head home to make it 2-0. In the early matches the reserves, too, overcame the elements to win 2-0 and the Under-18 team continued to show what a good side they are by defeating a strong Rockingham 3-2.
Armadale travelled to Walter Padbury Reserve for another derby clash with Southside United on Saturday, but the game was pretty much over by half-time. Reds coach Billy Russell went with a 4-4-2 formation and got immediate results with Dennis Lee scoring after 10 minutes and Greg Newcombe adding to the tally five minutes later. Southside rallied and closed the gap in the 25th minute, but a superb goal from Newcombe and a rocket-like strike by Jason Hardie put the outcome beyond doubt before the break. Ten minutes into the second half Darren Ingham scored the visitors fifth, and Lee completed the scoreline after 65 minutes. The final tally should have been a lot more but missed chances by Lee, Newcombe, Laurence Bruce and captain Gary Murdoch let Southside off the hook of a greater scoreline. A young Armadale reserve team outplayed and outmuscled an experienced Southside opponent 3-1 through goals by Darren Kingston (2) and Chris Hill. The Under-18's was a completely different story as Southside ran out 11-0 victors.
A rather flat looking Canning City went down to a goal each side of half-time against Queens Park at Coker Park in Cannington. Again Canning's defence looked fairly secure but, with Chris Littlejohn absent, the team appeared bereft of ideas when going forward. The games opening goal arrived after 38 minutes when Linden Pywell's accurate shot found the top left hand corner of the Canning net. In the second half Canning rarely threatened their opponents goal and went two goals behind from a penalty in the 79th minute awarded when Ryan Allomes was unluckily judged to have handled the ball in the penalty area, Glen Noblett stepping up to neatly convert from the spot. Canning's reserves and Under-18 teams faired better with 4-2 and 4-0 wins respectively. There were hat-tricks for Craig Dushesne in the reserves and 15-year old Daniel Trevisiol in the youth team for Canning.
The clash at Wootton Reserve between Morley Windmills and Dianella White Eagles stared brightly with half chances falling to players at both ends. The home team took the lead after Gary James won possession deep in his own half before finding Drew Carruthers who in turn relaying the ball into the path of Phil Russie and he made no mistake in slotting it past the goalkeeper. Dianella pushing for an equaliser and enjoyed some fantastic lead-up work only to be let down by a combination of sloppy final passes and desperate defending. In a very open match, Dianella should consider themselves very unfortunate not to have been back on level terms by the break. Five minutes into the new half and Dianella got a deserved equaliser following a good build-up which ended in a fine headed goal from Filip Smiljanic. Windmills then weathered a fifteen minute period during which the visiting side threw everything they could into attack only to be denied by a well organised defence. A long-range shot by Windmills' Nigel Comito took a wicked deflection and lobbed over the 'keeper to restore his teams lead. Kicked into life, Windmills' spurned several scoring opportunities before a unselfish cross from James allowed Simon Messenger to score from close-range. The favour was repaid shortly after when Marco Chinsano slotted to Messeneger whose cross from the left was converted by James at the second attempt. Dianella were fortunate not to have Taki Nicolaides dismissed following a clash with Russie, and minutes later the 5-1 scoreline was completed by Messenger following a surging run by Carruthers which took him past three opponents.
South West Phoenix bounced back from a poor recent run of results with a 5-0 defeat of Balcatta at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. Steve Suttie got the ball rolling for Phoenix by combining with James Bergin and Pat Roberts to head in the opening goal after just 3 minutes. Midway through the half the margin was doubled by David Rodgers when he knocked the ball over the line in a penalty area scramble, and Suttie claimed his second in the 37th minute to hand the home team a three goal lead at the interval. Twelve minutes into the second half the unmarked Rodgers headed in a deep cross from the right by Bergin to make it 4-0. The goal had the effect of finally sparking the visiting side into life. In a bruising period, Balcatta were awarded a penalty which Phoenix goalkeeper Steve Jones kept out, and shortly after the visitors chances of sneaking back into the game evaporated when they were reduced to ten men. Rodgers left the best for last when, in the 72nd minute, he sent a superb free-kick from 20-metres into the back of the net to wrap up a comprehensive win for the home side.
ATHENA APPOINT NEW COACH
Floreat Athena have appointed former Chile youth international Julio Moreno as coach of their first team. Having last year been part of China's coaching staff at the Korea-Japan World Cup Finals, Moreno will lead Athena for the first time when they play Premier League leader Fremantle City at Ken Allen Field this afternoon. After a week in charge, the new coach is hopeful of turning the clubs' season around following a porr start which has produced a single win from five starts. "The training is different for them and we will play football a different way. But they have responded to the training," said Moreno who admitted the match with Fremantle was not going to be easy. "It's difficult because I haven't had time to train the mentality and the system." Moreno made his name in Chile with Colo Colo and played for Athena in 1998 when he also had lengthy trials with Perth Glory. In a successful career Moreno also played in Indonesia and Malaysia before landing an assistant coaching position with the Chinese national team. Moreno takes over the reigns from Taki Lambetsos who departed from the Athena camp a fortnight ago.
ALL CHANGE AT PERTH OVAL
Tonight's National Soccer League clash between Perth Glory and Olympic Sharks will be the last to be held at Perth Oval in its current format. A spectator-friendly stadium with seating for 13,000 fans and standing room for a further 5,500 will help herald in a new era for Western Australian soccer. Glory will be nomads no more and, after seven years, the club will have its training and playing facilities, as well its office headquarters, at one central venue. Jointly funded by the State Government and the Town of Vincent who will kick in $10.5 million between them, Stage One of the redevelopment is scheduled for completion in November of this year.
While Glory will be the primary tenant, other sports including rugby league, lacrosse and rugby union will also use the facility. It is expected that an area will be set aside to host a soccer museum which recognises the history of the game in this state. Glory's offices will be relocated from Perry Lakes, rugby league will also have its administrative centre at the redeveloped ground, and the local soccer community will also have the chance to use the ground for major events. "This is a really exciting development for the whole Western Australian community," said Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "The State Government and the Town of Vincent deserve great credit for bringing this all to fruition and Perth Glory will continue to work closely with all involved to deliver a state of the art stadium for soccer to move forward with."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. have overtaken Fremantle City at the head of the Premier League leaderboard after Round Seven of action on Saturday. Goals from Shane Crampton (2) and Mark Pottier helped Perth register a 3-2 win over Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens as Fremantle went down 0-1 at home to Floreat Athena. Inglewood United move to third following a 2-1 win over Bassendean Caledonian. Antonio Naglieri's return to Cockburn City inspired them to victory over Swan I.C. by 1-0, and E.C.U. Joondalup accounted for Stirling Lions 3-1.
Stirling Suns have rocketed to the top of the First Division table following a resounding 4-1 home win over Mandurah City. Three teams - Bayswater City, Kingsway Olympic and Mandurah - are all level two points behind the Suns. Bayswater City go second on goal difference courtesy of a 5-2 win over bottom team The City, while Olympic hit four without reply away to Ashfield. Queens Park continue their climb up the table with a 2-0 home result against Canning City. Armadale thumped Southside United 6-1, and there was also a big 5-1 win for Morley Windmills against Dianella White Eagles. Leeming Strikers accounted for Rockingham City 2-0, and South West Phoenix won for the second time this season by a 5-0 scoreline over Balcatta.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Neutral supporters are encouraged to get down to Dorrien Gardens on Saturday for the Premier League clash between undefeated Perth S.C. and a highly rated Sorrento side who’ve bagged ten goals in their past three outings. Valuable points go on the line when Cockburn City host Swan I.C., and Fremantle City’s youngsters will be aiming to extend their winning run in their home meeting with Floreat Athena. In the northern suburbs E.C.U. Joondalup take on Stirling Lions, while at the National Stadium Inglewood United welcome Bassendean Caledonian. Western Knights have the bye.
The pick of the First Division fixtures is without a doubt the top of the table clash between Stirling Suns and competition leader Mandurah City. But that is not the only important showdown in Round Ten with Ashfield hosting Kingsway Olympic, Morley Windmills at home to Dianella White Eagles, and Queens Park meet Canning City at Coker Park. Rockingham City welcome a confident Leeming Strikers to Dowling Street Reserve, while in Bunbury South West Phoenix have home ground advantage over Balcatta. An improving The City take on Bayswater City at Kingsway Sporting Complex, and strugglers Southside United take on local rivals Armadale.
BIG SHOWDOWN AT PERTH OVAL
Perth Oval is the venue for the top of the table National Soccer League fixture between Perth Glory and Olympic Sharks on Saturday night (7.00pm kick-off). Last weekend’s 2-1 win in Adelaide not only sealed Glory a berth in the Grand Final, it also earnt them the right to host the biggest game on the domestic calendar for the third time in four years. Strike partners Bobby Despotovski and Damian Mori have been in red-hot form throughout the finals series, sharing 18 goals in eight games, while Simon Colosimo, Andre Gumprecht and goalkeeper have also stepped up a gear. The Sharks won’t be daunted by the trip west where they’ve won on their two most recent visits, including last year’s Grand Final at Subiaco Oval. But following last week’s shock 1-2 loss to Newcastle United, Sharks coach will be looking for big efforts from star players Clint Bolton, Ante Milicic, Joel Porter, Ante Juric and Tom Pondeljak in order to keep on track plans for back-to-back titles.
HARNWELL TO TRY LUCK IN ENGLAND
Perth Glory stalwart Jamie Harnwell will be seeking greener pastures when he heads to England for trials at the conclusion of the current National Soccer League season. The tall defender is almost certain to knock back the club's fresh offer of a new deal in preference for trying his luck abroad. While it won't be the first time Harnwell has headed overseas in search of a lucrative playing contract, this time he is putting everything on the line to ensure the trip bears fruit. "Every time I've been overseas I've always had the luxury of coming back to something, whether it be Uni or a contract with Glory. This time I'll be going over with everything to prove and everything on the line," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian".
A product of the Sorrento youth system, Harnwell joined Glory prior to the 1998/99 campaign following several impressive seasons in the local competition. Dual recipient of the end-of-season Clubman Award, Harnwell has make in excess of 130 appearances for Glory and has rarely been out of the starting line-up since cementing his place under then coach Bernd Stange. But before he heads abroad the 25-year old is keen to end his time with Glory on a high by helping them to their first Grand Final win. "I've been to two grand finals and everyone says it could be third time lucky," Harnwell said. "It would be a great way to leave and sign off on this part of my career."
Also moving on at seasons' end is defender Shane Pryce who has confirmed he'll be taking up an offer to play in Singapore with Sengkang Marine. German midfielder Andre Gumprecht also set to leave the club after contract negotiations broke down a few months back, while Brazilian import Edgar and Dutchman Mohammed Mouhouti will also carefully consider their options. Staying in the west are forwards Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski who both recently agreed to new deals, while Mark Byrnes and Vince Matassa are expected to re-sign in the very near future. Three other players coming out of contract - Simon Colosimo, Brad Hassell and local product Jamie Coyne - are understood to be negotiating new deals.
CUP DRAW MADE
The quarter-final draw for the 2003 Boral Cup was made this evening live on Channel 31's West Coast Soccer program by former Australian international Alistair Edwards and Perth Glory goalkepeer Vince Matassa. In what is already tipped as the game of the round, Sorrento have home ground advantage over Perth S.C., while in the other all Premier League clash Western Knights meet reigning Cup holders E.C.U. Joondalup at Nash Field. Swan I.C. travel south to Peelwood Parade where they meet highly rated Mandurah City, and there's also a home fixture for the other surviving First Division team with Kingsway Olympic hosting Fremantle City. It is understood all games will be played on Monday 2nd June.
KNIGHTS HONOUR CLUB LEGEND
Western Knights will make use of their bye from league action this weekend by honouring club captain Carl Medica’s tenth year of service. A testimonial game has been arranged to mark the occasion between a team of Knights players past and present as selected by Medica and the Perth Glory squad that competed in the clubs’ inaugural season in the National Soccer League. The match kicks-off at 3.00pm on Sunday 18th May at Nash Field, Mosman Park. The on-field action gets underway form 11.00pm with an Under-16 fixture between the Knights and Perth S.C., and full bar and canteen facilities will be available throughout the day.
Following spells with Fremantle and Floreat Athena, Medica joined the Knights as a left-sided midfielder in 1994 and has gone on to excel and savour victory in every local competition. His most successful season with the club came only a few years after signing when, in 1998, the Knights were crowned Premier League champions, won the West Ham League Cup - Medica scoring in the final against Balcatta - then took out the Champion of Champions series. Two year later he was part of the Boral Cup winning team, in 2002 Medica was named club captain and he lifted his first trophy twelve months later with success in the final of the Night Series.
On a personal front, 2002 was probably the hard-working midfielder’s best on record. Installed as club captain, coach Ronnie Campbell encouraged Medica to attack with the end result being 17 goals in all competitions, 13 of those coming during the regular season. A club favourite, he was named the Knights Players’ Player of the Year, recieved their Leading Goalscorer award and finished joint fourth in Soccer West Coasts’ Gold Medal count. A call-up to the senior State side followed for November’s friendly with Perth Glory when Medica captained the side. In total, Medica has played in excess of 200 games for the Knights, scoring over 50 goals during his ten years.
Pulling on their boots for Medica’s Knights’ team will be goalkeeper Tommi Tomich, Alex Christie, John Nicolaou, Stuart Montgomery, Dean Nicolaou, Gino Giorgi, Cameron Jenkinson, Steve Greenwood, Miso Misic, Adam Kostrencic, Tony Stanojevic, Steve Huxtable, Gary Murray, Arlton DeSouza and, of course, Medica. Confirmed to play for Glory are Tommy Maras, Craig Naven, Gareth Naven, Paul Strudwick, Vladimir Beretovac, Alan MacKenzie, Marc Wingell, Peter Vukmirovic, Dale Wingell, Paul McVittie and Doug Ithier with Gary Marrochi as coach. The Knights would like to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to make the day possible including sponsors include Romano’s Smash Repairs, Season’s Funeral Directors, GG Legal, Soils Ain’t Soils Joondalup, Portofino’s Restaurant and Adrian Malkovic.
MEDICA'S ACHIEVEMENT RECOGNISED
To mark Carl Medica's tenth year with the Western Knights the club will this Sunday host a friendly between a Knights team selected by the club captain and the inaugural Perth Glory squad at Nash Field. Having joined the club in 1994, the hard-working midfielder has become established as a favourite with Knights supporters, players, coaching and backroom staff. In an effort to find out more about Medica, Brett Klucznik recently asked those that know the Knights stalwart for more of an insight into the man currently under the spotlight ...
Stirling Lions defender Adam Kostrencic was part of the Knights team when Medica was first signed in 1994. He spent five years as a teammate of the midfielder and said a key part of Medica's make-up was his determination. "Carl has an amazing ability to stay on his feet and somehow manage to keep the ball in front of him, no matter how many players try to take possession from him. Always determined - and sometimes a bit fiery - he is the type of player that can single-handedly turn a game in your favour. Early on in his career I think his greatest asset was his ability to attack, dribble and run at players at pace while in more recent years he has improved the defensive side of his game which has made him a more complete player. Off the park and even on the training track he's always good for a laugh and its traits such as these that have made him an ideal club captain and a real asset to the Knights."
"I first noticed Carl when I was playing for Fremantle in 1998," said now teammate Alex Christie. "I always found him frustrating to play against because he seemed to bounce both himself and the ball off players and yet somehow kept possession. After three full seasons playing alongside him I can honestly say he is pretty much a barometer for the teams' performance - when Carl's at his best, the Knights are hard to beat. He is passionate about the club and the team winning and, while that get's him into a bit of strife at times, everyone who understands him knows that Carl is a top individual and is very well respected. An inspirational captain, Carl is sure to go down as a legend with the Knights and will hopefully get to raise a few more trophies in his remaining years as a player."
Knights president Basil Zuvela said Medica's loyalty to the club has not gone unnoticed. "Carl came to the Knights as a young player in 1994 which wasn't our best season, we were relegated and went through four coaches that year. However, he stuck with us in the First Division and helped the club gain promotion the very next year. Over the next few seasons he and Ray Marinovic formed one of the best wing combinations to take the field in Soccer West Coast competition. Carl has a relaxed demeanour both on and off the field, is highly skilled and really should have played at higher levels. On his day he can be the best player in the local league, and his splendid workrate regularly turns matches in the Knights favour. Carl is held in high regard at the club and is undoubtedly a favourite with the Knights faithful."
Now in his second season with the Knights, Stuart Montgomery first encountered Medica as an opponent. "We used to play on eachother, him being a left midfielder and me a right midfielder, and we'd to get booked everytime - it was a always tough game playing against Carl! But to be honest I didn't think much of him until I joined the Knights last year and, at my first training session, Carl was the first to come over and make me feel welcome. Training and playing alongside him has made me realise what a talent he is Carl's skillful, very quick and possesses the ability to go past opponents as if they aren't even there. He gives everything for the team and Carl is a captain the truest sense of the word, he's the one we look too for that something special when the chips are down."
E.C.U. Joondalup player Scott Bulloch is another that has got to know Medica as an opponent. "With Carl what can you say - ten years playing in the State League is a long time and he's now one of the best known players in the local competition. An extremely difficult player to mark, Carl may not be the fastest of players but his dazzling skills are as good as any you'll come across. He's pretty solid in the tackle and not someone who I would like to come up again too often!" After spending the recent pre-season with the Knights, Bulloch got to see the other side of Medica. "I had the pleasure of playing alongside Carl at the start of this seasion and he helped me greatly by talking throughout the game and offering me his wisdom. It was good to be able to learn something off one of the best left-sided midfielders in the league."
Another who offered his congratulations to Medica was coach Steve Parkinson. "I was the coach at Fremantle Benfica in 1992 and Carl was one of the first players I brought to the club. He was sensational for Fremantle, proved very popular with the supporter's and I suspect had the club not been relegated a couple of years later he may have been celebrating his testimonial at Fremantle. But he made a good choice in moving to the Knights where he has flourished under the Ronnie and Willie show. I think it's a shame that he did not get the opportunity to play on a bigger stage because Carl has always been an occasion player and with his left-sided flair would have been a big crowd pleaser. He would have to be one of the best left-sided front players in the State and I have always instructed my players to go nowhere near him in the box as he will go down with such effect! Have a great testimonial year Carl but don't hang up the boots just yet."
COYNE LUTON'S MR CONSISTENCY
Chris Coyne has come a long since his making his first team debut for Perth Italia (nee Perth S.C.) in 1995. After honing his skills in the youth ranks at West Ham United and a season in Scotland with Dundee, Coyne joined Luton Town in September 2001 since which time he has gone from strength to strength. The 24-year old was a virtual ever-present for his club in 2002/03, making 44 League and Cup appearances and an important part of the club’s backline. “I’ve been established as a member of the first team for a few seasons now but this season was good in terms of injuries and suspensions for me,” said Coyne this week while back in Perth visiting family and friends over the English off-season.
A favourite with the Hatter’s faithful, Coyne’s efforts were recognised recently when he was named the clubs’ Player of the Season. “I was delighted to receive such an award,” he commented. “I think my performances over the year were consistent, I wasn’t the best player every week but I was doing my job which, I suppose, is all the manager can ask of a player.” The award was a testament to the ability of Coyne who was partnered by five different players in the centre of the Hatters’ defence over the course of the season. “It was very difficult, especially when you consider we had six goalkeepers behind us as well. But I was the mainstay at the back and I think that gave me more maturity on the pitch through increased responsibility. It just meant I was able to influence players around me more as, as the new player in the side, they were always looking to me for answers.”
Last season Coyne helped Luton win automatic promotion to the English Second Division. Hopes were high in the Hatters’ camp pre-season and rightly so as it turned out with the team again in the hunt for promotion before finishing in ninth place. “We were disappointed with the way the season ended after being in contention for a play-off position for so long. We always had high hopes of obtaining a top six place but fell away at the business end of the season, which we weren’t pleased with.” Rubbing salt into the wound for Coyne was the fact that he missed the last four games after tearing a stomach muscle. With his contract set to expire in 12-months, Coyne says he’d jump at the chance to extend his time at Kenilworth Road. “I have a year left and would be more than happy to stay. The club have been fantastic as a whole, and the supporters have taken me as one of their own, which makes it a great place to play your football.”
TIGHT IN WAASSA’S TOP FLIGHT
Five rounds into the WAASSA Premier League season and it’s shaping up to be a very tight winter with the top ten teams separated by just four points. “From the games we have played - against Dalmatinac, Azzurri, Murdoch, Kwinana and Canning - all have been very competitive and all teams seem to be well organised and fitter than last year,” commented University of W.A. coach Kevin Burton this week. As the table currently stands, Canning International and Fremantle United lead the way with 10 points, two ahead of Perth Azzurri. Level on 7 points sit Forrestfield United, Murdoch University, Hamersley Rovers and Kwinana United with U.W.A., Shamrock Rovers and North Perth United a further point behind.
“As I see it the main differentiater this season is going to be whose forward line can finish the more consistently - at the moment this seems to be a problem for a lot of teams,” said Burton. “We have also seen the result of three of our games decided in the last minute so another key factor appears to be that games are being played out right to the end, which is great news for the neutral supporter. I would expect that the title race will involve more teams this year and even to choose the top three will be difficult until we reach the half way mark of the season.”
U.W.A. haven’t had the best of starts points-wise according to Burton. Indeed after five games the team have won once, lost once and drawn three, but following their come-from-behind win on Sunday the coach is confident his side will start accumulating points in the not too distant future. “The team is certainly looking better and more experienced this year, but until the Canning game we had experienced little fortune at key moments. I am optimistic we will hit our straps very soon and we are very pleased to have had several players involved with the State Amateur squad, namely Shyan Young, Robert Benkovic, Max Percy and Marc D’Ascanio. Overall I think it is shaping up to be a very interesting season.”
LOCALS LINE UP FOR NATIONAL AWARDS
Western Australia will be well presented at Soccer Australia’s up-coming awards night. Australian youth international David Tarka has been nominated for the Under-21 Player of the Year award - the Papasavas Medal - along with Alex Brosque (Marconi Stallions) and Franco Parasi (Olympic Sharks). Perth Glory custodian Jason Petkovic is in line for the Goalkeeper of the Year award with Daniel Beltrame (Newcastle United) and Clint Bolton (Sharks) the other nominees. Another player with a Perth connection, Glory striker Damian Mori, is in the running for the Players’ Player of the Year - the Warren Medal - with Fernando Rech (Brisbane Strikers), Ante Milicic and Tom Pondeljak (both Sharks) and Joel Griffiths (Newcastle). And W.A. has two players in competition for the Julie Dolan Medal - aka the Women’s N.S.L. Player of the Season - as Lisa DeVanna (Adelaide Sensation) and Tal Karp (Canberra Eclipse) come up against Heather Garriock (Queensland Sting).
CLUBMAN AWARD TO LAZARIDIS
West Australian Stan Lazaridis was one of six players honoured at Birmingham City’s end of season awards dinner which was attended by over 1,000 players, board members, management and fans at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel late last week. The 30-year old Australian international’s contributions were recognised by team manager Steve Bruce who announced Lazaridis as the Clubman of the Year for season 2002/03. Lazaridis made 33 appearances, and scored two goals, to help Birmingham avoid relegation in their debut Premier League campaign.
D’AVRAY SALUTES PLAYERS (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory coach Mich d’Avray has saluted his players for their fantastic achievement of securing a second consecutive home Grand Final. Glory’s home Grand Final aim was achieved without kicking a ball, Newcastle United’s win over Olympic Sharks ensuring the Perth side can not be caught in the National Soccer League Championship Series. “This is a fantastic achievement and the players deserve all the praise,” said d’Avray. “Their efforts in the finals series have been almost superhuman, we have scored 26 goals and overcome a three point deficit to climb above Olympic. It has been an incredible effort by the whole squad and the spirit has been tremendous. Now we will focus all our attention on the Grand Final and hope we can go one step further than we did last season.”
GASPAR ENJOYING LIFE IN SABAH
Creative midfielder Robbie Gaspar is settling just fine in Malaysia where he has won the hearts of Sabah fans with his ‘David Beckham-style’ free-kicks which have so far produced three outstanding goals. In his first season with Sabah, the 23-year old says that while he is enjoying life in Malaysia his best is yet come to come as he continues to adapt to the style of play in the M-League. Gaspar’s time with the Rhinos didn’t start as he’d planned following an ankle injury suffered in a pre-season friendly that forced him to miss the teams’ first seven games of the season. “I had a shaky start, but I’m back now and I think I started to play well again. But I still need more games to adapt to the Malaysia style of play,” Gaspar told the “New Sabah Times” recently. “People here are very friendly and I’m getting along very well with my teammates and life here is excellent and I feel like at home.”
The Premier I League enters it’s second round shortly and Gaspar is confident he can help Sabah climb the table. “I hope we’ll keep on winning and moving up (the standings). If we can do that I think we could stand a good chance for the tittle.” Since making his debut in late March, the former Perth S.C. player has scored four times in five outings but he says it is not important who scores the goals as long as the results go in the teams favour. “The most important thing is the team wins. It is not important who scored the goals … whether it is Zainizam (Marjan), Josiah (Seton), Zaykiel (Leong) or any one else, but the most important thing is we win the match. Everybody is happy if we win,” said Gaspar. Twelve games into the M-League season Sabah sit in sixth place, eight points behind leaders Perak.
Spearwood Dalmatinac registered their first win for season 2003 in a hard-fought clash with Hamersley Rovers in Sunday’s round of the WAASSA Premier League. With the league’s leading goalscorer Flavio L’Abatte out due to suspension, Hamersley received another set-back after 10 minutes when goalkeeper Alecs Lackovic was forced off with a calf injury. Coinciding with Lackovic’s departure, Dalmatinac captain Robbie Santich went off for treatment following a clash of heads with Nick Cianci who was replaced later in the half due to injury. Soon after Daryl Benstead took over between the posts he was picking the ball out of the Hamersley net after Matt Santich beat him to a deep cross. The visiting team created some good opportunities mainly through the hard work of Alun Vernals and Darren Yates but a lack of confidence in front of goal let Hamersley down. After the break Dalmatinac found themselves under the hammer at the back for lengthy periods before Hamersley leveled the game in the 64th minute via Joe Wright. Substitute Daniel Scudder was soon in the action and should have done better with a couple of chances which came his way. The final ten minutes saw Dalmatinac threw everything forward in an effort to win the game and on a quick counterattack were awarded a free-kick after a foul by last defender Guiseppe L’Abatte which earned him a red card. The resultant deadball saw Matt Santich bag his second goal of the day and Dalmatinac saw out the remainder of the time to claim full points.
University of W.A. picked up three valuable points with a last minute goal against Canning International at Weir Park. The visiting team started the strongly but out of luck over the opening half. Marc D’Ascanio’s early shot was smartly pushed over for a corner by the Canning goalkeeper, and ten minutes later Frederik Larsen hit the crossbar from a corner kick. A cross into the area on the half hour hit the bar off the head of a Canning defender before being scrambled to safety, and shortly before the break David Berg put Larsen through with only the ‘keeper to beat but his shot was wide of the target. It was more of the same after the interval as Larsen shot again put the ball wide. Not long after Canning midfielder Asefaw was dismissed after what was deemed a deliberate handball. With around twenty minutes left the home team took the lead against the run of play when the ball was slid past the advancing goalkeeper. Going behind had immediate effect on the visitors as D’Ascanio’s cross from the left was spilled by the ‘keeper and Berg poked the loose ball across the line to equalise. With Canning themselves looking dangerous on the break, Shyan Young was called upon to make a good save with his legs to deny the home team the lead. In the very last minute of play a University free-kick found its way to Dave Holley whose low went inside the left hand corner for match winner. “We are pleased to get three deserved points against the early league leaders and our late winner shows that fortune does even itself out over the season,” said University coach Kevin Burton following the game. University sit top of the reserves table following a 4-3 win over Canning courtesy of goal from Harry Banyard (2), Tim Grose and Dave Holley.
After five games the Premier League table is very congested with ten teams separated by four points. Canning International lead the way with 10 points where they were joined on Sunday by Fremantle United after their 3-1 away win over Murdoch University. Perth Azzurri are two points off the pace following a 2-3 home defeat by Forrestfield United, who move to seven points. Level with Forrestfield are Murdoch University, Hamersley Rovers and Kwinana United - who drew 2-2 with Shamrock Rovers. A further point behind sit U.W.A., Shamrock Rovers and North Perth United who defeated Balga 3-1 on Sunday. 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 SIX (Western Knights vs Sorrento courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Stirling Lions vs Inglewood United by Don Evans)
Jubilee Reserve was the venue for an entertaining Premier League clash between Bassendean Caledonian and E.C.U. Joondalup on Saturday. A healthy rivalry has developed between two clubs over the past few seasons and, with both teams sitting in the lower reaches of the table, another hotly contested game was on the cards. Although in possession of one of the best defensive records in the local game, Caledonian went into the match winless from four starts with recent form suggesting that was about to change. Ninth-placed Joondalup may be the second highest scoring team in the league, but they also have the unenviable honour of the leeague’s worst defensive record after conceding eighteen goals in just five outings. With the sun shining and a decent sized crowd gathering, the stages was set for an enticing clash.
All the early running was with the home side who came out of the blocks with a bang but despite having the better of possession there were few shots on goal as Joondalup’s defence held firm under the early pressure. The only genuine chance of the opening 10 minutes came the way of Ian Griffiths who blasted the ball over the crossbar from 14-metres after Joondalup were slow to deal with a corner from the left. The visiting team slowly settled into a rhythm and in the 12th minute a corner played to the near post saw Garin Collins rob goalkeeper Alan Dunlop of possession and Derek Cooke reacted quickest to the loose ball only for his close-range shot to cannon back off the up-right. A lovely flowing move six minutes later brought Joondalup more joy as Darren Broxton’s cross into the area saw Eugene Singeorzan brilliantly lay the ball off into the path of Abdul Kamara who drilled it low and beyond Dunlop for the game’s opening goal.
The home team were lucky not to find themselves two goals down midway through the half when Peter Roberts played the ball long into attack and Singeorzan’s blistering shot on the run whizzed narrowly wide. Caledonian were back on level terms after 26 minutes when Daryl Platten was judged to have fouled Ian Griffiths inside the penalty area, and Ryan Jeans sent Peter Stewart the wrong way from the spot. Following the goal Caledonian re-established their dominance across the middle of the park but time and time again they could find no way past their opponents well-marshalled defence which was lead by Peter Vukmirovic and Luke Croxall. As the half came to a close the pendulum swung back in Joondalup’s favour. Scott Bulloch’s centring pass from close to the byline resulted in Singeorzan pulling his shot over the bar, and minutes later Cooke blasted wide from 16-metres after he ran onto a long ball played over the defence.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Matt Donlevy sent Ian Griffiths away down the left flank from where the midfielder centred low to Ramon Westerberger who side-footed the ball past Stewart from 7-metres to put Caledonian in front. But the lead lasted just three minutes, Bulloch clipping a free-kick into the 18-yard box to Singeorzan whose glancing header caught Dunlop flat-footed and the ball crossed the line via the inside of the back post. Ten minutes into the half Dunlop kept his side the contest with a courageous diving save at the feet of Cooke as he lined up to shoot at close-range. The middle stages of the half were dominated by some very scrappy play which saw possession conceded needlessly by both teams, as well as several baffling decision from referee Hugh Best that left both players and supporters scratching their heads in wonder.
The match really came to life in the final twenty minutes as both sides searched for a goal to crack the game open. A cross to the near post by Kevin Griffiths saw Jeans flick it goalward only to see Croxall deflect the shot over the bar. Kevin Griffiths was again involved shortly after when he combined with Westerberger whose cross into the 6-yard box narrowly evaded the head of Andy Cornmell with goalkeeper Stewart rooted to his line. Broxton found Singeorzan in the 78th minute and while the big strikers’ imaginative shot forced Dunlop to dive full-length it was going wide nonetheless. The end to end action had the crowd on their feet and cheering on their team. A minute later Jeans sprinted past the Joondalup defence but was forced wide by Stewart, giving Platten time to get back and block the shot. The final opening of the game came the way of Joondalup substitute Scott Blackmore whose thundering drive from 12-metres was brilliantly kept out by Dunlop who dove along the line to tip the ball wide.
It was a valuable point for a Caledonian side who today showed they won’t have to wait too much longer before registering their first win of the winter campaign. Much of the teams forward drive came from the pairing of Kevin Griffiths and Ian Griffiths who worked tirelessly and combined with great effect down the right flank, while defensively the experience of 34-year old Craig Naven proved invaluable. Having doubled their opponents shot count, Joondalup will go home disappointed not to have more from the game. “I thought we had the better of the game,” said Joondalup coach Stuart Kamasz post-match. “If we hadn’t had the penalty decision go against us then I think we should have gone on with it. To their credit Bassendean battled on and in the last ten minutes the game really could have gone either way. However, I feel that in the past couple of weeks we have dropped some vital points.” Singeorzan was always a danger in attack for the visitors while there were strong performances also from Croxall against his former club and goalscorer Kamara in his first start of the season.
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Kevin Smith, Craig Naven, Jamie D’Arcy
(Johnathon Mathers 82), Andy Cornmell, Ian Griffiths (Craig Wells 76), Dean
Gartside, Matt Donlevy, Kevin Griffiths, Ramon Westerberger (Graeme
Matthews 85), Ryan Jeans
E.C.U. Joondalup : Peter Stewart, Luke Croxall, Peter Vukmirovic, Daryl Platten, Peter Roberts, Scott Bulloch, Derek Cooke (Scott Blackmore 76), Darren Borxton, Abdul Kamara, Eugene Singeorzan, Garin Collins
Bookings : Platten (26), Collins (44), Donlevy (45)
Disnissals : None
Referee: Hugh Best
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
Fremantle City staty top of the Premier League, two points clear of Perth S.C., after a 3-1 defeat of Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club on Saturday afternoon. In an entertaining game Swan were dominant over the opening period but it took until the 20th for the first real opening to appear but Damian Scali’s touch let him down with the goalkeeper to beat. Six minutes later the home team took a deserved lead as teenager Tom Shepheard beat his marker to go through to give the goalkeeper no chance with a fine shot. Despite creating numerous other scoring chances the black-and-whites had to be content with a one-goal half-time lead. Fremantle picked up the pace in the second half and took the game up to their opponents. An error by the usually reliable Cory Hugo early in the half gave Branimir Mikulic his fifth goal of the home-and-away series to draw the port side level. The visiting side began to get on top and Anthony Pereira showed his pace and skill to race through and put his side in front. Swan had their chances to level the score only to be let down by some wasteful finishing before the win was sealed in injury time by Pereira who came on the better in a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. “We have to keep our feet on the ground. We’re only six weeks into the season,” said Fremantle coach Greg Kazmer following the win.
A good-sized crowd turned out to see an undefeated Perth S.C. take local rivals Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. The visiting defence were immediately placed on alert as Athena mounted a few early attacks, however the first real chance on goal came at the opposite end where a cracking Shane Crampton shot ricocheted off the left upright and out for a corner. Opportunities for both teams continued to flow in what was a busy first half. Athena took their chances through Jamie Trandos and James Afkos but their first real attempt came following an nifty back-heel by former Perth player Andreas Oliviera but the shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was comfortably saved by Robert Scarporolo. The drought was broken after 30 minutes when Crampton went one-on-one with Anthony Mori, the Perth striker lobbing his shot over the goalkeeper and into the back of the Athena net. Minutes later an Athena free-kick forced Scarporolo off his line to clear, the ball fell to Afkos whose goalbound shot was blocked on the line by Perry Ielati. A Todd Howarth throw-in midway through the second half provided Rhys Graham with a perfect shot at goal which he made no mistake with, Graham’s drive from 20-metres soaring past Mori and into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0. Athena mounted a late surge and earned themselves a consolation goal following a slip-up at the back by the visitors that permitted Sasa Kilabarda to reduce the margin. “Our overall performance wasn’t up to the standard that I demand but, having said that, I don’t expect a first class performance every week,” said Perth coach Graham Normanton. “Still, we created plenty of scoring opportunities, dominated for long periods, and really should have put the result beyond doubt. But we contrived to keep Athena in it with a gift goal ten minutes from time. It wasn’t a classic but we still got all three points.”
Honours ended even when the Western Knights took on Sorrento in what was at times a spiteful game at Nash Field. In a dour opening half-hour both sides struggled for ascendancy with the first clear chance coming the way of Simon Harland only to have Tony Kursar toe-poke the ball away as he lined up the target. From the resulting corner it was Kursar again who saved the Knights, this time clearing off the line Todd Harnwell’s goalbound header. On the counter attack Claus Neilson sent a defence splitting ball to John Nicolaou who placed his shot wide in a one-on-one with Sorrento custodian Gareth Deeg. Sorrento opened the scoring after 36 minutes when Alex Christie let a hopeful long ball bounce and Harland snuck in front of the defender to poke the ball past the advancing Tommi Tomich. It could have been two-nil four minutes later when a powerful Steve MacDonald header was cleared off the line by nuggety defender Leon Russell. Nicolaou brought the Knights back into the game when he collected a corner, turned inside his marker and with the outside of his boot curled the ball past Deeg to level the game. Five minutes into the second half the home side took the lead as Daniel Cain’s attempted clearance landed at the feet of Stuart Montgomery who rifled a shot into the crowded penalty area which Evan Wallace managed to divert into the bottom right hand corner. Sorrento soon hit back via the penalty spot after Christie mis-timed his tackle on Tony Cumace, and Dale McCulloch had no trouble hitting the back of the net. With the score at 2-2 Glen Thomas was twice denied, first by Tomich and then by Russell before the points were shared.
Two miraculous goals from Inglewood United was all that stood between Stirling Lions and victory in a very even tussle at Macedonia Park. Played in perfect weather conditions, the match commenced at breakneck speed with both teams looking to take the early advantage. The Lions came closest when Toby Wright’s goalbound header was brilliantly tipped away by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski after 14 minutes. The better of the early opening came the way of the home side with Adam Rains dominant in midfield with an endless supplying of quality passes to forwards Danny Carlino and Toby Wright. Against the run of play Inglewood opened the scoring after 20 minutes when a searching long ball found Louis Parkinson who lobbed an amazing 30-metre shot precisely over Lions custodian Jordan Conti and into the net. The Lions fired up over the closing stages of the half and went agonisingly close to leveling when Leo Harman’s piercing through ball was run on to by Toby Wright only to see Taseski pull off a brilliant save from his flick on goal. Near miss chances to Keegan Ashley and Toby Wright were indications of better things to come for the home team after the interval. The Lions turn to roar came in the 77th minute when an Ashley corner found it’s way to Rains who belted in a scorcher from 25-metres. It looked as though the Lions would go on with the job and claim victory until Inglewood midfielder Alan MacKenzie unleashed a guided missile from 40-metres that whizzed into the top corner of the net after 80 minutes to kill off the hopes of the home team.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18’S ROUND-UP
Perth S.C. continued their perfect start to the reserves season with a 2-0 defeat of Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium after Jason Colli and Ben Rogers found the target. The win, Perth's fifth from as many starts, sees them break away from the chasing pack and open up a three point gap on Athena and go five points ahead of joint third-placed Sorrento and Inglewood United. Sorrento accounted for Western Knights 3-1 with goals from Daniel Stoitis, James Morgan and Jake Harman with Kenji Urabe the scorer for the home side. A double from Michael Baczynski and third goal from Craig Lewis gave Inglewood a 3-0 win at Stirling Lions. Swan I.C. recorded their first win of the campaign by a 3-2 scoreline against Fremantle City. David Mahon and Matt Ulluricht (2) were the scorers for the black-and-whites with Fremantle's goals coming via Joe Liguan and Matt Hansen.
Having eliminated Bassendean Caledonian from the Boral Cup earlier in the season, E.C.U. Joondalup had every reason to be confident going into their meeting at Jubilee Reserve. It was a solid performance from Joondalup who took the lead in the first half through teenager Josh Kamasz, who had only days earlier returned from trialling abroad. Caledonian replied mid-way through the second period after visiting goalkeeper Michael Lawson was penalised for pulling down Gareth Wright in the box, Wright picking himself up to convert from the spot. A strong defensive showing from John Morton and Danny Wilson kept the home team at bay over the closing stages of a match that ended with honours even.
Fremantle City kept the pressure on the leaders of the Under-18 competition courtesy of their fourth win on the run, a resounding 6-0 away win over Swan I.C. It was a solid team performance from the port side who went into the break two goals up thanks to quality strikes by Ben Howe and Marlon Ramirez. After the break it was more of the same as Fremantle's constant pressure resulted in four goals in a devastating twenty minute spell, Marc Sim netting twice along with Danny Baker and Mo Atak. "The win makes us the highest scoring team in the league," said coach Mike Tetlow after the game. "It's been really pleasing to see us pass the ball with such high quality."
Floreat Athena and E.C.U. Joondalup continue to keep pace with eachother at the top of the youth competition table. Goals from Troy Dott (2)and Rodrigo Agguirre gave Athena a 3-0 win over Perth S.C. to stay top of the table on goal difference, although Joondalup's 6-0 away mauling of Bassendean Caledonian narrows that gap to a single goal. Rostyn Griffiths, Scott Bushby, Leigh Perry, Phillip O'Callaghan, Kevin Carmona and Daniel Defazio were all on target for the northerners. Despite goals from Reggie Ram and Ryan Fitzgerald, Western Knights went down 2-5 at home to Sorrento for whom Steven Kruit (2), Jay MacDonald (2) and David Wimbridge netted. Inglewood United registered their second win of the campaign courtesy of a 3-0 scoreline away to Stirling Lions with goals from Mladen Kovacevic and Abbi Mohamed.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINE (Mandurah City vs South West Phoenix by Barrie Rennie; Kingsway Olympic vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Armadale vs Rockingham City by Michael Di Pietro; Leeming Strikers vs Southside United courtesy leemingstrikers.com)
Mandurah City stay top of the First Division following a solid performance against South West Phoenix at Peelwood Parade on Saturday. In a one-sided affair, Mandurah came out firing with early chances coming the way of Christian Paschewitz and Michael Bobridge courtesy of the excellent service of Andrew Rennie and Jordan Rhodes. After 13 minutes this pressure bore fruit as Bobridge scored after a fine build-up through the middle of the park. Mandurah continued to create and in the 23rd minute doubled their lead via Rennie who coolly slotted the ball into the net from close range. The second stanza began much as the first had finished with Mandurah in complete control and two minutes in the influential Rhodes beat three players to go inside the area before crossing to Bobridge who beat the ‘keeper for his second of the match. Shortly after Mandurah lost captain Gary Collins to injury and with the defence disrupted Phoenix took full advantage to score twice in quick succession and get themselves back into the game. After a period of adjustment Mandurah regained their composure as Bobridge restored their two-goal buffer. The home team controlled the final quarter-hour and were unlucky not to add to their tally before the final whistle signaled a deserved 4-2 win. In the reserve Steven Choate was in devastating form as he scored five time goals in the 8-2 rout of Phoenix, Steven Rhodes also chiming in with a spectacular hat-trick. The Under-18’s ended in a 2-1 win to Phoenix who scored twice in the final minute to claim the points.
A depleted Balcatta had an away meeting with a Stirling Suns team riding high on the First Division table. In a fast and furious opening it was the Suns that gained the upper hand with some dangerous moves which produced two first half goals that had a hint of offside to both. For their part Balcatta opted to attack using the full width of the park but the visiting team were unable to break down a composed Suns backline that deal confidently with everything that came their way. The momentum swung in Balcatta’s favour after the break but it was the Suns that found the target after 55 minutes to make it 3-0. The Suns would have extended their lead even further if not for the heroics of Balcatta goalkeeper Adam Dassie who made several stunning saves to keep the margin to three goals. Throwing caution to the wind, Balcatta pushed forward at every opportunity and eventually reduced the deficit via Gavin Falco-Brown, who converted from the penalty spot. With fifteen minutes remaining Balcatta had a Scott Broadley goal disallowed much to the annoyance of the traveling fans, and minutes later Falco-Brown saw his one-on-one opportunity slam into the chest of the advancing goalkeeper. And when Broadley hit the crossbar with a header it seemed as it just wasn’t going to be Balcatta’s day. Five minutes from the end a cracking volley from 22-metres by Broadley rocketed into the top corner of the net to give the visitors hope of leveling the game, but it wasn’t too be as Michael Chiari’s shot rolled narrowly wide with the final play of the afternoon.
Both Bayswater City and Morley Windmills would rue their missed opportunities at the end of their physical meeting at Frank Drago Reserve. After a slow start the whole complexion of the game was altered in the 20th minute when Bayswater goalkeeper Adam Ashworth was forced from the field after suffering a knee injury. With back-up Matthew Saliacus taking over between the posts, the home side upped the pace and created several good chances to take the lead, the best coming to midfielder Kevin Henderson whose header hit the crossbar. Down the opposite end Windmills came close to seizing the lead but Deeny Botha’s lob ended just the wrong side of the crossbar. The arm-wrestle for control of play resulted in both sides resorting in playing a long ball game and shortly before the break Henderson squandered an easy chance to put Bayswater in front. Ten minutes into the second half the home side hit the lead through Sal Marrapodi who cashed in on some fine lead-up work from Boima Karpeh. Windmills responded with several promising attacks that saw Ben Headly and Botha shoot wide before substitute Dave Boffa bagged a deserved equaliser following a scramble inside the box. Bayswater got the ball in the net a second time after Andrew O’Neill rounded the ‘keeper then passed to Boima Karpeh who scored from an off-side position. Marco Schisano hit the bar as Windmills finished the stronger of the teams, but the visitors were held at bay by some fine ‘keeping from Saliacus to deny Stephen Waycott and Botha and ensure the game ended 1-1. Bayswater took out both the earlier games, Kristian Ottolini scoring in injury time winner to give the reserves a 4-3 result, while the Under-18’s triumphed 13-0.
Canning City went home from Kingsway Sporting Complex with all three points despite being on the back foot for much of their clash with high-flying Kingsway Olympic. The visitors came out on fire and found themselves a goal up after 2 minutes as Chris Littlejohn passed short to John Rimmington who evaded a tackle then struck a dipping shot from 20-metres which went over goalkeeper Kalon Tenakov and into the roof of the host’s goal. After taking the lead Canning defended deep in their own half for the remainder of the half as right-sided midfielder Ryan Lickiss pumped a series of high balls into the area which the Olympic forwards were unable to convert. The second period followed the same pattern with Canning breaking on the counterattack against an Olympic team bereft of ideas on how to overcome the visitors stubborn defence. In the 63rd minute Rimmington’s well-weighted pass to Mike Van Dongen saw his shot knock around the upright by Tenakov as Canning began to grow in confidence. Ten minutes later the visitors delivered what turned out to be the coupe de grass when Shane Laing dribbled past his marker to go inside the area and chip the advancing Tenakov and make it 2-0. To their credit the hosts never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts in stoppage time when Danny Taylor bundled the ball into the net after a corner from the right. However, it was little consolation to an Olympic team that enjoyed the lion’s share of possession throughout the afternoon and slip down the standings as a result of the loss.
It was very much a game of two halves at Alfred Skeet Oval where Armadale and Rockingham City battled out a tight derby encounter. The Reds controlled the first half and took a deserved lead after 25 minutes after Greg Newcombe converted from a Jason Hardie corner. With defenders Marc Craft and Nick Twyman repelling their opponents attacking forays, Jason Goodwin , Dennis Lee and Luke Morris worked hard in attack for Armadale but were unable to add to their teams tally before the half-time whistle. Rockingham started the new half in more promising fashion and their increased tempo was rewarded following a defensive error that allowed Glen Hallams in to equalise. For Armadale it was yet another case of two points dropped as the team, one of the pre-season favourites, slip to tenth with just two wins from eight starts and seven points behind leaders Mandurah City. There was better news for Armadale’s reserves who defeated Rockingham 2-1 courtesy of goals by Darren Kingston and 19-year old Billy Kirkpatrick. The Under-18 game ended in a 1-1 draw with David Hall giving Armadale a share of the points with a late equaliser.
Queens Park and Ashfield met in a mid-table clash at Coker Park where both teams were eager to keep pace with the leading pack. The home dominated the opening 20 minutes with youngster Adrian McBride setting up their best opportunity when his inch perfect cross to Glen Noblett saw the striker re-direct the ball goalward only to have 17-year old goalkeeper Eldin Ibrisinovic keep it out. The game swung the way of Ashfield over the later stages as Queens Park goalkeeper Darren Williams pulled off several important saves to keep his team on level terms. The second period saw Queens Park step up a gear and again it was Ibrisinovic that held them at bay with a string of excellent saves. The breakthrough goal finally arrived when Noblett’s shot was parried and Brian Robertson was positioned to head in from close-range. The home team could have double their advantage following a long throw-in by Grant Learmont that was met by substitute Paul Dundo whose header was brilliantly saved by Ibrisinovic. Ashfield came close to sneaking a point when Dion Florias crossed into the area but no one was able to get on the end it of and Queens Park claimed victory. “All in all we are starting to get close to what I know our young kids are capable of and its the depth of our squad that has got us through the last couple of weeks,” said Queens Park coach Mike Brazil after the game. “Last week defender Damian Phelan came off the bench and did a first class job, and it was a similar effort this week from Paul Dundo in midfield. I’m glad to have picked up three points from an Ashfield team who will win more games than they will lose.”
Leeming Strikers cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win against local rivals Southside United at the John Connell Reserve. The home team found themselves in the box seat after ten minutes with two goals already on the board. The opener came via Angelo Porrovechio who went through the centre to beat Southside goalkeeper Sam Collins, and not long after a long, diagonal ball from Glynn Busson was controlled by Lucas Whitehouse who coolly slotted home. The Striker’s continued to applied the pressure and their third arrived as Whitehouse headed in a Ross Greer corner. Whitehouse completed his hat-trick when he converted from the penalty spot to give Leeming a commanding 4-0 half-time lead. The second half had barely began before the first of three red cards was forthcoming, reducing Southside to ten men. The Strikers immediately took advantage and in a flowing move down the right flank Dave Sherington put David Perrin through and he made no mistake firing into the net to make it 5-0. Worse was to follow for Southside who had two further players dismissed to leave them with only eight on the field. The final margin reduced the tension by playing the ball around rather than running up a double figure score as the game came to a close amid an almost surreal atmosphere.
Dianella White Eagles bounced back from last weekend’s loss to Mandurah City with a 2-1 home win over competition newcomers The City. Despite the absence of three experienced defenders in Taki Nicolaides, Djukan Tesic and Davorin Svirac, the home side took the lead midway through the first half when Mario Lucic finished off a fine solo run by Dragisa Volarevic. The City responded almost immediately and leveled the score through Ben Yates. With half-time fast approaching, Dragan Radojevic burst away down the right to slot his shot past the goalkeeper and his near post from an ever-narrowing angle. After the interval it was The City that did most of the attacking only for their efforts to go without reward, while Dianella’s scattered forays into attack also result in no addition to the scoreboard. Close to the end it looked as though The City would equalise when awarded a penalty, but Scott Wyeth’s shot hit the upright and goalkeeper Nenad Djurasovic moved swiftly to keep out the follow-up. Five minutes later the Zelko Savic won his side a penalty but Philip Smiljanic also failed to convert, his effort crashing into the frame of the goal. The win moves Dianella up the standings, while for bottom side The City it was yet another defeat by the narrowest of margins.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Fremantle City and Perth S.C. have broken away from the chasing pack after Saturday's fifth round of Premier League action. The port sides' 3-1 away defeat of Swan I.C. extends their winning run to five games and keeps them two points ahead of Perth who overran Floreat Athena 2-1 at Litis Stadium. Four points adrift Perth sit the Western Knights and Inglewood United. The Knights were held 2-2 at home by Sorrento, while Inglewood's rollercoaster season continued with a 2-1 away win over Stirling Lions. At Jubilee reserve the points were shared as Bassendean Caledonian and E.C.U. Joondalup fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Mandurah City stay top of the First Division after eight games as a result of their 4-2 home win over South West Phoenix, but keeping the heat on the leaders are Stirling Suns whose 3-2 defeat of Balcatta keeps them a point behind the leaders. The surprise of the round came at Kingsway Sporting Complex where Kingsway Olympic lost 1-2 to the youngsters from Canning City. Bayswater City were held to a 1-1 draw by a Morley Windmills side hit heavily by injury and suspension, Queens Park lead-frog Ashfield courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline, while Armadale drew 1-1 with Rockingham City in a tight match. Leeming Strikers were big 5-0 winners against Southside United, and Dianella White Eagles accounted for The City by 2-1.
GLORY SECURE GRAND FINAL SPOT
Perth Glory have secured a place in the National Soccer League Grand Final, and confirmed themselves as favourite for the title, by coming from behind to beat home team Adelaide City Force tonight in front to 5,800 spectators. The biggest crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium this season were treated to an entertaining match which started with several promising attacks from both teams. The Zebra’s took the lead two minutes from half-time after Goran Lozanovski set up Shane Smeltz with a superb long pass that the striker sent low past goalkeeper Jason Petkovic. Brad Hassell put the visitors on level terms when he unleashed a wicked drive from 25-metres which rocketed into the roof of the net after 66 minutes. A minute later Aurelio Vidmar had a goal disallowed for handball down the opposite end to leave the home fans fuming. With City tiring over the closing stages, Damian Mori beat the offside trap to set up Bobby Despotovski with a simple tap in at the far post for the match winner after 61 minutes. Two minutes later Despotovski hit the post with a string drive as Glory consolidated top position in the finals series and a likely home grand final.
TASESKI BACK TO INGLEWOOD
19-year old Oliver Taseski has returned to Inglewood United to alleviate the club’s goalkeeping shortage. Having left Inglewood to play for Floreat Athena only a matter of weeks ago, Taseski’s transfer recently fell through leading to his return to the National Stadium. A training ground accident two weeks ago left Inglewood goalkeeper Nick Stone with a broken ankle and the club short on experienced goalkeepers. Although disappointed his move to Athena did not work out, Taseski is now said to be looking forward to pulling on the gloves once again for Inglewood.
MURPHY’S FAMILY ANGUISH
Sheffield United will be without defender Shaun Murphy for the duration of the First Division play-offs after revealing that his wife, Alison, has been fighting breast cancer for the past two years and that tests have found a fresh tumour. “At times like this your priorities have to be at home. There are more important things in life than football and I have to spend time with Alison,” 32-year old Murphy told the “Yorkshire Post”. “Obviously, I hope the club win promotion and my best wishes go to the other lads. I wouldn’t want my absence to upset things in any way.”
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The pick of the action in Round Six of the Premier League takes place at Nash Field on Saturday where its third verses fourth as Western Knights host Sorrento go head-to-head. League leaders Fremantle City will be looking for their fifth win on the run when they travel to play Swan I.C., and after taking maximum points last weekend Floreat Athena will find themselves really tested by a Perth S.C. outfit who are in red-hot form. Bassendean Caledonian welcome E.C.U. Joondalup to Jubilee Reserve, Stirling Lions have home ground advantage over Inglewood United, and Cockburn City have the bye.
Coming off a big win last weekend, First Division leaders Mandurah City should have little trouble in accounting for the visitors from South West Phoenix, while Kingsway Olympic are favoured to take maximum points from their away meeting with Canning City. Bayswater City host a Morley Windmills line-up ravaged by injury and suspension, Stirling Suns are home to Balcatta, and Queens Park take on Ashfield at Coker Park. Armadale play Rockingham City in what is tipped to be a fiercely contested clash, Leeming Strikers meet Southside United at John Connell Reserve, and Dianella White Eagles play bottom team The City.
DESPOTOVSKI HAPPY TO STAY
Striker Bobby Despotovski has agreed to stay with Perth Glory for a further two-years, turning down a more lucrative offer from National Soccer League rival Parramatta Power in the process. The 31-year old Australian international signed a two-year deal yesterday, ending speculation that he was about to end his seven-year association with the club. "I'm glad it's out of the way," said Despotovski. "I had always wanted to stay but they offered me one year and I wanted two. An extra year gives me more stability." It is understood Power offered Despotovski a package worth close to double that presented by Glory, but the striker decided to stay in Perth after Glory extended their initial one-year offer to two.
THREE RESIGN FROM SOCCER AUSTRALIA BOARD
Australian soccer was thrown into confusion last night with the shock resignation of Soccer Australia chairman Remo Nogarotto and board members Walter Bugno and Robert Sestan. The trio said their decision came following division amongst the Soccer Australia board as to the direction it should take regarding the Crawford Report. "It is apparent that there now exists significant differences among the directors as to the most appropriate way forward following last Saturday's extraordinary general meeting," read the statement. "In the light of those differences, it is our view that it is only proper that we tender our resignations effective immediately. We respect the rights of individuals to hold opposing views but believe the game for too long has suffered as a result of a divided boardroom."
Despite the resignation of Nogarotto, Bugno and Sestan, local soccer officials expect the re-structure of the game to continue in accordance with the Crawford Report. Soccer Administration of W.A. president David Schrandt said his organisation remained in favour of the implementing the inquiries recommendations, which included the appointment of an interim board led by businessman Frank Lowy. An attempt to install a Lowy-led board at last Saturday's general meeting failed on a technicality, but Schrandt said the change was likely to be passed next month. "We are unmoved in our position that there has to be a change at the top," he said.
Perth Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis urged the remaining board members to stand aside. "Perth Glory applauds the courage and fortitude of the three former Board members for placing the interests of the game first," said Dennis. "We believe the remaining members should follow, which would reflect the wishes of the true stakeholders - the fans and players. Lowy and his team will unquestionably provide the credibility the game has desperately needed. This in turn will deliver both corporate investment and media opportunities the sport has not been able to achieve. The momentum and desire for change in undeniable and irreversible."
ON THE BALL WITH MATT DANSKIN (reproduced with permission from Swan I.C. matchday programme)
Last September midfielder Matt Danskin (right) took up an offer to join the youth structure with top flight German club Werder Bremen. Peter Simcox recently caught up with the 18-year old midfielder to find out how life has been treating him in Germany. "There is always room for improvement but considering the situation and all the different factors, I'm happy with the way things are going," Danskin said. "The game here is strategically much different from playing in Perth. Things are also much faster, the players are stronger, and things like skills and vision are better and more refined." One aspect of the footballing life in Eruope what has taken Danskin by surprise is the number of training ground 'bust ups'. "The pressures involved mean players loose their cool from time to time. Players aren't playing for fun any more, they are playing and training for a professional contract and everyone is seen as an enemy."
Many Australian youngsters dream about playing overseas and Danskin is one of the lucky few that have been offered the opportunity to make that become reality. But he was quick to point out that there are a lot of sacrifices to make in heading abroad and chasing your dream. "Although training is very demanding, mentally and physically, it only lasts two hours and is only a small part of the difficulty that goes into everyday life. You don't leave family, friends, girlfriends and life as you know it behind when you leave the airport and never think of it again, those sacrifices are always in your mind and thoughts. Doubt is a very hard thing to combat - am I good enough, is it all worth it, and I wish I were at home. It's not all about football and definitely not, as my dad would say, all 'beer and skittles'."
Danskin has been a regular feature of the Werder Under-19 team this season, in fact he's often been singled out for praise by coach Dieter Eilts. But while he has been turning on the style for the youth side, Danskin is well aware he won't be breaking into the senior ranks before the club know he is ready. "In Germany there is a different approach about blooding players. They tend to make you do your time with respected age groups, prove yourself and then when the time comes you move to the next level." And the teenager has adopted a very mature and open approach to his playing future. "I don't really mind where I play, I just want to enjoy my football and enjoy life," Danskin added. "Where I am going to be happy that's where I'll end up playing - whether its England, Germany, Spain or back home to Australia - I don't really mind. My ambition is simple - play the best I can play and hopefully make a living from the game."
CONTRACT TALKS FOR LAZARIDIS
Stan Lazaridis has entered into contract negotiations with Birmingham City which he hopes will see his contract with the Blues extended beyond its June expiration. The 30-year old played an integral role in the club's inaugural season in the Premier League and Lazaridis believes that the last nine months have seen him play his best football during his time at St. Andrews. "The manager and I have both agreed that it was probably been my best season at the club. I have been able to perform consistently well, week after week, and have helped to set up several goals as well as grabbing a couple myself," Lazaridis told his clubs' official website (www.bcfc.com) this week. "I will be in contract talks with the club over the next couple of days and hopefully we can sort something out by the end of this week and I will be here for at least another couple of years because I really want to stay."
RECORDS LOOM FOR GLORY PAIR
Perth Glory striker partners Bobby Despotovski and Damian Mori have long been considered one of the National Soccer League's most lethal attacking combinations. With the 2002/03 season fast coming to a close, the pair are fast zeroing in setting new N.S.L. records as the goals continue to flow. Despotovski is currently having one of the most prolific scoring runs in N.S.L. history. In his past seven outings the former Floreat Athena player has bagged an impressive eleven goals, and Despotovski needs to score twice in his next match - away to Adelaide City on Friday - to reach the all-time record of most goals in eight consecutive games. That 13-goal record is held jointly by Gary Cole (Heidelberg United) and Mori (then Adelaide City). With 22 goals currently to his credit, Mori is set to become the second highest number of goals in a single N.S.L. season. Although the striker has a long way to go to catch his own record of 31 goals bagged in the 1995/96 season, Mori is just one goal behind John Kosmina who netted 23 time in 1982. Presuming Glory make the Grand Final, More has four more games in which to overtake Kosmina.
SARS PUTS ITHIER'S SEASON ON HOLD
Doug Ithier's plans of playing professionally in China have been put on hold due to the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome. The former Perth Glory and State defender joined Chinese B-League side Chengdu in March and was looking forward playing professionally, but a month into the season the outbreak of SARS has called a sudden halt to the league. Having turned out for Chengdu in their opening four games, Ithier returned to Perth recently for what was intended to be a week-long stay to complete some personal business during the league's scheduled month-long break. Due to return to China last week, the 28-year old was recently informed that the competition was on hold and he may as well stay in Perth for the time being.
With the league is scheduled to resume early next month, Chinese authorities will assess the situation before giving the re-start the green light. But Ithier is torn between seeing out his contract and the potential threat to his health. "Imagine if a player gets it, then the whole team gets it ... It's constantly in my mind," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". Keen to impress the coaching staff at Chengdu and earn a contract with a Chinese first division team next season, Ithier is making use of his time in Perth by training with former club Western Knights twice a week in addition to working out daily with a fitness trainer.
DECISION TIME FOR SCHOOLBOYS COACHES
The State Schoolboys coaching staff face a difficult job later this week when they attempt to finalise the squad they will take to Melbourne for this year's Schools National Championships. Over the past few weeks coach Damon Atthowe and team manager Kevin Griffiths have whittled the training squad down to 28, but that will shortly be trimmed to a 16-player squad plus 4 players on stand-by. "We started out with around 100 boys turn up for first trial session which is by far the best turn out we've ever had," said Atthowe. "The quality and skill level of the players has been really impressive and there's really not a great deal in terms of ability between those players that are still with us. This week we'll hopefully get a few other coaches down to help us finalise the squad but, if truth be told, it's going to be very difficult to trim the squad down to twenty let alone sixteen. Mind you, this is a problem we're happy to have at this stage." The 2003 Championships will be staged in Melbourne between 9th and 16th August.
SCHRANDT AND TANA AGREE, REFORM WILL HAPPEN
The weekend meeting of Soccer Australia stakeholders may have been cancelled but will not prevent the implementation of the Crawford Report findings according to two of Western Australia's highest ranking soccer officials. David Schrandt, president of the Soccer Administration of WA, and Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana are of the firm belief that a new board of Soccer Australia will be voted in at next month's general meeting. "I honestly think it's a done deal," said Schrandt this week. "The State and club presidents met on Friday and the overwhelming feeling is positive with 75% to 80% wanting change and that includes an independent board of Soccer Australia."
Heading into the meeting, Schrandt said SAWA had some concerns regarding the State federations under the new structure and the level of national registration fees, but those were eased by prior to the meeting. "There were concerns over the flexibility in regards to the recommendations of the Crawford Report, but David Crawford himself said there would be flexibility in the constitution for the State federations to determine their own structure which would, where possible, mirror that of Soccer Australia. In regards to what is happening in the west I think we're going okay - we've got our own restructure taking place and I'm confident that is heading in the right direction."
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana also believed a radical overhaul of soccer's governance and administration is just over the horizon. "I'm reasonably happy with the outcome of the meeting albeit it wasn't exactly what we wanted. The outcome is good, it just means we have to wait four more weeks for the inevitable," Tana told Channel 31 over the weekend. "The constitution is archaic and unworkable. 70% on the floor wanted change to happen (on Saturday) but because we needed a 95% majority we knew it wasn't going to get up. So now the majority of the public and the majority of the stakeholders all want change to happen - so it is going to happen."
TOTTENHAM MONITOR TARKA (courtesy of www.tribalfootball.com)
John Gorman, assistant manager with English glamour club Tottenham Hotspur, was in attendance for Australia's Under-23 defeat by Spain last week when he tracked the performances of several young players - including Perth Glory defender David Tarka. Tottenham understand Tarka is being chased by West Ham United and Gorman saw the towering defender turn in a powerful performance against Real Madrid striker Javier Portillo and Atletico Madrid starlet Jorge.
COYNE NAMED LUTON'S BEST
One-time Perth Italia (nee Perth S.C.) player Chris Coyne has been named Luton Town's Player of the Season following an outstanding campaign in the heart of the clubs defence. The 24-year old West Australian was a virtual ever-present in the Hatters backline during 2002/03, making 44 League and Cup appearances before missing the tail end of the English Second Division season after tearing stomach muscles. Coyne also polled strongly in the Internet Player of the Season award in which he finished runner-up to Steve Howard, who also collected the Players' Player of the Season trophy.
TWENTY MINUTE SPELL SEALS POINTS FOR GLORY
Perth Glory's devastating 6-1 win over Parramatta Power on Saturday puts them in the box seat to host the Grand Final on the first weekend in June. But goalkeeper Jason Petkovic says the players and coaching staff are not about to start counting their chickens just yet. "We've learnt from lessons of the past and we're just concentrating on the next game, we don't like to get ahead of ourselves," he commented on SBS TV over the weekend. "This week we've got Adelaide on Friday and we want to get a result, at least a draw, to confirm a Grand Final berth. Whether we get a chance to play that at home or away, that's still yet to be decided."
The performance at Perth Oval on the weekend by Glory is being hailed widely as some of the best soccer ever played at the ground. "There was a 20-minute spell in the second half when we absolutely blitzed them and I think we would have blitzed anyone on that performance, that 20 minutes," said coach Mich d'Avray. "During the finals series I think we've played some outstanding soccer, probably the best that's been seen at Perth Oval for many years." Petkovic said Power were unlucky not to go into the break with the lead, but Glory's goal blitz at the start of the second period set them on the path to victory. "They came at us strongly in the first half and scored the early goal and even had a few other chances to go ahead a bit more," said the Glory custodian. "But we got the equaliser, then came out for the second half and over ran them. We dominated the game for a twenty minute spell and scored four goals to in that period."
The points were shred between University of WA and Kwinana United when those sides met at McGillivray Oval in the fourth round of the WAASSA Premier League on Sunday. It took Kwinana just 4 minutes before establishing the lead took a lead via Chris Atkins who slid the ball past goalkeeper Shyan Young and it crossed the line off the inside of the far post. University hit back eleven minutes later when Max Percy's precise free-kick from the edge of the box bulged the back of the net. Minutes later Percy won possession in midfield and combined with Frederik Larsen to put Daniel Forbes through to chip visiting goalkeeper Scott Brenzi to make give University a 2-1 lead. With 35 minutes elapsed Kwinana won themselves a penalty for handball and Atkins stepped up to confidently level the score. The best chance of the opening stages of the second half came the way of University's Marc D'Asconier who run inside the area was halted by an perfectly timed tackle from Atkins. With ten minutes remaining the home side went in front when Robert Benkovic stole possession from a defender to set-up Forbes who crashed the ball home for his second of the day. University should have wrapped up the game with three one-on-one's with Brezni in quick succession amounting to nothing. Kwinana made their opponents pay for their sloppy finishing via an 86th minute free-kick into the box, the ball going to feet and in the ensuing scramble the visitors bundled the ball over the line to tie up the match. "This was yet another entertaining game for those that love to see goals and thrills," said University coach Kevin Burton after the game. "The lads are obviously disappointed to be robbed so late in the game yet again but I was encouraged by our passing and penetration up front in particular." University have gone top of the reserves table courtesy of a fourth successive victory, this week defeating Kwinana 4-0.
Goals on Sunday from Darren Yates and Flavio L'Abbate were enough for Hamersley Rovers to take all three points from their game with North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. Whilst the scoreline suggests a close game, Hamersley had by far the lions share of shots on goal with only a poor conversion rate letting the visitors down. Graham Thompson and Paul Bradley worked hard at the back for North Perth, but it was their goalkeeper that was the real hero with several important saves to deny the lines of Yates, L'Abbate and Alun Vernals from finding the back of the net. "We are starting to find some better form and are getting players like Vernals and Neil Birkinshaw back on the park," said Hamersley coach Mickey Brennan after the game. "Sooner or later we will click in a big way and some team will take a hammering." Balga started very slowly against a confident Canning International who scored three times inside the opening 15 minutes of their clash to take the upper hand. Coming into the match more as it progressed, Balga pulled a goal back after 35 minutes via Hein Tran before stepping up the pace over the closing stages of the period. It started to become one way traffic towards the end of the half as Balga pressed forward constantly, and eventually the creaking Canning back line opened up for Sasa Dzaferonic to slot home his sides second of the afternoon. Both sides were solid after the break and despite some exciting end-to-end action there was no addition to the scoreline. The weekends' three remaining games ended with points shared as Perth Azzurri and Fremantle United drew 1-1, Shamrock Rovers drew 0-0 with Murdoch University, and Forrestfield United and Spearwood Dalmatinac also ended scoreless. 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
DESPOTOVSKI HAT-TRICK SETS UP BIG WIN (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory stormed towards the National Soccer League Grand Final with a 6-1 demolition of Parramatta Power at Perth Oval this evening. Yet for the first half there was little to suggest the slaughter to come after the interval. Glory started well with their best opportunity coming when Andre Gumprecht burst through to square the ball across the goal but neither Damian Mori nor Bobby Despotovoski (right) were in position to slot home. Power came back by playing some attractive soccer and Jason Petkovic was forced to save well from Brad Maloney. As play went from end-to-end Glory were unlucky when Mori's header hit the post. The Glory fans were silenced after 23 minutes when the visitors swept down the right flank for Maloney to fire hard and low into the bottom corner of the net to give his side the lead. It took Glory fourteen minutes to get back on level terms, Scott Miller hammering a shot that swung away from the far post and a reflex action by Mori saw him stretch forward to head past goalkeeper Liam Reddy. Power might have taken the lead again before half-time but for the save of the season from Petkovic, while Glory were also unlucky when Jamie Harnwell's header rocketed back off the bar.
The game changed dramatically in the second half with Glory adopting an all out attack approach to the game. A superb through ball from the game's stand-out player Simon Colosimo enabled Despotovski to slot home giving Glory a 2-1 lead after 52 minutes. Four minutes later Matt Horsley was brought down on the edge of the area and a quick-thinking Shane Pryce send the resultant free-kick across the face of goal to Despotovovski who had the simplest of tap-ins. With Glory well on top, Colosimo's 64th minute corner eluded those at the near post and Mori headed the ball down to Despotovski who completed his hat-trick with another quality goal. A Colosimo inspired move down the right flank sent Despotovoski clear before squaring the ball for Mori to score his second and effectively end the match as a contest with 65 minutes gone. With the game won Glory turned to the bench and five minutes after coming on Nick Mrdja found his way on the scoresheet as he swiveled to fire home at close range and round out the 6-1 scoreline. The result leaves Glory only one win away from sealing a Grand Final berth with three games to play in the finals series.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIVE (Perth S.C. vs Western Knights courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com; Cockburn City vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
In warm conditions at Jubilee Reserve on Saturday, Bassendean Caledonian hosted a young and confident Fremantle City side in Round Five of the 2003 Premier League season. The game started with a flurry of action as Dean Aplegren's long throw found Branimir Mikulic whose header was just wide after 4 minutes. Caledonian's first chance on goal came ten minutes later when Ryan Jeans shot wide after some hard work down the left flank by Dean Gartside. A minute later Kevin Griffiths cross picked out Jeans but he volleyed over the bar. Fremantle's excellent passing game saw them establish a firm grip over proceedings and in quick succession Craig Young, Anthony Pereira and Llewellyn Bake were denied by goalkeeper Alan Dunlop. As the opening half came to a close James Hesketh teed-up Mikulic who's strong shot hit the side netting, while down the opposite end Ramon Westerberger his-hit Kevin Griffiths' cross. The half-time talk by coach Allan Weir worked a treat as Caledonian increased their intensity after the break. Andy Cornmell was proving a handful down the left flank for the visiting defence while in the middle Kevin Griffiths worked tirelessly. The game nearly exploded in the 56th minute when Caledonian were awarded a free-kick and, following a behind play incident, Fremantle were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Bake. Cornmell had a goalbound shot blocked by Craig Surtees, and with Fremantle breaking quickly on the counterattack Mikulic passed to Hesketh whose long range effort was saved by Dunlop. A poor cross-field pass by Craig Naven was intercepted by Peter Lord, he slid the ball through to Mikulic who rounded Dunlop and shot the ball into the empty net to hand Fremantle the lead after 76 minutes. A minute later Cisco Jorqeira beat two opponents only to see his shot deflected just over the bar. In a tense finish to the game Caledonian threw everything at their opponents with the best chance to level coming the way of Gartside who was brilliantly dispossessed by Shane Nunes as he lined up the target. In combination with other weekend results, the loss leaves Caledonian firmly entrenched at the foot of the table with just a single point from four starts, while Fremantle move to outright leaders.
Perth S.C. and the Western Knights would be most people's tip to be vying for honours come the end of the season, and after the game at Dorrien Gardens it was easy to see why. In a pulsating clash it was end to end entertainment for the full ninety minutes. Breaking on the counterattack, the Knights surged upfield via Stuart Montgomery whose low angled ball into the 18-yard box was dummied by John Nicolaou to leave Carl Medica with just Robert Scarparolo to beat, the attackers' powerful rising strike hitting the back of the net with 15 minutes gone. The Knight's held their one-goal advantage for all of two minutes, as Steven Zuvela misjudged a high cross from Perry Ielati and Mark Pottier cruised in to control then stroke the ball past a helpless Tommi Tomich. Inspired by the goal, Perth dominated the remainder of the half with Todd Howarth, Shane Crampton, Gareth Naven and David Onoforo all going close to giving the home team the lead. Perth's persistence paid off in the 40th minute when Onoforo cross from the right fell to the impressive Crampton who made it 2-1. Just as Perth had done earlier the Knights hit back immediately, Claus Neilson crossing perfectly to Nicolaou at the far post who powered his header past Scarparolo. The second half continued to be end to end action with Crampton having the best chance to break the deadlock on the hour with a surging run which was halted by a superb diving save from Tomich. In the 77th minute the Knights defence was breached for a third time with former Perth Glory captain Naven unleashing an unstoppable shot from 30-metres. Crampton had a chance to seal the game six minutes later when he evaded Wallace and then beat Tomich, but luckily for the Knights substitute Tony Kursar was covering on the line to clear. A minute later the Knights scored to level the game, a terrible mix up in the home defence saw Stephen Willey hammer the ball into Howarth and the ball fell to the feet of Montgomery who calmly placed it past Scarparolo. The final shot of the match came in injury time as Howarth saw Tomich keep his goal bound effort out in a game when a draw was a fair outcome.
At the Swan Italian Club, Swan I.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup played out a ten-goal thriller that kept fans on the edge of their seat until the final whistle. The visitors opened with what will be quite probably the fastest goal of the season when, with the games first play, Derek Cooke's cross was nodded in by Eugene Singeorzan to give Joondalup the perfect start. Five minutes later things got better as Cooke found the back of the net following good lead-up work from Garin Collins, and not long after the margin blew out to three goals when Singeorzan bagged his second of the match with under 10 minute elapsed. Shell-shocked, Swan began to get back on their feet with Elton Holmes and Paul Lincoln causing the opposing defence trouble. Ten minutes from the interval Swan pulled a goal back via Lincoln who made a cleaver turn inside the area to shoot past goalkeeper Peter Stewart at the near post. Not long after the home team further reduced the gap as Joondalup were caught napping at the back and Holmes bagged his first of the game. It was very much a case of 'game on' early in the second half when Holmes equalised for a determined Swan outfit. Having held a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead at one stage, Joondalup then found themselves a goal down when Lincoln snuck in to net for the second time today. The visitors level via a fine ball played over the defence which Collins sent beyond the reach of goalkeeper Corey Hugo. With the momentum now back with Joondalup, Collins drilled the ball from 18-metres into the net to put his side in front with ten minutes to remaining. Deep in injury time a Swan free-kick from the left again caught Joondalup ball watching to allow Lincoln to complete his hat-trick and tie the game up at five-all.
Stirling Lions got their League season back on track with a morale boosting 2-0 victory over Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The opening 20 minutes was an arm wrestle with both sides eager to score, the first real chance coming the way of Toby Wright whose smashing drive was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Dino Pacella. In the 27th minute Stirling goalkeeper Jordan Conti came to his sides rescue with an acrobatic finger tip save which denied attacking Cockburn teenager Jeff Bright. With 32 minutes elapsed, a brilliant flowing move featuring no less than six Lions players saw Toby Wright provide Danny Carlino with an easy tap-in following a defensive mix-up between Pacella and Boza Erakovic. The Lions created several other chances to added to the tally as Stjepan Beretovac, Wright and Carlino wreaked havoc on the Cockburn defence, while shortly before the break a promising attack by the home team ended with Mileta Miletic's shot being kept out by Pacella. Cockburn started the new half more confidently with Lions veteran Andy Wright and Conti at their brilliant best to prevent them from leveling the score. A quick break on the hour mark saw Adam Rains' send Toby Wright though and the striker squeezed his shot between 'keeper and post to make it 2-0. Cockburn were a broken team in more ways than one with two players leaving the field after some hard but fair tackles were dished out. The Lions held formation for the remainder of the game to take out all three points on offer, the only sour note being the 80th minute red carding of Stjepan Beretovac off for what appeared a harmless challenge.
With caretaker coach Mike Leigh at the helm, Floreat Athena claimed maximum points for the first time this season with come from behind win over highly-rated Inglewood United at the National Stadium. The visitors enjoyed the better of possession over the opening half with Inglewood opting to sit back and make the most of their chances. And that they did - Shaun Kilkelly giving his side the lead by knocking the ball home in a goalmouth scramble, and Ryan Newhill pouncing on the loose ball after Anthony Mori parried Alan MacKenzie's rasping shot to give Inglewood a two-goal buffer by the break. The introduction of James Afkos and Troy Bernard at the break proved to be a masterstroke on Leigh's behalf as Athena started the second period fired up and with goals in their sights. Costa Socratous found the net while off-season recruit Andreas Oliveira netted twice as Athena seized control of the game with some good movement on and off the ball. Both sides had plenty of chances to add to their tally as the match progressed but in the end it was Athena's more attacking and open game which proved to be the difference between the two teams today.
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
There were some big scores in Round Five of the Premier League reserve competition with 29 goals spread over five games. Perth S.C. continued perfect start to the season with a 7-1 crushing of Western Knights at Dorrien Gardens. Floreat Athena came away with maximum points from their clash with Inglewood United by a 6-0 scoreline, while Cockburn City went down 3-4 at home to Stirling Lions. Bassendean Caledonian conceded a soft penalty early in their home meeting with Fremantle City to go behind, then had Ian Dennis dismissed for dissent midway through the first half. The port side took control of the game after the break by piling on the goals to claim victory by 4-0 as Caledonian were reduced to nine men after Jason Van Rooy was sent off.
Having dominated the early exchanges of their away meeting with Swan I.C., E.C.U. Joondalup took the lead after the half hour via 16-year old Tom Jones. The home side leveled ten minutes later to go into the break on level terms, but Joondalup upped the pace after the interval in their search for further goals. Having done all the hard work himself, John Higgins was disappointed to miss the target but amends shortly after with a well-taken half-volley from Steve Beesley's cross. John Greenwood then made maximum points safe on a day Joondalup could, and should, have won by a greater margin.
Floreat Athena and E.C.U. Joondalup remain neck-and-neck at the head of the Under-18 table. Athena remain top on goal difference following a 3-1 away defeat of Inglewood United, while Joondalup stay hot on their heals courtesy of a 4-1 win at Swan I.C. Wesley Ryder gave Bassendean Caledonian the lead after 3 minutes, but Fremantle City went into the break in front after Sebastian Trim and Ben Howe found the net. Mo Atak struck twice in the second half with Jason Barrera and an own goal rounding out the 6-1 scoreline in favour of the visiting team. Perth S.C. cruised to a 7-1 home win over Western Knights, and Cockburn City accounted for Stirling Lions 3-1.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHT (Mandurah City vs Dianella White Eagles by Barry Rennie; South West Phoenix vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Ashfield vs Southside United courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com)
Mandurah City continued their outstanding recent form with a 41 home drubbing of Dianella White Eagles in Round Eight of the First Division season. In a quick opening period Mandurah made the most of the fine conditions with some swift exchanges and after 12 minutes made their opponents pay for some sloppy defending as Mick Bobridge scored following a good lead-up from the midfield. Not to be outdone, Dianella responded five minutes later as Zelko Savic scored with a well-worked goal to put the game back on a level footing. With some tough tackles coming in and tempers beginning to fray, Dianella were reduced to ten men after 20 minutes for what the referee deemed a dangerous tackle by Dragan Njegic. A goal by Christian Paschewitz gave Mandurah the lead at the interval as the visitors appeared unsettled. In the second half Mandurah had by far the greater possession and it didn't take them long to go 3-1 up after a well-weighted cross from Andrew Rennie found Bobridge free to head the ball into the net. Young midfielder Jordan Rhodes created several opportunities for himself and while always a danger his long shots failed to find the target. Bobridge completed his hat-trick and signaled his return to form after several weeks of illness with the games final goal. Dianella claimed the reserves meeting 4-3, while the Under-18s ended in a 4-2 win to the home side.
Following last weeks shock loss to The City, Kingsway Olympic played with renewed vigour when they hosted Armadale on Saturday. The home team went on the attack from the opening kick and were rewarded for some enterprising play when given a penalty for a foul on Sota Iwasaki which was converted by Steve Bretti. Minutes later Olympic's new signing Andy Brown picked out Iwasaki with a long ball and the 21-year old striker made no mistake in doubling the margin. In a similar move, Brown played the ball long after 15 minutes and again Iwasaki did the rest, rounding the goalkeeper to make it 3-0. Any hopes Armadale had of finding a way back into the game were effectively extinguished shortly after when a flowing Olympic attack involving five players ended with Alan Henderson netting at the back post. The gap blew out to five goal on the half hour mark as a free-kick into the 18-yard box saw Scott Evans scramble it over the line. After the break Armadale came out firing on all cylinders with their three-pronged attack applying the pressure to Olympic's backline of Alan Nanini, Brown and Jason Stern. The positive approached paid off for Armadale early in the new half when Paul Caulkin converted a free-kick, and shortly after Greg Newcombe further reduced the deficit after Luke Morris did all the hard work. Building in confidence, Armadale continually attacked but were unable to break down their opponents defence, while at the opposite end Olympic also squandered several chances to add to their tally. With fifteen minutes to go the home side completed the 6-2 scoreline via another new recruit, Brian Hedges latching on to a long ball from Stern before turning his marker and curling the ball into the top corner.
The Soccerdrome in Bunbury was the weekend destination for Bayswater City when they made the long trip south to play South West Phoenix on their home soil. The game started at a spritely pace with striker Savo Garic unlucky not to give Phoenix the lead denied with a superb volley hit from the top of the 18-yard box which crashed into the post. Having survived the early shock, Bayswater settled to control the remainder of the match with midfielders Gareth Healy and Kevin Henderson once again in command. The visitors opened the scoring after 39 minutes through Boima Karpeh who was sent clear of the defence and placed his shot past goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite. There was more to follow in the minutes immediately after the half-time interval as Bayswater came out in search of goals to kill off the game. Good lead-up work by Karpeh resulted in Sal Marrapodi making it 2-0, and Andrew O'Neill further extended the visitors lead when he calmly converted in a one-on-one with Braithwaite. Karpeh added to the tally after turning inside the box to send his left foot shot into the top corner, and the game was over as a contest on the hour when Daniel Naumovski converted from the penalty spot to make it 5-0 following a foul on Marrapodi. Both the earlier matches were taken out by Phoenix, the reserves by a 3-0 scoreline and the Under-18 fixture by 7-1.
The clash at Ashfield Reserve between Ashfield and Southside United may not have been the most exciting of games to watch but the home team did their job and pleased their fans with a 3-0 victory. Ashfield opened their account after 26 minutes when Chris Williams cleverly crossed the ball into the area where it looped over the Southside goalkeeper and Muhamed Komadaric nod it in at the back post. For the remainder of the half the home side enjoyed the better of possession but were unable to extended the margin prior to the half-time break. Following the re-start Ashfield were quick to establish control of the game with several good chances to double their lead going astray, the best of these coming the way of Brad Pochroj who with only the 'keeper to beat fired his shot over the bar from close-range. A corner on the hour saw Matt Pochroj whip the ball into the area and Komadaric rose highest to score with a power header. Ten minutes later Komadaric completed a deserved hat-trick by making his way past three defenders before slotting past the 'keeper at the near post to secure full points for Ashfield. The reserves clash also ended in a 3-0 win to Ashfield through goals by Martin Kelly, Paul Hughes and Alex Crookes. Southside claimed the Under-18 fixture 4-0.
Balcatta registered their second win of the campaign with a hard-fought 3-2 over The City at Graham Burkett Reserve. The home team took the lead via a long thrown-in from Scott Broadley which was met inside the penalty area by Gavin Falco-Brown who headed the ball beyond reach of the The City goalkeeper John Bosche after 8 minutes. Some oppressive weather may have prevented both teams from playing to their full potential, but it didn't stop an entertaining game in which chances on goal came at both ends without success. The City eventually found an equaliser following an attack down the left which, after the ball was allowed to pass through the 18-yard box unhindered, a cross from the right resulted in a Balcatta defender deflecting it into his own net. After the interval Adrian Zonato seized upon an error by Bosche and made the most of the opportunity by tucking the ball into the net to restore Balcatta's lead. Scott Broadley gave the home team a two-goal buffer when his sweetly struck free-kick from 20-metres dipped over the defensive wall and came to rest in the bottom corner of the goal after 69 minutes. The City pegged back the margin via a controversial goal from Scott Wyeth that appeared to have been blocked on the goalline, but after consultation with his assistant on the line the referee awarded the goal thirteen minutes from the end. With The City tiring in the heat, Balcatta then re-established control of the match before claiming maximum points with the final whistle.
Canning City played host to Morley Windmills in a match both were desperate to win in order to kick-start their respective seasons. Following an entertaining opening period in which some good early opening were created by both teams, Canning broke the deadlock with a fantastic shot from 25-metres which rose into the top corner of the goal. The heat seemed to get to the better of the referee who booked several players before sending off a players from each side much to the amazement of the crowd. A goal down, Windmills started the second half pushing hard to equalise only to find that task made all the more difficult when two more players received their marching orders. Already down to eight men, things got even worse for the visiting team when Steve Keady suffered a broken leg in an accidental collision with Canning goalkeeper, Robby Meyer. With the game theirs for the taking, Canning's youngsters should have secured victory but their lack of experience would prove telling as they failed to make the most of the numerical advantage. With ten minutes remaining Morley leveled the score via Deeny Botha who expertly chipped the advancing 'keeper. Full credit to Windmills who fought their way back into the match against all odds, displaying once again that their team spirit is second to none despite some below par refereeing and a shocking injury list which continues to rise.
Stirling Suns move level with Bayswater City in fourth place on 13 points following a 4-1 away defeat of Leeming Strikers. And Queens Park registered a solid 5-1 win over Rockingham City to moves into the top half of the table.
TECHNICALITY SIDETRACKS MEETING
A legal technicality resulted in today's Extraordinary General Meeting of Soccer Australia to be cut short with the meeting's major issue - the appointment of a new board lead by Frank Lowy - postponed for another month. Soccer Australia's stakeholders agreed not to vote on overhauling the organisation's board, as recommended by the Crawford Report, after it was revealed a mistake in the wording of the resolution meant 100% of stakeholders would need to approve the new board. Lawyers for Soccer Australia and the Australian Sports Commission will meet this week to draw up a notice for a new general meeting to be held 28 days after the notice is issued. Under the guidelines Lowy will need 51% of the 61 stakeholder votes in order to become elected head of the new board at that meeting.
COACH LEAVES ATHENA
Floreat Athena last night parted company with senior coach Taki Lambetsos. Having been in the position for little over 12 months, Lambetsos cited a lack of support from some committee members for the reason behind his resignation, although sources close to the club said the severance had been a mutual decision. Lambetsos believed some committee members had not supported him for personal reasons and he felt it in the best interests of the club to leave. "It's a bit sad because when I start something I want to finish it," said the departing Athena coach. The club's Under-18 coach Mike Leigh will act in a caretaker capacity until a permanent replacement is found. Athena president Sam Albanis said the club had spoken to several potential replacements, believed to include Robbie Dunn, Paul Wormley and Steve Parkinson, and expects announcement on the job to be made within the fortnight.
GLORY REQUEST DENIED
Perth Glory has been told by Soccer Australia that Subiaco Oval will be the venue for the National Soccer League Grand Final should the club win the right to host it. Glory players and officials this week voiced their preference to play the season decider at Perth Oval rather than Subiaco which has been the venue for the clubs' two grand defeats, against Wollongong Wolves in 2000 and Olympic Sharks last year. "We can understand and appreciate that because we have a good track record at Perth Oval, and our history of grand finals at Subiaco Oval hasn't been tremendous," Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said this week. "But in saying that, it is a Soccer Australia match and we support any move to Subiaco Oval because we can increase the exposure of this game to a wider audience."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A Branimir Mikulic goal has lifted Fremantle City to the top of the Premier League table following a 1-0 away win over Bassendean Caledonian in Round Five of the competition. There were a couple of big scoring draws with Perth S.C. and Western Knights sharing six goals, while Swan I.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup ended level at 5-5. With caretaker coach Mike Leigh in charge, Floreat Athena registered their first win of the campaign after downing Inglewood United 3-2 at the National Stadium. And Cockburn City's slide continued with a 2-0 home loss to Stirling Lions.
It's still tight at the top of the First Division table where three points separate five clubs. Mandurah City remain top following a 4-1 drubbing of Dianella White Eagles, but keeping pace with them are Kingsway Olympic who flexed their muscle with a 6-2 defeat of Armadale. Bayswater City and Stirling Suns are level a point behind the leaders following good wins over South West Phoenix (5-0) and Leeming Strikers (4-1) respectively. Ashfield's 3-0 win over Southside United puts them in fifth, and close behind are Queens Park who knocked off Rockingham City 5-1. In other games Balcatta downed The City 3-2, and Canning City drew 1-1 at home with Morley Windmills.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The big Premier League clash this weekend takes place at Dorrien Gardens when reigning champions Perth S.C. host title contenders Western Knights. Fremantle City, who currently share top spot with Perth, make an away trip to play a Bassendean Caledonian side which has managed just a single point from three starts. Inglewood United have home ground advantage over a Floreat Athena outfit also seeking their first win of the season, while at Dalmatinac Park Cockburn City play Stirling Lions. Buoyed by a good win last weekend, Swan I.C. come up against a E.C.U. Joondalup side who will be without the experience of Peter Vukmirovic due to suspension. Sorrento have the bye.
Joint First Division leaders Mandurah City host Dianella White Eagles, while Kingsway Olympic have a difficult home meeting with an Armadale side on the improve. Bayswater City made the trip to Bunbury where they play South West Phoenix, Stirling Suns are away to Leeming Strikers, and Ashfield welcome Southside United to Ashfield Reserve. The City will be keen to follow up last weekend's win with a good result against home side Balcatta, Canning City are home to Morley Windmills, and Rockingham City travel to take on Queens Park.
SAWA TO SUPPORT CRAWFORD RECOMMENDATIONS
The Soccer Association of W.A. will support the recommendations of the Crawford Report on the proviso several areas of concern are addressed prior to a vote being taken at tomorrow's general meeting of Soccer Australia. "We agree in principle with it but there are numerous issues to discuss," SAWA presenident David Schrandt told "West Australian" correspondent Jonathon Cook yesterday. Having discussed the report as a board twice in the past few weeks, SAWA are poised to vote in favour of an new six-person board lead by Sydney businessman the Frank Lowy. "We believe that the board should be changed," Schrandt commented. But before committing themselves totally, the local governing body will be seeking assurance that the players' national registration fee will not be increased. The other areas of concern for SAWA are the cost of implementing the changes recommended by the Crawford Report, and the role of futsal in the new structure.
MILESTONE MATCH FOR PERTH OVAL
Perth Oval will host its 100th National Soccer League match on Saturday evening when Perth Glory take on Parramatta Power from 7.00pm. Glory has a formidable record at the ground with 64 wins (16 draws and 19 losses) from 99 games played since the club's debut in the national competition in October 1996. With a five point break on the rest of the play-off field and fresh from a convincing win over Northern Spirit, it'll be a very confident Glory team which takes to the field. Power, who won the last meeting between these two teams, are not to be taken lightly and will be looking for a big result to celebrate Brad Maloney's 300th N.S.L. appearance and keep alive their hopes of making the season finale on 1st June.
PLAY GRAND FINAL AT HOME SAYS DESPOTOVSKI
With Perth Glory fast closing in on hosting rights for the 2002/03 National Soccer League Grand Final, club captain Bobby Despotovski has called for the season finale to be played at Perth Oval. "If we play to our full potential it will not matter where the game is played but the players would love to be at Perth Oval," said Despotovski recently. "The atmosphere generated there is second to none and 15,000 people at the ground seems to make twice the noise of 40,000 plus at Subiaco Oval. People might question the difference but home ground advantage is an excepted fact. Players feel more comfortable with dressing rooms, playing surfaces and their pre-match routine. This is disrupted if we go somewhere else to play for the biggest game of the season."
STAKEHOLDERS UNABLE TO NOMINATE FOR NEW BOARD
The opportunity for Soccer Australia's stakeholders to have a seat on the new Frank Lowy-led board seemed to close yesterday when the Federal Government made it clear the choices would come from those names put forward by Lowy. It is understood Lowy told a meeting of soccer identities in Sydney that four of the positions on the new six-person Soccer Australia board were non-negotiable - Lowy, Ron Walker, John Singleton and Brian Schwartz, a financial adviser to Westfield Corporation. Lowy also nominated four additional individuals - Cheryl Bart, Susan Williams, Andrew Kemeny and Phil Wilanski - from which stakeholders will be asked to choose the remaining two board members. The move means Soccer Australia's stakeholders can not put forward their own candidates for Lowy's board, the one condition on which the exisiting board was prepared to hand over power.
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This page was last updated on the 30th June, 2003