PETKOVIC CLOSE TO GLORY RETURN
Jason Petkovic has shrugged off injury and put himself in the frame for a spot in the Perth Glory side who’ll play Central Coast Mariners at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday. Last season the former Socceroo feared his career may be cut short by persistent back and hip problems, and torn ankle ligaments in the pre-season set back his preparation for the new campaign. But Petkovic is on the cusp of a return after a slow and steady recovery. “In a sense, the ankle injury has given me time to rest and get myself right. It meant that I didn’t have to travel for four weeks and if I had to do that I might have had a slow start to the season,” he said.
Teenager Aleks Vrteski performed well for Glory in last weekend’s season opener and will remain in goal should Petkovic decide to postpone his return. “The problem with the (ankle) injury is that I could do it again and that means I’d be out for another four to six weeks,” said Petkovic. “So I’d rather be 100% sure than 85 or 90%.” Petkovic felt Vrteski has reason to be pleased with this A-League debut, despite conceding three goals. “I thought Aleks did well. You can’t blame him for the goals and he made some good saves. I was very promising,” said Petkovic. “He’s willing to learn and if you’re willing to learn you’re going to improve.”
YOUNGSTERS SET JOONDALUP ALIGHT
It may not have been a season to remember for E.C.U. Joondalup but one of the major positives to come out of 2006 for the club has been the consistent performances of their youth brigade. Martin Ashworth, Tom Jones and Scott Bushby - all former State youth team players - have been regular features of the starting eleven throughout the year, and represent the future of the club. Last weekend the trio contributed significantly to Joondalup’s 4-1 away mauling of Swan I.C., a win that moved them into seventh place, and all three are confident you’ll see a much stronger showing from the club next season.
One of Joondalup’s most consistent performers this season has been Ashworth. The 19-year old makes sure opposing defences are kept on high alert right up to the final whistle with his lightning breaks down the left flank. “I’m really enjoying my football at present,” he commented. “The lads at Joondalup are great and we hope to continue our improvement for the rest of this season, and build on it for next year.” Ashworth, like Jones, is a product of the northern suburbs club’s successful youth development system and has been a part of the senior list for the past couple of seasons.
Ashworth is adamant that Joondalup’s placing in the lower half of the Premier League table is by no means a true reflection of their potential. “We had a great start to the season and should be a lot higher in the League,” he explained. “We were conceding too many goals and losing too many games that we really should have won. Ashworth admits that the mid-season coaching change, in which John Brown replaced Stuart Currie, was distracting for the players who chose to stick together. “We decided to stay strong as a player group, we knew if we did that the team would be stronger and that is reflected in our recent results.”
Although only 20, Jones has been a first team regular for several years and could be considered a senior member of the side. The attack minded youngster is pleased to be playing a role for Joondalup, especially after serious injury ended his hopes of playing abroad. “It’s been two years since my injury and I’m feeling good,” he said. “I broke my leg twice and had a season and half out of the game. It was hard getting back to full fitness and regaining my confidence, but after the first tackle all my fears were gone.”
Jones, who trialed with Bolton Wanderers two years ago, feels his chances of playing in England are probably over. “I would like to try again, but England is something I would only dream of now,” he said. “I think you need to go when you’re young, about sixteen, but saying that Nick Ward isn’t doing to bad at the moment. There was interest from A-League club New Zealand Knights when their coach, John Adshead, was in Perth earlier this year. Scott Bushby and I were waiting to hear back from the club when we found out Adshead had resigned, so that unfortunately was that.”
Bushby arrived in Perth as a 15-year old and fresh from a two year stint in the Newcastle United academy. He played a season with Future Glory, Perth Glory’s short-lived development youth team, before joining Joondalup three years ago. He believes the side has regrouped well since Brown took over as coach just over a month ago. “We’re playing well as a team at the moment; Brownie has sorted a few things out and we’re getting the results,” commented Busby. “I’m enjoying my football again. I went to Wanneroo City, in the First Division, two seasons ago but I didn’t fit in down there so returned to Joondalup and haven’t looked back.”
The dynamic midfielder refuses to be disheartened by missing out on a contract with the Knights and still harbours a desire to play at national league level. “I’d like to take the next step and play A-League football, but first I’ll have to work hard for Joondalup and see what happens,” Bushby explained. The two year Bushby spend in the academy set-up at Newcastle are recalled with great fondness. “I really enjoyed my time there and would like to go back, but I’m a bit too old now,” said the 19-year old. “We learnt about the game not just on the pitch but off it as well, it’s an experience I will not forget.”
One thing that should not be underestimated about Joondalup is the tremendous camaraderie and spirit of the club. Jones believes the northern suburbs outfit could be challenging for top honours next season. “On paper, we should be a lot higher than we are,” he said. “We’re always saying ‘next year will be our year’ and I think it’s time we did something about that. I believe we need maybe three quality players over the summer to bolster the squad. Brownie has done a great job but I believe he’s only a temporary appointment and it looks like we’ll get a new coach who will bring different ideas to the club. Hopefully we can mount a serious challenge for the League and the Cup in 2007.”
BITTERSWEET DEBUT FOR VRTESKI
Teenage goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski will long remember his first game of A-League football. The 17-year old showed maturity beyond his years and made several important saves only to concede three late goals as Perth Glory succumbed 0-3 away to Queensland Roar on Saturday. For Vrteski, the youngest player in the A-League, it was a bittersweet occasion. “I was pleased with my game, but in the end I still conceded three goals which was a bit disappointing considering the way the boys played. We matched Queensland for the whole game and I think tired legs was the major factor in those last few minutes.”
Glory found themselves under increasing pressure as the match came to a close when poor marking at the back allowed Simon Lynch, Dario Vidosic and Stuart McLaren found a way through. “It was seven minutes of madness in which we started to tire and they lifted,” said young Young Socceroo. “Our travel must be taken into consideration. We’ve played our last four games away, of which one was in New Zealand, and all that sort of travel takes its toll on the body. But we have two home games now and there were plenty of positives we can take out of the game in Queensland.”
Vrteski believes Glory will rebound from the loss by getting a positive result this week’s home game with Central Coast Mariners. “Perth will see a new Glory this season - one that wants to play football, entertain the home crowd and get the results in Perth,” he said. “We can win on the weekend, the boys are up for the game. We have a squad what is capable of playing entertaining football and if the fans turn out for us it’ll give us a massive boost going into those last ten to fifteen minutes when the game is there for the taking.”
Just a few short years ago Vrteski was keeping goal for the State Under-15 team, and even he’s surprised by how quickly he has risen to national league ranks. “I never expected to be playing at this level so young,” said the likeable teenager. “There’d always be someone saying to me ‘you’ll be good enough to play for Perth Glory one day’ but I’d look at them like they were just joking. I’ve always said to myself ‘give it everything and you’ll have no regrets’ and so far that’s worked for me.”
It was as a fresh faced 15-year old that Vrteski made his first team debut for Sorrento in 2004, and later that season donned the gloves for the State Under-19’s. Having gained the attention of national selectors, he gained Australian Under-17 representative honours the following year when he was first choice ‘keeper for Stirling Lions. Earlier this year Vrteski was selected for the Australian Under-20 side before landing a professional deal with Glory. “All the boys at Glory have been fantastic, they’ve helped me settle in and I’m really enjoying playing for the club,” he said. “Hopefully this is just the beginning and I can continue to play well and do my family and the people of Perth proud.”
A-LEAGUE IMPRESSES LAZARIDIS
Socceroo Stan Lazaridis believes that football in Australia has come a long way in the past fifteen years, and is decidedly impressed with the standard of the A-League. Lazaridis, who ended his English career to play for Perth Glory, made his A-League debut in the 0-3 loss to Queensland Roar on the weekend. The midfielder admitted to being a little rusty early in the contest against Queensland, but was pleased with his improvement throughout the match. "I felt as the game was going on I was getting more of the ball," he said. "The standard is very good though. The last time I played here was about fifteen years ago, and the standard from then to now is remarkably improved. It's great for the game."
IN THE RELEGATION MIXER
With the Premier League fast coming to a close for 2006, attentions are increasingly switching to the foot of the table where four clubs are engaged in what is shaping up to be a titanic struggle to remain in the top flight. With four games remaining Bayswater, Wanneroo City and Armadale find themselves well and truly in the mix for relegation with just two points separating the trio of clubs. Inglewood United remain a mathematical chance of going down despite picking up a valuable win last weekend which took them five points clear of last place.
Currently sitting in the hot seat are Bayswater City who have taken just 11 points from 18 games. They have the worst defensive record in the Premier League and are also the competitions lowest scorers, so it’s comes as no surprise that their goal difference currently stands at minus forty. Amongst their final four games are difficult meetings with form sides Stirling Lions and Western Knights. That’s likely to mean their hopes of survival hinges on whether they can gain maximum points from the away games at Swan I.C. (Round 20) and Inglewood (Round 22). In all honesty, Bayswater will need to pull a very big rabbit out of the hat in order to avoid relegation.
A leaky defence, a minus thirty goal difference and no wins in the past two months are of great concern for Wanneroo. They sit two points clear of last place and, in comparison to Bayswater and Armadale, Wanneroo have an ‘easy’ run through to the end of the season. There’s a good chance they can take points from meetings with Swan (H), Inglewood (A) and E.C.U. Joondalup (A). Although at home, they’ll be hard pressed to take anything from Cockburn City in Round 21. But even if they aren’t safe by this stage, Wanneroo should be confident of getting a result from their final game of the year at Perth. Wanneroo’s fate is in their hands and they should be able to pick up enough points to stay up.
It’s quite likely Armadale will be on edge right up until the final whistle of the season. The Reds’ can take heart from the fact they are two points ahead of Bayswater, while their goal difference is a respectable minus twelve. However, their final month includes meetings with three of the top five teams while the recent departure of Scottish striker Alex Williams is a major blow. Armadale’s best chance of picking up a fourth win of the season comes this weekend when they host an injury depleted Perth S.C. After that they take on Sorrento (A), Stirling (H) and the Knights (A). A point or three from these four games should be enough for Armadale to retain their Premier League status for another year.
The club least likely to be relegated is Inglewood, who are placed five points clear of Bayswater and have a goal difference of minus twelve. It really is difficult to understand how a club overflowing with talent has managed to win just four games all season and are the league’s second lowest scorers. But the players have been given a big kick in the pants by new coach Alan Vest to whom reputations mean little. There is absolutely no reason why Inglewood can’t take points from their remaining games against Joondalup (A), Wanneroo (H), Swan (A) and Bayswater (H). Saturday’s home win over Floreat Athena eased Inglewood’s relegation concerns and in the weeks ahead they should move further clear of the drop zone.
FANS NOT CONVINCED OF GLORY REVIVAL
The local football community expects Perth Glory to end the coming A-League campaign in the lower half of the table. At least that’s according to last week’s footballwa.net poll which asked ‘How will Perth Glory fare in the 2006/07 A-League season?’ The most popular option was ‘Fifth, and just missing out on the play-offs’ which collected 29.1% of the vote. ‘Sixth or seventh’ (27.5%) was next followed by ‘Wooden spoon’ (20.1%) and ‘Top four finish’ (19.6%). In the minority was ‘Regular season champions’ (3.2%) with ‘Runners-up’ (0.5%) being the least popular choice.
NIGHTMARE ALMOST OVER FOR CONTERA
Saul Contera would much rather forget season 2006. The Floreat Athena striker has been limited to watching from the sidelines this year after making the tough decision to undergo surgery to solve a painful injury. “The past year has been incredibly frustrating for me,” said the 21-year old. “I was diagnosed with osteitis pubis and was told to rest, which I did but it didn’t help. I then had needle therapy which also didn’t help. I tried to manage the problem in the pre-season and played the Night Series with incredible pain, and after consultation with the coaching staff I decided to have surgery and clear the problem up for good. So I took that option with a positive look to the future.”
The past few season has seen a resurgence of Floreat who are currently placed third on the Premier League table. Contera attributes this success to the coaching team of Michael Roki and Taki Nicolaides. “I only have a positive view of these two guys as they gave me the opportunity to play first team football on a regular basis and, even though I’m injured, they still have faith in me,” said Contera. “The atmosphere and relationship between the players this season has been great, we all get along and much of the credit must go to the coaches for keeping everybody happy. We have a lot of skilful and talented players at the club and the coaches have moulded them into a side which plays good football and the pay off for that is a spot high in the ladder.”
It was while playing for Perth S.C. in 2001 that Contera came to the attention of former Socceroo coach Frank Arok who was then in charge of Perth Glory’s youth team, Future Glory. Contera still looks back on his time under Arok with great fondness. “I really enjoyed the Future Glory season, and the full-time training,” he said. “I was still at high school and did not have many responsibilities, and like all football players I had a dream of being a professional footballer, and at that age this was the closest thing to that for me. The season I spent with Future Glory was extremely beneficial for me as I developed and improved my game a lot during that period.”
After a season with Fremantle City, Contera joined Floreat in 2004 when he had the honour of playing alongside one of the club’s all-time greats, Troy Bernard, who was tragically electrocuted in August of that year while working for Western Power. “I played with Troy for one year and you could see that he was an extremely talented players,” said Contera. “At that time Floreat had a very experienced team and although the younger players like myself didn’t really know him all that well we knew him well enough to know he was a good person and good footballer. Troy’s passing was a very sad time for the club, I was in Spain when I heard what happened and I just couldn’t believe it.”
Having taken a year out of the game to get his body right, Contera is now itching to get back out on the park and resume his career. “I’ve just started running again so I will be working hard to get fit and strong over the coming months,” he explained. “I’ll do my own pre-season before Floreat officially begins pre-season training and I’m very confident of a successful 2007. I believe I have a lot to offer the club and, providing I stay injury free, that next season can be very productive for both myself and the team. I can’t wait to put my boots on again and I’m looking forward to taking my place in the Floreat line-up and scoring goals.”
VALE LASLO KOROKNAI
The local scene is in mourning following the sudden passing of Laslo Koroknai. A former national league player and much respected coach, Koroknai passed away last Tuesday, 22nd August, while visiting family in his home town of Kac in Serbia. Koroknai carved out a reputation as a hard-working midfielder in his homeland where he wore the colours of Novi Sad, amongst others. He was lured to Australia for the inaugural season of national league football that was spent with Brisbane Lions, and after which Koroknai headed west to play several seasons with Spearwood Dalmatinac. After hanging up his playing boots he enjoyed a lengthy coaching career which took him to Spearwood Dalmatinac, North Perth Croatia, Fremantle Benfica, Osborne Park Galeb, East Perth Vardar, Stirling Vardar, Cockburn City and Rockingham City.
CLUBS EYE WARD
A place in England’s top flight could come much sooner than expected for Nick Ward. The 21-year old midfielder, who joined second tier outfit Queens Park Rangers only a few months ago, has been in superb early season form leading a plethora scouts travel to Loftus Road to watch him in action. Ward has quickly adapted to English football and amongst those interested is Fulham boss Chris Coleman who may make a play to lure him to Craven Cottage before the transfer window closes.
Ward’s eye-catching performances at club level have earned him a stand-by spot for the Socceroo’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait. “Being a regular starter in the team at QPR has helped - but I’d have much preferred to have been named in the full squad,” he said. “I’d love to play with some of the bigger names like Everton’s Tim Cahill and Mark Viduka at Middlesbrough because you can learn a lot from them.” Ward has previously been selected to play for Australia at Schoolboys, Under-20 and Under-23 levels.
DESPOTOVSKI TO START ROAD TO RECOVERY
Star striker Bobby Despotovski is recovering well after undergoing a second procedure to correct a persistent back complaint. The 35-year old has been used sparingly during the club’s pre-season and is not expected to be ready for A-League action until round four at the earliest. “It’s really going to be a little bit now of easing him back into training,” commented Smith. “He’s got to improve his general fitness levels and we’ll just monitor it and see how he’s going on a week-to-week basis.” The veteran striker has been doing gym work and light exercise, and will do a running program this week in a bid to increase his fitness. Football Federation Australia wants a Perth consortium interested in taking on Perth Glory’s license to finalise their proposal by the end of next week. Mining entrepreneur Tony Sage and property developer John Spence are believed to be close to completing an application to take over Glory, who are currently being run by FFA. Former Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnstone has also been linked with the proposed takeover. FFA head of operations, Matt Carroll, confirmed a consortium had asked for more details about the club and he expected an application shortly. “I think they’ve got enough information now and if they are interested then it’s time to formalise the application,” he said. Sage, who is understood to be close to securing a major sponsor for the A-League club, has flown to Asia to meet consortium members.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINETEEN
The women’s Premier League season will go down to the wire following victories to Queens Park and Balcatta at the weekend. Queens Park overcame a physical and competitive East Fremantle outfit 2-0 at Coker Park, while Balcatta defeated Northern Redbacks 1-0 at Rickman Delawney Reserve. This sets up a mouth watering showdown between the top two clubs next weekend with Balcatta requiring only a draw in order to claim the championship.
Queens Park got off to a flying start against East Fremantle with their first shot on goal coming after only a few minutes when Jessica Duncan’s effort from 20-metres just cleared the crossbar. The port side showed they weren’t there to make up the number and C.Bourke pounced on some poor defending only to steer her shot narrowly wide. T.Rowatt tested the reflexes of N.Lewis after 12 minutes with the East Fremantle goalkeeper up to the challenge.
The home side took the lead on 16 minutes when A.Keswell evaded Lewis and stroked the ball into the net despite a desperate attempted to clear from on the line by R.Hunter. Queens Park were handed a perfect opportunity to extend their lead when a sickening clash between Keswell and the ‘keeper resulted in a penalty, but Lewis again proved the hosts foil by saving L.Easton’s attempt from the spot. This sparked East Fremantle into a flurry of attacking activity and two shots on goal were cleared off the line by defenders.
The points were made safe twelve minutes into the second half when Easton cut a path through the visiting defence to release Rowatt who fired into the net from 10-metres. Neither side made serious in-roads during the remainder of what was an evenly matched game. Post-match, Queens Park coach Steve Woodfin praised the effort of East Fremantle. “That is the most competitive game we have had all season,” he said. “It was tough and lasted the full ninety minutes.”
QUEENSLAND ROAR LOUDEST
A brace of late goals earned Queensland Roar an exciting 3-0 win over Perth Glory in this evenings A-League opener at Suncorp Stadium. But Glory coach Ron Smith was far from disillusioned with the loss, saying his players desire to attack and entertain ultimately cost them against a strong finishing opponent. “We just lost our way a bit and we were severely punished,” he said. “If I could rewind the clock to ten minutes before the end and do it again I’d say be more cautious. If we’re ten minutes out in future I’ll be saying to the boys ‘let’s settle for the point then, bit a bit more conservative’.”
The hosts offered little penetration in the opening twenty minutes with the best they could offer being a couple of half chances to Hyuk-Su Seo and debutant Simon Lynch. Roar continued to press, with Ante Milicic coming more into the game playing just behind the front two, but in truth 17-year old goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski wasn’t tested. Glory’s first opportunity came via Leo Bertos’ powerful free-kick which forced Liam Reddy into a sharp response. This signalled a Perth revival and from Stan Lazaridis’ in-swinging corner captain Jamie Harnwell headed fractionally wide with the ‘keeper rooted to his line. Minutes later, Marcus Wedau escaped his markers and instead threaded a pass to Lynch whose angled drive was somehow saved at close range by Vrteski’s legs. After the interval, an unmarked Reinaldo missed the target from 5-metres and Matt McKay’s rising shot was tipped over as Queensland upped the tempo. Reddy then almost gifted Glory the lead by failing to clear a high ball but Harnwell was unable to capitalise with the goal at his mercy. Milicic was fractions away from breaking the deadlock when his sliding effort at the back post came back off upright. The home crowd finally breathed a sign of relief when a fortunate deflection inside the area fell to Lynch who angled a lot shot across Vrteski and inside the far corner on 79 minutes. A couple of minutes later Vidosic clipped his shot over the ‘keeper after receiving a pass from Lynch. Stuart McLaren sealed the win when poor marking allowed him to slot in Roar’s third.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHTEEN (Sorrento vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Perth S.C. vs Western Knights by Brett Klucznik; Swan I.C. vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Peter Simcox)
It was a day to remember for Stirling Lions who dumped Premier League leader Sorrento 3-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. There were no signs of the drama to come players on both sides got used to the windy conditions. As the teams settled chances began to open up with Ludovic Boi blasting just wide, and a goalbound effort from Jared Love was blocked on the line by Luke Pavlos. The opening goal came shortly after as Keith Brown chipped a free-kick into the area where Andy Brown flicked it into the path of David Dugdale whose spectacular scissor kick flew into the top corner. Shots from Boi and Andy Brown weren’t that far off target as Stirling started to dominate play. Three minutes from the break the crowd were treated to some superb individual skill from Ryan Jeans who, after receiving a pass from Dugdale, surged forward before unleashing a vicious strike that soared into the roof of the net from 25-metres. A golden opportunity for Dugdale to add to the tally went begging early in the second half after Riste Stefoski and Boi combined on the left. Claims for a 63rd minute penalty went unheeded by referee Steve Muldoon after Andy Brown was pulled down by goalkeeper Neil Young. Scott Miller, Brad Hassell and Love gave their all in trying to spark life into Sorrento with the end result being Scott Neville’s strike that was narrowly past the post. Dugdale could have had a hat-trick but twice placed wide, while at the opposite end Danny Hill’s effort from a tight angle was saved by Phil Straker. The icing was put on Stirling’s cake by tireless midfielder Rob Miller who expertly curled a free-kick around the defensive wall and into the bottom corner in the last minute of play.
Cockburn City moved back into second spot, just five points behind leader Sorrento, by dumping Armadale 4-0 at Dalmatinac Park. And while the four-goal margin suggests this was a one-sided affair, anyone who was in attendance will tell you it was far from being the case. There were scattered opportunities for both teams to go ahead throughout the first half, however, a combination of wayward finishing and resilient defending meant the game remained scoreless by the interval. It was a similar story in the opening stages of the second half. The more adventurous play came from Cockburn who, despite getting inside the 18-yard box on numerous occasion, just couldn't capitalise on their chances. Armadale, too, were guilty of not making the most of their opportunities and were clearly lacking the decisive touch of striker Alex Williams, who recently returned to Scotland. The visitors should consider themselves unlucky not to have taken the lead when Scott Paterson had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for a harsh handball decision against Craig Anderson. If there was a turning point in the game then this was it and for the remainder of the afternoon Cockburn would dominate play. The deadlock was eventually broken after 66 minutes when Mileta Miletic latched on to a long pass and accelerated past several defenders before drilling in low shot that gave goalkeeper Nick Stone absolutely no chance. A neat ball through the defence was to the feet of Miletic who slipped another low shot into the net on 76 minutes. Cockburn's third goal resulted from Andrew Keary's superb pass to Miletic which allowed him to cut in from the left and square to Anthony Perriera who slammed it into the net. The scoring was finalised four minutes from the end of regulation time when Jason Dos Santos' defence splitting pass saw Miletic round a badly exposed 'keeper and complete a deserved hat-trick.
Inglewood United eased themselves away from the drop zone with a surprise 1-0 defeat of Floreat Athena at Kiev Sports Ground. The first half was fairly evenly shared with Floreat perhaps holding the upper hand by the slenderest of margins. The visitors should have taken an early lead when referee Paul Anderson awarded a contentious penalty for a shirt pull on Boima Karpeh, and although Brainmir Mikulic sent Oliver Taseski the wrong way his spot kick was scuffed wide of the post. Following this Inglewood kicked up a gear with a series of raids down the left where Greg Sharland was being afforded space to run at the opposing defence. Both sides created good opportunities to break the deadlock but in reality neither goalkeeper was called upon to make a save of any great substance. Parkinson and Jason Colli were unable to capitalise when the opportunity arose for the hosts, while John Migas and Kareph did likewise for Floreat. The second half produced a much more entertaining contest in which both teams played some great attacking football. Andre Sarpe cut a passage past a couple of defenders only for his lethal strike to cannon off the crossbar. As Floreat began to fall off the pace Inglewood gained control through some enterprising use of the flanks which lead to good opportunities on goal for Dean Apelgren and Sharland. The only goal of the afternoon came in the 71st minute when clever work down the left enabled Parkinson to find an unmarked Apelgren who expertly tamed the cross before slotting into the net past an exposed Vas Vujacic from 7-metres. Now it was Floreat’s turn to up the tempo but for all their bluster the visitors could open up very few holes in a rock solid back four who ensured all three points would go to Inglewood.
Western Knights stretched their unbeaten run to eleven games with a 2-0 defeat of arch-rival Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. Opportunities were scarce in a tight opening spell that had both defences quick to snuff out any danger. With Matt Danskin and Robert Sciascia enjoying the freedom to run at the defence from out wide, Perth began to get into gear. Sciascia zeroed in on goal after a driving down the left only to power his shot high, and a neat move down the right had Danskin centre for David Onoforo who was beaten to the ball by a quick thinking Tommi Tomich. The home side should have gone ahead on 29 minutes as Danskin lured Tomich off his line and slid the ball through to Onoforo whose flick on goal was narrowly wide. A rare Knights attack took Paul Cooke inside the 18-yard box but goalkeeper Gareth Deeg read play well to eliminate the threat. Perth continued to pressure and just before the break Jeff Bright’s stinging shot was brilliantly smothered by the oncoming ‘keeper. It looked as though the hoss would go on with the job in the second half against an opponent which was struggling in their attacking third. But the game was turned on its head in the 64th minute when Luka Jukic’s corner into a crowded 6-yard box appeared to come off several players and Cormac Dawson got the final touch to put the Knights in front. This sparked renewed activity from Perth and within a minute Onoforo stretched Tomich with a shot from 10-metres. However, the momentum was bow very much with the visitors and Daniel Trim, Montgomery and Seb Trim each went close to adding to the tally. On 78 minutes the pressure paid off as teenager Aaron Bahadori delivered the knock out block by stroking the ball across a diving ‘keeper and inside the far post from 15-metres.
Swan I.C. suffered their worst defeat of the season by crashing 1-4 to the visitors from E.C.U. Joondalup. It took just three minutes for Joondalup to make their mark as Mark Lee’s cross from the left wasn’t dealt with by the defence and Tom Jones bundled the ball over the line after it came back off the post. Good work on the left by Rory Mouttet produced Swan’s first chance which Brendan Knox headed wide. The margin was doubled after 9 minutes when Gerry McEwan’s long clearance found McMurray who in turn fed possession to Scott Bushby and the young midfielder’s finish was too good for Cory Hugo. Moments later Hugo prevented Bushby from adding to the visitors tally after he was sent clear by Ian McMurray. Mouttet was causing problems wide on the left and he delivered the ball into the area for David Perich whose header was cleared of the line by Anthony Jones. Swan were back in the game after 35 minutes as David Foster’s glancing header went in off the post from another Mouttet cross. Miki Vujacic then tested Peter Stewart’s reflexes with a low strike that the ‘keeper blocked. Right on the stroke of half-time Joondalup regained their two-goal advantage through Lee whose long-range effort snuck under the body of Hugo. The second half began as the first had ended and Joondalup applying the pressure. Martin Ashworth picked out Jason Trpevski but his shot was well saved by Hugo. For their part, Swan looked sluggish and lacked inspiration with their best chance of the period being a close-range header from Mouttet that went wide. Bushby and Lee were running the show from the centre of the park and the former sent Tom Jones through on goal but he fired just past the post. The result was put beyond doubt on 83 minutes when another long ball was latched on to by Bushby whose shot was blocked by Hugo and but Ashworth was positioned to put away the follow-up.
Bayswater City reignited their hopes of avoiding relegation with a workman-like 3-2 defeat of Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. It was clear from the outset that Bayswater meant business and while they created a hatful of chances the hosts were unable to get the goal they were seeking. Right on the stroke of half-time Wanneroo gained the upper hand when Craig Bowman’s shot beat goalkeeper Ken Ftynohiannis and came to rest in the back of the net. The second half started with Wanneroo eager to add to their tally and good openings came the way of Bowman and Derek Cooke. So it was against the run of play when Bayswater were awarded a penalty for Danny Taylor’s foul on Daniel Micevski who calmly converted from the spot to bring the teams level. Four minutes later the visitors snatched the lead as Micevski’s perfectly delivered cross found the head of Sal Marapodi who nodded past the out-stretched arms of Kevin Miller. Wanneroo were in no mood to concede the game and launched a series of attacking raids to have the visitors under the pump. The pressure paid off after 67 minutes when Morgan Dendle kept his composure in a goalmouth scramble to put away the equaliser. Needing a win to keep their season alive, Bayswater threw caution to the wind and with five minutes remaining Micevski’s speculative shot from 30-metres took an awkward bounce in front of Miller before finding the net. Boris Atamasovski, who recently became Bayswater’s fourth coach of the season, said he had every confidence his team would overturn the half-time deficit. “I asked the guys to play quality football and I think they did that,” he said. “We had our chances in the first half but we didn’t score, and I truly believed we could do it in the second half.”
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHTEEN (Mandurah City vs Ashfield by Donna Carty; Rockingham City vs Balcatta courtesy Rockingham City; Gosnells City vs Morley Windmills courtesy Gosnells City; Forrestfield United vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Mandurah City snatched a 1-0 win over Ashfield when they ventured to Peelwood Parade. The home team settled the better and could have taken the lead if not for some wayward finishing. Although on the back foot for lengthy period, Ashfield weren’t without their chances but were also let down in their final third. The second half was evenly matched although Francis Allen between the posts for Ashfield was by far the busier goalkeeper. At the opposite end Mandurah found themselves under intense pressure at times but held firm. With the pressure mounting as time ticked away, Mandurah were reduced to ten men after Damien Condo was issued his second booking of the day. The only goal of the afternoon arrived in the 73rd minute when teenager Sean Dash touched a pass to Michael Bobridge who thundered it past Francis Allen from 10-metres. Ashfield refused to give up hope and launched wave after wave of attack in a desperate attempt to gain a point. With ten minutes to go the visitors also went down to ten men with Bobby Golub issued his marching orders for a second yellow card. Following this Mandurah dug their heels in and defended staunchly to take out the game.
Balcatta’s visit to Dowling Street Reserve proved fruitful with the visiting side emerging 2-0 victors at the expense of Rockingham City. The game could not have started much better for Balcatta who were ahead inside a minute as Mark D’Ascanio stole possession from Max Percy and crossed precisely for Adrian Caloiera to volley in at the back post. Stunned at their predicament, Rockingham very nearly conceded for a second time shortly after when sloppy defending allowed Caloiera time to slot past goalkeeper Craig Olenjik who was grateful to see the ball cannon back off the post. Rockingham looked a lot more composed after the interval but still weren’t creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. Frustrations got the better of Bryan Hastie in the 58th minute and he was duly red carded for a late foul on Rob Giorgi. With nothing left to lose, the hosts moved up a gear and were denied an equaliser by the brilliance of Jordan Conti who somehow kept out Paul Colkin’s volley from 7-metres. Balcatta responded with a series of attacking raids and soon after closed the game out as John Nicolaou, with his first touch of the game, side-stepped Colkin to slam in a spectacular second goal.
Three invaluable points came the way of Gosnells City who mauled Morley Windmills 5-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Gosnells were out of the blocks fast and with 3 minutes gone they went ahead as Jon Cook delivered a low cross into the area which was neatly half-volleyed into the net by Andy Daffin. The margin was double just a few minutes later as goalkeeper Dusan Martinovich failed to cleanly take a cross and Mark Edwards was on hand to whip in the loose ball from close-range. The home team continued to apply the pressure and in the 25th minute added after Drew Grimshaw’s free-kick deflected off a defender and to Daffin who made no mistake. The second half was a carbon copy of the first with Gosnells controlling play and doing much of the attacking. Twelve minutes in and the difference became four goals after Aaron Nadin threaded a pass to Brian Cairney who rounded his marker and clipped the ball over the oncoming ‘keeper. Morley’s only genuine chance of the game came shortly after via a powerfully struck free-kick from Damien Todorovic which was tipped away by Jason Mehnert. Ian Maguire put the icing on Gosnells’ cake with a diving header which stemmed from some neat movement of the ball through midfield.
The points were shared at Hartfield Park where Forrestfield United and Canning City played out an tight 1-1 draw. The opening exchanges passed without a clear shot on goal due to a couple of very well organised defences. The game finally burst into life on 31 minutes when Canning goalkeeper Alan Mattecucci smothered courageously at the feet of Joe Healy who’d latched on to a neat through ball. Canning went ahead eight minutes out from the break as Marc Sim manoeuvred his way into the penalty area and forced his way past ‘keeper Atekhis Elhossain before tucking the ball into the net. The second half was only a few minutes old when Elhossain denied Canning a second goal with a diving save to push wide a Mick Van Dongen shot. Chances were flowing freely at both ends with Forrestfield’s Dennis Lee firing just wide of the target, and Harin Rajeswaran heading over from Ryan Allomes’ corner. Forrestfield drew level on the 63 minutes when referee Joe Fusari awarded a penalty for Luke Doyle’s mistimed challenge on Lee who stepped up to convert. Canning pressed hard for a deciding goal during the closing stages in which Forrestfield scrambled the ball out of the goalmouth on three occasions and Garth Lecky hit the crossbar with a thunderous header.
Fremantle Spirit booked their place in nest year’s Premier League by thrashing bottom of the table South West Phoenix 5-0. David Rodgers, Roberto Calalillo and Ben Kelly were Fremantle’s scorers. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
SMITH FLUSH WITH CHOICES
After just a month in the job, Ron Smith is ready and raring to go ahead of Perth Glory’s A-League season opener away to Queensland Roar on Saturday night. A spate of injuries and illness stretched resources at the club during the pre-season, at one point reducing the number of players fit to train to just ten. However, the absentee list has shortened with midfielders Simon Colosimo, Adrian Webster and David Micevski given the all-clear to resume match activity this weekend. “For the first time since I’ve been here in a month I’ve actually got more than fifteen players to pick from,” said Smith. “I’m going to have to tell some players they are not travelling. I haven’t had to do that yet, so it’s a good position to be in.”
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
New life has been breathed into the race for top honours with Cockburn City narrowing the gap on leader Sorrento to five points. Stirling Lions stunned the Gulls 3-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve where David Dugdale, Ryan Jeans and Rob Miller found the net. After being held goalless in the first half, Cockburn ran riot in the second to emerge 4-0 winners over the visiting team from Armadale. Inglewood United moved clear of the drop zone by upsetting Floreat Athena's apple cart 1-0.
Second half goals by Cormac Dawson and Aaron Bahadori earned Western Knights a deserved 2-0 victory at Perth S.C. E.C.U. Joondalup met with little resistance from Swan I.C. to run out winners by a 4-1 scoreline. Bayswater City picked up three valuable points in their quest for Premier League survival by downing Wanneroo City 3-2. Daniel Micevski bagged a double with Sal Marapodi also adding his name to the scoresheet.
Fremantle Spirit have been crowned First Division champion despite there still being a month of competition remaining. The port side confirmed their spot in next seasons' top flight by trouncing South West Phoenix 5-0. Mandurah City edged out Ashfield 1-0, and Balcatta downed Rockingham City 2-0. The points were shared at 1-1 between Forrestfield United and Canning City. Gosnells City look to have made themselves safe from relegation after thumping Morley Windmills 5-0.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Dorrien Gardens hosts the footballwa.net Match of the Week between reigning champion Perth S.C. and an in-form Western Knights tomorrow. This fixture has over the year brought the best out in each camp and Saturday promises to be no different. One aspects of the game to keep a close eye on will be the battle for midfield supremacy which pits Gary Faria, Scott Bulloch and Matt Danskin against the equally impressive combination of David Price, Shane McNally and Paul Cooke.
Sorrento, who already has one hand on the Premier League trophy, welcome Cup finalists Stirling Lions to Percy Doyle Reserve in what shapes up to be another fantastic game. The bottom of the table clash between Wanneroo City and visiting Bayswater City certainly won’t be one for the faint hearted. Cockburn City coach Billy Russell comes face to face with his former club Armadale when they call by Dalmatinac Park. Swan I.C. are have home ground advantage against E.C.U. Joondalup, and Inglewood United will be under the guidance of Alan Vest for the first time on home soil when they take on Floreat Athena.
Fremantle Spirit, who pretty much have promotion to the top flight in the bag, make the long trip to Bunbury where they meet a South West Phoenix side battling for their semi-professional life. Peelwood Parade is the venue for the pick of the First Division action between Ashfield (second) and Mandurah City (third). Morley Windmills are tipped to take the points when they travel to Gosnells City. Balcatta head to Dowling Street Reserve to meet a Rockingham City side that’s run hot and cold this season. Forrestfield United welcome Canning City to Hartfield Park. Dianella White Eagles have the bye.
THIS WEEK ON THE WORLD FOOTBALL PROGRAMME
Join Penny TannerHoath, Paul Iddiols and Andy Arena on Radio Fremantle's World Football Programme this Saturday as they look at Perth Glory’s season opener against Queensland Road, preview other A-League games, and review the Young Matildas World Cup campaign. Lillie Bilson will discuss her adventures with London club Arsenal, and there’ll be comprehensive round-ups of international, national and local competitions. Tune in to Radio Fremantle - 107.9fm - from 10.00am, or tune in to the show live on the web at www.radiofremantle.com.
VATISTAS SHINES IN FLOREAT ENGINEROOM
A squad bristling with talent has enabled Floreat Athena to move back into second position on the Premier League table. Once face which is new to many is that of pint sized midfielder Paul Vatistas who’s been keeping some more experienced players out of the side. “Young Pauly is only 18-years old and has been a squad member for the whole year,” explained coach Michael Roki. “He’s waited for his chance to come and he’s responded with some consistent performances. Paul covers a lot of ground and, although he’s not yet as physically strong as we’d like, his work rate and confidence more than make up for that.”
Vatistas, who started playing for Floreat at the age of six, is enjoying his time in the first team and played an important role in last week’s hard fought victory over Swan I.C. “It was difficult out there, especially in the middle of the park, but we got the result required,” Vatsitas said. “It’s great to part of the League team and I would like to thank the coach for the opportunity to play at this level. I was given a few opportunities last season, but the coach said I needed to strengthen up, and training week in and week out has helped me greatly. I’d now like to cement my spot in the Floreat first team and, like all youngsters, want to play at the best possible level I can.”
LAZARIDIS “CAN’T WAIT” FOR NATIONAL LEAGUE RETURN
Stan Lazaridis is looking forward to making his national league return when Perth Glory take on Queensland Roar this weekend. “On Saturday night I’ll play my first domestic game on Australian soil in eleven years - and I can’t wait,” he said. “I could’ve just as easily stayed overseas, but I knew Perth would be a big challenge because of Glory’s disappointing year, after flying the flag for so long. There will be a few nerves but I’m expected to deliver and I will deliver, that’s my job. But above all, my job is to lift Glory into the finals, whether it’s scoring or setting up goals.”
“I’m particularly looking forward to playing at home and we’ve got a good defensive backbone, so it will allow someone like me to be free-flowing without worrying about losing possession,” continued Lazaridis. “We want to send our fans walking away from Members Equity Stadium happy, having been entertained for ninety minutes on each of their ten visits this season. We’re aiming to play finals in 2006/07 but it won’t be easy because the competition is evenly balanced. Two factors will determine our fate this season - the amount of homework we do and whether we can keep most of our squad fit. If we can, then there’s no doubt we’ll give it a shake.”
Lazardis says Glory fans shouldn’t read too much into their pre-season, which has been used by new coach Ron Smith to tinker with the line-up. “We haven’t been fully focused on the pre-season Cup so you can throw out the current form guide. We’re still trying to work out our best line-up and formation, so for Ron Smith it’s been more a question of experimenting and getting it right for Round One,” he said. “We’ll improve hell of a lot on last season. So for the Glory sceptics, reserve your judgement for a month or so and wait until the dust settles.”
QUARTER-FINALS ELUDE YOUNG MATILDA’S
Australia has bowed out of the FIFA Under-20 Women’s Championships at the group stage. Local product Collette McCallum was the two-goal hero of the sides opening round win over New Zealand. A few days later the side went down to world number four Brazil and, requiring victory to proceed to the knock-out phase, Australia were eliminated when they could only manage to draw with host nation Russia. “We definitely leave with our heads held high,” said coach Alistair Edwards following the draw with Russia. “We dominated the game from start to finish and created chance after chance, but just couldn’t put the ball away. I thought we absolutely battered them and we are gutted … we thoroughly deserved to be in the quarter finals.”
The World Championship kicked-off for Australia last Friday, 18th August, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over New Zealand. While the Young Matilda’s dominated against their Trans Tasman rival, it wasn’t until late in the match that the result was beyond doubt with two goals in the final ten minutes. McCallum put Australia six minutes before half-time with an in-swinging corner that sailed directly into the net. The second goal came with ten minutes remaining when McCallum’s cross from wide on the right deceived the goalkeeper to find the net. Sally Shipard finished off the scoring 92nd minute by heading in at the back post from a Kylie Ledbrook corner. McCallum, booked in the 68th minute, played a full game.
The Young Matilda’s would rue a string of missed first half opportunities that could otherwise have produced a much different outcome. McCallum powered a header wide, Ledbrook and Sasha McDonnell both shot straight at the goalkeeper, and Leah Blayney’s effort was just past the post. The turning point came on 41 minutes when Fabiana was brought down inside the area by Kim Carroll, and Francielle calmly converted the resulting spot kick. Brazil stepped it up after the break to dominate play but Renata Costa and Erika were prevented from adding to their tally by goalkeeper Lydia Williams. The result was put beyond doubt when Fabiana slid her shot past Williams from a Fabiana through ball. McCallum played a full game.
Australia’s participation in the tournament came to a close when, despite a commanding performance, they were held 1-1 by Russia. The Young Matildas completely dominated the European Champions but, like against Brazil, they would pay the price for not making the most of their chances. Played in driving rain, Australia asserted their authority from the outset and could have been a couple of goal the good by half-time. McDonnell squandered two guilt-edged chances, McCallum fired high and Clare Polkinghorne headed just wide. The second half was no different with Australia pressing hard but unable to convert. An error by Danielle Brogan allowed Russia to go ahead on 75 minutes through Anna Kozhnikova. But ten minutes later Brogan made amends by heading in the equaliser from a McCallum free-kick. McCallum played a full game.
AGUDELO THRILLED WITH AUSTRALIAN CALL-UP
Strong showings at last week’s Schools National Championship in Canberra have earned Daniel Agudelo and Ben Howe places in the 2006 Australian Schoolboys squad. Additionally, Wesley Ryder and Jovo Pavlovic were named in the shadow squad at the completion of the week-long event in which Western Australia claimed fifth. “We did quite well, and although we finished fifth we were actually playing for third spot in the last game,” explained Agudelo. “The quality of football played at the tournament was high and we were unlucky not to get the silver medal, a few mistakes cost us.”
Agudelo admits he’s had a mixed winter at Swan I.C. where he’s understudy to long-serving goalkeeper Cory Hugo. “My season has been fairly average,” the 18-year old said. “But the faith the coaching staff have placed in me has gone a long way to helping me overcome this. They’ve given me a great deal of encouragement and support, and that’s given me a lift and I don’t want to let them down. I missed a lot of football last season through injury, and it’s been hard to get back into it. Injury is the main thing I’ve had to try and overcome this year.”
The likeable Agudelo is looking forward to donning the green and gold of Australian when they meet New Zealand and Samoa early next year. “It’s a huge honour to represent the State, but that doesn’t compare to the honour of representing your country,” he said. “Being named in the Australian squad has given me a huge confidence boost, it’s encouraging to know that I’m doing things right. I know I’ve got a lot more to learn about the game and there’s plenty of room for improvement, and hopefully I can keep up my steady development.”
In addition to playing for Australia, Agudelo has been invited by national coach John Romeo to be part off the Leichhardt Tigers youth squad on their upcoming tour of Italy. “The coach is great, he knows a lot about the game and has great respect from the players,” said Agudelo. “The trip, well that’s going to be a huge highlight and I’m looking forward to it already. Just knowing that I’ll be playing against the best teams in the world, its a huge opportunity to be seen.”
The full Australian Schoolboys squad to play New Zealand and Samoa next January is Ben Cheyne, Ian Graham (Australian Capitial Territory), Xavier Forsberg, Matt Jurman, Emmanuel Giannaros, Ben Gough, Daniel Cornett, Marko Jesic, Glen Trifiro (New South Wales), Daniel Dacey, Tom Neilsen, Mitchell Nichols (Queensland), Fortunato Filleti, Matthew Mullen (South Australia), Nick Katsamboukas (Victoria), Daniel Agudelo and Ben Howe (Western Australia).
ERGIC EXTENDS BASEL STAY
Serbian international Ivan Ergic has extended his contract with Swiss side F.C. Basel. The former Perth Glory midfielder last week put pen to paper on a new three-year deal which will keep him at the club until June 2009. Ergic, whose overcome a career threatening injury and depression during his time in Switzerland, has been installed as captain for the coming season. He made his first senior appearances for Serbia and Montenegro during the recent World Cup finals tournament and has been in excellent form so far this season with three goals in six league outings.
BILLSON EARNS ARSENAL DEAL
Things are happening very quickly for Lillie Billson. The 15-year old took up playing football only four years ago after moving from England with her family and was this week selected to join one of the most powerful women’s clubs in the world. London club Arsenal has offered Billson a place in their academy after a series of impressive performances for their under-16 team. And while Billson will start out in Arsenal’s reserve team in January, the club have told her she will not be held back from playing for their fist team despite her youth.
Billson has honed her skills playing with boys’ teams at Stirling Lions and is optimistic about her chances of making the grade with Arsenal. “I trained with the Premier League side earlier in the year and I felt pretty comfortable - I didn’t think I wasn’t good enough to be with them,” said the teenage striker. “But it was a big surprise when I found out that they wanted me because I didn’t think they had seen the best of me. It would be a dream to play in the Premier League and I can’t wait to get over there.”
Billson plans to make a career out of football but is unsure as to which country she would like to represent - Australia or England. She had already attracted attention from national team scouts in Australia, while English selectors will no doubt monitor her progress if she made her Premier League debut at such a young age. Stirling president Don Evans has no doubt Billson can make it on the world stage. “Lillie just amazes us every weekend,” he said. “She has great pace, agility and skill. We think she could be a real superstar of women’s soccer. ”
TARKA BACK ON TRACK
David Tarka has declared himself ready to help Perth Glory qualify for the A-League finals after emerging from a three-year battle with injury. Tarka, who twice played for Australia in 2004, said a hamstring problem had cut short his time with English club Nottingham Forest, then dashed his rejuvenation plans with Glory last season. But another operation in February and subsequent rehabilitation has given Tarka renewed hope of getting his career back on track.
The 23-year old defender has played four successive pre-season Cup games for Glory and is keenly awaiting this weekend’s A-League clash with Queensland Roar. “I was playing and training with discomfort and the mind was getting smashed,” said Tarka, who left Glory to join Forest in 2003. “It was three years of complications with the hamstring and you can’t help but think ‘what’s wrong with me?’ But I’ve got my body figured out now. I have to do extra recovery and stretching or I can’t play - that’s just the way it is. But I’ve got through ninety minutes four times and feel good for this season.”
Tarka, who made only three appearances for his home town club last season, felt let down by Glory who virtually left him to cope with his injury problems on his own. But he has since noticed positive changes since Football Federation Australia took charge in May and now feels he is getting the rest, rehabilitation and treatment necessary to get him back to his best. “It was a lot of hard work when I wasn’t getting a lot of support from the club,” he explained. “If you’re in pain you take it home with you and the support came from my partner and my mum and dad. But I think it should’ve come from the club as well.”
With his confidence now soaring, Tarka is tipping Glory for a top four finish but asks the clubs’ loyal supporters not to judge them too early. “It would be nice to have two or three weeks up our sleeve, but the reality is we don’t and we have to get on with it,” he said. “We can make the finals, definitely. I think fourth is realistic.” Glory’s trip to Brisbane comes on the back of three successive away games in the pre-season Cup and, while the travel has taken its toll on the squad, Tarka is confident they are more than capable of returning home with maximum points.
SCHOOLGIRLS BUILD FOR FUTURE SUCCESS
Coach Tony Carvajal says the Western Australian Schoolgirls can hold their heads high with the seventh place gained at last weeks Schools National Championship in Canberra. “We were the youngest team in the tournament and each of the opposition coaches commented that they played good football and that the experience would serve them well, especially if the squad is retained and competes again next year,” said Carvajal. “The girls showed great courage and perseverance which was rewarded with a big win in the last day of the tournament.”
Western Australia suffered a 0-4 loss on Day One of competition to Queensland for whom Amanda Taylor, Tenneille Boaler, Casey Jenkins and Sam McIntosh found the net. “A tough plane journey made it hard for the girls to sufficiently recover in time for this game,” commented Carvajal. The following day Victoria claimed a 2-0 victory courtesy of strikes from Genia Avram and Kerri Little. “We just weren’t able to score despite creating several good chances,” said the coach. Day Three brought little joy for Western Australia as New South Wales Invitational triumphed 4-0 with Niki Deiter, Kyah Simon, Jenna Kingsley and Emily van Egmond each finding the net.
The Australian Capital Territory defeated Western Australian 3-1 in the minor place semi-finals. Harriet Talbert headed the west in front from a corner but that was cancelled out by second half goals from Natasha Ackland, Stacey Close and Mieke Whitford. “We played terrific football against the ACT and had the lead at half-time, then two quick goals put us on the back foot,” commented Carvajal. “We then applied the pressure and in the final minute almost equalised, but with the clearance they counterattacked and scored a third goal … the girls were absolutely gutted after the game.”
Western Australia registered their first win by taking care of Northern Territory 10-0 in the play-off for seventh and eight. “The girls kept their spirits up and came out with a vengeance against the Northern Territory,” explained the coach. “Rowena Caswell scored after 25 seconds and again after 3 minutes, then Harriet Talbert and Shannon May made it four-nil at half-time. In the second half Shannon scored again, Rowena got another two, Sylvia Flynn scored twice and Emilie Williams once. It was a great way to finish and the girls know they are better than the seventh place gained.” New South Wales won the tournament by defeating New South Wales Invitational in the final.
“The tournament clearly showed that women’s football in Western Australia has great potential, but there is a long way to go,” said Carvajal. “The main difference between us and the other states was in the technical area where we need to put greater emphasis on individual and team skills. Hopefully, Football West and School Sport can work more closely and it will be interesting to see if the powers that be can work with greater good will in the future. I’m looking forward to the challenge of coaching again next year and so are the girls and their parents, who have been very supportive.”
The 2006 Western Australian Schoolgirls squad consisted of Megan Jenyns (Armadale), Penelope Clayton, Gemma Di Lello, Corrin Walmsley (Balcatta), Amy-Jo Dixon, Sarah Hughes, Emilie Williams (East Fremantle), Nikki Diamond (Forrestfield United), Harriet Talbert (Mandurah City), Rowena Caswell, Danielle Holmes, Lindsay Valentine (Northern Redbacks), Shannon May, Alycia Panayotou, Renae Rendell (Subiaco United) and Sylvia Flynn (club unknown). The team officials Tony Carvajal (coach) and Katarina Kovacevic (manager).
FIFTH PLACING FOR SCHOOLBOYS
The Western Australian Schoolboys took fifth position at the Schools National Championship in Canberra last week. The side registered one win and two draws from their five outings during the week-long event which was won by New South Wales. Although the results may not have been in Western Australia’s favour, four players did gain national selection with Daniel Agudelo and Ben Howe included in the Australian Schoolboys squad while Wesley Ryder and Jovo Pavlovic made the shadow squad.
Western Australia opened their tournament with a 1-3 loss to New South Wales whose goals came from Ben Gough, Daniel Cornett and Jacob Miller. The side from the west coast were guilty of wasted opportunities although Jovo Pavlovic did reduce the deficit in the second half. A gutsy performance on Day Two resulted in a 2-0 win by Western Australia over Queensland. Wesley was the scorer of the only goal of a game in which the west were reduced to ten players following the dismissal of Pavlovic.
Victoria notched up their first point of the tournament by coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Western Australia. Chances came an went through the first half with Ben Howe’s strike being all that separated the sides at the interval. There was a flurry of goals midway through the second period with Adam Ikiz and Douglas Scott netting for Victoria before Damian Houston grabbing the second for Western Australia.
Western Australia and South Australia played a fiery 1-1 draw on Day Five. South Australia went ahead in the second half through a Daniel Hain free-kick but the boys from the west rallied to score late with Allan Claxton getting the final touch. The final day of competition saw Western Australia go down 0-1 to the Australian Capital Territory whose goal came via James Perry.
The 2006 Western Australian Schoolboys were Alan Claxton, Cameron Hayes, Ben Howe, Sam Keary (Armadale), Jovo Pavlovic, Wesley Ryder (Bayswater City), Anthony Harris, Jack McCabe (Cockburn City), Damien Chapeleau (Floreat Athena), Nic Trajkoski (Sorrento), Steven Hesketh, Damian Houston (Stirling Lions), Daniel Agudelo, Tony Davies, (Swan I.C.), Matthew Allen and Carlos Portillo (Western Knights). The team officials were Fadi Ma’ayah (coach) and David Holmes (manager).
SMITH PLEASED WITH PROGRESS
Ron Smith isn’t about to hit the panic button despite Perth Glory winning just once from six pre-season Cup outings. “If you could change things overnight to get results you’d do it, but you’ve got to work to get them - you can’t wave a magic wand,” said the Glory boss. “Defensively, we haven’t done too badly considering we’ve been doing quite a bit of defending against some very lively players. But we need to improve at taking our opponents on in the attacking half and keeping the ball and opening things up. We’ve gone from virtually nothing and we’ve got better with every game.'”
Glory are hopeful of regaining the services of at least four players in time for the opening round A-League meeting with Queensland Roar this weekend. David Micevski and Naum Sekulovski have recovered from the same virus which kept them out of last weekend’s Cup loss to Melbourne Victory, while Adrian Webster (hamstring) and Ryan Townsend (back) should be available after overcoming injury. Simon Colosimo is also an outside chance of returning after a knee injury and will be monitored over the next few days before a decision is made as to whether he’ll be part of the travelling party.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHTEEN
Northern Redbacks have moved away from the foot of the women’s Premier League table by defeating fellow struggler Mandurah City 3-2 in a tight game at Bortolo Park. The opening goal came after 20 minutes when J.Nellany fired the Redbacks ahead after a quick free-kick caught the home defence napping. Mandurah upped the tempo and were back on level terms in the 34th minute when Mel Spillman’s shot was parried by J.Jobling and E.Bateman slammed in the follow-up. Five minutes later Mandurah had the lead as Harriet Talbert’s cross was glanced into the net by S.McKenzie. The teams were level just before the break when Nellany bagged her second of the day from close-range after a poorly defended corner.
The second half was, for the most part, uneventful with few genuine goalscoring opportunities created. The poor state of the pitch and continual rain certainly didn’t help matters as both teams struggled to open up the opposition defence. The Redbacks were fortunate not to be reduced a player for C.Frey’s over-zealous challenge on J.Moss late in the game. The deciding goal was struck by Frey who powered the ball into the net following a corner with five minutes left on the clock. “Obviously I am pleased with the win, considering our position on the table,” commented Redbacks coach Tom Hodgson, who was not impressed with the state of the pitch. “It was the most pleasing aspect of the win- the girls were still trying to play proper, passing soccer on this surface.”
MINING ENTREPRENEUER IN GLORY BID (courtesy www.tribalfooball.com)
Mining entrepreneur Tony Sage is putting together consortium aiming to buy the A-league licence of Perth Glory. The “West Australian” newspaper reports Sage and an overseas-based associate are putting together a proposal to take over the club which is currently being run by Football Federation Australia. The likely new owners are believed to be keen to set up a feeder arrangement with an English Premier League club. The buyers want to tie up a deal to take over the club before the start of the coming season.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVENTEEN (Bayswater City vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Floreat Athena vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Western Knights vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Stirling Lions vs Perth S.C. by Don Evans; Armadale vs Inglewood United by Steve McGregor)
Sorrento took maximum points over Bayswater City courtesy of a 4-1 scoreline on a slippery, rain soaked pitch at Frank Drago Reserve. After an initial period of adjusting to the surface, the Gulls carved out the first opening of the game as Scott Miller sent the ball forward to Simon Harland who flicked it on to Todd Harnwell but his shot was straight at Ken Ftynohiannis. Bayswater immediately into attack and Jared Smith swung in a cross to Sal Marapodi whose header was just over the crossbar. A quickly taken free-kick gave Sorrento the lead after 22 minutes as James Morgan smacked a stunning shot into the top corner to take Bayswater by surprise. A flurry of goals just before the break put the visitors in a commanding position. In the 42nd minute Brad Hassell won the ball in midfield and fed Harnwell down the right whose low cross into the area was perfectly placed for Brodie Martin to slam into the roof of the net. Hassell was the instigator again a couple of minutes later by putting the ball at the feet of Harland who relayed possession to Harnwell and the striker toe-poked past Ken Ftynohiannis. Bayswater came within centimetres of reducing the gap early in the second half with Damir Kudozovic’s curling effort kissed the top of the bar. A period of disjointed play was brought to a close by an alert Young who smothered at the feet of Marapodi as he pulled the trigger. Sorrento added a fourth goal to their tally on 69 minutes when Hassell clipped the ball over the defence for Harnwell who neatly lobbed the on-coming goalkeeper. With thirteen minutes let on the clock Bayswater scored a consolation goal as Daniel Micevski’s deep corner from the right was headed back into the danger zone by Daniel Naumovski and a fortunate deflection of the head off Marapodi put the ball in the net.
Floreat Athena moved back into second place by defeating Swan I.C. 1-0 at Litis Stadium. On a pitch left very heavy by morning rains, Costa Socratous created the games first opening with a deep cross which Andre Sarpe sprayed wide of the target. Swan returned fire shortly after with David Foster playing in Tom Shepheard who evaded Adrian Sutton but also sent the ball the wrong side of the post. The only goal of the afternoon arrived in the 11th minute through a long ball by Socratous which found Boima Karpeh who fended off his marker and struck a low shot past Cory Hugo. Poor finishing would deny the visitors an equaliser as Miki Vujacic, Foster and Shepheard each failed to test the goalkeeper when called upon. Floreat were also creating chances and Sarpe fired narrowly wide with a fine shot on the turn, while just before the break Karpeh headed past the far post from another Socratous cross. The second half saw Floreat step up the pace and forced their opponent onto the defensive. Adam Bachiller wasn’t too far off the mark with a shot from distance that beat Hugo who, not long after, responded sharply in keeping out John Migas’ low effort. However, Swan weren’t without their chances and Brendan Knox set up Damien Catalano who fired straight at Vas Vujacic, much to his own disappointment. Migas again went close after Swan failed to clear a Socratous free-kick but his shot flashed the wrong side of the post. Branimir Mikulic was quickly into the action after coming off the bench and, after being sent clear by Paul Vatistas, the big attacker fired into the side netting. With fifteen minutes remaining Swan introduced new signing Anthony McStea who delivered the ball on to the head of Shepheard who nodded straight at Vujacic with the last opportunity of the afternoon.
A pulsating local derby between Western Knights and Cockburn City ended with honours shared in a 3-3 draw at Nash Field. Cockburn started the stronger and would totally dominate the opening period which was 15 minutes old when Jason Dos Santos collected the ball deep in his own half and drove forward past three defenders before confidently rounding Tommi Tomich and slotting into an empty net. The margin was doubled on 27 minutes when a terrific run from defence by Jason Godfrey took him past a couple of opponents and play a great ball behind the defence for Mileta Miletic to strike first time past Tomich. The Knights first opening on goal came soon after but Ivan Zuvela headed over the crossbar following a corner. The architect of the visitors attacks was Jason Dos Santos who, on 36 minutes, squared a smart pass to brother Aaron Dos Santos who tucked goal number three into the net. The hosts pulled one back just before the break through Daniel Trim who converted from the penalty spot after a handball decision against Domenic De Felice. The second half was a totally different story with the Knights well on top, much to the delight of the home supporters. Thirteen minutes after the restart they further reduced the deficit as an unmarked David Annall nodded in a corner played to the far post. Shortly after Darren Williams produced a great save to keep out Zuvela’s free-kick. But the goalkeeper was given no chance in the 86th minute when Zuvela unleashed a cracking shot from 28-metres which soared into the top corner after taking a slight deflection off a defender. Both sides had chances to snatch a late victory with Williams responding sharply to a close-range effort from substitute Stuart Montgomery, while Aaron Dos Santos was thwarted by a superb save by Tomich in a one-on-one situation.
Teenage sensation Ludovic Boi scored twice to orchestrate Stirling Lions’ 3-1 win over Perth S.C. at Macedonia Park. Played on a rain soaked surface, the match opened with the hosts pressing for the early advantage and David Dugdale was presented with a good opportunity but his shot was deflected away by Gianfranco Circati. But soon the pendulum was in Perth’s favour as Peter Lord, Gary Faria, Matt Danskin flexed their muscle across the centre of the park. Two guilt edged chances came the way of Barry Wood who blazed wide with the first and, a few minutes later, was thwarted by the safe hands of Phil Straker. It was against the run of play when Stirling took the lead through Boi who seized upon a poor defensive pass, waltzed past two opponents then from 25-metres expertly chipped an out of position Gianni Papalia with 27 minutes played. This fired up the hosts who were denied a certain penalty by referee Jeremy Oliphant when Papalia flattened Dugdale while contesting a high ball. Great work down the right by Jordan Rhodes took him past two defenders and lay the ball into the path of Boi who doubled the margin five minutes from the break. Perth emerged for the second half looking to redeem themselves but again wasteful finishing would prove their undoing as Wood and Mark Gaskell failed to convert good chances. In the 53rd minute the visitors were rewarded for their attacking approach as Matt Danskin’s perfect cross found Jeff Bright whose volley crashed into the net after deflecting off a desperate Kevin Henderson. Stirling responded seven minutes later as Andy Brown played an inch perfect ball through to Dugdale who made no mistake restoring his side two-goal buffer with a powerful low strike beyond the reach of Papalia. Perth’s day only got worse with Peter Lord issued a straight red card after a crude challenge on Rob Miller in the 75th minute.
The northern suburbs’ derby between E.C.U. Joondalup and Wanneroo City was abandoned by referee Angelo Nardi at half-time due to a flooded pitch. The action kicked off under the heavy skies with Joondalup dominating possession and creating the better of goal scoring opportunities. A driving run down the right by Jason Trpevski’s saw him lay the ball off to Garin Collins who failed to test kevin Miller from 10-metres. Concerted pressure on the visiting defence earned Joondalup a series of corners midway through the first half, the best of which saw Collins swing the ball to the top of the 18-yard box where Jamie Kuzmanovich rifled goalward only to have Ben Yates clear off the line. Wanneroo were the next to threaten through Yates whose long-range strike was narrowly over the crossbar. Lively forward Tom Jones had a chance to put the home side ahead on 34 minutes, however, his right-foot shot struck the base of the post after neat lead up work by Ian McMurray. As the weather worsened so did the tempers on the pitch and a scything challenge from behind by Jones on Will Hodges sparked an all-in melee two minutes before the break. Once the dust had settled and Nardi had a lengthy discussion with his assistant on the line, both sides were reduced to ten men as Collins and Mark Wilson were red carded for their involvement in the scuffle. After assessing the situation at half time, match officials were left with no choice but to call off the game before the second half got underway as the sheer volume of water that lay on the playing surface was deemed a hazard to the players.
Armadale edged closer to Premier League survival with a hard fought 1-1 draw against a well organised Inglewood United outfit at Alfred Skeet Oval. In what was a bleak day for any type of outdoor activity, both teams struggled to come to terms with the heavy pitch and driving rain. The first real threat on goal didn’t come until the 10th minute when Darren Kingston just failed to properly connect with a James Isaia cross. Inglewood were unfortunate not to take the lead eight minutes later when Jason Colli rounded Nick Stone only for his flicked shot to clear the crossbar. Jason Goodwin was featuring prominently for the hosts and on the half hour stepped inside his marker to unleash a beautiful curling shot from outside the area which bounced off the crossbar. Just before the break Greg Sharland found space but could only steer his close-range header across the face of goal. Armadale began displaying the sort of form that turned their season around in the second half and a clever back heel by Kingston was somehow kept out by Taseski. There were good chances also at the other end where Stone easily dealt with free headers afforded to Daniel Niederberger and Shane Pryce while James Sammut blasted high from 7-metres. This let-off fired the Reds into action and a swift counterattack saw Isaia feed a pass down the line to Williams went down the right and cut the ball back to Goodwin who slotted into the net through a maze of legs inside the penalty area. With fi ve minutes remaining Inglewood pulled level as Daniel Kovacevic fired in a cross from the left which broke to Aaron Colli who showed considerable skill in evading a couple of tackles before firing in. Tempers flared during the closing stages of what had been a tense game and with a minute left Williams was shown a straight red card for a studs up tackle.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SEVENTEEN (Ashfield vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Morley Windmills vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; South West Phoenix vs Balcatta courtesy of South West Phoenix)
Ashfield staged a dramatic fight back to defeat Dianella White Eagles 3-2 on a rain soaked Ashfield Reserve. The early running came from the home side who would have gone ahead inside ten minutes if not for sloppy finishing by Julian Piromalli, mohammad Komaderic and Andy O’Neill. Dianella were beginning to get on top when they fell a behind to a penalty awarded for a foul on O’Neill and converted by Jason Van Rooy after 19 minutes. Thirteen minutes later Dianella gained a penalty of their own after Miladin Gligoroski was brought down, and Rydeen Botha stepped up to bring the sides level. The opening exchanges of the second half were dominated by Dianella and a fantastic run into the area by Gligoroski set up Jeremy Jeanne for the easiest of finishes in the 67th minute. Shortly after the visitors appeals for a penalty were dismissed by the referee after Gligoroski was infringed inside the 18-yard box. With the clock ticking down Ashfield stepped up a gear and Michael Filipou header in the equaliser from Igor Novakovic’s corner. The hosts comeback was made complete in the 80th minute when the ball deflected to Komaderic who was afforded the time to pick his spot in the back of the net.
Morley Windmills left it late before taking maximum points from Rockingham City courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline at a waterlogged Wotton Reserve. The home side was given a dream start by Scott McIlroy who slid the ball into the net from a superb centring pass by Wayne Culverwell after just 2 minutes. Rockingham where struggling to come to terms with the condition of the pitch and Rob Crerar and Luke Rennie each prevented Ray Rose from adding to the hosts tally, while McIlroy shot centimetres wide of the post with Craig Olenjik beaten. Morley looked the more dangerous side at the start of the second half as both teams opted for the long ball game. However, on 67 minutes Rockingham drew level through Rennie who scrambled the ball over the line at close-range after his header from a Paul Colkin cross came back off the post. Morley were unfortunate not to reclaim the lead only a couple of minutes later as McIlroy shot straight at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. With fifteen minutes remaining Culverwell who got enough of a touch on a pass into the area to wrong-foot the ‘keeper and set up Rose with a simple tap in for the deciding goal.
Last placed South West Phoenix pulled off a major upset when they toppled Balcatta 2-1 at the Soccerdrome. Phoenix’ second win of the season narrows the gap on fellow struggler Gosnells City and gives the club renewed hope of avoiding the drop. The home side were quick out of the blocks as Pat Quinn, David Murphy and Jamie Bergin asserted their influence in the middle of the park and brought strike partners Steve Suttie and Voin Garic into the game at every opportunity. Murphy created the opening goal on 20 minutes by stroking a pass though to Suttie who turned on the edge of the 18-yard box and unleashed a terrific shot into the far corner of the net. Balcatta came into the game as the half came to an end and Adrian Caloiera should have done much better than blaze high of the crossbar. With pretty much the last play of the half the visitors drew level through David Moschilla whose clinical shot from 16-metres was beyond the reach of Mark Cavanagh. The intensity went up a notch for the second period and Phoenix got the all important breakthrough on 71minutes when Suttie received a glorious pass from Quinn and clipping the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.
Gosnells City slipped back into the mix for relegation after being held to a 1-1 draw by Canning City. Played on a very wet and muddy pitch at Walter Padbury Reserve, Gosnells settled the better and went ahead after only 6 minutes when Brian Cairney clipped a diagonal cross over the visiting defence for Gary Jamieson to run through and drive a low shot past Alan Mattecucci. Ten minutes later the score was evened as Patrick Fitzgerald speared a long ball forward and Marc Sim did the rest by showing the defence a clean set of heels before firing low past Gosnells custodian Jason Mehnert. The poor condition of the playing surface were hardly conducive to free flowing football and the opposing camps were thankful the conditions didn’t further deteriorate as the afternoon wore on. Both teams worked tirelessly for the remainder of the game to find a second goal and, although there were chances for each to gain the upper hand, the two weary combatants had to settle for a point each.
Runaway First Division leader Fremantle Spirit cruised to a 3-0 win over Forrestfield United at Watson’s Reserve. Tyrone Fenwick, David Rodgers and Roberto Colalillo found the back of the net for the port side. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
TOMICH THE FANS’ CHOICE
Western Knights’ loyal servant Tommi Tomich has the safest hands in the top flight according to the local football community. Tomich finished top of the pile in last weeks’ footballwa.net poll that asked ‘Who do you consider the Premier League’s best goalkeeper?’ Tomich, who played national league football for Melbourne Knights, collected 24.8% of the vote to edge Sorrento custodian Neil Young (22.5%) out of first place. And not too far behind in third place was Stirling Lions’ Phil Straker (19.2%). Alan Dunlop (14.1%), Vas Vujacic (10.8%) and Gareth Deeg (10.6%), of Cockburn City, Floreat Athena and Perth S.C. respectively, completed the field.
NO GLORY AS MELBOURNE CLAIM VICTORY
Perth Glory were left lamenting a late lapse which was exploited by Danny Allsopp who gave Melbourne Victory a 1-0 win in evening’s pre-season Cup clash at Olympic Park. It was a disappointing end to the campaign for Glory who must now pick up the pieces ahead of next weekend’s opening round A-league clash with Queensland Roar. Coach Ron Smith was frustrated at conceding the late goal. “It was a sloppy one to concede after we’d been defending so well,” he said. “It was the only time all night that we were flat-footed and Allsopp got in there and scored from six yards.”
The first real chance of the evening came after 7 minutes when Steve Pantelidis benefited from confusion in the Glory defence but failed to trouble goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski. The better of opportunities were coming from the home side and a clever ship by Adrian Caceres set-up Brazilian striker Fred who softly knocked the ball to Vrteski. Glory’s main avenue into attack was through Leo Bertos on the right wing but, lacking support inside the box, few goalscoring opportunities were created. Alessandro should have put Victory ahead on 28 minutes after a brilliant exchange with Claudinho put him one-on-one with Vrteski, only for the Brazilian to hook the ball wide. Mimi Saric had Glory’s best chance of the first half but shot over the crossbar.
The second half started with another chance to the hosts as Alessandro crossed to Kristian Sarkies whose header was cleared off the line. Saric was put through with only the goalkeeper to beat by Stuart Young but failed to test Eugene Galekovic by shooting wide. Both teams were guilty of not making the most of their chances as Jamie Harnwell’s header was comfortably dealt with by Galekovic, and a fine cross from Caceres was met by Archie Thompson who nodded directly to Vrteski. The games only goal arrived in the 84th minute when Allsopp rose to meet a deep cross by Caceres which he nodded in at close-range. Glory was denied a late equaliser when Stan Lazaridis’ free-kick was spilled by Galekovic and Josip Magdic crashed the loose ball into the upright.
SMITH SAYS NO FAST FIX TO CLIMB THE LADDER (by Jonathon Cook)
Ron Smith had the words of best selling author Bryce Courtenay ringing in is ears when he made the decision to trade his place in the technical set-up with the Australian national team for the challenge of leading Perth Glory into the coming A-League season. Moving to Perth was certainly a change of track for the former head of the Australian Institute of Sport’s soccer program, and it might represent the most difficult role Smith has taken yet. But he is undaunted by the task of reviving a club that was once a model of success.
Smith has set his sights on a top-four place, but it will take more than the power of one to get the job done. “I remember listening to Bryce Courtenay, who came into the institute one day to give a talk to all the athletes and it had a bit of an impact on me,” said Smith. “He talked about his childhood and growing up. He was talking about the advice his father had given him. He used the phrase ‘if someone’s got to do it, let it be me’. My attitude has been affected by that.”
It was during the Socceroos’ eventful ride at the World Cup in Germany when Smith first thought about returning to club coaching with Glory. A discussion with Australia’s head of high performance, John Boultbee, at the Socceroos’ luxurious Freidrichsruhe hotel planted a seed that quickly sprouted. “The more we discussed the situation, the more interested I became in it,” said Smith, who drafted in former Socceroo David Mitchell as his assistant.
He has inherited a team that had been held together during a long period of uncertainty by caretaker coach Alan Vest, who had also been Glory assistant when the club won two National Soccer League titles. Vest, who had also put himself in the firing line in the wake of Steve McMahon’s sudden departure last year, received scant reward for his troubles. But Football Federation Australia, which had taken over the club in the absence of an interested buyer after founder Nick Tana pulled out, wanted a clean slate, a fresh face and a new direction for the club.
Enter Smith. Fans who have not yet burnt their Glory memorabilia in frustration at the slow crumbling of their club, may still have an appetite for success. But there will be no fast food fix according to Smith. “You can’t just dial up results like ordering a pizza,” the coach said. In Socceroo Stan Lazaridis, who got through former Australian coach Guus Hiddink’s gruelling program but did not make an appearance at the World Cup, Smith has a trump card. Of all the jobs Lazaridis could have taken after a decade in England, he opted for Perth - a tough gig given the scrutiny his performances will receive in his home town.
Smith’s task is to blend some experienced legs with a batch of youngsters that no longer includes last season’s best young player Nick Ward, who has joined London side Queens Park Rangers. It is also to get former Australian midfielder Simon Colosimo back in a groove that he occupied so confidently when Glory won their first NSL title back in 2003 after a disappointing campaign last season.
Defender David Tarka is another potential key to a smooth running outfit this season, after a series of hamstring problems. His return during the pre-season is a terrific sign for a player whose career at Nottingham Forest was soured by injury. Smith is also sweating on the club’s most prolific striker, Bobby Despotovski, gritting his teeth for one more season despite a back injury which has forced the number ten out of action for at least a month. Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic is another battling to be fit after hurting an ankle on the back of spending last season trying to ignore hip and back problems.
Fresh stocks have arrived in the shape of Kiwi trio Jeremy Christie, Adrian Webster and Leo Bertos who have all had experience in England’s lower leagues, while former Wollongong Wolves midfielder Mark Robertson played in Britain before returning to Australia. Closer to home, Australian youth international goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski has joined the club, while Ryan Townsend and Josip Magdic will aim to do more than play bit-part roles.
Eastern States recruit Mimi Saric and Luka Glavas lack experience at A-League level and without the reliability of a 100% Despotovski, Smith will turn to veteran Stuart Young up front. Young, who was overlooked for much of last season, has been given renewed hope under Smith who believes the former English professional can be a key figure. “I see Stuey in a similar kind of role to Mark Viduka (for Australia) in that a lot of things are going to come off him. He’s going to play a very important role in terms of bringing people into the game. And he’ll get the odd goal here and there.”
Despite the obvious difficulties associated with his late appointment and the turmoil which engulfed the club and spilled into the post-season period, Smoth expects Glory to challenge for a finals place. “I’m not afraid of playing anybody. I don’t think there’s any teams that’s awesome,” he said. “But I’ll have a better handle on what the players can do and maybe what might best suit the team in another two or three weeks. The lads have been fantastic. Their attitude is great and they’ve got a very good work ethic.”
Smith anticipates another tight race for the four finals spots and has predicted improvement from last season’s wooden spooners New Zealand Knights, who were never on the pace. “There’s a small number of clubs and the difference between third and seventh may only be a win and a draw over the season,” Smith said. “New Zealand will be a tougher prospect than last year. I think they’ve strengthened the squad with some experienced players. I don’t expect them to be adrift of teams like the club was last season.”
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento hold a commanding seven point lead over the rest of the Premier League field at the completion of Round Seventeen. The Gulls swept aside Bayswater City 4-1 with Todd Harnwell bagging a double and James Morgan and Brodie Martin also on the scoresheet. Floreat Athena moved back up to second on the table after a 1-0 home win over Swan I.C. The games' only goal arrived after 11 minutes and via Boima Karpeh who took his season tally to eleven. Western Knights overturned a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3 with visiting Cockburn City.
A masterful performance from Stirling Lions earned them a 3-1 win over Perth S.C. Ludovic Boi scored twice and David Dugdale once for the home side, while Perth's miserable day was compounded by the late dismissal of Peter Lord. A waterlogged pitch caused the match between E.C.U. Joondalup and Wanneroo City to be abandoned at half-time. The 1-1 draw between Armadale and Inglewood United earned each clubs a valuable point. Jason Goodwin gave the Reds the lead but that was cancelled out close to the final whistle by Aaron Colli.
First Division 'champion in waiting' Fremantle Spirit scored their fourteenth win of the winter by thumping Forrestfield United 3-0. Goals from David Rodgers, Tyrone Fenwick and Roberto Colalillo did the damage. Eleven points behind the port side are Ashfield who fended off a determined Dianella White Eagles 3-2. Morley Windmills moved up to fourth with a 2-1 hoe defeat of lowly Rockingham City. South West Phoenix pulled off a major surprise by toppling Balcatta 2-1 and give themselves renewed hope of avoiding the drop. Gosnells City have come back into the relegation mix after being held 1-1 at home by Canning City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The footballwa.net Match of the Week is the derby clash between ECU Joondalup and Wanneroo City at the Edith Cowan University ground. Encounters of these two teams are always close and with both fighting for their top flight survival this should be a thrilling tussle. Mark Lee and Scott Bushby will provide the ammunition for the hosts with Ian McMurray given the task of netting. Visiting goalkeeper Kevin Miller will need to be on high alert with Wanneroo's drive going forward coming from Morgan Dendle and Derek Cooke.
Armadale host Inglewood United in another relegation game at Alfred Skeet Oval, the home side hoping to continue their good form and condemn the visitors to an eighth successive loss. Bottom of the table Bayswater City must take points from their visit to Sorrento in order to keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding the drop. The match at Nash Field between Western Knights and Cockburn City promises to be an absolute cracker between two of the competitions form sides. Stirling Lions have a tough home clash with a Perth SC side still smarting from being eliminated from the Cup. The remaining game has Floreat Athena at home to Swan IC.
Fremantle Spirit appears to have the Fist Division title in the bag and victory at Watson's Reserve over Forrestfield United will take them one step closer to the top flight. Ashfield will be out to stay in touch with the league leader when they host Dianella White Eagles. The battle to avoid relegation intensifies and Gosnells City can pull away from the drop zone when they welcome neighbouring Canning City to Walter Padbury Reserve. Balcatta make the long journey south to meet bottom of the table South West Phoenix. Rockingham City travel to Wotton Reserve where Morley Windmills play host. Mandurah City has the bye.
PROGRAMME FAIR ON SUNDAY
Fans of the world game are in for a rare treat when the Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair (pdf, 65kb) returns to Dorrien Gardens this weekend. Bob Brown, who organised a similar event earlier this year, is looking forward to another successful gathering. "We had a lot of people attend the programme fair in March and I'm fairly confident we'll get a similar response this time around," said Brown. "Programmes, books and other publications as well as other football memorabilia will be available on the day."
The second Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair takes place this Sunday, 20th August, between 10.00am and 1.00pm at Dorrien Gardens (corner of Gallop and Lawley Streets, West Perth). A wide range of local, national and international football programmes, books and much more will be available for sale, while several highly desirable items will be sold by silent auction on the day. The $2.50 admission fee includes complimentary tea or coffee.
INGLEWOOD PLAYERS STAND UNITED
They say football is 'a funny old game', and one of the surprises of 2006 has been the under achievement of Inglewood United. The club had a stellar 2005 - winning the pre-season Night Series, Cup finalists and fourth in the League. On paper they possess possibly the best squad in the competition and big things were expected this year, but instead Inglewood are fighting for their top flight survival. In an effort to turn around their fortunes the club recently parted company with their senior coaching staff and installed former Perth Glory boss Alan Vest.
The player group, although surprised by the coaching change, believe it was made in the best interests of the club. "The boys turned up for training on Tuesday and we knew something had happened as Eddie (Hodgkinson) and Jerry (Wardle) weren't there, and Alan Vest was around," explained defender Danny Kovacevic. "It was a bit of a shock but we could see it coming. We as players should take a lot of the blame for our disappointing season. The coach can only do so much, the players go out on the pitch under instructions, and if we don't carry them out that's our problem."
"The talent we have in the squad we should have taken a few steps forward this season but we've taken a few steps backwards," continued Kovacevic, who'se been a mainstay of the Inglewood defence since joining the club four seasons ago from Perth S.C. "Once you get in a form slump you have to work hard to get out of it, unfortunately, we haven't turned it around. They say in this game you make your own luck, we have had some decisions go against but you seem to get that when you are at the bottom of the table."
Inglewood travel to Alfred Skeet Oval tomorrow where they meet Armadale in a true 'six pointer' for the club. Kovacevic, while confident his team can get back to winning ways, knows this will be a difficult game. "Armadale have hit top form of late and pose as difficult opposition," he said. "It's always hard to get any points away to Armadale and this week will be no different. Scoring has been an issue for us all season and with Nick Stone in the cage for Armadale it will be a tough test. We have been training pretty hard the passed couple weeks and the mood around the club has been on the up."
POINTS STRIPPED FROM JOONDALUP
E.C.U. Joondalup have been deducted three Premiership points for fielding an ineligible player. The international clearance of former Bolton Wanderers youth team player Jamie Gibb had not been completed when the attacker turned out, and scored in, the away defeat of Floreat Athena last month. In accordance with the 'Rules of Competition', Football West have removed the three competition points from Joondalup's season tally and awarded them to Floreat.
DESPOTOVSKI FACES MONTH ON SIDELINES
Perth Glory will commence the new A-league season without the services of star striker Bobby Despotovski after he was ruled out of action for a month. Despotovski, who's lead the Glory strike force since their national league debut in October 1996, has been put on the injury list and will miss at least the club's first three games of the season after failing to overcome a back injury. Despotovski will have an epidural on Friday and will not be allowed to run for two weeks. "Hopefully my back will pull up all right because I'm not going through a season with that pain," said the striker.
The loss of Despotovski is a major blow for Glory who kick-off the coming campaign lacking experience and depth in the goal scoring department. Veteran Stuart Young has featured prominently in the past month by scoring two of the club's three pre-season and is expected to lead the attack. The club is prepared to rely on untested youngsters Luka Glavas and Mimi Saric, signed recently from and Sydney United and Adelaide Raiders respectively. Defender Tyler Simpson, formerly of Queensland Roar, has been added to the squad on a four week deal as cover for Despotovski.
FOOTBALL RETURNS TO RADIO FREMANTLE
Radio Fremantle's World Football Program returns to the airwaves with a new look as of Saturday 19th August. Long-time presenter Martyn Wells has stepped down to be replaced by Penny TannerHoath as the show's coordinator. TannerHoath will lead a new team that includes Tony Carvajal, Paul Iddiols, Andrew Arena, Zane Abrahams and Ann Odong.
The World Football Program team contains extensive knowledge and experience on all things football. Amongst their interests are junior, local and European football with Carvajal, Abrahams brings an African flavour to the table, views on the English game are provided by Iddiols, and the women's scene is covered by Arena and Odong - with TannerHoath trying to keep all that in a one hour time slot!
Join the team sharing football news, views and interviews from around the globe for an hour every Saturday. Tune in to 107.9fm from 10.00am on Saturday 19th August for your weekly fix. Watch out for upcoming interviews, or follow us via live streaming on the web on www.radiofremantle.com (program will be available for one week after broadcast).
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
With six regular season games remaining the race for the Golden Boot awards are still wide open. Western Knights sharp-shooter Stuart Montgomery leads the way in the Premier League, but his advantage over the rest of the field has been considerably trimmed as rival players stake their claim to the much sought after award. It's a similar story in the First Division where Fremantle Spirit's Steve Rodgers tops the leaderboard and yet remains well within striking distance for a number of players.
Although he missed a handful of games through injury, Stuart Montgomery leads the way on 12 goals. However, it's been a nervous few weeks for Montgomery who's watched from the sidelines as Branimir Mikulic, Boima Karpeh (Floreat Athena), Todd Harnwell (Sorrento), David Dugdale (Stirling Lions) and teammate Paul Devlin have each taken their season tally to 10 goals. Sorrento's Jared Love is just a single strike behind that group, and followed by Phil O'Callaghan (Wanneroo City), Barry Wood (Perth S.C.), Louis Parkinson (Inglewood United), Ryan Jeans (Stirling), Simon Harland (Sorrento) and 2004 Golden Boot winner David Foster (Swan I.C.) who have 8 goals apiece.
Averaging a goal a game for First Division leader Fremantle is Rodgers whose tally currently stands at 17 goals. Morley Windmills sharp-shooter Ray Rose has 14 goals, two more than Christian Pasherwitz (Mandurah City) and Rydeen Botha (Dianella White Eagles). In fifth place is another Fremantle player, exciting teenager Callum Roberts, who has 10 goals. Andy O'Neill of Ashfield has 7 goals and is one ahead of Balcatta pair John Nicolaou and David Moschilla. Level with 5 goals apiece are Adrian Caloeria (Balcatta), Martin Kelly, Luke O'Neill (Ashfield), Brian Cairney (Gosnells City), Michael Bobridge (Mandurah) and Tyrone Fenwick (Fremantle).
THE WORLD GAME SKILLS CLUB (courtesy Football West)
Football West's new youth development officer Mark Lee is launching a Saturday morning coaching skills club based around small sided games. Each week will have a theme from across the world game and give children an opportunity to experience how the beautiful game is played by Brazilians, French, Dutch and other leading nations.
If you're interested in learning how the likes of Ronaldinho, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry and company learned there skills on the streets and in the parks then register today by emailing Mark Lee (email@example.com) with your name, address and contact details. Fifty places are available for the skills club which starts on the morning of 2nd September at Gibbney Reserve for players aged between six and ten.
SOCCEROOS QUALIFY FOR ASIAN CUP
Australia have secured its place in the Asian Cup finals next year after recording a 2-0 win over Kuwait at Aussie Stadium in Sydney this evening. Late strike by Travis Dodd and Sasho Petrovski took Australia five points clear of both Kuwait and Bahrain on the Group D table. It may not have been the most convincing performance, but Australia always looked the most likely to score and their patience was rewarded with goals in the 76th and 87th minute. An Australian team consisting entirely of A-League players showed grit and patience against a well-organised Kuwait team that tried to shut the game down and play on the break.
The opening exchanges were as expected with neither side prepared to risk too much. Australia's first effort on goal, a piledriver from David Carney on 27 minutes, lifted the side and Archie Thompson twice went close from close-range. Australia took charge and Steve Corica's thumping shot was pushed away by the goalkeeper. Kuwait looked dangerous early it the second half with Al Mutiari shooting across the face of goal. The Socceroo broke through on 76 minutes when Carney brilliantly to cut back the ball from the by-line to the on-rushing Dodd who slammed it in from 10-metres. Petrovski made the game safe with three minutes remaining when he slotted in from close-range after the 'keeper parried a fine shot on the run by Dodd.
WARD ACHIEVES AN EARLY GOAL
Nick Ward got the goal he craved as his career in England reached another milestone on Saturday. Just a week after making his English Championship debut for Queens Park Rangers, the talented midfielder scored his first goal in the club's 2-0 home win over Southend United. After Martin Rowlands gave Rangers the lead on 31 minutes, Ward got the final touch on an attacking move ten minutes later to increase the margin. Ward has now played every minute of Rangers opening three games of the English season.
A strong start of the season has only solidified Ward's belief that moving to England - against the advice of Football Federation Australia - was the right decision. "This is a challenge and I am relishing it," said the 21-year old. "I have settled in quite well. I have been here four weeks and am in my new flat now and have got a car so everything is going well. My parents are both from England and emigrated to Australia so we were the only ones there and the rest of the family is here. I am not here on my own so things are not too bad."
"I think I've made the right decision and the games I've played in already have been a good experience and enlightened me to a different style of play," Ward continued. "It is a different style of play over here to what I am used to. In Australia, teams are more patient and there are not as many long balls. That is something that will take a few games to get used to because I am a player who likes it a little more on the ground. It is a bit more physical too and I have noticed you can get away with a bit more over here, but they are all little things and I don't see them as a problem."
Although still rankled by his omission from Australia's World Cup train-on squad, Ward is determined to force his way back into Socceroos reckoning by setting ablaze the English Championship. "If you look at the Australian squad who were at the World Cup, everyone is playing in Europe," he explained. "I was part of the training squad for that this summer but just missed out and that was one of the reasons for moving (to England) - I don't want to miss out again. I was told it was down to match fitness, the A-League in Australia is only twenty-one games and I wasn't playing games when the selection was made."
But before he earns an international call-up, Ward knows he has to produce the goods week in week out at club level. Having made a flying start to his English career, the former Perth Glory player feels confident he can make leave an indelible impression at Rangers in his debut season. "As an attacking midfielder I want to score goals. With the amount of games in the season if I stay injury free and can play regularly then I will be looking to score about ten goals a season. Those are my personal goals and as for the team, well we have to aim for the play-offs."
YOUNG SOCCEROOS SUCCESSFUL IN SOUTH AMERICA
The Young Socceroos are on their way home having successfully completed a five game tour of South America. Coach Ange Postecoglou was happy with the trip in which the national under-20 side hled both Argentina and Chile. "It was a good tour, we have drawn all three international matches and were in a position to win all three," said Postecoglou. "From a development point of view, the whole experience is a step forward in our preparations for the AFC Championships." Western Australia was represented on tour by goalkeeper Aleksander Vrteski.
The Young Socceroos trip opened with a 1-2 loss to Chilean club Colo Colo in Santiago. The Australians, who only arrived 24 hours prior to the match, led 1-0 at half time through a goal from Bruce Djite after 35 minutes. Colo Colo equalised ten minutes after the interval before bagging the winner against a tiring opponent eight minutes from the final whistle. Vrteski was an unused substitute.
A couple of days later the national under-20 side secured a 1-0 win over Chilean club Universidad de Chile. Once again it was Djite who found the target for the Young Socceroos, his strike on 36 minutes being all that separated the two sides although Australia finished the match in the ascendancy but were unable to secure a second goal. Vrteski played a full game between the posts.
The Young Socceroos held reigning World Youth Cup holder Argentina to a scoreless draw in the first international match of the trip. Played in Buenos Aires, both teams had opportunities to break the deadlock with Australia defending brilliantly in the second half against a typically strong host nation. Goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak kept Australia in the game with a succession of glorious second half saves. Vrteski was an unused substitute.
Striker Bruce Djite scored his third goal in four outings to help Australia to a 1-1 draw with Chile Saturday's friendly in Santiago. The home side opened the scoring twelve minutes into the second half through Felipe Valderrama. The Young Socceroos drew level in the 71st minute when Djite headed in a free-kick from Cameron Watson, who was controversially dismissed late in the game for a high challenge. Vrteski was an unused substitute.
The tour came to a close on Monday when, despite having two players sent off, Australia drew 2-2 with Chile. Australia went ahead on 25 minutes when Oliver Bozanic netted, and attempt to clear by the Chile goalkeeper struck Bozanic and rebounded into the net for the second goal. A minute from half-time Brad Porter was sent off for a second yellow card offence. Midway through the half Chile pulled a goal back against the run of play. With three minutes remaining Matt Spiranovic was red carded, and from the resulting free-kick the teams were brought level. Vrteski played a full game.
SMITH WILLING TO NURSE DESPOTOVSKI
Ron Smith is prepared to give Bobby Despotovski all the time he needs to overcome a back injury that threatens to end his playing career. Smith, appointed Glory coach just three weeks ago, said he would discuss with Despotovski his injury concerns. "It's not fair on him to expect him to be training and playing in games when he's not match fit," Smith said of the 35-year old striker. Despotovski, the sole surviving member of Glory's inaugural squad, had a back operation during the pre-season but was forced to have pain-relieving back injections last week and has contemplated early retirement.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVENTEEN
Subiaco United held women's Premier League leader Balcatta to an entertaining scoreless draw at Rosalie Park this afternoon. Balcatta were looking to increase their stranglehold over first place, but the home side put paid to that with a fine performance and which stretched their own unbeaten run to five games. S.Lynch was unfortunate not to give Subiaco an early lead when her curling shot from distance struck the frame of the goal. Balcatta really didn't get into gear until late in the half and twice in quick succession L.Webster wasted good opportunities to put the hosts in front. Going the other way, L.Kirton was disappointed to shoot tamely at C.Coghlan when well placed.
The second half was only minutes old when V.Sakalidis timely tackle robbed E.D'Ovidio of possession as she lined up the target. Not long after D'Ovidio found herself in a similar situation but this time her shot was wide. After weathering the onslaught, Subiaco worked their way back into the game as Lynch rattled the crossbar, and ten minutes later Sakalidis superb chip drifted just high of the crossbar. The remainder of the game swung from end to end as both teams tried to snatch the go-ahead, and possibly winning goal. A final minute corner to Subiaco almost produced the goods but a goal line clearance ensured the points were shared.
ASSOCIATION CUP, SEMI-FINALS (Cockburn City vs Stirling Lions by Jack Waner; Perth S.C. vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
Stirling Lions snatched a dramatic late winner to topple Cockburn City 3-2 and book their spot in the final of the 2006 association Cup final. A large crowd turned up to Macedonia Park for what promised to be a mouth watering occasion, but instead they were witness to a largely uneventful first half in which the two combatants erred on the side of caution. It took until the 18th minute for the first shot at goal through Riste Stefoski whose attempted chip of goalkeeper Darren Williams went well wide. Cockburn were forced to make an early change when injury got the better of veteran defender Dusan Macura and a re-shuffle saw Josh Kamaz come into the mix. Phil Straker was the first of the 'keepers to be called into action when he made a routine save from Simon El Chami on the half hour following a beautiful through ball from Michael Mirco. Both sides were finding it difficult to make in-roads against a couple of well-organised defences, and with the interval approaching it was Stirling who were shading their opponent. However, two minutes into stoppage time slack defending permitted Domenic De Felice to gather possession and slot the ball past a diving Straker to give Cockburn a fortunate lead.
Stirling made a positive start to the second period and would have been back on level terms had an unmarked Jordan Rhodes not placed high of the crossbar. The hosts focus on attack was rewarded in the 76th minute when Stefoski's free-kick from 25-metres evaded all in a crowded penalty area and found its way into the top corner. The match was turned on its head two minutes later when referee Michael Nugus, after lengthy consultation with his assistant on the line, showed Paul Oliver a red card for elbowing Rob Miller off the ball and inside the 18-yard box. Play was held up for seven minutes while Cockburn argued the decision and once calm was restored Rhodes put Stirling in front from the penalty spot. With nothing left to lose, Cockburn looked very dangerous as they continually broke on the counter attack with Anthony Perriera, Kamasz and De Felice providing the drive. Cockburn put themselves back in the game in the 82nd minute as De Felice's glancing header from a Kamasz cross found the net despite Straker getting his fingers on the ball. Four minutes into stoppage time when Rhodes' in-swinging corner was helped on by Kevin Henderson to Ryan Jeans who nodded in the deciding goal and signalled the start of wild celebrations from Stirling's supporters.
A superb all-round performance by Swan I.C. saw them get the better of traditional rival Perth S.C. by 3-2 in an entertaining semi-final clash at Dorrien Gardens. It was a bright opening by the home side who should have taken the lead inside a minute as Matt Danskin sent Barry Wood clear but he pulled the ball well wide of the target. An error by Jeff Bright lead to Swan's first chance of the afternoon with Damien Catalano threading a pass to David Foster but his shot was poorly directed. Swan had by this stage found their rhythm and a Miki Vujacic corner was flicked on by Tom Shepheard to Brendan Knox who blazed over at close-range. Danskin was causing problems down the right for the visiting defence and on the quarter hour rifled narrowly the wrong side of the post after a penetrating run. Perth kept pressing for the opening goal and Wood latched on to a Danskin through ball which he lobbed over advancing goalkeeper only to have it drift past the upright. The best chance to break the deadlock came the way of Shepheard who was found unmarked at the back post by Vujacic but he headed high from a few metres.
Perth made a flying start to the second half with Oliver Hilton thwarted by a quick thinking Jonathon Mathers, and Corey Hugo pulled off a stunning one-handed save to deny David Onoforo. The breakthrough came after 59 minutes when Vujacic curled a free-kick from 20-metres high into the top corner of Gianni Papalia's net, much to the delight of the Swan faithful. Swan doubled their advantage four minutes later when, after gaining three consecutive corners, Knox skipped past three opponents before pulling the ball back to Foster who netted from close-range. The home side hit back immediately with Peter Lord's cross deflecting into the net off an unfortunate Rob Monterosso. Hilton found the net but hd it disallowed due to offside as Perth sought to equalise. But in the 63rd minute Swan restored their two-goal buffer through great work by Foster whose cross from the left deflected off defender Trent Kay to find the net. Perth refused to concede and were handed an 86th minute lifeline when Wood's clinical finish brought the difference back to a single goal. In a frantic final few minutes appeals for a Blues penalty were dismissed by referee Steve Muldoon as Swan held on to qualify for their third Cup final in four years.
ASSOCIATION CUP, SEMI-FINALS : RESERVES AND YOUTH (Perth S.C. vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Ashfield vs Inglewood United courtesy Inglewood United; Cockburn City vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Swan I.C. qualified for the Reserve Cup final with a convincing 3-1 defeat of Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. The game was effectively over by the break by which time Swan held a three-goal advantage. Swan went ahead early through John Monterosso who pounced on a loose ball inside the box and lashed his shot past the goalkeeper. Their second arrived shortly after when John Mansaray beat the last defender and with only the 'keeper to beat unselfishly cut the ball back for Marco Taglieretti to side-foot in. The goal of the game came just before the break as a fine move involving Michael Tronchin, Monterosso and Taglieretti ended with a cross from the later being headed in by Mansaray. Perth came into the game in the second half and a pass from hard-working midfielder Andy Pomfret allowed Dean Turner to score a deserved consolation goal with ten minutes remaining.
Inglewood United booked a Cup final date with a commanding 2-0 triumph over Ashfield at Macedonia Park. The opening half belonged to Inglewood who would have put the result beyond doubt if not for poor finishing. A great move down the left produced the only goal of the half as Shaun Kilkelly's chipped pass allowed Steve Worthy to race past the defence and thunder the ball past the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. Inglewood suffered a set back early in the second half with the red carding of Maladin Kovacevic for retaliation. This swung the momentum in Ashfield's favour but wastefulness in front of goal prevented them from drawing level. Victory was secured with ten minutes to go when Alex Stamatiadis brilliant through ball found substitute Ryan Frisina who showed his value by rounding the 'keeper before tucking in Inglewood's second goal.
Stirling Lions out-scored Cockburn City 3-2 to go through to the decider of the Under-18's Cup. The game opened at breakneck speed and with 6 minutes gone Stirling went ahead as a through ball from Dannie Richman found Ricky Filicamo who slotted past the advancing goalkeeper. Within ten minutes the score was levelled courtesy of Aaron Dos Santos who cut in from the left flank, beat his marker and rifled off a hard, low that beat Tristan Scott. Cockburn piled on the pressure and gained the lead on 28 minutes through a fine effort from Matthew Grigo. The day got worse for Stirling when defender D.Divjakoski was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Stirling regrouped and just before half-time scored an equaliser with a long range chip by John Walmsley. For much of the second half Stirling played on the counterattack and such a move gained a penalty for a foul on Richman, and from the spot Chris Rutherford tucked away the deciding goal.
Armadale, who played two-thirds of the game with ten men, defeated Balcatta 2-1 in the semi-final played at Dorrien Gardens. The game was 28 minutes old when Armadale went down a man with the dismissal of attacker Kodi Madeley. But the Reds adjusted quickly and just five minutes later Jamie De Abreu put away the games opening goal. Balcatta worked hard to get back on level terms and just before the break were rewarded with J.Coletta finding the net. The deciding goal arrived six minutes into the net half with Sean Doyle sending the ball into the back of the net. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
YOUNG SINKS LUCKLESS KNIGHTS
Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Perth Glory stole a late 1-0 victory over New Zealand Knights' in the pre-season Cup encounter at North Harbour Stadium this evening. With extra-time looming, veteran striker Stuart Young swept the ball past goalkeeper Ivan Necevski to send the visitors into next week's play-off for fifth and sixth with Melbourne Victory
The better of first half chances came the way of the Knights who were plagued by poor finishing. Dani Rodrigues had an early chance but was unable to get an effective touch, while Noah Hickey and Jonti Richter also went close inside the opening quarter hour. Without any quality possession Glory soaked up the pressure and counter-attacked whenever possible, and it nearly resulted in the early lead when Josip Magdic's speculative shot deflected off an opponent and forced Necevski into a smart save. A desperate tackle by Jamie Harnwell thwarted Rodrigues who was on the receiving end of a Malik Buari cross.
The same pattern continued into the second half and the luckless Rodrigues was again denied by Harnwell's timely intervention. Substitute Neil Emblen almost made an immediate impact when he found the ball at his feet following a corner only to drag his shot wide. Time and time again Glory snuffed out the majority of the Knights attacking threats with little difficulty and Andy Petterson was rarely called into action. Richard Johnson shaved the outside of the post in the 74th minute with a terrific strike from 20-metres. After this the game opened up and with three minutes left Young bent his effort around the Necevski to earn the away team a fortunate win.
NEW BID FOR GLORY OWNERSHIP
Perth Glory could have cashed-up new owners sooner than expected after Football Federation Australia yesterday revealed fresh interest in the A-League club. FFA head of operations Matt Carroll is in the early stages of negotiating with a potential new owner - believed to be a Perth businessman - and said a deal could be struck this season. FFA took control of the club in April when founder Nick Tana ended a decade at the helm and a new owner could not be found. But Carroll said the signing of Socceroo Stan Lazaridis and the finalisation of the coaching and management position had helped stabilise the club.
The prospective owners have asked for documentation and details on A-league licensing along with other aspects of Glory's operations but there is no firm offer as yet. Though local group Centrefield Investments, which had expressed interest in taking over the club, and Football West are presented on the Glory steering committee, the potential new owner is believed to be interested in taking complete control of the club. Carroll said he was yet to discuss details with the new party.
While the issue of Glory's ownership could be resolved quickly, FFA are not about to rush through the process. "If they are to be on board for the coming season, then it has to happen fairly quickly," commented Carroll. "But it doesn't concern us because everything is prepared ad up and running for the season. If they do want to proceed, it's the same as we did for the others. They have to provide us with how they want to run the club so we can assess their ability, their intent and their fit."
MCCALLUM IN WORLD CUP SQUAD
Local product Collette McCallum has been named in the Australian squad for this months FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship in Russia. Sally Shipard, one of seven players with senior national team experience in the squad, has been named team captain with McCallum and Kylie Ledbrook her deputies. Australia play the opening game of the tournament against New Zealand on 17th August, three days later they meet Brazil and their final group fixture is against Russia on 23rd August.
The Young Matildas squad for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship is Leah Blayney (Blue Mountains), Kim Carroll, Sasha McDonnell, Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Amy Chapman, Grace Gill, Sally Shipard, Nicole Somi, Lydia Williams (Canberra), Jenna Tristram (Coffs Harbour), Kate Stewart (Hervey Bay), Amy Jackson (Melbourne), Alison Logue (Newcastle), Collette McCallum (Perth), Danielle Brogan, Renee Cartwright, Caitlin Cooper, Olivia Kennedy, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook and Servet Uzunlar (Sydney).
FORMER SOCCEROO JOINS GLORY STAFF
Perth Glory have appointed former Socceroo Dave Mitchell as assistant coach to Ron Smith. "I'm really pleased that Dave has accepted the position at Perth Glory. He'll make an outstanding contribution here," commented Smith. "Dave has had a great career in football and brings with him a wealth of experience at a club level. He was a top player for Australia and played in four World Cups, which is a remarkable achievement. He was a pioneer for Australia playing in Europe and was extremely passionate about representing his country. That says a lot about him as a person, as a player and for his role in coaching."
Born in Glasgow, Mitchell began his playing career at Adelaide City in 1981 and that same year made the first of his 44 appearances for the Socceroos for whom he scored on 13 occasions. He was one of the first Australians to ply their trade overseas with spells at Glasgow Rangers, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Millwall, Swindon Town, Eintracht Frankfurt, Feyenoord, Altay Izmir, Seiko and Selangor. Mitchell returned to Australia as player/coach for Sydney Olympic and Sydney United, and also coached Parramatta Power in the old national competition.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Stirling Lions will meet Swan I.C. in the final of the 2006 association Cup after successfully negotiating their way through today's round of four. Stirling booked their place in the decider with a controversial 3-2 defeat of Cockburn City. Domenic De Felice gave Cockburn the lead in the first half only for Riste Stefoski to restore parity shortly after the break. The turning point was the dismissal of Paul Oliver for lashing out at Rob Miller inside the box, and from the spot Jordan Rhodes put Stirling in front. De Felice did bring the teams level, but deep in stoppage time Ryan Jeans put away the deciding goal.
Swan will make their third Cup final appearance in four years after downing arch-rival Perth S.C. 3-2. A Miki Vujacic free-kick gave Swan the lead early in the second half, and shortly after the margin was doubled by David Foster. Perth went straight into attack through Peter Lord whose cross was deflected past goalkeeper Cory Hugo by a defender. Foster restored Swan's two goal-buffer when his shot struck a defender and crashed into the net. Barry Wood brought the gap back to a single goal but it was too little too late for Perth.
Inglewood United and Swan will contest the Reserves Cup final. Swan defeated Perth 3-1 in their semi-final, while Inglewood triumphed 2-0 over Ashfield. The Under-18's Cup final will be played out between Armadale and Stirling. Although reduced to ten men, Armadale were simply too strong for Balcatta and ran out winners by 2-1. Stirling eliminated Cockburn 3-2 in the other semi-final. Further details of these games will be included in this week's website update should they be provided by the participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The hustle and bustle of the League campaign takes a back seat this weekend as the semi-finals of the Football West Association Cup takes centre stage, and both games deservedly installed as our footballwa.net Match of the Week. The first of two intriguing ties is at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions meet Cockburn City. It will be a case of deja vu for both team who met only seven days earlier in the League with the Cockerels coming out 3-2 winners. The Lions will have the home ground advantage this time but Cockburn are undefeated on their travels and will be confident of progressing.
The other semi-final is the traditional derby with Perth SC taking on Swan IC at Dorrien Gardens in a replay of the 2003 Cup final. The side from the Swan Valley have the wood over their rivals this season, winning both League encounters 2-1, and head into Saturday afternoon brimming with confidence. The loss of Aaron Cole through suspension will be significant for the Blues, but you can never count out Graham Normanton's side who'll be gunning for a fourth successive Cup final appearance.
There's plenty more Cup action tomorrow with round of four meetings in the Under-18 and Under-23 competitions. The action at Macedonia Park starts with the Under-18 meeting of Cockburn and Stirling Lions, followed by Inglewood against First Division underdog Ashfield in the Under-23's. At Dorrien Gardens, the Uner-18 meeting of Armadale and Balcatta opens proceedings with Perth and Swan going head-to-head in the Under-23's. Note that kick off times are 11.00am (Under 18's), 12.45pm (Under-23's) and 3.00pm (seniors). Admission is $6.00 adults and $4.00 concessions, with under-15's admitted free.
LAZARIDIS POSTPONES FINAL FLING
Perth Glory's Stan Lazaridis has been forced to pull out of Australia's Asian Cup qualifier with Kuwait next week due to illness. The long-time Socceroo had planned to retire from the international arena following the game but after speaking with coach Graham Arnold has decided to postpone his swan song after being flattened by flu. "I still want to finish off with a game," Lazaridis said of his intention to wear the green and gold one last time.
HESKETH TO LEAD SCHOOLBOYS
The privilege of captaining the State team into next weeks Schools National Champions could not be greater for defender Steven Hesketh. "It's a great honour to be selected to play for Western Australia and to captain the team is a massive privilege," commented Hesketh, who'll have goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo as his deputy. "I'm fortunate to attend the soccer program at John Curtin (Senior Hugh School) and play for a top club, Stirling Lions, who have great coaches who are improving my game all the time. My focus is on doing the job at Stirling, so to gain State selection is a bonus."
WA have come home with silver from each of the past two championships and Hesketh admits there is a degree of pressure on this years crop of youngsters to match or better those achievements. "The fact the previous two Schoolboy squads have won silver does set high standards for all of us," he said. "I think this squad can do just as well. We just have to take it one game at a time and stick to our plan. I believe it's all about timing and for us to do well we have to peak as a team next week."
"I think the strength of the 2006 squad will be our depth and a strong team ethic," Hesketh added. "We're a new side this year, only Wes Rider and myself remain from last year, and we've got some very skilful players and a good overall balanced throughout the side. We also have a new coach in Fadi Ma'ayah who is a very knowledgable about the game and is focusing strongly on our understanding of the playing systems that we'll use during the tournament. Our team manager, David Holmes is also an experienced coach in other sports and no stranger to national championships."
The Schoolboys have played a number of friendlies ahead of the upcoming tournament. Their preparation began with a 1-0 win over Floreat Athena reserves, while mostly recently they've twice gone down to a strong National Training Centre squad. This mixed bag of results isn't of concern for Hesketh. "We've improved with each game and the lads all get along very well," he said. "Last year we won only two friendlies and we took out the silver medal, we had a great coaching team and a great group of players and I think we have a similar mix this year."
INJURY COULD FORCE DESPOTOVSKI INTO RETIREMENT
Bobby Despotovski fears his Perth Glory career could be over before the end of the A-League season because of his continual struggle to overcome a back injury. A pre-season operation was supposed to have eased the pain for the inaugural A-League Player of the Year, but Despotovski was forced to have two injections this week and has been omitted from the squad for tomorrow's pre-season Cup clash with New Zealand Knights. "I had the operation and it felt good but it's the long flights that kill me," said Despotovski.
The 35-year old striker admits the injury may lead him into an early retirement. "It's a possibility. If I reach that point . . . I'm going to have to say I can't do this anymore because my health is more important than Glory." Despotovski, who has three children and runs a soccer store, said he would not press on if he felt it would reduce his quality of life after soccer. "I will give it a good rest and then get back into training. Then if it's not good, I'll have to decide something," he said. "I've got three kids and I'd like to play soccer with them as they grow up."
Coach Ron Smith has revealed his concerns about the condition of his squad less than three weeks before the start of the second A-League season. Simon Colosimo will make the trip to New Zealand after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. But not flying east are star duo Despotovski (back) and Stan Lazaridis (flu), Jamie Coyne (abdomen), Jason Petkovic (ankle), Adrian Webster (hamstring) and Mark Robertson (groin) while Young Socceroos defender Ryan Townsend limped out of training yesterday with a back problem. Aleksander Vrteski is also absent due to international commitments with the Australian Under-20 side.
SARIC DELIGHTED WITH GLORY CONTRACT
Perth Glory have given Mimi Saric and opportunity to revive his career by agreeing terms on a one-year deal with the highly rated 22-year old. Coach Ron Smith was impressed with Saric's performances for South Australian Super League club Raiders during the past few weeks to the extent he felt the striker could do the job for Glory. "I'm really grateful to get the opportunity of playing A-League," Saric said. "The hype that the World Cup has created and the direction that the game is going at the moment I think signals great times for football in this country."
Joining Glory won't be Saric's first run in the national league. He made a handful of appearances for Adelaide City and Adelaide United before spending a season with Croatian club HNK Cibala. Considered one of the most under-rated guns in the country, Saric says it's now time to consolidate his position in at national league level. "I guess I got the contract after the hard work that I've put in since I left Adelaide United," he said. "I'm going to Perth to get a starting spot and not just to make up the numbers." Saric is one of several Glory players with links to Adelaide including Stan Lazaridis, goalkeeper Jason Petkovic and Ante Kovacevic. 8.8.2006
STAR DUO AT HOME WITH ARMADALE
Nick Stone and Daryl Platten are pleased as punch to call Alfred Skeet Oval home. The pair joined Armadale for their Premier League debut last season and through a strong work ethic have become not only regulars in the starting eleven but also favourites with the Reds loyal supporters. 20-year old Platten says he has no regrets of his decision to leave E.C.U. Joondalup for Armadale. “I love it down here, the lads are fantastic and that’s what has kept me at the club,” he said. “The coaching staff are all great and the club as a whole treats you really well.”
Armadale have moved away from the foot of the table over the past month with three wins and two draws, results goalkeeper Stone says were a long time coming in the post. “We were going to come good eventually, it was just a case of when,” commented the 27-year old. “We’re worked really hard on the training ground, we knew we had a good squad and now we’re reaping the rewards.” Stone has had a stellar season in anchoring the Reds defence. “I’ve had a hard spell on the work scene but I’m enjoying my football and still working hard.”
Platten, a State youth representative, said the recent addition of Scotland born striker Alex Williams was the vital missing ingredient in coach Peter Murphy’s mix. “Alex has been a great inclusion for our side he has been converting our chances and that takes a little pressure off the defence,” Platten said. “He’s fitted in really well and long may it last.” Stone echoed his teammates’ comments in adding “Alex does a lot of work off the ball which some people don’t see. We have been playing well all season but haven’t converted our chances, but now we are and a big part of that is down to Alex.”
FOOTBALL WEST CLAMP DOWN ON UNRULY BEHAVIOUR
Football West hand out stern disciplinary penalties Rightly or wrongly, Football West has been on the receiving end of a bit of criticism since coming into being two years ago. With the organisation doing their best to steer the local game into a new era, Football West have made a strong stand against unruly behaviour in the aftermath of the Round Fifteen clash between Bayswater City and Perth S.C. The match was abandoned on 84 minutes by referee Paul Anderson who felt his and his assistants’ safety was under threat as a tense game boiled over.
Football West’s P&D committee sat on Monday evening to hear cases against Bayswater goalkeeper Bobson Koroma and coach Peter Drca for their role in the game’s abandonment. The harshest penalty was issued to Koroma who was found guilty of ‘technical assault’ was suspended for sixteen playing dates. The former Seirra Leone international received an additional thirteen game suspension "for causing the game to be abandoned" and was fined $300. The match penalties will be served concurrently during Football West organised competition.
A suspended sixteen game ban and $500 fine was handed down against Drca, who is eligible to continue coaching at Bayswater. Drca’s suspension, which would mean he is not allowed to coach at any level, will only come into effect should he be found guilty of any similar offence. The P&D committee also required the Bayswater club “hold a lecture for all State League players and officials outlining acceptable behaviour both on and off the field.” This lecture is to be conducted during September.
SMITH SEES POSITIVES IN PERFORMANCE
Perth Glory coach Ron Smith is confident his charges will take some valuable lessons from their disappointing loss to Sydney FC on the weekend. Although Glory were outplayed and outscored by Sydney, Smith saw some encouraging signs from his players. "There were quite a few positives to come out of that game and I'll be interested to have a look at the video," he said. "The lads showed a lot of character in the way they worked for each other. We'll be a lot wiser should that happen again to us and that's part of the learning process you have to go through."
Smith took nothing away from the brilliant performance from Sydney, and admitted his side was outclassed on the night. "Sydney played very well. If they played like that every week, they'll beat most teams in the league, I'll make that prediction now," he said. Glory will now focus their attention on getting their plans in order for the opening round of the A-League season. "We've got to get on with the job of trying to develop the understanding so that we know how to cope with the problems set by teams and then develop some ourselves after that," he said.
GLAVAS DELIGHTED WITH GLORY DEAL (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Sydney United's grand final hero Luka Glavas has more to celebrate in 2006 after being snapped up by Perth Glory. Glavas, who scored all four goals in United's demolition of Blacktown in the new South Wales Premier League Grand Final, has impressed coach Ron Smith during trials and has agreed to join Glory for the coming season. "It's all a bit of a blur," said Glavas. "So much has happened in the last several weeks. I need to thank my parents and everybody at Sydney United who helped me get this far."
Glavas is well aware things will be a little tighter in the national league, but feels full time football under coach Ron Smith will only make him a better player. "So many players have attributed much of their early development to Ron Smith. I hope to be able to do the same one day," said Glavas, who was targeted by Hajduk Split a few years ago. "The time with Split was great, and gave me inspiration to keep working hard at my game. But for now, I want to score goals for the Perth Glory club, and repay them for their faith in me. I am looking forward to playing in front of one of the best groups of fans too."
JONES AIMS TO PUT HIMSELF IN THE SHOP WINDOW (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones aims to use his three-month loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday to put himself in the shop window. "At the moment, it's just a loan, I appreciate the club giving me the opportunity to play," the Australian youth international said. "Last season, I got a few runs at Middlesbrough but not really enough. I'm nearly twenty-five and need to start playing regular first-team football."
"I have a little bit of experience, even though I haven't played in that many matches, I have played in some big games," Jones added. "I think Scott (Carson) is a good 'keeper and he did well here last season but it's up to me and try and make my mark. I don't think we are too similar in our style, but I will try and keep the same sort of record as he did and if I do then it will have been a success."
"I have only got one year left on my contract, which is another reason why I am hoping to perform well while I am with Wednesday, and we will see what comes from that," he continued. "The coaches at Middlesbrough like me and I'd like to think I could have a future there, but if not I have got to put myself out there and show some other people what I can do."
Owls boss Paul Sturrock considers Jones is a perfect fit for the club. "He was one of the goalkeepers we targeted after Scott. He's played Premiership and European football, he's got the experience. There's a hunger about him, which I like, and he wants to learn. I'm not going to con anybody - he is going to make mistakes like anybody else. At the end of the day that happens."
GLORY BUCKLE TO SYDNEY
A double from Alex Brosque helped Sydney F.C. sink Perth Glory 3-0 in their pre-season Cup clash at Wollongong's WIN Stadium this afternoon. The loss saw Glory slip to last on the Group A table, winless after four games and facing an away clash with New Zealand Knights in the minor place play-offs on Friday night. Sydney was immediately on the attack with Brosque and Sasho Petrovski close to scoring from separate shots but Glory custodian Andrew Crews withstood the early assault. Glory hit back not long after as David Micevski set-up Naum Sekulovski whose explosive drive shaved the crossbar.
The breakthrough came after 26 minutes when Brosque hammered home a brilliant diagonal cross from David Carney. The crowd of 6,634 only had to wait another minute before Brosque got his second, this time wrong-footing Crews before powering a Petrovski cross into the back of the net. The hosts continued to pepper the Glory goal in search of a third, and despite solid shots from Carney and Petrovski, plus a long-range rocket from Mark Milligan, Sydney had to be content with a two-goal buffer at the break.
Perth stepped up the intensity in the second half but it didn't take long for the home side to regain the ascendancy. Petrovski headed a perfect cross from Alvin Ceccoli just wide in the 50th minute, and five minutes later another close-range shot from Petrovski was held by Crews. But the Glory 'keeper wasn't so fortunate in the 57th minute when Petrovski increased the difference to three goal with a superb header. Glory never gave up as they attempted to close the margin late in the second half but were unable to get past goalkeeper Clint Bolton.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIXTEEN
Balcatta consolidated their position at the top the women's Premier League with a comfortable 4-2 victory over Mandurah City at Bortolo Park. Elise D'Ovidio got Balcatta off to a flying start by threading a shot into the net from a tight angle after just a few minutes. But parity was restored in the 16th minutes through a speculative strike from distance by Sylvia Loreto that deceived the goalkeeper.
Balcatta responded on the half hour with a wonderful finish from Renee Forth who headed in a low cross from L.Webster. The lead was added to three minutes from the break through a sweetly struck free-kick from 20-metres by J.D'Annuzio. S.McKenzie put Mandurah back in the hunt by reducing the deficit a minute into the second half. However, it was to be Balcatta's day and J.Bonzas completed the scoring in the 57th minute with a fine strike from 35-metres.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIXTEEN (Perth S.C. vs Sorrento by Brett Klucznik; Cockburn City vs Stirling Lions by Lennie Bavich; Swan I.C. vs Armadale by Jack Waner)
Sorrento overturned a half-time deficit to defeat Perth S.C. 3-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Much of the early play took place between the boxes with each defence breached only occasionally. On 11 minutes Neil Young was quick off his line to smother from Barry Wood after David Onoforo's snap on goal deflected off Scott Miller. There was panic at the other end shortly after as Gianfranco Circati blocked a fine strike by Simon Harland and with the follow-up Daniel Cagorski blazed narrowly high. In the 25th minute the home supporters were given reason for celebration as an unchallenged Circati powerfully headed into the net from Matt Danskin's superb cross from the left. An entertaining contest flowed from end to end with neither midfield able to gain the ascendancy. Glen Thomas' low effort didn't caused Gianni Papalia reason for concern, another Circati header was turned away by Young, and Todd Harnwell should have done better than skid the ball wide when well positioned just before the interval. Young prevented the margin from increasing nine minutes into the second half with a fantastic diving save to keep out Oliver Hilton's explosive drive. Sorrento's comeback started in the 61st minute when Harland squeezed his far post header between goalkeeper and post from a Harnwell cross. Six minutes later the visitors had the lead as Thomas' deep corner was nodded down by Michel Ord to Harnwell who found a passage to goal through a crowded 6-yard box. The momentum was very much with Sorrento and Harnwell's shot was brilliantly pushed wide by Papalia at full-stretch. However, there was little the 'keeper could do in the 70th minute when poor defending at another Thomas corner allowed Harnwell to send goal number three into the net. Perth tried everything as they sought for a way back into the game but their only opportunity came via a Circati piledriver that was straight at Young in the final minute.
Cockburn City left it until late before striking the deciding goal to defeat Stirling Lions 3-2 at Macedonia Park. The big crowd was treated to some early thrills as the home side came out of the blocks charging and Dean Wallace and Michael Mirco continually tormented the opposing defence. Their reward came on 11 minutes when Dusan Macura turned the ball over at the back and weaved his way forward to laying the ball off to Josh Kamasz whose tucked the ball in from close-range after Phil Straker had blocked his initial shot. It took some time for Stirling to adjust to the pace of the game and begin to create some chances of their own. A goal bound header by Kevin Henderson was cleared off the line while Ludovic Boi's blistering shot scraped by the post. In the 35th minute the visitors were reduced to ten men with Keith Brown issued a red card for a crude two-footed tackle on Anthony Periera. The equaliser arrived eight minutes later when Boi's strike was parried by Darren Williams and Dugdale instinctively netted the rebound from a couple of metres. Six minutes into the second half and Cockburn were back in front as Kamasz' cross from the right found his strike partner Michael Mirco unmarked at close-range from where he made no mistake. The teams were brought level for a third time in the 69th minute when Jordan Rhodes' surged forward from the halfway line and went past three defenders before thundering a terrific shot which Williams could only swat at as it rocketed into the roof of the net. Williams denied Stirling the lead by keeping out a shot from Rob Miller, while Ryan Jeans was a good chance by placing high. The decider came after 89 minutes when substitute Simon El Chami blasted through a crowded area after Stirling failed to clear a corner from Jason Dos Santos.
Inglewood United conceded a goal in each half to go down 0-2 to Western Knights at the Kiev Sports Ground. The visiting side made a strong side and in the 10th minute when Ivan Zuvela clipped a pass over the defence which put Paul Devlin one-on-one with Oliver Taseski who made a great reflex save to keep the teams level. There was a modicum of luck in the Knights first goal which arrived ten minutes later when a scorching strike from long-range by David Price crashed into the back of Devlin and, with the home defence caught unawares, Daniel Trim volleyed the loose ball into the net from 10-metres. With the Knights well on top, Inglewood were restricted to playing on the counterattack and although Greg Sharland, Louis Parkinson and Jason Colli got into good positions they were unable to truly test goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. Just before the break Inglewood's day took a turn for the worse with the dismissal of Dean Apelgren for his second yellow card. Although a player down, Inglewood showed great character and matched their opponent for much of the second period. Greg Sharland was proving a handful in attack and in the 78th minute he unleashed a stinging shot from just outside the area that was destined for the top corner until Tomich pulled off a world class save to deny the striker. A few minutes later the result was put beyond doubt as Price surged down the left to swing on a cross that evaded all but Paul Devlin who crashed the ball past Taseski from a tight angle. It's now imperative that Inglewood, who slip to second last with this result, collect points from their remaining six fixtures in order to ensure their top flight survival beyond this winter.
Floreat Athena dug deep in defeating Wanneroo City 1-0 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The games solitary goal came via Boima Karpeh who converted a 45th minute penalty. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
E.C.U. Joondalup registered their sixth win of the winter by trouncing Bayswater City 4-1 in the northern suburbs. A good size crowd was on hand to witness an excellent performance from the home side who took control from the opening whistle. The games first chance came the way of Ian McMurray who's header was parried by the goalkeeper and scrambled to safety by his defence. Daniel Micevski was featuring prominently in midfield for Bayswater and his strike from distance extended Peter Stewart. With 17 minutes played the hosts went ahead courtesy of fine work in the lead-up featuring Scott Bushby, Scott Blackmore and Tom Jones which was expertly finished by McMurray. This seemed to spark Bayswater into action and six minutes later they equalised when Jared Smith's low cross from the left was neatly sent into the net by Sal Marapodi. A powerful shot from Tom Jones was saved by the 'keeper as Joondalup upped the tempo and stamped their authority over proceedings. The hosts regained the lead on the half hour when Bushby and Mark Lee combined to sent Martin Ashworth down the left and his cross was superbly placed into the net by McMurray. With half-time looming the Bayswater 'keeper failed to hold a shot from Tom Jones allowing Scott Blackmore to scramble goal number three into the net. It was pretty much one way traffic throughout the second half with the left side pairing of Lee and Ashworth causing all sorts of problems for the visiting side. The result was put beyond doubt in the 83nd minute when an excellent through ball by Ashworth was calmly tucked into the bottom corner by Tom Jones. Bushby found the back of the net late in the piece only to be denied Joondalup's fifth goal for a questionable offside decision against Lee.
It was one point apiece to Swan I.C. and Armadale who dew 2-2 on a beautiful, mild winter's day in the Swan Valley. The home side were denied an early lead by Nick Stone who was at full-stretch in touching away a David Foster shot. Armadale threatened for the first time via a corner which Darren Kingston met solidly only to have Tony Cumace clear off the line. Alex Williams was being afforded a lot of space by the home team and his spectacular overhead kick was kept out by Corey Hugo. A flurry of chances then fell to both sides as Darryl Platten's long-range effort was saved by Hugo, and with the very next play Damien Catalano placed over the crossbar. A beautiful shot from the edge of the area by Catalano flew just wide, and not long after Matt Bennion's dipping shot beat Hugo but bounced off the bar. With half-time looming Swan won a corner which Miki Vujacic swung deep to an unmarked Foster who gleefully headed in to break the deadlock. A attacking start to the second half bore fruit for Armadale when Hugo blocked an initial shot by Darren Kingston and Williams tapped the loose ball in from close range. The vocal visiting support made even more noise in the 61st minute as a James Isaia throw caused panic in the Swan defence and Kingston helped the ball on to Williams who put away his second of the afternoon. Swan's supporters were given reason for celebration in the 76th minute when Vujacic was permitted time to line up a shot from 25-metres which sailed majestically into the back of the net giving Stone no chance. The momentum was with the home side and Damien Scali was denied a winner by a marvellous fingertip save from Stone. Deep into stoppage time Williams has appeals for a penalty waved away after his feet were taken from under him by Trevor Hatton.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIXTEEN (Rockingham City vs Fremantle Spirit courtesy Rockingham City; Canning City vs Mandurah City by Phil Unsworth; Dianella White Eagles vs Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills; Balcatta vs Gosnells City by Giulio Coletta)
Rockingham City were edged out 0-1 by runaway First Division leader Fremantle Spirit when they met at Dowling Street Reserve. It was a tough opening with plenty of fierce tackle coming in from both teams as they battled to gain control over proceedings. Fremantle carved out the games first chance David Rodgers header rebounded to Dale Wingell whose close range shot was blocked on the line by Rob Crerar. This spurred Rockingham into action and Terry Flynn went close twice for the home side but neither of his effort carried the power to find the net. Rockingham where containing their more fancied opponent without causing them any problems in a tight first half. After the break Fremantle took things up a gear and on 54 minutes got the breakthrough they where after when a neat pass from Allan Pottier found Rodgers who slipped his marker and firing beyond the reach of Cyril Sharrock. Rockingham had their chances to draw level but Rob Clackett blazed high when he was sent through on goal, and a goalbound strike by Paul Colkin was turned around the post by Steve Grant. As the minutes ticked down the hosts went for broke but could find few ways to unlock Fremantle's solid rearguard.
Canning City turned in one of their best performances of the winter to crush Mandurah City 4-0 at Willetton Sports Club. The opening exchanges were end to end contest with the first shot on goal coming after 23 minutes when Michael Bobridge's effort was held by Alan Mattecucci. Just a minute later Canning opened the scoring as Paul Van Dongen got behind the visiting defence to sent in a low cross which Mark Sim slid into the net from close-range. Mandurah had barely recovered when Sim bagged his second with a close-range volley following a ball played in from the left by Daniel Trevisiol. Christian Paschewitz nearly pegged a goal back for Mandurah via a 33rd minute free-kick that fizzed past the angle, and just before the break John Tranfield drive the ball high from just outside the 18-yard box. Canning added a third when Patrick Fitzgerald's perfectly weighted through ball sent Paul Van Dongen into the area to drive past the on coming 'keeper. The game was ended as a contest in the 77th minute when Trevisiol's slightly scuffed shot from the edge of the area bounced over the hand of the diving 'keeper and into the net. Mandurah's miserable day was best summed up by Andy Brown who blasted high from 12-metres in stoppage time.
A bruising encounter at Dianella Reserve saw Dianella White Eagles and Morley Windmills gain a point each courtesy of a 2-2 scoreline. There really wasn't a great deal to get excited about from the opening exchanges as both teams struggled to penetrate the opposing defence. An ankle injury to Dusan Martinovic forced Morley to changes goalkeeper after 28 minutes with seasoned campaigner Matt Darling entering the fray. This seemed to add a bit of bite to both attacks as good chances for Ray Rose and Rydeen Botha were sent over the crossbar at opposite ends of the park. Four minutes from the break Botha put Dianella in from by converting from the penalty spot after being brought down by a clumsy challenge from Darling. Spurred on by half-time roasting from the coaching staff, Morley showed a great deal more composure when play re-commenced. The visitors were back on level terms after 71 minutes when Rose stepped past a tackle before sending a low shot inside the upright. Six minutes later Scott McIlroy pounced on a loose ball and from the top of the 18-yard box unleashed a cracking shot that flashed past a startled Ramadan Lebib. Dianella rallied and with eight minutes left on the clock Zelko Savic poked the ball past Darling in a goalmouth scramble.
An undermanned Balcatta registered a deserved 3-0 win over Gosnells City at Graham Burkett Reserve. In a hard fought encounter, both teams created numerous goalscoring opportunities amidst a rash of bookings that ended with the dismissal of two Gosnells players. Much of the first half was played between the defences with some fierce tackling the order of the day. On the quarter hour Mark D'Ascanio carried the ball down the line and executed a precise cut back to John Nicolaou who expertly controlled the ball and with a deceptive turn lashed his shot into the top corner from 16-metres. Jordan Conti ensured Balcatta went into the break with the lead by blocking a powerful shot from Brian Cairney then pouncing on the loose ball as Alex Grindley closed in. The gap became two goals in the 62nd minute when a poorly cleared corner landed at the feet of D'Ascanio whose crisp volley flashed into the net. Balcatta's attempts to add a third were stifled as Gosnells flooded their backline to compensate for red cards to Aaron Nadin and Alex Grindley. They eventually found a way through with Daniel Coletta clipping a pass over the defence to David Moschilla who tamed the ball with his chest before beating the 'keeper with ten minutes left on the clock.
South West Phoenix left Hartfield Park empty handed after suffering a narrow 1-2 loss to Forrestfield United. The home side made their intentions clear from the outset with Lucas Whitehouse shooting over the crossbar after receiving a superb pass from midfield by Phil Bell. Phoenix responded through Voin Garic who found himself in space only to drag the shot wide. Bell once again opened up the visiting defence and Corey Bessant was denied in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper who couldn't prevent Jon Greenwood from rifling in the follow-up from 5-metres. Parity was restored right on the stroke of half-time when Tomasz Kowalczyk was brought down by Leith Hinds and with the resultant penalty James Bergin made no mistake. Phoenix started the new half positively and looked the more likely to score. However, Whitehouse swung the game back in Forrestfield's favour by beating his marker and firing into the net from just outside the 18-yard box. A golden opportunity to bring the teams level was wasted by Bergin who's second spot kick of the day was saved by Matthew Zappacosta. A frantic closing stage was dominated by Phoenix who pressed forward at every opportunity only to be turned away by the home defence.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento showed once and for all that they are championship material by over turning a half-time deficit to defeat Perth S.C. 3-1 at Dorrien Gardens. The Gulls three goals came in a thirteen minute period with Todd Harnwell bagging two and Simon Harland one. Cockburn City stay in touch with the leader courtesy of a late strike that earned them a 3-2 win over Stirling Lions. Josh Kamasz, Michael Mirco and Simon El Chami found the net for the home team.
Western Knights collected points for the ninth successive week by accounting for Inglewood United 2-0. Doing the damage for the visitors were Daniel Trim and Paul Devlin. Floreat Athena returned home from Wanneroo City with the points by a 1-0 scoreline. E.C.U. Joondalup thumped Bayswater City 4-1. Honours were even at 2-2 in the footballwa.net Match of the Week between Swan I.C. and Armadale. David Foster and Miki Vujacic netted for the visitors with both the Reds goals coming from Scotsman Alex Williams.
The First Division title race is as good as over. Fremantle Spirit extended their lead to eleven points by defeating Rockingham City 1-0 through a David Rodgers goal. Mandurah City crashed to a 0-4 loss at Canning City where Marc Sim (2), Daniel Trevisol and Paul Van Dongen were the scorers. Balcatta thumped struggling Gosnells City 3-0, while Dianella White Eagles drew 2-2 with Morley Windmills. South West Phoenix remain at the foot of the table - and in very real danger of being relegated - after losing 1-2 away at Forrestfield United.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The relegation battle continues this weekend with Armadale visiting Swan I.C. in the footballwa.net Match of the Week . Three successive wins has enabled Armadale to move off the bottom of the Premier League table, and with Swan within striking distance of the top five this game will be a good test of where both clubs are at. The game will be won and lost in midfield where Jason Goodwin, Scott Devine and James Isaia come up against the attacking flair of Thomas Shepheard, Miki Vujacic and Damien Scali.
New coach Alan Vest will be looking to get the best out of Inglewood United for the visit of an in-form Western Knights. Wanneroo City are also in desperate need of a few points when Floreat Athena head to Kingsway Sporting Complex. It's been a trying week for Bayswater City who'll be wanting to put the drama's of the past few days behind them when they travel north to play E.C.U. Joondalup. Table-topping Sorrento call in at Dorrien Gardens to meet Perth S.C. And Dalmatinac Park is the venue for the shodown between Cockburn City and Stirling Lions.
It'll be backs to the wall for Rockingham City when First Division leader Fremantle Spirit travel to Dowling Street Reserve. Canning City have a tough home meeting with Mandurah City, and Balcatta are confident of gaining maximum points at the expense of Gosnells City. Dianella White Eagles are tipped to win at home against Morley Windmills. It's make or break time for South West Phoenix who must win at Forrestfield United if they want to remain in the semi-professional ranks beyond this winter. Ashfield have the bye.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY SNAP UP BORO'S JONES
Sheffield Wednesday boss Paul Sturrock has ended his determined chase to sign a new goalkeeper by clinching a three-month loan deal for Middlesbrough's Brad Jones. The Australian youth international is expected to go straight into the squad for the Owls' opening Championship tie against Preston North End on Saturday, and heads to Hillsborough in search of regular first team football. Jones, 24, has made 23 first team appearances for Middlesbrough and has previously been on loan to Stockport County, Rotherham United and Blackpool.
BOI IMPRESSIVE IN DEBUT SEASON
Stirling Lions' sensation Ludovic Boi is considered the local scene's most exciting young prospect. The attack minded 16-year old earned the tag after finishing top of the pile in this week's footballwa.net poll 'Which teenager has impressed you the most this season?' Boi collected an impressive 27.2% of vote cast to finish clear of towering Perth S.C. defender Trent Kay (20.4%). Occupying third place was Cockburn City's Andrew Keary (16.2%) who's had a terrific first up season at senior level. Scott Bushby (14.5%) of E.C.U. Joondalup was next followed by hard-working Western Knight Aaron Bahadori (11.9%) and Phil O'Callaghan (9.8%), who's been a mainstay of the Wanneroo City midfield.
HODGKINSON, WARDLE RESIGN AT INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United’s poor season has led to the departure of coaches Eddy Hodgkinson and Gerry Wardle. The pair took over the reigns in June 2003 and last year guided Inglewood to Night Series glory, fourth place in the league and the association Cup final. But with just five wins from twenty-one starts in 2006, Hodgkinson and Wardle decided this week that the time was ripe for a fresh approach.
“I would like to thank my good friend and club president Siggy Kramer for supporting both Gerry and I through what has been a troubled season,” said Hodgkinson. “I wish the club every success for the future and I hope the new coach can turn the season around for them.” Alan Vest, who was in charge at Perth Glory until last week, has been appointed Inglewood's caretaker coach until the end of the season.
MEMORABILIA FAIR APPROACHES
Dorrien Gardens will be the place to be on Sunday 20th August for the Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair (pdf, 65kb). It'll be the second such event of the year and organisers are bracing themselves for another big turnout. "We had a lot of people attend the first fair and I'm hoping that we'll be able to build on that interest," said Bob Brown, the driving force behind the concept. "People came from far and wide in March - one fellow drove all the way from Merredin - and the response from both buyers and sellers was very positive. I think there's interest in programme and memorabilia collecting in Perth, and if this months' fair is another success then I think I can confidently say it'll become a regular event." The Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair takes place between 10.00am and 1.00pm on Sunday 20th August at Dorrien Gardens.
LAZARIDIS PLANS SOCCEROOS SWANSONG
Stan Lazaridis will make his final appearance for the Socceroo if selected for the upcoming clash with Kuwait. Lazaridis had planned to retire from international football following the World Cup finals but will play one last time at the request of coach Graham Arnold. "This game will be my last for the Socceroos, that's 100% guaranteed," said Lazaridis. "I'm helping out this time because a lot of the boys won't be available but after this one it'll be time for someone else to come through." The mid-week date with Kuwait means Australia will be without their European based players.
The squad for the Socceroos training camp in Melbourne is Travis Dodd, Michael Valkanis (Adelaide United), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Adrian Leijer, Kevin Muscat, Kristian Sarkies, Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge, Joel Griffiths, Stuart Musialik, Jade North (Newcastle Jets), Stan Lazaridis (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski, Matthew McKay (Queensland Roar), Clint Bolton, Alex Brosque, David Carney, Steve Corica, Alvin Ceccoli, Iain Fyfe, Mark Milligan and Sasho Petrovski (Sydney FC).
TARKA LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW SEASON
David Tarka feels confident that he’s shrugged off the hamstring problem which plagued him last season. The Perth Glory defender played a full 90 minutes for the first time in two years in the weekend draw with Adelaide United. “Sometimes your mind tells you what to do in a certain situation but you doubt whether your body can take you there,” he said. “I wasn’t really concerned with the quality of my performance against Adelaide, I was just looking to get through the ninety minutes okay.” A hamstring complaint limited Tarka to just 129 minutes of A-League football last season but he says his confidence is growing with each pre-season run.
VRTESKI DEPARTS FOR SOUTH AMERICA
Perth Glory shot-stopper Aleksander Vrteski is on his way to South America for the Young Socceroos five-match tour which commences later this week. The national Under-20 side meet Chilean clubs Colo Colo (3rd August) and Universidad de Chile (6th August) before friendly internationals against Argentina (9th August) and Chile (12th and 14th August). The tour will serve as part of Australia's preparations for the Asian Football Confederations Under-20 Championship in India during October and November. The top four teams at the sixteen-nation tournament will qualify for the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada.
"Undoubtedly this tour will be difficult but I am sure we will learn a lot from it and that it will prove to be an invaluable experience ahead of the qualifiers later in the year," said Young Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou. "This is quite a crucial tour for the team with the qualifiers looming. A tour of South America always provides a good gauge as to how the team is travelling. The good thing about this campaign is that we are doing this kind of preparation prior to the qualifiers, which puts well ahead of where we have been in the past in terms of knowing the capabilities of the players at a high level."
The twenty-player Australian touring squad is Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Evan Berger, Bruce Djite, James Downey, Peter Eleftherakis, Chris Grossman, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Steven O'Dor, Shaun Ontong, Matthew Spiranovic, Cameron Watson (Australian Institue of Sport), Brad Porter, Oliver Bozanic (Central Coast Mariners), Sebastian Ryall (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Tarek Elrich, Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), Aleks Vrteski (Perth Glory), Ryan McGowan (South Australian Sports Institute) and Ben Vidaic (Sydney United).
GLORY TO CONSIDER CHINESE STRIKER
Chinese youth international Li Dawei arrived in Perth last night for a self-funded trial with Perth Glory. Dawei’s agent contacted the A-League club last week when new coach Ron Smith declared to reinforce Glory’s attack. Dawei is part of China’s squad for the 2008 Olympic Games and has scored four times in eight outings for the national youth team. “I know nothing about him other than what I’ve seen on his CV,” Smith said. “It looks good on paper but Ill make my mind up when I see him.” Glory will also cast an eye over strikers Luka Glavas and Mimi Saric, who’ve been playing State league football for Sydney United (New South Wales) and Raiders (South Australia) respectively, this week.
CREWS, PETTERSON ADDED TO GLORY LIST
Perth Glory have added goalkeepers Andrew Crews and Andy Petterson to their roster on a short-term contracts. The pair come into the squad as replacement for injured shot-stopper Jason Petkovic and Aleksander Vrteski who’s about to head overseas with the Young Socceroos. Crews played over 100 games in the old national league for Sydney United, Parramatta Power and Wollongong Wolves, and has most recently been turning out for Marconi in the New South Wales Premier League. Petterson spent sixteen seasons in England with the likes of Luton Town, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth before returning to Australia last year when he turned out for Newcastle United.
MATILDAS QUALIFY FOR WORLD CUP
Australia will make a fourth consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup finals appearance after successfully negotiating their way through the AFC Women's Asian Cup. The Matilda's swept through the group phase by defeating Korea Republic (South Korea), Myanmar, Thailand and drawing with DPR Korea (North Korea). A 2-0 semi-final win over Japan ensured Australia finished as one of Asia's two automatic representatives at finals tournament. A tense tournament finale was taken out by China who lifted the trophy by out-shooting the Matildas on penalties.
The Matildas commenced the qualification series with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Korea Republic (South Korea). The scoring was opened on the half hour when Sally Shipard's cross was deflected past goalkeeper Jung Mi Kim by team mate Min Kyung Jun. Australia doubled their advantage on 66 minutes via Joanne Peters' deep cross which Sarah Walsh expertly steering in from 10-metres. Caitlin Munoz added a third goal after the 'keeper failed to deal with a Lisa De Vanna cross from the left. Three minutes from the end Heather Garriock's deep corner was headed back across goal by Kate Gill with De Vanna finishing from close range. Collette McCallum was replaced after 80 minutes with De Vanna coming off the bench in the 69th minute.
The 2-0 scoreline against Myanmar did not truly reflect the level of dominance Australia enjoyed in their second Group B outing. At times the Matildas struggled to break down a packed defence but controlled play to such an extent that goalkeeper Lydia Williams did not touch the ball once during the entire 90 minutes. On the half hour Shipard rose expertly at the far post to score from a perfectly flighted Garriock corner. Australia's second came thirteen minutes from the end when Alicia Ferguson played an expertly weighted ball over the defence which De Vanna clipped over the advancing goalkeeper. De Vanna came on at half-time, and McCallum was introduced after 65 minutes.
A giant step was taken towards qualification with the Matilda's hard fought 0-0 draw with DPR Korea (North Korea) on Saturday. In a high intensity encounter Australia made a number of early forays into the opposition penalty area before the Koreans slowly started to come into the match. Australia's best chance came via Sarah Walsh whose shot from an acute angle was pushed away by Hye Yong Han, while at the other end Un Gyong Ri hit the frame of the goal. Three minutes into the second half Kate Gill deflected Garriock's free-kick goalward only for the 'keeper to snatch it at point-blank range. Ri Un Gyong should have put Korea ahead with four minutes to play but she placed high with only the 'keeper to beat. McCallum played a full game in the middle of the park, and De Vanna came on with thirteen minutes to go.
Australia completed the group phase by sweeping past Thailand 5-0. It took the Matilda's just four minute to open their account when Ferguson headed in from a pinpoint Garriock corner. The gap was increased by Joanne Burgess who skipped away from a flat defensive line and slotted past the goalkeeper after being released by De Vanna. Walsh put the match out of reach for Thailand in the 54th minute with a near-post strike from an acute angle. Nine minutes later Australia substitute Gill finished at close-range after McCallum got in behind the defence, and with eight minutes left De Vanna completed the scoring with a well-deserved goal. De Vanna played a full game with McCallum coming off the bench on the hour.
A couple of first half goals earned Australia a 2-0 victory over Japan in the round of four. The game could not have started better for the Matilda's who went ahead on 9 minutes when Shipard drove the ball to the far post where Munoz steered it into the net. Japan then turned up the heat and created a number of openings but could not find a way past goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. Australia struck the all important second goal right on half-time when Garriock's corner was spilled by Hiromi Isozaki and Peters netted at close-range. The second half was free flowing and Japan were prevented from reducing the deficit by a resilient Australian defence. McCallum was replaced with seven minutes left on the clock, while De Vanna came on in the 75th minute.
A pulsating finale was won by China who out-shot Australia 4-2 on penalties after the teams were deadlocked 2-2. China looked dangerous early with Xiaoxu Ma and Duan Han going close. A Munoz thunderbolt from 30-metres after 28 minutes put Australia ahead, and four minutes later McCallum played a perfect near-post ball for Peters to flick in the hosts second goal. The balance swung in China's favour after the break with Han crashing the ball home after 68 minutes, and five minutes later Ma struck at the near post to bring the sides level. Neither side could get the decisive breakthrough in extra-time before penalties settled the matter. McCallum played a full game with De Vanna coming on in the 66th minute.
ON THIS DAY … 1993
West Australia proved it was ready for the big time with a stunning 4-2 victory over Greek First Division side Iraklis on the evening of Friday 30th July, 1993. Two goals from State newcomer Ian Ballantyne and one each from Frank Bate and Norrie Sutton gave WA their best result since the previous year’s triumph over European Cup Winners Cup holder Werder Bremen. The quality of the performance underlined that WA is more than ready to take their place in Singapore’s 1994 national league season.
It took WA just 4 minutes to gain the initiative through Sutton who let rip with a fantastic 35-metre shot which appeared to goalkeeper George Plitis to be sailing over the bar, only to dip viciously and rocketed into the roof of the net. Bate slammed home the hosts second in the 23rd minute when Sutton, who was busy as a bee in midfield, darted up the right flank to centre to Bate whose thunderous strike flash past the goalkeeper.
Iraklis, who finished the 1993 First Division campaign in fifth position, hit back with some swift breaks and a rain-lashed Lake Monger Velodrome pitch. And they deservedly narrowed the gap when Greek youth international Fanis Toutziaris drilled a left-footer past Tommy Maras in the WA goal. The lively forward then brought the game level two minutes out from the break by scrambling the ball over the line from close-range.
The second half was just two minutes old when Ballantyne restored the hosts advantage by rifling a low drive past the ‘keeper following Allan Pottier’s deep cross. Maras was called up to make several heart-stopping saves during a frenzied twenty minute period in which Iraklis took up camp in the WA defensive half. With two minutes of regulation time remaining Ballantyne secured victory by converting another fine cross from Pottier.
Western Australia (squad): Tommy Maras, Stephen Willey, Craig Naven, Sean Lynch, Alex Cummings, Wayne Thorpe, Gareth Naven, Norrie Sutton, Allan Pottier, Ian Ballantyne, Frank Bate, Jason Petkovic, Andy Hinchcliffe, Paul McVittie, Shane Bourne, Ian Cornthwaite
LAZARIDIS RETURNS HOME AS GLORY DRAW (by Jack Warner)
West Australia's greatest ever player, Stan Lazaridis, made his long awaited Perth Glory debut in this afternoon's 0-0 pre-season Cup draw with Adelaide United in front of 3,038 fans at Dorrien Gardens. Glory's first outing under Ron Smith's tutelage gave the new coach plenty of reason for optimism about the coming season. "Today was the first time for me to get up close and personal with the squad, if you like, and I was very pleased with what they delivered," he said. "They showed a lot of discipline and the right attitude, which gave us strong competitive spirit out there ... We'll be competitive, there's no doubt about that. Based on what I've seen today, I'm really looking forward to working here."
The match was a very even affair with neither side really gaining the ascendancy. The home team were the first to have a shot in earnest when Naum Sekulovski had two attempts in as many minutes, but both were wide of the mark. It was not until the 25th minute that Adelaide troubled the Glory goal with a long ball into the area which Robert Cornthwaite put down to Carl Veart whose close range effort was deflected over the crossbar. Adelaide thought they'd taken the lead on 32 minutes when Matthew Kemp netted after Aleksander Vrteski fumbled Travis Dodds' shot, but a offside flag saved the young goalkeepers' blushes. Shortly before the break Robert Bajic denied the challenge of Stuart Young at a corner, and play immediately moved to the other end where Jason Spagnuolo was unlucky with a curling shot that was just wide of the top corner.
The second half was very much a carbon copy of the first with neither side able to break down the opposition. Sekulovski shaped up for a shot three minutes after the restart following pass from Lazaridis but Michael Valkanis took the ball to safety. Adelaide threatened via a corner which was met solidly by Valkanis whose header crashed against the bar. On 58 minutes a beautiful Veart dummy permitted the ball to run free to substitute Nathan Burns but he shot tamely at Vrteski. The crowd came alive a few minutes later as Lazaridis embarked on a mazy run down the left only to see his cross-come-shot just clearing the bar. A foul on Stuart Young resulted in a Glory free-kick which Lazaridis crashed into the defensive wall and David Micevski's fierce follow-up was tipped over the bar by Bajic. Despite the introduction of fresh legs from both benches neither side could find a way to break the dealock and the game finished with honours even.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN
Queens Park leapfrogged over Balcatta and into first place on the Women’s Premier League table after claiming victory by 2-1 at Coker Park. The exchanges were played at high tempo but few clear cut chances resulted as attacks were broken down by the respective defences. The breakthrough came on the quarter hour when some fine lead-up work by Lindsey Easton was complemented by Lisa Higgins' finish at close range. The margin was increased in the 29th minute when Easton latched onto a looping pass from J.Duncan and walked the ball around goalkeeper C.Coghlan before tucking it into an empty net. Although there were good chances created by both teams leading in the break, neither was able to find the target.
Possession after the break was evenly shared as both teams worked at prising open the others defence. Balcatta's enterprise was rewarded in the 62nd minute when R.Forth delicately chipped J.McInerney to bring her side back into the contest. As the visitors went in search of an equaliser, Queens Park sat back and played out in the counter attack and Tina Rowatt went close to sealing out the game. During the closing minutes Balcatta gained a succession of corners but stubborn defending meant there'd be no addition to the scoreline. "We'll bring it (the title) down to the last game now," said Queens Park coach Steve Woodfin. "We played very well in patches and it was enough to come away with the three points and the season is still on."
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIFTEEN (Bayswater City vs Perth S.C. by Brett Klucznik; Western Knights vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Stirling Lions vs Inglewood United by Don Evans)
Cockburn City scored a dramatic stoppage time winner to topple Sorrento 3-2 in the top of the table showdown at Percy Doyle Reserve. The loss was Sorrento’s first of the regular season and allowed Cockburn to make up ground on the Gulls who head the standing by six points. The spectators were still settling into their seats when Michel Ord’s long ball out of defence was headed by Simon Harland into the path of Todd Harnwell who struck it crisply past a diving Alan Dunlop from 12-metres. Within seven minutes the teams were back on level terms as Neil Young parried a shot from Jason Dos Santos bt could do little as Paul Oliver scrambled the follow-up over the line. Dos Santos capped a superb first half display by adding his name the scoresheet in the 40th minute, the Cockburn playmaker shrugging off a challenge by Danny Hill before unleashing a ferocious shot from just outside the area that went in off the upright. There was a sense of deja vu to the start of the second half as Sorrento drew level when Glen Thomas’ in-swinging corner was powerfully headed in by Hill. Cockburn went down to ten men after 67 minutes with Oliver issued his marching orders for a foul on Harnwell inside the 18-yard box, but the opportunity to go ahead was wasted as Jared Love failed to convert from the spot. The ledger was balanced on 79 minutes when James Morgan was issued a second yellow card for a lunging tackle on Andrew Keary. Eleven minutes later Sorrento were reduced to nine as Love was punished by referee Jeremy Oliphant for lashing out after being fouled by Dos Santos. The deciding goal arrived four minutes into stoppage time when substitute Josh Kamasz showed great control and composure inside the box to lash the ball across Young and inside the far post.
Armadale accounted for Wanneroo City 3-0 when they met at Alfred Skeet Oval. The win was the Reds third in as many outings and puts three points between them and Bayswater City who occupy the relegation spot. A physical first half was peppered with robust challenges by two teams committed to the task at hand. But with neither side able to influence the flow of play to any great degree, goalscoring opportunities were a scarce commodity. Armadale made a positive start to the second half by pressing forward and testing the visiting defence which stood up to the challenge. The first real chance of the afternoon came the way of David Houston who placed his tame effort wide of the upright with only goalkeeper Nick Stone to beat. The next to threaten was Jake Harman who made his way inside the 18-yard box only for his goalbound strike to be well saved by Stone. On 69 minutes Armadale were rewarded with the afternoon's first goal when substitute Kevin Bissett sent the ball past goalkeeper Kevin Miller. Wanneroo’s chances of getting back on level terms were dented when Alex Williams tapped in at the back post with eight minutes left on the clock to increase Armadale's lead. Although the game was effectively over by this stage, Wanneroo refused to concede and not long after Phil O'Callaghan was denied by a great save from Nick Stone. In stoppage time Williams put away his second of the day in a carbon copy move to his earlier goal to complete the scoring.
The game at Frank Drago Reserve was abandoned after 84 minutes with Perth S.C. leading Bayswater City 2-1. Fearing his and his assistants’ safety, the referee brought proceedings to an early close after Perth struck a controversial second goal. Some superb movement enabled Perth to stamped their authority over the early exchanges with good chances on goal for Barry Wood and Matt Danskin. The visitors emphasis on attack was rewarded in the 9th minute when Peter Lord advanced on goal from midfield, stepped past Jovo Pavlovic and arrowed a low shot past a flat-footed goalkeeper which crept inside the far post. Gary Faria came within a whisker of doubling the margin when he shot into the side netting, while Jarred Smith called Gianni Papalia into action for the first time at the opposite end. The bulk of possession remained with Perth but their attacking desires were nullified by an often sprung offside trap. Eight minutes from the break Sal Marapodi brought the sides level with a one-on-one opportunity after Michael Icanovski lost his footing on a soft surface. Perth continued to dictate play following the turnaround but were time and time again thwarted by a very square defence. The banishment of Graham Normanton for abusive language galvanised the visitors and Bobson Koroma made saves from Faria and Aaron Cole in quick succession. With 72 minutes played the game erupted into controversy after an assistant referee disallowed a seemingly legitimate goal by Cole who was then issued a straight red card for venting his anger at the official. Bayswater were then reduced by a man as substitute Daniel Naumovski was shown a mystifying second yellow card. In the 84th minute Onoforo was hauled down just outside the area by Pavlovic and Faria’s quickly taken free-kick was blasted past an unsuspecting ‘keeper by Wood. All hell broke lose as protests rained down on the officials and after Koroma was dismissed for similar reasons to Cole the game was sensibly brought to a premature end.
A strong second half enabled E.C.U. Joondalup to come from behind and defeat Floreat Athena 2-1 at Litis Stadium. End-to-end play was the order of a pacy opening spell in which good chances on goal were created by both teams. Peter Stewart was in the thick of the action early when he saved at the feet of Boima Karpeh. Ian McMurray went close with a header for Joondalup before Stewart was called upon to keep out shots from Branimir Mikulic and Adam Bachillor. The visitors were beginning to get into stride and Tom Jones’ diving header ended just the wrong side of the crossbar. With 15 minutes gone Floreat gained a free-kick just outside the area which Mikulic curled past the fingertips of Stewart and inside the bottom corner to put Floreat ahead. In response Joondalup upped their workrate and a fine cross from Martin Ashworth was met by McMurray but he failed to trouble the goalkeeper. The second half was pretty much one-way traffic with the visiting side dictating terms. Mark Lee and Ashworth combined well down the left to set up McMurray whose powerful header wasn’t too far wide of the target. In the 69th minute Costa Socraatous pulled Jamie Kuzmanovich down when contesting a corner, and with the resulting penalty kick Lee sent Vas Vujacic the wrong way to bring the teams level. Joondalup drove forward in search of a second goal and Ashworth was denied by a great save from Vujacic. With two minutes of regulation time remaining Garin Collins whipped in a corner from the left which Tom Jones helped on at the near post to Jamie Gibb who nodded in a timely first goal for his new club. Floreat threw everything into conjuring up a late equaliser but this wasn’t a game Joondalup were about to throw aware and they held on to claim all three points.
Swan I.C. had to be content with a share of the points after surrendering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Western Knights at Nash Field. Damien Scali created the games first opening after just a few minutes by crossing to the area where Brendan Knox’ header forced a low save from Tommi Tomich. The home eventually settled and carved out the better of chances as they controlled play for lengthy periods. A long-range bomb by Daniel Trim whizzed over the crossbar, and following Paul Cooke’s superb lead-up Anthony Skorich headed high at close-range. Swan almost nicked the lead in the closing stages when Rory Mouttet’s deep cross which was headed back by Scali to David Foster who put it wide. Te visitors made a positive start to the second half and nine minutes in went ahead as Foster neatly despatched the ball past Tomich after being sent clear by David Perich. There was a near immediate response from the Knights with Trim ghosting past a static defence only for Corey Hugo to keep out his low strike. Swan struck for a second time in the 61st minute when a clinical finish by Foster beat Tomich following a fine through ball by Miki Vujacic. The points should have been made save shortly after but an unmarked Vujacic shot off target from a Damien Catalano cross. The Knights finally sparked into action and in the 78th minute Paul Devlin reduced the deficit by firing in at close-range after Hugo failed to sufficiently deal with a cross. With their loyal supporters cheering them on, the Knights drew level three minutes later through Zuvela who netted in a goalmouth scramble as the Swan defence was appealing for offside. It was backs to the wall for Swan during a frantic final few minutes in which Hugo denied both Skorich and Trim a deciding goal.
A second half hat-trick by David Dugdale gave the Stirling Lions an emphatic 5-2 victory over Inglewood United at Macedonia Park. Cool playing conditions didn't deter the hosts who came out of the blocks in an attacking frame of mind and on 10 minutes Kevin Henderson headed a throw-in into the path of Ryan Jeans who blasted in from close-range. The centre of the park was being controlled by Rob Miller, Keith Brown and Jordan Rhodes, and it was the latter who placed wide when faced with only the goalkeeper to beat. In the 22nd minute Stirling went two up as a Rhodes corner was headed powerfully into the net by captain Darko Ilomanoski. Inglewood failed to mount many serious challenges and on the half hour were forced to change 'keeper with Oliver Taseski taking the gloves from an ill Jason Razmovski. Stirling's hunger for goals was evident Dugdale and Rhodes threatened early in the second half. Against the run of play Inglewood pegged back the gap through Louis Parkinson's speculative effort from distance which made its way into the top corner of Phil Straker's net. The two-goal buffer was restored just two minutes later when Dugdale converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Henderson. Keith Brown used his muscle to win possession and slide a pass to Dugdale who raced through and slotted in after 67 minutes. Inglewood refused to give up and Shaun Kilkelly added their second with a long-range rocket in the 75th minute. Further pressure from the visitors produced in a free-kick just outside the area which Greg Sharland curled into the upright. But the game was put well beyond the reach when Shane Pryce was judged to have handled inside the box and Dugdale complete his three-goal haul from the spot. A miserable day out ended sourly for Inglewood who had captain Daniel Stoitis sent off for arguing with the referee over the penalty decision.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIFTEEN (Fremantle Spirit vs Balcatta courtesy Fremantle Spirit; Mandurah City vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Mandurah City; Morley Windmills vs Forrestfield United courtesy Forrestfield United; South West Phoenix vs Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City)
Fremantle Spirit thumped Balcatta 4-0 to continue their campaign for re-admission to the top flight. The port side came out of the blocks flying and, after encountering some strong resistance from Balcatta, took the lead through a clinical finish by Tyrone Fenwick who was on the end of a neat exchange of passes coming through midfield. Second half began with Balcatta taking the game up to their hosts but unable to penetrate a solid defensive unit and the brilliance of goalkeeper Steve Grant. The introduction of teenage sensation Callum Roberts, who replaced an injured David Rodgers, swung the game back in Fremantle's favour. Their second goal arrived in the 74 minute when the goalkeeper failed to hold on a free-kick and Roberts drilled the loose ball in from a few metres. A short time later Roberts dazzled the defence with his pace and footwork in going past three opponents before slotting in the net of the ‘keeper. The route was made complete by a precision pass from Dale Wingell that sent veteran Alan Pottier through to put away Fremantle's fourth and final goal of the afternoon.
Mandurah City struck twice in the second half to down Dianella White Eagles 2-0 and register their eighth win of the campaign in muddy conditions at Peelwood Parade. Although missing five regulars, Dianella moved forward early with veterans Rydeen Botha and Keegan Ashley dictating terms from the middle of the park only to meet stiff resistance from a defence marshalled by goalkeeper Mike Green. The physical nature of the game and trying conditions resulted in a number of bookings leading into half-time as players struggled to stay on their feet. The second half began with both sides creating opportunities but unable to capitalise. The breakthrough arrived in the 62nd minute when Graeme Matthews threaded a pass to Michael Bobridge which was put away from 6-metres. Injury to Lebib Ramadan forced Dianella to change 'keeper with Aaron Moschopoulous taking over between the posts. Sensing victory wasn't far away, Mandurah continued to apply the pressure and in the 75th minute Bobridge's shot was blocked by Moschopoulous only for Josh Konard to unfortunately head into his own net. Dianella went close to snatching a late reply through Konard whose header came back off the crossbar before Mandurah cleared the danger.
Wotton Reserve was the venue for an entertaining 3-3 draw between Morley Windmills and Forrestfield United. The ball had been in motion 20 minutes when Forrestfield were awarded a penalty for handball and from the spot Dennis Lee made no mistake in putting the visitors ahead. It didn't take Morley long to restore parity when a corner was only partially cleared and Paul Dundo poked the ball between the posts from 9-metres. Forrestfield gained their second penalty of the afternoon when Justin Mansfield was brought down inside the box and on this occasion it was Jon Greenwood who converted. Ray Rose couldn't believe his luck right in the 44th minute when an attempted clearance landed at his feet and the Morley striker levelled the scores. Hesitant defending allowed Rose to head in his second just minutes before half-time and put Morley in front for the first time. There were plenty of chances for both teams in the remaining time but the only goal scored was in the 59th minute when Lee collected a searching pass and beat his man before cutting the ball to Greenwood who was successful from 6-metres.
The trip south proved worthwhile for Rockingham City who picked up three valuable points by defeating South West Phoenix 1-0 in Bunbury. The home team came out with all guns blazing and pressed Rockingham into defensive duties for the opening quarter hour. Gary Mayers slammed the ball against the crossbar, and five minutes later a shot from distance by Greg Hayes met with the same result. Pat Roberts had the ball in the net following a corner but that was controversially disallowed for offside, then Steve Suttie's header hit the upright from a deep cross by Mayers. Having weathered the storm, Rockingham clicked into gear and in the 28 minute took the lead when Brian Hastie jinxed his way past two opponents and squared to Steve Cramphorn who made no mistake from 9-metres. Phoenix began the second half like the first as a Hayes' header flashed past the post. Goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock was in the thick of things as Rockingham stood firm under pressure. A golden opportunity to equalise was squandered by Suttie who mis-kicked at close-range with the 'keeper out of position. Phoenix were given a way in when Hastie was dismissed in the 79th minute, but Rockingham had other ideas and held on for victory.
Ashfield stormed to a 3-0 victory over Canning City when they met at Ashfield Reserve. Muhamend Komandric bagged a double and Luke O’Neill netted late to make the points safe. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
MURPHY PUTS HAND UP FOR A-LEAGUE
Former Socceroo Shaun Murphy is prepared to come out of retirement and play for Perth Glory again, if coach Ron Smith wants him. The 35-year old central defender has not played since his Glory contract was terminated in mid-2004 but says he’s in shape and ready to play in the A-League. Stan Lazaridis favours getting the one-time Glory captain back in club colours, but Murphy said it depends on the needs of Smith.
“Looking at who they’ve already got, I’m not sure they want more players in my position,” commented Murphy. “But if they do, and the need an old head in there to help rebuild, I’d do it - mainly because it would be Ron who’d be asking. He worked with me at the AIS in 1988 and played a big part in my development so if I help him, I will. I’m ready, willing and able.”
Murphy was disillusioned with the abrupt way his career ended all player contracts were voided when the National Soccer League was abandoned but he remains keen to help Glory re-establish themselves in the new competition. “I want to see WA soccer do well and the club to be run properly,” he commented. “Two years out of the game might make it difficult but I’m still capable. I was lucky during my career in England in that I never had any serious injuries and I’ve kept fit, so yes, I could do it properly.”
FOOTBALL WEST APPOINT CEO
Football West have named Garry Chandler as acting chief executive officer. Chandler, a former vice president with Foot Locker Europe, will step up from his current management role at Football West for a six month period as replacement for Michelle Phillips who was recently joined Perth Glory’s management team. “The Football West board had no hesitation in promoting Mr. Chandler as he has been a key member of the Football West team over the last year,” explained chairman Kevin Campbell. “We are certain he will maintain the drive and momentum that Football West has achieved for grass roots football to date.” Chandler will commence his new position from 21st August.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento suffered their first loss of the Premier League season with Cockburn City claiming victory by 3-2. Paul Oliver, Jason Dos Santos and Josh Kamasz found the back of the net as Cockburn narrowed the gap on the Gulls to six points. A 2-2 draw with Swan I.C. was enough to move Western Knights into third position. David Foster struck twice for the back and whites before Paul Devlin and Ivan Zuvela gave the home supporters something to cheer about. Floreat Athena slumped to a 1-2 home loss at the hands of E.C.U. Joondalup.
There were farcical scenes at Frank Drago Reserve where the game was abandoned after 84 minute with Perth S.C. leading Bayswater City 2-1. Peter Lord and Barry Wood were the Blues goalscorers in a game that produced three red cards. Stirling Lions mauled Inglewood United 5-2 on home soil. David Dugdale took his tally to nine goals in appearances for the Lions for whom Ryan Jeans and Darko Ilmanoski also netted. Armadale took the points over Wanneroo City by a 3-0 scoreline.
There seems to be no stopping Fremantle Spirit who romped to a 4-0 victory over Balcatta in the First Division. Callum Roberts was the two goal hero with Tyrone Fenwick and veteran Allan Pottier also on the scoresheet. Ashfield thumped Canning City 3-0, while Mandurah City eased their way to a 2-0 victory at Dianella White Eagles. The points were shared between Morley Windmills and Forrestfield United who ended at 3-3. Rockingham City picked up their second win in eight days by accounting for bottom side South West Phoenix 1-0.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It was hard to go past the top of the table clash between Sorrento and Cockburn City when selecting the footballwa.net Match of the Week . Sorrento have been amongst the frontrunners since the opening rounds of the season and are placed top of the table, undefeated and seven points clear of their nearest rival. And that just so happens to be Cockburn whose superb away record and non-stop approach to game has them setting in second place. This promises to be one of THE games of 2006 and all neutrals are advised to head to Percy Doyle Reserve for an terrific afternoon of football.
Armadale have set their sights on moving away from the relegation zone by by taking all three points from their home clash with Wanneroo City. It'll be a big day at Frank Drago Reserve as Bayswater City's attempts to also climb clear of last place this week pits them again traditional rival Perth S.C. A big win last weekend will see Floreat Athena go into their home clash with E.C.U. Joondalup brimming with confidence. Swan I.C. have a tough away game at Western Knights, and Stirling Lions can continue their good run of results when Inglewood United call by Macedonia Park.
First Division pacesetter Fremantle Spirit has home ground advantage over a Balcatta side that's run hot and cold this year. After a couple of draws, Ashfield will be looking to get back in the winners circle when they host Canning City. Peelwood Parade is the venue for the crackerjack meeting of Mandurah City and an in-forn Dianella White Eagles. Morley Windmills welcome Forrestfiled United at Wotton Reserve. Rockingham City make the trip south to Bunbury where South West Phoenix must pick up points if they intend to get away from the drop zone. Gosnells City have the bye.
SMITH DEBUT PITS GLORY AGAINST ADELAIDE
With only three training sessions under his belt, new coach Ron Smith will lead Perth Glory for the first time when they take on Adelaide United this weekend. The pre-season Cup clash will also mark the much-anticipated debut of star recruit Stan Lazaridis. "Having only been on the ground in Perth for a few days, I've got a way to go and there's a lot to be done, but it's looking very positive," said Smith. "It's all about playing, so the pre-season is a great opportunity for me to identify our strong points and areas of improvement in a true team situation. It's pleasing to see the lads so fired up and they're out to impress, so hopefully that will be reflected in performance on the pitch ... it would be great to see the fans come out to see how we do!" Glory go up against Adelaide at Dorrien Gardens from 3.00pm on Sunday.
MURPHY DELIGHTED WITH REDS IMPROVEMENT
The past few months have provided Armadale's faithful supporters few reasons to cheer, but wins in their past two outings has given the club hope of climbing away from the bottom of the Premier League table. On a wet Tuesday night coach Peter Murphy took time out from putting his players through paces to explain why there's an extra pep in his step these days. "It's been a long time coming mate, and personally I felt a lot of pressure with us not performing and sitting on the bottom of the table," explained the coach. "But I knew things at the club would be okay if we started taking some of the chances we were creating. We've played some good football and been close to the top teams then losing to the lower teams by the odd goal."
Murphy attributes Armadale's revival, at least in part, to new signing Alex Williams. "Alex has given the side that extra bit of edge and has started converting some of the chances that earlier in the year we were missing," he said. "But we are not a one man team we have had players contributing all season. Scott Devine was new to the club this season and has done really well, we probably played him one or two weeks before he was fully fit but at the time we needed someone with more experience in the side. Daryl Platten has been an absolute stalwart at the back for us and Jason Goodwin has also worked tirelessly in the middle of the park. It's been a real team effort this year, we have greater depth within the squad with eighteen or nineteen players fighting for a spot. And as the coach that a good problem to have."
Armadale's disciplinary record has come into question on several occasions this season to the degree Murphy has toyed with the idea of starting each game with only ten men on the park. "I suggested that last week at training," joked Murphy. "Seriously though, most of our sending off's have been two yellow cards and most haven't been malice. There was one incident when a player was sent off for a tackle that I told him wasn't expectable from the club or me, and for that he was fined his weeks wages. I don't like criticising the match officials but we seem to be having a number of decisions going against us. You sometimes get that when you're at the bottom of the table but the standard of the referees this season seems to have dropped in my opinion."
In the space of a fortnight Armadale have turned their season around with a 4-0 thrashing of Floreat Athena which was followed by a hard-fought 2-1 win at E.C.U. Joondalup. "I walked into the rooms a few weeks ago when we were bottom of the league and without a win ... it wasn't the change room of a team in that position. The lads have been great this season, they just lacked belief in themselves. No matter how hard things go not a single player has thrown the towel in and they're now getting the rewards. We've got the bounce of the ball over the past couple of weeks, which is something that you need in our position and I hope it carries on this week against Wanneroo City."
COCKBURN, KNIGHTS CAN OVERHAUL SORRENTO
Cockburn City and Western Knights are best positioned to reel in Sorrento's charge towards the regular season title. At least that's the opinion of the local football community who responded in strong numbers to last week's footballwa.net poll question 'Who stands the best chance of catching runaway Premier League leader Sorrento?' Having kept the pressure on the northern suburbs for the past few weeks, Cockburn (33.6%) were the most popular choice to challenge for top honours. But the form side at the moment are Western Knights (28.7%) and they should not be discounted. A poor run of results has seen Floreat Athena (19.5%) slip off the pace, while Perth S.C. (18.2%) are rated as the 'dark horse' of the field. But just who launches a late season charge had better gets their stakes on fast as, with only seven games remaining, Sorrento hold a seven point advantage over second position.
SCHOOLBOYS PLAN NATIONALS ASSAULT
Planning is in the final stages for the State Schoolboys assault on next months Schools National Championships. The class of 2006 are off to Canberra for the week-long event which commences on 12th August and will attempt to emulate the achievements of the past couple of years in which West Australian returned home with the silver medal. One of the sides strengths is their depth with three players - Steven Hesketh, Jovo Pavlovic and Wesley Ryder - established first team players at club level while several others are on fringe of regular selection.
It's been over three months since the process of assembling the squad began. "Trials started in early April at Brittania Reserve," explained Schoolboys coach Fadi Ma'ayah. "Initially most of the players were Year 11 and Year 12 students but to make sure we got the best blend of players possible we contacted the local clubs and TAFE colleges which generated more interest. All up we had around forty students who trialled and it was quite a challenge to get that down to the final squad of sixteen."
Having selected a training squad, Ma'ayah and his coaching staff have worked on ensuring the side has the flexibility to adapt in any game situation. "The squad have been working on applying a variety of tactics and approaches to the game as we need to be able to play more that one system, be it 3-5-2, 3-4-3 or 4-4-2, when we get to Canberra," said Ma'ayah. "The focus has been on the players' individual role within each of these systems, pressuring the oppositions and maintaining our shape, especially when we're not in possession."
The 2006 West Australian Schoolboys squad is Alan Claxton, Cameron Hayes, Sam Keary (Armadale), Jovo Pavlovic, Wesley Ryder (Bayswater City), Anthony Harris, Jack McCabe (Cockburn City), Damien Chapeleau (Floreat Athena), Nic Trajkoski (Sorrento), Steven Hesketh, Damian Houston (Stirling Lions), Daniel Agudelo, Tony Davies, John Mansaray (Swan I.C.), Matthew Allen and Carlos Portillo (Western Knights). The side is coached by Fadi Ma'ayah with David Holmes as team manager.
GLORY ANNOUNCE NEW COACH AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE (by Jack Warner)
Perth Glory's close season woes are at hopefully now behind them with the appointment this morning of a new coach and chief executive officer. Ron Smith, a key member of the team behind the Socceroos' recent World Cup achievements, has taken on the coaching role with Michelle Phillips, formerly of Football West, in the CEO's seat. "We promised that we would lay the right foundations to build a model Club here in Western Australia, and I believe that these appointments will significantly enhance that opportunity," said Matt Carroll, Football Federation Australia's head of operations.
Twenty-two applications for the coaching role were whittled down to six with Smith's name at the top of that list. Amongst his achievements are ten years as head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport's soccer program and time with the Football Association of Malaysia, while for the past two years Smith has been filled the role of technical manager for the Australian national team. "I've always liked my teams to be well organised in defence but to play attacking football. Nobody wants to see a defensive team that pinches an occasional goal on a counter attack," said Smith who officially takes charge today.
Although he acknowledged the need to strengthen Glory's squad Smith was tight-lipped when quizzed about which players he'd like to bring to the club. A clear need exists for Glory to increase their playing staff to cover for injury and suspension, and it's no secret the club need to add depth to their strike force. Ideally, Smith would like to add a utility player or two, "but you have to go with what you've got ... we'll do as well as we can this season, I have every confidence that the players will be competitive."
Smith singled out former Socceroo David Mitchell when asked if he had anyone in mind as his assistant. "He has a background of four World Cups and ten years playing in Europe," said Smith. "He has experience in the old N.S.L. and has said that if there was ever a chance to work with me he'd jump at it here is that chance." That effectively ends a six-year association with Glory for Alan Vest who steps down as caretaker coach from today. Also out of a job is Mich d'Avray who has been told his technical director position is likely to be abolished in the near future.
Newly appointed CEO Michelle Phillips has identified the creation of a new culture and building much stronger links between Perth Glory and the Western Australian football community as her key areas of focus. "I hope that my experience in the Business and Commercial sector, as well as good understanding of the Western Australian grass-roots football environment will be valuable assets for Perth Glory going into this season," she said. Phillips oversaw the administrative restructure of WA football which brought seven associations together under the common banner of Football West.
WILLIAMS DIGS IN WITH ARMADALE
Armadale's exciting new striker Alex Williams is the latest import to strut his stuff in front of the local football fraternity. The former Scottish league player joined Armadale four weeks ago and it's no coincidence that their fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better during that period. "The players at Armadale have made me really welcome and I'm really enjoying playing at the club," said the likeable Scot. "The whole side is buzzing at the moment and there's a great spirit within the camp. But we need to make sure we go on with the job over the next couple of months, the last thing we want is to be stuck in a relegation battle going into the last few games of the season."
Released a few months back by Clyde, Williams has spent the past few weeks working his way back to full fitness. "It was a little difficult at the start but I've fitted in well at the club and once I get my fitness up it will benefit me, and more importantly the team. I spoke to Murphs (coach Peter Murphy) before I came here and he told Armadale were making chances but not finishing them off. I've come here hopefully to change that and so far so good." Murphy has been delighted with Williams' progress. "He is a quality player and he knows how to score and set up goals. And because we've scored a few goals I the past few games the confidence of the whole team has risen and things are very positive at the present."
Williams has been pleasantly surprised by the standard of players in the Premier League and feels the quality of the local competition is high. "It's actually all-right, it's not as bad as people would have you believe. There is some decent players in the league in the games I've played so far," he said. Although he's been in town only a month, there are already rumours doing the rounds that Williams has what it takes to make an impact in the A-League. However, the 23-year old isn't looking that far ahead just yet and is focused on helping his club away from the bottom of the table. "I'm here to do a job for Armadale and I've got to work hard at training and we'll see what happens."
PETKOVIC OUT FOR MONTH
Jason Petkovic will be out of action for at least a month after injuring his ankle in Perth Glory's pre-season Cup meeting with Melbourne Victory. The veteran shot-stopper limped from the field late in the second half of Glory's 1-1 draw with Victory with initial concerns being a broken bone. And while x-rays yesterday ruled out a broken bone in Petkovic's lower leg, it's expected an MRI today will reveal damaged ankle ligaments. "It looks like a ligament has partially torn off the bone but we'll only know for sure when he's had the scan," said caretaker coach Alan Vest.
Although Australian youth international Aleksander Vrteski took over between the posts on the weekend, Glory are likely to seek a more experienced replacement for Petkovic on a short-term contract. "Alex is a young lad, he's done very, very well at his age level," commented Vest. "But he's only 17 and he's got a long way to go. I don't think he's quite ready to play regularly in the A-League. He's a confident lad (but) he needs a lot of work." The task of identifying a goalkeeper to lead Glory into the regular season will probably be left until next week, after an announcement on who'll coach the side this term is made. The coach will also complete the Glory squad by filling the final four positions of their roster.
FORMER PLAYERS URGE GLORY TO RE-CONNECT
For Perth Glory to return to their glory days the club must forge stronger ties with local clubs and former players according to two of their most decorated players. Gareth Naven and Scott Miller, who played of 370 games and won three Most Glorious Player awards between them, feel the A-League club can successfully re-engage with the West Australian football community simply by showing them the respect they deserve.
The relationship between Glory and local clubs has always been rocky but Naven sees an easy solution. "Glory's association with juniors and local clubs need to be on an equal footing. Up to now, it's been distant and it needs to be developed and both sides of the fence must be happy," said the club's inaugural captain. "Local state league players need to get opportunities with Glory if they're good enough and the clubs need compensation for these players."
Miller, who retired in March after ten seasons at Glory, says the club can create culture and heritage by improving relations with former players. "Once the careers of Gareth Naven, Shaun Murphy, Alistair Edwards and company were over, once their on-field value was gone, that was it - they let them go," he said. "Glory was always more of a business than a soccer club but these players created their own unwritten rules or values and created a team spirit that resonated with the fans. That's what made the club."
WARD EARNS BOSS' PRAISE
Gary Waddock has heaped praised on new signing Nick Ward after Queens Park Rangers' 1-0 pre-season friendly defeat of Gillingham on the weekend. Wearing the No.9 shirt, Ward played the opening half in his first run for the London club since his transfer from Perth Glory. "Nick did very well in the first half and almost capped his display with a wonderful goal," said the Rangers manager. "To be fair, the 'keeper has pulled off a wonderful save and credit has to go to him for that. Nick has settled in well and we're all really looking forward to seeing him in action when the Championship kicks off on August 5th." Rangers travel to Italy this week for the final chapter of their pre-season campaign.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOURTEEN
Despite ending with ten players, Subiaco United claimed a 3-1 victory from a fiery women's Premier League encounter with home team Mandurah City. An early error by goalkeeper C.Roper presented Mandurah with a golden opportunity to go ahead but Nicole Pritchett shot wide with the goal at her mercy. This would prove a costly miss as Subiaco took the lead in the 9th minute when Shani Lynch swung in an inch-perfect cross to L.Kirton who turned the ball in unmarked.
B.Hall prevented Subiaco from extending the margin with a superb full-length diving save to keep out Lynch's shot. But Subiaco weren't to be denied for long and a few minutes from the break A.Panayotov pounced on sloppy defending to drill in goal number two through a crowded penalty box. Mandurah hit back immediately as Jana Moss floated the ball into the area where Ashley Knox rose high to nod into the net.
Mandurah went within inches of equalising through a free-kick by Melanie Paschkewitz which was agonisingly wide of the target. Panayotov received her marching orders in the 81st minute after taking down Paschkewitz from behind and with the ball out of play. Although with the numerical advantage, Mandurah failed to stretch their opponents and in the 90th minute S.May made the points safe for Subiaco by netting their third of the afternoon.
GLORY DRAW WITH MELBOURNE
Perth Glory picked up their first point of the pre-season Cup by drawing 1-1 with Melbourne Victory under clear blue skies at Dorrien Gardens this afternoon. Jamie Harnwell was pleased with his sides' performance in difficult circumstances. "As a team we really banded together today, and you couldn't fault anyone's performance," said the Glory captain. "We are getting back to the standard that we were a few years ago." Injury prevented David Tarka and goalkeeper Jason Petkovic from seeing out the game and they join Simon Colosimo, Jeremy Christie and Jamie Coyne on the casualty list.
The first half saw both sides create opportunities with Victory holding court over the opening quarter hour. Glory eventually settled with Naum Sekuloski and Stuart Young combining well on the left, and Leo Bertos causing all sorts of problems down the opposite flank. The hosts' best chance came when Bertos fed Sekulovski into the box only for his shot to be touched around the post by Eugene Galekovic. Bobby Despotovski was also unlucky not to score shortly after with a dipping free-kick that passed narrowly over the bar. Victory could have gone one up just before half-time but Danny Allsopp failed to capitalise on an Archie Thompson cross.
Within six minutes of the re-start Allsopp had made amends for his earlier miss when he found space inside the box to clinically beat Jason Petkovic in a one-on-one from a great pass out of midfield by Fred. Glory rallied and just eight minutes later equalised when Ante Kovacevic surged into the area and evaded one defender before unselfishly laying off a perfect square ball to Young who finished from close-range. The drama didn't end there for Glory with Petkovic forced from the field with an ankle injury after making a fantastic save on the line to deny Archie Thompson with twenty minutes to play. Both teams pressured hard over the remaining minutes but the points would be shared with neither able to conjure a deciding goal.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOURTEEN (Inglewood United vs Sorrento by Brett Klucznik; Cockburn City vs Perth S.C. by Jack Warner; Floreat Athena vs Bayswater City courtesy Floreat Athena; Wanneroo City vs Western Knights by Suraj Karia; Swan I.C. vs Stirling Lions by Peter Simcox; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Armadale courtesy Armadale)
Sorrento's march towards the Premier League title continued with a 4-2 away win over Inglewood United. There were chances galore in a brisk opening spell as Louis Parkinson, Greg Sharland, Brodie Martin and Simon Harland each placed shots agonisingly wide of the target. But after this early flourish both defences tightened their grip and genuine opportunities became something of a rarity. It took a defence lapse in the 43rd minute for the deadlock to be broken by an unmarked Todd Harnwell who tapped at the back post from Jared Love's low centring ball. That lead, however, would be short lived as five minutes into the second half Louis Parkinson crashed the ball through a crowded area after Neil Young parried his initial shot. The momentum was now very much with Inglewood and Young had to move sharply to keep out David Whiteside's rasping drive. The game was turned on it's head in the 62nd minute when Shane Pryce was deemed to have impeded Harland inside the area, referee Steve Muldoon pointed straight to the spot and although Jason Razmovski guessed the right way he was unable to deny Love. That swung Sorrento into action and six minutes later Danny Hill drilled a free-kick past the defensive wall and in off the post. Sloppy defending in the 76th minute enabled Harland to arrow a low shot between 'keeper and post from 15-metres to put the result beyond doubt. Inglewood were given a glimmer of hope when Brodie Martin was sent off for a second bookable offence with nine minutes to go. The gap was reduced shortly after by substitute Mladin Kovacevic who put away the loose ball after Young failed to cleanly take a cross from Dean Apelgren. And although Parkinson called Young into action once more, the task was simply too great for Inglewood who remain in unfamiliar territory near the foot of the table.
The showdown between Cockburn City and Perth S.C. certainly lived up to its Match of the Week billing with the sides battling out a tense 1-1 draw at a sunny Dalmatinac Park. Within thirty seconds of kick-off Perth goalkeeper Gianni Papalia was at full stretch to tip Andrew Keary's goal-bound shot over the crossbar. Recent heavy rains had left the surface somewhat slippery and early play was dominated by players losing their footing and conceding possession. Cockburn began to get on top and Jason Dos Santos' free-kick was headed to safety by Aaron Cole. Another Jason Dos Santos effort was blocked by a defender with Simon El Chami steering the follow-up wide, and shortly after Aaron Dos Santos shot off-target. A rare Perth attack saw Alan Dunlop make a one-handed stop from David Onoforo, then on 21 minutes Michael Mirco shot just past the post with Papalia at full stretch. Perth began to see more of the ball and Gary Faria shot flew just over the bar after turning on a sixpence. Four minutes from the break the hosts went ahead through Aaron Dos Santos who latched on to a Mirco pass, skipped past Matt Danskin and struck a rasping shot into the roof. Perth started the second half intent on finding an equaliser as Gianfranco Circati headed against the bar and Faria was thwarted by an alert Dunlop. Papalia received a standing ovation in 70 minutes after he spectacularly kept out a Mirco shot on the counter attack. Perth wasted several opportunities before, in the 85th minute, Circati evaded two lunging tackles and drilled the ball across the face of goal for substitute Jeff Bright to tap in the equaliser at close-range. Cockburn substitute Richard Lacey was red carded for elbowing an opponent in stoppage time, and although Perth pushed forward in a desperate attempt to snatch victory Cockburn held on for a share of the points.
Floreat Athena put a month of disappointment behind them by mauling Bayswater City 5-1 at Litis Stadium. There were some promising signs from a young Bayswater side during the opening quarter hour in which Jovo Pavlovic and Daniel Micevski featured prominently. But it all amounted to nothing as Floreat went ahead on 18 minutes through Adrian Sutton's classy header that looped over Bobson Koroma and into the top corner from a Costa Socratous free-kick. Seven minutes later the margin was doubled as Branimir Mikulic speared in a cross that somehow avoided a handful of players in the 6-yard box and slipped into the back corner of the net. Bayswater were limited to a couple of long range shots via Micevski and Jared Smith but neither tested goalkeeper Vas Vujacic. It came as no surprise when the margin became three goals on 29 minutes as Paul Vatistas followed up a shot from John Migas to ram the ball home from 3 metres. This same pattern continued into the second half with Vatistas working tirelessly in the centre while John Migas and Socratous provided the service from out wide. Goal number four arrived via a Mikulic corner which flicked the head of a defender before being met solidly by Adam Bachiller who converted at close-range. Against the run of play Bayswater pulled one back as a neat exchange of passes put Leo Bozic who tucked the ball wide of an out-stretched Vujacic in a one-on-one situation. The final goal of the afternoon arrived not far out from the final whistle when Mikulic waltzed past his marker then rounded the 'keeper to slot into a vacant net. Floreat created a number of chances to further add to their tally but had to be content with their five goal haul. Bayswater may have lacked the experience to seriously challenge Floreat on the day, but they should take heart from the fact there are a number of exciting young prospects coming through their ranks.
A triple-strike by substitute Paul Devlin powered Western Knights to a 5-0 win over Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Brought early for the injured Aaron Bahadori, Devlin's physical presence proved too difficult for the home defence to contain and in the 11th minute he headed in neatly from a long throw by Jon Higgins. The Knights midfield of Shane McNally and Paul Cooke were completely dominant and giving Wanneroo no opportunity to influence play. In 23rd minute David Annall fed the ball through to McNally whose shot was blocked and the gangly Devlin was on hand to take advantage by blasting past Kevin Miller on the second attempt. Cooke's driving runs were a cause for concern for Wanneroo throughout and he earned his side a penalty in the 46th minute after being cynically brought down by Danny Taylor, and up stepped Stuart Montgomery who made no mistake from the spot. In-form playmaker Daniel Trim got himself on the scoresheet in the 60th minute amongst some controversy when he poked the ball over the line in a mad scramble inside the penalty area, the assistant referee flagged for offside, however, the referee over-ruled the call and the goal stood. The Knights were not finished yet and in the 68th minute compounded Wanneroo's miserable afternoon with their fifth goal. Higgins went on a long run down the left before crossing to an unmarked Montgomery who intelligently laid the ball into the path of the prowling Devlin to slash a shot low into the corner from 19-metres. In an unsavory ending to the game, Wanneroo defender Danny Glasspool was given his marching orders in the 87th minute for two bookable offences which caused verbal clashes between the enraged home crowd and several Knights players. The only saving grace on a bad day at the office for Wanneroo was the form of Miller who, despite the blow-out, was in outstanding between the posts.
Stirling Lions headed home with all three points after a hard fought 2-1 defeat of Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. Both teams made a bright start with Brendan Knox heading wide at a free-kick, and not long after at the opposite end Rob Miller had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for Andy Brown's foul on Cory Hugo. Miki Vujacic set the wheels in motion for the games opening goal on 13 minutes with a superb diagonal pass which allowed Knox and David Foster to combine and set up Damien Catalano who made the most of hesitant defending by stroking his shot low past Phil Straker. A lack of quality passing in the final third limited Stirling's potency and their best chance came from Rob Miller's strike from distance that stretched Hugo. Stirling were piling on the pressure and in the 35th minute that paid off as Andy Brown turned the ball over in midfield and sent David Dugdale clear to finish low past the 'keeper. Five minutes later the visitors had the lead as Ludovic Boi's cross picked out Dugdale who clinically knocked it past Hugo with the Swan defence napping. An amazing double save by the Swan 'keeper just before the break denied Stirling a third goal, Hugo blocking the initial shot from Boi then instinctively keeping out Brown's follow-up. Swans began the second half at full pace but unable to create a lot in the way of genuine goalscoring chances. However, on 74 minutes they were handed a lifeline when Tom Shepheard went down inside the box, but Straker would emerge the hero by saving Catalano's spot kick. A Stirling counterattack saw Jordan Rhodes play in Dugdale but Hugo was out quick to save at his feet. Knox and Foster had late chances to snatch a point for the hosts but both sent their efforts narrowly wide of the upright.
Armadale picked up maximum points for the second successive week with a commanding 2-1 win at E.C.U. Joondalup. The game was only 2 minutes old when Alex Williams' perfectly weighted free-kick was powerfully met by Darren Kingston whose header hit the net before goalkeeper Peter Stewart could respond. Tom Jones was within inches of equalising ten minutes later when his shot rebounded off the upright before being cleared by the defence. Martin Ashworth and Mark Lee were running the show for the hosts and sending in some tantalising crosses on which Ian McMurray and Tom Jones were unable to capitalise. Going the other way, Kingston and Williams were also presented with opportunities to widen the margin but could find no way past an alert Stewart. Half-time was only three minutes away when Joondalup drew level after Nick Stone dropped a cross under pressure and Tom Jones prodded the ball into the net. However, there was still time for Armadale to reclaim the lead through Williams who converted from the penalty spot after being brought down by Stewart. One of the second half highlights was the battle for midfield supremacy in which Goodwin and Scott Devine fought it out with Lee and Scott Blackmore. In the 62nd minute Armadale went down to ten men when Kodi Madeley was shown his second yellow card, but the ledger was balanced soon after when Scott Bushby also received his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Armadale were slowly getting on top and a diving header by Billy Kirkpatrick was held by Stewart who, minutes later, pulled off a stunning one-handed save to turn away a Goodwin header. Lee went close for the hosts but by far the better opportunities were coming from Armadale as Williams crashed a shot into the underside of the crossbar. Teenager Ryan Pearson was within inches of sealing victory in the closing minutes but scooped the ball just high.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOURTEEN (Dianella White Eagles vs Fremantle Spirit courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Rockingham City vs Gosnells City courtesy Rockingham City)
Dianella White Eagles became the first team to take points away from Fremantle Spirit this season when they held the port side 2-2 at Dianella Reserve. An eventful first half was only 6 minutes old when a handball inside the area resulted in a Dianella penalty which Rydeen Botha drove against the crossbar and ricocheted to safety. With 25 minutes gone Fremantle claimed a deserved lead courtesy of good work on the right by Jason Barrera which enabled David Rogers to finish from close-range. But barely a minute had passed before Dianella drew level through Dragan Njegic's well flighted free-kick which David Mrdja headed powerfully into the net. Fremantle would take the initiative into the break, however, with the influential Barrera again combining with Rogers who coolly lobbed the advancing goalkeeper after 31 minutes. The game opened up in the second half and a brilliant reflex save by Lebib Ramadan to thwart Callum Roberts kept the visitors in the hunt. Dianella pressed forward in search of an equaliser which arrived in the 79th minute via a courageous diving header by substitute Dejan Djukanovic who collided with the post in the process and was taken to hospital suffering concussion.
Honours were even between Forrestfield United and Ashfield who drew 1-1 at Hartfield Park. The first opening of the afternoon came the way of Dennis Lee who failed to elicit a response from goalkeeper Francis Allen by dragging his shot wide. Following the early scare Ashfield ceased control of the game with Jason Van Rooy having considerable say over the flow of play. Young striker Bobby Golup was also featuring prominently for the visitors but couldn't beat Atekhis Elhossain, while Luke O'Neill, Julian Piromalli and Igor Novakovic also went close to breaking the leadlock. Phil Bell very nearly put Forrestfield one-up midway through the half but his explosive strike cannoned back off the crossbar, and just before the break Roger Miron was brilliantly denied at point-blank range by Allen. The game continued in much the same fashion in the second half with plenty of opportunities but no goals. All that changed on 58 minutes when substitute Jon Greenwood latched on to a pass from Justin Mansfield and beat two opponents before neatly lobbed the 'keeper from just outside the area. Ashfield continue to pressure and with ten minute remaining were rewarded as Mohammad Komaderic converted a cross from the right. Both could have snatched victory late but it wasn't to be and the points were shared.
Canning City notched up their fifth win of the season by downing South West Phoenix 1-0 in a tense and at times spiteful clash at John Connell Reserve. Drakso Jankovic had the best of the early chances when he latched on to Greg Hayes free-kick but Alan Mateccuci's reading of the play allowed him to make the save. There were very few chances at either end of the park with the bulk of play taking place in midfield. Steve Suttie had the ball in the net on half hour for Phoenix but that was disallowed by a close offside call. Canning's best chance of the period came the way of Simon Versaico whose show was just wide. What turned out to be the deciding goal arrived seven minutes into the second half when Mick Van Dongen swung in a corner which an uncontested Garth Lecky rose to loop into the top corner. In response, Phoenix upped the tempo and much of the closing stages took place in their attacking half. A snap on goal by David Murphy flashed narrowly wide but otherwise there were few genuine openings for the visitors who were held at bay by a well-organised defence.
Rockingham City eased their relegation fears by downing fellow struggler Gosnells City 2-0 when they met at Dowling Street Reserve. The more productive play early came from Gosnells and a close-range header by Brian Cairney was pushed onto the post by Cyril Sharrock who was grateful when the ball returned to his hands. It took Rockingham some time to settle into a rhythm and start putting pressure on the visiting backline. In the 80th minute Paul Colkin floated a free-kick into the area where goalkeeper Robbie Figg failed to hold Alex Smith's weak header which was ruled to have crossed the line by the match officials. The second half was a torrid affair with play being far from pretty as the two combatants exchanged blows. Gosnells main avenue to goal was though Cairney who went past Luke Rennie and had the target in sight when Rob Crerar stepped in to rob him of the opportunity. For their part Rockingham were hitting on the counterattack and through such as move Glen Smith sealed a home victory by calmly putting away a one-on-one with the 'keeper after being released by Crerar.
Balcatta defeated Mandurah City 1-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. The only goal of the afternoon came via D.Franklin after 22 minutes. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Armadale have moved off the bottom of the Premier League table for the first time this season. Darren Kingston and Alex Williams did the damage as the Reds out-shot E.C.U. Joondalup 2-1 to register their second win in as many weeks. But while there's celebrations at Armadale, Bayswater City are trying to figure out how they can escape relegation after slipping to last place following a 1-5 thrashing at Floreat Athena. Branimir Mikulic (2), Adrian Sutton, Adam Bachillor and Paul Vastitas were the scorers in Floreat's first win in a month.
Table-topping Sorrento downed Inglewood United 4-2 through goals by Todd Harnwell, Jared Love, Danny Hill and Simon Harland. Honours were shared between Cockburn City and Perth S.C. who drew 1-1 at Dalmatinac Park. Aaron Dos Santos put the hosts ahead just before the break but that was cancelled out by a late Jeff Bright equaliser. Paul Devlin bagged a hat-trick with Daniel Trim and Stuart Montgomery also on the scoresheet in Western Knights' 5-0 thrashing of Wanneroo City. David Dugdale netted both goals in Stirling Lions' 2-1 win at Swan I.C.
Dianella White Eagles have ended Fremantle Spirit's winning run by holding the port side to a 2-2 draw. But the opportunity to make up ground on the First Division leader was wasted by Ashfield who were held 1-1 away at Forrestfield United. Balcatta moved back into third after knocking over Mandurah City 1-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Rockingham City put daylight between themselves and the drop zone by defeating Gosnells City 2-0 through goal by Alex Smith and Glen Smith. South West Phoenix remain at the foot of the table after going down 0-1 at Canning City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Its second verses fifth this weekend as Perth S.C. visit Dalmatinic Park to pit skills with Cockburn City in the footballwa.net Match of the Week . Cockburn may have moved into second place on the table but their home form isn't the best and that will be of concern for coach Billy Russell. Perth, on the other hand, have been disappointing this year and will be looking to build on their recent League and Cup successes.
Premier League leaders Sorrento visit the Kiev Sports Ground where they plan to continue Inglewood United's miserable season. Floreat Athena are seeking to get back in the winners circle when they welcome Bayswater City to Litis Stadium. Swan I.C. have home ground advantage over Mike Lyons' Stirling Lions, while Armadale head north in search of successive victories when they play E.C.U. Joondalup. Wanneroo City have a difficult home date with an in-form Western Knights.
First Division pacesetter Fremantle Spirit will out to continue their winning ways by taking all three points from home side Dianella White Eagles. Second placed Ashfield travel to Hartfield Park where Forrestfield United are host club. Balcatta and Mandurah City have underperformed this season and a lot of expected from their meeting at Graham Burkett Reserve. Rockingham City are pitted against Gosnells City at Dowling Street Reserve, while South West Phoenix have a chance to pick up some much needed points when they head to Canning City. Morley Windmills have the bye.
GLORY GO IN SEARCH OF VICTORY
Perth Glory take on Melbourne Victory in their first home fixture of the pre-season Cup competition tomorrow at Dorrien Gardens. Despite suffering a narrow defeat to Cup holder Central Coast Mariners last weekend, Glory performed well with solid showings from David Micevski, Leo Bertos, Mark Robertson, David Tarka and Jamie Harnwell. The squad will now look to take things up a notch and record their first win of the campaign in what is expected to be an intensely competitive clash.
"We're looking forward to a good challenge tomorrow," said interim coach Alan Vest. "Our plan will be to build on the positives of last week and get off to a better start much earlier in the match. Obviously Melbourne as a team will be at full strength, so we'll need to show a lot more consistency and be competitive right throughout the game to match up. It's also a good opportunity for the lads to strengthen their match fitness and to get some serious practice in, in preparation for the Hyundai A-League season."
Having commenced training with Glory this week, Stan Lazaridis will be rested for tomorrow's match in readiness for making his debut next weekend. Unavailable for selection due to injury are Simon Colosimo (knee ligament), Jeremy Christie (knee cartilage) and Jamie Coyne (abdomen). Tomorrow's game takes place at Dorrien Gardens, home of Perth S.C., and kicks off at 3.00pm. Entry is $5.00 on the gate and those under the age of 15 will be admitted free.
FLOREAT TOUGH IT OUT
It's a month to try to patience of even the most diehard Floreat Athena supporter. Four weeks ago the inner city club were flying high, just a single point behind table-toppers Sorrento and daring to dream of the League and Cup double. But four successive losses has completely transformed Floreat's season and they've slipped to third to the table, some ten points adrift of top spot, and knocked out of the association Cup.
"Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for us," said coach Michael Roki. "A number of the squad have been struck down by flu, key players have suffered injuries, we've conceded three penalties, scored a couple of classic own goals and lost Josip Magdic to Perth Glory. But credit must be given to the player group who, at a meeting earlier this week, made no excuses and recognised that we have just not played at the bar level that we set earlier on in the year."
Floreat's poor run started with successive losses to Western Knights, saw them eliminated from the Cup by Stirling Lions, and last weekend thumped by a ten-man Armadale. "From our point of view, all four matches were winnable," said Roki. "We've let ourselves slip out of the Cup and the League title chase by a series of lacklustre performances. It's a major disappointment for a squad that worked extremely hard to maintain a position high on the ladder, only to suddenly find themselves out of contention for a trophy at this stage of the season."
While it's been a tough few weeks for Floreat Roki says the experience has strengthened his players' resolve and built character. "If there is a positive side to it, I have seen a fairly young group of players learn a lot about themselves and the game, something they can hopefully benefit from in the longer term," commented Roki. "We've learnt that we need to be more clinical in front of goal, that we need to respond better to adverse situations and that we need to apply ourselves to the full ninety minutes."
Following his players frank self-assessment, Roki remains confident Floreat will turn their season around. "What's important now is that the team is committed to playing out the remainder of the season strongly," he said. "First and foremost we have to earn some respect by finishing as high as possible on the ladder. And on top of that we need to improve as a team and take as much as we can of this years' experience into season 2007. I have every faith that we will all see a re-focused Floreat in the forthcoming weeks."
JOONDALUP SPLIT WITH COACHING TEAM
E.C.U. Joondalup have parted ways with their entire senior coaching staff. Coach Stuart Currie was told earlier in the week that his services were no longer required by the club, and while assistant coach Mike Brazil and team manager Mark Culverwell were offered to stay on they turned down the offer. "I was told by phone not to turn up to training on Tuesday," said Currie of his departure. "Mike, Mark and myself gave 100% to the club and we're disappointed that it's ended this way. We were heading in the right direction in re-establishing the club and if you ask about anyone will tell you that Joondalup have played good football this season."
The sudden departure of Joondalup's entire coaching team took the player group by surprise. "The players were shocked when told," Currie commented. "A number of them said they were ready to chuck it but that's not going to achieve anything and I've advised them to stick together and play on. We've not been allowed to address the players so I'd like to thank them here and now for their effort and commitment which has been 100% this season." Joondalup have appointed John Brown as first team coach until a permanent replacement is made.
BILSON FOLLOWS HERS DREAMS TO ARSENAL (by Penny TannerHoath)
Every young footballer harbours the dream of one day travelling halfway across the world to play for one of Europe's top clubs. Well that dream has come true for 15-year old Lillie Bilson who jetted to London on Monday to link up with Arsenal ahead of their participation in the 'Football Festival' in Denmark. Bilson has been invited to be part of Arsenal's squad at the annual youth tournament which attracts teams - and agents - from right across Europe.
Bilson is hopeful that wearing Arsenal colours in Denmark will lead to achieving her goal of playing the semi-professionally. "Playing in this competition will be a trial for entrance into the Arsenal academy for next year," she explained. The opportunity to try out for Arsenal, one of only four semi-professional women's teams in England, came about after Bilson's family sent video footage to England. The tape made it's way to the desk of Gunners manager Vic Akers and development officer Clare Wheatley who made Bilson the offer to join them in Denmark.
Although Bislon has taken her place in various girls clinics and State team squads during the past three years, she's found her niche in the boys competition. "I'm playing this season for the Stirling Lions' Under-14 Premier boy's team. Last year I played some games with Northern Redbacks then transferred to Joondalup Jacks boys who finished second on Division Two." Should Bilson be successful in trials with Arsenal she'll be eligible to take her place in their academy next year when she turns sixteen.
LAZARIDIS ITCHING FOR DEBUT
With the new season due to kick off in little over a month, Stan Lazaridis admits he is beginning to feel the pressure. After more than a decade in England playing for West Ham United and Birmingham City, Perth Glory's star recruit says he's now looking forward to the challenge of turning out for his hometown club. "It's a lot of pressure but I'm not fazed - I'll just take it on," Lazaridis said. "I think I know what the people want here, and I think at the end of the day if you're giving 100% and your teammates can see that, that will be enough. I've lived with this sort of pressure every week, every day over in the UK. If you want to be on top for so long you have to deal with it. It's part of the game so it's not a problem, it's to be expected."
Glory's caretaker coach Alan Vest said he was delighted to have someone of Lazaridis' calibre at the club. "Stan is obviously a big boost for the game in Western Australia, a big boost for the club and a big boost for the players', let's build on that now," Vest said. Lazaridis is back in training for the first time since Australia's World Cup campaign came to its heartbreaking end, and the Socceroo may make his debut as soon as this Saturday when Glory take on Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens. "At the end of the week I'll speak to Alan and see what he wants to do," Lazaridis commented. "We'll see how the training goes throughout the week, and if I don't play this week I'll certainly play the following one."
Jamie Harnwell will remain as captain of Perth Glory after receiving the backing of his teammates. The big defender spoke to player group this amid media reports saying some were unhappy with his captaincy. "Things get dragged up from anywhere, so, you know we've had a bit of a chat and things have been straightened out," Harnwell said. "We've just got to stick together. When we were successful there was a great team spirit, things stayed in the dressing room - we had blues in there and no one found out about them - (so) that's the sort of thing we've got to get happening again."
GLORY ADD TRIO
Perth Glory have bolstered their playing stocks for the pre-season Cup with the addition of three new signings. One-time Australian international Mark Robertson has ended a lengthy spell abroad to return to Australia and joins local product Josip Magdic and New Zealand representative Adrian Webster in agreeing terms with Glory. The addition of Robertson, Magdic and Webster, all midfielder's, take Glory's squad for the pre-season tournament to seventeen players.
Robertson makes his national league return after eight seasons as a professional in the United Kingdom. The midfielder started his career at Marconi Stallions and as a 20-year old took up a three-year deal with Burnley, the last couple of months of which were spent on loan to Wollongong Wolves. Stints at Burnley, Swindon Town, Dundee and St. Johnstone followed and last season he turned out for Stockport County before a knee injury brought his time with the club to a premature end. All up, Robertson made 108 appearances during his time in England and Scotland. The 29-year old has represented Australia at all youth levels with his only senior outing being against Japan in 2001.
20-year old Magdic joins Glory fresh from a string of commanding performances on the local stage. A product of the Floreat Athena club, Magdic gained State Under-16 and Schoolboys representative honours before making his State League debut as a teenager in 2004. The following year was spent in Croatian where his development continued with NK Slavonija. Last summer Magdic returned to Perth and re-joined Floreat where his drive and work rate in the middle of the park played a big part in the clubs superb start of the local season.
New Zealand born Webster has decided its time to return down under after plying his trade overseas for the past few years. As a teenager Webster three seasons honing his skills as a trainee with Charlton Athletic which preceded spells at Colchester United, Margate and Maidstone. He considered giving the game away in 2003 after snapping knee ligaments, but at the insistence of Darlington Town manager David Hodgson he returned to England and spent two seasons with that club. Webster, 25, made his full debut international for New Zealand against Australia last year.
HARNWELL CHALLENGES HIS CRITICS
Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell will challenge his teammates over claimed dissatisfaction with his leadership. "If anyone has a problem, let them speak up," he declared. "No player has come up to me and said anything about standing down or handing over but, if it is true, it is a disappointing breach of trust. With everything else going on, the team really doesn't need this."
Harnwell learnt of the reported challenge to his authority in Gosford where Glory went down 2-1 to the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday in the pre-season Cup. Caretaker coach Alan Vest reiterated his support for Harnwell and said the captain had the support of the majority of players. "I've got a fair idea who is behind this and I think you'll find it's just one individual," he said. "Jamie's a really good, honest lad and it's a shame this has come up now."
High-profile recruit Stan Lazaridis has been mentioned as an alternative captain and Harnwell said he would have no problem handing over to a more accomplished player. "I don't know Stan that well because we came up in different age brackets but if whoever is going to coach this team appoints him, I won't have a problem with that," he said. "I'd be happy to play under his captaincy. There would be no bitterness if it was him."
UNDER-15'S CLAIM SILVER AT NATIONALS
The West Australian Under-15 women's team have come within a whisker of claiming gold medal at the National Talent Identification Championship. The State junior squad were undefeated in qualifying for their age group final in which they were edged out by a single goal by Football Queensland. Unfortunately, the Under-17's didn't fair quite as well and ended the week-long tournament in eight place after bowing to New Zealand in the minor play-off round.
Allocated a spot in Group B, the Under-15's kicked off their campaign off in style as Shani Lynch and Danielle Calautti found the net in a 2-0 win over Football Federation Northern Territory. The following day they swept past Football Federation Victoria 3-0 with Elle Semmens, Jaymee Gibbons and Ella Mastrantonio on the scoresheet. After a day's break, they returned to on-field activities with a 3-1 win over Football Queensland courtesy of goals from Maili Forbes, Mastrantonio and Sam Kerr.
West Australia completed the group phase without defeat after Lynch scored the only goal of their 1-0 win over Soccer New South Wales Country. The semi-finals produced a 2-0 defeat of Northern New South Wales with Calautti and Mastrantonio the scorers. Football Queensland overturned their earlier loss to West Australia by taking out Saturday's final 2-1. Early goals from Katrina Gorry and Sophie Hogben set Queensland down the path to glory before Kerr set up a tense finish by reducing the deficit after 61 minutes.
The Under-17's started their tournament with a 1-2 loss Football Queensland against whom Casey Webb found the target. Day Two was a bye for the girls from the west who returned to the action by drawing 1-1 with Northern New South Wales with Katy Coghlan the scorer. Coghlan was again on target in the 1-2 loss to Soccer New South Wales Country, and the side ended their Group A commitments by drawing 0-0 with Capital Football.
Friday's play-off for seventh and eight saw New Zealand run out comfortable 6-1 winners. Early goals from Roseanne Cox and Elizabeth Milne put the Kiwi's in a commanding position before Webb pulled a goal back on the quarter hour mark. Annabelle Bramwell added New Zealand's third within a minute, and the margin blew out after the break as Nicole Stratford (2) and Betsy Hassett netted. Soccer New South Wales Metropolitan won the Under-17's final by defeating Football Queensland 1-0.
The Under-15's strong showing at the nationals was rewarded not only with the silver medal, but also through the identification of four potential future national team players. Chloe Coglan of Balcatta and National Training Centre trio Ella Mastrantonio, Marianna Tabain and Danielle Calautti have all been invited to attend a national team training camp along with Under-15's coach Jessine Bonzas who'll be part of the coaching team.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THIRTEEN (courtesy Football West)
A commanding midfield display by Melissa Spillman inspired Mandurah City to a 3-2 victory over Northern Redbacks at Rickman Delawney Reserve. However, it was far from smooth sailing for Mandurah who twice came from being a goal down to claim the win. C.Frey put the Redbacks into a commanding position after just 11 minutes by finding the net with a free header at a corner. However, the lead was to last just two minutes before Ashley Knox' low cross was put away at the near post by N.Pritchett.
The Redbacks were handed a chance to reclaim the lead after 17 minute when R.Caswell was bundled over inside the area, however, J.Nellany skied the resulting spot kick over the crossbar. The penalty count was levelled minutes from half-time following a handball on the line, but M.Paschkewitz hit her shot straight down the middle at J.Jobling. It was a miss the visitors would rue as a defensive error shortly after allowed Nellany to convert from close-range and put the Redbacks ahead at the break.
Mandurah emerged for the second half fired up, the visitors dominating possession but wasteful in front of goal. It took a moment of individual brilliance from Spillman to bring the teams level in the 63rd minute by slipping past two defenders before unleashing a thunderbolt from 11-metres which gave the goalkeeper no chance. Spillman continued to feature prominently and in the 76th minute threaded a pass into the area intended for N.Pritchett which struck the boot of Frey and looped over Jobling's head and into the net for the deciding goal.
VEST LIKELY TO LEAVE GLORY
Perth Glory caretaker coach Alan Vest will not work under Ron Smith if he is appointed senior coach at the A-League club. Vest, whose caretaker status comes to an end on 31st July, has made it clear he wants the job permanently. However, Vest will be one of several candidates under consideration when Football Federation Australia meet this week to appoint a full-time coach of the club. It is understood Smith is the front runner to land the role ahead of Vest and former Australian internationals David Mitchell and Eddie Krncevic.
Vest was blunt when asked whether or not he would work under Smith. "Absolutely not," he told David Davutovic of the 'Sunday Times' newspaper. "It's up to others to decide, but there's not many people that could have done the last two months on their own. It's been tough. I don't know what y chances of getting the job this season are. You hear that many rumours and that many things that are going on behind the scenes that it makes you wonder whether you want to be involved."
MARINERS EDGE OUT GLORY
Perth Glory were narrowly defeated 1-2 by Central Coast Mariners in their opening pre-season Cup match in Gosford this evening. The Mariners struck twice in side the opening ten minutes before Leo Bertos pulled a goal back in the second half. After the match, Glory coach Alan Vest said there were plenty of positives about his sides' performance. "The most encouraging signs to come out of the match were the performances of David Micevski, who was great in midfield, Leo Bertos, who showed good pace out wide, and Jamie Harnwell at the back who had a slight ankle injury but was solid as usual. It was also good to see Mark Robertson get a sixty minute run under his belt, whilst David Tarka came through his half hour well and showed some nice touches. Josip Magdic also did well in his debut and didn't look out of place at this level coming from the local Perth League," commented Vest.
Glory made life difficult for themselves by conceding two early goals. The Mariners opened their account after 7 minutes when Brad Porter looped a cross into the 6-yeard box which found the head of Stewart Petrie who placed the ball well wide of Jason Petkovic and inside the far post. A defensive lapse by Ryan Townsend less than a minute later allowed Adam Kwasnik to fire into the net from 14-metres with only Petkovic to beat. Adam Kwasnik thought he had the hosts third goal shortly after but his effort was disallowed for offside. This sparked Glory into life and with Stuart Young and Bobby Despotovski combining well the visitors began creating chances of their own. Their best came just before half-time when a corner to the far post found Young whose shot from an acute angle was parried by Danny Vukovic and Harnwell was unable to guide the follow-up through a crowded 6-yard box.
It was with renewed vigour that Glory started the second half and immediately pressured their hosts. In the 48th minute David Micevski received a perfect lay-off from Despotovski and his shot from long-range which was well saved by Vukovic. Just before the hour the same two players combined again with Despotovski sending a pinpoint cross to Micevski who was this time thwarted by the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. Their reward arrived just after the hour when some tidy play through midfield ended with a stinging right-foot volley by Bertos from just outside the penalty box which Vukovic was unable to keep out. With the momentum now Glory, the visitors threatened to level the scores on a number of occasions but the Mariners held firm at the back to record their first victory of the new season.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THIRTEEN (Sorrento vs Swan I.C. by Suraj Karia; Bayswater City vs Cockburn City by John Ferreri; Armadale vs Floreat Athena by Steve McGregor; Stirling Lions vs Wanneroo City by Don Evans)
Brad Hassell scored twice to inspire Sorrento to a convincing 3-1 victory over Swan I.C. at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento went about their job with great relish in the first half and Todd Harnwell forced a fine save out of Corey Hugo in the 3rd minute. This was a sign of things to come for Swan who went a goal down two minutes later after Robert Monterosso gifted the ball to Scott Miller who put it at the feet of Jared Love and he made no mistake in finding the far corner of the net. Hassell was enjoying his afternoon in the sun and in the 27th minute found the net with a powerful strike that deflected off a defender and beat Hugo. All was lost not for Swan who pulled one back in 41st minute as Miki Vujacic ended Danny Hill's foray out of defence and quickly slipped the ball through to Damien Catalano who skipped past his marker, round Neil Young to and slotted into an empty net. The second half started with a bang as tenacious play down the left by Miller and James Morgan resulted in Hassell gaining possession near the 18-yard box from where his shot thundered into the net, giving Hugo no chance just two minutes after the restart. Swan were thrown a lifeline in the 75th minute when awarded a penalty for handball, however, Vujacic was left frustrated as Young brilliantly kept out both the midfielder's spot kick and follow-up. The pressure was on the hosts as the game came to a close and a great last ditch tackle by Michael Ord denied David Foster a shot on goal, while referee Michael Nugus waved away appeals for a second Swan penalty after Tom Shepheard went down inside the box. Going on his performance, and even taking into account there are still another nine games to be played, it's difficult to see Sorrento relinquish their grip on top spot.
Cockburn City took out the points by defeating Bayswater City 2-1 in a tight match at Frank Drago Reserve. Half chances presented at both ends of the park in an untidy opening spell. Two opportunities came the way of Anthony Periera whose shooting was narrowly off the mark, while Ben Rogers and Wesley Ryder were unable to apply the finishing touch the hosts sought. Cockburn suffered a setback when Dean Wallace was forced from the field after 13 minutes with an ankle injury, his place up front taken by livewire youngster Aaron Dos Santos. With 22 minutes gone the visitors went ahead when, in a penalty area scramble for possession, the ball sat nicely for Jason Dos Santos to sent it into the net from 10-metres. This had a settling effect on Bayswater who increasingly threatened down the left through Jarred Smith's penetrating runs. The second half started much life the first with both teams unable to capitalise on their chances. Jovo Pavlovic and Daniel Micevski were running the show from the centre of the park as Bayswater began to get on top. New recruit Renato Rechichi should have brought the sides level when sent through one-on-one with Alan Dunlop but steered the ball just wide. The hosts were rewarded for their persistence in the 81st minute when Micevski curled in a corner and at close-range Smith volleyed into the net. The momentum was with Bayswater who sensed an upset was on the cards, but Cockburn had other ideas and a quick breakaway put Michael Mirco through but he was unable to beat Bobson Koroma. It was a warning the hosts failed to heed and minutes later the ball was turned over in midfield and Simon El Chami knocked it forward for Michael Mirco to round Komora and walked the deciding goal into a vacant net.
Armadale pulled off the upset of the Premier League season by toppling Floreat Athena 4-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval. What made the result even more astonishing was Armadale played third thirds of the game with only ten men following the early dismissal of defender Clark Killoh. It was a bumpy start from the Reds who had poor finishing and the safe hands of Nick Stone for keeping the sides on level terms. Home nerves were jangling in the 10th minute when Branimir Mikulic's shot was blocked on the line, and with the follow-up Boima Karpeh crashed the ball into the underside of the crossbar before being scrambled to safety by the defence. Stone was superb in keeping out a Mikulic volley from 8-metres, and this was followed shortly after by another top-notch effort to deny Craig Simpson. The balance of play was in Floreat's favour until Killoh received his marching orders for a second yellow card on the half hour. Going down to ten men lifted Armadale and shortly before the break Craig Anderson won possession and immediately knocked the ball forward to Alex Williams to run on to and his low cross was turned into the net by an unfortunate Paul Vlachou. The afternoon got better for Armadale ten minutes into the second half when Williams' well-weighted corner kick was headed in by Kingston at close-range. Floreat worked hard to find a way back into the game, winning a succession of corners and pressuring the home defence which stood up to the challenge. In the 65th minute the Reds gained themselves another corner and in a carbon copy of their earlier goal Kingston rose highest to nod in from Williams' delivery. Any hopes Floreat had of staging a late fight back were put to rest in the 75th minute when Williams converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Scott Paterson.
Western Knights moved into third place and stretched their unbeaten run to six games by out-gunning E.C.U. Joondalup 2-0 at Nash Field. The momentum in a quick opening period was very much with the Knights who took up camp in their opponents half. Their first opportunity came after 2 minutes when an unmarked Paul Cooke headed just over the crossbar from Jon Higgins' corner. Ivan Zuvela headed a Higgins free-kick against the bar, then Shane McNally skidded a low shot inches beyond the far post. Having weathered the early storm, Joondalup slowly got more involved and Scott Busby should have done better than rifle straight at goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. On 28 minutes Ryan Newhill spurned a golden opportunity by shooting wide of an open goal after Tomich collided with Ian McMurray while contesting a high ball at the top of the 18-yard box. Peter Stewart was in the right place at the right time to keep out Daniel Trim's clever flick from a David Annal free-kick. With half-time looming Higgins sent a corner to the back post where Trim headed against the underside of the bar, Stewart pushed the ball away only to have Trim ram it over the line from a couple of metres. Joondalup looked the more likely to score after the break as Bushby twice went close from distance. The visitors thought they'd equalised in the 69th minute when Anthony Jones put away a cross from Howard Fondyke, however, a mystifying offside call disallowed the defender's effort. This sparked the home side back into life and with five minutes left Trim waltzed past one defender before drilling a low shot across Stewart and inside the far upright from 12-metres. In fact, Trim was unlucky not to end with a hat-trick after his vicious strike beat the 'keeper but came back off the bar close to the final whistle.
Perth S.C. won an entertaining contest with Inglewood United 4-2 in front of an appreciative crowd at Dorrien Gardens. Inglewood stamped their authority on the early exchanges and pressed the home team into their defensive half, however, wayward finishing meant a response was rarely required from Gianni Papalia. The Perth bench was up in arms on 21 minutes when Matt Danskin lead a raid down the right which was nodded in by Barry Wood at the front post only for the referee to rule it out for offside. Minutes later there was no such let off for Inglewood as Aaron Cole ghosted in at a Danskin corner to sent an unchallenged header into the net from close-range. There was an once of luck in Inglewood's equaliser which arrived in the 35th minute through a speculative shot by Greg Sharland from 30-metres which bounced awkwardly in front of Papalia and looped over the stranded 'keeper high into the net. Almost immediately Perth hit back as Cole again rose high above a static defence to nod Michael Icanovski's cross goalward and Wood got the final touch to make it two-one at the break. With the words of the coaching staff still ringing in their ears, Inglewood started the second half at full pace and within a minute Shaun Kilkelly lifted the ball over the defence for Louis Parkinson to smash past Papalia from the top of the 18-yard box. Following this Perth took the game by the scruff of the neck and in the 63rd minute regained the lead as Danskin's cross was volleyed in by Wood. The sealer arrived three minutes into stoppage time when Wood charged down an attempted clearance by Daniel Kovacevic and having drawn Oliver Taseski off his line the big striker completed his hat-trick by drilling the ball wide of the diving 'keeper.
Stirling Lions continued their good form with a convincing 4-1 win over Wanneroo City at Macedonia Park. It took the hosts all of 10 minutes to get into the rhythm with Ryan Jeans and Jordan Rhodes having early chances but lacking the finishing touch. Kevin Miller pushed wide a shot from Rhodes not long after, and from the resulting corner Keith Brown and Jeans were thwarted by desperate defending. The marauding Lions didn't have long to wait before the pressure paid off as Rhodes' corner fell to teenager Ludovic Boi whose smash on goal was blocked on the line and David Dugdale was on hand to poke the ball into the net on 15 minutes. Wanneroo were at sixes and sevens as Stirling attacked at will and Miller acrobatically tipped a Miller drive over the crossbar. To their credit the visitors kept plugging away and a long distance attempt by David Houston cannoned of the upright. Stirling were quick out of the blocks for the second half and another dangerous corner by Rhodes found the head of Kevin Henderson who guided the ball into the top corner after 47 minutes. Not even a minute later Dugdale out foxed three opponents before calmly slotting in his second, and Stirling's third, of the afternoon. Boi looked to get on the scoresheet with a raking shot that was superbly tipped away by Miller on the hour. Wanneroo weren't about to throw in the towel and after a series of raids reduced the deficit through a neat finish by Craig Bowman in the 65th minute. Through Keith Brown's solid midfield leadership, Stirling continued to dictate terms and Dugdale completed a deserved hat-trick by lashing the ball in from close-range after a Rhodes corner went to feet in stoppage time.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTEEN (Ashfield vs Rockingham City courtesy Ashfield; Forrestfield United vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City)
The points were shared at Ashfield Reserve where Ashfield and Rockingham City played out a 0-0 draw. In an action packed opening the hosts should have gone ahead after 8 minutes through Bobby Golub who disappointingly skied the ball in a one-on-one with Cyril Sharrock. Andy O'Neill ripped through the defence only to shoot wide of the post, and Mohamad Komaderic should have done better than head weakly at Sharrock. Ashfield continued to apply the pressure as Brad McCagh delivered a deep ball to Julian Piromalli whose looping header was over the 'keeper but hit the inside of the post before being scrambled away by the Rockingham defence. This same pattern continued into the second half which opened with Igor Novakovic finding Golub unmarked inside the box but he lingered too long and the opportunity went begging. Komaderic had the chance to put away the games first goal but his powerfully struck effort was straight at the 'keeper. Rockingham had the chance to steal an undeserved lead through Steve Cramphorn but he failed to connect with the ball from inside the 6-yard box. It just wasn't to be Ashfield's day as McCagh, Piromalli and substitute Luke O'Neill all sent effort the wrong side of the upright in what was a frustrating afternoon for the home team.
Mandurah City returned from Hartfield Park with maximum points after out-shooting Forrestfield United 4-2. The hosts suffered a major blow after 15 minutes when goalkeeper Matthew Zappacosta was red carded after bringing down an opponent inside the box, leaving Graeme Matthews to convert the resulting penalty. A similar but less severe incident down the opposite end saw Mike Green issued a caution, and from the spot Dennis Lee brought the sides level. With the extra man Mandurah took control of the game but sloppy finishing prevented them from capitalising. Eventually Christian Paschkewitz found a way through when he headed past replacement 'keeper Atekhis Elhossain. Green was in the thick of the action upon the commencement of the second half as Forrestfield increased the pressure on the visiting defence. It didn't take Mandurah long to hit back with some promising raids of their own but again poor finishing let the hosts off the hook. In the 64th minute Forrestfield equalised when Green was lured off his line and Phil Bell crashed the ball home. This spurred Mandurah into action and they regained the upper hand when Andy Brown found the top corner. John Tranfield made sure of the points by putting away the visitors fourth goal just before the full-time whistle.
The points were shared by Morley Windmills and Balcatta who played out a 1-1 draw Wotton Reserve. Ray Rose gave the home team an early lead, but that was cancelled out after the break by David Moschilla. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Fremantle Spirit maintained their perfect win record by overcoming Canning City 3-1 at Ken Allen Field. Both sides opened brightly with Fremantle getting the breakthrough with the first corner of the afternoon which Tyrone Fenwick whipped to the near post where Garth Lecky had the misfortune of deflecting into his own net under pressure from Dave Rodgers. Attacks on goal were frequent by each team and Steve Grant made good saves to deny Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Dan Trevisiol, while going the other way Rodgers and Callum Roberts were proving a handful. Just before the break Fenwick made a marauding run which took him past two opponents down the left before setting the ball into the path of Rodgers who drove past Alan Mattecucci to give Fremantle a two-goal buffer. Canning started the new half determined to open their account but could find few ways past a well-organised defence marshalled by Grant. With twenty minutes left on the clock the visitors persistence paid off when awarded a penalty for Dale Wingell's push on Paul Van Dongen and from the spot Trevisiol blasted into the net. Canning worked tirelessly to score a second and steal a point but in stoppage time Fremantle sealed out the game through a wonderful pass from Jason Barrera converted by Fenwick.
Dianella White Eagles moved up into fourth position following a 2-1 win at Gosnells City. Finding the net for Dainella were Rydeen Botha and Zelko Savic while Gosnells reply was via Andy Daffin. Dianella ended the game with ten men after the last minute dismissal of Djukan Tesic. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
GLORY LOOKING FOR RESULT IN PRE-SEASON OPENER
Perth Glory will attempt to record their first ever victory over the Central Coast Mariners when they match up in the opening round of the pre-season Cup this evening. "It's been a difficult pre-season, but in some ways our most successful in terms of results and performances," said caretaker coach Alan Vest. "We've played four matches against the same WA-based teams that we have normally played and our results have been extremely positive. This match is another great opportunity for the lads to get some serious match practice and prepare for the Hyundai A-League season opener."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento stretched their unbeaten start to the Premier League season to thirteen games by downing Swan I.C. 3-1. The Gulls goals came via Brad Hassell (2) and Jared Love. Cockburn City took second place on the table following a 2-1 away win at Bayswater City. Armadale breathed new life into their attempt to climb away from the drop zone by thrashing Floreat Athena 4-0. Darren Kingston and Alex Williams each found the net twice for the Reds who played two-thirds of the afternoon with ten men.
Daniel Trim scored late in each half to earn Western Knights maximum points courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline against a luckless E.C.U. Joondalup. Perth S.C. returned to the winners' circle and moved into fifth place by thumping Inglewood United 4-2 when they met at Dorrien Gardens. David Dugdale bagged a hat-trick with Kevin Henderson scoring the other in Stirling Lions' 4-1 win over Wanneroo City.
Fremantle Spirit increased the gap at the top of the First Division table to eight points after downing Canning City 3-1. Ashfield lost ground on the leader when held 0-0 by Rockingham City. Graeme Matthews, Christian Pascheswitz, Andy Brown and John Transfield were the scorers in Mandurah City's 4-2 defeat of Forrestfield United. Gosnells City bowed 1-2 at home to Dianella White Eagles who move into fourth position. Morley Windmills drew 1-1 at home with Balcatta.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
All roads lead to Percy Doyle Reserve tomorrow for the footballwa.net Match of the Week between Premier League leader Sorrento and a fast improving Swan I.C. Sorrento have taken all before them this season and, although the season has just reached the halfway mark, the Gulls already have one hand on the regular season trophy. In the opposite corner are a Swan side which are undefeated on their travels this season and have lost just once in two months of competition.
Armadale will be hoping they can pick up their first win of the campaign and inflict a fourth successive loss on Floreat Athena when they head to Alfred Skeet Oval. Bayswater City have come a long way since the coaching appointment of Petar Drca and they have a tough home date with Cockburn City. Western Knights have surged their way up the standings and a home defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup could take them to as high as second. Perth S.C. welcome Inglewood United to Dorrien Gardens, while Stirling Lions have home ground advantage against Wanneroo City.
Fremantle Spirit, runaway leader of the First Division, are expected to collect their eleventh straight win when Canning City visit Ken Allen Field. Ashfield are favour to take the points from their home clash with Rockingham City, and likewise Mandurah City who are on the road to Forrestfield United. Morley Windmills will be attempting to collect their first point in a month when Balcatta venture to Wotton Reserve. Gosnells City are home to Dianella White Eagles, and out of action with the bye are South West Phoenix who are stumping up the table.
GOOD SHIP GLORY BACK ON COURSE
Perth Glory make their first competitive appearance in five months this weekend when they step out for the pre-season Cup clash with Central Coast Mariners. According to long-serving defender Jamie Harnwell it's an opportunity for the club to put a turbulent twelve months behind them, and to re-establish themselves as a major force on the national stage. "I'm confident that we'll give a much better account of ourselves this season," said the veteran of 167 appearances for Glory. "Our pre-season has been infinitely better than last year and the spirit amongst the players is getting back to what it was when we were successful."
The recent news Australian international Stan Lazaridis will spend the coming season in Glory colours is just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate their hometown support. "It was great to see that Stan had chosen to come home to Perth to play," commented Harnwell. "He's determined to produce his best because he's got a reputation to uphold after playing at the highest level in England for so long. The Perth public needed some good news to get them excited again about the club, and it's great to see Socceroos coming back to play in Australia while they still have something to offer the league."
With the new season fast approaching, Harnwell feels Glory are in a much stronger position than this time last year. "There's a lot more balance to the side," he said. "In Leo Bertos and Stan Lazaridis we have genuine wide players who can beat their opponent and send good crosses in while still being able to fight for the ball. We have a lot of options in the middle of the park, even after the departure of Nick Ward, and our defensive stocks will be boosted by David Tarka and Jamie Coyne who are on the way back from serious injury. But probably the most important factor is there's a good team spirit in the dressing room."
Glory's pre-season officially started on the first day of June, however, the locally based contingent have been involved in regular gym sessions since early May. "I think the side is shaping up well, obviously we still have a few more spots to fill but the core of the side is strong and we'll have good competition in every position this season," Harnwell commented. "To be honest, it's probably been one of the best pre-seasons I can recall. We've been working with the Edith Cowan University Sports Science Department on the fitness side of things and the boys are looking very sharp."
The club's pre-season moved up a gear four weeks ago with their first competitive games since February. Glory kicked off preparations for the coming season by defeating a State Select XI 3-1 with Nick Ward scoring twice and Daniel Micevski once. Bobby Despotovski (2), Leo Bertos and triallist Josip Magdic found the net in the 4-0 defeat of Perth S.C., and that was followed by a 2-0 win over Floreat Athena which came about through goals by Micevski and Despotovski. On Sunday Glory swept past Sorrento 3-0 against whom Despotovski, Ryan Townsend and triallist Adrian Webster netted.
Glory will again step up the intensity on Saturday for the away pre-season Cup clash with the Mariners. "We've done well against State League sides but playing against A-League opposition is another story," Harnwell said. "We're going to treat these games as preparation for the league proper. With potentially a new coach coming in, and five places in the squad still to be filled, the Cup will be about getting ourselves organised as a unit and working on match fitness so come the first league game against Queensland Roar we'll be ready to go."
The matter of Glory's ownership may have garnered a lot of media attention in the past few months but as far as the players are concerned it's business as usual. "It's impossible to push those issues right out of your mind," said Harnwell. "However, as a player there is nothing you can do about it except prepare for the season. In a way it's helped the players build a stronger bond because we've chosen to stick together and not let any outside distractions effect us. Regardless of who owns the club, we have to be fit and ready for the start of the A-League season and we are very much on track to achieve that."
COYNE SUFFERS INJURY SETBACK
Chris Coyne will see a specialist after suffering a recurrence of a troublesome knee injury in pre-season training for Luton Town. The Hatters' defender missed large periods of last season with injuries to both knees and underwent an operation shortly before the end of the campaign. "Coyne has just had both knees operated on, and one of them is still niggling a bit," explained Luton manager Mike Newell. "He'll see a specialist again this week. We just don't take risks with players at this stage of pre-season."
NEW ROLE SUITS PERICH
A place in the Swan I.C. starting eleven is David Perich's reward for hours of hard work put in on the training track. A fringe player last season, the 18-year old has given Carlo Scali plenty to think about being promoted to the senior ranks and proving his adaptability in a new position. "Last season I played in the centre of the park and couldn't quite hold my place," explained Perich. "The coach spoke to me earlier in the month and asked me to do a job at left wing back, which I was pleased to do. It's less of a responsibility out wide, and with me having a good engine I can go forward and I can defend too."
A stint playing reserve team football provided Perich the impetus to force his way back into the minds of the Swan coaching team. "I played earlier in the season but didn't take my chance and with the rest of the squad pushing for spots in the starting line-up I returned to playing for the under-23's. But I believe I've contributed to the side over the past month and hope I can continue this and have a good run in the side." Perich is one just one of several youngsters who are currently making their mark at Swan. "The younger players are taking more responsibilities this season, players such as Brendan Knox and myself are in the side at the moment and there are a number of others knocking on the door so we have to perform each week to keep our spot."
Coach Scali is pleased Perich has seized the opportunity to return to the first team. "He has always been one player that the club and coaching staff have targeted as a future regular first team player," commented Scali. "He has worked really hard this year and deserves his position in the team. He's played various roles for the side and normally fits in to the middle of the park, but as our current midfield players are doing so well we've pushed David out wide and he's performing really well in a role that requires him to be more accountable defensively. We think that David has the ability to be a great player for Swan this year and in the future."
WWOZNY GAINS FA LICENSE (courtesy Football West)
The future of football in West Australian has received another boost with Football West development coach Paul Wozny recently completing his English FA Academy license. Coach of the National Training Centre squad, Wozny recently returned from the United Kingdom where he successfully delivered an hour-long presentation to a committee of Football Association and Premier League representatives. It was the culmination of twelve months' analysis of the management and operation of a professional football academy.
South African side Ajax Cape Town, a satellite of the famous Dutch club, made for an interesting study by Wonzy. "Australia is a developed country but it is on a par with South Africa on footballing terms" he explained. "Lots of the coaches in Cape Town were from Ajax Amsterdam and rather than for the money they did it for the pride of the shirt." The course itself covered talent identification, player recruitment, management and structure within academies. One of the highlights of the course for Wozny was the information gleamed from other course participants who happily shared their experience and knowledge.
WARD HAS NO REGRETS ABOUT LEAVING AUSTRALIA
Football may be booming following the Socceroos World Cup finals appearance but Nick Ward has no regrets about abandoning the national league in favour of London. Winner of the A-League's inaugural 'Rising Star' award, Ward put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Queens Park Rangers late last week after completing a medical with the club. The 21-year old midfielder was overloooked for Australia's World Cup squad and is convinced his move to Loftus Road will propel him on to the big stage next time around. "If you look at the World Cup team, most of the players who were starting games play in Europe," he observed.
"The game is definitely getting much bigger in Australia and I'd never seen the media going on about soccer as much as they did - it's usually all about Aussie rules, rugby and cricket," Ward continued. "But as much as the A-League is getting better, I think you've got to be in Europe to further your game. I'm sure I made the right decision and I'm happy to be here. I was on the fringes of the World Cup squad and it was disappointing not to make it, so the Olympics in 2008 and the next World Cup in 2010 are realistic goals for me."
Rangers manager Gary Waddock had been pursuing Ward's signature since April, but it was only last week that Football Federation Australia reluctantly agreed to his transfer. "We don't get a lot of Championship football on TV over there - it's mostly the Premiership - but I know this is also a good league because I've seen a lot of Australian players who have come over, started in the Championship and done well," commented Ward. "It's a good standard and the amount of games you play here as opposed to in Australia was definitely something that attracted me."
Ward watched his new team-mates in action at Aldershot Town on Saturday and is hoping to make his Rangers debut next week against Stevenage Borough. An attacking central midfielder, he is keen to make an early impact on the Championship's scoring charts - and is confident about his clubs' prospects for the coming season. "I've got a target of scoring ten goals this year and I hope we can get to the play-offs at least," said Ward. "That's what we want to aim for. I've already done a pre-season in Australia, so I'm fairly fit and I want to cement my spot in the starting line-up. This is a good opportunity for me to get some games in the Championship and hopefully get noticed."
Stuart Young, who played alongside Ward last season at Glory, is confident the midfielder has what it takes to get to the top. "I believe Nick Ward is a great prospect. He is young, super fit, enthusiastic and has no fear - all vital ingredients for a terrific career," said the former Arsenal striker. "Another component to the Nick Ward package is his willingness to listen and learn. There is a great respect shown by Nick to his peers which not all young players have and this endears him to his team-mates who all wish him the best because of this."
SMITH ON COMEBACK TRIAL
As the nights get colder the training ground at Swan I.C. is definitely no place for the faint hearted. But over the past month the lonely figure of Kevin Smith has been running laps of the pitch as he works towards returning to football. The pre-season demise of Bassendean Caledonian left the 28-year old homeless and after assessing his options Smith decided Swan was the place he wanted to be. However, the talented defender has been prevented from stepping on to the playing arena by injury. "I had a double hernia (one each side of the groin), it was an abductor tear and oestiitus pubis," he explained. "I had a combined operation to fix all of them at the same time and was hoping to be back on the park now but some of the procedures were not successful." Smith is hopeful of making his Swan debut later this season and has set his sights on becoming a regular part of the line-up in 2007.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWELVE
Queens Park moved to joint first place on the women's Premier League after defeating Mandurah City 5-3 in windy conditions at Coker Park. Mandurah made a bright start by going ahead after 12 minutes through a neat counter attacking move which ended with N.Princett rifling into the net from just outside the penalty box. However, the lead would last only a few minutes before Lindsay Easton was allowed time and space to pick her spot in the net from 18-metres. Within minutes A.Knox restored Mandurah's lead with a strike similar to the visitors first goal. Queens Park drew level on the half hour when Kylie Woodhouse crashed an indirect past goalkeeper B.Hall.
The second half began with Queens Park constantly pressuring the visiting defence, and on 59 minutes they were rewarded when Easton's thundering shot had too much power on it for Hall to keep out. With sixteen minutes left on the clock Tina Rowatt added a fourth to Queens Park's tally. But Mandurah were in no mood to concede the game and three minutes later N.Dash gave them renewed hope by netting to make it four-three. The result was put beyond any shadow of a doubt by Lisa Higgins who put away the hosts' fifth of the afternoon four minutes from the final whistle. "We're always happy with a win, but I'm not happy with the way we played," said Queens Park coach Steve Woodfin after the game. "My back four were the most undisciplined they have been in weeks, three very bad goals were conceded."
ASSOCIATION CUP, QUARTER-FINALS (Stirling Lions vs Floreat Athena by Brett Klucznik; Swan I.C. vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Peter Simcox; Western Knights vs Perth S.C. courtesy Perth S.C.)
A place in the last four of the association Cup belongs to Cockburn City after they strolled past Canning City 4-0 at their quarter-final meeting at John Connell Reserve. It took some time for either goalkeeper to be called into action as each team tentatively prodded forward in search of an early opening. The first chance came the way of the hosts when Marc Sim played Julio Barrendilla past the defence and Alan Dunlop was off his line quickly to smother at the striker's feet. A similar opportunity presented itself shortly after when Mick Van Dongen was sent through with only the goalkeeper to beat but again Dunlop was up to the challenge and came out on top. Cockburn's first venture into attack came via Shane Nunes who lifted the ball over the defence for Dean Wallace who was unable to make the most of the opportunity. In the 24th minute Andrew Keary crashed a free-kick from 25-metres into the frame of the goal and Nunes was quickest to react to the loose ball which he whipped into the net to put the visitors ahead. It became two-nil within a minute as Paul Oliver's glancing header found the net from a Jason Dos Santos free-kick. Canning upped their workrate leading into half-time and Simon Versaico was unlucky not to reduce the deficit after placing wide of Dunlop but also the post. The new half began evenly but as the minutes went by Cockburn increasingly dictated the flow of play and on 61 minutes Dos Santos took the difference to three goals by intercepting a pass out of defence by Luke Doyle before driving the ball past 'keeper Alan Mattecucci. The scoreline was made complete in stoppage time when substitute Simon El Chami put the ball in an empty net after Mattecucci had courageously saved at the feet of Dos Santos.
Two rapid fire goals midway through the second half allowed Stirling Lions to stun Floreat Athena 2-1 at Macedonia Park. It was clear Floreat were on the attack straight from kick-off and on 9 minutes went ahed after Branimir Mikulic's shot was parried by Phil Straker and Boima Karpeh laid the loose ball into the path of Okwy Diamondstar who drilled it in from 8-metres. This sparked a flourish of activity and in the minutes that followed Darko Ilmanoski was spectacularly denied by Vas Vujacic, Karpeh and Andy Brown each squandered one-on-one's with the goalkeeper, and a rasping shot from Josip Magdic cannoned back off the post. Up until now Floreat had controlled the game, however, the lose of Diamondstar on 35 minutes disrupted their momentum. A lifeline came Stirling's way when Ludovic Boi was brought down inside the penalty area, but Ryan Jeans slammed the resultant spot kick into the crossbar. Poor finishing robbed the visitors just before half-time when Karpeh pulled his shot past the post in another one-on-one with Straker. Stirling emerged from the break a much stronger proposition and an early snap on goal by Jeans came back off the up-right. In the space of three minutes the game was turned on its head as Andy Brown glanced in a Jordan Rhodes corner to level the score after 62 minutes. Then Stirling grabbed the lead through Boi whose powerful shot struck a defender and deflected into the net with Vujacic diving in the opposite direction. With their backs to the wall, Floreat tried everything to send the game into extra-time but a rock-solid defence, anchored by Kevin Henderson, prevented the visitors from getting clear sight of goal. Stirling on the other hand were unlucky not to add to their tally as Rhodes was denied by Vujacic, Jeans glanced just wide of the far post, and Boi's low shot was across the face of goal.
Swan I.C. booked their place in the last four by defeating E.C.U. Joondalup 4-2 in an action packed clash at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors were off to a perfect start when Ian McMurray powerfully sent the ball into Cory Hugo's net from a Scott Blackmore cross inside the opening minute. Although stunned, Swan quickly regrouped and drew level on 10 minutes as Damien Catalano's shot from the edge of the 18-yard box slipped through Peter Stewart's hands and trickled over the line. It didn't take long for Joondalup to reassert themselves but there was just no way past Hugo who denied both Garin Collins and Tom Jones. Against the run of play Swan went ahead six minutes from half-time when Brendan Knox laid the ball back to David Foster whose clinical finish from 15-metres was into the net. Joondalup were denied a penalty early in the second half when McMurray went down under a Paul Baczynski challenge. Dom Ando tested Stewart with a sensational long-range strike, while down the other end Martin Ashworth hit the crossbar and Collins was foiled with the follow-up by Hugo. Tom Jones found the net in the 62nd minute but the effort was disallowed for handball, and McMurray and Ryan Newhill each sent the ball narrowly over the bar as Joondalup attempted to capitalise on their dominance. In the 82nd minute Hugo sent Swan into attack with a booming clearance which wasn't dealt with by the opposing defence and Tom Shepheard fired in from long-range. It was game, set and match a minute later as Stewart parried a Catalano shot but was helpless as Scott Campbell sent the loose ball over the line. Still Joondalup went forward and with the last play of the afternoon Scott Bushby played McMurray past the defence and the big striker made no mistake with a low finish past Hugo.
There wasn't a great deal of joy for Western Knights who were dumped 5-1 by Cup holder Perth S.C. at Nash Field. A tight opening spell was punctuated by the game's first goal on 14 minute when an unmarked Paul Devlin slotted under goalkeeper Gareth Deeg to put the Knights one-nil up. Stung into action, Perth went straight into attack from the re-start but Scott Bulloch's long-range effort didn't seriously trouble Tommi Tomich. The game was back on an even keel with 18 minutes gone when a neat one-two between Barry Wood and David Onoforo saw the later slide his shot under Tomich from close-range. The Knights were unfortunate to reclaim the lead through Gerry Fitzgibbon whose powerful shot brought the best out of Deeg, while appeals for a penlaty after the ball struck Trent Kay's hand were waved away by referee Hugh Best. Two goals shortly before the break by former Knight Barry Wood swung the game in Perth's favour. Scott Bulloch's blistering 44th minute strike was parried by Tomich who could do little as Wood banged the loose ball into the net from close-range. Michael Icanovski then got down the right to cross into the area where Wood's perfectly timed run allowed him to nod in the Blues third goal. Controversy erupted thirteen minutes into the second half when Deeg appeared to foul Devlin inside the penlaty area, however, Best saw it differently and issued the Knights attacker his second yellow card for simulation. The Knights continued to battle away but it was always going to be a big ask to overturn a two-goal deficit while playing a man down. In the 87th minute Bulloch pushed goal number four past Tomich after claiming an Onoforo cross, and in stoppage time Bulloch returned the favour by setting up Onoforo for his second of the afternoon.
FORMER AIS BOSS ANGLES FOR GLORY POSTING
Australian technical manager Ron Smith says he is ready, willing and able to take up the coaching post at Perth Glory despite the short lead-in to the start of the A-League season. Smith, who was head of the Australian Institute of Sport's soccer program for a decade and spent eight years coaching in Malaysia before joining Football Federation Australia in 2004, is among the frontrunners to take the job. Glory's technical manager Mich d'Avray and interim coach Alan Vest remain in contention.
Smith, part of Guus Hiddink's coaching team at the World Cup in Germany, said he was prepared to move from his home in Canberra to take up the Glory challenge despite the pre-season Cup commencing next Saturday, and the regular season on 25th August. "I'd still be interested in doing the job for FFA. It's just a matter of the club steering committee making an appointment," Smith said. FFA head of operations Matt Carroll will be in Perth this Wednesday to discuss coaching possibilities with the steering committee.
Former Glory captain Shaun Murphy, who worked for a year under Smith at the AIS, said the English born coach would be ideal for the job. "He would be fantastic for Glory because he will identify good kids and bring them through. He does his research and knows his staff," commented Murphy. The 35-year old former Socceroo said it was highly unlikely he would play again, despite star signing Stan Lazaridis asking him to consider a return to the game. Murphy has no played since the National Soccer League grand final in April 2004.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
There was no shortage of goals in the association Cup quarter-finals with nineteen shared amongst four games. The honour of the highest scoring side went to trophy holder Perth S.C. who swept past Western Knights 5-1. David Onoforo and Barry Wood netted two apiece with Scott Bulloch also on the scoresheet, while the Knights solitary goal came via John Thornley. Cockburn City went through to the last four by beating Canning City 4-0 courtesy of goals from Shane Nunes, Paul Oliver, Jason Dos Santos and Simon ElChami
Stirling Lions recovered from being a goal down at the break to inflict a surprise 2-1 defeat on Floreat Athena. Goals within three minutes of each other by Andy Brown and Ludovic Boi midway through the second half cancelled out Okwy Diamiondstar's earlier strike. Swan I.C. overcame a determined E.C.U. Joondalup 4-2 to book their place in the semi-finals. Scorers for the home side were Damien Catalano, David Foster, Tom Shepheard and Scott Campbell with Ian McMurray netting both for Joondlaup.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The league campaign takes a back seat this weekend as the adrenalin rush that is knock-out football takes centre stage. The footballwa.net Match of the Day is at Nash Field where Western Knights take on trophy holder Perth S.C. in what promises to be a classic Cup quarter-final. The long-time rivals head into the game with contrasting form, the Knights fresh from back-to-back victories over high flying Floreat Athena while Perth are looking to rebound from successive losses to Swan I.C.
Graham Normanton, coach of Perth, welcomes the distraction afforded by the Cup round. "It will be good to get away from the league this week and concentrate on the Cup as it's probably the only trophy we can win this season," he said. The return from injury of Robbie Puca is a major boost to Perth's chances and his skills will be important in the middle of the park alongside Perth Glory target Scott Bulloch and effervescent wingback Matt Danskin.
In difficult circumstances, the Knights have performed admirably under coach Ronnie Campbell this season and following a poor start to the year are now making their way of the Premier League table. Daniel Trim, who recently made his comeback from long-term injury, has been outstanding in midfield and should Paul Cooke and Paul Devlin continue their superb league form it's going to take a lot to stop the Knights from reaching the last four.
Stirling Lions face their toughest Cup opponent yet when Floreat Athena travel to Macedonia Park. Mike Lyons' side easily accounted for Bayswater City and Rockingham City in earlier rounds and will need to be on top of their game to go through to the last four. Floreat coach Michael Roki is hoping his side can arrest a poor fortnight and produce the short of performance which earned them a 3-0 win over the Lions just a matter of weeks ago.
It should be an exciting game in the Swan Valley where Swan I.C. host E.C.U. Joondalup. The black and whites qualified for the quarter-finals by defeating First Division outfits Morley Windmills and Mandurah City, so Saturday's game will be a true test of their metal. Even the most impartial observers would rate Joondalup's recent form as indifferent, but last week's league win over Stirling will surely have the northern suburbs side primed for action.
The final game of the round is a true David verses Goliath encounter between Canning City and Cockburn City at John Connell Reserve, Leeming. Flying the flag for the First Division are Canning who, coming off a solid win over Morley Windmills, will be brimming with confidence. But standing between Canning and a spot in the last four are a Cockburn side that has won four of their last five games and are third from top of the Premier League table.
SWANS YOUNGSTERS LEAVE THE NEST
As the season heads into the second half Swan I.C. have been taken by surprise by the impending departure of two of their brigade of talented youngsters. Defenders Danyal Bennett and Daniel Simcox have both been offered, and accepted, employment that will take them away from Francis Street and both will be missed by the club. “Losing Danyal and Daniel has created a big void in our depth as well as losing two of the clubs characters,” said senior coach Carlo Scali. “It’s unfortunate but in both cases work commitments away from Perth have arisen. Both players have come up through the under-18’s and have performed very well for us over the years … their loss will be missed greatly, on and off the park.”
Bennett has had a terrific season in which he’s kept close tabs on some of the best strikers the state has to offer. “I haven’t been at many clubs but by far Swan is the best,” commented 20-year old Bennett, whose been a member of the senior squad for the past three seasons. “I couldn’t ever see myself moving from Swan really, it’s been hard working away because you miss the club and people around it. Playing has been a challenge every week in the Premier League but the two players that have given me the most trouble over the years are Jerry Karpeh (Floreat Athena) and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights).”
The opportunity to play regular first team football for Swan is something Bennett, a one-time State Under-19 representative, is grateful for. “There have been a lot of people I’d like to thank,” said Bennett, whose work has taken him to the northern mining settlement of Plutonic. “Tony Scali for his support during some lean times, and my coaches Carlo Scali, Gary Marocchi, Peter Simcox and Michael Knox who all helped me go from the 18’s to the league side. And last but not least my team mates who are a great bunch of guys … I hope to come back and play for the black and whites again one day and win some silverware, thanks for the memories guys.”
First team squad member Simcox will be travelling a little further than Bennett after accepting a job offer in the United Kingdom from the Steiner Group. “It’s a chance of a lifetime for me, something I couldn’t turn down,” he enthused. “I’ll be based in London but after a months training in their academy will join a cruise liner as a fitness and personal trainer.” Simcox made his under-18’s debut for Swan at the age of thirteen and has gone from strength to strength since by gaining State Under-15, Under-16 and Schoolboys honours not to mention being part of the black and whites association Cup winning side in 2003.
Simcox’ six seasons at Swan have been a dream come true. “All the players and officials at Swan have been great,” reflected the 19-year old. “Every week is a battle for me, and everyone who knows me knows I always give 110% for the shirt - that black and white shirt is something I’ll never forget, and the younger players at the club should be proud to wear it. There have been many highlights of my time at Swan and being part of the club’s first Cup final victory against Perth is definitely up there. My full league debut against Fremantle City last season was a also huge personal highlight, and I had the pleasure of captaining the State team at the Nationals in Sydney where we collected a bronze medal.”
LAZARIDIS COMES HOME
Stan Lazaridis will call Perth Glory home for the next two seasons after agreeing terms with the A-League club. The Socceroo received offers from around the globe following his departure from Birmingham City in May, but the attraction of returning to his hometown was the overriding factor in his decision on where to continue his career.
"After eleven seasons in England, it was the right time to return home for me," said Lazaridis. "The experience of being part of the squad for the World Cup was the pinnacle of my sporting career, and I am very excited to be coming home at a time when the World Cup experience is so strong in the minds of West Australian sports fans.
"I received many offers from various clubs, but the desire to return home was the most important factor in my decision," he added. "Glory's rightful place is at the top of the A-League ladder, and football's place should be top of mind for proud West Australian sports fans. I really want to make a big contribution to both those objectives over the coming years with Glory."
Lazaridis made 59 'A' appearances for the Socceroos and was a member of the squad at the recent World Cup finals. His senior career began with Floreat Athena and continued in the national league for West Adelaide (73 games, 5 goals) before heading abroad in 1995. His reputation was enhanced during four seasons with West Ham United (87 games, 3 goals) and seven seasons at Birmingham City (222 games, 8 goals).
Lazaridis anticipates being involved at Glory beyond his two-year deal. "I don't see myself being a manager or a coach, but I'd like to work within the club, maybe trying to help with recruiting players with the contacts I have," he said. Lazaridis believes former Glory skipper Shaun Murphy has something to offer the club despite having not played since their 2003/2004 grand final success.
Glory's pre-season continues on Sunday with a friendly against Premier League leader Sorrento at Riverlinks Park in Somerly (kick-off at 2.00pm). Their pre-season Cup campaign commences on 15th July away at Central Coast Mariners, followed by home meetings with Melbourne Victory (22nd July, Kiev Sports Ground) and Adelaide United (30th July, Dorrien Gardens).
NATIONALS BECKON FOR WOMEN'S TEAMS
The State women's Under-15 and Under-17 teams head east this week for the 2006 National Talent Identification Championship. An annual event, the tournament provides West Australia's best young female footballers the opportunity to match skills with players from across the country and at the same time put themselves in the frame for future national team selection. This year's Championships, which commence on Saturday, are behind staged in the picturesque town of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales' northern coast.
While both squads have been working consistently for the past five months, many of the players have lined-up next to each other in previous representative sides. Jessine Bonzas, coach of the Under-15's, believes her squad has had fantastic preparation and the tour will help gauge the progress of not only the players but also Football West's development programs. "Results are fantastic but I would love to see players recognised," she said. "It would be good for Football West and Western Australia." Each squad are guaranteed five games, with the promise of a further two should they qualify for the final.
The State Under-15's have been pooled in Group B alongside New South Wales Country, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria. The squad is Chloe Coghlan, Shea Heinsen, Tarryn Herbert (Balcatta), Emily Williams (East Fremantle), Danielle Calautti, Maili Forbes, Ella Mastrantonio, Marianna Tabain (National Training Centre), Nikki Campbell, Jaymee Gibbons (Queens Park), Jennifer Chantler, Shani Lynch, Shannon May, Elle Semmens (Subiaco United), Emilie Dunn and Sam Kerr (clubs unknown). The team officials are Jessine Bonzas (coach), Nicola Williams (assistant coach) and Amanda Tana (manager).
The Under-17's are scheduled to play the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales and Queensland in Group A. The squad consits of Lauren Bushby, Jessica Byrne, Domenica Carbone, Janiel D'Annunzio, Gemma Di Lello (Balcatta), Jessica Bennett, Adel Gardner, Casey Webb (Country Coastal), Nikki Diamond (Forrestfield United), Katie McGrath (Kingsley), Katy Coghlan, Edwin Forbes, Leigh Kelly (National Training Centre), Rowena Caswell, Jennifer Jobling (Northern Redbacks) and Harriet Talbot (Mandurah City). Travelling with them are Mike Brazil (coach), Lauren McCreary (physiotherapist) and Tara Coffey (manager).
NTC SQUAD DOES IT TOUGH IN ADELAIDE
It was a trying weekend for the seventeen members of the National Training Centre squad who represented West Australia at the Interstate Challenge Tournament in Adelaide. The squad, which had an average age of sixteen, pitted their skills against older State-based teams from South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. The series was put together to give national selectors an opportunity to assess players in a competitive environment with the view of assembling a squad for an up-coming youth tournament in Japan.
Fog at Adelaide Airport was an ominous sign for the squad who finally arrived at their destination eight hours after leaving Perth and via a stopover in Melbourne. Little over four hours after touching down they were on the park facing the South Australian Sports Institute. The teams went in to half-time at one apiece with Scott Neville the wests' scorer, but after the break fatigue set in and SASI ran away with the game 4-1.
The opposition on Saturday afternoon was provided by the Victorian Institute of Sport whose squad included two players from national league club Melbourne Victory. It was a much improved performance by the WA side who were the equal of the VIS in many regards. However, defensive errors proved costly as the Victorians ran out 5-1 winners with the Ryan Pearson scoring the lone goal for the team from the west coast.
West Australia tasted success in their final game of their trip by outclassing the Tasmanian Under-19's 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. Victory came via goals from John Walmsley and Sadmir Jakupovic. The trip was a good learning experience from the NTC squad who were able to gauge first hand where their development is in comparison to players from interstate.
The West Australian travelling party consisted of Liam Harvey, Ryan Pearson (Armadale), Jake Geddes, Sadmir Jakupovic (Inglewood United), Jarrad Bracewell, Anthony Cochrane (E.C.U. Joondalup), Mark Birighitti (Perth S.C.), Scott Neville, Cameron Yorke (Sorrento), Keith Clevenger, Dean Evans, Chris Harlond, Matthew Italiano, Adam Luca, Dannie Richman, John Walmsley (Stirling Lions) and Craig Thompson (Western Knights). Paul Wozny and Andrew Bettell were joint coaches of the side.
LEE TAKES UP DEVELOPMENT ROLE WITH FOOTBALL WEST
2005 Gold Medal winner Mark Lee will commence a two-year contract as part of Football Wests’ development team commencing the start of next month. Lee will be focused on driving development programs throughout the state and piloting new initiatives such as beach football. "I am looking forward to be a part of the development of football in WA," said Lee. "I will be working at youth level with all ages and abilities in promoting the game. The ideas that I have and backing I'll receive from Football West will allow me to reach all areas of WA and promote football to a diverse audience."
Lee's appointment to the Football West teams means he'll step down from the role of technical manager with Glory Zone. "I will miss the children and the parents who have been so supportive of the programs over the last three years. It has been tremendous to see the improvements they have made in all aspects of their development," commented. "I felt it was the right time to move on and am really excited about the new challenge. My experiences with Glory Zone and Jungle Soccer have been tremendous and I hope to carry this on into my work with Football West. I still feel I have a great deal to learn and am sure that I will be able to do this in my new position."
Football West chief executive officer Michelle Phillips is of the firm belief that Lee is a perfect match for the development role. "Mark has the qualities we are looking for to drive our game forward," she commented. "His experience at Glory Zone, his honest passion for the game and fair play qualities will make Mark a welcome addition to our team. Mark is a very well respected member of the football family who will play a key role in the development of football in WA. I am sure the football family joins me in welcoming Mark to the team."
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ELEVEN
East Fremantle clinically despatched Subiaco United 3-0 at Rosalie Park in the women's Premier League match of the day. The opening half was dominated by the port side who deservedly went ahead on 17 minutes when Rebecca Hunter was allowed time and space to pick her spot in the back of the net from 22-metres. The gap was increased nine minutes later when Emily Williams fired past goalkeeper M.Pidggeon from inside the area.
Subiaco saw much more of the ball after the break but found it difficult to break down a well-organised visiting defence. It wasn't until deep in stoppage time that East Fremantle netted for a third time through R.Baumgartner. "I am very excited about today's performance and we've done really well over the last five weeks," enthused East Fremantle coach Tony Carvajal. "The three-nil score reflects very well on the performance of the girls and I'm very proud of them."
After eleven games Balcatta remain at the top of the Premier League table, three points ahead of Queens Park. Balcatta thumped cellar dweller Mandurah City 4-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Queens Park returned from Rickman Delawney Reserve with maximum points after mauling Northern Redbacks 5-0.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWELVE (Armadale vs Bayswater City by Steve McGregor; Inglewood United vs Cockburn City by Brett Klucznik; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Swan I.C. vs Perth S.C. by Peter Simcox; Wanneroo City vs Sorrento by Jack Warner)
Goals flowed at Alfred Skeet Oval as a ten-man Armadale drew 3-3 with Bayswater City. The hosts were unfortunate not to snatch all three points after a later winner from Daryl Platten was controversially ruled out. The game started quietly enough and gave no indication of the drama's that would unfold over the next ninety minutes. Armadale settle well and began to dominate proceedings but were kept on their toes by a fast-breaking Bayswater line-up. The day took a turn for the worse for the hosts on 35 minutes when Kevin Bissett was red carded for kicking the ball at an opponent after the referee's whistle had blown. With five minutes Scott Devine had put the hosts ahead with a stunning strike from 25-metres that a diving Bobson Koroma got a hand to but could not keep out of the net. The game was levelled only a few minutes later through the impressive Jarred Smith who found himself in space to neatly lob Nick Stone from the top of the 18-yard box. Just before the break Jason Goodwin restored Armadale's lead with a dipping shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar. Bayswater began the second half with renewed enthusiasm and just after the hour a scramble for possession inside the box ended with Wes Ryder blasting a deserved equaliser into the roof of the net. Just when it seemed Armadale might buckle under the pressure up stepped Ben Howe who'd been on the park only five minutes when he slotted the ball past Koroma after received a pass from Williams. With eighteen minutes still left on the clock the game was far from over. Bayswater's persistence was rewarded in the 80th minute when an unmarked Jovo Pavlovic made no mistake in taking the score to three-all. The final twist came when Williams' free-kick was headed in by Platten only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
A strong team performance by Cockburn City earned them a 2-1 win over Inglewood United at the Kiev Sports Ground. Nine minutes had ticked by when the visitors snatched the lead through Jason Godfrey's long diagonal ball which Dean Wallace headed down to Anthony Periera who fended off one challenge before swinging a low shot between goalkeeper and upright from 15-metres. This drew a near instant reaction from the hosts as David Whiteside flicked the ball narrowly high from Mladin Kovacevic's low cross into the area. Chances continued to open up for both teams and Michael Mirco stretched Oliver Taseski with a fine strike, then a minute later Dean Apelgren's rasping drive cannoned off the underside of the bar. Mladin Kovacevic was proving a handful for the visiting defence and in the 39th minute he beat Dunlop only for the shot to hit the post. But deep in stoppage time fortune smiled on the young striker who was positioned to nod into an empty net after Dunlop was at full-stretch in parrying Apelgren's crisp volley. Wallace had Cockburn's second goal lined-up when a last gasp tackle from Danny Stoitis' robbed him of possession a minute into the second half. Mladin Kovacevic threatened again for the hosts by worming his way through the defence but his low shot flashed wide. Cockburn were back in front twelve minutes after the restart as Wallace played Periera down the left and his cutback from the byeline was met solidly by Michael Mirco who slammed the ball into the net from the top of the 6-yard box. Resilient defending by Dusan Macura, Shane Nunes and Godfrey limited Inglewood to only scattered half-chances as they sought to get back on level terms. Dunlop was called upon to keep out shots from Daniel Neiderberger, Greg Sharland and Mladin Kovacevic but all lacked the power to trouble the Cockburn 'keeper.
Missed opportunities would haunt Stirling Lions who crashed 0-3 away at E.C.U. Joondalup. An entertaining end-to-end contest commenced with a couple of good chances for David Dugdale to put the visitors one-up but the striker shot high with his first effort, and straight at Peter Stewart a few minutes later. Jordan Rhodes found himself through on goal in the 20th minute only to shoot narrowly wide. After soaking up the early pressure, Joondalup pressed forward in the 23rd minute through Anthony Jones whose mis-cued shot fell perfectly for brother Tom Jones to easily tap into the net for the games' opening goal. Dugdale squandered a golden opportunity ten minute out from half-time when he received a sloppy goalkick by Stewart but let the 'keeper off the hook by chipping over the crossbar. Stirling piled on the pressure leading into the break as Andy Brown's header went just over the bar, and a goalbound strike by Dugdale was blocked by Anthony Jones. This same pattern continued after the break and Stirling thought they'd equalised when Dugdale found the net, only for a dubious offside call to disallow the effort. The onslaught was relentless and Stewart Joondalup's saviour in keeping out shots from Dugdale, Rob Miller, Brown and Ryan Jeans. The hosts were limited to playing on the counterattack and, having won themselves a corner, referee Hugh Best spotted an infringement on Ian McMurray by Keith Brown and from the spot Scott Bushby doubled the margin with 5 minutes gone. Stirling had another crack at scoring but it was not to be as Ryan Jeans' header went over the bar. The icing was put on Joondalup's cake by McMurray who took on and beat two defenders before converting. Phil Straker denied the hosts a fourth goal by tipping Ryan Newhill's header away from the top corner.
A bumper crowd was on hand at the Swan Italian Club to watch Swan I.C. defeat reigning champion Perth S.C. 2-1. It was a historic occasion for the Swan Valley club who claimed victory over their traditional rival for the first time on home soil. Perth were the first to threaten through a cross from the right by Oliver Hilton which was Scott Bulloch sent over the crossbar. Swan showed that they were also in an attacking frame of mind and in the 7th minute went ahead via Tom Shepheard who tamed Damian Scali's through ball before applying a clinical finish past Gareth Deeg. From the restart Perth went straight back into attack through Bulloch whose cross to the back post was met by Aaron Cole whose downward header forced a superb reflex save from Corey Hugo. Although dominating possession, Perth were unable to unlock the home defence. Swan, on the other hand, had no such problems on 19 minutes when Tony Cumace sent a long ball from the back which Scali helped on to David Foster who shot past the 'keeper much to the delight of the home supporters. Hugo featured prominently leading into the break by denying Hilton and Bulloch as Perth sought for a way back into the game. Fired up by the half-time address of Graham Normanton, Perth reduced the deficit in the 52nd minute when Brendan Ross provided the ball to Onoforo whose powerful shot from the right came to test in Hugo's net. The breathed new life into the game and Dom Ando, Foster and David Perich were presented chances to kill off the game but couldn't, while at the opposite end Robbie Puca, Onoforo and Gary Faria each could have brought the teams level. With five minutes left frustrations got the better of Cole who was issued his second yellow card by referee Paul Anderson.
Sorrento extended their run as the top flight's only unbeaten team to twelve games by sweeping aside Wanneroo City 3-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The Gulls made their intentions clear by attacking from the outset and on 4 minutes a half chance came the way of Todd Harnwell who was unable to capitalise. Wanneroo tried to mix it with the league leaders but their attacks too often amounted to nothing. Their best chance came on 19 minutes when Dimi Arsonovic forced a superb one-handed reaction save from Neil Young. The hosts though were standing too far off their opponents and Simon Harland in particular was relishing the space afforded him. It seemed only a matter of time before Sorrento scored and so it came as no surprise when Jared Love headed down to Harland whose shot beat the despairing dive of Kevin Miller with 32 minutes gone. Wanneroo attempted to get back on level terms but again wasted the few chances they created. Daniel Glasspool's clumsy challenge on Michael Ord resulted in a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Glen Thomas squeezed past the defensive wall and inside the near post. Neil Young ensured Sorrento went into the break with a two-goal buffer with a close-range double save from Jake Harman and Phil O'Callaghan in stoppage time. For all their second half dominance, Sorrento's only reward came via a penalty awarded for handball against Matt Donlevy and converted by Jared Love. Coming in the 78th minute, Wanneroo's consolatory goal was a beauty, Donlevy sending what was probably meant to be a cross from the right over the head of Young and into the top corner. There was still time for Harnwell to put the ball in the net a fourth time for Sorrento but his effort was disallowed for offside.
Floreat Athena's title aspirations suffered a serious set back when they were beaten 1-2 at home by Western Knights. The early signs from Floreat were encouraging and they could have gone ahead after 13 minutes through Boima Karpeh who disappointingly poked the ball wide from close-range after receiving a cross from Adam Bachillor. Shortly after John Migas played Karpeh in behind the defence but a brilliant save by experienced shot-stopper Tommi Tomich left the Floreat striker frustrated. Tomich was the visitors' saviour again in the 25th minute by blocking a fine strike from outside the 18-yard box by Okwy Diamondstar. So it was against the run of play that the Knights took the lead on 34 minutes as Daniel Trim and Paul Devlin combined to great effect on the counterattack for Anthony Fearon to bag his first senior goal for the club. The visitors were starting to assert some authority over proceedings through an organised approach to the game. They were further rewarded eight minutes into the second half when poor defending at a throw-in left Devlin alone inside the area and he laid the ball off to Trim who lashed the shot past a badly exposed Vas Vujacic. With their season in fear of being derailed, Floreat worked hard to try and find a way back into the game. Ten minutes from the end they were handed a lifeline when referee Steve Muldoon awarded a penalty for handball, and from the spot Branimir Mukulic sent Tomich the wrong way. The closing stages were tense with Floreat creating several opportunities to drew level only to be thwarted time and time again by Ivan Zuvela and a well-drilled defence. Knights coach Ronnie Campbell was forced to watch the final few minutes from the stands after being banished from the sidelines for dissent.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWELVE (Balcatta vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Rockingham City vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City)
Ashfield made up ground on breakaway First Division leader Fremantle City by downing Balcatta 5-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Both side were on the attack early with the visitors getting the breakthrough via Andy O'Neill after 20 minutes. Ashfield increased their advantage when Mohammed Komaderic's free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box deflected past Jordan Conti after striking a defender. This was the signal for Balcatta to really begin applying pressure to the Ashfield defence but desperate defending and some excellent goalkeeping by Kenny Ftynohiannis kept the hosts scoreless. But it was only a matter of time before Balcatta would break through and three minutes from the break John Nicolaou's powerful header reduced the deficit. The second half began badly for Balcatta who had Rob Giorgi sent off for a second bookable offence. The hosts woes continued with Christian Melo being issued his marching orders after bringing Komaderic down inside the penalty box, and Balcatta were then reduced to eight players as Joe Cinquina was red carded for dissent. Once the dust had settled down Jason Van Rooy calmly converted Ashfield's third goal from the spot. Tom Gaca placed a neat shot to Conti's left to further extend the lead, and the scoring was completed by ban Rooy who netted his second from the spot.
South West Phoenix slipped to the foot of the table after going down 1-2 at Dianella White Eagles. Spirits in the Phoenix camp were high prior to kick-off, but the visitors soon found themselves on the back foot and Dianella's increased share of possession resulted in M.Gugoroski putting away the opening goal after 13 minutes. Slowly but surely Phoenix began to get into rhythm and Steve Rodgers was unfortunate not to bring the teams level with a free-kick that crashed into the crossbar. Parity was restored shortly as Steve Suttie delivered a cross to debutant Jeremy Fontanille whose close-range shot beat the goalkeeper. An offside flag denied Phoenix the lead not long out from the break after Suttie found the net following excellent work by Drasco Jankovic. James Bergin went within inches of putting the visitors ahead via a free-kick early in the second half. The deciding goal arrived via a goalmouth scramble in the 54th minute which was poked over the line by Rydeen Botha. Having taken the lead Dianella decided to shut up shop and for the remaining minutes adopted a very defensive approach to ensure their fifth win of the season didn't slip away.
Rockingham City picked up a valuable point by holding Mandurah City to a 1-1 draw at Dowling Street Reserve. A large crowd was on hand for what turned out to be a very entertaining match between these two rival clubs. Play was fast and furious during the opening exchanges as both clubs sought to stamp their authority over proceedings and grab the first goal. The pace produced a lot of missed opportunities and had spectators wondering whether or not either team brought their scoring boots. Rockingham eventually opened their account after 30 minutes when an uncleared free-kick into the box ended with Steve Cramphorn lashing past Mike Green. The second half saw Rockingham again push quickly into attack, but Mandurah slowly came to life only to be denied an equaliser on several occasions by Cyril Sharrock. The visitors' persistence paid off though in the 79th minute when Jake Loreto shot into the rof of the net. This breathed new life into the Mandurah attack who increased the tempo as they searched for a way to take home all three points. Both sides worked hard right up to the final whistle and with neither able to find the decisive goal the honours in an enthralling game were deservedly shared.
Canning City won at home for just the second time this season with a 4-2 upset of Morley Windmills. The first to threaten were Canning as Julio Barrendilla shot into the side netting, and ten minutes later Marc Sim was thwarted at close-range by Matt Darling. Ray Rose was put through one-on-one with the Canning ‘keeper who held his nerve as his opponent lifted the shot high. The pressure was relentless and Darling’s reflexes were tested by Barrendilla, Michael Van Dongen’s shot was blocked on the line and from the rebound Sim placed narrowly over the crossbar. Canning got the breakthrough they were after in the 44th minute when a shot from Paul Van Dongen hit a defender and fell to Barrendilla who sent it past Darling. In stoppage time Michael Van Dongen slotted in from a tight angle to double the margin. And the difference became three goals less than a minute into the second half when Michael Van Dongen lobbed over Darling who was caught off his line. Rose and Scott McIlroy found the net within minutes of each other to bring Morley back into the game. But the afternoon belonged to the home team and just after the hour Barrendilla headed in Ryan Allomes’ corner to secure victory.
Gosnells City chalked up their second win of the campaign by defeating eastern corridor rival Forrestfield United 3-1 at Hartfield Park. A.Naylor scored twice and Andy Daffin once for Gosnells while Forrestfield's lone goal came via Dennis Lee. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
AUSTRALIA HOPE TO INSPIRE NEXT GENERATION (courtesy www.fifaworldcup.com)
Australia departed from the 2005 Confederations Cup in Germany after losing each of their three group games to Germany, Argentina and Tunisia. Many expected the same fate to befall them when they were placed alongside Brazil, Croatia and Japan in Group F for the World Cup finals. However, with the lessons they learned twelve months previously and the guidance of coach Guus Hiddink, appointed in the wake of the Socceroos' disappointing showing last summer, a stronger side emerged on their return to the world stage.
Their performances showed that Australia could hold their own against some of the world's finest footballing sides and even do better against teams who had more recent FIFA World Cup experience under their belts, in the case of Croatia and Japan. Their Germany 2006 journey also inspired a new interest in football back home, with many fans watching the matches in the early hours of the morning. "We came here as a lowly ranked team, lucky to make it in the eyes of the world, but the world has taken notice, big time, of what Australia has done," said Football Federation Australia chief executive John O'Neill.
When Australia made their only other World Cup finals appearance, in 1974, they failed to score a single goal and were eliminated in the first round. This time around they not only showed great spirit but they played a brand of football that produced results and was exciting for the spectator. Australia showed that being well organised does not mean that a team has to play defensively. True, Hiddink was helped by working with a committed group of experienced players, determined to make the most of their appearance at football's showpiece event.
They scored three goals in the final eight minutes to come from behind and defeat Japan in their opening match. In their second group game with Brazil, they matched the world champions until two second-half goals ended their hopes of gaining a draw. And needing a point to qualify for the round of sixteen against Croatia, they came from behind twice to score the point they needed. Then, in the round of sixteen showdown with Italy, an upset looked as it was on the cards until they were denied by a last-minute penalty.
After the match Hiddink said: "It is bitter to see us concede in the last second but overall when the emotions have gone down a bit, I can be very proud of this team, especially because of how well we played in the three group games and in this game against a highly regarded team like Italy." Socceroo captain Mark Mark Viduka was in agreement. "There are far more positives than negatives," he said. "I think we've got a lot of new followers because of the way we played. I think everyone now knows we can match it with the big boys."
Now the Socceroos must get used to life without Hiddink, who has agreed to coach Russia, and FFA are looking for a man who can inspire similar results. "From the little feedback we're getting the federation understands how important a big coach is for us," commented midfielder Vince Grella. "Obviously, big coaches mean big money but if we want to build the team we have to start the next time we come together, our plan should be straight away for the next World Cup preparation and take on the positives and some things we could do better."
As the newest members of the Asian Football Confederation, Australia's first assignment is the AFC Asian Cup in 2007. With this in mind, Hiddink has given his previous employers some free advice. "You have to analyse this World Cup and also look ahead to the future and look at the players and what ages they are," said Hiddink. "Maybe they have to step back a bit and start building not a totally new team, but consider whether some of the players will be there at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa."
"In the coming years the FFA have to consider that and talk to the players," added Hiddink. "If they still want to have a new era, then they can't wait for six months or a year. They must make a new project through to 2010, via the Olympic Games in 2008." By the time 2010 rolls around Australia will have lost several key players from their recent campaign, but with a top-quality coach and a blueprint for future success, the new generation could at the very least emulate the achievement of the class of 2006.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The Premier League is threatening to become a one-horse race as Sorrento go seven points clear at the top at the conclusion on Round Twelve. The Gulls took all three points from their trip to Wanneroo City where Simon Harland, Glen Thomas and Jared Love found the net. Floreat Athena remain second despite losing 1-2 at home to Western Knights whose goals came from Anthony Feron and Daniel Trim. Now level on points with Floreat are Cockburn City for whom Anthony Pereira and Michael Mirco scored in the 2-1 win at Inglewood United.
Swan I.C. made it back-to-back 2-1 wins over Perth S.C. courtesy of first half goals from Tom Shepheard and David Foster. E.C.U. Joondalup reversed last week's loss to Stirling Lions by triumphing 3-0 on home soil. On target for the hosts were Tom Jones, Scott Bushby and Ian McMurray. There was something of a goalfest at Alfred Skeet Oval where Armadale drew 3-3 with Bayswater City. Netting for the hosts were Jason Goodwin (2) and Scott Devine with Bayswater's goals coming from Wes Ryder, Jared Smith and Jovo Pavlovic.
Ashfield made up ground on breakaway First Division leader Fremantle City with a 4-1 thumping of Balcatta. Mandurah City were surprisingly held 1-1 away at Rockingham City. John Connell Reserve hosted the days' upset with Canning City running out 4-2 winner of Morley Windmills. Dianella White Eagles scrapped over the line 2-1 against South West Phoenix who have been cut three points adrift at the foot of the table. Gosnells City's second win of the second came courtesy of a 3-1 scoreline over eastern corridor rival Forrestfield United.
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This page was last updated on the 31st August, 2006