WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's a case of deja vu tomorrow as last weekend's Premier League games are reversed. Back-to-back games provide vanquished teams the opportunity to extract a quick revenge, and that's exactly what Perth S.C. have in mind when they head to Swan I.C. for the footballwa.net Match of the Day. Graham Normanton will accept nothing less than victory in the Swan Valley and the key to their performance lies with creative midfielders Scott Bulloch, Gary Faria and Matt Danskin. Swan have been this seasons quiet achiever and go into the game full of confidence after taking all three points at Dorrien Gardens.
The relegation battle takes another twist as Armadale entertain the resurgent Bayswater City at Alfred Skeet Oval where the home team know victory is a must. Sorrento are tipped to take the points against Wanneroo City at Kingsway Reserve, while home club Floreat Athena are hopeful of doing likewise against Western Knights. Inglewood United are looking to turn around their poor first half of the season when they host Cockburn City. And in the far north E.C.U. Joondalup come up against Stirling Lions.
The pick of the First Division action is at Graham Burkett Reserve where Balcatta play host to second-placed Ashfield. There's a local derby at Dowling Street Reserve where visiting Mandurah City should take all three points from Rockingham City. Canning City are in desperate need of a victory when they host Morley Windmills. Gosnells City makes the short trip to Hartfield Park where Forrestfield United provide the opposition, and Dianella White Eagles are home to South West Phoenix. League leaders Fremantle Sprit have the bye.
COLOSIMO INJURY ADDS TO GLORY'S WOES
Perth Glory have suffered another setback ahead of the coming season with Simon Colosimo sidelined for two months with knee ligament damage. Colosimo suffered the injury during a recent training stint in Europe and, after returning to Australia this week, had medial ligament damage confirmed by MRI scans. The news is a blow for Glory who only days earlier agreed to release midfielder Nick Ward to London club Queens Park Rangers. "I would say a minimum of a couple of months," said caretaker coach Alan Vest. "It is a (blow), and we need to sign a few more players."
Meanwhile, Glory's bid to bolster its thin playing stocks by drawing on players from the local Premier League is being thwarted by requests for too much money. "We are talking to a couple of locals but ... they are not too cooperative the clubs, and I find that hard to believe," Vest said. "They are always moaning there's no locals in, and when you want one they don't want to come. It is not easy losing your best players, but other than that they are asking for too much money."
MID-SEASON REPORT CARD
Last weekend marked the halfway stage of the Premier League season and over the past three months there have been plenty of thrills and spills on the local scene. Sorrento and Floreat Athena have broken away at the top of the table but with eleven games still to play it's far from a safe bet that either club will land the title. At the opposite end of the table Armadale and Bayswater City have found points hard to come by and, to be honest, both of those clubs possess the ability to climb away from the drop zone. On the eve of the second half to the season Peter Simcox and Brett Klucznik got together at Mia Cafe in Inglewood to discuss over coffee what they've seen so far from each of the twelve clubs.
Leading the way are northern suburbs outfit Sorrento who remain the only unbeaten team in the top flight. "The Gulls have a good mixture of youth and experience, and deserve their top placing," said Simcox. "The return of Brad Hassell from injury has given them stability in the middle of the park and Scott Miller's experience and pace down the left has added bite to the side. Todd Harnwell, Simon Harland and Jared Love are doing a fine job of putting away the goals, and the emergence of youngsters such as Lewis Flatt, Jessie Higgins and Chris Smith bodes well for the clubs' future. Sorrento are strong all over the park and the question now is whether they can finish what they started by taking the title."
Floreat Athena, currently in second spot, can lay claim to being the most improved team of 2006. "It's been a terrific start for Michael Roki's side and their position is a just reward for their hard work," Klucznik commented. "The difference between last season and this season has to be the quality in depth which Roki now has at his disposal, and the fact they've been without three key players for more than a month is evidence of this. Boima Karpah and Owky Diamondstar have been outstanding up front but for me their strength is in midfield where Josip Magdic runs the show and wreaks all kinds of havoc for opposing defences. The contributions of Adam Bachiller, John Migas and Paul Vlachou have also played a big role in their success so far."
The appointment of knowledgeable pair Billy Russell and Tom Kilkelly has certainly given Cockburn City a new lease on life. "Their inability to perform at home must be a concern for the coaching staff but they are undefeated on their travels and deservedly sit in third place," Simcox commented. "In the middle of the park the mercurial Michael Mirco has been superb and emerging talent Jason Dos Santos has given them added drive going forward. And with Shane Nunes and Jason Godfrey holding the defence together the signs are good for Cockburn. Their Achilles heel could be inconsistency caused by injury, but if this clears up a top three spot should be their."
Last season's champion Perth S.C. find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being ten points away from top spot. "An inability for his players to convert chances into goals must be a constant source of frustration for Graham Normanton," suggested Simcox. "Robbie Puca has been out through injury, and you've got to say they've missed his creativity and leadership, and I get the impression Perth are lacking a little in terms of depth this year. Their strength is across the middle of the park where Gary Faria, Scott Bulloch and Matt Danskin have been outstanding. Don't be surprised if they shrug off a slow start by surging up table over the coming months."
Western Knights are one of several clubs in a congested middle of the table. "By their own standards the Knights had a flat start to the season but in the past month they've shown they're slowly turning that around," said Klucznik. "Shane McNally and Paul Cooke have both made a terrific start to the season and provided plenty for an attack spearheaded by the evergreen Stuart Montgomery to work with. At the opposite end of the park they have one of the league's best defensive units in Ivan Zuvela, Evan Wallace and Tomi Tomich. The Knights have had their depth tested by injury and I expect the mid-table position they occupy now is pretty much where they'll see out the season."
Not a great deal was expected of Swan I.C. in pre-season but they've proved their detractors wrong with some solid performances. "For a club that has no 'superstars', Swan are working well and looking good as an overall unit," stated Klucznik. "Underpinning a solid start to the season is a hard-working defence featuring the likes of Jonathon Mathers, Danyal Bennett and Dom Ando. Competition for spots in the middle of the park is red hot, while up front Damien Catalano and David Foster make sure opposition players on high alert right up to the final whistle. A top five finish is a very distinct possibility."
It's been a disappointing season to-date for Stirling Lions who invested heavily in new players last summer. "After a good Night Series, in which they made the final, Stirling have very much failed to live up to expectation," observed Simcox. "Mike Lyons' troops are working hard but with little reward. Team captain Darko Ilmanoski is the cement holding together their backline, Rob Miller and Jordan Rhodes are working well together in midfield and Ryan Jeans is finding the net with regularity. However, they've got a few players under-achieving at the moment and their place in the bottom half of the table reflects this."
E.C.U. Joondalup made a flying start to the home and away series only to have fallen off the pace in the past month. "Stuart Currie's side were top of the table after the first month of competition and no one will be more disappointed than him that they've slipped into the bottom half of the table," remarked Klucznik. "Teenager Scott Bushby has been a sensation in the middle of the park and has gone from strength to strength since the addition of Mark Lee. The problem at Joondalup though is that they have too many players who flit in and out of the game without having a lasting impact. Like in past seasons their inability to string results together is of major concern and the player group as a whole must now step up to the challenge."
Newly promoted Wanneroo City were widely tipped to go straight back down to the First Division but after a great start they seem to have ensured their place in next year's top flight. "Wanneroo may be lacking consistency but they can hold their heads high having already picked up four wins to move well clear of the relegation zone," surmised Simcox. "Phil O'Callaghan and Morgan Dendle have played key roles for the club along with Ryan Townsend whose departure for Perth Glory is a major blow for Wanneroo. New coach Jamie Goodman has brought with him a number of new faces who'll no doubt strengthen the squad as they head into the second half of the winter."
The hit and miss form of Inglewood United has been one of the big surprises of the past few months. "On paper, Inglewood have one of the strongest squads in the league," remarked Simcox. "The player group is pretty much the same as that which last year claimed forth and made the Cup final, so it's difficult to fathom why they're currently tenth. Reports of unrest have been circulating for weeks and coach Eddie Hodgkinson must be walking a tightrope. With Louis Parkinson, Dean Apelgren and Jason Colli performing consistently Inglewood are creating chances but their failure to convert is what's holding them back."
Successive wins have eased Bayswater City away from the drop zone. "It's been a turbulent time for Bayswater who've already changed coach three times," Klucznik pointed out. "Not surprisingly, this has lead to instability within the playing ranks and the unnecessary loss of some important players. Daniel Micevski has been a beacon of hope in the centre of the park and along with Jarred Smith, Damir Kudozovic and Paul Natale hold the club's fate in their hands. Bayswater may still be celebrating recent successes, but they need to be made aware the battle to avoid the drop is far from over."
Stumping up the Premier League table at the midway stage of the season are Armadale. "Peter Murphy's side really are not that far off the pace," observed Klucznik. "Armadale have been competitive in the vast majority of their games and with a little more luck would have more than a single point to their credit. Darryl Platten has been superb at the heart of the Reds defence with James Isaia and Jason Goodwin producing the goods in midfield. The only area Armadale fall down in is the quality of their finishing, and whether or not they can locate someone capable of regularly getting on the scoresheet will determine at which level they'll be playing next year."
ARMADALE SNAP UP SCOTTISH STRIKER
Armadale have added to their attacking with the acquisition of Glasgow-born striker Alex Williams. The 23-year old striker is the second Scotsman to join the Reds this month and joins defensive midfielder Steven Vinter at the club. The absence of a proven goalscorer has kept Armadale rooted to the foot of the Premier League table this year and coach Peter Murphy is pinning his hopes on Williams being the solution to that particular problem. Williams made his senior debut for Stirling Albion as a teenager and through spells at Greenock Morton, Queen of the South and Clyde scored 87 goals in 210 League and Cup games. Last season Williams was the leading goalscorer for Scottish First Division club Clyde where he featured regularly in the starting eleven.
ATTEND THE GLORY ZONE AT NO CHARGE!
If you're aged between six and fifteen and want four days of non-stop football action these school holidays then there is only one place to be - the Glory Zone July Holiday Clinics. Glory Zone gives young players the opportunity to experience the training required to make them the best player possible. As well as mixing with the best coaches and fellow junior players in a structured environment, participants will receive a Clinic Pack to make you the envy of your friends. They will also take part in the World Cup Superstar's Tournament which will include Ronaldinho, Messi and Harry Kewell.
For the exclusive opportunity to win a free place at the July Holiday Clinics, simply answer this question - those that answer correctly will be drawn out of a hat by Perth Glory striker Stuart Young and win a free place - How many goals did Diego Maradona score in the 1986 World Cup?. All responses should be sent to Mark Lee via firstname.lastname@example.org For further information on the July Holiday Clinics, including clinic venues and enrolment forms, visit the Glory Zone website or call the office on 9443 4477.
ANDO SHOWS TRUE GRIT
If anyone was in two minds as to whether Swan I.C. genuinely are one of this year’s big improvers then their weekend win over local giant Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens should dispel those doubts. The black and whites had a number of solid contributors on the day with the stand-out being that of veteran Dom Ando who laid his mother to rest two days before the game. “It was tough week for me both on and off the park,” admits Ando who made the decision to play after discussions with the Swan coaching staff. “I missed training for a week and it really did affect me and at the end of the game at Perth I was knackered. Perth are a good side with a number of quality players, but we went into the game with a plan and it was great to get the right result.”
Following his arrival at Swan earlier in the year Ando’s tireless work ethic and knowledge of the game have brought a new dimension to the team on match day, and added to the options of coach Carlo Scali. “Dom has been fantastic, as a team member and the type of guy he is,” said Scali. “He has fitted right in at Swan. We had Dom playing at sweeper and left back early on, from there he has been moved around a little bit as he has the ability to play a few different roles, which is great for the team. I think we have found his ideal position as a holding midfielder. He defends well, goes forward effectively, reads the game, plays equally well on his left and right and can strike a ball from long range exceptionally well.”
Ando has been impressed with the structure at Swan this season and feels the club is on the right track with a growing number of youngsters now pressing for senior selection. “Training at the club has been really disciplined and it beginning to rub off on the younger players,” he said. “I’ve been real surprised with the talent coming up through the ranks at the club. They keep you on your toes and if you don’t perform there’s a ready made replacement waiting to take your place.” Amongst the youngsters who’ve been making their mark at the club this season are Brendan Knox, Paul Baczynski, David Perich and John Mansaray.
This weekend Perth head to the Swan Valley seeking to avenge last week’s loss. Ando, who spent seven seasons with Perth, knows all too well that Swan will need to be on top of their game if they want to take further points from the Blues. “We’ll have to watch their wide players, Matt Danskin and Jeff Bright, they caused us a number of problems last week, but at our patch the pitch is narrower which will help us,” he said. “Also we will have to keep an eye on the runs from defence of Aaron Cole and Michael Icanovski who linked up well with their midfield. We succeeded on Saturday with the three points and we will be trying our best to do it again to keep the pressure on the top five.”
LAZARIDIS CLOSE TO DECIDING HIS FUTURE
Stan Lazaridis will decide within twenty-four hours whether to help revive the game in Western Australia by joining Perth Glory or sign with rival club Adelaide United. The Socceroo veteran has confirmed he will return to Australia after more than a decade playing in England for West Ham United and Birmingham City. "I will have the next two days to think about that. I'll make a decision in 48 hours or so," said the 33-year old following Australia's World Cup loss to Italy. Recruiting Lazaridis has become even more pressing for Glory after highly rated midfielder Nick Ward was granted release to join English club Queens Park Rangers.
Lazaridis is a man in demand having fielded offers to continue his career in England, Greece, Cypriot and the Middle Eastern. It is believed Lazaridis is leaning towards returning to Perth where he and wife Mary, who is from Adelaide, are building a home. Born and raised in Perth, Lazaridis has worn senior international colours for Australia on seventy occasions and was part of the twenty-three player Socceroo squad in Germany. He is seen as a key to the revitalisation of Glory, which was once Australia's benchmark club. Just weeks before the start of the pre-season tournament, Glory are yet to appoint a permanent coach and have a threadbare squad.
FOOTBALL RESURRECTED IN THE WEST (by Silke Losch)
It’s a moment that will define who you are for the rest of your life. Your heart is thumping heavily, your palms are sweaty and your senses are numbed. Every hard-worked muscle in your body is in tune with the tension in the air, and you can hear the thunder in the voices of a crowd of thousands. As you sit there, staring at your green and gold uniform, you become aware your destiny is only meters away. Outside of the locker room, there is a heavenly realm of luscious green grass and a sea of lights that glimmer from all directions. It is there that you can triumph … it is there that the excitement is overwhelming.
To play in the FIFA World Cup finals is a dream held dearly by many young Australian hopefuls. It is an ambition that makes endless hours spent on the training pitch and personal sacrifices seem insignificant and worthwhile. In Western Australia this level of success has been more of an illusion than a reality, however, this has been changing. After a period of national and state review and reform, the Federal and State Governments, and more specifically the Department of Sport and Recreation, has assisted in the formation of a unified football organisation, Football West.
The association was established in 2004 with the aim of representing the interests of all levels of football competition in metropolitan and regional W.A. It creates a peak soccer body that aspires to make football a leading sport in this state. Recognised by Football Federation of Australia and the State and Federal governments, Football West is responsible for the administration, promotion and delivery of football in W.A. It aims to increase participation, improve the management of the all competitions and provide a realistic pathway between grass roots to elite level.
Before the creation of Football West there were six state organisations that managed, controlled and delivered football in this state. These bodies - the Soccer Administration of W.A., the Junior Soccer Association of W.A., the W.A. Amateur and Social Soccer Association , Soccer West Coast, the W.A. Women’s Soccer Association and Soccer Australia Referees (WA) - received limited funding from the government. Now, with one coherent association, the government, in conjunction with Lottery West, has facilitated the growth of the sport.
“Now we are one organisation” explains Michelle Phillips, chief executive officer of Football West. “Before the game was run by different organisations and now we have a single voice. The power of one voice is great, because the Department of Sport and Recreation has already put up $700,000 over the next three years for it. Previously they funded zero.” In 2005 all W.A. clubs became affiliated with Football West who administer the metropolitan competitions, develop and implement State development plans, lift the profile of the game and increase funding into the sport at all levels.
Phillips says that it has certainly improved football in Western Australia. “There are obviously still some areas we have to work on,” commented the CEO. “We are a start up organisation … (we) started everything from scratch but when I look out there, we are obviously improving. We have an extra two thousand kids playing this year, we are starting to support coaches, we have club networks - it’s all the little things that are adding up to big things.”
In the Football West’s 2005 Annual Report, it notes ‘Football in WA has achieved so much in such a small amount of time … WA has over 30,000 players, 250 clubs, 360 referees, 1,000 coaches and up to 10,000 volunteers.’ It is currently one of the highest participation sports in the state. With a staggering 32,000 players, the sport has seen a 7% increase from last year, with a 10% growth in the number of females now playing the game. These are statistics which thrill Phillips, “What we want to do is keep driving up the numbers.”
Barrie Greenwood, a prominent football figure in W.A. and former board member of the West Australian Soccer Federation, feels that the game is on the rise. “Football West has only been there for just over twelve months and the progress has been unbelievable,” he said. With Australia qualifying for the World Cup finals and joining the Asian Football Confederation, Greenwood believes football in W.A. is currently at a turning point. This becomes particularly obvious when seeing the progression the game has made since the 1960’s.
Football in W.A. during the 60’s was played and administered largely by migrant’s who used the game as a way of escaping the harsh realities of settling in a foreign country. Greenwood, author of ‘Soccer: West Australia 1960 to 2000’, explains that “immigrants used to play soccer. There were a lot (of them) moving to Western Australia who were semi-professional players and the clubs could afford to bring more players in. After the 1970’s there was a lull in the game, now were getting stronger again.” And although senior participation has declined since those days, the new focus brought by Football West has seen has seen an improvement in the standard at junior, grass root and semi-professional levels.
Now, with the new structure in place, West Australian’s will have more opportunities according to Greenwood. “The natural abilities in an Australian kid are great and we have magical facilities actually,” he said. “In England we used to play in rain and snow, but here it’s beautiful. The skill level is great.” What has been lacking, however, is player development in the stages between grass root and professional level.
In response to this, Football West has devised a number of reforms to benefit players. One of these changes includes a State and Education Plan which will lay the foundations for the progression of the game. Divided into player development, player pathways, coach education and pathways and club administration development, the plan will facilitate and encourage all football participants. It aims to ensure that all players, coaches, clubs and referees have the opportunity to engage in the game at their chosen level and have the adequate services and facilities to develop their skills.
Phillips is confident football in W.A. “Is going from strength to strength. It continuous to grow and it is not going to stop. We want to make sure that every child and adult that wants to play the game can. That’s what we’re about, that’s what we’re here for. A big thank you to all the football family; the clubs, the volunteers, the coaches, the regional associations, the players, because it is everybody together that makes the game so great.”
Today, the goal of becoming a W.A. football star seems closer. You can practice harder, run faster and stretch your body further, because the dream is becoming a reality. The sound of the audience is nearer, the green and gold uniform will not be fading and the tension in the atmosphere will captivate you. Inevitably, football in W.A. is getting stronger, because as the late Bill Shankly once remarked, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death… I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Interest in the leading goalscorer awards continues to mount as the season enters its second half. With eleven goals from as many games, Stuart Montgomery top the Premier League Golden Boot leaderboard. Montgomery, currently sidelined with a hamstring complaint, will be hoping his Western Knights team mates can keep Floreat Athena's Boima Karpeh quiet this weekend. Karpeh is just two goals behind Montgomery and ready to pounce.
Karpeh is himself being hotly pursued by Phil O'Callaghan of Wanneroo City who has eight goals to his credit. Stirling Lions' summer signing Ryan Jeans has so far netted seven times this season and placed fourth. A large group of players are gathered on six goals, namely Okwy Diamondstar, Branimir Mikulic (Floreat), Scott Bushby (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jared Love, Todd Harnwell (Sorrento) and last years leading scorer David Onoforo (Perth S.C.).
Fremantle City striker David Rodgers is leading the race for top goalscoring honours in the First Division. Rodgers, who won the award in 2005 while playing for South West Phoenix, has scored thirteen times and holds a two-goal advantage over Christian Pascherwitz of Mandurah City. Sharing third are Ray Rose (Morley Windmills) and Rydeen Botha (Dianella White Eagles) with nine goals each, one ahead of Callum Roberts (Fremantle City). Grouped together with five goals apiece are Martin Kelly, Andy O’Neill (Ashfield), Adrian Caloeria (Balcatta) and Brian Cairney (Gosnells City).
GLORY RELEASE WARD TO QPR
London club Queens Park Rangers have reached agreement with Perth Glory for the transfer of Australian youth international Nick Ward. The 21-year old attacking midfielder will jet in to London early next week to finalise a two-year deal. Widely regarded as one the hottest prospects in Australia, Ward - who made 21 A-League appearances for Glory last season, bagging five goals - has represented his country at all levels and won the inaugural A-League 'Rising Star' award.
Ward's decision to ditch Glory has annoyed Football Federation Australia who reluctantly agreed to release the midfielder after he exercised a pre-existing clause in his contract. "It's disappointing to see one of our best local footballers wanting to leave the Hyundai A-League to pursue his football career in a second-tier competition in England," said Matt Carroll, FFA's head of operations. "Nick has taken this decision on the advice of his management, and against the advice of the Australian national team management who believe his playing prospects would have been better served remaining at Perth Glory and gaining valuable match time."
CRUEL END TO SOCCEROOS' DREAM
The dream is over - Australia have bowed out of the World Cup finals. A dramatic and controversial injury time penalty converted by Francesco Totti was all that separated the Socceroos and Italy in their second round clash at the Fritz-Walter Stadion in Kaiserslautern. The Socceroos, and their army of supporters, will long debate the decision of referee Luis Medina Cantalejo to award the spot-kick for a piece of amateur theatrics from Fabio Grosso after Lucas Neill made minimal contact while tangling near the byline.
Australia settled into a groove early but it was Italy who should have gone ahead on 4 minutes when Luca Toni put a free header narrowly wide from the edge of the 6-yard box. The Italian's were creating the better of chances as Mark Schwarzer tipped Alberto Gilardino's shot over the crossbar, and a few minutes later the Socceroo custodian kept a low strike by Toni with his legs. Australia went within a whisker of taking the lead on 29 minute when Marco Bresciano's free-kick was helped on to Scott Chipperfield whose drive from 12-metres forced an instinctive save from Buffon.
The dismissal of defender Marco Materazzi for a lunging tackle on Bresciano five minutes into the second half tipped the scales in Australia's favour. The Socceroos made their extra man count by dominating possession and pinning Italy in their defensive half. Openings increasingly appeared as the minutes ticked by, however, combination of below-par finishing and good goalkeeping prevented Chipperfield, Tim Cahill, Viduka and Bresciano from finding the net. Playing on the counterattack, Italy's best chance came in the 63rd minute when Gennaro Gattuso overhit a cross into the area for the unmarked Alessandro Del Piero.
With extra-time looming the Socceroos' patience looked like it might be rewarded as Italy wilted in the heat. But eight seconds from the end Grosso went to ground under Neill, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and the rest, as they say, is history. Coach Guus Hiddink said the decision to award the penalty was wrong. "The penalty, the free-kick was not in my opinion a free-kick. I can be very proud of the guys, of the boys, who performed in this World Cup, in all three matches and this match against a powerhouse of Europe," said Hiddink. "We wanted to play attractive, spectacular football, and we did. But in contrast to the Italians, we weren't lethal enough in front of goal. The team tried their hardest and we can have no regrets."
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE
Balcatta have moved to the top of the women’s Premier League following their 3-2 victory over Queens Park in the match of the round at Graham Burkett Reserve. Balcatta withstood a late second half fight back to inflict a second successive defeat on Queens Park. A tense opening period saw few chances as both sides battled for ascendancy. The game was blown open on the half hour mark when Elise D'Ovidio broke free on the right and whipped in a cross which sailed over the head of J.McInerney and into the far corner of the net.
D'Ovidio was involved in Balcatta's second goal ten minutes into the second half by delivering the ball to the feet of S.Heinsen who neatly side-footed in from close-range. Six minutes later Balcatta added a third through a thundering drive by D'Ovidio. Helen Bremer brought Queens Park back into the game by volleying past C.Coglan in the 81st minute, and two minutes later the attacker rose high to nod in her second. Balcatta defended staunchly over the remaining minute to secure victory and go three points clear at the top of the table.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ELEVEN (Sorrento vs Wanneroo City by Kerry Slater; Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich; Perth S.C. vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Stirling Lions vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy Stirling Lions; Bayswater City vs Armadale by Brett Klucznik)
Sorrento extended their unbeaten run to eleven games, and went four points clear at the top of the Premier League table, by defeating Wanneroo City 2-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. The afternoon’s first chance on goal came after 11 minutes when Neil Young held the ball longer than his allotted six seconds, and Matt Donlevy played the resulting free-kick to David Houston whose shot cannoned off the defensive wall. It didn’t take long for Sorrento to respond and in the 20th minute Simon Harland shot past Kevin Miller only to have a fast backtracking Danny Taylor clear off the line. Ten minutes later Glen Thomas’ was headed down by Harland to Jared Love whose shot on the turn was wide of the post. Harnwell squandered a golden opportunity to put his side ahead shortly before the interval by steering a penalty kick on to the post and Wanneroo scrambled the rebound to safety. Sorrento asserted their authority after the break but could not find a way past an in-form ‘keeper who tipped a well-struck volley by Thomas over the crossbar. There were further heroics a minute later as Kevin Miller pushed Danny Hill’s powerful header high, and with the next play Scott Miller grazed the top of the bar after meeting a cross from Thomas. The pressure on Wanneroo was relentless and it appeared it’d only be a matter of time before they were breached. The hosts persistence paid off with 73 minutes played as Morgan’s miss-cued cross travelled into the path of Hill whose sweetly struck rising flew past the ‘keeper and inside the top corner. Jake Harman had a half chance to equalise shortly after but lobbed wide of the target. Sorrento made all three points safe in the 89th minute as Harnwell chased down a through ball and got the better of the on-coming ‘keeper to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
The weekends surprise result came from Nash Field where an under-strength Western Knights toppled Floreat Athena 2-1. The ball was turned over with regularity in a disjointed opening spell as the opposing midfields attempted to assert some semblance of control over proceedings. Floreat carved out a couple of good early chances for Okwy Diamondstar and Adam Bachiller which both went unconverted. Shane McNally and David Pryce were featuring prominently in the centre of the park for the home team whose best opportunity came the way of McNally who fired wide. With 28 minutes gone Floreat went ahead when Branimir Mikulic was brought down inside the box by Ivan Zuvela, and after dusting himself off the strongly built attacker picked his spot past goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. But a lapse of concentration just two minutes later allowed the Knights to equalise as Paul Cooke’s shot was parried by Vas Vujacic and in a flash Shane McNally poked the loose ball into the net from 6-metres. The Knights made their intentions clear after the break as Cooke tormented the opposing backline with his penetrating runs down the right flank. And while Floreat also looked dangerous when going forward they rarely forced a meaningful response from Tomich thanks to the defensive efforts of Evan Wallace, Gerry Fitzgibbon and Zuvela. The deciding goal arrived amid controversy in the 84th minute when Cooke went down inside the box under a challenge from Chris Wylie and, with the Floreat defender proclaiming his innocence, Paul Devlin made no mistake in converting the resulting penalty. With time running out, Floreat threw caution to the wind by streaming into attack at every opportunity in a desperate attempt to salvage a point, but the Knights weren’t about to let that happen and held on for victory courtesy of resilient defending.
Cockburn City picked up their second home win of the campaign with a scrappy 2-1 defeat of Inglewood United 2-1 in a spirited game at Dalmatinac Park. The first half was largely uneventful as both teams took their time in settling and some strong defensive work kept chances on goal to a minimum. The visitors always looked menacing when going forward but their work in the final third of the park left a lot to be desired. Cockburn, on the other hand, should have gone into the break with the advantage after being awarded a penalty for David Whiteside’s foul on Andrew Keary, however, Dean Wallace sent the ball high from the spot with 39 minutes played. Inglewood came out for the second half firing on all cylinders and determined to break the deadlock with Greg Sharland and Mladin Kovacevic shooting wide of the target. They were rewarded in the 56th minute when Mladin Kovacevic who, with two defenders hot on his heels, held his nerve and placed his shot beyond the reach of Alan Dunlop and into the bottom corner. Nine minutes later Cockburn were back on level terms after Oliver Taseski failed to capture a hopeful long ball played into the area by Dusan Macura and which bounced into the net. The turning point came with fifteen minutes remaining when Cockburn coach Billy Russell brought on the fresh legs of attackers Aaron Dos Santos and Simon El Chami who proceeded to cause problems for the home defence. The deciding goal arrived with just three minutes left on the clock as Aaron Dos Santos drew the defence and Taseski out of position before centring to El Chami who made no mistake in tucking the ball into the net.
Swan I.C. collected three valuable points with a surprise 2-1 win over traditional rival Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. It was a great start for the black and whites who were ahead after 8 minutes when Scott Campbell’s free-kick was flicked on by David Foster and David Perich knocked the ball low past Gareth Deeg. But the lead was short-lived as within minutes Matt Danskin’s in-swinging corner from the left found an unmarked David Onoforo who headed in at the back post. The end-to-end action continued with Foster shooting into the side netting, then with the very next play Onoforo was denied in a one-on-one by Corey Hugo and Gary Faria fired the rebound high. Damien Catalano was a constant threat for his former club and went past Aaron Cole only to have Deeg keep out his ling-range effort. Onoforo beat the offside trap but had his shot blocked by Hugo who then saved low from Brendan Ross. Hugo’s heroics lifted the visitors and on the half hour they were rewarded a penalty for Gianfranco Circati’s push on Shepheard, and from the spot Catalano made no mistake in putting Swan ahead. Perth went close to levelling just before the break but Paul Baczynski blocked Circati’s close-range effort after Hugo spilled a free-kick from Scott Bulloch. Perth began the second half under full steam as Onoforo sent Bulloch through on goal but his finish was wide. Swan were hitting on the counterattack well and Deeg did well to save a header from Foster. Matt Danskin’s powerful shot was tipped over the crossbar by an alert Hugo in the 70th minute, and moments later Onoforo rifled wide from a deep corner. The momentum was with Perth but it wasn;t to be their day Ross’ strike cannoned back of the bar, Hugo thwarted Andy Pomfret, and a scorching drive from distance by Peter Lord was only inches too high.
A couple of inspired half-time substitutions spurred Stirling Lions to a 2-0 win over E.C.U. Joondalup at Macedonia Park. The first half was a fairly dour affair and bereft of any genuine chances on goal as the two midfields attempted to assert some sort of influence over proceedings. New signing Keith Brown was linking well with Rob Miller and Jordan Rhodes but their effect was nullified by the tenacity of Mark Lee and Scott Bushby. An innocuous cross from Bushby was met by Ian McMurray whose header was pushed on to the crossbar by Phil Straker on the half hour mark. Stirling best chance came five minutes later when Andy Brown flicked the ball into the area where Ryan Jeans’ effort rebounded off the bar before being hoisted to safety. The introduction of pair David Dugdale and Phil Arnold at half-time added bite to Stirling’s attack, while the non-stop workrate of Keith Brown tipped the game the hosts favour. Within five minutes of the restart a great exchange of passes send Dugdale through on goal and with a delightful chip over an advancing Peter Stewart he put Stirling ahead. The hosts quickly went in search of a second goal as a terrific strike from 20-metres by Jordan Rhodes crashed into the bar. Andy Brown was twice denied by the frame of the goal with headers that resulted from crosses by Miller and Dugdale. With ten minutes to play Stirling got the second goal they deserved when a swift exchange of passes featuring Dugdale, Miller and Rhodes was neatly put away by the latter. With nothing left to lose Joondalup pressed forward in increasing numbers as they sought desperately to salvage something from the afternoon, however, the closest they came to reducing the gap was when Garin Collins shot wide of the target close to the final whistle.
Bayswater City picked up three much needed points, and moved away from the relegation zone in the process, by defeating Armadale 1-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. The first half was by and large devoid of any highlights as both teams lacked the inventiveness or spark required to breakdown the opposing defence. Armadale’s only chance of the period saw Ben Howe guide the ball high from close-range after 21 minutes, while shortly before the break Daniel Micevski created the hosts best chance when he fired across the face of goal after evading the defence. Bayswater suffered a setback ten minutes into the second half when Ton Klaver dismissed Micevski for what was probably the softest second yellow card you are ever likely to see. What made the decision even more incomprehensible was a series of crunching tackles from Clarke Killoh, Jason Goodwin and Kevin Bissett earlier in the game that were allowed to go unpunished. In any event, this opened up the game and lead to chances for both teams. Killoh sent a powerful header past Bobson Koroma whose blushes were saved by Michael Simmonds who, five minute later, drew a fine save from Nick Stone. Bissett put a free header over the crossbar from Scott Paterson’s cross, and an explosive free-kick by Jared Smith was deflected just wide by the defensive wall. Within minutes of eachother Bissett and Goodwin then both great chances to put Armadale on the board. The games only goal arrived in the 84th minute when Daniel Naumovski sent Oliver Langdale down the right and the young attackers miss-hit cross drifted over Stone and dropped into the top corner to send the home crowd into rapture. There was still time for a few more drama’s to play out with Koroma denying Paterson an equaliser, and Killoh was somehow allowed to stay on the park following his brutal stoppage time tackle on substitute Sal Marrapodi.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ELEVEN (Fremantle Spirit vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Morley Windmills vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City)
Fremantle Spirit won their tenth successive game by downing Ashfield 5-3 at Ken Allen Field. Ashfield were on the attack from the opening whistle and in the 9th minute Adam Purcell scored following a corner. Parity was restored in the 29th minute through an in-swinging corner by Jason Barrera which found the net. Five minutes from the break Barrera's low strike from the edge of the 18-yard box gave Fremantle the lead. Ashfield came out for the second half fired up and deservedly tied the game up via a penalty converted by Jason Van Rooy. The visitors continued to pressure as Michael Filippou failed to convert with an uncontested close-range header, while Martin Kelly was denied on separate occasions by goalkeeper Steve Grant and the frame of his goal. Against the run of play Callum Roberts cut the ball back to David Rodgers who put Fremantle back in front after 79 minutes, and shortly after Rodgers returned the favour as Roberts headed in the hosts fourth. But the game was far from over and Kelly sent a powerful header past the goalkeeper to bring the gap back to a single goal. Deep in extra-timeRoberts completed his hat-trick by pouncing on an error by Daniel Webb and lobbing the ‘keeper.
Mandurah City made it three wins in a row by out-scoring Morley Windmills 3-0 at Wotton Reserve. Morley were eager to score first and Wayne Culverwell went close inside the 1st minute. This had a settling effect on both sides and the remainder of the half was a fairly intense affair dominated by two well-drilled defensive units. Morley sustained a body blow midway through the half when Damien Todorovic was harshly dismissed after apparently clashing with visiting captain Christian Paschkewitz. Although playing with an extra man, it took Mandurah until the 67th minute to break down a stubborn home defence with Paschkewitz netting the go-ahead goal. Going ahead injected new life into the Mandurah attack and shortly after a cross from Jake Loreto found the head of Michael Bobridge who located the back of the net. Not even the dismissal of Neil Connor for a second yellow card offence could dampen Mandurah's spirits as they sought to kill of the game. Morley refused to lie down and continually threatened to score on the counterattack before Loreto extinguished their hopes of a comeback by putting away the visitors third goal two minutes from the full-time whistle.
Honours were even in the battle of the cellar dwellers at Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City drew 1-1 with South West Phoenix. Both teams made a tentative start with neither willing to commit too many players forward. It was evident from early that Gosnells’ main threat would come from dead ball situations and through such a move Andy Daffin hit the crossbar, while a goalbound header from the same player was cleared off the line. Phoenix slowly began to make their presence known and on 25 minutes Steve Suttie combined with James Bergin then Andrew Cowley before clipping the ball over the on-coming goalkeeper for the games’ opening goal. It was very nearly two-nil shortly after as Robie Figg smothered at the feet of debutant Mark Jordan. The teams were brought level right on half-time when a free-kick was whipped into the 18-yard box where an unchallenged Ian Maguire nodded past Mark Cavanagh. The second half may have belonged to the home team but they’d find few holes in a composed Phoenix backline. Playing mainly on the counterattack, Phoenix created out a handful of good chances through Jordan who was unable to capitalise. Gosnells almost stole victory at the death through Drew Grimshaw who rose high at a corner but nodded the ball over the bar.
Balcatta returned to the winners’ circle with a 3-1 home defeat of Canning City. David Moschilla netted twice and John Nicolaou once to get Balcatta over the line, while Canning’s goal came via Simon Versaico. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Forrestfield United were 3-2 too good for Dianella White Eagles when they met at Hartfield Park. Jon Greenwood, Roger Miron and Phil Bell found the target for the hosts with both Dianella’s goals coming from Rydeen Botha. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
I WANT TO COACH AGAIN : D’AVRAY
Mich d’Avray has put his hand up to coach Perth Glory again. The man who guided Glory to three grand finals and two championships in the old National Soccer League has been told by the club’s caretaker owner, Football Federation Australia, that his position as director of football is likely to be abolished in the near future. “I don’t really want to be an administrator so I’ve thrown my hat in the ring for the coaching job,” he told Dave Hughes of the “West Australian”. “I stressed to FFA I still want to be involved with the Glory and was invited to apply to be coach.” D’Avray joined caretaker coach Alan Vest in urging a speedy resolution to the club’s administrative limbo. Glory play their first game of the pre-season Cup against Central Coast mariners on 15th July, and the commencement of the second A-League season is just six weeks after that date.
SOCCEROOS DARE TO DREAM
They've already created history by making it to the knock-out stage of the World Cup finals but the never-say-die Socceroos are not finished yet. The Socceroos fear no-one after twice coming from behind to knock Croatia out of the running and charge into the round of sixteen. Amid glorious scenes of celebration and raw emotion in Stuttgart, Australia entered uncharted waters with a second round match-up against Italy, the three-times World Cup winner and one of the most powerful footballing nations in the world.
Having already given world champion Brazil a run for its money in an earlier group match and dismissing Croatia, the Socceroos cannot wait to match wits and skills with the Azzurri after defying the odds by finishing second behind Brazil in Group F. Every one of the smiling Australian players who emerged from the dressing room at the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion believes the Socceroos, ranked forty-two, can continue the remarkable fairytale by beating Italy, the thirteenth ranked team in the world, and qualify for the quarter-finals.
But first they will have to climb over a country with a rich footballing pedigree; a country which prides itself on its prowess with the round ball and a nation which has produced some of the greatest players of all time. While Italy circa 2006 may not have the star quality or finesse and style of past teams, it is nonetheless a formidable foe stacked with talent and experience headed by Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi.
With Guus Hiddink, the man with the Midas touch, at the helm and Harry Kewell back to his best, anything is possible for the Socceroos. Striker John Aloisi, whose parents are Italian, described the prospect of playing against Italy as "a dream game". "It's a dream game for a few of us. We can't wait to play them. We've made history but we want to make more history," Aloisi said. "The Italians struggled against the US the other day and I think if we play our game the way we have (been) we're going to give them a lot of trouble."
Defender Lucas Neill believes confidence and the Hiddink factor can sway things Australia's way, and that the Socceroos don't fear any team. "We've taken on the biggest team (Brazil) and given them a good run for their money and made people look at us," Neill said. "Italy by no means do I consider a lesser team than Brazil but why should we fear them? We've got as many strengths as they do now. "We've got nothing to lose. Everything's a bonus for us now. So why not go out and knock over a fantastic side full of reputation."
For midfielders and Parma team-mates Vince Grella and Marco Bresciano the match holds special significance as both come from Italian backgrounds. Grella does not believe Italy will be their usual cocky self. "Yeah, the Italians are very sure of their ability," he said. "For us it will be a tough game but we have shown over the last three games we never really give up and the game is never over ... I don't think they'll make big changes against us. It's going to be an interesting game. They have a lot of strong players [and] playing at that level they'll know how to cope with it."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento remain undefeated and have gone four points clear at the top of the Premier League table at the halfway stage to the season. Goals from Todd Harnwell and Danny Hill earned the Gulls a 2-0 home win over Wanneroo City on a day when their nearest rival, Floreat Athena, faltered. Floreat went down 1-2 away at Western Knights for whom Shane McNally and Paul Devlin found the net. The weekend's other upset took place at Dorrien Gardens where David Perich and Damien Catalano were the scorers for Swan I.C. who toppled Perth S.C. 2-1.
Cockburn City kept their focus to come from behind and defeat Inglewood United 2-1. Dusan Macura and Simon El Chami found the net for the hosts who move to within a game of second spot. Stirling Lions collected maximum points for just the third time this season after David Dugdale and Jordan Rhodes scord in their 2-0 home defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup. Oliver Langdale's 84th minute goal earned Bayswater City a 1-0 victory over Armadale. The win, Bayswater's second in as many weeks, moves them six points clear of Armadale who remain rooted to the foot of the table.
It's going to take an almighty effort for someone to catch Fremantle Spirit who've opened up a nine point gap at the top of the First Division table. The port side took out an entertaining clash with Ashfield 5-3 to record their tenth successive win. Mandurah City leapfrogged into third place by accounting for Morley Windmills 3-0. Balcatta returned to the winners circle with a 3-1 home defeat of Canning City. Forrestfield United were 3-2 too good for Dianella White Eagles. There's no change at the foot of the table where Gosnells City and South West Phoenix remain level on points following their 1-1 draw.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The struggle to edge clear of the drop zone intensifies over the next eight days with back-to-back meetings of Bayswater City and Armadale. The two clubs have been well and truly cut adrift at the foot of the Premier League table and both are facing a difficult second half of the season. The opening salvo in what looms as a titanic battle for Premier League survival takes place tomorrow at Frank Drago Reserve in the footballwa.net Match of the Day.
Bayswater gave new coach Petar Drca an ideal start last weekend and will be making plans for Daniel Micevski, Jovo Pavlovic and Damir Kuduzovic to continue asserting themselves across the middle of the park. Despite their place at the foot of the table, Armadale have been performing well this season and only a lack of goals has hampered the progress of Peter Murphy's side. Jason Goodwin and James Isaia are the key players in midfield while Darryl Platten and Scott Paterson will need to be on top of their game at the back.
It'll be standing room only at Dorrien Gardens for the traditional derby between Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. Sorrento are tipped to win at home again Wanneroo City, while Floreat Athena head to Nash Field where an injury ravaged Western Knights provide the opposition. A beleaguered Inglewood United head to Cockburn City in a desperate search to claim three points. E.C.U. Joondalup meet Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park with both teams in need of victory to keep their season alive.
The pick of the First Division action is the top of the table clash between Fremantle Spirit Ashfield at Ken Allen Reserve. Its three verses four as Morley Windmills host Mandurah City and both will be eager to take maximum sides and keep the pressure on the leaders. Canning City head to Graham Burkett Reserve to face Balcatta, and Forrestfiled United host Dianella White Eagles. The outcome of Gosnells City's home clash with fellow cellar dwellar South West Phoenix could go a long way to deciding where those clubs spend next season. Rockingham City has the bye.
BUZZ RETURNS TO BAYSWATER
A home win over Inglewood United last weekend was just what the doctor ordered for Bayswater City only days out from what is arguably the biggest game of their season. Second from bottom Bayswater meet last placed Armadale at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday in the first of two games between the clubs in eight day. And Bayswater captain Daniel Micevski says his side are upbeat about their chances of finally edging their way up the Premier League standings. "The win over Inglewood was very important for the club," he said. "We're all looking forward to the two games against Armadale, and I'm confident we can get the results we're after from both games."
Bayswater's first victory of the season was a long time coming, ten games in fact, and no one is more pleased that they've broken the drought than Micevski. "Anyone will tell you that things have been bad at Baysie and, to be honest, it's got worse as the season progressed with more players leaving and coaches resigning," he commented. "But things are now looking up. Petar Drca took over as coach last week, there are a few new players around and on Saturday we won our first game of the season. In general there's more of a buzz at the club and an increased belief in ourselves."
Micevski has made the most of his opportunities this season by establishing himself as a regular starter for Bayswater. In playing an attacking role in midfield Micevski feels he's matured both personally and professionally since joining the club six months ago. "I've learnt a lot and developed a lot as a player," commented the 21-year old. "The club have put a lot of faith in me and I will do everything in my power to repay their belief. My goal is to keep Bayswater in the Premier League and with the recent changes I firmly believe we make that a reality."
ONLY SIX POINTS WILL DO FOR ARMADALE
Anything less than six points from back-to-back encounters with fellow relegation contender Bayswater City isn't even on the radar for Armadale. With their season potentially on the line, defender Craig Anderson says spirits are high in the Reds camp. "We will be approaching the Bayswater game just as we approach every other game," said Anderson. "There is a chance we can get off the bottom of the table and that'll put a bit more pressure on us but we've got a great backroom staff who will get the boys right and ready for the game. Nothing less than six points will do for Armadale and we're confident we can achieve that."
Anderson is the first to admit it's been a difficult year for Armadale, however, the Reds know where improvement is needed in order to register their first win of the campaign. "In terms of results, the start of the season hasn't been kind to us, but we're not down as we know we can match it with the best in the league," said Anderson. "Injuries and a disrupted pre-season have given our younger players a chance to prove themselves and to their credit they've done well. The team has been playing well but we need to make more of our chances and stop making silly mistakes which have been costing us."
Last weekend Armadale picked up their first point of the winter by holding Western Knights to a draw. The result was a huge confidence boost for the Reds who played two-thirds of the game with ten men. "It may have only been one point but it was well earned point," explained Anderson, who was the player red carded. "It was one-all when I got sent off and the lads showed great fighting spirit and worked hard as a team. In the end it felt to us like a win, especially against a experienced side like the Knights ... it brought a smile to Murphs' (coach Peter Murphy) face so it must have been a job well done. Going to the Bayswater after holding the Knights has lifted team spirit and we're now more determined that ever to do better."
SOCCEROOS INTO LAST SIXTEEN
Australia are through to the last sixteen of the 2006 World Cup finals after a dramatic, heart-stopping 2-1 win over Croatia witnessed by a crowd of 52,00 at the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion. The Socceroos were forced to come from behind twice to grab the precious point they so desperately required to tee up a quarter-final meeting Italy. "The match was an emotional rollercoaster ride," said coach Guus Hiddink. "My team showed they have hearts like lions. It was a great match from both teams, very competitive and dogged. The referee gave a good performance. Now we can turn our attentions towards Italy. The ace up our sleeve today was the amazing performance of Harry Kewell, he made the difference."
Croatia made a great start and was ahead in just the 2nd minute after Mark Viduka's mis-timed tackle on Nico Kovac earned the Europeans a free-kick on the edge of the area which Darijo Srna curled over the defensive wall and past Zeljko Kalac. Having taken the lead Croatia then sat back and soaked up the pressure as Jason Culina, Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell all went close. Australia finally drew level in the 38th minute when Stjepan Tomas handled a cross inside the area, and Craig Moore blasted the spot kick past goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa. The half closed with opportunities at both ends, Mark Viduka heading straight at Pletikosa and a minute later Dado Prso blazed wide following a surging run into attack.
Croatia went ahead eleven minutes after the restart when Kalac fumbled a weak shot by Kovac which squirmed over the 'keepers body and into the net. Australia responded with a flurry of attacks but could find no way past Pletikosa who produced a stunning point-blank save to thwart Kewell. But there was nothing the Croatian 'keeper could do in the 79th minute as Kewell blasted in the equaliser with his right foot after John Aloisi flicked on an in-swinging cross by Marco Bresciano. There were farcial scenes six minutes later when referee Graham Poll failed to sent off Simunic after he was issued a second yellow card. Brett Emerton, however, wasn't as fortunate and was dismissed for his second caution shortly after. Two minutes into stoppage time Tim Cahill had the ball in the net only for Poll to disallow his effort before finally sending off Simunic.
It was a deserved victory for Australia who enjoyed a massive 56% of the possession, and had seven shots on goal to Croatia's three. "Something special happened tonight," said Viduka. "We have to believe in ourselves now and we showed the spirit we have in our team. The message to our fans is to keep staying behind us." Central defender Craig Moore saluted the spirit and steely determination displayed by the Socceroos, "It's a fantastic experience and we have fantastic individual players in our team. We really feel good as underdogs and we are all enjoying being here. We were stronger than Croatia tonight and we can be stronger than the Italians too because they struggled against the USA."
RIVALS PRIMED FOR ACTION
Saturday's showdown between Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. has all the hallmarks of being a classic derby between two traditional rivals. Following a slow start to their season, Perth have hit their straps over the past month and are coming off a 6-1 away trashing of Wanneroo City. By the same measure Swan have also had a good month with last Saturday's loss being the first time in four weeks they've not picked up any points. Two players who have featured promiently during this period are Damien Catalano (Swan) and Matt Danskin (Perth) who are both eagerly awaiting this weekend's meeting at Dorrien Gardens.
For Catalano it's a return to the ground he played on, and called home for many years. "Yeah, I can't wait to play the old club! My time at Dorrien Gardens was enjoyable and beneficial," said the 22-year old attacker. "The guys down there are all great blokes, and the coaching team is very professional. I learnt a lot about the game from Normo (Graham Normanton) and (reserve team coach John) Coyne and also playing soccer with some very good players. It was sad to leave the club, however, I've settled in at Swan and are really enjoying playing my football with them."
Catalano, whose gone from strength to strength since joining Swan early last year, says the hard work which has gone into the club in recent times is now paying off. "The dedication and discipline demanded by all the coaching staff at Swan has lifted the players to perform," he said. This in turn, develops positive results, which is shown as we are a top five club at the moment. Carlo is a quality coach and a great bloke off the training field, all of the boys have a lot of respect for him, and for Doogs (assistant coach Michael Di Fulvio). He has had a successful career and I believe will continue this success as a coach."
Swan will use this weekend's game, and the return 'Spring in the Valley Cup' match seven days later, to gauge just where they are at in 2006. Catalano knows all too well the quality and depth within Perth's ranks but remains confident Swan can get a positive result from the game. "If we keep our shape, stay solid in the backline, be committed and play the simple ball we will be very competitive," he said. "Perth possess a talented line-up with Peter Lord in midfield, Dave Onoforo up-front and the darting runs of Michael Icanovski and Matt Danskin. If we match them for commitment we can get something from the game."
With Perth coming off their biggest win of the season, Danskin says he's looking forward to taking on Swan. "It's always good to play Swan, games against them are always a challenge and we will have to be at our best to take the points," said the right-sided midfielder. "I think on Saturday the team that can maintain their concentration and take whatever chances come their way will win the game. After scoring six last week hopefully we can put a few away and keep a clean sheet that will be important."
21-year old Danskin says Swan's position in the top half of the Premier League table shows they are steadily on the improve and expects a tough game on Saturday. "I think Damien (Catalano) will be once again trying to prove a point as a former player of the club, so he'll be someone we'll need to keep a close eye on. Miki Vujacic and David Foster are both class acts and, to be honest, Swan are well balanced all over the park. We'll need to be on our game, it'll take a good team performance for either side to come away with maximum points."
Danskin says Perth have turned a corner after making an indifferent start to the season. "I don't think we had too many problems, it was just we lacked the cutting edge," he explained. "We would out-play teams, then a lapse in concentration and the opposition would punish us. Normo is a great coach and has drilled into us that we have to make our own luck, take our chances and close the game out when we have the upper hand. He's a hard task master but at the same time maintains a good relationship with his players ... I can't speak highly enough of him."
CUP DRAW SPOILS FANS FOR CHOICE
Local supporters of the world game will be spoilt for choice when the quarter-finals of the association Cup are held early next month. There's sure to be a big crowd show up at Nash Field for the blockbuster clash between long-time rivals Western Knights and trophy holder Perth S.C. Swan I.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup will be out to keep alive their silverware dream alive when they meet at the Swan Italian Club. Four time Cup winner Floreat Athena make the journey to Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions provide the opposition. It'll be a big day for the First Division's only remaining Cup contender, Canning City, who has home ground advantage over top flight outfit Cockburn City. All games will be played on the afternoon of Saturday 8th July.
BACK SEAT ROLE SUITS KLUCZNIK (by Peter Simcox)
The football community across the nation is spoilt for choice when it comes to the blanket coverage afforded to the World Cup by the media. The local version of the game has always struggled for exposure and, to a very large degree, still does, with the only outlet dedicated to covering all there is to know about the Western Australian league's and its' players being footballwa.net. But the website suffered a major blow this week with long-serving editor Brett Klucznik deciding to pull back on his commitment to the site.
Along with Jacob Aufdemkampe, Klucznik has worked tirelessly in providing local football fans news and information with a distinct Western Australian flavour. After six and a half years Brett feels the time is right for a change. "My wife, Laura, and I are expecting our first child in early August and I feel the time is right for football to take a back seat in my life," he explained. "There's been a few incidents in the last few months which got me wondering 'why do I bother?'. Without wanting to go into too much detail, there were some slanderous allegations made against me via a local football forum and a few weeks later an unpleasant run-in with a Premier League coach. And, if truth be told, I've also become somewhat disillusioned with certain aspects of Football West, particularly their media relations."
Klucznik has been the driving force behind footballwa.net in recent years, and a big supporter of the game in WA overall. "I've been working with Jacob on the website for about six and a half years," he said. "I got back into the game after an absence of about ten years by taking photos for the Perth Glory website, and that soon stemmed to writing news items as well. For a year I was also contributing articles and photographs to "Inside Soccer", a weekly newspaper based in Sydney. And when that publication folded in mid-2000 I linked up with Jacob to promote the local game through the website he set up in 1997."
Through their work on footballwa.net, Klucznik and Aufdemkampe have a strong claim to being the voice of football in this state. "Over the past six years the website really has gone from strength to strength and I'm really proud that the website is now so highly regarded," said Klucznik. "All I ever wanted was to make a positive contribution to our game and I hope that at the end of the day that is what we have been able to do."
"One thing that's continually baffled me is the level of complacency shown by some clubs to not only contribute to the website, but also promote themselves within their local community. Don't get me wrong, some clubs are taking the right steps and doing everything they can to raise their profile. The shining light is Swan where Peter Simcox' boundless energy has him producing their website and match day programme, then contributes match details and interviews for publication on footballwa.net."
"But at the same time there are clubs like Inglewood who - if not for their playing and coaching staff - I would never hear a peep from. I feel we have far too many clubs who need to accept the reality is if they don't promote themselves then nobody will. It's no good bitching and complaining about a lack of publicity then doing diddily-squat to change that situation. I mean, how many clubs have a media liaison officer who looks for the positives and actually writes about them? The time really has come for the clubs as a whole to get up off their arses and start promoting themselves, and the wider game."
A Web Administrator for a Government department in his working life, Klucznik has watched the local game lurch from one disaster to the next but is confident the new peak body can finally get things right. "Although I have some reservations about certain aspects of Football West's operations, I firmly believe they are taking the game in the right direction. Sure, they've made some mistakes but what is often ignored is the God-awful mess they inherited. Football West has never been about finding 'quick fix' and since day one I've said it will take a good five years for them to really get things in order. What I've seen so far is a good start and if things continue in the same fashion then I feel confident that the game is in safe hands."
In his time Klucznik has seen watched almost every player to have turned out in the Premier League during the past six years. And when asked to pick his best player he didn't have any hesitations. "I don't even have to think to answer that - Nick Ward and Todd Howarth. It was clear from early on that Nick was destined for something special and now, hopefully, he'll one day get the opportunity to fulfil his potential on a stage outside Australia. I know he's still only young and this is probably a big call, but Nick is possibly the best central midfielder WA has ever produced. Similarly, Todd impressed me the first time I saw him playing for Perth and how he was never picked up by Glory is simply beyond my comprehension. His work-rate was unbelievable and every time he had the ball at his feet you knew it spelt trouble for the opposition."
When asked about one game that stands out in his mind Klucznik again is quick to respond. "It has to be the 2003 Cup final when nobody gave Swan a chance in hell of toppling Perth. Paul Lincoln and Elton Holmes put Swan two goals up by the break, but it looked as though disaster had struck early in the second half when Damien Scali was red carded. A stunning goal from distance by Gareth Naven brought Perth back into the game, and although Swan rode their luck in the last twenty minutes they held on to win their first major trophy. A couple of other games that spring to mind was the pulsating 2003 play-off Final in which Perth beat Western Knights 2-1, and Sorrento's 2-1 win over the Knights last year at Nash Field."
So what's next on the agenda for Brett Klucznik? "I'm looking forward to fatherhood and spending time with Laura, who has been a 'football widow' for far too long, and our child. In terms of football, I plan to continue on with the website in a diminished capacity, and at the moment that'll be limited to editing match reports. What long-time involvement I'll have is still up in the air and, to be honest, after writing/editing goodness knows how many articles over the past six and a half years I'm not looking to commit to anything anytime soon."
MATILDAS WINLESS IN CHINA
The Australian women's national team have been defeated in both games on a whirlwind eight-day tour of China. The trip served as important preparation for the Matildas in their build-up towards the Asian Football Confederation Women's Asian Cup which will take place in Adelaide late next month. Friday's opening game ended in a narrow 1-2 loss to China, and four days later the hosts completed a clean sweep of the friendly series by running out 2-0 winners. Perth was represented in the squad by striker Lisa De Vanna.
China claimed the opening game 2-1 at Shanghai FA Training Centre on Friday. After a tight opening the deadlock was broken in the 28th minute when a defensive error resulted in Australia conceding an own goal which gave China the advantage. The Matildas equalised three minutes into the second half when Jo Peters cross from the left was neatly sent past an advancing goalkeeper by Sarah Walsh. The decider came via a controversial 75th minute penalty which was fired past Melissa Barbieri. De Vanna came off the bench in the 66th minute.
The Matildas completed their visit to China with a 0-2 in hot and humid conditions at the Oriental Green Boat Holiday Village in Shanghai tonight. China went ahead seven minutes from the break when a cross from the right was tapped in at close-range by an advancing striker. Their second came shortly after as the ball was tucked into an empty net after Barbieri was lured off her line to narrow the angle. De Vanna and Peters caused problems for the defence after the break but chances on goal were scarce. De Vanna was introduced into the game at half-time.
The twenty-player Matilda's squad for the tour was Dianne Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Joanne Burgess, Lauren Colthorpe, Rhian Davies, Lisa De Vanna, Alicia Ferguson, Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Lana Harch, Kylie Ledbrook, Kate McShea, Caitlin Munoz, Joanne Peters, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Sally Shipard, Sarah Walsh and Lydia Williams. West Australian midfielder Collette McCallum missed the series as she was recovering from knee surgery.
VEST URGES ACTION
Caretaker coach Alan Vest has urged Football Federation Australia to appoint a new head coach of Perth Glory soon or risk losing the faith of the players. On Friday FFA confirmed it would run Glory during the coming A-League season while it continued to search for a suitable owner. Head of operations Matt Carroll said finding a head coach and chief executive would be given priority, with the former to be selected within three weeks.
However, Vest insisted this would be too late and told Carroll so in a meeting yesterday which doubled as a verbal application for the job. "The players want to know now who is going to take them along," said Vest, assistant at the club for nearly five years. "I'm more than capable of doing the job but it needs to be resolved quickly for the good of the team. As far as I'm concerned, it's a simple question of do they or don't they want me? If they do, I'm on the spot and there's no need to drag this on any longer."
Vest would be prepared to continue as assistant if Mich d'Avray got the head coaching position but suggested another appointee might prefer his own choice of lieutenant. FFA has received eight applications to coach Glory in the second season of A-League football which starts in August. Some of the names linked with the role Eddie Krncevic, David Mitchell, Frank Farina and Branco Culina, all coaches in the old national competition, and FFA's national technical manager Ron Smith.
BRAZIL COACH BACKS AUSTRALIA
The Socceroos yesterday earned the respect of Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira who nominated Australia to join his team in the last sixteen of the World Cup finals. After surviving a scare against the Socceroos, Parreira said Australia were likely to progress at the expense of Croatia because they would not have to chase the game against the Balkan heavyweight. Australia needs only a draw from Thursday's clash with Croatia to go through to the knock-out phase.
"Australia have a good chance to go through - they do not need to win (against Croatia) and that is a big advantage," Parreira said. "It will be an open game. The two teams play a similar way and both are very well prepared. Anything can happen but the advantage may be with Australia. If Australia play against Croatia as they did against us, they will have a very good chance to go through."
"Australia gave us a very hard game," added Parreira following Brazil's 2-0 defeat of Australia. "They were strong physically, were well organised and defended solidly. When teams play us they play differently, they pack the midfield and it makes it hard for us. When we scored they (the Socceroos) were chasing the game. They put three forwards up and that gave us the space we needed for the second."
SOCCEROOS GO DOWN FIGHTING
Australia produced a brave performance against Brazil only to succumb 0-2 to the world champion in their Group F World Cup clash in Munich today. The Socceroos matched their illustrious rivals in every area of the pitch but for the most important - in front of goal. "We're very disappointed not to have got something out of the game," said captain Mark Viduka after the game. "If we can get a result against Croatia, the door's wide open for us. We weren't scared against them (Brazil) and on another day it could have been a different result for us." The Socceroos now need just a draw from their final group gane with Croatia to advance to the second phase.
Neat interplay between Kaka and Ronaldo fashioned the games first chance with the former pulling his volley from just outside the 18-yard box wide after 3 minutes. Australian nerves were settled shortly after by Viduka whose swinging shot from long-range called Dida into action. Genuine chances were scarce for Brazil who was allowed no time on the ball by a well-organised Socceroos defence. Their only other shot on goal arrived in the 42nd minute when Ronaldo rifled just wide after Adriano had put him into space with a neat back heel. The Socceroos were not without their chances and just before the break Marco Bresciano's dipping 20-metre effort only just cleared the crossbar.
Brazil began the second half in more determined fashion and within four minutes of the restart had the lead as Ronaldo he squared to Adriano who stepped across Scott Chipperfield and crashed a left-foot shot past Mark Schwarzer. This sparked Australia into action and a sweetly struck half-volley from Mile Sterjovski grazed the bar. In the 57th minute Harry Kewell blazed wide of an open goal after Dida made a hash of collecting a high ball. A dipping shot on the run from 35-metres by Kewell was just high. Brazil were looking increasingly dangerous on the counterattack and Schwarzer got down well to save after Kaka surged forward.
Australia's focus on attack caused Brazil several problems over the closing stages. An acrobatic shot by Bresciano caused Brazilian hearts to flutter in the 79th minute but Dida was its equal. Kaka almost made the game safe in the 82nd minute by meeting Ronaldinho's corner at the near post but his header cannoned back off the bar. Down the other end Viduka went close twice in as many minutes by glancing an in-swinging free-kick by Bresciano a whisker wide, then with a lob over Dida which landed on the top netting. With Australia committing men forward, Brazil sealed the game in the final minute as Robinho's angled drive came back off the near post and rebounded to Fred who tapped into the empty net.
GLORY OPEN WITH WIN
Perth Glory commenced their pre-season with a 3-1 defeat of a State Select XI under lights at Members Equity Stadium this evening. It was a proverbial 'game of two halves' with the State Select dominating the opening stanza through the creativity of Matt Danskin, Peter Lord, Dean Apelgren and Josip Magdic. However, it was a much different story after the break as the hard work of Nick Ward, David Micevski, Jeremy Christie and Leo Bertos swung the game in Glory's favour. All three of Glory's goals were the result of good passing and movement through midfield with Ward netting twice and Micevski once. Michael Baczynski got his name on the scoresheet for the State Select by putting away a long ball into the area.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT
East Fremantle inflicted on Queens Park their first loss of the women's Premier League season by out-scoring the pre-match favourite 2-1 at Wauhop Park this afternoon. A contrast in styles ensured the opening stages were even with East Fremantle patiently building their attack while Queens Park opted for the more direct long-ball approach. The first scoring opportunity landed at the feet of Lisa Higgins who side-footing over the crossbar from 5-metres. It was a miss they'd rue as East Fremantle went ahead through a Jamie Blake free-kick which floated over goalkeeper Julie McInerney and into the net.
Three minutes later East Fremantle doubled their lead with Blake this time the provider by sliding a pass into the 18-yard box where L.Quinlan slotted past the advancing 'keeper. Queens Park responded by going straight into attack and winning a free-kick wide on the left which Amy Thorpe sent beyond the reach of Naomi Lewis and into the back of the net. Blake went close to adding a third to East Fremantle's tally when her goalbound strike was deflected wide by an unfortunate teammate.
After the break Queens Park enjoyed the better of possession and, through a creative midfield, continually worked at opening up a tight home defence which was more than up to the task. In their desperate search to equalise Queens Park were limited into shooting from distance but could not beat Lewis and her well-organised backline. As the shadows lengthened across Wauhop Park, Emily Williams had a chance to put the result beyond doubt but her shot was saved on the line by McInerney.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TEN (E.C.U. Joondalup vs Sorrento by Jack Warner; Swan I.C. vs Cockburn City by Brett Klucznik; Wanneroo City vs Perth S.C. courtesy Perth S.C.; Bayswater City vs Inglewood United by Adam Rucci; Armadale vs Western Knights courtesy Western Knights)
Sorrento stretched their unbeaten run to ten games by overturning a half-time deficit to run out 2-1 winners at E.C.U. Joondalup. It was Sorrento who started the better and went straight into attack where Simon Harland just failed to find the net. A couple of minutes later Joondalup goalkeeper Peter Stewart made a good save to keep out a fierce Glen Thomas volley. The game then settled down to be a fairly even affair, Joondalup enjoying the more possession with Mark Lee and Scott Bushby playing prominent roles. A great chance came the way of Anthony Jones who put his shot wide on 21 minutes with the goal at his mercy. However, just seven minutes later the hosts did go ahead through a fine goal by Bushby who tamed the ball with his chest before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner after Sorrento failed to sufficiently clear a corner. The second half began much like the first and four minutes after the restart Todd Harnwell's goal-bound attempt was cleared off the line. Playing with greater urgency, Sorrento looked increasingly dangerous in attack as Harland and Harnwell made their presence felt. At the same time Joondalup's approach work was good but they couldn't increase their lead as the visitors defended resolutely. With fifteen minutes remaining Sorrento drew level through Jared Love's spectacular overhead kick after Danny Hill headed a deep corner from Thomas back into the danger area. Neil Young prevented the hosts from regaining the lead over the closing stages by keeping out a terrific long-range strike by Scott Blackmore and a powerful header from Ian McMurray. On the stroke of stoppage time Love snatched a dramatic winner by sending the ball into the net from 8-metres after Stewart parried the initial shot by Scott Miller.
Floreat Athena's title hopes remain alive and well following a 3-0 defeat of Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium. It was a positive start by Stirling who created the first chance on goal which Rob Miller sent past Vas Vujacic and wide of the post from close-range. The visitors maintained the early pressure through young midfielders Ludovic Boi and Jamie Mitsopoulos who worked hard for no reward. Floreat slowly steered the game in their direction and on 20 minutes when ahead when Branimir Mikulic's superb pass sliced the defence open and Boima Karpeh raced through to loop the ball over the advancing goalkeeper with a deft flick. The rest of the half saw both teams play some uninspiring football, little of which held the attention of the crowd for very long. The game continued in much the same fashion after the break with the two sides wrestling for control and unable to put away scattered chances. Okwy Diamondstar headed against the post, while at the opposite end Phil Arnold's goalbound strike was brilliantly kept out by Vujacic. Going into the closing stages it was Floreat who had more left in the tank and in the 88th minute Mikulic blasted past goalkeeper Phil Straker from 10-metres after a great passage of play involving Stephen Guest and Josip Magdic. Paul Vatistas came off the bench to put the icing on the cake for the hosts by firing past Straker from 18-metres following a neat lay off by Diamondstar in stoppage time. Not really a game for the neutral observer but Floreat will no doubt be happy to collect their fifth clean sheet of the season and keep pace with table topping Sorrento.
An inability to convert chances cost Swan I.C. dearly as Cockburn City came away fro the Swan Italian Club as 3-1 winners. An under-hit back pass by Paul Baczynski lead to the games first chance but Giovanni De Bartolo spurned in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Corey Hugo. Sloppy defending at the opposite end saw Paul Oliver cough the ball up to Scott Campbell whose cut back was headed high by Tom Shepheard. Swan were kept in the game by the brilliance of Hugo who deflected wide efforts from Marco Aleksic and Shane Nunes in quick succession. The breakthrough came after 26 minutes when Dean Wallace gathered a poor clearance and, with faced with a retreating defence, was allowed to pick his spot in the top corner. However, that lead lasted only four minutes before David Foster lashed the ball in from a couple of metres after Dunlop failed to hold a low strike by Miki Vujacic. There was little to excite either set of fans for the remainder of the half and the teams went in to the break as they started. Dunlop had his reflexes tested two minutes after the restart when Oliver's clearance ricocheted off Scali to have the Cockburn 'keeper at full-length. A free-flowing half produced opportunities at both ends but neither Anthony Periera nor Vujacic could capitalise. In the 66th minute Aaron Dos Santos danced past through the home defence and his shot looped over Hugo via the out-stretched leg of a defender to restore Cockburn's advantage. The result was put beyond doubt eleven minutes later when Nunes speared a long pass over the defence which allowed Christian Alvarez to lure Hugo off his line before squaring to substitute Richard Lacey who slotted into an empty net. With ten minutes to go Tony Cumace was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card offence.
Wanneroo City ended up on the receiving end of a 1-6 spanking from reigning champion Perth S.C. when they met at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The signs were ominous as early as the 2nd minute for Wanneroo with Jeff Bright firing over Kevin Miller's crossbar. The opening goal arrived only ten minutes later when Gary Faria's cross into the area was deflected into the net by a defender. A couple of minutes later David Onoforo swung past one defender before sending the ball into the penalty area where Michael Icanovski made the most of hesitant defending to net the visitors second. David Houston was within inches of reducing the deficit when he fired just beyond the upright. Craig Bowman had more success in the 20th minute by dribbling his way past Peter Lord and shooting neatly into Gareth Deeg's net. However, Perth went straight back into attack through Matt Danskin whose centring ball was helped on by Onoforo to Barry Wood who didn't break stride in powering the shot past Miller. Danskin was again involved in the 33rd minute by delivering the ball onto the head of Gianfranco Circati who nodded in Perth's fourth. Wanneroo were unfortunate not to find the net leading into the break with Bowman and Morgan Dendle both having shots cleared off the line while Matt Donlevey hit the bar with a free-kick. Peter Lord created Perth's fifth goal five minutes after the restart with a cross to Onoforo who neatly tucked his shot inside the bottom corner. With all three points in the bag Perth eased off the accelerator while still maintaining control of the game. Five minutes from the end Danskin weaved some magic in going past three opponents only to be brought down inside the area, and Scott Bulloch completed the route by scoring from the resulting spot kick.
Bayswater City gave newly appointed coached Petar Drca the perfect start by downing near neighbour Inglewood United 2-1 at Frank Drago Reserve. The game started well for the hosts with the midfield duo of Daniel Micevski and recent recruit Jovo Pavlovic controlling the tempo in the opening stanza. The first chance of the afternoon came the way of Sal Marrapodi whose header went agonisingly wide of Oliver Taseski's goal. Not long after Anthony Danze could have put the visitors ahead but both the midfielders attempts were brilliantly saved by Bobson Komora. With 23 minutes gone Bayswater snatched the lead when Micevski's sensational weaving run took him past four opponents before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner. Bayswater continued to dictate play and were rewarded with a second goal in the 39th minute with Micevski cleverly clipping the ball over Danny Stoitis, turning sharply and placing his shot beyond the reach of Taseski. Inglewood were unfortunate not to reduce the deficit just before the break as Dean Apelgren's spectacular long-range effort drifted narrowly over the bar. After the restart Inglewood piled on the pressure as they sought to make more of a contest of the game. Nine minutes in a deep corner from Louis Parkinson made its way to Shane Pryce just outside the box, he squared it to Danze whose well-struck shot came to nestle in the net. Inglewood continued to attack relentlessly for the remainder of the half but solid defensive work by Paul Natale and Tony Paolino prevented them from drawing level. There were a few occasions when the visitors did break through but neither Greg Sharland nor substitute Daniel Niederberger could make the most of their opportunities. The final whistle was greeted by loud cheers from the Bayswater contingent who were thrilled with their teams first win of season 2006.
There were wild scenes of celebration at Alfred Skeet Oval after Armadale held Western Knights to a 1-1 draw. The result gave Armadale a long awaited first point of the season and provided a timely boost ahead of their back-to-back encounters with fellow struggler Bayswater City. The game was only 5 minutes old when controversy erupted as referee Hugh Best failed to see an upraised offside flag against Paul Devlin who then fired into the net, however, after consultation with his assistant on the line the referee ruled the effort out. It was long after that Scott Paterson wasted a great opportunity to put Armadale in front by heading against the crossbar when presented with an open goal. Both sets of players were left gob-smacked in the 18th minute when the Knights were awarded a penalty after Devlin's header accidentally brushed the hand of James Hesketh, and from the spot Devlin made no mistake in putting the visitors one-nil up. Spurred into action, Armadale seized control of the game by increasing the tempo and probing for a way past the opposing defence. Armadale deservedly drew level in the 26th minute when the Knights failed to deal with a cross from the left by James Isaia which Paterson slid into the net from 6-metres. The However, the Reds joy was soon over as Craig Anderson was harshly dismissed after tangling with Jon Higgins. Second half highlights were few and far between as the game fizzled out into a tame draw. Andrew Jennings went closest for the Knights with a header from close-range which ended wide, while at the other end Ryan Pearson latched on to a long ball only to come out second best from a one-on-one with Tomich.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TEN (Morley Windmills vs Fremantle City courtesy Morley Windmills; Ashfield vs South West Phoenix courtesy Ashfield; Mandurah City vs Gosnells City courtesy Mandurah City)
First Division leader Fremantle Spirit kept their fifth clean sheet of the campaign in thumping Morley Windmills 5-0 at Wotton Reserve. The best of the early chances came the way of the home team but neither Paul Dundo nor Ray Rose could capitalise. Ten minutes from the break Morley suffered a major setback when captain Simon Messenger was carried off with what looked like a serious a knee injury. David Rodgers took full advantage of a re-shuffling in the home defence when he beat the offside trap and slotted past Matt Darling to put Fremantle ahead. Within six minutes of the restart the game was over as a contest as the visitors piled on three unanswered goals. A piece of individual magic allowed Rodgers to double his tally. Callum Roberts latched on to a deep cross which he then blasted past Darling, and with 51 minutes played another well crafted counterattack saw Roberts put away goal number four in a one-on-one with the 'keeper. Morley went down to ten men when Danny Evans was issued a second yellow card, and this was soon balanced out as Michael Draper received his second booking. The scoring was completed in the 67th minute when Ben Kelly rounded two defenders then Darling to stroke in the net.
Ashfield took all three points from their home meeting with South West Phoenix by a 2-1 scoreline. On a perfect day for football, the match started at a frenetic pace with Ashfield setting the early pace and throwing the spotlight on the visiting defence. This pressure paid off in the 15th minute when a goalmouth scramble was put away by Martin Kelly. But the lead was to be short-lived and ten minutes later a cross into the area by Steve Suttie was only partially cleared and from the top of the 18-yard box James Bergin unleashed a thunderbolt into the roof of the net. The second half picked up where the first left off, with Ashfield creating the better opportunities but unable to add to their tally. Phoenix shot-stopper Mark Cavanagh was called into play on a number of occasions, while the crossbar came to the visitors rescue following a penetrating run by Jason Van Rooy. Phoenix almost snatched the lead through substitute Drasko Jankovic who had Francis Allen at full-stretch just minutes after coming on. Ashfield continued to menace and with five minutes Mohammad Komaderic found the net with a diving near post header to sending the home crowd in raptures.
Mandurah City moved up to fourth by steamrolling Gosnells City 4-1 at Peelwood Parade. The more enterprising early play may have come from Gosnells but it was the hosts who were celebrating in the 17th minute when newcomer Andy Brown put away their opening goal. Only a few more minutes elapsed before Michael Bobridge doubled the margin and put Mandurah in a commanding position. Gosnells had their chances to reduce the deficit but a combination of poor finishing and the skills of goalkeeper Mike Green meant they were unable to capitalise. The game took a dramatic turn shortly before the half-time whistle when Mandurah were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Brown. The home side adopted a far more cautious approach in the second half, content to sit back and allow Gosnells to control play and going forward only on the counterattack. But any hope the visitors held of mounting a comeback were effectively ended when Christian Paschewitz who took the difference to three goals. To their credit Gosnells continued to plug away and eventually pulled a goal back through Brian Cairney. But Mandurah weren't finished and close to the end Graeme Matthews completed the scoring by converting from the spot.
Dianella White Eagles defeated Canning City 3-2 at Dianella Reserve. Rydeen Botha scored twice and Mladin Gugoroski once for Dianella, while Canning's goals came from Paul Van Dongen and Simon Versaico. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Forrestfield United outscored Rockingham City 3-2 when they met at Hartfield Park. Nathan Watkins, Glen Noblett and Dennis Lee were the scorers for Forrestfield, with Shane Cramphorn and Terry Flynn netting for the visitors. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
EDWARDS FAREWELLS FOOTBALL WEST
Alistair Edwards has parted company with Football West to concentrate on his coaching commitments. The former Australian international took the decision to concentrate on coaching the national women's youth team, the Young Matildas, on a full-time basis following their qualification for the FIFA World championships to be held in Russia later this year. As well as the Young Matildas, Edwards will be assisting with the National Training Centre squads and undertake other Football West coaching duties.
KRNCEVIC KEEN ON GLORY JOB
Eddie Krncevic has put his hand up for the vacant coaching post at Perth Glory. Krncevic, who coached at Carlton and Marconi Stallions in the National Soccer League, has been working for the New Zealand Knights as football advisor, but is keen on the Glory job. "I was in Perth recently and I think with the right resources in place the club can get back to the top," said Krncevic. "I know I can bring to the club some exciting players for the Glory fans to be proud of - and we'd play a brand of football to get them back through the gates."
"Mich d'Avray has signed several young locals and that's also exciting for me," Krncevic added. "As I did at Carlton with players such as Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella, I'm confident I can bring out the best in the young talent coming through in WA. There's some great young players in Perth and with the right coaching Glory could have three or four Nicky Wards on their hands, instead of the one."
Krncevic said he'd relish the opportunity of returning Glory to the top of the national league pile, a position they proudly occupied in the N.S.L. "I know the Glory fans have been through the mill in the last 12-18 months. But it's never too late and if I was given the chance I'd build a team for them to be proud of. I think this season Glory must do everything they can to repay their fans for the way they've supported the game all these years."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The Premier League's bottom two teams, Bayswater City and Armadale, each picked up valuable points this afternoon. A couple of stunning first half strikes by Daniel Micevski earned Bayswater City a surprise 2-1 home defeat of Inglewood United. It was the first time this season that Bayswater have taken maximum points. Scott Patterson was the goalscorer for Armadale who drew 1-1 at home with Western Knights, for whom Paul Devlin found the net. The point was Armadale's first of the season.
There's no change at the top of the table where Sorrento and Floreat Athena go game for game. Jared Love scored twice as Sorrento beat northern neighbour E.C.U. Joondalup 2-1. Floreat accounted for Stirling Lions 3-0 through goals from Boima Karpeh, Branimir Mikulic and Paul P Vatistas. Gianfranco Circati, Michael Icanovski, Gary Faria, David Onoforo, Barry Wood and Scott Bulloch were on target as Perth S.C, thrashed Wanneroo City 6-1. Cockburn City downed Swan I.C. 3-1 with Dean Wallace, Aaron Dos Santos and Richard Lacey the scorers.
Four goals in a blistering six minute spell earned Fremantle Spirit a 5-0 thrashing of Morley Windmills to stay six points clear at the top of the First Division. Ashfield moved into outright second place after defeating South West Phoenix 2-1 on home soil. Mandurah City steamrolled Gosnells City 4-1 to claim fourth position. Dianella White Eagles took out their meeting with Canning City 3-2. Forrestfield United picked up their first home win of the campaign by out-shooting Rockingham City 3-2. After ten games Phoenix and Forrestfield are locked together at the foot of the table with four points apiece.
STATE YOUNGSTERS PIT SKILLS WITH GLORY
Perth Glory makes their first appearance of the pre-season on Sunday evening by taking on a West Australian Select XI at Members Equity Stadium. The friendly is part of a full night's entertainment which concludes with Australia's World Cup clash against Brazil, which will be shown live on the big screen. The game will provide two dozen emerging talents from the State League a unique opportunity to impress Glory coaching staff in a competitive match setting.
The entertainment starts at 7.00pm with Glory's showdown against the Select XI, who'll be coached by Shaun Murphy and Scott Miller. At 9.30pm Australian rock legends Ian Moss (Cold Chisel) and Jon Stevens (Noiseworks) hit the stage. The action switches to the new Super Screen at midnight for the blockbuster World Cup showdown between Australia and Brazil. Tickets, which are very reasonably priced at $10.00, are available from Members Equity Stadium (telephone 9492 6000).
The Select XI squad consists of Jason Godfrey, Shane Nunes, Jason Dos Santos (Cockburn City), Okwy Diamondstar, Boima Karpeh, Josip Magdic (Floreat Athena), Dean Apelgren, Michael Baczynski, Anthony Danze, Louis Parkinson, Greg Sharland, Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Scott Bushby, Tom Jones (E.C.U. Joondalup), Christian Paschewitz (Mandurah City), Jeff Bright, Scott Bulloch, Matt Danskin, Trent Kay, Peter Lord (Perth S.C.), Brodie Martin (Sorrento), Phil Straker (Stirling Lions), Jon Higgins and John Thornley (Western Knights).
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Premier League leader Sorrento makes the short trip to E.C.U. Joondalup for the northern suburbs derby in Round Ten of the season. It's always an occasion to remember when these two teams meet and tomorrow will be no exception. With Mark Lee in the centre of the park partnering Scott Bushby, and Garin Collins and Ian McMillan up front, Joondalup will be no pushover. Undefeated in the league, Sorrento also possess to talented midfield in Glen Thomas, James Morgan and Brad Hassell who provide an endless supply of ammunition for proven goalscorers Todd Harnwell and Simon Harland.
Floreat Athena is up against Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium in a game the hosts' need to win in order to keep pace with Sorrento. The middle portion of the table is becoming a log jam with four points separating third and tenth position. Cockburn City has performed well on the road this season and they'll be confident of a good result away at Swan I.C. Perth S.C. takes on Wanneroo City at the Kingsway Sporting Complex, while Western Knights visit Alfred Skeet Oval where bottom of the table Armadale are the host. Petar Drca commences his time as Bayswater City coach with a home match against neighbouring Inglewood United.
Fremantle Spirit, who sit atop of the First Division table, head to Wotton Reserve where third-placed Morley Windmills provide the opposition in the match of the round. Ashfield will be out to keep the pressure on Fremantle by taking all three points from their home meeting with South West Phoenix. Mandurah City can consolidate their position when they host bottom side Gosnells City. There's a lot riding on the outcome of the mid-table clash between Dianella White Eagles and Canning City at Dianella Reserve. And likewise the game at Hartfield Park where Forrestfield United host Rockingham City. Out of action due to the bye are Balcatta.
LEGENDS STRUT THEIR STUFF
The stars of yesterday line-up one more time this weekend when former players of Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions meet in a 'legends' game. "Some of us may be a bit slower but the skills are still all there," commented former Floreat player Taki Nicolaides, who's been involved in organising the game. "It'll be nice to get a few old faces together to have a kick about, and later reminisce about our former glories." The game kicks off at 6.15pm and follows tomorrow's Premier League fixture between Floreat and Stirling at Litis Stadium.
Donning colours of the home team are the likes of Ross Greer, Paul Wormley, Dave Evans, Paul Farmer, Mickey Brennan, inaugural A-League Player of the Season Bobby Despotovski and Gold Medal winners John Hunter and Norrie Sutton who'll be under the guidance of Alan Vest. Stirling will be coached by Ernie Hannigan and represented by Paul Middleton, Allan Pottier, Willie Kelly, Wayne Thorpe, John Alavakis, Frank Bate, Paul McVittie, Alex Christie and by Gold Medallists Andy Wright and Ronnie Campbell.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The way footballwa.net operates is about to change significantly. After six plus years of keeping the West Australian football community updated on local matters, Brett Klucznik will step aside from his role was website editor at the end of this month. His departure will place a greater emphasis on the clubs themselves to provide news stories and interviews for publication on these pages.
As of 1st July all news items should be submitted to Peter Simcox, via email@example.com, who'll co-ordinate updates in an interim capacity. To ensure the on-going viability and success of footballwa.net, we are on the look out for someone who is passionate about the local game to take on the compilation of our weekly updates. Interested persons are asked to contact Jacob Aufdemkampe via firstname.lastname@example.org
KILKELLY ON THE MEND
The return of Shaun Kilkelly to Inglewood United's defence is a welcome sight for the club's legion of supporters. Kilkelly watched the opening months of the new season from the sidelines as a broken leg suffered late last year while on State duty mended. "I'm glad to be back, the leg is okay but I need to get a little bit fitter," commented the 21-year old this week. "I need a couple more games to get the sharpness back into my game. It's all about match practice, my distribution isn't the best at the moment but the more I play I'm sure it will come. Overall it's all going to plan at the moment and I'm happy with the recovery."
Inglewood have had their fair share of problems this season and coach Eddy Hodgkinson is delighted to have his captain back on deck. "Sean has steadied our back three since he returned to the side," said Hodgkinson. "He's excellent in the air and a tenacious player, he's near to match fitness and it's great to have him back." The no-nonsense defender made his first senior appearance of 2006 in his club's recent Cup clash with Floreat Athena, and last weekend played a significant role as Inglewood fended off a strong finishing Swan I.C. to earn a 2-2 draw.
Kilkelly got a taste for life in the national league during a short stay at Perth Glory in late 2002. Although he was with Glory only three months, Kilkelly enjoyed the experience and would welcome another opportunity to prove his value to the club. "I enjoyed the time at the Glory. It was great experience and I would love a chance to push for an A-League spot when I'm fit," said Kilkelly. "Glory are looking at local talent and it's great that the local boys are being given the opportunity to play, but you've got to get your foot in door and take it from there, and only time will tell for me."
NEW DIRECTION TO SECURE PERTH GLORY'S SUCCESS
A path forward for Perth Glory has been outlined by Football Federation Australia. Matt Carrol, FFA's head of operations, this afternoon unveiled the plan which includes the creation of a steering committee to oversee the operation of the A-League club. A high calibre chief executive officer, commercial operations manager, football operations manager, media and communications manager and a new head coach for Glory will be sought immediately. The steering committee will comprise the new CEO and head coach, a representative from Football West and Carroll himself.
The FFA released Glory's initial owners prematurely from their five year A-League Participation Agreement. Expressions of interest were received from four parties indicating their desire to take ownership of the Perth license. Two of the four parties progressed to formal applications, however, late last month World Sport Group withdrew their application citing issues with other aspects of their business. Discussions with the other applicant, a Perth-based consortium, Centerfield Investment, continue. "While we had hoped to conclude the process of finding a new owner for Perth Glory by now, the FFA believes it is more important to install the right owner than to get it done quickly," said Carroll via a media statement. "Since the pre-season competition and the Hyundai A-League season are rapidly approaching, the FFA has taken the decision to continue managing Perth Glory until such time that a suitable owner is found."
"This decision means that the FFA will proceed quickly to appoint people in key management positions to allow Perth Glory adequate time to prepare the players and club for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season," continued Carroll. "The FFA will ensure Perth Glory remains a viable and competitive club with a strong affinity with the Perth football (soccer) community and the Western Australian community at large that will be of interest to potential investors in the future."
The announcement on the future direction of Perth Glory also has the full support of Football West. "Football West is pleased to see the FFA take a lead role in the management of the Glory until an appropriate long term owner is found," commented chief executive officer Michelle Phillips. "We also applaud the FFA decision for Football West to be a part of the steering committee, which will provide a much needed voice of the grass-roots membership in the management of Perth Glory."
ARMADALE SNAP UP SCOTTISH YOUTH INTERNATIONAL
Steven Vinter, formerly of Scottish Premier League side Dunfermline, has signed on with Armadale for the remainder of the local season. The 19-year old spent four years in the academy system at Glasgow Rangers during which time he represented Scotland Under-15's on four occasions. A tall mobile player who is comfortable playing in midfield or across the back line, Vinter joined Dunfermline in January 2004 and last season captained their Under-19 team.
DRCA TAKES UP REIGNS AT BAYSWATER
Bayswater City will be lead by Petar Drca for the first time when they host near neighbour Inglewood United this weekend. Drca took over the coaching reigns at Bayswater during the week following the resignation of Eric Bambaci. It's been a rocky rock for Bayswater with Drca their fourth coach in seven months following the departure of Bambaci and predecessors Frank Faraone and Salv Todaro. With the transfer deadline drawing near Drca has the difficult job of strengthening Bayswater's playing stocks in preparation for the battle with Armadale to avoid the drop. As the Premier League season nears its' halfway stage Bayswater and Armadale have been cut ten points adrift at the foot of the table.
MICEVSKI EYES OLYMPIC BERTH
Perth Glory midfielder David Micevski is looking forward to his first full season of A-League football, and staking a claim to a spot in Australia's Olympic Games team. The former Perth S.C. midfielder, who signed a two-year deal with Glory in March, feels he did his national team aspirations no harm with some solid displays for Australia at a recent under-23 tournament in Vietnam. "I think my chances are pretty good so far, but I've just got to wait to see how it goes throughout the A-League season."
Wearing the green and gold of Australia in Vietnam is an experience Micevski will cherish for a long time. "It was definitely a buzz representing my country because I had never done that before," said Micevski of his outings against Iran, Vietnam and Uzbekistan. "It was good playing with international players from around Australia and learning from them, and also international coaches like Graham Arnold and Johan Neeskens, you can learn heaps from them."
Like many, Micevski feels the national competition is too short and is all for A-League players returning to the State Leagues during the winter. "I personally don't think Australian-based footballers are getting enough games," he said. "In Europe they get over forty games (a season) easily, which makes them more match fit and when you're playing more games it can only make you better." Micevski was prevented from turning out the local competition this year by a niggling groin injury.
HIDDINK IN AWE OF SOCCEROOS GRIT
Guus Hiddink last night paid tribute to his twenty-three player World Cup squad in which he has true belief. Not even when one-nil down, with six minutes remaining and against the reigning Asian champion did the master coach flinch. He has limitless faith in a Socceroos side he believes can shovel itself out of the deepest trench, and to Hiddink its predicament against Japan was little more than a divot.
Hiddink didn't panic during his half-time address to a squad that appeared to be wilting in the 38 degree heat. Instead he delivered with icy calm an address which reinforced the collective will of his players. He wasn't squirming as the clock counted down on the Socceroos and the voices of Japan's fans echoed around the Fritz-Walter-Stadion.
He simply let his three substitutes - Tim Cahill, John Aloisi and Josh Kennedy - weave their brand of magic. "This team never stops working, never gives up and never knows if it is beaten," the Dutchman said. "These guys deserve a big compliment for how (they) kept at it. We said to them at half-time not to panic and that with our planned substitutions we could get something from the match."
"We knew that at the end of the game, if the score was neutral, or if we were losing we would finish strongly," Hiddink added. ""It was not out of arrogance, we just knew we were capable of this. It was a part of our strategy. We knew they have problems late in games and that we could break them. It's good to see as a coach that our execution was near-perfect."
Hiddink then told his team to enjoy the moment and savour making history. "We are here now in Germany, so I tell them to enjoy it but keep working hard, which I know they will." Hiddink bristled when asked if Australia's three goals in eight minutes was a great escape. "This wasn't an escape. We weren't crucified. This was a tactical win. When you escape it's when you don't cope in a game but we did from the opening moment on," he added. "We had a plan, it wasn't about luck."
SAY NO TO RACISM
Racial and religious vilification is a problem worldwide and, unfortunately, that includes within our own game. Abuse of others on religious and/or racial grounds is unacceptable, regardless of when or where such abuse occurs. We feel the time has come for the football family in Western Australia to address this issue and raise awareness that vilification at any level is simply not on.
Vilification is defined as any act done in public and that could incite others to hate, have serious contempt for, or severely ridicule a person or group of people. Racial vilification is that of a person, or group of people, because of their perceived race, ethnicity or national origins. Religious vilification is that based upon a person's, or groups, religious beliefs.
We strongly encourage all incidence of racial and/or religious vilified - be it against a player, official or supporter of your club - be reported to Football West. We trust that those in positions of power will act accordingly to stamp out such abhorrent behaviour. It should be noted that offensive behaviour based on racial hatred is unlawful under the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act.
CAHILL STOKED WITH WORLD CUP DREAM
There'll always be a special place in Australian history for Tim Cahill. The 26-year old became the first player to score for Australia in a World Cup finals match when he equalised six minutes from time in the opening group F match in Kaiserslautern. Not content with that, he blasted home a second goal five minutes later which was followed shortly by a superb strike from John Aloisi which sealed a memorable 3-1 victory over Japan.
Cahill, brought into the fray by coach Guus Hiddink as a 53rd minute substitute, said playing at and scoring in the World Cup is something every player dreams of. "This is what we'll all look back to, not only the lads here but our families and everyone who has helped us," he said. "Just being part of this World Cup is unbelievable, but to get the goal is the icing on the cake. When you're a kid you dream of moments like this."
For the record, this is how Cahill described his game changing and history making first goal. "Basically it was just a long throw from Lucas Neill from the left," he said. "It got a flick on (from Josh Kennedy) and it came through to Harry (Kewell), he's gone in on a challenge, the ball's popped out and I've just swiped at it. I think it went through John Aloisi's legs, and one of the defenders' legs and rippled into the net. It was a bit fortunate."
And his second? "I just hit it (from near the edge of the area) off a pass from John Aloisi and knew the moment I hit it was going in. It's the first goal I've scored for Australia outside the 18-yard box or not with my head," said Cahill. "This day rates as one of the best in my life, but just being part of the World Cup and just being an Australian is fantastic. To actually score and to be the first Australian to score is amazing."
SOCCEROOS STUN JAPAN
Australia staged a dramatic late fight-back to score their first ever World Cup victory by defeating Japan 3-1 at Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern. Australia, making their first World Cup appearance in thirty-two years, had trailed after a controversial goal half way through the first-half by Shunsuke Nakamura. Substitute Tim Cahill turned the game on its head by scoring twice in five minutes, sweeping home from close-range in the 84th minute and five minutes drilling the ball into the net from 16-metres via an upright. John Aloisi, who also came off the bench, put the icing on the cake with a fine individual goal in stoppage time.
Under a blazing sun, Socceroos captain Mark Viduka was twice denied by Japanese custodian Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi in the 6th minute. Japan threatened for the first time eight minutes later through Takashi Fukunishi whose effort from distance was well over the crossbar. The Socceroos proceeded to launch a barrage of crosses into the area which put the pressure on Japan's defence. Australia's best chance came the way of midfielder Marco Bresciano who stretched Kawaguchi from 15-metres following a clever back-heel by Viduka.
Controversy erupted in the 26 minute when, against the run of play, Japan went ahead. From wide on the left, Nakamura chipped a cross into the area where Australian 'keeper Mark Schwarzer was clattered in to by Atushi Yanagisawa and Naohiro Takahara, and the ball bounced into an unguarded net. Harry Kewell replied almost instantly with a vicious strike that kissed the top of the crossbar after he powered into attack. As the half wore on chances became harder to come by for the Socceroos and just before the break Bresciano bent a low free-kick past the defensive wall and into the side-netting.
Although under pressure, Japan's rearguard continued to hold firm as Australia sought to equalise in the second half. Kawaguchi kept his side ahead in the 69th minute with a terrific save to push away a powerful Viduka free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. With Nakamura and Hidetoshi Nakata finding plenty of space out wide, Japan looked increasingly dangerous on the counterattack. And in the 76th minute they squandered a golden opportunity to wrap up the game when Atushi Yanagisawa shot tamely at Schwarzer following a centring pass by Takahara.
With six minutes to go Aloisi forced another fine save out of Kawaguchi with a scorching long-range free-kick. The resulting corner was misjudged by the 'keeper and in the ensuing scramble Cahill rammed the equaliser through a crowded area. Five minutes later Cahill seized possession and, with the defence slow to react, the attacker unleashed a fierce shot from 18-metres which crashed into the inside of the post and over the line. Aloisi assured an Australian victory in the second minute of stoppage time by driving through the heart of Japan's defence and, with his favoured left foot, firing in the sides' third.
GOVERNMENT BACKS WORLD CUP BID
West Australia has joined a call for Australia to host the 2014 World Cup finals. Sport and Recreation Minister John Kobelke said today he hoped the Commonwealth and states would work together to put in a bid for Australia to host the games in 2014 or 2018. "We have a fantastic record of hosting these international sporting events," said Kobelke. "We believe Perth, with its new stadium, would also be well placed to host some of those games particularly the first round of a World Cup, whether it is 2014 or 2018." A task force is currently investigating options for a new sports stadium in Perth and Kobelke believes an Australian World Cup bid would fit with the state's need to have a 50,000 plus seat stadium.
WARD SWITCHES FOCUS TO GLORY
After a handful of Premier League appearances for Stirling Lions, midfielder Nick Ward has turned his attention to the coming A-League campaign. Winner of the A-League's Rising Star award last season, 21-year old Ward is well aware he'll be closely watched during the summer of 2006/07. "It's always harder the second year," he commented. "When you have a good year first up people will know who you are, they're going to mark you up a bit tighter."
Ward is concerned by the shortness of the national league season and jumped at the opportunity to play in the local competition for Stirling during the off-season. "I enjoyed it, I hadn't played for a little while so it was good to get back and play the game," Ward said. "Twenty-one (A-League) games are not enough. For me as a young player wanting to make the next step and get my career to a higher level, I think that holds me back."
That lack of games may have contributed to Ward not being selected in the Socceroos training squad for the recent friendly with Greece. "I was pretty gutted, it knocked me for six a bit because I thought I had done enough this year," he said. Assistant national team coach Graham Arnold delivered the news of Ward's omission for fitness reasons. "I feel I'm still at a very good fitness level but it's not my decision so you just have to live with it."
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT
Two spectacular long-range goals strikes allowed Queens Park to comfortably defeat Subiaco United 2-0 at Coker Park. The home side controlled the opening stages and took a deserved lead on 19 minutes through Tina Rowatt's remarkable shot from 25-metres. Rowatt showed fantastic skill to control the shot while running at full pace, placing the ball too well for Subiaco goalkeeper Jess Laidler.
A minute before half-time Amy Thorpe matched Rowatt's effort with an outstanding long distance strike to double Queens Park's advantage. The hosts almost added a third early in the second half but Rowatt's low shot crashed into the upright. The closest Subiaco came to turning second half possession into goal was in the closing minutes when the ball sat nicely inside the box for Shani Lynch who fired just wide.
In other women's Premier League games, East Fremantle claimed maximum points at the expense of Balcatta by 3-1. At Bortolo Park, Mandurah City swept aside Northern Redbacks 3-0. Emily Bateman, Melanie Paschkewitz and Melissa Spillman found the back of the net to register Mandurah's first win of the season.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE (Sorrento vs Floreat courtesy Floreat Athena; Western Knights vs Bayswater City courtesy Western Knights; Stirling Lions vs Armadale courtesy Stirling Lions)
A ten-man Floreat Athena held on to earn a 1-1 draw from an at times spiteful encounter with Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. In a top of the table clash which lived up to expectations, Floreat were the first to threaten as Adam Bachiller picked out Boima Karpeh whose unmarked header was straight into the arms of goalkeeper Neil Young. For much of the half Sorrento were forced into performing defensive duties as the visiting side pressed into attack with growing purpose. Floreat's finally broke through nine minutes before the half-time when Bajo Savic sent a precise cross to the top of the 6-yard box where Branimir Mikulic glided his header past Young and into the far corner. It would have been two-nil a few minutes later if not for a miraculous save on the line by Young who somehow steered Mikulic's shot from point-blank range over the crossbar. Sorrento drew level in the 52nd minute when an awkwardly bouncing ball struck the arm of Julian Madaschi and the referee had no option but to point from where Jared Love sent Vas Vujacic the wrong way. Floreat were reduced to ten men with just under half an hour to play as Savic received his marching orders for spitting at an opponent. However, there was a distinct lack of consistency on the referee's behalf as a number of racial taunts from Sorrento's ranks were allowed to go unpunished. Although playing with one less player, Floreat always looked the more likely to score by playing on the counterattack but their best moves were broken down by a resolute defence. That's not to say Sorrento didn't have their chances and it took a couple of late goalmouth clearances to ensure each side gained a point.
A thrilling encounter at Dalmatinac Park ended 4-3 in favour of Wanneroo City at the expense of Cockburn City. Wanneroo were into stride early but resilient defending prevented them from converting a couple of good chances. The opening goal came after 22 minutes when Andrew Keary combined with Christian Alvarez who threaded a pass to Anthony Pereira and he raced through slot into the net after drawing goalkeeper Kevin Miller off his line. It was clear the visitors were up for the challenge as Craig Bowman rounded Alan Dunlop but the angle was too great and he shot into the side netting. Not long after David Houston set up Phil O'Callaghan and his well struck shot was just wide of the target. The equaliser arrived a couple of minutes from the break when O'Callaghan converted from the spot after Paul Oliver accidentally handled the ball. Cockburn regained the upper hand four minutes into the second half with Oliver converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Johnny Mirco. Wanneroo drew level shortly after via a long throw in which was flicked on and Craig Bowman stole in front of his marker to put the ball in the net. With 65 minutes elapsed Wanneroo went ahead for the first time as Houston celebrated his senior debut by heading in at a corner. The see-sawing nature of the game continued with Cockburn drawing level in the 79th minute when Shane Nunes was best placed to nod past Miller at a corner. The momentum was now with the hosts and Jason Dos Santos and Aaron Dos Santos both hit the frame of the goal as Cockburn sought the deciding goal. In the final minute, and very much against the run of play, Wanneroo broke on the counterattack and Bowman snatched a dramatic winner by stroking the ball low past a diving Dunlop.
The points were shared at Dorrien Gardens where Perth S.C. came from behind to draw 2-2 with E.C.U. Joondalup. There was an aggressive streak to the early exchanges as both teams eagerly pushed into attack in search of the opening goal. The first to strike a blow was Perth who, in the 9th minute, had Matt Danskin swing in a corner that Barry Wood nodded back into the 6-yard box where Aaron Cole forced the ball into Peter Stewart's net. A golden opportunity to level went begging a few minutes later when Scott Bushby placed wide from 8-metres and only Gareth Deeg to beat. Bushby made amends in the 25th minute by tapping in from close-range after Tom Jones headed down Garin Collins' cross from the right. The hosts quickly regained the ascendency and peppered the Joondalup goal with shots from Wood and David Onoforo without being able to beat Stewart. Joondalup began the second half at full pace and five minutes in Collins slotted to the feet of Bushby whose shot hit the inside the post before coming to rest in the net. Chances presented themselves at both ends of the park in an even period in which Wood crashed a header against the bar, Ian McMurray was thwarted by Deeg, and a powerful shot from 20-metres by Mark Lee whistled narrowly wide. With the clock ticking down Perth upped their work rate and deservedly drew level in the 79th minutes when Onoforo's swinging shot from long-range shot deceived Stewart. Joondalup were now on the ropes and only the solid defensive work by Gerry McEwan and Jamie Kuzmanovich prevented Perth from snatching a late decider before the referee blew for full-time.
Swan I.C. recovered from two goals down to share the points 2-2 with Inglewood United at the Kiev Sports Ground. The home made a perfect start by taking the lad after only 5 minutes when Anthony Danze clipped the ball over the defence to Louis Parkinson whose low strike from a narrow angle took a deflection on its way into the net. Greg Sharland was tormenting the Swan defence and only a couple more minutes had gone when he was allowed to advance on goal before unleashing a stunning shot from 20-metres which soared into the top corner. Swan took their time to regain some composure and in the 23rd minute Rory Mouttet's free-kick fell kindly for Damien Catalano who stroked it low and into Oliver Taseski's net. Hugo did well to push Anthony Danze's neat flick onto the crossbar close to the interval, while Albert Osei-Tutu hit the upright on a one-on-one with the Swan custodian. Taseski and Hugo featured in early second half action with saves to deny Brendan Knox and Osei-Tutu respectively. The game was turned on its head in the 49th minute when Jason Colli was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card. This tipped the scales in Swan's favour and Taseski was called upon to save from David Foster and Paul Bazcynski, while Catalano and Damien Scali placed wide when well positioned. Their reward arrived in the 69th minutes when Dom Ando picked the ball up 20-metres from goal and, after taking one touch, blasted an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Swan pressed for a winner but it just wasn't their day as Scali, Knox, Foster and Catalano all failed to find the target. Late in the piece Osei-Tutu could have snatched victory but he shot straight at Hugo after being played through by Daniel Stoitis.
Western Knights revival continued with a 5-0 thrashing of Bayswater City in sunny conditions at Nash Field. However, it could have been all so different had Bayswater made more of their early chances. The game was only ten seconds old when Jarred Smith went one-on-one with Tommi Tomich whose reflexes were tested in keeping how a low shot. Two minutes later Sal Marrapodi seized upon a poor back header by Evan Wallace and again Tomich came to the hosts' rescue by racing off his line to clear the danger. These near misses would to haunt Bayswater who went a goal down in the 12th minute when Daniel Trim's deep cross from the left was brought under control by Stuart Montgomery who volleyed in from 8-metres. The lead was doubled eight minutes later as Ivan Zuvela sent Montgomery down the right and his cross into the box was despatched past Bobson Koroma by an unmarked Paul Devlin. Opportunities were few and far between for the visitors who were quickly shut down in their attacking third by Zuvela, Wallace and David Annall. Excellent movement of the ball produced the Knights third goal as David Price won possession in the middle of the park and played Trim in behind the defence on the left from where he delivered a cross to Montgomery who made no mistake from 8-metres. Not long after Koroma parried a stinging shot from Zuvela, Devlin was also thwarted with the follow-up and Zuvela made the most of his second bite of the cherry by heading in the Knights fourth goal. The second half may have been a lot more even but the Knights remained by far the more creative as Devlin, Montgomery, Price and Paul Cooke all went close. Their only goal of the period came about through Cooke who sent the ball into the area where teenager Matt Allen scored with his first touch in senior football.
The Stirling Lions got back to winning ways with a dour 3-0 defeat of bottom side Armadale at Macedonia Park. It didn't take long for Robbie Miller and Ludovic Boi to seize control of midfield and take the home side into attack, however, Stirling's lack of penetration produced few openings. Stirling's best chance of the half came when via a Jordan Rhodes cross which flashed across an open goalmouth and narrowly beyond the outstretched leg of Miller. Slowly but surely Armadale grew in confidence as Scott Devine and Darryl Platten applied pressure to the home defence with the end result being a fine shot by Jason Goodwin which was narrowly wide of the upright after 26 minutes. With the words of Mike Lyons still ringing in their ears, Stirling headed out for the second half focused solely on breaking the deadlock. And they only had to wait seven minutes before a well-executed set-piece led to Jordan Rhodes' terrific cross to the back post finding Andy Brown whose header went in off the underside of the crossbar. Armadale went close to levelling shortly after in a goal mouth scramble which was desperately cleared by Darko Ilomanoski. Rhodes was the provider again on the hour with a defence splitting pass that Ryan Jeans raced on to and tucked past goalkeeper Nick Stone. The pace at which the game was place was taking its toll on the visiting side who were finding life difficult in their final third of the park. In the 70th minute Michael Pugliese slotted the ball to Phil Arnold who drove toward goal before unleashing a vicious shot which cannoned into the bar, and Jeans was placed well to knock the follow up for Stirling's third of the afternoon.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINE (Fremantle City vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; South West Phoenix vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City)
Fremantle Spirit cruised to victory 4-1 over a luckless Gosnells City when they faced off at Ken Allen Field. The day started badly for Gosnells who lost captain Sean Cowman to injury after only 5 minutes. Fremantle overcame a slow start to take control of the game and on 23 minutes went ahead when David Rodgers put away a cross from the right. Chances flowed freely for the port side whose midfield was by this stage determining the flow of play. A rare Gosnells attack saw Steve Gillibrand shoot high, and with the very next passage of play Fremantle doubled the margin through Tyrone Fenwick. Gosnells came out after the break in an attacking frame of mind with coach Alex Grindley adopting a three man attack. However, it would be Fremantle who'd find the target in the 56th minute through a clinical finish by Rodgers. Not even this deterred the hosts who sought to get back in the game as Jimmy Capewell and Ciaren Allen went close. The icing was put on Fremantle's cake in the 85th minute by classy midfielder Jason Barrera who cleverly chip goalkeeper Robbie Figg to take the gap to four goals. Darren Ingham's flick on to Brian Cairney allowed him to slot in a stoppage time consolation for the home side.
Ashfield took out an eagerly anticipated derby meeting with Morley Windmills by 4-1 at Ashfield Reserve. The game developed into an intriguing clash of styles straight from kick-off as Ashfield moved the ball around with short quick passes, while Morley employed a more direct approach in searching for the opening goal. The pressure on the visiting defence was relentless and through a free-kick Igor Novakovic crashed the ball into the crossbar, and a spectacular flying header by Mel Lovic met with the same fate. Morley's first genuine chance had Scott McIlroy shoot weakly at goalkeeper Francis Allen on 16 minutes. There was more than an ounce of luck involved when Ashfield broke the deadlock seven minutes from half-time as a miss-hit cross by Martin Kelly drifted over Matt Darling and into the top corner. Ashfield doubled their advantage five minutes later when Kelly latched on to a long ball and raced through an absent defence to slot past a badly exposed 'keeper. The second half opened with Ashfield determined to finish off the job with Lovic taking the margin to four goals by finding the net in the 56th and 59th minutes. The visitors did rally and snatched a consolation goal through Ray Rose.
Forrestfield United pulled off one of the seasons' shock results by defeating Balcatta 2-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Through neat movement of the game it was Balcatta who made the better start to what would be a scrappy game of few chances. However, midway through the half the visitors surprisingly went ahead when Lucas Whitehouse sent in a deep cross from the left for Brian Robertson who made no mistake at the far post. Balcatta mounted wave after wave of attack in an effort to get back on level terms but could find few holes in Forrestfield's defence. Their perseverance paid off ten minutes from half-time when John Nicolaou rose highest to head past 'keeper Scott Radford. Balcatta's superior fitness was expected to be the deciding factor after the break, however, someone had failed to tell that to Forrestfield who proved every bit their opponents match. With 67 minutes gone Jordon Conti made a hash of a clearance outside his area to allow Dennis Lee the simple task of stroking the ball into an empty net, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. With nothing to lose Balcatta went forward in increasing numbers but Forrestfield weren't about to let this one slip and locked the game down to record just their second win of the campaign.
Mandurah City returned to the winners circle by trouncing South West Phoenix 3-0 at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. Played in chilly conditions, Mandurah made their presence known early with a series of attacking raids that caused several nervous moments for the home crowd. But while the visitors enjoyed much of the play they found it difficult to break down a stubborn Phoenix defence. Just as the half looked destined to end without a goal up stepped Jake Loreto who displayed great footwork to put Mandurah one-nil up. This elicited an immediate response from as Phoenix and Pat Quinn unleashed a blistering shot from 22-metres which was narrowly wide of the top corner. Possession after the break was evenly distributed with neither side able to dominate and genuine scoring opportunities rare. With 65 minutes played Loreto doubled Mandurah lead by converting a penalty awarded for a harsh handball decision against Andrew Cowley. Phoenix had little option but to push men forward in an attempt to reduce the deficit, and things were looking very promising for a while. Graeme Matthews put the result beyond doubt ten minutes from the end by tucking a neat pass from Alex Darby into the net.
Dianella White eagles came away from Dowling Street Reserve with all points courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline against Rockingham City. Miladin Gugoroski scored three minutes from the break with Rydeen Botha doubling the margin in the 59th minute. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
LAZARIDIS MAKES HIS LAST STAND
Stan Lazaridis, West Australia's greatest footballer, could have played his last game for his country after conceding he may not feature in Guus Hiddink's World Cup plans. At 33, Lazaridis acknowledges he's in the twilight of his career and has no regrets if overlooked in Germany as the Socceroos attend to improve on the class of 1974. Australian bowed out at the group stage thirty-two years ago and the current crop are aiming to improve on that campaign.
Lazaridis is well aware he could miss out on playing at a World Cup. "Guus is going to have a number of players on the bench he can use and I may not play at all," he told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "I'm happy I'm here in Germany and you just don't know what might happen. I played against Greece (in a recent friendly) and I've played in two game here (Europe) and I set up a few goals and that's my game, so anything can happen."
After earlier consideration of continuing his Socceroo career after the World Cup, Lazaridis recently admitted it might be difficult given the demands of juggling national team and club duties. Lazaridis, who has not scored in seventy appearances for the national team, does not expect to be given a run if Australia were in a comfortable position against Japan, Brazil or Croatia. But he still holds hope he'll be utilised should things not go according to plans.
The one-time State team player is negotiating my mutual agreement his release from English Premier League club Birmingham City under whom he is under contract until the end of the month. Clubs are queuing up for the left-sided midfielder whose received offers from clubs in Australia, England, Greece, Cyrus and the Middle East. The delay in Perth Glory's change of ownership has cast doubt on Lazaridis returning to his hometown with his wife and children.
TOWNSEND SIGNS ON
Australian youth international Ryan Townsend has signed a one-year contract with Perth Glory. Townsend joined the club towards the end of last season on a short-term agreement and turned in impressive showings in his two A-League outings against New Zealand Knights and Newcastle United Jets. "I am ecstatic that I have been give the opportunity to be a full-time Glory player," said Townsend of his new deal. "To represent the city and state that I grew up and learnt my football in is really important to me and I hope I can make a valuable contribution to the Glory this season."
Born in Manchester, England, Townsend was raised in Perth and honed his skills as a junior with Wanneroo, Kingsley, Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup. He returned to England in 2002 to commence a three-year scholarship offer from Burnley for whom he played regular youth and reserve team football. The towering defender was part of the Australia squad at the 2005 World Youth Championships (Under-20), and earlier this year attended a training camp in Canberra for the Australian Olympic (Under-23) team.
NEW DEADLINE FOR GLORY DEAL
Football Federation Australia have promised to settle the issue of Perth Glory's ownership by the middle of next week. The A-League club, once the envy of all in Australia, has been in limbo since co-founder Nick Tana pulled out on 1st May. Supporters are furious Glory has since been neglected as FFA tries to find a suitable investor at the same time it has concentrated resources on Australia's World Cup campaign. With the pre-season Cup starting next month, and Glory's first A-League fixture scheduled for 26th August, time is running out for the two-time champion to get their act together on and off the field. Only twelve players participated in a training session at City Beach last Monday under caretaker coach Alan Vest.
Several syndicates have expressed interest in taking control of Glory but the FFA has failed to do a deal despite an indication it wanted to have the matter resolved by the end of last month. The only confirmed applicant is a group led by Perth businessman Tom Galopoulos and which includes Argentine great Gabriel Batistuta. It is understood the Singapore-based World Sports Group is no longer a contender. There's mounting speculation in local circles suggesting Glory could be jointly administered next season by a board comprising both FFA and Galopoulos syndicate members. The ownership debacle has prevented technical manager Mich d'Avray, who has run the club since Tana relinquished his stake, from completing recruiting.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
There's minimal movement in the Premier League standings at the completion of Round Nine. Sorrento stay on top and Floreat Athena second following their 1-1 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve where Jared Love and Branimir Mikulic found the target. The middle of the table is terribly congested with only four points separating positions three through ten. Cockburn City were surprise losers at home to Wanneroo City by 4-2. Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup each scored twice to draw 2-2. Aaron Cole and David Onoforo netted for the hosts while both Joondalup's goals came from Scott Bushby.
Swan I.C. overturned a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Inglewood United. Louis Parkinson and Greg Sharland netted inside the opening ten minutes for Inglewood who were pegged back by Damien Catalano and Dom Ando. Ryan Jeans (2) and Andy Brown were Stirling Lions' scorers in the 3-0 win over Armadale. Western Knights thrashed Bayswater City 5-0 courtesy of goals by Stuart Montgomery (2), Paul Devlin, Ivan Zuvela and teenager Matthew Allen.
In the First Division, Fremantle Spirit extended their perfect win record to eight games by thumping Gosnells City 4-1. The port side remains six points clear of the chasing pack after nine rounds of fixtures. Ashfield moved into second position with a 4-1 win over Morley Windmills who, although level on points with Ashfield, slip to third. There was a major upset at Graham Burkett Reserve where highly fancied Balcatta crashed 1-2 to Forrestfield United. South West Phoenix' dire home record continued with a 0-3 loss to Mandurah City. And Dianella White Eagles picked up three valuable points courtesy of a 2-0 win at Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
As the Premier League season nears the halfway stage we find Sorrento and Floreat Athena locked in a titanic struggle for top spot, and it's those two sides which meet at Percy Doyle Reserve in this weeks match of the round. Both Sorrento and Floreat boast an abundance of talent in every position and there will be little separating them after ninety minutes of pulsating football. The key match-up takes place in the centre of the park where Glen Thomas, James Morgan and Brad Hassell pit skills with Josip Magdic, Bajo Savic and Okwy Diamondstar.
Although separated by six places, there's only four points between Cockburn City and Wanneroo City who meet at Dalmatinac Park. E.C.u. Joondalup have a difficult away meeting with Perth S.C. There's an important mid-table meeting at Kiev Sports Ground between Inglewood United and Swan I.C. Stirling Lions have not won a League game in two months and welcome to Macedonia Park and Armadale side still seeking their first point of the campaign. Western Knights are coming off a big Cup win and expected to make light work of the visitor from Bayswater City.
It's second verses third in the First Division as Morley Windmills make the short trip down the road to Ashfield. Fremantle Spirit are tipped to make it eight wins from as many starts when lowly Gosnells City head to Ken Allen Reserve. Balcatta have home ground advantage against a Forrestfield United side which has won once in seven games. South West Phoenix are out to arrest their poor home form when Mandurah City visit Bunbury. In desperate need of points at the moment are Rockingham City and Dianella White Eagles who meet at Dowling Street Reserve. Out of action due to the bye is Canning City.
WORLD CUP FEVER HITS PERTH
Members Equity Stadium will host to a World Cup extravaganza on the evening of Sunday 18th June which culminates in live super-screening of the Australia-Brazil Group F fixture at midnight. Perth Glory will kick off the evenings entertainment with their first pre-season outing against a West Australian Select side featuring the pick of the State's under-23 players and garnished by former Socceroos Shaun Murphy, Scott Miller and Alistair Edwards.
Following the game, Australian rock legends Ian Moss (Cold Chisel) and Jon Stevens (Noiseworks) will take centre stage to perform a live set. From 11.30pm all attention will switch to the big screen as the stadium comes alive in preparation for the Socceroos attempt to overhaul the reigning World Champion, Brazil. Tickets are priced at just $10 and can be pre-purchased from the stadium. For further information, please contact the Glory office on 9492 6000.
MOUTTET UP AGAINST FAMILIAR FOE
For the first time in five years, Rory Mouttet won't be wearing Inglewood United colours when he steps out on to the Kiev Sports Ground this weekend. The talented 27-year old made the switch to Swan I.C. over the off-season and tomorrow's game will be Mouttet's first against his former club. "I'm looking forward to the game but no more than any other match," commented Mouttet this week. "We have some targets as a club that we need to meet and taking the three points at Inglewood is the only real thing on my mind at the moment."
Mouttet has settled in quickly at Swan where he's brought strength and experience to the black and whites defence. "I've been enjoying the season to date and it is really exciting so see the large crop of talented youngsters in the Valley," he said. "Competition for all places is fierce and you can't afford not to play well. I've recovered from an ankle injury, are getting closer to full fitness and hopefully I can contribute to the team's performance on the weekend."
Confidence is high in the Swan Valley and Mouttet remains undaunted by games against Inglewood, Cockburn City, Perth S.C. and table toppers Sorrento in the next five weeks. "I think that our side can beat anyone in this League," he said confidently. "It's very tight this season and a lot of the teams are very even. We have a very talented side and if we can continue to get results through the next couple weeks against the stronger teams then it'll build our confidence and will take a good side to beat us."
Mouttet says he's been made feel welcome at Swan and has nothing but praise for the coacng and backroom staff. "Carlo (Scali) and Doogs (Michael Di Fulvio) are very professional, as well as Linc's (Paul Lincoln) and all the other support guys have put everything into making the club successful this year," he explained. "Swan is a very close knit and proud club. The lads are great and I have some very long time friends here as well as some new ones. The committee is great as well as the sponsors and there is always a great feeling around the club."
LENNIE REFLECTS ON WORLD CUP DREAM
Eddie Lennie is one of an elite group of West Australians who knows fist hand what it's like to be part of the World Cup Finals. Scottish-born Lennie was selected by FIFA as one of thirty-three referees for the 1998 finals tournament in France where he ran the rule over two games and was fourth official for a third match. "France 98 is without doubt the number one highlight of my refereeing career," enthused Lennie. "It is the ultimate footballing dream that a player or referee can be involved in."
The three times Australian Referee of the Year believes the Socceroos players are in for a shock when they arrive in Germany. "The intensity will be enormous, the players will not have experienced this level of intensity before even though some of the squad have been involved in other campaigns," he said. "Every ball that is played by them will be scrutinized, the crowd will be hostile, and the media will have a field day at the Australian expense if they do not perform well."
"How far will Australia go? If we can make the second round then that will be our final, but I don't think we will get that far," he commented. "As long as we do not get belted by a large scores then we will have achieved some recognition. The one good thing we have in our favour is the calming influence of the Guus Hiddink who has been through all this before. I'd also like to wish all the best for the other Australian team in Germany, namely our referees Mark Shield, Nathan Gibson and Ben Wilson."
Lennie's World Cup dream began with Italy's 3-0 win over Cameroon, and if he though that would be the end of if then he could not have been more wrong. "All referees were guaranteed at least one game, those that performed well are retained for another game and I was one of the lucky ones," he said. "The highlight of the tournament was receiving that second referee appointment which was the game between Romania and Tunisia at the Stade de France National Stadium which was packed with 80,000 spectators." Lennie's third and final appointment was as fourth official for the Morocco-Norway clash.
There are many fond memories from Lennie's World Cup experience. "France 98 was the first time FIFA had all the referees together in one place for the duration of the whole tournament and the enjoyment of being with all other referees was something quite special," he said. "The other thing that really stands out in my mind was the pressure of administering FIFA'S new laws in relation to a tackle from behind as the 98 World Cup was the first time this was sanctioned as serious foul play and punishable by a red card."
Lennie's career with the whistle began in Scotland and, within two ears of emigrating to Western Australia in 1991, he'd stepped up to the national league in which he'd referee 193 games, a tally which includes four Grand Finals. He was recipient of the Australian Referee of the Year three times, and the WA Referee of the Year on a further five occasions. In total Lennie refereed 49 FIFA internationals before hanging up his whistle in 2004. He is currently FIFA Instructor of Referees for the Oceania Region and the WA State Director of Referees Coaching.
UNDER-14'S MATCH IT WITH ASIA'S BEST
The State Under-14 squad are back from Malaysia where competed in the Asian Football Confederation’s Festival of Football tournament. Coach Andrew Bettel was delighted with the way his young troops performed against a host of Asian national teams, amongst them Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos, during the week-long event. "The brand of football displayed was a joy to watch, and the fact that our State team is more than matching it with the best national teams in the ASEAN region is highly encouraging."
"This type of international experience is invaluable to the development of these players," continued Bettel. "For a State team which is representing Australia against the regions best national teams, I could not be happier with how the players conducted themselves both on and off the park. Most of the boys have never traveled outside of WA and there they were competing against the best in their age group from the ASEAN region."
Having touched down in Malaysia late on Monday night, the State side played their opening match the following morning. Suffering jet lag and a lack of sleep, the side struggled to adapt to the hot and humid conditions to go down 0-2 to Singapore. After a few hours rest they produced a much improved performance in downing Brunei 3-0 with Eli Babalj (2) and Mathew Blaker the scorers. Fatigue had set in by the time of West Australia’s third game in which Zoran Vrteski found the target only for Malaysia to triumph 2-1 courtesy of a last minute winner.
Day Two of competition produced a win and two draws for the State youngsters who turned in some eye catching displays. They opened by drawing 1-1 with the Philippines against who Clayton Arnez was the scorer. A dominant 3-1 victory over Vietnam followed courtesy of goals from Jacob Whiteaker, Bablaj and Jack Clisby. Rounding out the day was an enthralling 1-1 draw with Laos in which Clisby put the State ahead only for the Asian nation to equalise against the run of play. All teams participated in skills testing sessions the next morning followed by an afternoon of cultural visits.
West Australia returned to the playing arena on Day Four with a Arnez finding the back of the net in the 1-1 draw with Cambodia. A 0-2 loss to Thailand opened their final day of competition which came to a close when defeated 2-4 by Indonesia against whom Babalj netted twice. On completion of the tournament Clisby and Cameron Edwards were selected in the Festival of Football 'All-Star team', while Josh Risdon was nominated the West Australian 'Players Player of the Series'. West Australia had their fair share of injuries while in Malaysia with the worse being a broken arm suffered by vice captain Tom Lawrence two days into the event.
SCRAPPY SOCCEROOS DOWN LIECHTENSTEIN
Australia rounded off their World Cup preparations with a scrappy 3-1 win over Liechtenstein in Ulm in southern Germany. The Socceroos not surprisingly controlled the game from the whistle but squandered a series of scoring opportunities which could have made the final margin much greater. "It was good to win 3-1, it was good to see some players make their debut but overall there's still some fine-tuning to do because we cannot afford to make these errors," coach Guus Hiddink said after the game. "We played too slow. We gave away two or three chances. I don't like the way we started this game. There's a lot to do still."
The match failed to hit any great heights as Hiddink made six changes to the starting line-up which drew with the Netherlands only days earlier. Liechtenstein took a surprise lead after 9 minutes when Socceroo defender Lucas Neill headed a seemingly innocuous free-kick past a sprawling Zeljko Kalac. Australia equalised in the 19th minute when Stan Lazaridis broke free down the left and fired in a low cross that Mile Sterjovski slammed in from 5-metres. The only other clear cut chance of the half was a blistering drive from 20-metres by John Aloisi which ended just wide of the post.
Kalac was called upon twice in the opening minutes of the second half to keep out efforts from Thomas Beck and Mario Frick as Leichtenstein upped their work rate. However, Australia soon regained control and good chances came the way of Craig Moore and Tim Cahill. Debutant Josh Kennedy showed why he could loom as Australia's trump card against Japan by climbing above two defenders to head a Brett Emerton cross into the net in the 74th minute. Frick called Kalac into action a minute later before Australia wrapped up the game as Aloisi headed into the corner of the net from Sterjovski's 82nd minute cross.
GLORY GO LOCAL
Perth Glory will go local for their two hometown pre-season Cup fixtures. Football Federation Australia confirmed late last week that Kiev Sports Ground and Dorrien Gardens, home of Inglewood United and Perth S.C. respectively, would host Glory's meetings with Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United next month. Glory's pre-season Cup campaign commences away to Central Coast Mariners on 15th July and continues with home clashes against Central Coast (22nd July, Kiev Sports Ground) and Adelaide (29th July, Dorrien Gardens). They then travel to WIN Stadium in Wollongong for the 'bonus round' fixture with Sydney on 6th August. Following this is the knock-out phase in which the A-League clubs play-off for positions one through eight with the final scheduled for Sunday 20th August.
SOCCEROOS ARRIVE IN GERMANY
Hundreds of German fans and shops and homes draped with Australian flags have greeted the Socceroos on arrival in Germany for their first World Cup finals appearance since 1974. The Socceroos touched down in Stuttgart on a specially chartered flight from Rotterdam to a large media contingent waiting on the tarmac. They then headed to their plush base - a converted castle in the small town of Friedrichsruhe - where locals turned out in force to greet them.
The squad then got straight down to business with coach Guus Hiddink ordering a light afternoon training session at a stadium in nearby Oehringen, the biggest town in the region with a population of 23,000. Around 150 townsfolk waited outside the ground and cheered the Socceroos arrival, then grabbed every possible vantage point outside the stadium to watch the closed doors session. Oehringen, which will be Australia's training base, had also made a point of making the Socceroos feel welcome with more Aussie flags on houses and stuffed kangaroos and koalas in shop windows down the main street of the town.
Oehringen's mayor, Jochen Kubler, who hopes their town's hospitality will help Australia's quest for World Cup glory. "We are friends to the Australia team," he said. "We hope they will get more power from the region to go into their first game (against Japan)." The squad will attend an official Mayor's Reception early tomorrow afternoon before conducting an open training session specifically geared towards saying thank you to the region for being Australia's World Cup base.
LAZARIDIS AIMS FOR EARLY SHOT
Stan Lazaridis is pinning his hopes of achieving a World Cup dream on making a brief appearance in Australia's crucial opening salvo against Japan in Kaiserslautern on 12th June. The Perth-born winger has been used sparingly by coach Guus Hiddink and is clinging to the possibility that his ability to whip in crosses from the left will tip the scales in his favour to at least play a minor role in the opener. Australia consider Japan to be susceptible to an aerial assault and a steady supply of ammunition from the flanks will be the order of the day against the Asian champions.
Veteran campaigner Lazaridis, fresh from a full ninety minutes against Dutch amateur side VV Kloetinge last Friday, has no doubt his best chance of playing at the World Cup in what could be his international swan song is against Japan. "Obviously, I'm not in the first eleven but you just don't know," he said. "Guus may look at giving me a part to play. I got a couple of good crosses in there (against Kloetinge) and I think against Japan I might get a chance."
FFA CONSIDER GLORY TAKEOVER
It's understood Football Federation Australia is thinking seriously about taking a controlling stake in Perth Glory for the coming A-League season. According to reports in the "Sunday Times" newspaper, FFA remain hopeful that World Sports Group will take ownership, however, a conflict-of-interest issue has emerged with the Asian Football Confederation that may prevent this. The rival local consortium, headed by businessman Tom Galopoulos, handed its submission in on Friday but it is thought FFA is not entirely convinced of the local group.
Matt Carroll, FFA's head of operations, has not ruled out a takeover of Glory this season. "We're satisfied with the interim arrangements, but if we have to construct a board of directors then we'll do it," Carroll said. "It's not necessarily FFA owning or controlling it, but certainly taking a lead in constructing an appropriate group of people as we did with Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC, New Zealand and Central Coast Mariners." Six weeks out from the pre-season Cup Glory have just fourteen players under contract and it was only two days ago that Alan Vest was appointed as caretaker coach.
SCHWARZER EARNS AUSTRALIA DRAW WITH THE DUTCH
The goalkeeping heroics of Mark Schwarzer helped a ten-man Socceroos draw 1-1 with world number three the Netherlands in their World Cup warm-up match in Rotterdam. Schwarzer was outstanding between the posts for Australia as the Dutch dominated large parts of the game and peppered his goal with shots. Coach Guus Hiddink was delighted after the game and praised his side who played the final half hour with ten men. "What a great match, with a great physical level that proves our players are ready," he said. "Tactically we have come up against one of the best teams in the world and we matched them. The progress we have made is amazing in several short months compared to the Australia of six months ago."
The Netherlands, who started with their first-choice team, were simply too quick for the Australians in the opening stages. To the delight of the sold-out crowd the hosts took the lead after 9 minutes when Andre Ooijer's shot was blocked by Schwarzer and an unmarked Ruud van Nistelrooy netted net with the rebound. With wingers Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie in fine form, the Netherlands pressed to to increase their advantage but could find no way past Schwarzer who kept out efforts from Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel and van Nistelrooy.
Having had Philip Cocu limp off injured just before the break, the Dutch then lost Sneijder ten minutes into the second half. Australia drew level in the 56th minute when Mark Viduka was fouled inside the area by Joris Mathijsen and although the striker's spot kick came back off the frame of the goal and Tim Cahill was quick to lash in the loose ball from a couple of metres. But the Socceroos joy was short lived as a few minutes later Luke Wiltshire was issued his marching orders for a clumsy challenge on Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. Although van Nistelrooy, van Persie and Robben went close to snatching victory for the Netherlands they had to be content with a draw as Schwarzer turned shots away time and time again.
PETKOVIC AWAITS LONG DISTANCE CALL
There is still hope, albeit faint, that Michael Petkovic may yet be called into Australia's World Cup squad. The one-time State goalkeeper has been told to remain fit and placed on standby should injury or illness hit Mark Schwarzer, Zeljko Kalac or Ante Covic. While disappointed that he's not one of Guus Hiddink's first three goalkeepers, Petkovic says the break has allowed him to spend time with his family. "I'd still love to be there but I've got a family here that I don't get to see all that often so either way I'm on a winner," said Petkovic, who is back in Perth for the European off-season.
Petkovic has another year to run on his contract with Turkish side Sivasspor and has plans to remain playing in Europe. At 29, he feels he has at least another two seasons left at the highest level before returning home to play in the A-League. He makes no secret of his desire to wear Perth Glory colours in the national competition, and would love the opportunity to battle it out with brother Jason for the clubs' number one shirt. FIFA's cut off for replacing injured World Cup players is 48 hours before the nations opening game, meaning Petkovic has until 10th June to get that phone call from Germany.
ASSOCIATION CUP, ROUND TWO (Armadale vs Perth S.C. by Steve McGregor; Cockburn City vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Floreat Athena vs Inglewood United courtesy Floreat Athena; Mandurah City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Western Knights vs Wanneroo City by Brett Klucznik)
Perth S.C. was rarely troubled as they swept past Armadale 4-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval. The writing was on the wall for the Reds before kick-off with six first team regulars missing through injury or suspension. The visitors enjoyed the lions' share of early possession and through crisp passing and movement off the ball went close to taking the lead on several occasions. Armadale, however, looked dangerous on the counterattack and Kevin Bissett slid a pass to Ryan Pearson whose low shot was narrowly wide with only goalkeeper Gareth Deeg to beat. With 22 minutes gone Scott Devine gave the home team a surprise lead by poking the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble which came about through a corner. Perth responded ten minutes later through Gary Faria who was allowed time and space to unleash a 25-metre rocket which soared into the top corner. For the remainder of the half Armadale found themselves under the hammer as Faria and Peter Lord continually sent the visiting side into their attacking third. Just a minute after the break Perth doubled the margin as Jeff Bright's powerful shot was blocked by Nick Stone and in the confusion which following Darryl Platten bungled the ball into his own net. Armadale suffered another setback two minutes later with the dismissal of Billy Kirkpatrick for a second bookable offence. There was a touch of controversy to Perth's third goal which was headed in by Gianfranco Circati but only after Stone was clattered in to which attempted to capture a corner. Pearson wasted a guilt edged opportunity to bring Armadale back into the game by firing into the side netting following a neat exchange between Kodi Madeley and Bissett. It was a costly miss as soon after the result was put beyond doubt by Bright who skilfully eluded several tackles before rifling low past Stone and inside the far post.
Cockburn City emerged victorious by 3-1 from an incident filled clash with First Division outfit Ashfield at Dalmatinac Park. The crowd were still settling into the seats when Adam Purcell got away the games first shot which didn't cause Alan Dunlop any problems. Shortly after Julian Piromalli split the home defence to send Jason Van Rooy through on goal but he was unable to capitalise with only the Cockburn goalkeeper to beat. So it was somewhat against the run of play that the hosts went ahead after 9 minutes when Paul Oliver converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Michael Mirco by Bradley McGagh. Going a goal down wasn't about to deter Ashfield and in the 20th minute Andy O'Neill was bundled over inside the box by Anthony Pereira and from the spot Van Rooy equalised. Ashfield continued to attack and were denied what appeared a clear penalty when Andy O'Neill was taken down by a defender after making his way into the area. Right on the stroke of half time Shane Nunes sent a searching high ball to the top of the area where Johnny Mirco looped it over on-coming 'keeper Francis Allen to restore Cockburn's lead. The second half started with Ashfield doing all the attacking as Purcell wreaked havoc down the left while Piromalli's surging runs from midfield caused no end of trouble for the home defence. Luke O'Neill will be disappointed he didn't do better with a couple of half chances that came his way and, although they won a series of corners, Ashfield never really forced Dunlop into making a save. The result was finally put beyond the visitors reach with six minutes remaining when Johnny Mirco pushed the ball across the goalmouth to Jason Dos Santos who, from what looked an offside position, slammed in goal number three for Cockburn.
An opportunist goal by Boima Karpeh was all that separated Floreat Athena and Inglewood United after ninety minutes of football at Litis Stadium. Floreat were out of the blocks fast and controlled play for the opening quarter hour without really creating any goalscoring opportunities. In fact it was Inglewood who, against the run of play, went close to snatching the lead through Albert Osei-Tutu whose shot from 15-metres crashed into the upright. This seemed to have a settling effect on both teams who knocked the ball around with growing confidence. The better of attacking moves came from the hosts and on 24 minutes Okwy Diamondstar should have put them ahead instead of blasting wide when well placed at 12-metres. Branimir Mikulic created space for himself only to have his shot from close-range turned away for a corner. The second half continued in much the same fashion as the first with Floreat the more inventive side going forward and Inglewood content to sit back and play on the counterattack. It was through such a move seven minutes after the re-start that the visitors very nearly went ahead as Greg Sharland fed the ball to Anthony Danze whose explosive shot on the turn was brilliantly saved by Vas Vujacic. With Bajo Savic and Josip Magdic working hard in the centre of the park Floreat retained the upper hand. Their breakthrough came via a 61st minute a corner which was poorly dealt with by the Inglewood defence, Craig Simpson played the ball back into the danger zone where Karpeh reacted quickest in sending his shot into Oliver Taseski's net. Magdic was unlucky not to score his sides second with a stunning strike from 25-metres that had Taseski scrambling along his line closer to the final whistle. Inglewood threw caution to the win in an effort to send the game into extra-time but could find few ways to prise open a defence marshalled with aplomb by Paul Vlachou.
Swan I.C. progressed to the next stage of the association Cup by defeating a focused Mandurah City 3-1 on a beautiful sunny day at Peelwood Parade. The early pressure came from the home side and just a few minutes in Graeme Matthews found Jake Loreto wide on the left but his cross into the area took a deflection off Dom Ando and was recovered by Cory Hugo. The bumpy surface pitch made life difficult for both teams, but as Swan settled they began to take control. A David Foster shot was cleared off the line by John Transfield, then Damien Catalano's goalbound strike was superbly saved by Mike Green. The visitors persistence paid off in the 28th minute when Miki Vujacic swung a free-kick into the area where Tom Shepheard headed against the crossbar and Rory Mouttet fired the rebound over the line. Mandurah should have equalised five minutes from the break via Christian Paschkewitz who beat his marker only to lift the shot over the bar. As the half came to a close Mandurah gained the ascendancy and a rasping drive from Loreto clipped the bar. The second half was all-action as a long-range effort by Ando was tipped wide by Green, then Matthews was disappointed to shoot wide from a Michael Bobridge centre. Both goalkeepers were called into action, Green smothering at the feet of Shepheard and Hugo blocking a powerful shot from Bobridge. In the 61st minute Vujacic whipped in another free-kick which Brendan Knox tapped back to Shepheard who made no mistake in doubling Swan's lead from close-range. Mandurah continued to plug away and Paschkewitz and Peter Knight both fired wide before Matthews reduced the deficit with a low shot past Hugo. Swan responded within the minute and substitute Scott Campbell played in Catalano whose long-range strike sneaked under Green to secure victory.
Rockingham City's Cup dream came to a crashing halt when thrashed 10-1 by Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. The home side dominated proceedings as Ryan Jeans, Rob Miller and Ludovic Boi grabbed three goals each. It took until the 17th minute for Stirling to open their account via a simple tap in by Jeans which came about after a Boi through ball which Phil Arnold cut back into the 6-yard box. Five minutes later Jordan Rhodes cross from the right was knocked down by Arnold and into the path of Boi who slammed his low shot into the net. Rockingham's day went from bad to worse on the half hour when goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock was red carded for bringing Rhodes down inside the box, but his 15-year old replaced James Wilde earned immediate respect by denying Darko Ilmanoski from the spot. Leading into the break the hosts made the most of their extra man as Miller netted twice and Boi once to take the margin to five goals. Four minutes after the re-start Boi completed his hat-trick following a neat exchange of passes with Miller. There was a temporary reprieve for Rockingham when substitute Glen Smith raced on to Alex Smith's well weighed pass and stroked the ball past Phil Straker in the 70th minute. But the visitors joy was short-lived as shortly after referee dismissed Rob Crerar for a sloppy challenge. Stirling were hell-bent on taking full advantage of a tiring and undermanned visiting side with four rapid fire goals. Jeans found the net in the 80th and 82nd minutes after being set up by Boi and Rhodes respectively. Jake Harman got past his marker and set up Miller who completed his hat-trick with a delicate flick. And in the 85th minute Rhodes rounded out the scoring by slotting under Wilde after a driving run down the right.
A commanding Western Knights' performance was rewarded by a 6-1 win over Wanneroo City at Nash Field. The Knights made their intentions clear from the outset and on 9 minutes went ahead through Shane McNally who received the ball some 25-metres from goal and unleashed a vicious dipping shot into top corner. With McNally the dominant figure in the centre of the park and Paul Cooke in electrifying form wide on the left play was very much one-way. Young goalkeeper Kevin Miller stood no chance when Ivan Zuvela rose high to powerfully head in goal number two for the home team from a Stuart Montgomery corner after 22 minutes. The difference was further increased five minutes later as Paul Devlin and Cooke exchanged passes and Montgomery slid his shot under Miller. It was rare that Wanneroo got in behind the home defence but that's exactly what happened shortly after when Guy MacDonald stung the hands of Tommi Tomich with a low drive. A mix-up between defenders Morgan Dendle and Dean Adamson put the ball at Devlin's feet on 38 minutes and he made no mistake in netting from 8 metres. The margin became five goals just before the break as Devlin again slotted past Miller following a neat build-up featuring McNally. Wanneroo played with a lot more composure after the break and eleven minutes in pulled a goal back through Phil O'Callaghan who converted from the spot after Craig Bowman was brought down by Evan Wallace. But the hosts responded within minutes as a low cross from Montgomery wasn't dealt with by the defence and Cooke bundled it over the line at close-range. The Knights dominance continued right up to the final whistle but there'd be no further addition to the scoreline despite good opportunities for Devlin, Montgomery, Jon Higgins and substitute Anthony Fearon.
Canning City scored a last gasp winner to edge past Forrestfield United 1-0 when they met at Hartfield Park. If truth be told, the game failed to ignite as both teams slugged out a dour struggle and only on the odd occasion did either threaten to break the deadlock. Forrestfield opened the more enterprising and could have taken an early lead through Roger Miron who disappointingly shot over the crossbar when well positioned. With Phil Bell seeing plenty of the ball in midfield, the home side enjoyed the better of possession but had few shots on goal to shot for it. Brian Robertson managed to throw off his marker but he dragged the shot wide with goalkeeper Adam Horsley unsighted. As the half drew to a close Canning began to force their way back into the game. Their best chance of the period fell to Aaron to Barnett who fired high from the top of the 18-yard box. The addition of Ryan Fitzgerald at the break brought more composure to the Canning midfield who were every bit Forrestfield's equal in the second half. But not even the introduction of fresh legs and some tactical changes could snap this game out of the doldrums. Goalkeeper Elhossain Etekkis kept Forrestfield in the game midway through the half by blocking Ryan Allomes' penalty kick, and with the follow-up Ross Posthuma blasted over the bar. Both teams were preparing themselves for stoppage time when Simon Versaico stabbed the ball over the line from close-range following an 89th minute free-kick swung to the back post. In a game of few chances Garth Lecky and Ji-Xiang Loong stood out at the back for Canning while playmaker Bell was the pick of the home team.
VEST TAKES CHARGE
Football Federation Australia has appointed Alan Vest as acting head coach of Perth Glory. Vest will take the side for the pre-season, while Mich d'Avray will continue in his role as director of football with player recruitment his top priority. Just eleven players were in attendance for Glory's first pre-season session on Thursday which was run by Vest and d'Avray. FFA said Vest's role had been formalised to try to clear up some confusion surrounding the clubs status, but things could change once a new owner is found.
"We've always said it was business as usual at the Glory since the FFA took control of the club since May 1," said FFA head of operations Matt Carroll. "Today's announcement is a reflection of that position, and Alan is the best man to prepare Perth Glory for the upcoming pre-season Cup and Hyundai A-League season. Mich will also continue in his role as director of football and, having mapped out the pre-season training schedule in conjunction with Vest, is currently looking at a number of players that he can recommend to us to sign. Alan Vest was pleased with the announcement and is now focused on preparing the players for a successful season."
SOCCEROOS WELCOME KEWELL BACK
Harry Kewell made a successful return to the playing field in the Socceroos practice match against Dutch amateur side VV Kloetingen this evening. While Australia won the game 8-1, the big surprise was the return of Kewell one day after joining in his first session following rehabilitation from a groin injury suffered in last month's FA Cup final. The game, played on a picturesque evening in front of a terrific crowd of 3,500 fans, also proved successful for striker Joshua Kennedy who scored a second half hat-trick.
Tim Cahill opened the scoring on 17 minutes he heading in Josip Skoko's free-kick from wide on the right. Ten minutes later Kewell added his name to the scoresheet by getting a touch on a Mark Milligan cross which the goalkeeper could only deflect into the net. A third arrived two minutes later when John Aloisi powered home a header from a pinpoint Stan Lazaridis cross. That is where the scoring finished for the half, although Kloetingen thought they had a goal just before the interval but was ruled out for offside.
Kennedy opened his account with a cool finish in the 58th minute, added a second thirteen minutes later with a cheeky back-heel, and completed his hat-trick sixty seconds later by heading in at a corner. Aloisi scored his second goal after Kewell unselfishly laid the ball into the striker's path. Kewell then made it 8-0 when he powered home a header from another pinpoint cross by Lazaridis. However, the day wouldn't have been complete without a goal from the home side who fought hard throughout and were rewarded when Pinas capitalised on a rebounded shot that hit the post.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The second round of the association Cup went pretty much to plan, albeit with a lot goals than expected. Stirling Lions found the back of the net on ten occasions in thumping Rockingham City 10-1 at Macedonia Park. Ryan Jeams, Rob Miller and Ludovic Boi scored three each with Jordan Rhodes also on the scoresheet for the home team. The other big scorers were Western Knights who caned Wanneroo City 6-1 at Nash Field. On target for the Knights were Shane McNally, Ivan Zuvela, Paul Devlin (2), Stuart Montgomery and Paul P.Cooke.
Gary Faria,Gianfracno Circati, Jeff Bright and an own goal saw Perth S.C.into the next round courtesy of a 4-1 win at Armadale. Floreat Athena advance 1-0 against Inglewood United with Boima Karpeh scoring the games only goal. Cockburn City overcame Ashfield 3-1 through goals from Paul Oliver, Johnny Mirco and Jason Dos Santos. Rory Mouttet, Tom Shepheard and Damian Catalano found the net as Swan I.C. won 3-1 away at Mandurah City. A late strike by Simon Versaico edged Canning City past Forrestfield United 1-0.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The cut throat world of knock-out football takes centre stage this weekend with the second round of the Soccer Pools sponsored association Cup. The competition presents an opportunity for First Division teams to pit skills with, and possibly upset their rivals from the top flight. The match of the round takes place at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City welcome an Ashfield side which is so far undefeated in 2006. Cockburn have been lacked consistency during the league season this year and will need to be on top of their form to get past Ashfield who’ve been firing on all cylinders under coach Salv Todaro.
Mandurah City will be confident of making their way into the last eight when they entertain Swan I.C. at Peelwood Parade. Mandurah were the giant killers of the knock-out competition last year when they made the semi-finals after knocking off Armadale and Western Knights. Unfortunately they’ve struggled for consistency this season and will be focused on keeping alive their dream of Cup glory. Standing in their way will be Swan who, although fifth on the Premier League table, have hit form of late and are sure to be up for the challenge.
Another First Division side looking to claim a Premiership scalp are Rockingham City who are on the road to Stirling Lions. Although his side have so far failed to hit their straps, coach Byron Wood is confident of Rockingham causing an upset. “It’s nice to get away from the league this week,” he commented. “We have lost our last five games, but the cup is a different story. We go there as underdogs, there’s no pressure on us and hopefully the boys will go out there and get a good result that may turn our season around.”
Elsewhere, Inglewood United head to Litis Stadium where an in-form Floreat Athena provide the opposition. Cup holder Perth S.C. travel to Alfred Skeet Oval to face off with a fast improving Armadale. Western Knights have home ground advantage over Wanneroo City, and in the only all First Division clash Forrestfield United meet Canning City at Hartfield Park. Absent due to the bye are E.C.U. Joondalup. Admission to all games is $6 adults and $4 concession, while entry is free for those under the age of fifteen.
GARCIA PENS NEW DEAL
Richard Garcia has signed a new deal at promoted Colchester United. The one-time Australian youth international joined the U's from West Ham United in September 2004 and has become a regular in Phil Parkinson's. Last season Garcia made 31 appearances and scored eight goals as Colchester won from to the Championship. Garcia is the second player in a couple of days to confirm his future with the U's, following Wayne Brown who agreed a new deal on Wednesday.
‘DAVID V GOLIATH’ SHOWDOWN AT DALMATINAC PARK
Dalmatinac Park is the place to be on Saturday for the classic Cup encounter between Cockburn City and Ashfield. Cockburn have made their way up to third on the Premier League table and victory this weekend keeps them in the hunt for the local scenes two most sought after pieces of silverware. However, Ashfield are yet to lose a game this year and are focused on causing an upset in Western Australia’s longest running knock-out competition.
Salv Todaro, who took charge at Ashfield during the summer, is looking forward to his young side pitting skills with Cockburn. “It’s a great draw for us. We’re looking forward to it and see how we go against Premier League opposition,” he said. “The boys have done really well this season, we’ve won three games and were disappointed not to win the other four games which we drew. We have a great deal of respect for Cockburn, they’re a great footballing side and this is a good opportunity for us to see where we’re at.”
Although currently sitting in the upper reaches of the Premier League, Cockburn have struggled to bring consistency to their game this season as coach Billy Russell is all too well aware. “Our form has been up and down over the past few weeks but the boys are really working hard to overcome this,” commented Russell who, like Todaro, was appointed coach of Cockburn during the off-season. “Ashfield are playing well at the moment and our home form this year is quite frankly terrible … so I guess that makes them the favourite, doesn’t it?”
MANDURAH LOOK TO UPSET SWAN'S APPLE CART
Mandurah City will be confident of progressing to the last eight of the association Cup when they take on Swan I.C. at Peelwood Parade on Saturday. Mandurah have a good record in the knock-out competition and last year were labelled 'giantkillers' thanks to wins over Armadale and Western Knights on their way to a semi-final showdown with Perth S.C., who went on to lift the trophy. But before they can lay claim to that tag again they must first get past a Swan side that has surged up the Premier League table in recent weeks.
Mandurah coach Paul O'Brien has clear memories of the last time his side came up against Swan. "We played them in the quarter-finals in 2003, the year they won the Cup, and after leading at half-time we lost 2-4," explained O'Brien. "Cup football is a completely different kettle of fish to the league and everyone knows that on the day anything can happen. We're coming off a couple of poor results but the club enjoys the thrill of Cup competition, we seem to lift every year and hopefully will get a result in our favour this weekend."
Confidence in the Swan camp may be sky high following big wins over Wanneroo City and Bayswater City but coach Carlo Scali knows Saturday's meeting is going to be difficult. "I've had first hand experience playing in Mandurah so I know it will be a tough away game for us," he said. "They have some good players and a vocal crowd that gets right behind them." Scali is also well aware that Mandurah's status as a First Division club means little. "We will need to make sure we treat Manduarah with the respect they deserve as they'll no doubt raise their game and find that little bit extra for the Cup."
WARD AGREES TERMS WITH QPR (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward has agreed terms with Queens Park Rangers. The English Championship side are now in negotiations with Football Federation Australia, which is currently in charge of Glory, over a fee for the 21-year old. "We've agreed terms with the boy, he's happy to come here and, if we can sort things out with the Australian federation, I think he will make a tremendous difference next season," commented QPR chairman Gianni Paladini. Ward is regarded by many as Australia's brightest midfield prospect, though was snubbed by national team selectors as several young players were added to Australia's World Cup squad to assist their development.
GOODMAN IN THE WANNEROO HOT SEAT
Two-time Inglewood United Player of the Year Jamie Goodman has been appointed first team coach of Wanneroo City. Goodman takes over following the sudden resignation of Gerry McEwan and Willie McNally last weekend just eight games into the home and away season. Reserve team coach at Inglewood for the past two seasons, Goodman says he’s sad to be leaving the club that he’s called home since 1999. “Inglewood has provided great opportunities for me,” he commented. “I’ve been at the club for seven years, finished my playing career there and was then grateful to be given the opportunity to coach which I really enjoyed. I’d like to thank Ziggy Kramer and all the support staff at the club.”
Goodman, who played in the top flight for Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Lions, Morley Windmills and Inglewood before retiring in 2004, can’t wait to start in his role with Wanneroo. “It’s a great opportunity for me to become a senior coach at a Premier League club and I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead,” Goodman said. The 32-year old admits he doesn’t know a great deal about Wanneroo’s playing stocks but did see them at close quarters only days ago. “Inglewood played Wanneroo last week, and they worked really hard for each other and were lucky not to come away from the game with anything.”
With Football West’s transfer deadline looming Goodman may look to strengthen his squad with a few additions. “You are always looking to strengthen your squad as a coach where ever you’re coaching and I’m no exception, I’ll see how we go.” The likeable coach, nicknamed ‘Copper’ by his mates due to his ten years service in the police force, is the latest former Inglewood players to move into coaching. “There are a number of ex-Inglewood boys in coaching positions in WA football which is great,” he said. “I hope I can bring success to Wanneroo, who have put faith in my coaching abilities.”
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Two months into the regular season and little separates the frontrunners in the leading goalscorer stakes. Nine goals in eight outings has Western Knights marksman Stuart Montgomery leading the way in the Premier League Golden Boot award. Boima Karpeh (Floreat Athena) is close behind on eight goals, one ahead of Phil O'Callaghan (Wanneroo City) and two more than teammate Okwy Diamondstar. Level on five goals is early pacesetter Ryan Jeans (Stirling Lions) and the Sorrento trio of Simon Harland, Todd Harnwell and Stuart Young.
Christian Pascherwitz continues to set the pace in the First Division with nine goals. But the Mandurah City sharp-shooter has seen his lead slimmed by in-form pair Ray Rose (Morley Windmills) and David Rodgers (Fremantle City) who've each found the net on eight occasions. Some way off the pace with five goals apiece is Andy O'Neill (Ashfield) and Adrian Caloeira (Balcatta). The leading pack is completed by Brian Cairney (Gosnells City), Rydeen Botha (Dianella White Eagles) and Luke O'Neill (Ashfield) on four goals.
MATILDA’S MAKE CLEAN SWEEP OF MEXICO SERIES
Australian’s national women’s team, the Matilda’s, have won all three game of their friendly series with Mexico on the eastern seaboard. The Matilda’s came from behind to win the opening match last week 2-1, then took a stranglehold on the series to taking out Sunday’s meeting 3-0. Another dominant performance this afternoon, passionate crowd of mainly school children, saw Australia emerge victorious by 4-0. Western Australia was represented in the series by midfielder and team vice-captain Collette McCallum and striker Lisa De Vanna.
The Matildas have come from a goal down to defeat Mexico 2-1 in their opening clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Thursday. Monica Ocampo scored Mexico’s goal in the 13th minute with a precision shot from the left after being put through by Padilla. A Collette McCallum corner in the 75th minute resulted in Kate Gill rise highest to head in the equaliser. And late in the game Cheryl Salisbury got the faintest of touches on a McCallum free-kick to secure a home victory. McCallum played a full game in midfield for Australia with Lisa DeVanna replaced after 70 minutes.
A comprehensive 3-0 win at Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday ensured Australia wrapped up the three-match series. It wasn’t until after the interval that Jo Burgess put Australia ahead by converting a low cross from Caitlin Munoz. The Matilda’s finished strongly with two goals in the last ten minutes. Joanne Peters powered home a Heather Garriock corner seven minutes from time, then De Vanna outpaced the defence after being sent clear by Alicia Ferguson. De Vanna came off the bench in the 74th minute, while McCallum watched the entire game from the bench.
The final game of the series saw Australia storm home 4-0. A rare error by Mexican goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar allowed Munoz to opened Australia’s account just before the break. The second half had only just started when Munoz beat Tajonar after pouncing on a back pass. The gap was further widened fifteen minutes later when Sarah Walsh slotted into the net. Munoz completed her hat-trick in the 75th minute when her shot from a tight angle was deflected into the net off Tajonar. Lisa De Vanna was on with 76 minutes while McCallum watched from the bench.
The twenty player Australian squad for the Mexico series featured the talents of Dianne Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Joanne Burgess, Rhian Davies, Lisa De Vanna, Alicia Ferguson, Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Lana Harch, Kylie Ledbrook, Collette McCallum, Kate McShea, Caitlin Munoz, Joanne Peters, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Sally Shipard, Thea Slatyer, Sarah Walsh and Lydia Williams.
JONES STICKS WITH AUSTRALIA
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones has scotched speculation he wants to discard the green and gold jersey and pledge allegiance to France or England after being overlooked for Australia's World Cup squad. Jones was livid that he had been portrayed as a likely Australian defector simply because he had pointed out he was eligible to play for England and would also have a France passport by next year because his wife, Julie, is French.
The Armadale-born shot-stopper said he had no intention of turning his back on Australia and revealed that as a 17-year old he rejected an opportunity to play for an England youth team against Luxembourg because he felt so strongly about the country of his birth. "I'd already made that decision (about wanting to play for Australia) and I'm not going to change my mind," said Jones, who is in Perth on a holiday. "By next year, I will hold passports for three countries (Australia, England and France) but I'm Australian."
Jones, part of Australia's 2004 Athens Olympic games squad, had not expected to be called into Guus Hiddink's squad but admits to being frustrated that he was not given an opportunity to show his value at any of the pre-selection training camps. "Having not been in any of the camps I didn't expect to be picked," Jones said. "But it was disappointing not being given a chance to even train in front of him." Jones said he was not sure how much Hiddink knew of his progress at Middlesbrough and felt his non-selection had been influenced more by assistant coach Graham Arnold.
As a result Jones does not expect to be called into the Socceroos' set-up any time soon and is focused on taking the next step in his club career. After making fifteen appearances for Middlesbrough last season, the 24-year old is aiming to play more regularly at club level. "I'm getting to the point where I need to play every week," commented Jones. With a year to run on his current contract, Jones is waiting for Middlesbrough to decide if they will discuss the prospect of an extension soon, or at the end of his contract. Jones would also consider other offers if a move would help him get more first-team appearances.
WORLD CUP DREAM COME TRUE FOR 10-YEAR OLD
David Watson is the envy of every youngster in Western Australia. The 10-year old football fanatic has been chosen to walk out on to the pitch with the Socceroos prior to next month’s World Cup clash with Brazil. Watson, who is in Year 6 at Beaumaris Primary School, is one of eleven mascots of the Australian team and the only one to hail from the west coast. “I can’t believe it,” said the Heathridge under-11 player, who is looking forward to meeting the Australian team and particularly goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Watson was selected amongst Australia’s World Cup mascots through McDonald’s Soccer Escort Program.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIX (by Penny TannerHoath)
Subiaco United jumped to third on the women's Premier League table with a hard fought 2-1 defeat of East Fremantle at Wauhop Park. Heading into the game both teams were desperate to pick up just their second win of the campaign following a string of inconsistent results. The defensive credentials of both teams were put to the test throughout the opening half with East Fremantle benefiting from the lion's share of possession and carving out the better chances on goal accordingly.
East Fremantle’s newly appointed coach, Tony Carvajal, tried to spur on his players during the break. The game continued with end-to-end attacks giving both defences plenty of work to do. The deadlock was finally broken twenty minutes into the period when Vanessa Sakalidis converted a cross from 15-year old Shannon May to put Subiaco one-nil up. Six minutes later an uncharacteristic error from East Fremantle defender Amy Jo Dixon allowed substitue Carol Howes to double the visitors lead with a low strike into the bottom corner.
The intensity lifted a notch or two as East Fremantle, lead by Jaimie Blake, laid seige on their opponents goal in an attempt to erase the deficit. Goalkeeper Jess Laidler stood firm against the onslaught as Subiaco were reduced to ten players with Sian McCreary's dismissal for a second yellow card. With five minutes remaining Kat Juric sent in a corner that sailed over the sea of players and inside the far post to give East Fremantle a glimmer of hope. And although they worked for an equalising goal it didn't arrive before the referee brought the game to a close with Subiaco winners by 2-1.
FULL HOUSE FOR JUNIORS
Perth youngsters are being turned away from junior football because of the sport’s popularity. Interest in the world game is soaring on the back of the Socceroos’ qualification for the next month’s World Cup, with junior registrations in Western Australia rising by 10% to 22,000 this season. But some aspiring stars of tomorrow are missing out on the opportunity to play the game. The sport says it’s struggling with a lack of facilities, with more children expected to be turned away next year as Australia’s move on to the world stage fuels another surge.
Football West chief executive officer Michelle Phillips says it’s vital more facilities were found to let children play. “Clubs are coming in and saying we just can’t take any more (players),” she said. “(The sport) just gets bigger and bigger and, hopefully, better and better. We’re only limited by the facilities. The key thing for me is to make sure every kid, and adult, that wants to play the game can play the game.” Installing lights, scheduling flexibility, the use of school facilities and the provision for more public open space are being looked at as solutions.
Ron Alexander, director-general of the Department of Sport and Recreation, said that while there was a shortage of fields, football must also become more flexible and efficient. “There’s a lot more than just one reason for this,” said Alexander who sees an unwillingness to change and years of infighting as factors hampering further expansion. “Space is a problem, it is an issue, but also there’s an issue of flexibility … For a lot of years, governments actually gave no funding to soccer and the reason for that was they were having so many blues among themselves that there was a wastage of money.”
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT (Armadale vs Sorrento by Steve McGregor; Floreat Athena vs Perth S.C. courtesy Floreat Athena; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Bayswater City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Western Knights vs Stirling Lions courtesy Western Knights)
Sorrento stretched their unbeaten run to eight games, and leapt to the top of the Premier League table in the process, by defeating Armadale 4-2 this afternoons' clash at Alfred Skeet Oval. A terrific flowing move after 8 minutes featuring Ben Howe, Kevin Bissett and Craig Anderson saw the latter deliver an inch perfect cross to the far post where James Isaia volleyed past Neil Young to put Armadale ahead. Within five minutes Sorrento were back on a level footing as Scott Miller's low cross was sliced into the net by defender Clark Killoh. A cracking strike by Isaia was destined for the top corner before Young tipped it wide at full-stretch. Glen Thomas grazed the top of the crossbar with a scorching shot from 15-metres, and four minutes later Bissett forced a fine reflex save from Young with a close-range header. Sorrento came out for the second half firing on all cylinders and five minutes in Thomas squared to Stuart Young who poked the ball under Nick Stone to put the visitors in front. Stuart Young had a goalbound shot cleared off the line by Killoh and Todd Harnwell hit the post as Sorrento sought to kill of the game. Jason Goodwin squandered a golden opportunity to equalise for the Reds in the 58th minute by lifting the ball high from 6-metres. The introduction of Jared Love had the desired effect for Sorrento as, eleven minutes after coming off the bench, the attacker added the visitors third after exchanging passes with Harnwell. Goodwin brought Armadale back into the game by converting from the spot after he was hauled down by Neil Young. However, Love still had plenty left in the tank and deep in stoppage time seized upon a poor back pass which he stroked into Stone's net.
The honours were shared in the match of the day between Floreat Athena and Perth S.C. who drew 2-2 in front of an appreciative crowd at Litis Stadium. Play had been underway only 4 minutes when Branimir Mikulic weaved his way past a couple of challenges and cut the ball back to Okwy Diamondstar who crisply stroked in Floreat’s opening goal. Played a break neck pace, the game streamed from one end of the park to the other the two teams worked tirelessly to assert some influence over proceedings. Parity was restored in the 24th minute when Floreat goalkeeper Vas Vujacic twice parried shots by Barry Wood who proved successful on the third occasion. Shortly after Boima Karpeh attempted to restore the hosts lead via a surging run into attack but was thwarted by a brilliant save from Gareth Deeg. The next to produce heroics was Vujacic who made an outstanding double save to deny Brendan Ross and matt Danskin with 31 minutes gone. The second half began with Perth on top through the midfield efforts of Peter Lord and Gary Faria. But ten minutes after the restart it was Floreat who were celebrating as Karpeh cleverly beat his marker before unleashing an explosive drive which found the gap between ‘keeper and post. Josip Magdic could have killed the game off when presented with a great opportunity that he fired straight at Deeg. In typical fashion Perth wrestled back control and in the 63rd minute Scott Bulloch launched a counterattack down the left in which he crossed to the far post where Danskin expertly volleyed past Vujacic to bring the team level once more. In the closing minutes the home team had penalty appeals dismissed by referee Steve Muldoon after Karpeh was blatantly pulled down inside the area having gone past his man.
Three goals in fourteen minutes enabled Cockburn City to overturn a half-time deficit and defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 4-2 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Joondalup were on the attack soon after the opening whistle and on 4 minutes went ahead as Garin Collins timed his run to perfection to latch on to a high ball played over the defence then held his nerve to slot the opening goal past the oncoming goalkeeper. Parity was restored in the 17th minute when Jason Dos Santos’ jinxing run into the 18-yard box was illegally ended by Jamie Kuzmanovic, and from the spot Paul Oliver gave Peter Stewart no chance with an explosive strike. Two minutes from the break Joondalup grabbed the lead for a second time as livewire midfielder Tom Jones got on the end of a deep cross by Scott Bushby to nod past Alan Dunlop. Some tactical and positional changes at the break swung the game in Cockburn’s favour. Thirteen minutes after the restart Oliver worked his way down the left before sending in a delightful cross which Michael Mirco headed in to bring the sides level. Mirco turned provider just six minutes later with a through ball to Dos Santos who raced past the defence and lured Stewart off his line before slotted into an unguarded net. Needing a goal to get back in the game Joondalup pressed forward in increasing numbers but were unable to open up an avenue to goal. The hosts chances were snuffed out in the 72nd minute by Dos Santos whose pace again took him past the defence and on to a hopeful long ball which he send into the back of the net despite Stewart’s best efforts.
Swan I.C. catapulted themselves into fifth position with a 3-0 victory over Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. The game was only a few minutes old when Damien Catalano called home custodian Bobson Koroma into action for the first time. Bayswater may have started slowly but as the game progressed they looked the more comfortable on the ball and began to string together some promising moves. A great shot on the run by Daniel Micevski was blocked close to the line by Jonathon Mathers, and shortly after Micevski was the instigator as Ben Rogers’ grasscutter was saved by Corey Hugo. Swans responded through David Foster who headed wide from a Miki Vujacic corner. Hugo again came to the rescue after Michael Simmonds and Smith combined in setting up Ryan Newhill whose shot was tipped over by the Swan ‘keeper. With the half-time address of coach Carlo Scali still ringing in their ears, Swan came out for the second period with renewed purpose as Damian Scali and Tony Cumace went close to breaking the deadlock. Their rewarded arrived in the 54th minute when a patient build-up ended with Ando slotting through to Vujacic who he jinxed his way past Simmonds and unleashed a powerful shot that gave Koroma no chance. That margin was doubled two minutes later as Foster threaded a return pass into the path of Mathers who clinically stroke his shot past the ‘keeper. Bayswater weren’t about to give up hope and Micevski combined well with Damir Kuduzovic but his shot was blocked by Rory Mouttet. A free-kick from Smith had Hugo take possession at the second attempt, and Sal Marrapodi fired wide as the home side sought to get back in the game. Swan made sure of the points with three minutes to go when Catalano raced on to a long clearance by Hugo which he neatly lobbed over the oncoming ‘keeper.
Inglewood United were forced to dig deep to overcome a focused Wanneroo City 2-0 when they met at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Wanneroo were keen to bounce back following a disappointing loss to Swan seven days earlier and quickly made their intentions known. Craig Bowman was put through down the left after only a few minutes but he was unable to get a shot off thanks to sustained pressure from Jason Colli. A shot on the turn by Derek Cooke was kept out by Oliver Taseski, and another chance came the way of Bowman who on this occasions rifled high from a tight angle. Derek Cooke looked to have given the home side the lead when he found the back of the net only for an upraised flag to disallow the effort for offside. Inglewood were slow to settle but once they found their rhythm the visitors started to create chances of their own as Anthony Danze and Kevin Griffiths asserted some influence over play. On 27 minutes they took the lead with a well crafted move in which a neat flick on by Darren Broxton was to Colli who played the ball low across the face of goal to Louis Parkinson who had the simple tasking of tapping to the net. The second half began much like the first with Wanneroo on the attack and Bowman steered the ball wide from a narrowing angle after rounding Taseski. It didn’t take long for Inglewood to gain control of the game and Kevin Miller made a fine save to keep out Greg Sharland’s header at a corner. Daniel Neiderberger crashed the ball into the crossbar, and Sharland was dispossessed inside the 18-yard as he lined up the target. With ten minutes remaining the result was finally put beyond doubt by Greg Sharland who sent the ball into Miller’s net on the counterattack.
Western Knights picked up maximum points for just the second time this season by knocking over Stirling Lions 2-0 at Nash Field. The opening half was largely uninspiring as both teams struggled to make their mark and genuine chances on goal were a scarce commodity. In fact, neither Tommi Tomich nor his counterpart at the opposite end, Phil Straker, were called upon to make anything resembling a save as two very evenly matched line-ups slugged it out for midfield supremacy. Stirling’s best opening of the period came after 10 minutes when Jake Harman rifled over the crossbar. And it took until midway through the half for the home team to really threaten via Paul Devlin who also sent the ball high. The Knights got the vital breakthrough two minutes after the interval when Paul Cooke slotted through to Devlin who expertly stroked the ball into the far corner from 11-metres. Five minutes later Cooke surged into the penalty only to be hauled by a crude Michael Pugliese tackle, referee Ton Klaver immediately pointed to he spot from where Stuart Montgomery fired low and hard past Straker to give the Knights a two-goal cushion. Stirling responded with a series of attacks crafted by Jordan Rhodes and Rob Miller but could find few ways to prise open a watertight defensive unit which had Evan Wallace and Ivan Zuvela at its’ heart. Harman sent a shot narrowly wide of the target, and later Rhodes’ goalbound effort was blocked by Tomich who otherwise had very little to do. Montgomery could have put the icing on the cake with two minutes left when played through on goal by Cooke but the Knights strikers’ low shot was brilliantly tipped on to the post by Straker and Darko Ilmanoski was quick to knock the rebound to safety.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHT (Mandurah City vs Fremantle City courtesy Fremantle City; South West Phoenix vs Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills; Gosnells City vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Dianella White Eagles vs Balcatta courtesy Balcatta; Rockingham City vs Canning City courtesy Canning City)
The Fremantle City road show continued with a 4-0 away thrashing of Mandurah City to stay three points clear at the head of the First Division table. Mandurah made an enterprising start to the game but were unable to put away a couple of early chances to take the lead. Once Fremantle found their rhythm they began to dictate terms through a dominant midfield centred around experienced campaigner Dale Wingell and lively youngster Jason Barerra. It was only a matter of time before the visitors broke through and with 23 minutes played Barerra went past a couple of defenders and put in a precision cross that David Rodgers headed into the net. Six minutes Rodgers added to his and Fremantle’s tally by complementing a neat build-up with a well-struck goal. Fremantle went for the kill and on the half hour Callum Roberts punished some sloppy defending by netting an easy goal from close-range to increase the gap to three goals. The second half saw Mandurah abandon hope to getting back in the game and adopt a overly physical approach which included some unsavoury off the ball tactics. Fremantle chose to rise above this and Tyrone Fenwick completed the route when he came off the bench to score their fourth and final goal.
Morley Windmills returned from Bunbury with all three points after coming from behind to beat South West Phoenix 2-1 at the Soccerdrome. Morley wasted little time in showing they meant business as good chances for Ray Rose, Damien Todorovic, Adrian McBride and Wayne Culverwell all went unconverted. The hosts eventually settled and a smothering save by Matt Darling thwarted James Monks, then Steve Suttie then hit the side netting from a narrow angle. Phoenix came out firing for the second half and deservedly took the lead ten minutes in when Gary Mayers played a free-kick short to Suttie whose cross to the near post was glanced into the net by Drasko Jankovic. Suttie was unfortunate not to double the gap with a fine strike from just outside the area that Darling tipped on to the crossbar. Morley upped the tempo with Scott McIlroy hitting the crossbar while shots by Rose and Todorovic called Mark Cavanagh into action. With fifteen minutes to play McIlroy brought the teams level by latching on to Simon Messenger’s through ball and lobbing the goalkeeper. Morley took the lead shortly after courtesy of a cross field ball from Bobby Irving which Todorovic fired into the top corner. And the late dismissal of David Murphy for a second yellow card offence only added salt to Phoenix’ wound.
Gosnells City worked hard before succumbing 0-2 to Ashfield at Walter Padbury Reserve. The game started positively for Ashfield who continually put pressure on the home defence without really testing young goalkeeper Robbie Figg. However, the first clear cut opportunity of the afternoon came at the other end when Andy Daffin found himself unmarked on the penalty spot but his hesitancy to shoot allowed Francis Allen to eliminate the threat. Ashfield went close on the half hour as Andy O’Neill’s header was cleared from off the line and Mel Lovic shot wide with the goal at his mercy. The second half began with Ashfield determined to go ahead but when O’Neill shot over the bar, and a corner was cleared off the line it looked as though it wasn’t going to be their day. However, the visitors weren’t to be denied and in the 66th minute Figg failed to hold on to the ball and substitute Martin Kelly reacted sharply by lashing it into the net. Eight minutes later a penetrating run down the left by Julian Piromalli saw him thread a pass to Daniel Webb who calmly brought the ball under control before firing in his side’s second goal. Gosnells ended the day with ten men after player/coach Alex Grindley was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Dianella White Eagles pulled off the surprise of the round by toppling highly-rated Balcatta 2-1 at Dianella Reserve. The game was on twenty seconds old when Balcatta had the ball in the net courtesy of John Nicolaou and following a piercing run by Rob Giorgi. Balcatta, lead by midfield maestro Giorgi, went in search of a second goal but were unable to make the most of their opportunities. Having weathered the storm Dianella clawed their way back into the game. In the 26th minute the hosts had the ball in the back of the net only to have it disallowed for offside, and shortly after a rasping free-kick by Miladin Gugoroski fizzed narrowly over Jordan Conti’s crossbar. After the break Dianella showed greater application with Keegan Ashley pulling the strings from midfield. A crunching tackle on Anthony Toutountzis saw the Balcatta player leave the field on a stretcher suffering a broken jaw. As the minutes ticked down Dianella sparked into life and by quickly moving the ball out of defence and into attack for Dragan Njegic to level the game with 73 minutes gone. This set up a hectic closing spell in which both created opportunities with Nikola Culum bagging a last minute winner for Dianella.
Luck was on Canning City’s side when they defeated Rockingham City 2-0 at Dowling Street Reserve. With both sides having indifferent starts to the season, three vital points were on the line when kick-off arrived. The opening exchanges were relatively tame as the two teams sized each other up. With 8 minutes gone Canning went ahead through one of the seasons more bizarre goals home custodian Cyril Sharrock, under no pressure whatsoever, attempted to switch play from close to the far corner flag but instead drove the ball into his own net. This lifted Canning who now started to make their pace count and caused the Rockingham defence all sorts of problems. So it came as no surprise when Marc Sim outpaced a static backline and rounded Sharrock before slotting in the visitors second on the half hour. Rockingham’s only chance of the half arrived just before the break when Terry Flynn was thwarted by quick thinking ‘keeper Adam Horsley. The second half was a much more even affair with Rockingham pushing an extra player forward but Canning’s rearguard dealt comfortably with any danger. Going the other way sloppy finishing from Paul Van Dongen and Simon Versaico prevented the visitors from further increasing their lead.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A third of the way through the season and Sorrento are the new Premier League leader. The Gulls moved into poll position after defeating Armadale 4-2 through goals from Jared Love (2), Stuart Young and an own goal. Slipping to second are Floreat Athena who were held 2-2 at home by Perth S.C. Boima Karpeh and Okwy Diamondstar netted for Floreat with Barry Wood and Matt Danskin scoring for the visiting team. Cockburn City took third place by downing E.C.U. Joondalup 4-2.
Second half goals from Miki Vujacic, Jonathon Mathers and Damien Catalano earned Swan I.C. a 3-0 win at Bayswater City. Louis Parkinson and Greg Sharland were on target as Inglewood United downed Wanneroo City 2-0. And goals within the space of a few minutes by Paul Devlin and Stuart Montgomery saw Western Knights take the points over home team Stirling Lions by 2-0.
The Fremantle City road show continued with a 4-0 away thrashing of Mandurah City which keeps them three points clear at the top of the First Division. Morley Windmills 2-1 defeat of South West Phoenix keeps them in second place with Ashfield moving into third after accounting for Gosnells City 2-0. Dianella White Eagles scored their second win of the campaign with a 2-1 upset of Balcatta. Canning City came with from Dowling Street Reserve with all three points courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline against Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW (by Peter Simcox)
The pick of tomorrow's Premier League action is undoubtedly the Floreat Athena-Perth S.C. showdown at Litis Stadium. Both teams have similar styles of play and with influential figures right the way across the park this promises to be an absolute cracker. Michael Roki could not have hoped for a better start to the season and with the likes of Josip Magdic, Adrian Sutton and Okwy Diamondstar firing on all cylinders they are to be difficult to stop. Although currently fifth, Perth are just beginning to hit peak form and possess an abundance of talent ranging from defensive mainstay Aaron Cole through midfield where Robbie Puca operates with menace to last years leading goalscorer David Onoforo.
Elsewhere, second-placed Sorrento heads to Alfred Skeet Oval where they take on cellar dweller Armadale. Not a great deal will separate E.C.U. Joondalup and Cockburn City at the end of ninety minutes of football in the far north. There's a lot on the line for Inglewood United who are in desperate need of gaining three points from their visit to Wanneroo City. Bayswater City go looking for their first victory of the season when Swan I.C. call by Frank Drago Reserve. And Western Knights have home ground advantage against a Stirling Lions outfit whose only win to date came on the opening day of the season.
In the First Division, Mandurah City welcome undefeated leader Fremantle Spirit to Peelwood Parade. High flying Morley Windmills journey to Bunbury where they meet South West Phoenix. Dianella White Eagles have failed to live up to pre-season expectation and have hoe ground advantage against a Balcatta side that is just getting into top gear. There's a difficult home game for Gosnells City against Ashfield who have surprised many with their superb early season form. It's been a month of mixed results for both Rockingham City and Canning City who square off at Dowling Street Reserve. Out of action due to the bye are Forrestfield United.
THE HOTTEST TICKETS OUTSIDE GERMANY
While it might be almost impossible to get tickets to watch the Socceroos in Germany next month, you can still register your support by attending the World Cup Quiz Night at Dorrien Gardens - home of Perth S.C. - on Friday 2nd June. Fans are being encouraged - there's a prize on offer - to dress up in their favourite World Cup colours for the function which includes a celebrity panel featuring World Cup referee Eddie Lennie and former Australian internationals Robbie Dunn, Shaun Murphy, Robbie Zabica, Gary Marocchi and Tracey Wheeler who'll give their views on the 2006 tournament.
The remaining tickets for the Quiz Night, which runs between 7.00pm and 10.30pm, are expected to be snapped up fast. Tickets, which cost $10 each or $100 for a table of ten, are available from Bob Brown (9446 3338) or John O'Connell (0413 973 846). There will be prizes galore throughout the night amongst which is a ball signed by former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta in the 'Grand Raffle'. The World Cup Quiz Night has been organised by the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia Committee and will be hosted by local media identity Russell Goodrick.
MONTGOMERY FOR GOLDEN BOOT
Injury-permitting, 2006 will be the year Stuart Montgomery finally gets his hands on the trophy as the top flight's leading goalscorer. The Western Knights marksman was the runaway winner of this week's website poll which asked 'Who will win the 2006 Premier League Golden Boot award?' Montgomery picked up a commanding 33.2% of the over 300 votes cast by the football family to win the ten-day poll by a landslide margin.
Floreat Athena's summer signing Boima Karpeh (18.5%) came in second place with Todd Harnwell (13.3%) of Sorrento the next in line. Only a handful of votes separated David Onoforo (9.6%) of Perth S.C. and another Floreat player, Okwy Diamondstar (8.2%). E.C.U. Joondalup's Ian McMurray (6.8%) was the sixth most popular choice followed by Ryan Jeans (Stirling Lions) and Barry Wood (Perth) who each tallied up 5.2% of the count.
SKOKO STUNNER SINKS EUROPEAN CHAMPION
The Socceroos have begun their preparations for the World Cup finals with a commanding 1-0 win over Greece at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this evening. Josip Skoko scored the game's only goal in the 15th minute with a cracking left-foot volley to send the bumper crowd of 95,103 into raptures. Both defences took time to settle and, although there were some nervous moments, it took until the quarter hour mark for the first serious chance to eventuate. Marco Bresciano sent a corner to the back post, Lucas Neill headed it back to Mile Sterjovski who found Skoko and from just outside the box the midfielder's volley soared into the top-left hand corner with goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis stranded.
Australia were making the better inroads with Bresciano the key figure in midfield. Bresciano crashed a free-kick from 35-metres just inches wide of the up-right, and soon after Sterjovski forced a save from Nikopolidis. Greece had little presence in attack with Lucas Neill and Craig Moore quick to snuff out any danger. Australia threatened again in the 39th minute when Konstantinos Katsouranis' desperate header kept the ball away from Mark Viduka. Shortly after Viduka appealed for a penalty after his shirt was tugged at by Sotirios Kyrgiakos when through on goal but English referee Mike Riley signalled for play to continue.
Greek substitute Panagiotis Lagos squandered golden opportunities twice in as many minutes by shooting wide of Zeljko Kalac's goal at the start of the second half. As fatigue took hold of both teams the tempo dropped and again Greece failed to capitalise when captain Theodoros Zagorakis drilled well over the crossbar from just inside the 18-yard box. The ball was then moved quickly up the other end where Sterjovski could only put his header wide from a Bresciano cross. Luke Wilkshire went close with shot from outside the penalty area, and three minutes from the end Jason Culina brought another sprawling save from Nikopolidis with a cracking strike.
Although pleased with both the result and Australia's performance, coach Guss Hiddink was not getting carried away. "We still have to work a lot. When you want to be very competitive at World Cup level you must maintain control for the whole game," he said after the game. "I want to focus not on the 70 per cent we did well, but what we didn’t do well. Some parts I didn’t like and we need to improve that." With a morale-boosting win under their belts, Australia heads the Netherlands tomorrow for a pre-World Cup training camp in which play friendlies against the the Netherlands and Liechtenstein.
GLORY LOSE ISHIDA
Japanese winger Hiroyuki Ishida has played his last game for Perth Glory after opting out of the remaining two years of the three-season deal. Glory's acting project manager Eugenie Buckley said Ishida had decided to return to Japan after his loan stint with Malaysian side Johor. Buckley said Ishida, who made 16 appearances last season, had cited uncertainty at the club for his decision to leave. Ishida's departure leaves Glory with fourteen players, no coach and new owners yet to be installed, a week out from the club's first official training session of the pre-season.
FFA has been less inclined to allow Simon Colosimo to leave the club after apparent interest from German team Kaiserslautern. Buckley said the governing body had not been contacted by the club but had been asked by Colosimo's agent, Leo Karis, if the midfielder would be allowed to leave on a free transfer. She said they were not prepared to make a decision without receiving an offer first. "We have to go through the proper process," said Buckely. "I don't think it's appropriate to say a player can go for free when we don't know anything about (the deal)."
UNDER-14’S FLY NATIONAL FLAG IN MALAYSIA (by Peter Simcox)
The first Football West tour of 2006 begins on Monday when the elite State Under-14 squad flies to Malaysia to take their place at an international tournament. The State youngsters will fly both the state and national flags in Malaysia after Football West were nominated by Football Federation Australia to represent the nation at the Asian Football Confederation’s Under-14 Festival of Football tournament. Western Australia have been allocated a place in Group F alongside Brunei, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam for the seven-day event which commences on 29th May.
The squad was selected jointly by Kenny Lowe and Andrew Bettel with the latter taking up the coaching reigns for the trip. “Kenny and I had a difficult job trimming the squad down,” explained Bettel. “With it being an international tournament all the players had to hold an Australian passport and have Australian citizenship. Unfortunately some players we originally picked didn’t fit that category and we had to leave them at home. But saying that it’s a well balanced squad, and all the players are well aware they are representing their country and are all looking forward to the tournament.”
Amongst the squad are a number of familiar names including brother Ryan and Cameron Edwards whose father is former Perth Glory and Socceroos striker Alistair Edwards. “We’re both looking forward to the tour and it’s great not only to represent the state but on this tour your country. I hope to play football professionally like my dad, and representing my state is a great start,” said Cameron Edwards. Another familiar name is defender Zoran Vrteski, brother of recent Perth Glory signing Aleks Vrteski. “It’s a great experience for me and most of the squad as it’s our first tournament overseas. We have trained well and beat Perth 1-0 in a friendly last week.”
The trip has been made possible through the sponsorship of Western QBE who’ve a long standing commitment to football in this state. “With Football West, we share a mutual commitment to the development of junior football and we’re proud that our Under-14 team will be the first Australian state represented at this event,” said Cath Weatherley, communications manager of Western QBE. “It’s an exciting opportunity and we wish the team the very best of luck at the Festival.”
The eighteen-player Western Australian squad travelling to Malaysia for the Asian Football Confederation’s Under-14 Festival of Football is Clayton Arnez, Eli Babalj, Matthew Blaker, Albert Bucchino, Jack Cattrall, Jack Clisby, Ryan Edwards, Cameron Edwards, Devon Gibson, Tom Lawrence, Rhys Loxley, Lachlan McFarlane, Bradley O’Brien, Alexander Pearson, Joshua Pereira, Joshua Risdon, Zoran Vrteski and Jacob Whiteaker. Andrew Bettel will coach the side while on tour and is joined by Mitch Doherty as tour manager.
FOOTBALL CONTINUES TO GROW
Participation in Western Australian football is up by seven per cent with more than 32,000 players registering for the 2006 season. Football West, the state's governing body, is continuing the strong and steady growth in line with the overall national direction of the game which is now the number one participation sport in Australia. "This growth is due to the development and retention pathways for junior football in particular the introduction of a Perth Glory Youth League which resulted in over seventy teams entered in its inaugural year," explained Michelle Phillips, Football West's chief executive officer. "We are also pleased that the growth in the female participation topped at ten per cent which shows that football is a sport of choice for girls and women."
In little over two weeks Australia will make their first World Cup finals appearance in thirty-four years and Phillips is confident that will further fuel interest in the game. "We anticipate that the World Cup will generate a further marked increase in juniors wanting to play football next year," added Phillips, who feels the continued growth of the game is limited only by the availability of facilities. "This is why facilities planning is a strategic objective for our game and we are currently working closely with state and local government to ensure that everyone who wants to play the world game can." The Football West football family consists of over 32,000 players, 250 clubs, 360 referees, many thousands of coaches and volunteers and a large number of dedicated supporters who all ensure football is leading the way.
KRNCEVIC KEEN TO COACH GLORY
Former Socceroo Eddie Krncevic has started laying the foundations for his plans to lead Glory into the second A-League season. Krncevic spent several days in Perth recently casting an eye over local talent for Glory's A-league rival New Zealand Knights. He has made no secret of his desire to take on the Glory coaching position, and flew into WA to begin the groundwork for his personal push. "I'd love the job and if I did secure it, at least I'd be prepared for it," said Krncevic, noting that time was running out to fully prepare the team for the new season. Former Rangers defender Richard Gough, a friend of Glory technical manager Mich d'Avray, has also been linked with the post.
MCEWAN 'SATISFIED' WITH WANNEROO'S START
Gerry McEwan has every reason to be pleased with Wanneroo City's start to the 2006 season. A third of the way through their debut Premier League campaign and the Roos are placed sixth courtesy of three wins and a draw from seven outings. "I told the guys last week they've done well so far," McEwan told Peter Simcox this week. "I'm satisfied with our position but we've always got the desire to do better. We've surprised quite a few people this year but you can never please everybody, some people expect more, and I would like to do more."
Wanneroo will be out to erase the disappointment of last weeks 1-4 loss at Swan I.C. when they host an up and down Inglewood United. "Last weekend was very disappointing," commented McEwan. "We knew that the games against Bayswater City, Armadale, E.C.U. Joondalup and Swan were all big games for us this season. We'd done well against the other three teams by taking maximum points ansd so felt it was crucial to also get points from Swan. We've got a hard run against Inglewood, Cockburn, Sorrento and Perth coming up, everybody agrees they're the teams fancied for the League, and the next month will be a real test of our metal."
By anyone's measure Wanneroo have a young squad and the addition of Ryan Townsend from Perth Glory has certainly added some stability to the side. McEwan feels there are several other players within their ranks capable of stepping up to the national league if given the opportunity. "There are a lot of boys who've not yet got Premier League experience and every game is part of their learning curve," said the Wanneroo coach. "I hope that someone who takes over at Glory has got the vision to come down and watch some of these guys. Phil O'Callaghan is only 18-years old and we will do our best to keep him at Wanneroo but if Glory came calling for him I'd be encouraging him to move."
SWAN PUT FAITH IN YOUTH (by Peter Simcox)
Swan I.C. have plugged the holes in a leaky defence through their policy of youth promotion. The black and whites rearguard conceded goals at an alarming rate last season and finished the home and away campaign with the most goals conceded of any club in the top flight. In ridding themselves of this unwanted record the club turned to youth and so far it's paying off with Swan letting in goals at half the rate of last season. Brendan Knox and Paul Baczynski are two stars of the future who have had a significant impact in the Swan Valley already this season and continue to impress at senior level.
19-year old Knox started the year as a regular on the left side of defence but, after missing one game due to university commitments, has had to be content with a place on the bench in recent weeks. "It's great to have a few games under my belt and I hope to continue it," he said. "We have a great bunch of lads here and the competition for places is intense. I missed a game three weeks ago to attend a university course and I'm now working hard to regain my spot in the side. That's the difference this season - our squad has more depth and if you have other commitments, don't perform or the club has injuries or suspensions there's always someone else ready to step in."
With a full pre-season under his belt Baczyinski, a former State Schoolboys representative, is looking forward to a successful season. "I'm really pleased with how my season is going. I had a set back when I was sent off at Armadale but I'm working my way back into the side and it's been the best I've felt for a long time." With a little more luck Swan could have a few more points to their credit according to the 21-year old. "We've matched each of the teams we've played and with a little more luck we could have been a little higher in the League. As a team we've been working well as a unit for sixty minutes but it's the lapses in the final third of the game that has been letting us down."
Michael Di Fulvio, assistant to first team coach Carlo Scali, says both Knox and Baczynski have showed great application this season. "Brendan was identified two years ago as a potential first team player and has come on leaps and bounds. He missed a lot of last season through injury but has picked up where he left off and upped his performance to consistently be in the top performers in all areas of the pre-season," commented Di Fulvio. "Bazza really has stepped up to the plate this year, both fitness and performance wise. His attitude has been top class and his improved consistency is evidence of this."
VIDUKA TO CAPTAIN SOCCEROOS
Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka has been handed the captain's armband for Australia's World Cup Germany. Coach Guus Hiddink told the player group of his decision on the first day of their training camp in Melbourne and made an official announcement to the media shortly after. Viduka was captain when Australia successfully qualified against Uruguay in November last year and Hiddink gave him the nod over previous skipper Craig Moore. "He did very well in the qualifying rounds, where he took on his responsibility when we came together the first time," Hiddink said. "From day one he worked very hard, not just on himself, but also together on the team, to get the job done. That's why I think it's good to have him as captain."
Although thrilled with the appointment, Viduka said it really hadn't yet sunk in. "It was only just broken to me in the team meeting," said Viduka, who also felt for Moore, as the incumbent captain, before injury ruled him out for the latter part of the year. "Craig Moore and I are good mates and roomed together at the AIS and it's a difficult situation to be in because we both enjoyed leading the team." Viduka has played thirty-one times and scored six goals for Australian since making his senior international debut in mid-1994 at the age of nineteen. In a successful club career the strongly-built striker has worn the colours of Melbourne Knights (Australia), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Celtic (Scotland), Leeds United and Middlesbrough (England).
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIVE (by Penny TannerHoath)
Honours were shared in the top of the table Premier League clash between Balcatta and Queens Park which ended 1-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. The two teams went into this afternoon's meeting level on points and with Balcatta holding a slender one goal advantage over Queens Park. Balcatta had scored seventeen and conceded six goals in their four previous outings, while Queens Park's statistics were ten goals for and zero against. Simple mathematics indicated Balcatta would be persuasive in attack with Queens Park's strength being a watertight defence.
D'Ovidio proved mathematics correct when she opened the scoring after 17 minutes with a superb volley that gave Balcatta shot-stopper Julia McInerney no chance. This forced Queens Park to pick up the pace and for the next twenty or so minutes the home side was on the defensive. The visitors rewarded came shortly before the break when Amy Thorpe floated the ball from some 25-metres over the out-stretched arms of Chloe Coglan's and under the crossbar to level the game.
Both teams enjoyed periods of dominance after the break through some swift movement on and off the ball. Kylie Chatto's explosive pace caused endless problems for a Queens Park backline marshalled with aplomb by Helen Bremer. Sister act Amy and Katie Ashton combined for a sizzling shot on goal for which Coghlan produced a finger-tip save. Balcatta countered through Chatto who was stifled by McInerny after a dazzling run through the defence. The draw leaves Balcatta at the top of the table on goal difference over Queens Park, both sides remaining undefeated in 5 rounds.
In the days other games, East Fremantle farewelled coach Salv Todaro by thumping Mandurah City 4-0 at Wauhop Park. Todaro has been instrumental in encouraging youngsters from junior divisions within the club to aspire to playing at Premier League level. A young and inexperienced Northern Redbacks registered their second win of the season when they accounted for Subiaco United 2-1 at Rosalie Park.
LAZARIDIS HEADS FOR HOME
Stan Lazaridis will reject lucrative offers from the east coast to join Perth Glory after fulfilling his World Cup dream with the Socceroos in Germany. Lazaridis, who spent more than a decade in England with West Ham United and Birmingham City, wants to return to Australia and has asked business manager Paul Tombides to consider offers. Tombides is confident the 33-year old wingback will return to Perth where he is building a luxury home. "I believe he will come to Perth. It's his preference to come back to Perth and the Perth Glory need him more than they've needed any other player since their inception," Tombides said. "They are at a critical time where they need to give the fans something."
Although Lazaridis could command a big salary, his priority is to settle down with his family and he sees his home town as the ideal place to finish his playing career. "He's a real family man and he's worried about where his kids, who are five and two, are going to be going to school. It's a major issue for him to consider," Tombides commented. Initial discussions with Glory, who are temporarily controlled by Football Federation Australia, have been positive and Tombides is planning to meet FFA officials in Melbourne next week. It's understood Football West, the local governing body, have already drafted a letter inviting Lazaridis to act as an ambassador for the sport in anticipation of his move to Glory.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVEN (Perth S.C. vs Armadale by Steve McGregor; Swan I.C. vs Wanneroo City by Peter Simcox; Stirling Lions vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci)
Floreat Athena snatched a dramatic stoppage winner to down Cockburn City 2-1 at Dalmatinac Park. The opening exchanges produced half chances for both teams with Okwy Diamondstar heading high at a free-kick, and Anthony Pereira shot wide after working a neat wall pass with Michael Mirco. Once the teams settled Floreat emerged as the dominant force with Steven Guest and Bajo Savic in scintillating form. But for their increased possession the visitors carved out few genuine chances on goal. Diamondstar and Boima Karpeh should both have done much better than head straight to goalkeeper Alan Dunlop, and neat work in the lead-up put the ball at the feet of Adam Bachiller who fired over the crossbar from 25-metres. Although Cockburn had much less of the play they still managed to open up the visiting defence on several occasions. Featuring prominently was the elusive Johnny Mirco whose goalbound effort was blocked close to the line by Adrian Sutton, and both Michael Mirco and Marco Aleksic failed to elicit a response from Vas Vujacic when called upon. Floreat got the goal they were after four minutes from half-time when Bachiller slipped a pass to Branimir Mikulic who swept forward to deliver the ball to the near post where Guest poked it into the net first time. Cockburn came out with all guns ablaze after the break and drew level in the 58th minute when Johnny Mirco's free-kick was nodded goalward by Shane Nunes and, although he pushed it onto the post, Vujacic was unable to keep it out of the net. This opened the game up with play flowing from one end to the other and both 'keeper's seeing regular action. The deciding goal came in stoppage time when Sutton spooned the ball into the area and the quickest to respond was Diamondstar who slammed it into Dunlop's net from a couple of metres.
Sorrento kept their winning momentum going by accounting for Western Knights 3-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Knights put an indifferent start to the season behind them and went straight into attack through Shane McNally whose cross into the area was controlled by Stuart Montgomery but his low shot travelled across the face of goal and wide of the upright. Another terrific opportunity went begging for the visitors as Montgomery evaded two defenders and cut the ball back to Andrew Jennings whose first time shot failed to trouble goalkeeper Neil Young. With their first meaningful attack Sorrento went ahead as Scott Miller made his way down the left before crossing to an unmarked Simon Harland who stroked his shot past Tommi Tomich after 14 minutes. But that lead would last just ten minutes before Jon Higgins' corner found Montgomery whose shot from 16-metres was helped past Young and into the net by the opportunistic Paul Devlin. Chances were scarce in a tight game and in the 33rd minute Miller stretched Tomich with a shot headed for the top corner. A handball call against David Annall allowed Sorrento to regain the lead two minutes from the break when Stuart Young sent Tomich the wrong way from the penalty spot. Little separated the sides in the second half which produced good chances on goal at both ends of the park. Todd Harnwell settled the game in the 65th minute by receiving a pass from Stuart Young then skipping past Ivan Zuvela and rocketing his shot into the top corner. Ten minutes later the hosts' appeals for a penalty following a foul on Glen Thomas were waved away by referee Steve Muldoon. The Knights desperate attempts to work their way back into the game amounted to nothing as Michael Ord and Richard Watson stood firm at the back to ensure a home victory.
Armadale have been left to stump up the Premier League table following a 1-3 loss to reigning champion Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. The Reds matched it with their more illustrious opponent for much of the afternoon but in the end Perth's ability to convert chances into goal proved decisive. The game started disastrously for Armadale who were behind after only 15 seconds as the ball ricocheted off the referee's legs to Jeff Bright who sprinted down the left and unleashed an unstoppable shot from 18-metres which found the far top corner. Un-phased by this early setback, Armadale went agonisingly close to equalising through when Ben Howe who turned his marker and fired a low shot on goal that Gareth Deeg stuck out a foot to block. Further good work by Sasa Kilibrda and Jason Goodwin saw the later shoot into the side netting from close-range. Perth weren't without their opportunities and the combination of Bright, Gary Faria and Robbie Puca called visiting goalkeeper Nick Stone into action on several occasions. On the half hour Stone inexplicably picked up a back pass from Matt Bennion, the resultant free-kick, was laid off to Puca who from 7-metres rifled it high into the net with all eleven visiting players strung along the goal line. With this Armadale heads dropped and it was only through the sharp reflexes of Stone and some desperate defending that the margin wasn't increased before the break. While neat exchanges dominated the second half there were surprisingly few genuine chances on goal created. A home victory was assured midway through the period when Gary Faria put away Perth's third of the afternoon. Barry Wood was twice presented golden opportunities to add further to their tally but on both occasions the big striker failed to hit the target from close-range. With ten minutes to go Armadale bagged a consolation goal when Kevin Bissett headed a neat cross from Goodwin past Deeg.
A workmanlike E.C.U. Joondalup twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Inglewood United at the Kiev Sports Ground. The opening half was a disjointed, scrappy affair in which passes were continually under-hit, intercepted or simply failed to find their target. Other than a couple of speculative shots from long-range, chances on goal were a scarcity with both teams struggling to assert any influence over play. So it came as some surprise when the stalemate was ended on 38 minutes by Joondalup custodian Peter Stewart who had the misfortune of deflecting into his own net a shot from Daniel Neiderberger which was going wide. It looked like being a very long afternoon as the dour nature of the game continued after the break. However, that changed in the 58th minute when Scott Bushby brought the sides level from the penalty spot following a very harsh handball decision given against Dean Apelgren. With this the game finally burst into life and a more composed approach resulted in good goalscoring opportunities for both teams. Ian McMurray crashed a header into the crossbar after being allowed to rise unchallenged to meet Tom Jones' cleverly delivered cross from the right. Four minutes later Albert Osei-Tutu did well to make his way into the area while holding off Chris Currie only to pull the ball wide of the far post. With fifteen minutes to play Inglewood reclaimed the advantage through Louis Parkinson who squeezed between two defenders to head in a lopping cross by Jason Colli. But that lead was to last only three minutes before McMurray sent a precise ball to the far post where Andre Sarpe didn't break stride in volleying past Oliver Taseski. Late in the game Inglewood went down to ten men after Daniel Kovacevic was issued his second yellow card, however, Joondalup were unable to capitalise and had to be content with shared points.
A great all-round performance enabled Swan I.C. to claim a 4-1 victory over Wanneroo City in their round seven clash at the Swan Italian Club. Only a couple of perfectly executed tackles by Danyal Bennett prevented Phil O'Callaghan and Derek Cooke from giving Wanneroo an early lead. The hosts may have been slow to get into rhythm but in the 10th minute claimed the lead when Miki Vujacic's curling free-kick was powerfully headed in by David Foster. Nine minutes later Swan doubled their advantage as Dom Ando's searching pass found Damien Catalano who expertly rode the challenge of the defender before curling his shot past Kevin Miller. Goalscoring opportunities flowed as O'Callaghan curled a shot narrowly wide, Miller kept out shots by Tony Cumace and Damian Scali, and another attempt by O'Callaghan's was gathered by Hugo. Miller was in the thick of the action within minutes of the restart with a terrific double save which left Catalano and Ando frustrated. Wanneroo lacked the finishing touch as O'Callaghan and Cooke fired high following good approach work. The margin was increased to three goals by Ando who shrugged off his marker and from the edge of the area unleashed a powerful shot that gave Miller no chance after 56 minutes. Wanneroo were in no mood to concede the game and Cooke, Morgan Dendle and Craig Bowman all went close to pegging a goal back. The game flowed from end to end as Vujacic hit the post with an in-swinging corner, then a long-range strike by O'Callaghan was saved low by Hugo. With eight minutes to go Wanneroo's persistence paid off when Cooke was fouled inside the area by Rory Mouttet and O'Callaghan drilled the spot kick into the net. Shortly after a long ball by Cumace put Catalano through on goal and he coolly lobbed the on-coming 'keeper to complete the scoring.
Bayswater City picked up their first point of the Premier League season by holding Stirling Lions to a 0-0 draw at Macedonia Park. The games first opportunity came the way of Kevin Miller who miscued his effort from a couple of metres in the 5th minute. The better moves were coming from the home side whose midfield of Miller, Nick Ward and Jordan Rhodes were controlling the flow of play. It was shaping up to be a long day at the office for Bayswater as goalkeeper Bobson Koroma was called upon to deny Ryan Jeans and shortly after Ward flashed the ball wide from close-range. A 17th minute free-kick by Daniel Micevski was curled around the defensive wall and crashed into the upright as Bayswater almost snatched the lead. The hosts continued their offensive with Jeans and Miller both having goalbound strikes saved by Koroma before Ward weaved his way through the defence only to lift his shot over the crossbar. Just before the break the ball sat nicely for Damir Kuduzovic but his volley was weak and easily held by Phil Straker. The second half saw some nice football played by Bayswater who should have gone ahead on the hour when awarded a penalty but Micevski's spot kick was pushed away by Straker at full-stretch. The action was end to end in the closing stages as both teams went looking for a winner. Sal Marrapodi and Micevski but were unable to make the most of their chances for Bayswater, while down the other end Jake Harman had the ball in the net only to have it ruled out for offside. Led by veteran Tony Paolino, Bayswater's defence were under red-hot pressure in the final few minutes but did what was required to secure a share of the points.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SEVEN (Morley Windmills vs Gosnells City courtesy Morley Windmills; Canning City vs Forrestfield United courtesy Canning City)
Fremantle Spirit recovered from going behind early to defeat South West Phoenix 2-1 at Ken Allen Field. Steve Suttie gave Phoenix a dream start by latching on to a neat through ball which he threaded across the goalkeeper and inside the far post with only 7 minutes gone. Phoenix kept pushing and on several occasions opened up the home defence but were prevented from adding a second goal through some vital tackles and interceptions. Having taken their time to settle Fremantle began to string together some promising exchanges coming through the centre of the park. Their reward arrived on 37 minutes when Jason Barrera's curling ball into the area caught the Phoenix rearguard off guard and David Rodgers headed the equaliser past Mark Cavanagh. Possession was evenly shared at the start of the second half but as the minutes went by Fremantle increasingly gained the ascendancy. The port side deservedly edged ahead in the 61st minute via a stunning strike from 20-metres by Ben Kelly which flew past the 'keeper and into the top corner. Only the heroics of Cavanagh stood between Fremantle and a third goal with the young 'keeper saving shots from Tyrone Fenwick, Barrera and Callum Roberts. A last gasp attempt to level the game was unfruitful for Phoenix with Suttie heading narrowly wide and into the side netting.
Morley Windmills moved into second position on the First Division table after defeating Gosnells City 1-0 in a tight game at Wotton Reserve. The early signs were ominous as Ray Rose created space for himself on the left and curled a shot past the goalkeeper that cannoned back into play off the post. Gosnells suffered a major set back in the 11th minute when Artur Majewski was red carded for a crunching tackle on Damien Todorovic. Eleven minutes from the break Morley made the most of their numerical advantage as Leighton Smith poked the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. The visitors response was swift and Sean Cowman went within inches of equalising with a rasping shot the flashed over the crossbar. The second half saw good chances on goal at both ends of the park but a lack of quality finishing meant neither side was able to capitalise. Gosnells were thrown a lifeline in the 61st minute when Smith was issued his marching orders for a second bookable offence. The closing stages saw Gosnells pile on the pressure in an attempt to snatch a draw but Morley weren't about to let that happen and defended gallantly to ensure they claimed all the points on offer.
Three goals in the final twenty minutes enabled Forrestfield United to overpower Canning City 3-2 at Willetton Sportsman Club. Marc Sim gave the home side a flying start by turning in a low cross played to the far post by Ryan Fitzgerald to put the home side one-up. Canning continued to dictate terms and Simon Versaico turned the opposing defence inside before crossing to Daniel Trevisiol who put away goal number two from 5-metres. Forrestfield would count themselves fortunate to still be in the game at the break with sloppy finishing preventing Canning from being further ahead. A number of tactical changes in the second half brought the visiting side into the game more as Canning continually failed to kill off the game. With fifteen minutes to play Brian Robertson reduced the deficit by firing in a free-kick from outside the area, and shortly after Roger Miron sprung the offside trap to bring the teams level. Canning lost goalkeeper Jeff Cargill to injury and, having already used their substitutes, Dave Mahon took over between the posts. Versaico hit the crossbar as Canning sought to regain the lead, but with a minute to go Miron beat Mahon in a one-on-one to snatch victory for the away side.
Balcatta were wearing their goalscoring boots when they dumped Rockingham City 5-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Balcatta’s tally came via Adrian Caloiero (2), Scott Broadley, David Moschilla and an own goal with Glen Smith finding the target for Rockingham. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Ashfield made the most of the home ground advantage by triumphing 4-1 over Mandurah City. Andy O'Neill (2), Mel Lovic and Luke O'Neill were Ashfield's scorers with Michael Bobridge netting the visitors reply. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A five point gap has opened up at the top of the Premier League table with Floreat Athena and Sorrento leading the way after seven games. Floreat remain in first position after goals from Stephen Guest and Okwy Diamondstar gave them a 2-1 away win over Cockburn City. But hot on their heels and just a single point behind are Sorrento who defeated Western Knights 3-1 with Simon Harland, Stuart Young, Todd Harnwell the scorers. Perth S.C. move into third following a 3-1 defeat of Armadale in which Jeff Bright, Robbie Puca and Gary Faria found the target.
Swan I.C. picked up their first home win of the season by out-scoring Wanneroo City 4-1. Damien Catalano bagged a double and David Foster and Dom Ando each netted once. The points were shared at the Kiev Sports Ground where Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup played out a 2-2 draw. Louis Parkinson and an unfortunate own goal by Peter Stewart had the hosts in the board while Joondalup's scorers were Scott Bushby and Andre Sarpe. Bayswater City registered their first point of the campaign by holding Stirling Lions to a 0-0 draw at Macedonia Park.
Fremantle Spirit collected maximum points for a sixth consecutive week by accounting for South West Phoenix 2-1 and stay on top of the First Division standings. A goal from Leighton Smith on the hour for Morley Windmills gave them a 1-0 defeat of Gosnells City and second position on the table. Balcatta had little difficulty in sweeping aside Rockingham City 5-1, and Ashfield knocked of Mandurah City 4-1. Forrestfield United moved off the bottom of the table with a 3-2 away win at Canning City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The seventh round of Premier League fixtures brings together some intriguing match-ups. The 'Match of the round' is the clash at Percy Doyle Reserve, home of Sorrento and to where an inform Western Knights visit. After a poor start Ronnie Campbell's Knights are the leagues big improvers and with top goal scorer Stuart Montgomery finding the net on a regular basis they go into the clash full of confidence. They face a Sorrento side who have taken all before them this season and who hope to continue this on Saturday.
In other games, early pacesetter Floreat Athena are on the road to Cockburn City. Inglewood United are looking to kick start their campaign with a home win over E.C.U. Joondalup. Wanneroo City visits the Swan Valley where a Swan I.C. under the guidance of Carlo Scali is the opposition. Perth S.C. are expected to account for Armadale at Dorrien Gardens, likewise Stirling Lions who welcome Bayswater City to Macedonia Park.
Ashfield go head to head with Mandurah City in the pick of the First Division action. Fremantle Spirit will be looking for their sixth win on the trot when South West Phoenix call by Ken Allen Field. Balcatta have home ground advantage against a Rockingham City side whose last win is fast becoming a distant memory. Morley Windmills welcome Gosnells City to Wotton Reserve, and Canning City host Forrestfield United. Dianella White Eagles have the bye.
GOUGH TARGETS GLORY JOB
Former Glasgow Rangers captain Richard Gough wants to coach Perth Glory. Gough is apparently keen to join his former Rangers teammate Terry Butcher, who was named Sydney FC coach this week, in next season's A-League. A former Scotland international, Gough, has been based in the United States since saving Scottish Premier League outfit Livingston from relegation last season. A close friend of Glory technical chief Mich d'Avray, Gough is expected to submit his CV to Football Federation Australia, who are currently running the club, in coming days.
MCCLELLAND HAS SWAN IN SAFE HANDS (by Peter Simcox)
All clubs rely on an army of back room staff who contribute significantly to on-field endevours. One of the unsung heroes at Swan I.C. is physiotherapist Kate McClelland who works overtime getting injured players back on their feet. It’s been a busy few months for McClelland who balances studies towards a Physiotherapy degree at Curtin University with working at Swan. “It’s a bit hectic, I’m in my final year which involves a year of mostly practicum, rotating every four to five weeks between the different areas of physio within the tertiary hospitals,” McClelland explained. “I hope to work for a year or two here in the public system then head off travelling.”
McClelland initially joined the black and whites last season as assistant to Lisa Richardson, who recently moved on due to university commitments, and is enjoying the opportunity to work with the Swan Valley club. “Yeah, I love it,” she said. “It’s been great getting to know the boys a bit better this year being my second season at Swan ... they’re definitely keeping me busy! I’d say the player I see more often is Thomas Shepheard, he’s been a little unlucky with injuries this season. The players are great and Robert Monterosso and Daniel Agudelo are the pair that are always making me laugh.”
Swan stalwart Trevor Hatton believes the knowledge and expertise McClelland brings to the club is invaluable. “Kate is an asset to our club,” he commented. “Her management of injuries is great and players are advised on what is required to get them back on the park as quickly as possible.” This sentiment was echoed by Swan’s right-sided midfielder Robert Monterosso. “Kate is a very professional young lady with a most helpful attitude, not to mention being very easy on the eye. Let’s just say that she is better to look at than Cumace (who is also quite easy on the eye, just quietly!)”
The Kalamunda girl has travel in her blood and McClelland plans to head upon completion of her studies. “Right now I just can’t wait to graduate so I can start to earn some money,” she explained. “Short term, travel is my goal. To work my way around the UK and Europe getting experience in different places, and to travel with a sporting team would be ideal! Long term, I’d like to possibly do my masters in physio then not sure, it’s a world full of possibilities!”
AUSTRALIA CAN BEAT BRAZIL ACCORDING TO MURPHY
Australia have conquered Brazil before and they can do it again according to Shaun Murphy whose goal sunk the South American's five years ago. Murphy stunned Brazil with a late header at the 2001 Confederations Cup and believes the Socceroos can rise to the occasion again when they take on the pre-World Cup favourite next month in Germany. "I've been around long enough to know they could win the game," Murphy said. "But I suppose they've got to be setting their sights on a good result, which would be a draw."
Australia face Brazil at the Allianz Arena in Munich on 18th June after kicking off their campaign against Japan on 12th June. The Socceroos group stage fixtures are completed when they meet Croatia in Stuttgart on 22nd June. Brazil are widely expected to make light work of Australia but Murphy thinks otherwise. "I don't think they are going to have too many fears against Brazil," he said. "It's thirty-two years since we've been to a World Cup and they are going to enjoy it. They are going to be relaxed enough to enjoy the game. Playing at a World Cup against the best team in the world will be the highlight of their career."
Murphy still regards Australia's win over Brazil in the Confederation Cup five years ago as the high point of his career. It had been a good tournament for the Socceroos who'd beaten world champion France and Mexico to tee-up a minor place play-off with Brazil. "They were under a lot of pressure. They were getting bagged at home for being in the third and fourth place play-off because people felt the final should have been between Brazil and France. I remember after the game they wouldn't shake hands and they wouldn't exchange shirts. They were absolutely gutted."
Understandably, Murphy also has vivid memories of scoring the winning goal when he latched on to a cross from fellow West Australian Stan Lazaridis. "I remember meeting the ball and not thinking too much about where it was going. I just wanted to get in a good header and it ended up almost going through the keeper's hands," said Murphy of his 84th minute winner. The only result we were thinking about at the time was a draw. We just wanted to give a good showing of ourselves and take it to extra-time."
WEBSITE RECORDS TUMBLE
Thanks to the continued support of the West Australian football family 2006 is shaping up to be another record breaking year for www.footballwa.net. The state's only totally independent football website continues to go from strength to strength by logging 120,405 hits over the opening four months of the new season. That keeps us on track to shatter the 305,463 hits registered last year, which was our best ever.
Already in 2006 a number of new highs have been achieved. April produced a new 'monthly' best with 37,678 visits to the site. A new 'weekly' best was recorded for the seven days commencing Monday 8th April when 9,301 visits were registered. And the 'daily' record was broken on several occasions with the most successful single day being Monday 10th April when 1,976 visits were logged. We would like to thank all readers of www.footballwa.net for making the start of 2006 such an outstanding success.
HOLMES PROMOTED WITH STAMFORD (by Peter Simcox)
English non-League outfit Stamford Town have won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division with the assistance of Elton Holmes. The former Swan I.C. and Inglewood United attacker featured regularly throughout the Daniels campaign which recently ended with a 2-1 play-off defeat of Wivenhoe. Holmes, who joined Stamford ten months ago, played 32 games for the club but was limited to appearances off the bench as the season came to an end. “Elton struggled to break into the starting eleven in recent weeks, after injury, which was very unfortunate for him,” explained John Burrows, Stamford’s media officer. “He scored five goals in his limited starts, the fans love him here and he would have been chosen more often if they were picking the team. But the player who replaced Elton during his injury played well and the coach simply couldn’t drop him.”
ERGIC CALLED UP BY SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
Former Perth Glory player Ivan Ergic is the surprise inclusion in Serbia and Montenegro's twenty-three man squad for next months World Cup finals. The uncapped midfielder says he was surprised when contacted by coach Ilija Petkovic to confirm Ergic's selection. "Completely ... although I knew that Petkovic and his assistant Stevanovic observed some of my games I never thought that they would actually consider calling me up for Germany," he said. "I even booked a flight to Australia where my sister lives (but now) I'll have to postpone my visit to the land down under."
Serbia and Montenegro will have to be at their best to get through the group phase in which they meet Argentina, Holland and the Ivory Coast. "We're in the most difficult group of the tournament, only Brazil is missing to make it a Mission Impossible. But the World Cup is full of surprises, everything is possible," commented 25-year old Ergic. The opportunity to play at a World Cup really is a dream comes true for Ergic whose career was almost ended three years ago by serious illness. After a lengthy recovery Ergic returned to first team action for Swiss club FC Basel this season by making played 46 appearances, and scoring five goals, in domestic and European competition.
ON THIS DAY … 1976
Western Australia won back-to-back Marah Halim Cup's with a magnificent 2-0 win over South Korea on the evening of Sunday 16th May, 1976. More than 50,000 spectators watched a tense match which was a itself fitting finale to the nineteen-day tournament in Medan, Indonesia. The South Korean's applied the pressure for the full ninety minutes but could not pierce a rock-solid State defence. Goals in each half from George McMillan and Nick McCallum saw the trophy head to Perth for the second time inside twelve months.
The State team commenced their campaign with a 1-0 defeat of Thailand. The match was dominated by Western Australian with goalkeeper Saverio Madaschi rarely featuring in the action and the only goal arriving through Ray Ilott. A few days later they thrashed Aceh 7-2 with Gary Marocchi opening the scoring after only a couple of minutes. The game was over by the interval by which time Western Australia held a four-goal advantage. Tony Trinca led the way to two goal while Marocchi, MacCallum, Sauro Iozzelli, McMillan and Ilott found the target once each.
A spiteful encounter with Surabaya, which Western Australia won 2-0, completed the group phase. Played in a torrential downpour, the Surabya players were ruthless in their approach yet amazingly still ended the night with eleven players. The opening goal came after 17 minutes when MacCallum accepted a pass from George McMillan that was drilled into the net. Ten minutes later Gordon McCulloch laid a pass off to Dave O’Callaghan whose scorching shot from 20-metres was into the roof of the net. The game deteriorated into farce with fifteen minutes to go when spectators invaded the pitch to attack the Western Australian players.
Western Australia’s place in the semi-finals came about through a hard-fought 1-0 defeat of Japan. Marshalled in defence by Denis Barstow and spurred on by the tireless efforts of captain Stephen Sceats, the State side weathered the storm as Japan sought an early goal. They eventually got more involved in proceedings and just before half-time Marocchi chipped a free-kick over the defence and McMillan rose highest to head into the top corner. McCallum and McMillan went close to adding a second after the break while Madaschi made several telling saves as Japan pressed to equalise in the closing stages.
A 1-2 loss to the South Korean national team brought the Western Australian juggernaut to a temporary halt in the round of four. The Koreans took control of the game early on thanks to their pace and neat movement of the ball with Western Australia’s solitary goal coming from the boot of MacCallum. The State side responded to this loss by whipping a strong Burma national team 4-0 in the preliminary final. Regarded as their best ninety minutes of football during the 1976 tournament, Western Australia ran riot and a stunning hat-trick from MacCallum was the feature attraction of a memorable victory.
A bumper crowd as on hand to witness Western Australia defeat a technically superior South Korea 2-0 in the final of the 1976 Marah Halim Cup. In the 35th minute MacCallum nodded a high ball on to McMillan who lashed an unstoppable drive into the net from 25-metres. South Korea battled hard to equalise but found few ways past an opposing rearguard that had the ever-safe hands of Madaschi on the last line of defence. The result was put beyond doubt in the 62nd minute with a scintillating counterattack in which Ilott sent a low cross into the area that McMillan stepped over and MacCallum guided into the net.
The goal capped a superb tournament for MacCallum who bowed out of representative football as the tournament leading goalscorer. It was the twenty-first game for Western Australia in little more than a year under the tutorage of Alan Vest whose record stood at the completion of the tournament read won sixteen, drawn one, lost four. Barry Harwood put the finishing touch on a successful visit to Indonesia by winning the award for the best referee at the Marah Halim Cup for a second successive year.
The sixteen players who did Western Australian proud by winning the 1976 Marah Halim Cup were Ray Ilott, Stephen Sceats (Ascot), Sauro Iozzelli, Gordon McCulloch, George McMillan, Gary Marocchi, Tony Trinca (Azzurri), Dave Jones, John O’Connell, Tony Witschge (East Fremantle Tricolore), Saverio Madaschi (Inglewood United), Denis Barstow, Peter Johnstone, Nick McCallum, Dave O’Callaghan (Morley Windmills) and Hugh Miller (Spearwood Dalmatinac). Alan Vest was coach of this history making side.
LAZARIDIS’ WORLD CUP DREAM ALIVE
It was the telephone call Stan Lazaridis had been anxiously awaiting and yet also feared. When the Socceroo ace pressed his ear to the phone and heard the voice of national assistant coach Graham Arnold his heart sank. "Normally he's the bearer of bad news, so I thought this isn't good," said Lazaridis of the call that confirmed his place in Australia's World Cup squad. "(But he) said 'Stan, it's not bad news this time mate' I said 'Cheers mate because when I heard your voice it was like the Grim reaper'."
Lazaridis is focused on wrestling the role on the left flank from Scott Chipperfield and ensure he does not become a mere statistical aside in Australia's first World Cup appearance in thirty-two years. "I'm going there to play - that's my aim, I want to play," Lazaridis said. Chipperfield has been favoured since Guus Hiddink took over last July and Lazaridis finds it hard to argue about his team mate's favouritism. "In fairness to Scotty, he's done very well. I've said to him 'You're keeping the shirt off me'," added the 68-times Socceroo.
All is certainly not lost for Lazaridis with a real possibility being Hiddink will use Chipperfield as the left-sided defender in a back-three. That would leave the door open for Lazaridis to slot into the midfield. "Chippers is as brave as a lion. He will tackle a bus if he has to. He's mobile, he's quick," said Lazaridis. "The flexibility he's got there could be a situation that's good for me. (Hiddink) could leave Scotty at left wingback or he may even change his system to a 4-4-2, you don't know."
33-year old Lazaridis is in many ways an old stager. In a professional career spanning eleven seasons he's played against some of the world's biggest clubs and best players to make 309 League and Cup appearances for West Ham United and Birmingham City. And where some of Australia's big names have been criticised for failing to live up to expectations, Lazaridis has overcome his hurdles, driven by his desire to lift the Socceroos to a prominent place in the world game.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOUR (by Penny TannerHoath)
Subiaco United collected all three points at Bortolo Park where they accounted for newly promoted Mandurah City 5-1. Heat, injuries and the absence of a dedicated goalkeeper all conspired against Mandurah who remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League table without a win after four games.
The inexperienced of stand-in 'keeper Melissa Spillman was exposed when a long ball over the Mandurah defence bounced awkwardly Spillman and Siani Lynch latched the loose ball into the net. Spillman made some great saves but was unable to stop a rampant Subiaco who took their tally to four goals through Jo Allan (2) and Carol Howes.
A number of tactical and positional changes during the break resulted in a more cohesnive performance from the home team and prevented the margin from blowing out any further. Mandurah pegged one back via a 73rd minute free-kick which Melanie Loreto slammed past 'keeper Jess Laidler and into the net.
Subiaco's goal of the second half arrived a minute from the end when Renae Rendell knocked th eball on to Lynch who knocked it into the net. The win should provide a much needed boost for Subiaco who'd accumulated just a single point in their first three games, while Mandurah's second half revival will serve them well in future outings.
Elsewhere, Balcatta and Queens Park continued on their winning ways and are each yet to drop a point after four games. Balcatta top the table on goal difference after thumping reigning champion Northern Redbacks 5-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Keeping pace are Queens Park who this week scrapped over the line 1-0 against the visitors from East Fremantle.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIX (Stirling Lions vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Armadale vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Bayswater City vs Wanneroo City by Adam Rucci; Western Knights vs Perth S.C. courtesy Western Knights)
Floreat Athena remain at the head of the Premier League table after mauling Inglewood United 4-0 in a surprisingly one-sided contest at Litis Stadium. It took the hosts just 6 minutes to claim the lead through John Migas who, after bringing under control Vas Vujacic’s long clearance, evaded two defenders and curled the ball into the net from just outside the area. Okwy Diamondstar should have increased the gap on the quarter hour but squeezed the ball wide in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. Dean Apelgren and Louis Parkinson were doing everything in their power to get the visitors out of first gear but their best moves were negated by the defensive prowess of Costa Socratous and Paul Vlachou. Floreat’s inevitable second goal arrived in the 30th minute when Boima Karpeh weaved his way past two defenders and sent a low cross into the area where an unmarked Adam Bachillor had the simple task of netting. With the final play of the half Adrian Sutton clipped a terrific pass over the visiting defence for Karpeh who raced through and knocked goal number three past the advancing ‘keeper. Inglewood started the new half optimistically as Daniel Kovacevic’s strike from 35-metres called Vujacic into action for the first time. But just as quickly Floreat regained control and Taseski pushed wide efforts from Diamondstar and Karpeh in quick succession. The home crowd was kept on the edge of their seats as Karpeh, Sutton and Diamondstar went close to bagging their sides’ fourth of the day. Inglewood should have pegged a goal back when awarded a penalty but Albert Osei-Tutu was denied by Vujacic. The route was completed in the 82nd minute when Mikulic’s close-range strike was parried by the ‘keeper and Simon Barber rammed the loose ball into the net. Inglewood were denied a consolation goal in the final minute when Apelgren’s rasping rive cannoned back off the base of the post.
Sorrento are the only unbeaten team in the top flight after six games. The Gulls made the trip to Macedonia Park today and returned with all three points courtesy of a 3-1 scoreline against Stirling Lions. There were early chances at both ends of the park but Riste Stefoski dispossessed Stuart Young as he lined up the target, and Ludovic Boi's glancing effort was wide of the far post. Sorrento went ahead on 17 minutes when Simon Harland switched play to an unmarked Todd Harnwell who had the time to pick his spot past goalkeeper Phil Straker. Shortly after Nick Ward set up Jordan Rhodes but his attempted chip was weak and the ball lobbed tamely into the arms of Neil Young. A cracking shot from outside the area by Glen Thomas crashed against the crossbar before being hooked to safety. Andy Brown immediately launched a Stirling counterattack in which Boi played a centring ball into the path of Rob Miller whose low strike flashed past Young to level the game. Controversy erupted a minute from the break when, depending on who tells the story, Harnwell either kicked the ball out of Straker's hands or robbed the 'keeper of possession before sweeping in Sorrento's second goal. The second half didn't spark into life until in the 62nd minute when Brown headed just beyond the upright from a Stefoski corner. Not long after Straker blocked successive shots from Stuart Young and Harnwell, and another lightning break by the home side had Miller cut the ball back to Ward but he blasted high when he should have at least tested the 'keeper. The sealing goal arrived in the 81st minute when substitute Jared Love's deep cross was met by Harland who angled his header back across Straker and inside the far post.
Cockburn City made a welcome return to the winner’s circle by accounting for Armadale 1-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval. The visitors looked the sharper of the two teams during the opening exchanges as shots on goal from Domenic De Felice and Dusan Macura were deflected wide by defenders. But there was little the Armadale defence could do in the 6th minute when Johnny Mirco sent Andy Cornmell clear of the defence and the lively attacker stroked the ball into the net of the on-coming goalkeeper. The game took a turn for the worse for Armadale when influential defender Darryl Platten was forced from the field through after 10 minutes. Nick Stone was being kept busy in goal and Anthony Pereira should have done better than rifle straight at the Armadale ‘keeper in the 25th minute. A quickly taken free-kick saw Paul Oliver play a neat one-two with Mirco who slipped the ball through to Cornmell but his shot into the net was disallowed for offside. Armadale’s woes continued when James Hesketh limped from the field shortly before half-time. There wasn’t a great deal to get excited about at the start of the second half which saw several players booked for crunching tackles. The addition of Kevin Bissett on the hour injected life into the home side and shortly after a bullet like header from Ryan Pearson forced a terrific reflex save from Alan Dunlop. Armadale continued to pressure and it took both Macura and Jason Godfrey to prevent Kodi Madeley from getting a shot in. Micro should have sealed the game a minute later when put through with only the ‘keeper to beat but the advancing Stone kept out what ended being a poorly struck shot. The closing stages produced some desperate football and opportunities at both ends on which nether team could capitalise.
A strong second half performance enabled E.C.U. Joondalup to come from behind and snatch a 2-2 draw with Swan I.C. Played in beautiful, sunny conditions in the northern suburbs, the opening exchanges were evenly shared as the sides sought the early advantage. With 10 minutes gone Swan got that breakthrough via a superb move involving four players which ended with David Foster who knocked a low shot past Peter Stewart. Foster turned provider just two minutes later by holding the ball up then laying it into the path of Dom Ando whose fierce shot from the edge of the box flash into the net. Although shell-shocked, the home team had to attack but neither Ian McMurray nor Chris Currie was able to capitalise on their chances. On the half-hour Foster squandered a golden opportunity to add a third to Swan tally when he headed high from close-range. Just before the break McMurray rose highest to meet a cross from Martin Ashworth but the big strikers’ header from point blank range was somehow tipped over the crossbar by Cory Hugo. Joondalup were determined to reduce the deficit as quickly as possible in the second half and Tom Jones headed over the bar from great work out wide by McMurray. Mark Lee was outstanding on debut for Joondalup and in the 77th minute the midfielder unleashed a vicious shot from 25-metres which gave Hugo no chance and brought Joondalup back into the game. It looked as though Tony Cumace had sealed a Swan victory via a free-kick but Stewart had other ideas and pulled off a remarkable one-handed save. Hugo produced similar heroics at the other end by keeping out a neat header by Oliver Hilton. But there was nothing the Swan custodian could do in the 89th minute when Hilton delivered a cross from the right and Garin Collins made no mistake in bagging a dramatic equaliser.
Wanneroo City moved up the table and into fifth position by downing a gallant Bayswater City 4-2 at Frank Drago Reserve. While the result may not have been in their favour Bayswater gave the strongest indication yet that they aren’t too far from turning their season around. Within minutes of kick-off the home team had control of the game as Daniel Micevski and Jarred Smith asserted their influence across the middle of the park. Kevin Miller prevented the home side from going ahead early by producing a stunning save to keep out Sal Marapodi’s volley. The hosts continued to attack and Miller again proved their foil by tipping away a looping header from Ryan Newhill. Wanneroo didn’t return fire until late in the half but when they did it was with devastating effect. Morgan Dendle jinxed his way into the 18-yard box before rifling into the roof of the net after 27 minutes. A couple of minutes later Ryan Townsend rose above the defence to powerfully head in goal number two. And it only got better for the visitors when poor marking allowed Craig Bowman the time and space to pick his spot past Koroma. Fired up by a roasting from coach Eric Bambaci, Bayswater pegged a goal back two minutes in the new half when a well-worked short corner ended up with Smith cracking the ball home from the edge of the 18-yard box. Good work down the left by Smith lead to a chance at close-range for Ryan Newhill whose shot crashed into the post. But with 77 minutes gone the hosts dream of a comeback were dashed by Phil O’Callaghan who placed his shot wide of the ‘keeper from Matt Donlevy’s superb cross field ball. Although the game was now beyond them Bayswater continued to plug away and Newhill was the scorer of a deserved late consolation goal.
Perth S.C. twice recovered from going behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Western Knights at Nash Field. A top days entertainment is always assured when these two old foes get together and today’s meeting continued that tradition. The ball had been in motion only 3 minutes when the Knights were awarded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Stuart Montgomery rocketed into the bottom corner much to the delight of a boisterous home crowd. Perth were unlucky not to draw level shortly after through Aaron Cole who, with back to goal, looped the ball on to the crossbar. Shane McNally and Robbie Puca were working overtime in midfield to assert some influence over a game played at a cracking pace. The home side were left fuming when appeals for a penalty were ignored after Cole tugged the shirt of Montgomery after he’d gone clear of the defence. Paul Cooke should have done better than blaze high from a Jon Higgins cross, while at the opposite end Matt Danskin stung Tommi Tomich’s hands with a vicious left-footer. Eighteen minutes into the second half Tomich spilled a Danskin cross and Puca was on hand to sweep the equaliser into an unguarded net. This sparked the home team into life and eight minutes later a foul on Paul Devlin resulted in another free-kick and again Montgomery beat the wall and goalkeeper to put the hosts ahead. Andrew Jennings and Montgomery both shot wide as the hosts went in search of a third goal to kill the game off. The misses would prove costly as four minutes from the end Danskin clipped the ball to the near post where Barry Wood slid it past the ‘keeper from 4-metres. There was still time for a few more drama’s as Tomich denied Wood in a one-on-one, and a second yellow card to Peter Lord saw Perth end the day with ten men.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIX (Balcatta vs South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix; Canning City vs Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City)
Morley Windmills defeated Rockingham City 3-1 in a game crucial for both clubs at Dowling Street Reserve. Rockingham started confidently and early long-range efforts from Luka Ivanovic and Jay Carmichael weren't far wide of the mark. Slowly but surely Morley got into stride as a free-kick from Adrian McBride flashed over the crossbar while Wayne Culverwell was denied in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The forward pairing of Damien Todorovic and Ray Rose was posing the most significant threat for Rockingham so it came as no surprise when Todorovic opened the scoring by skipping past Luke Rennie and Glenn Hornby to arrow a fine shot across the 'keeper. With Paul Dundo and Scott McIlroy controlling midfield it didn't take long for Morley to add a second through Rose who weaved through the defence to score from close-range. After the break Rockingham showed greater purpose and substitute Rob Crerar shot high when well placed. Poor defending again let the home side down when Rose rounded the 'keeper to net after receiving a cross from Bobby Irving. Nine minutes before the final whistle Rockingham scored their consolation as Crerar's cross fell to Ivanovic who expertly curled the ball into the far top corner.
It was smiles all round for Balcatta who ran out 4-0 winners over South West Phoenix at Graham Burkett Reserve. Phoenix were content to sit back and soak up the early pressure as Balcatta launched a series of attacking raids during the opening quarter hour. As the minutes ticked by the visitors got more involved and Steve Suttie struck the post with a fine volley from 18-metres. The match was played at a blistering pace with the ball relayed from one end to the other with regularity. Somewhat against the run of play Balcatta went ahead in the 30th minute when Rob Giorgi angled the ball past goalkeeper Mark Cavanagh. Phoenix weren't deterred and continued to attack only to go a further goal down when Perry Ielati headed in right on the stroke of half-time. Phoenix came out firing after the break and although they enjoyed a fair share of possession the visitors lacked penetration against a disciplined Balcatta defence. Adrian Calovero delivered the knock out blow in the 75th minutes when poor defending at a corner allowed him to head in at close-range. Calovero added salt to the wound by putting away the hosts fourth goal with seven minutes remaining.
Canning City registered a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Gosnells City's expense when they met at Willetton Sports Club. In a tight first half Canning made the better start and would go on to enjoy the lion's share of possession. Canning's pace was causing problems for the visitors and midway through the period Marc Sim's shot was parried by teenage custodian Robbie Figg who could do nothing as Daniel Trevisiol converted the follow-up. But within a minute parity had been restored after a defensive mix-up put the ball at the feet of Ian Maguire who pushed it out to Brian Cairney and he made no mistake from 10-metres. A dubious offside call denied Gosnells the lead as Cairney's shot from distance was turned in by Andy Daffin. The second half started with Gosnells on top but unable to really threaten Jeff Cargill's goal. On 64 minutes Julio Barrendilla got in behind the defence and Figg deflected his shot wide, but when Gosnells failed to clear the resulting corner Garth Lecky lashed in goal number two from 17-metres. Lecky had his second a few minutes later by firing in following a Mick Van Dongen corner. The final nail was driven in by Ross Posthuma whose shot from distance made its way through a crowded area and inside the far post.
At Hartfield Park, Fremantle Spirit’s 1-0 defeat of Forrestfield United extended their winning run to five games. The games only goal arrived after 18 minutes through David Rodgers. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Ashfield marked their return to action by thrashing Dianella White Eagles 6-0 on home soil. Andy O’Neill scored three, Mark Purcell two and Edin Mehic one goal for Ashfield. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
WARD STAYING PUT
Nick Ward's possible move to Queens Park Rangers has been blocked at the first juncture. Perth Glory, via Football Federation Australia, have told the London club that Ward is not for sale. The 21-year old midfielder has been given permission to turn out for Stirling Lions after expressing his concern about the number of games he was playing in the A-League. "We play twenty-one games and that can't compare to boys in my age who are in Europe playing more than forty games a season," Ward said. "And now we've got a six month break (between seasons)." Ward made his State league return last weekend against Perth and expected to start in today's home game against Sorrento.
LAZARIDIS STILL A WANTED MAN
Stan Lazaridis might be without a club after being axed by English side Birmingham City, but there's no shortage of offers awaiting the Socceroo midfielder. Just days after being released by Birmingham no less than five A-League clubs and four English clubs have tabled their interest in the 33-year old, while the Middle East looms as another option. "I've got a lot of important decisions to make, and there's a host of clubs I'm speaking too, but I'm still figuring out what I want to do next," Lazaridis said.
Lazaridis was a fans' favourite at St Andrews and was only released by manager Steve Bruce in a desperate attempt to slash wages as the relegated club prepares for life in the Championship. While Lazaridis has been strongly linked with a move to both Adelaide United and Perth Glory, the unfancied New Zealand Knights are rumoured to be putting together a blockbuster offer. Melbourne Victory and Queensland Roar are thought to be the other clubs interested in bringing him to Australia.
While Lazaridis is still wanted by several English clubs - including Crystal Palace, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City - the lure of coming home might outweigh the financial rewards from playing abroard. "The question I've got to weigh up is: 'do I bring my family home (to Australia) or do I stay overseas for one more year?'" said Lazaridis. "I've got two kids and it's a situation where I want to come home but it's got to be right."
Lazaridis believes national team coach Guus Hiddink had already settled on his starting team for Germany, despite making some surprise squad choices. "There was a few inclusions that probably surprised people and probably a few exclusions, too, but what people have got to understand is that Guus already has the first eleven in his mind," Lazaridis explained. "There's probably five or six players in there that are probably not going to get used."
With Asian Cup qualifiers just around the corner, team officials have expressed concerns that Australia may be left with some gaping holes to fill should many of their seasoned campaigners retire from international football following the World Cup. Lazaridis says he has no plans to call it quits for the Socceroos after Germany. "They want some players to hang around for a while to be part of the Asia Cup. So if I'm in Australia I'll play on with the Socceroos for a year. If I'm not, it would make it impossible," Lazaridis said of the extra burden of playing in England.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A small gap has developed at the top of the Premier League table with Floreat Athena and Sorrento leading the way after six games. Floreat turned in a dominant performance to pummel Inglewood United 4-0 through goals by John Migas, Adam Bachillor, Boima Karpeh and substitute Simon Barber. Sorrento remain as the only undefeated team after their 3-1 home win against Stirling Lions. Todd Harnwell scored twice and Simon Harland once for the Gulls.
Cockburn City won for th efirst time in a month by out-scoring Armadale 1-0. E.C.U. Joondalup came back from being two goals down at the break to draw 2-2 with Swan I.C. Bayswater City's woes continued with a 2-4 home loss to Wanneroo City. And the points were shared at Nash Field where Western Knights drew 2-2 with Perth S.C. Stuart Montgomery got both goals for the hosts with Robbie Puca and Barry Wood netting for Perth.
Fremantle Spirit's 1-0 away defeat of Forrestfield United extended their winning run to five games in the First Division. An early season surprise is the form of Morley Windmills who 3-1 win at Rockingham City takes them to second place. Balcatta spanked South West Phoenix 4-0, and Dianella White Eagles proved no match for a rampant Ashfield who emerged victorious by 6-0. Canning City continued their move away from the foot of the table by thumping Gosnells City 4-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's another blockbuster weekend on the local scene with important games for sides at either end of the Premier League table. Litis Stadium plays host to the match of the day in which competition pacesetter Floreat Athena come up against an Inglewood United side which is very much on the rise. A hard-working midfield is the key to Floreat's game and particularly the forward drive provided by Josip Magdic and Adam Bachillor. Like their opponent, Inglewood aren't short of attacking options and Louis Parkinson and Dean Apelgren will play important roles tomorrow.
Western Knights and Perth S.C. have developed a healthy rivalry over the years and a new chapter in that will be written on Saturday at Nash Field. The Leagues only two undefeated sides, Stirling Lions and Sorrento, meet at Macedonia Park. E.C.U. Joondalup are expected to come out on top when Swan I.C. journey to the northern suburbs. Armadale will be looking for their first point of the season when Cockburn City call by Alfred Skeet Oval. It's vital that Bayswater City pick up at least one point from their home meeting with Wanneroo City.
Canning City and Gosnells City are still finding their feet and their meeting at Willetton Sportsman Club is the pick of the First Division action. It's bottom verses top when Forrestfield United meet Fremantle Spirit at Hartfield Park. Balcatta have home ground advantage against South West Phoenix. Morley Windmills will be confident of coming home from Rockingham City with at least a share of the points. Dianella White Eagles will need to be on top of their game if they plan to bring Ashfield's unbeaten run to a halt. With the week off are Mandurah City.
KNIGHTS FAREWELL NIELSEN
If Western Knights needed added incentive to defeat arch-rival Perth S.C. this weekend then the fact it's Claus Nielsen's last game for the club should provide it. Nielsen, undoubtedly one of the best imports to grace the local stage in a long time, will shortly relocate to Adelaide with his family for work reasons. The Knights have plans to send the classy Dane off in style, and that means victory over Perth. "What could be more appropriate than playing our long-time nemesis Perth in Claus' last game," pondered Knights striker Stuart Montgomery. "We're hoping to give him the perfect going away present and get our second win of the season against Perth."
"In the five years he's been with the club Claus become a Knights legend," added Montgomery. "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is one of the best players in the state. Whether on the training track or on match day Claus' attitude is second to none, and that rubs off on all those around him. In five years I've seen Claus play in almost every position and I'm yet to see an opponent get the better of him. He's one of the nicest blokes I've ever met and, while he doesn't have a lot to say, when he speaks everyone listens. To say we're going to miss him is an understatement, players like Claus are not easily replaced."
Born in Denmark, Nielsen came to Perth initially to study at the University of W.A. He joined the Knights for the winter of 2001 and quickly earned the respect of team mates and opponents alike. A sensational second season saw Nielsen edged out by Jamie Coyne for the Gold Medal awarded to the Premier League's best player. His crowning glory was season 2003 which began with victory in the Night Series final, and ended with Nielsen scooping his clubs' Fairest and Best and Players' Player of the Year awards, and third place in the Gold Medal count. A serious knee injury rule out him the following year but Nielsen was at his brilliant best last year when he won his second club Fairest and Best and claimed fifth in the Gold Medal.
MARKETPLACE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
Local fans can show their true colours during the World Cup thanks to Soccer Souvenir Wholesale. The Marketplace, a new initiative of Soccer Souvenir Wholesale, provides you the opportunity to purchase national and club team scarves, badges, flags, supporters shirts and a whole lot more from a West Australian outlet.
"I've been in the business of selling football souvenirs for over twenty years but this is my first excursion into the world of online retail," explained Bob Brown, the driving force behind Soccer Souvenir Wholesale. "We carry a wide range of merchandise with the emphasis being on items which are not readily available in Perth."
Brown has been involved with football in this state since his arrival in from the United Kingdom in 1959. He held a variety of playing, coaching and administrative roles with North Perth, Perth City and the West Australian Soccer Federation. Between 1976 and 1998 Brown managed 'Sports Forum' which was Perth's leading outlet for all things football during that period.
LEE HEADS NORTH TO JOONDALUP (by Peter Simcox)
Gold Medallist Mark Lee will spend the remainder of the season with E.C.U. Joondalup after parting company with Bayswater City this week. The hard-working midfielder is expected to make his Joondalup debut on Saturday against on of his former clubs, Swan I.C. "I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead, and I still have lots to learn" said Lee. "But if I can help out with some of the younger players at Joondalup and pass on the little experience I have, it will hopefully be a good season for us all."
Although disappointed at leaving Bayswater, Lee feels the timing was right for both parties. "As happens at all clubs, there have been some problems (at Bayswater) and I felt at this stage it was time for me to move on," he explained. "Hopefully it will work out best for both Bayswater and myself. There's a great deal of talent down at the club and with the addition of a few new faces I hope they can stay in the Premier League, hopefully as I've made some good friends at the club."
It's no secret that Bayswater have had a traumatic start of the home and away series but Lee is staying tight-lipped about the clubs problems. "That's totally out of the players hands," he said. "It's a shame but I believe all clubs go through problems and I've certainly seen my fair share having played in four different countries. I hope Bayswater can get it resolved sooner rather than later as there are some good people involved with the club and I wish them all the best for the future."
Lee's signing for Joondalup has been welcomed by coach Stuart Currie. "It's a great signing for us," said Currie. "Mark isn't just a good player he is a top bloke. He'll bring his experience to the club, which will help us as we have a number of younger players here. Mark will undoubtedly take a few under his wing and hopefully their game will improve." Currie is confident his new recruit will add signing a new dimension to his teams' game plan. "Mark's a quality crosser of the ball and his all round game makes him a welcome inclusion to the squad."
DRAW MADE FOR CUP ROUND TWO
The Second Round of the prestigious association Cup has thrown together some intriguing match-ups. Floreat Athena has been drawn at home to Inglewood United for what looms as the pick of the games. Another game already being talked up is Mandurah City's home clash with Swan I.C. Perth S.C. continue their defence of the knock-out trophy away at Armadale. And Western Knights have a tricky home date with Wanneroo City.
The only all First Division meeting pits Forrestfield United against Canning City at Hartfield Park. First Division side Ashfield have a difficult away game against Cockburn City of the top flight, and Rockingham City find themselves in the same boats when they travel to Stirling Lions. E.C.U. Joondalup has the bye necessitated by Bassendean Caledonian's late withdrawal from this seasons' semi-professional competition. All games are scheduled for Saturday 3rd June.
KIWI'S TAKE OUT TRANS-TASMAN SERIES
Australia has gone down to New Zealand in their Trans-Tasman series at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The Kiwi's won the opening two games of the friendly series before the Young Socceroo's reclaimed some pride with victory in last night's final meeting. These games were Australia's initial steps on the path towards the Asian Football Confederation's Under-20 Championship in India this October and November. Representing Western Australia against the Kiwi's were A.I.S. scholarship holders Aleksander Vrteski, Tando Velaphi and Nikita Rukavtysa.
The Young Socceroos lost 0-1 to their New Zealand counterparts in the opening clash last Thursday. Troy Hearfield went closest to scoring for Australia when he struck the woodwork early in the second half. The goal which separated the sides arrived on the hour and via Sam Jenkins. Australia worked hard to get back on level terms with substitute Christopher Nunes leading the way but the visiting nation defended well to take out the game. Velaphi played a full game between the posts.
New Zealand took a stranglehold over the series by out-scoring Australia 3-1 on Sunday. Sam Jenkins opened the scoring after 29 minutes when his shot travelled through an ill-prepared defensive wall and past Vrteski. Michael White doubled the visitor's lead early the second half before Evan Berger brought Australia back into the game via a free-kick. Jenkins secured a New Zealand victory nine minutes from full-time with a neat shot from the edge of the penalty area. Vrteski played a full game while Rukavtysa came off the bench at half-time.
Everything finally clicked into place last night for Australia who registered a 4-2 win over their Trans-Tasman rival. A goal on the half hour from George Barbarouses was all that separated the sides at the interval. Hearfield levelled in the 68th minute, and then put Australia in front nine minutes later. Further goals from Chris Grossman and Bruce Djite were countered by Nick Roydhouse's goal in the final minute for New Zealand. Vrteski, Velaphi and Rukavtysa were all unused substitutes for the final game.
SURPRISES IN WORLD CUP SQUAD
Guus Hiddink has sprung a number of surprises in his twenty-three man Australian squad for the World Cup finals next month. Uncapped duo Josh Kennedy and Mark Milligan have been called up for the trip to Germany along with attack minded Mile Sterjovski who returns to the side after an eleven month absence. There are five changes from the squad which beat Uruguay in the play-offs, the most notable being veteran defender Tony Vidmar who withdrew because of a heart irregularity. Ljubo Milicevic, Ahmad Elrich, Michael Thwaite and Joel Griffiths were all omitted.
While readily admitting Australia have a tough group draw, Hiddink says the Socceroos aren't going to Germany just to make up the numbers and have set their sights on causing an upset or two. "We are very happy to be on the world stage after thirty-two years," commented the Socceroos coach. "Happy to be there but I know that the team is not settling down and just participating. This team is so eager to get a surprise to get into the second round."
"The chances are difficult to say - we have a tough group," Hiddink added. "Japan have played in the last few World Cups and they have experience with European-based players so they are a tough team to beat. Brazil, everyone knows that will be a special game. The Croatian game has a history of itself because of a lot of connections between Australian-Croatians so that will be a very hectic clash at the end."
Hiddink will hold off announcing who'll captain Australia at the World Cup until he's had time to discuss the appointment with is players. "I have something in mind (the captain) and I will release it when I am with the players. I think that is fair to talk first with the players to say what I am thinking and what has been decided," he said. "I like to be open and transparent about these things. Once we are all together in Europe a few days before the Greece game I will announce it."
The Australian squad for the 2006 World Cup finals is John Aloisi (Alaves), Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski (FC Basel), Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City), Michael Beauchamp (Central Coast Mariners), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Josh Kennedy (Dynamo Dresden), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Tim Cahill (Everton), Ante Covic (Hammarby), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough), Zeljko Kalac (AC Milan), Craig Moore (Newcastle United), Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella (Parma), Josip Skoko (Stoke City), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC) and Stan Lazaridis (uncontracted).
JONES CONSIDERS INTERNATIONAL OPTIONS
A disgruntled Brad Jones is considering pledging his international future to England or France after being keep in the dark by Australia in the lead-up to World Cup squad selection. The Armadale-born shot-stopper says he's not been contacted by Australian team officials despite some impressive performances for Middlesbrough in recent weeks.
"I'm not holding my breath, I haven't had any contact, so I don't expect to all of a sudden be included in the squad," Jones told AAP. "To be honest, I'm disappointed that I haven't been looked at or had a chance to train before the manager. I'm younger than the rest of them and if that's what is keeping me out of the squad, then fair enough. But I've played a fair few games and gone reasonably well so I am disappointed but not really surprised."
Jones holds a British passport and his wife is French, and he is considering switching nationalities to give him greater international opportunities if left out of the Socceroos squad for Germany. "At the moment I am eligible for two countries and next year possibly three with my wife being French," he said. "I'm 24, so I have got a few World Cups left in me hopefully."
SUPERIOR ATTITUDE GIVES WARD THE EDGE
Nick Ward continues to attract attention from overseas with Queens Park Rangers the latest to make enquiries. The London club's interest comes hot on the heels of Ward's recent trial with Leicester City. And although the talented 21-year old recently inked a new two-year deal with Perth Glory, Ward could soon be heading to England should QPR come forward with a contract offer. It's been a sensational couple of months for Ward who won the A-League's Rising Star Award in March, and just last month represented Australia at Under-23 level in a four-nation tournament hosted by Vietnam.
Mike Lyons, who spotted Ward's potential when he was coming through the junior ranks at E.C.U. Joondalup, says the midfielder is like many Australian players in that he had an excellent attitude to the game. "Some of the lads here are as good as those in Britain," commented the Stirling Lions coach. "The best thing abut the players in Australia is their attitude. You look at Everton and the player with the best attitude is (Socceroo midfielder) Tim Cahill. I think Nicky Ward is one of those kinds of players."
BIRMINGHAM CONFIRM LAZARIDIS EXIT
Stan Lazaridis is a free agent after confirmation of his release by Birmingham City. The Blues had the option of another twelves months on Lazaridis' contract but have chosen not to take it up following their relegation from the English Premier League. Perth Glory, Adelaide United and Newcastle United Jets coach have all expressed interest in signing Lazaridis for the new A-League season. Lazaridis made 222 League and Cup appearances over his seven seasons at Birmingham. Prior to heading to St Andrews he spent four seasons with West Ham United for 87 games.
WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND THREE (by Penny TannerHoath)
Queens Park took out a closely fought match with Subiaco United 1-0 at Rosalie Park. It didn't taken long before the end-to-end nature of the game to become established with both defences under constant pressure from early on. A close-range shot by Queens Park striker Tina Rowatt flew just over the cross bar. The hosts' countered through D.Huegi whose strike from distance beat the goalkeeper but was also beyond the target.
The games only game came in the 14th minute when a booming clearance by Julia McInerney bounced awkwardly over the home defence and Tina Rowatt neatly side-stepped the 'keeper before pushing the ball into an empty net. Subiaco picked up the tempo and controlled much of the game through the surging runs and piercing distribution of midfielders Huegi and E.Semmens. Although both teams created numerous chances there was no addition to the scoreline before the break.
The second half saw Subiaco in an attacking frame of mind but they met strong resistance from a Queens Park backline spearheaded by captain Helen Bremer and youngster Nikki Campbell. The intensity and pace at which the game was played took its toll and tired legs led to some sloppy tackling as the clock ticked down. The last chance of the day came the way of Jo Allen whose sizzling shot was kept out of the top corner by McInerney.
Queens Park's hard-earned win keeps them undefeated after three games and on par with Balcatta at the top of the Premier League table. Newly promoted Mandurah City, hampered by the lack of a recognised goalkeeper, lost to a young and inexperienced Northern Redbacks 2-0. East Fremantle showed great fighting spirit in putting two goals past Balcatta who ended their meeting as 5-2 victors.
TWO VIE FOR GLORY OWNERSHIP
The race to take control of Perth Glory is down to two - the Singapore-based World Sports Group and the local consortium featuring Argentine legend Gabriel Batistuta. The two groups will present their cases to Football Federation Australia officials John O'Neill and Matt Carroll with the fortnight, with a final decision expected by the end of the month. The submissions will include outlines for playing, coaching staff and administrative staff.
"John (O'Neill) and myself will set a deadline this week and the presentations will take place in Perth or Sydney and then we'll make a recommendation to the FFA board," Carroll told David Davotovic of the "Sunday Times" newspaper. "The most important thing is financial and managerial strength and their ability to run a professional football team. We'll assess them on that and their plans for the A-League. They must be ambitious in their plans for Glory, particularly on the field."
The local consortium is fronted by businessman Tom Galopoulos, who has links with Batistuta. Their bid will have a strong local flavour as they are keen to forge closer ties to the West Australian football community. The strength of the bid by World Sports Group is their link with the Asian Football Confederation, although it's board would consist mainly of Perth-based members. While both consortiums would refer to go it alone it is understood neither have ruled out joint ownership.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIVE (Swan I.C. vs Floreat Athena by Peter Simcox; Sorrento vs Bayswater City by Kerry Slater; Wanneroo City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Kirk O'Connor; Cockburn City vs Western Knights courtesy Western Knights; Inglewood United vs Armadale by Anton Coates)
Floreat Athena climbed to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 victory over Swan I.C. in glorious conditions at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors opened brightly as Corey Hugo denied Adam Bachiller and Boima Karpeh while Okwy Diamondstar rattled the post. Although shell shocked, Swan began to get more involved and Damien Catalano cut past his man but his goal bound strike was held by Vas Vujacic. Jonathon Mathers surged forward before feeding a pass to David Foster but Vujacic read the play and quickly snuffed out the opportunity. Shortly before the half came to an end Floreat had the ball in the net through Diamondstar but his effort was disallowed for offside. The second half began with Bachiller again testing Hugo, then at the opposite end Scott Campbell's diving header was just wide from a Foster cross. The introduction of Branimir Mikulic in the 65th minute would prove decisive as, just minutes later, the big attacker jinxed his way past three opponents before playing to the feet of Karpeh who blasted it wide of Hugo but inside the upright. This opened the game up and Vujacic was called upon to keep out a header from Foster. As Athena piled on the pressure the home team looked increasingly at Hugo who made world-class saves from Bachiller and Adrian Sutton. But there was nothing the Swan custodian could do in the 77th minute when Mikulic took possession inside the 18-yard box, shrugged off his marker and coolly slotted into the net. Attempts by Swan to peg a goal back proved fruitless as Foster slid the ball just wide after pouncing on a defensive mix-up. By the same token Floreat were unlucky not to add a third to their tally with Costa Socratous heading over and Hugo blocked a close-range effort by Bachiller.
Sorrento romped their way to a 7-0 thrashing of Bayswater City in a one-sided affair at Percy Doyle Reserve. The star of the show was striker Simon Harland whose hat-trick inspired the Gulls to remain undefeated after five games. Sorrento were quickly on the attack with the result being they had the lead after just 5 minutes through Todd Harnwell who played a neat one-two with Glen Thomas before picking his spot past goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. The margin was doubled just after the quarter hour when James Morgan slotted through to Harnwell on the right and his cross was nodded in by Harland. With 24 minutes gone Sorrento added a third goal as Harland headed in after Danny Hill flicked on a Michael Ord free-kick. Bayswater tried desperately to assert some influence over proceedings but struggled to break down a defence under the control of Richard Watson and Hill. Their only chances on goal came from distance but neither Sal Marrapodi nor Mark Lee was able to catch Neil Young out. Five minutes into the second half Hill stooped to head a corner from the left by Thomas into the net as Sorrento continued their goalscoring spree. Four minutes later, Harland was stopped illegally and from the resultant free kick taken by Thomas, Koroma was good to save low down to his left. Bayswater were slow to react to an ill-directed shot from distance by Brad Hassell which was seized upon by Jared Love who was allowed the time to slot past Koroma from inside the 18-yard box. Harland turned provider on 64 minutes by nodding the ball down to Harnwell whose clinical finish gave the home side their sixth goal of the day. The final blow was delivered with three minutes remaining as a thunderbolt from Thomas cannoned off the crossbar and Harland was on hand to put the follow up in the net from close-range.
It was a day to remember for Wanneroo City whose 4-0 spanking of northern rival E.C.U. Joondalup was the upset result of Round Five. Joondalup began the day on top of the Premier league table and confident of extending their unbeaten run to five games. And not surprisingly the visiting team were on the attack from early as Garin Collins forced a sharp response from goalkeeper Kevin Miller after just a few minutes. Not to be outdone, Phil O'Callaghan opened up a passage to goal shortly after but was denied by Peter Stewart. Legitimate appeals for a Wanneroo penalty were turned down in the 10th minute after Craig Bowman was brought down by Jamie Kuzmanovich when through on goal. Two minutes later O'Callaghan sent a tantalising cross into the area where Derek Cooke nipped away from his marker to put away the games opening goal. Joondalup looked most dangerous at set pieces and their best chance came via a Dale McCulloch free-kick which Miller acrobatically tipped over the crossbar. Just a few minutes before half-time Wanneroo doubled their lead when Stewart failed to hold a high ball which Cooke tapped gleefully into an unguarded net. The second half was four minutes old when Wanneroo effectively put the result beyond doubt as good work on the right by Will Hodges saw him slide an inch-perfect pass to O'Callaghan who swept the ball past Stewart from 10-metres. The route was completed in the 64th minute when Cooke's shot was parried by Stewart and O'Callaghan pounced on the loose ball to put away his second, and Wanneroo's fourth, of the afternoon. The closest Joondalup came to scoring a consolation goal was when Craig Cheesman fired into the side netting from an acute angle.
Western Knights picked up maximum points for the first time this season when they swept aside Cockburn City 2-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Picturesque conditions and the slightest hint of a breeze greeted the players as they venture out for the start of the game. Cockburn were the quicker to settle but, although the hosts controlled the early exchanges, there was very little which caused concern for Tommi Tomich. In fact, it took until the 18th minute for Cockburn to break through with a fine cross by Josh Kamasz to the back post where an unmarked Andy Cornmell forced a miraculous reflex save from Tomich at close-range. This close call has a sobering effect on the Knights who diligently steered the game in their direction through David Annall, Ivan Zuvela and Shane McNally Chances on goal flowed for the Knights with Stuart Montgomery, Andrew Jennings and McNally all going close. The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from the break when McNally lifted the ball over the defence for Jennings who fended off Paul Oliver and expertly lobbed the on-coming goalkeeper from 17-metres. Montgomery almost gave the Knights a perfect start to the second half with a stinging volley that had Alan Dunlop at full length to keep out of the top corner. For their part Cockburn mustered only scattered half chances but neither Kamasz nor John Mirco required a response from Tomich. Jennings went close to adding a second for the visitors by going past three opponents and unleashing a fierce shot from 16-metres which beat Dunlop but hit the post. Victory was secured in the 87th minute when Zuvela and Luka Jukic combined to put McNally in behind the defence to cross to the near post where Montgomery side-footed in despite the presence of Dunlop and Jason Godfrey. Mention need also be made of the performance of Jeremy Oliphant whose control of the afternoon's proceedings was faultless.
Honours were shared at 1-1 when Perth S.C. squared off with Stirling Lions to Dorrien Gardens. The opening exchanges were fast and furious as the ball was relayed from one end of the park to the other. With 9 minutes gone the Lions gained the lead as Rob Miller made his way to the byeline before cutting the ball back into the path of Jordan Rhodes who slammed it into the net from a couple of metres. Much of a very free-flowing game was played out in the middle third of the park with both defences rarely breached and genuine scoring chances were subsequently rare. Phil Straker was quick off his line in the 18th minute to smother at the feet of Jeff Bright, and shortly before the break Nick Ward's attempt was thwarted by an alert Gareth Deeg. The second half was a different story as Perth flexed their muscle and took control. Barry Wood rose highest to meet an in-swinging corner by Bright but his powerful header cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar. The next opportunity also came the way of Wood whose header from Matt Danskin cross was pushed wide by Straker at full-stretch. The hosts dominance was rewarded in the 64th minute when David Onoforo stepped past one defender and unleashed a scorching shot from 22-metres to which Straker had no response as it dipped into the far top corner. Perth were determined to go on with the job and Wood's fierce strike from an acute angle was held by the goalkeeper. Stirling were playing on the counterattack but Deeg proved their foil in the 73rd minute by making a stunning save from an Andy Brown volley at point blank range. Either side could have won the game in the closing minutes as Miller was frustrated by Deeg in a one-on-one, and Onoforo headed just wide from a Christian Debarro cross.
Inglewood United scrapped their way to a 2-1 win over Armadale at the Kiev Sports Ground. The home side could not have asked for a better start as they took the lead after 8 minutes when Daniel Neiderberger showed great composure in turning two defenders before unleashing a vicious shot that gave goalkeeper Nick Stone absolutely no chance. This had a settling effect on Armadale for whom James Isaia, Jason Goodwin and Bill Kirkpatrick worked hard in midfield and refused to allow Inglewood to dictate terms. Chances came and went at both ends before the referee sent the teams into the break at nil-all. The second half continued in much the same fashion. Jason Colli was twice thwarted by Stone in one-on-one situations and Louis Parkinson squandered a guilt-edged chance by shooting high from close-range. The best of Armadale's moves were channelled through Ben Howe who caused problems for the home defence whenever he had the ball at his feet. The game's all-important second goal came the way of Inglewood when Dean Apelgren sent a searching pass into the Colli whose low cross into the area was met by Parkinson and the lively attacker made no mistake from 8-metres. The introduction of Kevin Bissett seemed to unsettle the home defence and with Isaia and Goodwin providing the forward momentum it seemed only a matter of time before Armadale would break through. And in the 81st minute the visitors were back in the game as Isaia's cross was flicked on by Bissett to Howe who calmly slotted past Oliver Taseski. The closing stages belonged to Armadale who pressed forward in increasing numbers as they searched for an equalising goal. But it wasn't to be their day as Howe's shot was narrowly off-target while Clarke Killoh's header following a corner was hooked to safety off the line by Parkinson just before the final whistle.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIVE (Morley Windmills vs Dianella White Eagles courtesy Morley Windmills)
Fremantle Spirit registered their fourth straight win by overcoming Rockingham City 3-0 at Ken Allen Field. A lively start produced openings at both ends of the park but neither Tyrone Fenwick nor Luke Rennie could find the target. Through crisp passing Fremantle began to get on top and they deservedly went ahead after 23 minutes when Dale Wingell's through ball found David Rodgers who angled a low blast across a diving 'keeper and inside the far post. The margin was doubled eleven minutes later when Jason Barrera's cross caught the 'keeper out of position and Rodgers was presented with the simple task of heading in second of the afternoon. Chances were few and far between for Rockingham who should have scored through Steve Harding but he took one touch too many with an open goal at his mercy. The second half saw tensions rise as a number of crunching tackles went unpunished by the referee who also allowed Fremantle goalkeeper Steve Grant to stay on the park after he handled the ball outside his area. Veteran Allan Pottier showed he's lost none of his touch by cleverly chipping the 'keeper in a one-on-one situation for Fremantle's third goal eight minutes from the final whistle.
Mandurah City moved up to second place by fending off a determined Canning City 2-1 at Peelwood Parade. Canning were out of the blocks early and claimed the lead after 8 minutes as Julio Barrendilla outpaced Damien Condo to fire in a low cross that new signing Marc Sim put away at the near post. Play was evenly distributed throughout the first half which saw outstanding performances from both defensive units. Mandurah got back on level terms midway through the period when Christian Paschewitz seized upon a sloppy attempt to clear which he fired past goalkeeper Jeff Cargill. Shortly before the break the hosts struck for a second time as Michael Bobridge pulled the ball back for Paschewitz to prod in his second from a couple of metres. The second half was played at a cracking pace as Canning worked tirelessly to equalise while Mandurah looked to kill off their opponents hopes. Although the visiting side had the lions' share of the ball they failed to make the most of chances on goal. The best of these arrived late when Michael Green parried a shot to the feet of Ji-Xiang Loong but he blazed high from 8-metres.
Morley Windmills collected their third win in four outings by defeating Dianella White Eagles 3-1 at Wotton Reserve. The first genuine opening of the game fell to Morley striker Ray Rose who headed just beyond the upright after 9 minutes. Possession over the remainder of the half was evenly shared with much of play taking place in the middle third and neither goalkeeper really put to the address. The deadlock was finally broken seven minutes from the break when a quickly taken free-kick made it's way to Rose whose low strike had some of the pace taken off it by the goalkeeper but still trickled over the line. Dianella were put back in the game fifteen minutes into the second half when Dejan Djukanovic lashed a cross into the box past Matt Darling. Just eight more minutes had elapsed before Morley regained the advantage as a Rose scissor kick gave the visiting goalkeeper no chance. Damien Todorovic was given a great opportunity to add a third for the hosts but failed to hit the target with only the 'keeper to beat. Victory wasn't assured until the final minute when Rose completed his hat-trick was a powerful close-range header.
Balcatta picked up all three points by out-scoring Gosnells City 2-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Perry Ielati gave Balcatta the early lead and Adrian Caloiero secured victory by netting with fifteen minutes to play. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
South West Phoenix drew with Forrestfield United 1-1 in Bunbury. Tomasz Kowalczyk put Phoenix ahead just before half-time only to have Roger Miron equalise with eleven minutes remaining. Forrestfield's Craig Ruthven was sent off in the 65th minute. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
GLORY URGED TO BRING LAZARIDIS HOME
Former Perth Glory captain Shaun Murphy has urged the club to do everything possible to sign Stan Lazaridis. Murphy believes Glory will miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime should they fail to land Lazaridis who will end a seven-year association with Birmingham City at the end of the English season. "If they miss out on Stan it's going to be a huge loss," said Murphy, a veteran of over 400 English League and Cup appearances. "He will be a huge drawcard for Perth Glory and I think it would be proof they are going in the right direction. Stan's a personality as well, he would be a really good public face."
Glory's A-League rival Adelaide United have emerged as the frontrunner to win Lazaridis' services, having taken the initiative in the race to sign the Socceroo. However, Glory are still in the running with technical manager Mich d'Avray reportedly arranging to meet with Lazaridis next week in Adelaide. Football Federation Australia, who are temporarily in charge of Glory, have said the club would be in a position to sign a marque player even before new owners were found. Lazaridis was born and raised in Perth but his wife is from Adelaide where he retains business interests.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Floreat Athena are the Premier League leader at the completion of round five. Second half goals from Boima Karpeh and Branimir Mikulic earned Floreat a 2-0 away win over Swan I.C. Sorrento moved into second place after trouncing Bayswater City 7-0 with goals from Simon Harland (3), Todd Harnwell (2), Danny Hill and Jared Love. In the upset of the round, E.C.U. Joondalup were sent crashing from the top of the table by Wanneroo City for whom Derek Cooke (2)and Phil O'Callaghan (2) the back of the net.
Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions shared the points at 1-1. Jordan Rhodes put Stirling ahead early while one of the seasons best goals from David Onoforo brought the teams level after the break. Louis Parkinson and Daniel Neiderberger were on target as Inglewood United defeated Armadale 2-1. Western Knights registered their first win of the campaign with Andrew Jennings and Stuart Montgomery the scorers in their 2-0 win at Cockburn City.
Fremantle Spirit remain in poll position on the First Division table after defeating Rockingham City 3-0 through goals from David Rodgers (2) and Allan Pottier. Mandurah City's 2-1 win over Canning City has them just two points off the leader, and Morley Windmills move to third after out-scoring Dianella White Eagles 3-1. Balcatta returned to winning ways by accounting for Gosnells City 2-0 on their home soil. And Forrestfield United picked up their first point of the campaign by holding South West Phoenix 1-1 in Bunbury.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
If its entertainment you're after then you can't go past this weekend's round of Premier League games. The highlight of the Round Five takes place at Dorrien Gardens where reigning champion Perth S.C. come up against Stirling Lions. Graham Normanton's have been up and down over the opening month of competition but even so are favoured to take out the points. However, Stirling is currently undefeated and Mike Lyons is sure to have his troops firing on all cylinders for one of the seasons' blockbuster games.
Cockburn City and Western Knights have had contrasting starts to the season but form will count for little when the two sides run out on to Dalmatinac Park for what promises to be a cracking encounter. Floreat Athena are expected to outscore Swan I.C. when they meet in the Swan Valley, while E.C.U. Joondalup are confident of collecting all three points away at neighbouring Wanneroo City. Sorrento have home ground advantage against a luckless Bayswater City, and Inglewood United host Armadale.
First Division leader Fremantle Spirit are tipped to extend their winning run to four games when second placed Rockingham City call by Ken Allen Field. Goals have come freely for Mandurah City and this week it's Canning City who have the difficult job of trying to stem that flow. Gosnells City welcome Balcatta to Walter Padbury Reserve, and at Wotton Reserve it's Morley Windmills against Dianella White Eagles. South West Phoenix have home ground advantage against a Forrestfield United line-up still seeking their first point of the campaign. Out of action due to the bye are Ashfield.
MICEVSKI AND WARD RETURN TO LOCAL STAGE
Australian youth internationals David Micevski and Nick Ward have been given the green light to take part in tomorrow's match of the day between Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens. At the insistence of national coaches Johan Neeskens and Graham Arnold, and under a loan agreement with Perth Glory, Micevski and Ward will be eligible to play for Perth and Stirling, respectively, for up to four weeks. The pair has only recently returned to Perth from a tour of Vietnam by the Australian Under-23 side in which they played Iran, Uzbekistan and the host nation.
ABSENTEES DON'T PHASE ROKI
If Michael Roki is concerned by the imminent departure of three key players then he isn't showing it. By the end of the month Floreat Athena will be without seasoned campaigners Adrian Sutton, Costa Socratous and Peter Coci who are all off to Europe for an extended holiday. But Craig Simpson's return from abroad coupled with the recovery from injury of Paul Vlachou and Jamie Trandos has buoyed Roki's spirits.
"Adrian, Costa, Peter and Reserve team coach Anthony Mori are all heading to Europe for the holiday of a lifetime which includes attending all of Australia's games at the World Cup in Germany," Roki explained. "They leave on 24th May so we have three weeks in which to prepare the team for the structural changes necessary. I believe we have the depth of talent to cover the departures, but the major test is going to be the loss of experience and on-field leadership."
"Paul Vlachou is a prime candidate to replace one of the defenders having recovered from a hamstring injury suffered in pre-season, and Craig Simpson is expected to slot straight into the line-up following a year playing university football in the United States," Roki added. "In fact, our defence is looking pretty solid with Jamie Trandos also back in training after injury and Chris Wylie due to return sometime within the next few weeks."
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
The season may only be a few weeks old but already a group of player have laid an early claim to the 2006 Golden Boot award. Sitting jointly at the head of the Premier League leaderboard with five goals apiece are Ryan Jeans (Stirling Lions), Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) and Boima Karpeh (Floreat Athena) who is finally producing the goalscoring touch he's promised for so long. Floreat's African import Okwy Diamondstar has four goals to his credit. A further strike off the pace are Stuart Young (Sorrento), Stephen Guest (Floreat), Phil O'Callaghan (Wanneroo City) and E.C.U. Joondalup pair Dale McCulloch and Ian McMurray.
Mandurah City sharp-shooter Christian Pascherwitz has started the new season in sensational form by netting seven times in four outings to be the early leader in the First Division goalscoring award. Rydeen Botha bagged four on debut for Dianella White Eagles but has been prevented from added to that tally by injury. With three goals each are Luke O'Neill (Ashfield), Brian Cairney (Gosnells City) and Ray Rose (Morley). A large groups of players consisting of Mohammed Komaderic (Ashfield), Callum Roberts, David Rodgers (Fremantle City), Phil Bell, Lucas Whitehouse (Forrestfield United), Andrew Daffin (Gosnells), Michael Bobridge (Mandurah), A.Cowley, Gary Mayers (South West Phoenix), and S.Hardie (Rockingham City) are gathered on two goals.
ARMADALE UPBEAT ABOUT PROSPECTS
The season may be a month old, and Armadale may still be searching for their first point, but that's no reason to write them off according to assistant coach Gary Ramm. After a string of solid performances against the likes of E.C.U. Joondalup, Wanneroo City and Swan I.C., Ramm says it is only a matter of time before Armadale start finding their feet. "Once the team really gels together, and it's still a new team, we'll get there," commented Ramm. "Last year we were also rans and nothing but we don't look anything like that this year."
Armadale's willingness to expose the younger members of their squad to senior football is another reason Ramm remains upbeat. "On Saturday against Swan we probably had an average age of twenty-one," he explained. "Some of the lads are seventeen or eighteen and most of them are nineteen, I think the oldest player out there was (27-year old) Nick Stone. There's only one way forward for us and we are certainly not down for the count yet." Darryl Platten and Ben Howe are both established starters for the club while teenagers Marlon Ramirez, Tim De Souza and Kodi Madeley are expected to feature significantly as the season progresses.
OLD TRAFFORD HEROICS FROM JONES
Brad Jones has given himself a massive boost ahead of his club's UEFA Cup Final appearance against Seville next Wednesday. With Mark Schwarzer battling to recover from a fractured cheekbone in time for the big game, Jones chose the biggest Premiership stage to underline his credentials. The 23-year old pulled off a superb penalty save from Ruud van Nistelrooy as Boro survived a second half onslaught to earn a 0-0 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Assured handling and a clean sheet at Old Trafford will forever look good on the CV, especially when the ball is hit with power by a world class striker. "I'm getting more confident now. It's hard to come into big games, having to produce, after being on the bench," said Jones. "I've taken some criticism lately, deservedly so against Everton, but at times undeservedly. So it's great to keep a clean sheet here. It looks good to save a van Nistelrooy penalty, but I was not tested much, thanks to Matthew Bates and Chris Riggott and the hard work of the midfield."
While it's true that Jones was well protected by his team mates, a goalkeeper is exposed from the penalty spot and is on his own - almost. "You have to decide which way to go, and I had an idea which way van Nistelrooy would hit it. Stewart Downing indicated the same - I listen to team mates when they agree with me!," he added. "It's all about watching the taker, then having decided, go hard and fast that way, and that's what I did. Apart from that there's not much technique involved. It's good for me and the team and will lift our confidence ahead of Eindhoven."
Jones may not know until hours before next week's game whether or not he will get the nod ahead of Schwarzer. Boro coaching staff will give the experienced shot-stopper as long as possible to recover from the fractured cheek he suffered in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to West Ham United. But Jones will be between the posts at Bolton Wanderers this evening and and Fulham on Sunday, and is clearly ready and able should Schwarzer lose his race against time.
MARQUE PLAYER ON THE AGENDA FOR GLORY
Football Federation Australia is prepared to splash out on an overseas star to help revitalise Perth Glory, even before the governing body has finalised new owners. The national body, which officially took over the Glory reins from Nick Tana yesterday, is prepared to act quickly to tie up a deal if the right marque player becomes available. "We're going to be running Perth for the next month, so if we came across a player who was the perfect marque player then sure we'd look to sign him," said FFA official Eugenie Buckley who'll oversee the club's operations until a new owner is found. The FFA is negotiating with four potential investors and expects to complete the transfer of ownership by the end of the month.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS TO MEET NEW ZEALAND
The Young Socceroos continue preparations for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup qualifiers later this year with a three-match series against New Zealand next week. National youth coach Ange Postecoglou has drawn heavily on the Australian Institute of Sport with twenty of his twenty-four players drawn from the program. Amongst those called up for the series, which is itself part of a ten-day training camp at the A.I.S., are West Australians Nikita Rukavtysa, Tando Velaphi and Aleksander Vrteski.
Fresh from a handful of guest appearances for Wanneroo City, Vrteski is looking forward to the upcoming series. "It will be good to play against New Zealand because there is always a good bit of trans-Tasman rivalry, hopefully we will get three wins and make it a clean-sweep!," he commented. The Young Socceroos first outing against New Zealand is on the afternoon of Thursday 4th May and is followed by games on Sunday 7th May and Wednesday 10th May. All three friendlies will be played at the A.I.S. Athletic Track.
The complete Australian squad is Joel Allwright, Evan Berger, Blake Charity, Foad Comandari, Bruce Djite, James Downey, Peter Eleftherakis, Chris Grossman, Troy Hearfield, Greg King, Robbie Kruse, Michael Marrone, Christopher Nunes, Stephen O'dor, Shaun Ontong, Nikita Rukavtysa, Matthew Spiranovic, Tando Velaphi, Dario Vidosic, Aleksander Vrteski (Australian Institute of Sport), Ben Kennedy (Broadmeadow Magic), Jamie Cumming (Frankston Pines), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets) and Wade Oostendorp (Sydney F.C.).
COACH NEVER DOUBTED JOONDALUP FIGHTBACK
E.C.U. Joondalup coach Stuart Currie had no doubt his side would overturn a two-goal deficit against Bayswater City on Saturday. But as unlikely as it seemed at half-time that the northern suburbs club would take out maximum points, Currie had faith that the players would produce a match-winning response. "We were two-nil down against the run of play and we said if we keep doing what we were doing we'd get a goal," commented Currie. "We thought that if we got one we'd get four." Ian McMurray started Joondalup's dramatic comeback early in the second half before Garin Collins drew the teams level. McMuray put Joondalup ahead and captain Dale McCulloch bagged his third of the season to put the icing on the cake.
GLORY GREET NEW SEASON WITH BIG MONTH OF GAMES
Today's release of fixtures for the second A-League season have revealed some tantalising opening month to Perth Glory's 2006/07 campaign. Glory will begin the new season away to Miron Bleiberg's talented Queensland Roar on Saturday 26th August. Returning to Perth the following weekend, Glory host last season's grand finalist Central Coast Mariners on Sunday 3rd September. Their opening month of games is completed with outings against reigning champions Sydney F.C. and premiers Adelaide United.
"It will be a tough first month and our first home game is against Central Coast Mariners, the only team in the A-League we have not beaten yet," said captain Jamie Harnwell. "That will make all the lads here more determined and we want to make Members Equity Stadium an intimidating place for opposition teams to visit once again. We didn't perform as well as we had expected last season and I know the squad wants to rectify that situation with much better results this time around."
Matt Carroll, FFA head of operations, remains confident that a new Glory owner of could be in place by the end of May, with a number of potential investors showing serious interest. "Last weeks historic announcement regarding the Fox Sports broadcast deal for Football matches in Australia has increased the confidence of the interested parties to invest in Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League. As a result we are looking to secure a new owner for Perth Glory in the coming weeks."
OLIVEIRA LEADS SOUTH MELBOURNE TO VICTORY
An Andreas Oliveira hat-trick has inspired South Melbourne to a 4-1 victory over Bulleen Zebras in the Victorian Premier League. The match-winning haul took Oliveira's tally to four goals in three games for South Melbourne, and seven in total which includes the three goals he netted for Frankston Pines at the start of the season. Unfortunately it wasn't such a joyous occasion for Dino Djulbic who was sent off minutes into the second half.
Oliviera's day got off to a flying start when his rasping shot from 18-metres slipped through the goalkeeper's hands and trickled over the line with just 6 minutes played. Bulleen equalised soon after thanks to Steve Martin, and on 31 minutes Antonio Naglieri came on as replacement for the injured Con Blatsis. Seven minutes from the break Oliveira converted Vaughan Coveny's measured cross to the back post to restore the hosts lead.
The second half started with a bang as Djulbic was issued his second yellow card despite making minimal contact with Tomas Kovar. The home side adjusted and the result was put beyond doubt on 62 minutes when Oliveira sent in a looping corner with vicious curl that eluded the Bulleen defenders and sailed into Kovar's net. South Melbourne wrapped up proceedings when Fernando De Moraes volleyed between 'keeper and near post in the 69th minute.
Oliveira, Naglieri and Djulbic started the Victorian season with Frankston and, after six appearances each, joined South Melbourne at the beginning of last month. The West Australian trio played full games on debut in the Round Nine defeat of Richmond a fortnight ago. Oliviera opened his account for the club in the following weeks' loss to Oakleigh Cannons in which Oliveira and Djulbic played full games while Naglieri was replaced with ten minutes remaining.
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This page was last updated on the 30th June, 2006