SOCCEROOS UNCONVINCING IN DEFEATING SINGAPRORE
Two goals from Mark Viduka and a Harry Kewell rocket earned a rusty Australia a 3-0 win in this evenings friendly with Singapore at the Kallang National Stadium. The win, the Socceroos 200th international victory, was the final hit out for the squad in the lead up to the Asian Cup which starts next weekend. It was a far from convincing display from Australia who struggled with the humid conditions and a lack of match practice.
The Socceroos provided some early pressure with Viduka and Jason Culina going close, but it was the host nation, backed by a crowd of 45,000, who had the best of the first half. A 35th minute error by Lucas Neill lead to Singapore captain Indra Sahdan forcing a fine save out of Mark Schwarzer. The Australian goalkeeper was in action again two minutes later, this time padding away the ball after Sahdan again burst into space.
Australia emerged for the second half more attack-minded and it paid off when Culina's looping cross from the right was headed in by Viduka. Singapore kept coming and Khairul Amri crashed a well-struck shot into the woodwork after 56 minutes. Kewell came off the bench on the hour and fifteen minutes later he made no mistake in lashing a shot past the goalkeeper from edge of the 18-yard box. Viduka compelted the scoring four minutes from the end by nodding in a pin-point Kewell cross.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ELEVEN (Fremantle Spirit v Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Western Knights staged a remarkable late recovery to snatch a draw 5-5 with Floreat Athena at Nash Field. Four goals down and with time fast running out, the Knights produced a comeback of Lazarus proportions to earned themselves a point from a pulsating game. Effervescent midfielder Josip Magdic provided the inspiration in the 3rd minute with a terrific low centre to Boima Karpeh who, back to goal, cleverly flicked the ball up and fired into the net on the turn. Karpeh had his and Floreat’s second after 17 minutes by heading in from close-range following great lead-up between Branimir Mikulic and Magdic out on the right. Six minutes from the break Karpeh brought up his hat-trick after Mikulic played him through to slot past the on-coming Kevin Miller. The Knights came out for the second half with more purpose and on 59 minutes reduced deficit after Daniel Trim pumped the ball into the 18-yard box where Anthony Skorich volleyed past Vas Vujacic. However, just seven minutes later James Isaia’s long throw-in found Mikulic who neatly glanced the ball in at the near post. Floreat looked to have made safe the points when Miki Vujacic smashed the ball in from close-range following a repeat of the Isaia-Mikulic long throw routine. The Knights commenced their fightback seven minutes later when Skorich put the ball away in a goal mouth scramble. A swift counter attacking move put the ball at the feet of Stuart Montgomery who advanced to the top of the 18-yard box before hitting a speculative shot over the goalkeeper and into the far corner. The margin became a single goal when Trim’s low centre was lashed through a crowded area by Andrew Jennings. Three minutes into stoppage time an Andrija Jukic cross was brilliantly flicked on by Montgomery to Jennings who fired low across the ‘keeper and into the net to spark wild scenes of jubilation on the field and in the stands.
Perth S.C. narrowed the gap at the top of the table by trouncing Wanneroo City 5-0 in a one-sided affair at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The visitors should have gone ahead with their first attack but Andreas Oliveira's half volley was deflected just wide of the target. A error by new Wanneroo goalkeeper Aaron Olow gifted Perth the lead after 14 minutes when he failed to take cleanly an in-swinging Todd Howarth corner which fell nicely for Oliviera to slot in at from only a couple of metres. Although by far the dominant side, the visitors were prevented from increasing their advantage by poor delivery into the final third as Wanneroo struggled to get over the halfway line . The introduction of Antonio Naglieri and Gary Faria at the break saw Perth step up a gear for the second half, and twelve minutes in a terrific exchange of passes ended with Robbie Puca converting from 10-metres from a Naglieri cut back. Faria got in on the act by expertly volleying into the top corner after Oliveria laid the ball back from a Naglieri corner. Wanneroo momentarily flickered into life through Craig Cheeseman whose strike from 30-metres was tipped onto the crossbar by Gareth Deeg. But Perth were having none of it and the margin was further increased by Faria who was the benefactor of a great exchange between Matt Danskin and Barry Wood down the right. The scoring was completed in the 68th minute when a sweeping move saw Naglieri slide a terrific 40-metre pass to Danksin who in turn played through for Wood to beat the 'keeper. The game ended farcically as Craig Bowman went unpunished for a late challenge on Deeg, only for the Wanneroo player to then be issued his marching orders for foul and abusive language aimed towards the sidelines.
Josh Kamasz struck three times to lead Cockburn City to a 4-1 win over Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. The home supporters were given plenty of early encouragement as Justin Hugo forced a good save from Dino Pacella, and Rory Mouttet who placed disappointingly high of the crossbar from close-range. Cockburn weren’t without their opportunities and Kamasz should have done better than to send his header straight at Corey Hugo on the half hour. However, that matter little as two minutes later Johnny Mirco sent in a deep cross from the left which Kamasz tucked into the net at the back post. The margin was very nearly doubled shortly after when Kamasz flicked Shane Nunes’ throw-in on to Johnny Mirco who fired wide. Swan were reduced to ten men in the 43rd minute with Justin Hugo issued his marching orders by referee Steven Gregory following an off the ball incident with Dom De Felice. The situation worsened for the hosts three minutes into the second half when Carlos Echeverria was sent off for a fairly innocuous challenge on Johnny Mirco. But Swan weren’t about to give up and in the 56th minute were brought back into the game as Brendan Knox flicked on a corner to Damien Catalano who converted in a goal mouth scramble. With the advantage of two additional player, Cockburn soon gained control and in the 68th minute Kamasz had his second of the day after great approach work from Johnny Mirco. Kamasz completed his hat-trick ten minutes later with a clinical finish past the goalkeeper. Joseph Brunetto came on for Kamasz shortly after and in the final minute made his presence known by netting from close-range after Swan failed to sufficiently deal with a corner.
A late penalty converted by captain Kevin Henderson was enough to secure Stirling Lions maximum points against a brave and tenacious Fremantle Spirit line-up at the WA Spanish Club. Quickest out of the blocks were Stirling who controlled play through the central pairing of Keith Brown and Steve Porter. The first real opening came after 25 minutes when David Dugdale's low shot was held by Steve Grant. Stirling pressed threatened again a minute later via an in-swinging Porter corner which Fremantle captain Dale Wingell cleared from off the goal line. A classy exchange between Porter and Dugdale provided Andy Brown with a clear shot on goal only for the big striker to sky his shot from point-blank range. A speedy break lead to an opening for Fremantle as Wingell released Ravi Kuppasamy Barrera whose passage to goal was blocked by a diving Phil Straker. The scrappy nature of the game continued into the second half with both sides battling strong winds and a shifting surface. An innocuous tackle by Andy Brown on Oliver Gillingham lead to the referee issuing the Stirling attacker a red card on 70 minutes, much to the dismay of the visiting supporters. A brilliant piercing run by teenager Callum Roberts took him past a tiring defence and one-on-one with Straker whose superb save kept Stirling in the hunt. The addition of Daniel Micevski and Tom Jones swung the game in the visitors favour and through a series of free-kicks and corners the pressure slowly mounted on the home team. With 89 minutes gone Stirling were awarded a penalty for a seemingly innocent challenge by Mark Darby on Dugdale, and up stepped Henderson to drill the games' only goal past Grant.
E.C.U. Joondalup maintained their unbeaten home record with a hard fought 1-0 win over local rivals Sorrento at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. The games' solitary goal arrived just before half-time through Marc Anthony, whose performance up front caused constant problems for the visiting defence. A frantic opening saw some crunching tackles put in by players in both teams' colours to set the tone for what would be a bruising encounter. Goalkeepers Aleks Vrteski and Anthony Cochrane found themselves in the thick of the early action as shots on goal were traded. A great chance came the way of Mark Lee following a good exchange with Anthony but the midfielders shot was tipped over by Cochrane. Joondalup eventually established control of proceedings with strike partners Anthony and Darren Quinncroft enjoying the service from midfield, and particularly Tom Amphlett wide on the right. Sorrento were unlucky not to go ahead midway through the half when a sensational free-kick from 30-metres by Gary Lynn cannoned off the upright. The breakthrough came a minute from half-time when Anthony fired in at close-range after a neat exchange down the left between provider Lee and Martin Ashworth. A delightful chip by Anthony early in the second half slammed into the crossbar as the home side set about increasing their advantage. The warm conditions and pace of the game began to take its toll and genuine chances on goal became scarcer at both ends of the park. With Scott Neville, Lewis Flatt and Brodie Martin in terrific form it was Sorrento which looked the more likely to find the net, however, their a well organised defence thwarted their best attempts. A late Gulls attack produced a goalmouth scramble in which Vrteski’s blushes were saved by the frame of the goal as James Morgan poked the ball into the upright.
Inglewood United took out maximum points when they downed Armadale 4-3 in a pulsating encounter at Alfred Skeet Oval. The home team came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders to take a deserved early lead through Ben Howe who expertly chipped goalkeeper Oliver Taseski from the edge of the 18-yard box. Inglewood’s day worsened on 10 minutes when Ryan Pearson stole possession from Sardi Jokanovic and made his way into the area before squaring to Darren Kingston who made no mistake from close-range. The home crowd were in fine voice as they urged the Reds to add a third to their tally. However, it was Inglewood that would next find the net as Greg Sharland’s angled strike was too hot for Cyril Sharrock to handle and in the blink of an eye Daniel Neiderberger had tucked in the loose ball from a few metres. By this stage the visitors had control of the game with experienced duo Bobby Despotovski and Kevin Griffiths dictating terms in the middle of the park, and Alex Stamatiadis and Jason Colli leading the charge down the flanks. The sides were brought level in the 32nd minute when Dean Apelgren unleashed a thunderbolt from 15-metres that gave Sharrock no chance. Inglewood’s dominance was further rewarded shortly before the break when Daniel Kovacevic sent the ball down the right to Danny Stoitis whose back post cross was powerfully headed in by Sharland. Twelve minutes into the second half Armadale found an equaliser through Neal Gawley who marked his home debut with a fine strike from 20-metres. Griffiths provided the ammunition for the deciding goal on 80 minutes by delivering the ball into the area where Neiderberger headed in from 5-metres. The home side thought they’d snatch a late point when Pearson headed the ball in, however, referee Joe Fusari disallowed the effort for the strikers push on Kovacevic.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ELEVEN (Gosnells City v Mandurah City by Kirk O’Connor; South West Phoenix v Ashfield courtesy South West Phoenix; Balcatta v Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City)
An impressive Morley Windmills moved up the table after defeating Dianella White Eagles 4-1 at Wotton Reserve. The star of the show was striker Farrell Hedges whose hat-trick enabled Morley to leapfrog Dianella into third place. The home team took only four minutes to register their first through new signing Seita Hamamoto who stabbed home from 7-metres after Dianella failed to clear a Scott McIlory corner. Chances were scarce in a defence-minded first half that ended with a terrific save from Pedro Pavez in response to Remo McCann's curling strike. Dianella carved out the first chance of the second period via Dragan Njegic whose shot from 18-metres was well saved by Chris Ramsey. Morley got a deserved second in the 58th minute when Hamamoto headed across the face of goal for Hedges who tapped in from point-blank range. Hedges bagged his second six minutes later with a fine shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area. Dianella looked to be back in the hunt after Ray Rose redirected David Moschilla's cross into the net on 67 minutes. However, the result was put beyond doubt shortly after when Hedges drifted into the area unchecked to put away a cross from Scott McIlroy.
Mandurah City maintained their three-point lead at the top of the First Division table by sweeping aside Gosnells City 3-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The visitors struck early through Christian Paschkewitz who scrambled a loose ball into the net at the second attempt. Brian Cairney worked tirelessly as the lone striker and although he received good support from midfield, Gosnells rarely put the visiting defence under any real pressure. Shane Crampton should have increased Mandurah's advantage midway through the period but shot high of the crossbar when well placed. The second half opened with appeals for a Gosnells penalty turned down after a defender appear to handle the ball following a corner. Gosnells went down to ten men when Craig McGill surprisingly received a straight red card after a verbal dual with the Mandurah bench. Mandurah seized control and soon after a fine cross by substitute Michael Bobridge was rifled into the crossbar by Graham Matthews. The margin became two goals on 79 minutes when Christian Paschewitz’ looping header found the back of the net from a long ball in the 18-yard box. The points were made safe shortly after as Jeff Bright cheekily made his way down the left to set Bobridge up for a deserved goal of his own.
Steve Suttie’s tenth goal of the season earned South West Phoenix a 1-0 win against Ashfield in chilly conditions at Bunbury’s Soccerdome. Ashfield settled the better and should perhaps have gone ahead when Patrick Quinn’s pass was intercepted by Julian Piromalli who surged forward before squaring to Rydeen Botha whose mis-timed shot cleared the crossbar. A couple of positional changes worked a treat for the hosts as Greg Hayes hit the post and Suttie placed narrowly wide. Phoenix’ reward arrived five minutes from the break when Ryan Risdon’s long made it’s way to Suttie who appeared to tame the ball with his hand before slotting past the goalkeeper from just outside the 18-yard box. Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between after the break with both sides effectively negating their opponents attacks. Gary Mayers almost put away the hosts second by firing past Drazen Saric only to have a back-tracking Adam Purcell slide the ball from off the line. Ashfield’s best chance resulted from a Purcell cross which was flicked on by Botha to an unmarked Igor Novakovic who volleyed disappointingly wide from close-range. Phoenix were given another reprieve not long after when neither Novakovic nor Andy O’Neill was able to net a goalmouth scramble.
Balcatta condemned Rockingham City to their tenth loss of the campaign by out-shooting their hosts 2-0 at Dowling Street Reserve. Played in great spirits, the game started at cracking pace and early chances for both teams. Goalkeeper Craig Olenjik made a fantastic save to deny Christian Debarro in the 3rd minute, and shortly after Andrew Keary’s searching cross provided the impetus for Rockingham’s first serious attack. The first goal arrived via a 16th minute corner from Marc D'Ascanio which went to the feet of Ben Rogers before being tucked over the line by Debarro. Balcatta increased their lead a few minutes out from the break when Adrian Caloiero’s speculative shot from distance came to rest in the net. A solid start to the second half from Rockingham had Keary fire narrowly wide, and shortly after an Anthony Harris thunderbolt met with the same result. Rockingham lost some of their momentum, and to a degree control of the game, when hard-working striker Rob Olnaar was forced from the field by injury. This allowed Balcatta back in and only the brilliance of Olenjik prevented Daniel Franklin from adding a third to the visitors tally.
Canning City thumped Forrestfield United 4-0 at Willetton Sportsman Club. Dave Mickler scored a halt-trick and Kyle Mitsopoulos once for Canning who had Daniel Trevisiol red carded after 84 minutes. Queens Park produced something of an upset by defeating Bayswater City 3-2 at Coker Park. R.Simpson, I.McKean and D.Taneski found the net for the home side with Bayswater’s goals coming via R.Grant and Sal Marrapodi. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Tomorrow marks the halfway stage of the Premier League season and the www.footballwa.net Match of the Week pits Western Knights and Floreat Athena at Nash Field. The past month has been tough on the Knights who’ve managed just a single win with a seemingly ever-changing line-up. Stuart Montgomery spearheads the attack with support coming through the middle from Daniel Trim and Andrija Jukic. Ronnie Campbell’s new-look backline brings together Cormac Dawson, Scottish import Michael Johnson and goalkeeper Kevin Miller who’ll be keen to keep a clean sheet in their first outing together.
Floreat are riding high at the top of the table, unbeaten in ten games and three points clear of their nearest rival. The visitors boast an impressive line-up which is lead from the front by Boima Karpeh and Branimir Mikulic, who’ve been finding the back of the net with startling regularity. Josip Magdic and Miki Vujacic run the show across the middle of the park for Michael Roki’s side which as Ante Kovacevic and Julian Madaschi providing the muscle at the back. This game bears all the hallmarks of being an absolute classic and should not be missed.
It’s been a year of contrasting fortunes for northern neighbours E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento who come face-to-face at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. Joondalup, currently fifth, are unbeaten on home soil this term and it’s difficult to see that changing with the likes of Marc Anthony, Craig Young and rising star Tom Amphlett in terrific form. Second from last Sorrento are coming off just their second win of the campaign and will need Lewis Flatt, Jared Love and Chris Boyle to be on top of their game for the visitors to nick a point.
Perth S.C. head to Wanneroo City where the only question being asked is ‘ow many will the Blues score?’ Cockburn City are tipped to take the points from their away meeting with Swan I.C. who are without Aaron Cole, Paul Baczynski, Tom Shepheard and David Foster, amongst others. A tough test awaits Fremantle Spirit’s young side who take on an uncompromising Stirling Lions at the WA Spanish Club. Inglewood United have turned their season around with some good recent results but this week meet an Armadale side in desperate need of points to pull away from the relegation zone.
Morley Windmills host Dianella White Eagles in what is sure to be an entertaining battle in the First Division at Wotton Reserve. Morley will be desperate to get back in the winners circle after three successive losses which have seen them fall seven points behind table-topping Mandurah City. Dianella, competitions leaders just a few weeks ago, have slipped to third after suffering their own form crisis which Jimmy Pearson's men will be determined to halt.
First Division leaders Mandurah City head to Walter Padbury Reserve where they’re expected to account for Gosnells City. Canning City are unbeaten at home this season and should extend that run when Forrestfield United come calling. Ashfield make the long journey to Bunbury where they take on South West Phoenix, while Queens Park have home ground advantage against Bayswater City. Balcatta have run hot and cold so far this term but are tipped to take the points over bottom side Rockingham City.
COCKBURN CAPTAIN EYES TOP HONOURS
Club captain Jason Godfrey has every confidence Cockburn City will continue their climb up the Premier League table. The 24-year old is a strongly believer that confidence breeds confidence and can see no reason why his team won’t be challenging for top honours come the pointy end of the season. “The team is performing well and I think like every team we would be disappointed with second,” he said. “The plan has always been for Cockburn to win the League, and if you don’t go out trying to achieve that target when you step on the field each week, then you can’t expect to achieve a positive result.”
The start of Godfrey’s season was interrupted by a knee injury that kept him out of action for six weeks. “It’s always hard watching your team play from the sideline, but it does make you even more determined to get fit to fight for your spot back,” he explained. “It’s hard to come back from injury and expect to be at the top of your game, but as each week goes by, and my fitness and strength improves, I feel I’m getting closer to the playing level I would like to achieve. It makes it a lot earlier when you do have a good team and coaching group around you.”
There’s doubt about the quality of Cockburn’s defence which, at various times this season, has featured the likes of Shane Nunes, Liam Lilly, Paul Natale, Peter Kuzet and Godfrey. Not surprisingly, competition for starting berths is red-hot. “There are some excellent players at Cockburn, especially in defence, and I have to be honest in saying I feel honoured to be playing alongside them,” Godfrey commented. “It’s good to know that when it comes down to game time, any of these players have the ability, versatility and strength to get the job done.”
It’s this competition for spots that has provided the foundation for Cockburn’s early season success. “We’re all there to play and train as a unit, and we need to feel confident in each other’s abilities in every position on the park,” Godfrey explained. “There’s always someone just as good as yourself that can take your spot on the starting line-up. It not only means you have to train harder and play better, but there’s no time to slack off or lose focus. And it’s not only the defenders who need to fight for their spots as we have a lot of young talent coming through who can step into any position.”
Cockburn make the trip to Swan I.C. this weekend and although that club’s record this year is nothing to write home about, Godfrey says the game won’t be taken lightly. “Home ground advantage always helps lift a team’s spirit but we’ll be approaching this game like any other and that is to work hard for each other and play our own game,” said the Cockburn captain. “Swan work well as a unit and if goalkeeper Cory Hugo is on his game then it’s going to be tough match. I’ve heard that if there’s rain the Swan pitch can be tricky to play on, so if it rains the fans can expect to see a hard, tight, close game.”
With the season nearing the halfway stage Cockburn are well positioned in third place, unbeaten on home soil and through to the last eight of the Cup. “We need to stay positive and work even harder to achieve the goal which everyone at Cockburn wants - ‘the winners trophy’. The team has shown tremendous strength of character in the last few weeks. We’ve not played as well as we’d like to have in some of those games but at the end of the day three points are three points and the main thing is we’ve got the result we wanted. We know we can play better and I think we are starting to get to where we want to be as a team.”
GLORY LEAVE PENANG SHELL-SHOCKED
A stunning twenty minute burst early in the second half secured Perth Glory a 5-1 win over Penang this evening in Malaysia. With score deadlocked at one-all after 45 minutes, coach Ron Smith made several tactical moves which delivered four goals in quick succession. Nikita Rukavytsya took his tour tally to six goals with a couple of quality finishes which earned the praise of coach Ron Smith. "Nikita was in outstanding form for Perth S.C. in the State League and he has definitely brought that hunger and eye for goal with him to Malaysia," said the coach.
It looked as though Glory were in for a tough night when they went behind after just 3 minutes. However, in the 25th minute Steve Hesketh delivered a deep corner which was put away by Croatian striker Mate Dragicevic to bring the team level. Rukavytsya scored twice in three minutes at the start of the second half to put Glory in a commanding position. A brilliant strike from distance by Nick Rizzo further increased the margin before Anthony Danze completed the rout with a towering header in the 64th minute.
PERTH STARLETS HEAD TO EUROPE
Thirty-two of our brightest young talents will match skills with some of Europe’s finest next month. The Under-14 and Under-15 squads of Perth S.C. head off to tour Italy and Spain on Friday on what former Australian international Gary Marocchi promises will be the experience of a lifetime. “This trip will be of enormous benefit to the players, both in terms of sporting, cultural and personal experiences,” explained Marocchi. “Mixing and participating with players from all over the world will be a great learning experience for the boys.”
Marocchi, chairman of the tour committee, feels strongly that participation in overseas tournaments is a great way of further developing Western Australia’s emerging talents. “We as a club firmly believe we are contributing greatly to the games’ future in WA,” Marocchi commented. “Our youth players need to experience the different skills, training attitudes and playing styles of overseas teams. We feel that if we are able to promote some of the players to a higher standard of competition then our club will be remembered for its contribution to the code.”
While serving to provide the Perth youngsters with the best possible development path, the tour will also help prepare several of the club’s players for State honours. “We selected the Under 14 and 15 squads for the tour as these players will benefit most from the experience, and to prepare them for the national championships in early October,” said Marocchi. “Perth has ten touring players in contention for the national championship squads and we believe the players selected for the national championships will be far better prepared for their first interstate competition after the tour.”
A lot of hard work has gone into seeing the tour come to fruition for the Perth youngsters. “The trip is the culmination of six months of planning and six months fundraising,” explained Marocchi. “A total of $280,000 has been raised to send 32 players from two teams, coaches, officials, physiotherapist and accompanying family members overseas. In total 56 people will be going on the tour. I’d like to say a special thank you to all the sponsors who have contributed in giving these players a trip of a lifetime.”
The Perth juniors will take part in two tournaments while abroad, starting with the Italy Cup at Cesenatico that commences on 2nd July. The Under-14 side will take on FB Kobenhavn (Denmark), Elhurst (United States), Richmond Hill (Canada) and French teams AS Templeuve, US Marquette and US Pont S Maxence with the top two teams playing off for the silverware. The Under-15’s are grouped alongside Sasfeszek (Hungary), Enskede IK (Sweden), and Elhurst (United States) with the top two progressing to the knock-out stage.
On 7th July the touring party head to Barcelona for the Copa Catalunya. The Under-14’s get to pit skills with FC Fondi (Italy), Akarps IF (Sweden) and Asteras Varis (Greece) in the initial phase. The top two sides go through to the quarter-finals. The Under-15’s meet AS Beauvais (France), AC Passirano (Italy) and FC Koronida (Greece) in the group phase. A spot in the play-off stage will go to the top two ranked teams.
The Perth Under-14 squad features Raffael Accurso, Mitchell Allen, Vid Amidzic, Marc De Francesch, Joseph De Luca, Tim Doyle, Allessandro Gismondi, Matthew Izzo, Aaron Jeffrey, James Marocchi, Jason Marsden, Ben Meredith, Massimo Salamone, Dylan Tombides, Milan Vulin and Joshua Wilkins. The team is coached by Bruno Marocchi, and managed by Tony Izzo.
The Perth Under-15 squad consists of Thomas Black, Liam Boland, Kaiden Boksich, Denis Botvenev, Luke Bower, Million Butshiire, Matthew Hill, Jayden Lombardi, Luka Njegich, Joshua Pereira, Curtis Prior, Joseph Pullella, Robert Rixer, Michael Salsano, Corey Woods and Nathan Woods. Eric Marocchi is coach of the side and Dusan Njegich the team manager.
SOCCEROOS ON THE BIG SCREEN!
Football West has teamed up with the Leederville Hotel and the Greenwood Hotel to showcase the Socceroos Asian Cup debut. Australia have been allocated a place in Group A alongside Oman, Iraq and Thailand with whom they'll battle it out for the right to progress to the tournament final on Sunday 29th July. Don't miss the Socceroos make history against Oman (8th July, 6.20pm), Iraq (13th July, 6.20pm), and Thailand (16th July, 8.35pm) on the big screen at the Leederville Hotel and the Greenwood Hotel.
Western Knights have bolstered their goalkeeping stocks with the recruitment of Kevin Miller, formerly of Wanneroo City. The one-time Scotland youth international takes the gloves from 17-year old Adam Guthridge, who was impressive on debut against Cockburn City last week. The Knights are hopeful Miller will be cleared in time for this weekend's clash with Floreat Athena.
Josip Magdic will officially become a Floreat Athena player at the end of the month. The talented midfielder has been playing for Floreat under the terms of a loan agreement with Perth Glory, who have indicated his existing contract will not be extended. Magdic will remain with Floreat for the rest of the season while considering his playing options which include interest from Asia and Europe as well as Australia.
The midfield at Dorrien Gardens has been strengthened by the return of a couple of familiar faces. Antonio Naglieri is back from a five-week family holiday in Italy and could be a surprise inclusion in the squad for Saturday’s game at Wanneroo City. Peter Lord is also back with the club and champing at the bit after seeing out the full ninety minutes of the Reserves big win over his former club, Fremantle Spirit, on the weekend.
Carlo Scali and the coaching staff of Swan I.C. must be feeling under a bit of pressure these days. With the Premier League season nearing the halfway point the black and whites find themselves languishing near the foot of the table with only two wins to their credit - and a far cry from their pre-season target of a top five placing. In the past twelve months Swan have emerged victorious from just seven of their thirty games.
Highly rated goalkeeper Kenny Ftynohiannis is looking the goods to play his first game in five months. Ftynohiannis signed for Ashfield over the summer but, just days after debuting in the pre-season Night Series, suffered a broken leg while playing indoor soccer. The much-travelled 23-year old is expected to take his place between the posts when Ashfield's Reserves come up against South West Phoenix this weekend.
Bayswater City has welcomed the arrival of Scottish striker Rory Grant. The 24-year old marked his State League debut by scoring all three goals in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Gosnells City. Grant was the highest goalscorer for Scottish non-League outfit Bathgate Thistle last season, and scored his teams’ only goal in the St. Michael Cup final loss to Boness United. The towering forward counts Livingston United and Glenrothes amongst his former clubs.
TWO FROM TWO FOR GLORY
Perth Glory continued on their winning way in Malaysia with a big 4-0 victory against Super League outfit Perak this evening. A first half double to young striker Nikita Rukavytsya gave Glory the perfect opening before Jamie Harnwell finished the job with two quality finishes close to the end. Glory dominated from the opening whistle and could have had a few more goals if not for a pitch made heavily by a week of persistent rain. "It wasn't the prettiest game of football you'll ever see but I was happy that we were able to put together several good periods where we dominated possession and took our chances to score," said coach Ron Smith. Twenty players were used by Smith in combating the stifling conditions with defender David Tarka and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi the only players to see out the full 90 minutes.
HULL MOVE TEMPTS GARCIA
Richard Garcia is likely to leave Colchester United when his contract expires at the end of this month. The 25-year old has been linked with a move to Hull City who are looking to make an impact on the Championship next season. "It's just nice knowing there is interest" said Garcia. "Hull are one of a number of clubs who are showing interest. And from what I've heard the Tigers are trying to be ambitious. They have a new chairman who has come in to succeed. They are clearly a club that is looking forward and are obviously planning for promotion. I would like to be a part of that."
GLORY TO TACKLE WA'S BEST
Perth Glory supporters can see how their team is shaping up for the coming A-League season through a series of friendlies against State League opposition next July. Perth S.C. will be the first local club to face Glory when they meet on Tuesday 3rd July at Dorrien Gardens. A week later it'll be Floreat Athena who put Glory to the test under lights at Litis Stadium, and on Tuesday 17th July Inglewood United get the chance to match skills with the A-League club at Clipsal Stadium. All three friendlies kick-off at 7.00pm. With Glory scheduled to play their entire pre-season Cup campaign interstate, these three games will be the only opportunity to catch the side in action before the start of the regular season in late August.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TEN (Murdoch University v Fremantle United courtesy Football West)
Murdoch University held a heavily favoured Fremantle United to a 1-1 draw in the Amateur Premier League clash at Winthrop Reserve. It took only 4 minutes for Murdoch to take the lead through a penalty awarded for Jon De Felice’s foul on Michael Jennings, after dusting himself off, lashed the spot kick past Joe Princi. David Onoforo brought Fremantle level in the 9th minute with a trademark free-kick from 17-metres that gave Andrew Barrett no chance. The port side almost went ahead six minutes later through Michael Hoenselaars who was played in behind the defence but had his shot brilliantly saved by Barrett.
Fremantle continued to threaten after the break and a clever back-heel by Josh Sithole forced a sharp response from Barrett. The remainder of the half was tight and genuine goalscoring opportunities limited. With eight minutes to go Jason Smith picked out Hoenselaars with a free-kick but the Fremantle midfielder headed narrowly over from 5-metres. Murdoch had a great chance to snatch victory shortly after when Jacob King’s free-kick fell to Jennings who shot narrowly wide at close-range. There was still time for Fremantle to mount one last charge through Smith whose fiercely struck shot from the edge of the box was kept out by Barrett.
Conference B leader Shamrock Rovers suffered their first loss of the season when downed 0-1 by the visitors from Perth Azzurri. Lynwood Colts collected maximum points courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline at CN Canning International, while there was a 2-0 home win for Southern Spirit over last placed Suburbs United. Hamersley Rovers defeated WA Maccabi 2-0 in an important mid-table fixture. The points were shared between South Perth United and Subiaco United where it ended 1-1. Stirling Panthers defeated University of WA 4-2, and Kingsway Olympic were no match for Spearwood Dalmatinac who ran out 3-0 winners.
GLORIOUS START IN MALAYSIA
Perth Glory recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory against Selangor PKNS in the first game of the Malaysian tour last night. In hot and humid conditions it was the visitors that started the brighter and deservedly went ahead on 8 minutes via David Tarka's header from a Steve Hesketh corner. The margin was doubled early in the second half by Naum Sekulovski who shot truly from the edge of the 18-yard box. Glory put the result beyond doubt in the 84th minute when Simon Colosimo's ball over the defence found Mate Dragicevic who drew the goalkeeper before squaring to an unmarked Anthony Danze to tap in.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TEN
Floreat Athena opened up a three points buffer to their nearest rival after clinically despatching Armadale 4-0 at Litis Stadium. The tone was set early with John Migas’ rising highest to glance Miki Vujacic’s in-swinging corner narrowly high of the crossbar. Poor defending gifted Floreat the lead after 5 minutes as Branimir Mukilic somehow maintained possession after stumbling his way through a crowded 18-yard box to tuck a low shot inside the near post from 9-metres. The margin was doubled on 21 minutes when Miki Vujacic won possession near the halfway line and looped a superb long pass over the defence for Boima Karpeh to latch on to and round goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock before tapping into an empty net. Four minutes later the game Miki Vujacic threaded a terrific pass to Mikulic who waltzed past three challenges and angled his neat finish across Sharrock and inside the far post. A rare Armadale attack just before the break should have produced a goal as Simon El Chami fended off Ante Kovacevic and squared to an unmarked Ryan Pearson who sprayed wide with only the ‘keeper to beat. A dull start to the second half had the two teams slugging it out in midfield and rarely pushing into their final third. That changed in the 68th minute when Adam Bachillor’s swerving free-kick flew just past the top corner. Floreat stepped up the pace and in quick succession Bajo Savic forced a classy save from Sharrock, and Mikulic shot across the face of goal from a tight angle. Armadale were exposed four a fourth time on 81 minutes when Kovacevic’s vicious drive was parried by a full-stretch Sharrock who was helpless as Stefan Smiljanic netted the follow-up unchallenged from a couple of metres. Poor finishing denied the visitors a late consolation as Pearson shot straight at Vas Vujacic after going past a couple of opponents.
The days surprise result came from Dorrien Gardens where Perth S.C. were held to a 1-1 draw by Fremantle Spirit. Dale Wingell was the architect of Fremantle taking a 10th minute lead by clipping a terrific pass over the defence for Ravi Kuppusamy to run on to and calmly lob on-coming goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. The hosts responded by piling on the pressure and only a dubious offside decision denied Andreas Oliviera the equaliser after good lead-up work from Todd Howarth and Gary Faria. Parity was restored on 25 minutes by Faria who wriggled his way past a number of opponents before rifling into the top corner from 14-metres. The wet and windy conditions made the going difficult for both teams and, not surprisingly, passes into the final third either failed to find their mark or were intercepted by the defence. Shortly before the interval Kuppusamy unleashed a blistering shot that flew narrowly past the post. The second half was six minutes old when Steve Grant spectacularly tipped over the crossbar a long-range pile-driver by Faria. The game then developed into a dour affair with Perth struggling to open up their opponents defence, and Fremantle going forward only on the counterattack. Perth carved out a couple of good openings and Robbie Puca's diving header was cleared off the line by Tom Straker from Matt Danskin's delivery after 67 minutes. Not long after it was Howarth who provided the ammuntion for Faria whose stinging shot was turned wide by Grant. Fremantle almost stole victory close to the end when Wingell's cross to the near post intended for Callum Roberts deflected off defender Michael Icanovski who was glad to see the ball clear the bar.
Josh Kamasz' late strike earned Cockburn City victory by 2-1 against Western Knights at Dalmatinac Park. It was the third win on the trot for Cockburn who were forced to play the last half hour with ten men following the dubious dismissal of substitute Marko Aleksic. Dino Pacella was in the thick of the early action with a number of quality saves, most notably from Jon Higgins whose long-range strike was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar. Cockburn looked particularly dangerous at set pieces and from such a move Johnny Mirco sent a cleverly worked free-kick just past the target. The deadlock was broken just after the half hour when Andrija Jukic's speculative effort from wide on the right made it's way under the crossbar. Within ten minutes the teams were back on level terms as Johnny Mirco surged past the defence and flashed a fierce shot beyond the reach of teenage debutant Adam Guthridge. The second half opened promisingly for the Knights as David Price won possession and threaded a fine pass into the path of Stuart Montgomery whose first time shot fizzed just the wrong side of the post. A misplaced challenge on Jon Mathers earned Aleksic a red card just eight minutes after replacing an injured Michael Mirco. As so often happens, Cockburn lifted after being reduced to ten men and on 74 minutes Paul Natale and Johnny Mirco combined to set-up Kamasz who evaded his marker before firing into the net, much to the delight of the home crowd. There were chances for Cockburn to make the points secure but neither Johnny Mirco nor Giovanni Di Bartolo could capitalise when opportunities presented. The Knights threw everything into getting a late equaliser only to be turned away time and time again by a defence marshalled superbly by Jason Godfrey.
Stirling Lions picked up three vital points with a hard fought 1-0 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup at Macedonia Park. An 80th minute header from young defender Michael Pugliese secured the win in a scrappy, error-strewn game played in wet and windy conditions. A torrential downpour shortly before kick-off made for a slippery surface to which both teams took their time to adjust. Stirling looked the more likely to score early and on the quarter-hour Andy Brown cannoned the ball into the upright after being set-up by Vas Kalogeracos. The only other opening of note in a tight first half came through the creativity if teenager Danny Richman who on 33 minutes set-up Daniel Micevski but his tame effort fell into the arms of Aleks Vrteski. The second half opened with Stirling determined to breakthrough and good opportunities came the way of Micevski and Kalogeracos who both shot too close to Vrteski. Scott Blackmore came off the bench for Joondalup at the break and made his presence felt with a 30-metre rocket which Phil Straker finger-tipped away. But otherwise the visitors opened up very few holes in a Stirling defence under the command of the ever-reliable Kevin Henderson and star in the making Pugliese. With neither side giving an inch and the game seemingly destined for a scoreless draw, Pugliese made a hero of himself by rising high to head a Ludovic Boi corner past Vrteski.
A second half goal bonanza saw Sorrento take the points by a 4-1 scoreline over Swan I.C. at Percy Doyle Reserve. In wintry condition it was the visitors who settled the better as Brendan Knox' curling shot from the left went narrowly wide. Sorrento responded in kind five minutes later when Gary Lynn's effort was well saved by Cory Hugo. With 10 minutes elapsed Swan went ahead as Anthony McStea's cross fell kindly to Justin Hugo who fired low past young goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane. The black and whites stepped up the pace in their search for a second goal as Knox placed high at close-range and Cochrane moved sharply to keep out a shot from Rory Mouttet. The margin really should have been doubled in the 20th minute but Knox somehow blazing over the crossbar from point blank range. After this Sorrento began to get more involved as Steve McDonald and Brodie Martin both placed high, while Chris Boyle's shot flashed just past the post. The score was levelled ten minutes after the re-start with Martin's low strike from the edge of the 18-yard box beating Cory Hugo. Hesitant defending on Swan's behalf in the 68th minute allowed Boyle to crash a stunning shot from 15-metres into the top corner. The Gulls were on fire and five minutes later Jared Love's cross from the right was stabbed home by substitute Dejan Gurovski. A defensive mix-up almost gifted Swan a way back into the game with McDonald's back pass going past Cochrane whose blushes were saved by an alert Lynn. Shortly after the points were made safe by Lewis Flatt whose shot on the turn soared into the top corner with Cory Hugo stranded.
Inglewood United continued their climb up the Premier League table with a 6-0 whipping of lowly Wanneroo City at Clipsal Stadium. The match began in sunshine and both sides had chances to take an early lead in what was an open and attacking affair. With the game delicately poised, Inglewood took the lead after a smart pass by Bobby Despotovski released Greg Sharland whose inch perfect cross was nodded in by Mladen Kovacevic from 5-metres. Heads in the Wanneroo camp dropped and, not surprisingly, they found themselves another go down after 26 minutes when Despotovski’s low curling free-kick from 18-metres found the back of the net. The hosts third goal arrived courtesy of Daniel Niederberger’s tenacity in chasing down a long ball and his cross from near the corner flag was flicked on by Sharland to Kevin Griffiths who made no mistake at close-range. Craig Cheeseman was the visitors’ only threat and after shimmying past the defence his goalbound strike was brilliantly parried by Oliver Taseski. Kevin Miller was in the thick of the action as half-time approached to deny Sharland and Dean Aplegren. The second half began with a bang for Inglewood as a superb cross from Jason Colli found Sharland who expertly directed his header into the top corner from 8-meres. Two minutes later Niederberger provided the ammunition for Sharland but this time his close-range header cannoned off the crossbar and Miller thwarted Griffiths’ at the follow-up. The margin became five goal in the 49th minutes with Griffiths volleying over the ‘keeper from 18-metres. Inglewood continued to press and Aplegren was denied by Miller, then Griffiths curled wide what could have been his hat-trick. With three minutes to go Aplegren stormed into the area where substitute ‘keeper Lee Mackie blocked his shot, but this time the loose ball ricocheted off the leg of defender Mark Donnelly and into the net for the game’s final goal.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TEN (Ashfield v Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills)
Mandurah City cemented their place at the head of the First Division table by defeating southern rivals South West Phoenix 2-1 at the new Hyundai Stadium. In conditions that can only be described as difficult, both teams battled hard against unforgiving winds and ceaseless rain. The home team were the first on the board mid way through the first half when Stuart Francis was the benefactor of poor marking at a Jeff Bright corner which was volleyed in by the Mandurah defender. Phoenix were unfortunate not to have levelled before the break with both Steve Suttie and Greg Hayes hitting the crossbar. The gap was widened shortly after the break when Graeme Matthews beat the Phoenix 'keeper from just inside the 18-yard box after chesting down a James Hesketh clearance. With twenty minutes remaining Phoenix pulled a goal back via Suttie's free-kick which wrong-footed Mike Green after taking a deflection off the defensive wall. This set up a tense finish in which the two teams traded attacks but managed few genuine shots thanks to some resilient defending.
The points were shared at Dianella Reserve where Dianella White Eagles and Canning City played out an enthralling 3-3 draw. Canning opened the scoring after 5 minutes with Daniel Trevisol converting from the penalty spot after Paul Van Dongen was brought down inside the box. David Moschilla's centring pass was fired in by Michael Mayne from just inside the 18-yard box to level procedings on 13 minutes. The home side claimed the lead seven minutes later when Paul Hickey headed firmly past the goalkeeper from a corner. The score became two-each in the 26th minute as Paul Van Dongen tapped into an unguarded net after Pedro Pavez spilt a Trevisol shot. Dianella went into the break with the upper hand courtesy of Ray Rose who capitalised on poor defending by heading past the 'keeper. Simon Versaico brought the teams level for a third time when he was allowed to run some 30-metres unchallenged and beat the 'keeper after 62 minutes. A tense final few minutes saw an Aaron Moschopoulos effort disallowed for handball, and down the other end Pavez saved a stoppage time penalty kick by Trevisol.
Ashfield emerged 3-2 winners over Morley Windmills on a wet afternoon at Ashfield Reserve. The home team settled the quicker and deservedly went ahead on 19 minutes through Rydeen Botha who made no mistake from the penalty spot after being impeded by Andrew Bowyer. It should have two-nil not long before half-time when Morley goalkeeper Chris Ramsey failed to take a cross and the ball fell kindly for Botha who placed high of the crossbar from 6-metres. Morley showed a lot more composure after the break and parity was restored by Farrell Hedges who seized upon a defensive mishap by Tom Gaca and shot over goalkeeper Drazen Saric. Four minutes later the visitors had the lead courtesy of another mistake at the back which allowed Hedges in to round the 'keeper before tucking the ball away. Ramsey was caught off-guard in the 71st minute by a back header which Julian Piromalli got to first and knocked into the net. The decider came six minutes from the end when Igor Novakovic floated a free-kick into the area where the ball slipped from Ramsey's grip and in a flash Damien Todorovic had it in the net.
Bayswater City took the points over a determined Gosnells City 3-1 in atrocious conditions at Frank Drago Reserve. Each team carved out a handful of early chances while battling to overcome driving rain and howling winds. The breakthrough came on 13 minutes when new Bayswater signing Rory Grant headed in a deep cross from Damir Kudozovic. Twenty minutes later the gap was widened as Andre Sarpe delivered the ball into the area where Grant nodded past goalkeeper Jade Thorpe for a second time. The home side looked to be cruising when Bobby Klenkoski was issued his marching orders in the 34th minute for dissent. Playing with an extra man and with the wind at their backs, Gosnells pretty much set up camp in their opponents half following the break. A neat move down the right featuring Ian Maguire in the 50th minute had the desired effect with Brian Cairney calmly slotting in to reduce the deficit. Chances continued to flow for Gosnells with Cairney and Ken Scott-Leembruggen skidding shots wide of the target. Playing on the counterattack, Bayswater secured victory three minutes from the end when Grant’s firm shot from outside of the 18-yard box evaded the 'keeper.
Balcatta and Queens Park played out a 2-2 draw at Graham Burkett Reserve. John Nicolaou and Christian De Barro were the hosts’ scorers with D.Taneski bagging a double for Queens Park. Forrestfield United won their third game of the campaign by out-shooting Rockingham City 4-3 at Hartfield Park. Craig Ruthven, Jordan Hart, Ashley Otte and Phil Bell were on target for Forrestfield, and Michael Vaz got two for Rockingham whose third came via R.Clackett. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
This week’s www.footballwa.net Match of the Week is the important meeting of Sorrento and Swan I.C. at Percy Doyle Reserve. Steve Neville has struggled to field a consistent starting line-up during the first three months of the season with injury and suspension hampering the Gulls progress. Steve McDonald, Stuart Banks and Brodie Martin are bound to feature prominently along with new arrivals Gary Boyle and Gary Lynn when Sorrento searching for just their second win of the campaign.
Swan head into the game still kicking themselves for letting slip a two-goal lead at Joondalup last week. Like his counterpart, Carlo Scali has also had to deal with a seemingly endless string of absences caused by injury and suspension. Tom Shepheard has risen to the challenge with some terrific form while the experience of Cory Hugo, Aaron Cole, Dom Ando and Anthony McStea will also play a major role in deciding who wins on Staurday. With both teams needing three points in order to move clear of the relegation zone, this should be a cracking encounter.
Floreat Athena are widely expected to be too strong for Armadale when they visit Litis Stadium. Perth S.C. sit just a single point behind the leaders and this weekend welcome Fremantle Spirit to Dorrien Gardens. Both Cockburn City and Western Knights are coming off big wins and a lot if expected of their clash at Dalmatinac Park. Stirling Lions have a difficult home encounter with E.C.U. Joondalup. Cellar dweller Wanneroo City make the journey to Clipsal Stadium where they face Inglewood United.
It’s second verses third in the First Division as an as yet undefeated Canning City square off with Dianella White Eagles at Dianella Reserve. Competition pacesetter Mandurah City have home ground advantage against a South West Phoenix side that is coming on in leaps and bounds. Ashfield are home to Morley Windmills in the local derby, while just down the road Bayswater City welcome Gosnells City to Frank Drago Reserve. Balcatta take on Queens Park at Graham Burkett Reserve, and Rockingham City go looking for their first win of the season at Forrestfield United.
Fremantle United is away to Murdoch University in the pick of the Amateur Premier League games. Shamrock Rovers welcome Perth Azzurri to Harold Rossiter Reserve, and South Perth United take on Subiaco United at the Challenger Reserve. Stirling Panthers are home to University of WA, Kingsway Olympic host Spearwood Dalmatinac, and WA Maccabi make the trip to Hamersley Rovers. CN Canning International come face to face with Lynwood Colts at Wilson Park, while at Watsons Reserve it’s Southern Spirit against Suburbs United.
FLOREAT MOVE SUITS ISAIA
One of the unsung heroes of Floreat Athena's terrific start to the new season is James Isaia. The versatile 21-year old relocated to Litis Stadium during the summer and through a series of commanding performances has cemented his spot in the first eleven. "I'm enjoying my football at Floreat," commented Isaia, who joined the club from Armadale. "I played juniors with a majority of the boys and we're all good friends. I'm used to playing in midfield but Roks (coach Michael Roki) has handed me a new challenge of playing in an unfamiliar role in the back line, to which I feel I've adjusted well."
Isaia has played under several coaches, each with varying approaches to the game, through spells at Perth S.C., Armadale and now Floreat, and it's this variety which has helped him slot into the Floreat line-up. "Each club has been different in many ways," he explained. "It's your technical skills and match strategies that become well-drilled at Perth, whereas Armadale like to play a more physical brand of game. At Floreat, Roks and Taki (Nicolaides) like us the play the ball around, try to dictate play and have us control to pace of the game. Both the Floreat coaches are very dedicated to the team and the club, and they tend to bounce off each other when it comes to training drills and match tactics."
Nine games into the home and away series and Floreat remains the only unbeaten side in the Premier League. It's a record Isaia says the player group are proud of, and they plan to extend. "There's a really feeling inside the camp at the moment and we'll be doing everything possible to keep the unbeaten run going," he said. "We know we'll have to keep on winning if we want to be serious title contenders. The team has started the season playing some outstanding football and I feel we can carry it out until the end. Suspensions and injuries will play a toll but we have a strong squad that can fill positions all over the park."
Although top of the table, the pressure is on Floreat who have several championship rivals breathing down their necks. Not surprisingly, it's one of his former clubs that Isaia fears the most as the season nears the halfway stage. "Perth are a class team who are right on our tail. We know that they won't slip up very often and that we need to take our chances," he said. "Joondalup are a side that will surprise many teams, just as they showed against Perth and will right up there this season. Stirling and Cockburn are also strong teams and will win a lot of games to keep the pressure on."
This weekend Floreat welcome Isaia's former club, Armadale, to Litis Stadium. "I'm expecting a bit of a spray from the Brunch Club, and to tell the truth I'm actually looking forward to it!," he commented. "We're expecting Saturday's game to be a very physical match. Armadale took a defensive approach against us in the Night Series and relied on quick counterattacks on the break. We will approach the game like we do any other, we hold all our opposition in high regard and know Armadale battle hard all over the park. I'm looking forward to tough clash with my old team."
RUKAVYTSYA THE GOLDEN BOOT FAVOURITE
Recently departed Perth S.C. striker Nikita Rukavytsya has been voted the player who'll score the most goals this season. Rukavytsya, who was on loan to Perth from Perth Glory, was the runaway winner of the footballwa.net poll which questioned 'Who will win the 2007 Golden Boot as the Premier Leagues' highest goalscorer?' Rukavytsya's 27.5% of the votes cast put him on top of the pile ahead of Floreat Athena's Boima Karpeh (18.8%). David Dugdale (Stirling Lions) and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) were equal third having polled 14.6% of the vote. The field was rounded out by E.C.U. Joondalup's Ian McMurray (9.3%), Cockburn City livewire Johnny Mirco (8.3%) and Barry Wood (6.9%) of Perth.
COYNE SIGNALS HIS GLORY DAYS
Luton Town stalwart Chris Coyne intends to end his playing days at Perth Glory. Back in town during the English off-season, the 28-year old has made it his goal to turn out for his hometown club. "It's definitely one of my ambitions in football to come back and play for Perth Glory," Coyne said. "I've always said to my friends and family that I want to come back and play for my local team because every local by should aspire to play for their local club. It will be sooner rather than later [as] I want to come back when I'm still fresh enough and I'm still hungry enough to give me all for my hometown club."
Coyne's career began with Kingsway Olympic and Perth S.C., gaining State and Australia representative honours along the way, before signing apprentice papers with London club West Ham United in 1996. First team chances were few and far between and, following loan periods at Brentford and Southend United, he played eighteen months in Scotland for Dundee. Coyne arrived at Kenilworth Road in September 2001 and quickly established himself as Luton's first choice centre back, making 227 appearances for the Hatters and helping the club to the 2004/05 League One Championship.
In recent years State team football has all but vanished from the radar but Coyne feels its time the games' authorities to revive the concept. "When I was growing up playing State League, to get in the State team was for me the next step - it was a progression that you could aim to achieve," he explained. "It's something the football association have to have a look at it and say 'lets give these players something to strive for'. It's not always about winning the league, it's also about avoiding relegation and there are players who should be rewarded with the State shirt on their back at the end of the season."
Last season was difficult for Luton, who were relegated from the English Championship, as well as Coyne who missed a large chunk of the campaign following a knee operation. "It was a clean out (of the knee) which can happen when you play X amount of games, and the original surgeon didn't take out enough of the cartilage," he said. "Structurally the knee is perfect, it was just a matter of cleaning out the rubbish. I still managed to get 25 or 26 games in but it was disappointing that the season ended in relegation."
Luton commences their pre-season later this month and Coyne for one can not wait to get started under the clubs new management hierarchy. "The new chairman, David Pinkney, has got a good few quid behind him and he's brought in a manager, Kevin Blackwell, who's very ambitious," Coyne said. "Kevin is into his fitness and he's brought in three fitness instructors to monitor everything .... it's gone from one extreme to another but I'm looking forward to getting back into it."
Coyne still harbours a burning desire to gain a senior Australian call-up before his playing days come to an end. "I've always said that the one thing I'd like to do before I end my career is to wear the green and gold again," he said. "It's something I've been fortunate enough to do it all through the junior levels and the only shirt I've not had on my back is the full Socceroos. I'll keep plugging away and if I keep doing my job well then it'll get recognised and, hopefully, that will end with an international call-up."
Prolific goalscorer Nikita Rukavytsya brought his time with Perth S.C. to an end by scoring twice in Sunday’s big win at Stirling Lions. The striker’s double took his season tally to sixteen goals - eleven of which have been struck in the opening nine rounds of the League campaign. The soon to be 20-year old leaves Dorrien Gardens to continue his A-League career with Perth Glory.
Sorrento custodian Neil Young has been slapped with a seven week suspension after being sent off recently at Dorrien Gardens. The Gulls captain received his marching orders after throwing the ball in frustration at Nikita Rukavytsya, whom he was judged to have fouled for a Perth penalty. Young’s behaviour left the referee with no option but to dismiss the 2006 Goalkeeper of the Year.
Former Australian youth international and Leeds United goalkeeper Danny Milosevic has joined Inglewood United. Milosevic, who spent a season with Perth Glory before heading overseas, will vie for the gloves with Oliver Taseski and Jason Razmovski. He becomes the sixth former Glory player at Inglewood which is already home to player/coach Bobby Despotovski, Shane Pryce, Greg Sharland, Dean Apelgren and Shaun Kilkelly.
Stirling Lions have added to their foreign legion with the recruitment of 21-year old Scotsman Alan Muir. The former St Mirren and Elgin City player will bolster a midfield that’s been depleted of late by injury to Steve Porter and Daniel Micevski. Muir, who made his Stirling debut in Sunday’s home fixture with Perth S.C., joins fellow ‘imports’ David Dugdale, Keith Brown and Porter at Macedonia Park.
Wanneroo City’s season appears to have taken a further turn for the worse following the on-field bust-up between Luke Croxall and Okwy Diamondstar. Rumour has it Croxall has parted company with the club after being red carded for lashing out at his teammate during last week’s loss at Cockburn City. It’s understood this is the second time in four weeks that Wanneroo players have come to blows either during or immediately following a game.
Internal politics have prevented Rockingham City from strengthening their playing stocks. The southern suburbs outfit may be winless and six points adrift of their nearest rival at the foot of the First Division table, but that didn’t stopped them from denying experienced pair Alex Smith and Danny Turner a return to the club when they fronted for training last week.
NICE ONE CYRIL
The summer recruitment of Cyril Sharrock was a masterstroke on behalf of the Armadale administration. The Englishman has been a pillar of strength between the posts and provided a young Reds line-up with some much needed experience at the back. Sharrock, who joined Armadale from Rockingham City, admits to enjoying life at Alfred Skeet Oval. “It’s been a great move for me to come down here,” he explained. “I still live in the Rockingham area so it means a little bit of travelling but the lads have been great and the whole club have me feel really welcome.
Armadale boast one of the top flights youngest squads and, as such, many of the players are relatively new to senior football. And although they’ve won just one of nine home and away games to date, Sharrock has absolutely no doubt Armadale will start pulling away from the relegation zone in the not too distant future. “It’s a young side and the boys are digging deep and trying to get some points on the board,” he explained. “If we take a few errors out of our game we will start to get some good results.”
When Billy Russell was appointed senior coach of Armadale late last year he made it a priority to bring Sharrock and seasoned campaigner Dusan Macura, formerly of Cockburn City, to the club. Russell has been delighted with the early season form of both Sharrock and Macura who he considers to key figures at the club. “I believe the signing off Cyril and Dusan are the best two signings Armadale have ever made,” Russell said. “They have both been quality and you know your going to get 100% and that all I can ask of any player.”
Sharrock played in England's non-League with Chorley, Lancaster City, Kendal Town, Fleetwood Town and Bamber Bridge before heading down under last year. He’s been impressed by the standard of the local competition, in particular it’s goalkeeping stocks. “It’s a good standard over here. You get a little bit more time on the ball in Perth, in the UK you are closed down a lot quicker,” he said. “I’m surprised people say there aren’t a lot of good ‘keepers in the Premier League - all the clubs have got a decent ‘keeper and that’s good for the League.”
Regardless of where Armadale are playing, they can always rely on their loyal supporters being in the stands and in full voice urging their team on to greater heights. It’s often been commented that the ‘Army boys’ are the clubs’ twelfth man and the lift they provide the players is second to none. “The fans here have been absolutely awesome,” said Sharrock. “You hear them every Saturday, home and away, and it really drives you on. Even when we’re down they're in full voice, it’s excellent.”
SAQ TEAMS UP WITH FOOTBALL WEST
Football West has joined forces with renowned SAQ International to promote and deliver the Football Specific Program to clubs within Western Australia. SAQ provides nationally recognised awards, specialised equipment, resources and consultancy to clubs, associations and organisations throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, America and Australia. Some of the worlds most successful clubs - amongst them Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Glasgow Rangers, Glasgow Celtic and Bayern Munich - have recevied training, educational resources and equipment from SAQ.
The introduction of the SAQ program is expected to have a positive effect on all the local game. "Football West has teamed with SAQ to further develop the skills and knowledge of our coaches within WA, as part of our ongoing commitment to coach development through the Coaching Hub Program," said Garry Chandler, Football West's chief executive. "SAQ has an enviable reputation and are market leaders when it comes to coach development and I am delighted to be able to utilise their experience in supporting our coaches in WA."
Alan Pearson, SAQ's managing director, is keen to improve the standard of coaching in WA by offering football coaches the opportunity to learn and put into practice the most successful football specific movement program in Europe. "No longer can we take for granted that children know how to run, jump and generally move. Coaches who include SAQ movement skills as part of their football sessions have seen dramatic improvements in players' football ability, skills, results and players’ enjoyment and motivation," he explained.
Pearson will be in Perth next month to conduct a series of courses in the areas of health and fitness and sports performance. Recognised as the world over as an expert in this field, Pearson regularly features on television and radio in the UK and Europe. For information on the up-coming Football Specific P-Awards for Football Coaches and the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Award courses, including how to register your interest, visit the Football West website.
RED CARD FOR ‘UGLY PARENTS’
While some junior players this winter may catch the flu, some spectators are likely to be struck down by a much more dangerous affliction - ‘ugly parents’ syndrome! The Australian Sports Commission reminds parents and spectators alike that poor behaviour, often coined ‘ugly parents’ syndrome, and the abuse of match officials such as umpires and referees is not acceptable. The vast majority of parents and spectators are supportive and provide positive encouragement to all participants but it only takes one person to make children’s sport an unpleasant experience for everyone - children, officials, coaches, parents and other spectators.
The Australian Government, through the ASC, and state governments are working hard to help sports eradicate poor spectator and player behaviour from their games and provide sporting experiences for young Australians that are safe, fun and rewarding. The ASC, state governments and sports themselves have a number of excellent programs and initiatives in the community to help sports manage the issue of poor spectator behaviour. This sort of behaviour and negative experience is often cited as one of the reasons children drop out of sport.
Everyone has a role in acting as good role models for children playing sport but the role of parents is particularly crucial. Children model their behaviour on that of their parents. Amongst the initiatives already making a difference to spectator behaviour at community level are junior referees wearing brightly coloured vests to make it clear they are learning how to officiate, and nominated officials issuing yellow and red cards to spectators not behaving appropriately.
SIX PLAYERS SELECTED IN AUSTRALIAN U17 SQUAD
Six of the State's top emerging talents have been invited to attend next month's Australian Under-17 training camp in Canberra. Cameron Edwards and Alex Pearson of Cockburn City along with the National Training Centre quartet Eli Babalj, Jack Clisby, Josh Risdon and Trent Sainsbury have been called up based upon their performances at last years' National Youth Championship and the recent four-State tournament in Adelaide.
Andrew Bettell, education and development manager for Football West, says the call-up is great news for West Australian football. "It is a long time since WA had six representatives in a National camp we register about one-tenth of players nationally and this figure represents one-fifth!," he said. "We also believe a couple of other players will push hard at the Institute Challenge for recognition after making real strides in the NTC program over recent months."
Babalj, Clisby, Edwards, Pearson, Risdon and Sainsbury will spend four days in camp which will be followed by the Australian Institute of Sports' Institute Challenge from which a squad to tour Japan in August will be selected. The sextet are expected to represent the State at October's National Under-15 Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour, and will be in line for further duty when Australia commence their Youth World Cup qualifying campaign later that month.
GLORY DEPART FOR MALAYSIAN CAMP
Perth Glory's pre-season preparations took-off on Monday afternoon with players and coaches departing for a thirteen day camp in Malaysia. There was quite a buzz amongst the assembled group, which included 17 of the clubs' 20 contracted players, ahead of the trip which includes games against Super League sides Selangor PKNS, Perak, Penang and Police FC.
New recruit Nikolai Topor-Stanley said the camp will be a great chance to get to know his new team mates. "There are a few new faces around the team, including me, so getting to know the boys on and off the pitch will be good," Topor-Stanley said. "I play my best football once I'm comfortable around my team mates and this will help speed up that process."
Five trialing players, amongst them Stirling Lions pair Steve Hesketh and Phil Arnold, were invited to be part of Glory's squad in Malaysia. Not making the trip were contracted trip Stan Lazaridis (suspended), Jason Petkovic (injury) and Aleks Vrteski who has signed a short-term contract with E.C.U. Joondalup to ensure he receives some much needed game time ahead of Glory's pre-season cup campaign in mid-July.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE
Lynwood Colts and Southern Spirit played out a tight 1-1 draw in this afternoon’s Amateur Premier League fixture at Hossack Reserve. It wasn’t until the 34th minute that the first genuine chance on goal was created with Albert Hornby’s fiercely struck shot from distance flashing narrowly over the crossbar. Three minutes later Lynwood took the lead through Scott Quayle who made his way into the 18-yard box where made no mistake in beating goalkeeper Bobson Koroma.
Two minutes after the restart Damien Pescud drew Spirit level by tapping into an empty net after a teammate collided with the Lynwood goalkeeper. Carlos Ferreira had his free-kick spilt by Koroma in the 71st minute, but Quayle squandered the opportunity by placing narrowly wide of the upright. D.Palin almost pinched the points late for Lynwood when he drifted free of his marker but, having tamed a cross, a defender instinctively raced in to block his shot.
Shamrock Rovers scored their ninth straight victory by out-shooting Suburbs United 5-2. CN Canning International became the first team to take points off Fremantle United this year by drawing 2-2. The points were also shared between WA Maccabi and Murdoch University where the game ended scoreless. Spearwood Dalmatinac went down 0-4 at home to Hamersley Rovers, and Subiaco United were 3-1 too good for Stirling Panthers. University of WA defeated Kingsway Olympic 1-0, while South Perth United scored their second win of the campaign by downing Perth Azzurri 3-1.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE (Wanneroo City v Floreat Athena courtesy Floreat Athena; Armadale v Cockburn City courtesy Football West)
The championship credentials of Perth S.C. were flying at full mast as they demolished Stirling Lions 5-0 in the Sunday fixture at Macedonia Park. The travelling supporters had to wait just 10 minutes before the commencement of celebration as Robbie Puca scored from the penalty spot after Barry Wood was impeded by Steve Hesketh. Perth continued their domination of the game with Wood firing high from close-range after a great build-up down the right featuring Scott Bulloch and Costa Socratous. Rukavytsya netted the visitors second of the afternoon on 18 minute after combining with Wood to great effect. Two minutes later the margin was further increased courtesy of a defence splitting pass from Socratous which allowed Nikita Rukavytsya to race through and rifle past goalkeeper Phil Straker. Stirling thought they’d pulled a goal back when Phil Arnold netted from a Keith Brown free-kick, however, the goal was ruled out for hand ball and Arnold yellow carded for his misdemeanour. Perth was in no mood for compromise and Wood headed in a Todd Howarth far post corner for goal number four. As the half came to a close both Wood and Rukavysta shot wide with only the ‘keeper to beat. The second period was a far more even affair with Ludovic Boi firing wide early as Stirling sought for a way back into the game. At the opposite end Rukavytsya fired past Straker only to have youngster Dannie Richman prevent the ball from crossing the line. Stirling hopes were effectively dashed in the 57th minute when the dismissal of Keith Brown for a late challenge on Bulloch. Wood put the icing on Perth’s cake in the 68th minute when he converted at close range after being found unmarked inside the area by Howarth. Gary Faria should have further increased the difference late on but placed high of the crossbar from Matt Danskin’s cut back.
Floreat Athena encountered little resistance as they brushed aside a Wanneroo City 5-1 when they faced off at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Josip Magdic, John Migas and Adam Bachiller featured prominently in the early exchanges as Floreat flexed their midfield muscle and piled pressure on the home defence. With 28 minutes gone Floreat got a deserved breakthrough with Boima Karpeh converting from the penalty spot after Josip Magdic’s surging run into the area was brought to a halt by Peter Vukmirovic. After this the game opened up somewhat and Wanneroo created their best chance of the period in which Gary Andrews weaved past two opponents only to shoot wide. The second half was 10 minutes old when John Migas and Adam Bachiller combined down the left with the former delivering an inch-perfect cross that Karpeh headed past goalkeeper Kevin Miller. A terrific move down the opposite flank between Branimir Mikulic and Miki Vujacic ended with the latter angling a fine shot into the top corner on the hour. Wanneroo were given a glimmer of hope when teenager Jack Watts played an exquisite cross field ball into the path of Andrews whose cross was headed in by Craig Bowman. However, that was soon extinguished by Karpeh who worked his way past a couple of defenders before calmly slotting his third of the afternoon into the net on 63 minutes. Miki Vujacic delivered a superb curling cross four minutes later which beat the defensive line and Mikulic cleverly volleyed over the advancing ‘keeper. The final margin could have been much greater but neither Magdic, Karpeh nor Mikulic could capitalise on late opportunities.
Cockburn City moved up the table to third after out-shining Armadale 1-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was a masterful opening half by Scott Miller’s side for whom Josh Kamasz, Jason Dos Santos and Johnny Mirco caused the home team no end of trouble. Kamasz hit the post with a grass cutter from 15-metres after only a few minutes, and not long after turned provider for Michael Mirco whose header flashed wide of the target. For their part, Armadale created little of substance as their best efforts were turned away by a well organised backline composed of Liam Lilly, Shane Nunes and Jason Godfrey. Five minutes from the break Cockburn found an avenue to goal through Jason Dos Santos who received a Giovanni De Bartolo throw and in one elegant move turned his marker to hit a low centre which was deflected into the net by a defender. Whatever Billy Russell said to his troops during the break certainly worked as Armadale began the new half by applying pressure to the visiting defence for the first time. Scott Paterson should have equaliser on the hour after being played through by Darren Kingston but blasted narrowly wide. Dino Pacella was forced into a save for the first time shortly after when Darren Kingston unleashed a fierce volley from 15-metres. Sandwiched between these was a terrific fingertip save by Cyril Sharrock which denied Jason Dos Santos a second goal after he skipped past three opponents. Further chances to seal victory came the way of Shane Nunes and Johnny Mirco but the former headed high and the latter placed wide. Armadale twice went close to snatching a late equaliser but Paterson crashed a free-kick into the upright, and in a goalmouth scramble Kingston sliced the ball over the crossbar.
E.C.U. Joondalup recovered from being two goals down to earn a 3-3 draw with Swan I.C. in an action packed game in the northern suburbs. Justin Hugo prevented the home side from taking an early lead by clearing off the line after Marc Anthony beat Cory Hugo. With their first attack Swan found the net as David Perich and John Monterosso combined for Tom Shepheard to send a low shot past veteran shot-stopper Alan Young. Play streamed from one end of the park to the other before Rory Mouttet's foul on Tom Amphlett resulted in a Joondalup penalty which was converted by Anthony on 19 minutes. Amphlett causing Swan a lot of problems with his darting runs down the flank and on the half-hour Anthony acrobatically volleyed wide from the teenagers' delivery. Swan reclaimed the lead in the 36th minute when Anthony McStea curled the ball over Young and into the net from a free-kick wide on the left. The second half was only minutes old when Aaron Cole embarked on a lung-bursting 50-metre run which took him past three opponents before firing past Young for Swan's third goal. However, the complexion of the game changed in the 66th minute when referee Jeremy Oliphant issued David Perich a straight red card for his push on Anthony inside the area, and from the spot the Joondalup midfielder sent Cory Hugo the wrong way for a second time. Joondalup now took control and didn't wait long before levelling as an inch-perfect cross by Anthony was headed in by defender David Abel. Both sides had late chances to snatch victory before Oliphant brought proceedings to a close and the points were shared.
Western Knights chalked up four unanswered second half goals to run out 6-2 winners when they faced off with Sorrento at Nash Field. Although slow to get going, the Knights would enjoy the better of early possession before being justifiably rewarded on 32 minutes when a ricocheted shot fell to the feet of Andrija Jukic who tucked the ball in at close-range. Parity was restored just minutes later when a collision between Jared Love, Brodie Martin and Cormac Dawson resulted in a bizarre Sorrento penalty which was converted by Scottish recruit Gary Lynn. The Gulls hit the front four minutes from the break when Gary Boyle's brilliant curling shot from 22-metres beat Tommi Tomich. Within a minute though the Knights were back on level terms courtesy of a dazzling run through the penalty area by Andrija Jukic who unselfishly slotted to substitute Andrew Jennings to bend into the far top corner. It was pretty much one-way traffic after the break as Jon Higgins and David Price were both denied the hosts third goal by the upright. The floodgates were prised open on 61 minutes by Stuart Montgomery who tucked the ball into an empty net after Jennings' effort was saved by the feet of goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane. Five minutes later Montgomery converted from the penalty spot after Jennings was judged to have been impeded by Cochrane. Sorrento's hopes to getting back in the game were dashed on 80 minutes when midfielder Glen Thomas was issued a straight red card for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Youngster Matt Allen hit the post just minutes after coming off the bench as the Knights looked to add to their tally. It would be Montgomery who added their fifth by converting from the spot after a handball decision against Danny Taylor. The scoring was completed in the 85th minute by Andrija Jukic who rifled into the bottom corner after bedazzling the defence with a weaving run.
Inglewood United returned to the winners circle by out-gunning Fremantle Spirit 3-1 at the WA Spanish Club. An even opening was interrupted in the 7th minute by Dean Apelgren who sent a crisp shot through a crowded 18-yard box and into the back of the net to put hand Inglewood the lead. This set the tone for the remainder of the period with the visiting team enjoying the better of possession through neat passing and movement off the ball. As the minutes ticked by Fremantle worked their way back into the match as supporters of both teams were treated to some fine end-to-end football and good openings on goal. In the 43rd minute the port side drew level through hard-working midfielder Jason Barrera whose stunning volley from 25-metres gave Oliver Taseski no chance. the introduction of Callum Roberts at the break provided Fremantle with a new avenue to attack and shortly after the re-start his cross was disappointingly headed wide by an unmarked Tom Straker. However, Inglewood regained the upper hand in the 59th minute through Bobby Despotovski who brilliantly evaded several challenges on top of the area before coolly stroking past Steve Grant. From this point Inglewood dominated and if not for some wayward finishing and resilient defending by Straker and Mark Darby the margin could have really blown out. Greg Sharland was sent through one-on-one with Grant who produced a top class save to thwart his opponent. The result was finally put beyond doubt after 75 minutes when Sharland wriggled his way down the left before centring for Kevin Griffiths to knock in his sides' third goal from close-range.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINE (Canning City v Rockingham City by Phil Unsworth; Gosnells City v Balcatta courtesy Balcatta; South West Phoenix v Bayswater City courtesy South West Phoenix)
Mandurah City moved to the top of the First Division table by downing Morley Windmills 3-1 in this afternoon’s key fixture at Wotton Reserve. After a tight opening spell was punctuated on 19 minutes by Jordan Rhodes who put the visitors ahead with a neat chip over goalkeeper Chris Ramsey from 12-metres. Morley went agonizingly close to levelling in the 28th minute when Remo McCann delivered the ball to Brad Hassell who wasted the opportunity. Graeme Matthews earned Mandurah a penalty ten minutes from the break but Rhodes spot kick was blocked by Ramsey, and with the follow-up Andy Brown sprayed the ball wide. The home team stepped things up a gear for the second half which opened Mike Green denying Andy Bowyer and Scott McIlroy. However, there was nothing the Mandurah custodian could do when McIlroy brought the teams level on 61 minutes by tucking the ball away at close-range. Matthews restored the visitors lead two minutes later after picking up the ball near the halfway line and charging into the 18-yard box before rifling past the ‘keeper. The points were made safe in the 71st minute when Ramsey spilt a cross to which Shane Crampton reacted by whipping the ball over the line.
Canning City extended their unbeaten run to nine games, and in the process moved up into second position by knocking over Rockingham City 4-1 at Willetton Sportsman Club. The home team dominated the early exchanges and on 6 minutes Paul Van Dongen opened the scoring by placing wide of Craig Olenjik after latching on to a header from Dave Mickler. Ten minutes later Simon Versaico went close to doubling the margin but his shot from a tight angle cannoned off the base of upright. There was more than a touch of controversy in the 25th minute when Andrew Keary received possession in what appeared to be an offside position and after accelerating down the right to deliver a pin-point cross that Michael Vaz headed in to bring the sides level. Canning quickly got on with the job of restoring their lead and just four minutes later Ryan Allomes brilliantly curled a free-kick inside the top corner from 30-metres. Ten minutes before the break Kyle Mitsopoulos dribbling into the area before driving the ball into the roof of the net and established a two-goal buffer for the hosts. The second period was a scrappy affair with the games final goal arriving in the 90th minute when Paul Van Dongen netted his second of the afternoon.
Balcatta returned from Walter Padbury Reserve with all three points and a hard fought 1-0 victory against Gosnells City. In a game where chances were scarce it was match referee Vince Trimboli who took centre stage by issuing over a dozen cautions and a couple of late red cards. It was an arm wrestle from the outset with both sides displaying a clear desire to claim victory and move up the table. Balcatta looked the goods early with Toby Wright and Peter Koidis going close with headers. The visitors' enterprise was rewarded on 18 minutes when Tony Cumace's classy free-kick from 22-metres came to nestle in the back of the net. Gosnells only clear cut opening of the period fell to Mark Edwards who fired wide of the upright few minutes out from the interval. The second half began with Balcatta again on top and Wright was denied their second goal by goalkeeper Jade Thorpe after making his way past several opponents. Both sides were reduced to ten men late in the piece for second bookings to Christian Melo and Arthur Majewski. The closing minutes saw Gosnells work desperately to snatch a point but teenager Lewis Italiano remained focused between the posts to ensure an away win.
Andrew Cowley celebrated his 100th appearance for South West Phoenix by scoring the only goal of their 1-0 win over Bayswater City at Bunbury’s Soccerdrome. Phoenix were the quicker to settle with Steve Suttie hitting the post, and Kris Braeckmans found the side netting after going past Giannia Papalia. The game’s solitary goal arrived in the 18th minute when Gary Mayers’ shot was parried on to the post by Papalia and Cowley netted the rebound from 7-metres. Bayswater may have seen a lot of the ball but had very few genuine chances on goal to show for it. The second half saw Gino Comito and Mayers go close to adding to the hosts tally. Bayswater steadied the ship midway through the period and began to take control with Jason Lawton and Jamie Kumkar leading the charge. The dismissal of Lawrence Endersby for a second bookable offence with seven minutes remaining gave the visitors renewed hope to snatching a point. And not long after a defensive mishap allowed in Damir Kudozovic who shot into the side netting from an acute angle. In stoppage time Bayswater also went down to ten men when Papalia was red carded for dissent. A terrific diving save by Ryan Montgomery which thwarted Riste Stefoski ensured the points would go to the home side.
Ashfield left Dianella Reserve with maximum points courtesy of a 3-1 win against Dianella White Eagles. Oliver Langdale, Igor Novakovic and Damien Todorovic put Ashfield in a commanding position before Aaron Moschopoulos netted a late consolation for the home side. The points were shared at Coker Park where a 1-1 draw was the results between Queens Park and Forrestfield United. Both goals arrived shortly before half-time when R.Simpson cancelled out and earlier strike by Matt Harold. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Fremantle Spirit have been the surprise packet of the season to date and tomorrow they welcome Inglewood United at the WA Spanish Club in the www.footballwa.net Match of the Week. Marc Wingell's side were widely tipped to struggle on their top flight return but after two months of competition sit well clear of the drop zone. They were denied victory at Floreat Athena last week by a last gasp goal and head into Saturday's game confident of extending their four game unbeaten streak.
By contrast, Inglewood haven't gained a single point from their last five League outings during which they've worryingly conceded 15 times and scored just three. But strong recent performances against high flyers Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions are evidence Inglewood's lowly position does not in any way reflect their talent pool. Buoyed by a recent Cup win over Fremantle, victory on the weekend could be just the catalyst for Inglewood to get their season back on track.
Floreat Athena will be without star quartet Ante Kovacevic, Bajo Savic, Josip Magdic and Paul Vatistas for their trip to Wanneroo City. E.C.U. Joondalup have home ground advantage and are tipped to take the points when Swan I.C. visits the northern suburbs. The Army boys are sure to be in full voice when Armadale take on the might of Cockburn City at Alfred Skeet Oval. Western Knights have hosting rights against a Sorrento line-up that is minus suspended goalkeeper Neil Young.
Stirling Lions take on Perth S.C. in Sunday's blockbuster fixture at Macedonia Park. The key to the game will be who asserts the greatest control in midfield where Ludovic Boi, Daniel Micevski, Dannie Richman and Keith Brown come up against the creativity of Gary Faria, Robbie Puca, Michael Ord and Todd Howarth. If you're planning to attend then get to the ground early as big crowd is expected for the 3.30pm kick-off.
Morley Windmills host Mandurah City at Wotton Reserve in a game important to both clubs. It's tight at the top of the First Division table and another three points could well take the victors to top spot at the completion of the round. Brad Hassell has molded Morley into a difficult opponent by blending new recruits with faces familiar to the clubs' faithful. Mandurah's good form have elevated them to second place and firmed the club as one of the favourites to win promotion.
There are a number of other vital match-ups in this weekends round of First Division games, none more so than Dianella White Eagles home clash with Ashfield. Canning City are expect to take all three points at home against a Rockingham City side which is seeking their first win of the campaign. Bayswater City make the long journey to Bunbury where South West Phoenix are the hosts. Gosnells City play Balcatta at Walter Padbury Reserve, and Coker Park is the venue for Queens Park against Forrestfield United.
Fremantle United can extend their lead at the head of the Amatuer Conference A with a home win over CN Canning International. Conference B leaders Shamrock Rovers travel to Centenary Park to meet Suburbs United. Lynwood Colts are home to Southern Spirit, WA Maccabi host Murdoch University, and Hamersley Rovers travel to Spearwood Dalmatinac. Perth Azzurri host South Perth United, Subiaco United meet Stirling Panthers at Rosalie Park, and University of WA welcome Kingsway Olympic to McGillivray Oval.
ON THIS DAY … 1975
Manchester United started their second tour of Australia with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the State team before a crowd of around 15,000 at Perry Lakes Stadium on the afternoon of 15th June, 1975. Western Australia’s spirited opposition to the star-studded touring side gave the big crowd plenty of value for the high $4.30 admission charge. Under coach Alan Vest, WA football at State level has matured considerably, though it is obvious that the skills of local players, particularly in the midfield, suffer in comparison with clubs like Manchester United.
Red Devils goalkeeper Alex Stepney, the only surviving member of the 1967 side that beat the State 7-0, confirmed that WA had come a long way. “In the first twenty minutes I thought your boys hadn’t improved at all, but once they settled down I quickly changed my mind,” Stepney told David Andrews of the ‘West Australian’ after the game. “They use the ball more intelligently, they are better at running off the ball and are not afraid to get stuck in.”
WA could have got away to a flying start had they accepted an unexpected opportunity in the 3rd minute, but Ken Morton succeeded only in flipping a cross into Stepney’s arms from two-metres out. Taking heed of this escape, United took control and in the 8th minute winger Steve Coppell accepted a perfect though-pass from Stuart Pearson and beat goalkeeper Tony Witschge inside the far post. In the 21st minute Coppell hit a superb shot that missed the top corner by inches.
At this stage WA looked completely at sea, lacking confidence in their build-ups and looking shaky in defence. In the 24th minute Ray Ilott changed all that with a fine run down the right wing to deliver a testing cross that John O’Connell just failed to divert into the net. This near miss galvanised WA into positive action. In the 30th minute a bad back-pass fell for Morton but with only Stepney to beat he tried to score with a powerful shot that the ‘keeper palmed away for a corner. Two minutes later WA had a let off when Sammy McIlroy was brought down inside the area and referee Barry Harwood waved play on.
Another good piece of fortune fell the hosts way when both linesman and referee failed to see two WA players in an offside position to receive a long through ball from the defence. Morton picked up possession but again was unable to beat Stepney, trying to round him instead of stroking the ball past his legs. In trying to retrieve the situation George McMillan moved in fast and had the ball in the net just as Harwood whistled for a penalty. In view of the offside fiasco, it was only justified that Stepney saved McMillan’s poorly taken spot kick.
United started the second half in a determined frame of mind. In the 49th minute a short corner to the near post by Coppell found McIlroy whose glancing header flew across Witschge and inside the far post. In the space of two minutes United forced three corners and Witschge fully justified his selection by his calm application under pressure. In the 55th minute the stadium erupted when WA finally gained the break they had been striving for. A terrific 40-metre pass by Ilott split the defence and McMillan turned Martin Buchan the wrong way before slamming home from 12-metres.
United continued to dominate territorially but found WA’s defence equal to the task, although there were one or two close calls. Steve Stacey did a superb job of marshalling the home defence with Witschge while there were also stand-out performances by midfielder Dave Brooks and Ilott in attack. For United it was Coppell who played the starring role along with Pearson, Alex Forsythe, Lou Macari
Western Australia (squad) - Tony Witschge,
Saverio Madaschi, Steve Pateman, Bob Taylor,
T.Giuffre, Denis Barstow, Steve Stacey, Frank
Bibby, Dave Brooks, Stephen Sceats, Aldo Trinca,
Ken Morton, George McMillan, Ray Ilott, Bert
Kirkpatrick, Dave O’Callaghan, John O’Connell
Manchester United (squad) - Alex Stepney, Alex Forsyth, Jim Holton, Martin Buchan, Stewart Houston, Brian Greenhoff, P.Loughnane, Sammy McIlroy, Lou Macari, Steve Coppell, Stuart Pearson, Gerry Daly, Steve James, Tony Young, Paddy Roche, Jimmy Nicholl, Arthur Albiston, David McCreery, Tony Grimshaw
HESKETH TO JOIN GLORY
The good early season form of Steven Hesketh has earned him a spot in Perth Glory’s pre-season trip to Malaysia. The 18-year old defender caught the eye of coach Ron Smith while playing for Stirling Lions and was recently invited to train, and go on tour with A-League club. “I’m really looking forward to the tour, we will be playing four games over there, and hopefully I’ll do alright,” said Hesketh. “I’ve really enjoyed the training sessions with Glory on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the lads made me feel welcome and it’s a fantastic opportunity for me.”
Since moving from Fremantle City two years ago Hesketh has made his way up through the ranks to become an established member of the first eleven. “Stirling is an excellent club with a great atmosphere,” Hesketh said. “Mike Lyons, Paul ‘Geordie’ Simmons, Gary Williams and Don Evans are 100% behind the young players - we are given every opportunity to play at our highest level. I have learnt so much in a short period of time from all the coaching staff, and the advice the senior players have given me has been invaluable.”
THREE CHEERS FOR FOOTBALL WEST! (by ‘The Insider’)
Football West deserve a hearty round of applause for realising the value of scheduling the State League match of the week on Sunday afternoon. For years there have been calls out for the weekends centrepiece fixture to be played on a Sunday as way of showcasing the beautiful game. But for just as long we've been told 'no, it's too hard to organise and, besides, the clubs don't want it.'
So, after much coaxing, Football West finally agreed to test the waters a few weeks back with the Stirling-Floreat match. Lo and behold, the game was an absolute cracker and attracted one of the biggest crowds seen at a regular season fixture in years. And it's likely that success will be replicated when Stirling host Perth in Sunday's top of the table encounter at Macedonia Park. One can only hope Football West heed the wake-up call and schedule a regular Sunday game next season.
A CENTURY OF GOALS FOR SUTTIE
When Steve Suttie put away the first of his two goals against Balcatta on the weekend he became the first player to score one hundred goals for South West Phoenix. While the 25-year old is proud of reaching the century milestone he says it’s not something he set out to achieve. “It’s good to get to one hundred goals but it’s not something I thought about when I started playing for Phoenix,” Suttie said, whose been with the Bunbury-based club since day one. “Around the end of 2005 I was sitting on 79 goals and figured I could get to one hundred in the next season or so, so yeah, it’s nice to get there.”
Most strikers would be thrilled to bring up their one hundredth goal in just their 143rd appearance but not Suttie who says he could have got their sooner. “I probably should have reached it quicker,” he said modestly. “I always get good service and into scoring positions but there have been many a sleepless Saturday night pondering the chances I blew when we lost. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some wonderfully creative attacking players who have been able to read my movements well, players such as Savo Garic, David Rodgers and Gary Mayers, who I owe a lot to over the years.”
After playing junior football, Suttie looked to be lost to the game when he chose to pursue a career in golf as a teenager. The formation of Phoenix in 2001 reignited his passion for the world game and Suttie made his debut - and scored his first goal - in the clubs’ inaugural game, a 4-2 Cup win over Queens Park. Since then the lively striker has become an established member of the starting eleven and a thorn in the side of the opposition. His crowning achievement was season 2005 when Suttie’s 25 goals earned him the First Division Golden Boot award along with Phoenix’ Fairest and Best, and Players’ Player of the Year trophies.
Suttie has plenty of fond memories from his time with Phoenix. “My personal highlight was scoring a hat-trick at Mandurah City in 2005 when we won 4-3,” he explained. “The quality of goals may not have been the greatest but it was still a hat-trick, the game was a beauty and the win was fantastic. I also recall us knocking Kingsway Olympic off the top of the ladder in 2003 with late goals from David Rodgers and myself making that an awesome day for us. Our best season was 2005 when we were placed third at the end of the regular season, even though we then fell to fourth after the play-offs.”
But with the smooth comes the crunchy and, unfortunately, Phoenix have experienced more of the latter than the former. “The lowlights probably outweighed the highlights,” said Suttie. “2002 as a whole was very disappointing, we had a good debut season but really went backwards in our second season. And last year was obviously was a disaster for us in terms of league performance, and it was more the result of bad management off the field in the previous three years that lead to us falling in a hole. To finish bottom and avoid relegation via a boardroom decision was a definite low.”
Phoenix has set themselves the achievable goal of establishing themselves as a respected First Division opponent and a top four proposition in the next few years. “I believe we play good football, we always try to play a passing game rather than long balls or negative defensive styles,” Suttie commented. “If you look back on our results, in 150 games there are no scoreless draws and only two games where there was a single goal scored, so at least spectators are guaranteed action and goals either way!”
The club are sitting comfortably in sixth place two months into the season, clear of the relegation zone and within striking distance of the leading pack. “We have been up and down a bit this season,” he said. “We always seem to play to the level of our opponents - we lost to Queens Park and Balcatta but drew with Dianella and Canning so we are hard to predict. Over the next five weeks we have a very tough run with games against five of the top seven teams and I think that after that we’ll really know where we’re at.”
This weekend Phoenix plays host to a strong but inconsistent Bayswater City line-up. “Bayswater’s results have been very up and down so far this year but I think they are a better side than their seventh placing indicates,” he said. “We had a good win against Forrestfield United in our last home game but we know this week will be much tougher. We approach every game knowing if we are off our game then we won’t win - it’s that simple. It’s interesting to note that in Phoenix’ short history we are yet to beat Bayswater … but there is always a first time.”
KNIGHTS STRIPPED OF POINTS
Western Knights have been deducted three Premiership points by Football West. A recent Disciplinary and Grievance Committee hearing found the Knights guilty of signing a player on a contract that did not comply with Football Federation Australia's 'National Registration Regulations', and contained clauses that were incompatible with said regulations. The Knights have been fined $500 for breaching sections 3.1 (c), 4.4 (a) and 6.1 (i) of the National Registration Regulations, the players registration cancelled by Football West who've declared the player ineligible for any games he'd played for the Knights. The result of the Knights opening round fixture with Inglewood United has been overturned accordingly and the game awarded to Inglewood by 3-0. The Knights have lodged an appeal against the ruling which may be heard as soon as next week.
Tommi Tomich may well play his last game for Western Knights this weekend. The imposing 27-year old will be between the posts for the Knights home clash with Sorrento after which he commences a new posting with Perth Glory. He joins the A-League club as cover for injured goalkeeper Jason Petkovic, and will be vying for the gloves with up and coming 'keepers Aleks Vrteski and Tando Velaphi. Tomich will have his fingers crossed that all goes well and a longer-term deal is forthcoming.
Dale McCulloch's transfer to Wanneroo City has become tied up in red tape. Under section 4.9 (c) of the 'National Registration Regulations' a player may register with a maximum of three clubs during the period from 1 January until 31 December, however, that player is eligible to play for only two of those clubs. McCulloch made one substitute appearance for E.C.U. Joondalup in the Night Series, and came off the bench three times for Stirling Lions earlier in the season. Wanneroo are understood to be pursuing the matter further.
Sorrento's bid to move away from the foot of the Premier League table has gained momentum with the arrival of a couple of Scotsmen. 25-year old Chris Boyle, who made over 100 appearances for Dumbarton, has strengthened the Gulls attack while former Forfar Athletic player Gary Lynn, 27, adds to the defensive options. Heading in the opposite direction is Carl Poore who, after a handful of appearances for northern suburbs club, has joined English outfit Wimborne Town.
Goalkeeper Alan Young became one of the State League’s oldest players when he turned out for E.C.U. Joondalup last weekend. The 43-year old was drafted into the starting line-up for Saturday’s game at Dorrien Gardens after regular shot-stopper Andy Petterson was forced to watch from the sidelines by injury. Young is likely to resume his more familiar role as Joondalup’s goalkeeping coach this weekend.
There were more than a few raised eyebrows at Morley Windmills when news filtered through that Ray Rose made joined Dianella White Eagles. Reports from Wotton Reserve indicate Rose was on the verge of agreeing terms with Morley when an eleventh hour bid from Dianella came to fruition. It was a cruel blow for Morley who just days earlier lost the services of bustling striker Damien Todorovic to Ashfield.
Former State player and current Balcatta midfield dynamo Rob Giorgi is set to miss the remainder of 2007 due to a knee injury. Giorgi, 26, has been out of action with a ligament strain which was originally meant to put him on the sidelines for up two eight weeks. However, the injury appears to be worse than initially thought and unless there's significant improvement in the next fortnight Giorgi will Balcatta's push for promotion
HAIL THE FEMALE TRENDSETTERS (courtesy the ‘The Fame Game’ (pdf, 443kb))
It’s been thirty years since the West Australian women’s team became the first female State representative side from Australia to dip their toes in Asia. The State women’s team played seven games during a hectic two-week spell in October, 1977 - winning six and drawing the other contest. Six of the games were in Malaysia and included a 7-1 thrashing of the Malaysian national team in a contest in Penang. The drawn game was a 0-0 deadlock with Singapore, when WA blew a chance to maintain their 100% record when they missed a penalty.
“It was a wonderful tour. We received great treatment everywhere we went and I think everyone was impressed with the standard of our play,” recalled Peter Dimopolous, who was president and State coach of the WA women’s association at the time. “The only unfortunate note was that Jessie Rosebury went down with appendicitis when we were in Johor and was hospitalised. We managed to get her transferred to Singapore, where her appendix was removed.”
It was Dimopolous, along with women’s association secretary Barbara Gibson and team manager George Crow, who organised the tour. “Anna Senjushenko was the main attraction. The Malaysians were fascinated by her blonde hair and tall physique. They kept wanting to touch her,” said Dimopolous. Senjushenko, who tragically died in a car accident when only 17, went on to represent Australia in the Women’s World Cup in Taiwan in 1978, as did her State team mates Sharon Loveless and Sandra Brentnall.
Dimopolous said it was hoped that the thirtieth anniversary of the Asian breakthrough could be marked by some sort of get together later this year. “It would be nice if the relevant body decided to stage a celebration, for it really was a significant event,” he said. The WA women also made history in 1980 when they became the first State side to be invited to compete in the Asian Championships in India, finishing a very commendable third in that event.
The team that toured Asia in 1977 was Sharon Loveless (captain), Julie Clayton (vice-captain), Chris Barter, Sandra Brentnall, Marilyn Crow, Heather Dunbar, Theresa Kozak, Linda Lewis, Donna Pendreigh, Judy Pettit, Ann Prowse, Jessie Rosebury, Martha Ryan, Anna Senjushenko, Maxine Sullivan, Jill Syson. Such was the quality of that State team that they scooped the Australian national title in Newcastle in 1978.
ARNOLD SHORT-LISTED FOR AUSTRALIA
Phil Arnold is over the moon following his inclusion in the Australian Under-20 training squad for the upcoming tour to China. The 19-year old, who played a starring role in Stirling Lions’ dramatic Cup final victory last season, will fly to Canberra tomorrow to meet the rest of the squad. “I’m wrapped with the call up, my form has been okay for the Lions and I’ve been scoring a few goals,” he said. “I’ll see how I go in camp and, hopefully, I can make the squad for the tour of China.”
Recently appointed Australian youth team coach Steve O’Connor called Arnold in to camp on the recommendation of Perth Glory boss Ron Smith. Arnold has been training with the A-League club for the past few weeks and wouldn’t waste a moment if given the opportunity to step up to the next level. “I’d like to play in the A-League, and I’ve had a taste by training with Glory for the past fortnight,” he said. “If the opportunity arises I’d jump at the chance to play in the top league competition in Australia for sure.”
A State junior and youth team representative while playing at Swan I.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup, Arnold made a sensation start to his time at Macedonia Park with some sparkling form in last years Night Series competition. He spent several months trialing overseas before returning to help Stirling to Cup glory. While he still harbours dreams of playing in Europe, Arnold is content to remain in Australia for the time being. “I’ll see how everything goes in Australia before I look at any moves, and then I can sit down and see if any opportunities come my way,” he said.
Arnold is focused on ensuring Stirling continue their superb start to 2007. “We’ve been playing well and are currently unbeaten in the League and Cup. We’ve drawn games when we really should have won them but we are gelling well,” he said. “We’ve had a number of players under nineteen in the side this season [and] we’re kept on our toes on the park by the senior players, Darko (Ilmanoski), Hendo (Kevin Henderson) and Brownie (Keith Brown), and also off it by coaches Mick (Lyons) and Paul (Simmons). Both coaches are great to work with and they have given the younger players a chance and they’ve not been let down.”
ROUND OF EIGHT CUP DRAW
The quarter-finals of the 2007 Soccer Pools sponsored Cup have produced some tantalising match-ups. Night Series champions Perth S.C. have been allocated a home showdown with Cup holder Stirling Lions. Premier League leaders Floreat Athena are to face Cockburn City in the blockbuster fixture at Dalmatinac Park. First Division outfit Mandurah City head to the city determined to upset Inglewood United. Armadale will fancy their chances when Swan I.C. journey to Alfred Skeet Oval. The round of eight takes place on Saturday 28th July.
TARKA FOCUSED ON MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
David Tarka has made it his mission to restore Perth Glory’s championship credentials as well as revive his international career during the coming A-League season. The central defender has begun his first pain-free pre-season in more than five years after finally beating a debilitating hamstring problem. Tarka was joint winner of the club’s Most Glorious Player award last season, despite conceding he could hardly walk some days from the tightness in the back of his legs.
The 24-year old has put injury behind him and is keen to make up for lost time. “Although I was getting through games last season at the back of my mind I was always fighting my hamstring,” he explained. “I could work hard for 30 seconds, but then I’d have to recuperate and rest the hamstring for the next few minutes, whereas now I can really rebound. And for me, to do a pre-season is so important and now that I’ve got miles in my legs, I’ve got no doubt this season will be better than the last.”
A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, Tarka last played for the Socceroos in 2004 but is poised to come back into contention for the national teams’ series of friendlies later this year. “It’s nice to know they (the selectors) are looking at me again,” he said. “And I know at the back of my mind, because I’m feeling a mot more pain-free now, there’s definitely an opportunity there for me. My primary focus is on Glory [and] as long as I keep my head down and improve on last season then a chance should come.”
OLYMPIC DREAM ENDS FOR MATILDAS
The Matildas hopes of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games are all but over following today’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of DPR (North) Korea in Coffs Harbour. After a tight first half DPR Korea snuck ahead on the hour with a close-range header by Ri Kum Suk. The result was put beyond doubt nine minutes later when Kim Kyong Hwa unleashed an unstoppable shot from outside the penalty area which was beyond the reach of goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. The loss leaves the Matildas six points behind DPR Korea who require only a from their two remaining two qualifying games to progress to the Olympic tournament. Collette McCallum played a full game for the Matilda’s while Lisa De Vanna came on at half-time.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT
A dominant Fremantle United powered past Southern Spirit 5-1 in the Amateur Premier League fixture at Hilton Park. The star of the show was Fremantle striker David Onoforo who contributed four of the hosts' five goals. Fremantle brushed aside a slow start to take the lead on 21 minutes when a cross from the right found Onoforo who was afforded space to fire past Spirit goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. Although the more creative of the two teams, the port side had to be content with a slender one-goal advantage at the break.
The home team put their stamp on the game four minutes into the second half when Onoforo curled a free-kick into the net from 22-metres. Six minutes later Onoforo had his hat-trick by running on to a through pass from Josh Sithole and lifting his shot over the 'keeper. Matthew Hoenselaars put his name on the score sheet twenty minutes into the period by powerfully heading in at a corner. Onoforo put away his fourth in the 74th minute with another superbly struck free-kick from well beyond the 18-yard box which went in off the upright. Spirit's consolation goal arrived shortly after through Damien Pescud.
Fremantle and Shamrock Rovers remain on top of the table with both yet to drop a point this season. Shamrock collected their eighth successive win by thumping Lynwood Colts 6-0. Murdoch University lost ground on the leaders when dumped 2-3 at home by Spearwood Dalmatinac. WA Maccabi overcame CN Canning International 3-2, and Olympic Kingsway were too good for Subiaco United by 2-0. Hamersley Rovers crushed University of UWA 5-0, while Stirling Panthers accounted for Perth Azzurri 1-0. South Perth United won their first game of the season with a 2-1 defeat of Suburbs United who slip to the foot of the table.
DUTCH ACE ON PATH TO GLORY
Perth Glory is on the verge of securing the prized signature of former Dutch international Michael Mols for the coming A-League season. The 36-year old striker will arrive in Perth late next week as Glory step up their bid to secure him for the new season's kick-off in August. The Glory coaching staff have been in close contact with Mols over the past few months and while he has received offers to play in Europe and the Middle East, he is keen to explore the option of playing in Australia.
Ron Smith said bringing Mols and his family to Perth and letting them see first hand what was on offer could be the deciding factor in getting Mols to commit to the Australian club. "Michael hasn't made a firm decision about where he'd like to play next season but he is very interested in Perth Glory," Smith said. "We have been proactive in our efforts to sign a player of his quality and think he'll be impressed with what Perth can offer in terms of both lifestyle and football." Mols scored 38 goals in 79 league appearances for Rangers in a five-year stint in Glasgow up to 2004 and played six times for the Netherlands.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT (Floreat Athena v Fremantle Spirit courtesy Floreat Athena; Inglewood United v Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Cockburn City v Wanneroo City courtesy Football West)
A late strike by James Isaia snatched Premier League leader Floreat Athena a 2-2 draw with Fremantle Spirit at Litis Stadium. The early momentum was with Floreat who built patiently from the back and were driven through midfield by Bajo Savic, Jovo Pavlovic and Miki Vujacic. However, the hosts found it difficult to penetrate far into the final or create any profitable strikes on goal thanks to Fremantle's defensive approach through which they flooded the backline. The result was an uninteresting and frustrating opening 45 minutes for those in the stands. The game was awoken from its' slumber five minutes into the second half when Callum Roberts, introduced at the break by Marc Wingell, broke away down the left to send in a cross which Sebastian Booysen headed strongly past Vas Vujacic at the back post. Unperturbed at going a goal down, Floreat continued to push into their opponents half only to be met by strong resistance from a defence brilliantly led by veteran Alex Christie. The pressure valve was finally released when Isaia delivered a cross from the left which Branimir Mikulic flicked in at the near post to bring the teams level. Fremantle responded by adding a second goal to their tally when a partially cleared corner was sent back into the dangerzone and an unmarked Roberts glanced the ball in off the base of the upright. Mikulic should have brought the teams level on 68 minutes but his penalty kick was hit too close to goalkeeper Steve Grant who deflected the shot away with his feet. This opened up the game as Floreat threw caution to the wind and attacked in increasing numbers, while Fremantle remained a threat on the counterattack. The game was well into stoppage time when Isaia latched onto a loose ball and drilled an unstoppable shot low into the corner from 15-metres to keep Floreat's unbeaten record in tact.
Perth S.C shared the spoils with E.C.U. Joondalup in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Dorrien Gardens. The spectators were still settling into the seats when Ian McMurray robbed Trent Kay of possession to send a low cross to the near post where Marc Anthony tucked the ball under Gareth Deeg at close-range. Opportunities then become scarce for the next twenty or so minutes as the two sides attempted to assert their control in midfield. In the 33rd minute Anthony played an exquisite pass through the defence for Tom Amphlett whose centring pass was side-footed in by McMurray. As half-time neared Perth stepped up the tempo and on 44 minutes gained a goal of their own as Scott Bulloch’s cross to the far post was knocked down by Barry Wood to Todd Howarth who found the gap between ‘keeper and upright. McMurray squandered a guilt-edged chance to increase Joondalup’s lead shortly after the break when he seized upon an under-hit back pass but with only Deeg to beat he placed wide of the target. Perth quickly regained control as Rukavystya and Wood had good shots saved by Alan Young while Howarth fizzled a free-kick just past the top corner. The teams were brought level on 63 minutes when Scott Bulloch reached to a long ball ahead of the ‘keeper to centred for Wood to blast into an empty net. Perth continued to pressure and the dismissal of Craig Young for a second yellow card only added to Joondalup’s woes. With three minutes left Gary Faria scored one of the goals of the season, a rasping half-volley on the run which flashed over Alan Young and into the roof of the net. However, three minutes later Joondalup gained a controversial penalty for Michael Icanovski’s infringement on McMurray, and from the spot Mark Lee calmly sent the equaliser past Deeg.
Swan I.C. turned in their best performance of the year to beat Western Knights 2-0 in the Premier League clash at the Swan Italian Club. The opening spell produced chances for both teams on which neither John Monterosso nor Daniel Trim could capitalise. Scott Buhsby was unlucky not to put the Knights ahead after 10 minutes with a shot that Robert Monterosso cleared off the line. With play evenly shared between the two sides, Cory Hugo held a shot from Stuart Montgomery, and John Monterosso fired just past the post after being sent clear by Rory Mouttet. The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute via an Anthony McStea corner fell kindly to Brendan Knox who lashed the ball in at close-range. It should have been two-nil shortly after when an error by Jonathon Mathers allowed in Tom Shepheard who disappointingly fired wide. The Knights pressed late in the half with Anthony Skorich shooting high in the visitors attempt to get back on level terms. The second half began with the Knights seeking a goal and David Price’s shot was kept out by Hugo, then a cracking first time strike by Montgomery whistled narrowly wide. However, in the 62nd minute Swan struck a second goal when Mathers brought down Shepheard for a penalty, and while Dom Ando’s spot kick was saved by Tommi Tomich there was no stopping John Monterosso who quickly netted the rebound. Skorich should have reduced the deficit not long after but fired high when well placed. Chances would become scarce for the visitors following this as Aaron Cole and Robert Monterosso tightened things up at the back for Swan. Montgomery got on the end of a superb Jon Higgins cross but Hugo proved up to the task with a tremendous save. The Knights frustration was compounded by the dismissal of Mathers with three minutes remaining.
A smashing half volley by teenage whiz-kid Ludovic Boi earned Stirling Lions a 1-0 win against Inglewood United from a tight encounter at Clipsal Stadium. The early passages were dominated by the visiting side for whom Keith Brown and Boi were in a menacing mood. Stirling's first chance came after 10 minutes when Kevin Henderson snatched wide at close-range after Daniel Micevski's free-kick went to feet. Soon after, Micevski swung in a corner which was met by David Dugdale whose header deflected to safety off the upright. A swift counterattacking move produced an opening for Dean Apelgren whose stinging drive forced a fine save from visiting goalkeeper Phil Straker. Inglewood looked dangerous when running at their opponents defence and Daniel Niederberger went within inches of scoring the games' opening goal with his long-range effort. Injury lead to Micevski's replacement by Vas Kalogeracos who quickly made his presence felt by getting in the end of an Andy Brown lay-off but placed high at close-range. The second half opened with the physical side of the game being taken up a notch and few very chances on goal created. In the 68th minute referee Troy Miller cautioned Michael Baczynski for his crude tackle on David Dugdale, and seconds later sent off the Inglewood player for dissent. The deciding goal arrived seven minutes later when Keith Brown's majestic through ball was met by Boi whose sweetly struck thundered into the top corner with Oliver Taseski well beaten. Stirling would control play for the remaining quarter hour and would have added another to their tally if not for poor finishing. Inglewood's day of woe was completed close to the end with the dismissal of Aaron Colli for his second yellow card.
Cockburn City continued their impressive recent form with a 6-0 thrashing of cellar dweller Wanneroo City at Dalmatinac Park. However, the home teams’ second big win in as many weeks was overshadowed by the unsavoury sending off of Wanneroo defender Luke Croxall for striking new team mate Okwy Diamondstar. Cockburn were out of the blocks fast with Johnny Mirco and Giovanni De Bartolo each going close on more than one occasion during the opening exchanges. The breakthrough arrived in the 26th minute when Graham Wells foul on Jason Dos Santos resulted in a Cockburn penalty and from the spot Johnny Mirco made no mistake. Things went from bad to worse for Wanneroo who had Ryan Newhill sent off for a desperate last ditch tackle on De Bartolo in the 35th minute. Josh Kamaz made the most of the hosts’ numerical advantage just before the break by latching onto a long ball and coolly finishing past the goalkeeper. The second half opened with Cockburn determined to pile on the goals and five minutes in Johnny Mirco added the teams’ third following some good work down the right by Jason Dos Santos. It wasn’t long before Johnny Mirco completed his hat-trick by again converting from the spot after the lively De Bartolo was brought down inside the area for a second time. Anthony Pereira, who’d come off the bench at half-time, added to the hosts tally following good work by Jason Dos Santos. Tempers were beginning to were thin in the Wanneroo camp and players from both teams had to be pulled apart after Jason Dos Santos was felled by an over-zealous challenge from Croxall. Aaron Dos Santos completed the scoring in the 82nd minute by sending the ball past Kevin Miller for a sixth time. The crowd were left in disbelief with minutes to go when Croxall struck Diamondstar and gave the referee no option but to issue the games’ second red card.
A point went to each Sorrento and Armadale from the drama-filled 2-2 draw at Percy Doyle Reserve. Both sides held the lead in an open and entertaining game in which the goalscoring honours were shared by Jared Love and Scott Devine who netted two apiece. It took only 9 minutes for Sorrento to get on the board through an inviting cross by Chris Boyle that was met by diving header from Love. Sorrento could have been up by two not long as another Boyle cross found Love who this time misdirected his header over the crossbar from 7-metres. After weathering the initial storm, Armadale began to claw their way back into the match and Marlon Ramirez’ shot was blocked by goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane, then Jason Goodwin sliced wide after a fine run forward by Dusan Macura. Armadale got the goal they craved in the 33rd minute as Devine made the most of some poor marking to run in and smash the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the 18-yard box. Four minutes from half-time Armadale gained an indirect free-kick 22-metres out which Devine curled around the defensive wall and into the net with Cochrane rooted to the spot. The second half was just three minutes old when Glen Thomas’ deep corner was nodded down by Steve McDonald for Love to rifle in the equaliser from a couple of metres. Sorrento should have done ahead on the hour when awarded a penalty for a foul on Boyle, however, Cyril Sharrock denied Love his hat-trick by diving the right way. Lewis Flatt blazed high from close-range and Todd Harnwell was thwarted by a defender as the hosts sought a deciding goal. With the clock running out Sharrock earned Armadale a point by pushing away a curling free-kick by Thomas which was destined for the top corner.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHT (Ashfield v Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Balcatta v South West Phoenix courtesy Balcatta)
Mandurah City edged out Dianella White Eagles 2-1 in a classic encounter at Hyundai Stadium. The atmosphere was electric as the teams made their way out in front of a big crowd which included a coach load of Dianella supporters who made the trip south. The visitors started strongly with Paul Hickey and Miladin Gligoroski providing the early momentum. In the 16th minute Dianella gained a penalty but Michael Maine's effort was turned away by goalkeeper Mike Green. Mandurah struck nine minutes later when Crampton surged into attack before delivering the ball to Pascherwitz who netted amid appeals for offside. However, the lead was to last just ten minute before Dragan Njegic found a way past Green. A pulsating second half produced some good openings at both ends of the park as the two sides wrestled for the all important go-ahead goal. It arrived in the 82nd minute when Andrew Brown was dubiously brought down inside the 18-yard box by Aaron Moschopoulos, and from the spot Crampton stroked past Pedro Pavez. Dianella were in no mood to concede defeat and worked tirelessly to get back on level terms only for Ray Rose and Paul Hickey to be denied by Green. Referee David Currie captured the late spotlight by waving away a couple of strong penalty appeals by Dianella.
Ashfield came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Canning City at Ashfield Reserve. The opening exchanges were fairly even with Paul Van Dongen miscuing his shot for Canning, while at the opposite end new signing Damien Todorovic was prevented from shooting despite rounding to opponents. The deadlock was broken after 21 minutes when Paul Van Dongen’s long throw made it’s way through to Kyle Mitsopoulos who netted at the far post from 4-metres. A short time later David Webb brought the best out of young goalkeeper Devon Spence who launched himself horizontally to keep out the fierce drive. Ashfield came out for the second half revitalised and would dominate the remainder of the game. Spence preserved the hosts advantage with a series of saves to frustrate Igor Novakovic and Andrew O’Neill, Rydeen Botha was twice thwarted by goal line clearances, and shots from Tom Gaca and Michael Filippou came back off the frame of the goal. However, with twelve minutes to go Filippou finally found a way through by heading in at the far post from a Mark Purcell cross. Both sides looked tired in the closing minutes as the game lost its’ edge and Canning were grateful to escape with a point at the final whistle.
Balcatta collected maximum points for the first time since the opening day by trouncing South West Phoenix 5-2 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Teenage debutant Lewis Italiano was in the thick of the action with early saves to deny Steve Suttie and Gary Mayers. However, the pressure paid off on 17 minutes when David Murphy threaded a pass to Suttie who slipped his marker to score from a tight angle. However, the tide soon turned in Balcatta's favour and Pape Aleu restored parity atfer some good work by Toby Wright. Five minutes from the break John Nicolaou headed in a corner unchallenged to put Balcatta in front. The margin blew out as Nicolaou found the net from distance, then Aleu put away the hosts' fourth of the afternoon. Phoenix hit back in the 72nd minute with Murphy setting up Suttie to fire in a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. Suttie should have further reduced the deficit with ten minutes to go but struck his penalty kick against the crossbar. But the final say would come from Daniel Causerano who turned the defence inside out before slotting past the advancing goalkeeper.
Bayswater City caused an upset by toppling Morley Windmills 3-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. Ryan Frisina scored twice and Riste Stefoski once for the home team. Forrestfield United eased away from the drop zone by accounting for Gosnells City 3-2 at Hartfield Park. Goals by Andy McGettrick, K.Melling and S.Balich negated strikes from Craig Magill and L.Scott-Leembruggen. Rockingham City has been left five points adrift at the foot of the First Division table following a 1-3 loss at home to Queens Park. Grant Learmont (2) and Gavin Oakes found the back of the net before Michael Vaz scored a late consolation for Rockingham. Further details of these three games were not forthcoming from any of the six participating clubs.
JONES AND PETKOVIC MAKE SQUAD FOR ASIAN CUP
Goalkeepers Brad Jones and Michael Petkovic have been included in Australia’s 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup tournament. National coach Graham Arnold said selecting the final squad had been a difficult task. “I am very pleased with the squad and they will represent Australia with a lot of pride,” said Mr. Arnold. “Since I was given the opportunity to coach the Qantas Socceroos I have worked hard to build depth with a view to the Asian Cup and also the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. This squad is reflective of the need to continue to build depth but we also want to win the tournament - we want to be the pride of Asia.”
The Australian squad for 2007 Asian Cup is John Aloisi (Alaves), Mile Sterjovski (Basel), Bett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Tim Cahill (Everton), Carl Valeri (US Grosseto), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester City), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Brad Jones, Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough), Nick Carle (Newcastle Jets), Brett Holman (NEC Nijmegen), Michael Beauchamp (Nuremberg), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Vincenzo Grella (Parma), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor), David Carney, Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Luke Wilkshire (Twente), Lucas Neill (West Ham United) and Michael Thwaite (Wisla Krakow).
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Stirling Lions will be looking to extend their unbeaten run when they take on Inglewood United in the www.footballwa.net Match of the Week at Clipsal Stadium. Inglewood has so far failed to live up to pre-season expectations and victory tomorrow could be just the ticket to kick-start their campaign. Stirling’s blend of youth and experience made one of the early title favourites and another three points will keep them in touch with the leading pack. The game will be decided in midfield where Kevin Griffiths and Dean Aplegren, go to battle with Keith Brown, Steve Porter.
Although great mates off the park, Graham Normanton and Willie McNally will put their friendship aside as Perth S.C. meet E.C.U. Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens. Both teams have a strong focus on attack and this should be an absolute cracker of a game. Premier League leader Floreat Athena welcome a young Fremantle Spirit side to Litis Stadium. The port side have surprised many with their performances this season but will need to be at their very best to beat Michael Roki’s team.
It’ll be backs to the wall for Swan I.C. who have home ground advantage against a Western Knights outfit keen to amends for their opening round Cup loss to the black and whites. Cockburn City scored a bagful of goals in last week’s Cup round and are tipped to take maximum points from bottom side Wanneroo City when they meet at Dalmatinac Park. Sorrento will be without Goalkeeper of the Year Neil Young when they host Armadale in an important game for both clubs.
The pick of the First Division games pits pre-season favourite Mandurah City against table toppers Dianella White Eagles at Peelwood Parade. Both teams possess an abundance of attacking options with Christian Pascherwitz and Shane Crampton providing the hosts firepower whereas it’ll be Jon Greenwood and Mladin Gligoroski who lead the way up-front for Dianella. With only four points separating first and fourth, the players of Mandurah and Dianella will not even be contemplating anything less than victory.
Morley Windmills make the short trip to Frank Drago Reserve for Willie Herd’s first game in charge of Bayswater City. It’s third against fifth at Ashfield Reserve as Night Series winner Ashfield take on an as yet undefeated Canning City. South West Phoenix have won three of their last four league encounters and will fancy themselves away at Balcatta. Forrestfield United host Gosnells City in the eastern corridor derby, and Dowling Street Reserve is the venue for the crucial bottom of the table meeting of Rockingham City and Queens Park.
Both Amateur Premier League conference leaders have home ground advantage on Sunday as Fremantle United host Southern Spirit, and in the match of the round Shamrock Rovers meet Lynwood Colts. Perth Azzurri is away to Stirling Panthers, likewise Spearwood Dalmatinac who make the trip to Murdoch University. Wilson Park is the venue for CN Canning International against WA Maccabi. Kingsway Olympic are home to Subiaco United, while Hamersley Rovers hosts University of WA. South Perth United go seeking their first win of the year when they welcome Suburbs United to Challenger Reserve.
‘THE FAME GAME’ GOLDEN OLDIES : BOB CHERRY
‘The Fame Game’ is the official newsletter of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. Each issue profiles a player from the State’s glorious past and in ‘The Fame Game’ Issue Three (pdf, 443kb) that spotlight is turned on Bob Cherry, a tough defender who captained the State team on numerous occasions and was one of the inaugural Hall of Fame inductees in 1996.
At the age of 85, Bob Cherry looks fit - and strong enough - to pull on a jersey, lace up his boots and take his familiar place in defence. When he spoke to ‘The Fame Game’, he had just finished laying slabs for a new path at his retirement villa and was contemplating starting a woodworking project before going off to the Mandurah Country Club for a round of golf.
Cherry played football until he was 48 and would have gone on for longer but a bad knee injury forced him to call it a day after a fine career with Subiaco/Shenton Park and Perth City and as player-coach with South Perth. Cherry’s strength and determination have stood to him over the years, helping him to overcome a serious illness when he was a wee boy back in his native Scotland.
Born in the West Lothian mining village of Stoneyburn, not far from Livingston, on February 25, 1922, he caught a bad chill when he was four or five, got fluid on the brain and was very ill for a long time. “I was very anaemic for years and didn’t think I’d be able to play any sort of sport,” he recalled. “But my father and two elder brothers, who were all miners, were also keen footballers and they encouraged me - and I badly wanted to play the game, so that helped.”
The family emigrated to Australia in 1929 when Cherry was seven. He continued his passion for the game with Rosalie school in Shenton Park and later at Junior Tech in West Perth, where he played on the same team as Jack Smethurst - a partnership they renewed years later with the WA State senior team.
But thoughts of sporting glory were far from Cherry’s mind when he had to leave school a month before his 14th birthday to start work. “I was from a family of nine and those were tough times in the 1930’s, so everyone had to pull their weight,” he said. “I went to work for this company that made cement. There were no mixers in those days, it was all done by hand, mixing it with an iron bar and it was tough work.”
Cheery joined the Australian Army in October, 1941- and saw action aplenty before being discharged in 1946, finding work with a monumental masons and resuming his football career with Subiaco/Shenton Park, along with several of his brothers. His versatility in a range of defensive positions - left back, right back and centre half - made him a key member of the State side that achieved a major breakthrough when winning the Southern States Carnival in Adelaide in 1948.
He had a season with Perth City in 1949 before rejoining Subi/Shenton Park and then captaining WA in a representative game against Australia. Cherry had a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a fractured cheekbone and found it difficult winning back his place in the State side. But he enjoyed playing again with his old club, particularly teaming up with his nephew Don McArdle, and continued playing until a knee injury ended his involvement when he was 48.
Cherry reckons Frank Reid (Caledonians/Perth City) and Frank McShane (Victoria Park/Swan Valley) were two of the best players of his era of the late 1940’s and 1950’s. “Frank Reid was a very good player, a very effective defender and he deserved more recognition than he received,” said Cherry. “Frank McShane was a real determined character and would go through a brick wall if asked.”
AUSTRALIA THUMP JORDAN IN OLYMPIC QUALIFIER
Australia have progressed to the third and final stage of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Jordan in Amman overnight. With the game scoreless at the break, the Australian Under-23 picked up the pace to completely dominate the second period. David Williams opened the scoring on 54 minutes following a neat one-two with Bruce Djite. Nick Ward added his name to the scoresheet shortly after coming off the bench by heading in a Williams corner. Victory was secured when Williams beat the offside trap to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one after 72 minutes. Darop Vidosic completed the scoring in stoppage time with a blistering strike from outside the box that rocketed into the top corner. Saudia Arabia topped the group table on 15 points ahead of Australia (11 points), Iran (5) and Jordan (2).
OH BOI, THE LAD CAN PLAY!
A stint in the reserves was the perfect tonic for Ludovic Boi to kick start his season and lead play a starring role in Stirling Lions’ charge towards the top of the Premier League table. The attack minded 18-year old is one of several talented youngsters to graduate from the Stirling youth system to the senior list in recent years. And after a quite start to the new season Boi is back to his best as evidenced by his stunning solo goal against Sorrento a few weeks back, and a double in Saturday’s Cup defeat of South West Phoenix.
Boi is the first to admit his early season form was a little flat and says he’s feeling rejuvenated by time playing reserve team football. “Mike Lyons dropped me to the reserves at the beginning of the season as I wasn’t performing,” he explained. “I knew that I had to step up my game to get back into the first team. Playing with the reserves gave me more confidence, which I was lacking, and I was more relaxed with the game. It’s always a fight to get in the first team as we have many good players, so to keep your spot you have to perform on a regular basis.”
A strong sense of camaraderie at Macedonia Park has helped Boi’s transition to senior ranks. “The first time I played first team I found it very quick, it is a smarter game out there,” he said. “Each player has a job and needs to know what they have to do. I was very afraid but the more I play with them, the more I can play my normal game. The other lads are great with me, they tease me sometimes but I don’t mind, it makes a good atmosphere. All of them have been very supportive and I enjoy training with them.”
Boi is relishing the opportunity to learn the finer points of the game from some of Stirling more experienced heads, and there’s one player that he looks up to more than others. “Kevin Henderson, our centre back, is a great role model for me,” commented Boi. “He is always winning the balls in the air and keeps our back four strong, with Darko (Ilmanoski) beside him. He has been great too me and his humour gives us all a laugh and makes training fun.”
The fact Stirling have no less that five players under the age of 19 as first team regulars is testament to the success of their academy system. Lyons believes strongly in youth development and says Boi has fitted in well along with a number of talented youngsters at the club. “If people see our squad they can see we give youngsters a chance, if they are good enough,” said the coach. Michael Pugliese, Steve Hesketh, Phil Arnold, Dannie Richman and Boi are regular fixtures of the first eleven this season while knocking on the selection door are Rick Filicamo and Dean Evans.
The opportunity to play on a higher stage is tempting to Boi who, for the time being at least, is content to bide his time in the local competition. “I would love to play in the A-League, but I haven’t been approached as yet,” he commented. “I’m still young and still learning my trade, but if the opportunity arises I’d love to play at a higher level, and I would also like to go overseas. Basically I just want to play football, and anywhere would do.”
THE INSIDER SPEAKS WITH BRETT KLUCZNIK
This week 'The Insider' caught up with footballwa.net’s Brett Klucznik for a chance to get to know one of the local scenes most recognized personalities. I started out by asking how he became interest in the game. "My passion for football was ignited after watching Tottenham win the FA Cup as an 11-year old," explained Klucznik. "After Ricky Villa sliced his way through the Manchester City defence to score the winner there was always only one game - and one team - for me! I played juniors but drifted away from the game in my teenage years only to be lured back with the foundation of Perth Glory."
The footballwa.net team - Jacob Aufdemkampe, Peter Simcox and Klucznik - have worked hard to make website the most widely read and authoritive of its kind. "We've tried to continually evolve the website to keep it fresh and interesting," explained Klucznik. "Not everything has succeeded - our Glory section lasted six months - but I think by and large we've done well with limited resources and personnel. Feedback regarding how we can make the footballwa.net better meet the community’s needs is always appreciated, and we're constantly on the look out for people to website content be it match reports, interviews and so forth."
One of the footballwa.net initiatives that didn't last was WA's first football forum, and on behalf of those with access to computers at work 'The Insider' would like to thank you for helping the day pass quicker! "I'd actually forgotten about the forum we had in 2002," said Klucznik. "It generated a lot of interest and discussion at the time but, unfortunately, some idiots viewed it as a vehicle to drive their own agendas. I think after about six months we decided to dump the forum as it was just too difficult for us to police. Thankfully, Adam and Dan Rucci took up the challenge with the Bayswater forum, which has been a runaway success."
A common misconception about footballwa.net which has developed over the years is how the website came into being. "A lot of people think I started the website but the credit for what is now footballwa.net belongs to Jacob," Klucznik explained. "He started the website way back in 1997 and I became involved about three years later. These days Jacob is now the site administrator which, in a nutshell, means he uploads the weekly news update late on Thursday evening and adds the scores each weekend. He also coordinates the juniors, notices, links and clubs sections, does the tipping panel and a whole bunch of other stuff."
A supporter of the local game for close to a decade, Klucznik has maintained a neutral position in regards to which team he follows most keenly. "While I don't support any one team, I do have a great admiration for the football played by Perth and Western Knights," he said. "Like anyone, I enjoy seeing teams that offer something special in terms of entertainment and both Perth and the Knights fit that bill. They both play attractive, attacking football and feature some of the best individual talent on show in this state. I've also got a soft spot for Inglewood as they're my local club."
Klucznik rates the 2003 Cup final between Swan and Perth as the best game he's seen. "Nobody gave Swan a chance of winning that day but first half goals from Paul Lincoln and Elton Holmes put them in the driving seat," he said. "It looked like going to pot when Damien Scali was red carded, and then Gareth Naven struck a stunning goal to put Perth back in the hunt, but Swan rode their luck to win their first major trophy. A couple of other games that immediately spring to mind was the thrilling 2003 play-off Final in which Perth beat Western Knights 2-1, and Sorrento's 2-1 win over the Knights in 2005 at Nash Field."
The inability of some clubs to publicise themselves and move forward with the game has always concerned Klucznik. "Some of our clubs have a total lack of desire to promote themselves," he explained. "You have no idea how hard it's been to get some clubs to provide even basic information, such as a match report, for the website. I mean, last year I had one Premier League club president tell me he did not consider it a priority to promote his club! And I think until attitudes like that change, the growth and development of the game in WA and its' players is going to be constricted."
After thinking long and hard, Klucznik named an impressive all-star team based on the games he's attended. "The spot in goal would have to go to Tommi Tomich and in front of him I'd have, from left to right, David Annall, Aaron Cole, Adrian Sutton and Craig Surtees," he said. "Michael Mirco and Todd Howarth get the nod on the right and left flanks respectively with the middle of the park occupied by Nick Ward and Robbie Puca. The striker roles go to Stuart Montgomery and Andreas Oliveira. The bench would be made up of Rob Scarparolo, Scott Miller, Claus Nielsen, Glen Thomas and Nick Mrdja."
Study commitments cut short Klucznik's playing career in his teenage years. "I started as a junior with Gosnells City and in my first competitive game scored a hat-trick of own goals against Rockingham - something not too many people can lay claim to!," he said. "I played mostly as a left-sided defender or midfielder and moved to Sutherlands Park before giving the game away at the age of 16 to focus on my TEE. I returned for a season of amateurs with Perth International in 1998, and after that started Furry Teeth, a social team that is now in our 19th season of playing indoor 'soccer'."
A job with the Government puts bread on the table in the Klucznik household which last year welcomed a new addition. "I'm happily married to Laura; we've been together for sixteen years, and last year welcomed our first child, Stefan, into the family," said Klucznik. "Stefan isn't yet ten months old but already has three real footballs, not those weird shaped wobbly things, so it's a pretty safe bet he'll be playing the world game further down the track."
Rumours abound that the 'The Insider' is actually Klucznik and footballwa.net cohort Peter Simcox. "I can uncategorically deny that either Pete or myself, or Jacob for that matter, is 'The Insider'. He or she is someone I've known for a number of years and have come to trust. 'The Insider' came to us at the start of this year with a proposal for a weekly column to which we agreed and I think he or she has been a success. It's been good to get someone else's perspective on the issues, provide a bit of gossip at times and add a new angle to the website," said Klucznik.
'The Insider' would like to thank Brett on his time and his work, along with Peter and Jacob. Without these guys football in WA would still be in the dark ages. They were pioneers when it comes to delivering the football message to our state and have laid the foundations for the coverage we receive today. The one scenario 'The Insider' would like to see is Brett hosting the next Gold Medal awards night. With the unbiased knowledge he posses, not to mention bit of hair dye and time to work on his moe, he could become WA's version of Andy Paschilidies!
HERD TAKES OVER AT BAYSWATER
There’s been a changing of the guard at Frank Drago Reserve where Willie Herd has taken over first team coaching duties from Gerry Wardle. “Bayswater City made a tough decision to cut ties with Gerry after not producing the results that the club had anticipated. It was a difficult decision to make as Gerry did take the club to the Night Series final,” explained vice-president Anthony Rizzacasa. “Former assistant coach Willie Herd has taken up the reigns for the remainder of the season, and the position will be up for review at the end of the year.”
The mood remains positive at Bayswater where the end goal is to return to playing top flight football. “Bayswater is a very ambitious club with firm aspiration of participating in the Premier League competition as soon as possible,” added Rizzacasa. “The club believes it has the right foundations for long term growth and sustainability. The club has attracted an excellent board with a mix of youth, experience and drive that will see the club cement its position in the Premier League sooner rather than later.”
DANZE BACK HOME LOOKING FOR GLORY
It's been more than three years since Anthony Danze last donned a Perth Glory shirt but the 23-year old midfielder is desperate to make an impact for his hometown club this coming season. Danze was part of Glory's 2003/04 Championship squad after which he took up an offer from English club Crystal Palace. However, Danze's dream of making it big in Europe was curtailed by a series of injuries. He returned home at the end of 2005 and, other than a short spell with Inglewood United, has rarely played since.
Time out of the game has revitalised Danze's thirst for success. "I've had nearly two years out of the game altogether so it's definitely good to be back," Danze said. "Back then (at Inglewood) I wasn't quite at 100%. Having a year and a half out I'm confident I'm 100% and I feel good. I'm pretty confident I'll be better than what I was before because I feel I'm a bit older and a bit wiser. I'm going to take it one thing at a time - I just want to make sure I get my body right and then secondly to be an important part of this team."
Perth coach Ron Smith said he had complete faith in Danze, who was part of Australia's 2004 Olympic Games squad, despite his lengthy period out of the game. "He's still a very young guy and I've always liked Anthony," he said. "He's hungry and on the comeback trail. I've whetted his appetite and I think he's got a lot to offer. He's always had a knack for scoring goals. He's a powerful lad with a great engine and I think he's serious now about getting back into professional football."
Glory finished a disappointing seventh last season and Danze said the club was desperate to claim an A-League finals berth this time around. "No one wants to be part of a team that finishes second bottom like last year," he said. "I know a lot of the boys are pretty hurt about it and want to go out to prove a point to everyone, and themselves. With a few more additions we can definitely make a big improvement on last year."
However, Danze acknowledged it may take time for Perth's new-look squad to gel. "It will take time to build the team back up … so hopefully we can get a good core of players together and stay together and build from there," he said. "I think the squad is coming together pretty well. We still need another three of four players to bring us up to what we need. Whoever the coach brings in I'm sure they'll be a good addition."
TOWNSEND ADAPTS TO INDONESIA
Former Perth Glory defender Ryan Townsend is adjusting to the heat and humidity of life in Borneo where he plays in the Indonesian league for Persiba Balikpapan. Townsend said he was coping with the cultural adjustments thanks largely to West Australian team mate Robbie Gaspar and former Sorrento player Peter Butler. “To be honest, I don’t think I could stick it out without Robbie and Pete there,” he said. “I’ve been a bit lazy with the language because they’ve been there to help me out.”
Townsend has been rejuvenated by his move to Indonesia where games regularly attract crowds of more than 15,000. “I’ve played in about 25 games in four months. Sometimes we play four games in ten days and we kick-off at 4.00pm, so it’s still roasting hot.” The rewards for playing in Indonesia are also good with foreign players earning between $80,000 and $170,000 a season which is topped up by a healthy range of bonuses as well as free meals and accommodation.
JONES APOLOGISES FOR COSTLY BLUNDER
Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones has apologised to his team-mates for the mistake he says cost them last night's match against Uruguay in Sydney. A fumble by Jones late in the second half allowed Uruguayan striker Alvaro Recoba to head the ball into an empty net and seal a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
Jones said he is disappointed to have made such a blunder on his international debut. "Unfortunately they happen. I didn't want it to happen tonight obviously, first game and everything," he said. "But these things happen. Hopefully I'll get another chance and it won't happen for a long time after."
Captain Lucas Neill said he felt sorry for Jones but has backed him to bounce back. "I know how he feels to be part of a result that could have gone another way, but he'll learn from it, he's a young guy," he said. "We've all made mistakes today. I've made a few, and as long as you realise you make them and try and learn from them, it makes you a better person."
Australian coach Graham Arnold, who'll name his Asian Cup squad at the end of next week, said it will be a test of character for Jones. "These things happen in football and he's not the first goalkeeper who's ever done it and he won't be the last," he said. "It's going to be a huge test of character for Brad because in adversity you have to fight back again and fortunately it happened in a friendly match, it's happened when he can learn from it."
MATILDAS OLYMPIC HOPES DENTED
The Australian women's team have go down 0-2 to DPR (North) Korea in their crucial qualifying match for the 2008 Olympic Games in Pyongyang. The host nation scored either side of half time in front a boisterous capacity crowd of 30,000 at the Yanggakdo Stadium. The opening goal came in the 35th minute with a strike from the edge of the penalty area by captain Ri Kum Suk, who also put away the second from the penalty spot ten minutes after the interval. Collette McCallum played a full game for the Matilda's with Lisa De Vanna coming off the bench after 59 minutes. Australia must beat DPR Korea, who top the Group B table, when they meet this Sunday in Coffs Harbour to keep their qualification hopes alive.
AMATEUR CUP, ROUND TWO (Subiaco United v Fremantle United courtesy Football West)
Fremantle United came from a goal down to beat Subiaco United 3-2 in their second round Amateur Cup clash at Rosalie Park. The visiting side were quick out of the blocks and in front after just 3 minutes as Fabio Fusari was allowed too much space on the edge of the 18-yard box to beat to goalkeeper with a fine curling effort. The margin could well have been increased as Fremantle launched an all out attack on their opponents’ goal. A Felim Rugel shot cannoned off the upright and not long after David Onoforo bounced a fierce strike off the crossbar. After absorbing the pressure Ryan Westerhou brought Subiaco level with a superb goal from beyond 23-metres that went in off the post.
The second half began with Subiaco under pressure and Rugel was denied by a terrific reflex save from the ‘keeper. The hosts worked their way back into the game to take the lead in the 72nd minute when Harry Johnson scored from the penalty spot following a foul on Westerhou. Fremantle’s response came just three minutes later with substitute Danielle D'Ullise powering the ball past the ‘keeper from close-range after making his way into the area unchecked. With extra-time looming, D’Ullise acrobatically knocked in the deciding goal in a goalmouth scramble after Subiaco failed to sufficiently deal with a free-kick pumped into the area.
The upset result came from Frye Park where Third Division outfit Kelmscott Roos toppled Premier League side South Perth United 2-0. The weekend’s other surprise has another team from the Third Division, Mandurah City, claim a 4-2 victory over First Division side Kwinana United. But otherwise the second round Cup results went pretty much as expected. Sean Brooks (2), Mark Kelly (2), Mick Murray and Marcus Jordan were the scorers in Shamrock Rovers’ 6-1 thumping of Kalamunda United. University of WA defeated Suburbs United 4-3 on penalties, and Wembley Downs were no match for Murdoch University who ran out 7-1 winners.
Perth Azzurri progressed by a 3-1 score line at the expense of Canning International, Lynwood Colts edged past Southern Spirit 2-1, and Spearwood Dalmatinac downed North Lake Espanol 3-1. Hamersley Rovers defeated Armadale 4-1, First Division leader Balga beat Heathridge 5-2, and WA Maccabi scored through with a 4-3 home win over Rockingham City. Belmont Villa beat Golden Lilly 3-1, and Gwelup United went past Ballajura 1-0. Perth Royals went down 3-4 in a thriller with North Perth United, and Subiaco United B struck an injury time winner to eliminate Curtin University 1-0.
KEEPERS’ ERROR HANDS URUGUAY VICTORY
The Socceroos were narrowly defeated 1-2 by Uruguay in this evenings' friendly international in Sydney. A crowd of 61,795 saw Australia take an early lead through Mile Sterjovski before Diego Forlan brought the teams level, and Alvaro Recoba earned Uruguay victory following a second half error by goalkeeper Brad Jones. The result was cruel to an Australian side that more than matched their more experienced and credentialed Uruguayan opponents throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Australia controlled the early possession and opened the scoring after 6 minutes when Brett Emerton beat two defenders down the right before sending in a low cross that Sterjovski smashed in from close-range. If not for some poor final passes Australia could have doubled their lead as they continually opened up the visiting defence. However, Uruguay equalised in the 40th minute when Recoba skidded a low cross into the area which beat three Australian players and was poked in from a couple of metres by Forlan.
The second half was a lot more finely balanced as genuine chances on goal became scarce. Cristian Rodriguez had a shot deflected over the top of the bar, while at the other end Luke Wilkshire's curling free-kick was well held by Fabian Carini. The turning point came on 77 minutes when Jones spilled a routine cross from Guillermo Giacomazzi to present Recoba with a simple header into an empty net. Australia threw everything into drawing level but the closest they came was when Scott McDonald shot wide late in the piece.
ASSOCIATION CUP, ROUND TWO (Armadale v Dianella White Eagles courtesy Football West)
Armadale moved into to last eight of the 2007 association Cup after a thrilling penalty shootout win over Dianella White Eagles at Alfred Skeet Oval. Neither team able to find the net in regulation time, nor the additional thirty minutes of extra time, meaning spot kicks were required from which Armadale emerged on top by 6-5. After a tight opening it was the visitors who created the first opening when Jon Greenwood ran unchecked into the 18-yard box but headed wide from 12-metres. Armadale’s best chance of the period came in the 18th minute when Simon Brooks headed straight at goalkeeper Pedro Pavez from 10-metres. Darren Kingston was unlucky not to put the hosts ahead in the 58th minute when his glancing header from a Dusan Macura free-kick sailed narrowly wide. Dianella almost pinched victory with five minutes remaining but Mladen Gligorski headed just the wrong side of the post. Extra-time produced few clear cut chances as both sides pressed forward tentatively, while there was renewed vigour in the defending. The best chance of the additional period came the way of Joel Baptist whose fiercely struck shot from 10-metres crashed into the upright. Shortly afterwards Armadale went down to ten men with the dismissal of Craig Anderson after receiving his second booking of the afternoon. With the teams yet to be separated, the game moved into the lottery that is the penalty shootout. Darryl Platten took the first penalty but saw it saved by Pavez, then it was Cyril Sharrock’s turned to produce the heroics by denying Ray Rose. Each team converted their next five shots with Ben Howe putting Armadale 6-5 up before Paul Hickey blasted his effort high to determined the outcome.
Swan I.C. overcame a hard working Bayswater City 3-2 in their Cup meeting at Frank Drago Reserve. It didn’t take long for the visitors to hit top gear with Tom Shepheard forcing a low save from goalkeeper Gianni Papalia, and shortly after John Monterosso’s shot was blocked by Riste Stefoski. The black and whites enterprise was rewarded in the 9th minute when Justin Hugo found Shepheard who played a neat pass which Brendan Knox fired in from the edge of the 18-yard box. The lead would last just eleven minutes before Matt Novatsis’s long ball found Blaz Radovanovic who went down inside the area under a challenge from Aaron Cole, referee David Currie pointed to the spot and Andre Sarpe kept his nerve to level the game. Three more minutes elapsed before Swan regained control as John Monterosso was on hand to score from close-range after Cole flicked on a long throw by Anthony McStea. Chances came and went at both ends of the park before, moments out from the break, Sarpe’s free kick made it’s way to an unmarked Ryan Frisina who powerfully headed in at the back post. The second half opened with Papalia saving bravely at the feet of Shepheard as Swan determinedly went about restoring their lead. They would have to wait only eleven minutes as John Monterosso’s deep cross found Knox whose first time shot was blocked by the ‘keeper and in an instant Shepheard had whipped the loose ball in from close-range. The visitors created numerous chances to secure the game but John Monterosso fired wide, Cole had a header tipped over by Papalia, while good opportunities for McStea and Catalano amounted to nothing. Throwing caution to the wind Bayswater gained a late free-kick but Cory Hugo would prove their foil with a superb save to deny Sarpe.
Boima Karpeh scored a hat-trick to lead Floreat Athena into the quarter-finals with a hard fought 3-0 win over Morley Windmills at Litis Stadium. Floreat gave their opponent a lesson in how the game is played with quick movement and crisp passing which continually opening up the visiting defence. It only took 14 minutes for Floreat to open their account as Karpeh surged forward, shrugging off two challenges and unleashing a long-range shot which Chris Ramsey could not keep out. The margin was doubled six minutes later when a shot struck the hand of Andrew Bowyer, the referee had no choice but to point to the spot from where Karpeh coolly converted. Karpeh’s pace in the final third was causing Morley all sorts of problems as Josip Magdic and Adam Bachillor provided the supply coming out of midfield. The 25-year old could have had his hat-trick before the break when Magdic put Karpeh in a good position but instead of shooting himself he unselfishly passed to Stefan Smiljanic who was beaten to the ball. Morley emerged for the second half a much different proposition and took the game right up to the Premier League heavyweights. They were unfortunate not to peg a goal back two minutes in when Farrell Hedges shot narrowly wide of the target from outside the 18-yard box. The visitors certainly had the better of proceedings with Hedges liveliness up front giving the underdogs hopes of a possible upset. However, with time running out the visitor’s hopes were tarnished when defender Joe Woodin was sent off for a second bookable offence following a late challenge on Branimir Mikulic Morley became increasingly frustrated as the clock ticked down and in injury time Karpeh completed a deserved hat-trick with a neat chip over Ramsey from 14-metres.
Inglewood United booked themselves a quarter-final berth by defeating Fremantle Spirit 1-0 at the WA Spanish Club. With Premier League survival the target this year, Fremantle pulled an early surprise by leaving Callum Roberts, Jason Barerra and captain Dale Wingell on the bench. It was a ploy that would backfire on the port side who could have done with the midfield creativity and drive of their star trio in an opening period they dominated but failed to create many genuine chances on goal. It wasn’t until midway through the half that Inglewood kicked into gear with Kevin Griffiths and Dean Apelgren stamping their authority in the centre of the park. Good opportunities to put the visitors one-up presented themself to Greg Sharland and Daniel Neiderberger but neither was able to capitalise. The breakthrough arrived a few minutes out from half-time when goalkeeper Steve Grant failed to take a high ball from Apelgren which fell nicely for Neiderberger who scrambled it into the net from 5-metres. Adrian McBride and Raveshlan Kuppusamy lead the way as Fremantle sought to equalise early in the new half. If not for a coat of paint the teams could have been level as youngster Jason Pottier crashed a shot against the crossbar. It didn’t take long for Inglewood to re-establish control as Griffiths and Apelgren dictated the flow of play through midfield while Aaron Colli caused the home defence no end of problems with his penetrating runs down the right. On another day Sharland and Neiderberger could have each ended with a bagful of goals, however, it appeared this afternoon they left their finishing boots at home. But at the end of 90 minutes it mattered little as Neiderberger’s first half strike saw Inglewood into the next round of the prestigious knock-out competition.
Shane Crampton struck a dramatic extra time winner as Mandurah City upset E.C.U. Joondalup 4-3 at Peelwood Parade. With a big crowd in attendance, the home side gained the early ascendancy with Crampton worked his way past three opponents before shooting past goalkeeper Andy Petterson in the 16th minute. Mandurah were putting pressure on the visiting side at every opportunity and twice had the ball in the back of the net only for an upraised flag down rule out both efforts. Joondalup’s game plan received a blow on 28 minutes when Petterson was forced from the field by injury and on came teenager Brynn Hindley for his senior debut. After a period of readjustment the visitors worked their way back into the game and Tom Amphlett twice squandered good chances to bring the teams level. There was better luck five minutes into the second half when Ian McMurray headed down a high ball for Scott Blackmore to lash into the net from 15-metres. The end to end nature of the game produced some good opportunities and in the 71st minute Craig Young put Joondalup in front by deflecting in a shot by Amphlett. Mandurah hit back shortly before the end of regulation time through Crampton who somehow managed to find a way through the defence before finishing neatly over Hindley. With no further addition to the scoring the referee turned to extra time which was a minute old when Blackmore again put Joondalup ahead. A string of superb saves by Hindley maintained the visitors as the momentum swung back in Mandurah’s favour. The teams were back on level terms in the 100th minute when Christian Paschkewitz converted from a Jordan Rhodes corner. With the game seemingly destined for penalties, Paschkewitz broke down the right before centring for Crampton to stylishly send the deciding goal past Hindley.
Perth S.C. eliminated Sorrento from this year’s Cup with a 4-0 victory at Dorrien Gardens. However, it was very much a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Blues who stumbled their way through the first half only to reassert themselves after the break with a commanding display. With Todd Howarth stamping his authority down the left wing, and Gary Faria and Robbie Puca pulling the strings in the centre, Perth created a swag of first half chances. Nikita Rukavystya was guilty of missing some guilt edged chances while other openings came the way of Faria and Barry Wood. Going the other way, Jared Love looked the most likely to score for Sorrento but there were few chances against a well-organised home rearguard under the tutelage of veteran Gianfranco Circati. Perth struck nine minutes into the second half when a defensive lapse allowed Rukavystya time and space to dispatch his shot into the bottom corner. As was the case in the first half, Perth rained shots down on their opponents’ goal with Rukavystya, Wood, Faria and Puca leading the charge. In the 63rd minute Rukavystya stormed his way into the 18-yard box only to be brought down by goalkeeper Neil Young, who was subsequently red carded for dissent after throwing the ball at the injured Perth striker. Once calm had been restored it was Puca who slotted the spot kick to the right of replacement ‘keeper Anthony Cochrane to increase Perth’s grip on the game. Barry Wood took the margin to three goals in the 75th minute with a cracking strike from 18-metres which left Cochrane stranded. The icing was put on the cake in stoppage time by Faria who broke free of the defence to neatly chip over the ‘keeper.
There were goals aplenty at Macedonia Park as Stirling Lions mauled First Division opponent South West Phoenix 11-1 in their Second Round Cup tie. The hosts had different players on the score sheet with Kevin Henderson bagging a hat-trick, David Dugdale, Dannie Richman and Ludo Boi got two apiece while singles came from Phil Arnold and Daniel Micevski. Arnold seemed to be involved in every one of Stirling’s attacking moves and in the 9th minute he bursting past the defence to square for Dugdale to slot home into the empty net. On 21 minutes Arnold flicked in a near post corner to double the home teams advantage, and not long after Richman intercepted a stray pass and waltzed around Ryan Ridson before firing past goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery from 15-metres. It took nine more minutes for Stirling to bag their fourth as Arnold breezed past Andy Cowley before centring for Boi to smash in from 18-metres. Five minutes from half-time Arnold tamed the ball with his chest and laid it off to Micevski who blasted a low shot inside the upright. On the stroke of half-time Dugdale converted from close-range after Montgomery failed to hold a stinging shot by Boi. The goals continued to flow after the break with Henderson scoring from the penalty spot following Cowley’s foul on Arnold. Phoenix had something to cheer about on 71 minutes as Steve Suttie side footed in after a low centring pass from Trent Hathaway. However, Stirling weren’t finished and Boi waltzed into the box to fire in his second of the day. Richman bundled home the loose ball after Montgomery parried a Vas Kalogeracos shot. Henderson curled in an indirect free-kick from just inside the 18-yard box to make it double figures on 87 minutes, and shortly after the big defender brought up his hat-trick by converting a penalty awarded for James Turbitt’s foul on Arnold.
Cockburn City thrashed First Division opponent Queens Park 7-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Giovanni De Bartolo scored twice, Michael Mirco, Aaron Dos Santos and Jason Dos Santos bagged one apiece with two own goals completely the scoreline. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the two participating clubs.
GLORY BOOK IN MALAYSIAN TRIP
Ron Smith will make the first assessment of his new-look squad when Perth Glory embark on a mission to Malaysia this month. Players retained from last season and the fresh faces signed recently will be brought together as a complete squad for the first time just days before the team play four matches against Malaysian opposition. “It will really be the start playing some games,” the coach said. “We should have everyone available and it will be a good chance to have them all together playing games.”
Former Crystal Palace winger Nick Rizzo and Croatia striker Mate Dragicevic are due to join the squad on the eve of the tour which takes in games against Selangor (23rd June), Perak (26th June), Penang (28th June) and PKNS Selangor (30th June). Glory are unlikely to be boosted by former Dutch international Michael Mols in time for the trip, although he remains in the clubs sights. “It’s still being negotiated,” said Smith, who is in Sydney to provide video analysis for the Socceroos before this evenings friendly with Uruguay.
Assistant coach David Mitchell has predicted a more exciting and attacking approach from Glory this coming season. Mitchell admitted the side lacked invention, spark and pace at times last season, and believes each of these have been addressed through the new signings. “This year, the dynamics of the team have changed. We’ll be a much more exciting team that last season,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got pace and players who’ll take people on. Last year we had a lot of similar players, so that made it hard to change things.” Midfielder Milan Susak, who played for Vojvodina in the Serbian league, is the latest player to trail with Glory.
WOMEN’S STATE YOUTH TEAMS ANNOUNCED
Football West have named the State Under-15 and Under-17 female squads to compete at the National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour next month. "Both the Under-15 and Under-17 girls will be looking to build on their excellent performance and results at last years Nationals," said Andrew Bettell, Football West's State Education and Development Manager.
Jessine Bonzas has been appointed Under-17's coach with Tanya Oxtoby as her assistant, while the Under-15's will be under the guidance of Nicola Williams who'll be assisted by Amanda Tana. "This is the first year the State teams have had four female coaches who have been selected on merit and not because of their gender," commented Bettell. Bonzas' appointment comes following her selection to attend the national Under-17 camp as part of her coach mentor program late last year.
The 2007 West Australian Under-15 squad is Rachel Smith (Armadale), Hollie Farrell, Lindsey Kenyon, Jo Randazzo (Balcatta), Renee Rendell, Corrin Walmsey (East Fremantle), Rebecca Davies (Heathridge), Becky Bennett (Joondalup Jacks), Ashlee Byrne (Lynwood), Jennifer Chantler, Jaymee Gibbons (National Training Centre), Kendrah Pease (Safety Bay), Carla Bennett, Sadie Lawrence (Stirling Reds), Emily Dunn (Victoria Park) and Sam Kerr (Western Knights).
The 2007 West Australian Under-17 squad is Lauren Bushby, Jessica Byrne, Jiami Carley, Gemma Di Lello (Balcatta), Erryn Gardiner (Bunbury United), Penelope Clayton (East Fremantle), Hayley Castrilli, Madeline Chandler, Casey Webb (Hay Park), Danielle Calautti, Chloe Coghlan, Ella Mastrantonio, Shannon May, Elle Semmens, Marianna Tabain, Emily Williams (National Training Centre), Nikki Campbell (Queens Park) and Shani Lynch (Subiaco).
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The drama that is knock-out football takes centre stage this weekend with the second round of the 2007 association Cup, sponsored by Soccer Pools. With several Premier League clubs pitted against opponents from the First Division don’t be surprise if come Saturday evening there are a few surprises to be had. Breakaway First Division leader Dianella White Eagles will fancy themselves when they venture to Alfred Skeet Oval to play Armadale. Bayswater City have home ground advantage against a Swan I.C. side which has so far struggled this season. Also playing on home soil is Mandurah City who welcome E.C.U. Joondalup to the Peel Region.
At Dorrien Gardens Perth S.C. meet a revitalised Sorrento line-up which is rapidly nearing full strength. Former Perth Glory teammates Marc Wingell and Bobby Despotovski come face to face as Fremantle Spirit square off with Inglewood United at the WA Spanish Club. It will take an almighty effort from Morley Windmills for them to topple Premier League leader Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Cockburn City are tipped to progress at the expense of the visitors from Queens Park, likewise Cup holder Stirling Lions who meet South West Phoenix at Macedonia Park.
JONES RELAXES WHILE COACH FRANKEN FRETS
Goalkeeping coach Tony Franken admits to being nervous about having two rookies in the Australian squad for Saturday night's friendly international against Uruguay. However, the player set to make his debut, Middlesbrough's Brad Jones, is showing no signs of anxiety. Jones is poised to step out of the shadow of Mark Schwarzer and is expected to get the nod ahead of former youth international Adam Federici, who is also waiting to make his Socceroos debut.
For the first time in memory, Australia will not be able to call on a goalkeeper with regular first-team experience at club level, and Franken concedes a sense of trepidation. "It does make me nervous to a certain extent," said Franken, himself a former Socceroo . "I'd rather Brad Jones be playing Championship football than be sitting on the bench, and the same goes for Federici. As national coach, I'd rather have those guys drop down a level to play every week."
Jones showed no signs of nerves leading into his long-awaited debut. "I'm pretty laid back, sometimes too much, and people have said that," he said. "But that's what's got me this far, so I don't see any point in changing too much … I'm excited, I've been in a few camps, been around the boys and enjoyed it. It's a different feel to the club atmosphere … you can say I've waited a while, but I'm only 25, I haven't waited that long, and if I get my chance, hopefully I can take it and prove I belong here."
With the next World Cup three years away, Jones says he's made it his goal to be in South Africa with the Socceroos. "It's my target to be there. Whether it's first choice, we'll have to wait and see," Jones commented. "If I can go to the 2010 World Cup and play, it will be a dream come true … if he [Schwarzer] can get to the next World Cup and be playing as well as he is now, and be as fit as he is now, then fair play to him, he deserves it."
GREENWOOD OVERCOMES INJURY TO STAR FOR DIANELLA
The goalscoring touch of Jon Greenwood has played a significant role in Dianella White Eagles' rise to the top of the First Division table. Greenwood, an off-season signing from Forrestfield United, has netted a staggering thirteen times in seven games so far this year, however, if it wasn't for the faith shown by coach Jimmy Pearson then the 25-year old may have called an early retirement. "I had a terrible time last year with injuries and almost gave the game away," explained Greenwood. "But after speaking with Jimmy at the start of the year he convinced me to play on and I'm extremely glad I listened to him."
Greenwood may be the competitions form striker but remains adamant his best is yet to come. "There's still room for improvement in my game but I'm scoring plenty of goals and the team is performing well as a whole, which is the most important thing" he said. "A lot of credit for the goals I've scored belongs to the great service I get from Miladin Gligoroski who works extremely hard and creates a lot of chances for the side. Also our midfield players lay on a lot of good quality balls for me to work with."
After seven regular season games Dianella are unbeaten and sitting comfortably on top of the First Division table. "Jimmy Pearson has us well organised and playing to a system," explained Greenwood. "He keeps us focused from one week to the next and refuses to allow us to get to ahead of ourselves. The club has a huge desire to win something this year and have signed quality players such as Pedro Pavez, Paul Hickey, Michael Maine and recent arrival Ray Rose to make that happen. It's a shame we lost Kevin 'Giggsy' Smith to yet another knee injury, he is a key part of our defence but the good news is he could be back inside six weeks."
Greenwood is tipping a physical game when Dianella head to Armadale for this weekend's Cup round. "There's always a good atmosphere down at Armadale so it should be a really good game," he said. "I'm sure Billy Russell and Tom Kilkelly will have the Army boys revved up for the Cup game and I anticipate it will be a hard physical contest. Our preparation will be the same as every other game and we will no doubt play to the same system that has served us well so far in our league campaign, and hopefully that will pay off with us causing an upset by beating a Premier League opponent."
BALGA'S REVERSAL OF FORM
It's not often that a team who consistently struggles on the park suddenly does an about face and dominates their league, however, that is exactly what has happened with Balga. In the past four years the amateur club have won just nine of it's eighty-eight league games. But in the opening months of 2007 Balga have consigned past failures to history with five successive wins to put themselves on top of the First Division. However, the club were rocked this week by the sudden departure of senior coach Glynn Shaw and assistant Bobby Taneski who've taken up roles with semi-professional outfit Queens Park.
Club captain Anthony Banham says it's business as usual despite the recent turn of events. "We're very happy with how the season is going so far, we have a great team spirit that's developed quickly after picking up some young and new players this season," he explained. "Players like Dale Watson, Thiago Liareggo and Tiago Duque have really added some sparkle to the team this year and the enthusiasm for the game is infectious. Everyone's enjoying themselves and even after the recent week's events the atmosphere at training has been great and has probably made us even more determined to keep our run going."
Balga are on the look-out for a new coaching team to see them through the remainder of 2007 and, hopefully, into the top flight of amateur competition. Any parties interested in coaching a great group of players whose ambition is to play in the Premier League are invited to contact Banham on 0408 984 212 or Darren McNally on 0409 202 685. Balga sit atop the First Division with a one point advantage over Joondalup United after seven games.
QUEENS PARK APPOINT NEW COACH
Glynn Shaw has taken up the coaching reigns at First Division outfit Queen Park. Shaw, who has previously coached amateur teams Ballajura and Balga, relieves Brian Kinson who was appointed interim coach following the resignation of Tony Campbell earlier this month. “It’s very important that Queens Park finally have a first team coach that is going to be able to work with the players and, if he feels it necessary, to bring in new players who’ll strengthen our squad,” commented Queens Park midfielder Ian McKean.
“Brian has done a good job in helping the team through the last three weeks but now we can all look forward to working under Glynn and we give him our full support to get the team moving in the right direction,” McKean added. “The goal now is for us to play a good standard of football and to ensure that Queens Park secure our position in this First Division for next season.” Shaw will take the reigns for the first time on Saturday when Queens Park travel to Dalmatinac Park for the second round Cup tie with Cockburn City.
MCCULLOCH READY FOR WANNEROO CHALLENGE
No-nonsense midfielder Dale McCulloch is looking forward to strapping on the boots for Wanneroo City. The 25-year old recently agreed terms with Wanneroo and feels he can play a part in helping the struggling club ease themselves away from the foot of the table. “I hope I can bring a bit of passion, leadership and experience that the younger kids can learn from,” said McCulloch. “The simple answer is I’ve been signed to help Wanneroo stay in the Premier League, and I hope we can achieve that. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I know it will be a tough season but I hope that it will bring out the best in me.”
McCulloch began the season on the books of E.C.U. Joondalup and spent a short time with Stirling Lions before moving to Wanneroo. The talented midfielder has no regrets about bringing to an early end his time at Macedonia Park where he found it difficult to hold down a starting berth. “I believe moving to Wanneroo is a smart move for me as I need to be playing week in and week out, which wasn’t happening at the Lions,” he explained. “It was tough to leave the players and people involved at Stirling, but at the end of the day I need to be playing. I’ll get that opportunity here at with the Roos and my experience will help the young side.”
Administrative problems have meant McCulloch has watched Wanneroo’s two most recent outings from the sidelines. This has given the McCulloch a great opportunity to take a serious look at his new team mates and review what needs to be done to ensure their top flight survival. “It was more than disappointing losing to Swan and Sorrento as these are games that we know we should be picking points up from,” McCulloch said. “The manner in which we are losing is gutting for every player, and just shows the areas that we need to improve on in the future.”
Signing with Wanneroo has given McCulloch the opportunity to become re-acquainted with one of his former coaches, Mike Brazil. “I’ve worked with Mike before when he was assistant at Joondalup last year and have the utmost respect for him,” McCulloch explained. “He is very organised and able to notice team faults and put into place tactics that will rectify the situation. Mike and Gary Church work well together and have a lot of experience to offer the players … and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
A State team representative at every level from Under-12 upwards, McCulloch has accumulated a lot of fond memories through spells at Kingsway Olympic, E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento. “I’ve had a great time in football in WA,” he said. “The stand out would be the Joondalup-Sorrento game a few years back. I was playing for Joondalup against my former team and we scored three goals in the last three minutes to won 3-2. Another highlight was my first game for the senior State team in South Australia at Hindmarsh Stadium, the ground that my dad played at for West Adelaide in the National Soccer League”
ERIC STEELE GOALKEEPING COURSE
Former England youth international Eric Steele, in conjunction with Football West, will be hosting a series of goalkeeping clinics next month. The art of goalkeeping comes naturally to Steele who played professionally at Newcastle United, Peterborough United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Watford and Derby County. With more than thirty years playing and coaching experience to his name Steele is now passing on his skills to young goalkeepers round the world through the 'Eric Steele Coaching Services'.
Steele, who has coached the likes of Paul Robinson and Peter Schmeichel, will conduct three goalkeeping clinics on the weekend of 9th/10th June at Gibney Reserve, Maylands. Additionally, he will host a free session on Monday 11th June as part of Football West Coaching Hubs Program which is designed to provide support and education for the many coaches currently operating within the local competitions. For further details of the upcoming clinics hosted by Steele visit the Football West website.
KARPEH SHINES AS FLOREAT REMAIN TOP
Floreat Athena remain top of the Premier League pile despite dropping their first point of the season at Stirling Lions on the weekend. Michael Roki praised the efforts of striker Boima ‘Jerry’ Karpeh following the 2-2 draw at Macedonia Park. “Jerry worked hard today, he was tightly marked but he held the ball up well for us today,” said the Floreat coach. “He could have picked up another goal for himself today, but it wasn’t to be.”
Sunday’s showdown was a superb advertisement for the local game with Karpeh shining for the team in blue and white. “I have a couple players marking me close each week, and I know I’ll get this all season,” said the 26-year old of the close attention paid by Kevin Henderson and Darko Ilomanoski. “I have to do my bit for the team, holding the ball up and of course scoring goals. But we drew today because we never took our chances, you must put the chances away when they arrive and today we didn’t do that.”
Rumours of interest from Perth Glory are nothing new to Karpeh, who turned out for Dianella White Eagles, Bayswater City and Fremantle City before joining Floreat , and an opportunity to play at the next level would be a dream come true for the Liberian-born striker. “It’s my dream to play A-League, but I’ve got to keep working hard to get there,” he said. “Apparently I’m not good enough, but I know I can play in the A-League. All I want is a chance - I must continue to play well for my team and hope I will get the opportunity.”
JONES READY FOR SOCCEROOS SHIRT
Brad Jones says after eight years as Mark Schwarzer's understudy at Middlesbrough, and with the Socceroos, he is ready to take over as Australia's first-choice goalkeeper. The Armadale-born 25-year old hopes to make his senior international debut in Saturday's friendly against Uruguay, whom the Australians beat to qualify for last year's World Cup finals in Germany. Jones is vying for the place between the posts with 22-year old Adam Federici whose heroics helped Reading earn a 1-1 FA Cup fifth-round draw against Manchester United earlier this year.
If Jones gets the nod on the weekend he plans to stake a strong claim as Schwarzer's number two for the Socceroos Asian Cup finals debut in July. "Hopefully, I can prove that I belong here," Jones said. Jones joined Middlesbrough as a teenager and has had to play second-fiddle to Schwarzer ever since. "Mark has taught me a lot. It's a shame we are vying for the same spot," he said. "For the moment I will be patient, as he is on top of his game. I will keep pushing Mark until I can get where I want to be."
Jones is biding his time amid a changing of the guard in an Australian team which has lost five players to retirement since last year's World Cup in Germany. A further six are in their 30s, of whom Schwarzer is the oldest at 35, and interim coach Graham Arnold said no-one was guaranteed a spot at the next World Cup in South Africa in 2010. "I believe Saturday's starting line-up, plus a couple on the bench, will form the core of the 2010 World Cup side," Arnold said. "This week is about looking into the future."
Arnold said six positions were up for grabs in the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup. "We have to move on," he said. "Unfortunately, there's a thing in life and in football where you have your day - you do become older and your time is up." Arnold expected European stars Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Vince Grella and Mark Bresciano to form the backbone of the national team through to South Africa, but nominated Brett Holman, Patrick Kisnorbo, Michael Beauchamp, Carl Valeri and Brad Jones as players now coming to the fore.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVEN (CN Canning International vs South Perth United courtesy Football West)
A hat-trick from Salvador Chavex was at the heart of CN Canning International’s 5-0 demolition of South Perth United in Amateur Premier League match of the week. South Perth were the first to put pressure on their opponents with G.Groake going excruciatingly close to scoring in the 26th minute with a firm header which was brilliantly saved by J.Nanini. Although slow to get going, Canning took the lead six minutes later when a couple of failed attempts to clear the danger allowed Salif Alharthi to stabbed home from close-range.
Canning doubled the lead eight minutes into the second half when Chavez slipped behind the defence and skilfully to leave the ‘keeper with no chance. The points were made safe in the 68th minute through Chavez who scored his second when his close-range strike was parried into the net by the ‘keeper. Three minutes later Kailo Karpeh found the net via an indirect free-kick from inside the penalty area. The games fifth and final goal arrived deep into stoppage time when Chavez completed his hat-trick with a simple tap in after Eddie Mura unselfishly squared the ball into the path of his team mate.
Group A leader Fremantle United registered their seventh straight win by despatching Lynwood Colts 3-1. The upset of the round saw Perth Azzurri go down 4-5 on home soil to Spearwood Dalmatinac. Suburbs United lost 0-1 to WA Maccabi, while Subiaco United thumped University of WA 4-0. In Group B, Shamrock Rovers collected their seventh win on the trot by downing Southern Spirit 3-0. Murdoch University stay second after getting the edge over Stirling Panthers 4-3 in a thriller. Hamersley Rovers picked the maximum points courtesy of a narrow 1-0 win over the visitors from Kingsway Olympic.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVEN (Wanneroo City v Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Stirling Lions displayed great character in coming from behind with ten men to earn a 2-2 draw Floreat Athena in Sunday’s blockbuster at Macedonia Park. Early saves by Phil Straker and Vas Vujacic were only a taster of things to come and ensured the bumper crowd of close to 1,500 were riveted to their seats from the outset. Andy Brown looked to have put the home side in front on 10 minutes by heading in at a corner, however, referee Ton Klaver disallowed the effort for a push on Adam Bachiller. Unperturbed, Stirling pressed on and four minutes later David Dugdale scrapped the ball past the advancing goalkeeper and into the net from Ludovic Boi’s delivery. Floreat responded with increased intensity and on 22 minutes equalised as Branimir Mikulic’s flick on deflected into the net off defender Kevin Henderson. As the half came it was the visitors who were the more lively and took a deserved lead into the break after Boima Karpeh’s cross from the left was met by Mikulic who fired past Straker. The second half opened with Floreat creating the better opportunities of which neither Bachiller nor Karpeh could capitalise. Stirling suffered a setback when Tom Jones was red carded on 73 minutes for his challenge on Mikulic. The introduction of Vas Kalogeracos had almost immediate effect for the home team as he combined with Phil Arnold to send Dugdale clear but the otherwise lethal finisher disappointing shot straight at Vas Vujacic. With two minutes left Stirling drew level when Keith Brown swung a corner directly into the net amid protestations that Floreat ‘keeper Vas Vujacic had been impeded. There was still time for one final drama as Peter Coci was one-on-one with Straker who expertly narrowed the angle and blocked the shot.
Barry Wood struck a late winner to earned Perth S.C. a dramatic 3-2 win over a gallant Inglewood United line-up at Dorrien Gardens. Inglewood started the match brightly and almost took the lead when Kevin Griffiths’ sweet strike was swatted away by goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. The visitors continually applied the pressure throughout the opening stanza and effectively prevented Perth from getting into rhythm. However, it would be the Blues that went ahead on 35 minutes through captain Robbie Puca who converted from the penalty spot after Sadmir Jakupovic’s foul on Wood. Perth could have increased the lead two minutes into the second half when confusion in the Inglewood defence saw Trent Kay’s bobbled effort bounce off the base of the post. A minute later Inglewood levelled after gaining a penalty of their own for a handball decision against Michael Ord, and Daniel Neiderberger coolly slotted past Deeg. Nikita Rukavytsya restored Perth’s lead on 68 minutes by rifling past Oliver Taseski from the top edge of the 18-yard box. With Jason Colli a constant menace to the home team with his darting runs down the right, Inglewood stepped up a gear heading into the closing stages. Their reward came in the 80th minute when Niederberger pushed forward before placing his shot into the bottom corner much to the delight of the travelling contingent. The game would be settled three minutes later by Wood who caught out a hesitant defence before flicking past Taseski for his fourth goal in five weeks. The big striker could have ended the day with a hat-trick but was unable to find the target when the opportunity twice arose in the final few minutes.
Honours were even at the WA Spanish Club where the southern suburbs derby between Fremantle Spirit and Cockburn City produced a 1-1 draw. A drab first half gave way to an end to end attacking affair in the second as referee Angelo Nardi handed out three penalties, two of which were converted. Fremantle’s best opportunity of the first half fell to Sebastian Booysen but his close-range flick from a corner whizzed the wrong side of the upright. On the stroke of half-time Cockburn should have taken the lead when Jason Dos Santos played a delightful ball to Marco Aleksic but with only the goalkeeper to beat he rolled the shot past the post. Cockburn dominated the early stages of the second half with Steve Grant called on to make a smart block to deny John Mirco. A great exchange down the left involving John Mirco, Jason Dos Santos and Aleksic saw the latter curl in a back post cross where an unmarked Dean Wallace blazed high from only a few metres. The games first penalty arrived in the 66th minute after a foul on Dean Wallace, but Jason Dos Santos crashed the spot kick into the post and with the follow-up Michael Mirco shot across the face of goal. Within a couple of minutes Fremantle had a penalty of their own for a handball decision against Callum Roberts, and Dale Wingell stepped up to calmly stroke the ball high into the net with Dino Pacella going the wrong way. Jason Barrera twice went close to wrapping up the points with a couple of vicious strikes that were both deflected wide by Pacella. The third penalty of the afternoon was awarded in the 86th minute after veteran Alex Christie was ruled to have handled the ball, and this time it was John Mirco who rocketed the ball past Grant to bring the teams level.
Armadale won their first game of the Premier League season by defeating Swan I.C. 3-2 in a fiercely contested encounter at Alfred Skeet Oval. Sustained early pressure from the home side was rewarded after 11 minutes when Scott Paterson’s free-kick found an unmarked Darren Kingston who headed in at close-range. Armadale’s dominance resulted in a second goal on 32 minutes as Madeley’s cross was spilt by Daniel Agudelo and in the blink of an eye Jason Goodwin had lashed the ball in from close-range. Swan responded through the very next attack in which Tom Shepheard delivered the ball from the left for John Monterosso to fire past Cyril Sharrock. It was only now that the visitors came to life and not long after they were had appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Matthew Cheeseman. Swan laid siege to their opponents goal as Sharrock gathered possession under pressure from Shepheard, and Dom Ando fired high when well positioned. A deserved equaliser arrived ten minutes from half-time when Justin Hugo’s cross was poorly dealt with by the defence allowing Brendan Knox to find the net from 5-metres. Shortly before the interval Swan lost Agudelo after he clashed with Kingston and was rushed to hospital suffering a lower back injury. The second half began with Swan in full flight and McStea went close to putting the visitors ahead twice in as many minutes. However, Armadale weren’t to be outdone and Goodwin fired wide while another Kingston header flashed the wrong side of the post. The 66th minute produced the deciding goal via a quick counterattack in which Stephen Skilandis’ deep cross was put away by Kingston. Swan worked tirelessly in their search for a third goal but found it difficult to break down a defence under the command of Dusan Macura and Daryl Platten.
Sorrento picked up their first points of the campaign by mauling Wanneroo City 7-2 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Played in damp conditions, it took the visiting side just 16 minutes to go ahead as a neat exchange between Lewis Flatt and Jared Love enabled Glen Thomas to send a sweet shot into the net from just outside the 18-yard box. Four minutes later the team in yellow doubled their advantage when Stuart Banks’ cross from the left was allowed to bounce by the Wanneroo defence and Love powered the ball in with a diving header. Banks hit a long cross field pass in the 29th minute which Todd Harnwell retrieved and cut back to Thomas who promptly fired goal number three past Kevin Miller. Wanneroo pulled one back eight minutes into the second half when Derek Cooke and Ryan Newhill linked up for David Houston to shoot into the bottom corner. The Gulls three-goal buffer was restored soon after by Love who gained possession inside his own half and jinxed his way down the left before finding the net from an acute angle. On 64 minutes Wanneroo went down to ten men after Craig Cheeseman was issued a second yellow card for dissent. Sorrento wasted no time in capitalising through a Thomas corner was met by Danny Taylor whose downward header bounced over Miller and into the roof of the net. Cooke was rewarded for a strong display on 82 minutes when he evaded his marker and belted the ball past Young. However, Sorrento weren’t finished and Steven Worthy slotted an easy opportunity past Miller, then in the 86th minute Love completed his hat-trick by shooting into the bottom corner. Wanneroo ended the day with nine players on the park after the late dismissal of Houston for a challenge on Young.
E.C.U. Joondalup knocked over Western Knights 1-0 when they meet in the northern suburbs. The games solitary goal arrived five minutes into the second half via Scott Blackmore. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SEVEN (Dianella White Eagles v Bayswater City courtesy Football West; Canning City v Queens Park by Phil Unsworth; Gosnells City v Rockingham City courtesy Rockingham City; South West Phoenix v Forrestfield United courtesy South West Phoenix)
Dianella White Eagles remain unbeaten and on top of the First Division standings after a thrilling 3-2 win over Bayswater City at Dianella Reserve. The home side attacked from the outset and deservedly took an 8th minute lead through Jon Greenwood who sent goalkeeper Gianni Papalia the wrong way from the penalty spot after Matthew Novatsis was judged to have handled the ball. Bayswater response was swift as ten minutes later Andre Sarpe’s fiercely struck shot from distance left Pedro Pavez with no chance. Blaz Radovanovic put the visiting side in the driving seat after 25 minutes by netting at close-range after Novatsis’ corner wasn’t properly dealt with by the Dianella defence. The second half began with Dianella launching an all out assault on their opponents’ goal as Paul Hickey and Michael Mayne stamped their authority on the game. The sides were brought level in the 62nd minute by Mladin Gligorski who put the ball away from a couple of metres following a goalmouth scramble. Dianella bagged the deciding goal with fifteen minutes left on the clock as Dragan Njegic tapped in from point blank range after Hickey’s long range shot was spilt by Papalia.
Morley Windmills continued their impressive start to the season with a hard fought 2-0 win over Balcatta at Wotton Reserve. Both teams started positively with Morley gaining the lead after 9 minutes when enterprising work down the left by Joe Woodin and Farrell Hedges resulted in the latter cutting the ball across the face of goal to an unmarked Scott McIlroy who put it past the goalkeeper from 7-metres. This fired up both teams who continually ripped into one another with some ferocious tackles. Balcatta looked good going forward but couldn’t find the equaliser they were looking for. In the 40th minute Remo McCann almost added a second for the hosts with a stunning strike from distance which was paddled onto the crossbar by the ‘keeper. Morley went two up shortly after when McIIlroy charged through the defence only to crash his shot into the bar, and Gary Murdoch met the rebound with a terrific diving header into an empty net. Both teams worked hard throughout the second half for no reward. McIlroy thought he’d added Morley’s third only for it to be disallowed by an offside flag. Balcatta’s best chances came from distance but neither Toby Wright nor John Nicolaou caused much for Chris Ramsay to worry about.
Canning City defeated newly promoted Queens Park 2-0 at the Willetton Sports Club. Queens Park opted for a direct, physical approach in an attempt to disrupt their hosts fluent passing game. The first half was tight with much of the action taking place in the middle of the park. Canning opened the scoring in the 9th minute when a high ball into the penalty area from Mick Van Dongen gained the slightest of touches from Daniel Trevisiol before finding the inside the far post. The remainder of the half was a dour affair dominated by the defences and interrupted by a stream of fouls. The second half was only three minutes old when Trevisiol was put through on goal only to miscued his shot from 8-metres. Canning made the points theirs in the 34th minute when Mick Van Dongen brilliantly evaded one defender and zeroed in on goal before unleashing a splendid curling shot from 20-metres which found the top corner and gave goalkeeper Phil D’Souza no chance. The win puts Canning in third place, two points behind leader Dianella White Eagles and one point adrift of Morley Windmills.
Mandurah City crushed another pre-season favourite Ashfield 5-1 when they meet at Ashfield Reserve. Although both teams made a tentative start it was Ashfield that showed the greater attacking enterprise over the opening twenty minutes. Andy O’Neill wasted a pair of glorious one-on-one’s with the goalkeeper, Rydeen Botha had a shot headed over the crossbar and Daniel Webb pulled the ball wide with the ‘keeper stranded. Mandurah were the first on the scoreboard as Scott Halpin's penetrating free-kick was nodded on by Christian Paschkewitz and Jordan Rhodes did the rest. Rhodes found the net again soon after from a well-worked corner. Ashfield came out strongly after the interval, determined to force their way back into the game. But as the half progressed Mandurah slowly regained control and Rhodes completed his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt on 64 minutes. Andy Brown expertly made his way past two defenders before placing the ball wide of the Ashfield goalkeeper for the visitors fourth, and a few minutes later Michael Bobridge pounced on some indecisive defending to further increase the margin. Ashfield refused to give up with Botha hitting the post and Tom Gaca having a shot cleared off the line before Michael Filipou headed in the consolation goal from a corner.
Two goals in the dying minutes earned Rockingham City a 3-3 draw with Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. The ball had been in motion just 7 minutes when Gosnells took the lead through a tidy cross to the far post which found an unmarked Steve Gillibrand who had little trouble slotting into an open goal. Parity was restored on the half hour when Glen Hornby's in-swinging corner was headed in by Luke Rennie. With this Rockingham stepped up gear in midfield where Adam Perry, Jason Peacock and Anthony Harris asserted their authority and applied pressure to the home defence. Gosnells came out firing for the second half and regained the lead on 67 minutes when a cracking strike by Gillibrand was parried by goalkeeper James Wilde and Brian Cairney netted with the follow-up. Rockingham looked to be finished when Harris was sent off for dissent, and Gosnells added a third to their tally via Cairney. But the visitors remained focused and in the 90th minute Michael Vaz brought the team level before substitute John Burrows struck a dramatic stoppage time equaliser.
South West Phoenix kept their first clean sheet in two years by sweeping past Forrestfield United 3-0 at Bunbury's Soccerdome. The win elevates Phoenix to sixth on the table and puts them within touching distance of the leading pack. A terrific string of passes which began at the back produced Phoenix' opening goal on 6 minutes as Patrick Quinn fed possession to Gary Mayers who rifled into the bottom corner from 15-metres. The home team looked dangerous every time they went forward with Quinn and David Murphy a dominant presence in the middle of the park. Mayers went close to grabbing his second with a header that flew past the target, while Suttie had several opportunities to add to his season tally without success. Forrestfield saw more of the ball in the second half but a failure to convert chances into goals prevented them from getting back on level terms. It took until the closing stages for Phoenix to make the points safe with Suttie putting the ball away in the 79th minute, and again eight minutes much to the delight of the home crowd.
DUNN SIGNS ON WITH GLORY
Former Socceroos defender Robbie Dunn will play his part in Perth Glory’s rebuilding process as the third member of the club’s coaching staff. Dunn, who played 36 times for Australia, has been appointed on a casual basis to work alongside head coach Ron Smith and assistant David Mitchell. “He’ll help us solve a few problems,” Smith said, indicating that Dunn’s role initially would be to assist in improving fitness levels. “He’ll also train the lads who are still in Perth when the team plays away.”
Dunn, who coached the State team for one match five years ago, has been keen to help Glory for some time. “I’ve always wanted to get involved with the Glory but I’ve never been asked. So it’s good to be asked and to be here to help and support Ron and Dave as much as I can,” said Dunn, who guided State League team North Perth Croatia in the early-1990s. Glory will continue pre-season preparations in Malaysia next month with at least four games against locals, including Perak and Penang.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The bottom of the table meeting of Wanneroo City and Sorrento comes under the microscope as the www.footballwa.net Match of the Week . Wanneroo will be confident of getting a result on home soil following their recent improvement and key roles beckon for Derek Cooke, Gary Andrews, Mark Donnelly and goalkeeper Kevin Miller. Sorrento, last seasons Premier League champion, really have struggled with injury so far in 2007 and if the likes of Steve McDonald, Stuart Banks, Glen Thomas and Tod Harnwell are firing on all cylinders they should collect their first points of the winter.
At Dorrien Gardens, Perth S.C. are widely tipped to take the points over an Inglewood United side which is down on luck at the moment. Western Knights made the journey north to face E.C.U. Joondalup in what promises to be a fiery encounter. Fremantle Spirit meet Cockburn City in the local derby at the WA Spanish Club. Armadale will be seeking their first win of the campaign when they host Swan I.C. The Sunday meeting of Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park will be broadcast live on 90.5fm.
The pick of the First Division action takes place at Ashfield Reserve where fourth place Ashfield take on fifth place Mandurah City. Early pacesetter Dianella White Eagles have home ground advantage against Bayswater City. Morley Windmills welcome Balcatta to Wotton Reserve, and Canning City can extend their unbeaten start to the season by taking the points over the visitors from Queens Park. Forrestfield United play South West Phoenix in Bunbury, and Rockingham City are away to Gosnells City.
MOUTTET TIPS SWAN TO TURN THINGS AROUND
Rory Mouttet believes Swan I.C. can use last weekend’s come from behind win over Wanneroo City as the catalyst to turn their season around. The win - Swan’s first of the campaign - had the black and whites emerge 6-4 winners after overturning a three-goal deficit. “It feels very good to get our first win of the season, and especially when you consider the fashion in which we won the game,” commented Mouttet. “I think this win will provide us the kick-start that we’ve needed to get our season back on the right track.”
Swan fell behind the eight ball early with the dismissal of goalkeeper Cory Hugo, and things only got worse as Wanneroo raced to a three-goal lead inside 20 minutes. However, the black and whites showed great character with John Monterosso reducing the deficit just before the break after which Tom Shepheard tallied up a hat-trick and Dom Ando bagged a double. “The coaches said the game was far from over at half-time and that we had forty-five minutes to make things right,” said Mouttet. “Everyone went out for the second half with a really strong, collective determination and that it had a huge influence on the game.”
Shepheard’s strike ten minutes into the second half galvanised Swan and gave them the self-believe to go on with the job. “When Tommy got on the end of one fifteen minutes into the second half we knew we had the momentum,” he continued. “From there we just kept going at them and eventually Dom got our third and from there we knew we could win the game. Wanneroo had two players sent off midway through the half and even when they pulled it back to 4-4 we still knew we could go on and win. It was easily one of the most memorable games I’ve played in and one of the most glorious team comebacks I have ever been part of.”
This weekend Swan head to Armadale for what Mouttet sees as a key game in his teams’ season. “It is an appropriate test for us and another extremely important game for our club,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough game for sure. Armadale is one of the harder away locations as they are a very well supported club and have a vocal crowd. We’ll certainly not be taking any game for the rest of the year lightly, let alone this one. I expect it to be a hard, physical match mixed with some passages of good football and at the end of the day the team who want the points the most will win.”
Swan set themselves the pre-season goal of a top three finish and, although they’re currently placed ninth, Mouttet believes that is still achievable. “I feel confidence is a major factor in the success of any club, and we won against all the odds last week which can only be good for us,” he said. “We have several players coming back next week and the squad will be close to full strength. If we can get another win this week we will be well and truly in the mix and in the right frame of mind to start climbing our way up the table.”
GLORY NET CROATIAN STRIKER
Perth Glory has bolstered its attack for the upcoming A-League season with the signing of experienced Croatian striker Mate Dragicevic on a one-year contract. Dragicevic, a former Croatian youth international, has enjoyed a successful decade-long career in Europe in which he twice collected two Croatian First Division championship winners’ medals. Last season he helped Russian Second Division club Khimki achieve promotion by bagging seven goals in 22 appearances before heading back to Croatia in February to finish the season with First Division outfit Pula.
Ron Smith, who has reworked the club’s forward line during the off-season through the addition of Nikita Rukavytsya and Nick Rizzo, is confident his latest recruit can help deliver a swag of goals for Glory after seeing him in action first hand during a scouting trip to Europe in March. “He’s a strong player in the air and will be damaging if we get the ball into him in and around the box,” Smith said. “Mate has a real nose for goal and throughout his career, at all levels of football, he has consistently been able to score.”
Technically sound and with an imposing physical presence on the pitch, Dragicevic will be one of the key focal points in Glory's attack next season. "He’s only 27-years old and has comes to us with a real competitive fire in his belly. He has an outstanding attitude and plenty of ambition which I like to see in a player. I’ve seen a number of games that he has played and I think he has good basic instincts and with the right sort of service he’ll be a big hit,” Smith said.
COLOSIMO ON HIS WAY BACK TO PERTH
Simon Colosimo is set to return to Perth Glory after completing a four month loan spell with Turkish outfit Sivasspor. Colosimo, who has one year remaining on his Glory contract, was given clearance by the club to play with Sivasspor during the off-season in a bid by the 28-year old to secure a place in Australia’s Asian Cup squad. Both Colosimo and the club had indications from Sivasspor they were interested in securing the midfielder beyond his loan spell, however, no formal offer has been received. Coach Ron Smith is delighted the talented midfielder will be part of his squad for the coming season and expects Colosimo to play a key role in the club’s resurgence.
GASPAR FINDS HIS NICHE
Robbie Gaspar is one of over a hundred Australians pursuing their professional career offshore. But whereas most players head to Europe in search of fame and fortune 26-year old Gaspar chosen to stay closer to home and establish himself in the lucrative Asian market. Arguably one of the most naturally gifted midfielders to emerge from Western Australia, Gaspar has worn the colours of Sabah (Malaysia), QAF (Brunei) and Indonesian pair Persita Tangerang and Persita Balikpapan since embarking on his Asian sojourn in 2003.
Gaspar headed abroad after speaking with former Sorrento player and now Persita Balikpapan coach Peter Butler. “He said Sabah were looking for players, so I hopped on a plane and a few days later signed with the club,” Gaspar explained. “I stayed there for almost two years. In my first season I was equal fifth leading scorer in the league, we finished fourth, made the final of the Malaysian Cup and the semi-finals of the FA Cup before we got kicked out for crowd trouble. We played in the super league the next year with the best eight teams in the country and it was a great experience.”
For the past three years Gaspar has been based in Indonesia, initially at Persita Tangerang and for the two most recent seasons Balikpapan. “Indonesia is by far the best league in south-east Asia,” he explained. “The Asian Football Confederation has given them two positions in the Asian Champions League whereas Malaysia, Singapore and India have to play in the AFC Cup, which is like the UEFA Cup competition. Vietnam and Thailand have one spot in the Champions League while Indonesia has two, so that again sums up the strength of our league.”
Financially, Gaspar is just as well off as some of the A-League’s top players. “I always get paid on time and I earn decent money here and living away from home you tend to save a lot more,” he explained. “I’m not a big name in Australia. If I was playing in the A-League I would probably be on mid-range wages. Here I’m earning more than most A-League players plus there is provision for bonuses. I don’t want to sound arrogant, that’s just how it is.”
While admitting he’s made sacrifices to get where he is today, Gaspar says he’s enjoying his time abroad. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to give up the Australian lifestyle and I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices as well so it hasn’t been easy,” he said. “The lifestyle is pretty good here once you get used to it and I’ve enjoyed experiencing something new. I had no idea about Indonesia before I came but now I speak the language fluently so it may open up doors down the track, you’re always meeting people and there’s never a dull moment.”
There are several Australian’s currently plying their trade in Indonesia but what surprises Gaspar is that the number is not greater. “Recently, Ryan Townsend, who played for Perth Glory last season, joined me and to be honest I’m surprised more Aussies haven’t come over,” commented Gaspar, who played locally for Western Knights, Cockburn City and Perth S.C. “Ryan has been a real success story, the fans love him over here. The league is waiting to boom and I would like more Aussies to come here and experience what I’m experiencing … all in all it’s great."
LAZARIDIS SWEATS ON TRIBUNAL DRUG RULING
Former Socceroo star Stan Lazaridis will endure an agonising wait before learning the outcome of a tribunal hearing into his testing positive to banned substance. The three-member tribunal deferred their decision after the Professional Players’ Association pleaded Lazaridis’ case in Sydney yesterday. It is not known how soon the judgement will be made, although it could be handed down within the fortnight.
Lazaridis, who played for Australia 60 times, faces a two-year ban and the prospect of not playing another competitive game after testing positive to the banned masking agent finasteride in November. He applied to authorities in England in November 2005 for exemption to use a medicine containing finasteride, which is used to treat alopecia. But the former Birmingham City winger started using the drug before being granted permission in Australia, and subsequently returned a positive test.
ON THIS DAY ... 1982
Southampton midfielder Alan Ball commenced a brief but welcomed to visit to Perth on this day in 1982. When Ball arrived to make a handful of guest appearances for Floreat Athena he was only player from England’s 1966 World Cup wining team side still playing League football in England. Ball was persuaded to join Athena for a number of games at the conclusion of the 1981/82 English season in which he turned out for Southampton. Still displaying all of the energy and skill that won him 72 caps for England, Ball joined fellow ex-Saints Ted McDougal1 and John Sydenham when he turned out for Athena in the State League.
The first of Ball’s three outing in Perth was his sides home fixture with Kingsway Olympic on Sunday 23rd May when he helped Athena to a 4-1 victory with the goals coming K.Walker, E.MacDougall (2) and Sydenham. The following weekend he was on the scoresheet alongside Sydenham but couldn’t prevent Athena from going down 2-3 at Dorrien Gardens to Azzurri. His final match for Athena was on Saturday 5th June when goals from Ball and P.Toutountzis enabled Athena to defeat Gosnells City by 2-1. Ball would later make one final appearance in Perth as a guest of Bournemouth against the State team at the Velodrome, the visiting English side taking out the friendly 3-1.
The dynamic midfielder made his professional debut as a 17-year old for Blackpool and in the summer of 1966 joined Everton. After helping the Toffee’s to the 1968 FA Cup Final as well as the 1970 First Division championship he transferred to Arsenal. Ball joined Southampton in 1976 and two years later captained the Saints back into the top flight. After short spells with North American side Vancouver Whitecaps, as player-manager of Blackpool and with Bristol Rovers, the Ball called a close to his playing career after 743 League appearances. His association with the game continued through managerial posts at Portsmouth, Manchester City, Southampton, Exeter City, Stoke City.
YOUTH POLICY PAYS OFF FOR FLOREAT
Michael Roki believes the Floreat Athena are beginning to reap the rewards of a decision taken three years ago when it backed a crop of youngsters to guide the club back towards the top of the Premier League. The Floreat coach said the club’s long-term decision in 2004, when he was appointed first team coach, is now starting to pay off. Evidence of the improvement from Roki’s first season, when Floreat finished ninth, came in the form of a 1-0 win over title favourite and local powerhouse Perth S.C. on Saturday evening.
A second half strike by Boima Karpeh earned Floreat a deserved victory and sees them skip three points clear at the top of the table. “With a bit more luck we could’ve won by more,” commented Roki. “I think it’s healthy for the competition, it shows Perth are beatable. But they are a very god side and you’ve got to gibe them a lot of respect. For a couple of years now we’ve battled hard against them but we’ve been edged out. It was nice to have one go the other way.”
Roki is pleased that the hard work of recent years is paying off, however, he’s only too well aware there is still a lot to do. “We started with a group of young guys and we’ve been working hard for three years now,” explained the coach. “We don’t have the resources that Perth have but the game showed are starting to compete with them.” Though his side is packed with young talent, such as Josip Magdic and Adam Bachiller, Roki also pointed to the impact of former Perth Glory defender Ante Kovacevic who joined the club earlier this season.
HARMAN REAPS THE REWARDS AT STIRLING (courtesy Stirling Lions)
One of the first names on Stirling Lions' team sheet is that of midfield terrier Leo Harman. The 26-year old has started his sixth season at the club with some terrier like performances and a handful of goals. Harman, who spent time at Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup before joining Stirling, has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his time at Macedonia Park. “In my first season we won promotion from division one and I’ve not looked back since,” Harman commented.
A strong sense of camaraderie amongst the player group is one of the secrets to Stirling's success according to Harman. "The players are a very close knit group and we get on really well on and off the pitch," he said. "This season everyone is playing for their places in the starting side, which means everyone has to be on their toes on match days and training at the moment. I believe that is why we've had the success last season and the start to this season we've just carried on with it."
Playing under coaches Mike Lyons and Paul 'Geordie' Simmons has been a positive experience for Harman. "They have both been excellent ... I enjoy the training and the guidance of Mickey and Geordie," said Harman. "Mickey has an old school way of coaching, but I understand everything and where it's coming from. Geordie is a real good character to have around the player group, he's a good coach and his sessions are great. They compliment each other which is great for the club.
Harman is encouraged by the talent coming up through the clubs' youth ranks. "We've got a number of young players really doing well this season and again it keeps everyone on their toes at training," he said. "Ludovic Boi has won a place in the starting line up for the last few games and he's not let us down, he's been outstanding in the last two games. Our reserves are also undefeated this season so we're really developing a good quality senior squad at the club."
Lining up alongside his younger brother, Jake, last season at Stirling is a memory Harman will long cherish. "I really loved the opportunity to play in the same side as Jake, but unfortunately he has retired from football on doctor's advice after they discovered a heart problem," explained Harman. "I would have loved to have played more games with him for the Lions but his health is more important at the moment."
Harman has been through a lot with Stirling and rates amongst the highlights of his time the clubs' two trophy successes. "The first year at the club was great and winning the division one crown was very special," Harman commented. "But last season's penalty shoot out victory in the Soccer Pools Cup final at Members Equity Stadium is up there too. I hope we can continue our good start and bring more success to the club." Stirling meet table toppers Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park on Sunday.
HARNWELL POISED TO LEAVE GLORY
Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell is poised to re-ignite his career with Liechtenstein-based outfit FC Vaduz. The club play in the Swiss second division and have already qualified for the first preliminary round of next season’s UEFA Cup after winning the Liechtenstein Cup. Harnwell was told in February by Glory coach Ron Smith that he was unlikely to play a key role this season and that he should consider options elsewhere. However, the 29-year old defender was keen to prove the coach wrong before an approach from a German agent about the move to Europe.
Harnwell said the agent expected the signing of a two-year deal to be little more than a formality. The club have been impressed by DVD footage of Harnwell who flew to Liechtenstein yesterday to his fitness to the club. The offer, which was finalised late on Friday, was a welcome boost for Harnwell after the bitter disappointment of being told by Smith his role with his hometown club would be diminished next season. "At the moment it's an easy decision to make to go over there and give it a go," he said. Harnwell will return to Perth at the end of next week but will be required for Vaduz's UEFA Cup preparations next month.
WINGELL THRILLED WITH FREMANTLE’S FORM
Fremantle Spirit coach Marc Wingell has been delighted with his sides start to the Premier League season. Last years' First Division champion picked up maximum points for the third time in six games on Saturday with a narrow 1-0 win at Sorrento. "It's always hard coming to Percy Doyle Reserve against Sorrento, they are always a very strong side at home and we are happy with a good result," he said. "When the games' pretty close and there aren't many goals in it you expect your defence to hold strong and they did that. We need to build on what we've done, ten points from the first six games, we're pleased, we're happy, that was our goal and we look forward to the next five or six games and pick up a few points along the way."
GLORY WANT ENGLAND LINK
Perth Glory co-owner John Spence wants to establish links with an English Premier League club in a bid to boost the A-League team’s on and off-field performance. The millionaire property developer had kept a low profile since buying into the club but last week revealed that he has had discussions with two clubs and hopes to make an announcement before the start of the season in August. “If we can do a deal, I think it will do a lot for us,” Spence said. “We would be able to use their players from time to time. We’d be able to leverage off their merchandising. We would have regular pre-season games against them down here. We’d be able to send some of our players up to their training academies and give them experience on the big stage.”
The 46-year-old Englishman, who spends about five months a year in Perth, is keen to capitalise on his strong sporting connections in England by establishing club links and luring marquee players to Glory. “I’ve got good connections in the UK in terms of friends and agents, who represent various people,” said the Karma Resorts founder. “We will continue to have dialogue. I’m immensely cautious about mentioning names in advance because I know these things disappoint if they don’t happen. I’m back (in Perth) in two or three weeks and I hope both on the player side and the club association side I’ll have some news by that time.”
One name Spence is not afraid to mention is former Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston, who was instrumental in the businessman’s decision to invest in Glory along with Tony Sage and Brett McKeon. Spence said Johnston, who is now based in the United States, could yet play a role with Glory, though it was not clear exactly what input he would have. “When I was considering getting involved in the Glory, Craig was the person I was talking to for advice and feedback. He encouraged me to get involved,” Spence said. “He’s extremely keen to get involved back in this part of the world. I would be very surprised if Craig doesn’t have a role. We are still discussing what that is.”
CHRISTIE SPLITS FROM GLORY
Perth Glory have parted company with New Zealand midfielder Jeremy Christie by mutual agreement. The 23-year old joined made 19 appearances in his single season with Glory and leaves to take up an offer from A-League newcomer Wellington Phoenix. The New Zealand based outfit have taken their squad to 17 players in the past few days through the addition of Vaughan Coveny, Felipe de Souza Campos, Karl Dodd, Royce Brownlie and Christie.
AMATEUR PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIX (Murdoch University v Shamrock Rovers courtesy Football West)
Shamrock Rovers’ brilliant start to the Amateur Premier League continued with a spiteful 4-1 win over Group B rivals Murdoch University. The healthy crowd were treated to a brilliant hat-trick from Paddy O’Boyle as Shamrock controlled most of the match against the previously undefeated Murdoch side. It took Shamrock just 9 minutes to take the lead through O’Boyle, who finished nicely from 7-metres. The fiery nature of the game boiled over in the 17th minute as Murdoch captain Michael Jennings was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. Seven minutes later O’Boyle netted from a tight angle to increase the visitors hold.
Murdoch resorted to playing the long-ball game in the second stanza, although Shamrock didn’t appear to have any trouble dealing with that ploy. Jacob King came very close to scoring in the 72nd minute with a powerful shot from 22-metres that went narrowly high. Three minutes later Shamrock sealed victory through Sean Brookes, who beat the offside trap and fired past an exposed goalkeeper. O’Boyle completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute after the home defence failed to deal with a loose ball inside the area which O’Boyle lashed in. Murdoch's consolation goal came eight minutes from the end when defender John Craik knocked the ball over his own ‘keeper and into his own net.
Fremantle United remain on top of the Group A table after a 5-1 drubbing of Suburbs United. Lynwood Colts keep the pressure on the leaders following their 2-0 home defeat of University of WA. Perth Azzurri downed WA Maccabi 1-0, and Subiaco United out-shot Spearwood Dalmatinac 2-1. Second place in Group B is occupied by Murdoch University who were 3-0 too good for South Perth United. Close behind is Southern Spirit following their narrow 1-0 win against Kingsway Olympic. Honours were shared between Stirling Panthers and Hamersley Rovers at 2-2.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIX (Cockburn City v Stirling Lions courtesy Football West)
Floreat Athena’s title hopes received a major boost courtesy of a thrilling 1-0 victory over inner-city rival Perth S.C. at Litis Stadium. Liberian-born striker Boima Karpeh secured the points for Floreat late in the tightly contested game that was witnessed by a crowd of approximately 1,800. Both defences were watertight in an opening period that produced few chances on goal. Perth’s best opportunity of the period came through Nikita Rukavytsya who beat the offside trap but shot narrowly wide with the outside of his boot after 14 minutes. Floreat had slightly the better of possession and carved out more openings that their visitors. A long-range Miki Vujacic free-kick cannoned off the upright with goalkeeper Gareth Deeg motionless, and Adam Bachiller headed high of the crossbar from Vujacic’s delivery. Perth stepped up the tempo after the break and controlled the game with Antonio Naglieri and Todd Howarth figuring prominently. Rukavytsya used his pace to go down the right and cut the ball back to Naglieri whose initial shot was parried by the ‘keeper, and the follow-up blocked by Julian Madaschi. Floreat weren’t without their chances as Mikulic crashed a shot into the crossbar from a James Isaia cross. The decider arrived ten minutes from full-time when Trent Kay was caught in possession by Karpeh who made no mistake beating Deeg from 12-metres. Bachiller should have made the points safe on 88 minutes after he surged into attack, beating two defenders in the process, only to have his shot from inside the 18-yard box sail narrowly wide. The visitors had an opportunity to level in stoppage time when awarded a free-kick out wide which was curled invitingly into the danger zone by Naglieri but, despite several team mates being in the vicinity, the chance failed to yield a reward.
Western Knights were simply a class above Armadale in sweeping their way to a 3-0 victory at Nash Field. It was clear from the outset that the hosts meant business as Armadale goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock was called upon to keep out shots from Andrija Jukic, David Price and Anthony Skorich. The inevitable breakthrough came on the quarter hour when Jon Higgins swung a corner to the near post where Skorich rose high to nod into the net. Cormac Dawson was providing a lot of the Knights forward momentum through some fine distribution and penetrating runs out of midfield. Andrija Jukic was also making his presence felt by peppering the goal from long-range. Armadale’s only chance of the period came about through Jon Mathers’ sloppy back pass which was pounced upon by Jason Goodwin who was closed down before he could rattle off a shot. Going the other way Nine minutes from the break the margin was doubled as Andrija Jukic drilled a free-kick into a crowded 6-yard box which an unchecked Dawson tapped in at the back post. The second half opened in much the same fashion but this time Stuart Montgomery was denied by an alert Sharrock. Armadale were opened up again in the 63rd minute by an exquisite one-two between Price and Skorich which allowed the former to go past his marker and slide a super shot across the ‘keeper and inside the far post. Scott Bushby should have added a fourth shortly but pushed the ball over the crossbar at close-range from Higgins’ cross from the left. Montgomery then had the ball in the net only for an upraised flag to correctly rule it out for offside. With the points safe Aramdale were let back into the game but were unable to conjure up a late consolation as Rob Crerar placed high and Marlon Ramirez’ effort was cleared off the line by Dawson.
Cockburn City and Stirling Lions fought a tight 1-1 draw in front of a boisterous crowd at Dalmatinac Park. A controversial second half penalty from Kevin Henderson cancelled out Jason Dos Santos 63rd minute opener on an overcast afternoon in the southern suburbs. The opening stages were dominated by Stirling who had the ball in the net after 8 minutes through David Dugdale who was adjudged offside by the linesman. Led by dynamo Ludovic Boi, Stirling was threatening on the counterattack and Cockburn could have been a few goals down if not for versatile goalkeeper Dino Pacella. It took 30 minutes for Cockburn to threaten through Josh Kamasz who was thwarted by Phil Straker after receiving a great pass from Michael Mirco. Fundamental errors crept into the game in the second half with neither side able to construct any meaningful opportunities. Livewire Johnny Mirco tried to breathe life into the game with his storming runs forward. However, it would be Dos Santos that delivered the opening goal 63 minutes by dancing his his way through the Lions defence before unleashing a rasping low shot which ricocheted off a defender’s foot and rolled past a helpless Straker. This lifted spirits in home camp and a minute later Kamasz could have doubled the lead but his shot from a tight angle was again blocked by Straker. The referee was surrounded by players after awarding a penalty against Shane Nunes for his tackle on Andy Brown, but it mattered little to Kevin Henderson who stepped up to power the equaliser past Pacella on 69 minutes. In a tense final twenty minutes neither side created a chance to break the deadlock and both teams had to be content with a shared point.
E.C.U. Joondalup remains in touch with the leading pack after whipping Inglewood United 5-0 at Clipsal Stadium. Both teams entered the game with similar starts to the season and eager for a victory that would kick start their campaign. From the first whistle it was Joondalup who stamped their authority on the game through a blend of attractive, attacking football and boundless energy. It therefore came as no surprise when the visitors took the lead on 21 minutes when Craig Young netted at close-range from Steve Beasley's cross from the left. The closest Inglewood came to scoring was an Aaron Colli shot from 18-metres which Andy Petterson touched wide. Joondalup added another to their tally courtesy of a superb interchange between Marc Anthony and Mark Lee which unlocked the defence and Ian McMurray calmly finished from close-range. The day got worse for Inglewood who had Shane Pryce red carded for a foul on Anthony after 35 minutes, and from the resulting free-kick Oliver Taseski prevented the margin from increasing with a superb fingertip save to deny Lee. However, Joondalup were far from content with their position and shortly before half-time McMurray put away is second of the afternoon to put the visiting team three goals up. The story was much the same after the turnaround as Inglewood focused chiefly on defensive duties whereas Joondalup went in search of further goals. On 85 minutes Martin Ashworth swung in a corner which Scott Blackmore sent into the net which to the delight of the travelling supporters. The scoring was completed two minutes later when poor defending allowed Dave Abel to slot in the games fifth goal. Inglewood’s fourth loss in six games leaves them rooted firmly in the bottom half of the table.
The pressure on reigning champion Sorrento intensified after they suffered a 0-1 loss to Fremantle Spirit at Percy Doyle Reserve. The loss leaves Sorrento still searching for their first point after six games and relegation battle must now be a major concern for the club who only eight months ago lifted the Premier League trophy. Fremantle came out firing and after 6 minutes neat work by Raveshlan Kuppusamy set up Sebastian Booysen whose effort was high of the crossbar. Todd Harnwell headed wide under pressure from an excellent cross by Danny Taylor as the hosts began to get a foothold on the game. A wicked cross by Harnwell was narrowly high for Glen Thomas, and a failed corner clearance fell to James Morgan whose attempt flew over the bar. The supporters had barely enough time to resume their vantage point for the second half when Fremantle struck through a long cross field ball which caught the opposition defence by surprise but not Booyen who looped his header over the advancing goalkeeper and into the net. Going a goal behind deflated the Sorrento players as Fremantle lifted their work rate in a determined effort to secure the points. The pace of Kuppusamy could have sealed victory on 72minutes after he beat his marker and cut inside the penalty area only to for his low effort to be tipped into the side netting by Cochrane. From the resulting corner Booyen directed his header goal ward but a fantastic clearing header off the line by Jason Trpevski saved their hosts blushes. Harnwell almost benefited from the addition of Steve McDonald to the Sorrento attack after a great touch allowed him sight of goal but under pressure the attacker lobbed high from an angle.
Swan I.C. over came the odds to beat Wanneroo City 6-4 in a tense encounter at the Swan Italian Club. The day started disastrously for Swan who, nine minutes in, had goalkeeper Corey Hugo sent off for a foul on Derek Cooke after he’d been sent clear of the defence by Rowdy Yates. It didn’t take long for Wanneroo to strike as Ahmed Hafez netted from close-range after teenager ‘keeper Tony Davies parried a cross from Yates. Four minutes later the impressive Yates slipped a through ball to Cooke who clinically finished past the ‘keeper. Wanneroo were on fire and Hafez put away goal number three after latching on to a long ball that had Swan napping. Just before half-time John Monterosso who stroked a low shot past Kevin Miller to give Swan a glimmer of hope. It was a more focused Swan side that came out for the second half which was ten minutes old when Tom Shepheard beat his marker to roll the ball past Miller. The game was turned on its’ head when Hafez was dismissed for a second yellow card, and two minutes later Wanneroo had only nine men on the park after Danny Brown was red carded for a foul on Shepheard. Swan capitalised on 76 minutes when a partially cleared corner came to Dom Ando whose shot from 16-metres deflected off a defender to finding the net. Two minutes later Brendan Knox’ run into the penalty area was impended by a defender, referee Ton Klaver somewhat harshly pointed to the spot and Ando kept his nerve to put Swan ahead. Chris Hansen nodded in a Craig Cheesman free kick to bring the teams level with nine minutes left. However, Swan weren’t finished and Shepheard netted from close-range after Miller parried shot by Perich, then in stoppage time Sebastian Ruiz set up Shepheard to complete his hat-trick.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIX (Rockingham City v South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix)
Table-toppers Dianella White Eagles came away from Graham Burkett Reserve with all three points courtesy of a 6-0 thrashing of Balcatta. It took the visitors only 2 minutes to go ahead through some neat movement of the ball that ended with Mladin Gligoroski firing into the bottom corner. Dianella’s desire to press forward at every opportunity resulted in the doubling of their advantage on 8 minutes when Michael Mayne’s near post corner was nodded in by Paul Hickey. Five more minutes elapsed before Jordan Conti misjudged Craig Wells’ long ball to present Jon Greenwood with a simple tap-in from a metre. Balcatta controlled the twenty or so minutes which followed but were continually let down by sloppy final passes and poor finishing. A quick exchange of passes down the left saw Dragan Njegic get in behind the defence before pulling the ball back for Greenwood to volley in Dianella’s forth goal right on the stroke of half-time. This same pattern continued after the break with substitute Scott Cooper heading into the roof of the net from a well-worked corner. The scoring was made complete fifteen minutes later when Mayne’s in-swinging corner came to nestle in the back of the net.
A 1-1 draw at Mandurah City maintained Canning City’s status as one of the First Division's two unbeaten teams after six games. Mandurah started strongly but found it difficult to penetrate a visiting defence. The better of chances on goal came the way of Canning City with Ryan Allomes, Garth Lecky and Mick Van Dongen going close early on. So it came as no surprise when Mick Van Dongen put Canning in front on 36 minutes with an excellent back post header from Kyle Mitsopoulus' superb cross. This produced a flurry of activity from the hosts and in quick success Shane Crampton and Christian Paschkewitz sent shots just wide of the mark. Mandurah were dealt a body blow just before the half-time break when Neil Connor was issued his marching orders following an off the ball incident with Paul Van Dongen. The second half began much like the first as Mandurah's attacking instincts were tamed by a well-organised Canning rearguard. The equaliser arrived with twenty minutes remaining when Paschkewitz rose majestically to power in a far post header from Jordan Rhodes' free-kick. Crampton almost stole victory in stoppage time but slid his shot past the post.
Rockingham City slumped to their sixth successive loss when defeated 1-3 by South West Phoenix at Dowling Street Reserve. A Steve Suttie hat-trick, the first by a Phoenix player in almost two years, eased the club's relegation concerns by moving them eight points clear of the drop zone. The earlier possession was in favour of Rockingham who continually pressured the visiting defence without carving out any meaningful chances. In the 18th minute Phoenix took the lead against the run of play as Suttie fired a free-kick between the goalkeeper and his near post. With this the visitors stepped up a gear and a sensational overhead from veteran Gary Mayers crashed into the crossbar. Not long after Suttie double the margin by converting from the penalty spot after a defender handled the ball in a goalmouth scramble. Rockingham put themselves back in the game on the hour when Micahel Vaz clipped a bouncing ball over Ryan Montgomery and under the bar. But chances of a home comeback were snuffed out ten minutes later as neat lead-up work involving Patrick Quinn and Mayers saw Suttie come out on top of a one-on-one with the 'keeper. James Monks and Quinn went close to adding a fourth for Phoenix in the closing stages.
Morley Windmills jumped up to second place on the First Division table after defeating Forrestfield United 2-1 at Hartfield Park. Farrell Hedges and Paul Dundo found the back of the net for the visitors before Phil Bell bagged Forrestfield’s late consolation. A Rydeen Botha hat-trick earned Ashfield a 3-2 against near-neighbour Bayswater City 3-2 in overcast conditions at Frank Drago Reserve. Daniel Naumovski scored both goals for the home team who had Bobbi Klenkoski sent off in the 48th minute. Gosnells City scored their second win of the season by out-shooting Queens Park 2-1 at Coker Park. Craig Magill and Ken Scott-Leemburger scored at either end of the game with J.Barlett netting the hosts goal on 69 minutes. Further details of these three games were not forthcoming from any of the six participating clubs.
RIZZO BOOSTS GLORY’S STOCKS
One-time Australian international Nick Rizzo has ended a decade-long spell overseas by signing a two-year deal to play for Perth Glory. The goal scoring winger rejected several offers to remain in Europe and said he is enthusiastic about making his A-League debut with Perth. “The A-League has been a fantastic success and has created a really strong national competition,” Rizzo said. “After speaking with the coaching staff at Perth Glory I saw an excellent opportunity to come back to Australia and play at a great club which I believe is definitely on the way up.”
Rizzo turned out for English clubs Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Milton Keynes Dons, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield as well as Italian outfit Ternana while abroad. He represented Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and made his only senior international appearance against Croatia two years earlier. The winger believes playing in the A-League under Ron Smith and David Mitchell will enable him to again push for a recall to the national squad. “While I’d love to have another chance to play with the Socceroos, my primary focus is to play consistent football for Perth and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
Smith is delighted the talented 27-year old has committed to the club after several months of discussions. “He’s a very versatile player who has played predominantly wide on the left but also has the ability to play as a striker. He has a great engine and terrific pace with the capacity to put it in the back of the net regularly,” Smith said. “He’s a bubbly character and I’m sure he will fit in really well with the other lads and quickly become a fan favourite.” Rizzo is the twentieth player to sign with Glory for the 2007/08 season.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The www.footballwa.net Match of the Week takes us to Litis Stadium for the top of the table showdown between Floreat Athena and Perth S.C. With the match scheduled for the late kick-off time of 5.00pm, this promises to be one of the games of the season as two of the Premier League’s unbeaten sides pit skills. The key is likely to be in midfield where Josip Magdic, Branimir Mikulic and Bajo Savic go to battle with Antonio Naglieri, Robbie Puca and Michael Ord.
Dalmatinac Park hosts another top of the table clash as Cockburn City host Stirling Lions. Armadale visit Nash Field to take on Ronnie Campbell’s Western Knights, and E.C.U. Joondalup are also on the road against Inglewood United. Three much needed points are up for grabs as Swan I.C. welcome Wanneroo City to the Swan Italian Club. Likewise at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento are seeking their first point of the campaign against recently promoted Fremantle Spirit.
First Division leaders Dianella White Eagles head to Graham Burkett Reserve for their meeting with Balcatta. Mandurah City host second placed Canning City in what will be a cracking game of football. Bayswater City have home ground advantage against Ashfield, while Morley Windmills travel to Hartfield Park to play Forrestfield United. South West Phoenix are tipped down home side Rockingham City, and Coker Park hosts the eastern corridor derby between Queens Park and Gosnells City.
YOUNG SAYS SORRENTO WILL BOUNCE BACK
Few would have envisioned that reigning champion Sorrento would still be looking for their first point five games into the new season. The situation is a far cry from the Gulls storming fourteen-game unbeaten run which opened last season and laid the foundations for their capture of the 2006 Premier League trophy. And whereas some clubs would be reaching for the panic button that simply is not the case according to goalkeeper Neil Young.
Young, 2006 Goalkeeper of the Year, has every confidence Sorrento will soon turn their season around. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we’ll start picking up points soon,” he said. “We've had to do it tough so far this year. We lost a lot of players in the off-season and have had a lot of injuries so far this year. But even with a weakened team we’ve not done too badly against some of the better teams in the league.”
Coping with the off-season departure of much of their championship winning squad was always going to play a big part in Sorrento's 2007 campaign. “We lost six key players - Brad Hassell, Scott Miller, Danny Hill, Michael Ord, Andrew Bowyer and Simon Harland,” commented Young. “That’s half of our starting eleven from last year and you just can’t replace players of that quality easily. It might take us a little while but Sorrento will return to the top of the table.”
The Gulls have had their depth further tested this year by the absence of numerous key personnel. However, that may be about to change following the return of Glen Thomas, Danny Taylor, Stuart Banks, Brodie Martin, Jared Love and James Morgan in recent weeks. “We’ve haven’t yet been able to put the same eleven out on the park due to a shocking run of injuries,” said Young. “The young guys who’ve come in have done well for us but they really need to be playing alongside a few experienced players to help develop their game.”
Young has been amongst those watching from the sidelines after succumbing to injury at Inglewood United three weeks ago. “I came off at half-time with a torn hip flexor,” explained Young, who is well down the road to recovery. “After seeing a physio and taking their advice it turns out the injury isn’t as serious as first though and I should be back for the game at Wanneroo next week. I can’t wait to get back out there and play my part in helping Sorrento move away from the relegation zone.”
In their opening five games Sorrento has come face to face with perhaps four of the competition’s strongest sides. “Perth are a quality side and are hard to beat any year,” said Young. “The game with Floreat could have gone either way, we matched them for 75 minutes before a lack of experience cost us. Against Stirling we just didn’t turn up, and although we played okay at Cockburn I think they are a much tougher team that people think.”
With games against Fremantle Spirit, Wanneroo and Armadale on the horizon Young is confident of the Gulls can slowly start climbing their way up the table. “It’s important that we take points from our games in the next month,” said Young. “If we don’t we are likely to be dragged into a battle at the foot of the table. We’ve given a good account of ourselves against the ‘bigger teams’ and are slowly getting back to having the full squad available for selection … you’ll see a much different Sorrento side in coming weeks.”
KALOGERACOS JOINS STIRLING
Stirling Lions have snapped up livewire attacker Vas Kalogeracos. The former Perth Glory player has been training at Macedonia Park for the past few months and was last week cleared to play following his transfer from Victoria outfit Corio. “Anyone who has seen Vas play knows what qualities he can bring to a side and when his services became available we jumped at the opportunity,” commented Paul Simmons. “He’s proved in recent training sessions that he still possess an explosive shot and will be a vitalpart of our artillery.”
GLORY DECIDE HOME IS HOME
Perth Glory will remain at Members Equity Stadium after exhaustive talks between the A-League club and the venue manager. After exploring the possibility of playing at the WACA Ground and Burswood Dome, Glory eventually settled on staying at their traditional home for at least the next three seasons. Tony Sage admitted his relief that the venue issue had been settled and that the club could now look at a number of initiatives for the new season. “The sponsors will now know where their signage is going. We know exactly how many corporate boxes we’ve got to sell, so everything is much easier now,” said the club's co-owner.
More than three weeks after the A-League match schedule was released, Glory can also start their membership drive. “It means the club can move forward now. We’re now past the biggest sticking point,” Sage said. A question mark remains over whether the club’s administration will continue to be based at the ground in what is becoming a cramped office space. Allia Venue Management, which runs the stadium, has expanded its operations, and Sage said Glory would also need more room to accommodate growing staff numbers in the near future. However, any future development of the ground is likely to depend on the findings of the stadium task force, which are due to be handed down before the end of the month.
Sage said the drawn-out negotiations had not reaped financial improvement for Glory, but there had been other advantages, such as more flexibility over training arrangements. “Are we paying a cheaper rate than last year? No,” he said. “But there are other benefits that we gleaned from it … we are better off. It’s a better option for the players and it’s better for the fans because they are closer to the pitch.” The new deal contains an option to extend the tenancy for another three years. Glory will kick-off their new campaign at home to Newcastle Jets on 26th August.
OLYROOS DOWN IRAN IN STEP TOWARDS BEIJING
Australia's Olympic team have taken a giant step towards the next qualifying round for the Beijing Olympics after a 3-1 victory over Iran at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. The Olyroos now require just a single point from next month's away fixture with Jordan to move into the next phase. Aaron Downes opened Australia's scoring after 2 two minutes, however, Iran equalised less than a minute later through Vahid Amraei. Australia went further ahead when Mark Bridge converted a penalty in the 43rd minute, and eight minutes into the second half James Troisi netted from 15-metres after a superb build-up involving Trent McClenahan, Bridge and Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Nick Ward came off the bench in the 69th minute, while Tando Velaphi was an unused substitute.
LAZARIDIS’ FATE TO BE DECIDED
Former Socceroo Stan Lazaridis will learn his fate next week when the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority officials decide his future. Lazaridis is facing a possible two-year ban for taking the banned substance Finasteride, which is used to treat hair loss. The Australia legend is widely regarded as one of football’s true gentlemen and a number identities and former team mates have come out in support of the Perth Glory star. If Lazaridis is found guilty next week it is almost certain to spark widespread uproar from Australia’s football fraternity.
GOODMAN BOWS OUT WITH HEAD HELD HIGH (by 'The Insider')
Departed coach Jamie Goodman has no absolutely regrets about his time with Wanneroo City. Four weeks after being told his services were no longer required, Goodman says there’s little he’d change if he could have his time with the northern suburbs side all over again. “I knew it was going to be a difficult job when I took it on last May,” admitted Goodman. “I gave the position my full commitment and although hindsight is a wonderful thing I wouldn’t have done anything different.”
Wanneroo were languishing towards the foot of the Premier League table when Goodman arrived last year and, after narrowly avoiding relegation, the coach was confident of a stronger showing in 2007. However, the storm clouds had already gathered and prior to the opening game of the season the rumour was Goodman was about to be shown the door. “I was told after the game at Stirling Lions that I was no longer coach and understand Mick Brazil was introduced to the players the following Tuesday,” said Goodman. “As for the circumstances, there are only a few people who are privileged to exactly what went on.”
Although speculation was rife, Goodman says he had no idea the axe was about to fall. “You never know when your time is up as a coach,” he commented. “When you’re not picking points up on a regular basis you are always going to be under pressure. We made hard work of the clubs target of remaining in the Premier League in 2006 but managed to do that. This years’ Night Series results were not great, although the performances themselves were better than the score lines suggest.”
Goodman had expected to be given an opportunity to prove himself over the opening weeks of the home and away series. “The target for 2007 was to improve on last year and not get drawn into a relegation battle again,” he explained. “It was important that Wanneroo got a good start to the League season and pick up some early points against Stirling, Fremantle, Joondalup and Armadale. I thought that if we had not picked up five or six points from those first four games then things may have changed, but the club obviously thought that change was needed sooner.”
The summer months saw a lot of movement within the Wanneroo squad but Goodman feels the side he took into 2007 is stronger than the one he inherited. “There was a big turn over in players and, unfortunately, some of those who moved on to other clubs were players we wanted to keep,” said Goodman. “It had been a hard job trying to recruit key players but I believe the squad was stronger, had greater depth and more flexibility than when I was appointed. It is hard to compete against the ‘bigger clubs’ for players but all those we signed have something to offer Wanneroo.”
Goodman feels no malice towards the Wanneroo club who he feels are heading down the right path. “The players will only improve from having Premier League experience and with the continuation of the new junior development system Wanneroo should do well,” he said. “The club has a long-term goal of featuring in the top half of the table which coincides with the building of new facilities in a few years time. I like to see clubs with ambition but it will take time and a lot of hard work on and off the field to achieve this.”
GLORY DEAL A DREAM COME TRUE FOR RUKAVYTSYA
From the age of seven Nikita Rukavytsya has lived and breathed football. Rukavytsya grew up in the back streets of the Ukraine and every day dreamt of playing in one of Europe’s big leagues. More than a decade later and Rukavytsya, half a world away from the place of his birth, will get his chance to play professionally with Perth Glory.
After a scorching start to the local season in which he’s scored nine times in five outings for Perth S.C., Rukavytsya has emerged as one of Glory’s great hopes in their third A-league campaign. Grateful for the opportunity and determined to make the most of it, the 19-year old striker will inject some much needed flair and pace into a Glory line-up which struggled last term.
Rukavytsya says he plans to work hard and back himself when the chance presents itself for Glory. “I always try to take advantage of my position by trying to dribble or take a shot and I certainly plan to do the same for Glory,” he explained. “So far things are going pretty good for me. I’m really enjoying it, especially scoring goals [and] next season will be massive.”
A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport and a former Australian youth international, Rukavytsya got his big break towards the end of last season when he made three appearances for Glory. “My first game was against Melbourne after six months of just training, so I was pretty nervous but I just tried to do my best,” he said. “I felt like I did okay, but there’s a lot more coming.”
EXPERIENCED HEADS HELP YOUNG LIONS
The central defensive partnership of Darko Ilmanoski and Kevin Henderson deserve a large slice of Stirling Lions’ unbeaten start to the 2007 home and away series. Ilmanoski and Henderson were paired up early last year and it was the stability they provided at the back that underpinned their successful Cup campaign. The experienced duo also see it as part of their role to further the development of the clubs youth brigade.
Ilmanoski been happy with Stirling’s solid start to the new campaign, and his partnership with Henderson. “It’s been a good start to the season as we were expected to do well this season after our good form last year,” said the Stirling captain. “Since Kevin join the club he has been great, and I’ve enjoyed our defensive partnership. We always have a bit of a joke on the pitch, it’s between him and I and we both take it in fun. He’s an experienced player and we both help the younger lads at the back.”
The admiration is clearly mutual with Henderson having nothing but praise for his captain. “It’s great to play along side Darko, he’s a steady player and with the young kids around you it’s great to have his experience at the back,” commented Henderson. “And it’s nice to have the young legs at the back to help me and Darko on a weekend. Both Steve (Hesketh) and Michael (Pugliese) are steady players and the club is hoping for big things from them if they keep progressing.”
Stirling have shown great faith in the likes of Hesketh and Pugliese, and Ilmanoski considers it an honour to assist in the development of the Stirling’s stars of tomorrow. “Mick (Lyons) tries to give youth a chance at the club and the two boys have excelled this season,” said Ilmanoski, now in his sixth season at Macedonia Park. “Kevin and I call them our ‘apprentices’ and they are doing really well.”
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIVE (Inglewood United v Floreat Athena courtesy Floreat Athena)
Perth S.C. won their fifth successive game by out-shooting Cockburn City 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. The opening half produced little of the quality, free-flowing football that was expected as the continual turn over of possession prevented both sides from hitting top gear. A partially cleared corner provided the first chance on 9 minutes when Marko Aleksic’s rasping strike from 16-metres was spectacularly saved by Gareth Deeg. Perth twice squandered golden opportunities to take the lead with Antonio Naglieri hitting the post at close-range, and Nikita Rukavytsya rounded goalkeeper Dinp Pacella only for his goalbound effort to be halted before the line by Shane Nunes. Deeg made sure the teams went into the break on level terms with a couple of sensation saves just before the break, first turning wide Jason Dos Santos’ shot then from the resulting corner pushing away Anthony Perriera’s fierce strike. The second half was four minutes old when Perth took the lead as Todd Howarth’s cross from the left found an unmarked Barry Wood who rifled past Pacella from 6-metres. The hosts strengthened their grip four minutes later through a speedy counter-attack in which Naglieri and Robbie Puca combined for Rukavytsya to fire in from just outside the 18-yard box. It was only now that the game truly sparked into life with some thrilling end to end football that delighted the surprisingly small crowd. It looked as though Cockburn had found a way back into the game on 73 minutes when Josh Kamasz’ low cross to the near post was turned in by Michael Mirco. However, Perth had more left in the tank and only the brilliance of Pacella denied Naglieri from adding a third to the hosts tally.
Floreat Athena continued their unbeaten start to the season by downing Inglewood United 4-1 at Clipsal Stadium. The first half was largely uneventful until the closing minutes when Adam Bachiller's soft foul on Michael Baczynski resulted in an Inglewood penalty which Vas Vujacic kept out to frustrate Baczynski. The game then sparked into life and on 41 minutes the hosts went ahead through Daniel Neiderberger who tussled with Ante Kovacevic for a bouncing ball which he lifted over the on-coming goalkeeper and into the net. Floreat's response came within four minutes as Julian Madaschi found space on the right to hit a curling shot from 30-metres into the top corner. Bobby Despotovski entered the game at half-time and early in the new half delivered a cross into the area which was narrowly beyond the reach of Dean Apelgren. After this Floreat began to gain the ascendency and with 63 minutes gone Kovacevic glanced in a near post corner from Miki Vujacic, who the referee credited with the goal. The midfield strings were being pulled by Josip Magdic who was supported by tirelessly performances from Bajo Savic and Branimir Mikulic. In the 77th minute Mikulic and Savic combined with great effect down the right with the latters' far post cross acrobatically headed in by Magdic. Inglewood pushed forward in an attempt to get back in the game but Despotovski lifted the ball over the crossbar, and a well-struck effort from Albert Osei-Tutu was held by Vas Vujacic. It was Magdic who put the icing on the cake in the final minute by throwing off his marker before brilliantly curling the ball into the top corner after Mikulic and Miki Vujacic linked in the build-up.
Teenage sensation Ludovic Boi played the starring role as Stirling Lions trounced Sorrento 4-0 at Macedonia Park. The 18-year old winger scored twice and constantly menaced the visiting defence as Stirling maintained their unbeaten start to the season by moving into third place on the Premier League table. Although slow to get going, Stirling took a deserved lead in the 26th minute when the Gulls poorly defended a high ball that fell to Boi who lashed it into the net from 14-metres. Stirling should have put a second goal on the board fifteen minutes later when poor communication between goalkeeper Anthony Cochrane and his defence left Boi in possession some 18-metres out but the teenager’s shot was too close to Danny Taylor who’d raced back to cover the empty net. A minute from the interval Boi swung in a corner which Darko Ilmanoski headed firmly over the line from 8-metres despite the best efforts of Daniel Cagorski to clear. The second half belonged to Stirling who dominated possession and restricted Sorrento to only the occasional foray into attack. Seven minutes after the re-start Boi bagged a goal of the season contender when he picked up possession on the halfway line and jinxed his way past several opponents before shooting past Cochrane from just inside the 18-yard box. At always looked as though there’d be a few more goals in the game for the hosts who created numerous opportunities that went unfinished. Their persistence paid off in the final minute when Phil Arnold converted a lovely cross from the right by Tom Jones. In the final minute Boi put the ball in the net for a third time only for an upraised offside flag to deny the youngster what would have been a thoroughly deserved hat-trick.
Western Knights won a nine-goal thriller 6-3 against Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The game started at a brisk pace and Wanneroo sounded an early warning when Derek Cooke was send one-on-one with Tommi Tomich whose sharp reflexes thwarted his opponent. It took just 8 minutes from the hosts to go ahead through Cooke whose shot from 20-metres squirmed under Tomich and rolled into the net. Parity was restored just five minutes later when Ivan Gavronich jinxed his way past three defenders to clip a cross to the far post where Daniel Trim nodded into an empty net. Craig Cheeseman regained the lead for Wanneroo in the 25th minute by firing in from an acute angle after Tomich parried a fine strike by Cooke. Again the Knights hit back within minutes as Stuart Montgomery's shot on the turn flash past Kevin Miller from 15-metres. The action flowed freely from end to end with Tomich called upon to deny Morgan Dendle in a one-on-one, and Miller keeping out efforts from Bushby and Montgomery. The second half had barely started when Cooke advanced on goal unchallenged from midfield to slide the ball under the oncoming 'keeper and hand Wanneroo the advantage. After this the Knights hit top gear and after several near misses Jon Higgins equalised with an in-swinging corner into the far top corner. This further ignited the visitors who hit the front when Scott Bushby converted at close-range after Anthony Skorich's blistering long-range effort hit the crossbar. Skorich, who'd come on for the second half, made the points safe by netting twice in as many minutes.
E.C.U. Joondalup continued their indifferent start to the season by defeating Armadale 1-0 at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. It didn't take long for Joondalup to make clear their intentions with early shots by Ian McMurray and Mark Lee being blocked by the visiting defence. This set the tone for the remainder of the first half that Joondalup dominated to the extent that Andy Petterson was rarely called upon between the posts. A scorching strike by lively youngster Tom Amphlett ended narrowly high of the crossbar while Steve Beasley also went close as the hosts sought the opening goal. However, despite their increased possession, Joondalup had to be content with going into the break scoreless. It was Armadale that emerged for the second half with greater the composure as Steve Skalandis and Scott Patterson stepped up a gear to cause the hosts no end of trouble. Craig Anderson should have put the Reds ahead when presented with a simple chance at 10-metres which he blazed over the crossbar after the goalkeeper parried Ben Howe’s shot from 16-metres. Petterson then kept things on a even keel with a terrific reflex save after Paterson’s header was defected goalward by a defender. These close calls pricked Joondalup into action and on 76 minutes Lee cut inside to find Marc Anthony whose terrific pass allowed McMurray to dispatch a neat shot into the bottom corner. The day ended sourly for Armadale who had Anderson red carded with only minutes remaining for a raising an elbow to Lee.
Fremantle Spirit survived the first half dismissal of Jason Barerra to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Swan I.C. at the WA Spanish Club. Both teams carved out good early openings that saw Dale Wingell shoot wide from long-range for the hosts, and Geoff Mason did likewise for Swan. Just 14 minutes had been played when Fremantle hit the front as a long ball from Alex Christie caught the visiting side flat footed at the back allowing Sebastian Booysen to nip in and lob an advancing Cory Hugo. Fremantle continued to press and Aaron Cole was alert to block a goal bound effort by Raveshian Kuppusamy following a Barrera free-kick. The home side was enjoying the better of possession and on 35 minutes doubled their advantage after a dreadful error by Justin Hugo let Booysen in to head past a stranded goalkeeper. However, the hosts’ celebrations were tempered just two minutes later when Barrera was given an early shower after collecting his second yellow card. Swan’s attempt to reel in the gap before half-time met with little success as David Foster nodded the wrong side of the post and Cole was thwarted by Steve Grant. The second half continued in much the same fashion and Grant produced a top class save to deny Foster at close-range, then nodded narrowly wide from a Mouttet cross. The pay-off arrived for Swan on 67 minutes when Cole headed in from a David Paone cross to breathe new life into the game. The momentum may have been with the visitors but there would be no further rewards as Grant ensured Fremantle would collect the points by saving from Mouttet and Foster in the closing stages.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIVE (Canning City v Gosnells City by Phil Unsworth; Morley Windmills v Rockingham City courtesy Morley Windmills; Ashfield v Balcatta courtesy Balcatta)
Canning City leap into second place on the First Division table by defeating Gosnells City by 3-0 at Willetton Sports Club. Scoring chances were few in an evenly poised first half which opened Paul Van Dongen’s shot from 6-metres tested the reflexes of young goalkeeper Jade Thorpe. Canning always looked the dangerous when going forward and five minutes from half-time Paul Van Dongen broke the deadlock by stabbing through a crowded goalmouth following Mick Van Dongen’s corner. Parity was almost restored after the interval when Chris Allen’s lobbed effort bounced off the angle of the Canning’s goal. Nine minutes into the half Simon Versiaco skimmed the top of the Gosnells crossbar with a header. Canning were not to be denied and Daniel Trevisiol rounded the Gosnells defence before centring low for Kyle Mitsopulous to drive a shot past Thorpe at the near post. Jix Loong secured the points in the 75th minute by dribbling past a couple of opponents and rifling into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box. A short time later Gosnells were reduced to ten men when Alan Claxton was dismissal for a mistimed tackle from behind on Trevisiol.
Table-topper Mandurah City suffered their first lose of the campaign when out-foxed 2-1 by Bayswater City at Peelwood Parade. Mandurah enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges so it came as no surprise when Christian Paschkewitz volleyed a cross from Jake Loreto into the top corner. It didn’t take long for Bayswater to hit back through hard-working striker Sal Marrapodi who cleverly chipped Michael Green in the home goal. The second half saw an over-reliance on playing the long ball from Mandurah which a defence featuring Jason Lawton and Michael Kovacevic had little trouble in dealing with. In the 55th minute Bayswater were awarded a penalty when Marrapodi’s passage into the 18-yard box was unceremoniously blocked by Scott Halpin and Neil Connor, and while Green got his hand on the shot he was unable to prevent Daniel Naumovski from putting the visitors ahead. The remainder of the game saw Mandurah launch a series of attacks that saw Shane Crampton and Paschkewitz fail to capitalise on some good chances. Full credit for the win must to the Bayswater rearguard who, despite being under intense pressure, proved themselves a difficult nut to crack.
Morley Windmills accounted for a determined Rockingham City 3-1 at Wotton Reserve. The home teams were on the offensive from the opening kick and would have gone ahead after 4 minutes had Farrell Hedges hit the target after good lead-up work from Andrew Bowyer and Joe Woodin. Hedges was again in the thick of the action shortly after only to this time be denied by goalkeeper J.Wilde. It was a case of third time lucky for Hedges who tucked the ball into the net after being teed up by Woodin on 24 minutes. Morley then took their foot off the pedal and Rockingham capitalised through a Steve Cramphorn free-kick that crashed through an ineffective wall and was just out of Chris Ramsey’s reach. The early stages of the second stanza saw the home team re-establish control but unable to break through a desperate Rockingham rearguard. Brad Hassell donned Morley colours for the first time by coming off the bench on 62 minutes and showed his class with a series of deft passes and streaming runs. However, it took a dubious penalty converted by Scott McIlroy to put Morley back in front after 70 minutes. Eight minutes later substitute Gary Murdoch fired into the top corner to secure the hosts maximum points.
Honours were even at Ashfield Reserve as Ashfield and Balcatta played out intriguing and entertaining 1-1 draw. Balcatta started the better and only the brilliance of Drazen Saric prevented Peter Koidis from opening the scoring, and not long after the Ashfield custodian as at his best to deny Toby Wright. A curling shot by Ashfield's Andy O'Neill beat both 'keeper and post just before the break to leave the game scoreless after forty-five minutes. The second half began with a flurry of Ashfield attacks lead by Rydeen Botha and Tom Gaca, however, their best efforts were turned away by young 'keeper Daniel Riccardello who came on at the break. Balcatta slowly worked their way back into the contest to be rewarded on the hour when an unmarked Koidis headed in from Tony Cumace's corner. Koidis thought he'd scored again nine minutes later but on this occasion the linesman ruled that the ball did not cross the line. The final fifteen minutes were controlled by Ashfield after Balcatta suffered a succession of injuries that left them with ten men. The equalised arrived in the last minute as Jason Van Rooy's defence splitting pass found Igor Novakovic who was afforded time and space to fire into the bottom corner.
Dianella White Eagles moved to the top of the First Division table after whipping Forrestfield United 5-1 at Dianella Reserve. Aaron Moschopoulos, Craig Wells, M.Gligoroski or Jon Greenwood scored the goals for the home team with Forrestfield’s response coming via teenager John Hunter. Queens Park collected their first points of the season by downing South West Phoenix 2-1 in Bunbury. D.Martens and R.Simpson netted for Queens Park to negated a second half strike from Phoenix veteran Gary Mayers. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
ANXIOUS WAIT ON COLOSIMO
Perth Glory coach Ron Smith is on the brink of demanding Turkish club Sivasspor confirm their intention to sign Simon Colosimo or withdraw their interest by the end of next week.Colosimo has impressed during his loan spell in Turkey and is close to being offered a permanent deal. However, Smith is concerned that a late decision from Sivasspor on Colosimo would impact on Glory’s ability to sign a first-class replacement.“I’m looking at other people and one in particular, who is available at the moment. But that may not be the case in a couple of weeks,” Smith said.“The bottom line is we might have to say to Simon all bets are off and we won’t listen to any offers now … I speak to him on the weekend and nothing’s happened then we may have to contact the club and say if they haven’t made a decision by Friday then there’s no deal.”
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The www.footballwa.net Match of the Week is the top of the table clash between Premier League leader Perth S.C. and third placed Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens. Graham Normanton’s side has been in red hot form over the opening months of the season and with Robbie Puca, Antonio Naglieri, Todd Howarth and Nikita Rukavytsya firing on all cylinders they are going to be hard to beat. However, Cockburn are not to be underestimated as Michael Mirco, Jason Dos Santos, Johnny Mirco and Dean Wallace all possess significant threat.
Joint leader Floreat Athena make the journey to Kiev Sports Ground where Inglewood United are looking to bring some consistency to their game. Stirling Lions will be out to extend their unbeaten run to five games with victory over a Sorrento side that is yet to register a point. Western Knights visit Kingsway Sporting Complex where Wanneroo City has home ground advantage. E.C.U. Joondalup welcome Armadale to the far north, and Fremantle Spirit have hosting rights over Swan I.C.
The First Division game of the round takes place at Peelwood Parade where early pacesetter Mandurah City pit skills with Bayswater City. Dianella White Eagles are tipped to take the points at Forrestfield United’s expense, and Willetton Sportsman Club is the venue for the derby meeting of Canning City and Gosnells City. Ashfield have home ground advantage over Balcatta, while Morley Windmills’ welcome Rockingham City to Wotton Reserve. Queens Park make the long trip to South West Phoenix.
SEASON DEFINING GAMES AWAIT PERTH
Perth S.C. may be riding high at the top of the tablebut striker Barry Wood says the title favourite are taking nothing for granted.Having won their opening four games, Perth will be put to the test over the next fortnight with games against Cockburn City and Floreat Athena, who are placed third and second, respectively, on the Premier League table. "We have a tough few weeks ahead of us with Cockburn on Saturday and Floreat week after," said Wood. "Each week presents a new challenge for us as opposing teamsalways lift their games when it comes toplaying Perth."
Graham Normanton has an immensely talented squad at his disposal and, not surprisingly, competition for places in the starting line-up is red-hot. "We've got an excellentgroup of players this year and team spirit is great," said Wood. "Everyone is feeling good about the season ahead. We took our foot off the pedal a little in the first two games but have really driven it home with some big scoresagainst Swan I.C. and Sorrento. There's still room for improvement and every player is aware that if they don't perform there's someone waiting to take their place."
The stability afforded by a defence that's yet to concede after 360 minutes of League football has been the cornerstone to Perth's successful start to the campaign. "The fact we've kept clean sheets in our first four games has given us a solid platform to build upon," commented Wood. "Everyone is aware of our attacking powers but credit has to go to Gareth Deeg, Franco Circati, Trent Kay and Michael Icanovski who've run a tight ship for us at the back. Full marks also to Michael Ord who gives us a good bit of cover in the middle of the park to allow others to go forward."
Nikita Rukavytsya has been in sensationalgoal-scoring form for Perth and will be sorely missed when he takes up his new post with Perth Glory in the not too distant future. "Nik has been great for us,"commented Wood. "Scoring goals is what he'll be measured on and he has the potential to be a fantastic player for Glory. He's quick and agile and will be difficult for any defence to handle.In four games he's scored eight goals for us andso will obviously be missed when he joins Glory."
Woods' pre-season was interrupted by injury but goals in recent wins against Swan I.C. and Sorrento have shown he's on the way back. "I ruptured the lateral ligament in my right knee in the Night Series game against Wanneroo," the big striker explained. "I've been working hard for the past few weeks to get my fitness back up and I am slowly getting there. I've come on in each of the league games so far and it's good to have got on the scoresheet in the past couple of weeks."
With some much needed game time under his belt, Wood is looking forward to playing regularly and set himself the target of improving on last seasons goal-scoring exploits."It's all about playing and I like everyone want to play every week," he said. "I have had to be patient so far this season due to my injury and I'm determined to hold down a spot in the first eleven when the opportunity presents itself. I scored 19 goals in 23 games last season and I've set myself the goal of bettering that this term."
Although they've set their sights on returning the Premier League trophy to Dorrien Gardens, Perth's immediate focus is gaining another three points from Saturday's outing with Cockburn."Expectations are highand winning the League is the target,and if we can add the Cup to that too then great," said Wood. "Butbeating Cockburn on Saturday is the most important thing for us right now. They havea qualitysquad and are going to be fired up for their visit to Dorrien Gardens ...it's going to be a huge game for both clubs."
ROB BANN JOINS THE COACHING HUB (courtesy Football West)
As part of the recently launched Coaching Hub Program, Football West is pleased to announce that National Technical Director and Olympic team coach Rob Baan will be holding a free session for all interested parties on Friday, 18th May. Following the success of Kelly Cross’ program in mid-April, Baan's sessions will form part of the 2007 Coaching Hub Program which will see a series of high profile guest coaches and players conduct sessions to support and educate club coaches in Western Australia.
Baan has over forty years coaching experience which includes stints with the Dutch clubs Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente as well as the Dutch national youth teams. While in Perth he'll be working with the National Training Centre boys squad providing a unique opportunity for local coaches from grassroots through to high performance. The free two-hour session will be held at the UWA Sports Grounds on Friday 18th May commencing 6.30pm.
Football West chief executive Garry Chandler is thrilled with the impending arrival of Baan. “Following the successful seminars conducted by Kelly Cross, I am delighted to welcome Rob Baan to WA in the second of our Coaching Hub guest sessions,” comment Chandler. “Rob’s background and experience in the game is phenomenal and I am sure all that attend will find it extremely beneficial.” For further information contact Bren Hartnoll on (08) 9422 6900 or email email@example.com.
Additionally, Mark Lee and Sean Darcy are taking a close look at developing grassroots football through two sessions aimed at junior coaches. The pair will discuss some fun and exciting ways to develop young players through small sided games and provide coaches with the opportunity to pick up some great new session ideas and development philosophies from two of Football West’s leading junior development coaches. These free sessions will be held at Beale Park (Monday 21st May, 6.15pm-7.45pm) and Heathridge (Monday 28th May, 6.15pm-7.45pm).
JONES HAPPY IN THE LIONS DEN
Many considered Tommy Jones decision to leave his long-time home of E.C.U. Joondalup and relocate to Macedonia Park during the summer a risky move. After all, Stirling Lions had a wealth of goalscoring talent already on their boots that included Golden Boot winner David Dugdale, versatile big man Andy Brown and youngsters Phil Arnold and Ludovic Boi.
However, the move has proven to be the right one for Jones whose turned in a series of impressive performances for his new club over the opening weeks of the 2007 campaign. “It’s been a good start from my point of view,” said the 20-year old attacker. “The squad is strong here and you have to perform well week in and week out to keep your place in the line up, and you need to take your chance when it comes.”
The fact Jones knew many of the Stirling players prior to his joining the club has made for an easy transition. “I have settled in well with the boys, most of them I knew before coming to Stirling, and the whole club set up is great,” he said. “It was a big decision to leave Joondalup where I played with my mates and brother, and I have a lot of friends. But I thought it was time to leave and challenge myself somewhere else.”
A major factor in Jones opting to join was coach Michael Lyons, who the attacker had worked with previously during his time at Joondalup. “Mike was a big reason for me coming to the club,” Jones said of the former Everton captain. “He is a good coach who’s been a player and coach at the highest levels in the game. He knows what he is on about and I have always enjoyed his training sessions.”
FLOREAT GETS UNEXPECTED VISITOR (by ‘The Insider’)
The last two weeks have been rather successful for Floreat on the park. They have remained unbeaten and finally got through the red tape in the Ante Kovacevic transfer saga, but not has all been roses at the inner city club. Reports during the week have surfaced of a pitch invasion of a different nature. Blurred images show a loyal supporters car entangled with the Kalogeracos/Lazaridis tunnel after the unknowing fan left his vehicle at the top of the hill with the car in neutral. An unnamed club spokesperson close to the source remarked, “ I don’t think the insurance company will get suss over the details, as rumours have it that the car was not insured!” Luckily pride, a fence and a car were the only things damaged in the incident.
SWAN WELCOME BACK ANDO
The return of Dom Ando is sure to have pleased the Swan I.C. coaching staff. The versatile veteran was playing some of the best football of a long career last season was a knee injury brought his year to a crashing halt. Following surgery and a lengthy recovery, Ando joined Swan for the pre-season and after a handful of Reserve team appearances made his senior return by coming off the bench in the weekend’s loss to Perth S.C.
The 33-year old is thrilled to be back out on the park for Swan. “It is a great feeling being back, and being able to play at the same level I left off,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be back in the first team. It has taken a lot of training and hard work. The knee feels great at the moment and I don’t think about it while I play - it’s just as strong as it was. I’ve had my first crunch tackle with it already, so I don’t think about it anymore, I just get on with the job.”
It’s may have been a disappointing start to the season for Swan, but Ando believes the side are not far away from picking up their first win. “Yes it is disappointing, but there’s a long way to go yet,” he said. “As Carlo pointed out at training this week, this time last year we were in a similar situation and half way in the season we were in the top four. I think the guys just have to believe in themselves because we have a good bunch of quality players. A win this week against the Lions will get the ball rolling for us.”
Time in the Reserves has given Ando the chance to get a good look at the players coming up through the ranks and he’s pleased with what he’s seen. “There are a few players who impressed me in the 23’s this season,” commented Ando, who debut as a teenager for Perth and has since donned the colours of Bayswater City, Inglewood United, Fremantle City, Bassendean Caledonian and Swan. “John Mansaray, John Monterosso, Michael Tronchen, Dave McNally, Daniel Grosso, and Andrea Terni, just to name a few … it looks good for the Swans in the future.”
HARNWELL PLAYING FOR HIS FUTURE
Former Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell is preparing to play for his future this season. The 29-year old is one of the few elder statesmen to survive massive on and off field change at the club in the past three months. With one year left on his existing contract, and no guarantees it will be extended, Harnwell is fighting to keep his spot in the eleven amid an influx of new talent.
But, desperate to play on, the long-serving defender has undergone a dramatic transformation of his own during an arduous off-season to ensure he can speed up, not slow down in his twilight. “Ron (Smith) said he wanted me to improve my speed, he wanted me lose some weight,” said Harnwell. “So I’ve done a lot of hard work over the off-season - running on my own to be in good condition for when we start.”
The scenario is only all too familiar to Harnwell who’s focused on making an impression this season with Glory. “I’ve been in this situation before going into the last few contracts, playing for your future,” he said. “But I’m not worried about it. I’ve taken my space over the off-season, done my own thing and am not thinking about things out of my control.”
“I’m just looking forward to being successful again because we’ve had our struggles over the past couple of years,” Harnwell added. “To finish seventh last season was a huge disappointment and something we can’t let happen again. Obviously there were parts I enjoyed on a personal level, but as a team there weren’t too many times we thought we’d played a great game.”
Glory’s problem in recent seasons has been a lack of firepower and Harnwell is hopeful the club’s next signing will be a quality finisher. “The last couple of signings are going to have a big bearing on how we do this year,” he commented. “The foundations are there for a good team but we probably need one or two more quality players to get up there.”
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOUR (Floreat Athena E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy Floreat Athena; Cockburn City v Inglewood United by Jacob Kagi; Western Knights v Fremantle Spirit by Beau Crompton; Armadale v Wanneroo City courtesy Wanneroo City)
Perth S.C. stretched their unbeaten start to the season by hammering reigning champion champion Sorrento 5-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. It was total domination from Graham Normanton’s side whose scintillating one and two touch football cut the Gulls defence to shreds. Perth went ahead in just the 4th minute after a delightful diagonal ball over the Sorrento defence by Costas Socratous bounced nicely for Nikita Rukavytsya to lob the advancing goalkeeper from the edge of the 18-yard box. It was two to Perth on 19 minutes when Todd Howarth’s long-range strike deflected into the path of Rukavytsya who angled the ball past Anthony Cochrane and inside the bottom corner. Sorrento’s only chance of the period saw Jared Love rifle over the crossbar after Gareth Deeg punched a corner to the top of the 18-yard box. Perth suffered a minor set-back just before the break with Rukavytsya leaving the action due to a slight leg strain. Any hopes Sorrento held of getting back in the game were dismissed on 52 minutes as Barry Wood tapped in to the net after Cochrane failed to hold a stinging shot from substitute Scott Bulloch. To their credit, the Gulls battled manfully but could not find a way past Michael Icanovski, Gianfranco Circati and youngster Trent Kay who repelled everything that came their way. The result was put beyond any shadow of a doubt on 67 minutes when Robbie Puca crashed a free-kick from 6-yards through a wall of players on the line. There was still time for Perth to add one more to their tally as a swift exchange involving seven players was finished off by Antonio Naglieri whose scorching shot from 22-metres gave Cochrane no chance.
Floreat Athena maintained their perfect win record after defeating E.C.U. Joondalup 1-0 at Litis Stadium. The win not only earned the hosts three valuable points but also marked their best start to a season since winning the Premiership in 1990. Pre-match expectations of a tight encounter were proven correct with both teams defending vigorously and scoring opportunities at a premium over the opening forty five minutes. Craig Young and Ian McMurray worked tirelessly for the visiting team when going forward, while Boima Karpeh and Branimir Mikulic lacked the creativity required to open up a passage to goal at the opposite end. Thankfully the game picked up after the break with Floreat taking control and a Paul Vatistas shot from 14-metres was deflected over the crossbar. The breakthrough came in the 59th minute when Karpeh blasted into an empty net after Petterson tangled with a teammate while challenging for a bouncing ball. With their tails up, Floreat began to really assert themselves and should have wrapped up the game as Mikulic shot wide, Karpeh headed straight at the ‘keeper and Stefan Smiljanic was brilliantly denied by Patterson. Joondalup pushed forward when the opportunity arose with Matt Donlevy and Anthony Jones featuring prominently, however, they rarely threatened as passes into the final third either failed to find their intended target or were intercepted by the home defence. Vas Vujacic ended the afternoon with his second clean sheet in as many weeks having not had to make a save all afternoon. Whilst not the most attractive of games, Floreat deserved full credit for maintaining their composure for the full ninety minutes and deservedly took out all three points.
Cockburn City’s strong start to the season continued with a compelling 2-0 victory over Inglewood United at Dalmatinac Park. The home side were quickly into stride and on 6 minutes took the lead when Johnny Mirco’s corner was solidly met by Shane Nunes who placed his header between a couple of defenders to catch goalkeeper Oliver Taseski off-guard. Twelve minutes later Cockburn doubled their advantage when Josh Kamasz played a lovely ball through to Jason Dos Santos whose inch-perfect cross to Wallace allowed the attacker to tap in to an open goal. The tempo of the match slowed following the second goal with Cockburn content to play cautiously without being too defensive. Inglewood threatened on several occasions as Michael Baczynski’s shot was blocked by a defender, and not long after the talented attacker screwed the ball wide after Shane Pryce glanced Dean Apelgren’s corner to the back post. The visitors best chance fell to Daniel Neiderberger whose cracking volley from the top of the penalty area sailed narrowly high of the crossbar. Early in the second half Cockburn very nearly increased the gap but Kamasz’ strike from 18-metres was brilliantly saved by Taseski. Inglewood were unlucky not to score in the 62nd minute when Jason Colli was played in behind the defence only for his shot to be brilliantly saved by Dino Pacella. Shortly after the visitors chances of getting back in the game vanished with the dismissal of Colli for a second yellow offence. With this Cockburn regained control if not for some solid defending by Pryce, Danny Stoitis and Danny Kovacevic would have added to their tally. In the final minutes it was only a coat of paint which denied Cockburn a third goal when Mileta Miletic’s close-range shot bounced back off the post.
A commanding first half display laid the foundations for Stirling Lions’ 3-1 win over Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. It took Stirling just 6 minutes to assert their authority as Ludovic Boi skipped past two defenders before crossing the back post where Leo Harman tapped in. With Steve Porter dominant in the middle of the park, the visitors continued to press as Kevin Henderson’s lob was cleared off the line by Anthony McStea, and Aaron Cole did likewise minutes later to frustrate David Dugdale. Swan didn’t create a chance until midway through the period when David Foster forced Darko Ilomanoski into conceding possession only to have Phil Straker saved his low shot. The difference became two goals on the half hour as Boi slipped a pass to Dugdale who kept his composure in lobbing the on-coming Cory Hugo. There was little more spark to Swans after the break as Foster headed wide from a McStea cross, and Geoff Mason’s fierce strike from 7-metres was brilliantly kept out by Straker. Swan were back in the game on 75 minutes when Damien Scali converted from the penalty spot after Straker was ruled to have brought Mason down inside the area. With Swan now in control, Stirling were limited to playing on the counter attack and through such a move Keith Brown headed narrowly high from a Boi cross. The hosts received a massive setback on 88 minutes with the harsh dismissal of McStea for dissent by Jeremy Oliphant. Wasting no time in making the most of the extra man, Stirling worked a third goal which Arnold shot low past Hugo. The day only got worse for Swan who saw out the final minutes with nine players following the red carding of David Perich for a second bookable offence.
Western Knights has staked their claims as title contender after thumping Fremantle Spirit 5-1 at Nash Field. In a dominant team display, the Knights had five separate goal-scorers with Andrija Jukic, David Price, Daniel Trim, Stuart Montgomery and Scott Bushby all finding the net. Only 4 minutes had elapsed when the home side took the lead through exciting talent Jukic, the quick midfielder working his way behind the Fremantle defence before blasting low into the corner of the net. The Knights were sharp and precise with Paul Cooke particularly dangerous on the left flank where his pace caused the visiting side all sorts of problems. Price put away the games second goal when a deep bye-line cross sat delightfully for the young midfielder who headed in at close-range with 9 minutes played. Former Fremantle player Daniel Trim struck the next blow on 24 minutes by latching on to long ball which he then pushed past on-coming goalkeeper Steve Grant who could only watch helplessly as it rolled into the net. Montgomery celebrated this weeks birth of his son, Darcy, by knocking in the Knights fourth of the afternoon two minutes into the second half before celebrating with the traditional ‘rocking the cradle number’. Nine minutes later it was Bushby leading the celebrations after poking home from close-range following confusion in the Fremantle 6-yard box. The port side could have opened their account shortly after when awarded a awarded a penalty but big ‘keeper Tommi Tomich turned away David Araya’s effort from the spot. The visitors fought tooth and nail in the final twenty minutes before bagging a consolation goal through Dale Wingell who headed past Tomich close to the final whistle.
Wanneroo City returned from Alfred Skeet Oval with their first point of the campaign after holding Armadale to a tense 0-0 draw. Young guns Marlon Ramirez and Ryan Pearson made their presence felt early for the home team who dominated the opening exchanges but carved out very few chances on goal courtesy of some resolute defending. Their best opening came the way of Pearson whose was played through by Steve Skalandis only for Luke Croxall to block the shot. It took until midway through the half for Wanneroo to spark into life with Craig Cheesman and Gary Andrews directing traffic as they went forward. The pace of Derek Cooke and Ahmed Hafez was causing Armadale some real problems at the back and both players had shots cleared of the line, while a goalmouth scramble saw the ball’s passage to goal blocked on three occasions before eventually going out for a corner. Wanneroo took control after the break but it clearly wasn’t going to be their day as shots by Cooke and Cheeseman were kept out. Going the other way, Kevin Miller was called upon to turn Jason Goodwin’s snap shot from 14-metres around the post. The home team were reduced to ten men when Darren Kingston was issued his marching orders by Angelo Nardi following a dangerous challenge on Mark Donnelly in the 55 minute. Sensing the points were theirs for the taking, Wanneroo upped the tempo but could find few holes in a stubborn backline that featured Dusan Macura and Matthew Bennion. With just minutes left on the clock the visitors found a way through but Gary Andrews’ close-range header was brilliantly saved by Cyril Sharrock.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOUR (Balcatta v Mandurah City by Kirk O'Connor; Bayswater City v Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Forrestfield United v Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Queens Park v Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills; Gosnells City v South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix)
Mandurah City kept their 100% win record in tact by out-classing Balcatta 4-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. The visitors were quick out of the blocks and, after going close on several occasions, Jordan Rhodes lobbed goalkeeper Tony Alexovski to open their account after 5 minutes. Shane Crampton was causing all sorts of problems for the home team and on 22 minutes pounced up on some poor defending to increase Mandurah’s stranglehold on the game. Mandurah continued to press and it wasn’t long before Andy Brown added a third with a well placed drive from outside of the 18-yard box. Fired up by a roasting from coach Basil Lenzo, Balcatta came out after the break full of life as Ben Rogers and John Nicolaou continually speared them into attack. However, their plans unravelled on 62 minutes when Jeff Bright slipped a pass through for Christian Paschkewitz to added the visiting teams fourth goal. With the points safe, Mandurah eased off the pace and allowed Balcatta to controlled the closing stages. Fifteen minutes from the end the hosts enterprise was rewarded with a well worked consolation goal that had Pete Koidis diving to find the net.
Daniel Trevisiol scored twice to guide Canning City to a 2-1 victory over Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. The visitors were quick to find their rhythm and take hold of the game with Kyle Mitsopoulos, Mick Van Dongen and Trevisiol all going close to bagging the opening goal. Bayswater spent much of the period on the back foot but were unlucky not to snatch the lead through a Bobbi Klenkoski free-kick which defelcted off the wall and forced young goalkeeper Devon Spence into a spectacular save. The pay off for Canning's first half dominance came just before the interval when Trevisiol converted a penalty awarded for handball. The second half opened much like the first with Versiaco shooting narrowly wide, and Trevisiol's strike from 15-metres was tipped over the crossbar by Gianni Papalia. With seven minutes left Bayswater drew level through Daniel Naumovski whose shot flashed past Devon at the near post. Ryan Frisina came close to completing a smash and grab for the hosts with a cracking drive from distance that slammed into the base of the upright. But Canning had their eye on all three points and Trevisiol drilled the ball through a crowded goalmouth with three minutes remaining to secure the visiting team a deserved victory.
Ashfield recovered from conceding early to whip ayoung Forrestfield United line-up 6-1 at Hartfield Park. The game not have started much worse for the home side who, already missing Craig Ruthven, Carlo Di Toro and Jason Kindon, lost striker Roger Miron to injury after just 3 minutes. However, Forrestfield re-grouped quickly and hit the front via a Michael Bushby header.Ashfield's response was swift with Rydeen Botha restoring parity, and five minutes later Andy O'Neill put the visitors ahead with a spectacular right foot volley.There were few genuine chances on goal created over the remainder of the first half as the respective midfields wrestled for control as Julian Piromalli featuring prominently for Ashfield, while Forrestfield's drive came from Bushby and Phil Bell. After the break Ashfield gained the ascendency and increasingly turned up the heat on Forrestfield's backline. The pressure paid off on 78 minutes when Chris Williams scored with a nicely taken header which finally prised open the floodgates. Botha put away his second on 84 minutes, and within sixty seconds Igor Novakovichad added himself to the scoresheet. A crude foul on Novakovic resulted in a penalty which Botha converted to complete a deserved hat-trick close to the final whistle.
Morley Windmills registered maximum points for the third consecutive time with a 3-0 win over Queens Park, who remain rooted to the foot of the First Division table after four games. Possession was evenly shared during the opening exchanges with both teams eagerly seeking the all-important go-ahead goal. A 10th minute a foul on Wayne Culverwell resulted in a Morley penalty which Damien Todorovic calmly slotted beyond the goalkeeper's reach. That lead was almost doubled a few minutes later as Mark Walsh's shot rocketed off the upright and with the follow-up Scott McIlroy rifled into the crossbar. Morley were going forward in waves and some quick movement in the 24th minute between Farrell Hedges and Joe Woodin found the path of Todorovic who lobbed a stranded 'keeper to widen the difference. Queens Park were able to tame the visitors attacking instincts in the latter stages of the half but still found the going tough when pushing forward. A more determined Queens Park emerged after the break, however, an inability to penetrate the 18-yard box coupled with the dismissal of Gavin Oakes for a second yellow card compounded their position. The result was put beyond doubt in the 89th minute when a sharp turn and shot from Hedges flew into the back of the net.
South West Phoenix left it late before striking twice to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win over Gosnells City at Walter Padbury Reserve. Gary Mayers bagged a double in the final ten minutes to elevate Phoenix to sixth on the First Division table. Steve Suttie went within inches of giving the visitors a dream start when he hit the post from a Patrick Quinn free-kick after 5 minutes. Dubious refereeing denied Mayers what appeared a clear penalty, and Suttie had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for Mayer’s infringement on goalkeeper Jade Thorpe. Gosnells greatest threat came via set pieces but Laurence Bruce and Ciaran Allen were both thwarted by visiting 'keeper Ryan Montgomery. Ten minutes into the second half Gosnells went ahead as Sam Maguire flighted a long diagonal ball to the far post where Allen rose highest to nod in. The hosts looked to increase their lead but Allen and Ken Scott-Leembruggen were unable to capitalise when the opportunity arose. Mayers brought the teams level with ten minutes to go by glancing in a Quinn free-kick. And with just seconds left on the clock David Murphy brilliantly evaded his marker to send a cross to the far post where Mayers bullet-like header gave Thorpe no chance.
Dianella White Eagles picked up a 4-1 win at Dowling Street Reserve where Rockingham City were hosts. Jon Greenwood, M.Gligoroski, Michael Mayne and D.Njegic were the scorers for Dianella, with Rockingham’s solitary goal coming from S.Cramphorn. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the two participating clubs.
RED TAPE TIES UP DESPOTOVSKI
Red tape may have put on hold Bobby Despotovski's comeback but the former Perth Glory marksman is determined to keep pursuing plans to play in the local competition. During the summer Despotovski turned his hand to coaching with Inglewood United and feels ready to return to the playing arena. But the 35-year old is contracted to Glory until 30th June and is unable to be loaned to Inglewood outside of a transfer window. "I've been training with the boys for the last two or three weeks and I'm not fully fit but I could play 45 minutes," Despotovski said.
Despotovski had hoped to be lining up in today's away meeting with Cockburn City, where his former Glory team mate Scott Miller is now coach. Miller feels that a player of Despotovski's calibre would add a great deal to the local competition. "I hope he gets cleared and he plays from next week onwards but I don't want him playing against us," joked Miller, whose side lost to Inglewood in the Night Series. "There's three points at stake this time. But, more importantly, I don't want to be buying the beers after the game."
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The third www.footballwa.net Match of the Week for 2007 takes us to Litis Stadium where an unbeaten Floreat Athena come up against high flying E.C.U. Joondalup. The home team are underpinned by a watertight defence which features John Migas, former national league player Ante Kovacevic and goalkeeper Vas Vujacic. The midfield strings are pulled by skilled duo Josip Madgic and Adam Bachiller, with the task of banging in the goals falling to Branimir Mikulic and Boima Karpeh.
Joondalup have started the year strongly under new coach Willie McNally but go into this game as the underdog. One-time Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Andy Petterson had brought some much needed experience to a line-up that includes attack minded imports Marc Anthony and Craig Young. Add to the mix the talents of Mark Lee, Martin Ashworth, Anthony Jones and Ian McMurray and there’s no reason the northerners won’t be confident of coming away with a result in their favour.
Premier League leader Perth S.C. will be looking to extend their winning start to 2007 when they meet Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Former Perth Glory team mates Scott Miller and Bobby Despotovski come face to face as coaches of Cockburn City and Inglewood United at Dalmatinac Park. Stirling Lions are away to a Swan I.C. outfit searching for their first win of the campaign. It’s a really six-pointer at Alfred Skeet Oval where Armadale welcome Wanneroo City, and Nash Field hosts the local derby between Western Knights and Fremantle Spirit.
The First Division game of the round has table topping Mandurah City away to Balcatta. Rockingham City will be hoping to register their first point of the season when Dianella White Eagles call by Dowling Street Reserve, likewise Queens Park who are up against a Morley Windmills line-up under the tutelage of Brad Hassell. Canning City travel Bayswater City, and Ashfield are tipped to take the points home from Forrestfield United. South West Phoenix make the long journey to Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City have home ground advantage.
ON THIS DAY ... 1975
On a rain swept Perry Lakes Stadium a courageous West Australian State team held top flight English outfit Middlesbrough to a one-all draw on Sunday 4th May, 1975. In naming a full-strength line-up for the first game of his clubs Australian tour, Middlesbrough boss Jack Charlton made it clear that - in his mind at least - there was no such thing as a friendly.
Twelve months after winning the Second Division, the visitors star studded line-up included then England Under-23 internationals David Mills and Willie Maddren, Jim Platt and Graeme Souness who would shortly after be called up by Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively, and club legends Terry Cooper, Alan Armstrong and John Craggs. Unfortunately rain drastically affected the attendance with just 6,000 spectators braving the conditions and witness to one of the best ever performances by a State side.
Middlesbrough launched into attacked from the opening kick and in the 4th minute Danny Mills squandered a golden opportunity to give them the lead by shooting wide when well-placed. WA pushed forward for the first time shortly after as Steve Stacey got on the end of a high cross and force Souness into conceding a corner. WA carved out another opening after 13 minutes but Middlesbrough managed to scramble the ball to safety in a congested goalmouth.
A rasping drive from 18-metres from Ray Ilott found the target after 17 minutes but the goal was disallowed for a controversial offside ruling by referee Eddie Evans. Galvanised into action, the English side would control the remainder of the half with an elegant display of crisp passing and superb movement off the ball. Their dominance was eventually rewarded with a goal as Craggs chipped a free-kick into the area where Mills nodded the ball into the far corner of the net. Shortly before half-time Middlesbrough were unfortunate not to increase their lead with Armstrong hitting the crossbar with a fine header.
But any thoughts Middlesbrough may have entertained of a second half walk-over were laid to rest within two minutes of the restart. Fastening onto to a loose ball, Ilott raced through a stunned defence and slipped his shot past the advancing Platt to equalise. As was the case in the opening half Middlesbrough were quick to regain their composure with Bobby Murdoch, Souness and Armstrong taking a stranglehold on midfield and launching a seemingly endless series of attacking raids through the middle and down both flanks.
But to their credit West Australia's defensive quartet of Stacey, Denis Barstow, Dave Jones and Bob Taylor, along with goalkeeper Tony Witschge, held their focus despite the pressure being applied by their far more experienced and skilled opponent. As the clock ticked down and the English side beginning to show signs of tiring, Ilott almost snatched victory for the State side when he found himself with only Platt but the striker hesitated a moment too long and defender Cooper raced in to smother his shot.
Western Australia: Tony Witschge, Steve
Pateman, Sauro Iozzelli, Bob Taylor, Steve
Stacey, Denis Barstow, David Jones, Dave Brooks,
Gary Marocchi, Aldo Trinca, Stephen Sceats, Dave
O'Callaghan, Nick MacCallum, Ken Morton, Bert
Kirkpatrick, Ray Ilott, George McMillan
Middlesbrough: Jim Platt, John Craggs, Stuart Boam, Willie Maddren, Terry Cooper, Peter Brine, Alan Foggon, Graeme Souness, Phil Boersma, Bobby Murdoch, David Armstrong, John Hickton, David Mills
THE INSIDERS’ SERVE : SWAN I.C., PRETENDERS OR CONTENDERS?
For too long Swan I.C. has existed as a middle-tiered outfit. Transformed when Gary Marocchi instilled discipline and structure to the then lowly ranked clubthe black and whites have been “Cup specialists” for too long. Boasting three Cup final appearances in four years - for a record of played 16, won14 and lost justtwo- there's certainly a lot of talent in the Swan Valley.
But during that same period Swan havefinished the home and away series in eighth place not once, but four times. There's no doubt that on their day theyhave the ability and cattle to beat any team, and yet they still consistently drop points to top six teams. The excuse of being a young team can no longer be used and they must step up consistently to be taken seriously in 2007.
Already this year Swan have dished out Jekyll and Hyde performances. In three league outings they'veconcededeleven goals, a tally which includes a staggering six against Perth last weekend. Andyet only a few weeks earlier they eliminated title contenders Western Knights from the Cup in what was described as a 'polished performance'. All things considered, it does sound as though history is repeating itself …
SHARLAND ON THE MEND
Greg Sharland can't wait to get back out on the park with Inglewood United. The big attacker says he's only a week or so away from putting his hand up for selection after missing the past couple of games due to a minor hamstring tear suffered in training a fortnight ago. "I trained both nights this week and the hamstring feels pretty good so I'm hopefully only a week or so away from playing," Sharland said. "Louis Parkinson and Shaun Kilkelly are also close to returning so we'll soon have an injury free squad and can make a big push forward this season."
Inglewood's early season results may have been indifferent but Sharland is convinced the inner city club are on the right track under Perth Glory legend Bobby Despotovski. "This League is all about winning trophies and our aim to be as close to the top of the table as possible, if not on the very top," said Sharland. "As a player Bobby won everything going and we're playing some nice football at the moment. Bobby has worked hard to get the team structure right and to defend from the front, and I think we're heading down the right path at the moment."
Despotovski, a former Australian international, took over at Inglewood during the off-season and Sharland for one could not be happier. "Bobby has a wealth of experiences as a player and it's an honour to be coached by him," said the 24-year old. "He is probably the most recognised footballer in WA and his record in the national league shows just how good he was as a player. All the players at Inglewood have the upmost respect for Bobby who leaves us all in awe with some of the moves he does in training."
Now in his fifth season with Inglewood, Sharland says he's benefited from a succession of coaches at the club. "I probably learnt the most from Steve Parkinson, I've known him since my junior days and he's influenced my career massively," he said. "Eddie Hodgkinson allowed me to express myself on the field and probably got the best out of me from my time at Inglewood. And I learnt so much from Vestie (Alan Vest) when I was with Glory and during the final weeks of last season at Inglewood."
This weekend Inglewood make the trip to Cockburn City and, although injury will prevent his participation, Sharland is looking forward to an entertaining contest. "There are no easy games and playing Cockburn away is definitely a tough one," Sharland commented. "Last week against Sorrento we played really well, we started to get some good rhythm into our game and deserved the three points. Cockburn are a different kettle of fish and I'm sure Regi (Scott Miller) has got them very fit, organised and raring to go … it should be a cracking game!"
ROKI PRAISES HARD WORKING BACKLINE
It's usually the goalscorers which garner the headlines but at Floreat Athena it's been a resilience defence that is being credited for their flying start to the year. The inner city club have won eight of their ten games in 2007 and coach Michael Roki attributes a large slice of that success to those whose job it is to prevent goals. "Our defence was definitely a strong point last year, and its' performance is once again paramount to us making a good showing this year," commented the coach.
The spotlight was shone on Floreat's defence following their weekend defeat of Cockburn City. "Vas Vujacic started the year in patchy form but has made amends with two penalty saves and some stronger performances in recent weeks," he explained. "Overall our defence has been fairly tight, and the addition of Ante Kovacevic has certainly not made anything any easier for our opponents. John Migas and Julian Madaschi have both showed great maturity and accountability to date whilst Jamie Isaia has fitted well into our defensive structure."
GLORY SQUAD FAR FROM SETTLED
Ron Smith admits he is still in the dark over the final make-up of his Perth Glory squad for the upcoming A-League season with the future of several players still up in the air. Former Socceroo Stan Lazaridis has a two-year ban hanging over him after testing positive to a banned substance, while influential midfielder Simon Colosimo could decide to stay on in Europe at the completion of his time with Turkish side Sivasspor. New Zealand pair Leo Bertos and Jeremy Christie may also be lured away from Perth to the A-League’s newest franchise, Wellington Phoenix.
Nonetheless, Smith has been hard at work assessing potential new recruits for Glory. “There’s a couple of Aussie lads that are overseas that have expressed interest … lads that have embarked on a professional career and may have been released by clubs or feel like this is a good opportunity to come back to Australia,” explained the coach. “Hopefully within a couple of weeks we will have a definite answer one way or the other on at least three new players. They will either be sign, sealed and delivered or they won’t be.”
MCNALLY PLEASED WITH ANOTHER THREE POINTS
The goals may not have flowed but Willie McNally was pleased with the way E.C.U. Joondalup played against Wanneroo City on the weekend. Joondalup ruled their northern rival from the outset but it wasn’t until the second half that Mark Lee put away the games only goal. “I thought we dominated the game,” said the coach. “They didn’t get many chances with their goalkeeper making four of five really good saves. But that’s been the story of our season so far - we put teams under the kosh but just can’t finish at the minute.”
With the teams level at the conclusion of forty-five minutes, McNally’s decision to move Lee into the centre of the park would work a treat for Joondalup in the second half. “Overall that’s Mark’s best position,” McNally said of Lee, who played the tail end of the 2006/07 A-League season at Perth Glory. “We have a lot of quality midfielders and we try to do different systems but obviously when Mark came in there we improved.” Lee was in the right place at the right time to strike the winner on 58 minutes after Craig Young’s shot was blocked by the defence.
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