STATE TEAM GO FOR GLORY
The Western Australian State team has been confirmed to play Perth Glory in the ‘Call To Arms Cup’ at the end of next month. The friendly, on Wednesday 28 July at Litis Stadium, will be the fifth meeting of the teams with Glory currently holding the upper hand having claimed victory four times to WA’s one. ‘Call To Arms’ is a national Cancer Council campaign to raise awareness of cancer in men and is supported by a range of ambassadors including Socceroos star Tim Cahill.
With regular State coach Robbie Dunn unavailable due to work commitments, former State players Peter Murphy and Andy Thorburn will take charge of the side. “I believe that every chance to play against full-time players creates an opportunity for a player to test himself and maybe progress to the next level,” said Murphy. “We will be going all out to give Glory a tough game and provide entertainment for the crowd and we hope that the WA football family gets behind both teams and the Cancer Council on the night.”
The State team has long provided the State League’s best players the opportunity to showcase their wares at the highest level. In recent years Andrija Jukic, Todd Howarth, Scott Bulloch and Marc Anthony have all gone on to be signed by Glory following stellar performances in the black and gold. The State squad will commence training next Wednesday, 7 July, with two further sessions scheduled prior to the friendly on Wednesday 28 July. It is hoped the Glory-WA friendly can become an annual event.
HAYTON SOARING WITH THE GULLS
Attacking midfielder Adam Hayton is focused on doing his bit for Sorrento against Floreat Athena this weekend as the Gulls attempt to capture the only trophy that has so far eluded them - the State League Cup. “I’m looking forward to this weekend as Floreat are the team who have looked the best overall,” said Hayton. “They are strong in every position, but with players coming into the side I’m confident we have the players to come out on top and go further in the competition.”
Hayton, who joined the Gulls from English club Barnoldswick Town, says on-field instability caused largely by injury has hampered his club progress this winter. “We have had our fair share of injuries, but other clubs have too,” Hayton explained. “Trevor (Morgan) has brought on a number of youngsters into the side in recent weeks, they’ve stepped up and done a quality job and that’s been showing in our results.”
The arrival of goalkeeper Curtis Aspden has outset Tom Woodhead’s decision of last month to return home to England. “I thought Tom was the best ‘keeper in the league but we were fortunate to sign former Hull City ‘keeper Curtis Aspden, he’s settled in really well and has kept us in some important games already,” said Hayton. “Shane Webb is one of the youngsters that have come in, he’s been quality for us and taken his opportunity to cement a place in the first team.”
Hayton played semi-professionally for Padiham, debuting at the age of 17, before joining his home club Wakefield and spells with Nelson and Barnoldswick. “When I was 19 I was playing at Nelson and the manager asked me if I wanted to be captain of the team,” he explained when asked what his career highlight was so far. “I took the opportunity and lead the side to fourth in the league and I won player on the month, it was a personal achievement that I am very proud of.”
The standard of the State League has impressed Hayton, who feels the title race will go down to the wire. “There are a lot of good players out here in every team and that’s showing as teams are beating each other,” he said. “The playing surfaces over here are excellent but are a lot harder then back in England. Obviously the weather has taken bit longer to adjust to, a lot of sun cream has been needed in the physio room!”
Hayton considers Gulls boss Trevor Morgan, who only a few months back was part of the staff at English Premier League club Hull, the best manager he has played under. “He has got respect for all the players and the players respect him for that,” commented Hayton. “I think that’s the key behind his success at Sorrento - he seems to get the best out of all the players and the atmosphere is quality at training and on match day.”
Sorrento heads into the Cup quarter-finals coming off a solid win against Swan United, a result which consolidated fifth place on the league table. “It was a hard fought win, we knew they were desperate for the points and everyone had to put in a shift,” said Hayton. “We weren’t at our best, but at half time we knew we were in for a battle. To the lads credit we played some good football in patches, and I thought we passed the ball around well.”
GLORY TAKE PRE-SEASON TO CHINA
Perth Glory travels to China on Friday for a twelve-day pre-season camp ahead of the 2010/11 A-League campaign. With new season just five weeks away, the trip to China will play a crucial role in Glory’s preparations with the team playing Super League club Tianjin Teda. The camp is part of a lucrative one-million dollar, two-year partnership between Glory and GNS China. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the club to spread the word of Perth Glory”, chief executive Paul Kelly said. “We’re going global but also through our sponsorship with GNS China, it’s a wonderful chance for us to both enhance football in the region.”
COACH TIPS BABALJ FOR SOCCEROOS
Gary Van Egmond, head coach at the Australian Institute of Sport, has backed Eli Babalj to lead Australian football into a brave new era. The Socceroos campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup begins next year and Van Egmond, who represented Australia at the 1988 Olympic Games, rates Babalj as one of the exciting crop of potential Socceroos coming up through the ranks. "He's very tall, very strong, has beautiful feet for a big fellow, has enough pace and is a real goalscorer," said the AIS coach. "He's the perfect No.9, probably with better feet than (Josh) Kennedy. Under the coaching staff at the Heart he'll really develop. He's in a good space." Nikita Rukavytsya and Rhys Wiliams were also tipped by Van Egmond to become Socceroo regulars between now and the next World CUp in Brazil.
GODDESS SPREADS HER WINGS (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
The outstanding success of Floreat Athena's women's team this season has come as a surprise to all at the club. Floreat are riding high six games into their inaugural season with a perfect win record to be top of their division and eying promotion. "It has exceeded our expectations." said team manager Luke Tsakisiris. "We have a great bunch of players who have formed our first team. They are the beginning of the womens football revolution at Floreat Athena and have come together as one and are a high flying team currently sitting top of the table in their league."
Such has been the success that Floreat have announced the Women's Football Initiative, a program by which players of varying skill and experience can develop their game. "We will tailor training sessions to suit each players need," explained Tsakisiris. "WFI will also incorporate fitness training so for those that want to have fun, learn a skill and get fit WFI is the perfect program. This is an open invitation to all women or girls out there that want to play football or just get fit, they can join at any time all they will need is a pair of boots!"
While the focus for WFI is participation, Tsakisiris views WFI as the first of many women's programs offered by Floreat. "We believe this start-up program is the stepping stone to having a full academy set up at Floreat Athena," he stated. "We may be a few years off the ultimate goal of an academy but we believe in women's football as much as our State League men's. We want the WA football community to know it and we believe we have the drive and determination to make it happen."
As way of showing how serious they are about women's football, Floreat held their shirt presentation prior to Sunday's Premier League blockbuster with Perth SC. "We want everyone to know about the Floreat Athena Goddesses and how much we love them," said Tsakisiris. "The perfect way to do that is present the team to our fans, members, sponsors and the whole football community. We chose a high profile match for the presentation to ensure the message is loud and clear to the women's football community, we are serious and we are here to stay."
ERGIC ONE OF THE 'COODABEEN' SOCCEROOS
Had Ivan Ergic been selected to play for Australia at an early age there's a very good chance the attacking midfielder would have been part of the Socceroos squad in South Africa. Ergic burst into the national league spotlight a decade with Perth Glory, helping the club to the 1999/2000 grand final and winning the competition's Under-21 Player of the Year award. After just one season with Glory he was signed by Juventus and while he didn't end up playing for the Italian giants Ergic went on to enjoy a highly successful professional career with FC Basel (Switzerland) and Bursaspor (Turkey).
Ignored by Australian selectors, Ergic eventually committed himself to Serbia in 2006. "It's a pity and I was really disappointed that I never got picked for Australia," said Ergic, who played for Serbia in this qualifying campaign but missed the final cut. "At the time when I was playing for Perth, Frank Farina was the (Socceroos) coach and he had some friendly games and he picked some players from the NSL that I didn't think were any better then me. I can't remember who they were but I thought I was a shooting star at the time, I was scoring a lot of goals and I was one of the better players in the league."
Ergic is one of the many Australians that have played internationally for rival nations, and in most cases Socceroo officials only have themselves to blame. Undoubtedly the biggest loss was defender Josip Simunic who is nearing 100 caps for Croatia, which is who Joey Didulica and Ante Seric also chose to represent. Two members of the Greece's 2010 World Cup squad, Avraam Papadopoulos and Georgios Samaras, were eligible to play for the Socceroos while in the 1980's Craig Johnston and Tony Dorigo both turned out for England. Thankfully, the tide has changed and in recent times Football Federation Australia have convinced numerous rising stars - including Rhys Williams and Shane Lowry - to wear the green and gold.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR WEST AUSSIE WORLD CUP PAIR (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Performances on the South African stage should open up a world of opportunities for local Socceroos Richard Garcia and Nikita Rukavytsya. They were the only West Australians to make it to the World Cup after Rhys Williams succumbed to injury, Shane Lowry missed the final cut and goalkeeper Brad Jones withdrew on the eve of the tournament for family reasons. Garcia and Rukavytsya seized their opportunities, impressing enough in training to force their way into the reckoning.
When Garcia started in the opening game against Germany he became the first WA player to play for Australia at the World Cup, and Ukraine-born Rukavytsya quickly followed when he replaced Garcia in the 64th minute of the same match. "It's a dream come true," Rukavytsya told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "It's an unbelievable achievement. As a kid I dreamt of playing in a World Cup and now it's happened, it's amazing."
Garcia is contracted to English club Hull City, but following their relegation from the Premier League and the 28-year old's appearances against Germany and Serbia he could move on. His agent, David Giess, said the World Cup had enhanced the attacking midfielder's reputation. "Playing at the top level, he's in the public eye, people are watching the World Cup and he's already got such a good reputation," Giess said. "He's a smashing guy."
Rukavytsya is without a club and his agent, John Grimaud, has been working on tying up a deal. "The World Cup has been good for him but until we finalise something we won't say anything other than there is interest from Europe," Grimaud said. Rukavytsya, who shot to prominence with Perth Glory, joined Dutch club FC Twente last year but the club has not renewed his contract. A promising spell on loan to Belgian club Roeselare got him into the Socceroos squad and he impressed enough to earn World Cup appearances against Germany and Ghana.
FLOREAT HELD BY TEN-MAN PERTH (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
Perth SC survived playing the entire second half with ten-men to hold Floreat Athena to a drama-filled 2-2 draw this afternoon at Litis Stadium. Despite their second half dominance, Floreat had to be content with a share of the points after squandering numerous goal scoring chances. The result leaves Floreat in third, one point ahead of Perth, when a win could have elevated them level with Premier League leaders Western Knights and Stirling Lions.
The home team were on the attack from the outset, winning a couple of early corners with Perth soaking up the pressure. John Mirco probably should have given Floreat the lead but steered a close-range effort wide after getting on the end of a good pass by James Isaia. Against the flow of play, Perth drew first blood through Craig Simpson's stunning drive from the top of the box after 42 minutes. The game dynamic was altered shortly after when Perth defender Shaun Kilkelly received his marching orders for a crude challenge on Jason Barrera as he charged down on goal.
Floreat sought to take advantage by pushing extra men forward at the start of the second half, however, they'd soon be two-goals down. In the 54th minute David Onoforo drew Alex Dunn off his line before clipping over the goalkeeper's head and into the net. The home side wasted no time launching another attack on the end of which Branimir Mikulic pulled a goal back. Mirco brought the teams level in the 76th minute, his shot from the top of the 18-yard box striking the right upright and ricocheted over the line to bring the big crowd to life. Floreat had several chances to score again in the final ten minutes but were unable to deliver a decisive blow.
GALBRAITH GOING TO CHELSEA
Teenager Rebecca Galbraith is moving to England after being one of sixteen players accepted into the women's football academy at Chelsea. Galbraith, 16, will spent a minimum of two years with London's glamour club, where she'll play for the under-19 side and, hopefully, capture the attention of national team selectors. "I'd love to play for my country one day," she told Deborah Williams of the 'Weekend Courier' newspaper. "But at the moment I'm looking forward to playing with the other players and getting better as a player."
Becoming the first Australia accepted into Chelsea's academy caps a superb year for Galbraith, who helped Safety Bay High School win the state title and Port Kennedy the under-17 grand final. Galbraith, who recently switched from playing in goal to midfield, is pleased the profile of women's football is increasing. "It's different to the men's game,” she said. "For one thing, we don't fall on the floor for a free kick for no good reason. Women play harder and it's more entertaining."
ON THIS DAY ... 1967
Referee Roy Steadman caused a sensation by sending off Manchester United great Dennis Lee in a friendly with Western Australia at the WACA Ground on evening on 27 June, 1967. A bumper crowd in excess of 20,500 turned out to watch the recently crowned English League champions hit seven goals without reply against the State team. But it was the referee’s 33rd minute decision to dismiss Law for foul and abusive language that made not only local but also international headlines. Law along with United assistant coach Jimmy Murphy refused to comment on the incident after the game.
The pace was fast from the outset and for the first twenty minutes the State team managed to contain their far more skilful and experienced opponent. On the quarter hour George Best produced a scintillating run down the wing which ended with the ball in the net, however, the referee disallowed his effort as a team mate was offside. Six minutes later Best again caught the home defence on the hop with a similar move, goalkeeper Peter Mitchell this parried the shot only to have Law put away the rebound.
In the 25th minute Best slammed past Mitchell after taking possession of an immaculate pass out of midfield by Law. Best brought further roars of appreciation from the crowd by dazzling his way past several defenders before firing goal number three. When WA moved into attack it lacked understanding and was easily broken down by Tony Dunne Billy Foulkes and Shay Brennan. The sending off of Law may have taken some of the sting of out United’s attacks but it didn’t stop Brian Kidd from getting on the scoresheet.
The second half saw some of the finest goals scored in WA. In the 59th minute Bobby Charlton’s powerful low shot from distance flew past Mitchell on its way into the net. Best completed his hat-trick twenty minutes later having been set-up by Charlton, who constantly outwitted the defence with his pace. In the 85th minute Kidd scored United’s final goal to equal the 7-0 hiding they inflicted on Queensland a couple of weeks earlier. Credit must go to WA for sticking to its task with Mitchell, Christian Ducasse, Wally Musial and Zyggie Pieda fighting doggedly up until the end.
Western Australia: Peter Mitchell (Alistair Norwood), Ron Smith (Christian Ducasse), Zyggie Pieda, Theo Papp, Wally Musial, Graham Oughton, Alex Napier, G.Ramm, Paul Sobek, John McIntosh, Gerry Pettit (Bobby Varlow)
Manchester United: Alex Stepney, Bill Foulks, Shay Brennan, Tony Dunne, Nobby Stiles, David Sadler, Brian Kidd, Dennis Law, John Aston, George Best, Bobby Charlton
STIRLING GO TOP AFTER EDGING BALCATTA (by Peter Simcox)
Stirling Lions went joint top of the Premier League after a 3-2 local derby win against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Stef Frost and Mario Marcinko had Stirling in the box seat before Ashley Rosindale reduced the margin before the break. Bobby Wilson restored the visitors' two-goal cushion soon after the restart, but Adam Tong’s goal five minutes from full-time provided a few nervous moments towards the end. "We created a lot of chances today; I think we had a dozen corners, but we couldn't get that breathing space we would have liked," said Stirling coach Paul Lincoln. "The early goal in the second half was good for us and it was important because to Balcatta's credit they put some pressure on us. But at the end of the day we had enough chances to have won win comfortably, and it took a good save near the end from young 'keeper James Turvill to come out with the three points."
Frost gave Stirling a dream start by firing in from close-range after only 4 minutes after Scott Muirhead's free-kick from the left was nodded back across goal by Jason Gavin. The margin was very nearly doubled five minutes later when Marcinko played into the 18-yard box and at the back post teenager Ben Senior fired wide of the post. Chances presented for both sides as the game opened up, Bobson Koroma keeping out a Wilson header and moments later at the other end Rosindale’s low strike was saved by James Turvill. There were just three minutes left in the half when Frost sent Marcinko in down the right with the young striker outpacing Tong before finishing low past the oncoming ‘keeper. Balcatta gained a free-kick on the edge of the area soon after which Rosindale superbly curled around the defensive wall and into the net to make it two-one at the interval.
Stirling’s two-goal buffer was restored eight minutes into the second half, referee Paul Anderson pointing straight to the spot after a handball by Nicholas Tatasciore with Wilson fired in the penalty. Despite the set back, Balcatta continued to take the game up to their visitors with substitute Anthony Jones denied a goal by a full-stretch Turvill. An audacious Rosendale free-kick caught out Turvill but his blushes were saved when the ball smacked against the crossbar. Stirling looked like increasing their lead when Ludovic Boi played though to Marcinko, whose shot was superbly saved by Koroma. With ten minutes to go Turvill made another important save, this time thwarting Sam Allen after he’d been found by Tong.
Roberto Lujan cut in from the left and made his way inside the area before his curling shot drifted just wide of the far post. Balcatta were given a way back into the game when, in the 85th minute, a surging run by defender Tong took him clear of Stirling’s back four before firing low past Turvill. The home side pushed forward looking for a third and equalising goal, however, they were almost caught out when Dave Sesay’s shot was only parried by Koroma and Marcinko’s follow-up shot was also blocked by the ‘keeper. Tong went close to salvaging the game for Balcatta but his powerful stoppage time shot was brilliantly saved by Turvill at his near post.
FLYING START GIVES JOONDALUP THE EDGE (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
ECU Joondalup bounced back into the winners circle by upsetting table-toppers Western Knights 2-1 at the Edith Cowan University campus. Dale McCulloch opened the scoring with Garin Collins doubling Joondalup’s lead before Daniel Micevski netted a stoppage-time consolation for the visitors, who had Anthony Campbell sent off just past the hour. It was a deserved win for Steve Amphlett's side who limited the much-vaunted Knights outfit to mostly long-range efforts as they rekindled their own play-off hopes.
Spectators were still settling into their seats when McCulloch pounced on a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box and lashed a fierce volley past a stunned goalkeeper Frazer Siddall to put the home side one-nil up. The Knights should have been level inside a minute after Joondalup custodian Andy Petterson made a complete hash of a back pass, slicing an attempted clearance straight up in the air but, with the net unguarded, Stuart Montgomery incredibly headed wide from 11-metres. The Knights attacker tried to make amends moments later but his volley flew just off target.
Joondalup had a great chance to double their lead on the counter-attack after 22 minutes when Jon Higgins crossed to Phil O'Callaghan, who was caught between heading back across the 6-yard box and going for goal himself before his weak header was put out for a corner. David Micevski then fired a tame free-kick along the ground and straight to Petterson as the Knights sought to equalise. David Price twice and Montgomery once tried their luck from distance with neither troubling the Joondalup ‘keeper as the home side went into the break with their nose in front.
Higgins just failed to get on the end of Collins' deep cross early in the second period as Joondalup made clear they’d not finished scoring. A moment of madness left the Knights with ten men and an even bigger mountain to climb, Campbell pushing McCulloch in the face after the two had tangled to leave referee Josh Mihevc no choice but to brandish a red card to the striker. Price responded with a strike from 28-metres that whistled just over, then Siddall did well to get down and hold onto a stinging long-range drive from Ross Anderson. Petterson showed safe hands as he kept out Knights substitute Scott Bushby's snap shot from 13-metres.
With seven minutes remaining Siddall pulled off a fantastic save to prevent Higgins' 24-metre thunderbolt from entering the top corner, however, the ‘keeper was helpless as Collins reacted quickest to beat a couple of defenders and stab the loose ball over the line from point-blank range. To their credit, the visitors kept fighting and were rewarded with a consolation goal two minutes into stoppage time when substitute Daniel Micevski quite brilliantly chipped Petterson with a free-kick from 19-metres.
Joondalup coach Amphlett was full of praise for his players and the way they hit back after the previous week's heavy loss to Mandurah City. "I'm very happy with their effort, we fully deserved the win against a very good side," said Amphlett, whose team sit in sixth place, five points behind Sorrento and a play-off spot. "We've been training hard all week and had a really positive attitude going into this game. It was a brilliant start and a great goal from Dale (McCulloch). He's my ‘Captain Fantastic', he's everywhere but all the boys were brilliant today."
FLYING START GIVES JOONDALUP THE EDGE (with Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Sorrento are primed for an assault on the top four after scoring coming from behind to defeat a gallant Swan United 2-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Goals in the last twenty minutes from Brodie Martin and Joe Lamplough cancelled out Liam Boland’s earlier strike to cement fifth spot on the table for the home side. "We're usually a pretty attacking team but we played a few players deep in the first half and sat back a bit," said Sorrento midfielder Jason Mirco. "We regrouped at half time and came out more aggressive and we created plenty of chances. We showed good fighting spirit to come back at the end."
There were few highlights in a largely forgettable first half composed of stacked defences, little creativity and shoddy skills by both teams. The match woke from its slumber after a brilliant individual run by Todd Harnwell, who beat a multiple of defenders and goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo to set-up Jared Love but his weak shot was kept out of the net by a desperate Swan defence. Harnwell again demonstrated his extreme skill moments later when his header crashed into the crossbar and bounced on the line. But moments such as these were rare.
The deadlock was broken twenty minutes into the second half when Boland headed beyond the reach of Curtis Apsden. But the lead was to last just five minutes before Sean Webb sliced his way through the defence before passing to an unmarked Martin, who easily tapped in the equaliser. The match had begun to get quite physical with both teams desperate to land the knockout blow. Lamplough came to the rescue with just seven minutes to go when his scorching free-kick was too powerful for Agudelo as it flashed into the top corner. The final ten minutes was played at a frenetic pace with chances for both teams, however, there would be no late miracle for the brave visitors.
COCKBURN CONFIDENTLY CRUISE PAST ARMADALE (by Michael Bate, Football West)
A resurgent Cockburn City continued their return to wining ways with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Armadale at Dalmatinac Park. The home side went into the break four goals up with central midfielder Adrian Webster scoring a double either side of strikes by Rory Feely and Anthony Pereira. After the match, Cockburn boss Tony Castiello was delighted with his side's third victory in four league outings. "I thought the first half performance really showed the character of this team," he said. "I've always said my priority is the league and I think we've shown today that we're on the right track at the moment."
The first interaction in Cockburn's forward line came after just 6 minutes when Pereira nodded Jon Devite's cross down to Feely who blazed over on the half volley. Pereira played a lead role in the home team going ahead on 22 minutes, squaring for Webster to tap in after Cyril Sharrock had blocked his initial shot. The margin was doubled five minutes later when a quickly taken free-kick caught the Armadale defence off guard, allowing Wesley Britz to reach the touchline before crossing for Feely to tuck the ball into the net.
Armadale had a good chance to pull a goal back when captain Michael Ord redirected Steve McDonald's header, but Cockburn goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic pulled off a fine flying save. The visitors were left to rue that miss when Pereira scored his side's third in the 37th minute after getting on the end of another fine left wing cross from Britz. Pereira nearly had a second when, after turning on the edge of the 18-yard box, his powerful effort was tipped over by Sharrock. But there was nothing the Armadale 'keeper could do in the 43rd minute when Pereira picked out Webster who volleyed in from just inside the area.
Having watched his side be well and truly outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, Armadale coach Brad Hassell rang in the changes with Sean Nicholls, Daniel Paredes and Marlon Ramirez all entering the game for the second period. But it was Cockburn that should have scored in the 63rd minute when Feely was played cleared only to shoot straight at Sharrock. Armadale had been improving up until that point, but Sharrock's save seemed to spur on his side's attacking players. Five minutes later Tom Robinson sent a cross into the 6-yard box, forcing Paul Natale to clear narrowly over his own crossbar.
James Robinson had his goalbound effort blocked on the line at the resulting corner, and three minutes later forced a good low save from Aleksic. Paredes hit the post on 73 minutes after Aleksic has again made a good save to deny James Robinson, whose miserable day was made complete when his chipped effort sailed just high of the bar after being played in by Stephen Porter. Armadale finally got the goal they sought through a towering header by defender Steve McDonald from Porter's corner on 82 minutes, but by that stage the game was already over.
INGLEWOOD WARM DESPITE THE CHILL (by David Cameron, Football West)
Inglewood United continued their impressive recent form with a 2-0 home win over Mandurah City on a chilly afternoon. The result increases the distance between Inglewood and the foot of the Premier League table with coach Shane Pryce ecstatic at the sound of the final whistle. "The boys were full of character today, and that's how we've turned it around this season," he Pryce, whose team are now three points above the relegation spot. "I think the second half proved how far we have come in the last few weeks and I am happy we got the three points today."
The first half was a real stalemate due to a combination of Mandurah's inability to fire in the final thirds and some solid defending by Inglewood. Mandurah fashioned the first opportunity after 24 minutes when Rafael Insaurralde brilliantly beating four opponents before playing a well-weighted ball to the feet of Robbie Hamm, who was forced into hurrying his shot by the defence. Inglewood charged into the lead very much against the run of play on 39 minutes, Sandi Loncar sending a great pass with the outside of his boot into path of Ryan Clarke who coolly slotted past oncoming Phil Straker and into the far bottom corner.
The second half was a much more open affair with the ball moving from end-to-end and both teams creating chances on goal. Inglewood doubled their advantage nine minutes after the restart when a Michael Baczynski cross struck the arm of Insaurralde, leading referee Michael Tolmie to award a penalty. Up stepped Rory Grant who clinically placed his shot into the bottom left corner of the net, out of reach of a diving goalkeeper. The decision of Stuart Young to bring attacker Michael Bobridge off the bench looked like having the desired effect as Mandurah slowly but surely wrestled back the momentum.
Jesse Fuller had a good opportunity to pull one back for the visitors but a terrific reflex save from Oliver Taseski denied the striker's powerful close-range shot. Mandurah's last real chance arrived on 77 minutes when Bobridge was unable to capitalise on a brilliant cross, his looping header evading Taseski but not the crossbar. Inglewood responded by locking down their defensive third with Darko Ilmanoski and Danny Stoitis running a tight ship. Mandurah will reflect on a game as one where they failed to convert chances into goal whereas Inglewood's ability to do just that saw them as deserved winners.
BUNBURY FREEZE OUT ASHFIELD (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force marched on towards the Division One title by beating Ashfield 3-1 on a chilly afternoon at Hay Park. The home team waited until the second half to start scoring with Oliver McGee breaking the deadlock and Kieran Kavanagh's opportunism rewarded by two goals. The first half was pretty much one-way traffic with Bunbury aided by a very strong wind, forcing Ashfield to batten down the hatches. But the home side would go into the break scoreless thanks largely to the acrobatics of goalkeeper Matt Battigelli, who time and time again was Ashfield's saviour.
The half-time introduction of Seb Bell and Jayden Prosser coupled with the switch of McGee into midfield brought some extra bite to the home side. Those bold moves by coach Gary Mayers paid handsome dividends in the 57th minute when Neil Chappell's cross found McGee lurking at the back post where he hammered in the games first goal. There was little time for the home fans to settle back into their seats when David Rodgers sprang the offside trap to go one-on-one with Battigelli, who did well to palm away the shot but was helpless as Kavanagh neatly gathered and slotted in the follow-up.
Ashfield were by no means a defeated team as just three minutes later Trevor Hatton switched play to Wayne Culverwell, who drove the ball across the face of goal for John Monterosso to net. The sealing goal arrived on 73 minutes when Kavanagh was again on hand to put away the loose ball after Chappell had broken free of the defence but had his shot brilliantly blocked by Battigelli. The result keeps Bunbury on top of the table, three points ahead of Bayswater City, and intensifies the pressure on Ashfield as they attempt to pull clear of the relegation zone.
CANNING GRAB LAST GASP WIN (courtesy Canning City)
A final minute penalty converted by Greg Newcombe earned Canning City a 3-2 victory over Fremantle Spirit at Wauhop Park. Fremantle's positive start was rewarded in the 22nd minute when Lance Louvie slotted in at close-range after reacting quickest to a block by Stuart Delgarno. The Canning custodian ensured the gap wasn't widened seven minutes later with a fantastic save that kept out a Calub Aquino header. With Canning were struggling to assert themselves on the game, it was left to Daniel Trevisiol to bring them level on 41 minutes with a great solo effort.
Louvie reclaimed the lead for Fremantle midway through a finely balanced second half by converting from the spot following a handball decision against defender Mark Donnelly. Canning responded in kind and on 73 minutes Mark Sheehan's crisp left foot volley flew into the roof of the net from 20-metres. That looked to be the end of the scoring until a dubious decision by the referee saw him again point to the spot from where Newcombe fired into the bottom left corner to steal victory. The outcome keeps alive Canning hopes of climbing out of the bottom half of the Division One table over the final months of home and away fixtures.
ROCKINGHAM RELIEVE THE PRESSURE VALUE
Rockingham City eased their relegation fears by seeing off Queens Park 3-0 under lights at Lark Hill Sportsplex. The win, Rockingham's first in eight games, was the perfect way for Steve Robinson to start his coaching tenure with the club. Rockingham made a crackerjack start with Josh Senior firing them into a 5th minute lead after latching onto an excellent through ball from new signing Steven Drew. Some swift movement of the ball twenty minutes later ended with Cameron MacLean setting up Senior, who made no mistake bagging his second of the night. The game was effectively decided seven minutes half-time when MacLean was taken down inside the 18-yard box, the match referee pointed straight to the spot from where Senior completed his hat-trick.
It was looking as though Rockingham would pile on a few more goals after the break, however, the 55th minute dismissal of Senior for a mistimed tackle took some of the bite out of their attack. Queens Park pushed forward in numbers in search of a way back into the game only to be denied a goal by Richard Lacey's clearance off the line. A foul on Michael Vaz resulted in a second penalty kick for Rockingham but there'd be no joy for Lacey with the goalkeeper saving his effort. The same fate befell Jason Feather with Craig Olejnik's save further adding to Queens Park's woes. Olejnik ensured a clean sheet by thwarting Henry Chikocombe late in the piece after he'd broken free of the defence.
ELSEWHERE IN DIVISION ONE (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
Bayswater City kept themselves in the title race by defeating an in-form Forrestfield United 2-1 at Frank Drago Reserve. A goal from Gustavo Marulanda on four minutes gave the hosts the perfect start with the Colombian import hitting his fifteenth of the season on the hour to seemingly wrap up the win. The visitors halved the deficit in the 67th minute when Jordan Hart found the net, but the home team held on to record a vital victory that keeps the pressure on Bunbury Forum Force.
Dianella White Eagles’ hopes of a top-three finish suffered a blow when defeated 3-0 at home by Wanneroo City. A goal after 2 minute by Brian Cairney gave the visitors just the start they were after, and to which Jonathon McGahern added five minutes before the break by converting from the penalty spot. There were twelve minutes left on the clock when Cairney bagged his second, and the teams third of the afternoon.
Gosnells City ended their recent poor form by beating Morley Windmills 3-2 at Wotton Reserve. The visitors took the lead on 31 minutes through Ciaran Allen with Sean Lalley doubling their advantage six minutes later. The second half was five minutes old when Steven Larkin scored, and just a few minutes later Tony Griffiths made it two-all. Andy Pomfret’s converted penalty on the hour sealed victory for Gosnells, who back move up third.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Premier League leaders Western Knights head out on the road tomorrow for a visit to ECU Joondalup (3pm). This really is a must-win occasion for Joondalup, who are just three points above last place. While scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the northerners, keeping them out of their net has so the contributions of Charlie Comyn-Platt will be vital. That’s in direct contrast to the Knights who hold a three point lead over their nearest rivals and have not conceded in 180 minutes.
Grindleford Reserve hosts the local derby between an out-of-form Balcatta and the very much in-form Stirling Lions. Paul Dickson (suspended) will watch the game from the sidelines and may be joined by Shane Robinson and Matt Stares, who are both battling minor injuries. Balcatta coach Salv Todaro welcomes back Geneveo Human and Igor Ilikj from injury but remains without Julian Piromalli, Lucas Whitehouse and Bobby Klenkoski (all overseas).
Fifth-placed Sorrento welcome Swan United to Percy Doyle Reserve. Fresh from stunning Perth SC, the Gulls are tipped to win with Jared Love and Brodie Martin expected to come into the line-up in place of suspended pair James Morgan and Darren Quincroft. Swan ended their run of defeats against Cockburn City last week but coach Jamie Goodman has been given an unwanted headache by the sudden departure of striker John Hunter.
Mandurah City heads to the metropolitan area to play Inglewood United. Both teams enjoyed wins last time out, the Dolphins scoring a trio of late goals to see off ECU Joondalup whereas Inglewood moved off the bottom of the table by out-classing Balcatta. Darren Broxton comes up against his former club but it’ll be Andy Brown and Craig Young that hold the key to the visitors’ success. Alex Stamatiadis and Lee Carr are tipped to start in place Mladan Kovacevic and Aaron Colli, who are out through suspension.
Saturday final game has Cockburn City at home to Armadale. Cockburn are unbeaten in their last four games and should Marc Anthony, Adrian Webster and Anthony Pereira once again be firing in the engine room that run will be extended. New Armadale striker Matt Barlow has formed a good understanding with James Robinson while at the other end of the park it’s Ryan Pearson and Michael Ord who’ve been shining.
Local rivals Floreat Athena and Perth SC go head-to-head in the Sunday fixture at Litis Stadium. The past month has been tough on Perth, who have not won at Floreat since 2003, and making matters worse is the loss of Robbie Puca (suspended) while serious injury clouds remain over Ian McMurray and Aaron Cole. Johnny Mirco and Branimir Mikulic will be key in Floreat’s hopes of bouncing back from a loss at the Knights. All games across the weekend start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Division One interests switch to the bottom of the table tomorrow with Rockingham City and Queens Park going at eachother from 5.00pm at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Both teams will have been cut well adrift at the foot of the table and, along with Ashfield, will slug it out over the next few months to avoid relegation. Rockingham, unsettled by off-field dramas, have no points from six home games and really are struggling in the final third. Queens Park, although a hit and miss proposition, are tipped to go home with the win.
Dianella White Eagles' home meeting with Wanneroo City will be a good test of where both teams' mettle. 35-year old Dale Wingell has shown he still has what it takes, scoring five times in two games, and will once again be a key figure in midfield alongside Paul Hickey and Ian Griffiths for the home team. Wanneroo have claimed victory from seven of their last eight outings and with Brian Cairney, Brad McDonald and Guy McDonald pulling the strings they're confident of picking up another three points.
The form guides suggests a comfortable win for Bunbury Forum Force at home to Ashfield. There's a danger game for Bayswater City when they host a Forrestfield United side that's unbeaten in a month. Whether or not the wheels have fallen off Gosnells City will be revealed when they visit Morley Windmills. Entertainment value will be high in the derby meeting between Fremantle Spirit and Canning City at Wauhop Park. All five afternoon games begin at 3.00pm.
CLUBS NOT IMPRESSED BY STATE LEAGUE REVIEW
A proposed overhaul of the State League team structure has ruffled the feathers of several clubs. A State League Review Project document provided to member clubs in late April suggested that the existing three-team structure - first, reserve and youth - be replaced by a two-tier format of first and reserve teams, with the possibility of an elite youth competition being played on Sunday. Furthermore, the age restrictions on reserve teams would be tightened to under-21 with three overage players as opposed to the under-23 with five overage players.
A number of clubs have voiced their concern that such a move would a negative impact, not only on the State League but also football in general in Western Australia. The supporters of retaining the existing three-team structure - whereby all teams would play on the same day - claim the proposed changes would constrict playing opportunities outside the first team, compromise the functionality of the reserve team, erode the achievable pathway from junior to senior football and increase the 'drop-off rate' of players in the 16-23 age bracket.
Those in favour of the proposed two-team structure believe the overall standard of the State League would be improved. Providing fewer playing opportunities for those over the age of 21 would increase competition for places at Premier League clubs and lead quality players, who may not be of that standard, to join Division One clubs. The introduction of an elite youth competition, modelled on the National Youth League, would have a similarly positive flow-on effect for players in their late teens.
State League clubs with their reservations are believed to be seeking an undertaking from Football West that the team structure, as documented by the State League Review Project, will not be implemented for 2012 season, and that the current structure will be maintained pending further consultation. Have your say on the State League team structure and reserve team age requirement by voting in this week's dual footballwa.net polls.
LOCAL DERBY HAS STIRLING BUZZING
Balcatta take on local rival Stirling Lions this weekend in what could well turn out to be a season defining moment for both clubs. The game, part of the City of Stirling Youth Development Cup, has a Balcatta outfit desperate to resurrect their strong early season form up against next door neighbours Stirling, who’ve surged up to table to be within three points of top spot. Footballwa.net correspondent Peter Simcox sought the thoughts of Salv Todaro and his coaching counterpart Paul Lincoln on the eve of the game.
Lincoln, whose team have won six of their last seven games, was particularly pleased with Stirling performed in last week four-goal drubbing of Armadale. “It was a fantastic result and not only the result, but the way we played. We were clean and clinical all over the ground and we scored very good goals,” he said. “It’s a pity the cameras were not at the ground because both Ludovic Boi and Mario Marcinko would have made a case for goal of the season.”
On that same afternoon Todaro was watching his team go down to Inglewood United, a result that slipped Balcatta to within five points of the relegation zone. “It was the classic game of two halves - first half we were quite ordinary and conceded two rather soft goals, second half we had better commitment and purpose about our play,” explained Todaro. “Although we had a lot of possession we were not able to turn possession in goals, Inglewood played as their lives depended on this result.”
Derby games are always fiercely competitive but Todaro recognises this week there is a lot more at stake than just local pride. “Both teams will be out to gain maximum points on the weekend but for different reasons,” commented the Balcatta boss. “Stirling want to keep pressure on the top two and press for the minor championship, whereas we are trying to keep in touch with the top half of the ladder … I envisage a quite an entertaining game on the cards.”
Although Saturday’s game will be the first time Lincoln has led Stirling into battle against Balcatta, he knows how important getting the better of their neighbours is to the club. “The players are looking forward to it and we expect a hard game as we know Balcatta have claimed some big scalps this season,” said Lincoln. “If we can continue our form from last week we are confident that we can come home with three points and stay in touch with (top of the table) Western Knights.”
Balcatta may have taken only one point from their last six games but that statistic doesn’t carry a lot of weight for Lincoln. “Balcatta were good earlier in the season but seem to have slipped in recent weeks,” Lincoln commented. “Looking at the table it appears they are following the same trend as Canning City last season but I think Sal has the experience to win enough points to survive, this league is very even and any team can beat each other on any given day.”
Todaro considers Saturday’s game a good measure of how his young team is developing. “My boys will need to be at their best to ensure that we are competitive. They’re looking forward to playing against Stirling, it gives them an opportunity to gauge where they’re at in their development,” he said. “Stirling’s overseas recruitment drive looks like it is paying dividends at this moment in time, they have an excellent player in Shane Robinson pulling the strings in the middle of the park.”
NATALE BANKS ON STABILITY TO LIFT COCKBURN
A four-game unbeaten streak has renewed Cockburn City's hopes of avoiding relegation. But while Paul Natale is delighted the Cockerels have turned their season around, the club captain admits his frustration at still stumping up the Premier League table. "Things are more stable at the moment, we've had a consistent eleven for a while and have some good players waiting on the bench so things are going well for us," said Natale. "But it continues to be very frustrating, we're unbeaten in four games and are still in a relegation battle ... it feels like last year all over again."
The appointment of Tony Castiello as head coach at Cockburn has had a remarkable effect on their on-field situation. When Castiello took over at the beginning of the month Cockburn were four points behind their nearest rival - and while they enter the weekend still on the bottom of the pile they're now only three points away from eighth spot. "When Tony came to training he said he hadn't seen us play much and didn't know any of us. We were all on a level pegging and had to prove ourselves again," commented Natale.
The first half of the season was a long, hard slog for Cockburn, who managed a single win and three draws from eleven games. "It's hard to say," answered Natale when asked whether those six points were a fair reflection on how Cockburn had been playing. "The perception among us was that our luck would turn soon, but then that attitude could've been the problem. We were left to rue isolated mistakes in many games, which is hard to coach against because everyone makes them."
Over-confidence and injury to key players also played a part in Cockburn's poor start to the home and away series. "I think there was an element of 'we've signed these good players, we're going to be alright' - it didn't turn out that way," said Natale. "Losing Michael Grigo in the Night Series was a blow, Adrian Webster missed seven weeks due to suspension, Marc Anthony went back to Europe for a while and Shane Nunes was out through work which meant we could never get our best eleven on the pitch consistently."
Despite playing the last half hour with ten-men following the red carding of midfielder Jason Dos Santos, Cockburn were unlucky not to get the win last weekend against Swan. "Our heads didn't go down after the send off. I felt we could hold them off and maybe create one or two very good chances which we had to nail. That turned out to be the case but we couldn't finish," said Natale of the 1-1 draw. "To be honest it felt like a loss, but that's hopefully provided us with some added determination this week."
Next up for Cockburn is a home encounter with an Armadale line-up that was thrashed by Stirling Lions last time out. "The centre of the park is important, they're a physical team at their best so we'll need to do well in midfield. James Robinson was their biggest threat last time so I'll have my work cut out for me," commented Natale. "The stakes are getting higher for us with each game. If the right Cockburn show up on the day then I'm confident we'll be okay, otherwise, we'll be battling just like the others near us on the table."
THE PRIDE OF SUBIACO (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
It's not been an easy start to the new season for Women's Premier League side Subiaco. The loss of players through retirement, relocation and injury has left coach Dan Evans with the task of rebuilding the Lions from the ground up. "You would hope that all players don't step out at the same time but we are in the position that we are in," said Evans, who is adamant Subiaco will be remain competitive. "The systems are in place and there is a very strong junior set-up. I am confident that we can see the benefits of that not only this year but in years to come."
Evans has an abundance of talent at his disposal. Marissa Pidgeon has demonstrated she is one of the best goalkeeper in the women's game, Brittany Dyer-Smith's midfielder strengths have been recognised by a scholarship offer from the United States of America and playmaker Jen Chantler has shown she too is ready to take that next step. "For this season though, it's about gelling as a playing group," said Evans. "I am still keen to strengthen the squad but, more importantly, I am keen to strengthen the players that I have got in all the areas - strength, technically and tactically."
As expected of any new squad of players, consistency has been hard to come by for Subiaco. Despite the early season jitters, Subiaco have given a good indication they will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. "Win or lose, I think a characteristic of the side is that we are going to try and play football - playing the ball to feet, getting it down and good movement off the ball" said Evans. "We are not at the level that I would like us to be at but I think we will keep encouraging that type of football - what I won't resort to is playing five at the back and just lumping the ball up the park."
NORTHBRIDGE HOSTS THE WORLD CUP
Fun-filled activities are proving a hit at the Northbridge Piazza before every game of the 2010 World Cup. Football skill tests, exhibition matches, giveaways, roving performers and appearances by Perth Glory players have been drawing big crowds of families and friends to the venue before live games from South Africa are beamed to the 8-metre high Piazza Screen. Beginning Saturday night, the City of Perth will screen every game from the round of sixteen as well as all the finals matches, including the World Cip decider in the early hours of Monday 12 July. Visit the Soccer Live Site for the full schedule then cheer your team to victory!
BRAVE SOCCEROOS GO OUT FIGHTING
Australia has bowed out of the 2010 World Cup despite a brave 2-1 win over Serbia at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Tim Cahill and Brett Holman scored within four minutes of eachother in the second half before Marko Pantelic provided Serbia a consolation goal. However, it was all to prove in vain as Ghana, despite losing to Germany, went through to the second round on goal difference. Coach Pim Verbeek praised his team's performance, but admitted the loss to Germany had proved costly. "They stood up when everybody thought it was over," he said. "A great performance against Ghana, today we played all or nothing. The moment we lost 4-0 we knew we had to win two games. In the end the goal difference made a difference and we can only blame ourselves for that."
Serbia dominated first half possession and continually opened up the Socceroos defence with some superb diagonal balls across the pitch. Australia had its heart in its mouth when Milos Krasic got the better of David Carney and surged inside the 18-yard box where Schwarzer narrowed the angle, forcing the winger to balloon his shot over. Schwarzer pulled off a world-class one-hand save to deny Branislav Ivanovic after he'd been found free inside the area. Australia's first chance came on 31 minutes when Brett Emerton and Mark Bresciano combined with the latter's cross headed wide by Tim Cahill. The Socceroos were let off the hook again when towering striker Nikola Zigic flashed a header wide from 6-metres after meeing an Ivanovic cross.
Bresciano forced two good saves out of Vladimir Stojkovic within minutes of eachother as Australia came into the game after the break. Verbeek made a match-changing double substitution in the 66th minute, bringing on attackers Scott Chipperfield and Brett Holman. Three minutes later Cahill showcased his ability to out-jump the defence, getting above Nemanja Vidic to head in a Luke Wilkshire centre. Australian dreams were then truly circling when Holman rampaged down the middle of the park and unleashed a thunderbolt from distance into the bottom corner. A shellshocked Serbia regrouped and on 84 minutes Pantelic pulled a goal back after Schwarzer spilled Zoran Tosic's long-range effort. Pantelic lifted high a clear chance that would have put Serbia in the next round, while at the other end Josh Kennedy and Jason Culina both had opportunities to increase the lead.
LOSS TO GERMANY KILLED US: VERBEEK
Outgoing Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek said he hadn't stopped thinking about the four goals conceded against Germany in the opening game of the World Cup which ultimately cost Australia their place in the finals. After bowing out of the tournament despite a 2-1 victory over Serbia, Verbeek described the four goals as "fatal" to Australia's tournament. "This is not the first day I'm thinking about that," he said. "In the end the goal difference made the difference and we can only blame ourselves for that. But, it happens in life. From the 25 games we played, I think we played one poor game and that was against Germany ... it cost us a lot."
Verbeek praised his side's determination to turn their fortunes around but was disappointed he had not achieved his goal to make the round of sixteen. "It was a great result and a great performance (against Serbia), but we are not in the final sixteen," said Verbeek. "That was the plan when we came to South Africa, but it didn't work out that way and I cannot blame any one of the players, who worked very hard last week when everybody else thought it was over."
Tim Cahill, whose magnificent header put Australia in front after 69 minutes, rated the win over Serbia as one of the highlights of his career. "I am proud to be part of this team. The odds were against us after the Germany game. Four points in a competition like this was exceptional and we were unlucky not to go through," said Cahill. "We were just out there to win the game. It was all up it the air tonight and the positive is that we have won … we have been up against it - our own media have been hammering us - but tonight we were fantastic."
Socceroos captain Lucas Neil couldn't hold back tears when the whistle blew in Nelspruit. He said he was disappointed with the way Australia started the tournament, but believed the team could depart with their heads held high. "Let's be honest, we took on an amazing team tonight," he said. "We rode our luck a bit in the first half. A lot of people said Serbia was the dark horse of the tournament. The way we represented ourselves and the country ... but it still hurts."
DIANELLA TAKING IT ONE GAME AT A TIME: GRIFFITHS
Back-to-back wins may have re-ignited Dianella White Eagles' hopes of a top-three finish but they're not about to get ahead of themselves. Midfielder Ian Griffiths says the club are determined to use successive defeats of Ashfield as a springboard to a strong second half of the season, albeit one game at a time. "Right now we're not looking any further than the next game, that's always the most important match of the season and I think that's how it needs to be," said Griffiths. "We've played half a season now and we know that there are no easy games in this league."
Dianella consolidated their spot in the top half of the table with Saturday's thrilling 4-3 win against Ashfield. "We're obviously happy with the final result but it probably glossed over a few cracks in our game," commented Griffiths, whose team went ahead early via Dale Wingell. "But a five minute lapse late in the first half allowed Ashfield to score twice against the run of the play, then they added a third in the first minute of the second half to leave us little shell-shocked. So to get three goals and the win was very satisfying and showed what we are about as a team. We had to dig deep and roll our sleeves up and we did exactly that."
Although happy to be in sixth position, Griffiths rues injuries to key players that have robbed Dianella of a higher placing. "There's no denying we should be sitting higher in the table. At the start of the season we thought third was more than achievable with the squad we had," explained Griffiths. "But injuries hit us hard early on, we lost Vas Kalogeracos before we started, Stefan Smiljanic after the first round and Josh Wade a couple of weeks after - all three were a big part of the side and they've been a massive loss for us. If we had these players fit I think we could've been looking at challenging for the title but that's football."
>From what Griffiths has seen so far it'll be either Bayswater City or Bunbury Forum Force who'll be crowned champions come September. "It's definitely a two-horse race between those two, and things will start to get interesting over the next few weeks," said Griffiths. "Bayswater are the best side that we've come up against, with players like Damien Catalano, Anthony McStea, Cesar Gonzales and Gus Maralunda they'd cause plenty of problems for teams in the Premier League. In saying that, Bunbury seem to have their measure at the moment and don't struggle to find the back of the net themselves."
Griffiths battled injury for much of last season and is only now beginning to hit peak form. "I'm just happy to be injury free at the moment. I missed pretty much most of last season with a Tendonitis problem that has thankfully cleared up," he explained. "To be really honest, I haven't been overly happy with my form this season. Maybe I'm just being my own biggest critic, but I don't feel the Dianella coaching staff or supporters have seen the best of me yet - and that is something I'm working on putting right going into the second half of the campaign."
Last week's win over Ashfield was the start of an important three-game home run in which Dianella host Wanneroo City then Morley Windmills. "These next couple of weeks are vital for us," said Griffiths. "Morley definitely deserved at least a share of the points last time round and we're well aware of what they're capable of. As for Wanneroo, we've already proved we have what it takes to beat them but it looks like we'll be coming up against a much improved outfit this time around so we'll need to be at our best."
It's third-placed Wanneroo that visits Dianella Reserve this Saturday. "They seem to have come out of nowhere haven't they - seven wins from eight games is a fantastic achievement and there's no doubt this will be a tough assignment for us," admits Griffiths. "I would say the physicality and organisation of this Wanneroo side is their key strengths, we needed to fight for the full 90 minutes last time round and I expect Saturday to be no different. Anyone who comes down is guaranteed to see a full-blooded encounter with both teams desperate for the win ... and the chevups are probably the best they'll taste in WA, so you really can't lose!"
UPBEAT EMERTON TIPS SOCCEROO REVIVAL
Brett Emerton has dismissed worries that Australia will be weary for this evening's final group game with Serbia after playing 100 minutes of the World Cup with only ten men. The sending off of Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell left the rest of the Socceroos to do the work of eleven men against Germany and Ghana so keeping all eleven players on the park for 90 minutes may just tip the scales in the Socceroos favour against Serbia. "If we can play a game with eleven men, we will probably feel like we're running on air," Emerton said. "I think physically the team's in very good shape, all the boys have worked exceptionally hard coming into this World Cup, so I can't see that being a problem."
While Australia must beat Serbia by a sizeable margin, their progression depends largely on the outcome of the Germany-Ghana game. However, the possibility the Socceroos will to score more than once won't alter how they approach the game. "We won't go gung-ho, we will still have a strategic plan and obviously, we'll be looking to win the game and hopefully Ghana can come up with an upset against Germany," Emerton said. "I've done the calculations plenty of times. We've all talked about the different scenarios. It's still possible. Germany could beat Ghana by three or four and that means we can beat the Serbs by one or two. It's still mathematically possible and we'll give it our best shot. If we get the win, we can walk away with our heads held high."
THORNLEY’S MAGIC START TO VICTORIAN LIFE
John Thornley's decision to join Victorian Premier League club Altona Magic has reaped the gangly striker instant rewards. Three goals in as many games have confirmed to Thornley that his instincts were correct in making the move east a month ago. "It's been a great start for me at the club, scoring three goals in my opening three games plus having a hand in making a few others," Thornley told footballwa.net. "They are a great bunch of lads at Paisley Park and some great technical players, everyone has made me feel really welcome."
Thornley's opportunity to play for Altona came about through former Perth Glory goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. "I've kept in touch with Tommi for a while and he spoke to me how Altona were struggling in front of goal and were looking for a striker," said 23-year old Thornley, who played alongside Tomich on the local stage at Western Knights. "I spoke to (Altona) president, Bill Nikolovski, and in few days I decided to make the move over and give it a shot."
Although Altona are currently towards the foot of the table, Thornley is in no doubt them can move away from the relegation zone. "There are some great players at the club and Altona are back-to-back Top Five Champions, but the president left last year along with the money and several players," said Thornley. "This season has been disappointing with us sitting near the bottom but we are improving and hope to make a late run for a play-off spot, relegation would be a total disaster."
Altona are coached by former Australian Schoolboys international and two-time VPL Golden Boot winner Sash Becvinovski, who Thornley has the utmost respect for. "Sash is a great coach. He only stopped playing a few months ago but was a great footballer in his day and (Altona) players respect that," commented Thornley. "At training when he joins in he looks a different class, even at 38. But the way he conducts training and runs the football club is very professional."
Thornley says he's not surprised at how popular Victoria's top flight is amongst West Australian footballers. "In my opinion the VPL is a better standard," said Thornley, who is joined in Victoria by Scott Bulloch, Jeff Bright (both Dandenong Thunder), Josip Magdic (Melbourne Knights), Jerry Karpeh (Oakleigh Cannons) and Tomich (Altona). "There are a lot of quality players, the pace is a lot quicker and most of the players are bigger, stronger and faster. If you make a mistake you will get punished," Thornley explained.
Ultimately, Thornley is hoping a strong season with Altona can lead to an opportunity to take his game into the A-League. "There are always scouts at the games all the time, and just before I arrived an Altona player was signed by new A-League side Melbourne Heart," said Thornley, who attended English trials with Birmingham City a few years back. "It's something I'd always consider but I'm just take things one step at a time. There are a number of quality strikers in the VPL and I know it will not be easy."
LAZARIDIS OUR BEST EVER
Few will be surprised to learn Socceroo Stan Lazaridis has been voted the best footballer to come out of Western Australia. Lazaridis, capped 60 times at 'A' level by Australia, finished well out in front with 35% of the vote in the footballwa.net poll which asked 'Who do you consider Western Australia's greatest ever player?' Perth Glory legend Bobby Despotovski (19%), goalkeeper Robert Zabica (16%) and one-time Australia captain Gary Marocchi (12%) occupied the minor placings. The field was completed by defensive pillars of strength Robbie Dunn (6%) and Shaun Murphy (5%) along with stars of yesteryear Ron Adair (4%) and John McInroy (3%). Almost 200 votes were cast during the eleven day polling period.
TWO FROM TWO FOR GLORY
Perth Glory made it two wins in as many pre-season games with a 3-1 victory against Gold Coast United in Newman on Sunday. Cheered on by an appreciative crowd of more than 3000 fans at Boomerang Oval, an experimental Glory line-up proved far too strong for their A-League rival. “It was a great hit-out and the team did well”, was the reaction of assistant coach Ian Ferguson. “The players showed a good attitude and it was also good to see the younger players do well in the second half.”
Former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski opened the scoring in the 24th minute from the penalty spot after he was fouled inside the 18-yard box by Matt Osman. It became two-nil just minutes later when Anthony Skorich headed in a cross from Sterjovski. It was Skorich's turn to be provider in the 71st minute, the younsters setting up youth team trialist Jesse Makarounas to score his third goal in two games for the club. Gold Coast grabbed a consolation goal seven minutes from the end through Ben Halloran.
REFEREE RIGHT TO SEND OFF KEWELL SAYS LENNIE
Italian referee Roberto Rosetti was "100 per cent correct" in his decision to send off Harry Kewell, according to one of Australia's most respected referees. Eddie Lennie, who officiated at the 1998 World Cup, said Rosetti had no choice but to issue a red card to Kewell for handball on the goal line in Australia's weekend draw with Ghana. The result has given Australia renewed hope of reaching the knockout rounds but they will have to beat Serbia on Wednesday without Kewell, who has been banned for one match, and Craig Moore, who is also suspended after picking up two yellow cards.
The Socceroos were united in their condemnation of Rosetti's decision to show Kewell a red card, but Lennie says they don't have legitimate grounds for complaint. "I've heard all the interviews with the guys and I've listened to what they've said but at the end of the day the referee was 100 per cent correct," Lennie said. "He handled the ball, preventing a goal being scored, and that means it's a red-card offence. Some of them are trying to say he stood there and the ball hit his arm. He didn't just stand there. He put his arm there. He actually moved his arm and dropped his shoulder and that's handball."
Lennie is an Asian Football Confederation referee assessor and instructor, as well as the referee development manager for Football West. He said Kewell's movement towards the ball meant there would be only one outcome once it had struck his arm and been deflected away from the goal. Lennie also said the former Leeds United and Liverpool winger would have been spared a send-off had the ball continued into the net after hitting his arm. "Had the ball struck his arm and gone in the goal it would've only been a yellow card because it wouldn't have prevented a goal. But because he stopped it, it's a red card," Lennie said.
QUALIFYING IS OUT OF OUR HANDS: VERBEEK
Pim Verbeek admits Australia's hopes of progressing to the second round of the World Cup are effectively out of the Socceroos' hands following yesterday's 1-1 draw with Ghana. The result leaves the Socceroos bottom of Group D after two matches with just one point and a goal difference of minus four as a consequence of an opening game mauling from Germany. Australia must not only beat Serbia on Wednesday to have any chance of making it to the last sixteen but also hope for a favour from the Ghana-Germany match. A Ghana victory would mean Australia's goal difference would become irrelevant and it would only have to beat Serbia, however, a Germany victory or a draw would mean Australia would have to win big to make up for their poor goal difference.
Verbeek admitted it was not an ideal situation for Australia to be in heading into its final game in which it will regain Tim Cahill from suspension, but will be without Harry Kewell and Craig Moore through suspension. "We really had to win this game to at least keep our destiny in our own hands. Now it partly depends on the result of Germany against Ghana and it's clear if Ghana beats Germany and we beat Serbia we would be in the next round," said Verbeek, who expects Germany to get the better of Ghana. "And if Germany beats Ghana then we probably have to score four goals (against Serbia) so that is the way it is - that is the reality."
But at least Verbeek could take comfort from a much improved showing against Ghana following Australia's dismal effort to open the tournament against Germany. "We did everything to win the game and we had some very good chances even with ten players," he said. "It was another tough game but I think it was a fantastic performance from our players and we played for 70 minutes with ten players (yet still hung on for a draw). I think the players reacted very well after the loss to Germany and they did a great job and now they have to do another great job in four days time against Serbia."
KEWELL SEES RED AS SOCCEROOS DRAW WITH GHANA
Australia’s World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread following a drama-filled 1-1 draw with Ghana at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium. The controversial red carding of Harry Kewell midway through the first half, which was further punished when Asamoah Gyan converted the resulting penalty, overshadowed a strong Socceroos performance in which Brett Holman had given them into an early lead. The draw left Australia on one point, trailing Ghana (4 points), Germany and Serbia (both 3 points) with one match each still to play. A win against Serbia on Wednesday might be enough for the Socceroos to advance to the quarter-finals depending on the result between Germany and Ghana on the same night.
Australia had the lead after 11 minutes when Mark Bresciano’s free-kick was spilled by goalkeeper Richard Kingson and Holman steered in the rebound to make it one-nil. After a shaky start, Ghana began to work their way into the contest and Andre Ayew then Gyan had shots deflected away by Lucas Neill. Controversy erupted in the 25th minute when Roberto Rosetti deemed Kewell had used his arm to block Jonathan Mensah’s goal bound strike and duly sent off the Socceroos striker. To run salt into the wound, Gyan sent Mark Schwarzer the wrong way from the spot to bring the teams level. Kevin Prince Boateng’s shot in the closing moments of the half produced an excellent save from Schwarzer.
After the break Gyan tested Schwarzer twice in ten minutes before supplying a low cross which Kwadwoi Asamoah just failed to make contact with. The arrival of Josh Kennedy and Scott Chipperfield swung the game back in Australia’s favour. Chipperfield headed over the crossbar just minutes after coming on, and in the 71st minute set-up Luke Wilkshire who, with only the ‘keeper to beat, blasted into Kingson with Kennedy failing to capitalise on the rebound. Brett Emerton fired a free-kick go over the crossbar, while substitute Nikita Rukavytsya looked set to score before his challenge on Kingson was ruled too robust.
KNIGHTS GO CLEAR AT THE TOP (by David Cameron, Football West)
Western Knights claimed a priceless three points to go top of the Premier League with today's 1-0 defeat of Floreat Athena at Nash Field. A goal from defender Stuart Ferguson six minutes into the second half was all that separated the teams at the end of the afternoon and provide the Knights a three-point buffer at the summit of the table. "I was delighted with the way we played and I thought we deserved the victory today," said Knights coach Paul Price. "We created a good amount of chances in the first half and perhaps could have scored a few more but we didn't want to commit too many players forward and get caught on the break."
In an entertaining first half both teams justified their positions on the table by playing attractive, attacking football. Floreat almost went ahead on 4 minutes when Jovo Pavlovic's powerful downward header from a corner looked goal bound but the Knights had a man stationed on the line and were able to clear. David Micevski's delightful through ball in the 16th minute was into the path of Stuart Montgomery but goalkeeper Alex Dunn was out quickly to narrow the angle and defuse the danger. The Knights were unfortunate not to go ahead through David Price's vicious 22-metre drive that was pushed wide by Dunn at full-length. And shortly before the interval Montgomery played in Van Dongen but his shot was also palmed away by Dunn.
The second half had been under way six minutes when the Knights got the goal they deserved when Anthony Campbell nodded down a high corner played to the back post and, after a brief scramble, Ferguson poke the ball in from close-range. Floreat responded to going a goal behind by maintaining possession for lengthy periods, however, the visitors found it tough to break down a stubborn Knights defence. This was underlined on 67 minutes when Branimir Mikulic found space inside the 18-yard box but both his initial and follow-up shots were desperately blocked. In a tense finish Floreat had a good penalty claim dismissed by referee Steven Gregory after Mikulic was taken down from behind.
FOUR STAR STIRLING CRUSH ARMADALE (by Jona Turle, Football West)
A hat-trick from striker Mario Marcinko and a wonder strike by Ludovic Boi inspired Stirling Lions to a 4-0 thrashing of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. The win promotes Stirling into third place and just three points behind top of the table Western Knights. Ian Cowan, assistant coach at Stirling, said Marcinko's improved performance was down to building up his confidence. "Once he go the first one you could see his confidence growing, and as a striker your hunger grows the more you score - and his third goal was just out of this world," Cowan said.
Stirling quickly settled into their rhythm and dictated play through neat passing and utilisation of the full width of the pitch. Marcinko bagged his first with a neat finish after a lovely through ball by Boi in the 10th minute. The game took an interesting turn just after the half hour when Stirling captain Shane Robinson succumbed to injury, leading Boi to switch to the playmaker role in the centre of the park. Armadale piled on the pressure for the remainder of the half but the closest they’d come to scoring was a Steve Porter free-kick that curled into the upright.
Boi double his teams lead four minutes after the restart with a stunning strike from 25-metres that gave Cyril Sharrock no chance. The margin flew out to three goals in the 64th minute when Roberto Lujan delivered a superb cross onto the head of Marcinko, who nodded in his second of the afternoon. Armadale continued to search for a way back into the game but there’d be few opportunities against a defence marshalled by Jason Gavin. The icing was put on the cake five minutes from the end when Stef Frost put a cross in behind the defence which Marcinko brilliantly volleyed past the stranded goalkeeper.
Armadale coach Brad Hassell was philosophical about the loss, saying the better team on the day had won. "They've played a pretty damn good game there - they had eleven players who were running all over it, pressing us," he said. "I thought we matched them in the first half, but went in a goal down - and credit to Stirling - they had one of those days where every chance they had they definitely buried." The Reds best chances throughout the afternoon came via set-pieces with their twin towers Steven McDonald and Michael Ord threatening at times.
SORRENTO CONTINUE PERTH'S MISERY (by Chris Correia, Football West)
The race for the regular season honours has intensified after a strong Sorrento outfit dispatched Perth SC 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. An early goal from Adam Hayton was cancelled out by new Perth striker Kyle Moran to keep the teams level at the end of 45 minutes. But just minutes into the second half Billy Quinncroft secured a deserved away team victory by tapping in after James Morgan’s shot came back off the crossbar. Sorrento remain in fifth place on the table, four points clear of sixth-placed Balcatta, while Perth’s third successive league loss slips them down to fourth.
It took Hayton only 7 minutes to take the game by the scruff of the neck, the import striker beating four defenders to weave his way into the 18-yard box and slot into the bottom right corner past goalkeeper Devon Spence. Sorrento went close to doubling their advantage when Quinncroft’s volley on the turn was kept out by the fingertips of Spence. A long ball out of midfield at the other end found Moran who surged forward before beating ‘keeper Curtis Aspden in a one-on-one after 15 minutes. Spence’s nervous start to the day got even worse when his attempted clearance struck the back of Sorrento’s Ryan Jeans and rebounded just wide of the goal. This seemed to spark Perth into life as the first half drew to a close Hayden Doyle, Dom De Felice and Moran all had chances to net.
With Trevor Morgan’s half-time speech still fresh in their ears, Sorrento came out firing and it was James Morgan who set-up their second goal when his long-range effort hit the bar and ricocheted down onto the goal line where Quinncroft tapped into the net. Perth’s woes were compounded when experienced defender Aaron Cole was forced out of the game by injury shortly after. The latter stages saw Jeans have a goal disallowed and Ryan Sheppard test Spence from close-range. David Onoforo and Antonio Naglieri had good chances to bring Perth level but Aspden proved to be the star for Sorrento, pulling off amazing saves time after time to secure his side the three points.
MANDURAH COME FROM NOWHERE TO WIN (with Andrew Harris, Football West)
Mandurah City snatched a dramatic victory by scoring three times in the final ten minutes to see off a dominant ECU Joondalup 4-1 at the Hyundai Stadium. Late goals from Andy Brown, Ivan Zuvela and substitute Christian Paschkewitz allowed Mandurah to come from nowhere to complete a true Jekyll and Hyde performance, much to the delight of coach Stuart Young. "With fifteen minutes to go we were beginning to hope we could hold on for a point as we have had to do for most of the season," he said. "To finish so strongly with (Rafael) Insaurralde setting up two goals was what we needed. We took over after 75 minutes and it is reflected in the scoreboard today."
Joondalup enjoyed the bulk of possession in a lively opening period what had both teams fashioned a few half-chances. The best of these came when Brown sent a pass through to Sean Dash but he fired past the target in the 16th minute. A speculative shot from near the half way line gave Mandurah a surprise lead after 28 minutes, Lloyd Johnstone’s lofted effort looked like providing Andy Petterson a regulation high save, however, as the goalkeeper landed on the ground the ball spilled from his hands and bounced into the net. In the minutes leading into half time Garin Collins and Jon Higgins worked tirelessly to bring Joondalup level. Collins played through to Ryan McDarby but his hurried shot was cleared off the line, and shortly after the midfielder found Higgins whose drive was dangerously close.
Robbie Hamm slammed a fierce strike from 18-metres against the crossbar just minutes into the second half to make clear Mandurah weren't about to settle for a one-goal lead. Jon Higgins should have done better that blast wide from 6-metres following a neat Joondalup attack that had the ball channelled through Chris Wylie, Scott Blackmore, Jamie Watt and Dan Allen. Parity was restored in the 64th minute by Watt, who gave Phil Straker no chance with a crisp close-range shot after getting on the end of Charlie Comyn-Platt’s long ball played from inside his own half. Straker was called upon to save at point blank range from Collins as Joondalup piled on the pressure for the next ten minutes.
Young had seen enough and in the 75th minute introduced Insaurralde, followed soon after by Pashkewitz. Mandurah hit the front with just eight minutes left on the clock as Brown ghosted inside the area, rounded a couple of defenders and fired in from 7-metres. Referee Hugh Best was pointing to the spot three minutes later following a hand ball, up stepped Zuvela who made no mistake. Mandurah were now two up but there weren’t yet finished. Another counter attack in stoppage time had Insaurralde passed across to Pashkewitz, who slipped on the heavy ground but had enough time to recover and convert an easy chance.
INGLEWOOD CLIMBS OFF BOTTOM (by Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
A blistering opening half hour that reaped two-goals laid the foundations for Inglewood United to claim a 2-1 home win over Balcatta. Goals by Jake Geddes and Ryan Clarke highlighted Inglewood’s brilliant start and pushed the club off the bottom of the Premier League table, albeit by only one point. “We have had a tough season but it was a good win for the club,” said midfielder Michael Baczynski, who hopes the win can be the catalyst for a surge up the ladder for Inglewood. “There has been a trend where we play well for a half and then drop off and that happened again today but at least we were able dig deep and survive.”
Slick early passing by Inglewood was rewarded in the 10th minute when Geddes calmly chipped over goalkeeper Bobson Koroma for a deserved opening goal. Shane Pryce’s men continued to control the tempo with Baczynski show-casing his considerable skills and Clarke dominating on the left wing. Inglewood doubled their lead on the half hour when Aaron Colli’s a cross was spectacularly half-volleyed by Clarke into the back of the net. But the game was turned on its head moments before half time when a collision between Geddes and Jack Clisby saw the former exit the game suffering concession.
Inglewood looked flat after the break, the home team lacking confidence and attempting to defend their two-goal lead instead of finishing the game off. This shifted the momentum to Balcatta who mounted a flurry of attacking drives through Matt Italiano and Corey Wiltshire. After peppering the goal, Balcatta’s hard work paid off in the 76th minute when Italiano snuck in behind the defence and slammed past Oliver Taseski to set-up a nail biting finish. But sterling defensive efforts by Rikki Smith and Danny Stoitis ensured Inglewood would hang on for a memorable victory.
TEN-MAN COCKBURN DRAW WITH SWAN (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
Swan United and Cockburn City played a 1-1 draw in the six pointer of the round at the Swan Italian Club. A goal to Adrian Webster in the first half was cancelled out minutes later by Trent Wood, the result leaving Cockburn coach Tony Castiello happy but disappointed at the same time. "Not disappointed in the boys effort today, even after the sending off we had the greater chances and could have stolen it at the end," said Castiello, who had Jason Dos Santos dismissed midway through the second period. "We still need another twelve points after the other results that have come in today, but today was just another step towards that."
Cockburn started the better and five minutes in Webster should have done better than shoot wide from 17-metres. The visitors had the early run of play but Marc Anthony also pulled the ball well wide of the target. Swan responded and twice went close to claiming the lead, James Sammut firing narrowly wide before a Trent Wood effort was cleared off the line. On 32 minutes Jason Dos Santos and Anthony combined to set-up Webster who long-range effort bounced awkwardly in front of Hugo and into an empty net. Nine minutes later, the games team were level when Wood’s close-range effort went in via the post after being teed-up by Sammut.
After the break Cockburn could have snatched the lead when Anthony Pereira’s effort was just the wrong side of the post after great work again by Webster. A booming goal kick by Dejan Aleksic on 53 minutes put Rory Feely through one-on-one but the young striker sent his shot across the face of goal. Despite the sending off of Jason Dos Santos on 57 minutes, Cockburn continued to create the greater chances and with just three minutes remaining Pereira’s shot from 5-metres was brilliantly saved by Hugo. Cockburn again threatened late with Aaron Dos Santos’s cutting the ball back to substitute Shane Nunes who lifted high of the crossbar from only a few metres out.
BUNBURY FORCE THEIR WAY BACK TO SUMMIT (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
David Rodgers scored twice to lead Bunbury Forum Force to a 3-2 victory over Division One title rivals Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Gary Mayers, coach of Binbury, was delighted with the result after his side had gone down at home to Bayswater the previous week. "We were really ready for this one and the boys were fantastic. This was a game we needed to win if we want to win the league, a draw wouldn't have been good enough because they're not going to lose too many more games," said Mayers, whose team are now three points clear of Bayswater.
Neither goalkeeper had much to do in a quiet opening quarter-hour, although Bayswater’s Giannia Papalia did have to stretch to reach a wayward backheader from George Tchami. Moments later an Oliver McGee long throw found its way through to Kieran Kavanagh but the Bunbury player's shot lacked power and didn't trouble Papalia. Kavanagh made amends in the 23rd minute by cutting the ball back from the byline for Rodgers to brilliantly steer it into the top right corner. Carlos Lopez and Custavo Marulanda both fired straight at Ryan Montgomery from distance as Bayswater sought to reply.
Bayswater's plight got worse in the 31st minute when Bunbury captain Patrick Quinn robbed a hesitant defence and held off an opponent before slotting the ball under the advancing Papalia. The home team were back in the contest seven minutes later when referee Steve Knight awarded a penalty after a tangle on the left side of the box, Catalano making no mistake from the spot. Rodgers saw an angled shot tipped over by Papalia, while at the other end Cisco Jorquera and Marulanda combined well with the latter firing wide of the near post from an acute angle.
Bunbury made a dream start to the second half, Quinn taking the ball to the byline before cutting back to Rodgers who was left with the simple task of tapping in from four yards. A thrilling contest took another turn in the 67th minute when Bunbury defender Jordan Rispen was shown a straight red card following an off-the-ball incident that left Marulando on the ground holding his head. Bayswater upped the tempo and they cut the deficit back to a single goal with nineteen minutes remaining, Diamondstar arrowing in a low drive on the end of a short corner move. The home team pressed hard for an equaliser but were lucky not to concede again when Quinn picked out substitute Seb Bell who was unable to hit the target.
ELSEWHERE IN DIVISION ONE (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
Fremantle Spirit all but secured their Division One status for another season with a solid 4-1 win over strugglers Queen Park at Coker Park. It was all plain sailing for the visitors who went into half time one-nil up through Caleb Aquino then had Cameron Hayes bag a brace to which Michael De Souza adde to seal victory. The hosts secured a late goal through a Clint Brown penalty but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Forrestfield United kept their promotion hopes alive with a resounding 7-1 defeat of Rockingham City at Hartfield Park. An early goal to Lewis Costley was cancelled out five minutes later by Josh Senior with the teams going in on equal terms at half-time. However, a second half hat-trick by Jamie Burns, a brace to Jordan Hart and a single to Andy Harold left Rockingham with many more questions than answers and sitting bottom of the table.
Gosnells City recent bad form continued when whipped 5-0 on home soil by Wanneroo City. A first half brace to Brian Cairney and singles to Dean Timmings, Brad McDonald and Jonathan McGahern after the turnaround elevated Wanneroo up to third, just five points behind pacesetters Bunbury. However, things aren't quite so rosey at Gosnells who've tumbled down to fifth having won only once in five weeks.
Relegation stricken Ashfield threw away a two-goal lead to crash 4-3 at Dianella White Eagles. The hosts struck early through Dale Wingell only to for Scott Mcllroy (2) and Steven Cowbrough to swing the game in the visitors favour. Goran Radinovic and an own goal levelled the score before Wingell converted a last minute penalty to complete a hard-fought comeback.
The Sunday game saw Morley Windmills get the better of Canning City 2-1 at Willetton Reserve. Goals either side of the break from Blaz Radonic and import Steven Larkin gave the visitors a two-nil lead with Canning's consolation being a stoppage time penalty converted by Andy Pygrum. The result leaves Canning winless in their last three games, something coach Billy Russell will want to turn around sooner rather than later.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The Premier League's top two teams, Western Knights and Floreat Athena, lock horns in tomorrow's feature game at Nash Field. Fresh from defeating Sorrento - where Daniel Trim scored a stunner - the Knights stocks have been bolstered by the return of David Price and David Annall, however, creative midfielder Daniel Micevski remains sidelined by injury. Floreat, too, have injury concerns with Adam Bachiller and Dean Apelgren still a few weeks away whereas Callum Roberts is slowly nearing full fitness.
Perth SC will be out to end a three-game losing streak when they host Sorrento at Dorrien Gardens. Those losses have slipped Perth from top to third and with Ian McMurray, Greg Sharland and first-choice goalkeeper Luke Martino still missing the job doesn't get any easier for coach Graham Normanton. Danny Cain, Todd Harnwell and Jason Mirco turned in solid performances last week but need to lift a notch if Sorrento are to remain in fifth place at the completion of this round.
It'll be a depleted Stirling Lions outfit that journeys east to Armadale. Star striker Paul Arnold is attending trials with A-League club Newcastle Jets while there are injury clouds over Jason Gavin and Stef Frost, tempting coach Paul Lincoln to bring former Dunfermline Athletic player Scott Muirhead straight into the fist eleven. Mandurah City's third successive home game has them up against ECU Joondalup, where Ryan McDarby and Andy Brown put their hands up for selection with strong Reserve team outings last week.
Inglewood United have a lengthy list of absentees for their home game with Balcatta. Definitely unavailable are import midfielder Karl O'Reilly, Dannie Richman and Danny Kovacevic (all injured) while there's also doubt over Jason Colli and Aaron Colli. Balcatta will be missing Lucas Whitehouse, Julian Piromalli (both overseas), Michael Black and Mark Walsh (injury). Trent Wood and Brendan Knox are back for Swan United' home game with Cockburn City, where new import Ross Edwards and Anthony Pereira came into the squad. All six Premier League games start at 3.00pm on Saturday.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
The top two clash between Bayswater City and Bunbury Forum Force is the undisputed Division One match of the round at Frank Drago Reserve. Gustavo Marulanda scored twice to secure Bayswater three vital points last weekend in Bunbury, and with Damien Catalano and Cesar Gonzalez in top form they'll be confident of again getting a result. Bunbury's hopes of bouncing back from that flat performance hinges on local products Patrick Quinn and David Rodgers as well as import pair Jordan Rispin and Oliver McGee.
Wanneroo City can consolidate a top-three spot by winning at Gosnells City, who've won just once in four games. Dale Wingell will be looking to inspire Dianella White Eagles to victory again when Ashfield visit Dianella Reserve. Rockingham City have performed better away from home so are hopeful of getting a result at Forrestfield United. Home team Queens Park will be going all out to overturn last weeks loss at Fremantle Spirit and put a bit of distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Burrendah Reserve is the place to be on Sunday afternoon for what promises to be a cracking encounter between Canning City and Morley Windmills. Daniel Trevisiol was instrumental in last week's thrilling draw and will once again figure prominently for Canning, along with recent signing Jay Bonser and livewire attacker Solomom Onyuku. The influence of Tony Griffiths, Ibnen Charming and veteran Aaron Moschopolous will go a long way to determining whether Morley can pick up just their second away win of the winter.
SUPPORTERS THE KEY TO ROCKINGHAM'S SURVIVAL
The future of the Rockingham City Football Club rests with local supporters, according to executive officer Tony Solin. Appointed to run the club by Rockingham City Council last month, Solin urged supporters to turn out in force at a special general meeting next Wednesday to elect a new board. The Council took over the day-to-day running of the struggling club after a review of its financial records revealed debts in excess of $160,000. Following the review, Rockingham’s councillors voted in favour of terminating its management licence with the club and demanded that the existing board stand down.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg praised Rockingham Council for its efforts to turn around the club. "The sustainability and the future of the Rockingham City Football Club is crucial for the sport and future generations of players wanting to be involved in the game," Hugg told Brad Ricks of the 'Weekend Courier' newspaper. "With Rockingham Council having played its part, it is now up to football fans to come forward and volunteer skills, time and energy to ensure at least another 40 years of Rockingham City Football Club." The meeting will be held at the Lark Hill Sportsplex clubrooms next Wednesday, 23 June, beginning at 7.00pm.
MOORE KEEN TO MAKE AMENDS
Veteran defender Craig Moore says the Socceroos are desperate to make amends for their dismal opening performance in the World Cup against Germany when they face Ghana in a must-win match on Saturday. The six days gap between group games has given the Socceroos time to regroup and coach Pim Verbeek time to re-adjust his line-up after his controversial team selections against Germany backfired spectacularly. A win is vital against Ghana, who beat Serbia 1-0 in their opening match, to keep alive the Socceroos' hopes of making it to the knockout stages alive.
Moore believes that pressure will help the team mentally, adding the Socceroos are used to pressure situations. "There is always pressure," he said. "There was pressure on us to qualify for the World Cup and every game brings its own pressures. The first game there was pressure because you wanted to get off to a good start but now we haven't got off to a good start, there is a lot more pressure on us in this game because we know if we don't get three points we are out of the tournament."
Moore maintained Verbeek had done a good job during his two and a half years in charge of the national team. "We are not going to point fingers at anyone for the loss - it's just as a team we just didn't perform well on the day," he said. "The influence of the coach has been fantastic, he had an exceptional record in Australia in qualifying us for the World Cup. (The criticism of Verbeek) is coming on the back of one poor performance - a 4-0 defeat to Germany - which is hard to take, but now we move on to the next game."
BAYSWATER HAVE EVERYTHING TO PLAY FOR: CATALANO
Bayswater City are firmly back in the frame to lift the Division One trophy at seasons’ end with last weekend’s defeat of fellow title contenders Bunbury Forum Force. The 2-0 win put Bayswater level on points with Bunbury at the top of the leader board but, perhaps more importantly, confirmed to all at the club that they have it in them to win the league. “It’s a massive result for the club and players,” said captain Damien Catalano. “We are equal top with everything to play for. We are no longer chasing games - it’s up to us now.”
A close game in Bunbury was decided by Colombian import Gustavo Marulanda, who punished an early second half defensive lapse by scoring and then sealed victory with his second goal. “I thought we were the better side on the day and certainly deserved the three points,” said Catalano, who was unfortunate not to get on the scorecard himself. “Full credit must go to Bunbury, they fought hard and had us on the back foot the last ten minutes but thankfully we held then out.”
Bayswater entered the season as one of the title favourites and an opening round loss to Forrestfield reminded the players not to believe in their own publicity. “We came off winning the Night Series overly confident and losing to Forrestfield was a reality check,” said Catalano. “From there it’s been week-to-week, working hard at training and stringing together some great performances. The best game we have played so far was against Cockburn City in the Cup where we lost 1-0, which doesn’t mean much in the greater scheme of things.”
Last month’s deduction of three league points for having an ineligible player on the team sheet against Canning City in April served only to sharpen Bayswater’s focus. “I was shocked when it happened as it was three weeks after the game was played. What hurt most was it had no impact on the game, our substitute was not used,” said Calatano, who says the incident has had a galvanising effect on the club. “The playing group is a lot more focused to win every game left in the season.”
Catalano says Mauro Marchione, who took over as first team coach almost twelve months ago, has played a major role in Bayswater’s successes of the last few months. “Mauro has capitalised on our strengths from last season. He has assembled a well balanced side with greater depth. His football experience and knowledge are second to none,” said Calatano. “We have a great side, but more important than that, have the depth that’s needed to win promotion.”
Bayswater and Bunbury go at it again on Saturday in the return fixture at Frank Drago Reserve. “It’ll be a very tough encounter, the biggest Division One game of the year in my opinion. They’ll be hungry to redeem last weekend’s loss and recover the three-point buffer at the top,” said Catalano, who by no means considers the Division One title race a two-horse affair. “There is half a season of football remaining and anything can happen. The likes of Wanneroo City, Dianella White Eagles and Gosnells City are still in contention.”
THOMAS WANTS TO GET GULLS FLYING
The time has come for Sorrento to pull their socks up and get serious about making the end of season play-offs according to long-time midfielder Glen Thomas. The Gulls enter Saturday’s away game with Perth SC in fifth place but well aware that anything less than victory could tumble them down to eighth in a congested mid-table. “When the table is so tight it is very important to try and string a few results together,” commented Thomas. “If you can do that then you give yourself every chance of making a big move up the table, whereas if you fail to do so you are in danger of a free fall.”
Sorrento could be sitting much more comfortably on the table had they not lost their two most recent outings, to Mandurah City and Western Knights. “We simply didn’t play well against Mandurah, it wasn’t good enough full stop,” said Thomas. “But against the Knights we showed we are no pushovers for a team that have been leading the table most of the season. We need to build on that and take confidence from the fact that we are still fifth and to beat Perth would put us within four points of them.”
The loss to striker David Foster, who broke his ankle playing against Inglewood last month, has served as a reminder the why every Sorrento player must do his job on the day. “Compared to other seasons we have a fairly small first team squad this year so we feel the effects of suspensions and injuries. We have lost David for a large chunk of the season and he’s a very important player to us and the way we play,” explained Thomas. “What that means is we need all eleven players on the field to be at their best for the full 90 minutes, and unfortunately against Mandurah and to a lesser extent Western Knights we didn’t have that.”
Thomas recently wrote himself into Sorrento folklore by become the first player to make 300 starts for the club, beating captain Todd Harnwell to the milestone by a few weeks. “Todd and I both made our 300th start for the club within two or three weeks of each other so that was a nice milestone, we’re part of the furniture up on windy hill,” said Thomas. “I feel quite fortunate to have played so many games for the club, especially when I think of all the players over the years that had to give it away due to injuries. It’s a great club run by hard working honest people. So it has been nice to show a bit of loyalty to pay them back.”
Winning the Premier League three times with Sorrento rates highly for Thomas but it’s not only the on-field successes that have kept him at the club for fifteen years. “The greatest thing has been the close friends I have made at the club, the players I have played alongside - some at the end of great careers and some at the beginning that have gone on to bigger and better things,” commented Thomas. “The only trophy we haven’t won in our time there has been the Cup so there’s a bit of a long standing joke that we can finally retire once that’s in the bag - fingers crossed this year is the year!”
Sorrento’s opponent this weekend is a Perth side smarting from three successive losses. “There’s always the chance that you’ll go there (Dorrien Gardens) and get them on the bounce after a couple of bad results. But we can’t think about that, we’ll just need to go there in the right frame of mind and with the belief we can win the game,” said Thomas. “On paper they always have the best squad, they have talented players in all positions and play great football most of the time. People talk about the northern rivalry between us and Joondalup but for me the big game of the season is always against Perth.”
KEWELL DISMISSES RIFT CLAIMS
Harry Kewell has hosed down suggestions a rift has developed within the Socceroos camp in South Africa. Coach Pim Verbeek has been savaged by the Australian media and fans alike following the Socceroos four-goal loss to Germany with many criticising his tactics and the omission of experienced campaigners Kewell, Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy. Football Federation Australian chief executive Ben Buckley took the extraordinary step yesterday to summon reporters and emphatically deny that there was any team disharmony or that players were upset with Verbeek.
Buckley's position was backed up by Kewell, who says there is no ill-feeling within the team towards Verbeek. "I think people are making things up. Speculation saying that there's a rift - there is no rift," stated Kewell. "We were all disappointed to lose that game, but we are all men, we take it on the chin and we go out there and have to move on for the game against Ghana ... we are all right behind him (Verbeek), we've all got confidence in him to do the job."
Kewell has played just a couple of minutes for his Turkish club Galatasaray this year because of groin trouble but is ready to play the full 90 minutes against Ghana if called upon. "I'm as fit as I can be. I'm happy to be out here and I'm enjoying my time here. I feel good and if I'm in the team I'll do my country proud like any other player would," he said. "I'm prepared to play 90 minutes and that's what I've prepared for the last four weeks."
MEMORY OF HIS FATHER INSPIRED GARCIA (courtesy the 'West Austalian')
Richard Garcia is being driven on in his World Cup quest by the memory of his father, Javier, who passed away two years ago. Garcia became the first West Australian to play in a World Cup finals match when he took to the field in the Socceroos loss to Germany on Monday. “Since by Dad passed away things have really progressed for me,” said Garcia, who was watched from the stands by his mother Maria, brother Michael and several other family members. “I’ve played in the (English) Premiership, I’ve played for Australia and played in the World Cup and it brings a tear to my eye when I think about it. I wish he was here to watch - he would be so proud.”
A former Servite College student, Garcia left Perth as a 15-year old to join West Ham United and never wavered in his belief he would make it was a professional player. He scored in every round of the FA Youth Cup when the Hammers claimed the trophy in 1998/99 but struggled to force his way into regular first team action. Garcia moved to Colchester United before being snapped up by Hull City, who helped win promotion to the English Premier League. He finally made his Socceroos debut in 2008 against South Africa, having impressed coach Pim Verbeek with his work rate and determination.
Playing three-time World Cup winners Germany should have been the icing on the cake for 28-year old Garcia. But he admits to having mixed feelings about the achievement given the 4-0 loss has put Australia in the verge of an early exit from the tournament. “I’m very proud to think there have been so many West Australian players and I’m the first one to play in a World Cup,” he said. “It’s fantastic to play here but disappointing to get the result we got.” Former Perth Glory striker Nikita Rukavytsya came off the bench in the second half to become the second West Australian to play at the World Cup.
Garcia revealed the Socceroos had worked in training on adapting to a two-striker system in which he partnered Tim Cahill, as was deployed against Germany. “We’ve been working on it for a little while, so it wasn’t a big surprise for us that we were going to play like that,” said Garica, who plays his club football as an attacking right-sided midfielder. “We always know it was going to be difficult, we’ve just got to focus on the next two games against Ghana and Serbia.” Australia must beat Ghana on 19 June as well as Serbia four days later to progress beyond the group stage.
SCHWARZER SAYS SOCCEROOS ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO GET THROUGH
Under-fire Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek will search for a solution to Australia's attacking dilemma as the team prepares for its must-win match against Ghana in Rustenburg on Saturday. Australia are fighting to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the knockout phase after a disastrous 4-0 mauling in their World Cup opener against Germany. Despite the emphatic nature of that loss, Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer remains adamant the team can still reach the round of sixteen. "We believe we are good enough to get through - we still believe we can pick ourselves up," Schwarzer said. "We know there's a lot of work to be done but we've got enough confidence and enough ability to change things around and we've got two more games to go and for us they are two cup finals," he said. "It's a bitter start for us. We got ourselves in this position and we have to make sure we put things right, starting in the next game against Ghana."
NEWMAN TO SAMPLE A-LEAGUE
The A-League comes to Newman this weekend with Perth Glory and Gold Coast United going head-to-head in a pre-season friendly. In preparation for this season’s Iron Ore Cup battle, the two teams will travel to Newman on Friday and hold evening training sessions ahead of the match on Saturday, which starts at 7.00pm. “We seem to have built quite a rivalry with Gold Coast because both our owners are involved in the resources sector and we want to bring a good game of football to regional WA,” said Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. Glory players will also be visiting local communities on their trip to the Pilbara, with a number of activities organised with football clubs and schools in the region.
KING OF QUEENS (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Sara King has no intention of bowing out of football as she approaches her third decade in the game. Football has been King’s passion since the age of seven so when an offer came to join Women’s Premier League newcomer Bunbury Forum Force she jumped at it. “I love the buzz I get when I walk out onto the pitch and off the pitch at full time,” said King, joint winner of the 2008 Goalkeeper of the Year. “I love hearing someone say ‘yes’ thinking they have scored just before I tip it over the bar or around the post.”
It’s been a long had journey for King who has battled Compartment Syndrome her legs and the football establishment. “I had to accept that as a girl - I was about ten - I was never going to get to play in the Premier League in England for a men’s team,” said King. “When I was in Year 10 the Australian Women’s Soccer Association tried to get me and a number of girls into the AIS but we were rejected on the basis that we were female. I was completely devastated as I honestly thought we were going to be accepted as we were the cream of the crop at the time. Thank goodness this has changed.”
King has played professionally in the United States of America, where she twice gained NJCAA All-American selection with Mount Ida College, as well as for English club Arsenal. Even so, the talented goalkeeper feels she has plenty more to learn about the game she loves. “My best qualities are shot stopping, single-mindedness and directing play so I don’t have to do as much,” she joked. “I can always improve my fitness, fine tuning techniques like collecting crosses and corners and getting down low quickly.”
The current challenge King has set herself is completing 2010 with Bunbury, a club she says is brimful of potential. “We have a great team spirit, a really friendly bunch and awesome captain. I want to finish my 30th year playing and I will be very, very happy,” commented King, who admits to having one eye on life after playing. “After that I’d like to focus on coaching the younger generation - and the older one if they’ll have me - teams and goalkeepers.”
FOWLER HITS FIRST GOAL IN FRIENDLY WIN (courtesy Perth Glory)
Robbie Fowler has starred on debut, scoring once and having a hand in three others as Perth Glory beat Rockingham City 8-0 in this evening’s pre-season friendly at Lark Hill Sportsplex. More than 2000 fans braved the chilly conditions to watch Fowler apply a neat finish on 21 minutes and also create goals for Steven McGarry, Michael Baird and Branko Jelic before coming off at half-time. Jelic and Baird also looked sharp in their first match together with the Serbian striker on target twice while Baird also netted on debut for Glory.
Coached David Mitchell fielded an experimental yet attacking line-up spearheaded by Baird and Jelic with Fowler tucked in just behind the pair. McGarry controlled the tempo from the centre of midfield with Mile Sterjovski on the left and Scott Neville on the right. Josh Mitchell was in central defence along with Jamie Coyne while Joshua Risdon and Sam Mitchinson were at fullback. With Glory five-nil up by the interval, Mitchell trialed a handful of promising youngsters in the second half. Australian youth international Jesse Makarounas took his chance with two goals while Hanafi Ghazali completed the scoring.
LOWRY HAPPY TO BID FOR SOCCEROOS SPOT (courtesy the 'West Austalian')
Socceroo-in-waiting Shane Lowry is determined to kick on and claim a first international cap after the experience of a lifetime training with the Australian team in South Africa. The Aston Villa defender arrived home in Perth on the weekend in a philosophical mood after being omitted from the Socceroos final 23-player World Cup squad. “It’s been a good two or three weeks. Training has been quite tough and I’ve just come up short, just missed out,” he said. “I’m going to lie, I’m disappointed about it. But at the same time I’m delighted with my time here and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I just wish the lads the best of luck.”
Lowry represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level and until he plays a senior international match is not bound by to any federation. But after experiencing life as a Socceroo in camp in Melbourne and Johannesburg his allegiance is to the green and gold. “There’s nothing better than experiencing this. You’re in the World Cup and there’s a buzz around,” he said. “Hopefully I can experience that (in the tournament) in the future. I’ve got time on my side and if I can keep up my form and get some games under my belt back in England, then you never know what’s going to happen.”
Lowry came up through the ranks of ECU Joondalup before being snapped up by Villa. He made his competitive debut for the Midlands club in a UEFA Cup match against Rapid Vienna in August last year but it was his form on loan at Plymouth Argyle and Leeds United which caught Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek’s eye. “It’s lot tougher than people think. You’re with the game bunch of lads every day and we’ve had a tough training schedule and not too much time to ourselves,” he said of being in camp in South Africa. “On the other hand, the training has been really good and I feel I’ve improved as a player over the past three weeks.”
GERMANY GIVE SOCCEROOS A FOOTBALL LESSON
Australia's World Cup campaign is in tatters after being humiliated 4-0 by Germany in their opening group fixture at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Germans tore the aging Australian defence apart, scoring twice in each half with the early second half dismissal of Tim Cahill rubbing salt into the wounds. "The last thing you want is a goal after ten minutes so that was not the plan of course," said Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek. "We took some time to get over that and then you get a second goal quite easily and then it is a difficult game." With Ghana beating Serbia 1-0 in the other group game, the Socceroos face almost certain elimination if they lose to the African nation in their next match.
It could have been so different for the Socceroos had Richard Garcia's close-range shot on the turn not been blocked by Philipp Lahm after a 3rd minute corner caused panic in the Germany defence. That miss was compounded five minutes later when Lucas Neill kept the Germans onside, allowing Thomas Mueller to get in behind the defence and cut the ball back for Lukas Podolski to lash in, giving Mark Schwarzer no chance. Miroslav Klose made it two-nil after 27 minute by rising between Neill and Schwarzer to head in powerfully from a Lahm cross from the right.
Bad became awful for Australia in the 56th minute when referee Marco Rodriguez harshly issued Cahill a straight red card after clattering into Bastian Schweinsteiger. Chances continued to flow for Germany with Klose denied by Schwarzer and then stabbing wide minutes later. Goal number three arrived in the 68th minute, Mueller arrowing a tidy shot in off the post after getting on the end of a Podolski through ball. Brazil-born Cacau had been on the pitch just a minute when presented with a simple tuck-in from an inch-perfect pass into the box by Mesut Oezil that had the Australian defence in disarray.
CUP QUARTER-FINALS DRAWN
The quarter-final draw of the State League Cup has thrown together a number of tantalising clashes for the first weekend of July. First Division club Bunbury Forum Force will have no complaints about travelling to Swan United, whileneighbouring Balcatta and Stirling Lions meet at Grindleford Reserve. Armadale have home ground advantage against Cockburn City, and Cup holders Floreat Athena come up against Sorrento at Litis Stadium. The State league Cup quarter-finals are scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday 3 July.
GIRLS SQUADS NAMED FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (courtesy Football West)
Thirty-two of state’s best young footballers will don West Australian team colours at the upcoming National Youth Championships for Girls. WA will field teams in the Under-15 and Under-17 tournaments in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, from 6 July. The Under-15’s, coached by Tanya Oxtoby, have been drawn alongside New South Wales Metro, Queensland, Northern New South Wales and New South Wales Country. Nicola Williams, coach of the Under-17’s, will lead the side into battle against Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales Metro and Northern New South Wales.
Oxtoby, who wears the captain’s armband for Perth Glory Women during the summer months, has been impressed by the recent growth of women’s football, particularly in the younger age groups. “The selection process this year was more difficult than ever, with over 85 girls trying out in the initial stages in the 15s age group and it shows that women’s football in this state is more popular than ever,” she commented.
Williams says the Championships provide players a great pathway through to the national league and teams. “It was a really good, intense selection process that went for eight weeks and started from a squad of 30 girls,” said the Australia Under-13 team coach. “This tournament is a stepping stone for young girls to join the W-League and hopefully onto the Matildas, who are coming off the back of their Asian Cup triumph, so women’s football continues to grow.”
The Western Australia Under-15 Girls squad is Adele Jackson, Elizabeth Wimbush (Albany), Rachel Thomson (Australind), Caitlin Doeglas, Emily Hunt, Alexandra Lovelock, Nalina Valaydon (Balcatta), Mackenzie Huggins (Bayswater City), Rachael Oliver, Korien Stanbridge, Tia Stonebridge (East Fremantle), Dana Crier (Kingsley), Hope Compton, Thia Eastman, Sarah Carroll (Northern Redbacks) and Emily Salih (UWA-Nedlands).
The Western Australia Under-17 Girls squad features Catherine McCulloch, Britney Fair, Ashleigh Pania, Chelsea Evans (Balcatta), Jamie-Lee Gale (Beckenham Angels), Kimberley McCartney (Bunbury Forum Force), Annique Keisler (East Fremantle), Ebony Drane, Amy Knights, Courtney Omodei, Lauren Riley (Northern Redbacks), Rebecca Bennett (Quinns), Rayne Henry (Subiaco), Jaymee Gibbons, Sadie Lawrence and Zoe Palandri (Football West High Performance Centre).
SOCCEROOS TO GO OUT IN GROUP PHASE
The Socceroos have little chance of progressing beyond the group phase of the 2010 World Cup according to the local football community. Last week’s footballwa.net poll asked ‘How far will Australia go at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa?’ with a mammoth 64% of those who responded opting for a group stage exit. A last sixteen appearance garnered 21% of the count with 8% saying Australia can go through to the quarter-finals. 5% believe the Socceroos will be World Champions, while 1% rate our national team as either runners-up or semi-finalists. 146 votes were cast in the eleven day polling period.
I’M NOT GOING TO COVENTRY SAYS GARCIA
Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia has denied he is on the brink of a move from Hull City to Coventry City. Garcia, who is pressing for a place in Australia's starting line-up for Monday morning's opening World Cup match against Germany, dismissed a British newspaper report linking him to the Sky Blues. "I've only seen what's on the internet and in papers and stuff like that," he said. "Nothing has been said. My agent has dismissed the rumour straight away. The club hasn't come to me and said anything either. They are doing the right thing by me in not making me worry about anything. They are just letting me concentrate on the World Cup and once we come back we'll see what happens." Hull failed in their bid to remain in the English Premier League and the 'Daily Mirror' newspaper claimed Coventry was prepared to pay £500,000 for 28-year old Garcia.
FLOREAT GOES TOP WITH WIN IN MANDURAH
Floreat Athena defeated overcame a slow start to see off Mandurah City 3-0 at the Hyundai Stadium. Goals either side of the break by Branimir Mikulic and Johnny Mirco put the visitors in a commanding position before Jovo Pavlovic grabbed a late third to send Floreat to the top of the Premier League table. For Mandurah it was a harsh outcome considering they competed strongly all afternoon, however, having conceded 30 goals in thirteen games they’ll need to tighten things considerably at the back to ensure a place in next year’s top flight.
First half possession was relatively evenly shared with Mandurah fashioning by far the better chances on goal. The first arrived after 11 minutes when Robbie Hamm forced a good save out of goalkeeper Alex Dunn, and moments later Victor Insaurralde rifled across the face of goal. Andy Brown played the ball into the feet of Insaruralde who, after turning his marker opponent inside out, tore down on goal only to be thwarted by Julian Madaschi’s well timed tackle. The game was turned on its head in the 41st minute when Mikulic helped a curling corner into the net to put Floreat one-nil up completely against the run of play.
Mandurah were delivered a second blow seven minutes into the second half when James Isaia’s long thrown bounced once before Mirco, facing away from goal, headed it backwards over the ‘keeper to increase the gap. It was clear this was not going to be Mandurah day when Sean Dash fed the ball in from the right to Hamm who, with only the ‘keeper to beat, skied over the crossbar from 3-metres. The home team kept on coming and a flowing move started by Hamm resulted in Brown, Craig Young, Jesse Fuller and Insaurralde all having shots in the space of ten seconds. The game was put to bed on 84 minutes when Mirco’s corner was scrambled into the net by Pavlovic with four minutes to play left.
TRIM BRINGS DOWN THE GULLS (by Chris Correia, Football West)
A solitary Daniel Trim goal just before the interval was all Western Knights required to defeat Sorrento 1-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. The win puts the Knights level on points with top of the table Floreat Athena but trailing on goal difference, and tees-up perfectly next weekend’s showdown between the two Premier League giants. Both teams had their fair share of chances throughout the match, but it was the Knights who deserved the victory despite Sorrento hitting the woodwork.
David Micevski delivered several dangerous balls into the 18-yard box in the early stages with Anthony Campbell marshalling the left side of the park. Trim had a couple of good chances to put the visitors one-nil up when he got on the end of crosses from Montgomery and Micevski but headed each narrowly wide. Campbell then had a powerful header cleared off the line after meeting a Micevski corner. This seemed to spark Sorrento into attack and soon after Danny Cain smacked the ball into the post with a cracking shot from distance. The break through came on 43 minutes when Montgomery’s inch-perfect ball into the box found Trim who took a great touch before turning sharply to volley into the bottom corner.
The Knights came out firing again after the break with Gulls goalkeeper Curtis Aspden making a superb save to deny Montgomery. Another barnstorming Campbell run looked promising as he bustled his way into the box where Cain applied a strong tackle to snuff the chance. Sorrento substitute Kris Dennis was unlucky not the find the back of the net when ‘keeper Frazer Siddall stuck out a leg to save his goal bound shot. Micevski continued to pepper the goal and late in the piece found Montgomery who pulled a diagonal shot just wide of the far post. Not long after referee Mathew Cheeseman signalled the end of play much to the delight of the travelling fans who witnessed an entertaining contest in sunny conditions.
COCKBURN BEGIN THEIR CLIMB (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Cockburn City moved off the bottom of the Premier League table by twice coming from behind before beating Perth SC 3-2 at Dalmatinac Park. Second half goals from Rory Feely and Wesley Britz cancelled out a couple of David Onoforo strikes either side of the break before Adrian Webster had the honour of sealing Cockburn’s third league win just five minutes from the end. “I felt we dominated for about 35 of the opening 45 minutes, then fell asleep and gave them a soft goal,” said Cockburn coach Tony Castiello. “I told the lads at half time that if we kept playing the way we started, we’d get something out of the game.”
The home team created the first genuine chance when Aaron Dos Santos cut in from the right and from the edge of the 18-yard box let fly with a left-footed strike that rattled Devon Spence’s crossbar. Britz and Feely both had decent half chances before Webster fired a warning shot narrowly high of the crossbar after good interplay between Feely and Jason Dos Santos. Perth grabbed the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes when Onoforo stole in at the back post to tap in a cross that the home defence allowed to run across their 6-yard box. Onoforo nearly added a second soon after when his block on a Paul Natale ballooned up and landed on the bar.
Webster and Marc Anthony combined to terrific effect as Cockburn went on the attack after the break. A dipping 27-metres strike by Webster drew a fine save out of Spence, who not long after managed to get to an in-swinging Anthony cross just ahead of the midfielder. It was Anthony who finally opened up the Perth defence in the 58th minute when his clever through ball released Feely to fire past Spence, the shot rolling in off the post. Four minutes later Webster played a corner directly to Anthony who, on the edge of the area, connected with a sweet volley that was kept out by Spence. That save would prove even more significant just two minutes later when Cockburn switched off, leaving Onoforo unmarked to head in at a Robbie Puca corner.
A few weeks ago that would have meant game over for the home side but, as last weekend’s win over Western Knights showed, this Cockburn side is made of sterner stuff. They continued to press and in the 78th minute Britz bundled the ball into the net after Spence came off his line but misjudged a cross from he right. Cockburn went ahead seven minutes later, Anthony rolling a free-kick from the edge of the area to Webster who powered it inside Spence’s right hand post. Webster nearly sealed the victory with another in stoppage time but his effort from distance was tipped over. The points gained move Cockburn above Inglewood and out of the relegation zone, while Perth slump from one down to three.
STIRLING SUBDUES STUBBORN INGLEWOOD (by Jona Turle, Football West)
A classy finish from Ludo Boi sealed Stirling Lions a 2-1 win against a plucky Swan United outfit at Macedonia Park. Boi's opportunist strike arrived after good work down the left by Tom Ingram, and as the referee prepared to award a penalty for a foul in the 18-yard box Boi calmly slotted the loose ball into the far corner. The goal, twenty minutes from time, put Stirling in a comfortable position after Bobby Wilson had capitalised on a defensive mix-up to head a simple goal a minute before half-time.
Swan, whose hard-working display had frustrated the home team for much of the afternoon, gave the locals a scare when substitute Tom Shepheard met a near post corner with a flick header in the 76th minute, to set up a tense finish. The visitors pushed forward at every opportunity searching for an equaliser, but despite a few near misses Stirling held on for the three points which consolidates fourth place on the Premier League table.
Stirling Lions head coach Paul Lincoln said he was happy to get a win, but admitted his team hadn't played with much fluency, and struggled to get their passing game together. "But I give Swan credit for their game plan - they frustrated us and caught us napping at the back at times," he said. "We lacked good movement up front but Swan defended well and denied us time and space. It is the sign of a good team that we could get the result today, even though we weren't at our best."
HONOURS EVEN BETWEEN JOONDALUP AND INGLEWOOD (by David Cameron, Football West)
ECU Joondalup and Inglewood United played out a tough 1-1 draw at the Edith Cowan University campus in the far north. Rory Grant put Inglewood ahead from the penalty spot only to have Scott Blackmore equalise just five minutes later. Both coaches were content with the shared point with Inglewood’s Shane Pryce well aware of the task that lies ahead of his team. “We stuck to it today under some heavy pressure which I am very happy with,” said Pryce, whose team slipped to last on the twelve-team table. “Every point to us is very valuable and we have to got to fight for the next nine weeks.”
The opening ten minutes set the tone for what was to come, Joondalup comfortable in possession but quickly shut down by an Inglewood side that kept numbers behind the ball. The first genuine chance took Ryan Clarke inside the 18-yard box where he was felled by a clumsily tackle from behind, leading referee Paul Anderson to point to the spot from where Grant fired into the bottom corner. Jon Higgins orchestrated the equalising goal by floating in a cross which Blackmore glanced in past stranded goalkeeper Oliver Taseski.
The second half was a dour affair with both teams unwilling to give an inch and reluctant to commit players forward. Joondalup’s passing game deserted them as the hosts increasingly resorted to hitting long balls in search of the deciding goal. Inglewood, however, looked sharper on the ball with Clarke running at defenders and creating vital space for his team mates. The game only came to life in the final ten minutes with Joondalup closest to grabbing the win. Jamie Watt was allowed time and space to work his way into the Inglewood area before unleashing a ferocious close-range drive that was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Taseski.
ROBINSON INSPIRES ARMADALE TO VICTORY (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
James Robinson scored three and Matt Barlow two as a dominant Armadale trounced Balcatta 5-0 at Grindleford Reserve. In truth, Brad Hassell’s side could have won by an even greater margin had his players been able to make more of their chances, however, the Armadale coach wasn’t complaining. “We came out with the right attitude and that’s half the battle when you play away,” he said. “We wanted to get an early goal, that didn’t come about but we just kept pushing. One-nil at half-time and when we got the second goal, we just kicked on. At this level it’s easy to get complacent and things like that (clean sheet) are important.”
Armadale looked to be in the mood right from the outset with goalkeeper Bobson Koroma quick off his line to deny Barlow, who a few minutes later glanced a header just over the crossbar. James Robinson then headed over the top after a long thrown had been knocked on, while in the 14th minute Koroma got down smartly to save Steve Porter’s long-range free-kick. Cyril Sharrock touched wide Balcatta’s first chance, an Ashley Rosindale free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. Lewis Flatt’s snap shot didn’t clear the bar by much, then down the other end Sam Allen pounced was unable to get his first-time effort on target.
Still, it was the visitors that posed the greater danger with James Robinson firing just wide, then Barlow placed wide of the goal after being caught by surprise when a corner reached him on top of the 6-yards box. But just as it appeared frustration might be starting to get the better of Armadale, James Robinson put them ahead with a stunning 38th minute goal. The striker shrugged off his immediate opponent on the edge of the area with a superb turn then left another defender for dead before clipping past Koroma from a tight angle. Barlow was presented with a couple of chances to score Armadale another but was unable to capitalise on either.
Balcatta had the first chance of any note after the break but Matt Italiano’s drive was straight at Sharrock. Porter went much closer on 56 minutes, his free-kick crashing against the base of the post before being cleared to safety. Three minutes later James Robinson seized on Anthony Jones’ under-hit back pass before being brought down by Koroma, referee Josh Mihevc had no option but to point to the spot from where the Armadale man scored his second. Balcatta went close to pulling a goal back through a Rosindale free-kick that brought a fine low save out of Sharrock. Barlow got the goal his hard work deserved on 73 minutes, his brave near post header from a Porter cross extending the margin to three goals.
Balcatta were not yet ready to concede the game but Rosindale’s close-range header lacked power and Italiano lifted high on the end of surging run. The result was put beyond doubt in the 79th minute when James Robinson, having shown an exquisite touch to control a long ball, advanced on goal before clinically slotting past Koroma and into the bottom corner. Just two minutes were left on the clock when Tom Robinson unselfishly rolled the ball into the path of Barlow, presenting him with the simple task of tapping into an empty net. There was still time for Flatt to be denied in a one-on-one, before Sharrock athletically tipped over Rosindale’s spectacular overhead kick.
MARULANDA PUTS BAYSWATER ON TOP (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bayswater City moved alongside Bunbury Forum Force at the top of the Division One table following today's 2-0 win over their title rivals at Hay Park. A month of intense research into the Bunbury line-up paid off with Gustavo Marulanda scoring twice in the second half to earn Bayswater the points. Bayswater created the better chances in a tight first half, Damien Catalano forcing Ryan Montgomery into a superb low save early on. Catalano and Thomas Freeman went close within a minute of each other around the half hour mark, while Josh Tumoe lifted high late in the half. The home teams' only genuine chance was a free-kick that was blocked by the defence.
The second half opened with Bunbury determined to assert themselves on the game. Rory Binnie's speculative shot in the 50th minute came back off the frame of the goal with Neil Chappell unable to steer in the rebound. A defensive lapse six minutes later at the opposite end of the park gifted Bayswater the games first goal, Marulanda advancing on goal before calmly slotting past Montgomery to send the big contingent of travelling fans into hysterics. With Bunbury committing players forward in search of an equaliser, the game was put out of their reach in the 68th minute when Carlos Lopez's fine through ball was fired into the net by Marulanda. Patrick Quinn tried desperately to salvage something from the afternoon for Bunbury with a couple of late efforts, both of which Gianni Papalia saved.
MORLEY, CANNING SPLIT SIX GOALS
Morley Windmills and Canning City went away from Wotton Reserve with a point each having played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in front of a small but appreciative crowd. Irish import Tony Griffiths was able to capitalise on Morley's good early movement by drilling into the top corner after 18 minutes. Solomon Onyuku wasted a great chance to bring the teams' level by blasting high when the better option would have been to set-up team mate Simon El Chami.
Onyuku made amends for that miss in the 27th minute by slotting in at close-range following great work in the lead-up by his captain, Danny Trevisiol. With this the game really came to life and eight minutes from the break Trevisiol pounced on a ricochet to fire the visitors into the lead. However, it was to last all of three minutes before Diego Van Der Ross restored parity by beating two opponents and shooting past Stuart Delgarno from 10-metres.
The second half was equally exciting with chances at both ends of the park. Morley should have reclaimed the lead from the penalty spot but Griffiths' spot kick was brilliantly kept out by Delgarno, diving high and to his left. However, there was little the goalkeeper could do on 67 minutes when Griffiths unleashed a fierce shot that curled into the net from 25-metres. That looked to be the end of the scoring until substitute Jack Richardson headed beyond Matt Darling with just five minutes to go to snare Canning a point.
JONES OFFICIALLY WITHDRAWS FROM WORLD CUP
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones has confirmed he will not be returning to South Africa to be part of Australia’s World Cup campaign. Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek gave Jones the time he needed after learning his 4-year old son, Luca, had been diagnosed with leukaemia last Friday. “The World Cup is irrelevant for me now,” admitted Jones. “When I walked into the room and Luca smiled when he saw me, that was worth more than anything the World Cup could ever give me.” Adelaide United stopper Eugene Galekovic will replace Jones in the Australia squad.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Sorrento has home ground advantage against Western Knights in the Premier League match of the week at Percy Doyle Reserve. An opening day clash produced a tight 1-1 draw and, with both teams desperate to bounce back from league losses last week, you can be assured this will be a similarly no-holds barred encounter. What promises to be an entertaining afternoon will be won and loss in midfield where Glen Thomas and Todd Harnwell go head-to-head with David Micevski and Paul Van Dongen.
The squad depth of Balcatta will come under the spotlight when they host Armadale at Grindleford Reserve. Playing twice in three days has taken it’s on Balcatta where Adam Tong, Ashley Rosindale, Anthony Jones, Michael Black, Matt Italiano and Sam Allen are all under an injury cloud. Former Oldham Athletic striker Matt Barlow scored on debut for Armadale last week and with Tom James Robinson and Ryan Pearson providing the ammunition you have to rate highly his chances of getting a few more on Saturday.
Cockburn City go shooting for a third successive win under new coach Tony Castiello when top of the table Perth SC visits Dalmatinac Park. Darren Broxton (suspension) and John Migas (injury) will be absent when mid-table Mandurah City pits skills with Floreat Athena, who occupies second spot leading into the round. The recruitment of Darko Ilmanoski and Danny Stoitis has added some much needed experience to the Inglewood United line-up which travels north to ECU Joondalup.
Paul Lincoln is sure to have mixed feelings as he leads Stirling Lions into battle with his former club, Swan United. Goalkeeper Kevin Miller plus import pair Jason Gavin and Matthew Stares are back in contention as Stirling attempt to consolidate their status as a top four club. A Cup outing highly by a goal has strengthened Tom Shepheard’s case to be promoted to Swan’s starting line-up which is likely to be without Liam Boland, and definitely missing Brendan Knox and Trent Wood. All six Premier League games start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Games do not come much bigger that the south west showdown between Bunbury Forum Force and Bayswater City at Hay Park. Ten games into the Division One and this pair are riding high at the top of the table where Bunbury hold a slender three-point advantage. Unbeaten at home, Bunbury are the competitions highest scorers and boast the tightest defence, however, Bayswater have not been beaten in the league over 90 minutes since the first weekend in April and can not be underestimated.
There’ll also be plenty of eyes on the Kingsway Sporting Complex where fourth-placed Wanneroo City takes on Gosnells City, who currently occupies third. Gerry McEwan welcomes Glen Moore back from suspension but will await the outcome of late fitness tests on Brian Cairney, John McGahern and Craig Bowman before deciding whether they have a role to play on Saturday. Daley Rothwell and Andy Pomfret have been in terrific touch but Gosnells coach Tony Maguire is without the attacking desires of Shane Walters.
Ashfield’s win at Gosnells has provided the club a timely boost leading into their home fixture against Dianella White Eagles. Scott McIlroy, Gary Murdoch, Gareth Lloyd and Kevin Griffiths have put their hands up for selection as Ashfield slowly get back to full-strength and, hopefully, climb up the table. Dianella goalkeeper Steve Grant is sure to come under fire on his return from suspension, while the recruitment of Petar Mrdja from Bayswater adds steel to their defensive line.
Things have slowly been falling into place for both Morley Windmills and Canning City and each wants to collect the points from Wotton Reserve. The Wauhop Park meeting of Fremantle Spirit and Queens Park looms as a real battle of attrition between two of competition’s lesser lights. Forrestfield United are tipped to come out of the twilight game with their seventh win of the season against home team Rockingham City, who’ve managed to find the back of the net just once in 450 minutes of football at Lark Hill Sportsplex.
LAZARIDIS’ WORLD CUP MEMORIES (courtesy Football Hall of Fame WA)
To participate in a World Cup is something that few get to experience. Although he didn’t take to the field during Germany 2006, Stan Lazaridis says he will never forget being part of a group of players that came so close to glory. “For me personally, it was a 16 or 17-year ordeal of going through four World Cup campaigns,” said Lazaridis. “I don’t think people realise just how much goes into making it to the World Cup. It is four years of hard work, planning from coaches, to keeping fit and keeping your form going. Although it was disappointing that I didn’t play, I reached a personal goal of being part of a World Cup finals campaign.”
Lazaridis said he peaked in form during his second and third World Cup campaigns - for France 1998 and South Korea/Japan in 2002 - but that was when it was much tougher for Australia to qualify. “Unfortunately, we were grouped in Oceania where we had to face South American teams that had not just been to a World Cup, but actually won the World Cup,” said Lazaridis, who won 60 ‘A’ international caps with Australia. “The way it is done now through Asia is much fairer. You play home and away matches and qualify on merit - and that is how it should be.”
So what makes a World Cup so unique to the players? “It is the aura about being at one,” said Lazaridis. “You look towards the games, knowing the world is watching. To see a sea of green and gold as well as a sea of other colours is tremendous. It is extremely intimidating we well. You’re walking out into the middle of the stadium in front of 60,000 or 70,000 or whatever the crowd were, and the eyes of the world are you on. Even though I didn’t play (at Germany 2006) you’re still nervous, the butterflies were definitely there.”
Even though Australia was controversially eliminated by Italy, Lazaridis believes you have to make your own luck in football, and much of that comes from experience. “How Italy beat us four years ago is what football is about,” he said. “I think we were naïve and too nice to teams. That is the difference between playing a country like Italy where they were street-wise and have been part of World Cup finals football for years. Although Lucas Neill didn’t mean to foul (Fabio Grosso), it had to be given as a penalty. They played for that and got there 1-0. Italy didn’t play particularly well, but who cares - they won the World Cup!”
The experience Australia picked up in Germany will serve them well for South Africa. “We would have learned from that and the likes of Lucas, Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill will again be the core of the team; they’ve been there before, they’ve been part of it and know what to look out for,” said Lazaridis, who is upbeat about Australia’s prospects of getting past the group phase. “Yes, we have got a tough group but in saying that Germany could finish bottom - or Serbia for that matter, or Ghana. We have a 25% chance of finishing top or bottom. It is that tough.”
After careful analysis of the draw and each nation’s form leading up to tournament, Lazaridis expects all the usual suspects to be there pt thereabouts come the pointy end of the Woorld Cup. “England is in the right half of the draw and if they can keep Wayne Rooney fit and suppress their off-field issues they have a good chance,” he said. “Spain and Brazil will be there, then Italy, Germany and possibly Holland. And I’m sure there will be a surprise African side like Ivory Coast. Remember, this is in their backyard.”
AUSTRALIA GIVES UP ON 2018
Australia have pulled out of the race to stage the 2018 World Cup and will instead target the 2022 tournament. The decision to withdraw was taken after lengthy discussions between Football Federation Australia and FIFA. "We have been in discussion with FIFA for months and it is that trusting relationship with the leadership of the governing body that has caused us to focus on 2022 and decide to leave the field for 2018 to European contenders," said Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy. FIFA will name either England, the Netherlands/Belgium, Russia, Spain/Portugal or the United States of America as host nation for 2018 in December.
FOWLER LINED UP PLAY ROCKINGHAM
Star recruit Robbie Fowler will make his Perth Glory debut in next week's pre-season friendly with State League club Rockingham City. Coach David Mitchell says Fowler's first stint on the park will be a great chance for both the players and the fans to get to know the Liverpool and England legend. "Robbie's keen to get some game time and work with his new team mates in an official match," said Mitchell. "It's a wonderful opportunity for the City of Rockingham to see Robbie and we're hoping to get a big crowd down there to support him in his first match for the club." The Rockingham-Glory friendly commences at 7.00pm on Tuesday 15 June at Lark Hill Sportsplex, entry is $10 for adults and $2 for children and concessions.
BUNBURY AIM TO BECOME A FORCE: MCGEE
Bunbury Forum Force can take a giant step towards promotion to the top flight by defeating Division One title rival Bayswater City on Saturday afternoon. Just three points separate the two clubs and a win for the home team will provide Bunbury a handy buffer heading into the second half of the season according to English import Oliver McGee. “A win on Saturday is vital for us, it would put us six points in front with a great goal difference and make it hard for any team to catch us,” said the 23-year old. “The team is in good shape and focused, as always we’re confident of collecting all three points.”
There’s a very good reason McGee is brimming with confidence leading into round eleven - Bunbury are unbeaten at home this year and fresh from wins over Dianella White Eagles and top flight opponent ECU Joondalup, the latter in Monday’s Cup round. “It was a good win for us against Dianella but not a great performance,” McGee conceded. “Against Joondalup we fielded five first team players and had five under-23 players step up with big performances. The way we played on Monday shows this club is heading in the right direction - which is up!”
McGee was holidaying in Perth last year when he attracted Bunbury’s interest. “I was playing amateurs at the University of WA when Bunbury asked me down for an interview, and we then took things from there,” explained McGee, who played non-League in England for Clitheroe, Salford City and Rossendale United. “Bunbury is a club with a lot of ambition and I’d like to them win the league and a place in the Premier League. I’d also like to broaden my football knowledge of playing in different countries.”
Bunbury’s only league loss - to Morley Windmills in Round Five - served as a timely reminder for the club. “A few of our players walked into that game thinking we had already won,” commented McGee. “We’ve changed that attitude and know we have to work hard to win every game. Our aim is to win the league and no less - we have the team, players and strength in depth. From my perspective, we will win it. We just need to concentrate, focus and take each game individually right through until the end of the season.”
EUROPE IS WHERE RUKAVYTSYA WANTS TO STAY
Released by Dutch champion FC Twente, striker Nikita Rukavytsya is hoping that the World Cup can help him attract the attentions of another European club. Rukavytsya, who was let go late last week after making just nine appearances in eighteen months for Twente, admits any chance to strut the World Cup stage is both opportunity to help the Socceroos as well as himself. “I’m hoping obviously to play a role in those three group games and help the team to win games. I’m just happy to be in this environment because it gives you much more confidence and much more experience,” the soon to be 23-year old said. “I have to do well to catch the eye of other clubs, but I have to wait and see (what) happens … I definitely want to stay in Europe and I have to wait.”
GARCIA UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
Richard Garcia stands on the threshold of the biggest game of his career, but the midfielder insists he's not fazed by the prospect of being thrust into Australia's World Cup opener against Germany. A strong contribution for the Socceroos against the United States on Saturday gave coach Pim Verbeek food for through with Brett Emerton still struggling with a nagging calf injury. "It's been good to get time on the pitch. Good for my fitness, good for my confidence, good for everything really," said Garcia. "It's the pinnacle of anyone's career to play at the World Cup, so it the chance comes I'll try and grab it. I'm in the 23 - if I didn't believe I could play at this level, I wouldn't be here."
Garcia has started both of Australia's warm-up games in South African, and while he doesn't immediately catch the eye, his intelligent movement off the ball has the potential to give the Socceroos a different dimension in attack. The challenge for Verbeek is to get the other players to recognise Garcia's strengths. "It's about playing together more often," Garcia, 28, said. "I feel sometimes we have to stretch them (opponents) a bit, so I try to run in behind and give room for other people to get on the ball. The other lads are getting used to how I play, so hopefully it clicks."
JONES UNLIKELY TO RETURN TO WORLD CUP
Brad Jones says he will give up on his World Cup dream to help nurse his 4-year old son, Luca, who has been diagnosed with leukaemia. The Middlesbrough goalkeeper was granted leave from the Socceroos squad in South Africa on Sunday to be with his ex-wife Julie and their son at their home in the south of France. “I don’t think I will be coming back,” said Jones, whose only concern is his sons health. “For the moment it’s wait and see with Luca, but the treatment will last for five weeks and I want to be here as much as I can ... I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should come back or not but I think I will stay.”
Jones was rewarded with a Socceroos call-up following a strong second half to the English season with Middlesbrough but says that means little in the context of what has happened. “I’ve worked hard to get to the World Cup but it’s put things into perspective for me,” said Jones. “It’s important that he (Luca) has got enough people around him. My family are still in Perth but they will be coming over at some point. My ex’s family are all here, so he’s got plenty of family and friends around him, which is good.” FIFA have given Australia the go ahead to bring Eugene Galekovic into its squad as replacement for Jones.
KERR SHINES ON WORLD STAGE
It took Sam Kerr only two touches to etch herself into the annals of Australian football history. Having gathered the ball with her left boot, the teenage attacker then slid a precise shot across the North Korea goalkeeper and inside the far corner to put Australia one-nil up the recent Asian Cup Final. The Matildas went on win the game in a penalty shoot-out, becoming the first Australia national team to lift a trophy in Asian competition.
That goal completed a remarkably quick rise to the top for Kerr, who took up the world game only four years ago. Her progression through local ranks was accompanied by State junior honours and culminated in a contract with Perth Glory Women at the tender age of 15. Kerr gained her international debut for Australia against Italy in February of last year, and come the end of 2009 was voted the W-League’s Players’ Player of the Year.
But none of that comes close to matching the excitement surrounding her latest achievement. “It was probably the proudest moment when we qualified but to win it was definitely the proudest moment,” Kerr told Shanye Hope of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “It’s massive dream to play for the Matildas, especially at such a young age. All of the hype about it has been good at home but I guess it’s sunk in a bit and I’m back to school already.”
Despite gaining instant international recognition, Kerr wants to complete her schooling while remaining part of the national team set-up. “Hopefully I can make the Germany squad (for the 2011 Women’s World Cup) and hopefully go to the Olympics later on,” she said. “I don’t know if I could move away from home but that’s probably because I’m so young. The other girls seem to be doing it so maybe I might give it a go down the track but not anytime soon.”
Kerr hopes of the Matildas success in Asia will have a flow-on effort for the women’s game in Australia. “It sends the message that there are bigger things other than just playing for your club,” she said. “There are bigger things to strive for, like playing in tournaments such as the Asian Cup. You can go so far with it. Hopefully it promotes the sport and a lot of girls jump on the bandwagon.”
Kerr is realistic about the giant steps ahead if women are to ever match the big- dollars commanded by their male counterparts, such as those currently in South Africa preparing for the World Cup. “I think it will take a while before we get that kind of publicity,” she said. “Obviously the World Cup for the boys is huge because they are boys and everything’s bigger for the boys. But it would be good to see women’s soccer get that big one day.”
MITCHELL FLAGS POSSIBILITY OF QUITTING GLORY
David Mitchell is prepared to walk out on Perth Glory should a long-term coaching offer be tabled by Adelaide United. Mitchell, who grew up in South Australia, has one-year remaining on his current contract but could be tempted to head back to the city of churches following Aurelio Vidmar's decision to take up a coaching role with the national team. "My contract's running out this year so it's a situation where if they (Adelaide) came and offered a three or four-year deal, and Perth weren't prepared to do that, then obviously you'd have to listen because in the football world there's not many jobs," Mitchell said.
Although linked with the Adelaide job, Mitchell said he has not been approached by the club and would prefer to stay on with Glory. "I'm more than happy here and I like Perth and I like the people at the club I'm working with," Mitchell added. "The important thing here is that I've built the club up now from when I took over, when we were rock bottom. So it would be silly to move on and if an opportunity came to stay here longer, then certainly I'd like to do that." Glory heads off on a twelve-day pre-season tour of China early next month.
MADASCHI'S TIME WILL COME
Overlooked Socceroo Adrian Madaschi is adamant he has a future with the national team despite missing out on World Cup selection. The 27-year old defender, who plays his club football in Italy with Portogruaro, was called up for several World Cup qualifiers last year but didn't make the final 31-man squad. Having last appeared for Australia against the Republic of Ireland last August, Madaschi is confident he can push for Socceroos selection after the World Cup, especially having helped Portogruaro win promotion to Serie B last season.
Portogruaro claimed the Lega Pro Prima Divizione B title by one point from Pescara. "Its good times," Madaschi told au.fourfourtwo.com. "We have been celebrating this historic achievement and I'm pretty sure had it come a year earlier I would've had a larger claim to be in South Africa right now. But certainly no sour grapes, I feel my time is coming and I will be working hard to get back into the Socceroos setup come the end of the World Cup. I think if I'm playing regularly in Serie B next year then that certainly can't be overlooked by the future selectors."
Madaschi revealed he'd received a personal accolade for a stellar season in defence for Portogruaro. "On a personal level the season has been very important. To cap it off I was voted in the Lega Pro Prima Divizione Top 11 team of the year so I'm very happy about that," he said. "We have had an absolutely fantastic season. We won the league against all odds and against teams with huge history and much more financial backing like Pescara, Hellas Verona and Reggiana. We won it on our own merits because of what we showed on the pitch week-in week-out, so in that way it is even more significant."
BINNIE BRINGS DOWN JOONDALUP
A workmanlike performance has sent Bunbury Forum Force through to the last eight of the State League at the expense of Premier League club ECU Joondalup, who went down 3-2 at WesTrac Stadium. Rory Binnie struck the decisive blow sixteen minutes from the end to add to first half goals from Lee Stewart and James Bergin on a day when Joondalup struggled to get out of first gear. Both coaches chose to omit some key players with David Rodgers, Oliver McGee and captain Patrick Quinn absent for the hosts while Joondalup were missing Dale McCulloch, Charlie Comyn-Platt and Jamie Watt.
Bunbury's greater hunger for the ball paid dividends when Stewart punished a defensive lapse by slotting into the net after good lead-up work by Binnie in the 23rd minute. That lead was cancelled out just two minutes later when an error by Bryce Young gifted Phil O'Callaghan the equaliser. With this Joondalup came alive, the visitors knocking the ball around with increased confidence and putting pressure on the home defence. However, that ended on 34 minutes when Bergin ghosted inside the 18-yard box to drive into the net a centring ball from Binnie.
Joondalup emerged for the second half with coach Syd Amphlett's words still ringing loudly in their ears and promptly set about finding a second goal of their own with Jon Higgins leading the way. Ryan Risdon and Young worked tirelessly in a home defence that soaked up wave after wave of attack, determined not to let their opponent's back into the game. But the pressure proved too great and on 72 minutes Jarrod Mort turned a speculative Brandon O'Neill cross into his own net to make it two-all.
Rory Binnie was in no mood to let the game slip away from Bunbury and a few minutes later his shot deflected off a defender, wrong-footing goalkeeper Andy Petterson, before coming to rest in the back of the net. O'Callaghan was presented with a great opportunity to bring the teams level for a fourth time but his hesitation to shoot from inside the 6-yard box allowed Ryan Montgomery to parry the ball away. A tense last ten minutes had both teams on the attack with Bunbury going closest to adding to their tally when Dexter Ravenhill's effort hit the crossbar.
SHARROCK IS ARMADALE'S HERO (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Armadale booked their place in the last eight of the State League Cup by out-shooting Western Knights 5-4 on penalties at Nash Field. After the game finished tied up 1-1 after 120 minutes, goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock thrust out a glove to push wide Duncan Hind's spot kick to send the Reds through. James Robinson could have won the game with the last kick but his penalty was hit straight at Knights custodian Fraser Sidall. "Yeah, obviously having the last kick of the game with the penalty, obviously spirits can go down from there," said Reds coach Brad Hassell. "I thought we were comfortable in the 90 minutes, we were obviously the underdogs, but in a Cup game anyone can come out on top."
The Knights began the match the better of the two sides, creating plenty of chances with Simon Versaico in the thick of the action. It took just 22 minutes for the home side to open their account, Stuart Ferguson sending a great ball into the 18-yard box where Trim looped his header over the back-tracking goalkeeper. Marco Warmt-Murray, who replaced injured captain David Annall in the 18th minute, let off a stinging volley that went narrowly wide as the Knights sought to double their lead. Steve McDonald and James Robinson both had great chances to equalise for the Reds before the interval but were thwarted by a goal line clearance and blocked shot respectively.
Versaico was firing on all cylinders for the second half and almost doubled his sides lead early on, McDonald put his body on the line to block his initial effort with the follow-up cannoning off the upright. Sharrock made a superb reflex save to keep out another Versaico attempt, before Jason Goodwin slammed against the near post at the opposite end. With six minutes to go Knights defender Garth Lecky had the misfortune of putting the ball into his own net. Armadale should have won the match in regulation time but James Robinson fired a last minute penalty, awarded for a dubious foul on Marlon Ramirez, straight at 'keeper Fraser Siddall.
David Micevski had the chance to score for the Knights early in the first period of extra-time but his effort on goal was just past the near post. A trademark Anthony Campbell run on goal was then thwarted by Tony Hunt's fantastic sliding tackle. As the second period began Sharrock gestured to the Armadale fans to become more boisterous. Both sides squandered opportunities to win the game before referee Michaal Jasinski signalled for penalties. Armadale were ahead 5-4 when Sharrock read Hind's attempt, diving to his left with a strong one-handed save to send the travelling fans into raptures.
LATE FLURRY HAS BALCATTA SEE OFF PERTH (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Balcatta rammed in a trio of late goal to emerge 4-0 winners from their State League Cup clash with Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. The match was an action-packed encounter that, despite the four-goal margin, could have gone either way before Lucas Whitehouse and Andrew Kiir netted in the final twenty minutes. "Perth had a few shots that flew just wide of the post, and there was one in the second half were it looked easier for their player to score," said Salv Todaro, coach of Balcatta. "It was our first clean sheet of the season which was a motivating factor for the boys, and I think we deserved our win today."
The game didn't really come to life until the 29th minute when Matt Italiano rolled the ball into the path of Andy O'Neill whose powerful shot snuck inside Alan Matteucci's left hand post. The home side had two penalty shouts turned down within six minutes of falling behind, Shaun Kilkelly appealed after his volley was deflected over before referee Steven Gregory was surrounded by Perth payers after Michael Black blocked a headed effort on the line. The visitors almost gifted Perth an equaliser just before half-time when a defensive mix-up saw Black guide the ball past his goalkeeper Bobson Koroma, who recovered in time to save.
Perth, down one-nil, started the second half looking to score, and it was a minor miracle that they didn't. Hayden Doyle's 51st minute corner caused confusion inside the 18-yard box, and after a couple of blocked shots and a good save by Koroma the ball dropped to Craig Simpson who blazed well over with the goal at his mercy. There was another period of chaos in the Balcatta area, this time caused by an Antonio Naglieri free-kick, which ended with Koroma somehow keeping out Aaron Cole's side-foot from a couple of metres.
Two minutes later Perth were made to rue these missed opportunities as Whitehouse lifted the ball over Matteucci to double Balcatta's advantage. Perth had no option but to push men forward but this left gaps at the back that substitute Andrew Kiir was more than happy to exploit. A superb flowing move in the 83rd minute featuring Whitehouse and Sam Allen saw the latter deliver an inch-perfect cross that Kiir had no difficulty heading in. Kiir rounded off his side's emphatic victory in stoppage time by heading in an Italiano cross seconds before the referee brought the game to a close.
BRAVE ASHFIELD WORN DOWN BY FLOREAT (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
State League Cup holders Floreat Athena are through to the next round after seeing off Ashfield 5-1 at Ashfield Reserve. A superb first half display by goalkeeper Matt Battigelli kept the home side in the game before Floreat broke free with a 57th minute Branimir Mikulic goal to which young substitute Adam Wood added twice late on. Ante Kovacevic said it was tough having two games in three days but was pleased to get through to the next round. "In the first half, I was expecting a bit more, we had a couple of one-on-ones and their 'keeper did very well I thought," said the Floreat coach. "I was hoping that the game would get snuffed out as early as possible and it probably could have been, but we made it hard for ourselves in the first twenty minutes of the second half."
Ashfield was under siege early but Battigelli was not afraid to come off his line and attack the ball, and his team mates backed him up well. Ashfield defenders headed the ball off the line on at least three occasions in the first 25 minutes as Floreat piled on the pressure. The visitors finally found a way through via Curtis Prior, who volleyed in after pouncing on a defensive header by Ian McKean. Ashfield were left stunned on 36 minutes by the referee's decision to award a penalty for a shirt pull, which Mikulic further punished by converting from the spot.
Having played the first half with a single striker, Ashfield pushed more players forward after the break. That strategy paid immediately dividends as captain Scott McIlroy collected a centring ball from Bobby Irvine and, unmarked in the middle of the box, slammed past 'keeper Alex Dunn. The home side looked stronger with more attackers and for a few minutes they seemed destined to score again. However, luck was not with Ashfield and no equaliser came as Floreat remained patient and worked its way back into the game. In the 57th minute Wood set up Mikulic, who wrong-footed the advancing Battigelli to score his second of the afternoon. Wood sealed the contest with a goal of his own in the 74th, then added Floreat's fifth three minutes later.
GODFREY SENDS COCKBURN THROUGH (by David Cameron, Football West)
A superb diving header by Jason Godfrey has sent Cockburn City through to the State League Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Bayswater City at Dalmatinac Park. Godfrey's goal on 75 minutes made it two wins in three days for coach Tony Castiello, who took over last week from Scott Miller. "It was a very tight affair and I thought Bayswater, to their credit, played well," said Castiello. "There was only ever going to be one goal in it and luckily enough it was us that scored it."
The first half was very tight with both teams reluctant to push too many numbers forward. Bayswater played an attractive passing game with Gustavo Murulanda posing significant danger in the final third, however, the visitors were given little sight of goal. Cockburn, placed under constant pressure by Bayswater, similarly failed to generate any quality chances. The best chance of the period came just before the break when Damien Catalano flashed wide with a low drive from 18-metres.
The game opened up after the break with both teams adopting a more attacking approach. Cockburn substitute Rory Feely almost scored with his first touch, the attacker's shot stretching Gianni Papalia into a good save. With the prospect of extra-time looming, Cockburn broke the deadlock when Godfrey peeled away from his marker to brilliantly head in a low, flat Aaron Dos Santos corner. Alex Caniglia could have extended the game but, having run onto a Catalano through ball, his powerful shot rose high of the crosbar.
SORRENTO A CLASS ABOVE KINGSWAY
Sorrento powered their way into the third round of the State League Cup by dispatching Olympic Kingsway 4-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Kingsway, who had six former Sorrento players in their line-up, held their own for much of the first half only to go into the break two down after Jared Love and Jason Mirco found the net. Todd Harnwell extended their lead early in the second half, and while Danny Taylor pulled one back soon after Bill Quinncroft sealed a Gulls victory.
Adam Hayton almost gave Sorrento a dream start when he lobbed goalkeeper Daniel Armitage only to be thwarted by Chris Currie’s desperate clearance close to the line. As it was they’d have to wait until the 31st minute before going ahead, Love firing into the roof of the net after motoring on to a low Glen Thomas through ball. The team in green went close to levelling within minutes as Sal Marrapodi’s shot was battered away in a one-on-one with new Sorrento goalkeeper Curtis Aspden. The hosts lead was doubled on 41 minutes when Mirco tapped in at the far post after Quinncroft had flicked on a centring cross.
Sorrento put a third on the scoreboard eight minutes after the interval when substitute Harnwell fired into the bottom corner after Thomas’s free-kick came back off Armigate. The loudest cheer of the afternoon came six minutes later when Taylor rose unchecked to head in at a Kingsway corner. Despite plenty of endeavour being shown by both sets of players, the next goal didn’t arrive until the 75th minute when Cameron Yorke’s long ball was collected by Quinncroft, who chipped over the ‘keeper to secure Sorrento’s passage into the round of eight.
STIRLING FEND OFF STRONG FINISHING MANDURAH (courtesy Football West)
Stirling Lions have progressed to the next round of the State League Cup courtesy of a 2-0 over Mandurah City at Macedonia Park. Bobby Wilson put the home side ahead from the penalty spot midway through the first half with Phil Arnold doubling the lead four minutes later. Mandurah fought back in the second half but were held at bay by the Stirling defence. "It's always good to get another win and we move into the next round of the Cup," said Stirling coach Paul Lincoln. "We got the result away from home on Saturday and to get another win today is good. Winning brings confidence and a bit of belief so we look forward to Swan United this week."
Ludovic Boi led the way for Stirling from early on, the livewire attacker working his way to the edge of the 18-yard box before releasing Tom Ingram, whose angled strike was deflected out for a corner. An in-swinging corner five minutes later found Wilson at the near post but he could only guide a free header into the arms of Phil Straker. Stirling should have gone ahead in the 14th minute but Straker twice denied Shane Robinson from the penalty spot following a foul by Ryan Townsend on Roberto Lujan.
Mandurah looked to capitalise on their good fortune with Ivan Zuvela's stinging the gloves of James Turvill before Darren Broxton headed over the crossbar. Stirling regrouped and on 30th minutes gained another penalty, this time for a foul on Arnold, which Wilson calmly tucked into the net by sending Straker the wrong way. A sweeping attack allowed Stirling to double the margin soon after, Lujan's pace taking him clear of the defence before picking out Arnold who, despite being surrounded by defenders, fired into the net from just inside the area. In the shadows of half-time, Sean Dash lifted high as Mandurah attempted to peg a goal back.
The second half started with the physicality that was to be a feature of the final 45 minutes, Broxton booked for a crunching tackle on Robinson within 30 seconds of the whistle. With renewed vigour, Mandurah looked to put the home team under pressure signalled by Andy Brown injecting himself into the game with a flying shot from distance. Absorbing the pressure, Stirling hit on the counter attack through defender Paul Dickson whose misdirected volley cause Straker no problems.
Brown, Rafael Insaurralde and Craig Young worked tirelessly as Mandurah slowly but surely gained the upper hand. Alex Darby took off down the wing before cutting back to Insaurralde and, after fending off his marker, he teed up Young who lashed high of the target from 10-metres. They went close again five minutes later as Brown sent the ball agonisingly wide from an in-swinging corner by Insaurralde. Running out of time, with Young and Insaurralde again involved but Jordan Rhodes' attempt lacked the power to trouble Turvill, who turned away a Brown strike on 84 minutes after which Zuvela headed high from 6-metres.
MORLEY GO DOWN TO SWAN
A second half revival wasn't enough to save Morley Windmills, who exited the State League Cup 3-2 to Swan United at Wotton Reserve. A relatively even opening was punctuated in the 26th minute by James Sammut's lobbed shot from distance that found the top corner of Matt Darling's net. The visitors then started to turn the screws, stretching the Morley backline with some penetrating runs and crosses in behind the defence. That pressure paid off in the 42nd minute when Sime Lozic sent the ball into his own net as he attempted to deal with a cross in from the left. The margin became three goals in the shadows of half-time when an unmarked Tom Shepheard headed in from Hunter's corner.
Some positional and tactical changes at the break worked a treat for Morley who came out determined to work their way back into the game. The hosts increased intensity was rewarded on 57 minutes when Eddie Walsh played a superb pass in behind the defence for Larkin to arrow a low shot past Cory Hugo that struck the inside of the bar post before going in. Morley were beginning to gain the upper hand when Larkin took possession wide on the right and, spotting Hugo off his line, sent a speculative shot into the top corner from 40-metres. There were chances at both ends of the park in a tense final quarter-hour. Darling was at his brilliant best in denying Hunter, while Tony Griffiths attempt to equalise hit the crossbar.
JONES FLIES HOME
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has been granted leave from the Socceroos’ 2010 World Cup camp after receiving news of a serious illness in his family. Jones left South Africa on Saturday to be with his immediate family and it is unclear at this stage whether he will return and participate in the tournament. The 28-year old, capped twice by Australia, won plaudits for his second half showing against New Zealand in Australia’s World Cup farewell match in Melbourne. Team officials have applied to FIFA under the special circumstances rule to have Jones replaced by Eugene Galekovic, who is in camp training with the Socceroos. This request is expected to approved by FIFA in the next 24 hours.
WANNEROO CRUISE TO WIN AT CANNING (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
Wanneroo City snared a crucial away win 1-0 over Canning City in today’s Division One game at Burrendah Reserve. Josh Booysen’s goal early in the second half was all that separated the sides at the end of 90 minutes, however, Wanneroo coach Gerry McEwan said the margin could easily have been greater considering Canning’s defensive approach. “I couldn’t understand how Canning lined up, they seemed to playing very conservatively, with four guys at the back and two sitting in front of them,” he said. “We’re playing away from home and they invited us to come at them, so that suited us fine. We only took the one goal but yeah, I thought we deserved to win by two or three.”
The first half ended scoreless despite Wanneroo’s dominance. Jay McDonald was unfortunate not to opening the scoring with several of his shots narrowly missing the target, particularly in the latter stages of the half. Wanneroo hit the front two minutes after the turnaround when Booysen unleashed a powerful close-range shot that gave goalkeeper Stuart Delgarno no chance. Booysen’s goal sparked a wave of attacks, with Sahar Konomanyi and Jay McDonald each firing narrowly wide. A lucky break almost produced Canning a 70th minute equaliser when ‘keeper Clint Davies smothering at the feet of Simon El Chami, the ball rebounding to Danny Trevisol but his effort was off target.
RUKAVYTSYA BECOMES A FREE AGENT
FC Twente has released Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya after deciding not to exercise an option to extend his contract with the club. The Dutch champions announced the departure of 22-year old Rukavytsya, along with that of Ransford Osei and Brazilian striker Wellington, via the club's website. Rukavytsya joined Twente in January of last year after starring for Perth Glory. He scored twice in nine appearances for Twente before playing the second half of the season on loan to Belgian club KSV Roeselare, where he bagged five goals in fourteen outings. Rukavytsya, currently in South Africa ahead of the World Cup, could re-join Roeselare when they compete in Belgian's second tier next season.
UNITED STATES DEFEAT SOCCEROOS
Australia has had a seven-match unbeaten streak broken in its final warm-up match before the World Cup, with the United States of America claiming a 3-1 win in Johannesburg. Both sides had plenty of chances to score in a free-flowing and entertaining affair with Edson Buddle’s first-half double, scored either side of a Tim Cahill goal, putting the USA on route to victory before substitute Hercules Gomez sealed victory in the final minute.
The game began poorly for Australia who found themselves a goal down after just 4 minutes, Buddle blasting into the net following a defensive error by Vince Grella. It should have been two-nil ten minutes later when Robert Findlay sprung the offside trap and cleverly rounded goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer only to push the ball wide of an empty net. The teams were level on eighteen minutes when Luke Wilkshire’s curling cross to the far post was steered in by Cahill.
The goalmouth action continued throughout the half with Schwarzer making a good save to deny Clint Dempsey on 28 minutes. But there was nothing the Socceroos ‘keeper could do a minute later when Buddle got in between Craig Moore and Wilkshire to head in a cross from Michael Bradley. Australia could have equalised within minutes but Josh Kennedy was off target with a close-range header from Scott Chipperfield’s cross.
The United States were unfortunate not to have another goal on 52 minutes when Findlay hit the crossbar, Bradley’s follow up was superbly saved by Schwarzer before Dempsey hit the back of the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside. Mark Bresciano and Chipperfield both prompted strong saves from Marcus Hahnemann before substitute Nikita Rukavytsya also tested the substitute ‘keeper. The game was in stoppage time Landon Donovan set-up Gomez for the United States’ third goal.
MILLER SAVES STIRLING ALL THE POINTS (with Michael Bate, Football West)
Stirling Lions goalkeeper Kevin Miller saved a late Andreas Oliveira penalty to give his side a 1-0 victory over Perth SC on an overcast day at Dorrien Gardens. Shane Robinson gave the visitors an early lead but when Ian McMurray went down under Miller’s challenge it looked as though the points would be shared. However, Miller made amends by keeping out the spot kick, much to the delight of his team mates, the Lions faithful and, of course, his coach. “I’m delighted to come here and take the three points against a quality side like Perth,” said Paul Lincoln. “At times it didn’t look like the soccer gods were smiling on us today, but the lads showed a lot of discipline and worked hard.”
The first half was all one-way traffic with Stirling by far the dominant team. The ball had been in motion just seven minutes when Dean Evans picked out Robinson’s run with a sublime lofted pass which the attacker tucked past a helpless Devon Spence. Stirling should have been two up after 22 minutes but Robinson’s penalty kick, awarded for Craig Simpson’s trip on Phil Arnold, was spectacularly saved by Spence, who flew to his right in pushing the ball away. Ludovic Boi went close on the stroke of half-time when his effort from the edge of the 18-yard box smacked the outside of the post.
The game was a surprisingly subdued affair after the break with Perth refusing to panic and looking to play their way back into the game. This was a tactic that suited Stirling, who looked comfortable at the back and dangerous on the counterattack. Substitute Mario Marcinko spurned a golden opportunity to seal victory for the away team by shooting weakly after being set up by Arnold. Referee Paul Anderson pointed to the spot for a second time on 89 minutes when McMurray was ruled to have been fouled by Miller, who redeemed himself by diving low to his left to keep Oliveira’s effort.
NEIDERBERGER SINKS INGLEWOOD
An early Daniel Neiderberger goal was enough for Floreat Athena to inflict a 1-0 loss on home team Inglewood United. It was the reverse fixture from last weekend where Athena smashed United 3-0 at home, but it was a much tighter contest this time around and post-match Floreat player-coach Ante Kovacevic said he was impressed with Inglewood's improved performance. It took Floreat only 4 minutes to take the lead, Julian Madaschi’s long ball out of defence finding Branimir Mikulic who cut in from the right before cleverly back-heeling for Neiderberger to curl into the net from the top of the 18-yard box.
Mikulic continued to cause Inglewood problems from this position wide on the right, the Floreat captain delivering numerous dangerous balls into the area early on. Miki Vujacic’s far post cross was plucked out of the air by Oliver Taseski with James Isaia ready to pounce, and a few minute later the Inglewood goalkeeper blocked a close-range strike from Isaia after he’d pounced on an error by Darko Ilomanoski. Inglewood’s first genuine chance came on 21 minutes when Michael Baczynski’s bullet-like shot travelled high and wide from 23-metres.
Rikki Smith entered the game on the half hour, replacing Matt Wardle who’d been unsuccessful in limiting Mikulic’s influence. Inglewood had a golden chance to equalise five minutes later when Daniel Stoitis’ floating free-kick went to feet inside the 18-yard box and with Alex Dunn out of position Rory Grant scrambled the ball goalward only to have Ante Kovacevic sent it wide. Johny Mirco flashed an angled volley across the face of goal shortly before the break as Floreat attempted to double their lead.
The entertainment value dropped off for the second half, both teams struggling to have many clear-cut chances. Floreat substitute Jason Barrera should have done better than shoot weakly at Taseski on 64 minutes, while Mikulic headed jut high shortly after. The match sprung back into life for the final ten minutes with Inglewood peppering their opponents’ goal. A Baczynski free-kick was met by Sandi Loncar who guided the ball past Taseski only to have it hit the base of the post. But Inglewood’s late charge would go unrewarded before referee Josh Manella signalled the end of play.
COCKBURN LEAVE IT LATE (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
A goal with three minutes remaining by Anthony Pereira has given Tony Castiello the perfect start to his coaching tenure at Cockburn City, a 3-2 home win against Western Knights. Rory Feely and Aaron Dos Santos put the home team in a commanding position only for second half goals from Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Trim to level the game up, but Pereira came off the bench to settle the encounter in the final minute. “I’m obviously delighted to win my first game in charge, Western Knights have been great and very understanding in my wanting to leave and take this job at Cockburn,” said Castiello. “I’ve set the players a target of five more wins, which I believe will take us clear of relegation that we are currently in.”
Cockburn started positively and 2 minutes in Josh Findlater got clear of the defence to force Frazer Siddall into a great save from 10-metres. The Cockerels had early control of the midfield battle and on 22 minutes they made it show on the scoreboard when Feely picked up Adrian Webster’s long ball and finished low from a slight angle. On 37 minutes Cockburn doubled their lead when Marc Anthony’s free-kick found a free Aaron Dos Santos, who finished low past Siddall. The visitors first clear cut opening didn’t arrive until three minutes from the break, David Micevski forcing young ‘keeper Nick Feely into a great save.
There was greater composure from the Knights at the start of the second half and great interplay between Trim and Anthony Campbell on 66 minutes ended with the latter crossing for Van Dongen to net from a couple of metres. On 82 minutes Stuart Montgomery found Campbell whose header went across goal where Daniel Trim equalised from 3-metres. That looked to be the end of the scoring, however, substitute Pereira lobbed the oncoming ‘keeper to earn Cockburn a vital win after being found by Webster’s hopeful ball forward. An exciting game was soured after the final whistle by a brawl after which Pereira and David Price were sent off.
JOONDALUP PAY FOR LATE LAPSE (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Adam Tong converted a stoppage time penalty converted to earn Balcatta a 3-3 from their afternoon’s game at ECU Joondalup. The result stretches Joondalup’s unbeaten run to eight games, however, coach Syd Amphlett would feel it more a case of two points dropped to a Balcatta side that twice recovered from being behind. Lucas Whitehouse’s double overturned Ross Anderson’s opener before Phil O’Callaghan scored twice in the space of minutes to put Joondalup in the box seat. But a needless Scott Blackmore foul on Ashley Rosindale in the dying seconds allowed Tong to grab a deserved point.
Balcatta coach Salv was delighted with his players, particularly in coming from behind twice. “My boys showed great character today, the last couple of weeks we’ve lacked a bit but today I can’t fault them, they were fantastic,” said Todaro, who felt his side deserved more than a point for their endeavours. “To be perfectly honest, I thought we deserved more than a draw. There were a few dubious decisions out there. Their second goal, the boy’s handled in the middle of the park, and the referee sort of killed us a bit. I thought the minimum we deserved was a point.”
There were few chances in a quiet opening spell that saw the long-range efforts of Sam Allen and O’Callaghan drift past the target. The game burst into life in the 16th minute with Anderson getting the final touch on a free-kick whipped into the 18-yard box. Balcatta wanted a quick response and Whitehouse twice went close to delivering it, flashing an angled volley wide before flicking the ball past the advancing goalkeeper only to have Chris Wylie make a goal line clearance. Whitehouse found his measure on 28 minutes by nodding in at close-range after Andy O’Neill had headed a deep cross back across the face of goal. Rosindale and Matt Italiano forced a couple of good low saves from Andy Petterson before Tong curled a free-kick inches past the junction of post and crossbar.
Balcatta opened the second period in an attacking frame of mind. Whitehouse’s shot from 22-metres was just wide, then Petterson did well to intercept a dangerous Rosindale cross intended for Whitehouse. Balcatta’s positive start to the half was rewarded on the hour with Whitehouse tucking into the net at point-blank range after Tong’s downward header bounced back off the bar. Eleven minutes later the teams were level again thanks to a wonderful goal from O’Callaghan, who raced onto a Brandon O’Neill flick on and coolly slid the ball past Bobson Koroma and in off the far post. Joondalup reclaimed the lead three minutes later, O’Callaghan this time driving out of midfield before drilling in from 18-metres.
O’Callaghan wasn’t too far away from a hat-trick when, having spotted Koroma off his line, he lobbed over the ‘keeper only for the ball to fall just wide of the target. Balcatta counterattacked and had it not been for Anderson’s timely interception which diverted out a Rosindale’s header then the team would have been level again. Soon after Jon Higgins’ thumping free-kick cannoned off the bar. But just when it seemed Joondalup had done enough to take the points, Blackmore felled Rosindale as he chased down a seemingly hopeless long ball, referee Joe Fusari pointed to the spot from where Tong smashed the equaliser in off the upright.
CLINICAL MANDURAH SILENCE SORRENTO (with Andrew Harris, Football West)
Mandurah City secured themselves back-to-back home wins with a solid 90 minutes that saw off Sorrento 2-0. State representative Andy Brown lashed into the net just before the interval with Rafeal Insaurralde adding Mandurah’s second early in the second half. Stuart Young, coach of Mandurah, said it was exactly the type of performance his team needs to convert the Hyundai Stadium into a fortress, and with two home wins in a row and their next two games at home they may well be on their way to achieving that aim.
Much of the early pressure came from the visiting, however, very few genuine chances resulted for Sorrento. Midway through the half Mandurah were denied a penalty, despite the assistant referee appearing to raise his flag for a deliberate handball. This only galvanised the hosts with Jordan Rhodes patrolling the half way line and playing some good balls through to Brown and Sean Dash. Todd Harnwell fashioned a good chance for Sorrento, the attacker evading several challenges before playing a delightful pass in for Glen Thomas, who shot so wide that the ball stayed in play.
The high intensity game employed by Sorrento regularly had their hosts scrambling for cover at the back but on every single occasion the Gulls failed to capitalise. That was punished deep in first half stoppage time when Ivan Zuvela pumped a free-kick into the 18-yard box where goalkeeper Curtis Aspden blocked a Mandurah half chance, the rebound came to Insaurralde whose comedic bicycle kick had everyone gob. All that is except Brown who smashed the ball into the net from 15-metres to give Mandurah the lead as well as a huge psychological advantage at the break.
Sorrento still seemed stunned when the second half commenced. So it came as no surprise when Mandurah doubled their lead in the 57th minute, Insaurralde ending a furious goal mouth scramble by powerfully driving in from 6-metres. Adam Hayton’s threatening free-kick brought out a save out of Phil Straker as Sorrento attempted to pull a goal back. Mandurah twice went close to scoring for a third time, Dash forcing a superb instinct save from Aspden and shortly after Christian Pashkewitz had an effort cleared off the line. Sorrento substitute Jared Love would have reduced the deficit had Rhodes not acrobatically cleared off the line to ensure a clean sheet close to the final whistle.
ARMADALE BACK IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE (by David Cameron, Football West)
Armadale breathed new life into their season with an impressive 3-1 win over Swan United at Francis Street. James Robinson scored twice and new import signing Matt Barlow to overturn last weeks loss to Swan and continue the Reds slow climb away from the relegation zone. “Everyone gave 100% cent today and that showed in our performance,” said Armadale coach Brad Hassell, clearly happy with his side’s efforts. “We were able to keep going the whole 90 minutes and not let Swan back into the game.”
A fast and frenetic opening 15 minutes had the ball constantly moving from end to end with neither team able to gain a decisive foothold on the match. The first chance of real substance arrived on 17 minutes when Corey Hugo’s mishit free-kick fell to James Robinson who, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, had his shot smothered. Both sides then settled into their rhythm and were able to get some good passages of passing play together, with Armadale creating by far the better of chances.
Good build up featuring Lewis Flatt and Barlow saw the latter play a great ball into the path of James Robinson but he was again thwarted by the quick thinking of Hugo. Armadale’s endeavour was rewarded in the 36th minute Cyril Sharrock’s long ball picked out Barlow who swung in a cross from the left that Robinson smashed past Hugo with his defence caught napping. Sustained pressure allowed the Res to double their lead four minutes later, Tom Robinson shot from the edge of the 18-yard box deflecting off a defender into the path of Barlow, who made no mistake finding the net when unmarked at 6-metres.
The second half was three minutes old when Trent Wood and Matt Bennion were issued their marching order after the assistant referee spotted an off the ball incident between the pair. Swan pulled a goal back on the hour through James Sammut, who received the ball near the half way line and was allowed to advance on goal before sending a powerful shot into the bottom corner. But any hopes the visitors had to getting a point from the afternoon were snuffed out nine minutes later when Robinson converted from the penalty spot after the striker had been fouled from behind while attempting to gather a Ryan Pearson shot that hit the crossbar.
BUNBURY CLIP DIANELLA’S WINGS (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force maintained their perfect home record by trouncing Dianella White Eagles 4-1 at Hay Park. As always seems to be the case, Bunbury struck early with David Rodgers slamming into the net after getting on the end of an Oliver McGee header. The home fans wait for a second goal was answered by Lee Stewart, who got free of his marker and rounded the goalkeeper to tuck into the net with only 7 minutes gone. Despite further chances coming the way of Rodgers and Neil Chappell, Bunbury were unable to add to their tally before Dianella pulled one back on 36 minutes. Ravi Kuppusamy raced onto a long ball played over the home defence and lured Ryan Montgomery off his line before delicately chipping in.
Montgomery was in the thick of the second half action as Dianella threw everything they had into finding a second goal. In all honesty the visitors should gave scored again but wayward finishing and the reflexes of Montgomery proved their downfall. The quality of the game started to deteriorate midway through the half and with the two sides wrestling for control the referee was forced to issue numerous bookings. David Mayers came off the bench and in the 85th minute sealed victory by capitalising on a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. The game was in stoppage time when Dexter Ravenhill, who returned from England in mid-week, jinxed his way inside the 18-yard box before being brought down, the striker dusting himself off before converting Bunbury’s fourth of the afternoon.
CUP IN PREVIEW
There’s plenty of potential for upsets in Monday’s Second Round of the State League Cup. Division One side Bayswater City will fancy their chances when they take visit top flight strugglers Cockburn City, who parted company with coach Scott Miller during the week. Sorrento have the difficult task of backing up Saturday’s league encounter with a Cup fixture two days later against Sunday Premier League leaders Kingsway Olympic.
Division One pacesetters Bunbury Forum Force have nothing to lose and everything to gain when they host ECU Joondalup from the top flight. Perth SC enter their home game looking to avenge the 5-1 league loss suffered at the hands of traditional rivals Balcatta only a few weeks back. At Macedonia Park it’s Stirling Lions verses Mandurah City who also met recently with the home side running out 4-3 winners on that occasion.
Goals have flowed freely this season for Western Knights who shouldn’t have too many problems getting past an Armadale side that has not won in six weeks. Ashfield, currently bottom of Division One and nursing a lengthy injury list, look to be in for a long afternoon when they host Cup holders Floreat Athena. The odds are also firmly stacked against Morley Windmills who welcome Swan United to Wotton Reserve. All games kick-off at 2.30pm.
PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The second half of the 2010 Premier League seasons commences with tomorrow's reverse round. Inglewood United has home ground advantage against a Floreat Athena outfit that ran over them 3-0 seven days earlier. That win, in which Daniel Neiderberger, Branimir Mikulic and Jason Barrera scored, kept Floreat in third place, just a few points off top spot. Inglewood, whose coach Shane Pryce came on as a second half substitute, will need a vast improvement just to remain competitive against one of the competition pacesetters.
Home team Mandurah City enter the weekend determined to avenge their loss at Sorrento, where Adam Hayton's last minute penalty got the Gulls over the line. A Mandurah win has the potential to elevate Stuart Young's side back into finals contention, however, Sorrento have climbed to within reaching distance of the top three and will be giving their all to keep it that way. Both are missing key players due to suspension, namely Craig Young and James Hesketh for the hosts while for the visitors it's James Morgan and Kris Dennis.
Midfield import Shane Robinson is suspended for Stirling Lions' return fixture with top of the table Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. Tony Castiello's first game in charge of Cockburn City is against his former club, Western Knights, at Dalmatinac Park. ECU Joondalup will be hoping to repeat their 2-1 win over Balcatta, who made the trip north to the Edith Cowan University campus. Armadale are confident of arresting their slow slide down the table by claiming the points at Swan United. All Premier League games start at 3.00pm.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Head to Burrendah Reserve for your fix of Sunday football this week for the Division One clash between Canning City and Wanneroo City (3.00pm). The attacking instincts of Daniel Trevisiol and Solomon Onjuku will be vital to Canning plans of collecting points for the third successive week. But to do that they'll need to find a way past former Birmingham City youth goalkeeper Clint Davies and at the same time subdue Josh Booysen down the opposite end of the park.
On Saturday Bunbury Forum Force are home to a Dianella White Eagles that has Steve Grant and Nick Davies suspended. A big winning margin is expected when Bayswater City welcome Rockingham City to Frank Drago Reserve. Darren Francis scored twice last week for Gosnells City and will be looking to add a few more when Ashfield visits Walter Padbury Reserve. Forrestfield United and Fremantle Spirit meet at Hartfield Park, while Queens Park are away at Morley Windmills. The Saturday Division One games start at 3.00pm.
WILLIAMS SPEAKS OF WORLD CUP HEARTBREAK
Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams has vowed to bounce back from the setback of missing Australia’s World Cup squad. Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has blamed Williams’ omission on his club after Middlesbrough played the youngster late into the English season despite injury, however, that’s not an assessment the defender agrees with. “Everyone enjoys playing football and obviously I didn’t want to miss a game,” said Williams, 20. “But last season has gone now and I’m looking forward to working out a plan with the physios. Hopefully I will be back bigger and stronger.”
Although heartbroken at missing out on playing in South Africa, Williams is focusing on the positive and determined to remain part of the Socceroos future. “I’m heartbroken, but obviously proud to have made the 27 and just to have got this far,” Williams said. “I’m happy with myself - it just wasn’t meant to be this year for me. I have been struggling for a long time, but the (Socceroos) coaching staff gave me every possible chance to be fit. It obviously just wasn’t meant to be. I’m looking forward to working out a plan with the physios and looking to the future.”
Williams decided to return to Perth immediately rather than stay on in South Africa with the Socceroos. “The boss gave me the chance to stay but mentally I didn’t think it was the best for me knowing I should be in the squad,” he said. “I just want to get home, see my family, have a bot of a holiday and then start my work again getting ready for next season.” Born in Perth but of Welsh and Indian heritage, Williams played several under-21 matches for Wales before pledging his international future to Australia twelve months ago. He’s played three games for the Socceroos since debuting against Japan last June.
A FAMILY AFFAIR (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
If you'd never considered football ability to be heredity then you clearly have not met the Jukic's. 20-year old Katarina Jukic is the latest member of the household to mark her mark at senior level, following in the footsteps of siblings Luka (Western Knights) and Andrija (Perth Glory). "I started kicking a ball around as soon as I could walk," said the East Fremantle Tricolore midfielder. "We always had soccer balls round and my dad would always be training my older brothers. I would always be there watching and trying to get involved."
It's been clear since Jukic first pulled on the boots for the Knights as a 9-year old the she has a big future in the game. Possessing a fierce competitive nature, Jukic's exquisite touch, skill and football intelligence has made her one of the best attacking midfielders on the local scene. "My dad trained my brothers and I to be able to move and touch the ball correctly," said Jukic, who last season made a handful of Women's National League appearances for Perth Glory.
Jukic credits a large part of her development to her team mates at East Fremantle, who last season were pipped for the league title by goal difference to Balcatta. "I love the group of girls and how everyone gets along on and off the field ... everyone puts in 100% during training and in each game," said Jukic before thanking former coach Tony Carvajal. "He gives me advice, points out my game each week and is always looking for things to work on which is great."
Jukic recognises she needs to improve her speeds and fitness to reach her goal of playing professionally. "Short term, I want to get another (Glory) contract this year to play in the W-League," said Jukic, whose seven goals in the opening five games of the Women's Premier League is sure to have captured the attention of Glory's coaching staff. "Long-term, the goal is to make it as a professional. I guess anyone who loves the game as much as I do would love to play football for a living."
RICHARD GARCIA, IN HIS OWN WORDS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Hull City midfielder Richard Garica is one of five West Australians in South Africa as Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek steps up preparations for this month’s World Cup. Garcia spoke recently with Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper to recount how he scaled football’s heights. “As a junior I was at Balcatta Etna. I went to Perth Italia at under-18s and then I left and went to Kingsway Olympic to play first-team football in the State League,” he explained.
“I was lucky enough to be spotted playing for Kingsway by Gary Williams, who had come to talk to my brother, and I got the chance to join West Ham United. I spent eight great years there and we had a great youth team. I’m still close to some of those players, including Michael Carrick and Joe Cole. We won the FA Youth Cup and I scored in every round of that competition, which was a record at the time. I eventually played for the first team but I got limited chances so I decided to leave and join Colchester.”
“We got promoted into the English Championship in the first year and playing in that competition was a fantastic experience. It was a great atmosphere, to come away from a big club like West Ham and experience Colchester was great. Then I moved to Hull City and we got promoted into the Premier League via the play-offs. It was unbelievable to play at Wembley in front of 85,000 people. Then I got my call-up for Australia and when I played against South Africa on my debut it was a very proud moment.”
VERBEEK SLAMS MIDDLESBROUGH OVER TREATMENT OF WILLIAMS
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has slammed English club Middlesbrough for ruining Rhys Williams’ World Cup dream. Williams was one of five players left out of Australia’s 23-man World Cup squad by Verbeek, who said the young defender would have made the cut had it not been for a pelvic injury which has dogged him for much of the season. Williams played through the pain barrier late into the Championship campaign, receiving regular injections to keep going before being allowed to miss the final game of the campaign.
Verbeek said that had ultimately cost Williams his chance of representing his country in South Africa, laying the blame squarely at the feet of Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan. “He trained without confidence - he could never train fully, he’s not free to play and his recovery is not quick enough to make it,” Verbeek said. “I’m disappointed he will not be in the final 23. Gordon Strachan let him play for weeks with an injury. Gordon Strachan let him play with an injection every game. If you do that with a 20-year old player you take a risk. I’m 100 per cent sure if they (Middlesbrough) had given him the normal treatment for a player, he should be in the World Cup.”
COCKBURN NAME NEW COACH
Tony Castiello has been taken up the challenge of moving Cockburn City away from the Premier League’s relegation zone. Previously assistant coach at Western Knights, Castiello takes up the reins at Cockburn following the clubs decision to part company with Scott Miller. At the seasons’ mid-point Cockburn find themselves cut adrift at the bottom of the table, trailing their nearest by four points with just a single win and three draws from their first eleven league games.
AUSTRALIA’S WORLD CUP SQUAD FINALISED
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has finalised the 23 players that will form his squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Verbeek has chosen a very experienced squad with fourteen players having made the trip to Germany four years ago. Missing out on selection from the group that travelled from Melbourne to South Africa last week were local products Rhys Williams and Shane Lowry along with James Holland, Tommy Oar and Eugene Galekovic. The Socceroos play their final warm-up game against the United State of America on Saturday at Ruimsig Stadium near Johannesburg.
Australia’s 2010 World Cup squad is Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira Club), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor Kulubu), Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel), Brett Emerton, Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Mark Milligan (JEF United), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Dario Vidosic (Nurnberg), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), David Carney, Nikita Rukavytsya (FC Twente) and uncontracted defender Craig Moore.
SOCCEROOS SHAKE OFF DENMARK
Australia shook off another layer of pre-FIFA World Cup rust last night as Josh Kennedy earned the Socceroos a 1-0 friendly win over Denmark at Ruimsig Stadium in South Africa last night. The match appeared destined to finish scoreless until a fortunate deflection allowed Kennedy to score his seventh goal in 18 appearances for the Socceroos. The win stretches the Socceroos’ recent form to just two defeats in their past 21 internationals under Verbeek, with yet another clean sheet.
Denmark threatened early through a Daniel Agger free-kick that whistled just wide before Tim Cahill’s long-range shot didn’t cause any problems for Stephan Andersen. But hopes of a lively game quickly evaporated as both sides struggled on a sandy pitch and with their first taste of the World Cup ball that often 'ran away' from the players. Australia came to life late in the half when Lucas Neill’s half chance was deflected wide, while Anderson claimed a cross off Richard Garcia’s head.
The second half began with Denmark on the attack before creating the best opening of the game when Lars Jacobsen and Thomas Kahlenberg linked neatly out wide before the ball was played back to veteran Christian Poulsen whose rasping drive forced Schwarzer into a fine diving save. The deciding goal arrived on 71 minutes when Luke Wilkshire’s deflected cross looped up between two defenders and landed perfectly for Kennedy, who headed the ball down before volleying in with his right boot. Perth-born Garcia played the first half, while 20-year old Shane Lowry was an unused substitute.
Pim Verbeek saw some positive in Australia’s performance but admitted his players struggled to deal with the playing conditions. “I think defensively we did very well and played very compact. Playing at altitude means that you have to change the way of playing and we saw that Denmark struggled when they tried to play long balls over the top,” he said. “We’re going to train at altitude for the next ten days but we play Germany at sea level in our first match so it will be interesting to see if we can change the way of playing.”
NIKITA RUKAVYTSYA, IN HIS OWN WORDS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
FC Twente striker Nikita Rukavytsya is one of five West Australians in South Africa as Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek steps up preparations for this month’s World Cup. He spoke recently with Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper to recount how he scaled football’s heights. “I started playing football when I was a boy in Ukraine and I was always going to keep playing when we came to Perth. I was almost 14 when we left Ukraine and I didn't speak much English at the time,” Rukavytsya explained.
“I went straight to Inglewood United and joined them as a junior. I played in the Perth Glory youth development squad and when that finished I tried with Perth SC. I played there for two seasons and I went to the Australian Institute of Sport in 2005. I spent two years there and returned to Perth to join Glory. I was picked in the under-23 team to play in the Beijing Olympics and that was a great experience. It was disappointing we didn’t win a game but we had a hard group with Serbia, Argentina and Ivory Coast.”
“When I first got called up for the Socceroos it was a great moment for me. It was my dream to play for Australia, so it was a massive moment when I made my debut against Ireland last year. I was really happy and proud. I played two full seasons with Glory and then I moved to Europe where I’ve been for a year and a half now. I signed for FC Twente and played some games in Holland before I moved to Belgium on loan where my team, Roeselare, is still fighting in the play-offs.”
PETKOVIC TO SPLIT FROM SIVASSPOR
Sivasspor have announced Fremantle-born goalkeeper Michael Petkovic is set to leave the Turkish Super League club. Petkovic stood between the posts during the most successful period in Sivasspor's history but last season was limited to just 15 appearances after losing his place in the line-up to Akin Vardar. The 33-year old veteran joined Sivasspor in 2005 and quickly established himself as the number one 'keeper, going on to play almost 150 League and Cup for the club as well as score one truly memorable goal.
ROCKINGHAM HEAD FOR CALMER WATERS
The good ship Rockingham City appears to have been righted once again following another week of upheaval. Last Tuesday's resignation of the Rockingham's committee, in response to recommendations of a City of Rockingham review into the club's financial position, prompted the entire first team coaching staff to also step aside. "A new committee was meant to have been elected at the Special General Meeting last week, but the mass resignations meant that meeting couldn't go ahead," said a source close to the club. "There is a group of volunteers who are currently working behind the scenes to have Rockingham back on track sooner rather than later."
BUNBURY TIPPED FOR THE TOP
Bunbury Forum Force have been nominated by the football family as the team mostly likely to end the year on top of the First Division table. Just under 250 votes were cast in our recent website poll which questioned ‘Who will win Division One and claim their place in the 2011 Premier League?’ with Bunbury romping it in with 54% of the count. Bayswater City (21%) was a long way off the pace in second but well clear of Gosnells City (13%). Dianella White Eagles (7%), Forrestfield United (4%) and Wanneroo City (3%) completed the field.
JONES READY FOR WORLD CUP ACTION
Goalkeeper Brad Jones may yet find himself thrust into the fiery cauldron of Australia's World Cup campaign. Jones is vying with Adam Federici as the Socceroos back-up in the unlikely event Mark Schwarzer fails to fully shake off the thumb injury that kept him out of recent friendlies with New Zealand and Denmark. "It's just a case of trying to show what I can do in training and hoping," commented Jones, who plays his club football for second tier English club Middlesbrough.
Jones fully expects Schwarzer to be between the posts when the Socceroos play Germany on 13 June. "The way Mark was playing last season, he's given himself a good chance of being number one," Jones said. "He keeps himself in good nick and he's achieved an awful lot in the game. He's coming up to his second World Cup, which plenty of people would be envious of. The number of caps he's won, he’s got to go down as one of the all-time greats."
Australia's World Cup draw is tough with the Germany game followed by outings with Ghana and Serbia. "You never know until you get there how you're going to get on," commented Jones, who is working flat out in the Socceroos training camp in Johannesburg. "But the last World Cup went a long way towards showing we can handle ourselves against the better teams. We're a pretty close-knit group and everyone sticks together. So hopefully there'll be the same atmosphere in the camp this time and there will be a big team effort."
SKY BLUES MOVE ON THE CARDS FOR GARCIA
Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia could be set for a surprise move from Hull City to English Championship side Coventry City. Reports from English newspaper ‘the Mirror’ say Sky Blues manager Aidy Boothroyd will make the Australian his first signing this summer for £500,000. Garcia’s current club, Hull City, are reportedly trying to balance its finances, opening the door for the 28-year old’s move.
MATILDAS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF ASIA!
Australia has won the 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup by out-shooting DPR Korea on penalties at a rain-soaked pitch at Chengdu Sports Center Stadium in China. Perth-born teenager Samantha Kerr fired the Matilda's to a first half lead only to have Jo Yun Mi equalise and send the match to extra-time, then penalties. "I think this would be the best highlight of my career so far," said coach Tom Sermanni. "With this group of girls and the lead-up we had this is just a fantastic result. I couldn't be prouder of this group of girls and what they have achieved in such a short time."
DPR Korea made a strong start but found few holes in a Matildas defence in no mood to concede an early advantage. So it was somewhat against the run of play when Claire Polkinghorne's diagonal pass allowed Kerr to beat the offside trap and guide the ball past goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui in the 19th minute. With their confidence boosted, Australia wrestled back control from an opponent that looked particularly dangerous on the break. Collette McCallum's delightful pass late in the half saw Kate Gill turn sharply on her first touch only to fire high.
The second half began much the same as the first had ended, both teams fighting for every inch on the sparse and gravely surface. Polkinghorne's powerful header was just off target in the 59th minute, and eleven minutes later Yun Hyon Hi got clear of the defence before being thwarted by 'keeper Melissa Barbieri in a one-on-one. DPR Korea deservedly drew level in the 73 minute with Jo Jun Mi heading into the far corner from a curling cross. With eight minutes of regulation time left rain started to plummet down, making conditions on an already smog filled pitch even more treacherous.
The boggy surface was almost impossible to play when extra-time commenced. Yun Hyon Hi hit the post with a long-range effort, then after the turnaround a Barbieri clearance cannoned off the Korea attacker and went just wide. Both sides netted with their first spot kicks, however, DPR Korea's failure to convert their second opened the door for Australia. Shipard, Gill, Heather Garriock and Kylie Ledbrook all finished with aplomb before teenager Kyah Simon secured Australia a historic victory. Kerr came off after 75 minutes and McCallum after 97 minutes, while Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
OLIVEIRA LEADS PERTH TO VICTORY (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
Perth SC retained top place on the Premier League ladder after getting the better of Stirling Lions by 2-0 today at Macedonia Park. Graham Normanton was pleased with his team's performance which built on two classy first half goals from Andreas Oliveira. "Tactically, we wore them down and in the end they didn't really have many ideas about how to break us down," he said. "To train the way we trained all week, and work out a system of play and get out and produce it like that, and get a 2-0 result is really pleasing from my point of view. From a spectator's point of view, they might say we killed the game but we didn't kill it, they just couldn't open it up."
Perth had the lead after just 10 minutes thanks to a superb solo effort from Oliveira, who cut in from the left and turned a couple of defenders inside out before expertly placing the ball into the far top corner. The visitors appeared unhurried, biding their time for scoring opportunities and made sure they were ready when chances arrived. Stirling were caught unawares in the 42nd minute by a quick Matt Danskin free-kick that allowed Oliveira to get the ball past Kevin Miller for a second time.
Danskin, Shaun Kilkelly, Trent Kay and Matt Beyer were under the pump from early in the second half as Stirling attempted to even up the contest. Stirling should have reduced the deficit five minutes in when Kilkelly's foul on Jason Gavin resulted in a penalty, however, Devon Spence would emerge as the hero by tipping away Phil Arnold's shot. While Stirling enjoyed plenty of possession in their attacking half, Perth were in no mood to let their opponents back into the game and courtesy of a solid defensive effort came away deserving winners from an entertaining encounter.
Stirling coach Paul Lincoln rued his teams inability to penetrate Perth's defensive line, saying striker Mario Marcinko and Phil Arnold were off their game. "If we'd have got that penalty, that might have put a bit more pressure on but it wasn't a poor performance by us," he said. "We didn't really penetrate them, my front two that I started with today probably weren't great, Mario wasn't great and Phil, he's had better days. When you don't have quality up there, (Perth) are going to look good, we just struggled in that last third today."
RHYS WILLIAMS, IN HIS OWN WORDS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Middlesbrough defender come midfielder Rhys Williams is one of five West Australians in South Africa as Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek steps up preparations for the upcoming World Cup. Williams, a Wales youth international, faces an anxious few days before learning whether he’s made the final 23-man squad for the tournament. He spoke recently with Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper to recount how he scaled football’s heights.
“I started at Kingsley juniors when I was about five or six until I was ten and I joined the Hammers Academy, which was run by West Ham. The Hammers then moved to ECU Joondalup and I made my first team debut for Joondalup when I was sixteen,” Williams explained. “Not long after that I went to England and I had trials at four or five clubs. Aston Villa were interested but at the time I just thought Middlesbrough’s set-up was better and I felt comfortable there.
“Unfortunately at Middlesbrough I had a long succession of injuries, which wasn’t good for me. I had growth pains after two games when I was sixteen and that kept me out for eighteen months. I came back and then had a double hernia. I came back again and damaged knee ligaments and now I've got a pelvic injury. Hopefully I’m getting them out the way and I should be right further on in my career.”
“During that time I also played ten games for Wales at youth level and that was a great experience. When I got fit I went on loan to Burnley, who got promotion from the Championship into the Premier League. I played well and Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek came to watch me. Since then I’ve been with the national team and to this day I’m over the moon with my decision to change from Wales to Australia. Every time I put on the shirt I’m just so proud.”
RAPID RISE SHOCKS RUKAVYTSYA
Nikita Rukavytsya is several things most of the Socceroos squad are not - young, inexperienced and born outside of Australia - but he could be an important player in South Africa. The Ukraine-born 22-year old collected only his third cap last week when he came on for the second half of a scrappy win over New Zealand. But, as one of just three strikers among the 28 players who flew out for South Africa on Wednesday, he seems more likely to play a significant role than any other squad member of comparable experience.
Rukavytsya's chief asset is his pace, which gives him a strong point of difference from coach Pim Verbeek other main striking option, tall target man Josh Kennedy. But the youngster, yet to score in national colours, was coy when asked about what sort of role he expected to play in South Africa. "I'm not really worried about that, I'm just happy to be part of the team," Rukavytsya said. "If I get a chance obviously I'll do my best to help the team achieve whatever we want to achieve."
He was unsure whether he was in the frame for Australia's opening match against Germany on 13 June, planning to use the intervening training camp and warm-up matches against Denmark and the USA as auditions. "Every day's important, even training, everybody's fighting for the positions and training's intense, so we've got to see what happens," Rukavytsya said. "I've just got to work hard and show that I'm ready and we'll see what happens."
KNIGHTS CONTINUE COCKBURN'S MISERY (with Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Western Knights temporarily returned to the top of the ladder after a convincing 4-2 victory over Premier League strugglers Cockburn City at Nash Field. After a tight first half punctuated only by a Daniel Trim goal, Paul Van Dongen, Stuart Montgomery and Simon Versaico found the net in a scintillating twenty-minute spell to swing the game in the Knights favour. “We played well, the first thirty minutes were pretty defensive but we fought through that period and once we got our game together we really opened up their defence,” said Knights coach Paul Price.
Cockburn dictated the tempo for much of a dour first half, stifling the Knights’ run and creativity with their pressure and defensive tactics. Play-maker David Micevski provided plenty of forward drive for the visitors, however, a lack of class in the finishing department saw them squander several opportunities to make early inroads on the scoreboard. It took until the half hour for them to finally break through when a dangerous ball in from Anthony Campbell found Daniel Trim, who chipped goalkeeper Nick Feely and into an early goal.
The Knights needed just ten minutes after the break to add their second, Campbell again the provider by finding Van Dongen who made no mistake with a casual finish. A failed defensive clearance in the 70th minute was pounced on Montgomery, who rifled past Feely to effectively seal the match and consign the visitors to their seventh loss of the season. Two minutes later David Tarka pulled one back with a fine individual effort, but almost immediately Versaico hit his teams fourth. Adrian Webster brought respectability to the scoreline with a stunning late goal.
FLOREAT IN A CANTER (with Michael Bate, Football West)
Floreat Athena rarely looked to be in trouble as they swept past Inglewood United 3-0 on a sunny afternoon at Litis Stadium. First half goals from Daniel Neiderberger and Branimir Mikulic sent the home side on their way before substitute Jason Barrera completed the rout with the last kick of the game. It was an emphatic return to form for a Floreat side who had picked up just two points from their last three games, including a home defeat to newly-promoted Balcatta.
The home side attacked from the outset and had it not been for Daniel Stoitis’ timely intervention, cutting out a Neiderberger centre, then Floreat could have had an early lead. Milkulic got his first sight of goal in the 11th minute, deflecting a low Miki Vujacic free-kick against the crossbar. Inglewood’s good fortune only lasted only another ten minutes before James Isaia’s precision cross was all the invitation Neiderberger needed to head in from 6-metres.
Mikulic tried to catch Oliver Taseski off his line with a long-range effort after the Inglewood goalkeeper mishit a clearance on the edge of his 18-yard box. But the Floreat captain was not to be denied and in the 41st minute finished off a superb free-flowing move to make it two-nil. Isaia burst from the centre of midfielder, playing a tidy one-two with Mikulic before spreading the ball wide on the left to Vujacic who sent a delightful cross to the back post where Mikulic was presented with the easiest of headers.
Inglewood coach Shane Pryce formally came out of retirement by entering the game ten minutes after the restart. Mikulic should have had his second in the 65th minute but, having stolen possession by nipping in between Stoitis and Taseski, the attacker placed into the side netting from a narrowing angle. Inglewood’s first shot of the game finally arrived two minutes later when Aaron Colli fired wide after the ball dropped to him on the edge of the area.
Johnny Mirco had the ball in the back of the net after a clever reverse pass by Mikulic put him one-on-one with Taseski, but the linesman’s flag had already been raised for offside. However, not even the officials could save Inglewood from conceding an almost inevitable third when Barrera latched onto a through ball and slotted in deep in stoppage time. Inglewood boss Pryce will be wanting to see a marked improvement from his struggling team when the two sides play the reverse fixture at Clipsal Stadium next weekend.
HAYTON COOL IN CRAZY FINISH (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
A nine-man Sorrento got themselves out of gaol with a controversial last-minute penalty to earn a 2-1 win against Mandurah at Percy Doyle Reserve. Players and coaches from both sides were as confused as one another when referee Josh Mihevc awarded the spot-kick that Adam Hayton converted, leaving Dolphins boss Stuart Young and his players seething. Hayton had given the hosts a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time only to have Ivan Zuvela level things up with thirteen minutes to go. Kris Dennis and James Morgan were sent off in quick succession late in the game, swinging the pendulum in the visitors’ favour.
Sorrento boss Morgan conceded his side was fortunate to finish the day with all the points. “I’ve got to be honest with you, I didn’t see it (the penalty). When Billy (Quinncroft) cut inside with the ball, he beat one and I was thinking then he could have gone down but he didn’t and I sort of turned away when he had his shot. The boys said it hit their lad’s hand - I think it was harsh,” said Morgan, who felt his side were good value for their earlier lead. “We had the better of the first half and we scored a decent goal. We just kept plugging away and took our opportunity when it came along.”
Sean Dash attempted to give Mandurah a dream start but Tom Woodhead was alert, deflecting the shot from 19-metres behind for a corner. The visitors were fortunate to have all eleven men on the park not long after when Phil Straker dashed out of his area in a failed attempt to beat an opponent to a long ball forward, the ‘keeper issued a yellow card. Todd Harnwell’s free-kick was deflected out for a corner, then from the resulting set-piece Danny Cain’s powerful header was flicked on by Jason Mirco but straight into the arms of a relieved Straker.
In a disjointed first half that saw both sides continually give the ball away, it was from another free-kick that the Gulls went close again. A well-worked move saw Harnwell’s powerful angled drive from 15-metres cleared off the line by Ryan Townsend. The first half was summed up when Hayton cut in from the right but sliced his effort from the edge of the 18-yard box so horribly it ended up going out for a throw-in. However, the Englishman made amends two minutes before the break when he expertly volleyed into the bottom corner from 13-metres after latching onto a ball in from the right.
Victor Insauralde’s clever effort with the outside of his boot wasn’t too far over as Mandurah attempted to get back on level terms immediately after the break. Hayton then went agonisingly close to doubling Sorrento’s lead with a first-time strike that rolled narrowly side after taking a deflection. The Gulls continued to apply the pressure and Quinncroft was denied twice by Straker in as many minutes. However, the Dolphins were back in the contest on 77 minutes when Zuvela made no mistake from the penalty spot after substitute Jesse Fuller was dragged down by last defender Dennis, who was no surprisingly dismissed.
With Mandurah sensing a comeback, Insauralde let fly a stinging drive from distance which took a slight deflection on its way through to Woodhead. The visitors’ chances of snatching victory received another boost when Morgan collected his second booking on 83 minutes. Insauralde had a wonderful chance to give his side the lead with a minute left but couldn’t beat Woodhead from 8-metres. Sorrento immediately pumped a long ball forward and, after turning two opponents, Quinncroft fired weakly at Straker. However, the referee had spotted an infringement and pointed to the penalty spot from where Hayton secured a fortunate win.
JOONDALUP EDGE OUT BALCATTA (with Chris Correia, Football West)
ECU Joondalup continued their good run of results by downing Balcatta 2-1 at Grindleford Reserve. Chris Wylie's early goal of the season contender and a second from Jamie Watt was enough to snatch the three points despite Balcatta pulling one back through Matt Italiano. The win extends Joondalup’s unbeaten run to seven game and elevates them to seventh on the table at the halfway stage of the season.
The first chance of the afternoon came from the visitors with Luke Johnson firing wide from the edge of the 18-yard box. Moments later, and at the other end, Ashley Rosindale’s pass into the 6-yard box was scrambled out for a corner by the Joondalup defence. A cracking effort by Jon Higgins was kept out of the net by the fingertips of Bobson Koroma as Joondalup continued to press. Wylie got the breakthrough in the 20th minute, the defender’s stunning shot from wide on the left curling into the net to spark goal celebrations.
Joondalup responded by taking the tempo up a notch and could have doubled the lead soon after had it not been for defender Michael Black. O’Callaghan was denied by Koroma with the ball making its way to Johnson who got his header on target only to have Black clear the goalbound ball from on the line. Balcatta were then made to pay when they failed to mark Watt inside the 6-yard box, the striker capitalising by slotting inside Koroma’s near post to make it two-nil with 39 minutes played.
Balcatta was given a way back into the game ten minutes after the interval when Italiano looped his header over Andy Petterson after getting on the end of a fantastic Andy O’Neill cross. Koroma kept the home side in the game with several strong saves, including an instinctive one-handed effort that denied Watt. Balcatta should have been on level terms but Lucas Whitehouse’s close-range header went the wrong side of the post. Joondalup endured agonising eight minutes of stoppage time before referee Michael Tolmie brought proceedings to a close.
SWAN SCORE VITAL WIN (with Geoff Mason, Football West)
Swan United extended their unbeaten run to four games with a vital 3-0 win away at Armadale. David Perich netted late in the first half to give the black and whites the advantage before Liam Boland and Michael Van Dongen sealed victory after the turnaround. "Another clean sheet today and a victory, we have Armadale next week and hopefully with another disciplined performance we can win again," said Swan captain Corey Hugo. "It was a six pointer today, we take it one game at a time and hopefully we can pull away of the relegation".
Marlon Ramirez and Tom Robinson combined in just the 2nd minute to create the first opportunity that James Robinson headed just wide. Swan responded through Boland, who also headed beyond the target following great work from Trent Wood out wide. On Armadale fashioned another opening after 21 minutes when Steve McDonald shot was cleared off the line by defender Robert Monterosso. The deadlock was broken a minute into stoppage time when a mix-up between teenage goalkeeper Alex Preece and his defence let Perich’s cross-turned-shot roll into an empty net.
Swan started the second half as they finished the first, Van Dongen heading in a fine cross from Brendon Craig just a minute after the restart. This spurred Armadale into attack and Hugo was forced into a great save to deny Lewis Flatt’s powerful effort. The result was put beyond doubt in the 78th minute, Hugo’s booming goal kick from Hugo was met by Boland who out-paced the home defence before finishing low past Preece. Despite further opportunities for James Robinson and Tom Shepherd there’d be no further addition to the scoreline.
ROCKY ROAD AHEAD AS BUNBURY FORCES SUBMISSION (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force had six different scorers when they trounced an under-strength Rockingham City 6-0 in this evening’s fixture at lark hill Sportsplex. The visiting team needed only 8 minutes to assert their authority over proceedings with Jordan Rispon’s header deflecting into the net off a defender, who was credited with the own goal. It became two-nil just six minutes later when David Rodgers danced his way past one defender as well as the goalkeeper before slotting in.
With less than quarter of a hour gone, the game was as good as over. Lee Stewart squandered a golden opportunity to add to Bunbury’s tally, however, he was not alone as chance after chance went begging. All that changed in the 29th minute when Kieran Kavannagh tucked in Bunbury’s third at the back post, and sixty seconds later Patrick Quinn chipped over an out of position ‘keeper after stealing possession outside the area. Rockingham’s woes were compounded shortly before the break when Blake Greathead was issued his marching orders.
Rockingham’s strong self-preservation instincts kicked in for the second half with the home side opting to play six across the back, a tactic which meant the second half was virtually shooting practice for the goal-hungry visitors. Neil Chappell delivered some tantalising crosses from the right and on 68 minutes the Englishman somehow found the far top corner with a cross-shot that even he was surprised by. Rodgers was brilliantly denied by the ‘keeper who kept out his spot kick that resulted from a foul on Kavannagh.
Bunbury waited only a minute before Ryan Risdon charged through the home defence to lash in goal number six. Rockingham would pay dearly for some poor discipline in the remaining minutes as opponents as well as the match officials increasingly became targets for pent up frustration, culminating in an unnecessary second yellow card for Adam Bremner. Bunbury could and really should have ended the night with a few more goals as shot flashed past the target before the referee blew his whistle for the last time.
GOSNELLS PUT FIVE PAST DIANELLA (with Ann Odong, Football West)
A blistering three-goal, twenty minute spell earned Gosnells City a comfortable 5-2 win away at Dianella White Eagles. Despite going down to an early Brent Mayhew goal, the visitors bounced back with rapid-fire goals from Andy Pomfret, Shane Walters and Daley Rothwell before Darren Francis’ bagged a second half brace. Ravi Kuppasamy completed the scoring by grabbing Dianella a late consolation.
The opening stanza was fast and furious with Dianella going ahead after 3 minutes, Andreas Theodosidas playing in Brent Mayhew who expertly cut inside the 18-yard box before slammed into the roof of the net. Stung into action, Gosnells didn’t waste time and two minutes later were level after Pomfret tucked in Rothwell’s long throw to the back post. The visitors went ahead soon after when, despite the valiant efforts of goalkeeper Michael Furaro, Walters headed in at the back post an Ian Maguire corner.
Urged on by coach Tony Maguire, Gosnells maintained the pressure with Salvi Chavez going close when his whipping effort forced a hasty clearance by the Dianella defence. The home side was struggling to cope with Gosnells variation and in the 20th minute Rothwell calmly curled into the top corner a free-kick from 22-metres. Milan Bogvanovic forced a good save from Dane McBride as Dianella sought to reduce the deficit, and right before the break Dragan Njegic failed to get enough purchase on the ball to troubled the Gosnells’ ‘keeper.
Play was end-to-end at the start of the second half, Mayhew’s stinging strike was palmed away before Fuvraro fumbled a Pomfret free-kick under pressure from Francis and Walters. In the 56th minute Rothwell’s well-weighted ball put Francis in behind the defence with the attacker applying a deft lob over the advancing ‘keeper to all but sealed the win. Gosnells kept on coming, Francis rattling the crossbar with a header after meeting a Pomfret cross.
Kuppasamy found some space in the 70th minute but his low strike was denied by a Ciaran Allen desperate clearance. Thirty seconds later Dale Wigell went close when his acute angle shot ricocheted off the upright. But Dianella hopes of a late revival were snuffed out when Rothwell netted his second after exchanging passes with Francis. The home side grabbed an 83rd minute consolation when Kuppasamy tucked in substitute Wesley Ryder’s cross at the back post.
CANNING SHOW CHARACTER WITH COME FROM BEHIND WIN (by Phil Unsworth)
Canning City recovered from conceding a couple of early goals to defeat bottom of the table Ashfield 3-2 at Ashfield Reserve. The ball had been in motion just 2 minutes when Gareth Lloyd's effort from 20-metres sailing over goalkeeper Richard McCabe before dipping into the net, giving the home side the lead. Canning's inability to clear a long throw into the 18-yard box ten minutes later was punished to the fullest, the ball making its way over to an unmarked Lloyd who smashed in a low shot from 18-metres. Ashfield continued to pile on the pressure but squandered several opportunities to kill the game off.
Finally awakening from their slumber, Canning started to create chances of their own. A surging Daniel Trevisiol run down the left ended with him crossing to the near post where the ball was just beyond team mate Solomon Onjuku. The margin was narrowed on 36 minutes when a partially clearance fell to Andrew Keary, who rifled low shot through a crowded area from the edge of the area. Mark Donnelly restored parity on the stroke of half-time by converting at close-range after Onjuku had nodded a deep corner back across the face of goal.
Canning's desire to put some distance between themselves and the bottom part of the Division One table led them to maintain the pressure into the second half. And they were rewarded for this on 56 minutes when a Onjuku scrambled the ball in from close-range after a Trevisiol cross went to feet deep inside the area. There were some nervous moment at both ends of the park in the final half hour of an entertaining, free-flowing contest between two very evenly matched teams. But with neither able to make the most of their chances it was Canning who collected the points.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Balcatta against ECU Joondalup at Grindleford Reserve (3.00pm) is the stand-out game in the mid-point of the 2010 Premier League season. Just how close this years' competition is was highlighted when Balcatta, who've beaten both Perth SC and Floreat Athena in recent weeks, went down on home soil to lowly Swan United last weekend. Joondalup, unbeaten in almost two months, showed last week they'll lie down to no one by twice coming from behind to earn a point at Floreat Athena. Although in good form, Jamie Watt and Dale McCulloch will have a difficult time cracking a tight Balcatta backline under the command of Adam Tong and Bobson Koroma.
It’s been a season of contrasting fortunes for the inner city rivals Floreat Athena and Inglewood United, who meet Litis Stadium. Cyril Sharrock’s suspension is going to hamper Armadale’s chances of gaining all three points from their home fixture against Swan United. Both Sorrento and Mandurah City will be without key players when they meet at Percy Doyle Reserve, the hosts missing David Foster and Daryl Platten through injury while Dolphins pair Andy Brown and James Hesketh are suspended. Creative midfield Jason Dos Santos will be missing when bottom of the table Cockburn City visits Western Knights. All games start at 3.00pm.
Sunday's game at Macedonia Park brings together two genuine finals contenders in the shape of Stirling Lions and Perth SC (3.00pm). Stirling jumped to fourth on the table with last week's win over Western Knights, while an under-strength Perth line-up swept aside Armadale. Another three points will keep Stirling at the right end of the table and Phil Arnold, who faces his former club, has a key role to play in attack. The cupboard has been near to bare at Perth in recent weeks with coach Graham Normanton keeping his fingers crossed the likes of David Onoforo, Robbie Puca and Rob Sciascia are firing on all cylinders.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Dianella White Eagles and Gosnells City have their sights set on collecting maximum points from the footballwa.net Division One match of the week at Dianella Reserve. Fourth spot on the table is a deserved reward for a strong start to the season by Dianella who enter tomorrow’s game without defensive mainstays Steve Grant and Nick Davies through suspension. Dave Evans misses the game for the same reason as Gosnells attempt to put behind them last week’s loss in Bunbury with a quick return to the winners circle.
Forrestfield United can arrest a two-game losing run by claiming the points away at Morley Windmills. There’s been considerable improvement from Morley in the past month but they head into the weekend without suspended imports Alan O’Duffy and Tony Griffiths. Not a lot has gone right for Ashfield so far this season but nonetheless they remain confident of getting a result on home soil against Canning City, who have just one point from their last three outings.
Fremantle Spirit are coming off their first win of the campaign so head into tomorrow’s game at Wauhop Park against Bayswater City in a positive frame of mind. It’s hard to go past a Wanneroo City win on home soil against Queens Park, who have failed to collect a single point in four away games. The form guide may suggest another big win for Division One pacesetters Bunbury Forum Force but that’s not going to prevent Rockingham City from attempt to cause an upset in the twilight fixture at Lark Hill Sportsplex.
SHANE LOWRY, IN HIS OWN WORDS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry is one of five West Australians in Melbourne as Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek steps up preparations for next month's World Cup. Lowry, a Republic of Ireland youth international, faces an anxious few days before learning whether he’ll be on the plane to South Africa. He spoke recently with Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper to recount how he scaled football’s heights.
“I never thought five years ago when I left Australia that I'd be sitting here thinking about going to the World Cup,” said 20-year old Lowry. “I was born and raised in Perth but my parents are from Dublin. I started playing at Heathridge when I was about seven and then when ECU Joondalup had an affiliation through Southampton I went there (ECU Joondalup) at under-12s. I stayed there all through my juniors and made my senior debut for ECU Joondalup when I was 15 before I went to England.”
“In my junior years the coaches who really helped me were Willie Herd, who helped my game come on leaps and bounds. And Micky Lyons was a massive help. For about six months before I went to England on trial he did one-on-one sessions with me about four times a week working on touch and fitness. I was in the best condition of my life. I went on trial at Blackburn but then I went to Villa and after 2 1/2 weeks they offered me a 3 1/2 -year deal.”
“I think I've learnt a lot from going on loan at Plymouth, and this season with Leeds was really good for me. From an international point of view, the Republic of Ireland showed a lot of interest in me to play youth football and it was a good opportunity for me. There was no real contact from Australia at the time and I enjoyed the experience. But deep down I always saw myself as an Aussie and I wanted to play for Australia. When the chance came around I had no hesitation playing for Australia.”
GILL FIRES AUSTRALIA INTO ASIAN CUP FINAL
The Matildas are through to the final of the AFC Asian Cup after edging Japan 1-0 in their round of four fixture at the Chengdu Sports Center in China. Katie Gill’s goal in first half stoppage time was all that separated the teams, and booked the Matildas a place at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. “It was a tense encounter and I thought Japan played extremely well but we kept in there and kept battling and got the win which is a huge result,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni. “I think our defensive effort and our concentration was outstanding and I can’t praise my players high enough for that effort.” The Asian Cup Final between Australia and DPR Korea will be broadcast live on ABC 2 from 5.30pm (local time) on Sunday.
The match started with Australia under immense pressure, Kyoko Yano volleying narrowly high in only the 3rd minute. Thankfully, Japan didn’t get a shot on target until the half hour when Azusa Iwashimizu headed straight at Melissa Barbieri, and four minutes later Yuki Nagasato placed wide thanks to Kim Carroll. A mix-up between Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori and team mate Kumagai Saki paved the way for Australia to take the lead right on half-time when Gill despatched a dipping shot from just inside the area that passed through a crowd of player and into an unguarded net.
Gill shot high on the end of a neat move between Lauren Colthorpe and Heather Garriock as Australia sought to increase their lead after the break. Iwashimizu should have levelled but headed high when found unmarked inside the 6-yard box by Aya Miyama. The Australian defence was now doing all they could to keep Japan at bay and were thankful when Barbieri captured a shot from Miyama. The Matildas almost snatched a second goal in stoppage time when Sam Kerr jinxed her way past several opponents before feeding Clare Polkinghorne whose shot hit the side netting. McCallum played a full game in midfield, Kerr came on in the 90th minute while Williams was an unused substitute.
WE’LL OVERCOME SET-BACKS SAYS ASHFIELD’S IRVING
A rash of injuries has plunged Ashfield to the bottom of the Division One table. But where other clubs would be reaching for the panic button at Ashfield its business as usual according to Bobby Irving. “Injuries affect every squad, and they will eventually make an impact on results,” said Ashfield’s right back. “Our injuries unfortunately have been to some of our most senior players. But, looking at this positively, it gives some of the younger members of the squad opportunities to show they can mix it with the big boys.”
Ashfield’s list of walking wounded is staggering. Last week striker Jon Greenwood had a metal rod inserted into his leg after breaking both the tibia and fibular playing against Forrestfield United. Jake Harman is also out with a broken leg, while it’s a broken hand that has put goalkeeper Matthew Battigelli on the sidelines. Hamstring complaints are preventing Scott McIlroy, Gary Murdoch, Trevor Hatton and John Montorosso from putting their hands up for selection, while new signing Kevin Griffiths injured his ankle at training on Tuesday night.
While the injury crisis has certainly hampered Ashfield’s ability to string together a few results, there are also other factors that have contributed to their poor start. “I think you have to also consider luck and concentration over the 90 minutes. We’ve certainly played well in patches this season, but unfortunately patches of good play aren’t going to win you games,” explained Irving, whose team has won only once in eight games. “I’d like to think we’d be moving up the standing’s as of this week, after a good few hard sessions at training.”
Ashfield effectively handed Queens Park victory last weekend by conceding four times in seven minutes. Despite that loss, Irving has every confidence Ashfield can get their season back on track. “Queens Park was probably one of our better performances for the season but a couple of unfortunate basic errors were our undoing … it felt like we let slip three points once again,” explained Irving, whose team host Canning City on Saturday. “A win paramount - it can kick start our season and hopefully we can then get on a good run of results. We’re confident of a good result this week and start proving our Night Series results were no fluke.”
COACH PONDERS OPTIONS IN DE VANNA’S ABSENCE
The devastation of losing star striker Lisa De Vanna to a broken leg will push Australia on when they meet Asia's number one ranked side Japan in the Asian Cup semi-finals tonight. The winner not only proceeds to Sunday's final and a chance to lift the trophy but also qualifies for the 2011 World Cup in Germany. However, Perth-born De Vanna faces to up three months on the sidelines after fracturing her left fibula and suffering an ankle ligament injury during Sunday's clash against China.
The loss of De Vanna opens up some tactical options for Matildas coach Tom Sermanni. "Losing a player like Lisa De Vanna is a huge blow not only to the team for this tournament but to Lisa individually who has been in incredible form and has been absolutely terrorizing defences," said Sermanni. "I'm still not quite sure how we're going to juggle her absence whether we go for a 4-3-3 or revert back to a more traditional 4-4-2. We've got some young players in this squad who now have to step up and show what they are capable of and I have no doubt that they are more than capable."
HAMMERS MAKE TOMBIDES A SCHOLAR
One-time Stirling Lions junior Dylan Tombides has joined English club West Ham United on a two-year scholarship. Tombides, rated highly by the Hammers coaching staff, was one of thirteen players to sign their first two-year scholar contracts at the Boleyn Ground a few weeks ago. “I was rapped when I found out about the deal. I had worked really hard throughout the season and performed to a high standard,” said Tombides. “I know that I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me but this deal puts me one step closer to my dream of playing in the Premier League.”
Tombides scored four goals in ten league appearances for the Hammers Under-18 team last season and also played his part in the Under-16’s successful FA Premier Academy League campaign. “I put a lot of hard work in pre-season getting fit and prepared for a massive step in my future, and all the hard work has paid off,” added Tombides. “There is still along way to go but I believe in my ability. This season I’ll be under Tony Carr’s watchful eye and I believe under his guidance I will be able to take my career to the next level.”
Academy director Carr spoke with great excitement when discussing the new scholarship group that includes England youth internationals Robert Hall, Matthias Fanimo and Blair Turgott. “This group has had a very good schoolboy period and they have been a good team for a long time already. Now they have got to take that to the professional level as scholars,” he said. “Of course, the most important thing is their ability, but it’s also about a lot of hard work. I am sure these thirteen players have the character to take their careers to the next stage.”
HENDERSON HEADING TO FESTIVAL OF FOOTBALL
Perth Hills starlet Emily Henderson has been selected to represent Australia at the upcoming AFC Festival of Football in Vietnam. Henderson captained the State team at the recent National Junior Championships where she scored four goals in five games to gain a spot in the Group B All-Stars team. National coach Nicola Williams selected her squad for AFC Festival of Football, which commences on 20 June in Ho Chi Minh City, following a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport.
State Under-13 coach Jessine Bonzas is thrilled with Henderson's selection. "Over the past six months Emily's development has been remarkable, with improvement in her technical abilities and understanding of the 1-4-3-3 system," she said. "However, I believe that Emily's greatest assets are her outstanding attitude, desire to improve and leadership qualities. The entire WA football community and I wish her all the best in the upcoming international tournament."
The Australia Under-13 Girls squad for the AFC Festival of Football is Siena Senatore (Australian Capital Territory), Anja Cherry, Hayley Evans, Nadine Knight, Emily Kos, Stephanie Maiolo, Raecene McGregor, Courtney Milone, Tulia Palozzi, Rhianna Pollicina, Matilda-Lee Potter, Lauren Stein (New South Wales), Brooke Goodrich, Ambrosia Malone, Teagan Micah, Ayesha Norrie, Claire Urquhart-Watson (Queensland), Jessica Waterhouse (South Australia), Lucy MacGregor (Tasmania), Beatrice Goad, Jessica Pitts (Victoria) and Emily Henderson (West Australia).
The Socceroos are on their way to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup after this morning’s official farewell ceremony at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. Australia’s twenty-eight player squad will be the first to arrive in South Africa, where pre-tournament friendlies are scheduled against Denmark (1 June) and the United State of America (5 June). Coach Pim Verbeek yesterday trimmed his squad by three, leaving behind Scott McDonald, Nick Carle and Jade North, and must submit his final twenty-three player squad to FIFA by 1 June. The Socceroos opening World Cup match is against Germany on 13 June.
RETIREMENT NOT YET AN OPTION FOR FOWLER
High profile Perth Glory recruit Robbie Fowler believes he could play on for three more years before turning his hand to coaching. Fowler, who turned down an offer from Sydney FC to sign with the Glory, declared he was far from finished as a player a day after touching down in Perth on Wednesday. "I still consider myself young even though I'm not," said the 35-year old ex-England international. "I love the game and I want to play for as long as I can. I want to go down that coaching (path) but let me just go out and play first. I think I have got one, two, maybe three years playing. (Coaching) is what I want to do in the end ... but I think I have got a few more years before I am up for coaching."
Fowler took aim at how players from his former club, North Queensland Fury, were treated. The striker was released from the second year of his contract after the club hit financial strife at the end of last season when their owner walked out. "The way the players were treated up there was, well I think it was disgraceful to be honest, but I'm obviously not here to speak about that, I'll save that for another day," said Fowler, who didn't elaborate. "I'm here now (in Perth) because thankfully the chairman and the manager gave us another chance to play football over here and Perth Glory is the place. I am confident at what I can do, and the (Perth) team had a great season last year. So I am on board and hopefully I can try and better the team and that is the aim."
SOCCEROOS HAVE ‘KEEPER DEPTH: JONES
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has every confidence he and Adam Federici can fill Mark Schwarzer's gloves should the long-time Socceroos custodian get injured while on World Cup duty. Jones and Federici were each given 45 minutes in Monday's friendly win over New Zealand, and although the former had little to do in the second half he did come up with a super stop to deny a certain goal from the Rory Fallon. "That's why Fedders and I are both here. Tonight was a run-out for us with Mark having a little niggle with his thumb," Jones told au.fourfourtwo.com. "That gave us both an opportunity to give us half each which was good for both of us. We both need game time but we both need time out there with the boys we could possibly end up playing with ... it was a good run-out for a lot of players who haven't had too much game time."
SHOOTING THE GAME IN THE FOOT (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Is it any wonder that people walk away from football in Australia when individuals do not support the game or those who promote it? The WA Football Hall of Fame is highly respected around the country, so much so that Football Federation Australia’s version is modelled on it. The Hall of Fame is something football can be proud of here in Western Australia, and proud of those players, coaches and administrators who have been inducted.
The Committee of the Hall of Fame, who all work in a voluntary capacity, organised the ‘World Cup Wonders’ exhibition at the Town Hall in Perth in the lead up to the event kicking off in South Africa. On the Saturday evening they had planned to honour those West Australians who had played in World Cup qualifiers for both the male and female versions of the game. The Mayor of Perth was there along with other high profile politicians, people the game needs to lobby to take it forward.
Disappointing, two of the state’s most celebrated players - Stan Lazaridis and Jason Petkovic - pulled out of the event at the last minute, both citing flu as the reason. If they were not well that is unfortunate, but to withdraw at the eleventh hour was very harsh on the organisers who had put in so much time and effort. If they were still playing would they have been fit enough to play? One would hope that the same attitude would apply to a function, such as this, which was to help promote the game.
IT’S BEEN A LONG WAY TO THE TOP FOR RUKAVYTSYA
No one is prouder of Nikita Rukavytsya's achievements than his parents, Svitlana and Vadym. Unable to speak English when he immigrated from the Ukraine nine years ago, Rukavytsya is poised to line-up for the Socceroo's at next month's World Cup in South Africa. "They're over the moon," said Rukavytsya, 22, of his parents joy. "It was really tough, the first year or so. I went to English school to learn the language, but it still took a while before I started picking it up. It helped me a lot, playing, it was a great thing. Even though I couldn't speak to the boys, or understand what they were asking me, it was still good to play. They were good to me."
It was clear from early on that Rukavytsya was destined to play at the highest level. Time at the Australian Institute of Sport preceded his singing with Perth Glory and an A-League debut in January 2007. The powerfully built striker is grateful for the role Glory played in nurturing his talents. "I still miss Perth and the supporters, they were great to me, and I still miss all the boys," said Rukavytsya. "But the younger you go (to Europe) the better for you. I feel like I could have went a bit earlier, but I didn't have the chance, so as soon as I got my chance I went and obviously it turned out that I made the right move."
A late call-up to Australia's 2008 Olympic Games squad heralded the start of a hectic couple of years for Rukavytsya. A move to Dutch powerhouse club FC Twente in January 2009, and subsequent loan to Belgian outfit Roeselare, sent his development into fast forward. "A few years back I was never really thinking I would be in this position I'm in now so I'm really delighted," he said. "Since I was young I wanted to play professionally. So I was working towards it all my life. I didn't know when it would come, but it came when I was pretty young so I'm happy with how things turned out and where I am at the moment."
Rukavytsya played a roaming role in attack for Roeselare last season. "Europe is tough, but the football there is very good. Obviously it's the place to be for a footballer, so it's going well," Rukavytsya said. "It's been good for my development. I've improved a lot as a player and in all aspects of the game. I'm progressing, which is the most important thing, and as a footballer you have to keep progressing because there's still a long way to go. (My pace) is one of the best aspects of my game, but I think I've improved on all other aspects of my game, starting from technique, mental strength, tactical and scoring goals."
While they will need to be patient, Glory supporters probably haven't seen the last of the former fan favourite, with Rukavytsya keen to finish his career where it began. "I would love to do that, it's a long time away, but that's my plan for now … But you never know what can happen," he said. The striker remembers kicking a ball around with childhood friends in Ukraine as he pretended to score at the World Cup and it's that his attention is currently focused on. "It seems like it's something out of this world when you're a kid," he said. "It's an amazing opportunity and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I'll be a part of the team and a part of a great campaign."
LACKLUSTRE SOCCEROOS DEFEAT KIWIS
Brett Holman snatched Australia a last minute winner in this evening's 2-1 pre-World Cup defeat of New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The All Whites looked set to spoil Australia's farewell party in front of 55,659 fans before substitute Holman scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time after the Socceroos had trailed for much of the match. "If we should play the World Cup in three or four days I should get worried. But we still have three week so we are still on track," said coach Pim Verbeek, who was unimpressed by tackles from Vince Grella and Tim Cahill on Leo Bertos. "I think in the World Cup that's probably two red cards ... you cannot afford to go into any game and make tackles like that."
New Zealand had the better first half chances in a fiercely contested match between the trans-Tasman rivals. In the 16th minute Simon Elliott floated a free-kick into the 18-yard box where Shane Smeltz flick to the far post saw Chris Killen expertly place past debutant goalkeeper Adam Federici. Australia were fortunate not to have Grella sent off soon after for a dreadful two-footed lunge on Bertos, who was stretchered off with a gashed right leg when he was felled again, this time by Cahill. The Kiwis should have been two goals up after the impressive Killen struck a post with a fantastic volley on the turn with Federici beaten.
Verbeek made five substitutions at half-time bringing on Holman, Mile Jedinak, Michael Beauchamp, Carl Valeri and goalkeeper Brad Jones. But the biggest change was the freeing up of Jason Culina to play a more attacking midfield role. That move paid dividends in the 57th minute when Culina's pass deflected off Killen and into the path of Dario Vidosic, whose powerful shot on the turn was too god for Mark Paston. Jones kept Australia in the game with a point-blank save from a Rory Fallon header in the 70th minute, after which Scott McDonald made way for Nikita Rukavytsya. The Kiwis looked set to hang on for a deserved draw until Holman slotted in after getting on the end of a lofted pass in behind the defence by Valeri.
DE VANNA INJURY ROCKS MATILDAS
Australia's promising Asian Cup campaign has been soured by a broken leg to star striker Lisa De Vanna. Perth-born De Vanna will miss Thursday's semi-final with either DPR Korea or Japan after being carried from the field following a second half collision with the goalkeeper in yesterday's 1-0 loss to China. Western Australia’s four Matildas - De Vanna, Collettte McCallum, Samantha Kerr and goalkeeper Lydia Williams - have seen games time in the opening rounds of the tournament which doubles as qualifiers for next years’ Women’s World Cup in Germany.
Leena Khamis and Kylie Ledbrook ensured the Matildas a best possible start by orchestrating Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Vietnam. Australia’s majority share of possession was rewarded after 28 minutes when Ledbrook’s curling ball into the area saw Khamis outjump her marker and nod over the stranded goalkeeper. Ledbrook added to her assist six minutes into the second half by converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Tameka Butt. Katanning-born Williams played a full game, Kerr came on after 53 minutes while De Vanna was an unused substitute.
Three goals in fifteen minutes allowed Australia to see off Korea Republic 3-1. Kim Carroll volleyed in from Heather Garriock's corner after 51 minutes before De Vanna calmly slotted in after her initial shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. Kerr put the result beyond doubt by netting during a goalmouth scramble from a McCallum corner. A late goal from Kang Sun Mi made for a tense finale to the match. De Vanna played 63 minutes before being placed by Kerr, McCallum came off after 78 minutes while Williams was an unused substitute.
China defeated a much-changed Matildas 1-0 in the final Group B game. With his team already through to the semi-finals, coach Tom Sermanni made ten changes his line-up of two days earlier. Chinese midfielder Zhang Rui scored the only goal after 9 minutes by placing beyond Williams. De Vanna came on early in the second half only to exit twenty minutes later with a broken leg after colliding with 'keeper Zhang Yanru. Williams played a full game, De Vanna was introduced after 53 minutes before being replaced by Kerr in the 73rd minute, while McCallum entered the game on the hour.
BRAD JONES, IN HIS OWN WORDS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones is one of five West Australians in Melbourne as Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek steps up preparations for next month's World Cup. Jones, one of three goalkeepers in the Socceroos squad for South Africa, recently spoke with Jonathan Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper to recount how he reached the world’s biggest stage.
“My brother Jason joined Sutherlands Park in the Southern River-Gosnells area, and as I grew up I wanted to play as well,” Jones said. “I was about six when I first started playing. My dad Ian was a goalkeeper and that was passed on to me. The fact that my brother is nine years older than me and he bullied me into going in goal in the back garden was another reason.”
“I went to John Curtin High School and played under the soccer program there with Peter Rickers.
I also played for Perth Italia, then had a couple of years with Lynwood and I was 15 when I went to Bayswater. Eric Williams was the head coach at the time. I also had Frank Faraone as a coach there for a year and his coaching has really stuck with me. The president used to switch the floodlights off because we used to be out there for so long.”
“I also worked with goalkeeper coach Willie McNally and I used to go to the Paul Kelly goalkeeping schools. When I was at Bayswater, Vas Vujacic and I used to watch stuff on television and try to do it in training. Then agent Gary Williams watched a game I played and asked me if I was interested in going to Middlesbrough. That was pretty much it. I turned up as a 16-year-old having no idea what was going to happen. I thought I had more chance of becoming a pilot than a football player.”
PERTH BACK TO WINNING WAYS (by Chris Correia, Football West)
A heavily depleted Perth SC regained top spot on the Premier League table with a comfortable 2-0 win over Armadale at Dorrien Gardens. The result sends Perth two points clear of nearest rival Western Knights, who went down at home yesterday to Stirling Lions. Hayden Doyle gave Perth the lead with a lovely half-volley just after half an hour of play before a Robert Puca penalty sealed victory in the second half.
The home side entered the afternoon without regulars Ian McMurray, Greg Sharland, Andreas Oliveira, Antonio Naglieri and Matt Danskin along with missing regular goalkeepers Jason Saldaris and Luke Martino. Devon Spence took over between the posts and post-game was commended for his performance by coach Graham Normanton, who was given another injury scare when his ‘keeper went down in the second half but thankfully returned to the fray.
While Perth enjoyed the majority of first half possession, they were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Ryan Pearson was felled by a defender after taking the ball inside the 18-yard box. Warren Grieve then had a chance to grab the opener but shot directly and disappointingly at Spence. The match opened up with a peach of a goal from Doyle on 32 minutes, the midfielders' crisp strike from the edge of the area giving Cyril Sharrock no chance.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 62nd minute by Puca, who converted from the spot after Robert Sciascia had been brought down by Tony Hunt. Armadale immediately brought James Robinson off the bench as they attempted to claw their way back into the game. Brothers James and Tom Robinson combined to terrific effect in the final third on several occasions, but the closest they'd come to scoring was an off-balance shot by the former that went wide. Perth nearly added a third to their tally in the final minutes after Doyle found Simon Wilson running towards goal but the midfielder placed wide.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS WILL SHINE: LOWRY
The next generation of Socceroos have vowed to ensure Australia retains its hard-earned place among the world's elite. The imminent retirements of some of the Socceroos' biggest stars have many predicting tough times ahead for the national team. However, 20-year old defender Shane Lowry is adamant Australia's standing in the world game will not plummet following next month's trip to South Africa. "People have got to realise there's a lot of young good quality players coming through. They just need a bit of experience," he said. "A lot of these players in the so-called golden generation played a lot of league games. Once people start playing first team games you see the improvement in each player. So I think there's a lot of good players coming through and the future's looking bright for Australia."
SAGE AIMS HIGH AFTER GOVERNMENT COMMITS
The State Government's pledge of $83 million to upgrade ME Bank Stadium will help Perth Glory become the "best club in Asia" according to owner Tony Sage. The government pledged the money in its budget on Thursday, which will see a permanent stand on the eastern side of the ground to replace the current temporary structure. "It's a win-win situation for all involved and it can only enhance Perth as a venue of choice for major soccer matches," Sage said. "The redevelopment can only assist Perth Glory fulfilling its objective to be the best club in the Hyundai A-League and in Asia." Work is due to start on the upgrade in 2012, with a capacity of 25,000 the aim when it is finished.
STIRLING UPSET LEAGUE LEADERS (with Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Stirling Lions confirmed their credentials as a teams on the rise by upsetting Premier League leaders Western Knights 2-1 at Nash Field. A physical encounter was controlled for the greater part by Stirling, who weathered a late assault to record victory. Shane Robinson, who scored Stirling’s opening goal only to be sent off in the last minute, rated his side as one of the best teams in the league. “I think we are a top team and we showed that today,” said the midfielder. “They played a physical brand of football but I believe we out-skilled them and were the better team.”
The Knights had the first opportunity after 10 minute when an open Stuart Montgomery rifled against the crossbar. But the visitors quickly found their groove, Robinson a key figure in the important battle for midfield ascendancy while Michael Pugliese and Jason Gavin provided drive from the back. Stirling’s hard work finally was rewarded in the 25th minute when Robinson converted from the penalty spot after he’d been brought down by goalkeeper Frazer Siddall, who should consider himself fortunate to remain on the park.
Stirling doubled their lead five minutes into the second half when imposing defender Bobby Wilson headed in at a corner. The game appeared to be petering out as the home side failed time and time again to penetrate Stirling’s miserly defence. But a scrambled 90th minute goal by substitute Daniel Trim breathed life into a dramatic and controversy tinged final few minutes. A tangle between Robinson and Garth Lecky led Michael Tolmie to red card both players, Lecky for stomping on his opponent’s shoulder before Robinson lashed out in retaliation. The Knights had several opportunities to equalise but couldn’t hit the target as Stirling held on to record a much deserved win which moves them into fourth place.
BOLAND BLAST BEATS BALCATTA (with Michael Bate, Football West)
An early second half strike by teenager Liam Boland scored struggling Swan United a shock 1-0 win over Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Coach Jamie Goodman was delighted to be taking three points home as Swan slowly edge their way clear of the relegation zone. “I think we just wanted the points more than they did today,” he said after the game. “We’ve got Armadale next week and that’s another tough game, but we’re just looking to pick up points and slowly climb away from the wrong end of the table.”
Neither side started the game with much intensity, though the wet and muddy conditions may have been a contributing factor. The first chance came the way of Trent Wood who headed wide at the back post from a Rory Mouttet right wing cross. The opening period was dominated by a couple of well-organised defences that confined shot to speculative efforts from long-range. There was a heart-stopping moment for Cory Hugo just before half-time when Jack Clisby’s mishit cross nearly floated into the top corner, but the Swan goalkeeper managed to scramble back and tip onto the crossbar.
It appeared the game would finally come to life when Boland tapped in at the back post a 51st minute cross by Wood. Balcatta could have been level just three minutes later but captain Anthony Jones had his header brilliantly save by Hugo following a corner to the far stick. Having found space on top of the 6-yeard box, Ashley Rosindale’s mis-directed header went wide not too long after. Boland had a great chance to kill the game off in the 69th minute but after rising highest to meet Brendon Craig’s corner the striker watched as Bobson Koroma pulled off a stunning reflex save.
Balcatta pushed men forward as the game wound down, but this left gaps at the back for Swan to exploit. David Perich should have done better than shoot weakly and too close to Koroma after Alex Cocking’s cross had deflected to him. Cocking himself had a decent chance to put the result beyond doubt in the stoppage time but his snap cleared the crossbar by the narrowest of margins. As it was it didn’t matter as referee Mathew Cheeseman blew the final whistle moments later, triggering the start of some joyous celebrations from the Swan players and coaching staff.
FIGHTING JOONDALUP SHARE THE SPOILS (with Tim Lefort, Football West)
ECU Joondalup showed tremendous character to twice come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with high-flying Floreat Athena at the Edith Cowan University campus. Luke Johnson and Phil O’Callaghan found the net to cancel out an early own goal and a Johnny Mirco strike much to the delight of Joondalup boss Steve Amphlett. “I’m happy with a point,” he said. “Floreat are one of the best teams in the league, they had a lot more of the ball in the first half but I thought we had more of the chances. I’m just so proud of the boys, there was a bit of a rollicking at half-time but they’ve responded positively, their attitude’s fantastic.”
Floreat were given the best possible start when the ball was whipped across the face of goal where Chris Wylie, under no great pressure, turned into his own net from 4-metres. Joondalup would have been back on level terms had it not been for Alex Dunn’s superb reflex save that denied Jamie Watt. Home captain Dale McCulloch blazed high from 10-metres but was soon after forced out of the game with a hamstring injury, replaced by Johnson. Mirco looked set to double Floreat’s lead when Charlie Coymn-Platt intervened with a brilliant last-ditch tackle.
A 20th minute corner produced Joondalup an equaliser, Watt touching the ball back for Johnson who showed tremendous composure in side-footing past Dunn from 14-metres. However, Floreat were back in front just four minutes later with Mirco coolly slotting in from just inside the 18-yard box after being found by Branimir Mikulic. Jarrad Smith fired just wide and Mikulic’s close-range volley was cleared off the line as Floreat sought to increase their lead. At the opposite end O’Callaghan dragged wide of the near post with only Dunn to beat while Watt’s flying header was just high of the bar.
Andy Petterson came to Joondalup’s rescue early in the second half by saving from Mirco. Watt’s scorching angled volley crashed off the bar as the hosts stepped up a gear. And they got their reward after 65 minutes when Ante Kovacevic’s attempted clearance was blocked by O’Callaghan, who quickly rolled the ball into the gaping net with Dunn caught out of position. Joondalup now went for the kill; Blackmore forcing a hurried save out of Dunn, Jon Higgins drove low past the post and O’Callaghan’s attempt from just inside the area lacked power. Floreat also could gave nicked the win but Petterson tipped over a Mikulic header, James Isaia skimmed the top of the net before Miki Vujacic’s low drive fizzed wide.
GULLS WIN COMES WITH A HIGH COST
Sorrento overturned a three-goal deficit to defeat Inglewood United 5-4 in a truly amazing game at 6PR Stadium. However, all the news wasn’t good from the Gulls camp with two-goal heroes David Foster and Jared Love succumbing to injury, the former a suspected broken ankle. “The injury to David doesn’t look good at the moment and it takes a bit of the shine off the victory, and we will have to wait and see with Daryl’s (Platten) knee and Jared’s (Love) shoulder,” said coach Trevor Morgan. “The players were told in no uncertain terms at half-time my thoughts of the performance and to their credit, they came out in the second half and played well.”
Inglewood made a dream start by taking a 6th minute lead, Sandi Loncar threading a pass to Matt Wardle whose cross from the left was fired in at close range by an unmarked Jake Geddes. The home side were denied a second goal shortly after when Tom Woodhead was quick off his line to thwart Lee Carr. Sharp movement of the ball allowed Inglewood to carve open the visitors on 17 minutes, Michael Baczynski skipping away from Danny Cain before crossing for Geddes whose flick was just past the far post. Three minutes later Jason Mirco had a shot cleared off the line after Foster had flicked on a Glen Thomas corner.
Geddes’ low strike from 22-metres flashed past Woodhead on its way into the bottom corner making it two-nil after 24 minutes. It only got worse for the Gulls as with half an hour gone Wardle swung in a corner which Carr slammed into the net from close-range. Gulls boss Morgan had seen enough and brought off the bench Love and Daryl Platten, the latter lasting just five minutes before a knee injury saw him replaced by Billy Quinncroft. The half was in stoppage time when Quinncroft reduced the deficit by netting at close-range a cross by Mirco.
The Gulls pulled another goal back ten minutes after the break when Thomas pumped a free-kick into the 18-yard box where Foster’s click beat Oliver Taseski. Chances now started to present at both ends of the park, a long-range attempt by Mirco was narrowly wide before Cameron Yorke’s last ditch tackle denied Geddes his hat-trick. Sorrento’s remarkable comeback was made complete on 78 minutes when James Morgan’s cross from the right struck the arm of Wardle, referee Steven Gregory had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot with Love making the most of the opportunity.
With the game now in the balance, Inglewood stepped up a notch as a cross-shot by Clarke was tipped over by Woodhouse, who breathed a sigh of relief when Carr’s long-range attempt cleared the crossbar. There were only five minutes left when Sorrento hit the front with Foster sending Taseski the wrong way from the spot after the ‘keeper had felled Love. Foster exited the game five minutes later after being brought down by Taseski, Gregory again pointing to the spot from where Love made it five-three. Inglewood grabbed a stoppage time consolation when Richman sent clear Clarke who lobbed over the advancing ‘keeper.
DOLPHINS WIN BATTLE OF THE CELLAR DWELLERS (with Andrew Harris, Football West)
Mandurah City pulled themselves clear of last place by stealing a 3-2 win over bottom team Cockburn City in the late game at the Hyundai Stadium. The loss cuts Cockburn four points adrift of their nearest rival at the foot of the table, increasing the pressure on coach Scott Miller. “Three mistakes, three goals … we have done that in the last three games,” said Miller, before adding that he and the club “…have high standards and that the players have given their best but are just not playing good enough at the moment.”
Despite the wintry conditions a good crowd was on hand to see Cockburn denied an opening minute penalty for a short pull on Jason Dos Santos, referee Paul Anderson quite rightly determining the offence did not hinder the striker’s wayward shot. But the game didn’t really come to life until the 33rd minute when Craig Young surprised all and sundry with a shot from 18-metres that hit the back of the net after the ball had pinged around inside Cockburn’s defensive area. Cockburn managed their first shot in anger for some twenty minutes soon after as the game began to heat up. In the final minute Mandurah had James Hesketh sent off for an off the ball incident spotted by the assistant referee.
Cockburn’s positive start to the second half saw Joe Brunetto play a lovely cross that seemed to stop time as it floated across the face of goal before being put out by a Mandurah head. Miller went to his bench just before the hour, bringing on the fresh legs of import David Dugdale, and it wasn’t long after that the visitors were back on level terms. A pass through the defence by Brunetto found Jason Dos Santos who made no mistake by rifling the ball beyond goalkeeper Phil Straker and into the net. So it was against the run of play that Mandurah regained the lead on 69 minutes when midfielder Nicky Platt, playing his final game before returning to England, headed in a low cross.
Dugdale waited all of a minute before hitting Cockburn an equaliser, the strikers’ grass-cutter catching Mandurah by surprise as the rain tumbled down. The crowd was enthralled by the battle of epic proportions that was unfolding, both teams knowing victory could well be the turning point of their season. There was just three minutes left when Mandurah forced the visitors into some weak passes before defender David Tarka put the ball into his own net under immense pressure. Cockburn’s frustration then bubbled to the surface with Jason Dos Santos sent off following a melee. The final whistle arrived shortly after, signalling a much-needed Mandurah win.
RAVENHILL STEERS BUNBURY TO THE TOP (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force claimed outright leadership of Division One by defeating Gosnells City 1-0 in a pulsating encounter at WesTrac Stadium. Not even driving rain and strong winds could not keep the fans away from a classic showdown between the competitions two top teams. The games only goal arrived after just 7 minutes, David Murphy running the ball into attack before delivering it into the path of Dexter Ravenhill, who rounded his marker before slotting in. Bunbury’s increased share of possession led to chances for Oliver McGee, Neil Chappell and David Rodgers, while Gosnells’ best chance was a Daley Rothwell drive that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
The second half was an intense tussle with Bunbury holding a slender lead against an opponent that continually prodded and probed for holes in their defence. Gosnells eventually found a way through on the hour when Ryan Montgomery pulled off a fine flying save to deny the visitors an equaliser. However, there’d be few other genuine chances for Gosnells to level the game thanks largely to the defensive efforts of Jarred Mort and Jordan Rispon. Having thrown everything at their hosts without success, Gosnells’ day was best summed up when Dave Evans as issued his marching orders in the final minute for a second yellow card offence. At the end of all the huff and puff it was a gritty win for Bunbury, who consolidated top spot on the table.
ONE EACH FOR CANNING AND DIANELLA (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
Ross Diamond salvaged Canning City a 1-1 draw by converting a final minute penalty against Dianella White Eagles at Burrendah Reserve. Dianella looked to be going home with all three points courtesy of Ravi Kuppasamy’s strike right on the stroke of half-time when Diamond stole the host club a valuable draw. “Very disappointed with the penalty decision, but it’s happened so we have to get over it,” said a frustrated Dianella coach Mark Wingell. “I think it’s a case of two points dropped today, but we were away from home and we picked up a point so at least that's a positive.”
Dianella should have gone ahead 6 minutes into a lacklustre first half when Adam Pygrum’s foul on Milan Bogvanovic led referee Steven Seeds to award a penalty. However, there’d be no joy for the visitors with Stuart Delgarno diving to his right to keep out Ian Griffiths’ spot kick. Dale Wingell was the architect of the next opening, the midfielder finding Griffiths whose clever turn and shot deserved a goal. Dianella’s reward came three minutes into stoppage time when Kuppasamy rolled his shot past Delgarno after running on to a great ball by Griffiths.
The home side didn’t register their first legitimate shot on target until five minutes to the second half, Jack Richardson’s mazy run out of midfield ending with a Steve Grant save. Canning went down to ten men on the hour with Delgarno issued his marching order for brining down Kuppasamy after a mix-up with his defence. This seemed to spur Canning into action and Solomon Onyuru was thwarted in a one-on-one with Grant. Unused Dianella substitute Nick Davies was sent off in the 68th minute for a tirade of abuse towards match officials, and in the closing minutes Grant followed suit for violent conduct. That latter action resulted in a penalty which Diamond fired past replacement goalkeeper Michael Furaro.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Neutral supporters are best advised to head north for the footballwa.net Premier League match of the week between ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena at the Edith Cowan University campus (3.00pm). Steve Amphlett has selection headaches of a positive kind with Michael Currie putting his hand up for selection tomorrow having moved off the injury list along with Ryan McDarby and Garin Collins. It's a similar story in the Floreat camp where Jovo Pavlovic, Daniel Neiderberger and player/coach Ante Kovacevic come into the match day squad.
Joondalup extended their unbeaten run to six games with last weeks win at Sorrento thanks in part to a Jamie Watt hat-trick. "I hadn't scored until five games ago and now I've got nine in my last five games," said the in-form striker. "I'm starting to get a good understanding going with Phil O'Callaghan up-front and I'm sure we will get better the more games we play. We definitely deserved to win the game (against Sorrento) and hopefully it will give us the confidence to go on a bit of a run and get into the top five."
The importance of Floreat win is not lost on Alex Dunn, whose team went down to Balcatta last time out and enter the round clinging to third place. "All the boys were absolutely gutted at the end of last week's game and they'll be fired up to rectify the performance we put in against Balcatta," said the Floreat goalkeeper. "It's another massive game for us (against Joondalup). We all know that every game this year is going to be a battle and we need to be switched on for the whole 90 minutes."
Nash Field is the venue for Western Knights showdown with an improving Stirling Lions (3.00pm). The Knights are coming off a comfortable win at Armadale so defender Stuart Ferguson has his work cut out convincing Paul Price he's worthy of a recall following time out injured. Jamie DeAbreu and Clayton Arnez remain on Stirling's injury list, however, coach Paul Lincoln has his fingers crossed both Ludovic Boi and Dean Evans will return from trials in Queensland in time to take part in the game.
Wins over the competition's top two sides in recent weeks tips the scales in Balcatta's favour when they host Swan United (3.00pm). Jack Clisby and Lucas Whitehouse have given strong accounts of their abilities since stepping into the first eleven at Balcatta, who could be without Adam Tong and Matt Italiano due to injury this weekend. David Perich's return from the United States gives the Swan engine room a bit of extra grunt while key roles awaits David McNally and Liam Boland at opposite end of the park.
Inglewood United goes in search of just their second home win of the season when Sorrento drops in at 6PR Stadium (3.00pm). Goals off the bench by Jake Geddes and Rory Grant got Inglewood the points last week and both are hoping for a start, while experienced defender Danny Stoitis comes into the squad having moved over from Stirling Lions. There's good news in the Gulls camp with Daryl Platten and Jared Love both back after injury, however, Todd Harnwell (calf) remains in doubt while Ryan Sheppard is out through suspension.
Cockburn City takes the freeway south to play Mandurah City under lights at the Hyundai Stadium (6.00pm). It can only be a matter of time before Scott Miller's abundantly squad starts to put some results together, and with Shane Nunes and Jason Dos Santos in peak form and Adrian Webster back from suspension it'll be sooner rather than later. A Mandurah win would be the perfect way to send off import Nicky Platt, who returns to England next week, however, for that to happen they'll need Jordan Rhodes and Rafael Insauralde to be firing on all cylinders.
Perth SC has the Sunday game for the third week in a row, this time welcoming Armadale to Dorrien Gardens (3.00pm). Greg Sharland, Matt Danskin, Ian McMurray, Antonio Naglieri, Robert Sciascia and goalkeeper Luke Martino are just a few of the players that is unavailable for Perth, whose only relief has been the recruitment of Devon Spence. Tom Robinson and Steve Porter are back in contention for Armadale, who have never won a league game at Perth, but Garin St Vall (suspension) is out while James Robinson faces a late fitness test.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
The top of the table showdown between Bunbury Forum Force and Gosnells City is the undoubted highlight of the eighth round of Division One. These teams have gone game-for-game since the beginning of April and, with the outright leadership going to the victors, their meeting at WesTrac Stadium promises to be a cracker. English import Dexter Ravenhill and team captain are the ones to watch for Bunbury, while for Gosnells its Andy Pomfret and Darren Francis.
Just how much the arrival of Irish imports Tony Griffiths, Stephen Larkin and Alan O’Duffy will transform Morley Windmills season goes under the microscope when they journey to Frank Drago Reserve to play third-placed Bayswater City. The game at Hartfield Park looms as a season defining occasion for Forrestfield United and Wanneroo City, both of whom are yet to really hit their straps and start living up to pre-season expectations.
Fourth-placed Dianella White Eagles have been quietly going about the business of picking up points and are expected to continue doing so when they travel to Canning City. Ashfield will be without eight first team players, including striker Jon Greenwood who broke his leg last Saturday, for their trip to last-placed Queens Park. Fremantle Spirit go looking for their first win of the campaign by meeting Rockingham City in the twilight game at Lark Hill Sportsplex.
RUKAVYTSYA NOT THERE TO MAKE UP THE NUMBERS
Goalkeeper Brad Jones appears to be the only West Australian assured of a spot in Australia's World Cup squad. That means the race is on for Rhys Williams, Nikita Rukavytsya, Richard Garcia and Shane Lowry to convince coach Pim Verbeek that they add value to the 23-man squad, which will be confirmed on 1 June. Four players are likely to be cut from the 31-man preliminary squad after Monday's farewell friendly match against New Zealand in Melbourne.
Rukavytsya, who scored five goals in a prolific loan spell at Belgian side Roeselare, has his heart set on forcing his way into the final World Cup squad and has raised his hand for inclusion against the Kiwis. "I came here to train and play, so hopefully I will get some game time against New Zealand," he said. "I'm just playing my game and working hard. You can't do any more than that. It's my aim to be in the final 23."
Rukavytsya is banking on his blistering pace, which reaped 16 goals in 42 appearances for Perth Glory, to set him apart from the rest of the strikers. "People say speed is my biggest weapon so I'd like to think that can help me get into the final squad," said Rukavytsya, who is contracted to Dutch side FC Twente. Garcia (knee) and Williams (pelvis) are likely to miss the friendly with New Zealand, against who Lowry is hopeful of making his Socceroos debut.
MICEVSKI, MARCINKO HAVE A POINT TO PROVE
For two players there’ll more than three points at stake when Stirling Lions venture to Western Knights on Saturday. The game also provides an opportunity for Daniel Micevski and Mario Marcinko to remind their former clubs what they let slip through their fingers. Micevski spent an injury-interrupted winter of 2007 as Stirling before to moving into Nash Field, where Marcinko came up through the ranks before his relocation to Macedonia Park a few weeks back.
Marcinko knows all too well how hard it’s going to be for Stirling to come home with so much as one point, let alone all three. “Playing at Nash Field is always hard, whether you’re playing for the Knights or the opposition team,” said the striker. “Being my old club I’ll have a few emotions since I won a few trophies there and I’m still good mates with all the boys. Though come game day there won’t be any mates on the pitch and I’m sure my first touch will hurt … I’m looking forward to it, there’ll be plenty of banter before, during and after the game.”
Micevski acknowledges Stirling are a much stronger proposition as a result of their recent acquisitions, however, that doesn’t alter the Knights ambition of remaining atop the Premier League table at the completion of Round Ten. “Stirling had a difficult start to the season but recent results have shown the new-look Lions are starting to gel and Mario and Phil (Arnold) have bolstered their attack,” said Micevski, whose team last week accounted for Armadale 3-0. “We finished that game off really strong, it was a solid team performance … and we are confident of sustaining top spot.”
TOP SPOT IS BAYWATERS’ GOAL
The removal of three points from their tally has strengthened Bayswater City’s resolve to claim this year’s Division One title. Midfielder Anthony McStea admits disappoint at being stripped of the points gained from April’s game at Canning City, however, it’s not something anyone at Bayswater are going to dwell upon. “We outperformed our opposition that day by quite a long way but what’s happened is now in the past. As players we can only concentrate on winning the next game every time we play,” said McStea. “If anything I believe losing the points has made us a lot more focused and determined to win the league.”
Bayswater have not been beaten over 90 minutes since the opening day of the season. But in their most recent outing they were pushed all the way by Wanneroo City, who self-destruction early in the second half by having two players sent off. “It was a hugely important win for us, Wanneroo is always a very difficult place to get points,” said McStea. “It was a very scrappy game on a poor playing surface which restricted our normal pattern of play and we never really got into a rhythm. Having said that we battled it out and came away with the three points we went there for.”
McStea is enjoying his football this season having sat out 2009 due to a combination of work commitments and a lack of fitness. “I put in some hard work improving my fitness and that helps you to enjoy your football more on a Saturday,” said McStea, who can’t imagine playing anywhere other than out of Frank Drago Reserve. “I love the Bayswater people. The chairman, secretary and everyone associated with the club are all warm and friendly individuals. Mauro (Marchione) is also very passionate about the game and that is infectious.”
Bayswater can close the gap on top spot this weekend when they host local rival Morley Windmills, who have put lacklustre start behind them by taking points from their last four outings. “Morley will be confident as they seem to have hit a groove now after a slow start. I’d imagine they would have been particularly happy with the win over (joint leader) Bunbury Forum Force,” McStea commented. “But we’re in a rich vein of form right now and are confident of beating any team this season, especially in our own back yard.” Bayswater and Morley lock horns from 3.00pm on Saturday at Frank Drago Reserve.
NEWCASTLE’S YOUNG REVEALS HE WAS “PRETTY MUCH DEAD”
Complications from surgery to fix a broken nose came very close to ending the life of former Sorrento player Neil Young’s life. Now on the road to recovery, the Newcastle Jets goalkeeper spent eight week in hospital after an accidental kick in the face from Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz in January. An antibiotic taken following the incident had an adverse affect on Young, leading doctors to remove his large intestine.
Confined to a hospital bed and with serious damage to his internal organs, Young lost 22kgs during his horror ordeal. “I spent eight weeks in hospital with half that time in intensive care. They basically said I was pretty much dead,” Young told au.fourfourtwo.com. “My white blood cells stopped producing and my bone marrow stopped, so I was as close to that [death] as I could be. Things went downhill pretty quickly. It was pretty scary to be honest with you.”
Young is back in training but is nowhere near 100% as his team mates began their pre-season program. He hopes to resume full training by early July then will set to work reclaiming the gloves from Ben Kennedy. “It’s not good but it’s another challenge for me. It’s just a bigger challenge than last year, that’s all,” said Young, who stepped up to A-League football with Newcastle last season at the age of 30. “Like last season, I’m starting from behind and trying to get my spot back.”
GEDDES STARTS LIFE AT INGLEWOOD WITH A BANG
Scoring a goal off the bench has given Inglewood United striker Jake Geddes a dream start with his new club. Geddes’ recent move to Inglewood paid immediate dividends when he found the net in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Cockburn City. “I hadn’t as yet started training with Inglewood so coach Shane Pryce was a bit anxious starting me up-front, which I fully understood,” said 18-year old Geddes. “I came on midway through the second half and got on the scoresheet, which I was delighted about … The boys really needed a win against Cockburn and we deserved all three points.”
Geddes began the year as a Stirling Lions player but opted for greener pastures when it became clear his first team opportunities would be limited this season. “In the end it was quite an easy decision for me (to leave),” he explained. “Even though I was enjoying playing with the 23’s at Stirling you always want to push yourself into the first team. So when I heard Shane Pryce was interested in me I had to take it … I’ve settled in very well at the club, I know quite a few boys down there so it hasn’t been too difficult getting to know all of them.”
AUSSIE SENIORS WANT WORLD CUP GLORY
With the Socceroos preparations for South Africa gaining all the headlines at the moment, spare a thought for the Australia Seniors team that departs for Thailand at the end of the month for the fifth Seniors World Cup. Amongst those making that trip is former Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski, who has been happy with the team’s lead-up to the tournament. “Preparation for the trip is going well. We’ve played four warm-up games - all against younger opposition - and have won all four,” Despotovski said.
The Seniorroos were joint world champions in 2009, sharing the trophy with England after the final was abandoned due to a torrential downpour in Malaysia. “Last year we played some good football in some games but in others we were poor,” said Despotovski, who played four times for Australia at senior level. “But overall I think we did deserve to be in the final, which was abandoned at half time. The pitch was like a lake and both captains and organisers agreed to share the first place.”
Gary Marocchi, coach of the Seniorroos, has been struck by the quality of the Seniors World Cup, which is not only about on-field success. “The tournament is run very professionally, we’re treated like kings in Thailand,” he said. “Participation in the tournament requires our attendance at a coaching clinic on the rest day, where we give about 500 disadvantaged children a supervised coaching clinic after which we present the kids with sporting gear we’ve collected from people back in WA.”
To defend their title in Thailand, Australia must first get past the United States of America, Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand and Taiwan in the group phase. “I think England will be strong again, and the home side Thailand will also be strong,” commented Despotovski, who believes there’s enough talent in the Australian line-up for them to be there or thereabouts once again. “Our squad is looking stronger and fitter than last year - and we hope to bring home the trophy.”
The Australia squad for next months’ Seniors World Cup is Robbie Zabica, Chris McCrone, Wllie Herd, David Evans, Tony Hall, Frank Houston, Steve Worton, John Saunders, Alan Davidson, Steve Walker, Alan McKenzie, Alan Pottier, Paul Strudwick, Zoran Barovic, Norrie Sutton, Peter Murphy, Peter Katholos, Michael Cairns, Bobby Despotovski, Carl Mc Darby, Ves Smujkic and John Hunter. Team officials are Gary Marocchi (manager), Barry Tate (trainer), Alex Kelly (gear steward), Charlie Kenyon (assistant manager), Ken Maguire (team doctor).
ROSINDALE LIKELY TO GET THE BOOT
Balcatta striker Ashley Rosindale has been nominated the player who’ll score the most goals this Premier League season. Rosindale, last year’s Division One top goal scorer, was the runaway winner of the footballwa.net poll which questioned ‘Who will be the Premier League’s top goal scorer in 2010?’ Rosindale picked up 25% of the vote to finish well clear of Western Knights marksman Stuart Montgomery (17%), Armadale import James Robinson (15%) and Branimir Mikulic (13%) of Floreat Athena. Perth SC striker David Onoforo (8%) came in fifth ahead of team mate Andreas Oliviera and Sorrento’s David Foster (5%). Rounding out the field were Johnny Mirco (Floreat), Phil O’Callaghan (ECU Joondalup) and Mario Marcinko (Stirling Lions) who each collected 4% of the vote. 245 votes were cast in the 12-day voting period.
NO COMPLAINTS FROM GLORY OVER FIXTURING
Perth Glory face two congested fixture periods next season but are generally happy with a schedule more favourable than the one they battled last season. Coach David Mitchell, who complained about the heavy travel schedule his team was assigned in 2009/10, is happy with the draw which was made public today. “There is a section where we play 16 games in 12 weeks and that will be quite hectic but that’s when the depth of your squad is tested,” he said. “Overall, I am very happy that this season we play an even amount games home and away, it’s a fixture list we are content with.”
The inclusion of Melbourne Heart has increased the number of A-League games, ensuring each club plays 15 games at home and away and prompting Football Federation Australia to introduce midweek fixtures. Glory kick off their 2010/11 campaign at home to North Queensland Fury on 6 August. They’ll have to overcome a difficult stretch of six games in 21 days during October-November, and also play four games in 14 days during December. Glory play eight of their home games on Sundays, two on Saturdays and three in Wednesday timeslots as well as the opening fixture on a Friday night.
ERGIC HELPS BURSAPOR MAKE HISTORY
Former Perth Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic has ended his first season in Turkey by helping Bursapor clinch the Super Lig title on the last day of the season. Bursapor, based in the north-west of Turkey, became only the second team from outside Instanbul to finish on top of the table in the competitions 51-year history. A final day 2-1 win over fourth-placed Besiktas enabled Bursapor to claim the title by one point from Fenerbahce, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Trabzonspor. Ergic, who left Glory in 2000, signed for Bursapor last July following nine highly successful seasons with Swiss club FCBasel.
SWAN CAPTAIN ON THE MEND
Swan United has played much of the season with inspirational captain Brendan Knox. But there’s good news on the horizon for the Premier League cellar dwellers with 23-year old Knox on the comeback from a hernia operation. “Recovery is going well and I’m really pleased with the surgery,” said Knox. “I had a hernia in my abdomen, essentially it’s a hole or tear on the abdominal wall. The surgery basically covers the hole with a synthetic mesh. I’ll hopefully be back into training around the half way point of the season and will then have to push my way back into the starting line-up.”
Jamie Goodman, who took over the coaching reins from Paul Lincoln in April, is looking forward to having his captain back. “It’s been an unfortunate lay off for Brendon. This is his second hernia operation, this time the surgeons performed keyhole surgery so we expect he’ll heal quicker than his previous operation,” said Goodman. “Injuries are a thing every side has to deal with but it makes it tough to lose your captain for half the season. Still, can’t keep him away - Brendon is in the dressing rooms on match days supporting the team and is itching to back in a Swan shirt.”
Knox is yet to play for Goodman but with the new coach planning to bring in a few new players before the transfer deadline - including midfielder David Perich - the captain is confident they will soon make their way up the table. “It’s great to have David back at the club after his US college commitments, commented Knox. “When you start adding the players of David’s ability to the squad it makes the depth greater and I believe we will start challenging the top five sides in the league.”
VERBEEK LASHES OUT AT MIDDLESBROUGH
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has criticised Middlesbrough’s handling of Rhys Williams, claiming the defender’s World Cup prospects could have been ruined by the club’s demands. Williams battled bravely through the season despite a pelvis injury that required pain relieving injections for him to play, leading Verbeek to accuse manager Gordon Strachan of taking a gamble on the 21-year old. “Strachan let him play with injections and I think it’s the worst thing you can do as a manager - let a player of his age play with an injection,” the Dutchman said. “He even let him play when they couldn’t reach (the English Championship) play-offs anymore.”
Verbeek said he understood the difficulties of club management, but was annoyed by Strachan’s persistence with Williams when he was clearly unfit for the demands of England’s second-tier competition. “I think Rhys did enough for Middlesbrough. He played for five, six weeks with an injury and he had an injection every week,” Verbeek said. “I think Strachan should have known how good it is for a player to go to the World Cup. He showed no respect at all towards Rhys and I think that’s bad management. I could not understand that. Strachan had an unbelievable career as a player, so he should understand how important it is for a player to go to the World Cup. He made it very difficult for him.”
LATE SHEPHEARD STRIKE EARNS SWAN A POINT (with Chris Leitch, Football West)
Pulses were racing right up to the final whistle when Swan United and Perth SC played out a 2-2 draw in the traditional derby meeting at the Swan Italian Club. Perth looked to have secured the win through a controversial stoppage time header by Dom De Felice, however, justice was seen to be done when Tom Shepheard equalised with a stunning left-foot drive. "We went in with a structure to retain them and I think frustrated them, they broke down a lot around 25 yards out and in the centre of the park," said Swan coach Jamie Goodman in praising his players' efforts.
Perth made several changes coming into the game with Greg Sharland, Tristan Bekkouchie and Robert Sciascia among those missing from the starting eleven. The opening stages were relatively uneventful until Brendon Craig put a ball in to Liam Boland, who found the back of the net at close-range. Perth negated that lead seven minutes later with David Onoforo scoring one of his easier goals, the striker collecting the ball in behind Cory Hugo following a collision between the Swan custodian and defender David McNally.
Swan were unlucky not to have reclaimed the lead midway through the second half when Boland's scuffed shot in a goalmouth scramble took a temporarily rest on the line before being cleared away by Matt Danskin. With twenty minutes to go Perth had Danskin sent off for a second yellow card offence, however, this only galvanised in the visitors into action. An Onoforo lob cleared the 'keeper but was just high of the bar, while Andreas Oliveira was denied by Hugo's brilliant fingertip save.
The game was three minutes into stoppage time when referee Josh Mihevc opted to not call handball against Onoforo, leading Craig to kick the ball away in anger and concede a corner. Oliveira flighted the dead ball perfectly into the goalmouth where De Felice headed past Hugo to put the Blues in front. But the final say would be had by substitute Shepheard who, a few minutes later and amid Perth pleas for the final whistle, got his angles right as he drilled in from 5-metres to earn Swan a valuable point from the afternoon.
Perth boss Graham Normanton admitted it was gut-wrenching to watch victory slip from his teams' grip. "We might have played 52 minutes in that second half, I'm not really sure what for, but if we hadn't have played much more than 45 in the second half, we might not have scored either so that's the way it goes sometimes," he said. "They might say they deserved a point but on the balance of play I don't think they did, but that's my opinion and I'm sure Jamie will give you another one."
NEW STADIUM IS PERTH’S WORLD CUP PROMISE
Perth will receive a world-class sports stadium should Australia be successful in their bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Details of a new 60,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium in Subiaco were unveiled yesterday as part of Football Federation Australia's final submission to FIFA. In the 750-page document, FFA said "all levels of Australian government" have backed the bid, which would include spending $2.8 billion on new stadiums in Perth, Canberra and Blacktown and upgrading nine existing ones. A 60,000-seat stadium in Subiaco would mean WA could host quarter-final and semi-final matches as well as group-stage games in the month-long tournament. The winning bids for 2018 and 2022 will be announced by FIFA in Zurich on December 2.
KNIGHTS TRIFECTA SINKS ARMADALE (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
A trio of second half goals secured Western Knights a 3-0 victory over Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Simon Versaico’s brace and a penalty conversion by Stuart Montgomery ended a disappointing fortnight for Paul Price’s team. “Very happy with today result obviously,” said Price, whose team went top of the table with the victory. “Armadale got behind the ball in the first and part of the second half and after the penalty the flood gates sort of opened. After last week’s draw against Swan, it’s very nice to be back in the winner’s circle.”
The Knights started brighter than the home side with Montgomery and Versaico each heading wide inside the opening ten minutes. Armadale’s first opportunity came the way of captain Michael Ord who should have done better with a header that sailed harmlessly over the bar from close-range. An Anthony Campbell cross drifted across the face of goal on the half hour before Daniel Micevski rifled just wide. The Knights would have gone into the break ahead had David Price not missed from a few metres after being found by a David Micevski free-kick.
The second half commenced just as it had ended with opportunities to David Annall and Montgomery in the first ten minutes. The deadlock was broken on the hour when Tony Hunt’s foul on Price resulted in a penalty which Montgomery tucked past goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. Ten minutes later Campbell’s determination provided an easy goal for Versaico who tapped in from just a metre out. And with five minutes to play Versaico scored what could be a contender for goal of the season when his 20-metre strike cannoned off the crossbar and into the net. Armadale went close to grabbing a consolation but Steve McDonald’s attempt from 6-metres hit the bar.
BALCATTA STUN FLOREAT (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Balcatta consolidated their position amongst the top four by upsetting Floreat Athena 2-1 at the Litis Stadium. First half goals by Adam Tong and Branimir Mikulic kept the game locked at one-all for much of the afternoon before Balcatta striker Lucas Whitehouse netted late in the piece to steal a famous victory. “We have targeted a finish in the top half of the table, so we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves," said Balcatta coach Salv Todaro, whose team added Floreat’s scalp to that of Perth SC claimed last week. “I told the boys that last week’s win over one of the top sides would count for nothing if we didn’t go out and get the job done today, so I’m very pleased with the result.”
A bright start by Balcatta was rewarded on the quarter hour when a free-kick played directly down the middle of the park floated over the home defence and dropped to an unmarked Tong, who had the simple task of guiding the ball past goalkeeper Alex Dunn from 6-metres. However, that lead was erased six minutes later when Mikulic popped up to tap in Miki Vujacic’s deflected shot after the Balcatta defence failed to clear their lines. As half time approached Balcatta marksman Ashley Rosindale went close with a volley from the edge of the 18-yard box after a neat headed one-two with Whitehouse.
James Isaia came to Floreat’s rescue two minutes into the second half by clearing a Whitehouse header off the line after he’d beaten Dunn to a bouncing ball on the edge of the area. Isaia flashed a blistering 23-metre drive just over the crossbar, while Johny Mirco skewed wide of the post as Floreat sought the lead. The deciding goal came via a classic counterattacking move in the 79th minute, Whitehouse latching on to a through ball played down the right before coolly slotting past Dunn. Whitehouse could have sealed the game two minutes later ballooned his shot high. Jarrad Smith had a late chance to snatch an equaliser but his effort rolled agonisingly wide of the post with ‘keeper Bobson Koroma beaten.
ARNOLD GUIDES STIRLING TO LONG-OVERDUE VICTORY
Stirling Lions jumped into five spot on the Premier League table following today’s commanding 4-3 win against Mandurah City at Macedonia Park. A best on ground display by Phil Arnold was rewarded by three goals as Stirling registered their first home win under coach Paul Lincoln. “I think overall, I think we were the better side on the day. We created probably a few more chances and we are happy with the three points and a win at home which we haven’t done this season,” said Lincoln. “It was pretty hairy there at times, but you know that’s football, it didn’t happen for them today and we managed to hold on and get three points.”
It took the home team just 8 minutes to gain the upper hand with Shane Robinson’s corner met solidly by Arnold, whose near post downward header gave Phil Straker no chance. Had it not been for Straker it would have been two-nil a couple of minutes later, the Mandurah custodian tipping a fierce Robinson strike over the top. Kevin Miller was given a scare at the opposite end by Nicky Platt’s bullet-like shot that slammed against the crossbar shortly after. But otherwise it was Stirling who was doing the attacking and midway through the half Stef Frost’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box was straight at Straker.
An error by referee Steven Gregory ultimately provided Mandurah an avenue back into the game, the match official mistakenly awarding a goal kick after Ryan Townsend put out an attempted cutback by Robinson. The Dolphins launched a swift counterattack on the end of which Rafael Insaurralde arrowed a low shot across Miller from 13-metres to put the teams back on level terms. Both teams have chances to go in front leading into the break but Luke Bower dragged across the face of goal for Mandurah while Arnold had a bouncing ball taken off his head by Straker.
Stirling put themselves in the box seat to claim all three points from the afternoon with a blistering start to the second half. Arnold was deemed to have touched an in-swinging Robinson corner into the net from virtually underneath the bar less than a minute after the re-start. A near-identical play two minutes later produced a thundering header from Bobby Wilson that kissed the top of the bar. Michael Pugliese brilliantly added the hosts third in the 50th minute, the defender swivelling on to a Matt Stares centre to half-volley into the far top corner from an acute angle.
The game appeared to have been put to rest when, just after the hour, Arnold touched the ball past Ivan Zuvela then classily rounded Straker to stroke this third of the day into an unguarded net. Although three goals down, Mandurah weren’t about to give up the chase and in the 76th minute Andy Brown’s half-volley snuck underneath Miller to reduce the deficit. Three minutes later that gap was back to a single goal after Brown’s centring ball was side-footed in from 5-metres by Platt, who’d edged in front of his marker. This made for a tense final ten minutes for both teams before referee Gregory brought proceedings to a close.
WATT A PERFORMANCE!
A Jamie Watt hat-trick has inspired ECU Joondalup to a 5-3 win over northern neighbours Sorrento. The Scotsman’s treble, which accompanied goals by Phil O’Callaghan and John Higgins, earned Joondalup their first win at Sorrento in eight years. “It was good to get the goals, but it was a good team performance from the lads today,” said Watt, who was pleased with Joondalup registering their first league win in over a month. “We’ve been knocking on the door for a while with four draws in a row, so we're delighted with the win today.”
The game was given a cracker-jack start by early chances for both teams. Kris Dennis came across quick to snuff out the danger posed by O’Callaghan after being found in space by Dale McCulloch. A long ball out of defence quickly switched play to the other end where David Foster’s angled strike was beyond the far post. Sorrento went ahead in the 9th minute via a Glen Thomas corner which was flicked on by Foster for Jason Mirco to fire in at close-range.
Joondalup hit back ten minutes later when a deflection off Thomas put the ball with Watt, who cut inside Danny Cain before curling his shot around Tom Woodhead to bring the teams level. After a pulsating start the game developed into something of a scrap with the teams cancelling each other out. Half-time was just five minutes away when Joondalup next found the net, O’Callaghan worked himself into space on the right to sent an inch-perfect pass into the path of Watt who applied a clinical finish from 5-metres.
Parity was restored nine minutes after the turnaround, a flowing move involving Foster, Todd Harnwell, and Thomas saw the latter play in Mirco who lured goalkeeper Andy Petterson off his line before coolly sliding into the net. With the two combatants determined to get the better of their neighbour, the action was end-to-end as Scott Blackmore’s long-range attempt whistled just high. Watt completed his hat-trick in the 70th minute by striking low past Woodhead after getting on the end of an O’Callaghan cross from the left.
Sorrento’s day took a turn for the worse nine minutes later with Watt sending clear O’Callaghan to put goal number four past Woodhead, much to the delight of the travelling supporters. Joondalup added another in the 85th minute, New Zealand import Conrad Poi putting the ball on the left with Jon Higgins whose curling shot from the edge of the area was too good for Woodhead. Down but not out, Sorrento continued to plug away and in the final minute grabbed a consolation when Adam Hayton’s shot was superbly blocked by Petterson, who could do nothing as Billy Quinncroft whipped the loose ball into the net from 5-metres.
INGLEWOOD'S LAST GASP VICTORY (with Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Inglewood United scored twice in the last five minutes to down fellow Premier League strugglers Cockburn City 2-1 at Dalmatinac Park. The visitors courageous comeback was fuelled by second half substitutes Rory Grant and Jake Geddes, the latter bringing the team level before Ryan Clarke fired in a dramatic winner. “At half time we thought we were still well in the game and knew if we held firm we could pull it out,” Clarke said post-game. “It was nice to score at the end but it was a really good team effort, particularly from Rory and Jake who really gave us a lift at the end.”
The result was a bitter pill for Cockburn to swallow after they’d dominated play for much of a lacklustre first half. The only genuine highlight was the game’s opening goal on the half hour which came about though a Jason Dos Santos cross that deflected off defender Rikki Smith and settled in the visitors net. Cockburn created a number of chances to increase their lead late in the half but lacked composure and class at crucial stages.
Inglewood stepped things up a notch for the second half, continually pressing the home side only to be held at bay a defence led by David Tarka and Jason Godfrey. Substitute Josh Findlater should have seal victory when found unmarked by a superb Dos Santos pass but sprayed wide of the target. That miss would have horrible consequences for the home team as in the 85th minute Grant’s through ball allowed Geddes to beat the offside trap as well as goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. Inglewood’s confidence lifted considerably and with just a minute to play Clarke’s scorching strike was blocked by Aleksic, who was helpless as the midfielder tucked in at the second attempt.
BUNBURY’S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force pilled on five second half goals to demolish a young Fremantle Spirit line-up 7-0 at Wauhop Park. English import Dexter Ravenhill ended the day with a memorable hat-trick as Patrick Quinn, Neil Chappell, DJ Mayers and David Rodgers also found the net for the visiting team. Fremantle were under the pump early and found themselves breeched for the first time on 16 minutes when Ravenhill struck into the net following a neat exchange out side between Ryan Risdon and Chappell. A piece of brilliance by Patrick Quinn doubled their lead on 34 minutes, the Bunbury captain turning a couple of opponents in the middle of the park before blasting into the top corner from 30-metres.
Ravenhill could have made it three-nil shortly after the break but lashed wide of the target. But that was soon forgotten as Chappell slammed into the roof of the net a cross from Rodgers, who’d stolen possession from the Fremantle defence. 57 minutes were on the clock when Kieran Kavanagh slipped past the defence to set-up Ravenhill for the visitors fourth goal. Ravenhill completed his hat-trick in the 68th minute with a powerful header after getting on the end of a Kavanagh cross. Mayers was in the right place at the right time to put away a Ravenhill volley that had rebounded off the goalkeeper in the 85th minute. Substitute Jayden Prosser crossed a couple of minutes later into the path of Rodgers, who needed two attempts before getting his shot past the ‘keeper.
POMFRET’S SPOT ON FOR GOSNELLS
Gosnells City continued their strong start to 2010 by toppling Canning City 2-1 in the local derby at Walter Padbury Reserve. The game was decided just before the break when Andy Pomfret slotted in from the penalty spot, the three points keeping Gosnells alongside Bunbury Forum Force on top of the Division One table. Ross Diamond fired Canning into an 8th minute lead from the penalty spot, however, the hosts needed just sixty seconds to reply with Darren Francis slotting past goalkeeper Stuart Delgarno after intercepting Joe Haider's attempted back pass. Half-time was only moments away when Gosnells were awarded a penalty of their own which Pomfret converted at the second attempt.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with much of the play taking place in the middle third and neither team creating a great deal in the way of genuine scoring opportunities. Gosnells were dealt a body blow in the 63rd minute when David Abbott's last man challenge on Diamond left the referee with no choice but to show the defender a red card. But Canning's hopes of capitalising on the situation were continually repelled by a well-drilled defence in which the efforts of goalkeeper Adrian McBride, Ian Maguire and Dave Evans were vital in the home side registering a narrow victory.
THREE OFF AS BAYSWATER EDGE OUT WANNEROO
Bayswater City were made to work hard before getting the better of a nine-man Wanneroo City 2-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. First half goals by Kailo Karpeh and Brian Cairney ensured the teams went in to the break on level terms, however, by the hour Wanneroo were down to nine players following the red carding of Glenn Moore and Craig Bowman. Colombian import Gustavo Marulunda determined to outcome midway though the second period, only for Bayswater to also go down a man when George Tchami was sent off.
Bayswater settled the better and Damien Catalano’s drive from 18-metres wasn’t too far high of the crossbar, while Tchami’s powerful header from a corner was blocked on the line by Guy McDonald. The visitors attacking endeavours were rewarded on 38 minutes when Karpeh coolly placed into an empty net after making the most of a moment’s hesitation between goalkeeper Clint Davies and one of his defenders. However, it would be a short-lived lead as in the shadows of half time Cairney looped the ball over the on-coming ‘keeper to bring the sides level.
Wanneroo absorbed the pressure as Bayswater attempted to reclaim the lead at the start of the second half. A crude tackle by Moore led to his dismissal on 53 minutes, and shortly after Bowman received a needless second yellow card for time wasting. Bayswater waited fifteen minutes before making the most of their numerical advantage with Carlos Lopez’s delightful pass putting Marulanda in behind the defence from where he slotted past Davies. Wanneroo refused to lie down and kept pushing Bayswater, who had Tchami sent off in the 76th minute for a bizarre off the ball disagreement with a team mate.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Northern neighbours Sorrento and ECU Joondalup pits skills in the footballwa.net Premier League match of the week at Percy Doyle Reserve (3.00pm). Sorrento, who ground out a scoreless draw with Floreat Athena last week, will be minus Ryan Sheppard (suspension) and could also be without veteran Todd Harnwell as he struggles with a calf injury. Having missed the draw at Cockburn City, Jon Higgins returns to a Joondalup side in which Jamie Watt has slotted nicely into the void left by John Thornley's departure for Victorian club Altona Magic.
Gulls midfielder Jason Mirco, a former Joondalup player, took plenty of positives from his teams performance at Floreat Athena last week. "It's always hard to get any points at Floreat. We had a game plan which we played to and after 90 minutes I think we were unlucky not to have taken all three points," said Mirco, who expects Saturday's game to be another derby classic. "Both sides are going to be desperate for wins after coming off draws last week - it should be a great game of football."
Joondalup utility Garin Collins is back in action following knee surgery and is looking forward to playing his former club. "The knee is okay, it's still a bit stiff and sore after doing too much but it's getting better every day. I had keyhole surgery to cut out most of my meniscus cartilage and a tidy up," he explained. "Saturday is a massive game that we really need to win, we've stopped the losses but need to turn the draws in to wins. We haven't beaten Sorrento for quite a while and it would be great to break that run."
Floreat Athena have the familiarity of being on home soil for the second time in eight days in preparation for taking on Balcatta (3.00pm). The home team were far from happy about being held to a scoreless draw by Sorrento last Saturday and coach Ante Kovacevic will no doubt expect a much stronger performance capped by at least a couple of goals. Balcatta, fresh from a stylish four-goal win over Perth SC, could enter the afternoon without Julian Piromalli, Bobby Klenkoski and Igor Ilikj due to injury, however, with Ashley Rosindale and Andy O'Neill in red-hot form they are understandably full of confidence.
Western Knights expect to take nothing less than all three points away from their trip to Armadale (3.00pm). Paul Van Dongen and David Price have the midfield working well while Simon Versaico and Daniel Micevski provide pace down the flanks. It'll be a depleted Armadale side that steps out onto the park due to the absence of star import James Robinson (hamstring) and veteran defender Andy Bowyer (retired). On the flip side they are likely to get back Tom Robinson and Steve Porter, both missing last time out.
Mandurah City journeys to Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions (3.00pm) have hosting rights. Paul Lincoln is yet to experience victory on home soil but, with a near full squad to chose from, the Stirling coach is brimming with confidence. Mandurah midfielder Jordan Rhodes returns to the club he left only a few weeks ago, and with State team captain Andy Brown in superb form up-front and Ryan Townsend rock solid at the other end of the park it's the visitors who are expected to claim all three points.
Two of the Premier League's strugglers, Cockburn City and Inglewood United, lock horns in a must-win encounter at Dalmatinac Park (3.00pm). Home coach Scott Miller is hopeful of regaining Devon Gibson and Llewelyn Bake, however, key midfielder Adrian Webster remains out due to suspension. Lee Carr looked good in attack last week for Inglewood and what sort of impact he can have, as well as the leadership provided by Michael Baczynski and Oliver Taseski, will be crucial to how their afternoon pans out.
This week's Sunday game is the traditional derby between Premier League leaders Perth SC and bottom-of-the-table Swan United at the Swan Italian Club (3.00pm). Perth was upset last week by Balcatta but with Antonio Naglieri and Ian McMurray again available, and Trent Kay and Shaun Kilkelly marshalling the defence, the visitors should come out on top. Swan coach Jamie Goodman has a full compliment of players to select from and could be tempted to bring State League veteran Darko Ilomanoski and new signing Stuart Long straight into his starting eleven.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Morley Windmills and Rockingham City would love dearly to collect maximum points at Wotton Reserve tomorrow in the footballwa.net Division One match of the week. Each has endured a difficult start to the season but some positive signs in the past few weeks indicate things are slowly coming together at both clubs. Diego Van Der Ross, Blaz Radovanovic and Eddy Walsh are the players to watch for the home side, while for Rockingham its Kiel Weigel and Michael Vaz along with veteran Jay Bonser that hold the key.
Fremantle Spirit is in for a torrid time when Bunbury Forum Force, who tallied up nine goals last time out, come calling at Wauhop Park. It was Canning City who felt Bunbury's wrath and they'll once again be tested to the fullest away as they travel to joint table toppers Gosnells City. Bayswater City has not lost on the field of play since the opening day of the season and that should continue when they journey to Wanneroo City. Dianella White Eagles can register their first home win of the campaign, putting behind them some recent stumbles, against Queens Park. All games kick-off at 3.00pm.
Round Seven concludes with Ashfield verses Forrestfield United under lights at Ashfield Reserve (7.00pm). Ashfield's mid-week recruitment of central midfielder Brian McDonald will go only so far to countering the injuries Scott McIlroy (hamstring), Gary Murdoch (hamstring), Jake Harman (ankle) and Paul Dundo (ankle) suffered last week at Bayswater City. John Hunter has a selection headache of a much different kind at Forrestfield where his entire senior squad are available for selection. Kenny Ftynogiannis, captain Matt Harold and Jamie Burns will play important roles as Forrestfield go seeking their first away point of the campaign.
RUKAVYTSYA TIPPED TO SIZZLE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Former Perth Glory striker Nikita Rukavytsya is quietly looming as the Socceroos' X-factor at the 2010 World Cup. Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has been keeping a close eye on Rukavytsya's progress at Belgium club KSV Roeselare and said the 22-year-old's dazzling pace and creativity could be a vital weapon in South Africa. "He's a player who can bring something special," Verbeek said of Rukavytsya, who is on loan from Dutch club FC Twente. "I think he is a big chance to be in the final 23. I can understand here (in Australia) that Belgium football is not on the television but I can promise you he's doing well. He's very well respected in Belgium football. He's scoring goals, he's very fast and he's working 90 minutes, and that's the kind of player we need at the World Cup."
Despite being draw alongside Germany, Ghana and Serbia in Group D, Verbeek has every confidence his team will take part in the tournaments' knock-out phase. "I want to go to the final sixteen, the team wants to go to the final sixteen and from there we want to go to the final eight," Verbeek said. "That's what we are going to do. Of course we are confident, if we're not confident it's better to stay at home and go for a break ... The boys did a great job to qualify for the World Cup, as a team they're fantastic. The team spirit is very high. We have no big names, (no) big stars, we have a strong team and they're working as a team and that's the way we're going to get results."
WORLD CUP WONDERS ON SHOW NEXT WEEK
The Football Hall of Fame WA will stage a World Cup Exhibition - 'World Cup Wonders' - at the historic Perth Town Hall from Tuesday 18 May to celebrate Australia's involvement in the greatest show on earth. This years World Cup marks the 80th anniversary of the finals tournament and the third time Australia have taken part. The Socceroos first attempted to qualify for the World Cup in 1965, when they bowed out of qualifiers to North Korea, and many players with West Australian links have been associated with Australia's bid for glory during the past 45 years.
As a tribute to those players, the Football Hall of Fame will host a Cocktail Reception on Saturday, 22 May to salute their achievements. Presentations will be made to Stan Lazaridis, our most capped Socceroo, Robbie Dunn, Robert Zabica, Shaun Murphy, Alistair Edwards, Tony Franken and Gary Marocchi, who are among the many West Australians to have pulled on Australian jerseys. Also being honured are the women players who have represented Australia in the Women's World Cup, including Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum.
The 'World Cup Wonders' exhibition will focus heavily on Australia's involvement in the tournament with photographs, match reports, posters and other memorabilia on display. There will also be a special section on World Cup History, and patrons can be photographed holding a replica of the World Cup trophy. The Committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA thanks the City of Perth for its support in this venture, and also that of Football West. 'World Cup Wonders' runs from 18 to 25 May - for more information contact Football Hall of Fame WA chairman Louis Prospero on 9237 9205.
REDS CAPTAIN BOWYER SIGNS OFF
Armadale captain Andy Bowyer has retired from football after close to three decades involvement in the world game. The tough-tackling 35-year old thought long and hard about his future before deciding the time was right to hang up his boots for the final time. “It was a difficult decision and one that I have been contemplating for the last three years,” said Bowyer. “The reasons for pulling up sticks are many, but the biggest is that the passion and drive which keeps restricted skilled players like me in this league has faded - and that is the very ingredient needed to compete and satisfy the lovers of the game watching. Work and personal life also has had a say too.”
Although he leaves Armadale with a heavy heart, Bowyer has every confidence the club is heading in the right direction under the guidance of former national league player Brad Hassell. “There is a very good vibe around Armadale at the moment and this is the best position the club has been in for a while,” he said. “Boozer (Brad Hassell) and Robbo (Steve Robinson) are in a good situation with quality depth in the squad, our defence is one of the better ones in the league and with Liam Harvey back from injury there is additional quality coming in.”
Bowyer played locally as well as in England and South Africa during a lengthy career. “My time in the game has been very enjoyable,” he said. “I played with the junior State teams for a few years and at Wanneroo and Whitfords before heading to Sorrento for ten years. I then moved back to my homeland South Africa and played with Stella FC and went to the UK and played with Deal Town FC in Kent. I returned to Oz in 2003 and played three years with Sorrento, one with Morley and ended with the one of the better teams in the league for banter, mateship and togetherness … the Army!”
With football having played such a big part in his life Bowyer says he’s keen to remain involved in the game, only from the other side of the fence. “I don’t think coaching is my pint of beer, I’m more of a soldier than a General, so it looks like I will be joining the rest of the soldiers in our Barmy Army,” commented Bowyer. “What I will miss most is that change room smell before kick-off when you are looking at the fire in your mates eyes and feeling that these guys are ready to eat lion’s jaws off together as a team - thanks for the memories guys.”
DERBY WIN WAS WEEKS IN THE MAKING: TODARO
Balcatta coach Salv Todaro says Sunday's comprehensive derby win against top-of-the-table Perth SC was the culmination of weeks of hard work. A commanding first half performance set the tone for Balcatta's 5-1 win, which came courtesy of Lucas Whitehouse's double and single strikes from Ashley Rosindale, English import Adam Tong and home grown starlet Matt Italiano. "I was very pleased with the boys commitment and the way that we played, it was a fantastic display," said Todaro. "Everyone has been training extremely hard over the last couple of weeks and it all came together on Sunday. Some of our play was really exciting to watch, and the quality of the finishing was first class."
Never one to rest on his laurels, Todaro wasted no time moving on from beating Perth by getting his players re-focused for Saturday's encounter with third-placed Floreat Athena. "We have to start all over again this week as we play another very good team," commented Todaro, who last season guided Balcatta to the Division One title. "Floreat have been playing very well lately and we will need to be close to our best to compete with them, they have potential match winners all over the park. But our result last week has given the team a timely boost in confidence and it should be an interesting afternoon at Litis Stadium." Balcatta's attempt to get the better of Floreat commences at 3.00pm on Saturday.
IRISH EYES ARE SMILING AT SWAN
There's not been a lot of joy for Swan United's supporters so far this year, however, Irish midfielder Darragh Kinnevy is determined to change that. Kinnevy has been outstanding in the middle of the park for the black and whites since transferring across from Division One club Ashfield last summer. "I was playing for Ashfield last season, where we struggled to pick up any results so I decided in the summer to give the Premier League a go," he explained. "John O'Reilly was reserve team coach at Ashfield before moving to Swan, and I had been in contact with him over the summer before getting invited to pre-season training, and I haven't looked back."
Kinnevy, 28, was pivotal in Swan grinding out a scoreless draw with Western Knights last week, a result he believes could turn their season around. "It was another hard-fought point against a good side, and I thought we could have gotten more out of the game," he said. "In the first half particularly we created a few good opportunities whereas in the second we were hanging on a little in the end. The most important thing is that we were hard to beat, as I think we have been in the last few weeks with the exception of the Mandurah game. It gives us a platform to start really pushing for three points in the coming games and move up the table."
Kinnevy, a Galway United player prior to moving to Australia, says all the pieces are in place for Swan to starting moving away from the foot of the table. "Initially I was surprised at how young the squad was, but with a few additions over the last few weeks I think the balance is quite good now," said Kinnevy, who believes Jamie Goodman's recent transition from assistant to head coach has been seamless. "I don't think he has tried to change too much, his training sessions are sharp and varied which keeps everyone fresh and interested."
Coach Jamie Goodman has been delighted with the on-field contributions of Kinnevy, who he considers a key component in the Swan engine room. "Darragh's work ethic at training is excellent, and he trains how he plays. He's a very honest player who gives his all for the team," said Goodman. "He quickly became a regular fixture and his determination is infectious. He has fitted into the side very well and was just the player to compliment our other midfielders. He has slipped under the guard of a few teams and has been very good for us in breaking up the oppositions play."
Swan back up last week's scoreless draw with the Knights by welcoming traditional rivals Perth SC to the Swan Valley on Sunday afternoon. "It's another important game for us against Perth. From what I have seen in this league so far it really doesn't matter what position in the table your opponent occupies, if you're not at the top of your game you will struggle," Kinnevy said. "On the other hand, I think on our day we can give any team in this league a difficult afternoon." Swan take on Premier League leaders Perth from 3.00pm on Sunday at the Swan Italian Club.
LOWRY SIGNS NEW TWO-YEAR VILLA CONTRACT
Defender Shane Lowry has capped a marvellous week by signing a new two-year deal with English Premier League outfit Aston Villa. Called up for Australia’s 31-man provisional World Cup squad on Tuesday, 20-year old Lowry has penned a new contract keeping him at Villa Park until June 2012. “I am absolutely delighted,” he told Villa’s official website. “It’s been a decent season for me. I made my debut for the Villa first team in the Europa League against Rapid Vienna and also managed to get some Football League experience under my belt too with Plymouth and Leeds. And then there’s been the World Cup squad announcement too.” Lowry will look to make a positive impact as Australia face New Zealand in a pre-World Cup game on 24 May in Melbourne.
THREE WA BOYS IN NATIONAL SQUAD
National honours await Daniel DeSilva, Ross Millard and Jordan Pokler following their selection in the Australian Under-13 squad for next months AFC Under-14 Boys Festival of Football. The trio turned in some eye-catching performances at the National Junior Championships and a subsequent training camp to earn the nod from national coach Ante Juric. DeSilva, Millard and Pokler, who play for Stirling Lions, ECU Joondalup and Perth City respectively, will join with the Under-13 squad later this month before heading to Sabah, Malaysia, for their opening game of the tournament on 2 June.
The Australia Under-13 squad for the 2010 AFC Under-14 Boys Festival of Football is Bai Antoniou, Adam Berry, Nathan Bertolissio, Antonee Burke, Anthony Kalik, Anthony Krkovski, Steve Kuzmanovski, Martin Lo, Connor O'Toole, Liam Rose, Matthew Stewart, Jacob Tarasenko, Lachlan Wales, Thomas Waller (New South Wales), Milan Egic, Scott Halliday, Austin Ludwik (Queensland), Anthony Duzel, Lucas Spinella (Victoria), Daniel DeSilva, Ross Millard and Jordan Pokler (Western Australia).
GARCIA RUES HULLS REVOLVING DOOR
Hull City’s Richard Garcia has blamed a succession of changes on and off the pitch for the embattled Tigers’ English Premiership demise. Garcia, named in Australia’s provisional 31-man squad ahead of the World Cup, said returning home has helped take his mind off a nightmare campaign. “It was a tough year all-round,” Garcia told au.fourfourtwo.com. “We had little problems everywhere and couldn’t find our form which was our downfall. And then by the time we were starting to click, confidence was low because we’d taken some pastings. It was a difficult thing and there were things behind the scenes with the financial status of the club and the manager going and the chairman going.”
Having languishing towards the foot of the table for much of the season, relegation was confirmed on Hull when they drew with Wigan Athletic on the second last day of the season. “We ended the season before this one poorly and we started this last season not any better,” 28-year old Garcia conceded. “It was almost like a revolving door of players coming in and going out even from last season. So it’s always hard when you bring in ten, eleven guys into the squad and expect them to gel automatically. I think we struggled with that at the start of the season.”
Dropping down to the Championship will cost the Tigers millions in revenue at a time when they are in danger of falling into administration after revealing debts of £35million (A$58million). “The club might have to get rid of quite a few of the players because of the financial situation. It’s all ifs and buts at the minute - and also if players want to be there or not,” added Garcia, who is realistic about his future. “I’m a Hull City player at the end of the day. It’s one of those things that if something else arises and the club is happy to see me go then that’s something I’ve got to look at. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m playing for Hull City.”
Garcia feels he’d started to find his feet in the Premiership and said he’d ideally like to stay in the division, having mixed it against some of the biggest names in the world over the last two seasons. “It’s only my ambition that will drive me to get back there,” he said. But for now, he’s got the World Cup to dream of and returning home has been beneficial in other ways for the five times capped Socceroo. “Coming home always lifts me. It’s a chance to forget about that [relegation] and move onto this and bigger and better things.”
GLORY WON ME OVER: FOWLER
Robbie Fowler has told how Perth Glory's willingness to go the extra mile in pursuit of his talent persuaded him to head to Western Australia. It looked as though A-League premiers Sydney FC were on the cusp of securing Fowler last month only for the former Liverpool star to opt for Glory. "I spoke to both clubs and I felt Perth wanted me a little bit more. They went out of their way a little bit more," the 35-year old said. "When a chairman or a manager or other players go out of their way to prove that they want you, it makes you feel that little bit better. I spoke to the chairman, I spoke to the manager a good few times before I actually decided to sign, so the fact they went out of their way goes a long way in making a decision."
Fowler had a very public falling out with new Glory assistant coach Ian Ferguson while the pair were at North Queensland Fury last season but insists his relationship with the Scot is fine. "The way things panned out I probably could have handled things a little bit better, it was all down to me," said Fowler, who refused to go on the bench for a game against Brisbane Roar after being dropped by Ferguson. said. "Obviously as a player, or as a man, you always have little arguments with anyone, it can happen in any walk of life in any job … I've never had a problem with him (Ferguson) I was probably in the wrong but it was never as big a deal as people were making out."
Having spent the past few months back on Merseyside, Fowler returns to Australia in two weeks but admits he has little knowledge of Perth as a city. "I've spoken to various people who have said I will enjoy it but until I get over there I couldn't really tell you what Perth's about, all I know a lot of English do go over there so I'm joining a long list of many," he said. "Australia is more of an outdoor country and if I'm being honest the weather's a major factor (in his decision to come here). "It's a lovely part of the world hence why a lot of English go over there. The kids and my wife will, I think, really enjoy Perth because it's a major city, whereas Townsville was obviously a little bit quieter than most places in Australia, so I think everyone will enjoy Perth that little bit more."
HARNWELL JOINS FOOTBALL WEST
Perth Glory favourite Jamie Harnwell has taken on a part-time development officer role with Football West. Harnwell, a veteran of just under 250 national league games with Glory, Leyton Orient (England) and FC Vaduz (Liechtenstein), has coached Sorrento juniors and students at Trinity College along with running his own private academy for the past three years. “I am extremely proud to be joining Football West at this time, while the game here keeps growing and growing,” he said. “It is great to be given this opportunity, especially while I am still playing, to put something back into the game and hopefully help find and develop players who will be the future of West Australian football.”
OUR FABULOUS FIVE
Five West Australians have been named in coach Pim Verbeek's extended 31-man Socceroos squad for the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. Middlesbrough team mates Rhys Williams and Brad Jones, Nikita Rukavytsya (FC Twente), Richard Garcia (Hull City) and Shane Lowry (Aston Villa) are now in line to play at the world's biggest single sport event. However, there was no place on the plane for Perth Glory trio Chris Coyne, Mile Sterjovski and Jacob Burns, nor Turkey-based goalkeeper Michael Petkovic.
Williams is confident he can prove his fitness having played through the pain barrier with a pelvis problem this season. "It's going to be hard to get in the 23 but if I work hard I've got a chance. Hopefully I can work my way up to full fitness," Williams said, who has been working with Fremantle Dockers physios over the past week to right the persistent injury. "The Dockers have been a great help and it's looking quite good ... It's really nice to be home and mentally it's good to have a bit of a rest."
The inclusion of WA's fabulous five ensures plenty of interest on the local front. Jones shrugged off adversity to feature prominently for Middlesbrough in the latter part of the 2009/10 campaign and push himself into contention. Rukavytsya's inclusion comes on the back of a successful loan move from Dutch club FC Twente to Belgian side Roeselare. Garcia missed the latter stages of Hull's season because of a knee injury but is rated highly by Verbeek. Uncapped 20-year old Lowry was a surprise selection but has impressed Verbeek with his performances while on loan to Leeds United.
PRELIMINARY WORLD CUP SQUAD NAMED
The injury crisis that threatens to derail Australia's World Cup campaign has forced coach Pim Verbeek to name an expanded 31-man preliminary squad for next month's tournament. Verbeek chose to name a larger squad than the 27 originally planned to cover for niggling injuries being carried by Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton and Vince Grella. The squad will be trimmed to 23 players on 1 June, less than a fortnight before Australia's opening group-stage match against Germany.
Verbeek said he would take up to 27 players to South Africa since FIFA rules allow for the possibility of the replacement of injured players. "It's always in the back of my mind that you give Harry and maybe the other players the possibility to train and we can still make a decision before the 12th of June," said the coach. "At that time if you still have an injured player you can change the injured player for another player. That's the reason you take probably 26 or 27 players into South Africa."
The Socceroos will assemble in Melbourne on 19 May to commence final preparations for South Africa. Friendlies with New Zealand (24 May), Denmark (1 June) and the United States (5 June) will give Verbeek and his coaching staff the opportunity to assess players in a competitive environment. Australia face Germany (13 June) in their first World Cup encounter before taking on Ghana (19 June) and Serbia (23 June) in the Group D. The Socceroos will progress to the knock-pout phase should they place in the top two group positions.
Australia's preliminary World Cup squad is Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira Club), James Holland, Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor Kulubu), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel), Brett Emerton, Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers), Nick Carle (Crystal Palace), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Mark Milligan (JEF United), Brad Jones, Scott McDonald, Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Dario Vidosic (Nurnberg), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Adam Federici (Reading), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Jade North (Tromsø), David Carney, Nikita Rukavytsya (FC Twente), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht) and uncontracted defender Craig Moore. Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United) will also travel as a stand-by goalkeeper.
FILOCAMO READY TO FIRE (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
Northern Redbacks' striker Lara Filocamo is out to build on last seasons' successes, which included sharing the Golden Boot award with striker partner Jackie Nellany. Winning that trophy was a great achievement for Filocamo who, in football terms, came to the game later than most. "I always considered playing football when I was younger. But having my three brothers play soccer my parents couldn't juggle taking all of us, so I missed out." said the striker. "I started playing for my high school (Balcatta Senior High) in Year 8 and when I was 15 I started competitive football, for Balcatta in the women's 16's premier team."
With a strong debut season under her belt, Filocamo suffered a serious knee injury which kept her out of the game for a year. Once back to full fitness, Filocamo left Balcatta to play for local powerhouse club Northern Redbacks. "The first time I started playing under Tim (Hodgson) was the first time I excelled in my football," said Filocamo. "Tim is a very good coach, and he has boosted every aspect of my knowledge and skills. He not only boosts my confidence but the teams confidence and I am so happy and proud to have Tim as my coach."
Filocamo has become a vital cog in the Redbacks artillery with a strong instinct for goals backed up by great ball control, a knack for evading opponents and, perhaps most important for a striker, aggression. But to make it to the next level she is well aware that there areas in her game that need tightening. "I need to work on my fitness and my shooting," Filocamo commented. "I need to push myself even further to get even better skills. I like dribbling so I don't take the time to concentrate on shooting."
The Redbacks have long had a winning culture and it's that which Filocamo says will have them challenging for the 2010 Womens Premier League crown. "We are all confident and a hard working bunch, we all have very impressive skills within ourselves and work to our own abilities. This makes me enjoy being apart of such a wonderful team and club," said Filocamo, whose eyes are on bigger goals. "I want to play for the Glory Women at one stage and then the Matildas one day. I believe if you never give up and focus on what you want to achieve present or future, you can make it!"
CUP DREAM IS OVER FOR GLORY'S COYNE
Defender Chris Coyne's World Cup dream came to an end on Saturday night when national team coach Pim Verbeek telephoned to tell him he had not made the initial 30-man Socceroos squad. Coyne, 31, played an important role in Australia's World Cup qualification but was not surprised with his non-selection for South Africa. "He said he has to disappoint some people and unfortunately I was one of them," Perth Glory's Coyne told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "I had a feeling I wasn't going to be in. He hadn't picked me all year and the contact was very minimal. But you can't give up until you know for sure."
Coyne was philosophical about his omission, pointing out that Verbeek had been the man behind his international call-up two years ago. Having rejected interest from the Republic of Ireland, Coyne was rewarded when Verbeek handed him his Socceroos debut in a World Cup qualifier against Iraq in June 2008. "I can't crack the shits at someone who finally game me the opportunity to play for the national team," said Coyne, who has now played seven games for Australia. "Hopefully one day I'll be a manager and I'll have to make these sorts of decisions. I wish Pim all the best." Coyne remains hopeful of being involved in Australia's Asian Cup campaign in Qatar early next year.
NEW GAFFER AT QUEENS PARK
Andy Godfrey has been named caretaker coach of Division One’s perennial strugglers Queens Park. A former Gosnells City, East Fremantle Tricolore and Inglewood Kiev player, Godfrey takes over from Ron More who was stood down last week on the back of a string of poor results. In stepping into the role Godfrey becomes Queens Park's fifth coach in sixteen months, following More, Mauro Marchione, Peter Johnson and Mike Brazil into the coaching hot seat. Queens Park are placed last in the twelve team competition with just one win from their first six games.
THE PENNY FINALLY DROPS (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
The first draft of A-League fixtures for 2010/11 is out and it looks like the whingeing by the Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets may have paid dividends. Glory, the only team in the competition to open with two away games for two consecutive seasons, are likely to play North Queensland Fury at home in round one. That's a mouth-watering prospect with Glory's star recruit Robbie Fowler and new assistant coach Ian Ferguson coming up against their former club. Newcastle bleated mercilessly when they had to fly to Perth last year to play on Boxing Day, so in 2010 Glory are likely to have a bye on Boxing Day.
One strange anomaly is that Glory has to travel twice to Adelaide. This will be the third season in a row that they have played Adelaide away twice and only once at home. They also have to travel to North Queensland Fury twice, just as they did last season. Surely if you play a team away twice in one season you simply get them at home twice the following season? Obviously that would be far too obvious! But overall it is an improvement on last year, so well done Football Federation Australia.
WORLD CUP BID FINALISED
Australia's bid to host the World Cup has been polished up ahead of Friday's presentation to FIFA. Rival football codes yesterday signed an agreement with the Federal Government and Football Federation Australia ensuring stadium rights and compensation should Australia be successful in its bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. "We have the unified support of the nation behind our bid and we are ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world," said FFA chairman Frank Lowy. "This is great news for football and great news for the whole country as everyone will benefit if we win the right to host a FIFA World Cup."
WAIS WOMEN'S FOOTBALL PROGRAM: A YEAR ON (by Ann Odong)
Last year's establishment of the WAIS Women's Football Program further defined the pathway for elite female footballers in this state. The program has been designed to maximise Western Australian representation at national level with Perth Glory coach John Gibson given the responsibility of achieving this. "The major benefit is the coaching and training the athletes receive," said Gibson. "WAIS also offers a range of services to athletes (including) gym access, sports psychology, performance analysis, physiotherapy, self-massage, physiology, nutrition, career and education guidance."
The nine current WAIS scholarship holders are a mixture of long-time internationals, emerging stars and players to watch out for in years to come. Heading that list are Matildas regulars Lisa De Vanna, Collette McCallum and Katie Gill; midfielder Sam Kerr recently made her international debut while that same honour may befall Shannon May, Marianna Tabain, Jaymee Gibbons, Nadine Rechichi and Sadie Lawrence somewhere down the track.
Gibson and his team are charged not only with attending to the scholarship holders but also to the across the board development of women's football. "The role of includes raising the standard of coaching in WA through involvement in various underpinning programs from grassroots to high performance, providing a daily training environment and developing a cultural and environment in WA which is on par with the major states," said the coach.
BALCATTA THRASH LADDER LEADERS (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
Balcatta jumped back into the winners circle with an emphatic 5-1 defeat of top-of-the-table Perth SC at Grindleford Reserve. The game was decided midway through the first half when Salv Todaro's men slammed in a trio of unanswered goals to leave Perth reeling. "I'm very pleased with the boys, they did everything I asked of them, I couldn't have asked anything more," said a beaming Balcatta coach. "We been wanting to play all season and today, everything came together. We worked very hard at training this week and just came out today and played, it was fantastic."
Ashley Rosindale was outstanding for Balcatta, netting the first goal and playing a key role in setting up many attacking passages. "The last couple of weeks, he's been carrying an injury and hasn't been his best but today, he was fantastic," added Todoro. Fresh from promotion, Balcatta started the season in style with three wins but a draw and three losses since brought them back to the pack. But the hoome team were prepared for last year's State Champions, who were coming off four straight wins.
Balcatta needed a little luck to get started, Rosindale scooping over advancing goalkeeper Luke Martino after receiving Sam Allen's ball from near the halfway line on 26 minutes. It became two-nil just six minutes later when Martino was unable to keep out an Adam Tong penalty after committing a foul inside the area. Balcatta was making the most of every scoring opportunity and the team's confidence soared, while Perth struggled to find any answers. In the 37th minute Rosindale created the hosts a third goal with a penetrating run before crossing for Lucas Whitehouse to volley in from point-blank range.
Frustrated by a sub-par first half, Perth coach Graham Normanton issued his team a verbal serve at the break, making it clear the situation was still salvageable. But Balcatta was having none of it and three minutes after the resumption made it four-nil with Whitehouse deflecting in Tong's header from a corner by Rosindale. Perth finally broke though via Hayden Doyle, who hit a low, firm shot from near the top of the box that eluded 'keeper Bobson Koroma. As if indignant that Perth dare cut into their lead, Matt Italiano restored his teams four-goal buffer just two minutes later to make it clear there'd be no miraculous comeback.
YOUNG LEAVING NIGHTMARE BEHIND
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Neil Young is determined to put two months of living hell behind him after resuming light training this week. Young was hospitalised from late January to late March, including two weeks in intensive care, after suffering an allergic reaction to medication when he underwent surgery to repair a broken nose. The former Sorrento 'keeper endured three operations, and faces another surgery in a fortnight, and lost 20 kilograms because he was unable to eat for four weeks.
Since being released from hospital six weeks ago, he has regained eight kilograms and took another major step on the long road to recovery on Monday when he joined team mate Michael Bridges for a light gym session. "I'm back in the gym at the moment, so I've started some of that sort of training," said Young. "I've just been doing as much as I can before I start to feel sore . . . I'm back out on the golf course, too, which is nice." Young hopes to be "doing some basic stuff" when Newcastle begin pre-season on 17 May and has targeted the end of July for his return to full training.
GALLANT SWANS FRUSTRATE KNIGHTS (by Tom Lefort, Football West)
Western Knights squandered an opportunity to go top of the Premier League table by being held to a scoreless draw by bottom side Swan United at Nash Field. As expected, Paul Price's team enjoyed the greater share of possession but a tenacious Swan, led by goalkeeper Cory Hugo, earned themselves a share of the points. "The boys deserved what they put in today. We played a slightly different shape than we have been playing. We decided to play five across the midfield to match their five and the guys battled hard and really wanted it today," said black and whites coach Jamie Goodman, who praised his sides defensive efforts. "Dave McNally was tremendous and big Liam Boland was coming back for corners as well, and Corey was rock solid in goal so I was very happy with the way we defended them."
The Knights immediately put pressure on the Swan backline with a long throw finding David Micevski whose low drive deflected into the path of Simon Versaico but his shot was eventually cleared. Stuart Ferguson then headed wide a free-kick from the right before Stuart Montgomery fired straight at Hugo from 9-metres after pouncing on a loose ball. David Micevski curled a free-kick past the junction of post and crossbar, Versaico's weak effort didn't trouble Hugo who, on the half hour, was at full stretch to push wide David Annall's low drive from 19-metres. Swans best chance came on the counter-attack three minutes before the break when Boland turned his man inside the 18-yard box before drilling goalward from 9-metres only for 'keeper Frazer Siddall to deny him with a smart reflex save.
John Hunter had the first opportunity of any note after the interval but the Swan striker blazed high and wide from the edge of the area. Montgomery went much closer for the home side after 54 minutes with an angled shot that was superbly parried by Hugo. Six minutes later the Swan 'keeper again denied Montgomery after he'd got on the end of a low cross from substitute Anthony Campbell. Their personal battle continued with Hugo quickly off his line to save at Montgomery's feet as he was about to shoot having already beaten one opponent. Campbell headed over from a corner as the Knights turned up the heat entering the final twenty minutes. A David Micevski free-kick fizzed wide, Campbell sent another header high before Hugo held Montgomery's effort from 14-metres. Swan almost nicked all three points in stoppage-time when Michael Van Dongen's low goalbound strike from just inside the area was blocked before being desperately cleared away.
SORRENTO HOLD FLOREAT (by Chris Correia, Footbll West)
Sorrento kept themselves in fourth spot by drawing 0-0 with Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Both teams had numerous chances to score but neither was able to find the back of the net over 90 minutes. Sorrento fashioned an early strike on goal for David Foster but his shot was directed straight at custodian and former team mate Alex Dunn. Floreat responded through the in-form Branimir Mikulic but his header was directly at 'keeper Tom Woodhead. Moments later John Migas' pass into the 6-yard box found Mikulic who remarkably placed the wrong side of the post.
A great ball by Mikulic picked out Migas whose far post cross found an unmarked Johny Mirco but his first time volley struck the post. Adam Hayton, who was lively in the final third for Sorrento, created an opening for himself by charging towards goal only to have Dunn palm away the shot for a corner. The final chance of the half came was a 28-metre strike by Adam Bachiller that rose just centimetres over the frame of the goal, setting Woodhead's nerves tingling moments before the break.
Floreat should have taken the lead early in the second half but star midfielder Jason Barrera mishit his volley following a great cross from the right by Modrick Sims. Sorrento demonstrated great team play initiated by Hayton who found captain Todd Harnwell, he cut the ball back to Ryan Sheppard but the midfielder's shot was well saved by Dunn. Both teams wasted golden chances to score throughout the match and the frustration was beginning to show as the final twenty minutes approached.
Mikulic could have put Floreat one-up but instead blasted an indirect free-kick inside the penalty area over the crossbar, with Sorrento having all ten men on the goal line. The desperation was evident in the dying stages with Mirco throwing himself at a near-impossible ball delivered from substitute James Isaia. Minutes later Isaia emerged as Floreat's saviour, the midfielder clearing a dangerous Hayton cross intended for Foster at the back post. The dismissal of Sheppard for his bad challenge on Floreat substitute Adam Wood set up a tense finish with both teams breathing a sigh of relief at Michael Tolmie's final whistle.
STIRLING SHOW THEIR TEETH AT INGLEWOOD
Stirling Lions moved up the table to fifth following a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of home team Inglewood United. First half goals by new signings Phil Arnold and Mario Marcinko plus an own goal by Oliver Taseski secure Stirling maximum points for the first time in four games. "We played some good football in the first half and took our chances on some set pieces, and I'm really happy to get the three points to be fair," said Stirling coach Paul Lincoln. "Phil Arnold did well for us up front today, he scored one and set one up. Phil ran out of legs near the end but the partnership between him and Mario will cause defences problems so we're pleased to have signed the pair."
Less than a minute was on the clock when Roberto Lujan's cross from the left was headed just wide of the post by Marcinko. Stirling dictated the early play and on 9 minutes Ryan Clarke's poor back pass let in Arnold, his shot was blocked by Taseski with Marcinko's follow-up shot straight at the Inglewood custodian. The hosts first chance was a long-range effort by Sandi Loncar which went wide, and moments later Michael Baczynski's delightful through ball sent through Lee Carr but he was foiled by 'keeper Kevin Miller, who moved quickly off his line to block.
Stirling got the breakthrough after 17 minutes, Shane Robinson's free-kick picked out an unmarked Arnold who powerfully headed in from 5-metres. That lead would have been short-lived had Miller not intervened to thwart Rikki Smith. Inglewood lifted after this only to be dealt a savage blow on 34 minutes when Robinson cut past Matt Wardle before delivering an inch perfect cross which Marcinko headed in at close-range. It got worse for the home team just three minutes later, Miller's booming clearance posed little danger until Taseski's attempt to clear ricocheted off Robinson and rolled agonisingly into the net, the final touch coming from the 'keeper as he tried to drag the ball back from the line.
Inglewood made a positive start to the second period with Miller forced to save low at his near post from Lee Carr's snap shot. Baczynski should have pulled a goal back on 57 minutes by headed high when found unmarked by Wardle. Clarke beat a couple of opponents down the right before cutting in and flashing over the bar as the home team sought for a way back in. Arnold's pace had been causing Inglewood no end of trouble and on 85 minute he burst past Rikki Smith only to angle his shot past the post. Clarke was denied a consolation when his effort from the edge of the 18-yard box was brilliantly tipped away from the top corner by Miller. Stirling twice went close in stoppage time with Dickson hitting the bar and Marcinko putting the rebound wide from 3-metres.
BROWN CREATES SOME HASSELL (by Andrew Harris, Football West)
Entertainment was the order of the day as Andy Brown's brace helped Mandurah City draw 2-2 with Armadale at the Hyundai Stadium. Mandurah's confidence was sky high following last week's win at Swan United and inside 2 minutes Jordan Rhodes forced the visiting team to make a goal line clearance. The game settled in to a good rhythm with Mandurah on top. Cyril Sharrock made the first of several great saves to deny Brown after he'd received possession from Rhodes. Ten minutes had gone when Brown beat the offside trap to fire the home side into the lead, however, Armadale coach Brad Hassell was livid and ran onto the field to remonstrate with the referee only to be banished to the stands by match officials.
Armadale responded with a number of attacking runs and on the end one such move Michael Ord delivered a fine ball into the 18-yard box where Mandurah held firm. The Red's equaliser arrived in the 25th minute when James Robinson looped his header into an unguarded net from 6-metres after 'keeper Tom Straker had been caught stranded when attempting to intercept Marlon Ramirez's cross from left. Armadale had a chance to go into the break a goal up when Ord's pinpoint cross from the right was beautifully chested down by Ryan Pearson but his snatched shot was well wide.
Warren Grieve used the ball's momentum to tap in from a little over a metre barely three minutes into the second half following a goal mouth scramble. Mandurah responded immediately with Brown putting the back on level terms with a powerful shot having been found by Michael Bobridge's cross from the left. Bobridge was causing the Red's defence a lot of problems but shortly after he left the field on a stretcher as a consequence of a physical challenge by Sharrock. Undeterred, Brown let fly with an absolute pile driver that hit the rear strut of the goal. Mandurah were piling on the pressure but breathed a sigh of relief when Ben Kelly fired wide on the end of an unchallenged 30-metre run.
Sensing the game was there for the taking, Stuart Young brought on Alex Darby and Robbie Hamm in an attempt to strengthen Mandurah's resolve. Armadale were by this stage attacking in waves and appeals for a penalty after Garrin St Vall went down were rightly dismissed by the referee. Steven McDonald headed wide of the target after getting on the end of a Pearson free-kick, and shortly after St Vall raced through to go one-on-one with Straker, who rushed out of his area to tackle the attacker before clearing the ball to safety. The result keeps Armadale ahead of Mandurah on the Premier League table with two games to go before the seasons' halfway mark.
O'CALLAGHAN SNATCHES JOONDALUP A LATE POINT (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Phil O'Callaghan stoppage time equaliser rescued ECU Joondalup a 2-2 draw with Cockburn City at the Edith Cowan University campus. Cockburn had led for the entire game courtesy of early Aaron Dos Santos and Rory Feely goals, but their failure to secure victory was punished by second half finishes by Jamie Watt and O'Callaghan. "I was disappointed with the way we played in the first half today, but I thought we showed a lot of character in the second half to get back into the game," said Joondalup coach Steve Amphlett, who was quick to praise his team's character. "We've gone five games without defeat now and that includes four draws in the league, so we're just trying to concentrate on the positives from our performances."
A few tough tackles were thrown around early in the game, Scott Bushby earning the first booking after just 4 minutes. However, that was the only card shown in what proved to be a clean contest between two sides at the wrong end of the table. Dos Santos' put the visitors ahead in the 6th minute by half-volleying in after David Dugdale's blocked shot dropped to him inside the 18-yard box. It became two-nil ten minutes later when Feely beat goalkeeper Andy Petterson to Shane Nunes' through ball that he then slid past Scott Blackmore and into an empty goal. The home side didn't manage their first shot until 37 minutes in when Jamie Watt fired way over. Nunes had a decent chance to add a third to Cockburn's tally just before half-time but shot high of the crossbar.
Cockburn started the second half brightly but both Josh Findlater and Feely sent shots wide of the mark. Watt pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute when he turned smartly inside the box to volley in after controlling substitute Garin Collins' right wing cross. Feely should have had a second when Dugdale played him in behind the defence but the striker lifted his effort over the bar. Dos Santos' curling shot from 18-metres hit the inside of the post and somehow stayed out of the net. David Tarka missed a great opportunity to seal the win by heading wide a Nunes' free-kick. Cockburn were made to pay for these missed chances four minutes into stoppage time when O'Callaghan tapped in Charlie Comyn-Platt's low cross to the back post, literally seconds before referee Joe Fusari blew the final whistle.
BUNBURY SET NEW RECORD BY HITTING NINE (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force scored their biggest ever league win by walloping Canning City 9-1 at Wesrac Stadium. David Rodgers ended the day with five goals and Neil Chappell bagged a hat-trick with the remainder being an own goal as Bunbury reasserted themselves as championship material. The ball had been in motion just 3 minutes when Dexter Ravenhill beat his man down the left to fire in a cross that Rodgers controlled before slamming into the net. Rodgers doubled the margin in the 16th minute by converting a one-on-one with the goalkeeper after being put through by David Murphy.
With Patrick Quinn, Jordan Rispon and Oliver McGee dominant across the middle of the park, there was no respite for the visitors. Kieran Kavanagh delivered a 25th minute cross which was met by Chappell, his low header finding the net after deflecting off a defender. The pressure was on Canning again six minutes later when a cross into the 18-yard box was turned into the net by a defender, making it four-nil. Rodgers curled a brilliant free-kick into the far corner to complete his hat-trick after 38 minutes. Another five minutes passed before Chappell's hard running was rewarded with a fine goal.
The break gave Canning an opportunity to regain their composure and they emerged for the second half a much stronger proposition. But it was clear there was no way back for the visitors as Ravenhill hit the post, Murphy's shot from distance stung the hands of the 'keeper, who later was placed well to thwart Oliver McGee. It was inevitable that Bunbury would score again and on 62 minutes that's exactly what happened, Chappell finding himself free to put away his third of the afternoon.
Rodgers then struck twice in five minutes, heading in at the back post for Bunbury's eighth before adding another with a fine individual effort. As Bunbury eased off the pace Pravan Guamasagaran tore down the centre of the park, beating the offside trap in the process before grabbing Canning a 76th minute consolation. The visitors had a second five minutes later, Emlyn Whetnall converting a soft penalty awarded for a foul by Jordan Rispon. Not too long after the referee brought proceedings to an end, sparking some wild celebrations from the growing number of Bunbury supporters.
BAYSWATER HIT EIGHT (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
Bayswater City were in no mood for compromise as they thrashed Ashfield 8-1 in the local derby at Frank Drago Reserve. Kailo Karpeh led the way with four goals, Damien Catalano bagged a brace while there were singles to Gustavo Murulanda and Josh Tumoe for the home side. "We are very happy with the win today against Ashfield, we knew it wasn't going to be easy game after we played them in the Night Series," said two-goal hero Catalano. "Hopefully results have gone our way after losing three points in the week and we are back the top of the table."
Ashfield made a positive start and really should have been ahead within 3 minutes but Bobby Irvine failed to hit the target from 6-metres. It was a miss Ashfield were made to regret two minutes later when Karpeh tucked into the net a great cross from Anthony McStea. Bayswater were disallowed a second goal when referee Joshua Mannella deemed Murulanda used his arm to bring the ball down, and later on the same player crashed a shot against the crossbar after running onto McStea's through ball. Half-time was just three minutes away when Catalano converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Cesar Lopez.
Bayswater made the game safe ten minutes after the break when a Karpeh was presented with an easy tap in following a defensive mistake. Two minutes later Karpeh completed his hat-trick with another tap in after McStea's shot had been parried. Murulanda hit the post and substitute Josh Tumoe delicately chipped the rebound in with 65 minutes on the clock. Five minutes later Murulanda finally got the goal he deserved as a result of great work by Tumoe whose cross allowed the striker the easiest of finishes.
A terrible 73rd minute goal kick by Matthew Battigelli went straight to Karpeh who slotted his fourth of the afternoon into an empty net. Bayswater's eighth arrived on 83 minutes, Murulanda's through ball allowing Catalano to tuck in his second from the top of the 6-yard box. Ashfield grabbed a consolation goal four minutes from full-time with Paul Dundo running through the home defence to send a low shot past Gianni Papalia. The win keeps Bayswater in third place, just three points behind joint leaders Bunbury Forum Force and Gosnells City.
WANNEROO DOWN GALLANT ROCKINGHAM
Wanneroo City made it back-to-back wins by defeating Rockingham City 2-1 in the evening Division One game at Lark Hill Sportsplex. Goals by Jay McDonald and Brian Cairney earned the visiting side all three points from a game in which Rockingham paid dearly for some lacklustre finishing. Wanneroo started the game in an attacking frame of mind with Jarrad Vracewell crashing a shot against the crossbar after just a few minutes. Craig Olejnik ensured Rockingham remained in the game not long after by making a smart save to thwart Guy McDonald. However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do on the half hour when the visitors turned the ball over and Jay MacDonald spectacular chipped into the net from close to the halfway line. Rockingham’s best chance of the half came late with Michael Vaz bringing a good save out of Daniel Holgate.
Luka Ivancic squandered a golden opportunity to bring the teams level early in the second half by failing to put the ball away at close-range. A cross by Kiel Weigel was met strongly by Josh Senior but his header was brilliantly kept out of the net by Holgate. As Rockingham pushed forward in search of what would have been a deserved equaliser, Wanneroo launched a swift counterattack down the left that ended with Cairney converting at the back post with just eleven minutes remaining. However, Rockingham weren’t about to let this upset their rhythm and from an in-swinging Matt Leckenby corner Jay Bonser headed in to bring the gap back to a single goal. Wanneroo absorbed some intense pressure in the final few minutes before the referee sounded his whistle for the last time.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Inglewood United have home ground advantage against Stirling Lions (3.00pm) in the pick of tomorrow's Premier League fixtures. With neither team having played to their potential so far this season, Inglewood go into the game full of confidence having seen off Armadale last time out. Unfortunately the hosts defensive stocks will be stretched with James Duncan missing with a broken foot and Matt Wardle struggling with a leg injury. Stirling, who have won on their last three visits to Inglewood, welcome Shane Robinson back from injury and are hopeful of getting Phil Arnold signed up in time to play.
The Hyundai Stadium hosts Mandurah City against Armadale (3.00pm). The Dolphins breathed new life into their season by downing Swan United last week and coach Stuart Young will no doubt be looking for a repeat of that performance. Andy Brown and Luke Bower are developing a good strike partnership and benefit greatly from the midfield supply of Nicky Platt. Armadale midfielders Steve Porter and Tom Robinson are under an injury cloud, however, Australian youth defender Liam Harvey re-enters the fray having completed Perth Glory Youth commitments.
Sorrento can stretch their unbeaten run to four games by taking home a point (or three) from Floreat Athena (3.00pm). Fresh from downing Balcatta, the Gulls strengths are in all departments, ranging from goalkeeper Tom Woodhead through Danny Cain, Glen Thomas, Todd Harnwell and David Foster, who this time last year was a Floreat player. Johnny Mirco scored twice in last week's win at Cockburn City and will again be a key feature for Floreat, likewise the midfield trio of John Migas, Paul Vatistas and Jason Barerra.
Western Knights have been installed as pre-game favourites for their home meeting with bottom of the table Swan United (3.00pm). The black and whites have not won in league competition at the Knights and for that record to end will need John Hunter, James Sammut and Robert Monterosso at their best. With Simon Versaico, David Micevski and Paul Van Dongen operating across the centre of the park you can be guaranteed Swan's mettle is going to be seriously tested.
ECU Joondalup hosts Cockburn City (3.00pm) at Edith Cowan University in a game vital to both sides. Steve Amphlett will be without striker John Thornley, who has head east to play in Melbourne, however, welcomes back Phil O'Callaghan and Jon Higgins following injury. Anthony Periera and Jason Dos Santos step into the breach left by Adrian Webster's lengthy suspension, while recent arrival David Dugdale is still looking to score his first goal as a Cockburn player.
Round Eight concludes on Sunday with Premier League leaders Perth SC travelling to Balcatta (3.00pm). It's been four weeks since Salv Todaro's side last won and what better way to end that run than with a traditional derby victory. Adam Stillitano is pushing for a start having scored three goals in two games for Balcatta with Genaveo Human and Michael Black up against former team mates for the first time. Trent Kay and Andreas Oliveira are likely to step into Perth's first eleven as replacements for Matt Danskin (shoulder) and Ian McMurray (overseas).
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
A very difficult afternoon awaits Canning City when they head south to face table-toppers Bunbury Forum Force, who are fast turning WesTrac Stadium into a fortress. Bunbury have hit ten goals while conceding just once to win both league games on home turf this season, and with new import Dexter Ravenhill finding his feet the odds appear to be firmly stacked against the visitors. That said, Canning are coming off a morale-boosting four-goal win inspired by a Ross Diamond double
A home win for Fremantle Spirit against Morley Windmills could be just the revitalising tonic the port side need after a flat run of results. Spirits have been high in training and strong performances from Cameron Hayes and Lance Louvie will go a long way to securing Fremantle their first home win of the season. Morley head to Wauhop in a positive state of mind having last week defended grimly to see off top of the table Bunbury Forum Force. The experience Matt Darling and Aaron Moschopolous is vital to the visitors hopes while Diego Van Der Ross must make the most of his chances at the opposite end of the park.
There’s a lot more than bragging rights on the line when Bayswater City takes on Ashfield in the local derby at Frank Drago Reserve. Deducted three points during the week for including an ineligible player on the team sheet, Bayswater will look to Gustavo Maralunda’s goal scoring habits to keep them in touch with the top of the table. Ashfield have paid a heavy price for defensive lapses in recent weeks and need seasoned campaigner Scott McIlroy and Ian McKean in tip-top form if they’re to come away with so much as a point.
Gosnells City, who sits alongside Bunbury and Bayswater, are widely tipped to come home with the goods from their visit to last-placed Queens Park. Dianella White Eagles have won all three away games so far this season so will be confident of becoming the first team to win at Forrestfield United since September 2008. Wanneroo City welcome Glen Moore and Guy McDonald back from suspension as they head out onto the road for the fifth time in six weeks to play Rockingham City under lights at Lark Hill Sportsplex.
INGLEWOOD, STIRLING TAKE POSITIVES INTO WEEKEND
There's a lot on the line when Inglewood United and Stirling Lions square off tomorrow afternoon. Pre-season expectations were high in both camps but two months into the winter campaign they find themselves stuck in the lower-to-mid-table and struggling for consistency. However, there were positives for each team last weekend with Inglewood sneaking a 1-0 win at Armadale while Stirling picked up a valuable point on home soil against ECU Joondalup.
Bringing home all three points from Armadale provided Inglewood some much-needed relief according to defender Sandi Loncar. "It was an entertaining game, it could have gone either way," he said. "We played well and finally showed the fighting spirit and the desire to win which was pleasing. We were prepared for a strong battle and knew that it would go all the way to the last whistle."
Stirling's Michael Pugliese was disappointed with last weeks draw but remains hopeful his team can string together a few results. "We have high expectations for this year and the result (against Joondalup) almost felt like a lost," said the defender. "We had many chances to win the game in the second half but couldn't get the ball in the net. Having said that ECU stood strong and had a couple half chances to win the game also."
Loncar is well aware Saturday will be another difficult game for Inglewood against a disciplined and well-organised opponent. "It'll be another tough game against the Lions, they have always been a tough team to play and especially this year with their new signings," said the big defender. "They might have stumbled a bit in the last few games but I'm sure that doesn't mean anything, they're still a strong and well respected side."
The importance of a Stirling win at Inglewood is not lost on Pugliese. "We need a win to kick-start our season and put ourselves into good form for the weeks coming," said Pugilese, whose team face Western Knights and Perth in the next month. "It's going to be a tough game with Inglewood coming off a win last week, but I'm confident we will come away with the three points." Inglewood and Stirling got head-to-head from 3.00pm on Saturday at at Clipsal Stadium.
WIN BOOSTS ROCKINGHAM’S MORALE
Rockingham City’s come-from-behind win away at Ashfield has renewed confidence at the club according to summer recruit Jay Bonser. The game looked to have slipped from Rockingham’s grip when Ashfield took the lead just fifteen minutes from the end, however, Bonser and Michael Vaz struck late to snatch victory. “That win was really important, not only in terms of the points but also for team morale,” said Bonser. “We’ve been there are thereabouts in most games this season but had nothing to show for it. Great determination and effort from the boys on Saturday earned us a fantastic win.”
Not a great deal is expected this season of Rockingham with many tipping them to be amongst the bottom three at the completion of round twenty-two. “We have been put under no pressure and we are not expected to do anything so teams come and underestimate us, so I think we have the element of surprise,” commented Bonser. “With the exception of the drubbing from Dianella White Eagles, we have been really unlucky in the game we have lost … hopefully, that luck has started to rub off on us and we can get bit of it this Saturday.”
Having played the last few seasons with Mandurah City, 37-year old Bonser had decided his playing days had come to an end when he received a surprise call from Rockingham coach Paul O’Brien. “I left due to work commitments,” he explained. “I couldn’t provide Mandurah what they were wanting from me and, to be honest, I’d decided to hang the boots up. But then a couple of meetings with the gaffer changed my mind. They’re my local team, are two minutes up the road, have a great stadium and I’ve still got the bug to play.”
Bonser has been warmly welcomed by his new club and is enjoying his football. “Playing for Rockingham is still in its infancy but its all good so far,” said Bonser, scorer of two goals in Rockingham’s last three games. “The gaffer brought me in to add experience to the side - we’ve got a young squad but there are some talented players at Rockingham. The goal this season is to get the lads playing with a little more composure and to retain the ball more ... if we can do that then hopefully we’ll be able to prove some of the critics wrong.”
On Saturday evening Rockingham have home ground advantage against an injury-plagued Wanneroo City outfit that is fresh from defeating Fremantle Spirit 3-1. “I feel confident in every game I play in so I’m sure this won’t be any different,” commented Bonser, who feels Rockingham have it in them to go on a winning run. “It’s important to win all your games, and that’s especially so when people are tipping you to be one of the bottom clubs. It’d be nice to put a couple of back-to-back wins together and build our season up from there.”
COACH BACKS RUKAVYTSYA FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Australia coach Pim Verbeek has made it clear that KSV Roeselare loanee Nikita Rukavytsya is likely to make it into the Socceroos squad for the upcoming World Cup in South Africa. 22-year old Rukavytsya has been impressing of late, scoring three times in two relegation play-offs as he strives to help Roeselare remain in the Jupiler League. “He certainly has a good chance of making the World Cup squad. He’s looking the goods because he has incredible pace, which is something all defenders fear,” said Verbeek. “He’s the quickest player in Australia by some distance. He can play central striker or out wide and that makes him even more of an asset. He’s somebody who could come on and turn a game with his sheer speed. Every team needs a player like him to call on.” Contracted to Dutch champions FC Twente, Rukavytsya joined Belgian club Roeselare on loan in January.
PLATT GIVES MANDURAH A LIFT
Mandurah City are on the way up according to attacking midfielder Nicky Platt. The Dolphins moved away from the foot of the Premier League table with last week's win at Swan United, a result Platt says was a long time coming. "The season is going better than it may look," said Platt. "We have had a very tough start playing all the top sides from last year ... we missed a lot of chances against Floreat Athena and Western Knights, and deserved at least appoint from the game against Perth SC. Overall we're happy with our football but disappointed in the results - but we turned that around at Swan."
Platt, who'll return to England when his visa expires in three weeks, feels Mandurah are heading down the path to future success. "We have a young squad and that bodes well for the club in the future," commented 22-year old Platt. "If you look at the top clubs in the league they mainly consist of players who have been there for some time and they know each others games like their own. I believe this will be the case for Mandurah, if they keep the squad together they will do very well over the next couple of seasons."
And while coach Stuart Young has been feeling the pressure brought on by Mandurah's poor start to the new season, Platt insists the former Wollongong Wolves and Perth Glory striker is the right man for the job. "Stu is a good coach and a good bloke too," said Platt of Young, who played at Arsenal as a teenager followed by stints with Hull City, Northampton Town, Scarborough and Scunthorpe United. "His experience as a player shines through. It's great to work with ex-professionals as you can learn a lot from them, and that's only going to help each player in our squad."
TOP SIX A REALISTIC TARGET FOR ASHFIELD
Despite Ashfield’s lowly position Trevor Hatton has every confidence his new club can achieve their season goal of a top six finish. Hatton, now in his fifteenth season of State League football, acknowledges there’s some hard work ahead for Ashfield to climb their way up the Division One table. “We have a healthy squad of experienced players and know what we’re capable of,” Hatton explained. “But we need to lift our intensity at training, work a little bit harder and concentrate for 90 minutes each Saturday to achieve what we set out to do.”
Ashfield looked set to collect all three points last weekend at Rockingham only to capitulate in the game’s closing stages. “We had poor first half but regrouped and started to play some football after half-time. We took the lead but with ten minutes to go lost concentration and got punished with two late goals,” said Hatton of the 3-2 loss. “Full credit to Rockingham, they didn’t give up and in the end wanted it more than we did. Conceding late goals is something we have to address because we have dropped points against Wanneroo City and Fremantle Spirit the same way.”
Hatton joined Ashfield during the summer following a few seasons down the road at Morley Windmills. “The club made some changes they believed to be best for Morley but not everyone agreed and a lot of players decided to leave. If I was going to play football for another year it would be with some mates so I chose to move on,” explained Hatton. “I was thinking about playing some Sunday football with a few of the old Swan IC players but Ashfield assistant coach Matt Carruthers convinced me to come down to training one night. I enjoyed it and I haven’t looked back.”
A few weeks back Hatton scored one of the goals of the season, a stunning 35-strike into the top corner against Morley. “I can count the number of goals I’ve scored on one hand so to add another to the tally was very satisfying,” said the 37-year old defender. “I’ve been pleased with my form so far, that is when I’m on the park. A few too many niggles are hampering me at the moment which is frustrating. I guess at my age you just take it one week at a time and hope the body holds up for another chance at 90 minutes of football.”
The local derby with Bayswater City is next on the agenda for Ashfield who, according to Hatton, must get back to winning ways as soon as possible. “We have dropped too many points and a win against Bayswater will give us great confidence going forward,” said Hatton of this weekend’s encounter. “But we know it’s very difficult to beat Bayswater on their home ground. They are a very quick and fit team that likes to keep the ball so we will have to be patient and take our chances when they come.” Ashfield and Bayswater locked horns from 3.00pm on Saturday at Frank Drago Reserve.
BAYSWATER LOSE THREE POINTS
Bayswater City’s recent good form has been soured by the deduction of three-points for a breach of competition rules. The Division One club was found to have included a player on their match sheet for the Round Three game with Canning City who had earlier in the day been sent off in the Reserves game. Football West’s ‘Grievance and Disciplinary By-Laws’ state ‘A Player who is issued with a Red Card may not participate in any Football West Match on the same day either as a Club Associate, Club referee, Club assistant referee or in any other official capacity for the Club’ (Article 6, Paragraph 3). The original result - a 4-0 Bayswater win - has been overturned and the game awarded 3-0 on forfeit to Canning.
STIRLING DUO TO TRIAL WITH ROAR
Two of Stirling Lions' brightest prospects will fly to Queensland at the weekend to attend trials with A-League outfit Brisbane Roar. Ludovic Boi and Dean Evans, who were pivotal figures in Perth Glory Youth making the 2009/10 National Youth League Grand Final, will be out to impress Brisbane boss Ange Postecoglou during a week-long stay. The duo will hope Postecoglou can fit them into his plans for the 2010/11 season, which starts in August.
FOOTBALL WEST UNVEIL NEW CEO (courtesy Football West)
Football West is delighted to announce that Peter Hugg has been appointed as the associations new Chief Executive Officer. Hugg, whose CV includes the General Coordinator at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and director of the Olympic Football Tournament at the 2000 Olympic Games, is excited about the prospect of bringing his intimate knowledge of world sports to Western Australia. “I am pleased to be able to join the many people working hard in Western Australia to promote and develop a sport we all love, the world game of football,” he said. “I have been very fortunate to experience many wonderful events and moments in sport here and around the world, and I am convinced that football in Australia is at a very exciting phase.”
The Football West board believes Hugg is the right person to lead the organisation into an exciting new phase. “Peter has worked throughout the world with the biggest events and sports governing bodies including the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, FIFA, the International Management Group (IMG) and the International Cricket Council,” commented Football West Director Anna Liscia, who was responsible for the recruitment process. “His most recent projects have included the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Rio’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. To have someone with his experience working with the game in WA is a tremendous asset for the 33,000 plus stakeholders in the sport.” Hugg will commence his new post at Football West on 17 May.
JONES RESURRECTS WORLD CUP HOPES (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
West Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones’ strength of character has put him back in the frame for a place in the Socceroos World Cup squad. The 28-year old shot-stopper had been in and out of the Middlesbrough side before reasserted his authority as the club’s first choice with a best on ground performance against Reading in March, a game watched by Australia’s goalkeeping coach Tony Franken. “I was over to watch Reading play and to see (goalkeeper Adam) Federici, and Brad was brought in for Middlesbrough,” said Franken. “It was a massive game for him because the crowd was on his back but he was man of the match. I saw him again the week after and he was man of the match again. Since he’s been put back in he really hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s done very, very well. It was a timely change for us in terms of the goalkeeping department.”
Although Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer is virtually assured of wearing the gloves for Australia in South Africa, Franken has been monitoring the progress of several ‘keepers, including Turkey-based Michael Petkovic, before a decision is made on the other two ‘keeper spots. Injuries had hampered Petkovic’s progress at Sivasspor before a recent revival sparked to life his World Cup chances. “I went to see him against Besiktas (last week) and that was his first game in three weeks, but he did very well,” said Franken, who has also been keeping a close eye on Sweden-based Ante Covic and Adelaide United’s Eugene Galekovic. “Now that we’ve got all keepers playing in different leagues, it’s a healthy situation.” Franken will report to Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek before he announces his initial 27-player squad next Tuesday.
MITCHELL READY FOR GLORY (courtesy Perth Glory)
New recruit Josh Mitchell believes a top two finish is well within reach for Perth Glory next season. After the biggest recruiting coup in the club’s history, which will see ex-England international Robbie Fowler wear Glory colours, Mitchell says the club is on the brink of their most successful summer in the A-league. “We’ve got a good squad and even though I haven’t played with a lot of the boys it’s a strong team on paper and we’re looking forward to playing alongside them,” said the 25-year old centre back. “Everything is looking really good for the season, especially with the signing of Robbie Fowler, but even without him the squad is still really strong.”
After spending the past four seasons playing in Romania’s top flight for Universitatea Craiova, Mitchell and fellow Glory signing Michael Baird both felt the time was right to head back to Australia. “We’d been there (Romania) a long time and we felt that it was the right move for both of us and a good time to come home,” commented Mitchell. “It worked out well with our circumstances because we’d be back and ready in time for the season. That’s what we wanted. We wanted to come back and we had to make it happen.” Mitchell made his national league for Newcastle United in 2002/03, ironically against Glory. He signed for Universitatea Craiova in July 2005 and made over 100 appearances for the club.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Floreat Athena attacker Branimir Mikulic has a third Golden Boot win in his sights. Mikulic twice won the coveted award as a Cockburn City player and seven games into season 2010 he again tops the charts with nine goals. Ashley Rosindale (Balcatta) is close behind with seven goals to be one ahead of Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) and John Thornley (ECU Joondalup). James Robinson (Armadale) and Andreas Oliveira (Perth SC) have five each, with Daniel Niederberger, Johnny Mirco (Floreat Athena), David Onoforo (Perth) David Foster (Sorrento) joined together on four goals.
Colombian import Gustavo Marulanda (Bayswater City) leads the race for the Division One Golden Boot with seven goals from five games. Bunbury Forum Force pair David Rodgers and Lee Stewart are in hot pursuit with five goal each to sit alongside James Burns (Forrestfield United). 2007 Golden Boot winner Jon Greenwood (Ashfield) has four goals to his name, that’s one more than Kailo Karpeh (Bayswater) and Brian Cairney (Wanneroo City).
COUNCIL GETS TOUGH ON ROCKINGHAM
The City of Rockingham is poised to terminate its management licence with Rockingham City Football Club and demand the resignation of the club committee and its president. The decision was taken following a review conducted by an independent financial planner into the clubs financial status that found outstanding debts of $162,114 to the Council. Additionally, the Department of Commerce received a number of formal complaints regarding the governance of the club.
The Council recommended the termination of the existing management licence with the club for Lark Hill Sportsplex, and that the club commitment resign immediately. It also recommended the club president call a Special General Meeting to allow for amendments to be made to the club constitution to pave the way for a new committee to be elected. The president is then required to resign as soon as rules allowing for the establishment of a newly elected Committee have been made.
If the committee members fail to comply, Council have indicated they will begin legal proceedings against the club for the recovery of the outstanding debt, will block club access to the Lark Hill Sportsplex and seek to wind up the club through the Supreme Court. Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said proceedings would begin "straightaway" and that the Council will try "to the best of its ability to make sure teams can continue to play on while the transition occurs."
RUKAVYTSYA GETS AMONG THE GOALS
Nikita Rukavytsya gave his world World Cup prospects a massive boost by scoring his third goal in as many games for Belgium club KSV Roeselare on Friday. Roeselare have been preparing for the Belgian relegation play-offs with a trio of practice matches, the most recent against Standard Leige with Rukavytsya grabbing the only goal of the early in the second half. That was after he bagged two goals against third tier Willebroek-Meerhof a fortnight ago. Roeselare, who finished 15th in the Belgian Pro League this season, will face KVSK United, Mons and Eupen in the relegation play-offs.
HUNTER KEEPS EAST FREMANTLE UNBEATEN
East Fremantle survived a first half onslaught to defeat Balcatta 1-0 in this afternoon's Women's Premier League fixture at Grindleford Reserve. Balcatta were quick into gear with Domenica Carbone's early strike well picked up by goalkeeper Morgan Cox. A few minutes later Caitlin Dingle cut past her marker only to fire narrowly wide of the mark. There was little respite for the visiting defence as Dingle then Jaime Carley both had shots cannon off the post after beating the 'keeper.
East Fremantle's first opening came soon after, Renae Rendell playing in Katarina Jukic who turned her marker before releasing Jessica Hunter but her first time strike was high. Two minutes later Dingle slipped in behind the defence, however, the striker was again unable to beat Cox. Sarah Marek skillfully opened up play on 27 minutes before skipping past two defenders only to shoot wide. Half-time was looming when Keswell and Ashley Panaia combined with the latter's near post effort parried away by Cox.
Having spend much of the first half on the defensive, East Fremantle turned the game on it's head just minutes into the second period. Ines Salgado flipped the ball into the path of Jessica Hunter whose shot crashed into oncoming 'keeper Helen Carroll before ricocheting into the open net. This breathed new life into the visiting team as Nicole Ritchie rifled into the side netting before Hunter was denied by Carroll on the endof a surging 20-metre run.
Balcatta's search for an equaliser had Marek blaze wide following good lead-up work from Erin Walsh and Carle who, five minutes later, saw her swerving 18-metre strike punched onto the bar by Cox. Carroll denied East Fremantle a larger winning margin in the final minutes, smothering Ritchie's attempt in a one-on-one situation and then cramping Renae Rendell's strike after she was put through. But at the final whistle one goal was enough to give East Fremantle a hard-earned win which leaves them as the only side with maximum points after two games.
ROUND TWO OF THE CUP DRAWN
The potential for Cup-sets will be high when second round of the State League Cup is played out early next month. Division One leader Bunbury Forum Force will fancy their chances of upsetting ECU Joondalup when they journey to the south west. Bayswater City is away to Cockburn City, while Sunday League outfit Olympic Kingsway will make the short trip to Sorrento.
The traditional derby between Perth SC and Balcatta is the pick of the three all-Premier League games. Western Knights are home to Armadale, while Stirling Lions welcome Mandurah City to Macedonia Park. Ashfield gets to pit skills with Cup holders Floreat Athena, and Morley Windmills are up against Swan United. All games are scheduled for the afternoon of Monday 7 June.
PERTH GO TOP
Perth SC has gone to the top of the Premier League after defeating arch-rivals Western Knights 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Ian McMurray’s second half strike may have been the difference on the scoreboard, however, the home team, led brilliantly by captain David Onoforo, were quite simply a class above their opponents in almost every department. The outcome could have been so very difference had the Knights been able to capitalise on early chances which had David Micevski drag wide from 8-metres and Anthony Campbell head just high of the crossbar. Greg Sharland’s trademark delivery created Perth’s opportunity for McMurray but his header travelled wide. The Knights continued to attack and, having out-muscled Matt Danskin, Campbell clipped over the Luke Martino but against the bar.
Having weathered the storm, Perth began to play with greater composure and with 25 minutes on the clock hit the front. Antonio Naglieri played over the top for Onoforo, who out-manoeuvred David Annall before dispatching a lot shot across Fraser Siddall which tucked inside the far corner. A downward header by Shaun Kilkelly bounced the wrong side of the post following a Sharland, then Dom De Felice sent the ball high and wide when the better option was to lay it off to the free Onoforo. Half-time was only three minutes away when a harsh handball decision against Craig Simpson earned the Knights a penalty which Stuart Montgomery sent low and just beyond Martino’s reach.
The second half opened much like the first with the Knights the stronger. Montgomery had a couple of chances in quick succession, his initial attempt from 18-metres was blocked by Kilkelly with the follow-up a little closer to goal sent wide. Perth slowly worked their way back into the game, building patiently from the back as they probed for openings. McMurray’s fierce shot was narrowly wide after he’d received a short Hayden Doyle pass, then Onoforo looked certain to score until Stuart Ferguson dived in to block his shot. Rob Sciascia’s raking cross-field pass saw Sharland burst past his marker before sending a low shot towards the near post were Siddall took possession.
It was inevitable Perth were going to score again and in the 70th minute Sciascia played a low ball into the area where a defensive lapse was the invitation McMurray needed to redirect it past Siddall. This sparked the visitors back into life, however, despite an extended period in possession few goal scoring opportunities arose such was the dominance of Kilkelly, Simpson and substitute Trent Kay. Ferguson should consider himself fortunate to remain on the park following a dreadful lunge on De Felice. Perth could have ended the day with a few more goals but Sharland’s low cross was just beyond the head of McMurray, who should have done better than spray wide in stoppage time after dancing around Garth Lecky.
FLOREAT OUTLAST TEN-MAN COCKBURN (by Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Jonny Mirco’s doubled propelled Floreat Athena to a 4-2 victory against a gallant Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The sending off of Cockburn’s Adrian Webster after only half an hour - with the score already two-each - may have turned the game but it took until the second half for Floreat to seal the win. “(The red card) gave us an advantage but we probably didn’t push forward as well as we could have and we probably backed off a bit,” said two-goal hero Mirco. “I was rapt with my performance, would have liked a hat-trick, but it was good to get the win against a tough side like Cockburn.”
The opening half hour was played at the highest standard, complete with goals galore, near misses, spectacular saves and supreme skills all around. Mirco set the tone in the opening minute with a thundering strike which was denied only by the post. However, the diminutive striker would not be stopped, pouncing on an Aleksic save to score the games opening goal with only 5 minutes gone. Cockburn had struggled to maintain possession but a sizzling goal from outside the 18-yard box by captain Paul Natale changed that.
A dreadful 23rd minute error by Adam Bachiller put the ball with Rory Feely, who dribbled past goalkeeper Alex Dunn to give Cockburn the lead. But the hosts’ joy was short-lived as on 26 minutes Jason Godfrey’s foul during a scrimmage at a corner led referee Josh Mihevc to point to the penalty spot, with Mikulic rifling past Aleksic to level the contest. The game was turned on its head four minutes later with the dismissal of Webster for a late challenge on Jason Barrera, forcing Cockburn to restructure their line-up and adopt a more defensive style.
While initially not seizing on their advantage, Floreat’s class eventually came to the surface and the visitors were rewarded with a Mirco goal five minutes after half-time. This was followed ten minutes later by a scorching strike from outside the 18-yard box by Daniel Neiderbeger which sealed the result. Mirco, Neiderberger and Branimir Mikulic were dangerous all day and could have easily added a few more goals if not for the brilliance of young Cockburn goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. Cockburn once again relied on the midfield class of Jason Dos Santos for its attacking thrusts and David Tarka to hold the fort down back.
GULLS SOAR ABOVE BALCATTA (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Glen Thomas and David Foster scored brace each as Sorrento cruised to victory 4-2 against Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve. Goals in the closing stages from substitute Adam Stillitano and Balcatta captain Andy O'Neill brought some respectability to the scoreline as Sorrento leapfrogs into fourth place on the Premier League table. The home side started brightly with a number of decent chances go begging in the opening exchanges, the best of which was a flicked header by Foster that was cleared off the line.
It took a goal-of-the-season contender to break the deadlock after 22 minutes, Thomas hitting a vicious swerving shot from some 32-metres which dipped sharply at the last moment and flew into the top corner, that despite goalkeeper David Khuen getting a hand to it. Seven minutes later it was two-nil as Foster latched onto a high ball played over the defence before coolly lobbing Khuen. Balcatta had a fantastic chance to grab a goal back just before half time when Michael Black got on the end of Adam Tong's cross, but Tom Woodhouse pulled off a stunning one-handed save to protect his side's two-goal buffer.
Woodhouse was called into action again just three minutes after the restart, this time denying Tong with a sharp stop at close-range. There was a whiff of controversy in the 57th minute when Foster volleyed in from a Jason Mirco cross, Balcatta claiming the Gulls striker raised his foot in his tussle with Julian Piromalli but referee David Scragg adjudged that the defender lowered his head. Woodhouse produced another brilliant save to keep Matt Italiano's shot from just outside the 18-yard box from entering the net six minutes later.
In 67th minute Mirco played a brilliant cross field pass to Adam Hayton who held the ball up before rolling it into the path of Thomas, giving the midfielder the simple task of slotting past Khuen. With the points secure, Sorrento seemed to switch off and allowed Balcatta back into the game. Stillitano pulled one back in the 77th minute with a back post header from a Muhamed Komadaric flick on. Woodhouse pulled off another great save, acrobatically tipping Anthony Jones' long-range strike over the bar. However, he was to be beaten once more by Stillitano, who tapped in at the back post after another flick on by Komadaric.
FANS THE WINNERS IN CRACKING CONTEST (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Stirling Lions and ECU Joondalup picked up a point each from a highly entertaining 1-1 draw at Macedonia Park. The visitors drew first blood when captain Dale McCulloch fired them into a 16th minute lead but, somewhat against the run of play, Roberto Lujan found an equaliser four minutes before half-time. “Some of the football played by both sides was absolutely terrific. Both teams had chances, both defences played really well. It was a great game to watch, perhaps not so good for the coaches,” enthused Joondalup coach Steve Amphlett.
Mario Marcinko scuffed the first shot off-target while Jamie Watt might have done better at the other end with a low drive that whistled wide. Joondalup got the goal their early possession probably deserved when an in-swinging corner somehow found its way through to McCulloch, who couldn’t miss from all of a metre. That failed to lift what until that stage was a largely uninspiring game with both sides guilty of giving possession away far too easily. Bobby Wilson forced visiting goalkeeper Andy Petterson into a fine block after 21 minutes, then Clayton Arnez was unlucky to see his effort from distance at the end of a surging run crash off the upright.
On 37 minutes McCulloch’s shot from 9-metres was blocked, while Phil O’Callaghan brought a fine low save out of Kevin Miller as the visitors looked to double their advantage. Instead it was the hosts who were celebrating four minutes before the interval, Wilson getting to the byline before firing in the ball low across goal where Lujan improvised well to slide it in from point-blank range. Stirling would have gone into half-time ahead if it wasn’t for Petterson, who dived bravely to parry at the feet of Matthew Stares after Dean Evans’ cross from the left had fallen to him just 4-metres from goal.
Ross Anderson’s free-kick from 23-metres clipped the top of the crossbar in the opening moments of the second period. Stirling had the ball in the net soon enough with Wilson heading in a corner from the left only for his efforts to count for nothing due to pushing. Marcinko was guilty of a bad miss when he sent a free header wide, then Evans forced Petterson to parry behind for a corner with a stinging shot from 22-metres. The game should have been in Stirling’s favour from the resulting set-piece but Wilson inexplicably headed wide from almost underneath the bar. Miller denied John Thornley with Watt’s follow-up deflected away.
Thornley’s low volley was past the post and, seconds later, Miller superbly parried an O’Callaghan shot from 9-metres. It was exciting end-to-end stuff. Evans tried his luck from distance but couldn’t keep the ball down before Michael Pugliese made a brilliant block just as Thornley was lining up to shoot. It was the hosts that were left cursing their luck in stoppage time when Marcinko’s ferocious angled volley cannoned off the far post before Petterson had even seen it. Ludovic Boi curled just over for Stirling and Jake Benson-Cooper drove wide at the other end as a thrilling contest finished all square.
INGLEWOOD STUN THE REDS (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
A late deflected shot by Ryan Clarke was enough to snatch Inglewood United a much needed 1-0 win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was the first time since round the opening day of the season that Inglewood collected all three points with the result lifting them up the Premier League table into eight position. “I’m obviously happy with the three points today,” said Inglewood coach Shane Pryce. “I wasn’t too bothered how we got them, even if we had to scrap it as we did today. We aren’t safe yet, but it gives us a bit of breathing space and I’m proud of the way the boys stuck together today.”
Inglewood started the game in a positive fashion as just 2 minutes in Jason Colli’s cross was met by the head of Michael Baczynski but Cyril Sharrock was placed to make the save. A few moments later some slack defending by the visitors allowed Marlon Ramirez to have a shot that just went over the target from 2-metres. Armadale were the busier of the teams in the first half and Steve McDonald should have put them ahead at a corner. Inglewood were struggling to deal with McDonald’s aerial presence and his flick on created the hosts best opportunity of the period which ended with Oliver Taseski’s reflex save denying James Robinson from only a few metres.
Much of the pressure continued to come from Armadale after the break, Ryan Pearson fired over just minute after the restart and shortly after James Robinson headed straight at the goalkeeper from 6-metres. Armadale’s best chance came with under half an hour to play when James Robinson’s free-kick from distance narrowly missed the target. This spurred Inglewood into action, Sandi Loncar’s powerful shot could only be parried by Sharrock with Baczynski’s follow-up header scrambled clear. The game would be decided on 78 minutes when a surging run by Clarke led to his deflected shot leaving Sharrock with no chance. Armadale wanted a share of the points but the closest they’d come was Lewis Flatt’s effort that was cleared off the line.
PLATT INSPIRES MANDURAH TO VICTORY
Mandurah City moved off the bottom of the Premier League table with an emphatic 3-1 defeat of Swan United at the Swan Italian Club. Nicky Platt’s double and a spectacular volley by Rafael Insaurralde scored the visitors all three points, and sent Swan tumbling down to last place after seven games. “We needed a good three points today to move up the table. We’ve played well in recent games but haven’t had the reward but today we totally dominated the game and deserved the points,” said two-goal hero Platt. “It’s nice to get on the scoresheet, but as a team we played some good football today. We changed the formation around a little bit and I think it worked really well, we’re just delighted to have taken the points.”
The visitors wasted no time in making clear their intention as Jordan Rhodes and Andy Brown flashed shots narrowly high of the crossbar inside 7 minutes. Swan were not to be outdone and twice in quick succession John Hunter placed just past the target as the game started to open up. David McNally’s header drifted wide after he’d met a Brendan Craig free-kick, then down the other Brown did likewise from Craig Young’s delivery. The breakthrough arrived on 23 minutes when the home defence was caught asleep at James Hesketh’s quick throw-in which put Platt through to fire first time into the bottom corner.
A quick reply was what Swan wanted and they very nearly got it on the half hour via a James Sammut corner to the far post where Trent Wood’s shot deflected off Ivan Zuvela and Liam Boland put his close-range header over the top. The home team finished the half strongly, Hunter picking out Boland whose header was brilliantly saved by Phil Straker. Parity was deservedly restored on 42 minutes when Wood sent in a superb cross from the right that Boland nodded into the net from 4-metres. Unfortunately, Mandurah grabbed back the lead five minutes later, Rhodes’ corner from the left was spectacularly volleyed in by an unmarked Insaurralde at the back post.
Mandurah were quick out after the break with Brown cutting in from the right to find Rhodes but his curling shot was just past the far post on 52 minutes. It was pretty much one-way traffic as Rhodes supplied the ball to Brown whose low strike beat Cory Hugo but was disallowed for offside. The sealing goal arrived just two minutes later, Brown passing through to the overlapping Luke Bower whose cross from the right was lashed in from 6-metres by an unmarked Platt. With Rhodes, Brown and Platt running the game out of midfield, the former went agonisingly close to a hat-trick on 67 minutes but his shot on the turn flashed wide of the target. Five minutes later Zuvela headed straight at Hugo from a Rhodes’ cross.
Boland should have put Swan back in the contest with fifteen minutes to go when he raced on to a Craig pass over the defence but having rounded Straker was dispossessed by Ryan Townsend’s superb covering tackle. Mandurah went close to extending their lead soon after when Rhodes again combined with Brown who was about to pull the trigger when Darragh Kenevey made a timely block. Alex Cocking’s shot on the run from 15-metres was over the top as Swan sought a second goal, and a few minutes later Straker ensured a two-goal winning margin by pushing away from the top corner a Sammut cross that deflected off Hesketh.
MORLEY BRINGS DOWN THE LEAGUE LEADERS (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Morley Windmills caused an early season upset by out-shooting the previously unbeaten Bunbury Forum Force 1-0 at Wotton Reserve. The result leaves Bunbury clinging to top spot, level on points with Bayswater City and Gosnells City, as Morley scramble away from last place. The crowd was still settling in when a neat ball played in from out wide allowed Diego Van Der Ross to slot past an oncoming Ryan Montgomery less than a minute after kick-off. Bunbury quickly set about finding a goal of their own but encountered strong resistance from a very defence-minded home team. The closest they'd come to equalising was late in the half when Oliver McGee's shot smacked against the crossbar.
Bunbury continued to apply pressure after the turnaround with new signing Dexter Ravenhill showing plenty of promise in the final third as Patrick Quinn and David Murphy toiled away in midfield. However, Morley's ability to keep players behind the ball in numbers stifled their visitors, who on several occasions had strong penalty claims dismissed by the match referee. Bunbury stepped up the intensity for the final twenty minutes with a relentless bombardment of their opponents' goal which, amazingly, remained unbreached before the final whistle signalled a miracle escape by Morley.
CANNING BACK IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE (courtesy Canning City)
Canning City rebounded from successive league losses by thrashing lowly Queens Park 5-1 at Willetton Sports Club. After a relatively even opening quarter hour it was the home side that started to assert the greater influence on the game with some good penetration into its attacking third. Canning had the ball in the net after 17 minutes by referee Josh Mannella but Billy Rickman’s effort was disallowed for an earlier foul, then Queens Park fashioned a couple of half chances with both sent straight at goalkeeper Richard McCabe.
Ross Diamond gave the home side some breathing space by cutting in from the left and curling a fine shot past Brad Effie and inside the far post in the 27th minute. The gap was very nearly widened two minutes later by Jack Richardson, who ran onto a angled pass which he struck a low shot but just outside the far post. Eight minutes after opening the scoring, Diamond dribbled his way to just inside the 18-yard box from where he drove into the roof to double Canning's lead.
Greg Newcombe's well-weighted pass eleven minutes into the second half allowed Richardson to outpace the defence, round the 'keeper and slide in goal number three. In the 72nd minute Diamond's far post corner was headed in at close-range by Newcombe. Queens Park finally got themselves on the scoreboard with ten minutes to go with the unmarked Komando Sikazwe converting a cross from the right. However, Canning was not finished just yet and three minutes later Newcombe's shot from a narrow angle deflected into the net off a defender.
GLORY SOUND OUT CARLE
Perth Glory’s dip into the transfer market may not be over with the club lining up a bid for Socceroos midfielder Nicky Carle. Currently playing for English Championship side Crystal Palace, Carle is expected to line-up for Sydney FC next season but Glory owner Tony Sage has confirmed he’d given coach David Mitchell the green light to sound out the World Cup hopeful about a move to the west coast. “Obviously the salary cap becomes a constraint but it depends on a couple of issues,” said Sage, who last week announced the signing of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler.
But Glory’s salary cap concerns may not be alter plans to recruit Carle. Midfielder Adriano Pellegrino is currently trialing with Motherwell and is keen to stay on in Scotland, Hungarian side Ferencvaros have expressed their interest in Naum Sekulovski while defender Chris Coyne may be tempted to extend his loan to Chinese Super League club Liaoning Hongyun. “If those things happen there will be room in the salary cap for Nick and I’ve given Mitch and Fergie permission to go out and get him on that basis,” commented Sage, whose initial aim is to secure a home final by finishing in next season’s top four.
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This page was last updated on the 7th May, 2010